Warrior Blend Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

Back in February a representative from Sunwarrior (a company who creates raw, plant-based proteins and supplements) contacted me, asking if I'd be interested in participating in a friendly recipe competition.  Having no previous experience with their products I was interested and of course said yes.  

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk
Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

I love being able to try out different products and companies- everyone has their own take on things and I love being able to be involved with people who are just as passionate about health, fitness and wellness as myself.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a package arrive at my door about a week later- chock full of samples of their various products.  Not only vanilla and chocolate protein powders but also samples of their Activated Bio-Fermented Barley Powder, (which is great for a slow burning carbohydrate), Immune Shield, Liquid Light, and their Ormus Supergreens (and all this came in a super cute shaker bottle- score!).

While I only got one sample of each (which meant I had to be a little careful when sampling before trying out a recipe because I didn't have much room for error!) I really enjoyed being able to try everything out but the chocolate protein powder was the one that took the cake (pun intended).  I also really enjoyed their Supergreens- it's a great way to get that extra "oomph" (a very scientific term, of course) of greens in the day- especially if you drink it first thing in the morning like I did.

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

I normally use almond milk in my smoothies but realized late one night that I was out.  I used to make raw almond milk fairly frequently but haven't done so in a long time and seeing as I had lots of raw almonds at home, decided that that would be a perfect way to keep this smoothie raw and full of good-for-you ingredients without any fillers.

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

Disclaimer: Sunwarrior sent me their products to sample and review for the purpose of their recipe competition - no other compensation was received..  All opinions are my own.

Warrior Blend Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

Serves 1

1/4 Cup Raw Almonds

1  1/2 Cups Water

1 Banana

4 Large Strawberries

1 Scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate 

1 Serving Activated Barley (optional)

Soak raw, unsalted almonds in a bowl with cool water overnight.  Discard the water and then peel them in the morning (the skins should be loose enough by the next morning that you can just pop them out of their skin, but this isn't a necessary step if you don't want to do it).

Add the almonds, fresh water, peeled banana, rinsed strawberries (if they're organic, toss them in with the tops, if not, remove them before adding), chocolate protein powder and activated barley (if using) to a blender.

Blend on high until smooth.  Drink and enjoy!

Strawberry Chocolate Smoothie with Raw Almond Milk

Weekly Wishes: Part X (Wishes for the New Year & a New Beginning)

I realized this morning that this is actually my first Weekly Wishes post I've done this year!  I took a long break (obviously).  I realized that I had so many other things going on that I'd be making these goals each week and never really internalize and accomplish them.  It seemed foolish to do so, so I took some time off.

I've been spending a lot of time internalizing things recently.  I'm not sure if "internalizing" is the right word, but I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how to be happier.

Now that isn't to say I'm particularly unhappy, or depressed, but after reading this article from Mind Body Green and realizing a lot of the signs hit home, I decided it's time for a change.  It's been something I've slowly been unearthing and contemplating for a while (along with Chai Rice Oatmeal) and I've slowly been working on eliminating "stuff" and clutter.  Baby steps in the right direction.  I don't want to live day-to-day being "ok" and feeling "mediocre"- I want to wake up excited for what the day brings and passionate about what I'm doing.

Now I've never been a big fan of New Years Resolutions- or more accurately, I've never been a fan of the need to wait for the "right time".  If you know something isn't right, or you aren't happy with something and want to make a change then just do it.  There's no need to wait until the new year (or some other specific date).  Think about what it is you want to do, why you want to do it, plan steps out and start.

I've been doing "research" into living a more minimalistic lifestyle, (such as capsule wardrobes), and talking with Ashley about being productive, yet satisfied (she is so fun and inspiring to talk to has great tips on keeping busy with your blog and still being "active" and happy).  All of these are things I am working on.

So that's what brings us here to today, Monday, March 3rd.  With the sun shining and reflecting off yesterday's snow, it's time for a fresh start.

Instead of planning for "Weekly" Goals, this time I'm going to aim for goals to focus on this month to continue to implement in the future.

The Nectar Collective
  1. Start 100 Happy Days: It's funny how I've been into this idea but have somehow been afraid of actually starting it!  So the time is now- I'm officially going to sign up and start the #100HappyDays Challenge.  I'll post about it on Instagram.
  2. Implement a Spring Capsule Wardrobe: I've slowly been grabbing up clothes I have currently and tossing ones I don't love (and subsequently just wear because I have it) but I want to officially do a capsule wardrobe for spring.  While it feels a little strange, I've been enjoying grabbing up an item or two a day (not just clothes) and tossing it into the donations box.  I feel "lighter" each time I do it.
  3. Go for Walks: I used to do this daily when I was in Maryland and maybe it's been been the bad weather and maybe it's been the changing schedule, but I stopped doing this.  I walk the dogs around the blog, same trip, same route each day and that's it.  It's time to break the routine and start walking them around more and "explore".
  4. Make a Blogging Work Schedule: I've been working on this one for a while- it's just tricky because my schedule often changes daily so finding something remotely consistent has been tricky but I'm determined to figure out something!
  5. Take Time Off: Sundays are officially going to be my day off.  I always plan on going into the city to work out etc and it just never happens because by the time Sunday rolls around I'm just so tired and exhausted that I need to rest.  It's time I officially acknowledge that and plan for it.

Anyway, I hope you guys are all doing well and have a wonderful day!  If you aren't happy, think about it and take the time and steps you need to make it better!

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

Holy Jesus you guys- I am amazing.

Seriously- I'm pretty sure I am a god.  Like woah.

Ok maybe I shouldn't talk like that but hear me out!

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

Yeah- so this happened.

So a few weeks back Vega announced they were coming out with a new Mocha Flavored protein powder.  Yeah - woah.  

So I of course ordered it immediately.  Which is funny because I didn't used to like coffee (or coffee flavored) things.  Recently though, I've been craving that little extra "savory" note.  Hence my excitement for mocha protein powder.

So yeah, long story short, I tried it and loved it and was all, "OMG - I need to make tiramisu protein pancakes with this!!"

And so I tried.

And failed.

And then I tried again.

And failed again.

This went on for a while, each time it got better though but I seriously went through 3 completely inedible mush batches (and several other somewhat edible batches).

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

I had all but given up hope when I realized that March 3rd is National Pancake Day!  I couldn't pass up the opportunity and needed to get these guys to work ASAP!  And boy oh boy did I!

I loved shooting this because I basically just ate my way through it while photographing.

Win!

I was able to get the pancakes chocolate-y, mocha-y (with a hit of rum!) and the delicious creamy layers rich and healthy with the use of whipped up yogurt.

Crazy right?

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes
Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

Super decadent, super delicious and super healthy!  And seeing as I was using Vega for the protein powder, I of course had to make these babies vegan!

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

Serves 4-5

Per Serving (5): 365 cal, 6g fat, 50g net carbs, 6 sugars, 26g protein.

Pancakes:

2 Scoops Mocha Flavored Vega Sport Protein Powder

4 TBSP Whole Psyllium Husks

4 Cups Almond Milk

2 tsp Rum Extract

2 Cups Flour

4 TBSP Cacao

1 TBSP Instant Espresso Powder

4 tsp Baking Powder

Creme:

3 Cups Plain (Soy or Coconut) Yogurt 

2 tsp Stevia Extract

Non-stick Spray

Additional Toppings (Optional):

Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup

Strawberries

In a small bowl, combine the psyllium husks, almond milk and rum extract.  Whisk together and set aside for several minutes (the mixture should thicken up and become slightly gelatinous).

In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients (protein powder, flour, cacao, espresso, baking powder).  Using a spoon, mix in the wet mixture being careful not to over-mix.  It should be thick, but if it's too dry, add a little more almond milk.

Heat a small pan on medium-low heat.  Coat with non-stick spray and add pancake batter 1/3 a cup at a time.  Cover pan with a lid and cook for several minutes until the sides of the pancake firm up.  Flip and cook for several more minutes.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Whip together yogurt and stevia sweetener (you could also just opt for a sweetened vanilla yogurt).

Top pancakes with a dollop of yogurt on each one and add additional chocolate syrup and strawberries if desired.

Relish in your healthy protein pancake indulgence (especially on National Pancake Day) and get those gains!

Healthy (Vegan) Tiramisu Protein Pancakes

Fit Fridays: Maintaining a Healthy Diet While Eating Out

Last year, I distinctly remember being out to dinner with mom at our local Mexican restaurant and talking about dieting- or really, eating healthier.  She- and I think most people would agree- said dieting is boring and bland.  Dieting can be very bland and boring which is precisely why it usually isn't something that's maintainable long-term.  That's why people "fail' at their diets.  There's a difference though, between "dieting" and a healthy diet.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet While Eating Out

Full disclosure: what I do for competition prep is not a healthy diet, and I'll explain why.  

I may be eating healthy foods, but it's so restrictive and specific (you know, measuring and recording each gram or ounce down, timing my meals, etc) with so few options for socializing and eating out with friends that it is not maintainable for an extended period of time. 

Maintaining a healthy diet, however, is not this.  It allows for balance and flexibility and should focus on small changes, rather than drastic "diet food" all the time.  If you're trying to lose weight it will absolutely take longer to do so, but you'll also be able to appreciate the changes in yourself mentally and physically as you work towards changing your lifestyle.

One of the biggest points of a healthy diet is balance and moderation.  Does it mean you never eat out or enjoy pizza?  No!  Does it mean you skip dessert every time?  No!  But you make adjustments in what you do when you do go out.

So, sitting in that Mexican restaurant with my mom, these were some of the tips and changes I discussed with her that were specific to eating out (but can certainly apply to eating at home too!).  And don't worry- I'm not going to tell you to order the salad!

  • Skip the Chips/Bread: When you go to a restaurant, chances are they'll give you a bread bowl or some chips to snack on before your meal comes.  Skip it- avoid the temptation and just tell them not to give you any before they even put it on the table.  Unless it's a place known for for their amazing bread or chips (and they're certainly are places like this) just don't eat it.  You aren't eating it because it's tasty or satisfying, but usually just because it's something that's there.  Don't waste your calories and your appetite on something mediocre!
  • Drink Water: Hi there, we totally talked about the benefits of drinking more water last week, but let's go into this again from a different angle.  When you order soda (or maybe pink lemonade as my mom loves) in a restaurant, you're wasting hundreds of calories on it- even more if you get a refill (and I mean, might as well 'cause you already paid for it and refills are free).  And if you get diet drinks or soda?  Come on- we all know those are just packed full of chemicals (even more so than the regular drinks).  Opt for water- enjoy that beverage free of charge and free of calories from the very beginning.
  • Go Light on the Cream: Getting a sandwich slathered in chipotle mayo or a grilled cheese sandwich covered in butter?  Ask them to go light on the dressings or even to just serve it separately so you can put it on yourself (I often ask for salad dressings on the side, or my sandwich condiments separately).
  • Ask How It's Made: I've ordered dishes sometimes thinking it was one thing, only to have it arrive and find that it was deep fried.  Not only was I dissatisfied because it wasn't what I had expected, but I was unhappy because there was something else I would have been happy to eat instead.  Don't be afraid to ask your server how it's cooked so there's no surprises later on.
  • Opt for Veggies: If you're getting a burger or burrito they'll often come as their standard side of chips, fries or coleslaw or something similar.  Usually restaurants have some sort of side salad or veggie option.  Go for that instead (or just ask them not to put any side at all) because remember- you're there for the main dish, not the sides.  Those are just an added filler.
  • Split Dessert: I get it- you totally want their amazing black forest double chocolate cake.  If you're dead set on getting dessert, ask to split it with whomever you are with or if you're by yourself, take home half for later!

And finally, if it's your birthday or a party or some special event where you are going to go hard or go home (hello cheat meals) and eat everything you want- no restrictions then do it.  Have fun- enjoy yourself but then, the next day or the next meal, go back to normal eating and your normal habits.  Don't punish yourself for having done it but also don't continue the flow- the "well I already ate all this at brunch, might as well just keep going" mentality.  Have a good time- enjoy what you eat, and your next meal and next day is a new page.

Now go out and enjoy your life!