Banana Custard

When I first stumbled upon Gena’s blog post about banana soft serve, I was immediately intrigued. After creating the creamy concoction by simply whirring up frozen bananas in a food processor, I was overjoyed! The result was a creamy, cold and delicious bowl of soft serve that exploded with the sweet flavor of banana.

Though banana soft serve is delicious on its own, it doesn’t have much staying power in my belly and I am often left feeling hungry within an hour of eating it.

Last night when I received my new food processor in the mail, I knew I wanted to break it in this morning. I figured banana soft serve would be a great way to do this, but I wanted to add a little protein to the mix to give the creamy concoction more staying power.

Enter: Banana custard.

Banana Custard

To make the banana custard, I combined one cup of frozen Greek yogurt that I lightly thawed in the microwave with one chopped frozen banana, a bit of water (to get everything movin’) and one teaspoon of Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum for thickness. (You may wish to add a bit of sweetener, depending on taste.)

After whirring away in the food processor for a couple of minutes, I had creamy bowl of high-protein banana custard.

Since chocolate makes everything better, I dusted the custard with cocoa powder before digging in.

Cocoa Dusted Banana Custard

Kinda Like Dessert for Breakfast... But Healthy!

Oh-So-Thick

Not to toot my own horn (toot, toot), but this stuff was pretty darn delicious. I could have easily eaten twice (err, five times?) the amount. 😉

I enjoyed my custard with a thick slice of Amish Friendship Bread.

Amish Friendship Bread

Breakfast

Those of you who have tried Amish Friendship Bread before and commented on my post last night weren’t kidding… it really is ridiculously addicting. I think I ate my body weight in this stuff last night!

Question of the Morning

Do you prefer soft serve or regular ice cream?

Save the Dates = DONE!

Who doesn’t like startin’ their day with a little chocolate?

Cocoa Powder

I’m in the mood for chocolate morning, noon and night. 5 a.m.? Yes! 11 p.m.? Yes!

This morning chocolate popped up in my breakfast in a chocolate chip cheesecake breakfast bowl.

The base of my breakfast bowl was a mixture of ricotta cheese and cottage cheese, which I blended together with a pinch of xanthan gum, almond extract and sweetener.

Ricotta + Cottage Cheese

I topped the creamy, cheesecake-like mixture with chocolate chips, cocoa powder and freshly sliced strawberries.

Cocoa Powdaaa

Fresh Berries

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Breakfast Bowl

This bowl contained:

  • 1/2 c. cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 pinch xanthan gum (for thickness)
  • 1 splash almond extract
  • 1 pinch sweetener
  • Sprinkling of chocolate chips
  • Sprinkling of Nestlé cocoa powder
  • Sliced strawberries

I blended the first five ingredients together with my immersion blender before topping the cheesecake-like mixture with the remaining goods.

This breakfast was really tasty and hit the spot after a hot run with Sadie this morning.

Workout

This morning I decided to change up my normal running route and took Sadie on a five-mile run around a different lake.

"Stop Taking My Picture and Go Get Me Some Chicken."

We stopped for a couple potty breaks (as usual) and had to pause for more cars than our typical running route, but I enjoyed the change of scenery.

Here are our stats (including potty breaks, waiting for cars to pass and talking to a couple about vizslas 😉 ):

Breakdown

(Woohoo for my first ever Garmin stats picture on the blog! Oh and yes I do wear my watch turned in rather than facing out. Not sure why…)

Save the Date Success

Wedding update!

Our save the dates are printed and ready for mailing!

Smiling for Save the Dates

After picking them up from Staples last night, Ryan and I got to work stamping the cards and licking lots of envelopes.

Please excuse me while I sing the praises of Staples!

With help from my sister and a guy from my work, our save the date images were formatted and ready for printing yesterday. I worked with a guy at Staples and explained what I was looking for and he went above and beyond to make our save the dates look amazing.

Then, on top of it all, he cut everything to fit into the envelopes I purchased, and only charged us for black and white printing when really it was color since the image of me and Ryan on the card is sepia.

Save the Date

October 30th, Baby!

I was determined to create our save the dates myself because I love being crafty and wanted to save money.When I found a wonderful (free!) template for these save the dates on WeddingChicks.com, I knew we had a winner.

We are so pleased with how they turned out and are even more excited about how inexpensive they were to make. The guy at Staples really helped us save a ton of money on printing costs.

Here is our save the date cost break down:

  • Envelopes: $54
  • Printing/ Cutting at Staples: $11
  • Heart stamp: $4
  • Happily ever after stamp: $7
  • 2 stamp pads: $8

Total cost: $84

Not to shabby for 80 save the dates!

Now I just have to purchase a billion stamps and get these bad boys in the mail…

EarthGrains Giveaway & Healthified Brownie Batter

Giveaway fun in un momento, but first, breakfast!

Breakfast

I am officially addicted to my big bowl of chocolate goodness.

Cocoa Breakfast Bowl

If you love chocolate and have a sweet tooth that kicks in first thing in the morning, you should give this breakfast a try!

  • 1/4 c. dry Flax-Z-Snax chocolate cream hot cereal (I buy this at Netrition.com)
  • 1 scoop All the Whey chocolate peanut butter cup protein powder (I buy this at Nutraplanet.com)
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • Water

I mix everything together before heating the mixture in the microwave for about a minute, stirring it up and heating it again for another 20 seconds or so. It “grows” in the microwave and becomes really thick. It really does taste like “healthified” brownie batter.

Wednesday's Breakfast

Ryan tried it this weekend and gave it a thumbs up, but said it was a little too chocolatey for him first thing in the morning (Ha! Too chocolatey… What is that?). Nothing is ever too chocolatey for me… at any time of the day.

EarthGrains Giveaway

Are you a bread lover like me? If so, than this is the giveaway for you!

EarthGrains 7-Grain Bread

I was contacted by EarthGrains and informed of the company’s new product and initiative to “plot to save the earth, one field at a time,” by introducing Eco-Grain wheat into its 100% whole grain, 100% natural line of breads.

According to EarthGrains, “Eco-Grain wheat is grown using innovative farming techniques that benefit the environment because they promote more sustainable agricultural practices.”

One giveaway winner will receive EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain! EarthGrain will send the bread to the winner and the winner will receive one of the following breads:

  • 100% Natural Whole Wheat
  • 100% Natural 7-Grain
  • 100% Natural Wheat Berry with Honey
  • 100% Natural Multi-Grain
  • 100% Natural Oat
  • 100% Natural Double-Fiber Whole Wheat

The winner will also receive an EarthGrains reusable shopping bag. Go green!

To enter this giveaway, simply comment on you favorite way to enjoy bread. Are you a sandwich lover? Can’t get enough of French toast? Let me know! 😀

A winner will be selected randomly and announced tomorrow morning. Good luck!

Day of the Week Rankings

Good morning and happy Friday eve! 🙂

Yesterday Ryan and I were discussing how each day of the week feels. Here’s my rating (5 stars is the best):

  • Monday: **
  • Tuesday: *
  • Wednesday: ***
  • Thursday: ****
  • Friday: *****
  • Saturday: *****
  • Sunday: ****

Days of the Week

Yes, I actually ranked Tuesdays worse than Mondays… I always feel fresh on Mondays and then Tuesday is when the “blah” feeling kicks in. Thankfully it’s all up from there! 🙂

What is your favorite day of the week?

I am inclined to say Saturday, but honestly I’ve always loved Fridays. Even though I have to go to work, everyone is generally in a good mood and I love the excitement and anticipation of a fun weekend ahead.

Workout

Today’s cardio workout was a goodie!

I followed a 25 minute treadmill workout I clipped out of Oxygen Magazine a few months ago.

25 Minute Treadmill Training

I made a couple of modifications, like only bringing the incline down to one, not zero, and warming up/cooling down at a 4.0 pace rather than a 3.5 pace.

After the 25 minute treadmill fun, I walked for another 10 minutes on an incline before finishing up with 15 minutes on the elliptical.

Breakfast

Chocolate attack!

Chocolate Delight

Today my breakfast was a bowl of chocolate goodness:

Thursday's Breakfast

As Dale from Doug would say, “Yum, yum, eat ’em up!” Yes, I did just reference a classic Nickelodeon show. Doug was the best!

Doug!

Sadie Turns the Big 0-2

Happy birthday to Sadie!!!

Today is Sadie’s second birthday. Look how teeny she used to be!

Sleepy Sadie

Puppy Sadie

Smiling Sadie

Easter 2008

Picture overload, I know. I just love my lil’ puppers so darn much.

Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday?

In honor of Sadie’s birthday, I thought I’d share a few fun facts about her with you:

  • Sadie is 34 pounds, about 10 pounds smaller than the average female vizsla.
  • Sadie’s favorite toy is a stuffed pig named Pig Pig and she knows it by name.
  • Sadie loves lakes and jumping off my parents’ boat into the water… but is afraid of pools and waves at the beach.
  • Sadie can run 6+ miles and still want to keep running.
  • Sadie is a cuddler and must be touching some part of you whenever she’s sitting or laying down.
  • Sadie has very stinky gas.
  • Ryan and I always forgot to work on Sadie’s tricks before puppy training class and would teach them to her five minutes before class. Luckily, she always remembered!
  • Sadie was featured on The Daily Puppy.
  • Sadie won the 2009 Baldwin Park Doggie Derby (description below).

(Please excuse the following ode to Sadie…)

Sadie’s actually quite a famous dog. Well, not really, but she did win the Baldwin Park Doggie Derby last year.

Doggie Derby Victory, May 2009

Someone at the dog park told us about the doggie derby on a Friday afternoon because he saw how crazy and fast Sadie was when she was running around at the park. The derby took place that Saturday and the entry fee was $15 and all the proceeds went to a charity. It sounded like a neat event, so we signed up that evening and headed out for the derby the next morning.

To participate in the derby, one owner stands at the start line, while the other stands at the finish line. Sadie is extremely owner-motivated, and this worked to our advantage. Vizslas in general are known as velcro dogs and Sadie definitely is one. She doesn’t understand the concept of personal space. The minute I started walking away from Ryan when he was holding Sadie at the start line, she was ready to take off! When he let her go, she shot out like a mad dog for the finish line!

First, she shocked us by winning her weight class (middle weight), and then she shocked us once again by beating out approximately 100 other dogs to win the overall competition. She got a trophy and everything! Ryan and I were proud puppy parents. Sadie was even mentioned in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper! It was the proudest day of her life. 😉

And that concludes my Sadie love fest (for now…).

Workout

At today’s BodyPump class, the normal Wednesday instructor was out sick, so another teacher took her place. Fortunately I really liked the man who replaced my go-to instructor, and I had a great workout. He selected songs from a variety of BodyPump tracks, which kept me really interested. I love not knowing what to expect in BodyPump!

After class, I did 25 minutes of light cardio on the adaptive motion trainer while reading the latest issue of Shape.

Adaptive Motion Trainer

Have any of you ever tried the adaptive motion trainer?

It’s definitely funky at first, but I like it a lot once I find my rhythm. It’s a nice alternative to the elliptical.

Breakfast

Breakfast today was a chocolate explosion! I am loving cocoa oatmeal lately and cooked up a creamy batch this morning.

I started with steel cut oats and stirred in one scoop of All the Whey chocolate peanut butter cup protein powder and a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

Cocoa Powder + Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Powder

Cocoa Oatmeal

I enjoyed my cocoa oats with a hot tumbler full of my gym’s free Barnie’s cinnamon butter cookie coffee.

Wednesday's Breakfast

Deeeelish!

It Came!!!

Last night my big purchase arrived!

It's Here!!!

I’ve been tracking the progress of my new Nikon D3000 digital SLR camera through Amazon.com every day, and it wasn’t supposed to arrive until tomorrow, but *HOORAY* it arrived early. I couldn’t use it last night ( 😦 ! ) because I needed to charge the battery, but you better believe it was put to use first thing this morning!

I bet you can guess who I chose as my first victim…

My Little Love Machine

I’m so happy to finally have a camera that can take indoor pictures that aren’t fuzzy and don’t require a flash that make Sadie’s eyes reflect so she looks like some possessed devil dog.

I already have plans to take Sadie to the dog park tonight to take pictures of her in action and really see what this camera is made of!

Cocoa Oats

Of course I used my new little toy to snap pictures of my breakfast. While I showered, I let a small batch of steel cut oats simmer on the stove.

Oats

I wanted something chocolatey for breakfast (don’t I always?), so I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder and half of a scoop of All the Whey chocolate peanut butter cup protein powder to the oats and stirred ’em up.

Cocoa Oats

Brownie Batter?

This mix was oh-so-chocolatey. If I wasn’t a brownie batter connoisseur you might be able to convince me that this mixture was some odd form of brownie batter. Okay, maybe not, but it really was delicious!

This was a great post-workout breakfast. I did the same 50 minute treadmill workout that I did on Tuesday and it got my heart thumpin’ and my body dripping sweat. One reader asked the distance logged and calories burned for this workout and so I made sure to take note today. I did about 4.45 miles in 50 minutes (including the 5 minute cool-down which I did at a 3.8 pace on a 6.0 incline) and I burned just shy of 570 calories.

When I got home from the gym Ryan commented on my red face. I definitely sweat more and burned more calories doing this workout with varying speeds/intensities than I do when I run five miles. It’s nice to incorporate some incline walking and some faster running to fight boredom and work your heart in a different way… the extra calories burned it just icing on the cake. (Oooh… cake…)

Oh, hey, did you know there’s only one more day until Friday? Something to make you smile, I hope. 😀

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast

This morning while I was  ellipticizing (that’s Julie-speak for working out on the elliptical) at the gym, I flipped through the December Food Network magazine that my friend Minda gave me at our girl’s holiday movie night on Tuesday.

I saw a recipe for chocolate peanut butter cookies and a craving was born!

I honored my desire for chocolate and peanut butter with a healthy breakfast wrap featuring peanut butter and cottage cheese mixed with sweetener and lots of cocoa powder.

Cocoa Peabut Butter Wrap

(Sorry for the cruddy picture. My camera is crabby today.)

This wrap was d-to-the-e-to-the-l-i-c-i-o-u-s (can you tell I was listening to the Black Eyed Peas this morning?). If you’re cottage cheese averse, try adding a little sweetener and some cinnamon or cocoa powder to the curds. It totally changes the flavor.

Side note: I think the word “curd” might be in the top five of my list of disgusting words. (Other top contenders include slop and panties.)

Pump it Up!

BodyPump was awesome this morning. I feel like I’m getting some of my strength back from my week off of weight training over Thanksgiving. My biceps and hamstrings were a-burnin’ today! I rounded out my workout with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical with Food Network magazine.

Food Network Magazine December 2009

The December issue features 50 (yes 50!) recipes for Christmas cookies! I can’t wait to make some. I’m going to a Christmas cookie exchange on Dec. 20 and am already excited!

Are you making any cookies for the holidays? What’s your favorite kind?

In case you missed it, click here for my Examiner article featuring low calorie Christmas cookies including the oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookies pictured below.

Cooking Light's Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies

Foodie Tees

How adorable are these foodie t-shirts?

Rad Radish

Rad T-shirt

I love simple t’s like these. A good gift idea for a foodie friend or a vegetarian perhaps???

Ryan the Food Pho-tog

This morning Ryan’s mom emailed me two pictures my photograph-savvy fiance snapped over Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Sangria

Table Setting

He’s quite the picture-taker, huh?

Also, is it just me or does that holiday sangria look freakin’ fantastic!? I could go for a glass right now… too bad it’s not even noon. 😉

Hope you’re all having a great Friday so far. Yay for weekend-eve! 😀