Sunday 31 January 2016

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Here we go again.  Another smoothie recipe.  I can't help myself, they're just so good.

And quick, and easy, and healthy.

There's been a lot of smoothie goodness coming out of my blender lately, and this chocolate peanut butter banana combo is a keeper.  One of the boys said it tastes like Reese's Puffs cereal.

Which amazes me, because I swear I've only bought that stuff like, twice.  Clearly it made an impression.

I wonder if I'll ever hear anyone say "Mmmm, this tastes just like that healthy whole grain sugar free cereal you always buy."

Doubt it.

But if they ask for more smoothies like this one, because it tastes more like a treat than a healthy meal replacement, I'm good with that.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

2 small or 3 medium bananas (I use over-ripe, frozen bananas, they're super sweet!)
1 scoop (1/3 cup) chocolate protein powder*
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk of choice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

*If you don't have chocolate protein powder, use vanilla flavoured protein powder and add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.

Need more smoothie inspiration?


Friday 29 January 2016

Friday, it's Friday!

How is it posssible that we're almost through the entire month of January?  

And how is it that the relentless march of time still suprises me?

Despite a bit of rain during the week, it's still pretty snowy around here.  I love when the snow sits fat and heavy on tree branches.  I love seeing kids that are never to old to be IN the snow.  I love the pattern of last summer's corn stalks in the snow.

Fresh colouring pencils and a fresh colouring page.

Laughing at the car sensors going berserk in the car wash.  It was like they were screaming WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO DRIVE??!.

Smoothie love.  Banana chocolate peanut butter is all kinds of amazing.

Puzzles.  Disney princess puzzles to be exact.

Kids cleaning out their rooms, and deciding they really don't need all of their trophies anymore.  Looking at the box full of discarded awards almost made me cry.  So many years of hard work and commitment.  So much pride in their accomplishments.  So much driving - soccer fields, ice rinks, baseball diamonds, football fields - so many different cities.  So much money spent.  I found an old bookshelf and squeezed in as many as I could.  It's in the hallway outside of their rooms, and I'm just waiting for (daring?) someone to say something.

Costco.  The dilemma of finding room in the cupboards for all of the oversize boxes, and evidence that a certain 13 yr old was shopping with us.  Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Ritz Cheese Snacks, and Instant Hot Chocolate.  Is any of that even real food?

And speaking of food... hello Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Thighs.

Did you know that you can make your own Mayonnaise?  As well as your own Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Farmhouse Rice Pudding, Banana and Chocolate Chia Cream Pie Parfaits, and Salted Caramel Sticky Buns.  There are not enough hours in a day for the number of desserts I dream about making.

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!

Tuesday 26 January 2016


My son got this shot of his dog romping in the snow - I just had to share!

He loves the snow.  Like crazy loves it.

The fireplace afterwards isn't too bad either.

I have no idea why Santa is still hanging around.

And those Christmas lights?  They aren't going to get put away until spring.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday 24 January 2016

Banana Mango Pineapple Protein Smoothie

Holy moly, fresh produce is expensive right now.

I'm grateful for all of the frozen fruit in my freezer.  It's been handy for all the smoothie making that's been going on around here.

I usually just toss things into the blender on the fly, and most of the time the end result is great, although I have to admit to a few disasters that I ended up choking back because no one else would drink them.

This banana mango pineapple smoothie was gone in seconds.  It was that good.

Banana Mango Pineapple Protein Smoothie

2 medium size bananas (I use over-ripe, frozen bananas)
1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla protein powder 
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 prunes (dried plums)
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 - 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or any milk of choice)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I use a Blentec blender and it mixes things up beautifully. If your blender is less powerful, you may want to process your flax seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder first.

Looking for more smoothie recipes?  Try these!


Hey, It's The Weekend!

The sun is shining!  We haven't seen blue skies for weeks it seems - it's nice to have a break from back-to-back snowfalls.  It makes me want to go outside!

For exactly one and half minutes.

Because it might be sunny, but damn it's cold.

The dogs have been loving the snow.  When they're not running around in it, they're at the back door staring at it.

This week there has been snow shovelling, coffee dates, slow cooker failures, muffin successes, and super smoothies.

And mail that makes my stomach do flip flops at the thought that one of my kids may be going away to school in the fall.

I bought a bag of red lentils, and I have no idea what to do with them.  I thought I might try this and this.

These Sweet Potato Tacos look really good.  So does this Power Veggie Sandwich.

We've been trying to eat less meat.  It's hard.  The kids like their meat, and don't always love their veggies.  But I think it's important that we try.

And contrary to some entertaining memes that have been making the rounds on the internet, milk is perfectly safe and wholesome.  Phew.  We use a lot of milk.

Remember how I was using up leftover egg nog from Christmas?  Here's another good recipe to try, it'll clear the egg nog and the cranberries out of your fridge!

These bean dips look easy, tasty, and healthy.

And this brought tears to my eyes.  A gentle reminder to remember how great our kids really are.

Happy Weekend!

Monday 18 January 2016

Christmas - in January

Remember how I took December off?

Well, I don't want to look back years from now and see a big gaping hole where Christmas 2015 should be.  So, despite the fact that we're more than halfway through January (what?!), I'm sharing a random mash up of photos from Christmas.

Because it happened :)

We decorated.  One tree,

two tree,

three tree.



Ugly Christmas sweaters.

The aftermath.  Note the lack of ornaments on the bottom half of the tree.  Some puppies think they make good snacks.

Adult colouring books were a thing.

Star Wars Lego.  In every room of the house.

And setting the table with our good dishes for the first time since we've moved into this house.

 And just like that, it's official.  We had Christmas in 2015.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Egg Nog Pancakes

Breakfast this morning provided the perfect opportunity to use the egg nog lurking in the fridge since Christmas.  

Egg Nog Pancakes!  I used my Classic Buttermilk Pancake Recipe, and substituted egg nog for a cup of the buttermilk in the batter.  An easy switch that resulted in a great batch of pancakes.

I'm thinking I can use the rest in a batch of banana bread, since we've got some perfectly browned bananas waiting to be baked into something.

How do you use up leftover egg nog?

Egg Nog Buttermilk Pancakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup egg nog
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk together the buttermilk, egg nog, vanilla, melted butter and eggs in a separate bowl until well combined.

*If you don't keep buttermilk on hand, make your own buttermilk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of milk. Put the tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in your measuring cup, then add the milk to measure one cup of buttermilk. Allow to sit for a few minutes before combining with the other ingredients.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Allow batter to sit for a few minutes.

Lightly butter a large frying pan and set over medium heat. Use a 1/3 cup of batter for each 6” pancake. Flip each pancake when bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to brown, 2-3 minutes. If your pancakes brown too quickly, turn heat down to medium-low. Cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes or until browned.

Serve right away or keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Maple syrup is required :)

Friday 15 January 2016

Friday, it's Friday!

This was the week that winter finally appeared.

Two snow days, pancakes, homemade protein bars, and a few oh-so satisfying nutrition bowls that make me wonder why I don't make them more often.

And while the kids were shoveling, I was pinning recipes for cold weather comfort food, like Beef Barley Soup and Maple Roasted Blueberry Almond Oatmeal.

There was Homemade Hot Chocolate and another batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These No Sew Fleece Blankets would be perfect right now, and so easy!

People Are Tweeting Their Most Awkward Moments And It Is Cringingly Hilarious

23 Things You’ll Understand If You’re Obsessed With Chapters/Indigo (think Barnes and Noble if you're stateside)

Crashing Waves on Lake Erie Look Like Liquid Mountains

I made a cake on the weekend, which was a ridiculous amount of work.  I like the look of this one much better.  Throw-It-Together Texas Sheet Cake - I'll be trying it this weekend!

And now that most of the Christmas decorations have come down (OK, except for one tree...and the outdoor lights, but they're buried so they don't count), the house feels bare.  Hello Winter Decor Ideas!

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!

Thursday 14 January 2016

Italian Meatloaf

I think I've made meatloaf half a dozen times in all my years as a grown-up that cooks.  Four of those times have been in the past six months, because this recipe has turned a meat loaf hater into a meat loaf lover.

Half ground beef, half ground turkey, and a handful of spinach.  Meatloaf healthified.

Seasoned croutons instead of bread, soaking in milk and spices.

Add an amazing tomato topping....

... and you've got the best meatloaf ever.

Italian Meatloaf Florentine

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups Caesar seasoned croutons
1 cup milk
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 large eggs
large handful fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine meat, eggs, Parmesan, and spinach in a large bowl and roughly mix together.  In a separate bowl, soak croutons in milk until slightly softened.  Mash together with spices and add to meat mixture.  Mix together by hand until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together drained tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire.

Form the meat mixture into a loaf and place on a drip pan (an oven pan with a slotted tray on top), then spoon the tomato mixture over the top.

Tent the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more, until the internal temperature is 160° and the meatloaf is no longer pink in the middle.  Cut into thick slices to serve 8-10.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Italian Meatloaf recipe.

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