Confessions of a Sugar-Free Chocolate Protein Shake

I know I haven’t been around much for the last few weeks. Well, it’s time for me to let you in on a little of what I’ve been up to.

It’s confession time…..

Confession #1: I took almost the entire month of July off from working out, and fully acknowledge that it’s not fair that my abs still look like this….

Confession #2: Sometimes I burn my toast on purpose. I like it that way. Don’t judge.

Confession #3: I forgot to water the hydrangea plant Mama Gidget gave me. Luckily, it perked right back up I practically drowned it in a last ditch effort to save its life.

Confession #4: I have become a choco-holic.

This last confession, #4, is particularly strange because I’m normally more of a fruit-obsessed individual. But, these last few days, I have been craving chocolate morning and night. Sugar-free Chocolate Mug Cakes have been a nightly occurrence, and this morning, chocolate even found its way into my breakfast!

I added a scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder to my usual protein powder to create a luscious chocolate-lovers dream smoothie. In a perfect world, this would have been a smooth, icy treat. However, my blender is… well… crappy. So, I ended up with ice clumps floating in liquid. Regardless, it still tasted delicious!

Sugar-Free, Vegan Chocolate Protein Shake

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a blender, in the order listed.
  2. Process until smooth.

Blueberries n’ Cream Vegan Protein Shake

I have become my mother!

Every morning, for as long as I can remember, my mom started her day with a protein shake. She mixed her “2 heaping teaspoons” of protein powder with a tall glass of milk and was out the door in no time flat, carting us kids here, there, and everywhere. Perhaps it is a subliminal comfort thing, but I always liked the taste of her protein. And now, I am following in her footsteps.

Almosts every day, be it for breakfast or lunch, I have a protein shake. I use a plant-based, vegan, sugar-free protein powder that I usually mix with water. On the road, I usually don’t have easy access to non-dairy milk. It is a necessity that my protein powder taste decent mixed with water. On the weekends, however, I like to mix things up by making protein pancakes, or “fancy” smoothies. I don’t know that I would call this recipe fancy, per say, but it is delicious!

Blueberries n’ Cream Protein Shake

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Vegan, Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/4 cup frozen, organic Blueberries
  • 1 handful Ice
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and process until ice is crushed and shake is smooth.

“Seeing Green” Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

With summer on the horizon, Smoothies and Shakes are reentering my life.聽

And, in typical “me” fashion, these icy treats are full of flavor AND nutrition.

The surprising combination of bananas, cocoa, and spinach produces a thick, creamy vegan milkshake healthy enough for breakfast, but tasty enough for dessert!

If we are being honest. I totally drank one for lunch on Sunday and felt utterly naughty the entire time, mostly because it tasted so decadent!

Go ahead! Pull out your blender and give this shake a try. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert… Anytime is a perfect time for a treat that will make you smile!

“Seeing Green” Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small Frozen Banana
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 large handful Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at the Gluten Free Homemaker, and to Allergy Free Wednesdays at Tessa the Domestic Diva.

Berry Good Green Smoothie

Preface: A Green Smoothie isn’t always green…

Sometimes it is purple!

I have been craving Green Smoothies and Juices like crazy these past few weeks! I don’t know what it is. I eat an abnormal amount of greens and vegetables to begin with. Why my body is asking for more is beyond me, but I am happy to oblige! The more greens and color on my plate and in my diet the happier I am.

So, what makes a Smoothie a Green Smoothie? It is the addition of greens! Greens can range from spinach to kale to swiss chard. Whatever you have on hand can be tossed into your blender for an added nutritional boost. For those Green Smoothie newbies out there, I recommend starting with spinach. Spinach has the most innocuous flavor of all the greens.

I added Chia Seeds and GF Oats to my smoothie for extra fiber. Feel free to omit if you don’t have any lying around. 馃槈

 

Berry Good Green Smoothie

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen Banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen Blueberries
  • 3-4 Strawberries
  • 1 handful Baby Spinach
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Certified Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Oats

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed.
  2. Process until smooth.

Homemade Mocha Marshmallows….

Give your friends & neighbors a gift to keep them warm throughout the chilly winter season, Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix & Homemade Mocha Marshmallows!

Everyone gives out cookies and bottles of wine. Don鈥檛 get me wrong, I love cookies AND wine. However, man cannot live by cookies and wine alone. Hot Chocolate has to fit in there somewhere! Mason jars filled with our homemade dairy-free hot chocolate mix are a fantastic hostess gift from the kitchen! To make this treat even more special, include homemade mocha marshmallows!
Don鈥檛 be scared! It鈥檚 not as difficult as it sounds. Plus, the look of joy on the faces of those on the receiving end of these gourmet goodies makes all the time & effort worth it!
Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix
(Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)
Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
  2. To make 1 cup of Hot Chocolate, combine 1 cup boiling water with 4 Tbsp mix.
Vanilla Sugar
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups unbleached Cane Sugar
  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean, cut into small pieces
Directions:
  1. Place sugar and vanilla bean in a food processor and process until vanilla bean is finely minced.
  2. Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
Homemade Mocha Marshmallows
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)
Ingredients:
         4 Tblsp Unflavored Powdered Gelatin
         1 cup Cold Water
         3 cups unbleached Cane Sugar
         1 1/4 cups Light Agave Nectar
         陆 cup Water
         录 tsp Salt
         1 tsp Coffee Extract
         1 tsp Vanilla Extract
         录 cup Cocoa Powder
         3/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
Directions:
1.      Spray a glass 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and dust with confectioners sugar.
2.      In the bowl of a stand mixer, place gelatin and cold water and allow to gel. This should take about 10 minutes.
3.      Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cane sugar, agave nectar, & remaining water to a boil. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
4.      Slowly beat the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin. Turn the mixer speed up and add the coffee & vanilla extracts.
5.      Beat on high until mixture volume has nearly tripled in size, 6-10 minutes.
6.      Pour the mixture into your prepared glass pan and smooth with a lightly oiled spatula. Allow to sit uncovered, at room temperature, for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
7.      The next day, in a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder & confectioners sugar.
8.      Lightly dust a cutting board with the sugar & cocoa mixture.
9.      Turn the marshmallows out of the pan onto the dusted cutting board. It should come out in one piece.
10.  Using a pizza cutter, cut marshmallows to desired size.
11.  Thoroughly coat each marshmallow in the sugar & cocoa mixture to prevent it from sticking.
12.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

At Home by the Fire….

Every Christmas, my mom makes pounds and pounds of Fireside Coffee Mix. We give them to friends, teachers, coworkers, clients… Heck, even the neighborhood back-gate guard gets a jar! It has become a family tradition, one I could not participate in, until now!

Thanks to Vance’s DariFree Powder, Fireside Coffee Mix can now be enjoyed by those of us whose tummies don’t particularly like dairy! 

So, put on your fuzzy slippers, slip in the dvd of The Grinch, and enjoy a cup of Christmas cheer!

Fireside Coffee Mix
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, mixing well.
  2. Store in an airtight container
  3. To make 1 cup, spoon 2 Tblsp + 1 tsp of mix into 1 cup of boiling water. Stir. Enjoy!

Linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free!

    Cheap Chocolate….

    I was looking for an economical way of making my favorite holiday beverage and ran into a major hurdle. Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix is daggum expensive!
    A little research online pulled up this awesome recipe on GoDairyFree.org! SCORE!!!!

    Make this recipe and stay tuned for the rest of the tutorial for Christmas Cheer in a Cup!
    Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
    2. To make 1 cup of Hot Chocolate, combine 1 cup boiling water with 1/4 cup mix.

    Vanilla Sugar
    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups organic, unbleached Cane Sugar
    • 1 whole Vanilla Bean, cut into small pieces

    Directions:

    1. Place sugar and vanilla bean in a food processor and process until vanilla bean is finely minced.
    2. Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.

    Southern Comfort….

    Living in the South, everyone seems to be obsessed with Sweet Tea. Not just any Sweet Tea, mind you. This Sweet Tea is so sweet you can feel little fire works going off in you mouth as you drink it. I, for one, loathe it! I know, I know… having grown up in the South, it should be my comfort food. Well guess again! 
    I have always been a bit of an outsider living in the South. I grew up in the panhandle of Florida, basically lower Alabama. Miraculously, I don’t have a Southern accent. I have never gone hunting. I think Country Music is the most annoying thing on the radio. I don’t like fried food or bacon. I hate sweet tea. AND… to top it all off… I have never, and will never, own or drive a pick-up truck! 
    Instead, I can imitate a spot on British accent. I love Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and going to the theater. I actually enjoy opera, but love the occasional rap song thrown in for good measure. Raw food and clean simple cooking methods are the joy of my little world. Water is my beverage of choice, but Kombucha is number 2. AND… my first care was a VW Beetle with a pink rose in the bud vase! How’s that for standing out in a crowd? Needless to say, I didn’t quite fit in with our huntin’, fishin’, football lovin’ local high school crowd. But, that’s what makes life interesting, no?! 馃槈
    All that leads up to today’s recipe. I invited my family over for a little “housewarming/brother home from college” dinner party. It was an informal affair, but I enjoyed prepping none the less. I made a delicious Sweet and Sour Chickpea Stir-fry served over Quinoa (which none of my family members had eaten before!) and Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Chip Blondies and Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream for dessert (Don’t worry! These recipes will be posted!), but I still needed a beverage. You see, my family does not eat like I do. They like to, but just don’t really have the time to do a full pantry and lifestyle re-haul. Normally, at a family dinner, there are 2 gallons of Diabetic Coma inducing Sweet Tea, moo-cow Milk, and water. Well… I don’t have moo-cow milk, and I was not about to buy that ridiculous sweet tea. Enter Celestial Seasons True Blueberry Herbal Tea and Xagave Agave Nectar. I went digging through my tea stash and decided this sounded just right for a refreshing summer beverage. Next order of business, choosing a sweetener. I didn’t have much Turbinado Sugar on hand, so I went with Agave Nectar. The smooth mellow sweetness was the perfect compliment to the light blueberry tea. Having never attempted to make sweet tea, I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was! 
     Serve this refreshing, summer beverage at your next backyard BBQ! Your guests will love it!
    Blueberry Sweet Tea
    Ingredients:
    – 1 gallon boiling Water, separated
    – 11 Celestial Seasons True Blueberry Herbal Tea Bags
    – 10 Tblsp Agave Nectar
    Boil half a gallon of water in a tea pot and pour into a heat safe container with blueberry tea bags.
    While tea steeps, bring the remaining half gallon of water to a boil in a tea pot. 
    Once boiling, add remaining water to the container of steeping tea.
    Remove the tea bags and stir in Agave Nectar.
    Chill and serve.
    Now for some updated house photos!
    Progress is being made. Slowly, but surely our house is becoming a home!

    We finally picked out a buffet for the dining nook and a bookshelf for the office. We will be getting those sometime this week. I some people (wink, Averie) like to unpack immediately and get everything organized. I, on the other hand, would rather take my time, making constant, little changes, until I find just the right look and feel. I have become so much more relaxed in my “old” age! 馃槈 Well, I’m off to celebrate Father’s Day and 2, count ’em, 2 birthdays at Tita’s. She is making Chicken and Yellow Rice, my FAVORITE!!!!! Gotta love Cuban food!


    Finally…… an ode to my daddy on Father’s Day!
    My daddy has always worked hard to provide for his family, harder than most. He is amazingly kind, loving, “tolerant” (having 4 daughters will do that to you!), and the best example of what a loving, Godly man should be that I could ever wish for. He has always gone above and beyond to make sure his daughters are well taken care of. (I mean, seriously, he made GF Guy take him out to lunch and endure a grueling “interview” before he could take me out on a date!)
    Thank you, Daddy, for always being there for me, for always letting me know I am loved, and for being the man God intended you to be. I love you!

    Earth Week Foodie Green Tip #1….

    I had a hard core chocolate craving last night. This one was too strong to deny. Not only was it a chocolate craving, it was a chocolate milkshake craving. Double whammy! I set to work looking for recipe inspiration. Thank goodness for Gena’s blog, Choosing Raw! I made a slight change to one of her smoothie recipes, and Voila! My dessert was born! A dessert with 2 exciting aspects, Fair Trade Raw Cacao Nibs and Chia Seeds!
    My Way Milkshake
    Ingredients:
    – 1 cup Almond Milk
    – 1 small frozen Banana
    – 2 tblsp. Carob Powder
    – 1 tblsp. Peanut Butter
    – 1 tblsp. Chia Seeds
    – 1 handful Ice
    – Fair Trade, Raw Cacao Nibs
    Place nut milk, banana, carob powder, PB, Chia Seeds, and ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with Cacao Nibs.



    The Fair Trade, Raw Cacao Nibs are the perfect introduction for today’s green tip in honor of Earth Week:

    1. When buying chocolate, look for a brand with high cocoa content (more cocoa means higher quality and鈥攁t least potentially鈥攎ore farm income). Look also for chocolate that carries a 鈥渇air trade鈥 label or the mark of a similar socially responsible producer, and that is organic

       

       What a wonderful excuse to buy high quality chocolate! It鈥檚 for the environment! Who can argue with that? Now on to the Fair Trade Label鈥. 

      Buying Fair Trade labeled chocolate is responsible purchasing for both the environment AND for local farmers and communities. In fact, most Fair Trade certified chocolate can be traced to a specific farm! In order to receive a Fair Trade certification, a product must meet certain standards. These standards include:

    • Paying farmers a fair wage, within the local context.
    • Encouraging organic, sustainable farming methods, including shade growing and crop diversification.
    • Following child labor laws.
    • Providing a safe work environment, within the local context, and opportunities for advancement.
    Next time you are shopping, look for this label:
    You will be feeding your sweet tooth and helping to feed a community at the same time!
    For more information on the Fair Trade Movement, visit the World Fair Trade Organization website.
    On to exciting ingredient number 2, Chia Seeds!
    I was gifted with some Chia Seeds at work the other day, so I was looking for an excuse to bust those suckers out! Chia Seeds are a superfood eaten by the Aztecs. I am still a newbie when it comes to Chia Seeds and their health benefits, but here are a few reasons to consider adding them to your diet.

    7 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds

    1. Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
    1. Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
    2. Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body.
    3. Reduce your blood pressure: There’s evidence to suggest they can lower blood pressure.
    4. Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation鈥攕uch as arthritis鈥攁nd heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
    5. Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
    6. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.
    I am not trying to lose weight. However, I love the other attributes of Chia Seeds. The Omega-3’s and superior hydration they provide are exactly what I am looking for! 

    Are you a Chia Seed user? What is your favorite recipe using Chia Seeds?

    His and Hers…

    Good Morning! My started with a bowl of Greek yogurt, raspberries and strawberries,


    a workout, and GREEN MONSTERS!!!! GF Guy has really been getting into these smoothies lately. Unfortunately, we had to use regular skim milk instead of our homemade raw almond milk. It seems our last batch went bad… trust me, rancid almond milk is not pretty! But that okay! We forged on with regular milk and made His and Hers Monsters.


    His Monster:
    – 1 cup skim milk
    – 1 frozen banana
    – a bunch of frozen strawberries
    – 2 handfuls spinach
    – 1 teaspoon Agave Nectar

    Her Monster:
    – 3/4 cup skim milk
    – frozen blueberries
    – frozen mango
    – 2 leaves of lacinato kale

    TA-DA!

    GF Guy is rushing me. He wants to check out cars. We need another one.
    Tune in tonight for a new recipe and a new post topic!