Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

I updated my “about me” page with my “before & after” pictures in case you want to see what I looked like when I was a tad…chunky.

Moving on.

Over the weekend I tried to get crafty. I am not crafty. At all. My parents are both extremely creative and talented in the crafty department. Case in point, I saw a cool shadow box on Etsy that you put all your wine bottle corks in. It was about $400 though so I sent a picture of it to my parents and they cranked it out in a few days. And because they are creative and crafty, my mom added a cool vintage looking map to the background because she knows we like to travel. See, creative.

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We love it! Granted, it will take us approximately 300 years to fill it, ha! Those are all our corks we have in the bottom there. I think we have about a dozen.

Anyway, I really wanted to make this bracelet I found online because I love it but it’s $30! And remember, I’m kind of a cheapskate so I thought I would try to make it myself.

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Isn’t it cute?
So I worked up the ambition to go to the craft store. I am lost in craft stores. There were men in that store that really knew their way around because I could hear them telling their wives they “found it!”. All I could think was I really can’t imagine taking my husband into Hobby Lobby!
Once I found the bead section it took me about 45 minutes to find most of the supplies I would need for this project. Seriously, I was sweating in that aisle for a long time! Once I picked out everything I needed I calculated the cost and it was just as much as buying the dang bracelet! So I put everything back and went on my way. The next stop was IKEA which honestly didn’t go much better. After that I decided I wasn’t going to run any more errands until after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here is a very Thanksgiving-y recipe that will satisfy that craving for pumpkin pie any time of year!
I thought I invented this concoction until I googled it and found about 15 versions of this recipe. I guess I’m not that original. Oh well, I ate this every day last week and I’m already looking forward to my 3pm snack knowing this is what I’m having!
Here’s the worst picture I’ve ever posted. Behold the magic bullet cup sitting on my desk…

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
1 cup ice
1 cup (or so) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or soy, hemp, coconut etc)
1/4 cup (or so) pureed pumpkin
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I switched to Sun Warrior because it’s cheaper than Vega. See above re: cheapskate)
1 tablespoon flax oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon (or so) pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix together equal parts cinnamon, cloves, all spice, ginger and cloves)

Combine all ingredients in magic bullet and blend!

I used more than 1/4 cup of pumpkin once and really regretted it so use caution when eating straight pumpkin!

Have an excellent Thanksgiving week!

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How to Make Your Own Body Butter!

I am so excited to share this recipe for body butter!

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A year or two ago I learned that most body care products are made with a lot of chemicals in order to make them shelf-stable, make them smell nice and so they absorb into the skin quickly. The problem is, skin is an organ and we absorb 60% of everything we put on our skin. That means our liver is having to process all sorts of chemicals and fragrances and even worse, some of those chemicals can disrupt our hormone balance. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (TMI, I know, sorry) which is caused by a hormone imbalance and since there is no cure for PCOS I am always doing what I can to balance my hormones naturally.

I switched to some “natural” brands of lotion only to find out they pretty much had the same ingredients as regular lotion. So then I just switched to using plain coconut oil for a body moisturizer which I was happy with until I found out how easy it was to make your own super hydrating body butter!

I ordered all my ingredients from Amazon and spent about $30 (I already had the coconut oil from Costco). This batch made 2 8 ounce containers but I still have enough ingredients left over to make probably 12 more containers. So I did some math and that’s about $2 per 8 ounce jar of lotion! Jars of lotion similar to this easily cost $40-$50 so this is a HUGE savings and really, really easy to make.

I do have to give some disclaimers on this body butter. First, there aren’t any preservatives so this isn’t the kind of lotion that will last for years under the bathroom sink. It’s better to make small batches more often. Second, some of these oils turn liquid in warm temperatures. So in Utah in the winter I’m having no problem leaving my jar on my bathroom counter. In the summer however, I’ll have to either move it to the fridge or come up with a summer version that uses less liquid oil. Same goes for travel. I definitely wouldn’t pack this in a suitcase unless I was going somewhere cold. And last, there isn’t alcohol in this lotion so it’s not going to soak in quick like regular lotion. It will feel greasy (which I personally love) and take several minutes to soak in. That just means you have to spend a little extra time rubbing it in. A little goes a long way too.

I will say the ingredients in this body butter have some amazing benefits! Shea butter and cocoa butter soak into the deeper layers of the skin as opposed to just sitting on top of the skin. This means they can actually fade scars and stretch marks! And I swear it gets rid of cellulite too, but that’s just a personal observation. Oops, I mean…what is cellulite? I have never heard of that?! Oh and cocoa butter smells like chocolate and you can use it to MAKE chocolate so that’s a triple win in my book. If you don’t like the smell of chocolate you are crazy. Just kidding! I was going to say you can use mango butter instead which I haven’t used yet but I’ve heard it’s equally incredible.

Ok, here’s what you need:

  1. Jars to put the lotion in. I used these short, wide 8oz mason jars I found at Target. Easy to reach the bottom and easy to fill.
  2. A large glass bowl
  3. A pot to boil water in (the glass bowl will need to sit on top of the pot)
  4. A mixer (I used a hand mixer)
  5. 1/2 cup cocoa butter or mango butter
  6. 1/2 cup shea butter
  7. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  8. 1/2 cup almond oil

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Cocoa butter is about as hard as a rock so I now see why it is also sold in little chucks (which is more expensive). I’m a cheapskate so I bought a solid jar of it and used an ice cream scoop to scrape it out. That was the most difficult part of the process.

Directions: Combine all 4 oil’s in the glass bowl. Boil some water in the pan and then turn the heat down so the water simmers. Place the glass bowl on top of the pot and stir the oil until they are all melted and stirred together. Next, CAREFULLY remove the glass bowl from the pot of water and put it in the refrigerator. Use hot pads and don’t burn your hands! Let the mixture cool for 1-1.5 hours. Check it often because you want it to get to the point where it’s no longer runny. If it gets too cold you’ll have to start all over melting it.

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Now for the fun part! Once it’s cooled off and no longer runny get your mixer and start mixing just like you are making frosting! It even smells like frosting! And in my case, flies all over the kitchen just like frosting! But don’t eat it! Just wipe the splattery bits on your arm. Keep mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until fluffy. It should only take a couple minutes. If it’s still too runny stick it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then mix again.

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Scrape the butter into jars and enjoy!

Scrape as much as you can out of the bowl, off the spatula and off the mixer. You don’t want to get a bunch of oil down the drain. When you do dishes rinse with a lot of hot water. You’re hands will be so soft after doing those dishes!

Here is a shorter version of all that for easy viewing 🙂

Homemade Body Butter

1/2 cup shea butter
1/2 cup cocoa butter or mango butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil

Combine all 4 oil’s in the glass bowl. Boil some water in the pan and then turn the heat down so the water simmers. Place the glass bowl on top of the pot and stir the oil until they are all melted and stirred together. Next, CAREFULLY remove the glass bowl from the pot of water and put it in the refrigerator. Use hot pads and don’t burn your hands! Let the mixture cool for 1-1.5 hours. You want it to get to the point where it’s no longer runny. If it gets too cold you’ll have to start all over melting it.

Once it’s cooled off and no longer runny get your mixer and start mixing just like you are making frosting! Keep mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until fluffy. It should only take a couple minutes. If it’s still too runny stick it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then mix again.

Scrape the butter into jars and enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

What I Eat in a Week

I think finding out what someone eats is just about as fascinating as taking a tour of their home (which I love)! It’s so interesting how what one person finds delicious can be total fear factor to someone else. Sushi is a great example. Some people pay a lot of money to eat sushi and some people would have get paid a lot of money to eat it!

I eat some pretty weird stuff which I realize will probably be on the fear factor side. Also, confession time, I eat some animal based foods now! I feel really guilty about it but girlfriend gotta get her protein from somewhere, you know what I’m saying?

Ever since I hurt my leg about a month ago I’ve become extremely lazy in the food preparation department. I can’t stand for very long so I am all about things I can make FAST! And I must confess, I’m loving the simplicity of my meals. They might not look terribly appetizing, but I’ve been eating these same foods for a month straight because they are just so easy. I prepare my lunches for the week on Sunday night. I get out 5 glass tupperware bowls and dish all my food up. It takes me about 1 minute. And a disclaimer here: it might not look like I eat very much but keep in mind I have the activity level of a pug right now. I would be eating more if I was more active.

Alrighty, here we go. I start my day with the most bizarre thing…

Wake up: drink a mixture of 1/3 cup orange juice, some hot water and 1 tablespoon gelatin. I know, gross right?! Why am I drinking gelatin, what a weirdo! It has a lot of health benefits. Google it. Maybe I’ll write more about gelatin later.

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Then I have coffee. French press coffee with some unsweetened almond milk and a few drops of stevia. I wish I could like plain black coffee but I’m still not there and I doubt I ever will be.

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Then I eat my next weird thing: Ezekiel bread, toasted and then topped with 2 teaspoons coconut oil and a drizzle of honey. I tried this on a whim and WOW. Coconut oil on toast is amazing. And I’ve read a lot about the benefits of eating coconut oil, so it’s not just some weird and dangerous thing I’m doing. See ya later almond butter…

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Next up, morning snack. I feel like a hobbit because I always have to eat second breakfast. Second breakfast for me lately has been hummus and carrots. Pardon the messy desk picture.

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But sometimes, especially on weekends I have a grande soy latte from Starbucks for my morning snack. Hey, 9 grams of protein is no joke! I’m sure it has plenty of sugar since they use sweetened soy milk. But I’m choosing to look the other way on that one. 🙂

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Is it just me or do the red Starbucks cups have some addictive quality? Why do they make me so happy and want to go there every day?

Now it’s lunch time and here’s the shocker! I’ve been eating shrimp EVERY DAY for the last month. My husband eats shrimp and he gets the frozen bags from Costco. I was checking out the nutrition on shrimp and was SHOCKED to see that 11 shrimp have 17 grams of protein and just 70 calories! 17 grams of protein! That’s as much protein as 1 cup of black beans, but 1 cup of black beans has 240 calories. You see what I’m saying here? I’m trying to get more protein these days. And honestly, I would eat fish too if I liked the taste of it.
So my lunch consists of shrimp, brown rice & quinoa (I just cook a mixture of the two together in the rice cooker. Not for any special reason, just to use up all the quinoa I have) and that chunky guac I posted a while ago. It’s seriously a delicacy!

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I follow up with edamame from Costco. They come in these convenient little pouches. I don’t microwave food in plastic so I dump them out into the glass tupperware my lunch was in, add a couple tablespoons of water and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain the excess water off and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. I try not to get too carried away with salt.

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A few hours later I’m hungry again so I have an afternoon snack: 1 scoop vega sport protein (vanilla), some frozen blueberries (Costco again), 1 tablespoons flax oil (really helps my joints plus good omega oil profile!), and unsweetened almond milk. Blend it up in the ol’ Magic Bullet. I really need to get in the habit of checking my teeth after I drink this…

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Dinner time! I have really been trying to not eat chips before dinner. But sometimes I come home and I grab chips out of the pantry because they’re there, they’re yummy and I’m hungry and lazy. But I am really trying to curb this habit by preparing my dinner as quickly as possible and then if I’m still hungry find a snack. Dinner for me is always a salad. Sometimes it’s salad with tofu, sometimes it’s salad with a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger with either dressing or balsamic vinegar and oil.

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Really fancy, right?

The last few nights I’ve had this for dinner.

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I know it’s not pretty but it tastes good, it’s healthy and it can be prepared in under 5 minutes. Heat a pan on the stove, throw some shrimp, spinach and spaghetti sauce in the pan, cover the pan with a lid to steam the spinach and within minutes dinner is ready. I like to add crushed red pepper except sometimes I add too much and make it ridiculously spicy and then it’s hard to eat.

Dinner is always, always, always followed with dark chocolate. I read a tip from a dietitian once that said eating dark chocolate after a meal sends a signal to your brain that meal time is over. Good enough for me. The hubby and I love this mint dark chocolate.

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So that’s pretty much what I eat. Sometimes I eat chips or some peanut butter filled pretzels (thank you again, Costco) and every Saturday night my hubby and I have wine. My biggest diet downfall, by far, is over eating on the weekends. I eat super good Monday-Friday afternoon but then Friday night-Sunday I throw caution to the wind and eat whatever the heck I want. Well, not really I guess, but we do go out to dinner and I definitely indulge more. But then I realized if I’m eating really well 4 days a week and not so well 3 days a week I only net 1 good day a week! So my new goal is to keep it clean 7 days a week with the exception of pancake Sunday’s which are a tradition in our house.

I’ll be back soon I promise with Lilly stories, pictures and good stuff! Have a wonderful week!

Chipotle Hummus

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Hey, that’s my husband! I can’t show pictures of his face but I can show this! He looooooves paragliding and speed flying. I remember when I met him, I was like, whaaaa?? Everyone has heard of BASE jumping and thinks paragliding is the same thing, but they are very different. Google it and watch some videos! It’s really cool. Here he is coming in for a landing. We were at the flight park last weekend and while the hubby flies, Lilly and I chill. 🙂

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Lilly is quite the social butterfly when she’s at the park. Fun for the whole family I always say!

I’ve been making hummus every week lately. It’s easy, it tastes good and it’s a perfect snack. I modified my hummus recipe by throwing a chipotle pepper in it and blew my mind. Now I want to eat it with vegetables and on salads (which I guess is still vegetables) and on veggie burgers (still vegetables…ok I’ll stop). The chipotle pepper adds a nice kick but isn’t over powering. Of course you can always make it spicier.

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Chipotle Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced or crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, SEEDS REMOVED
Optional: A tablespoon or two of fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Is anyone needing a detox from Halloween candy?