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Quest Nutrition Protein Powder (Chocolate Milkshake) Review

I love Quest protein bars. They are just so delicious. Like, too delicious. They almost border on I-can’t-keep-them-in-my-house-because-I’ll-eat-them-all-in-one-day delicious.

Quest Protein Powder

Quest Protein Powder

Anyway, I was pretty pumped when the Quest folks came out with protein powder. Seems like a natural transition for them.

I follow the company on various social media platforms and they often have mini giveaways of new products. About a week ago, they gave away 2 individual packs of their chocolate and vanilla protein powder and I was one of the lucky few who received them. Yay!

**Quick disclaimer, these opinions are my own. Quest sent out samples to like, 1,000 people (whoever responded first I think) so this is not a sponsored post…I just thought you’d be curious how the powders taste!**

I haven’t tried vanilla yet. When I do, I will do a separate post on that. On to chocolate milkshake!

Stats

Protein Powder Stats

Protein Powder Stats

  • 110 calories per serving (which is a scoop if you have the powder)
  • 4 grams of carbs in 1 scoop
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 23 grams of protein
  • less than 1 gram of sugar

Pretty good stats! Lots of protein, fairly low in calories (some powders are much higher with similar amounts of protein), and low sugar.

The powder is made up of three different types of proteins: whey protein isolate, micellar casein, and milk protein isolate. Whey protein isolate has minimal lactose and almost zero fat content (more info here). Micellar casein protein is a slow digesting protein. This makes it great to consume before bed or when you know you won’t be refueling for a long time (more info here). Finally, milk protein isolate is a concentrated form of protein found from milk sources. I honestly couldn’t find much info on milk protein isolate so I’m not 100% clear on how it’s different than whey. Anyway, it has protein in it.

Taste

I’ll keep it simple: I liked it. It was good! I’m always skeptical to try new protein powders because, let’s be honest, a lot taste like chalk. Or other things I don’t want to eat.

questproteinpowder

I made a smoothie with the Quest powder, half a banana, and a little PB2. At first, I thought I’d just make one with only powder and water so I could really taste the powder. But then I decided I would make it exactly how I would make it had I bought the powder like a normal human being. I also added some cacao nibs for a little crunch!

Quest Protein Powder Smoothie with Cacao Nibs

Quest Protein Powder Smoothie with Cacao Nibs

It tasted nice and chocolatey- not too sweet or “fake sweet” tasting. The more I drank my smoothie, the more I liked it! It had a good chocolate taste, just what I wanted. All good things, all good things (anyone recognize that from Frozen? Olaf? Ha!)

Price

It’s a little pricey. They are $39.99 for a 2lb. canister ($19.99/pound). To compare, you can find a great 5lb. whey protein powder for about $57 ($11.4/pound) dollars. If you like to try different products, then give it a shot! But, by all means, if you feel like you found your “one and only” protein powder, then maybe save a few bucks and stick to what you know and love.

 

I feel like I’m biased to like their powder only because I love their protein bars. The bars are just greatness. They are pricey too but they suck me in every time….

Anyway, I’ll review their vanilla flavor in a few days!

 

What is your favorite protein powder?

 

Booty Burner Workout

I am a big ol’ fan of this workout. I don’t love working out my legs because they’re my weakest body part, that being said, I want my glutes to grow. Yes, my booty. Grow booty grow! Obviously, it’ll be hard to grow that booty if I never work out my legs. So, I’ve been doing some research on glute exercises and threw a great workout together yesterday.

Booty burner! Grow that booty!

Booty burner! Grow that booty!

I have to give credit where credit is due. I found the medicine ball tabata on another blog: Run Pretty (full workout found: http://runprettyblog.com/medicine-ball-tabata/). (Sorry about the URL This is difficult on an iPad). This was only half of the workout and I was more than satisfied. My arms are sore today by the way. Ugh, tabatas. Here’s a breakdown of each move:

Burpees with push-up- perform a regular burpee but holding a medicine ball the entire time. When you do your pushup, hands are on the ball.

Plank jacks- hands on ball in pushup or plank position. Jump feet out wide then jump back together.

Squat jumps- regular squat jumps except holding a medicine ball. When you jump, bring ball up overhead.

So, go through each move 8 times- 20 seconds of work followed by a 10 second rest, then move onto the next exercise.

On to the booty! I performed these exercises as supersets so once I went through 1 round of the first exercise, I immediately moved onto the next. Here’s a breakdown:

Lunge Walks with Kickback- I did a total of 10 reps on both legs. So, once I lunged forward, I lifted up the back leg and squeezed the cheek! I’ve done lunge walks plenty of times but this is the first time I incorporated a kickback. It burns the cheek I tell ya!

lunge

kickback

Split Squat on Bench- 3×10 on both legs. The picture shows this move on a stability ball which you can absolutely do. The stability ball will make the move more difficult. I find split squats pretty challenging to begin with so I would recommend starting with your foot on a bench or other stable surface. Once you’re in place with your back foot resting on a bench, squat down keeping that knee behind your toes, then back up. These are tough: your quad will burn, your butt will burn, everything will burn eventually. Love it. (I also look like I’m leaning forward in this picture, try not to do that).

splitssquat

Hip Thrusts with Weight-3×15.  Again, I show these on a stability ball which you can do or you can rest on a bench if you’re at the gym. Rest your head, neck, and shoulders on a bench and place a weight (I think I used 15lb.) on your lower abs. Come up into a bridge squeezing your glutes. From there, lower your butt down almost touching the floor, then back up squeezing the cheeks. If you wanted to make these harder, try one leg at a time.

hipthrust

hipthrust1

Single Leg Deadlift-  3x 10 both legs. I love deadlifts. I just really feel like these are working my hamstrings and glutes. Start on your right leg. Once you have your balance, hinge forward at the waist lifting your left leg off the ground and keeping your back straight (no hunching over), then use your right hamstring and glute to bring your upper body back up to standing. If this is too difficult, try it with both legs instead.

sldeadlift

sldeadlift1

Bench Step-Ups- 3×10 both legs. Another tough one! Place your right foot on top of a bench and keep it there the entire time. Step up and lift the left foot off the ground. Gently tap the bench with your left foot and lower back down gently touching the ground, then back up again.

stepups

stepups1

Curtsy Lunge with Bicep Curl-3×10 both legs.  Start standing holding dumbbells in both hands. With your left leg, lunge backwards and towards the right so your’re in a “curtsy” position. At the same time, perform a bicep curl, then push off your right foot back to standing. Then perform on the right.

curtsylunge

curtsylunge1

 

Hi shit eating grin! This is me trying to “act natural” in front of the camera. Ha!

Anyway, My booty was sore for a couple days!! Let me know if you have any questions or if you try it!

 

 

Healthy, Stuffed Peppers *Recipe*

It has been snowing nonstop here. I guess I can’t complain much..we do live in Colorado. This winter has been so warm so we’ve been spoiled (sorry East coast).

The snow absolutely makes me want to make comfort food. Like, hearty stews and cornbread. Yum. Well, sadly I didn’t have either of those things around so I made stuffed red peppers!!

Originally, I was going to go low-carbish and just stuff them with veggies and meat but I added some rice so it’s a little heartier and feels more like a full meal.

This is really easy to make but you do have to allow yourself some time. It probably took me like, 45 minutes total? I found a moment earlier in the evening so I cooked the meat and veggie mixture so all I needed to do later was stuff and cook the peppers. Here’s what I used:

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • 1lb. ground meat (we used Elk meat that is already seasoned with italian seasoning so you could either buy meat pre-seasoned or add your own italian style seasonings)
  • carrots, chopped (I eyeballed this, so just add as many carrots as you’d like! I chopped baby carrots)
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of 10 minute boil-in-a-bag brown rice (I love these!!)
  • marina sauce to taste
  • 6 red peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed

So, like I said I cooked the meat mixture first adding everything including the marina sauce and just cooking the meat through.

stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers

brown rice

stuffed red pepper

I only had four red peppers but this filling is enough for at least 6. Peppers won’t typically stand upright so I cut off the bottoms of a few to keep them from spilling over.

red peppers

Once I was ready to actually cook dinner, I added the peppers to boiling water just for 3 minutes to soften them up a bit. Once they were dry and cool, I stuffed those puppies!

red pepper

stuffed red peppers

stuffed red peppers

I cooked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then added parmesan cheese and cooked for another 10 minutes. That’s it!

stuffed red peppers
Please excuse these awful pictures. I swear this tasted good. I need to get back to using my good camera!

Happy Wednesday!

How to Drink More Water

I have really been liking my coffee lately. Like, really liking it.

In my previous life (AKA before I had kids..yes, I blame them :) ) I was so good at drinking enough water. It was kind of like second nature. I would gulp down tons of water throughout the day and never think twice about it.

Now, for some reason, finishing 1 bottle of water a day is a victory for me. A couple of cups of coffee? No problem.

I think my biggest issue these days is I really like coffee. I want to drink it all the time. Call it an addiction (it is) but I think I also just genuinely like it more than water. I mean, it’s delicious so what’s not to like?

So, you get the point: I like coffee. That’s all well and good but I am realizing that I should probably try and sneak more water in there somewhere.

Water bottles for the day=about 80 ounces or more

Water bottles for the day=about 80 ounces or more

I did a Clean Eating Challenge group on Facebook a couple weeks back and posted in there on ways we can all drink more water. These are a couple tips that I find helpful:

  1. Fill Up Water Bottles- Like my pretty picture? Me and my photo apps. They’re so fun! Anyway, if you set a water consumption goal for the day, fill up water bottles and keep them in your fridge so you see them every time you open it. This makes it easy. Your goal for the day is to finish those water bottles!
  2. Use a Timer- If you’re at work all day or out and about and can’t lug around a million water bottles, set an alarm on your phone reminding you to drink your water!
  3. Use an App-If you’re an app kinda gal (or guy), there are “hydration” apps out there where you can track how much water you’ve drank throughout the day. You can set whatever goal you have and the app will remind you and log your consumption. Pretty great (as long as you use it!). Some app ideas are WaterMinder ($.99 cents) and Water Alert (Free).
  4. Spiff it Up- I think a lot of people complain that water is boring. It is, especially when compared to all the other yummy drinks out there. So let’s lively it up!! Lemon is an old standby and for good reason: it’s delicious and healthy. You can get creative though too and add some fruit, other veggies, or even herbs and spices like mint or cilantro.

 

I’m literally drinking coffee as I write this by the way, but I swear I’m on to water after I’m done!

 

Any tricks for drinking more water?

Quick, Upper Body Workout

Workout time!

This workout is really focused on your upper body. The burpees in between each exercise is a great way to get a little cardiovascular workout in (which burns mucho calories). The focus is primarily on your chest, triceps, and shoulders but all three of these moves work your entire body, especially your core.

This workout can be done at home- no equipment required. Just show up with that sweet bod of yours…that’s all you need! Here’s the workout:

Upper body workout

Here’s some information on a couple of the moves (if you have any other questions let me know!):

Burpees with tuck jump- I’m going to guess you are probably familiar with a burpee. So, once you’re coming up out of the burpee, when you usually do a jump, jump up in the air bringing your knees up towards your chest. Then, when you land go right into the next burpee.

Triceps Dips- You might be familiar with these too. These can be performed on the ground or the edge of a bench, chair, etc. If you want to make these more challenging, lift one leg up then switch legs after 15 seconds.

Judo Push-Ups- These are so great. They are a little hard to explain though so here are a couple links to explanations (here and a video here).

 

It’s short and sweet but should burn your arms and get your heart pounding!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust *Recipe*

cauliflower pizza

I have been wanting to make cauliflower pizza crust for so long! I finally took the plunge.

It’s not hard to make but it does take some time. You know how I feel about long, drawn out recipes: usually not a fan. But I figured it was Sunday night…SNL 40th reunion show was on…why not spend a little time in the kitchen and make something fun? My husband of course was wondering why not make actual pizza, but he knows I like to torture him with my “weird food.”

I used a recipe I found on Pinterest via The Lucky Penny Blog (link is here). I altered it slightly only because I didn’t have all the ingredients. I wish I had mozzarella cheese…next time!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • 1 head of cauliflower, grated (I grated in the food processor. I’m sure you could use a hand grater too) I had a big cauliflower so it yielded close to 4 cups.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white

IMG_4958

After grating the cauliflower, I cooked it in the microwave (covered) for 4 minutes. Once it was cool enough, I wrapped it in a towel and squeezed the hell out of it. You want to try and get as much water out as possible!

IMG_4959

IMG_4960

IMG_4961

I got close to 1/2 cup of water! No one wants a soggy pizza.

Next, I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl. Then I placed the dough on greased parchment paper and molded it into a pizza crust.

IMG_4962

It felt really wet to me still so I blotted it with a paper towel.

IMG_4963

IMG_4964

I cooked the crust for about 12 minutes at 450 degrees. I would recommend checking it off and on because oven’s are different. It’s good to go once it starts to brown a little bit.

IMG_4965

Once the crust was done, I added the toppings!! I threw some tomato sauce, spinach, olives, ground elk sausage, and parmesan cheese on top. I cooked it for another 8 minutes or until the cheese was bubbly.

IMG_4966

IMG_4968

IMG_4969

Please excuse my crapptastic pictures.

IMG_4973

IMG_4972

Served with roasted carrots!!

This really did turn out great. I swear cauliflower still reigns supreme in the vegetable world. Is there anything it can’t do?

The texture was good. You do have to support your piece of pizza though with your whole hand. If you don’t, it will probably fall apart so be warned (this could have been something I did too). The taste was great though. No complaints at all.

I will absolutely make this again but do feel like I need to plan it in advance since it takes some time.  Maybe I will make a few crusts next time and freeze some? That would be a huge time saver. We ate the whole damn thing too so I’d like to have leftovers next time :).

Mindless Snacking At Night

Heyyo!! How are things? I hope you all had a chocolate filled Valentine’s Day/weekend.

I wanted to talk a little today about snacking at night. I majorly associate night time with treat time. I honestly didn’t really grow up with desserts every night, it’s something I’ve picked up over the past few years.

I’ve noticed lately that I’m especially snacky after my kids go to bed. It’s like I feel the need to run to the kitchen and eat all the goodies I didn’t get to eat when they were awake because I was too busy. This is obviously a completely ludicrous thought. I eat plenty during the day. It’s not like my kids stop me from eating. Trust me, I make that a priority too.

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

I think at this point this behavior has become such a pattern or nightly ritual, that it’s hard to break. It must be somewhat emotional too. Something about nightly snacks makes me feel good. It’s like, my personal time when I can really enjoy myself and I choose to do that by eating some food.

I’ve been thinking about ways to break the habit or replace it with something else. Here are a couple things I came up with:

Instead of snacks/treats….

  • Read a book! I rarely read anymore usually because I’m too tired at night. This is such a great way though to wind down. Get out of the kitchen, cuddle up, and read a book.
  • Watch TV- This is essentially the opposite of read a book, but I watch so little TV I would have no problem with watching more. We pay for cable so why not? The problem sometimes with TV is snacks can be associated with it so I would probably watch it in my bedroom.
  • Listen to Podcasts-  Anyone else loving Podcasts lately? I listent to them all the time on my drives (my poor kids). Lately I’ve been into health and business Podcasts. I am loving The Chalene Show, The James Altucher Show, and The Time Ferris Show. Yes, of course I’ve listened to Serial too and I miss it.
  • Hang out with my husband- My husband and I both tend to do our own thing at night. Time for me to grab him and have some husband and wife time!

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m hungry, I will eat. I’m talkin’ mindless eating. I am not hungry, just bored.

If I feel like I really need a treat or something, maybe I’ll try some tea or warm lemon water? I’ve never been a huge tea drinker…any good night time tea suggestions?

What is Clean Eating?

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating gets thrown around a lot these days. It might sound or seem like a simple theory and I guess it really is. The challenge of course with eating clean is life gets in the way. We basically live on temptation island and that temptation is good. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

If you’re anything like me though, you feel better when you eat better. I guess there’s something to that say, you are what you eat? I’m a giant tortilla? Soft and fluffy! I don’t know..maybe? Anyway, let’s talk more about what clean eating actually means.

Clean eating is not a diet but a “way of life” (I know, that’s cheesy..but it’s true!). Basically, the idea is eliminating ultra-processed and refined foods from your diet. You want to choose foods that are in their most natural state (or very close to it). I think it’s a great way to approach food because there are so many foods you can eat!  Most diets put too much emphasis on what you can’t eat and that can become overwhelming or intimidating. Clean eating is a simple, straight forward approach to the way we eat.

Grocery Shopping

So, let’s address grocery shopping. An easy trick for clean grocery shopping is shop around the store’s perimeter. Most food items in the center aisles of the store are overly processed convenience type foods. Obviously, sometimes you need to grab an item or two from these rows and that is totally okay. But, the easiest way to eat clean is to stick to the outside of these rows.

Another great way to approach grocery shopping is to read labels! It is a pretty safe bet that if a product has an ingredient list longer than 2 items, it’s not very clean. I’m sure you’ve all read labels before and found yourself unable to even pronounce an ingredient. Crazy chemistry lab ingredients= not clean. My favorite example (that my dad pointed out to me by the way) is coffee creamer. Delicious, incredible coffee creamer. Coffee creamers are non-dairy creamers made of I don’t know what. Sugar and…..some other stuff? Except the sugar free one’s that are made of….I don’t know what? I love the seasonal coffee creamers but nope, that shit ain’t clean.

The Focus

Clean eating is different than a traditional “diet” in that it doesn’t focus as much on calories you’re consuming or fat content. The focus is whole foods. You might be wondering about something like dairy: low fat or full fat? In my opinion, that’s up to you. I personally tend to choose full fat yogurt and half and half for example, but if you wanted to shave off some calories, you could pick lower fat versions. I think full fat tastes better and that I actually tend to eat less because it is more filling-but maybe that’s all in my head. Up to you! The full fat variety of foods also tend to be less processed. That is definitely a personal choice though.

How to Start:

The best way to start a clean eating lifestyle is to take a look at your kitchen and make some healthier swaps. For example, white pasta-swap in whole wheat pasta or better yet, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Another example, fruit flavored yogurts. Swap greek yogurt with fresh fruit!

Some of these foods may take a while to get used to. An acquired taste. Eventually though, they will become part of your daily routine and habit just like the foods you used to eat.

Sometimes produce can be a bit expensive especially if you don’t use it in time and it goes bad (I am guilty of this and it makes my husband crazy). A cheaper route is buying frozen veggies or fruits. Frozen  produce (assuming there is no added sugar) has just as much nutritional value as fresh! I admit, fresh is more appealing, but sometimes frozen can be more economical (especially in winter. Buy those frozen blueberries!).

Here are a couple pictures with more healthy swap ideas:

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(image found here)

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(Image found here)

 

Do you eat clean? Any recommendations on getting started?

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato *Recipe*

Sw sweet potato

I heart this recipe. It is so easy and all the ingredients are just perfect together. It’s also incredibly nutritious. I love when that happens!

It’s not a Paleo recipe, but you could make it Paleo by omitting the black beans. You could also add more/different veggies to pump it up even more if you’d like. Here’s what I used:

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of sweet corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Tbsp of salsa (I sort of eyeballed this)
  • chopped cilantro to tase (eyeballed this too. I love cilantro so the more the merrier!)

Ground Taco Meat

  • 1 lb. ground meat of choice (I’ve used turkey before but this time used elk)
  • taco seasoning (I used store bought, but of course you could make your own!)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed, pierced with a knife, rubbed in olive oil, and covered in foil

Okay. This might seem like there is a lot going on but this is actually a really easy recipe.

I like to cook my sweet potatoes in the oven so I get those going first. I baked them for about 45 minutes at 425 degrees (I usually just check them off and on with a knife to make sure they’re done). You could definitely microwave them though if you’re in a rush!

While the sweet potatoes were cooking, I made the salsa. I just poured all the black bean salsa ingredients in a bowl, mixed thoroughly, and refrigerated while the meat cooked.

black bean salsa

black bean salsa

Next up was the meat!! I cooked this in a pan on the stove then added the taco seasoning once the meat was no longer pink.

Once the sweet potatoes were done, I cut them open, added the taco meat, then the salsa on top (and extra cilantro because it’s awesome). That’s it!

southwestern sweet potato

I served it with roasted cauliflower-tasty!

This is such a great meal for weeknights when you’re not in the mood to cook or too busy. It’s quick, filling, and healthy!

Crunchy (and healthy) Tuna Salad *Recipe*

Healthy tuna salad

I love tuna salad. Or maybe I love mayo?  Possibly both? I used to be the type who would order a tuna salad sandwich from wherever then get added mayonnaise to the already mayonnaise laden salad. It was obviously amazing. My husband on the other hand, is not a fan of mayo rich foods. I know, he’s missing out. I’ve also since realized that loading mayo on top of mayo typically equals mucho calories. Ah…I miss those high school/middle school days of eating whatever whenever don’t you? I shall live vicariously through my two year old. Back to my current tuna salad obsession.

The issue of course with no mayonnaise added to tuna salad is it becomes dry. The tuna experience is not the same when you’re literally choking it down. A while back when I attempted paleo, I saw some people substituting mayonnaise for avocado. Brilliant! So, there’s your added creamy fat: healthy and delicious. From there, I take the tuna one step further and add some much needed crunch. I throw in some almond slivers (they are great to add to so many things) and chopped up green apple and it really hits the spot. It just reminds me of a tuna salad I might order at a restaurant (not talkin’ Subway).

tuna with avocado

tuna with avocado

tuna with green apple

tuna with green apple

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Crunchy Tuna Salad

  • can of whole tuna
  • 1 tbsp of relish or chopped pickle
  • 1/2 an avocado (or as much to your taste. Don’t fear the fat!)
  • 1/2 a chopped green apple
  • a Tbsp or so of almond slivers (or whatever nut you like)
  • optional: I usually add in a hard boiled egg because it just works so well with tuna. It provides some additional protein too!

Today, I served this on a bed of spinach with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

tuna on spinach

This is a side note, but Costco (Kirkland brand) balsamic vinegar is so good! I have some friends who are generally obsessed with balsamic vinegar and I’m typically not so for me to say it’s good (I think) means it’s pretty darn good. Maybe I’ve just been buying poor quality balsamic all these years? Certainly possible.

kirkland balsamic vinegar

My husband loved the tuna too and didn’t miss the mayonnaise at all! He had it on a couple pieces of toasted wheat bread.

awesome lunch!

awesome lunch!

If you don’t have an avocado available, some other ideas for mayo substitutes are guacamole, hummus, or you could make your own mayonnaise. All of those things really give you that nice creamy consistency that store bought mayo brings to the table.

Give it a try!