Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

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As I’ve probably mentioned lately, I’ve been focusing a lot more on upper body strength since I got my cast off at the end of August. And as my strength has increased, those who are my friends on Snapchat or who follow me on Instagram have had the pleasure of seeing multiple pictures of me flexing at the gym…whether they like it or not 🙂

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See? Obnoxious. I am the worst.

While I am probably in the best running shape of my life right now, I’m not interested in pushing myself too much further in that department distance-wise. I’m definitely looking forward to running more 10k’s and 5k’s…but I recently realized I wanted to work on improving my all-around fitness, which for me means increasing my muscle mass in areas other than my legs! (They are like freakin tree trunks, you guys. Running and biking everywhere will do that…)

I’m not gonna lie, it has been really great to see and feel improvements in my upper body strength — it’s always been a {literal!} weakness of mine. But I can now currently do 15 consecutive CORRECT push ups, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before! I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself 🙂 Hence the excessive Snaps and Insta pics of my guns. Haha.

Something I’ve been re-learning over and over throughout this process is the importance of protein post-workout. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up the morning after a tough strength training workout (or after a plank-off at the dodgeball bar…) and have been extremely sore. The culprit for me, more often than not, is a lack of protein, which delays my muscle repair. I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I only eat meat a couple times per week and rarely do I buy it at home. So what’s a girl to do? One can only eat so much beans and quinoa…

Luckily for me, a way to ensure I get lots of protein was awarded to me last month when I was entered into a contest by the lovely Becky when she was at the Healthy Living Summit. We ended up winning the Ninja Ultima Blender, which is probably now the nicest piece of kitchen equipment I own! And the best part about it is that it has a single serving size (think Magic Bullet status) that makes it PERFECT for making protein smoothies!

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Now every Saturday after my long runs, I have the perfect tool for making sure I get my protein. Plus, I’ve perfected a recipe that not only refuels me, but it also basically tastes like a milkshake.

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This blender is soooo smooth! Also, for this particular smoothie I used Vega Sport Performance Protein, which I love for post-workout smoothies because it is specifically formulated to help build and repair muscles. I also use Onnit Hemp Force, which is great because Hemp protein provides a lot of fiber and is one of the most easily digestible sources of plant protein.

{Full disclosure: I received both for free at this year’s Blend Retreat}

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So grab your Magic Bullet, your blender, your food processor…whatever you have on hand! And make this smoothie after your work out. Your muscles will thank you for it. 🙂

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 small/medium banana, frozen (about 3/4-1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3/4-1 cup milk (I use unsweetened plain almond milk)
1 serving/3 scoops chocolate protein powder of choice

Add frozen fruit, peanut butter, protein powder, and 1/2 cup of the milk to blender. Blend until combined, adding 1/4 cup milk at a time if needed to achieve desired consistency. Once you’re sure of the consistency, keep the blender going for a good 30 seconds to make sure any chunks of fruit get blended in. Remove from blender and enjoy!

Notes: I added strawberries for a little extra sweetness, and because I didn’t have enough banana on hand. I’ve also substituted Greek yogurt for some of the milk for added protein, but you may have to add extra milk to get things movin’.

What is your favorite kind of protein?

How do you incorporate strength training into your workouts?

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Blend Retreat Swag + Chocolate Protein Muffins

Sooo, if you haven’t heard, we got a lot of free stuff at Blend.

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A yoga mat from NatureMade? Seriously?! 😀

photo cred: Becky @ Olives n’ Wine

We found all of this waiting for us in the swag bag we got upon checking in on Friday afternoon. And just… WOW.

Additionally, there was an expo room set up with tables featuring even more sponsors, with MORE products set up for us to take as we pleased. What? Like…REALLY? We were in disbelief all weekend at all the great companies who want to promote their products to healthy living bloggers.

The funniest moment had to be when we opened our bags and saw:

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coconut oil and vanilla beans!

Becky, Carly and I started freaking out. I’m pretty sure I was jumping up and down in excitement…we were in food blogger heaven.

We thought that was it for the swag, but to our surprise, we walked back to our rooms on Saturday post-breakfast and pre-hike to find:

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MORE swag?!

So you get the point…there was a lot of swag.

The weekend concluded with a closing ceremony on Sunday, which included a raffle. Only, it wasn’t just a couple of items being raffled off…I think almost everyone won something!

{both photos courtesy of Lindsay @ Lindsays List}

2 of those 3 Onnit goodie boxes ended up going to Becky and I!

photo cred: Becky at Olives n’ Wine

Onnit has a lot of very interesting products…namely, their supplements. Their supplement Alpha Brain was one of the first nootropic supplements on the market. It is supposed to help with focus, creativity, and apparently it enables lucid dreams as well. I think Stron Bone & Joint might be a little more my speed, but I am definitely excited to try some of these out!

When I got home, I was determined to make the most out of all the free stuff I got, and save some money on groceries this week in the process. So I went to Safeway and got the essentials: bread, Alexia frozen fries because I’m obsessed, and mixed greens for salad. With some coupons from my swag bag, I also bought:

Yogurt and almond milk from Chobani and Silk, two Blend sponsors!

So basically, the swag legacy continues.

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I decided to use my Hemp Force protein from Onnit, Chobani yogurt, and Musselman’s apple sauce (yep, we even had apple sauce in our swag bag!) to make some chocolate protein muffins. At only about 110 calories and less than a gram of fat, they’re just as skinny as my Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins, but thanks to the hemp protein they pack a bit more fiber and protein!

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Skinny Chocolate Protein Muffins
verrry loosely based on these Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes ~11 muffins

2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 banana, mashed
3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla (optional, but recommended)
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or mixture of all purpose and whole wheat)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 scoops chocolate-flavored protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 425F.

Start by mixing all the wet ingredients together in a bowl: applesauce through vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and whisk together. If you are using hemp protein powder, the only ingredient you need to sift is the cocoa (if you sift the hemp, some bits might not make it through). Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. The mixture will be thick.

Spray a muffin tin with oil, and divide batter among tins. (Because of the low fat content, I don’t recommend using paper liners) It should almost reach the top. Place muffins in oven for 5 minutes. Then, keeping muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375F and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Check the muffins with a toothpick: if it comes out cleanly, they are done. If not, give them another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the muffins sit for 3-5 minutes before removing to cool on a rack. I used a butter knife to loosely release the muffins.

NOTES: Hemp definitely has a strong taste, so next time I use hemp protein powder in this recipe, I will definitely add vanilla (I didn’t in this batch), chocolate chips, and maybe even cinnamon to off-set the flavor. Even so, these have great texture and are rather large for 110 calories!

Paired with even more Greek yogurt, this made quite the protein-packed breakfast!

Also, it was pretty much dessert for breakfast. I can always get down with that.

Have a great 3-day weekend!

Do you ever use protein powder in your smoothies or baking? What is your favorite kind?

I can’t wait to try the other protein/energy powders we got in our bag: Vega, Plant Fusion, and Fitmixer!