Tag Archives: almond milk

What I Ate Wednesday 4-9-14

This week I’ve been in Nashville.

Recording

The old dreams in my heart re-surfaced for sure.

But before you (and ME!) get too excited, I’ve got to tell you that it wasn’t under good circumstances.

We were there to celebrate the life of my 28 year old cousin, Ryan.  Despite some tragic circumstances, we had an intentionally beautiful weekend celebrating his bright, vivacious, and comedic life.

Death is a crazy thing.  It’s inevitable for us all, yet it always comes as a surprise.  Our brain knows heaven is literally a better place than earth, but our hearts can’t reconcile the loss.

I’m not ready to talk about it, as I don’t fully understand it.  But one day, I know I’ll put pen to paper and figure it out.

I debated on whether to have a post this week, but then I realized that there are many times in life where we travel for funerals, events, family gatherings, etc and have a hard time knowing what to eat!

In fact, I believe it’s so stressful for those of us REALLY living the CLEAN lifestyle that I’ll do an entire post on it.  Until that time, I’ll give you a glimpse into one day out of my home environment.

I purposely took my own breakfast because I had no idea what situation I’d be in. BUT I knew I was staying at a house, so I knew I’d have a refrigerator for my almond milk.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I had a bowl of this Superfood Cereal with Vanilla Almond Milk….I CANNOT believe this is the first time I’ve ever had it.  It’s AMAZING!   It has incredible ingredients AND tastes like chocolate. Pretty much a double score… (AND it’s Nut-Free for those who need that option!)

I also ate some fresh fruit from a big fruit bowl that was brought to the house, but I ate it so fast that I forgot to take a picture!

For lunch, we stopped at a place called Twin Peaks (like Hooters).  Ok, let me explain.  I was ONE of 8 passengers, all of whom have no special dietary needs except me.  All were guys except my mom and me, and we were outnumbered.

I’ll admit, I freaked out a little bit.  Not because of the boobs, but because of the food, lol! (I know, I’m a little backwards).

It’s traditional bar food, so I knew eating gluten free would be difficult. Plus we RARELY eat out at home because of our situation, so I’m not in the “real world” much.

So my research-mode brain kicked in.

Unless I’m at a restaurant that accommodates special dietary needs, I’m forced to figure things out. Here’s how I narrow things down so I can find something to eat:

  • I immediately go for the “sides” menu because it will typically have the most vegetable options. I will look for things like a sweet potato, green beans, broccoli, or steamed vegetables. I stay away from corn, since it’s most likely a GMO crop.
  • I personally stay away from meat & cheese, unless they use locally sourced or organic options. I do not like to eat foods that are treated with hormones or antibiotics, especially animal products.   Most big chains do not serve organic foods, so I knew I was going to be compiling a veggie plate today!
  • My last rule is to make the best available choice that I can. I will not and do not starve myself, BUT I make still good choices in situations like this!

So, what I went for was this:

Lunch

I got a side of potatoes and carrots, steamed broccoli, and green beans….I did not know that the green beans would come with bacon & corn, so I chose not to eat them (personal preference!).

Y’all may think I’m crazy, but I promise this filled me up.  I had a VERY filling breakfast, so I was not starving. When you eat REAL food, not processed foods, your stomach is filled up much quicker and you end up not needing as much food as you would if you ate processed foods (that can leave you hungry soon after and/or unsatisfied).

I was hungry a few hours later, and ate snacks then.  By this time, we were at my cousin’s house, and I knew I could count on her for some awesome snacks.  (She’s always got great stuff)!

If she didn’t have these, I would have eaten what I brought, but I was glad to have something different to snack on.

Snacks

These are Raw Kale Chips and Raw Superfood cookies.  I ate about half of the bag of chips (only about 100 calories!) and one serving of cookies (which surprisingly is 18 small cookies!!! Wahoo!)

Later in the afternoon, we were going on a walk, so I ate some instant energy 🙂 This is an organic orange & some organic raspberries (thanks to my cousin’s refrigerator).  I ended up putting these in a baggy (yes, I said the word baggy!!) and snacked while we walked.

Fruit

We were very fortunate to have a dear family friend bring us dinner. She cooked a spread (all by herself) for over 30 people!

Once again, I had no idea about the ingredients, but I made the best choices I COULD.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some WONDERFUL items on her menu.

This is a salad with veggies & vinaigrette, roasted green beans, rice medley, and kale salad.  Yes, I went back for seconds.

Dinner

I honestly didn’t even look at the desert spread.  I was more concerned with this glass of red wine.  It was nice to sit back and chill (we had no kids this night), catch up with family, and reminisce about our sweet Ryan.

Wine

I’m hoping this gives you a little direction and inspiration next time you travel.  It’s possible to not fall completely off the wagon, even in difficult circumstances.

I came home feeling wonderful, not sluggish or guilty.  And I still ate WELL!

 


Classic Green Smoothie

Allergen Information: Contains Tree Nuts (can substitute)

Special Equipment: High powered blender

Ok…What’s wrong with the color green?

It’s the color of healthy, beautiful grass and trees.

We go crazy over it in March, and even think little Leprechauns are cute when any other time of the year, we might actually admit they are creepy!

We don’t hesitate to reach for a green apple.

We admire the Green Jacket, especially THIS week in Augusta, GA!

Shoot, money is GREEN!

So I ask again, what’s wrong with the color green?  Or more specifically, what’s wrong with the color of green when it comes to food?

It’s apparently some mind game we’re all a part of—that green = yuck.

THAT was the old me.

The new me?

I’m the person who posts recipes like this.

See, I did it.  And I used to think Laffy Taffy and Spaghettios from a can was a “good lunch.” (I know, I was warped!)

But seriously, look at that beautiful color!  If it were an apple, you’d pick it.  If it were a shirt, you’d buy it.

At the beginning of my food journey, I’ll admit this looked a little weird.  Drinking spinach?

BUT I quickly learned that I couldn’t taste it.  I mean AT ALL!

This one tastes more like Vanilla Ice Cream to me than spinach.

So the point is….just give it a try 😉

If you are struggling with the green color (or your kids are), try one of these tips:

  • Don’t let you children see you making the smoothie.  If they see the green, they will automatically be turned off.  Then pour it directly into a cup that has an opaque straw, or one you can’t see through.  If they taste it and like it, no reason to tell them it’s green just yet.  Later, that will be a great parent-child talk 🙂
  • If YOU are struggling with the color, I recommend using a straw as well. Psychologically, it works.  I like stainless steel straws myself 🙂
  • Try throwing in some berries.  Dark berries like blueberries and blackberries turn it more of a purple color than green.  It might alter the taste just a little, but it’ll still be AWESOME!

I use homemade, unsweetened almond milk for this smoothie because it’s my favorite!  But if you are using sweetened almond milk, I’d omit the liquid sweetener in the recipe altogether.

Classic Green Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 T liquid sweetener: raw honey or maple syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup of ice
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender (except ice) and blend until smooth.
  2. Add ice and blend again until smooth consistency.
  3. Enjoy!

 


Iced Chai Tea

Allergen Information: Contains tree nuts (substitution given).  Gluten-free & dairy free

Special Equipment: High Powered Blender

Iced Chai Latte 2I know it’ll be hard to believe both of these statements can inhabit the same sentence, but they’re true….I used to have a Starbucks addiction AND I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life.

I will smell it, cheer for you when you drink it, burn a coffee candle, but will NOT drink it…..

Two reasons.  I really just don’t want it (my thought about beer, too!) and I don’t need anything else to “need.”  Chocolate already does enough for that vice!

So when Starbucks was the new thing, I wanted to tag along, too–except mine manifested itself in anything NOT coffee. Venti was the only size for me and the Iced Chai Tea Latte was the culprit.

At the beginning of my “eat clean” journey, I just used self control to stay away from things like this, and like many of you, believed that eating “healthy” meant giving up everything I love.  It took me almost a year to understand that I wasn’t giving up foods I loved, I was just changing them. And in essence, changing them back to their original state….

In the process, I found that this “real food” I was eating tasted MUCH better, and this drink is no different.  Instead of tasting some low-fat milk and a concentrated syrup (with some bad-for-me ingredients), the interesting flavor of cardamom and bite that the ginger brings makes this drink sweet, spicy, and beautiful.

What else is beautiful? Saving money!  You can buy these ingredients, save them in your pantry, and make your own CHAI LATTE over and over without spending $4 a day.

The two spices that are vying for your attention in this drink are the cardamom and ginger–both very unique and strong flavors, but also both with healing powers.  You can read about some benefits of cardamom here and ginger here.

Give this one a try, and get ready for a very strong and flavorful start to your morning!

Iced Chai Tea
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk, or non-dairy milk of choice
  • ¾ t ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • ¾ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t cardamom
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • 1 T Agave (or liquid sweetener of choice)
  • small pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (except almond milk) in blender. Pour milk over & blend on high until well combined. Serve over ice (or blend in the ice for a frozen treat!)

 

 


Chocolate Milkshake–Dairy Free

Allergen Information: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free. Contains tree nuts (substitution given)

Special Equipment: High powered blender

Chocolate Milkshake 2

Sometimes we don’t want something to taste green (for some of us, that might be most of the time 🙂 ).  We just need CHOCOLATE!  That is where this Almond Milk Chocolate Milkshake comes into play.  Now you can have your chocolate milkshake without feeling guilty! This milkshake is full of good stuff AND tastes great.  Next time you feel the need to eat ice cream or devour a box of cookies, try this first!

Cacao NibsA note about Cacao Nibs: Cacao nibs are just raw, shaved pieces of cacao beans, the basis of chocolate.  If consumed by themselves, they don’t taste like the processed chocolate we know, but more like coffee beans.  If you eat them alone, you will notice how much processing, sugar, and/or milk must go into chocolate to make it taste like we like it.  Unlike regular chocolate, cacao nibs are considered a superfood and provide your body with some amazing benefits, including antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. Who knew?!

I prefer to make my own vanilla almond milk so I can make sure I have only the ingredients I want in it, but if you are going to buy it, try this Pacific Vanilla Almond Milk–it’s wonderful! For a nut-free option, try rice or hemp milk or organic cow’s milk if you have no dairy allergy/intolerance!

Cheers 🙂

Chocolate Milkshake--Dairy Free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 T Cacao Nibs
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup ice
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (except ice) in the blender in the order shown. Blend until smooth. Add ice & blend again until creamy. Enjoy!

 


Blueberry-Almond Smoothie

Allergen Information: Contains tree nuts. (substitution given)

Special Equipment: High Powered Blender

Bluberry Almond 2

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress (in my life) is being prepared–that’s why I plan, plan, plan, and write, write, write.  If I wake up and have no idea what’s for breakfast, then I’m already stressed, rushing around, yipping at family, and rushing kids out the door.  Life is just passing us by, and I don’t even spend time loving on the ones I love.

For me personally, that’s why I love having smoothies for breakfast.

1. They are easy to plan

2. It takes just about 2 minutes to throw together (or made the night before and stored in the fridge)

3. I can sip on it while I’m getting everything together for the day or while I’m driving kids to school or to work

4. I set myself up to have energy first thing in the morning

5. I stay full for hours

One of the worst things we can do is get everybody else together and then “worry about us” after the craziness (which for me is almost 10 am some days!)  If I do that, I’m already exhausted and have nothing left to give my day.  As busy moms (or whoever you are), we need nutrients first thing to give us energy for the day.

I want to challenge you to add a smoothie to your morning routine.  If you are dedicated and use quality ingredients, you should notice a difference in your energy level almost immediately!  I love how “full” I feel after drinking one, but without the bloated feeling of a big, greasy breakfast! (Although, those are fun too sometimes!) The full feeling usually lasts me all the way until lunch, whereas what I used to eat (Pop-Tarts, toast and butter, etc) left me hungry almost an hour or two later.

This smoothie features two powerful ingredients: flaxseeds and goji berries.  I always have ground flaxseeds on hand (stored in the fridge after opening) to make “flax eggs” for baked goods, so there’s always plenty for my smoothies.  Flaxseeds are known for their Omega-3 fatty acids and strong antioxidant properties. Pair those with the blueberries and that’s a lot of antioxidants!  Goji berries are rich in Vitamin A and are packed full of antioxidants themselves. If you don’t have goji berries, you can definitely leave them out. They are not a “staple” in your pantry, but they are great to have if you have room in the grocery budget one week.

If you are interested in why are antioxidants so important, check this article out.

I make my own almond milk in my Vitamix using this recipe, but don’t feel like you have to.  Just check into store-bought almond milk, and pick the best one.  I recommend Pacific’s Organic Almond Unsweetened (or the Vanilla), which you can find at most grocery stores!  I use that in a pinch, but prefer to make my own. If you are nut-free, you can use any substitute of your preference (rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, etc).

Blueberry-Almond Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 T ground flaxseeds
  • 1-2 t goji berries (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Put ingredients in a high speed blender in the order shown. Blend on high until smooth. Enjoy!