Healthy Cookies ‘N Cream Smoothie

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When I think “Cookies ‘N Cream”, I’m taken back to long days of my childhood spent at the local pool. One of my favorite parts of the pool (besides the diving board and being able to touch the deep end) was the snack bar. There I enjoyed all kinds of candies (Sour lemon candies anyone?) and ice creams, but none more beloved than “Cookies ‘N Cream.”

Naturally, I typically associate milkshakes (made with ice cream) with this chocolate-y flavor.

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But, the other day, I decided I wanted to try to make a healthy version sans ice cream – a smoothie! So, on Saturday, I set out to concoct just that…but not before hitting up the farmer’s market.

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We slept in but still made it to the market while there were tons of produce left.

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We even managed to get a breakfast burrito at the Roots food truck, which was tasty, as always.

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And though I was afraid they’d run out since we were getting there late, we even got blueberries!

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Once back at the Chic house, I gathered ingredients for what I hoped would be a successful recipe: a banana, vanilla soy milk, and chocolate cookies.

I really like the chocolate “cat” cookies at Trader Joe’s, which I learned about when I made Mama Pea’s Cookies ‘N Cream vegan ice cream last year. Thanks Mama Pea! :)

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Healthy Cookies ‘N Cream Smoothie

This smoothie is made without ice cream, so it’s great as breakfast or a healthy afternoon snack. I believe all good smoothies have at least a bit of fruit in them, so I added banana to this one. You can barely taste the banana (thanks to the cookie flavor), but feel free to omit if you would like. Also, if you can’t find plain chocolate cookies, you can use chocolate-sandwich cookies (like Oreos, or this healthier version), but you may want to use non-sweetened milk to cut back on the sugar. In fact, you can use regular milk in this recipe if you don’t have vanilla non-dairy milk, but you’ll want to add a drop of vanilla extract and your sweetener of choice, to taste.

*Vegan if you use vegan cookies*

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (a frozen banana will give you a thicker consistency, but non-frozen works, too)
  • 1 cup vanilla non-dairy milk, sweetened (or use unsweetened milk, dairy or non-dairy – just also add a drop of vanilla and your sweetener of choice, to taste)
  • 2 cubes ice
  • 1/4 cup chocolate cookies (or sub chocolate/vanilla sandwich cookies and use non-sweetened milk and vanilla extract – see notes)

Directions:

  1. Place banana, milk, and ice in the blender.
  2. Cover and blend until banana/ice is processed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cookies to the blender, re-cover, and blend until cookies are chopped finely, about 30-60 seconds. Optional – sprinkle an extra cookie, crushed into crumbs/small pieces, on top before serving.
  4. Enjoy!

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As Borat would say, “Great success!” I only wish this healthier version was available at the pool when I was a kiddo. ;)

What’s your favorite way to eat “Cookies ‘N Cream”?

DIY Zumba Top + Goji Berry Banana Smoothie

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Nothing like dancing in the morning to put you in a happy mood for the rest of the day, right?

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I have some new songs I’d like to learn how to lead, so I try to practice them every once in awhile when I have a free moment. I thought going over one this morning to wake up and get my blood flowing was a good idea. I think it was! I’m doing Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz. ;)

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We need to do some serious grocery shopping, produce-wise. With a shortage of fruits in the house, I decided to make some energy bite oatmeal using an Energy Bite I had stowed away in the freezer.

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Coffee + oatmeal

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Other ingredients: 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, chia seeds, sliced almonds, flaxseed meal and Galaxy Granola (*).

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So cozy, so perfect in the morning!

I got to WFH today, which means better than normal eats.

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I made me and hubby Goji Berry Banana smoothies (2 frozen bananas, small handful dried goji berries, milk till consistency was to liking).

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His was prettier because I added some green-colored Vega Health Optimizer in vanilla chai to mine.

Mine tasted darn good, though! I thought it tasted like frosting!!!!

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I cooked up some tofu for lunch. Nasoya cubed – so you don’t have to press it.

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I chopped up my marinated kale from yesterday (still too much marinade!) and set it on a paper towel to soak up some of that extra marinade.

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I topped it with some steamed broccoli.

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And I hoped the bland broccoli would help balance the overly flavored kale. It worked out pretty good, but I still prefer my broccoli with just some melted butter.

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Lunch was pretty fab, though it was on the light side.

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I carbed up with a couple handfuls of pretzels…

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…a piece of orange marmalade toast…

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…and a piece of Barney Butter toast with chia seeds. Yea…I like toast. A lot! :) It helps when you’re short on time and need groceries. :lol:

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I also got to finish my Honest Tea today – this stuff is yum-o!

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I got a cool sample in the mail today: Lighter Living Probiotic Bars (*). Neat-o! I like how these seem to be a non-dairy source of probiotics. I mean, Id need to look at the ingredient list again (I think they have a yogurt topping), because they might contain some dairy, but it’s not like you have to eat a cup of yogurt for the beneficial probiotics. The ingredient list is almost (if not) all organic and looks to have some good stuff, including dates as the first ingredient. I love dates!

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I got 3 different flavors: Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed, Apricot Coconut. They all sound amazing – I can’t wait to dig in!

DIY De-Constructed Zumba Top

I took a cue from my Z Life Magazine and decided to go a la Tanya and cut up a tank top. Since this would be my first cutting experiment, I decided to test out something on the cheaper side. Unfortunately, the cheapest thing I could find was an $8 tank top from Target…too much money to throw away in the event my cutting experiment failed, but it turned out okay. Woohoo!

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I gathered my materials – tank top, scissors, rotary cutter, chalk pencil, mat, guide.

I actually put on my tank top so I could see how far up the side to start making cuts and where in the front to do the diagonal cuts. I eyeballed some marks with my chalk and figured I’d clean them up once I could use a straight line.

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First, I cut some slits down the side. I made 5 cuts, each measured 1 inch apart.

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I decided to convert the tank top to a halter top. You can check out this tutorial (click) to see how I did this. I basically went straight along the top of the back.

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I did the diagonal cuts – drawing the lines, then making the cuts. I spaced these by an inch also. It seemed to be good spacing for the cut lines.

I did 2 rows of the diagonal cuts – a lower section of 3 and an upper section of 3.

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Guess I should have gotten some photos in class, eh? Oh well, these will have to do.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Drink Mix

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I tested out my other Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer today. This one was the same as the other, but a different flavor – Acai Berry.

I actually have a really fun experiment/case study/test planned with this stuff…details soon!

Here are some photos of the packaging for the curious:

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I swear this stuff really works! I think I need to buy a jug! Can’t wait to see how my experiment with this product works out.

Oh and I definitely prefer the Acai Berry flavor to the Lemon Lime. The Acai was less grassy and more berry-licious!

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Hubby and I went out after my workout to see my friend Dana. I wore too-tall heels when I should have worn flip flops or something. I have more fun when I can walk easier. :lol: Though we didn’t stay out long, it was good to get out and see our friends!

Hmm…now…what to eat for tomorrow morning? Is it sad that I’m already thinking about what yummy things I can eat for breakfast? I think not! ;)

Reader Question: Are you more concerned with how you look or how comfortable you are when you go out (with friends, for dinner, etc)? Which is more important – fashion or comfort?

Bonus reader question: Do you have any de-constructed DIY tops like my cut-up zumba top? Send me your photos! thechiclife at gmail dot com. The cutting bug has caught me and I’m itching to snip up another top soon…I need inspiration!

Juicy Monday

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Though I had a blast this weekend with fitness training and visiting my fam, I didn’t make it to the grocery store! No groceries means no food in the house!! Ok, no fresh fruits and veggies. Lucky for me my pantry is well-stocked.

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So, though I was out of oatmeal (can you believe it!?), I was able to throw together this mixed berry (but mostly blueberries) smoothie with a 5/8 full scoop of Vanilla Chai Vega health optimizer, topped with some Galaxy Granola (*). I also had a mug of coffee, not pictured.

I normally don’t like smoothies in the mornings because I prefer hot stuff, but I really enjoyed my smoothie this AM. It was very filling, too!

I made sure to celebrate Starbucks Monday today with a grande vanilla soy latte. Yummers!

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One of my meetings was cancelled today, so I was able to do an impromptu lunch with my friends Megan and Alex. So adult-y! :)

We met up at Capital Grille. I haven’t been here in years!

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Interesting bread basket. There were rolls under the napkin.

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I had a couple bites of calamari to start.

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I got the citrus glazed salmon with the veggie of the day – a mixture of different veggies and mushrooms. Though it was quite tasty, I only managed to finish half my plate. That was a HUGE piece of fish!

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Megan even had an impromptu gift for me – a juicing book!!! Aww…she knows me so well! I’ve been wanting a juicing book! I can’t wait to scope out the recipes so I know better things to order at the juice bar. And the pictures inside of gorgeous and so colorful! The book is called Super Juicer and it’s by Christine France.

Thanks Megan!!! xoxo :)

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I had a Cherry Pie Larabar for a pre-workout snack. I read in Thrive that dates are a good pre-workout snack, and dates are also typically the primary ingredient in Larabars. Guess that makes Larabars a pretty good snack! I thought so today at least.

I had a fabulous hour long workout tonight and even got to lead the first song in class – Hips Don’t Lie (Bambo version) by Shakira. I was so nervous, though! I hadn’t led that song since instructor auditions. You’d think you wouldn’t be nervous doing a song you’ve done countless times before and practiced relentlessly, but…I was! :lol: Luckily, it went just fine. Phew!

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I grabbed a quick dinner on my way home – Chipotle.

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I got the barbacoa beef burrito bowl (with lots of veggies) with a tortilla on the side (I like to break up small pieces and eat bites of tortilla/meat/veggies with a fork), plus chips and guac. Remember all that cheese dip I used to eat? I knew it was terrible for me, but it just tasted so darn good! Well, I’ve transitioned to a better dip – guacamole! I know some people avoid guac because of the fatty avocados, but they have a good kind of fat! Anywho, I’m sure I’ll still get cheese dip once in awhile, but it’s nice to enjoy healthier options.

I only managed to eat about half of my dinner, but luckily hubby helped me finish the burrito part.

I had a little piece of Theo Orange Dark Chocolate for dessert. I didn’t want a lot – just a touch of sweetness. ;)

What are your favorite burrito fillings?

Scales Are Over-Rated + Vega Health Optimizer Review

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Happy Thursday The Chic Life readers!!!

Thursday Eats

I woke up early enough to repay hubby for all his thoughtfulness yesterday by whipping up a quick breakfast – one of his faves – fried (cage-free) eggs!

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I toasted up a piece of spelt bread to go with the egg for hubby.

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As for moi, I still had one remnant from hubby’s treats yesterday – a Great Harvest muffin!!! I’ve been CRAVING one ever since having that delicious berry muffin awhile back. *drool*

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Fresh Market Spring Blend. So nice to wake up to this in the morning.

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This muffin was chocolate chip banana almond. It wasn’t quite as good as that berry one, but it was still fantastically delicious!

Work eats:

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Over the day: 2 mugs yerba mate tea, GIANT romaine salad with cucumber, orange bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds plus Drew’s rosemary balsamic, and leftover spaghetti.

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Hubby and I got Mexican after work – chips and salsas…

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Cheeeeeeezzzzzeeeee dip. Yep, with a ‘z’.

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We split chicken fajitas.

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I only managed one chicken fajita…must have had too many chips! :lol:

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For dessert, I made a healthy “shake” and had the last two of my Nicobella organic vegan truffle samples (*) – Pumpkin Chai and Sunflower Banana Butter. SO tasty! I can’t wait to write up my full review for you guys!

Vega Health Optimizer Review

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After work today, I was so excited to pick up my Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer in Vanilla Chai. They ran out of this at the seminar last week (yes, I still owe notes on that, sorry!), so I had to wait till a new shipment came in. They had 3 other flavors – natural, chocolate and berry ,but I really think the Vanilla Chai will be the most versatile.

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I like how Vega is Green.

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Note servings. 7! Eek!

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Look at all those goodies!

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Product and nutrition info.

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I know him! Ok, not really, but I did meet him and get his autograph. ;)

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Nice, detailed suggested use info.

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More packaging info.

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Look how much space is in there!

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Giant scoop

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Since my eats were semi-decent today but not as nutritious as I think they could be, I decided to up my nutrition with a mini Vega shake using 3/4 a scoop of Vega powder…

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…plus Almond Breeze vanilla almond milk.

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Delicious! I loved it! A little sweet because of the sweetened almond milk, but I enjoyed it. Especially since it was sort of like dessert.

For my review, let’s start with my dislikes:

  • Only 7 servings in a giant-looking tub. Granted, the servings are quite large (did you see the size of that scoop!?), but still. Not to mention at roughly $42 for the jug, that’s $6 a pop…or $3 per scoop.
  • Larger container than contents – there were like 3 inches of vertical space in the jug. There may be some packaging reason behind this that I’m just not familiar with, but it seems like the container could be smaller (or more full).

Ok, so we know this stuff isn’t cheap, but if you believe you get what you pay for, then you may see why it’s a little on the pricey side…

My likes:

  • The product is made exclusively with natural, plant-based whole foods (great for people who read ingredient labels like me).
  • Great flavor.
  • Great protein – 26 g and from great sources – hemp, yellow pea, brown rice, flax and chlorella (not just any old proteins – carefully selected ones).
  • 100% recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
  • Dairy-free probiotics.
  • Green.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.
  • No GMO.
  • No pesticides.
  • Supports small and local farms.
  • Gluten-free.

I’m a quality of quantity kind of girl, so though this stuff is expensive, I think it’s worth the money. Also, I like to stretch my dollar a bit, and when I took vitamins, I was supposed to take 4 a day and only did one. I think I can apply the same idea here by using smaller portions of the mix and trying to get the rest of my nourishment from fruits, vegetables, and food sources.

Overall, I’ve been working harder and harder to move towards eating food closer to the source, and in a sea of sports / protein shakes, supplements, and mixins made with all kinds of crazy, fake sweeteners and quasi-food ingredients, it’s nice to see something made with real food.

Go Vega and go Brendan!

Thrive in 30
Speaking of Brendan, have you seen the Thrive in 30 program available online? The Vega team tweeted the link to me a couple days ago and I think I’m going to sign up for it…probably this weekend. I wanted to first extend an invitation out to you guys to see if any one was interested in joining me.

I figured if anyone else signed up with me, we could chat about the experience on my Facebook page, share tips, lessons learned…all that fun stuff! :)

New Faves in my OpenSky

I’m SO EXCITED to tell you guys that TWO more of my product requests have been filled in my OpenSky shop!!! Squeeee!

Both of these products are locally made in my town and I’m so happy to extend them to you:

  • Some of my fave doggie treats, baked by a local baker that are healthy and natural. If I’m eating more healthy, Bailey should, too. Check out this package for a great birthday party purchase for your pooch.
  • My fave whipped body butter (made with organic ingredients) – omg, the Sundress scent is divine! If you want a body moisturizer that will nourish without overdoing it, check this stuff out!

My shop is looking better and better and I can’t wait to do my grand opening. I have some fun promotion ideas in the works, so I hope they work out!

Are Scales Over-Rated?

So, I realized today that I haven’t weighed myself on a scale in…well, I can’t remember the last time I weighed myself. I think this is pretty fabulous. Scales are so over-rated! Right?

I learned a long time ago that scales aren’t always the best way to gauge your health.

When I was in middle school, we had to get weighed in PE class. I remember people were really shocked by how much I weighed and they kept saying that I didn’t look like I weighed that much. I didn’t know how much was “a lot” or “a little.” Was my weight above average? I was so clueless. The explanation I was given – “muscle weighs more than fat.” I had pretty big figure skater’s leg muscles, so they must have made me weigh more than I looked…or something.

Who knows…but…

Thanks to that experience, I never paid much attention to scales. (My issues with weight/size have been measured in other ways, but more on that another day). In general, I don’t think scales give you a good picture of health since they don’t take into account muscle, body fat, and other factors. I see that scales have a purpose, but I don’t pay much attention to mine. Instead, I try to focus on how my clothes fit and how I feel.

I found a couple supplementary articles here and here and here and here that have some more info.

Weigh in: What do you think? Are scales over-rated or essential?

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