Chocolate Espresso Protein Smoothie

What is it about 3pm that requires something sweet and a little bit of caffeine?

Chocolate Espresso Protein Smoothie

Even on weekends, I feel like I need a pick-me-up. I try to stick to one cup of coffee on weekdays but sometimes I drink two on weekends when I’m relaxing in the mornings. This morning, though, I skipped the second cup of jo’, which gave me full permission to have caffeine in the afternoon.

I made this a couple weeks ago as a breakfast smoothie and added almond butter, flaxseed, and skim milk. Today I made a lighter version to act as a snack. Careful, smoothie lovers. Some smoothies can pack a whopping 400 calories!

Chocolate Espresso Protein Smoothie
The following ingredient amounts are approximations; I didn’t measure anything because smoothies are flexible like that.

3/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk because we had it handy)
1 scoop protein powder (I used Vanilla Latte from ToneItUp.com but chocolate or vanilla work; this just has caffeine in it)
1 tsp ground espresso
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

BLEND!
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What’s for Lunch?

Okay, I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to blog. I have a couple recipes [Sweet Potato Fritters, Chopped Thai Salad] that have been sitting in the draft section of my blog posts [FOR MONTHS], and I just haven’t taken the time to search for the photos or remake the recipes to make sure that everything is right.

So, I am showing you some of the meals I had during my internship.

Oh. Backup. Update. I’M A DIETITIAN! Yes. A registered and licensed dietitian in the state of North Carolina. [Insert party emoji] How the heck does that sound!? Pretty stinkin’ good. I finished my internship in early May, took my exam late May, and a few weeks ago I accepted a job in the area at a hospital. I will write a post on all of that soon, but I wanted to throw a food post in first.

During my internship, I had to pack lunch almost every day. This was a struggle sometimes but a great learning experience and let’s just say I was eating pretty dang well!

Here are some ideas for lunches and snacks. I eat a morning snack and afternoon snack, so that’s why it looks like so much food, haha! I find lunches to be hard (as well as dinners.. planning can be tough!) so hopefully you can find some inspiration.

Oh, and here’s how this is going to go down: M = meal, so there’s M1-5 (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner). That means if M2 = morning snack, M3 = lunch, and M4 = afternoon snack. Lastly, please excuse the photo quality. I packed these bad boys at night when there is no sunlight.

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M2 .. Okay, I’m really trying to remember how this one went. Hah! We will say M2 grapes & nuts, M3 asian cucumber salad & sweet potato chips, M4 hummus & peppers [and this was probably a Monday, on which I did spin at 6pm and usually ate a banana beforehand, hence TWO M2s!]

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M2 Larabar [the best flavors are Coconut Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Brownie! OH and the Mint Chocolate Brownie is TO DIE FOR], M3 salad with all the fix-ins like black beans, tomatoes, edamame, spinach, carrots, etc. & grapes, M4 granola bites at my internship and a banana on the way to the gym!

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M2 Larabar & apple slices, M3 salad & tortellini with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto [holy yum], M4 yogurt & banana [can you tell how much I like bananas yet?]

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M2 Clif bar & pear slices, M3 wrap & sweet potato chips, M4 grapes

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Pictured above is meal prep madness! This is 2 days worth of food: M2 Larabar, M3 Chopped Thai Salad & pears with cinnamon or mixed berries, M4 banana!

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M2 yogurt + clementines, M3 salad [with sun-dried tomato pesto!] & pears, M4 tomatoes

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M2 mixed fruit, M3 salad & cucumber with guacamole, M4 banana!

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M2 trail mix, M3 salad & apple, M4 not pictured – WHAT?! Maybe a banana?!

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And lastly, snack edition! On Wednesdays, I would get a shrimp burrito bowl [Burrito Bowl Wednesdays!] so I only packed snacks. M2 nuts & pear, M4 guacamole & celery!

Hope you all enjoyed this peak into what I’ve been eating. Despite not blogging, I’ve documented a lot of my meals and might incorporate some into posts but I do like an official photoshoot with my food to make it pretty for the blog. Hang tight for that and tips on how to become a dietitian (and how to stay sane while doing it!).

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Hearty Cranberry Muffins

Happy Thanksgiving!

What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving? Is it the lazy coffee drinking or the sleeping in? Is it cooking with your family or stuffing your face with turkey?

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The holidays are fun because everyone is jolly. Technically, Thanksgiving is the pre-jolly. The last calm before the holiday storm.

It’s a time to be thankful. I have a LOT to be thankful for this year. My family. My husband. My friends. My fur child, Carib. My internship. We have a beautiful apartment, I’ve finally figured out how to coupon and meal prep, and my husband makes a mean latte in the mornings. It’s a good life.

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So, I made you something. I know your menu is probably planned out and probably has been for the last month, but I wanted to share with you these cranberry muffins just in case.

They’re really good. They’re hearty but in a subtle way. They have WHOLE cranberries in them, which means there is an explosion of flavor every other bite.

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I really recommend that you make them if you have extra time or want something a little bit healthy and hearty this Thanksgiving. Here are a couple other easy Thanksgiving recipes, if you’re really behind this year. No judgment, promise.

PUMPKIN DEVILED EGGS

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CRANBERRY PEAR SALAD WITH CANDIED ALMONDS

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HONEYCRISP SPINACH SALAD WITH PECANS AND CRANBERRIES

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AUTUMN STUFFED APPLES

stuffed apples 4

APPLE CIDER SANGRIA

apple cider sangria 3

Hearty Cranberry Muffins

1 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, room temperature
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c milk
2 tbsp canola oil
2-3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
3/4 tsp vanilla extra
1 c whole, fresh cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl with a whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, brown sugar, milk, canola oil, and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and combine with a spoon. Add in cranberries.
  5. Grease 6-7 muffin tin slots and spoon muffin mixture into muffin tin.
  6. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes and then reduce to 375°F and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Hello, world. I’m going to update you about my life in 10 statements.

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1. I just finished my third semester of graduate school. One more to go until I have a Master of Science in Nutrition.

2. I just got a Keurig for Christmas and am slowly falling in love with coffee. It’s my new reason to get out of bed {previous: breakfast}.

3. Now that school is out, all I want to do is read. Read, read, read. In bed, with my cat, drinking coffee, all day.

4. My boyfriend and I are on the last season of How I Met Your Mother, and it’s somewhere between exhilarating and depressing because we have never seen this last season {we started from the beginning again before it came out} but we know that it will be over soon.

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5. My little bug Caribou {Carib Chip} is getting so big! He’s 9, almost 10 months old now. In regards to the trend on Pinterest, he likes sleeping in the sink, screaming at 3am, getting in the dryer, sleeping on my neck, and getting in the shower after it’s turned off {but still wet}.

6. I am not really sure what I have been eating for the past 4 months, but it’s not important enough that you’ve missed anything. There was one thing that I was obsessed with {if you follow me on Instagram, you saw a lot of these}, and I will probably post that recipe soon. Other than that, salads, cereal, oatmeal… Some frozen meals, pasta… Yeah, couldn’t tell ya.

7. My apartment is decorated for Christmas, and it’s one of the things that makes me happiest right now. Love. Christmas. Decorations.

8. I am still doing a lot of Tone It Up. If you would like to follow my account on Instagram, it’s @skinnymuffin_tiu. It’s all fitness and health-related, so heads up.

9. Speaking of fitness, I just took a spin class for the first time in 11 months and it DIDN’T HURT. To most of you, that means nothing. To someone with bad knees and a bulging disc, that is a gift from God.

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10. I am applying to this thing called the Dietetic Internship, which is what qualifies you to sit for the Registered Dietitian Exam. Essentially, my entire LIFE depends on being accepted, so basically, the reason why I have completely neglected this blog and you all is because I have been working my little booty off to make good grades, volunteer, keep up with my jobs, and find time for my boyfriend, my kitty, my family, and my friends. Oh, and my sanity. Unfortunately, it’s been neglected, too.

{11. I know I said only 10, but I was just proof-reading this, and because all of my electronic text contains emoji abilities – Instagram and text messaging – I totally wanted to put a coffee emoji up by the Keurig statement. I think that #socialmediaproblems would be appropriate here.}

Oh, right. And recipe. These muffins are a) delicious b) healthy and c) super easy to make. I kept some fresh {in the refrigerator} and froze some to thaw for later and to throw into oatmeal in the mornings when it’s 10°F outside. These are also great if you need to use up your pumpkin puree that’s been sitting in the pantry for two months.

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
Slightly adapted from Nate & Rachael

1 15oz. can pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce {or one individually prepackaged cups}
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp water {or milk should be fine}
1/4 c brown sugar + more for sprinkling
1 3/4 c white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease a muffin tin.
3. In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
4. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Scoop into muffin tin cups and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cake Batter Popsicles

Something about popsicles is the greatest thing ever.

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I’m not sure if it’s the endless possibilities or biting into something frozen on 95°F summer days or what, but I’m obsessed.

Working at the nursing home, it gets hot. I have this little meat thermometer in my chef’s coat pocket and it reads about 90°F+ consistently. So coming home after an 8-hour work day in 90°F heat, I’m ready for something to cool me down.

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Hence, popsicles. Now, you might’ve seen my other popsicles but I have to say. These are better. They’re both good, but cake batter trumps fruit any day.

Next up: creamy chocolate chip popsicles with a special surprise [undecided, hence ‘special’].

Cake Batter Popsicles
Adapted from Girlichef

1 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c vanilla cake mix
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c sprinkles

1. Over medium heat in a saucepan, combine the almond milk, brown sugar, and vanilla until brown sugar has melted.
2. In a bowl, combine cake mix and brown sugar milk.
3. Pour some sprinkles into the bottom of the popsicle molds, then pour the mixture into the molds halfway up. Repeat by adding sprinkles and mixture.
4. Freeze overnight and serve by running hot water over molds until popsicles pop out.