PB Honey Yogurt Dip

I was bent like a pretzel today. You know what I mean…in yoga class?

Today I headed downtown Milwaukee to a small, local yoga studio with my sister, Lauren. You remember Lauren, right? She was my guest blogger yesterday for “5 Life Lessons for a Healthier Life”. With Lauren’s recent diagnosis of lupus, she has taken it upon herself to live a healthier life. And yoga is just one aspect she has incorporated into her routine with the help of one of her co-workers.

I have done some yoga before. I’ve tried a few yoga videos and even “hot” yoga which I really enjoyed. When I first started yoga it really wasn’t for me. I was, or so I thought, an athlete who “didn’t do yoga”. I did clean & jerks, back-squats, heck, even flipped monster tires around for a bit. But my back disorder that I talked about here forced me to change my entire approach to exercise. Now I find that I really love yoga and pilates. They help my back immensely! Because I had the day off from school, I decided to head down and try out yoga again for the first time since probably early 2011.

Man! I feel great. My back was really hurting this morning while I was sitting throughout the morning as I studied. I was really grateful for the noon yoga to break up my studying for the day for a little back pain and emotional relief.

Have you tried yoga? Do you do it on a regular basis? If so, what do you love about it? 

After yoga, I headed back to the house to begin studying again. But I couldn’t help it and had to head to the kitchen to make a healthy snack for myself that I could share with all of you! Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip!

Raise your hand if you LOVE apples? Keep them up if you are digging this harvest season when apples are the BEST! Yeah. I figured you’d all have your hand up. But I’m going to put mine back down because this whole typing with one hand is rather difficult.

Anyways, I think you will really enjoy this dip because, well, duh, it has peanut butter in it–but it is only 3 simple ingredients and can be made in a flash! If you are looking for a new way to enjoy your apples or need a side dish to pass at your next gathering–this is your dip.

Common’. Let’s get dippin’!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: PB Honey Yogurt Dip

Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Dip

Recipe from: Two Peas & Their Pod

  • 6 ounces, 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

In a small bowl, combine all 3 ingredients until well combined.

Serve with slice apples, graham crackers, or other cut-up fruit. Enjoy!!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: PB Honey Yogurt Dip

5 Life Lessons for a Healthier Life

I have a special treat for everyone today. My first guest blogger!

The guest blogger for today is my best friend and twin sister, Lauren. Lauren was recently diagnosed with lupus. If you don’t know what lupus is, she explains it rather nicely in her post. Lauren approached me about writing a blog post about her recent journey with lupus and how it has changed her approach to life. Her journey has been focused on a healthy life and something I think we can all learn from.

5 Life Lessons I learned After Diagnosed with Lupus

I have Lupus. See, I said it.

My newly diagnosed disease can be very complex, frustrating, painful, exhausting, emotional…. simply put, a rollercoaster.

For those who do not know, lupus is a non-curable auto-immune disease which affects joints and organs.  Or how I like to think about it, my immune system is hyperactive an overachiever. My body thinks something is wrong, so my own body attacks my joints and organs. Since June I woke up with hand pain which spread to my elbows, shoulders, feet, knees and multiple joints. By September I was in so much pain I could barely put toothpaste on my tooth brush and I even dreaded my boss giving me a high five because it hurt so much. I tried everything I could think of: icing, heat, ibuprofen, chiropractor, ace bandages, massages…. Nothing helped. My family and boyfriend encouraged me to see a doctor and after three months of pain, I finally realized they were all right.

I started with an orthopedic who ruled out carpal tunnel within two minutes of our appointment and took some blood tests. The initial tests indicated a high ANA (Antinuclear antibodies which are made by white blood cells) count which led me to a rheumatologist. Within a week of taking yet another intense round of blood tests everything pointed to lupus. Even knowing my diagnosis, my symptoms continued to worsen because my body continued to be in so much stress. The week after I was diagnosed I caught a small cold which led to my largest flare up yet. I had trouble walking and was in bed for 3 days.

Over the past few months, we have been through some tough physical changes but also emotional (when I say WE I am talking about myself, my family and amazing boyfriend). Being hit with something like lupus is very difficult because we know it will be a battle I have to fight through every stage of life. However, I didn’t want to write about my symptoms. I want to express what I learned after diagnosed with lupus that everyone, lupus or not, should know.

1.     Your body has a voice.

As a college athlete (Track & Field Thrower), I put my body through so much. At the time, I was that woman who could back squat over 220 lbs. After my college career ended, I continued to compete in triathlons and half-marathons to keep my competitive drive alive. While I was proud of my accomplishments, I was in pain. Looking back and thinking about my current state, I didn’t listen to what my body really needed. Your body always gives you signs when it’s too much. Even though they are different for everyone, listen to your body. Rest is a beautiful thing.  

2.     Stress is evil. Very evil.

We all wish life wasn’t so stressful. Like many, I have a very stressful and demanding job. It pulls me in so many directions and by the end of the day I can’t seem to find the energy to do everything else I need to do outside of work. But what we all must do is figure what we need to prioritize or even walk away from. Stress doesn’t only ruin your day, but it puts strain on your body. Personally this is still a lesson is still struggle, but I have made it a huge priority to work on. Maybe it’s planning ahead or taking more moments to yourself. Figure out what works best for YOU.

3.     Everyone needs support.

Personally, I have been blessed with an amazing support system. The day I was diagnosed my entire family was already waiting for me when I got home. They didn’t overwhelm me with questions, especially since I didn’t have any answers yet, but they sat there and simply said “We are going to tame this beast”. And most of all, my boyfriend came to my door with flowers looked me in the eyes and said “I am not going anywhere. We are doing this together.” Without their support, I wouldn’t be looking at this new change of pace as positively as I am now. Some people are also blessed with support systems outside of their family whether it’s a group girlfriends, co-workers, or an organization you joined. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you trust to talk about something you need to get off your chest.

4.     Your body is a temple.

Everything you put into your body or put your body through will have some kind of effect on your body—good and bad. Even if you think you are young and invincible, your body will thank you in 25 years. You only get one body, treat it wisely.

5.     Celebrate little victories, too.

Two months ago, I couldn’t even open a jar of peanut butter. And just the other day I was finally able to play catch in the backyard with my boyfriend. I may have not finished running a marathon, but both him and I know being able to throw my prefect football spiral again (…now you know why he keeps me around) is an amazing stride. Celebrate your victories. It can be as simple as making it to the gym one extra day a week. Or maybe having a productive day at work. Life is short, celebrate.

I’ll leave you with the best fortune cookie I have received in the last month:

“You’re not afraid of storms, for you’re learning to sail your ship.”

Be Well,

Lauren

Lauren and I after the Color Run!

Lauren and I after the Color Run!

 

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

Okay, it’s official. Not only do I have a peanut butter obsession, it seems as though I have a homemade granola bar obsession. Remember when I made these for you last week? Oh, and these the week before that. See, told you. It’s a total obsession.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

I think part of the reason why is that I’m in this mode of trying to eliminating processed foods. Granola bars are always such an easy thing to grab and eat for breakfast as you head out the door, or very complimentary to a bagged lunch. When you make your own granola bars, even when you are adding some sugar, I still feel better about it because I know exactly what I am putting in my body. No preservatives and no odd ingredients that I can’t even pronounce–and we study food ingredients in school!

I put together these no-bake granola bars with pretty much anything I had in the house that I thought would go well together. Since I made Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars last week, I still has some puffed wheat cereal left over. Other staples in my house that I usually always have on hand include: ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, oats (old-fashioned and quick), almonds, raisins, and duh–peanut butter! (Except this one time, but we won’t go there again!)

Without further ado…

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars 

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups, puffed wheat cereal
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, or your favorite nut butter

Lightly grease a 13×9 pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal, flaxseed, raisins, and chopped almonds.

Next, in a small sauce pan on medium heat, add the honey and brown sugar. Stir and cook until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add your peanut butter and stir until melted and well-incorporated.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. It may be a bit tough to mix, but keep going until well combined. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and stir again.

Add the complete mixture to your lightly greased pan. Using wax paper or parchment paper (to save your hands from getting greasy), firmly press the mixture into the pan equally distributing it. You want to be sure to press firmly so the end result is a bar instead of a granola mixture.

Cool the bars for at least 30 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. Once cooled, cut into bars, approximately 16. To make it easier to add to lunches or for a grab-and-go breakfast, individually wrap the bars into small ziploc bags.

Yum!

Monday Dig + Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

Ah, yes, Saturday mornings with no work! I especially love Saturday mornings and cooking up a special, yummy breakfast. When I set my alarm for the mornings during the week, I usually think I am leaving myself enough time for at least 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy breakfast. Not. No matter how much time I leave, I seem to be running out the door with my breakfast in hand. That brings me to this week’s “Monday Dig”…

Ever since my husband’s aunt gave us honey and I made these awesome energy bites, honey has been sitting on my counter whispering softly, “You want toast.” Who doesn’t love a good piece of buttered toast? My favorite toast has always been restaurant toast–especially those crazy Greek’s and their family restaurant toast. Don’t worry, I’m Greek, so I can call them crazy. But lately, I think my own buttered toast drizzled with honey might be my new favorite kind of toast.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

 

This bread happens to be from the Great Harvest Bakery down the road. I LOVE their bread. The one pictured is their High Fiber 5 bread. I love all the nuts and seeds in this bread! So tasty.

Although I’m digging this honey toast regularly, my husband and I were totally digging these Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes for breakfast on Saturday.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

 

My husband actually made these for me once before one Saturday morning but I had had a long week so he snuck out of bed to let me sleep and made me these wonderful pancakes. They were wonderful…buuuuut missing one key part–the almond syrup that goes along with the recipe. On the original recipe he forgot to scroll down far enough to see that there was more to the pancakes. Oh well, they turned out great that day with regular syrup. But if you are going to indulge in these, I suggest making the almond syrup because it makes them that much better!

Go ahead. Indulge a little this next Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s allowed every once in a while.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

 

Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes 

Recipe Adapted from: Cooking Classy

Pancakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 100% white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract

Almond Syrup

  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Pancakes

Preheat your griddle to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, almond extract, and vanilla extract for one minute. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Using a 1/4 cup, pour the batter onto the preheated griddle. Flip the pancake when golden on the bottom (bubbles won’t necessarily appear as they do in this pancake recipe). Cook the opposite side until golden. Serve warm drizzled with the almond syrup. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds or more poppy seeds, if you would like.

Almond Syrup

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar, cream, and buttermilk. Cook the mixture until it begins to boil and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the baking soda and almond extract, whisking for 10 seconds until the mixture is frothy and foaming.

Serve the pancakes warm with warm almond syrup. Enjoy!!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

Turkey Chili

 

 

This post has been moved to:  http://heavensentpeanutbutter.com/turkey-chili-2/
Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

I love Tuesdays. Let me rephrase that…I love Tuesday mornings that I have off of school and work. Because I am still in school, my schedule is relatively inconsistent. Sometimes I have class on Tuesday mornings or sometimes I have a clinical or shadow experience. But not this morning. This morning was all to myself. And this spin bike. Oh, and this pilates mat.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

I am pretty lucky to work at a gym that provides a free membership. Even better, I can walk to one of the locations. If I don’t have something going on on Tuesday mornings, I make sure I dedicate my morning to exercise. I dedicate it to me.

All too often, as I’m sure many of you do the same, I don’t spend enough time for myself. I don’t even have children yet, so I can’t imagine how mothers do it. But I know it is important to spend some time for you. I strongly believe that if you are making yourself the best you you can be, you can better help those around you–and that’s what I strive to be about.

What will you do for yourself this week?

As a full-time undergraduate student, part-time graduate student, wife, and with two part-time jobs, my schedule can get pretty crazy. I tend to be a very organized person and I love to make to-do lists and cross them off. I love the feeling of accomplishment–even if it is the littlest task. This week I found a new printable from this website. In an effort to keep this week organized and “get-er-done”, I thought I would try out this new form of a to-do list. Check it out to see if it will work for you!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Weekly Organization

But now for today’s recipe. That’s why you originally came, right? Well today’s recipe comes from my husband’s family cookbook. My mother-in-law spent A LOT of time putting together cookbooks filled with all kinds of family favorites, some of which I hope to share with you here. Some will just have to stay a family secret though! :)

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Turkey Chili

The recipe today is slightly adapted based on my liking–or based on things I had around the house. Today I added chopped red pepper since I had some left over from the weekend and didn’t want it to go to waste. Apparently today’s recipe turned out “awesome” because my husband just walked in to the room and asked, “Where did you get that chili recipe? It was AWESOME.” Since it’s husband approved, I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes approximately 7 servings 

  • 1.5 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28 ounce can, no-salt added diced tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes make a great addition!)
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1, 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 ounces canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1, 15.5 ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, undrained

In a large saucepan, brown ground turkey and onion. Drain any residual grease. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the black beans. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours and stir occasionally. Add black beans and heat through.

Serve with corn chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt, and/or crackers.

*Note: I love making this big batch and freezing several individual servings in my pyrex glass containers. Perfect for dinner next week or when you are too lazy to cook dinner on an upcoming night!

Monday Digs + Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Often times there are products or new things that I feel I just have to share with you. With that being said, I have decided to introduce “Monday Digs”. ‘Digs’ refers to what I am currently obsessed with, or digging. Brought to you today…uh, by me, is my first dig!

Today’s dig needs little introduction beside this someecard:

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Of course I went to Target today with a strict list–the items I knew I couldn’t purchase from Trader Joe’s. I think I deserve a gold star though, because the only thing I bought outside of the list was this:

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Angie's Kettle Corn

I almost bought a new coffee maker. But I’ll save that for purchase later this week and it will totally count that I still only strayed from the list for this one item.

My dig this week is Angie’s Kettle Corn…but not just any kettle corn, individual servings (0.5 ounce)! The cute popcorn packages were being advertised for trick or treat, but I quickly grabbed them because I often crave popcorn but cannot keep my portion control in check if I pop a whole bag. These little bags contain only 70 calories, 4 ingredients, are whole grain, free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats, and gluten-free. Plus, they are only 2 WW+ points, if you are counting.

I’m excited to be adding these little packages to my lunch box when I have a long day at school and in need of a fun treat! Speaking of fun treats, these remind me of Clif Mojo bars. My lunch might be packed with both the kettle corn and these granola bars tomorrow. Don’t judge.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Recipe Adapted from: How Sweet It Is

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup puffed wheat (or rice) cereal
  • 1 cup crushed salted pretzels
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal, pretzels, flaxseed, brown sugar, flour, and peanuts. Mix well. Slightly melt the 2/3 cup peanut butter in the microwave and then drizzle onto the mixture. Mix until well combined.

Next, add the melted butter and vanilla. Mix. Add the honey. Mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the mixture into the lightly greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Enjoy!

Ranch Hummus

Ranch? Good on practically everything, right? Right.

Hummus? Delicious with carrots, pretzels, on a sandwich…or pretty much anything ranch is good on. I think we all know that ranch often adds a lot of calories and fat. Why not make RANCH HUMMUS to get the flavor of ranch with little fat and high fiber?

My thought exactly.

*I’m not going to lie, taking the “skin” off of each garbanzo bean is a little time consuming, but not a required step of the recipe. However, this step is what makes the hummus extremely creamy. If you choose to go this route like I did, I found it best to pinch the bean to remove the skin.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

Once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty fast. Other than this step, making your own RANCH HUMMUS is extremely easy.

Now go grab your bag of veggies and enjoy your homemade ranch hummus!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

Ranch Hummus 

Recipe Adapted from: 52 Kitchen Adventures

  • 1, 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste, or Trader Joe’s Tahini Sauce (if you can’t find the paste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1, 1 ounce packet ranch seasoning mix

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Ranch Hummus

First, drain the garbanzo beans and reserve the liquid in a separate bowl. Second, remove the skins from the garbanzo beans (*See note above*).

Using your food processor, blend the drained garbanzo beans for approximately 1 minute. Next, add the tahini, lemon juice, and ranch. Blend. Add some of the reserved garbanzo bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the hummus reaches your desired consistency. I used 3 tablespoons.

Cover and refrigerate the hummus until ready to serve.

No-Bake Energy Bites

Small BIG crisis…

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

The. Peanut. Butter. Is. Gone. Seriously. I’mnotkidding.

I was hoping to make this recipe and noticed that my peanut butter jar was nearing the end. But I ALWAYS have an extra. I guess not this time. I went ravaging through my cupboards. Nope, nowhere to be found. Mom–If you’re reading this, we need to make a stop at Sam’s Club, ASAP!

Although this IS the current issue of the utmost importance in the house right now–forget the studying or research project for now–I did manage to have enough peanut butter to make these amazing No-Bake Energy Bites. I’ve made these once before and my husband pretty much gobbled them up before I could try them. But he’s gone all day, so maybe they will last until the morning…or midnight.

What really made me want to eat make these was the honey that was given to us this weekend from my husband’s aunt. She recently took up beekeeping and she has been very generous to share the sweet nectar as a result! Thank you, Auntie Lori!

You’re going to want to make these energy bites as soon as you see how easy they are to make. Ready. Set. Go.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: No-Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

Recipe Adapted from: Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 cup, old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until thoroughly mixed. Roll out approximately 20 balls and place on a pan or plate lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.

Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Enjoy!!

Green Monster = Healthy Fuel

I admit it. I’m not so great about eating vegetables. Yes, I know. I’m a future dietitian. But give me a little credit…I do try really hard. My goal, or rule you could say, is that we should be including at least one fruit and one vegetable with each meal. Even more so, we should be trying to consume them as part of healthy snacks as well. If you can stick to this guideline, chances are you are going to get a good amount of fruit and veggie servings.

But it isn’t always easy. Especially at breakfast for me. It was in this post that I talked about my dislike for eggs. I constantly give the recommendation of adding vegetables to your omelets to add a serving at breakfast time. But adding vegetables to breakfast gets complicated when you don’t like egg. And I know I’m a rare one, but I know others that don’t like them either! So there.

But…I have found a way! A tasty, healthy way! You have probably seen those “green” smoothies pop up every where all over Pintrest. Based on ones I have found and my own taste preference, my husband and I have come up with our own version of a green monster. Don’t judge this book by its cover. It’s green…yes, I know. REALLY green. But I promise you, this doesn’t taste green. Its base is actually a frozen banana, and I don’t even think it really tastes like banana. Give this green monster a try for breakfast, post-work out, or a snack to hold you over if dinner isn’t for another few hours. It has one serving of fruit and one serving of a vegetable. Trust. Me. Plus, it has peanut butter in it…hellllooo!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Green Monster Smoothie

Green Monster

Makes: 1 Smoothie

WW+: 7 points

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ripe, frozen sliced banana (approximately 150 grams)
  • 1/4 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
  • Approx. 1 cup fresh spinach

*See notes below for alternatives*

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Green Monster Smoothie

Add all ingredients to a magic bullet (or, your preferred blender). Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • We use bananas that have gone past our preference of ripeness, then slice them and keep them in frozen bags until we are ready to make a smoothie. We always have frozen sliced bananas on hand!
  • You can really use any type of milk you would like. We don’t really use almond milk for anything but this smoothie. We have tried it will skim milk and didn’t like it as much.
  • Chia seeds are optional. I get mine from Trader Joe’s and add them to most of my smoothies. It adds additional protein, fiber, and omega-3′s.
  • You could also use vanilla greek yogurt, but I didn’t taste a big difference between vanilla or plain. Because I taste no difference, I choose the one with no added sugar.

Crockpot Caesar Chicken Sandwiches

Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been! My weeks have been filled with lots of school work, but lots of fun events as well. This past weekend we celebrated the marriage of my cousin Alex and her new hubby Josh. We traveled to Iowa City for the event and we had a great time! It is always awesome to see other couples who you can tell, just by looking at them together, that they are perfect for each other. Congratulations, Alex & Josh! We love you!

The weekend prior we had virtually all of my closest friends out for a Brewers tailgate! My sister and I refer to this as the “Annual Brewers Weekend”. It has been about 6 years now, I believe, since we started the annual event. It started as a way for our friends from Minnesota to learn the real way to tailgate–the Wisconsin way! Now the weekend includes our college friends from UST and our friends living in the area and is simply an excuse to get to together–no matter the distance between us–and eat & play! I look forward to the Brewers Weekend every year because we still have a huge sleepover all together at my parents house. I know the weekend may change in this aspect over the years, but I hope the event continues for many, many years to come.

The whole group at the Annual Brewers Weekend!

The whole group at the Annual Brewers Weekend!

With all of these events, school, and work it has been pretty crazy! This week alone I have 3 mid-term exams and a research proposal due. With all the craziness, my husband and I are working hard on staying active and making health choices. I think we all know that when things get busy, we tend to eat poorly.

Two days of the week, I am at school at least 12 hours (straight!). When I come home after those days, the studying or work isn’t done yet. The other days of the week, I am usually at school for about 6 hours and then head to work for the night. This makes it really hard to want to make healthy dinners. Since yesterday was one of my 12 hours days on campus, we decided to try a new crockpot meal. My husband started the meal in the crockpot between his day at the hospital and his day at the pharmacy. When I got home later that evening, I finished preparing the meal. Luckily there were few dishes and little clean-up required so I could get back to work after my brief dinner break.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Crockpot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Crockpot Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Recipe Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Makes:  8 Sandwiches

WW+: 8 points per sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup light caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 8, 100% whole wheat sandwich thins (or, buns of your choosing)

Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker with 1-2 cups water. Cover and place on medium-high heat for about 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slower cooker and place on a cutting board. Drain (or even clean) the slower cooker pot. Shred the chicken into small pieces. I find it easiest to use two forks to pull the meat apart.

Place the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker. Add the dressing, parsley, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix well. Cover and cook for 30 minutes on high heat, or until the mixture is hot and the cheese is melted.

Spoon approximately 1/2 cup onto each sandwich roll. Top with shredded romaine lettuce. Enjoy!