Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and ProYo, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ProYoHighProteinIceCream http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Does anyone else have trouble with the ice cream truck coming to their neighborhood? I'm all for letting kids indulge every once in a while, but not every Tuesday when she comes to our street ;) I try to keep something, whether a homemade popsicle, ingredients for a smoothie, or ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams in my freezer so that I have a delicious, low-glycemic and high protein treat to offer Reaghan when I disappoint her with a "no" to the ice cream truck.

Since we've had some warmer days lately, I decided to stop by Kroger and pick up a few flavors to work up a guiltless sweet treat for us. ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams are available nationwide at Kroger and other Kroger banner stores. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

I love that I can also eat ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams as a treat or snack for myself without wondering if I'm messing up the hard work outs I've done or worrying about having a stomach ache from too much sugar. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

I'm not a fan of straight up sugar treats, and you know by now that I am trying to get protein into every meal for myself, Jordan and the kids. The high protein content (10g of protein per serving!) makes my mama heart so happy. ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams taste amazing too. Rae has loved the Coconut flavor as well as the Dutch Chocolate and LOVES this smoothie bowl too!

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams also packs prebiotic fiber into every container and has no hormones, artificial ingredients, soy or gluten. The reason why I usually say no to treats (or limit them at special occasions) is because of the negative impact they have on Reaghan's behavior. Mama's of 3-year-olds all know how hard behavior is on it's own, so I don't want to add any "help" in that area. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

Every time I give Rae a processed sweet, we have major meltdowns, tummy aches, and heightened emotions. With ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams, she's never had a bad reaction. Even for me, I've never had a stomach ache after eating it. That's saying a lot, in my opinion, since I just ate an "organic" oatmeal ball at a natural grocery store the other day and immediately had a stomach ache. Not all treats are created equal, so check those labels and especially the sugar content!

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

We make up this smoothie bowl into a drinkable smoothie as well if we are about to go play outside or leave the house! The rich Dutch Chocolate flavor makes this recipe so creamy and delicious. I like to mix and match my flavors so included a scoop of Dutch Chocolate and a scoop of Dark Chocolate Toffee for an extra strong chocolate flavor. I like really thick and creamy smoothies, so if you are wanting more of that consistency, add less almond milk. If serving to kids who need something a bit more drinkable (like we did in this recipe), go ahead with the entire 3/4 cup of almond milk. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Toffee ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream
  • 1 scoop Dutch Chocolate ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (optional but double's the protein!)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 stems of fresh mint leaves, removed from the stem

Instructions:

  1. Pour everything into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. As noted above, if you want this smoothie bowl (or plain smoothie!) more drinkable, add the full 3/4 cup. If you want the texture more thick, add a little bit less.

Take advantage of this online coupon! Buy 1 ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Cream and Get 1 Free now through 7/7, while supplies last. Use this store locator to find the closest store near you. 

Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl with ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams // Natasha Red Blog

What's your favorite summer treat for the kids (and yourself ;)) Share with me below or over on Instagram! 

4 Steps to Cooking Dinner with Less Stress + The Benefits!

I originally heard of preparing parts of dinner in advance from one of my most beloved cookbook authors, Jenny Rosenstrach. She talks about this quite a bit in her book Dinner, A Love Story. Prepping ahead is the idea that you can take components of a meal that are simple or CAN be made ahead and do what you can earlier in the day, so as to make the dinner time hours more enjoyable and less stressful. If you get a chance, I highly recommend this cookbook. Many parts read like a memoir and it's wonderful. 

An example of what you wouldn't want to do with this method would be to cut up white potatoes and let them sit (they will brown), or cook collard greens and let them sit (they will be terribly soggy and wet). What you can do is cook some brown rice ahead of time or chop up most vegetables for a meal so it's done in advance, for example. 

I cook this way all the time and it has been such a blessing to our family and to my own sanity! ;) 

I realize this is going to look different for everyone depending on what season of life you are in. When I was a single working woman, I often would have my mornings free and would work on campus until just before dinner. I'd have a short window for dinner, then back on campus for more ministry. During this time I very well could have prepped dinner in the morning, but for some of you, doing it the night before would be a better use of your time. As a stay at home mom of two who also runs a business, most of the time I'll get things prepped in small chunks throughout the day versus doing it all at once in the morning. Either way, here are my 4 steps to cooking dinner with less stress. 

1. Cook simple

The first thing you need to do is an inventory of the meals your family loves. You've heard me talk about it before, but set yourself up on a seasonal rotation - where you pick 16 dinners per season to rotate through. These should be simple meals your whole family loves, with few ingredients and ingredients you're used to. I'm not saying to never branch out of your comfort zone, but if you're wanting to save on money and stress at dinner-time; cooking simply is the first place to start. 

2. Get kids involved

I honestly think dinner prep goes better when I get Reaghan involved. She LOVES to help anyway, and it provides a fun activity for us to do together. It also means that I don't have to take up time while the kids are napping to cook, since that's the time I usually try to work or rest. This may not be possible for everyone, and some of you may not have kids! 

3. 10 minute chunks

I mentioned above that preparing dinner ahead usually looks like doing it in smaller chunks throughout the day for me. I've noticed that in this current season, Reaghan is especially needy most mornings. If she's busy playing or eating quietly, I try to get it done, but if she's really needing me, then I may do a bit during breakfast time, a bit mid-morning, and a bit around lunch time. Being a mom at home, I usually only have about 5 minute chunks to do things anyway, so this makes things fairly simple for me. I feel like I can accomplish anything if it's a small task rather than being overwhelmed by the big task, so give this a try too if you can! 

4. Do what you can

Instead of prepping day by day, maybe you cook up a whole bunch of meat over the weekend to add to meals throughout the week, or maybe you chop up all the veggies you need in advance. It never needs to be perfect and you don't have to do everything all at once. Just focus on doing what you can and then be grateful that it's done! Some days I don't get anything prepped ahead, and that's okay. Some days I really blow it and unexpected things happen that make me too tired to cook, and we end up eating out. It's all a balance that shifts with every season. 

 

Benefits

 

Saves time during the late afternoon

I hate the feeling of needing to leave the park or a friends house early to go home and make dinner. There have been countless days when I have gotten to have that deeper conversation with a friend, or just linger longer outside playing with the kids because I wasn't rushing us home to cook. My kids also need a ton of attention at about 5 o'clock - anyone else? I've learned that this is not the time to tackle a new project or be productive. It's really just a time for me to be still and play with them - whether it's cooking in the play kitchen (HA!), swinging outside, or legos on the floor - they just like to be close to me and I like it too! I hate saying "not right now" or "wait a minute" over and over. I'd rather be free to love on them how they need. 

For those working mama's, the LAST thing you want to do is start cooking a full meal when you get home. You want to spend that precious time with your family! I get that, and I think this method is perfect for you too! 

Lowers stress

We never know what the day will throw at us. We may need to deal with an unforeseen problem at work, an unexpectedly sick kiddo, or may just use that extra time to bless someone else! For me I find that I am able to spend time with friends and linger a bit with the kids - filling up their love tanks during a time of day where they truly need me the most, instead of beating them off me so I can make dinner. 

DSC_2033.jpg

I also notice that when I cook dinner earlier, I enjoy it so much more. Cooking has always been enjoyable for me, but when it's done at 5 o'clock with screaming demanding hungry babies on my feet, I like it a whole lot less :) This enables me to actually like feeding my family, which I know that for a lot of you is a real struggle, and also include my kids (well just Reaghan for now) in on the process! 

Saves money

We are more likely to eat at home if things are already cooked or well on their way to being fully cooked. Often times when we go over our miscellaneous budget, it's because we ate out more than we anticipated. The two main instigators of this is when we don't have a stocked fridge or when life throws us a curve ball and we're just too emotionally spent to do one more task like cook dinner. 

 

carrots.jpg

How I get it done

I wouldn't be able to cook this way if I didn't already have a plan for our meals previously set up. I use our Seasonal Meal Planner to keep me organized so that we lower the stress in the area of meals for our family.

The SMP allows you to plan your meals for the week in a simple way, while prompting you to use food as a means for building relationships and blessing others. It's also set up seasonally so you can make that seasonal rotation and not keep spinning your wheels each week when you go to make a menu plan! 

Right now we are all sold out of the SMP's, but the new editions will be coming out this fall! Sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram to stay up to date with when they will release! 

How to Cook Dinner with Less Stress

I originally heard of prepping parts of dinner in advance from one of my most beloved cookbook authors, Jennie Rosenplat (name spelling??). She talks about this quite a bit in her book Dinner, A Love Story. Prepping ahead is the idea that you can take components of a meal that are simple or CAN be made ahead and do what you can earlier in the day, so as to make the dinner time hours more enjoyable and less stressful. 

An example of what you wouldn't want to do with this would be to cut up white potatoes and let them sit (they will brown), or cook collard greens and let them sit (they will be terribly wilty and wet). What you can do is cook some brown rice ahead of time or chop up all your vegetables and season them so all you have to do is throw them in the oven to roast around dinner time. 

I cook this way all the time and it has been such a blessing to our family and to my own sanity! ;) 

I realize this is going to look different for everyone depending on what season of life you are in. When I was a single working woman, I often would have my mornings free and would work on campus until just before dinner. I'd have a short window for dinner, then back on campus for more ministry. During this time I very well could have prepped dinner in the morning, but for some of you, doing it the night before would be a better use of your time. As a stay at home mom or two who also runs a business, most of the time I'll get things prepped in small chunks throughout the day versus doing it all at once in the morning. Either way, I think this kind of cooking has a ton of benefits that I hope to outline in this post! :) 

Cook simple

Get kids involved

10 minute chunks

- prep a few things in chunks throughout the day, if you can. 

Do what you can

Instead of prepping day by day, maybe you cook up a whole bunch of meat over the weekend to add to meals throughout the week, or maybe you chop up all the veggies you need. It never needs to be perfect and everything doesn't need to be done, just focus on doing what you can and then be grateful that it's done!

 

 

Benefits

saves time during the afternoon

lowers stress - we never know what the day will throw at us. We may need to deal with an unforeseen problem, an unexpectedly sick kiddo, or may just have the margin to bless someone else by visiting them for a little longer in the afternoon. For me I find that I am able to spend time with friends and linger a bit with the kids - filling up their love tanks during a time of day where they truly need me the most, instead of beating them off me so I can make dinner. 

I also notice that when I cook dinner earlier, I enjoy it so much more. Cooking has always been enjoyable for me, but when it's done at 5 o'clock with screaming demanding hungry babies on my feet, I like it a whole lot less. This enables me to actually like feeding my family, which I know that for a lot of you is a real struggle, and also include my kids (well just Reaghan for now) in on the process! 

saves money because we are more likely to eat at home if things are already cooked or well on their way to being fully cooked. Often times when we go over our miscellaneous budget, it's because we ate out more than we anticipated. It almost always is when we don't have a stocked fridge or when life throws us a curve ball and we're just too emotionally spent to do one more giant task like cook dinner. 

 

How I get it done

I wouldn't be able to cook this way if I didn't already have a plan for our meals previously set up. I use our Seasonal Meal Planner to keep me organized so that we lower the stess in the area of meals for our family. The SMP allows you to plan your meals for the week in a simple way, while prompting you to use food as a means for building relationshpis and blessing others. Right now we are all sold out of the SMP's, but the new editions will be coming out this fall! Sign up for our newsletter or follow along on Instagram to stay up to date with when they will release. 

Living Whole: My Health Routine

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Hyperbiotics, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #HealthiestDaysAhead   http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH.”

In my quest for healthy and whole living this year, there have been three things that have made a world of difference: exercise, vitamins, and food choices. These three things have helped me wean off of my PPD medication, have more energy throughout the day, a stronger digestive system and more stable moods. 

First, let me start by explaining what I mean by "whole" living. Last year our family underwent some major life changes that hit all at once. My husband lost his job twice, we bought a house and moved, had a baby, and I was suffering from PPD. As the year came to a close and January approached, I felt a pull towards pursuing my health in a more whole way - mind, body, soul, spiritual, and emotional.

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

My word for this year is rooted and this seeps into every aspect of living - building a firm foundation of healthy living for myself and prioritizing that. It probably goes without saying, but this is an ongoing journey for me that has lots of ups and downs. Regardless, I wanted to share what's been working for me in hopes that it would get you thinking about your own health! 

This journey has taken many forms, but in the mental, emotional and physical aspect, there have been a few changes I've made that have been key in changing my overall health for the better. 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

Exercise

I have never been an exercise girl. In fact, I've always hated it! But something shifted in me this year when I committed to exercising for 30 minutes a day for a whole month. I was surprised at how much my body needed that movement and benefited from the endorphins. Now, if I go a few days without it I feel super sluggish, bloated and all around less happy. It's crazy!

In order to prioritize exercise into my day while still being able to run my business, blog and raise two kiddos at home, I wake up very early in the morning. I wake up with my alarm at 4:45 am, make myself some tea and a snack and read for about an hour. At 6 am I change into my work out clothes, lay out my yoga mat and turn on an exercise video on my laptop. I work out for 30 minutes, tops, then get myself ready for the day in the last 15 minutes or so before my kids wake up. 

There are so many days where I want to spend longer lounging in bed reading, or would rather stay up later at night (making it near impossible for me to wake up at this hour), but I have learned that sticking to my morning routine sets me up for success for the rest of the day. I can actually pinpoint other unhealthy choices throughout the day when I skip this simple step. It's like a domino affect - when one piece falls, they all fall. For me, I know that if I've invested in myself before I ever have to meet the needs of my family, then I am much more energized to take care of others throughout the day. 

This Andy Stanley quote sums it up perfectly:

"We don't drift into good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there."

...and I'll add, with grace ;) 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

Probiotics 

I have many different vitamins I like to take on a daily basis and to support immune health during sickness, but the vitamin I want to focus on talking about today are my Hyperbiotics. These support my body's ability for proper nutrient absorption, energy, and mental clarity. 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

One of my goals this year has been to slowly wean off my PPD medication. Medication definitely served it's purpose and I am so grateful for it, but I was sensing that the time was approaching where I could get off of it. I started doing a lot of research about vitamins and supplements that I could add in to support my mood, patience, hormones and energy. This may come as a surprise to you, but in order to see positive changes in all of these areas, even the non-physical ones, I needed to go back to building up great gut health. 

Hyperbiotics actually has several different formulas designed to perfectly fit your needs. Nursing or pregnant mom? You want to be taking Pro-Mom to support a healthy growing baby. Reaghan takes the Pro-Kids and loves it! They are tiny chewable pearls that quickly melt in her mouth. I personally bounce between the Pro-15 (a great probiotic for anyone!) and the Pro-Women when I need some extra womanly support at certain times of the month ;)

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

The Pro-15 promotes daily relief from gas, bloating, and irregularity, while also re-populating your probiotic colonies. As you can see above, it's a super small pearl that is easy for me to swallow. They also carry an advanced formula of the Pro-15 which I look forward to taking to boost immunity during cold and flu season. 

I'm excited that Hyperbiotics can be found at Target, making it so easily assessable. It's just a good feeling to know I wont have to worry about running out or having to wait a long shipping time to get my probiotics. 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

One of the reasons I love Hyperbiotics so much is because they use a patented manufacturing process called LiveBac® that enables them to guarantee the viability of their formulas for 18 months after the date of manufacture with zero refrigeration. This means I can throw them into my vitamin holder like the grandma I am and not worry about forgetting to take them daily! Yay!

And here's why I feel like their quality is superior to others out there: Hyperbiotics formulas benefits release over an 8-to-10-hour period and cause the probiotics to survive past stomach acids, which other probiotics cannot do. This means longer lasting and more concentrated benefits for my body, which I love. If my family is going to spend the money on supplements, I want to know they are the best. Visit hyperbiotics.com to learn more about this amazing brand and #followyourgut to Target to pick up a bottle of your own. 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

Food

The gut has been called by some as the "second brain" and is known as the center of our health. It may seem bizarre to think that our emotions are tied to food and supplements, but they totally are! For instance, sugar is a huge culprit in negative mood swings, headaches, sluggishness or the feeling of "fogginess." I've seen that wheat can even have this kind of affect on me as well. For this reason, I've noticed that when I cut out all refined sugars and grains + limit my intake to a few carefully selected sweeteners, my mood is stable and my mind is clear from the fog!

I still struggle with the self control to say "no" when I could indulge in a little something that is processed. This is especially true at family gatherings. But as I learn more, small changes are taking place to plan ahead for those times. 

Here's an example of my breakfast as of late, and you can also check out this insta post to see a typical full day of food for me. 

My Health Routine - exercise, vitamins + good food! Featuring Hyperbiotics probiotics // NR Blog

How do you take care of your health and what are your top priorities? I'd love to hear!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Probiotics support many facets of overall health when taken regularly as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Spring Recipe Inspiration

Happy Spring! This beautiful weather in Texas is giving new life to our little family, and we are spending hours and hours outside enjoying it! I have to soak it up as much as possible before the sweltering temps take over, ha! I have been asked on Instagram for some go-to recipes for the Spring, so I thought I'd share a few favorites here with you! 

All of these recipes would also be great for the summer months. A lot of the produce in the spring and summer overlap, but for a full list, check out our Seasonal Meal Planners! 


Honey Roasted Whole Carrots from The Speckled Palete

With simple ingredients...these look divine. I'm a big fan of throwing a meat and veggie on a sheet pan and baking it for a simple dinner option. I bet you could marinade or glaze some chicken thighs with the same sauce as these carrots have and it would make a super yummy meal!

Berry Acai Bowl from My Cooking Spot

Oh my gosh does this look delicious? Just the ingredients list makes me hungry for one! Perfect refreshing snack for the Spring. 

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Mustard Coleslaw from The Speckled Palate

Oh my gosh this is so yummy...this went on my slow cooker night rotation as soon as I saw it. I already have most of these ingredients in my pantry/fridge and I bet you do too! I love to grab a bag of pre-made cabbage and carrot coleslaw and then make THIS RECIPE later in the week with it! 

Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers from The Minimalist Baker

These are super easy to make and actually very filling even without any meat! Definitely a budget-friendly meal. I actually make 8 pepper halves and the stuffing makes enough to fill them all up! Perfect for leftovers for my husbands lunch and sometimes my breakfast ;) 

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Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil from Damn Delicious 

Um yes, this is damn delicious ;) Haha! Though this does take a few extra steps in the kitchen (simply boiling the potatoes and corn for about 20 minutes first) it's not that big of a deal and the flavor of the spices + shrimp + sausage make everything worth it. 

What are your favorite spring recipes? I love getting new ideas from readers!