My own personal frappy hour

almond mocha smoothie

Years ago, when Jamie and I used to work out of various cafes around San Francisco, one of our regular haunts was the Starbucks on Fillmore. Wifi, seating, and available outlets were our main criteria.

sweat pink laptop skins starbucks

We’d usually begrudgingly order the same old tea with steamed soy, day after day, so sick of drinking tea but so aware of what a steal it was, in terms of rent cost.

I’ll never forget the day when, at the usually quiet-ish hour of 3pm—3:13pm to be exact—the store started filling up with all sorts of people. And these people behaved very strangely. Instead of going up and ordering, or avoiding eye contact with the baristas and grabbing a seat or an outlet without plunking down at least $1.85 for a tall coffee, they just stood there, near the counter, but not close enough to order.

Source
Image Source

They coagulated in the open area where a line usually forms, all of them just… waiting. No one stepped up; no one elbowed through to be first in line.

We watched this bizarre group coalescing until 3:30pm on the dot, when suddenly the horde rushed for the counter. Moments later, they left, one or two at a time, with giant, frothy, whipped-cream topped beverages and satisfied grins on their faces.

Frapp_Happy_Hour_Low_res
Image source

We later learned that was the first day of Frappy Hour, and we soon came to know that every day, eager sugar-hungry people would arrive just before 3:30 and wait, counting down the seconds until their blended concoction was available at half price.

Naturally, we took great delight in the spectacle of frappy hour. Who were these people, and why did they care so much that they arrived early to wait for frappy hour? Was this the best part of their day? And why, oh why, did so many people LIKE frappuccinos?

We took turns coming up with the most ridiculous sounding beverage, and threatening to order it for one another. We’d say, “I’m going to get you a venti mocha orange creamsicle mint cookie blast with apple caramel crumble and make you drink it!”

Mockery and juvenilia aside, I secretly wished I liked frappuccinos, especially as I ordered my boring hot tea day after day. I love the idea of an iced blended treat, and of adding in some variety into how I paid my rent; I just hated the taste and how the sugar content turned my stomach into a roiling queasy mess.

The fact is, I’m super boring when it comes to food and beverages. (Maybe purist is a kinder word). I like my coffee strong and black. I’ll take my nut butters without the sugar and oil and other additives. I think flavored yogurt is a crime against nature. I stick to a tried and true smoothie rut: frozen berries, spinach, plain yogurt, plain protein powder, almond butter. I know, I know, it’s almost criminal how much fun I am. 😉

mackenzie with berry smoothie

Done and done.

raspberry smoothie selfie

The other day, I was out of all those things. No yogurt in the fridge. No berries in the freezer. Nothing in the house but a fussy baby and a hangry me. I decided to improvise a smoothie without berries or yogurt (SAY WHAT?!).

I’d been using, and loving, Bob’s Red Mill protein powder—the unflavored one, thankyouverymuch—and scoured my pantry for anything, anything, I could add to turn plain ol’ protein powder into a meal.

berry smoothie bob's red mill protein powder
Did I mention I ONLY drink berry smoothies?

I found, first, the cute little card that Bob’s Red Mill sent with the protein powders, with various recipes on it. I happened to have all the ingredients for their oatmeal cookie smoothie (well, no dates, but hey, close enough).

Bob's Red Mill smoothie recipe card

Hmm, I thought. That sounds like something I’d hate. But maybe it’s worth a go. What do I have to lose?

Answer: half a cup of oatmeal, a cup of almond milk, and a scoop of chai protein powder that I had not yet opened and already decided I disliked. 

In went the ingredients, with some almond butter to make up for the missing dates, and some peanut butter granola on top for an extra crunch.

oatmeal cookie smoothie

Guess what, guys? I fucking loved it. It was a fucking perfect afternoon treat that made me feel all yummy inside and kept me full until dinnertime. It tasted exactly how I wanted a frappuccino to taste, only so much better. It tasted like a grown up, balanced, healthy frothy beverage that just happened to have protein powder in it.

I loved it so much I had a second one for dessert later that night.

And then I tried all the other Bob’s Red Mill flavors that I had so judgily decided I didn’t like, and I fucking love those too.

almond mocha smoothie
This one’s called an Almond Mocha. I should categorically HATE it, but I can’t get enough. I would totes show up early and wait in line for this.

 

That plain flavor that I swore by when I first got my package is sitting, lonely and abandoned, in my pantry while I celebrate healthy frappy hour in my kitchen on the daily.

 

bob's red mill chocolate smoothie
With cacao nibs and hemp hearts on top? Hellz yeah.

 

I’m revising those frappy threats into a way more positive version:

I’m going to give you a chocolate peanut butter / oatmeal cookie / vanilla frappy and be jealous while you drink it.

This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions & strong language are my own. I really do love this stuff, and I also love it when you support the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

Our get out of the house morning routine

Nathan and I have split up childcare by time of day, meaning I take Mackenzie in the mornings and he takes her in the afternoons, so we can each get some work done. (More on how that’s working, or not working, in an upcoming post!)

I’ve found that for the sake of my sanity, we have to get out of the house in the mornings. Otherwise I end up still in pajamas, with makeup creased down my face, and the crazies in my head spinning out of control.

alyse mackenzie warrior 2 zilker park
Yay, we made it to the park!
tigger stick at zilker
Tigger loves this routine, too.

Of course, getting out of the house with a baby is an art that for first time moms, takes some practice to get used to. Some mornings, just brushing my hair feels like a major accomplishment—forget loading up the baby, stroller, and diaper bag into the car and getting ourselves somewhere else. My sunglasses and keys always seem to be in different rooms, and I never have enough hands to pacify a screaming baby, find my stuff, and get out the door.

That said, over the last few weeks I’ve been consciously working on a routine that seems to ease those roadblocks to getting out. Here’s what’s helped us:

Collect your belongings the night before

alyse mac tigger with diaper bag
I learned the hard way you always, always need your diaper bag with you. Whoops.

Every night after Mac falls asleep, I spend about 10 minutes collecting all the rogue items that have scattered around the apartment: pacifier, my wallet, headphones, diaper bag, water bottle, baby carrier, etc, and load them back into the diaper bag so that’s ready to go in the morning. I also restock  the diaper bag with diapers, burp cloths, and backup outfits.

Have a get-everyone-fed routine

We start the morning with Mackenzie’s (fourth) breakfast, then after a diaper change, I put her in her bouncy chair so I can make coffee and a smoothie. Feeding and caffeinating myself is so important and really affects the rest of our day.

alyse mackenzie smoothie

My smoothie is a protein explosion that also includes oats and spinach to help with milk supply.

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie ingredients

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie and baby

I’m super in to the new Hemp Protein Smoothie from Manitoba Harvest – the berry flavor is delicious, and it includes greens. One less ingredient to pull out of the fridge!

Just fucking go

It’s really easy to get caught up in “oh, maybe I should wait until after her next meal / diaper / nap before I go” decision fatigue. Whenever I find myself waffling, I remind myself to just fucking go. Nursing, diaper changing, and naps can all happen in the car / in public / wherever they need to happen.

mackenzie napping postnatal yoga
This nap happened during our postnatal yoga class. She’s so good at savasana.

 

alyse mackenzie at zilker
This is also a nap. Funny thing, we get way better nap results when we’re out and about.

 

So that’s how we’re doing it, so far. It’s far from perfect; it still takes us an embarrassing amount of time to leave the house and also to come back in. But at least we’re out and about. 🙂

Staying holiday healthy

I’ve been doing a ton of traveling lately. In less than three weeks, I bounced around between 5 different cities on the west coast without a single stop at home.

There was the wedding in Monterey:

nara's wedding seagull officiant

 carmel beach triangle pose

A work meeting in San Francisco:

Obviously, this is not my actual meeting...
Obviously, this is not my actual meeting…

Thanksgiving in Tahoe:

swan pose tahoe jamie alyse tigger dancer pose tahoe

A visit in Sacramento:

ted alyse dogs tree pose granite bay

And studio prep in Portland.

liz alyse jamie flex and flow

Not too shabby an itinerary, eh? Luckily, I did the long hauls via plane; I’ve found that more than two hours in the car puts my back and body into a cranky, stiff, whiny funk, so I’ve opted out of as much driving as possible. Even so, all the air travel and the changes in elevation and the new environments take their toll, especially since with each city, this baby bump just. gets. bigger.

(Also, my face keeps getting puffier. As do my cankles. The zippers on my boots are at half mast, and I had to order a new pair of sneakers, 2 sizes larger than my go-to Converse).

What’s a girl to do when her cankles outgrow her calves?

Well, pack some snacks, naturally.

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All the snacks. I am the crazy snack lady on the plane who does nothing but respond to emails and eat snacks.

Outfit + lunchskins: coordinated. #suchanerd
Outfit + lunchskins: coordinated. #suchanerd

Luckily, I’ve yet to get sick or suffer any real repercussions from all this travel and airport time. I attribute it to (a) all the snacks, especially the vitamin C-packed mandarins I’ve been inhaling, (b) obsessively washing my hands, (c) avoiding plane bathrooms as much as (pregnantly) humanly possible, and (d) staying really well hydrated. I’m kind of wrapped up and in love with SOS’s recovery drink right now. Even though it’s intended for exercise or hangover recovery, I’ve been using it as prevention and recovery for my generally compromised immune system. It’s also a nice way to hydrate that is not water (boring!), coconut water (gross!), or Gatorade (those chemicals can’t be good for Moonshine!). The mango flavor is bomb.com and since it’s a powder, you can take on an airplane or anywhere else you go. 

travel essentials SOS rehydrate Hemp heart bar

I keep the handy little packs in my purse along with my bars and my prenatal vitamins and my nut butter packets and …. all the other things.

SOS rehydrate

There’s so much packed into my purse already it’s hard to imagine just how much I’ll be lugging around when she’s actually here and has her own independent needs. I guess I’m just practicing the mom thing already.

Packing in all the protein

I don’t usually do WIAW posts, but I’ve been experimenting with Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter and have literally been including it in everything I eat (protein explosion! whee!), so wanted to share all the versatile ways I’ve been using it. Also, it’s Thursday, so I guess this isn’t really a WIAW post. 

I’m supposed to get between 80-100 grams of protein a day to help this baby grow, and since I’ve been mostly ambivalent toward meat, I’ve been working on better ways to pack more protein into every meal.

Breakfast:

mighty nut smoothie

In the smoothie. My go-to smoothie is yogurt, spinach, frozen berries, Mighty Nut, and Hemp Pro70 protein powder. Usually with a splash of water to help my low-powered blender combine all those things into the delightful combination they are. I like using the powdered peanut butter instead of regular nut butters for pure laziness’ sake: less cleanup. It’s also lower fat and lower calories than peanut butter, if that’s something you care about. I think Tigger misses having a regular spoon to lick, though.

Oh, and topped with hemp hearts, of course!

mighty nut spoon hemp hearts smoothie

Lunch:

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I’ve been making these protein packed salads with eggs, avocado, nuts, more hemp hearts, and tons of veggies. Sometimes with a little salmon added on top if I can stomach salmon and if I haven’t had much fish that week.

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I top it all off with a peanut dressing because peanut dressing makes everything more delicious.

Oh, and the protein doesn’t hurt, either.

My peanut sauce recipe isn’t exactly a recipe; I don’t measure. But here’s what goes into it, to taste. 

Peanut Sauce non-recipe

  • Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter – usually the original, sometimes flax & chia
  • Tamari
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Minced ginger
  • red curry paste
  • Togarashi (or regular red pepper flakes – but omg, if you have togarashi, it takes your sauce to a whole new level)
  • and some warm water to help it all mix together into the right consistency

I’ll often make enough peanut sauce to have it for dinner, too. And lunch the next day. And dinner. And… you get the picture. 😉

Dinner

2015-10-19 12.44.57

Roasted veggies, avocado, peanut-sauce marinated tofu, and… wait for it… peanut sauce! Often there’s also rice underneath and/or a fried egg on top. I could eat this every day. It’s the perfect meal. My husband doesn’t agree so sometimes I have to eat other things.

Dessert

I haven’t been all that into sweets lately, but sometimes I WANT to want to eat something sweet. Like, hello, I’m pregnant, I should be eating ice cream. I should be DEMANDING ice cream.

 

So I started having double peanut butter yogurt for dessert. I mix Mighty Nut (usually chocolate, because duh), plus a tiny bit of agave, into plain yogurt, and then top with peanut butter granola. It’s the perfect not too sweet, protein-filled end of day treat.

 

Oh – and if you want an actual dessert, albeit a very healthy, low sugar, protein-packed one, check out these yummy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Here’s a sneak peek: 

 

Fit body bakery cookies plated

 

This baby will probably be born either with a deep and unshakable love for nuts and nut butters… or she’ll be allergic. Praying to any and all powers she’s not allergic. There’s just so much joy in nut butters. 🙂

 

Hopefully I’ve got you salivating for peanut butter. And hopefully you want to try some Mighty Nut of your own. (If not, never speak to me again).

 

You can win a flavor of your choice (woot!) by entering below!

 

 

Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Mighty Nut. All opinions and obsessions are my own. I so appreciate you supporting the brands that support the sweat pink community!

Baking healthy and busting stress

Ever since college, I’ve used baking as a way to beat stress. Finals would find me up to my ears in batter and surrounded by a throng of salivating roommates.

I’d spend hours meticulously decorating sugar cookies with my vast sprinkle collection. It was a soothing way to avoid Chaucer or Faulkner and retreat back into happy memories with my mom and brothers, decorating holiday cookies or just-because cookies.

Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.
Yes, those are dinosaur sprinkles on the left. Be jealous.

 

Now that third trimester is nearly here and the fatigue has me limited to basically one active pursuit a day, I’ve turned to baking again to help keep me chilled out. And since a multi-hour operation felt a little daunting, I was extra grateful to have a cookie mix by Fit Body Bakery to test out:

Fit Body bakery conquer it cookie instructions

The concept is awesome: it’s a healthy cookie base that you can keep as-is or add to until you create the cookie of your dreams. For all you gluten-free, paleo, and/or no-refined-sugar folks, these mixes were MADE for you.

I’m not any of those things, but I love the idea of (a) a simple cookie base that I can use as a starting point for anything, and (b) a kitchen helper for those times I need to bake with certain dietary restrictions in mind. Being in the fitness industry, I am often around and eating with people with the above dietary preferences… and I wouldn’t have the first clue where to start if I had to make a sweet treat they could actually enjoy!

The mix is super easy: all you need is an egg, some kind of fat (I used butter), and water. Easy peasy.

Fit Body Bakery ingredients and mixer

Of course, I wasn’t stopping there. I knew I had to make cookies in my favorite combo: peanut butter and chocolate. To keep with the healthy theme, I used Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter with flax & chia.

I just mixed the Mighty Nut with water as indicated on the package, and added it to the mix.

These were on track to being the healthiest stress buster cookies I had ever created.

Fit Body Bakery dough in mixer

 

The dough came together really easily. I found I needed to add a tiny bit more water than is called for to get it to all stick together.

 

Fit Body Bakery cookies on sheet

 

Love this – a workout while you wait for your cookies. Because you know those are the longest ten minutes EVER.

Fit Body Bakery mix box bake time workout

The cookies came out fluffy and pretty – no collapsing or flattening at all.

 

 

Fit Body bakery cookies baking sheet overhead

Fit Body Bakery cookies out of the oven

Fit body bakery cookies plated

They have a nice, light, and melty texture that totally worked for me. Again. And again.

And if you weren’t convinced yet, here’s the kicker: my husband, an ardently anti-healthy-cookies person, liked them too.

Want to try a Fit Body Bakery mix for yourself? There’s also muffins, brownies, and pancakes, oh my! Use the code SP15 for 15% off at FitBodyBakery.com. Expires 11/30/15.

I received a mix of Fit Body Bakery Conquer It Cookies and a package of Mighty Nut to try. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support the #sweatpink community!