Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bites

Y’all, these protein bites are freaking delicious. Like, flavor-explosion, peanut-buttery goodness delicious. And with them making a weekly appearance around here, I don’t know how it has taken me so long to put out this recipe! When I started making these a couple years ago, I based them off of another recipe. But recently I realized just how much they have changed from that original recipe! So it’s time to finally share it with you!

I’ve experimented a lot with different protein bites, balls, and bars over the past couple of years and these are, without fail, the ones that we come back to every time! Draz has them every day as a snack and has for a long time now. I’ve recently been having them between Job 1 and Job 2 to help me power through those last couple hours!

Enjoy!

 

no-bake-protein-balls
Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
40-60 bites 15-20 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
40-60 bites 15-20 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
no-bake-protein-balls
Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
40-60 bites 15-20 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
40-60 bites 15-20 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: bites
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine protein powder, peanut butter, honey, vanilla and almond milk. Mix well until smooth.
  2. Add rolled oats, 1 cup at a time, mixing well. Then add in the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, to make rolling the protein bites easier to roll.
  4. To roll - pinch off roughly 1 tbsp of mixture and hand roll. Store in fridge.
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Hearty & Healthy Meal Prep for Two

Ever have those weeks where you are just bored of everything you usually eat? That has definitely be me lately! I’ve been all about the new recipes and this week’s meal prep is no exception! I can’t wait to share all of these foods with you!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share recipes with you for some of them just yet….I am still testing them out, so it will be a bit!

Enjoy!

A delicious variety of healthy and hearty dishes to get your week started off right! Meal prep can help you stay on track all week long!


To start things off, our two dishes of the week that I DO have recipes for! Deconstructed Pizza Casserole and Slow Cooker Tomato, Kale and Quinoa Soup. The Pizza Casserole is always a favorite of ours and, as you can see, that holds true! We couldn’t even wait until the photos were taken to eat some haha!

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Next up, a pan roasted veggies and chicken sausage dish and a couple styles of burrito bowls. These turned out well, but still need some tweaking before I’m ready to share the recipe! Here are a couple similar style dishes that I’ve made before and loved!

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For our snacks and sides this week, I tried some new things as well! Along with my Healthier Cinnamon Bread and our protein balls (recipe will finally be posted later this week!!), I made some peanut butter and banana roll-ups and a turkey pinwheel. I should have the recipes for those for you next week!

That’s it for this week! You can try out the two main dishes that I had recipes for and download your grocery list for them here:

I know this week’s meal prep was pretty short (and a day late….) but I hope you will bear with me! Hopefully I will have plenty of new recipes ready to share with you soon!

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Hydration and Why It’s Important

I know you all know that hydration is important. But do you really understand why? It’s more than just a simple replacing the water you lose throughout the day. Proper hydration affects brain function, digestion, energy levels, skin and hair quality, and so much more!

staying-hydrated-takeya

Now, water intake can be from more than just drinking water. Watery foods such as soups and yogurt, vegetables like oranges, watermelon and salad greens, even coffee and soda can all go towards your hydration! So, with all of these things counting towards our hydration, the average individual honestly gets enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated. So why am I talking about it?!

Because a lot of you are into fitness like I am and busy like I am! Individuals that exercise not only need to drink more water to replace what is lost through sweat and breath, but exercise also inhibits indicators of thirst! So while you may be hitting the gym hard during a session or sweating it out on a run and feel like you don’t need to drink any water, you most likely do!

staying-hydrated-takeya

Thirst is actually one of the worst indicators of dehydration. Instead, it is recommended to drink enough to replace the weight lost during your average workout session. Even beyond that, it is important not to take in too much plain water, throwing off the body’s sodium levels! Instead, switch to a sports drink or take electrolyte tablet during longer workout sessions.

Some things that can be effected by hydration levels

  • heart rate
  • digestion
  • metabolic rate
  • brain performance
  • physical performance
  • skin and hair health
  • body temperature
  • energy levels

So, why am I talking to you about this right now? Because along with getting out of balance on my workout routine this past 6 months, I also found myself routinely dehydrated. This was my own fault, mostly due to letting the time get away from me and being very task focused. But did you realize that even a 2% drop in hydration can decrease brain performance? How much of an easier time would I have had if I had stayed properly hydrated? So here are some things that I am doing to make sure I stay better hydrated now!

importance-of-hydration

  • Make sure I’m always carrying my water bottle! (I love my Takeya one)
  • Set a timer for every 30 minutes to take a sip
  • Track how many bottles I have drank each day to check in

Is hydration something that you have struggled with? What do you do to make sure that you stay properly hydrated?

(Also, you can check out this post from REI for some further reading!)

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Light & Savory Meal Prep

Are you ready for this week’s meal prep?! I have been looking forward to sharing it with you ALL WEEK! Not only was this prep super simple and inexpensive to throw together, but it also is delicious and flavorful! I’ve really been in the mood for new foods right now, so there are a couple new recipes in here too!

Enjoy!

Get your week off to a delicious start with this savory meal prep!

To start things off, our one repeat recipe – Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken. Y’all, I seriously love this recipe. Not only is it super flavorful, but there are so many ways to eat it! Over rice or noodles, with scrambled eggs, in a sandwich or wrap or even on it’s own! No matter how you eat it, it’s gonna be tasty. This week Draz and I both seemed to be into the wraps, so that is mostly how we had them. I love putting a bit of shredded mozzarella in with it!

So. Good.

healthy-weekly-meal-prep

Ok, on to one of our new recipes! Kale and Cauliflower Soup. This ended up being my lunch every day and it was so tasty! While I am a big fan of eating meat, this soup was hearty enough that I didn’t even notice it’s absence. Add to it being super quick to put together and it is definitely on the “make again” list!

The only real change I made was that I used chicken stock instead of vegetable, since that is what I had on hand.

A word of caution though….

So, in my flow of cooking, I forgot one essential rule while I was making this soup. When blending hot soups, you really should only fill halfway. Also, you should take the cap off of the lid and cover with a towel to allow steam to escape.

Did I do either of these things? Nope!

Not only that, I couldn’t figure out right away why this explosion of hot soup happened….so I poured some back into the pot and proceeded to try again. Only to have it explode again! Yup, I was that person. So, if you like to blend soups to thicken them up like I do, make sure you don’t forget that rule haha!

chicken-sausage-cabbage-and-mushrooms-stir-fry

And on to less-explosive dishes….our other main dish this week was a cabbage and chicken sausage saute. I didn’t really follow a recipe on this one, since it was mostly planned to use up extra ingredients.

For this particular saute, I used

  • cajun chicken sausage
  • broccoli (1 medium head)
  • cabbage (roughly 3 c chopped)
  • onion (1 medium)
  • mushrooms, sliced (8 oz)
  • seasonings, mainly garlic and some red pepper flakes

Overall it turned out great! I do wish that I would have had more cabbage on had to bulk it up a bit, but it was delicious!

healthy-meal-prep-for-two

We opted to try out the noodle bowls again with a slightly different mixture. This one had

  • thin spaghetti
  • kale
  • mixed frozen vegetables
  • shredded carrot
  • a spice mixture of curry bullion and garlic chili paste – I lessened this compared to last week and I think I need to find the in-between of these two weeks spices. I will be experimenting and let you know!

That’s pretty much it for this week! Want to give it a try for yourself? Get this week’s meal prep grocery list here –

This week’s questions (trying out something new!):

Have you been experimenting with any new dishes lately?

What is your favorite way to use up veggies? 

What book have you been reading or recently read?

Leave your answers below!

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Maintaining Balance in Your Life

With the topics over the last couple of weeks, is it any surprise that I want to talk to you about maintaining balance? It can be frightfully easy to lose balance and focus in your life. And once lost, it can be so hard to get it back in place! It is a way of thinking and going through your daily life….thoughtful, focused and with intention.

In our day-to-day life, it is easy to lose that intentionality. Instead, we go through the motions, allowing whatever grabs our focus or is the more immediate need to take over. It’s understandable – you see something that needs to be done, you want to get that thing done.

In that way, it was easy for me to get so focused on my business and the week-to-week craziness that was my first holiday season. It became the overwhelming priority, taking away time from sleep, my fitness routine, house care, dates, pretty much everything!

As I teetered on the edge of massive burnout this past few months, I realized that I couldn’t continue like this. After all, what is building all of this worth if I’m too exhausted to enjoy any of it!? Sadly, I was so deep in the market season at that point that it was all I could do to push through and get through it…vowing that I would make major changes for 2018.

So now, I want to share these changes with you! While I know that all of our situations are unique, I hope that maybe some of my changes, boundaries and strategies can help you obtain more balance in your own life.

How I Plan to Maintain Balance in 2018

  • Unless sick, I will work out a minimum of 3 times a week.
    • While I want to aim for 6, this allows for my work schedule and also some more flexibility once market season starts up again.
  • I’m not to be in my studio past 11:30 on a workday. This means that there are a few days a week I can’t really be in the studio due to my work schedule, but it will make sure I’m getting more down time and the needed amount of sleep!
    • On that note, I created a second studio in my basement so that my jewelry creating is done in the studio instead of our living room. That gives me some more separation and allows me to actually be done for the day!
  • Schedule out each week in advance, including activities that I will enjoy (activities that in the past I have been really bad about making time for)
    • and making sure I pay attention to how long tasks will take!
  • Doing at least one fun non-businessy social activity a month.
    • This can be an outing with Women on Adventures in Des Moines, dinner with a friend, etc. Something to recharge my energy and get me away from work.
  • 1 date night per month.
    • Now, this sounds like a small amount, but honestly, Draz and I are together all the time. And my schedule is nuts. Any more than that is unlikely to actually occur and sadly it’s still more than we did most of this year.

Now, there are other things that I’m sure will come up throughout the year. But hopefully, these things will allow me to maintain a bit more balance in my life. As you see, these things are really specific to my life and how my life gets out of balance. So when figuring these out for yourself, it’s important to really take a hard look at your own life!

Where is Your Life Out of Balance?

  • What do you spend most of your time on?
  • Do you find yourself wishing for something often? (social outings, dates, me time, etc)
  • Do you deal with burn-out often? Is it centered around something specific?
  • Are you wasting time mindlessly? (like, in my case, mindlessly watching something during my downtime instead of choosing something I will truly enjoy)
  • Do you find yourself constantly overwhelmed? Is there are common thread in that overwhelm?

These are just some questions to get you started, but I hope you can use them to help you maintain more balance in 2018 and beyond!

Is balance something you struggle with in your own life? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

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Veggie-Filled Meal Prep

Oh. My. Gosh. Y’all….seriously, this meal prep is delicious! I have been excited to share this meal prep with you ALL WEEK. 3 new recipes, including one impulse decided-to-make-during-prep type of recipe haha. Usually I’m not one to impulse make dishes that aren’t planned out, but this one I just had to give a try! And when you already have all the ingredients needed and ready…well, it’s an easy and delicious decision to make!

Get your week started right with this delicious, veggie-filled food prep for two!

meal-prep-healthy

So, to kick things off, our snacks and smaller meal! The snacks were pretty basic – my celery and sliced turkey and Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls! The smaller meal was the impulse make, inspired by a recipe I saw on Instagram! These are basically a healthier and tastier version of cup noodles, and far more satisfying too!

noodle-cup-weekly-meal-prep

Mine included:

  • a mixture of curry base, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil on the bottom
  • frozen corn
  • shredded napa cabbage
  • chopped broccoli
  • cooked thin spaghetti

Overall, pretty basic, right!? But oh so good. You just add boiling water and let it “steep” for a while, then enjoy! And there are so many options. I think this will become a regular addition to our meal prep.

veggie-weekly-food-prep

For our main dishes this week – Skinny Lasagna Rolls, Slow Cooker Quinoa, Chicken, and Kale Soup, and Honey Sriracha Chicken Noodle Bowls! The last two were new to us and will definitely be made again! I can honestly say this is one of the best meal preps we have had in a while! It was so nice to mix things up and make some new foods, especially ones with veggies (Our veggies have been a bit lacking/basic lately)!

I didn’t even make much for changes this week! One main change to tell you about – For the Kale Soup, I used pre-cooked quinoa that I had in the freezer. I took it out to thaw the day before and added it in when I took the chicken out to shred. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it worked beautifully! I’m sure it would be great the way the recipe has it, but we had some already prepped that I wanted to use up first.

Want to give this one a try? Get your grocery list here!

So that’s it for this week’s meal prep! Have you tried any new recipes lately that you’ve loved? I would love to hear about them!

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Restarting Your Workout Routine

As I mentioned last week, the second half of 2017 was missing a lot of balance for me. One of the biggest things lacking was a steady workout routine! As my jewelry business kinda took over my life and my focus, I allowed it to create excuses for me too. I couldn’t go to the gym…I had jewelry to finish up! Now, some of that was legitimate. But at lot of it was lack of focus on the bigger picture and what I truly needed.

So here I am, markets and the holiday season done for now. It’s a new year and I want it to be a year of balance! Of growth, yes, but not at the sacrifice of my health and happiness. And one of the ways to maintain that? With a steady workout routine!

But it can be hard to get back into a workout routine after you have been skipping for a while. You know you want to do it and that you will feel better when you do. But you’ve also gotten used to having that extra time! So how do you get back into your routine? Or better yet, set a new and better one?

There are a lot of ways to go about it, but here is how I have worked to set a routine that works for me and that (I hope) will help keep me on track even when market season comes around again!

fitness-routine-planner-plum-paper

  • Take a hard look at your current schedule.
    • What things are immovable? I currently have my FT job, PT job, and sleep. Those are the regular things on my schedule that can’t or shouldn’t be changed!
    • Do you have any big time-wasters that need to be removed from your current routine?
  • Do you have a time of day you prefer to workout? Does that time of day work for your set schedule?
  • Is there anything you need to change or add in that would help you be successful?
    • These could be things like packing your bag and/or food the day before. Meal prepping if you don’t already. Changing from a routine at the gym to one at home if the travel time is what is stopping you.
  • Write it down! Set your week in advance and write in your workouts.
    • Not just the word “workout” but when and even what workout you are going to be doing! Make sure to plan in roughly how long the workout is going to take.
  • Allow for some give, especially at first. Going from not working out to 6-7 days a week is not usually feasible.
    • I am aiming for 6 a week, but my minimum is 3. If I hit 3 and miss the rest, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I don’t stop trying for 6, but it does mean that I don’t beat myself up as much for missing!
  • Need some extra motivation? Join in a movement online and use others to help you with that extra push!
    • The one I’m loving right now is the #IAmLimitless movement with FitApproach! Check out the Instagram feed here!

fitness-journey-YMCA

It has felt great to get back into the gym on a regular basis and to feel more fit and healthy again! And I want that feeling for you too!

Are you just getting back into your routine? What tools or tips are you using to help you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

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Weekly Meal Prep

I’m so excited to be back on here, sharing my weekly meal prep with you all! I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed this the last few months! To be honest, my eating towards the end of market season left something to be desired. I was still prepping, but I was impulse eating more and not planning as well for meals at markets by the end of it. I am so excited to get my food back on track and using meal prep to do it!

Get your week started off right with this delicious food prep!

This week’s meal prep is a bit smaller than you are probably used to. While I was getting ready for market season, I prepped extra for the freezer to make things a bit easier. It was such a huge help! But we do have some of the extra prep left over, so we have been using that for part of our meals to get it used up!

I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep dish with you though! It’s a new dish to us: Healthy Broccoli Chicken Casserole! I love getting recipes from Slim Sanity and this one was no exception! I love the flavor in this casserole. The only thing I would change up was likely my own fault. It was a bit dry, but I’m pretty sure that is due to me increasing the amount of chicken, rice and broccoli without increasing the “sauce” enough. I will definitely be making this one again, with some minor tweaks!

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I did make some changes to the original recipe. All the ingredients are basically the same, but I didn’t really measure much of the main components for the casserole. Here is what I used:

  • 3 large broccoli heads (roughly 4-5 cups chopped)
  • roughly 1 1/2 lbs chicken, shredded.
  • roughly 1 1/2-2 c jasmine rice (thawed from frozen)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/2 c shredded Italian blend cheese (in place of Mozzarella)
  • 1/2 c shredded Fiesta blend cheese (in place of cheddar)

Most of these changes were based on just what we had around the house, like the cheese. I had frozen the chicken and rice (separately) before and I’m honestly not quite sure how much there was.

quick-food-prep

Other items on the prep list: Healthier Cinnamon Bread, Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls and a celery and lunchmeat combo snack! The cinnamon bread remains one of our staple dishes and Draz and I have a slice of it every day! The protein balls are mostly Draz’s, though I’ve been having them between my FT and PT jobs lately to get me through til dinner. As for the combo snack, that is all mine! I’ve been playing with different snacks again for me and this is my most recent one. Not sure if I will stick to it or not, but I’m enjoying it for now!

While the protein balls are loosely based on this recipe, they have changed quite a bit over time! Make sure to keep an eye out, because I plan on writing a recipe post for them soon!

Want to make this menu for yourself? Sign up for my email list and get it sent directly to you!

That’s it for this week’s meal prep! How are you faring with your meal prep post-holidays? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below or shoot me an email!

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2018 and Setting Goals: Are You Ready for an Amazing Year?

Oh. My. Gosh….I can’t believe it! I’m finally back and is is wonderful! I don’t know if I can truly express just how much I have missed blogging these past few months. It has been the longest I have gone without posting since I started the blog!

The last 6 months (especially these past 3) have really taught me something. While it is wonderful to have drive and to push yourself, you can’t lose sight of your balance! Well, my friends, my balance in 2017 was pretty much nonexistent. Between my jobs, my business and being here, I ran myself into the ground….And failing to do many of the things I talk about on here. Things I believe in!

But, I got through it and now I’m ready to get back that lost balance! I will be talking about that more in the coming weeks. Today, I want to talk about GOALS! As the new year comes around, we all shift our focus to what we did (and didn’t) achieve in the past year. We get fired up to set new goals and DO ALL THE THINGS! And that is great, really.

But you want to make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure as well. It is great to set goals and want to push yourself, but going crazy isn’t going to help you at all! So I encourage you, take a look at your life and what you want your life to be. Is there something missing? Something that stands out that you want to improve upon?

I also want to encourage you to pick a word…a intention that really embodies what you want this year to be about. I’ve heard of this practice before, but I honestly haven’t given it much thought. But as I’ve been planning out some changes I want to make and practices I want to put in place for 2018, I’ve found this to be invaluable. Each time I look at a change or something I want to do, I ask myself (and sometimes Draz!) if it is helping me move towards that intention.

My word for 2018? You guessed it….BALANCE. I love the life I’m building and I’m okay with it taking a lot of work to create. But I don’t want to become so focused on the work that I miss the actual life part.

side-plank-fitness-goals

So now, on to my goals! They are pretty sparse this year, because I want to be more focused on the practices I’ve put in place than any one specific goal (but that is for a future post)! Your word can be whatever you want it to be! Give it a try and I think you will be surprised! I was!

plum-paper-planner

2018 Goals

  1. Workouts: A minimum of 3 workouts a week, health allowing. I’m aiming for 6, but I need to be flexible and understand that my sleep is important too!
  2. Schedule: Plan out each week in my planner over the weekend. Focus on not over-scheduling, but make sure I’m staying focused on the big picture!

That’s it! It’s probably the least annual goals I’ve set in years, but I’m okay with that. I have quarterly goals set for both my jewelry business and the blog and I can’t wait to build those to fruition!

What goals have you set for 2018? Have you ever chosen a word for the year, or are trying it this year? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

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