Protein Shakes and Little Purple Cakes

This has been a week of new recipes, new feats at the gym, and new statement necklaces (okay, only one new necklace, but it’s a knockoff of a Kate Spade two tier necklace, so I love it even more. $13 for something that looks the same as a designer necklace is no small accomplishment). Beginning with the gym — I did go every night. I didn’t try the elliptical at all. Instead, I focused on incorporating more jogging into my treadmill workout. I varied the incline and above all tried to keep in my heartrate zone. I was joined once by Dan, who took it easy so he wouldn’t be tired out for his big video game convention this weekend (a lot of walking and being jostled by 70,000 other people). I was just glad he came along. I always like having a friend.

This morning, I took my first Zumba class with my fitness buddy since about New Year’s. I suck. Seriously, I do. I have always had a lack of rhythm and trouble with memorization of non-repetitive things. It trips me up horrendously when there are quick steps that aren’t repeated for a long time. I was definitely the worst one in the class today, but I stuck it out and got a nice workout in. I like to see my friend shine. She’s thinking of going to a certification day next month so she can become an instructor and maybe supplement her income. Her favorite teacher is a formerly overweight woman who turned her life around and decided she was going to teach because she enjoyed taking the classes so much. She’s very NORMAL, which is kind of unheard of in Zumba teaching. They tend to be kind of intense.

After class, we had brunch at a little restaurant nearby with an area where all the food is less than 500 calories. I’ve never had frozen yogurt with berries layered into a parfait with iced coffee at 11 AM, but I wasn’t really feeling like lunch and it looked so random and tasty. I made it mostly fruit, even though it was nonfat frozen yogurt. That stuff is low-cal, sure, but the serving size is a lot smaller than people think and it adds up super fast.

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We stopped at Michael’s and I dropped way too much money on supplies for my “I’m home alone but not doing the laundry” project this weekend. I’ll tell you about that last.

Earlier in the week, I bought a bunch of shallots, peppers, and balsamic vinegar and decided to put them to good use. This recipe for Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers was a perfect way to use them up! I cut back the amount of chicken significantly, since it’s just two of us, cut down as much of the oil as I could, and didn’t use yellow bell peppers because I didn’t have any. It came out really well and Dan requested it be added to our regular rotation. Done!

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I made Dan a bowl of pasta and myself a protein shake another night. I stupidly used this weird protein shake powder we got at Whole Foods as the protein powder component and I should not have. It was too overwhelming and chunky. I also didn’t realize we only had two ice cubes in the freezer until I started making it, so it was thin as well. I’m sure the recipe, when properly made, is really good. It’s here if you want to give it a shot. I chose the chocolate peanut butter version, using PB2 instead of peanut flour, and Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder because it was all I had left. To make up for my lack of ice, I threw in half a frozen banana. You couldn’t taste the cottage cheese at all. I’ve been eating it for lunch in rotation with Greek yogurt dishes and oatmeal all week.

I put the shake in a GIANT beer mug. Wish it was the beer…

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I flew onto Amazon.com and bought some of the protein powder she recommends in the recipes above. I got it the following day in French Vanilla (thank you Amazon Prime), and wanted to give another protein powder recipe a shot. We got some delicious iced coffees from Starbucks and I tackled pancakes because they’re my favorite breakfast for dinner. Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes. How can anyone resist? I blended the batter in my little blender and even though the recipe supposedly makes three servings of four pancakes each, I got about six pancakes out of it and we each ate three with some light syrup. I’m not sure Dan went for the softer texture. I liked them, though!

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And finally, I wanted to share my baking for today. I wanted to make a purple ombre rose cake. I got a frosting spatula, Wilton pans in various sizes, a bunch of tips and pastry bags to supplement my collection, and a whole bunch of dye. I looked at tutorials all over the web and ultimately just found a basic white cake recipe (for which I had to use almond milk because it was all I had), and a vegan buttercream recipe (which I made not vegan by using real butter, but it was written with almond milk so I figured the butter wouldn’t matter too much). I ran out of frosting halfway up, had to make a second batch, messed up the tinting several times, didn’t bargain for the ultimate round-looking shape of the cake…etc. etc. This was a dry run. Next time will be better. I dyed the cake layers ombre, too, but I’m waiting for Dan to get home before I cut the cake and see how it came out inside.

I love Wilton everything. Tips, tints, pastry bags; my kitchen is FILLED with them. I can only improve with everything I make. Enjoy your sunny weekend and try something new yourself!

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