All natural peanut butter and jelly raspberry protein smoothie recipe (with frozen Oregon berries!)

1.19.2017

I dare say I've mastered the slushy, milk shake-ey, delicious, still nutritious and filling all natural protein shake. I made this one extra exciting with some frozen berries and it is so tasty, pretty, and perfect for the middle of winter!

The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission supports hundreds of Oregon growers of raspberries, blackberries, Marionberries, and other caneberries (have you ever heard that term?? Berries that grow on a cane!) and wants to spread the word that we can eat Oregon berries all year long! They provided some of the ingredients for this post, and I used berries we picked at a farm last summer!

We love to do u-pick berry trips in the summer at local farms, and freeze lots of berries for eating later. Raspberries freeze SO well and are just as flavorful and even have a good texture after being in the freezer for months. Adding these to my smoothie reminded me of our summer picking trips and much better weather than we've been having now. ;)

Plus, the color is pretty for Valentine's Day! Here's a healthy treat that you can enjoy without guilt! I use unflavored protein powder so there are no mystery ingredients, and you can make it dairy-free and legume-free for strict Paleo or nut-free!

Peanut butter & jelly raspberry protein smoothie


Ingredients:


  • 1 c. coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 serving unflavored protein powder (whey or collagen)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter powder, peanut butter, or almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Sprinkle sea salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tsp. xylitol (optional--use if you want it sweeter or if your banana wasn't super ripe)
  • 8 large ice cubes

    Instructions:


    1. Measure milk using guides on blender pitcher. Combine all other ingredients into blender.
    2. Blend on low (on a Vitamix or other high speed blender) until smooth.

    You know it's perfect when it looks like this!

    Makes 1 serving or 2 small servings. (I usually eat a whole one myself but they look cuter in two small jars!)

    Optional: top with more peanut butter, almond butter, or powdered peanut butter made up!

    Great optional add-ins:


    You can add a lot to these slushy protein shakes/smoothies! Here are some easy ones I enjoy:
    • Couple handfulls of fresh spinach. It'll make it greenish in color but you can't taste it!
    • 2-4 dates instead of xylitol if your bananas aren't sweet enough
    • Top with coconut flakes or sliced almonds for extra texture

    If you don't have a quality unflavored protein powder on hand, I highly recommend getting some! Grassfed whey is great but this is a budget-friendly option. If you don't do dairy or want some extra skin, nail, and muscle health benefits, this grassfed collagen protein is amazing. These and other faves used in this recipe linked below!



    Thanks to the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission for sponsoring this post!

    More flooring progress and a new bed! #Stanley90sreno week 14

    1.17.2017

    Wow, what a good week!! Despite the snow outside (maybe because of it?) I was able to get a lot done on two big projects!

    One of my decor dilemmas has been our bedroom, but I think I've decided on a style and bought a pine four-poster bed recently for re-doing. It's not done yet (I ordered new finials) but over the week I prepared and painted the whole thing! I used pretty much the same method as for our doors and cabinets, so takes lots of coats and drying time, but it's a great weeknight project since I was able to just do 30 minutes or so before bed every night.

    Why, yes, that is a wrinkled comforter cover that has been packed or on a shelf for months. But at least it isn't the blue one we had on there because it was all I could find at first! And yes, that is a storm trooper alarm clock and I have accepted that we will incorporate it into our decor.

    It feels SO good to have that room coming together more! I still have a lot of decisions to make with furniture, curtains, art, etc. but the bed is anchoring things and I can start to see it looking like something.

    Over the weekend, I did a ton of flooring (Jason is busy studying for a certification so it's mostly me for a couple weeks)--I did half the living room and the hall on the other side of the stairs. The small areas take so long since there are lots of small cuts.

    Sunday I did almost the entire spare bedroom!

    And Jason tore up the oak flooring threshold that was keeping me from doing the other half of the living room. I have been dreading dealing with this stuff since when I tried to pull it up I barely got one tiny board after much effort. He went beast mode and did it all. Yay.

    And Sunday morning I drove to Home Depot before Jason woke up and bought particle board so we can do the subfloor and add flooring over it!

    Feeling really good about our progress and looooove how the living room is looking so I can't wait to get back to working on the flooring in there. Often I don't have the energy after work for more involved tasks like the flooring (and we have to move the car and set up the saws in the garage) but I am pretty motivated to get through it this time! We'll see. I'll keep you posted on Instagram stories.

    Cranberry vanilla almond gluten-free protein bars

    1.12.2017

    When I figured out this homemade protein bar recipe, I was super pumped. I so often find the need for a low-maintenance, balanced snack and the storebought options are either full of mystery ingredients, really expensive, and/or really high in sugar. I've been making my basic protein bars pretty regularly, but wanted to try a special treat variation and came up with this one!

    I don't eat many grains at all (discovered how much better I felt cutting them out in my raw vegan and now mostly-Paleo days) but I have been tolerating the organic oats in my protein bar recipe very well. This cranberry almond version uses half as many, though, and no peanut butter, so the rest of the ingredients are Paleo, real food, low toxin, all that good stuff.

    This flavored bar needs an unflavored protein powder. You can use collagen peptides protein powder for dairy-free or a high quality unflavored whey protein. This recipe makes 8 bars so it's great to make on Sunday nights and pack for snacks during the week! I take 4 and give Jason 4 to keep in the fridge at work.

    Cranberry vanilla almond gluten-free protein bars


    Ingredients:



      Instructions:


      1. Combine dry ingredients (through cranberries) in a mixing bowl; mix well. I use a fork!
      2. Add milk of choice a few tablespoons or splashes at a time, mixing to incorporate. The only way you can mess this recipe up is by adding too much liquid! It's hard to stir and very sticky, but try not to add any more liquid than absolutely necessary! Add vanilla extract at this stage, as well. 
      3. Lay out a 12" or so long piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Distribute mixture into a loaf shape. Wrap plastic wrap around starting at one end and roll out until mixture is packed down and relatively uniform. (I often use the cylinder shape bar and cut into 8 discs, but you can also pack down into a rectangle and cut 8 bars as I did in these photos.)
      4. Refrigerate or freeze for 15-20 minutes until solid but not rock hard.
      5. To cut into eight relatively even-sized pieces, cut in half, then cut halves in half, then cut those halves in half on each side. 

      Stop adding liquid when it looks like this!

      Store in the fridge or freezer. If you put too much liquid and they are too soft or sticky, definitely store them in the freezer.

      You may not have happen to have unflavored protein powder in your pantry, but if you've been looking to get more protein (but not more mystery ingredients) into your diet, I highly recommend stocking it. You can shop my favorites and other ingredients for this recipe here!



      Kitchen organization, The Minimalists, & finally finished a project. #stanley90sreno week 13!

      1.09.2017

      So my dad needed his saws back for a bit, so we're stalled on our flooring installation for a weekend. Oh, well! We found plenty to do despite being snowed in after about 11am Saturday!

      Since we have flooring in more than half of the first floor, we figured, we can bring more boxes in! Last Monday we brought in a bunch of boxes, mostly kitchen, some office or other, and I was totally overwhelmed about unpacking them. But I finally got into it and rearranged a bunch of parts of the kitchen to make room for the less-used kitchen stuff that had been packed away. We've missed having more than one oversize coffee mug, for example, but for the most part I felt burdened by all of the stuff we own and have not missed since we moved and it's been in the garage. I've been thinking, why do we have all this stuff?? I don't need all of these cute dip bowls and sets of drinking glasses of different sizes and obscure cooking implements. Kitchens are the worst to pack, you always need way more boxes than you think you will, and it turns out I haven't needed most of the stuff that was in our old kitchen.

      Overwhelming, right??! (It will help once we reinstall the pantry door, but still... pretty cluttered.)

      Part of the issue is we need to tile the backsplashes before installing shelving on the sink wall. That will be for plates, bowls, and hopefully some other commonly used items like glasses or mugs. So I put all the plates and bowls on the counter for now and am trying to anticipate what space we'll have later.

      It was quite timely that the documentary Minimalism came up in conversation or Instagram 7 times last week. Almost everyone was inspired by it. So we watched it on Saturday night and... well... here's my film critique.

      I am all for the concept of living simply, with no more space or stuff than you need. I am creeped out by the constant barrage of commercials, cheap fast fashion, different sales every weekend, consume-consume-consume nature of our culture. As I just said above, I've felt burdened by all of the stuff in our garage while we've been living pretty comfortably "camping" in our home waiting for our flooring! I enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was moved by The Story of Stuff in 2007.

      But honestly, to me the movie didn't build on those concepts very much, or give me any more reason or inspiration for living minimally than I already had. I felt like it was about 30% content and 70% drama, with music and poignant-sounding statements added in for shock value. I think the concepts have been circulating around for a while now--I am glad they are getting more attention with these dudes' popular blog, podcast, and movie--but I wanted to learn more about how and why to live more minimally.

      I did appreciate that they related the constant cell phone-checking and connections we are surrounded by to consuming more physical stuff. I don't go out and shop a whole lot, but I am kinda glued to my cell phone or another screen and I think I am victim to that dopamine smartphone addiction so many of us have developed. But again, I wanted to learn more about how to combat that.

      Also, this is totally not important because, to each their own, but I was a little discouraged that most of the minimalist homes they touted were so modern and stark, with blank walls and trendy furniture, as if that is the right way to do things. No art on the walls? None?? No rugs on those hard floors? Nothing on the kitchen counters? I love the William Morris quote, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I find value in things I find beautiful or interesting, and I like to change seasonally and as I change, and I think I am happier in a home that has decor as well as purely functional items. (So why am I defensive?? I know who I am, right? I think my other issue with the film was the narrators left me feeling judged, as if their version of minimalism is the right thing for everyone who puts thought into their lives. And yet they still didn't explain why that's the right thing!)

      Jason pointed out that the movie talks about "minimalism" kind of interchangeably with "living an intentional life," but there's a big difference. The main idea of the film is that mindlessly going through your life accumulating possessions is not a way to happiness, but that doesn't necessarily mean having a minimal amount of belongings; only that the belongings we have should be in our lives because of their utility, beauty, or meaning, not simply because of a habit of accumulation. Calling the idea minimalism makes it sounds like you're supposed to get rid of all your stuff, when the idea is really to live intentionally. They talked about living intentionally in the film, but all of their examples of minimalism came from showing how little stuff they had, which didn't necessarily mean anything.

      I'd love to know what you thought of the movie! It's on Netflix and a bunch of other places, very easy to find.

      Sunday we were snowed in all day, so we got some little things done--installing switch plates, cleaning, removing ancient pieces of tape and gunk from a window...

      This window in the front of our house was the most disgusting to clean and I had been putting it off even after painting it. I finally cleaned off the tape and dog spit and nose prints from the previous tenants' pets, and cleaned out the disgusting window wells.

      Since there's no wall above it we haven't had curtains on this window (and they would block some of it even when wide open) but for privacy I think I'm going to install some on a hanging track system! (We also close the bamboo blind at night and most of the time.)

      We also finished the beam. Hooray!! We installed it a while back but had to buy the right color of wood filler for the nail heads/holes, and get back up on the ladder. We (Jason) finally did it! I can't wait to show off the beam once the floors are in and rest of the room is more finished!

      Meanwhile, I am still trying to decide between dining chairs. It's down to 4 white plastic Eames-ey ones with black spindle end chairs or 6 matching low-back (probably black) ones. I just don't know. Opinions welcome.

      We definitely didn't make big progress like we have in the past, but considering we don't have the tools we need for the floors and couldn't drive to the hardware store to get stuff for other projects... I don't feel bad about it! I am feeling a little cabin fever after today, though!

      Kitchen makeover: Painting oak cabinets (step-by-step!) and new hardware

      1.05.2017

      This day is finally here!! I've been dreaming of transforming our oak cabinets since we first found our new house and have been picturing this fabulous makeover proving that it CAN be done and you CAN update a dated kitchen on a budget.

      The kitchen's not done yet, but the cabinets are painted and the oak is GONE. And I am so happy with them. Here's how we did it!!

      I was terrified of painting cabinets, particularly oak, before we got started. I'd seen lots of tutorials online where people have successfully done it, but I could also hear a voice in my head saying that I'll never really cover the grain.

      But, after painting all our oak doors and trim, the cabinets were a much smaller project and I was less afraid to dive in. I worked with Orchard Supply Hardware on this post as well, and their advice and Benjamin Moore Advance paint were so helpful in making this project turn out!

      How about a refresher on what we started with? This top photo is the listing photo--the most attractive this kitchen ever looked. Pretty gross. See the grease stain above the stove? Part of the reason we ditched those cabinets. We still have some work to do on the kitchen but BOY, does painting the cabinets make a big difference!


      Painting oak cabinets


      You will need:


      • 180 grit sandpaper 
      • Tack cloth or damp cloth 
      • Wood filler 
      • 1.5" angled brush 
      • 3/8" nap roller (don't buy the cheap ones--they shed fuzz which is sooo not what you want for a smooth cabinet front!)
      • Zinsser 1-2-3 primer (tinted if using a dark paint color--OSH will do this for you custom to match your paint color or you can buy it in a grey)
      • Benjamin Moore Advance paint (I used White (OC 151) for the top cabinets and Black Beauty for the bottom, both in Stain) 
      • Hinges, recessed/Euro style or traditional (we weren't able to recess ours due to the previous hardware)
      • New handles/pulls

      Instructions:


      1. Remove cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Lightly sand all cabinet surfaces and dust off with tack cloth or damp cloth.

      Fill any dents or existing hardware holes with wood filler; let dry and sand again.

      It's usually pretty easy to sand drawer fronts and doors outside, but it is dusty inside for the cabinets which stay in place!

      2. Prime back sides of doors and drawer fronts, and cabinets. I used a wall roller for the larger surfaces so it went really quickly.

      You don't need to prime and paint the parts of the drawer fronts that will be screwed back into the doors.

      Once the backs of the doors and drawer fronts are dry, flip over and prime the fronts.

      3. Apply one coat of Benjamin Moore Advance paint, again starting on the back sides.

      Once dry, lightly sand (by hand) to remove high parts. This helps get out any bubbles from the roller or brush, but also sloughs off higher parts that show from the grain. You can see a bit of the primer showing through after I sanded this first coat.


      4. Paint a second coat on backs, then fronts, and cabinets.

      5. Once paint is fully dry (I waited an extra couple of days), re-install drawer fronts, centering drawers on them and/or using existing holes.

      6. Install hinges to doors and cabinets. Our 90's cabinets had previously had semi-hidden hinges that were actually inserted into the doors, and there were T-shaped holes on the cabinet pieces. We didn't want to risk drilling large holes for Euro-style recessed hinges, so we went with standard ones--though we bought them in black and white to almost match the doors. If you squint you don't notice them! I wanted the look of invisible ones but this is good enough given what we were working with.

      Hanging the doors was a little tricky; we measured the horizontal center of each pair of doors and used levels and the existing hinge holes as guides. Brother-in-law helped.

      Tip: always drill pilot holes!

      Our cabinets had never had handle or pull hardware, just scooped-out edges at the center for grabbing. Those are ugly and get dirty! We knew adding modern hardware would really help with the look, but I also wanted to hide/disguise the old recessed areas, so we flipped all the doors and drawer fronts upside down and swapped them with their matching neighbors. The recessed areas are now hidden at the floor or very top edge! (The only one we couldn't do this on was the tiny one-off cabinet left of the dishwasher; there's only one of those.)

      We lived with our cabinets like this for several weeks while I debated hardware styles. It was a bit of a pain. So grateful for handles now!

      7. Once you've spent hours perusing Pinterest, saving screen shots to your phone, looking at the selection at OSH on a few trips there, asking your friends... and you finally have the cabinet hardware, install it!

      I chose handles with 5" spread for the drawers, so my hardware template was too small. I tried making my own, but that didn't really work, so I went back to the ruler/level method.

      This row was a little tricky to get all in the same line!

      We did a 3" spread of the same handle style for the upright ones on the cabinets. I used a simple plastic hardware template to mark those holes.

      I considered doing a knob to match but really like the modern look of the bars on the cabinet doors as well as drawers.

      The white upper cabinets on the opposite wall look great with the brushed brass, too.

      Hardware installed?? Finished!!!! Enjoy your painted and more functional cabinets!

      So, did we hide the oak grain? Not 100%, but in the 90%s, for sure. I don't see it on the doors. I can kind of see it on the joints of the drawer fronts, and on  the cabinets themselves, but it doesn't bother me. The Benjamin Moore Advance paint is such good quality stuff and gives a really smooth look since it dries relatively slowly. We also have not had issues with chipping in bumping it and putting painter's tape on it while painting the walls.

      With the rounded edges these cabinets have, and the more traditional spacing (gaps between the drawers, doors, etc.), we will never have a super modern look like a new IKEA kitchen. (If you have oak cabinets with frames, you could go for an even more traditional look with hardware with a serif or rounded knobs!)

      As with our door and trim painting project. we had great experiences getting the help we needed from Orchard Supply Hardware when buying our supplies, paint, and hardware. They really have a good selection of hardware, too, a lot more than I found on the bigger websites online. Plus, they carry Benjamin Moore paint! I can't imagine using another brand for trim, cabinet, or door painting now.

      Here are some close-ups. If you reeeeally try, you can see some grain, but I mostly see a smooth, velvety flat surface with a fab handle.

      I also love the look of the white and dark "tuxedo" cabinet style in our small kitchen, and they look great with our butcher block countertops!

      You may have been wondering about the gashes on the walls and blank walls, and lack of upper cabinets or shelving... we still have some improvements to do.

      In this photo alone:
      • Install light above sink
      • Replace fluorescent with can lights or other lighting
      • Tile back and side walls (other side of the kitchen under the white cabinets as well)
      • Install and cut hole for venting of stainless steel vent hood
      • Install floating shelves above dishwasher
      • Install baseboards!!!!! That patchy, dirty drywall above the flooring, how embarrassing...

      But hey, we have already come SO far and I am SO happy with how our cabinet painting turned out!! You can totally do it, too. As I've said a few times throughout this process... it was MUCH faster and easier than painting a million doors and trim!! In fact, I'm confident enough with this process that I might consider painting one of our oak bathroom vanities rather than replacing it...

      Want to try it at home?? Pin to save this post for later!

      Thanks to Orchard Supply Hardware for providing the supplies we needed for this project!

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