Weekend Eats n’ Treats

Hey guyz! I have a bunch of little things I’ve made here and there this weekend that I figured I would share with you.

Where to begin…

Friday night my mom tried a new recipe using the Bullet while I was either taking an exam or studying, two of my main Summer 2013 functions.

Citrus Garlic Shrimp

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  • 1-1.5 lbs shrimp
  • 1 tb lime juice
  • Skinless whole lemon
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • 4-5 garlic gloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

She blended the whole lemon, basil leaves, and garlic cloves together in the bullet blender to create the flavor packed sauce for the shrimp, let the sauce and shrimp sit in a sealed container in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then cooked over medium heat for 4-6 minutes.

The picture does not do it justice, but I was a little taken back by the BRIGHT green of this dish. So delicious though!

On Saturday morning I went for a run at around 10:30 AM thinking I would sleep in and still go for that morning run. I was sadly mistaken. I guess little old me forgot that it gets hotter as it gets later in the day, A LOT hotter. It was scorching out. I actually didn’t think I was gonna make it back. Melting before I arrived home seemed like a definite possibility. I guess this just stands as yet another reason to continue with those early morning runs.

This is me post-run, in rosy red, fiery condition. That’s when ya know.

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Because my mom picked up her favorite rye bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. a couple of days ago, she naturally had to cook up some corn beef, a family favorite and Irish tradition. Although corned beef isn’t known for reaping outstanding nutritional benefits, as it has a high sodium content and can be fatty (not our kind though!), it sure is tasty and pairs ever so nicely with rye bread.

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Apparently when my mom was pregnant with me she would always crave this sandwich. At the time, she was working in Georgetown and would walk to the same deli for her lunch break everyday to get this. Haven’t you ever heard that what your mother eats a lot of during pregnancy will be a favorite of yours? It worked out that way for me anyways, and actually my brother too.

This sandwich is obviously a treat. Something like this every once in a while won’t kill ya.

I’ve been meaning to make more juice/smoothie/shake drinks lately, but haven’t. Here’s my dilemma: so many recipes call for frozen banana to thicken and give that ideal consistency. But the thing is– I don’t like bananas. It’s a consistency thing and super unfortunate.

I’m thinking maybe I will just get over it and stick it in there. Maybe I won’t even notice. As for now though, I’m sticking to non-banana drinks. I’ll get there one of these days.

I actually just made this one up as I went.

Apple Almond Spinach Smoothie

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  • 1 whole apple diced
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tb almond butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tb chia seeds
  • 1 tb flax meal
  • Pinch of cinnamon

I saw Monsters University last night with one of my good friends from school, Alanna, who actually lives in the Northern Virginia area too. Such a cute movie, and so applicable to our lives, as college students. Kind of. Okay so maybe not, but boy I sure wish I could major in scaring. That would be the life.

You know what movie time means though, right? Movie snacks!

This was my concoction for the feature presentation:

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It was a little mix of Original Puffins cereal, pretzel thins, and raw almonds. I thought I did a pretty swell job of combining flavors that compliment each other well.

Who buys concessions from the movies anyways? It’s way more fun to sneak in your own treats. Am I right?

This morning, I took the oatmeal route. My mom picked up some Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats from the store, a favorite of mine ever since I started getting the oatmeal from Jamba Juice at school. The oats are just a little smaller, denser and apparently are packed with more nutrients. Score!

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Cinnamon Apple Walnut Oatmeal

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  • 3/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tb almond butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tb chia seeds
  • 1 tb flax meal
  • Pinch of cinnamon

After church, my mom and I made a quick trip to Whole Foods, my favorite grocery store ever. We don’t make it there as often as I would like, but when we do, I’m in heaven. The store is so fresh and filled with amazing super foods, plus there are always samples (huge plus!).

I’ve been meaning to try some new bars that I’ve been hearing wonderful things about, so we picked up a few…

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It’s our very own energy bar sampler platter! I’m so pumped to try all of these bars in all their different flavors.

My mom and I also wanted to try some of the Vega brand smoothies. They’re completely natural and have had great reviews.

I’ll make sure to keep you updated on how I’m liking all of these products!

I roasted some garbanzo beans a little bit earlier, a snack I have all the time at school, as its so easy to prepare.

Balsamic Roasted Garbanzo Beans

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  • 1 can of garbanzo (chick peas) beans
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Italian seasoning

Dry the beans with paper towels. Let sit to dry for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beans on pan (I used tin foil to avoid mess). Cover beans with balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle seasoning. Let sit for intensified flavor. Place in oven for 25 minutes.

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Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Such a perfect, light snack!

Well tomorrow starts my second summer session at NVCC. I’m done with Macroeconomics and am not moving onto Microeconomics. Unfortunately, the section I was enrolled in was cancelled and I had to quick find a new one for tomorrow! Stressful, much? The only night class offered is in Woodbridge, so I will be taking a morning class this session, and have to take off time from my internship. 😦

Because the class starts at 9, it will be just about the same routine as getting up and going to work at 9. About the same distance, traffic and all. Hopefully all goes well with the class and my professor tomorrow! I could only find one review for her out there…scary…

Well enjoy the rest of your Sunday all! Chow for now.

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The Morning Work Out Guilt Trip

After not working out for 2 mornings in a row, due to a minor injury/illness I’ve been dealing with, I finally got out and ran today. Although I was exhausted, as Hudson decided to bark all night for whatever wonderful reason, I pushed through it and ultimately was happy I did. As always.

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This is so true. ^

Let me tell you though, this girl was dragging through the work day. There was even a little head bobbing action at my desk. I REALLY need to get back on an early bedtime schedule. That weekend trip to Blacksburg kind of killed my early night-early morning routine.

I feel like I am in a constant battle lately between enough sleep and exercise, while trying to keep up with summer classes and being a dedicated intern. I think I feel a sweat coming on thinking about it.

If I don’t get up at 6 AM to work out before I get ready and leave for work, I feel this intense  overdramatized sense of guilt. Am I alone in this morning workout guilt trip? I feel like I am letting myself down, and can actually feel a difference in my mood, alertness and overall being.

I mean it’s not a bad thing that I feel this dire need to get up way before most to get my exercise in, but in retrospect, I feel like in my head, I take it too far. In my head, it’s kind of-sort of the end of the world if I stay in bed that extra hour and a half or so. So as you can imagine, these past couple of days have been a bit torturous.

I know its a definite possibility to workout when I return home from work, but at that point, in my head, it’s way past due and I might as well wait until tomorrow. No way can I fathom getting a work out in after an exhausting day of work anyways. Plus, after work is school time. Oh the joys of summer classes.

Lunch:

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That’s a grilled chicken, spinach, hummus sandwich! So delicious.

After work snack:

Pink Cripps apple slices w/ cinnamon & an almond butter blondie 🙂 Image

Dinner:

Parsley Lemon Onion Artichoke QuinoaImage

I was personally not a fan of this dish, but I did think it looked pretty. The parsley was overkill for sure. It made me sad too because I love quinoa and have never not enjoyed it until today.

Good news though–

Tomorrow at the office there will be free 10 minute massages! I signed up for the 11:20-11:30 slot. I’m ecstatic, considering massages are one of my favorite things of all time. I can talk more about that on a later post.

Well I’m gonna have to say goodbye now. This way I don’t have to complain any more  than I already have about this topic. Let’s just nip this one in the butt and say lights out.

Good night.

WIAW: More Nut Butter Creations

Happy Hump Day!

I figured I would do another WIAW hosted by Peas and Crayons, since last Wednesday’s was so much fun. For the both of us, I hope.

I had some oatmeal (unpictured…WIAW fowl) with peanut butter, almond milk, and LOTS of  flax. Let’s just say one too many protein shakes too close together isn’t too great for the digestive tract.

Since I had a lot of homework to do, as Wednesdays are my schoolwork days, I got right to that (after a little vitamin D sesh ;)).

Lunch:

Spicy Grilled Chicken Spinach Cheddar Quesadilla

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  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Grilled chicken slices
  • Lots of spinach
  • Chile pepper seasoning
  • Medium chunky salsa

I really need to start incorporating black beans into more of my mexican stuff…I miss them.

And back to my Econ chapters I went. I was finishing up my last chapter, Chapter 19, on the foreign exchange market! Funzies.

Of course any hard working student needs a little break though, and what a better study break than a little study snack?

Study snack:

Almond Butter Blondies

These were literally out of this world good. They’re a crumbly melt in your mouth type of goodness. AND with such simple ingredients!

The original recipe….

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Then I got creative.

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Pre-oven:

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Post-oven:

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Pre-mouth:

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  • 2 cups almond butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Handful of dark chocolate chips
  • Handful of chopped walnuts
  • Flax meal (your discretion..I used A LOT)
  • Chia seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Coated baking dish with coconut oil. Baked in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Warning: this recipe does use an entire jar of almond butter. Sad days.

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Mid-afternoon snack:

I hadn’t had a big orange in forever, but this one definitely hit the spot. So juicy and flavorful! Right up my alley.

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Dinner:

I met my good friends Katie and Bong for dinner at Vapiano in Reston Town Center, a trendy urban Italian restaurant with simple ingredients and great taste.

I love the design of this restaurant, with such high ceilings and an open floor plan. A definite plus in its likability factor for me. And we all know I’m one of the most highly esteemed food critics in the area, so bravo to Vapiano’s design team.

Brushetta Pizza

Mozzarella, tomato, basil, arugula, parmesan

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Yes, this was very hard for me to go ahead and order the pizza knowing there was no healthier crust substitute, but I guess the original white flour is alright every once in a while. Womp womp. Vapiano obviously needs to step up their whole grain game. Disappointed.

It was pretty tasty though.

Afterward, we walked around Reston Town Center and into some shops to let our food digest. I’ve never thought about the importance of proper digestion as much as I have in the past few days. Ay yai yai.

Before bed:

The night ended like this. Thanks to my generous friend Bong helping a sista out.

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Well, we’re halfway through. Only 2 more days left of this week, and then it’ll be the last weekend of June! Woah there…how the time has flown!

Well good night my dears! Stay healthy. Be happy.

A Blacksburg Summer Weekend

So, back to that week day grind we go.

As I was driving to work this morning (after a kick start workout and protein packed breakfast of course!), the song “She Works Hard for the Money,” by Donna Summer, came on and it got me in the independent working woman mindset. Woo! Girl power!

Monday always seems to be that lovely reality check. Lucky for me, my Mondays consist of a full day of work and then a four hour class in Reston. So maybe more unlucky…

I shouldn’t complain too much though, because my last in-class session was tonight. Alleluia!

Looking back just a few short days ago, my weekend trip to Blacksburg was so much fun. It was so good being back in my college town hanging out with some friends that had also made the trip down that weekend and those who were staying there for the summer.

A few trip highlights:

A good ‘ol about-to-leave-for-Blacksburg selfie, stoked for the weekend ahead of me. An event or trip to look forward to always seems to make the work week go by just a little faster, and can also you keep motivated in your work outs! AKA be a social butterfly!

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Here is my friend Bong and I jamming on our ride down, 4 hours worth! You can’t tell here, but we are quite the car dancers. Our fellow Route 81 drivers can stand as witness.

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For dinner on Friday night, we ate at Gilly’s, a vegetarian restaurant in Blacksburg known for their fresh, local food.

I couldn’t resist getting the black bean burger. I knew at a place like this, it had to be good.

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It came with a super refreshing non-mayonaise cole slaw. It reminded me exactly of my mother’s infamous cole slaw. No mayonaise=no problem in my book. I’m assuming it was a mix of olive oil, vinegar, and light salt/pepper over the cool, crisp veggies.

The burger was fabulous and the chickpea roll was also quite tasty.

On Saturday morning, we headed to the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market, where my good friend Lauren, who’s spending the summer here, has been working. We all loved seeing her do her thing. Plus, farmer’s markets are the best. Um, free samples galore? Yes please.

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We actually went river tubing after that, but unfortunately, my phone was not invited on the open water. Good thing too.

Tubing on the New River is something all Hokies have to do. I definitely want to go back next time I’m down, and definitely early Fall. So relaxing, and I finally got a little color. Gotta love that Vitamin D!

This is a little visual for you of the New River itself, where the casual floating took place.

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So while I was in Blacksburg, my little brother, Kyle, or rather not so little brother, age 15, was up in Maryland at Paul Rabil’s Top 50 Lacrosse Camp. Little did I know, my brother was selected as one of the few from the area to go and play for the day with the sport’s top player.

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I only know how big of a deal Paul Rabil is from my brother constantly talking about him, so when I heard about this, I was impressed.

He even snagged a pic with him.

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Go Kyle! I’m a proud sista.

If that wasn’t enough,  he’ll be at lacrosse camp all week in Lynchburg and will immediately be driving up to Delaware for a weekend showcase invitational thing he was also specially invited to.

I wish I was as cool as him…

Green Choco Shake

When I got back from my trip, I made my first green protein shake. MMMM.

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You definitely can’t taste the spinach at all. It’s like you’re drinking green chocolate. It’s great.

  • 6 oz. Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 scoop Designer Gourmet Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (condensed as much as possible)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tb chia seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon

So back to Monday…

Professional attire of the day: (with the added pleasure of the duck face)

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  • Context Black Quarter Sleeve Button Up Sweater
  • Forever 21 Tank (highlighter yellow)
  • Forever 21 B&W Checkered High Waisted Skirt (Yes, the skirt is a little short, but then again I got it in 8th grade. Awk.)
  • BCBG Black Leather Flats
  • MK Silver-Gold Bracelet Watch
  • Francesca’s Silver Know Stud Earrings

Lunch:

After I thoughtlessly packed myself greek yogurt for lunch, I ran out to grab something I hadn’t already had a few hours prior (main ingredient of protein shake).

So Cava Mezze stole the show! A new favorite of mine.

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  • Super greens (spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts finely chopped)
  • Grilled chicken
  • Quinoa tabbouleh
  • Diced cukes, tomatoes & onions
  • Scoop of hummus
  • Fresh mint

I loved my to-go bag. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but in so many contexts, it’s the truth.

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The reason I am so passionate about health and keep up with this blog is because I believe that your health, or what is going on inside your body, is what is important. You can be as beautiful on the outside as you want, but the inside of you determines everything.

Also, don’t judge a book by it’s cover and yada yada…

Even though I’m pretty sure they were just trying to be clever and cover for their rather plain to-go bag…

Either-or.

Dinner:

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  • Asian baked salmon w/ chile peppers
  • Lettuce

My mom and I both agreed this was pretty much a salmon lettuce wrap in different form. Once we separated the salmon into small pieces to eat it, it was pretty much salmon lettuce wrap nachos. If you can visualize that…

Well I know that was a long one, but a weekend recap was in order.

I hope everyone’s week starts out productively and healthfully. Remember- it’s what’s on the inside that counts!

CHOW!

Stepping Up in the Protein Shake World

Guess what…?!

This girl is now the proud owner of some protein powder (aka shake amping juice)!

So naturally, today is where all the magic begins.

This morning my alarm clock went off at 6 AM and I was ready to go, for I had a lovely running mate waiting on me about 1.2 miles away.

My friend Bong and I devised a creative running plan so there would be no driving to and from involved. I began running from my house at 6:15 and met her at her house, about 1.2 miles away.

We then ran together to a street continuing away from both of our houses for about .4 miles. Finally, we headed back in the direction of my house, where Bong turned back halfway. I’m so proud of her determination. Go Bong!

Workout:

  • 3 miles (steady)
  • 250 abdominal exercises (sets of 25)
  • 1 minute front plank

Workout gear:

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Onto the celebrity of the day…

MY SHAKE!

After an egg & swiss cheese sandwich on an English muffin, I was craving something sweet. How perfect too, because it was just about time to concoct my shake to take on my way to work.

Mocha Protein Shake

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  • 1 scoop Chocolate Designer Whey Protein Powder
  • 6 oz. Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 shot of coffee (or espresso)
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup ground flax meal (not pictured)
  • 1 tb chia seeds (not pictured)

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I was clearly having a splendid time drinking it on my way to work. I’m pretty sure it was completely gone less than 8 minutes into the commute. Oops.

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This shake was a total experiment. I randomly put things in it this morning that I thought would make it tasty, but this will definitely be a learning process.

Next time, I probably won’t add the extra cocoa powder because it was chocolatey enough.

Who knows what will be next on the shake agenda?

I think I’m seeing something green in the near future…

Well, tomorrow afternoon I’m off to Blacksburg for the weekend and will most likely not be blogging, but rather relaxing with some very missed school friends. I can’t wait!

Have a splendid, healthful weekend everyone!

My Very First WIAW

Happy Hump Day, and happier day off to me!

Since today is Wednesday and I’ve been wanting to broaden my horizons in the blogging world, I figured I would hop on the Peas & Crayons‘ WIAW bandwagon and list in great detail every single thing I’ve eaten today. Since it’s something I kind of do anyway, why not?

I am trying to veer away from documenting every meal on the daily. You will notice my posts will start to focus in on maybe one special, featured meal. I want to keep things exciting and this way, it’ll be more thrilling, everything you’d ever hoped for and more when reading my blog! You into it? Good. Me too.

Breakfast:

Nutty Nut Butter Protein Pancakes (adapted from PBFingers’ Greek Yogurt Protein Pancakes)

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Cooked on medium high heat with coconut oil

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 6 oz. greek yogurt (I used Fage 0% original)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tb almond milk
  • Spoonful of peanut butter
  • Spoonful of almond butter
  • 1 handful chopped walnuts
  • Ground flax meal (your discretion)
  • Chia seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Topped with almond butter, peanut butter & chia seeds

Mid-morning snack:

Watermelon: my summer fling

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Lunch:

Cool Quinoa, Veggies & Hummus

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  • Quinoa (Basil & black pepper seasoning) w/ chopped bell peppers & mushrooms
  • Dollop of hummus
  • Celery
  • Sliced bell pepper

Mid-afternoon snack:

Coconutty Coffee & Pretzels

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I wanted to try this whole coconut milk in coffee craze I’ve been reading about in fellow health blogs, and since I was home all day doing schoolwork, I figured today was the day. After searching the house for coconut milk we supposedly had, I found some– canned. I didn’t know this was an issue until I thought about the logistics when it actually came down to opening the can with the can opener.

From consulting with one of my fellow health-foodies, I don’t think this is the kind for coffee, but I tried it anyways for kicks. It gave my coffee a nice flavor, but really didn’t dissolve all too fantastically.

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Next time I’m at the store, I will have to pick up some coconut milk in a carton. Now that seems a little more realistic.

Coffee is something that I tend to drink pretty much daily, as do A LOT of people, so implementing a creamer substitute that is so much less processed and just overall better for me is the best route to take. Don’t ya think?

I still need to try coconut water though…

Dinner:

Pesto Topped Salmon & Salad

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Salmon

  • Fresh frozen salmon
  • Garlic basil pesto
  • Olive oil

Let filet thaw out, cover thawed salmon filet w/ olive oil. Top each filet with a thick layer of pesto. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Salad

  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Homemade Italian dressing

Evening snack:

Deliciously crisp grapes

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Current thoughts:

After reading through so many healthy living blogs lately, I feel inspired to really try my best to eat as clean as I can. This means no processed foods whatsoever. There are so many awesome whole foods options out there that I’m sure is I won’t feel limited in doing this. (Not Whole Foods Market, but real, wholesome foods–I do need to make a trip there soon though!)

I’ll also be trying to stay away from gluten, or too much of it anyways, as I’m sick and tired of that undesirable post-meal bloating. Not cool.

Exciting news:

My mom ran by GNC today and picked up some protein powder for us! I’m already so pumped for the shake I plan on making in the morning. I’ll give you deets on that tomorrow!

Alright, well only 2 more days until the weekend and my trip to Blacksburg! We can make it!

Chow until next time!

A Rainy Carb-y Day

This morning was an exciting one! My friend Bong (Catherine), who I’ve mentioned previously, has been wanting to get in better shape, which has made me ecstatic. People who set fitness goals like she has, and put forth the effort to achieve them, make me so, so proud. There’s nothing better than a little hard work and dedication.

She asked if she could join me on my morning run, and of course I said yes! A little company in those early hours doesn’t hurt. This was one of her first longer outdoor runs and she was a trooper. I couldn’t be more proud of her. It’s all about those baby steps when first starting out. AND patience. Patience is key. She suggested I call this The Bong Project, so you may be hearing more about her soon.

Workout:

  • 2 mile run (steady w/ 2 sprints)
  • 250 abdominal exercises (sets of 25)
  • Front Plank (1 minute)

Breakfast:

I was craving an egg sandwich this morning, like usual, post workout. I wanted to venture off the beaten path with my bread selection this morning, so I grabbed some Arnold Whole Wheat Toast instead. I love my English muffins, but having them for every egg sandwich gets a little old.

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While waiting for my egg to cook, I spotted the watermelon in our fridge. Bull’s eye.

I headed to work and felt the heaviness of my eyes as I drove into the trafficky, dreary gray morning, and continued to feel this daze all day. I clearly did not get enough sleep last night. I am making myself be in bed at promptly 10 PM tonight. No excuses!

I was in need of a mid-morning snack, so I whipped out my celery and almond butter/honey dip. This dip was actually concocted to be paired with greek yogurt, but was never eaten, so I quick grabbed it this morning to try with my celery.

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Yum to the almond butter, meh to the honey. Celery and honey are not exactly a good pair. Hey, at least I gave it a shot. Now we all know.

Lunch:

Bong and I made plans to meet for lunch at yet another new place in Mosaic, Taylor Gourmet. It’s a trendy sandwich joint with quite the selection.

After much deliberation, I chose from the chicken section:

  • Walnut Street (Grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers on 6 inch whole wheat bread)

Bong also chose a chicken sandwich with similar ingredients to mine!

Here were the goods:

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Very delicious! I’m a big critic of bread and this bread, my friends, was spot on. Oh, and the insides were good too! Nice and fresh.

Oh, and as we politely sat in the restaurant eating our sandwiches, the sky decided to open up and pour down cats and dogs. Not men. Without umbrellas, we carried through with our plan to stop by Anthropologie before heading back to work. We were soaked, and I was a frizzy poodle. It’s all good though, I just thought of it as a little adventure in the workday. Everyone could use a  little more of that, right?

Work attire:

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When I got home, there was a plethora of cookies in my kitchen. Apparently my dad had an open house today and the leftover cookies were brought back to our house. Great.

Inevitably, I had one. Oatmeal raisin. Kind of healthy, right? Yeah def…

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Dinner:

My fabulous mother cooked up some shrimp scampi tonight. I opted to put my shrimp over quinoa instead of pasta, as I’ve clearly had a lot of glutenous carbs today. Yikes.

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  • Garlic olive oil baked shrimp
  • Plain quinoa
  • Salad: lettuce, peppers & onions w/ homemade Italian dressing

Latest venture: 

I need to pick up some protein powder for my lovely shakes, to give them a little something extra.

Last night my brother was giving me a lesson on his mass-gaining protein supplements, key ingredients, and what I should look for in protein powder for me, as I am obviously not trying to gain mass. No thank you. I think he might have a job at GNC sometime in his new future…

Anyways, does anyone have any recommdations for a good women’s protein supplement powder? I’m thinking either whey or casein, but also need to know which brands and such.

You know what this will mean…

MORE shakes to be blogged about! Exciting!

Well, that’s all for now. See ya soon!