BBG Week 8 and a Chocolate Berry Protein Shake

Saturday morning was my start of Kayla Itsine's BBG week 8 and since the gym was quiet we kicked off the week off with legs because that workout tends to require a little more set up.

I love starting the morning off with the BBG circuits because they are quick and get you out of the gym and enjoying the weekend in under an hour. But WOW- prepare to feel it, especially this one. I mean seriously, I was still hobbling around Monday because my butt was so. incredibly. sore (#deathbykayla). Despite looking like a 90 year old woman every time I stood up, the week 6/8 workouts have been my favorite so far. Definitely looking forward to getting to that last stretch though!

After wrapping up at the gym, I refueled with this chocolate berry protein shake. Does anyone else find it impossible to make a single serving of a smoothie or shake? I somehow create these absurdly large shakes and end up dumping half of them down the drain. I really need to find a formula that works and stick to it though I'm sure consistently measuring ingredients instead of tossing them in blindly and expecting the right proportions would work.

Chocolate Berry Protein Shake
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used Jay Robb)
3-4 ice cubes
1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy, I used Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk blend)
1 small handful frozen raspberries
1 small handful frozen blackberries

Sometimes when I read recipes (or see pictures on instagram) of protein shakes that claim to taste like dessert- I foolishly believe them. Really though- this combo won't disappoint. Plus you earned this refuel!

Good Reads No. 2 8.26.2014

If there was anything I accomplished on my lengthy things-i'd-like-to-do this summer list, it was getting through some of the books I've wanted to read for while. I didn't make it to the gym daily or cook all of my meals from the farmer's market like I thought I would but I did read. a lot. 

we were liars by E. Lockhart I'll admit I did not think I would love this book as much as I did. I don't tend to get behind young adult novels as much as other people I know but we were liars didn't disappoint. The story follows a wealthy family's summers on an island off a Massachusetts. After a tragedy one of the children tries to piece her life, memories and family back together. She knows she was involved in a traumatic event but doesn't remember what happened and no one will tell her. I couldn't put this one down. 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn I loved Gone Girl so I don't know why it took me so long to pick up Dark Places. With a movie release date of November 2014, I wanted to finish it this summer. At times I found myself getting lost in the very dark and often disturbing story other times I grew bored waiting for something to happen. If you don't mind some gory murder details and are looking for a mystery to flip through, I recommend this book. However,  if you haven't read Gone Girl yet, start there. I thought it was much better.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Full disclosure: I couldn't finish this book. I'd read, put it down, pick it up again. Repeat. After about a third of the way through I laid it to rest. Life After Life explores the many possible paths a life can take and while I found that concept interesting, the story didn't hold my attention.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg This book has already had its moment but I still think it is an important read for women and men. Not a typical summer page turner but I flew through it in a couple of days. If you have the chance, pick it up. 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you have any summer reads I should fit in before summer is over? (noooo I can't believe it's almost over) 

Feel free to follow along with what I'm reading now and my recommendations on Goodreads.

Pineapple Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding 6.18.2014

Pudding might not be the right word for breakfast/snack but chia gel doesn't sound nearly as appetizing. About 5 years ago after a 5k a vendor was handing out bags of milled chia seed to promo their new "running superfood." From that day forward we've been sprinkling it on all of our food through a pepper shaker which is convenient (but tricks a lot of guests). 

Chia seed is high in protein, fiber and Omega 3s so it helps your body protect against inflammation and also changes the way your body converts carbs into simple sugars which may help control blood sugar. One of the most interesting things about chia seeds is that they can absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid, making it ideal for this "pudding" and helps you feeling fuller longer.  You can find potential benefits of eating chia seed all over the web, if you are interested in knowing more about the superfood, definitely look it up. I could go on and on about all I have read but that is boring compared to the pudding potential I'm about to show you.

Pineapple Raspberry Chia Pudding

1/4 cup chia seed
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Fruit Toppings:
Handful of chopped pineapple and raspberries plus a little more to sprinkle on top.

These 2 simple ingredients serve as the base to any chia pudding you could imagine. You may want to add agave nectar or sugar to sweetened this mixture because without fruit it can be bland. To avoid adding that, I used the about a handful of pineapple and raspberries to sweeten the almond milk. To do this I added the almond milk and fruit to my food processor and pulsed until it was smooth and light pink in color.

Once you've done that, pour your seeds into a bowl and add the almond milk on top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a minimum of 4 hours. I usually do this the day before I'll be eating it and allow it to sit over night for maximum pudding effect.

The texture can definitely take some getting used to so to add a little crunch to each bite I like to top my pudding with fresh fruit and granola. Topping choices are unlimited. My favorites have been cinnamon with banana and berries and nuts. The tart/sweetness of the raspberries and pineapple makes a winning combo though.

I make mine into individual servings to make it easy to grab in a hurry. The pudding lasts about 4 days in the fridge if you let it...but I doubt it will make it that long.

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