For those nights when you have a killer chocolate craving but you still have GOALS. 😉
With just a few ingredients, you can make a single serving of chocolate cake, packed with over 20 grams of protein and around 370 calories. Or leave off the topping and go all chocolate for 200 calories and 19 grams of protein.
Either way, you need to make this and then come back here and tell me how it satisfied the spot!
Yields 1 cake
A perfectly sized dessert that packs a protein punch!
2 minPrep Time
2 minCook Time
4 minTotal Time
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I used Juice Plus Complete)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg white
- 1 packet Monk Fruit Sweetener (or stevia)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- In a microwaveable mug, mix together all of the mug cake ingredients.
- Microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds. The cake should start to pull away from the sides of the mug but it may be fudgy on the very top.
- Top with peanut butter and chocolate chips!
200 calories, 30g carbs, 2g fat, 19 g protein (mug cake) 370 calories, 42g carbs, 14g fat, 22g protein (cake with toppings)
When a soft, chewy protein bar is the only thing that will do.
Serves 10 bars
A simple protein bar recipe that takes minutes to put together.
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 scoops of protein powder
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- Mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Line an 8x8 pan with wax paper and press the mixture into the pan with your fingers. (I use a square of wax paper between my fingers and the mixture.
- Melt the chocolate chips and drizzle over the mixture in the pan. Set in the refrigerator or freezer for about 20 minutes until firm enough to slice. Cut into 10 planks and store in the fridge.
It’s never too early to start knocking things off that ‘ol bucket list. Especially when you’re creeping up on 35 and having to buy anti-aging cream while keeping it out of the hands of an 18 month old. How did this even happen? I blame Instagram. Darn you, IG, for inspiring me to get all fit during deployment. #deploymentbaby
…. #thatescalatedquickly #awkward
Okay, then, let’s get on to #1 checked off the ‘ol bucket list, shall we?
In the Spring of 2015, my bestie and I planned the first of many kid-less trips together and headed to Vegas! No kids, no husbands, no responsibilities. Just hour after hour of aimlessly walking around, shopping and watching shows. A mom’s dream! Never mind the droves of drunk college students and way too many men that flocked to Rachel’s fiery red hair. (Sorry, Isaac.) But, seriously, we had an incredible time and we often look back on that time as “back when things were easy.” We even commented during the trip that life had kind of gotten to an easy, comfortable feel. Finally! And then the ish hit the fan and life got real.
Just a few months later, Rachel and her hubby found out their precious 4 year old, Avery, had a rare brain tumor and had to undergo immediate surgery. The next few weeks were a blur and while Avery is a happy, healthy 7 year old, her struggles with this brain tumor will never end. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and I can’t even imagine how they manage all the stress. I’m not kidding – they are an incredible family and I’m beyond blessed to know them.
So, after watching what this brave momma has gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of her life, I wanted to take her away. Somewhere away from the responsibilities of kids, medications, schedules, and everything else. That was always the plan. But then, life happened. I got pregnant, moved away, had Baby Amy, and moved again. Before I knew it, it had been almost three years since we took a kid-less trip.
Three years. Jeez. It didn’t seem that long. It’s amazing how fast time slips by when you’re raising babies.
Throughout that time though, I’ve been incredibly blessed in business (thank you, team!) and was able to put together an epic BFF trip. After some planning and scheming with her husband and mom, I booked the tickets and revealed the surprise.
We were going to Hawaii!
Only one thing… it would be a super short trip, during the Christmas season, and not at all convenient with our husbands’ schedules… but we were going to Hawaii one way or the other! Without kids!
We woke up at 3 am, made it to the airport in record time and waited for our 6 am flight. With all that time to spare, we made the last minute decision to stay at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki and booked our room right there in the terminal. After some excruciating delays, we finally arrived on island, took pictures of the rainbows (how could we not??), ate some loco moco and reached our room right at sunset. A quick throw of our bags on the bed and down we went to the beach.
It was incredible to start the day in rainy, dreary WA and end it with our toes in the sand in Hawaii!
So, what are two moms without kids and nothing but time to do? Head straight to the bar for a lava flow, of course. I think we completely recharged our #momlife batteries right there with those lava flows. And we sat and listened to music, without any kids complaining about their food and climbing onto the table. It was glorious.
Oh, and some random guy came up and told Rachel that she looked stunning. (Sorry, Isaac.)
Our first morning was slow, aimless and wonderful. We woke up, went down for coffee and a malasada, then headed straight for the beach. Batteries full recharged. I can go back to my kids and function like a sane person now. But, thankfully, we’re not done with Hawaii yet. 😉
It didn’t take long but we grew antsy to explore so we took off toward the North Shore for the day. Coffee in hand, ready to shop our little hearts out.
After crashing my Team PCS Battle Buddy Cassie’s house for a much needed reunion, we stopped by the Dole Plantation for the non-negotiable Dole whip experience. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been, you just have to go every time you’re on the island. It’s mandatory.
Then we set onward to the North Shore Soap Factory (always a fun peek behind the scenes of soap making, though we didn’t find anything we loved) and stopped for food at the Beet Box Cafe. Y’all. This place was hoppin’! So many great healthy foods to choose from but we finally settled on this masterpiece.
We got the Avocado Toast, which was divine and the perfect sized meal for our jaunt around town. We shopped at the HE>i store (love!! Read their story here.) and continued on to my favorite drive along the North Shore… Waimea Bay. Little did we know that it would be packed with surfers (some pro surfers too!) preparing for a competition that week. We hopped out, walked alongside the busy road and watched the surfers wait out their waves. My friends, that’s something you just can’t do with 4 kids from 18 months to 7 years old. Lawd, Amy would hurl herself right over the railing down into the bay. That child.
If we had more time, we would have walked down to Sunset Beach to watch the massive waves. We caught some video but they never do them any justice.
We started our way back down to Honolulu with a sentimental stop in Mililani Town for dinner with my self-proclaimed Japanese mom. She spoils me rotten and I know better than to go to Hawaii without catching up. 🙂
When we arrived back at the Hale Koa, we were greeted by my friends who may or may not have broken a few rules in their quest to hang out in the jacuzzi. My little rule-following heart had many attacks during those 3 minutes. Thankfully, we never got caught and it was worth a few lost items for all the laughter.
That night, we (Ok, ok, I) ate chocolate covered macadamia nuts and talked until our eyes couldn’t stay open any longer and woke up once again to a beautiful ocean view.
Day 3 was our last chance to enjoy the island so we didn’t venture out of Honolulu. We had breakfast on the beach, took some fun photos and tried to soak up as much sun as possible. Which, for this dear ginger, isn’t much. Haha!
After a cool, beachy morning, we walked around downtown and wound up at Duke’s for lunch; I got the buffet (it never disappoints) and Rachel couldn’t pass up the tacos. Not even fish tacos – this girl! You can take the girl out of Texas but… 🙂
After lunch, we did something that I had never done in Hawaii! We rode a tour bus on a scenic drive. Boy, was this fun! There were some must-see stops that I just never thought to do and it was nice to not have to think about traffic or getting back in time to leave for the airport. If you do this, be prepared for a lot of wind!
Our first stop, Hanauma Bay, is always a stunner but if you can go down into the bay and snorkel, you won’t regret it!!
We didn’t get to hike Diamond Head or Koko Crater but if you love a good sweat with breathtaking views, don’t miss out on those. An easier but just as lovely hike/walk is Makapu’u Lighthouse.
One of my favorite stops was the Halona Blowhole, but not for the blowhole! 😉 We snuck off from the group and ran down to the hidden beach for a snapshot. It was heart-thumping to risk missing the bus but SO worth it!
Other sights on this tour was Sea Life Park, Makapu’u Lighthouse and just incredible panoramic views from the coastline. This brought our trip to a close and afterward, we begrudgingly made our way back to real life in WA. But a part of me keeps that salty air in my heart. Until our return back, of course. 😉
Headed to Oahu? Here are my must-sees every time I visit the island:
I usually stay at a friend’s house but if you are military affiliated, the Hale Koa Hotel is really affordable and pretty nice!
While in Honolulu –
Get a guava cake at Saint-Germain Bakery – Are you at all surprised that this is my first “to-do”? 😛
Snorkel at Hanauma Bay
Eat lunch at Duke’s and sit on the lanai
See the dolphins at Sea Life Park
Go down to the hidden beach at Halona Beach Cove
Shop at The Refinery for cute gifts to take back for your favorite person. The many ABC Stores you’ll see around are great for inexpensive souvenirs!
On the Windward (Eastern) side –
Enjoy the most beautiful beach on the island at Kailua Beach
Hike the Lanikai Pillbox for great views
Up on the North Shore –
Go to the Dole Plantation and eat Dole Whip
Drive along Waimea Bay and enjoy that view!
Stop at Turtle Beach early in the morning to catch a sun-bathing sea turtle
Lounge at Sunset Beach and be careful if you wade in the ocean – the waves are tremendous!
On the Leeward (Western) side –
Go into the Ko Olina resort and relax in the lagoons
Walk into Disney Aulani resort for snapshots with Disney characters or enjoy a Character Breakfast!
Go back onto the lagoons and stay there all day. 😉 #notevenexaggerating
In the middle of the island –
Check out the swap meet for an epic walk around the stadium while getting all of your souvenir shopping done for the trip. Put sunscreen on!
Visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
This is just a personal tradition but I always go into this sketchy strip mall in Pearl City and grab a spam musubi from SushiMan. It’s the best on the island. 🙂
Well, friends, there you go! There is MUCH more to do on Oahu but those are my tried and true favorites and things I make sure to do each time I visit. Have an amazing trip and share your pictures with me! 🙂
I didn’t grow up on a farm or even in a family who shopped at the farmer’s market. I grew up eating hamburger helper, frozen kid cuisines and fast food. Partly due to a very busy household and my parents just not knowing any better, food was just a way to keep from being hungry and there was no real intention on it being healthy or serving any other real purpose.
As luck would have it, I started my own little family right around the time that nutrition started to become a big deal. Organic and non-GMO were becoming buzzwords. Moms loved toting their kids to the farmer’s market. And the dark side of judgmental looks started to arise when you fed your kids fast food. (Side note: can we stop the judging already? We’re all just trying to do our best here)
So, during my daughter’s first year of life, I did all the things you’re told to do. I breastfed exclusively for 6 months (umm, then continued for 15 months), then pureed fruits and veggies for her first solids, and stayed away from sugar. But, that was the first year. When toddlerhood came, we just tried to stay afloat amidst a sea of mac and cheese, pizza, pasta and snack foods. We also started eating Juice Plus chewables. I’m confident that adding 20 more fruits and vegetables into her diet every single day from the time she was 4 months old has made a profound impact.
When she started eating table food, she would eat all of her vegetables first, then fruit, and finally, she ate whatever was left. I always found it fascinating because we didn’t model that same sort of behavior for her nor did we push her to do so. As she got older, she consistently would ask for broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans and edamame for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we happily obliged.
When she turned a year old, I started enrolling her in some hourly daycare to help her become comfortable with new people and she wasn’t getting sick like the other kids. And if she came home with a runny nose, our first line of offense was to feed her more Juice Plus. Her cold would be gone within a day or two. She’s now 6 and a half, and she has only been sick a handful of times even though she goes to school and we travel 2-3 times a year.
Juice Plus has been instrumental in getting those key vital nutrients into our busy kid who goes through picky phases like every other preschooler. Even though she’s essentially been “metabolically conditioned” to love veggies, I’m so thankful that she gets a variety of colors through her chewables every single day. It helps her stay well throughout the year and gives me the piece of mind that she’s thriving on whole food, and not a synthetic vitamin.
Throughout the past 6 years, this little munchkin and I have been able to help countless kids and their parents add more fruits and vegetables into their diet even if they are the pickiest of eaters. The most rewarding part is when the kids begin to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables after eating Juice Plus consistently! It’s such a great feeling to see kids develop a taste for fruits and veggies that will carry them throughout the rest of their lives! And to think, it all started with some tasty little whole food based chewables.
I couldn’t be more thankful for the “insurance” of these fruit and veggie chewables for our little munchkin. Do you think it could help your child get more nutrition in their diet? Learn more about how you can get started here: Children’s Health Study
Check out more of our Juice Plus journey and how it’s helped us bridge the nutritional gaps in our diet!
We have chosen to homeschool the Little Who this year and while we are still trying to get the hang of it, we are really enjoying it. 🙂
Enjoy this video of our first week!
I’m completely obsessed with this DIY shelf. I’ve always loved chunky, wood floating shelves but never got around to building any.
But now that I have, and Tim taught me to use the miter saw, I may have to put a shelf on every wall.
I mean, look at how perfectly imperfect it is! 😍
I used the instructions from this post and made the following modified cuts to make my 5 foot long shelf:
(2) 1×6 @ 60″
(1) 1×4 @ 61.5″
(2) 1×4 @ 5.5″
(1) 2×2 @ 60″
(4) 2×2 @ 3″
Add a few rustic accents from Hobby Lobby and voila! A deliciously, beautiful country chic shelf for less than $20.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
I love day dates. For some reason, I feel like there’s less pressure to make it “worth getting a babysitter” and let’s face it, we just have more energy to be adventurous at 10 am than 7 pm. Evening dates for us mean a standard dinner and movie that has been overdone in our 16 years of togetherness.
That’s what having a toddler, who still doesn’t sleep through the night, will do to your love life.
So, back to the day date. After leaving the kids with our amazing babysitter (I kind of want to adopt her so she can watch my kids all day long. Can a 12 year old be an au pair? Ok, back to the date,) we drove down to Olympia, WA.
Ok, we actually live in Olympia, WA but it sounds better if I make it sound like an outing. Ha!
I looked up this Yashiro Japanese Garden, which sounded serene and interesting; which is odd because it’s literally right off the interstate and next to a gas station.
We parked in the abandoned parking lot, Tim threw a sideways glance at me and I pretended not to notice. We walked up to the entrance, not knowing what to expect and immediately became transported to a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of a city.
It was quiet and felt tucked away so you felt like you discovered this tiny little oasis on your own.
We walked for a bit, talked for a bit and snapped a few pictures.
And then, off we went to our next stop. Through downtown, around the Capitol, and down to the bay, we arrived at Tugboat Annie’s. A laid back seafood restaurant with a seaside feel.
Our objective? Kayak out on the open water and feel like kids again.
You can rent a single kayak for $20 or a double for $30 and since my idea of kayaking is actually “floating”, we went with the double.
And because Tim knows me so well, our adventure lasted about 30 minutes before my rumbling tummy brought us back to the dock for lunch. But not before we saw some playful seals and laughed at how my expectations for our kayak date and reality couldn’t be more different.
But that guy up there? He makes everything feel lighter, more exciting and like new again.
So while I do love a good day date, I’ll take any date with that stud. Even one that results in sitting in a wet kayak and no idea how to paddle. 💙
Summer has been amazing in the PNW this year but nothing compares to the blissful days we enjoyed in Hawaii all those years ago. On days when I miss it terribly, I make an Acai Bowl to take me back…if only in my thoughts.
My Acai bowls are ridiculously easy to make and are tasty from start to finish. Start by blending a handful of frozen fruit (I use dragonfruit/pitaya and Acai) and a spoonful of peanut butter with a small amount of liquid. Just enough to blend but not too much or else you'll end up with a smoothie. You want "sorbet" consistency. Then top this mixture with your favorite toppings! Mine are chia/flax/hemp seeds, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, unsweetened coconut, cacao nibs, and granola. Drizzle honey over the top and dig in!!
Where is your favorite place you've ever lived or traveled to? Do certain foods remind you of that place?
I love new beginnings. I’m a “starter,” but not always a finisher. I get carried away with new ideas, reinventions, the luster of embarking on a new journey.
Maybe that’s why I have 3 blogs? Ha!
But this one. This one feels right.
Not just a healthy lifestyle blog. Not just a crafty blog. Not just a travel blog. But my blog. Where I can share all of me.
There won’t be perfectly styled photos. It will be messy and raw. It won’t be for everyone but it will be real. My journey, my past, my dreams, my daily life. All of it.
Wholly and authentically me.
I’m Pam Alvarado. Thanks for joining me. ❤️