The Best Smoothie. Ever. Truly.

I really suck at food photography. I mean, this really is the best smoothie ever, and yet after multiple attempts I can’t capture that yumminess in a picture. I’m still working on it, the photography that is, but for now, just enjoy the recipe.

I was recently challenged to enter a Smoothie Recipe contest by Sunwarrior. They sent me a few samples of their products, including both vanilla and chocolate protein powder. I had fun creating variations on my usual smoothies, using both the classic and warrior blend vanilla powder. I made a great recovery smoothie, using the Warrior blend vanilla, Immune Shield, fresh berries, spirulina, almond milk, ginger, apple, and banana. It was delicious.

Recovery Smoothie 3

Then I needed to figure out how to use the chocolate Sunwarrior. Although I love chocolate, the idea never appealed to me for my smoothie. But I decided to get my creative juices flowing and see what I could come up with. I think you’ll agree that this just may be the Best. Smoothie. Ever.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 5

As the commercials have told us, chocolate and peanut butter are made for each other (though if you don’t eat peanuts you can easily substitute another type of nut butter). This smoothie tastes like the most decadent of milkshakes, but it is full of the nutrients of fresh fruit, plant based protein, and pure peanut butter.

Ingredients

2 Bananas
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew because I love its richness)
6 ounces vanilla coconut milk yogurt
1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend chocolate protein powder
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup frozen mixed berries (mine were strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 3

But now, I had a problem. I had used up the chocolate samples that Sunwarrior had sent me, and all I had was my own tub of vanilla. I needed to make this smoothie again (if only because my husband didn’t get to try it the first time and I knew that he’d love it). That and it is my new obsession favorite. This was easy as it turned out. I simply used a scoop of the vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder and added a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Everything else remained the same. It was a winner!

Sun Warrior 2

Now, you can help make me a winner too. Entries are judged based on a variety of things, including comments on this post, likes on my Instagram post, and retweets of the link above. If you like chocolate, please vote for me in one (or more) of these ways. If you don’t like chocolate, maybe you’ll do it because you like me?

Berry RecipeWhat’s in your favorite smoothie?

Weekly Recap: SLO Marathon Training & Yoga

This whole work thing is taking its toll on my marathon training.

SLO Marathon Training, Week 7

While I’m happy overall with how my training is going, I still keep having to cut some of my weekday morning runs short because, well, money. If I have a client that wants to see me at 7:00 in the morning (or even 6:00, but that hasn’t happened yet), I really need to take them. Because in about three months they’ll be gone for the summer. It’s called making hay while the sun shines.

So, while I’m getting in the runs, they are shorter than I have on my schedule. In the coming week I’m going to work on getting out a little earlier, but I don’t like to go too early because I’m running by myself and, well, I’m scared of the dark. Here’s why…

This was a cutback week though, with my long run scheduled for 10 miles with five at marathon pace. That went well, though I did four at MP pace instead of five. I was running with my neighbor Christina, who is a new runner, but tough as nails. She did the whole run with me and kept me going during the faster parts. She even challenged me as we approached the end to pick it up to the corner. Bitch! I keep reminding myself she’s young enough to be my daughter. That helps.

run 3The picture above is from a couple weeks ago. Same crew though. Alan was with us but he had a steady pace 10 mile run on his schedule.

Here’s my post-run selfie. Mostly because I like taking pictures of our wind-kitties.

Run2

So I ran four times, 19 miles total. I’m still not happy with my total weekly mileage, but I’ll be working on that this week. I started off this week with a three mile run, and I managed eight 1/4 mile intervals, so I’m pretty happy with that.

The countdown to the SLO Marathon is on! Two months from today! Yikes, better get going. I have a 16 miles run on the schedule for the weekend, which is good, but I think the key is to get in my mid-week mileage.

By the way, the price will be going up on February 28, so if you’re planning to join me in San Luis Obispo on April 23 now is the time to register! You can save an extra $10 with my code WOODAMB. Do it!

slo

Take the Leap Challenge

At least my yoga is going well. I have managed to practice a little yoga every day since February 2. I haven’t made it to as many classes as I’d like, but I’ll do a few sun salutations to warm up, some hip opening and hamstring stretching poses to cool down, and take the time daily for a pose-of-the-day.

We working on a warrior series this week. Here are my first three days:

Week 3Warrior I

Humble WarriorHumble Warrior

Warrior 2

Warrior II

I’m so happy with this Take the Leap Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink. The support of the other participants is amazing, and I love working with prAna. Not only do they make amazing clothing, but they care about creating a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. My goal, once the challenge is over, is to continue on with my practice, maybe not daily, but several times a week. Yoga is good for my soul.

Random Stuff: Movies & #Vegan Food

Alan and I went to see McFarland, USA on Saturday. In a nutshell, we loved it! As a cross country coach I appreciated everything about the story of how running (and a good coach) helped to change the lives of the children of migrant workers in Central California in 1987. It was based on a true story, so even though it seemed a little formulaic, I didn’t care. I believe in the power of running and high school sports to help develop successful and confident adults.

We headed to lunch at Whole Foods on Sunday. We had their vegan Artisanal Cheese platter again. It was so good! And we shared the Taro Burger. Sadly, they no longer have the Jackfruit Crab Cakes on the menu {sad face}, but we did enjoy our meal.

lunchI also cooked up a great Tofu Scramble this week. In fact I’m still enjoying the leftovers!

Tofu ScrambleHave you seen McFarland, USA? What did you think? How was your training week? Any events, races, or great meals? Share!

Marathon Training, Yoga Challenges, and Grandsons: Just a little recap

Busy weekend = mostly pictures. That and the Westminster Dog Show is distracting me. So, a little recap with a lot of pictures.

Marathon Training

What should be the biggest part of my recap is, well, not so much. I’m having schedule clashes, with clients who want to work out at 7:00 in the morning, and while I’m willing to get out there early, I’m hesitant to get out there too much in advance of the sunrise. That’s a long excuse for only two runs this week.

Running 2I did get out early on Wednesday, finishing my four miles by 6:00.

RunningAnd I did a 14 mile long run on Sunday (Saturday we had family stuff). I ran the first 5 miles with Alan and our neighbor, then took off on my own for the rest. The fire station is my perfect water stop. They have an ice machine, plus, well, firemen (though there weren’t any about on Sunday).

Total mileage only 18 miles! That should improve in the coming week. My work schedule is a little better and I have a cut back on the long run next weekend.

Yoga Challenge

Ironically, I’ve done much better with the Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink that I did with running. I’ve managed at least a short practice every day since the beginning, and since I’m doing the Bringing Yoga Back challenge too (which fortunately work really well together), I’m really happy with my yoga efforts. I didn’t make it to a “real” class this week, but I practiced at home, both in and outdoors. Take a peek:

Week 2A little doggy-assisted yoga, my favorite kind.

Week 2_2While Alan worked the PS Half Marathon, I took a little run, the did a little posing.

Week 2_3Not only do I get help from my dogs, I get a lot of interest from the cats in the neighborhood.

Week 2_4I spread out my mat on the driveway to stretch after my Wednesday run.

Week 2_5I think I did a pretty good lizard pose variation, don’t you?

Week 2_6Back in the house, a 20 minute balance flow, and amazingly the dogs stayed clear (they were probably afraid I’d fall on them, my balance was that bad).

Week 2_8We traveled to Huntington Beach on Saturday for our twin grandsons’ 10th birthday party. While they played basketball, I posed.

Week 2_7I dragged Alan out for this one. Up in the trails behind our house, he took so many great pictures of my downward facing dog that I couldn’t choose just one.

Phew, week two in the books. I’m am so ready for week three!

Grandsons

As I mentioned, our grandsons turned 10 on Saturday (yes, they’re Valentine’s Day boys). It was a basketball themed party, so Alan and I had a chance to throw the ball around a little bit too. It had been 20 years a long time since I played basketball, and I was playing in flip flops, but I still managed a couple free throws (it seems much farther away than it did when I was younger!), and more than a few lay ups. From my Instagram:

Yes, we did. #basketball

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

And this:

BirthdayThey asked to do this. #10yearoldboys

Valentine’s Day

We’re not big Valentine’s celebrators. We try to show our love daily, so it’s just not a big deal. We did, however, take the opportunity to stop for dinner at Native Foods on our way home from Huntington Beach on Saturday. It’s not exactly romantic, but it is our favorite restaurant. As I told one of our smartypants Facebook friends, it feels more romantic to us than candlelight and steaks!

Native Foods 3Native Foods 2Alan ordered three(!) cupcakes, so we had ALL the chocolate! I was really well fueled for my long run on Sunday. And fortunately not too sore from the basketball.

So, that was my week in training and life. What’s happening in yours? Any races, events, family fun?

A Day in the Life: Wife, Vegan, Dog-Mom, Runner, Trainer

Day 2_10

Today I’m linking with Katie and many other bloggers (see below for the link up) for a “Day in the Life” post!”  I love these posts. It’s like taking a little peek into the lives of the bloggers that I follow. I’ve done this before, but there have been some major changes in my life since then (like a job change for one).

I’ve been sick for ever a few days, and my days have revolved around sleeping, coughing, sitting in bed trying to make the time go by, well, you get the idea. I know you don’t want to hear more about that!  So I picked a day from last week when I was going about my regular business.

3:30 am The alarm goes off. Alan hops out of bed because he leaves to swim by 5:00. I hit the snooze button a couple times, but I’m up by 4:00.

4:00-4:30 am Coffee! Alan and I chat a bit, then I check email, read a few blogs, answer a couple comments.

Day 2_2

4:30-5:00 am Pet feeding time! With seven dogs and two indoor cats, this takes a while. We also try to fit in a short walk before Alan leaves to swim.

Day 2_5

5:00-5:30 am I get dressed and ready to run. It’s finally warmed up a bit, so I’m not dreading getting out before the sun. Still, I bundle up with tights, gloves, and headband, not to mention breaking out the Halobelt and Knuckle Lights. Then, while waiting for the sky to lighten just a little, I go back to reading blogs.

Day 2_1

5:30-6:30 am I get my run done in an hour today. It’s six miles with the middle four at my half marathon pace. Done!

6:30-7:30 am Shower, dress, eat. Then I make my morning smoothie to take with me to work. This is my new habit, now that I have my new Blendtec.

Day 2_7

7:30-8:00 am Drive to work. I keep my mind occupied by listening to an audiobook. Currently I’m listening to Voyager, the third book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

8:00-10:00 am I work with two personal training clients. My schedule is not full yet, since I’ve just been working for a couple months, but it’s getting there. My second client is only 45 minutes, so I have time to drink that smoothie that I brought with me.

10:00-11:00 am I have an hour break between clients, so I go to the yoga class at my gym. It’s a pretty easy class, but sometimes that’s just what I need.

11:00-12:00 pm I have one more client, then I’m done for the day! On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I also work some desk hours, but on Monday and Wednesday I’m done after my last client.

Day 2_4

12:00-12:30 pm I swing by Whole Foods to pick up some essentials. I don’t do all my shopping there because it’s pretty expensive, but they have a great variety of vegan and organic food, so I make a point to shop on my way home from work once a week or so.

12:30-1:00 pm The drive home, still listening to Voyager.

1:00-3:00 pm I get home, greet Alan and the dogs, which takes a while (if you have dogs, you understand). Then I grab a snack, since lunch is usually late. Then I’ll sit down and work on my blog post for a while. This week I have a couple of sponsored posts that are due and mostly written, so it’s a matter of proofreading and re-reading what I’ve written. One requires a draft, so I send that off.

3:00-4:00 pm Alan and I go to lunch together. Today (as most days), we go to Subway/Starbucks. He grabs the sandwiches, I grab the coffees, and we eat at Starbucks. After eating, I check my social media, comments, etc., until it’s time to head home.

Day 2_8

4:00-5:00 pm I take some time to sit, relax, talk to my husband, watch a little television, and try to keep my hands off my computer/iPad/phone.

5:00-6:00 pm I give into temptation and check out my social media and blog comments. I also check on my analytics a bit, so I know where I stand for the day. It doesn’t sound like much, but an hour just slips away.

6:00-7:00 pm I start dinner. Tonight I’m making one of my favorites, Risi Salad. As I cook, I enjoy a glass of wine, and turn on HGTV and watch my favorite real estate shows (that’s what’s left over from our “going to be real estate agents” phase).

Day 2_6

7:00-7:30 pm Dinner time.

7:30-9:00 pm This varies. If I have a post that I need to get published, I spend some time fine-tuning it, checking links and proofreading (again). I generally publish around 8:30 pm. If I don’t have a post, I’ll either edit some pictures, spend time on social media, or, sometimes, I might just plop myself in front of the television for the last hour or so of my day.

9:00 pm Bedtime. I usually read a little before lights out, but not for long, because I’m always pooped by the end of the day. And I need my rest if I’m going to get up and do this all over again tomorrow!

Day 2_9

Join the link up and let’s hear about your day! Be sure to visit a few other blogs to share the love!



Living a Plant Based Life

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

I recently received a message from a parent of one of my cross country runners, “Hey Debbie, Question for you, do you have a vegan diet with a day by day list of what to eat? I have to get on an exact eating plan.

Silk 3

I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, so I couldn’t give her exactly what she wanted, but I could give her a little advice, “I always planned my meals similar to non-vegan ones. Breakfast can be cereal with non-dairy milk, a smoothie, a tofu scramble. Lunch a salad, sandwich. Dinner the same. Choose healthy vegan protein sources like tofu, tempeh, beans, or seitan. Nothing wrong with using meat substitutes, especially at first. Read labels because there are a lot of hidden animal products in many foods.

Because it’s really not difficult to live a plant based life.

When I first adopted my vegan diet I simply substituted plant based alternatives. For dinner, many of my favorite recipes were easily prepared using a faux meat. Over the years I have also learned to make seitan, cook tempeh and tofu so that they taste delicious, and discovered the joy of jackfruit, but the idea remains the same. My meals today look and taste much the same, but no longer contain any animal ingredients.

A vegan lunch was even easier because in the past it usually consisted of a sandwich, a salad, or leftovers. I pile my sandwiches high with fresh, crispy veggies. And avocado. Always avocado. I’ll toss beans, nuts, seeds, or quinoa in my salad for the punch of protein. I do tend to make my own salad dressing more frequently now, but there are plenty of plant based options.  Just as I told my friend, it’s a matter of reading labels. I do not make my own bread (yet), but with careful reading it’s possible to find it without milk, honey, or eggs.

Breakfast, surprisingly, was more difficult.

I am always in a hurry in the morning. Always; especially on work days. So taking the time to create a vegan scramble (unless it’s leftovers from the night before) just isn’t in the cards. Even a smoothie seems to take more time than I have.

My previous beloved granola with yogurt was not available to me anymore. I made the switch to cereal, hot or cold, with soy or almond milk (plus toast, always toast), but I always felt like I was missing something. Well, I was. I was missing the satisfaction and protein burst that I’d had before.

Until now.

SilkSilk, a champion of vegan dairy alternatives from soy, almond, and coconut milk, to truly non-dairy coffee creamer, not to mention (since we’re just past the holidays), the best Holiday Nog, now has a Dairy Free Yogurt Alternative.

Made from completely plant-based ingredients, Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative contains six grams of protein per serving, is made with real fruit, live and active cultures, and is completely free of dairy, cholesterol, and artificial flavors and colors. It’s also gluten- and carrageenan-free, and a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.

Silk 2

And, as I found when I tasted the samples I was sent, it is absolutely delicious. It has a smooth and creamy texture that blended well with the granola and fruit that I added-in. It also added a luscious creaminess to the smoothie I made (okay, sometimes I can find the time). It comes in six yummy flavors, so there are a lot of options: Black Cherry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Vanilla, Peach & Mango, and Tropical Pineapple.

Silk 4

I can’t wait to make a non-dairy parfait, which is on the menu for my next breakfast. Keep an eye on the Silk Pinterest Board. I’ll post the picture (and the smoothie recipe) there. You can also join the Silk Community by signing up for their newsletter.

What is your favorite breakfast food? Are you always in a hurry like me, or do you save yourself time to make breakfast?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Meatless Monday: The Joy of Tofu

I’m hooking up with Tina and Deborah for this holiday week edition of Meatless Monday!

Meatless-Monday-Button1-200x300

The Joy of Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap. From complaints about its taste (or lack thereof) and texture, to the possibility of it being generically modified, to just the fact that it is made from soybeans, many people won’t even give tofu a chance. I hope to clear away some of the misconceptions about the lowly tofu, and maybe encourage you to try it out (I’ll link to a couple of my favorite tofu recipes) on this Meatless Monday.

Joy of Tofu

Yes, it is true that tofu doesn’t have much taste all on its own. That is also what makes it so perfect to use for almost any purpose. Tofu will absorb the flavor of any sauce or seasoning that you choose to use. The key is to drain and press the tofu first to extract as much water as possible, then marinate it in the sauce of your choice. Well-drained tofu will absorb all the moisture and flavors of that sauce.

Preparing Tofu

There are a couple ways to press tofu. The easiest, no-equipment-needed way is to simply drain the tofu, wrap it in a couple paper towels, and press it under a couple plates, books, or whatever you have handy. Pressing for at least a half hour will produce the best results. Another option of a tofu press. You can place your tofu in the press, screw it down, and it will remove even a greater amount of water. It can even be left in the refrigerator overnight for a firmer, meatier texture.

If you like your tofu with a heavier texture (especially for some recipes) try freezing it before cooking. This can be done either after pressing, or in its original packaging. Freezing might alter the color of the tofu, and will make it more absorbent and dense.

Tofu can be marinated in almost any type of sauce, from bottled marinades to your own favorite recipes. Here is a simple marinade that I frequently use when I’m going to make a tofu “steak” to serve with a salad or potato.

Simple Tofu Marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid heat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper to taste
vegetable broth

In an eight ounce measuring cup, combine all the ingredients, adding the broth last and filling up the cup. Pour over the pressed tofu and marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. You can cook them like this, or dredge in flour, bread crumbs or corn meal. Cook over medium heat until browned on each side. Add the remaining marinade and cook until it is hot and slightly thickened.

GMO Concerns

It is true that soy is one of the most genetically modified plants produced. Much of this soy is used in feed for farm animals, and in processed (human) food. Tofu is much less processed and if you check the packaging for the Non-GMO label and purchase organic tofu, you will not have to worry that your tofu has been genetically engineered.

All Nasoya tofu is certified organic and non-GMO project verified. The company sent me some samples of their tofu products to try out. In addition to their regular organic tofu, Nasoya also has TofuPlus, which is fortified with vitamins, and the new TofuBaked, which has already been marinated and baked, so can be used hot or cold, and is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry.

tofu-baked-sesame

Health Benefits of Soy

Soy is low in fat, cholesterol free, and has bone-healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Twenty five milligrams of soy protein per day is recognized as beneficial to heart health. The soybean has been described as a Super Food because of its nutrient rich properties, which have been found to be beneficial in fighting many diseases.

In spite of fears that soy isn’t safe for women concerned about breast cancer, study after study has indicated that soy most likely reduces the risk. As for men, soy is recognized as a prostate-friendly food.

Other health benefits of soy, as well as references to the studies mentioned above, can be found here and here.

Tofu Recipes

I love cooking with tofu. It is inexpensive, healthy, and if you cook it correctly, it tastes delicious. Over the years I have created many tofu recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Quiche4

Quiche Who needs eggs? I just made this the other night, substituting mushrooms for the vegan bacon. Delicious!
Pot Pie To me, pot pie is the ultimate comfort food.
Tofu Scramble I can eat a tofu scramble for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner.
Tofu Burrito I have many burrito recipes (they are one of my favorite food groups dishes), and this is one of the best.
Vegan Bruschetta Caprese I’ve also made this like a simple caprese salad, substituting the slices of tofu for the buffalo mozzarella.
Triple Protein Packed Salad I make a lot of salads, especially in the summer. Big Salads.
Easy Tofu Bake When you just don’t know what to make for dinner.
Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Like the example with my marinade recipe, this is an easy way to eat tofu on its own.
Vegan Buffalo “Wings” The playoffs are coming! I love “football food” as much as the next girl.
(Tofu) Steak and Potatoes The title of the post is “Sometimes a girl just needs a (tofu) steak and potatoes.”
Pumpkin Pie. Your guests (or you) won’t know it’s vegan!

http://i0.wp.com/livefromlaquinta.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Vegan-Pumpkin-Pie.jpg

Well, there were even more than I expected! That should keep you busy for a while! Not on my recipe list, but soft or silken tofu is a perfect addition for smoothies, makes great, creamy sauces, and can be used as a thickener for many dessert recipes.

Do you cook with tofu? Why or why not? Do you have a favorite recipe?

I have five coupons for a free package of Nasoya TofuBaked to give away! If you’d like one, just tell me in the comments and I’ll pick randomly on December 29.