Lightened Up Piña Coladas

Angela:

My absolute favorite frozen drink is the pina colada. When I saw this lightened up version from Chew Nibble Nosh, I almost peed my pants with excitement. She uses fat free evaporated milk infused with shredded coconut, but I would imagine that some Trader Joe’s light coconut milk might work just as well too… now I just have to try it! This version is about 5 PP. Not bad for a fruity, coconutty alcoholic drink! You can bet I’ll be trying this soon.

Originally posted on Chew Nibble Nosh:

When it’s hot and summer-steamy out, we love to break out the blender and whip up delicious frozen drinks when we entertain.  One of my favorite “sit by the pool and relax” drinks is a cool, frosty Piña Colada.  The tropical pineapple-coconut combo always tastes so fresh and light to me.  The problem lies in that Piña Coladas usually aren’t really all that fresh.  Most rely on premixed, heavy on the calories drink mixes, which means they aren’t all that light either.  They taste great, but did you know that a typical restaurant/bar Piña Colada can pack up to 650 calories and close to 20 grams of fat?  That’s more than a Big Mac!  UGH!

Since I read that a while back, I’ve tried to steer clear of my favorite frozen drink.   If I’m going to blow 650 calories on something, it’s not going to be something I can…

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Smoothies and Shakes… What’s the Difference?

Click here for this Wild Blueberry Shake recipe by “Colorful Palate”!

I’ve been on a smoothie rampage lately. Well, by rampage I mean that I have at least 1-2 per day… and not really for the purpose of losing weight, but because they are damn tasty! If I can have something that tastes like ice cream without all the guilt for any meal of the day AND it takes less than 5 minutes to make from start to finish why would I NOT have 1-2 a day? They satisfy my massive sweet tooth and since I put protein powder in every one, they fill me up. It’s a win-win.

Click here for this Juicy Pear Smoothie recipe by “The Healthy Foodie”!

My history with making shakes and smoothies has not been a great one, though. Until my mom showed me how to properly make one last month, I ended up disappointed in most of my smoothie attempts. I’d already packed the blender up for our move (which is next weekend) because I didn’t see the point in keeping it out! Oh, silly silly me. Mimsy (my nickname for my mom) brought over some Weight Watcher Protein Smoothie packets, bought some frozen fruit and went to work.

First off, let me tell you the difference between a SMOOTHIE and a SHAKE. I had to do my own research on this just to figure it out. A smoothie is typically made with fruit – frozen fruit, fruit juice, fresh fruit, etc. It’s not a dairy affair. It’s a fruit party. A shake (“milkshake” being the source of the word), on the other hand, is a dairy-based treat usually made with ice cream, milk or both. The thickness of either does not change the name; as long as you can suck it up through a straw, it’s either a smoothie or a shake. When you start to need a spoon, then it becomes an ice cream or a sorbet.

After you figure out if you’re making a smoothie or a shake, you then want to decide how thick you want it to be. Do you want to easily drink it or do you want it thicker so that you feel more like you’re “eating” something rather than “drinking” it? The breakdown:

Click here for this Blood Orange Smoothie recipe by “Bittersweet”!

– Start each shake/smoothie with no more than 1 cup of a liquid, whether that’s water, fruit juice or some kind of milk (soy, almond, coconut, regular, etc).

– If you want a treat you can DRINK, you can either skip the frozen stuff all together (like ice cream or frozen fruit) and just put in fresh fruit like berries and bananas (or even spinach or avocado!) or you can put in frozen items that are UP TO OR EQUAL to the amount of liquid you’re using. If it’s too liquidy, blend in something frozen like ice or fruit.

– If you want a treat you can EAT, you can put in frozen items that are EQUAL OR UP TO TWICE the amount of the liquid you’re using. You could also use half the amount of liquid and sub the other half with tofu, yogurt, avocado or cottage cheese. Any more than that and your blender won’t blend it properly and you’ll end of with icy chunks of fruit covered in what resembles a smoothie texture. If it’s too thick for you, add some more liquid.

Click here for this Lemon Apple Honey Smoothie by “The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife”!

– If you want a treat you NEED TO EAT WITH A SPOON, you’ll want to use 2 parts frozen stuff to 1 part liquid. Maybe a liiiiiiittle bit more, but not too much. Or you can use about 2 tbsp liquid, up to one cup of tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt or avocado and then add your sweetener and frozen ingredients.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: you want to make sure you eat/drink your treats right away. Smoothies and shakes lose their wonderful consistency within about 30 minutes. So, don’t make it until you’re ready to consume it.

Click here for this Papaya Strawberry Avocado Shake recipe from “Family Fresh Cooking”!

Now you know how to make it work. So all that’s left is some delicious recipes, right? Well, you can certainly click on any of the pictures I’ve posted to go to those recipes on different blogs or you can try some of these simple and delicious combos listed below! Just put in the wet ingredients first, then the protein powder (if using) and sweetener and THEN the frozen items. Blend and enjoy! You may need to use a spoon to re-position the fruit so that it blends properly. Once you see the top of the mixture seamlessly swirling towards the center, your treat is ready to be devoured!

Chocoberry Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

Click here for this Carrot Cake Smoothie recipe by “Pursuit of Hippieness”!

Tropical Breeze Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 PP
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen tropical fruit medley

Peaches and Cream Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, 2 PP

Simple Strawberry Smoothie (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Chocolate PB Banana Shake (5 PP)

  • 1 cup skim milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp peanut butter, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen banana

Watermelon Explosion Sorbet (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Weekly Weigh-In and a Smoothie Recipe

This is Immi doing a happy dance for my good weigh-in. Or maybe it was an escape attempt….

After three weigh-ins of gains and not enough time spent at home cooking, I finally made up for it and lost 5.4 lbs this week! But really, it’s just 2 lbs less than what I weighed in at before I gained those 3.4 lbs back. So yay for redeeming myself!

They were pretty, delicious AND WWF. Better than a cake!

A list of random things before I give you the yummy smoothie recipe….
– I turned 27 this past Sunday. Happy birthday to me!
– My girlfriend is awesome. She bought me a bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries for my birthday rather than a cake! Sweet AND WWF :)
Chobani chose me as their featured blogger of the week, so I’m currently accepting more entries for the case of Chobani ‘gurt they’re letting me give away! Enter here.
– I need to buy MORE Chobani ‘gurt so that I can make more muffins. I’m all out.
– 3 new people joined the Reluctant Losers in the past two days, so there’s 19 of us all together now!
– I got a subscription to Cooking Light for the next two years and I am PSYCHED. 218 recipes in the latest issue alone! I’m in heaven.
– I bought a juicer after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and I’m totally a convert. Zero PP and it’s incredibly good for you? YES PLEASE.

And now, for your yummy smoothie recipe!  This is another recipe that I created using Chobani ‘gurt.  It was quick, easy and delightful.  You can switch up any of the ingredients to make it your own.  I’m not a HUGE fan of bananas and berries in the same shake, but it’s what I had on hand.  I’d much rather pair bananas with peanut butter or coconut and some chocolate syrup… and let the berries do their own thing with either lemons, vanilla gurt or ice cream, or…. chocolate syrup.  Yep.  Chocolate syrup is pretty much my “go-to” in many dessert situations.  But not too much!

Berry Banana ‘Gurt Smoothie…  Made with Chobani Pineapple ‘Gurt.

Berry Banana ‘Gurt Smoothie
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz container of Chobani Pineapple, 4 PP
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup mixed frozen strawberries/raspberries (or fresh if you have them)
  • 1 cup frozen banana rounds (slice up bananas when they are just starting to brown and then freeze them!)
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk or Silk Coconut Milk, 1 PP
  • 1 packet sweetener like splenda or truvia

Directions
1. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend. Pour. Enjoy. The end.

Since the bananas were frozen, there’s no need for ice! But if you don’t have any of your fruit frozen, then you’d want to add about 4 ice cubes or so. One more picture for the road!!

Pretty much the same picture, just more saturated and sultry….

Perfect Summer Cocktails

Click here for this Frozen Cherry Mojito recipe from My Baking Addiction!

I definitely wouldn’t call myself “a drinker”.  We have lots of wine in our house, but we only break it out for the occasional special dinner or party.  We never have more than a glass or two each.  We usually have beer in our fridge, but it’s usually for guests.  The one bottle of tequila we have has been in our cabinet for over a year… slowly being used for the occasional margarita.

But there’s something about summer that encourages a nice cool alcoholic drink.  Maybe it’s the humidity; if we’re going to perspire, we’d might as well have a frosty beverage in one hand and a fan in the other.  Maybe it’s the longer stretches of daylight which allow us to sit outside on our patio and enjoy the slow cool-down of the night until 8 or 9pm.  What better way to watch the sunset than with a glass of chilled sangria?  Or maybe its the smell of barbeques in the air that conjure up memories of family and friends grilling outside, each one with a cold bottle of beer just within reach.

Click here for this Canteloupe Cooler recipe from In Jenny’s Kitchen!

It’s just the season.  Summer turns me into a drinker (just a little bit).  I’m not the only one.  Blogs all over the internet are riddled with recipes for the perfect summer cocktail.  So, I looked around and found a few that looked incredibly tasty to post on here.  I’m definitely into the fruity drinks and I’d rather not taste as much alcohol in it (since I’m not a huge drinker in the first place), so remember, always adjust to your tastes.

The one recipe that I’m actually posting the recipe for is a drink that has been a part of at LEAST 4 conversations in the past week – Beer Margaritas.  Since we really only keep tequila in the house, it’s the one I’ll be trying first!  My girlfriend has been raving about these; sweet, but not too sweet, a bit tart, a little fizzy, and the perfect drink please all your friends.  This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, Skinny Kitchen.  Not only is this drink tasty, but it’s SKINNY!  You won’t be loaded up with sugar and calories with this one.

Beer Margaritas (from the Skinny Kitchen blog)
Servings: 8 (3/4 cup per serving)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5
Calories Per Serving: 229

Click here for this Carolina Peach Sangria recipe from Recipe Girl!

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate (thawed)
  • 1.5 cups (12 fluid ounces) tequila
  • 1 (12 oz) can diet 7-up (1.5 cups)
  • 1 (12oz) bottle or can of light beer (1.5 cups)

Garnish

  • lots of ice cubes
  • 2 limes cut into wedges

Directions
1. In a pitcher, add the ingredients and stir until blended.

2. Place lots of ice in each glass. Add the margarita mix and garnish with a lime wedge.

Prep Tip – The day before you make these, defrost the limeade in the refrigerator.  Otherwise, place in a bowl of hot water to defrost quickly.

If you’d like, do them “frozen” and blend ingredients in a blender with ice! I’m a huge fan of the frozen drinks, so that would be my preference. If this is what you’re doing, don’t worry about defrosting the limeade concentrate completely. Keep it kinda chunky. Then you’ll be able to use less ice, hence creating a less-watered-down drink. Beer, tequila and lime = happy day.

Snowpocalypse Hot Cocoa

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions

In case you haven’t heard, the plains of the USA are being attacked by Mother Nature.  30 of the 50 states are being pelted with icy rain, sleet, hail and tons of snow.  It’s a snowpocalypse.  I have a history of falling on my keester during the winter time and, frankly, I don’t want to do that today.  So, I’m working from home.  Aaaannndd, I’m making hot cocoa from scratch!

There’s not a lot you can do to mess up hot cocoa (as long as you’re not putting in weird things like lemon or garlic).  In order to make it WWF, I used truvia and honey to replace 2 of the tbsp of sugar that would normally go into hot cocoa. If you’re not sure what truvia is, it’s a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant that doesn’t wreak havoc on those of us who are lucky enough to have an intolerance to fake sugar substitutes like splenda (when I say “intolerance”, BOY do I mean it!. I can’t even eat sugar-free candies and mints anymore).

I just whipped this together, poured it in my favorite mug and enjoyed the warmth as is entered my belly!  What better way to enjoy the snowpocalypse??

Photos Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions

Snowpocalypse Hot Cocoa
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1% milk, 8 PP
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp sugar, 3 PP
  • 8 packets truvia, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp honey, 1 PP
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

Directions
1. Pour all ingredients into a medium pan over medium heat.

2. Whisk it occasionally until nice and warm. Whisk extra hard at the end if you want a little extra frothy foam.

3. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows if you like! (Just count the points)

If you want to thicken it up a bit, add 1 tbsp of masa harina to the mix and let it simmer for a few minutes.  You can also add 1 tsp vanilla extract (or any other extract for that matter) to add some more flavor.  If I hadn’t run out of vanilla extract, I would have put some in!  Try almond, coconut or hazelnut for a bit of a mellow, nutty twist.

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini from Beautiful Orange Productions