Well, I'm back from my conference in Atlanta, and more or less in one piece. Holy cats, my day job has gotten so busy and stressful I am struggling to do anything else. Geez, don't you hate it when real life gets in the way of blogging?? LOL!!!
The conference was grueling, but it was so, so great to see colleagues in person. Phone and email are just not the same! I had a BLAST meeting my new colleagues from Philly, too. I have to say, I am in total awe of the amount of pure genius contained in our new, merged organization. Plus, our members are the absolute best. Wonderful people that are a joy to work with.
But enough about that. Several weeks ago, I received a case of 100% pure pomegranate juice from the lovely folks at POM Wonderful.
I was thrilled, because while I love pomegranates, they are both a pain to eat and hard to find. They are usually only available here around Christmas time. Pomegranate juice??? Brilliant!
While reading Girlichef's post about her POM experience, I had to laugh, because I did the same thing as soon as I retrieved my box from the clutches of the evil apt. people-- I grabbed a bottle and chugged. AWESOME!!! That POM juice really IS wonderful-- tart, tasty and so refreshing. Making me wish I could drink juice on a regular basis (generally a no-no for my volatile blood sugar levels which are prone to crashing)!
I am happy to report that despite receiving my juice under less than ideal circumstances, it is still delicious many weeks later. You see, the apt. people didn't bother to tell me that my Pom juice was waiting for me in the apt. office until about a WEEK after it arrived. I guess they didn't notice the Gi-normous warnings all over the box that said REFRIGERGATE IMMEDIATELY. (????) I was royally pissed off at the prospect of being the recipient of a whole case of spoiled pomegranate juice, but I popped it right into the fridge and it's fine.
I also received several coupons from one of the BEST natural foods companies under the sun, in my opinion-- Stonyfield Farms. I love their yogurt, and it is the only brand of "regular" yogurt that I will buy. Kristina Drociak at Stonyfield sent me some coupons to try OIKOS, Stonyfield's Organic Greek Yogurt product, which is totally new to me.
One of the biggest differences between Greek-style yogurt vs. regular yogurt is that Greek-style yogurt is strained, meaning that some of the liquid (whey) has been removed from it, resulting in a yogurt that is much thicker, milder, and richer-tasting, as well as significantly higher in protein and calcium. This means that compared to other yogurts with the same fat content, the Greek-style yogurt tastes richer.
I finally had a chance to use some of my OIKOS coupons this week. I've tried both the honey flavor and the vanilla flavor. All OIKOS yogurt is non-fat, but you would never guess because it tastes so rich and delicious! Generally, I detest the flavor of non-fat dairy products and avoid them like the plague. I personally feel better when my food has SOME fat in it, as it keeps my blood sugar more stable. The OIKOS, however, was delicious, and it's high protein content helped keep me from having a sugar crash. The fact that it's organic, too is a real bonus! I greatly enjoyed eating both the Vanilla and the Honey flavors directly from the carton.
For me, the big problem has been that with the triple whammy of moving, work duties heating up, and my travel schedule getting much heavier, I have hardly had time to enjoy creating new recipes for the POM Wonderful or the OIKOS.
I know this is totally boring, and everyone is probably already using both the POM juice and the OIKOS for smoothies, but this morning I wanted to try my hand at creating a great-tasting protein shake using these ingredients.
You see, I am in the process of getting back into my 6 meals-a-day and 6 workouts a week routine. (You can read more about these struggles in PhitDiva, my other blog). One of the staples of my routine is protein shakes.
I use 2 kinds of protein, both whey powder and calcium caseinate powder. I don't want to go into the boring details of whys and whens here. The point I'm trying to get to is that I've been forced to use just the caseinate lately as I've run out of whey and haven't had a chance to get more. Which is a bit of a bummer, since I MUCH prefer the flavor and texture of the whey over the caseinate. To make the caseinate shakes palatable, I usually end up adding some chocolate syrup or other sweetener, which kind of defeats the purpose of a healthy shake, LOL!
Good news!!! Using my OIKOS yogurt and POM Wonderful juice, I've been able to create a Levantine-inspired Power Smoothie with the caseinate powder that is so delicious, even DS just inhaled a large glass. And not only is it delicous, it is jam-packed with tons of nutrition to power you through even the busiest morning.
Here's what I did:
POM-Raspberry Greek Yogurt Power Smoothie
Makes 2 turbo-charged servings
Makes 2 turbo-charged servings
1 c. Pom Wonderful 100% pure pomegranate juice
1 scoop vanilla-flavored calcium caseinate powder (I use the 100% Gold Standard ("ON" or Optimim Nutrition) brand)
3/4 c. OIKOS Greek Yogurt, vanilla flavor
1/2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
1 packet, cooked, Kashi G0Lean Hot Breakfast cereal, Truly Vanilla flavor
1 T. tahini
2 small bananas, preferably frozen, in chunks
1 1/2 c. ice cubes (this is a guess, since I took one of our drinking glasses and filled it with ice from the dispenser in the fridge door)
Combine the ingredients in the blender, and blend to preferred consistency.
I am LOVING my caseinate protein shake this morning! It is truly "yummy good," as DS used to say. I have quite a sweet tooth, and normally find I need to add some kind of sweetener when I'm using the caseinate, but the above combination is perfect for me as-is (a miracle!). But if you are preparing this for, say, children, here are some things you could to add make this shake even MORE delicious:
- malted milk powder
- a spoonful or two of raspberry jam
Nutrition-wise, this shake is pretty impressive. Here are some approximate data per serving:
- Protein: about 28 g (12 from the protein powder, 8.25 from the Oikos, 3 from the tahini, and 4.5 from the GoLean)
- Calcium: 39% DV (25% from the protein powder, 12% from the OIKOS, 2% from the tahini)
- Whole grains: 11 g (22% suggested DV)
- Fiber: about 10 g. or 42% DV (3.5 g from the GoLean, .75 g from the tahini, .5 g from the protein powder, 2.6 g from the banana, 3 g from the raspberries)
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 234 mg (175 mg from the GoLean, 59 from the tahini)
- Omega-6 fatty acids: 3400 mg (from the Tahini, recommended daily intake is 1500 mg, I think)
I also have to give kudos to my new blender. which handles the thick consistency of the caseinate shakes (including ice and other frozen ingredients) with ease. I purchased the Breville Ikon blender recently as my old faithful Kitchen Aid bit the dust last fall. With cycles created specifically for crushing ice and making smoothies, plus its unique blade design, the Breville quickly and easily handles my toughest jobs. It is the best blender I've ever used, and I highly recommend it.
A votre sante!