Banana Biscoff Protein Shake

Banana Biscoff Protein Shake

My husband is a protein shake nut. He makes them for breakfast every day, and this stubborn gal thought…there’s no way a shake would make me feel full. No way. I need food…the chewing kind,  you know? Well, one day, my husband introduced me to a protein based smoothie at a local smoothie place. The medium was apparently only 270 calories, according to their nutrition facts, so I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised that the texture wasn’t gritty, it tasted great and I got full halfway through drinking the thing. Whoa…that was the first time a smoothie from there made me feel full. The difference between my normal muscle punch and this? The protein powder.

I was hooked on those smoothies for a while, until I they changed their menu. The smoothie I quickly fell in love with was calculated wrong (calorie wise). Instead of being 270 calories, the menu suddenly said 300-680 calories (depending on fruit you chose). WHAT???! So, I emailed the company, and asked what my smoothie REALLY was (telling them the fruit that I usually choose).

510 calories.


I mean, I knew there was SOME variation from one fruit to another, but what I didn’t know is that some of their fruits sit in sugar juice. No WONDER it was so tasty. I was drinking 1/3 of my daily calories! Needless to say, I quit going to that smoothie place and decided it was time to make my own. I could save money and have complete control over the calories & ingredients.

This idea came to me after I saw this recipe. Banana and Biscoff? Sounded awesome, so I decided to try it in a smoothie. OMG…it was like dessert and it was the perfect treat after a work-out.

Just a note: When it comes to protein powder, I use this. I chose this protein powder based on recommendations from friends and a few of y’all. It has a pretty mellow flavor (perfect for blending in other fruits and flavors), and it’s not gritty at all.

Banana Biscoff Protein Shake
an original


  • 1 medium frozen banana (cut in slices before freezing)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. biscoff cookie spread
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice


  1. Place all ingredients in the blender, and blend together until all of the ingredients are well-blended.

Top 10 Recipes of 2012

Man, what a year it has been! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family. :-)

Most years, I feel like time has flown by, but for some reason, it feels like last January was truly a year ago. So many great things have happened to us this year (as well as some really crappy events).  

Some highlights and not so highlights:

  • It was our first full year in our new house, which has been such a blessing. It’s just awesome to finally have friendly neighbors, who don’t throw their trash in our backyard or play loud music at 2am (side-eye to the neighbors at the old house).
  • My husband and I have both decided to live healthier. Between us, we’ve lost over 150 lbs. this year. (I’m sure my husband is rolling his eyes at me sharing this, but seriously..I’m gonna brag here!) That’s just amazing to me. I’m so proud of us.
  • Another weight loss highlight. I fit into a clothes size that I haven’t been able to wear since 10th grade. That was 12 years ago. OMG!
  • A not so highlight. Hurricane Isaac…don’t want to go into too much detail with that one, but yeah, hurricanes suck. Oh, and for the record, labradors don’t care if the winds are 50 mph outside. If there’s rain/water, it’s playtime! (ugh)
  • I think I’m making some good progress on my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list.

And of course, it’s been another fun year blogging. I really appreciate all of y’all taking the time to read my tiny corner of the Internet. Thank you for your sweet comments, emails and tweets. In January, it’s gonna be this blog’s 5th anniversary, and I’m just amazed by all of the friends I’ve made and people I’ve “met”  through this blog. You guys are the best!

Just to round up the year, I wanted to share with y’all your top 10 most read posts from 2012.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream

10. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Buttercream – These whoopie pies were made for a work fundraiser, and they were a huge success. Great pumpkin/spicy flavor, and the salted caramel buttercream just makes them super indulgent. Pumpkin + caramel is a wonderful combination!

Red Velvet Bundt Cake

9. Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – I love anything red velvet. This bundt cake is a fun change from a regular cake, and it was pretty easy to throw together and bake!

Baked Oatmeal

8. Baked Oatmeal – My breakfast has been forever changed by this. This oatmeal is not soggy at all (which I hate about cooked oats), and it’s very sweet with the addition of bananas.

Peanut Butter Cookies

7. Peanut Butter Cookies – Just simple, classic peanut butter cookies. :-) Very good!

Candy Corn Oreo Truffles

6. Candy Corn Oreo Truffles – Oreo truffles are insanely good, and it was fun to make these with seasonal flavors. Always a favorite when I bring these truffles to work!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

5. Fresh Strawberry Pie – I’m SO glad strawberry season is back. I need to make this pie again…it’s not rich at all, and since it involves no cooking (except for the crust), it tastes so fresh!

Snickers Cupcakes

4. Snickers Cupcakes – Oh, I totally need to make these again. If you love Snickers, you will LOVE these!

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

3. Homemade Strawberry Lemonade – Meyer lemon season + strawberry season? Um…guess I need to make this too and ASAP!

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

2. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies – These were just delicious, and so pretty too! Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Feta

1. Spinach, Strawberry, Pecan and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette – This is a huge favorite of y’alls. I think Pinterest made this a popular one, and it is VERY easy to throw together! This is a salad you want to make for your next party…it’s an awesome combination!

Thanks so much for reading this blog, and I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Time to get used to writing/typing “2013”. :-)

BlogHer Review: Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

As the summer is starting to rear it’s ugly head around here, I can’t help but think of all of the ways that we cool off around here. The pool, ice cold watermelon, NOLA style snowballs, air conditioning….those are a few that come to mind. I also think about fun, light (adult) beverages to enjoy when it heats up around here. Beer is the usual thing that comes to mind for a lot of people, but y’all….beer really isn’t my thing. Wine isn’t my thing either actually. Don’t freak out….I’m learning. My friends are trying to teach me. Haha! I can drink a riesling or moscato, but I’m no expert at all. For example, I found myself texting my best friend when a pot roast recipe called for a red wine. Uh yeah, when a whole WALL is nothing but red wines, it can be overwhelming.

I’m so glad I’m getting this off of my chest, y’all.

While I’m not a fan of the ever-so-popular beer, I am a fan of another bottled beverage: hard cider. Back in college, I remember going to a pizza joint with friends where they were known for having 3908490396 things on draft, give or take a few. 😛 It was then that one of the gals I went with ordered a hard cider. I had to find out about this drink, since this gal swore up and down that this particular drink tasted nothing like beer. It tasted like carbonated apple awesomeness. Uhm, WHAT??! So yeah, I had to order one for myself. Yeah…I was pretty much hooked, y’all!

So, when I heard that Michelob was coming out with their own lightened version of a hard cider, I was very excited. Since I’m currently calorie counting, I find that often times I have to say “no” to adult beverages since alcohol tends to hog the calories. A bottle of this is only 120 calories, which is about 1/3 less calories than the average hard ciders out there.

Here’s a little bit of information about Michelob ULTRA Light Cider:

Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob ULTRA announced the newest addition to its portfolio, Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, a naturally sweetened and gluten-free cider made from crisp apples. Featuring one-third fewer calories (120) and a more mellowed sweetness than traditional ciders, Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is ideal for year-round enjoyment and provides a light, refreshing alternative to white wine, champagne and heavier ciders.

“As more people continue to discover cider, we’ve found that many view traditional ciders as either too heavy, too sweet or both,”” said Ryan Moore, vice president of premium lights, Anheuser-Busch. “”This perception has often times limited ciders to a seasonal beverage during fall and winter, but we saw an untapped potential to expand the category as a year-round option. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider fills this void with a lower calorie cider with a milder, but distinct, sweetness that can be enjoyed straight or over ice.””

Hard Cider Review 2

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve had a drink like this, but after trying it, I have to say this one is my new favorite. I’m used to drinking a pretty sweet hard cider, which in the Summer, just isn’t that appealing. It was refreshing to drink Michelob ULTRA’s Light Cider since it had a much more mellow sweetness (due to it being naturally sweetened) and just had a great, crisp apple flavor (since it’s made from hand picked apples). With the weather warming up like crazy around here, I really like that I can enjoy this with a ton of ice to keep it cold outside or of course, just drink it straight out of the bottle. Another plus? This drink is gluten-free!

Michelob Ultra Light Cider

Since the summer is here, I really would love to know which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider?

Personally, I think this would be the perfect drink to enjoy after taking care of the garden and just relaxing on the patio with a super cold bottle of this in hand.

Check out the sponsor’s site or the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on for more information. They’re available NOW nationwide (excluding CO, UT, WY and OK) in six-packs of 12 oz. clear glass bottles.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a six pack of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, as well as compensation, in exchange for an honest review.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

The first time I ever tried Strawberry Lemonade was at Chilis. I went to dinner once with friends, and in the many times we went there as college students, I never noticed the drink before until the waitress mentioned it. I really thought it would be a disgusting Hi-C drink, but when the waitress bought it out, it contained strawberry puree. I was in love. I’m sure it had 900 calories a glass, but it was just SO good and sweet! Now, I don’t go to Chilis as much anymore, but whenever I end up there, I have to have it! I’m sure some of y’all are judging me for liking something at Chilis, but just give me a little slack here. :-) I think the last time we ate at Chilis was several months ago…it’s definitely not a place we frequent.

A while back, I saw this recipe for homemade strawberry lemonade. I waited until strawberry season came around, bought a bag of lemons, and made a pitcher of the stuff. Let’s just say I had three glasses of this in a row that evening. This stuff is GOOD and super easy to make!

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade
Source: My Baking Addiction


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water, divided
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 8-9 small lemons)
  • 4-6 cups cold water (I used 5 cups)


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Make a simple syrup by heating and occasionally stirring the mixture on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the mixture to fully cool before doing the other steps.
  2. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of water.
  3. In a large pitcher, add the strawberry puree, cooled simple syrup and lemon juice. Stir the mixture until everything is well-mixed.
  4. Add 4 cups of cold water and taste. If you feel the lemonade needs more water, add it a cup at a time until the lemonade tastes great to you!
  5. Stir the lemonade really well and serve it over ice.

Note: It lasted about 2 days in the fridge (since I finished the pitcher by then), but it may last longer.

Foodbuzz 24×24: A Culinary Journey Down the Muddy Mississippi

When I was a little kid, I had such trouble spelling “Mississippi”. Was it too many “s”s or the double “p” that threw me for a loop? I just couldn’t get it. My house was less than a tenth of a mile away from the river, and I just couldn’t spell it. That bothered me. My parents taught us a little fun way to spell it eventually, and now I can’t ever spell Mississippi wrong. When in doubt, I tell myself “M-i-s-s… I-s-s…i.P.P.i”. There was an emphasis on the cap letters, so it became a bit of a rhythm to say it in my head that way before spelling it out.

Since I grew up living so close to the Mississippi, I’ve seen the river have its ups and downs. Literally. When the river gets high in the Spring, boats appear like they are floating on the levee. And of course, when it gets low, you’ll barely see the tops of the boats. It’s crazy how much it varies, and this year was no exception. For the first time in almost 40 years, the river was so high that the Corps of Engineers had to open a spillway north of Baton Rouge in order to save New Orleans and Baton Rouge from catastrophic flooding. Sadly, this spillway isn’t just land. People actually built their homes and farms in the spillway, so they had to evacuate. While I’m glad that nothing catastrophic happened to our big cities, it still hurts to know that some people suffered from this.

While I was watching a news segment about the river one night, I couldn’t help but think about the massive journey that the water takes. All the way north from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. There are so many different cities that the river just flows by, and my husband had the greatest idea. A culinary journey down the river–from Minneapolis all the way to New Orleans. Our party idea featured foods that are notorious in the major cities along the river: Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. I was so stoked when Foodbuzz let me know that our party proposal had been accepted for this month’s 24×24, so I called up our families and had them over for this awesome party!

For Minneapolis, we grilled up the famous Juicy Lucy burger! You can’t go wrong with a cheese stuffed burger, and this burger was one of the favorites of the meal!

Jucy Lucy

For St. Louis, we baked a gooey butter cake. We served it with ice cream and various summer fruit sorbets. The cake is a yeast based batter on the bottom and of course, a gooey butter base layer on top. Many of us (myself included) have never had a gooey butter cake, but it was a great hit! I think next time, this would go perfectly with some fresh fruit.

Gooey Butter Cake

For Memphis, we made some fabulous BBQ Baby Back ribs. This was my first time ever working with ribs, and it really wasn’t that bad. These were very flavorful ribs and super tender, since they were in an oven for a good part of the morning before finishing off on the grill!

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

And of course, for New Orleans, we made some grilled corn grits. Grits are a favorite around here, and in one of our favorite restaurants, this is how they make the grits. It’s fabulously rich and flavorful! You probably don’t want to know how much heavy cream and butter are in these grits, but I’ll tell you anyway later when I post the recipe! :-)

Corn Grits

Oh, and since we’re all from Louisiana, we had to add in a little lagniappe for NOLA: Hurricanes. I mean, how could you NOT? For a hot, summer day, these are always a hit!


*all recipes will be shared on the blog at a later date*

It was so wonderful to spend time with our families, and I’m so glad everyone enjoyed the food. You know it was a good party when people ask for the leftovers and recipes as they’re leaving! :-)

Dessert Time


Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for making this party happen! We really enjoyed the different foods from cities along the river, and also had a blast spending time together!


Sprite “Icee”

Sprite Icee

My husband and I are on an Icee kick lately. I know those drinks are full of sugar and not the most diet friendly, but man, they are SO refreshing! When I saw Bridget of Bake at 350 post about this easy idea to make your own Icee with an ice cream machine, I couldn’t wait to try it!

Of course, the texture really isn’t an Icee. Icees are much lighter to me, so I would actually call this more of a slush. It’s still pretty darn yummy, though and VERY easy!

Sprite “Icee”
Source: Bake at 350, originally from Cuisinart


  • 5 cups of cold soda (any regular soda..this won’t work on diet)


  1. Pour the cold soda in an ice cream maker.
  2. Let the soda freeze in the maker for about 30 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!

Bananas Foster Milkshake

Banana Milkshake

I’m sure you can tell I’m sort of in love with bananas foster. I’m from New Orleans, so I guess you can say I’m pretty hooked to the stuff. I don’t really remember the first time I had it, but I know it was love at first bite!

I’m also greatly in love with ice cream…I gave it up for a month for a personal junk food detox to prepare me for the 10 week weight loss challenge I’m participating in. :) Before my personal little detox, I used to have a bowl almost daily. It was low-fat ice cream, so no guilt right? Psh, unfortunately those 150 calories daily added up, and I blame the hot summer for the crazy weight gain I’ve experienced. Darn you hot summers and refreshing ice cream!! :)

So, naturally when I heard that Foodbuzz and Lactaid were hosting a smoothie/milkshake recipe contest, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enter my idea: a bananas foster milkshake. I know milkshakes are a huge diet no-no, but hey, I can practice portion control here, right?

After submitting my idea to Foodbuzz, I found out that my idea was one of the 12 chosen to participate in this contest. :) Wahoo!!

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what the prize for this fabulous contest is, right? It’s a trip to this year’s Foodbuzz Festival!! So, cross your fingers for me, y’all. This would be an amazing opportunity for me, and I think I would just go nuts if I won (in a good way, I promise).

Now, since this is a contest for Lactaid, I couldn’t just make any milkshake. Rather, this milkshake had to be lactose-free AND unique! Quite a challenge, no?

Now, I knew Lactaid made milk, because I was graciously given a coupon to get a Lactaid milk product for free to make this recipe happen. However, my two other worries were ice cream (of course, a milkshake staple) and butter (a main ingredient in authentic bananas foster).

After perusing Lactaid’s site, I found that Lactaid makes an ice cream product. Bonus? A store really close to my house carries all Lactaid products, so the products are easy to find. If it’s in my town, it’s probably in your town. Yay for availability! Also, Lactaid products are very reasonable in price. I know not everyone can pay mega bucks for groceries, so it’s wonderful that Lactaid keeps costs fairly low for their products. :)

Milkshake Ingredients

Now, for the butter, I took a risk and used a little bit of oil with water rather than butter. I thought this would work well, because I interchange oil and butter in most of my cooking, so why not? Thankfully, the flavors worked out, the shake ended up not tasting oily, and it worked beautifully in making the infamous bananas foster sauce. :)

On a side note, I have to hand it to the folks at Lactaid. When I was a kid, I think I was a little lactose intolerant (never was diagnosed). I used to have major stomach pains after drinking milk, and the sad thing was, I used to drink chocolate milk anyway. I know…you think I must be crazy! To me, the pain was totally worth it. I was completely addicted to chocolate milk!  And yes, while I had stomach cramps, I like to think my addiction to milk had to contribute to my 5’10” frame. Haha! Now, don’t worry…the good news for me is sometime in my teenage years, I grew out of the intolerance I had. Yay!

However, not everyone ends up so lucky. So, it’s good to know that those who are lactose intolerant can still enjoy cow’s milk now, get the same nutrients from regular milk, and hey, they can even make milkshakes, root beer floats, enjoy sundaes…the list is endless!

Lactaid has really taken it upon themselves to make lactose intolerance less daunting. They have a huge array of lactose-free products, and offer a new website, called MooVision, which is to bring awareness to lactose intolerance and to showcase their product line. They have some fun features on the site too, which include:

  • Moolah!, a trivia contest about lactose-free milk (you can win gift cards here!)
  • Gourmoo cookoff, which is a competition with recipes featuring lactose-free milk
  • Moo News, which is a mockumentary style news show for milk lovers

So, using Lactaid’s ice cream and milk products, I came up with this milkshake. I’m sure you’re wondering if there’s a difference in consistency or taste with these products. Good news peeps…I really didn’t notice a difference, which is awesome.

The verdict? The taste of this shake came out perfectly, as expected. :) Heck, bananas foster is typically served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream anyway. Why not combine it into a tasty drink? You might noticed that I didn’t make traditional bananas foster with alcohol. I did this, because it’s not a huge flavor difference to me, and because of the lack of alcohol, this becomes a shake you can make for the kids, too! :)

And, in case you’re wondering, I only drank 12 oz. of the stuff. This shake made it really hard to practice portion control too…so tasty! I kind of don’t want to calculate the calories, but in hindsight, with a 48 oz. pitcher next to me, I could have done much worse damage.

Disclosure: I received a free sample of Lactaid milk for this recipe, and this recipe serves as my entry for a contest to attend the Foodbuzz Festival.

Bananas Foster Milkshake
Source: an original


  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • appx. 1/4 cup water
  • 12 oz. Lactaid milk (we used 2% reduced fat)
  • 1 quart Lactaid vanilla ice cream


  • Place oil in a medium skillet and bring the heat to medium heat.
  • Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir and slowly add water until it forms a sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low heat.
  • Add the sliced bananas to the pan, stirring occasionally.  Cook this down for about 5 minutes. You know it’s done when you can smell it and the bananas are really soft!
    Bananas Foster
  • Remove the bananas and place them in a bowl in a larger bowl with an ice bath to cool down. Reserve the sauce in the skillet.
  • Once the bananas foster has cooled, blend the milk and ice cream together until well blended. Then add the bananas foster and blend. If you think the shake is too thick for your liking, you can add some milk, a little at a time.
  • To serve, drizzle bananas foster sauce in a glass, pour in the shake and drizzle more sauce on top. Enjoy!

Makes appx. 48 ouncesBananas Foster Milkshake

Thanks again to the folks at Foodbuzz and Lactaid for allowing me to participate in this contest. :)

Iced Coffee at Home (and a review)

Iced Coffee

I am a coffee shop junkie. Some mornings when I woke up feeling crabby, nothing would change the day’s outlook more than a “mochasippi” from a local coffee joint. Apparently, I had many crabby mornings, because a month later, the barista would recognize my voice (and order) at the drive-thru window and tell me, “Morning, Miss Amy!”.

Well, it got to the point where I would stare at my bank statements, and realize, I’m spending far too much moolah on something so simple as coffee. I need to change this. One Particular Kitchen wrote about some fabulous iced coffee she makes, but I was skeptical about this. How could it compare to my precious mochasippi?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to be part of a test run group for The Nest. If chosen, I would get an appliance to test out and review (compliments of The Nest). Imagine my surprise when I got an email about testing out a coffee machine! I’ve never owned a coffee machine before (although with the amount of coffee I consume, I knew it would be a money saver!) 

Coffee Machine

When I received the coffee machine, which is a Hamilton Stay or Go, I noticed that you can brew (double strength) iced coffee base with this machine. No excuses y’all. I knew that I had to try out this iced coffee, and well folks, I’m hooked!

This coffee machine comes with two travel mugs and a pot (you can brew 1 mug, 2 mugs or a pot). Since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house, the mug brewing feature became a MUST! Also, this machine is fool-proof. For someone who has never used a coffee machine in her life, this thing was a cinch to figure out. Also, if you and your husband have different tastes in coffee, there is a special double basket that will brew two different coffees into the two separate travel mugs provided. Neato, eh?

I got sent this coffee to sample from Starbucks as well. It was delicious as a base for the iced coffee.


I have been playing around with the recipe a little bit, and this is my favorite so far. There will be much more experimentation in the future though. Sometimes when I’m feeling ultra coffee shop, I add a squirt of whipped cream and syrup on top! Yummy!

  • 1/2 double strength coffee base
  • 1/2 2% milk
  • light chocolate syrup, to taste

Very simple. Very yummy and my wallet couldn’t be happier!

Note: This coffee machine and coffee was sent to me for review by at no cost to me. My review, however, is 100% my thoughts, as I was allowed to give good/bad reviews on the machine.