Friday, February 10, 2012

Banana Nutella Smoothie... and Trying Something New!

The other morning I was looking for something for breakfast, when I saw a few bananas leftover from the banana muffins I made recently.  Not being a big fan of eating overly ripe bananas just on their own, they might have just sat there until they were so brown I would either bake something else with them or just toss them.  But I remembered a jar of Nutella in the cupboard, and bananas with Nutella is a combination I really like, so I decided to make a smoothie, since the ripe bananas have just the right texture to make a smoothie thick and creamy.

This smoothie is sweet, thick and luscious, and packs a lot of good nutrients, especially protein.  Peanut butter can easily be substituted for the Nutella, and would be a bit healthier since it doesn't contain added sugar like Nutella does.  It was a delicious and filling breakfast which got me through to lunch, and I didn't even get hungry again mid-morning like I usually do after my daily breakfast of oatmeal and protein powder.  This would also make a great afternoon snack a few hours before a workout at the gym, or even a light dinner on nights when you only have time to grab something quick and easy, that's still healthy and yummy...

Now for the something new...

I've just joined Weight Watchers Online, to get healthier and to get in better shape.  (And I want to make a point of saying that this is just something I decided to do - this is not a promotion for them, or an attempt to get anyone else to join.)  Along with this, I'm going to do my best to calculate the points for my recipes, both for myself, so that I know exactly what I'm eating, but for all of you out there who follow Weight Watchers, too; but other than that, I don't plan to say a whole lot about the program on here.

Out of curiosity, I calculated a few of my recent recipes.  Now, of course I knew that the Chocolate Caramel Pots de Creme weren't exactly a health food, but I was surprised to see that they accounted for 19 points.  Out of a daily 35 or so, 19 is a lot, especially considering we also ate ribs that night, with bbq sauce and buttery cornbread...   I don't think I even want to know what that added up to...

On the other hand, the lightened up version of Lemon Ice Cream I came up with (without the pie crust pieces), is only 4 points per 1/2 cup serving.  So I was on the right track with that one.

I'm looking forward to coming up with many more healthy and delicious meals and treats!

In addition to the smoothie, I've also included a recipe for Angel Hair Pasta and Shrimp, with Artichokes, Tomatoes, Capers and Lemon.  Although I was too tired to set up and photograph the plate that night, trust me when I tell you how good it was.

Banana Nutella Smoothie
printable recipe
  • 1 ripe banana, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder 
  • 4 ice cubes

We like the Muscle Milk protein powder – it packs 16 grams of protein per scoop, and the flavors taste great.  For this recipe, I used the “Graham Cracker” flavor.

If you don’t have Nutella, you can substitute any nut butter such as all-natural peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.  Add a little honey since nut butters are unsweetened and Nutella is sweetened.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Yields 1 serving.
(Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 8 points) 

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen.

Angel Hair Pasta and Shrimp, with Artichokes, Tomatoes, Capers and Lemon
printable recipe

  • 10 ounces (about 2/3 of the box) Barilla Plus Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • Pinch of salt, pepper, and dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 can small-medium artichoke hearts (in water, not oil), sliced in half
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Before draining, reserve about a cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with the salt, pepper and oregano.  Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the shrimp, cooking for 4-5 minutes, until cooked through.

In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, capers and lemon juice, and season with a little more salt, pepper and oregano (go easy on the salt – the Parmesan cheese and capers add extra salt as well).  Add the cooked shrimp and pasta to the bowl; sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and toss to combine, adding a little of the reserved water as you stir, to create a little bit of a sauce.

Yields 4 servings.
(Weight Watchers Points Plus Value, per serving: 11 points)

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen.