I have made the decision that this is to be my last Secret Recipe Club post. I've realized that while I like going through other people's blogs, and occasionally trying new recipes, I've lost the desire to keep my own blog updated and full of new ideas. More and more these days I find myself cooking the foods I'm comfortable with - the ones that are family recipes, or my husband's favorites, or my go-to recipes when I need something "good." I seldom update the blog these days since I rarely cook anything new. I've also realized that my desire to have top-quality photographs is no longer there. I see other people's fabulous photos, and then look at my dull, yellow pictures, and understand that while I could do better, I really don't want to. My passion now is for quilting. I have a quilting blog, and even that isn't updated as much as it should be since I'd rather be in my sewing room than at my computer.Okay, enough of that. For my last Secret Recipe Club post, I was assigned Nora of Natural Noshing. Nora is a twenty-something foodie and fitness lover, who cooks gluten-free and (mostly) refined-sugar free. How fitting that at this time of year I'm assigned a blog that will teach me how I SHOULD be cooking and eating. At first, Nora's recipes seemed foreign and "different" to me, but the more I read the more I found myself saying to myself, "That sounds yummy!" and "I want to try that!" Already I've found 6 recipes to try after this one - all of which are going to be tasty and healthy at the same time. I've added some ingredients to my shopping list that I've never used before, and today, when I made my Java Smoothie for lunch, I found myself using dates for a sweetener instead of sugar. (Note to Nora: I don't know if they were medjool dates or not - I had some Dole chopped dates in my cabinet that were going to be used in some very sugary candy, and decided that they will now be the "sugar" in my smoothies until that bag is gone. Then I'll get whole fresh dates from the grocery store. The Dole ones have added dextrose, which I know is sugar. Oh well.) I already purchased a container of protein powder, which I hope to put to good use.On to the recipe for this post. Nora has a good number of smoothie recipes on her blog, and at first, I wasn't interested in them. I cook breakfast most mornings because I'm also feeding Don, and I hate to eat cold cereal since I know it's not good for me (I have to watch my blood sugar). Then lunch time rolls around, and since I don't like sandwiches, I'm always looking for ideas for healthy lunches. Too often it's been cold cereal, since Don likes the leftovers from dinner. As I was looking at Nora's smoothie recipes, it hit me - LUNCH! I don't like a lot of food at lunch time - and if I make my smoothies with protein powder, and cut back on the sugar, I can drink my lunch while I'm sewing and be satisfied until dinner. Believe me, it worked. Today's lunch was the Java Chip Smoothie without the chips, and just a tweak of an added 1/2 banana. I was pleasantly full and didn't get hungry until dinner time. I'll be trying more and more variations and flavors as the weeks go by - I'm looking forward to trying fresh mango - and perhaps will share those variations here on my blog. I won't be using the exact same ingredients Nora uses, but will tweak her recipes to go with what I have here in my kitchen.Today's lunch was WONDERFUL!1 cup lowfat milk1 cup protein powder 1-2 medjool dates 1 tablespoon cocoa powder2 teaspoons instant coffee granules1/2 bananaCombine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.Since this was sweetened by the dates and the banana, it wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be. After the first couple of sips, my taste buds adjusted, and it was sweet enough. The cocoa powder made it dark, and the coffee granules brought out the rich chocolate taste. I thoroughly enjoyed this smoothie, and like I said above, I was full and didn't get hungry until dinnertime. The protein powder has 26 grams of protein in one scoop - so that was the reason why.To all my friends in the Secret Recipe Club, it's been fun. I will continue to read all your posts and perhaps even try a recipe or two.