Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hemp Powder Bars

I was at the local farmer's market recently and ran into a guy selling his own hemp powder.  I love experimenting with new things, so I bought a bag.  Hemp powder is a great protein source that is plant based and full of fiber.  Many people make this the base of their protein shakes.  I prefer to make something that is eaten with them, so away I went with trying out a few recipes.  This one is by far my favorite.  It is sweet and very satisfying! 

10 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup mixed nuts
1 tbsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. hemp powder
1/4 cup peanut butter

1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until it forms a thick batter.
3. Spoon mixture into loaf pan, spread, and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Cut in to bars.  Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition Info: (makes 9 bars)
Calories: 152
Fat: 5.6 g
Carbs: 21.9 g
Protein: 3.5 g

Banana Bread Bits

It is too hot to be baking! So I have been experimenting with no bake recipes.  These remind me of cake balls but without the sugar.  The banana gives you a sweet fix and energy to fuel yourself for whatever the day may bring.  If you choose to add protein powder, you can get an extra boost there.  I did add a scoop of vanilla Shakeology to mine.  As you may have heard in one of my recent FB live videos, I got off of Quest brand protein bars and subsequently, their powders as well.  They were not agreeing with my gut and I also was finding them way too sweet.  Shakeology has been a good alternative for me, but feel free to substitute any protein powder you like if you choose to.

2 tbsp. almond or peanut butter
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1 cup oat flour
Pinch of salt
1 banana, ripe as can be
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  If you do not add protein powder, you may want to start with less almond milk and add as you go until you get a batter.
2. Roll into balls.
3. Optional: add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of each ball.
4. Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition (makes 16 balls):
Calories: 60
Fat: 1.8 g
Carbs: 8 g
Protein: 2.8 g

Homemade Lara Bars

I have a goal to make snacks where I do not have to add honey or maple syrup.  Sure, you can argue that they are healthier than straight up sugar, but I was challenged by my husband as to how much healthier are they?  I decided that I was up the challenge and found a super easy recipe for homemade Lara Bars.  I am currently out of country traveling for business and I wrapped up 6 of these in parchment paper for the road.  They made it in my suitcase, no problem!  This recipe only requires 3 ingredients and a food processor or blender.  I use my Ninja blender and these bars come together in a flash.  I personally think these taste better than the store bought Lara bars, the nutritional profile is about the same, and I am guessing that they are cheaper though I have not worked the math on that yet. 

No maple syrup and no honey - so what the sweetener/binder?  It is...dates!

Dates are natural - yes, they have sugar but a low glycemic you don't get that sugar high followed by a crash.  I love eating these before a workout.  They are great for fueling a long run. baking required.  Another great time saver!

10 Medjool dates, pits removed
1 cup nuts (I like to use mixed nuts)
1/4 cup raisin

1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine ingredients in food processor or blender.  Work that mix until it gels together.  It will be thick.
3. Spoon mixture into loaf pan.  Flatten and place in fridge for 30 minutes or freezer for 15 minutes.
4. Remove and cut into squares.  You can keep these at room temperature or in the fridge, depending on how you like them.  At room temp, they are a bit more gooey but they hold up well.

Nutrition Info (makes 8 bars):
Calories: 190
Fat: 7 g
Carbs: 30.4 g
Protein: 3.4 g


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Banana Apple Oat Cookies

This recipe is super easy to make in less than 5 minutes.  There is no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and no flour used in this recipe.  It is a great snack when you are on the go or a good way to start your morning if you are not a big breakfast eater.  I also find it a good pre workout food!  This is a staple for me when I travel, because it does not require a fridge to store it.  This makes them easy to pack on a flight or on the road.  

It is called a "cookie" but please note that this is not a super sweet dessert and I would consider it more of a snack.  If you would like to make it sweeter, instead of applesauce substitute in 1/4 cup of peanut butter.  Also, make sure you have a very ripe banana to get it as naturally sweet as you can.  Finally, instead of raisins you could use chocolate chips to sweeten it up.

This recipe makes 8 cookies.

1 very ripe banana
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce*
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 oz raisins

* As mentioned above, you may substitute 1/4 cup peanut butter instead of 1/4 cup applesauce if you would like a sweeter cookie.  This will alter the nutritional content of what is listed below.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or aluminum foil with non stick cooking spray.
2. Mash banana in a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
3. Drop batter into 15 spoonfuls on to the baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
5. Enjoy!

Nutrition: (per cookie)
Calories: 50
Fat: 0.5 g
Carbs: 10.8 g
Protein: 1.1 g

All baked up and ready to eat.
These keep well in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
No fridge required.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Turkey Vegetable No Bean Chili

After a week of eating chicken twice a day, I was tired of chicken.
This turkey chili fit the bill for a healthy and non chicken chili!  The meat in this case is ground turkey.  There are no beans in this chili, because my husband can't stand beans in general.  He doesn't like the texture of them, and that is that for him.  So this recipe took that in to consideration!  
I will list the vegetables I used, but you can substitute others such as celery, peppers, or other root vegetables as well.  I like a colorful chili, so the organic carrots are fun for this purpose.

16 oz ground turkey 
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 zucchinis, sliced
6 oz carrots, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup onion powder
32 oz. chicken broth

1. Brown turkey in a large pan.  Drain fat, add onion and garlic and cook through.
2. Transfer to a stockpot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.
3. Cook on low 1-1.5 hours or until veggies are soft.
4. Garnish with your favorite toppings - such as guacamole, a scoop of plain Greek yogurt, or cheese.
5. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (12 servings, info per serving):
Calories: 205
Fat: 8.5 g
Carbs: 10.2 g
Protein: 23.3 g

Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos

Make it a meatless Taco Tuesday this week!  I was looking for a light dinner after a day that I knew we were having a heavy lunch.  I figured that it would be a good night to experiment.  Lo and behold, I found a real keeper in this recipe that I adapted from Eating Well magazine.

Sauce - 
1/4 cup lime juice (squeezed from about 2 limes)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
Sprinkle of oregano
2 cloves garlic
Sprinkle of salt
1 small chipotle dried chili (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp honey
The rest - 
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, sliced
15-oz can refried black beans, warmed
Corn tortillas and/or tortilla chips
For serving: sliced red cabbage, chopped lettuce, guacamole, lime wedges, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Add chilis to taste as desired during this step.  I listed one small, as that is all I can handle!
3. Place cauliflower and sliced onions in a large bowl.  Pour sauce on and toss to coat.  Transfer to the baking sheet.
4. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point.  It is done when the cauliflower is tender and browned in spots.
5. Serve!  You can use tortillas, tortilla chips, or even on top of a bed of lettuce.  The refried beans give a great complement to the zesty cauliflower/onion mix.  Feel free to add additional garnishes as desired.

Nutrition Info (makes 4 tacos, facts are for 2 tacos):
Calories: 288
Fat: 7 g
Carbs: 48 g
Fiber: 11 g

Tossing to coat before roasting
In the pan, before roasting
Serving time!
In a whole wheat soft tortilla
Another view, just before eating

Here is an open serving, on top of lettuce

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Banana Coconut Muffins

I love banana muffins but the store bought kind are full of all kinds of stuff I am trying to avoid.  This recipe is so easy.  You mix everything in one bowl.  It delivers a moist muffin without any artificial sweeteners or sugar.  Make sure your bananas are very ripe so you can enjoy the natural sweetness!

I am a huge fan of coconut flour.  It works very well in this recipe.  I cannot vouch for how other flours would work in this batter.  Coconut flour is known to absorb a lot.  It can be risky to use other types of flour.  The coconut flour also gives you a bit of that coconut flavor, along with the banana.  It's a great combination.

This base recipe makes 6 muffins.  Please see my note on the egg white versus egg.  I have made it both ways.  I think most may prefer the whole egg.  It seemed to make the muffin sweeter.  I preferred it less moist so the egg white for me worked well.  The nutrition info below is based off the egg white, not the egg.

2 very ripe bananas
1 egg white (NOTE: use 1 egg for a more moist muffin)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mash all bananas in one large bowl. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Spray a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.
5. Spoon batter in to pan.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Nutrition Information (per muffin):
Calories: 59
Fat: 1 g
Carbs: 11.6 g
Protein: 2 g

Close up view

Overhead view
Side view

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Raspberry Nut Overnight Oats

Has anybody ever tried overnight oats?  They are becoming a favorite of my husband's.  I prep one daily for his breakfast and it only takes a matter of minutes to do so.  On my meal prep Sundays, I do prep the toppings of raspberries and almonds in containers so that it saves me from doing that every day.  This recipe is basic and super easy!

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
5 oz plain Greek yogurt (we use Chobani)
1 tbsp maple syrup
8 raspberries
12 almonds

1. In a cup, mix together the oats, almond milk, and yogurt.
2. Drizzle with maple syrup.
3. Cover and let it soak overnight.
4. In the morning, warm it up and top with raspberries and almonds.

Early morning picture
And a close up view!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Vanilla Pumpkin Protein Shake

There is nothing better than some morning dessert that is low on calories and high on protein!  This hits about 130 calories and 23 grams of protein.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Quest vanilla milkshake)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp cinnamon
8-10 ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 cup water (if you want a more runny shake)

Place all items in a blender and enjoy!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Peanut Butter Protein Shake

If you like peanut butter, then you will enjoy this shake.  This hits about 180 calories and 29 grams of protein.  That is some serious protein to start your day.  Please note that this nutrition info is based off of using peanut butter flour, or peanut flour.

What is peanut powder, you ask?  Only the best invention ever!  Press about 90% of the oil out of peanut butter and you get a powder with all the flavor and benefits of protein but less calories and fat.  You can use it in shakes like this and I also like to stir it in Greek yogurt or bake it as a cookie or blondie (I will have to post my recipes, but I am still experimenting!).

A note of caution!  PB2 is a very popular brand of peanut butter flour, but what I don't like about it is that it contains sugar.  I found a brand in my local grocery store that I now buy in bulk called Crazy Richard's.  No sugar and 50 calories/12 g protein for 2 tbsp!

On to the shake!

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Quest vanilla milkshake)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp peanut butter flour or 1 tbsp organic peanut butter
8 ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 cup water (if you like a more runny shake)

Place all items in a blender and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shamrock Protein Shake

Forget McDonald's and indulge in a guilt free Shamrock Shake.  What a great way to start the day.  This hits about 140 calories and 24 grams of protein.  In comparison, a McDonald's medium shamrock shake (16 oz) is 580 calories and 12 grams of protein.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Quest vanilla milkshake)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup spinach leaves
1/8 tsp pure peppermint extract
6-10 ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 cup water if you want a more runny shake

Place all items in a blender and enjoy!
This is the more runny version

And the thick version!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Strawberry Chocolate Protein Shake

Strawberry and chocolate in a guilt free protein shake!  This hits about 150 calories and 23 grams of protein.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Quest vanilla milkshake)
1.5 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
Optional: 8 ice cubes if strawberries aren't frozen

Place all items in a blender and enjoy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cinnamon Roll Protein Shake

There is nothing better than some morning dessert that is low on calories and high on protein!  This hits about 140 calories and 23 grams of protein.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Quest vanilla milkshake)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
8-10 ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 cup water (if you want a more runny shake)

Place all items in a blender and enjoy!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nana Ice Cream

This is my favorite dessert when I have time, and I do not feel one bit guilty about eating it.

You will need a frozen banana for this recipe.  What I usually do is wait until I have a very ripe banana, and then I peel it, put it in a quart size freezer bag, and smush it up so that it is easy to toss in the blender for this recipe.

1 frozen banana
2 tbsp organic peanut butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
2. Blend and enjoy!

Nutrition Information - makes 2 servings, info per serving:
Calories: 164
Fat: 9.5 g
Carbs: 18.1 g
Protein: 5.7 g

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Butternut Squash Soup

This is a crock pot recipe that can easily be made on the stove top as well.  This makes for a great lunch and it also freezes very well to be enjoyed later.

28 oz. butternut squash, cubed
1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
12 oz. carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
32 oz. vegetable broth
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Put all ingredients in the crock pot.
2. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
3. Use an immersion blender to puree.  
4. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
5. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (per cup):
Calories: 83
Fat: 0.1 g
Carbs: 20.7 g
Protein: 1.7 g

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2 Ingredient Pancakes

I have a new favorite pancake recipe!

The base only requires 2 ingredients.  It is low calorie and packed with nutrition.

It doesn't get any better than this, does it?  

Base Ingredients:
1 banana
2 eggs

Optional additions (one addition per pancake) - I have tried and enjoy these all:
Peanut or almond butter

1. Cut and mash banana in a bowl.
2. Add eggs.  Mix thoroughly. Add optional addition of either cinnamon, raspberries, or blueberries (or try something new!).
3. Spray and heat a pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Drop batter on to warm pan.  I recommend keeping batches small and let them get nice and crispy, then turn them over.  
5. Once done, you can spread peanut or almond butter on them as another option.

I typically split this recipe in half for myself so I have half a banana with one egg.  It is a great breakfast or snack.  It leaves me satisfied for hours when I add peanut butter!  Even with the recipe in half, I can make 3 to 6 pancakes in that small batch.  Nutrition info below is for the half recipe.  It does not include the optional add ins.

Nutrition info for a half recipe:
Calories: 122
Fat: 5.2 g
Carbs: 13.5 g
Protein: 6.5 g

While the pancakes are cooking: one plain, one blueberry...
and one raspberry with a renegade blueberry!
Fully cooked pancakes.
Plain pancake - great on its own!
If you add cinnamon, it does dilute the banana taste.
This may be desired if you are not a huge banana fan.
A stack of cinnamon banana pancakes!
Blueberry pancake.
The blueberry is a great substitute for jam!
No added sugar.
Ohhh yeah.

Raspberry pancake.
Again, the raspberry is a great jam substitute.
I was so excited to eat this that my picture came out all fuzzy!
This is a close up of the raspberry pancake.
Trust me, it was delicious!
My favorite combo.
Plain banana pancake which I then spread with organic peanut butter.
A great protein boost!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meal Prep Lunches with the Kids

I oftentimes get asked how my kids are engaged in clean eating.

Truth be told, my kids like their chicken nuggets and potato chips.  But they also recognize the importance of protein and fruit/veggies in their diet.  So we really focus in our household on achieving a healthy balance.  This can be a challenge, but what I have tried to focus on is empowering them to be able to make their own good choices.  I don't believe in depriving them but I do believe in them understanding what their bodies need.  I hope as adults they will carry on these concepts so they can be healthy and live a long life.

Lunch is a prime example of this empowerment.  The kids used to complain about me prepping their lunches for the week.  They did not always like what I packed them.  Thus, I decided to develop a system to help them and allow them to make their own choices.  It also makes our week so much easier.  I became a huge fan of lunch prepping for me and my husband and wound up extending this concept to the kids.  It makes Sunday a very busy day of prepping meals but it is so worth it to make the week run smoothly!  Also, with the kids helping, it does make my life easier for lunch prep.  

Here is a summary of how it works:

1. Every Sunday, we set up 4 bins, a bin for each day of the week.  Then we set up the kid's lunch bags for Monday's lunch.
2. I take the kitchen island and divide it into 3 sections - the protein section, the fruit/veggie section, and what I call the "potpourri" section (crackers, etc)
3. Each child takes a turn through prepping lunch.  They pick one item out of each section for each bin and for their lunch bag.  They write down for each day what they packed.  
4. Lunch bags go in the fridge upstairs, for the next day's grabbing.  The other bins of food go in the basement fridge, with their notes so they remember who is going to pack what.
5. Every night, we unpack the lunch bag from the day, and then bring up a bin from the basement to load up for the next day.
6. At the end of the week, the kids can look at the family shopping list and add any items they would like, as they begin to think about lunches for the next week.  Usually they go shopping with their dad (thank you for my awesome husband!!!) so that is another chance to grab items for lunch.

Pictures may help explain this even better:
Fruit/veggie section
Watermelon, pineapple, grapes, oranges, blueberries.
OK, so just a fruit section really.
Squeezable applesauces are a fun addition for fruit.
They are portable and easy!

On another week - here is the fruit/veggie section.
Oranges, grapes, carrots, applesauce, and seaweed snacks.
There are also some banana chips tossed in here for fun.

Protein section.
Cheese sticks, nuts, yogurt, beef sticks, cheese wedges, and ham.

Here is a different week of the protein section.
Lunch meat, cheese, and beef sticks.

The fun potpourri section.
This is a true free for all!
Popcorn, granola bars, and muffins.

Potpourri on another week.
I made Doritos using whole wheat tortillas.
There are also crepes here from an organic market.
Various granola bars are featured.
Sometimes I pre pack lunchable style items that are combo protein/carb.
Crackers and nuts.
Beef sticks and chips.
Peanut butter/jelly and crackers.

Here is what the bins look like once prepped.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Egg White Breakfast Muffins

This is becoming my favorite breakfast.  I package them in sets of 4 in containers to take to work.  These would also work to freeze for later.

Nutrition info is at the bottom of the page.

Liquid egg whites (3 tbsp per cup) 
Cherry tomatoes (1 per cup)
Spinach (a few leaves per cup)
Reduced fat feta cheese (1 tbsp per cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.
3. In each cup, place spinach leaves and tomato.
4. Place 3 tbsp liquid egg white in each cup (about 3/4 full).
5. Place 1 tbsp feta in each cup.
6. Bake 20-30 minutes.

Close up view
Nutrition Information:
Calories: 55
Fat: 1.1 g
Carbs: 2.3 g
Protein: 8.6 g