Sunday, February 16, 2014

Protein Balls 1.0. (Cinnamon Almond).

As I talked about last time, I've changed my diet every-day-food-selection recently. More protein! Less carb! Easy to digest things! And among all that I've found the need for an afternoon or pre-dinner snack that fits the bill. I've been eating too many Lara Bar Lemon Pie ALT bars, and Quest bars, and it's just not sustainable. I needed something that I could make at home, that was less costly, portable, protein rich, with just a little fat and a low CHO content... and so this recipe was born! (Oh, and it had to be easy, since I've got a busy schedule over here!)

This photo was taken right after I rolled them, before the fridge. I made two different kinds this morning, one which I will share at a later date (notice the balls lighter in color in the lower left hand corner).

And daaang, these babies are so good I don't know why I didn't do something like this sooner. They are also very easily customizable to make different flavors, providing you keep the general ratios the same ;)

Protein Balls 1.0. (Cinnamon Almond)
    inspired by deliciousness

    1/2 cup  homemade almond butter - or storebought - or nut butter of choice
    1/2 cup  rice protein powder - I use this one
    1/4 cup  ground flaxseed
    2 Tbsp  organic coconut oil, melted - source
    1 Tbsp  organic cinnamon - source
    1 Tbsp  local runny honey
    1/4 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1-2 Tbsp water (optional)

(Be precise on measurements for best results. I'm an eyeballer too, but definitely get out your measuring cups for this one!)

To make your protein balls:
  1)  In a large bowl, combine almond butter, protein powder, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, honey. Mix a little. Then add melted coconut oil. Mix until a dough like texture forms. Add water if necessary, I've found that every mixture is slightly different, but I've found you usually won't need to add the water.
  2)  Divide the dough equally into 10 balls. Roll dough with clean hands into balls. Then store in an air-tight container in the refridgerator. (They will soften outside of the fridge, like if you take one out and put it in your purse for later.)
  3)  Enjoy!

If you make 10 balls, here are the (approximate) stats (thanks to MyFitnessPal):

Calories - 159 kcal
Carbs - 7 g
Fat - 9 g
Protein - 13 g

Not bad, huh? I am not an advocate of counting calories, but sometimes it's good to see where recipes stand, especially if your aiming for something like a high protein snack, which I was. You can always make bigger or smaller balls to suit your own snack needs.

This is a great kid-friendly recipe as well - pour all the ingredients into a bowl - let them mix it - and let them help you roll them into balls! But no snitching, otherwise you'll throw off your macros ;)

There you go! Your very own homemade "protein bar!" Woot! Enjoy - and stay tuned for other versions soon. I have a feeling I am going to be making these alot ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Good For You" Hot Cocoa.

I recently posted about this on my Instagram account, and it was one of my most popular posts, so I thought I'd better share the recipe!

Hot cocoa or hot chocolate has been one of my favorite things ever since I was little. Unfortunately what I had when I was younger was the very processed, very sugary, completely fake Swiss Miss from a package, mixed with hot water. It tasted good at the time, but it was definitely not good for me!

Hot cocoa does not have to be hard to make to be tasty, and it doesn't have to be loaded with fat and sugar either! My version is light, satisfying, and won't cause any blood sugar spikes, as it has virtually ZERO sugar. Cocoa is also rich in flavanoids and good fats. You could have this every day!

"Good For You" Hot Cocoa.
    makes one serving (mine is a large 16 oz mug)

    2 tsp - 1.5 Tbsp*  unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 tsp  real salt
    1 cup  unsweetened organic almond milk (I like to add a touch of stevia, vanilla and real salt right to the carton to make it taste better); you can also use whatever other milk suits your fancy; I also recommend coconut milk, raw goat milk, and raw cows milk
    1 tsp  vanilla extract
    1/2 to 1 dropper  Stevia clear liquid (adjust to desired level of sweetness) 
    boiling water

To make your hot cocoa:
  1)  Boil water.
  2)  In a small saucepan, heat up almond milk gently on the stove. Stir frequently!
  3)  In a dry mug, add cocoa powder and sea salt.
  4)  When water is boiled, let it settle, then pour about 1/4 cup into mug with cocoa powder.
  5)  Use a small whisk, or spoon, and stir vigorously, to incorporate all cocoa powder, and to be sure there are no lumps.
  6)  Slowly pour in hot almond milk. Stir, stir, stir!
  7)  Add vanilla and stevia. Stir. Taste. Top it off with some more hot water. Adjust if needed. You can't add more chocolate at this point, however, otherwise it will clump!
  8)  Enjoy your piping hot delicious chocolate beverage :) This does make enough for two people to have a cup, so if you're so inclined to share.. then share away! :)

*The reason there is a range on the cocoa powder is because sometimes I want it slightly less chocolatey (yes, that is possible) or sometimes even more chocolatey! There is room to vary it for taste. I usually stick around 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, though. You can use whatever type of cocoa powder you have on hand, just as long as it's unsweetened. I've made this with raw cacao powder, Ghirardelli cocoa powder, and Trader joes cocoa powder; all yield a good result, just with different flavors of chocolate!

This hot cocoa will really warm you up.  What a perfect recipe for winter!  For even greater warming effect, add a dash of warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Almond Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins.

My mother introduced me to the idea of making muffins with almond butter after she had made some yummy muffins from one of our favorite bloggers, Megan, The Detoxinista. My sister in law is currently on a special diet and she was able to have these muffins; and she loved them! Both ladies spoke so highly of them that I knew I wanted to try making them myself. So the night before our family Christmas Eve celebration, I whipped some of these up, while making a few of my own changes ;)

I really like this recipe because it's so flavorful and so easy! It takes about 5 minutes to whip up, and about 20-25 minutes to bake, so within the hour you can have warm, cooled, ready to eat muffins for your friends and family! I highly suggest you wait for these muffins to cool. When they first come out of the oven the bottoms will feel a little "soggy" but they firm up as they cool. The texture of these muffins is fabulous!

Almond Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins.
     makes one dozen muffins
     inspired by this recipe

    1 cup  almond butter (mine was raw, but you can also use roasted, store-bought, or made at home)
    1/2 cup  mashed ripe banana (mine took 1 whole banana)
    1/4 cup (or even 2 Tbsp)  maple syrup (or runny honey)
    2  happy eggs
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    1/4 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 Tbsp  cinnamon
    1 cup  frozen blueberries

To make your muffins:
  1)  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, convection; line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2)  In a large bowl, combine almond butter, banana, maple syrup, and eggs. Mix well. Add soda, salt, cinnamon, and mix again. Lastly, fold in the frozen blueberries. Do not overmix.
  3)  Using a 1/4 cup measuring scoop, transfer batter to muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven, and remove muffins when tops are slightly springy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool more. Store in the fridge to keep for longer, or outside the fridge if eaten in 2-3 days.

These will freeze well also, and are a great "make ahead" option. They are also very portable, and will no doubt please a crowd. Kids and adults alike loved these muffins when I brought them to our Christmas Eve gathering. You can feel good about giving these muffins to your loved ones, as they are low in sugar, and high in fat and protein, which makes for a great snack, or side dish to eggs for breakfast.

Enjoy! I know I will be making these way more often from now on.