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Chocolate Protein Cake

15 Jul

Oh, why hello there blog world!  I haven’t forgotten about you, even though it may appear that way.  Life has been rather busy as of late.  Between working full-time and planning a wedding, I have very little time (or brain power) for blogging.  But I’m happy to report that my efforts dedicated towards wedding planning have proved fruitful.  We’ve picked out the florist and cake designer we want to help us with our big day.  I’m thrilled with how the planning is going!

If you remember, in my last post I mentioned that I’m going to tackle the Insanity 60-day challenge.  I’m two weeks into it and I have to say I’m really enjoying it.  Now don’t get me wrong, the workouts are tough but I’ve found that my body is adapting rather quickly.  Each week I’ve completed each workout before work.  I expected to be tired throughout the day but the opposite has happened.  I actually have more energy!

Along with the workouts, I’ve been watching my diet closely.  I’m striving for a clean diet composed of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and whole grain carbs.  So far it’s been easier than I thought.  It helps that I’ve been able to create some tasty afternoon treats.

This protein cake turned out much better than expected.  Seriously, each time I eat a piece I wonder how something so healthy could taste so good.  The cake is moist with a light crumb and the smallest amount of crunch from the chia seeds.  I love adding chia seeds to different recipes because of their numerous health benefits but if you don’t have any, then you can easily leave them out. 

Before I get to the recipe, I have to show you the stats.  You won’t believe it until you see it!

How awesome is that?!  If you’re looking for a tasty, yet filling and healthy treat, this “cake” is a great choice.

Chocolate Protein Cake
(makes 8 pieces)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw protein powder
  • 1/3 cup pea protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate almond butter (I used Justin’s.)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine protein powders, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  Mix throughly with a fork to remove all lumps.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy; about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add almond butter, applesauce, and vanilla to protein powder mixture.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture forms a thick paste.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in egg whites.  The mixture should become runny and resemble brownie batter.  Fold in chia seeds until just combined.
  6. In a greased 8×8 pan, pour the mixture and spread it out so that it forms an even layer.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars or squares.

What’s your favorite afternoon snack?

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16 Handles

14 Jun

In addition to lovely brunches, I enjoy a lot of frozen treats over the summer.

Whether it be ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft serve, or sorbet, I’m a happy camper.  I don’t discriminate.

One of my favorite fro yo places is 16 Handles.

The location closest to our apartment is relatively new, as in this will be the first summer I don’t have to hop on the subway to enjoy 16 Handles.  Luckily, it’s still about a mile away so it won’t become a daily treat.  And, each time I go, I’m sure to walk at least two miles so that justifies an extra topping, don’t you think?

In case you haven’t been to 16 Handles or a similar type of place, I’m going to tell you all about it.  Each day 16 Handles offers 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt.

The flavors range from peanut butter (my personal favorite) to cake batter to watermelon sorbet, and everything in between.  Everything is self serve so you can get as much, or as little, as you want!

They also have a deluxe topping bar that’s sure to please everyone.

Some toppings include fresh fruit, mini peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and gummy bears, among many others.

On my last trip, I enjoyed peanut butter, banana, and cake batter frozen yogurts topped with brownie bites, peanut butter cups, and graham cracker crumbs. 

Yum!  I can see many more trips to 16 Handles in my near future.

What’s your favorite summer time treat?

Five Favorites Friday – 6/3/11

3 Jun

Hello there!  Who’s ready for the weekend?  I know I am.  Even though this was a short week, it was still incredibly busy.  Alex and I had something to do every night this week and tonight I’m flying home to Buffalo.  My mom, sister, and I are going to do more wedding planning and shopping.  I’m so excited as I love all things wedding.  The goal this weekend is to find my sister a dress!

So, as I mentioned before, I’m trying to incorporate more protein into my diet.  At lunch and dinner, it has been easy as I can add cottage cheese to a salad or incorporate chicken into a dish, for example.  However, I tend to have a harder time finding high protein breakfasts and snacks.  This week I’ve compiled some of my favorite recipes as well as a couple I’d like to try.

My five favorites for Friday June 3, 2011 (btw, I must be in denial as I just typed May instead of June!):

  1. Whey Protein Cookies (from Fat Loss School)
    This is one of the recipes that I have yet to try but it sounds great!  Since protein powder is the main focus of this recipe, it’s important to find a powder that tastes good.  I’m still working on finding a powder I love but once I do, I plan to make a batch of these cookies!
  2. Protein Truffles (from Peas and Thank You)
    These vegan protein truffles sound like a great way to refuel after the gym or a nice way to curb hunger before dinner.  Either way, I can’t wait to give them a try!
  3. Microwave Protein Muffin (from Smoothie Girl Eats Too)
    I know I’ve mentioned this recipe before but it bears repeating because it’s that good!  You can follow Deb’s version exactly or adapt it to your liking.  It’s quick too, which helps on busy mornings or late night snacks!
  4. Lemon Yogurt Chia Seed Protein Muffins (from meals & moves)
    This is another great one!  I used this recipe as the base for my Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins, which I just loved.  But sometimes you just can’t beat the original 🙂
  5. Strawberry Banana Smoothie
    The last item on the list is something I’ve been having as dessert all week.  It’s incredibly easy and so tasty.  I wish I had tried it sooner!  I throw the following into a blender and blend away; 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk, 2-3 organic frozen strawberries, 1 small frozen banana, and 1/2 Tbsp strawberry fig jam.  This is so refreshing on a hot summer night.  I can foresee this becoming a summertime tradition.

What do you do to incorporate more protein into your diet?  Any favorite recipes?

Sights and Bites

27 May

Yesterday morning, as we were getting ready to head to the airport, I got a call from the lovely people at US Airways.  They called to notify me that our flight was delayed an hour.  Boo, I’m not a fan of delays but these things happen and at least we knew before we headed to the airport!

Even though we headed to the airport an hour late, we had some time to kill before our flight.  Alex hit up Dunkin’ Donuts…

… and I decided to take an obnoxious number of self portraits.

I’ve spared you from the bulk of them 😉

After a brief, “one hour” delay, we were on our way to visit with my aunt and grandparents.  The flight was surprisingly smooth and quick, which is all I could have asked for.  I’m an incredibly nervous flyer!

My aunt picked us up from the airport and took us back to her place to serve up lunch.  She had a great spread from Whole Foods of salad, cheese, bread, and fruit.  It had all of my favorite elements and I was in heaven!

After lunch Alex and I took a walk around Old Salem.

Old Salem is a part of Winston-Salem that was once the home to the Moravians that settled in Salem several years ago.  Many of the old buildings and gardens have been preserved.  We were able to walk around and get a feel for life as it used to be.

Naturally, our first stop was to the bakery.

Alex bought a piece of their chocolate pound cake and I bought some strawberry fig preserves.  I can’t wait to dig into the jam once I get home!  We also bought some souvenirs for my family and made friends with the locals.  Being New Yorkers, we’re not used to strangers that are so open and have a tendency to overshare, haha.

We continued on and walked through a good portion of the grounds.

The town has been maintained beautifully.  I loved all the greenery and architecture.  We had a great time walking around but in the end we were ready to head home.  It was so hot out!  We needed to recuperate inside with some water and AC.  It hasn’t gotten this warm in NY yet and we just weren’t ready for it.  But it’s a great sign that summer is just around the corner.  I’m totally ready for that!

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting with my grandparents.  This was the first time they’d met Alex.  They were both thrilled to have Alex and I visit.  I’m glad we were able to make the trip down here as I’m not sure if they’ll be able to make it to our wedding.  So, it’s nice to have some time with them now 🙂

Later in the evening we headed to a cute, little Italian place for dinner.  After browsing through the menu, I decided on the spinach calzone.  I love me some cheesy bread!

The calzone was huge!  I barely made it through half.  But naturally I saved room for some dessert.

This place was very similar to one of my favorites in NYC, 16 handles.  They had a large variety of yogurts to choose from and dozens of toppings!

I didn’t hold back.  I started out with cookies ‘n cream and cake batter ice cream and topped it with Reese’s peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and some Jelly Bellys.

Hmmm, not really in line with my goals but it sure was delicious!  Besides, I’m on vacation; all bets are off.

That about does it for our first day in NC.  Today we’re going to spend some more time visiting with family and I hope to get a tour of the downtown area.  Alex and I love getting a feel for each city we visit and what better way than by foot?  (Haha, I just typed “food” instead of foot.  You know where my mind is!)

Have you ever been to North Carolina?  If so, what part?

Dessert for Breakfast

25 May

I started the day off on the right foot; I had dessert for breakfast.

Looks like a brownie sundae, right?  Well, it’s probably the healthiest sundae I’ve ever eaten.  For the “brownie” part, I made a chocolate protein muffin a la Smoothie Girl Eats Too.  This recipe is seriously great.  The “brownie” always comes out moist and chocolatey!  The only change I made was to add a boatload of cinnamon.  I love that stuff.

Now, the “ice cream” part was none other than greek yogurt ice cream.  I mixed 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt with about 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk and 10 drops of vanilla stevia.  Then, I poured the whole mixture over my “brownie”, dressed it with some fresh organic blueberries, and dug in.  This breakfast sure made for a sweet morning.

On the way into work, Alex and I passed a group of Jamba Juice employees passing out new samples of their natural energy drinks.  I ended up with the Pomegranate Blueberry flavor.  The nutrition facts aren’t too bad as the ingredients appear to be real food.  What I don’t love about the stats is the high sugar content.  Most fruit juices have a large amount of sugar.  I usually don’t drink anything besides water, herbal teas, and the occasional glass of wine for that reason.

But, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try it.  In truth, I didn’t really like it.  The first sip wasn’t so bad but by the third or fourth sip all I could taste was the sugar.  The drink had a very strong berry flavor and left a strange aftertaste.  I highly doubt I’ll drink it again, even if it’s another free sample.

Moving right along to lunch.  Today I ordered another salad!

Shocking, I know, but seriously salads are such a great way to eat lots of veggies.  And since I’m going away for a few days, I’m not sure how many veggies I’ll be consuming in the near future.  Today’s salad included:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Grilled chicken
  • Egg whites
  • Low fat tex mex ranch dressing

It was delicious and protein packed 🙂

When snack time rolled around, I had one thing on my mind.  Another protein muffin.

Seriously.  So good.  Have I mentioned that?!

And I also had some fruit salad…

After work I headed to the gym for another Chisel class.  Tonight’s class was taught by a great instructor.  She’s only a sub so I’m never sure when I’ll get to see her but I’m glad I made her class tonight.  She made us work!

For dinner, I knew I needed something protein packed to refuel and it also had to be quick.  So I made pasta with meat sauce.  It’s the easiest thing to make since PB&J.

First up, I chopped up half an onion and sautéed it over medium heat for about five minutes.  Then I added 1lb organic grass-fed beef and cooked it until the beef browned.  After draining the fat, I added about 1 to 2 cups of tomato sauce and cooked it on low until it was heated all the way through.  Meanwhile I prepared some whole wheat pasta and steamed broccoli.  It was ready in less than 20 minutes and it was darn tasty!

Now I’m snacking on a small bowl of Kashi GoLean, almond milk, and blueberries.  I’m heading to bed very soon since we’ve got an extra early wake up call tomorrow!  See you from North Carolina!

Have you ever had dessert for breakfast?

Jelly Bean Cookies

26 Apr

Today was a great day!  The sun was shining, Alex and I got to sample the menu for our reception, and I got a chance to bake some really fun cookies.

The morning started off like most mornings; with a yummy yogurt parfait.

Today’s parfait included:

  • 6oz of Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • a sprinkle of granola
  • a healthy spoonful of homemade peanut butter

After breakfast was devoured, Alex and I walked to our respective offices.  It was gorgeous outside!  Spring is most definitely here and I’m more than ready.

At work I plugged away and booked some flights for a couple upcoming trips.  I’m very excited.  There is just so much going on over the next few months!

Eventually, it was lunchtime!

Today’s salad included the following:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Chickpeas
  • Grilled Tuna
  • dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To be honest, this salad wasn’t so great.  The tuna was very undercooked (as you can probably tell from the picture) and most of it tasted very fishy.  I know that sounds like a dumb thing to say but there is such a thing as fish tasting too much like fish, and that’s what happened today.  Oh well, my next “meal” was pretty awesome!
 
Alex and I got the chance to taste a sample of what we’ll be serving at our reception.  I don’t have any pictures because I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that I think our guests are going to be more than pleased with our choices.  Each day I just get more and more excited about our upcoming wedding!
 
After some much-needed relaxation, I decided to bake some cookies.  Even though I’m 27, I was lucky enough to be visited by the “Easter Bunny” this weekend.  What a coincidence that my mom was visiting this past week, no?!  Included in my goodies was lots and lots of Jelly Belly jellybeans.  I love Jelly Belly’s!  If I’m not careful, I can eat my weight in jellybeans, haha.  As I was munching away this weekend, I thought it might be fun to make something with the jellybeans.  Insert Jelly Bean Cookies here!
 
 
These cookies did not disappoint!  The jellybeans added so many fun flavors and the dough was soft and buttery.  If you’re looking for a way to use up the rest of your jellybeans, I highly recommend this recipe.  Heck, this recipe is good enough to justify going to buy a new bag of jelly beans!
 

Jelly Bean Cookies
(adapted from razzledazzle recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup jelly beans

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix butter and both sugars in a large bowl until smooth & creamy.
  3. Stir in egg, baking soda, baking powder, salt & vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Stir in flour & oats. Mix well.
  5. Stir in jelly beans, mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter about 2 inches apart on a GREASED sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes and allow a few minutes to cool.
Do you like Jelly Belly jellybeans?  What’s your favorite flavor?  Mine is definitely the sour blueberry.  Makes my mouth pucker every time.  Love it!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

2 Apr

These chocolate chip cookie dough truffles taste so much like cookie dough that you’ll be surprised to read the ingredient list.  Trust me, that really is all you’ll need to make these.

You might also be surprised at just how simple they are to make.  The dough comes together in a matter of minutes.  So the real test is how patient can you be while they chill out in the fridge?  Trust me, I know it’s hard to wait.

Ultimately, they are well worth the wait.  Once you sink your teeth in their rich, doughy texture and the chocolate melts in your mouth, you’ll be scrambling for another.  And trust me, it’s impossible to eat just one.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt and cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips, divided
    *This recipe could easily be made vegan friendly by using dairy free chocolate chips.*

Directions:

  1. Place cashews, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, vanilla, salt and cinnamon into a food processor or high-speed blender.
  2. Blend until mixture comes together into a thick paste, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add chocolate and pulse about 10 times, until chips are chopped into smaller pieces.
  3. Remove mixture from the food processor and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Once your “dough” is chilled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave on 30 second intervals or over a double boiler.
  5. Measure dough into one tablespoon increments and roll into balls.
  6. Roll the balls in melted chocolate and place on a baking sheet.  Once all the truffles have been covered, place the sheet in the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

For any of you that don’t like nuts, go ahead and try this recipe anyway (unless you have a nut allergy; that’d just be silly).  The only nut Alex (thinks) he likes is the peanut.  But he gobbled these up with a grin on his face.  And before I told him what they were made of, he truly believed it was cookie dough.

Have I said enough to convince you to try these?  If not, leave a comment letting me know what else I could possibly say to persuade you 🙂