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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?

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A Recipe Worth Keeping

1 Jun

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a hoarder.  Not quite as bad as some, but I do hold onto things that will not make a bit of difference in the future.  Like, all of my notes from college or my old, ratty gym shoes from years ago, just to name a couple.  I know I don’t need this stuff and yet I can’t seem to let it go.

This hoarding has infiltrated many facets of my life.  One of the most important ones being my kitchen.  Since most food has a short shelf life I’m forced to use it or dump it (which I hate, obviously).  However, there are some that last a little longer so  they hang around for a while.  Today’s breakfast featured a perfect example; protein powder.

I think it’s common for people to try out a series of protein powders at first as each can be very different from the next.  The smartest thing would be to buy the sample packs so that if you don’t like it you aren’t left with a huge jar of a so-so product.  But this is also tough for me.  Everytime I shop for a new powder, my cheap skate self gets the better of me and I can’t help but buy the larger size.  Afterall, each serving will be cheaper that way.  So that leaves me with some food to hoard.

Lately I’ve been loving protein muffin’s for breakfast but I’m running low on coconut flour so I decided to improvise.  I decided to substitute some of the coconut flour with protein powder.  I used Biochem Acai & Cream whey protein since I’ve been holding onto a container of this powder for months.  When I first used this powder in a protein shake, it was just alright.  It was very chalky and bland but I held onto it (naturally) and used it in baking.  It’s not bad in baked goods so I was hoping it’d work in a protein muffin.  Lucky for me it did!

By the way, I didn’t realize until just now that the jam is shaped as a heart.  Isn’t it funny when things like that happen?

Berry Yummy Protein Muffin
(adapted from Smoothie Girl Eats Too)

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Biochem Acai & Cream whey protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened, all natural applesauce
  • dash of cinnamon
  • stevia to taste (I used five drops of vanilla stevia.)

Directions:

  1. In a small, microwaveable bowl, whisk egg whites, pumpkin, applesauce, and stevia.  Instead of the pumpkin and applesauce combination, you can use all pumpkin, all applesauce, or even a mashed up banana.  Be creative!
  2. Slowly add the protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Microwave on high for 3 and 1/2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the dish and allow to cool.  Top with greek yogurt, jam, peanut butter, maple syrup, or any other topping of choice.
Talk about protein!  Between the protein powder, egg whites, and greek yogurt, this breakfast had just over 50 grams.  This is a recipe that’s okay to hold onto 🙂

Do you hoard things?  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

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!

 

Daily Eats

25 Apr

This past weekend was a whirlwind!  In four days I managed to do more than I typically do in a month.  Here’s a break down of my weekend by numbers:

One broadway show (Jersey Boys; so so so good!)

Five separate Save-the-Date designs

Ten different restaurants (Three of which happened to be for dessert only, yum!!)

Four bridal salons (and probably close to twenty different gowns.)

One wedding dress purchase (!!!!!)

Three separate subway lines (and countless trips on each)

One holiday!

Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!  But it was such a great weekend.  I enjoyed spending time with my family since I see them so rarely.  And it was a great opportunity for my family to get to know Alex’s family better.  Not to mention that I made some very important decisions that will impact our big day.  I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!

Planning our wedding is so much fun but, as I’m going through each step, I’m discovering that it does take up a lot of time.  It’s a time commitment that I’m thrilled to make however it will take away some time I’d otherwise dedicate to some of my favorite hobbies, baking and cooking.

With that being said, I doubt each week will be the same but I can see that over the next month or two I’m going to have my hands full.  So, I expect there will be some changes on the blog.  When I get the chance to bake or cook something new, I’ll gladly share, but in the mean time I thought I might try a little more lifecasting.  Seeing as this is mostly a food blog, I’d like to start by discussing my daily eats.   Who knows how diligent I’ll be about snapping pictures, but I figure it’s a good starting point!

Let’s start with today, shall we?

Breakfast
Yogurt parfait

  • 6oz greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Kashi GoLean cereal
  • a sprinkle of cacao nibs
  • about 1 Tbsp homemade peanut butter

Lunch
A salad with all the fixings, ordered from Tossed.

  • Spinach
  • Black beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chick peas
  • Egg Whites
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Avocado
  • topped with Fat-free Honey Dijon dressing

Snack
An apple and a bag of mixed goodies.  The bag contained the following

  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Organic Turkish apricots
  • Crystallized ginger

Dinner
Leftovers from this weekend; Curry Spice & Coconut Pot Pie from 10 Downing.

Not the most photogenic of meals, but it sure was tasty!  Also, I had a pear and a few jelly beans for dessert.

One other thing worth noting is that I went to Crunch for the first time today.  A couple weeks ago I purchased a one month gym membership for over 50% off from Living Social.  Today was my chance to cash it in!  I took a class called Chisel.  The description from the Crunch website is “use weights and calisthenics to sculpt and shape muscles.”  It was 60 minutes of jumping jacks, burpees, push ups, squats, lunges, and more.  It was tough and I’m going to be sore tomorrow!  But this is exactly what I need to get wedding dress ready!

Do you read blogs that feature life casting?  Do you like them?

Chobani Inspired Muffins & Giveaway!

9 Apr

I’m very excited about this post!  This muffin recipe is just in time for warmer weather and I’m hosting my first giveaway ever!  More on that at the end of the post 🙂

But for now let’s talk muffins.  Pineapple yogurt muffins, to be exact.

I’ve been dreaming up recipes lately and this one turned so well.  They are light and fluffy with little bursts of sweetness for each piece of dried pineapple.  They’re a great way to start the day or to have as an afternoon snack.

All the pineapple and their golden yellow hue will certainly put you in the mood for summer!

Pineapple Yogurt Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 pure cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 6oz container of Pineapple Chobani greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add oats and mix.
  3. In a large bowl, add applesauce, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract.  Whisk eggs for about 30 seconds and add to the wet ingredient.  Whisk all the wet ingredients until combined.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and fold in using a spatula.
  5. In a small bag, add chopped dried pineapple and a tablespoon of flour.  Close bag and shake so that the flour is evenly distributed over the pineapple pieces.  This will prevent the pieces from sinking to the bottom of your muffins while baking.
  6. In a lightly oiled muffin pan, spoon batter until each cup is about 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Place the muffin pan on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, rotate the pan and place it on the top rack to bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Now for the giveaway!!!  The folks at Chobani were nice enough to send me some coupons and I want to share some with you.  You have the chance to win two coupons; one for 30 cents off one 6 oz container of Chobani and one for a free 6 oz container of Chobani.

Here are the ways to enter:

  1. Mandatory entry – Leave me a comment telling me what flavor Chobani you’ll buy with your coupons.
  2. Optional entry – Follow me on twitter @VoraciousChelle.  Leave me an additional comment.
  3. Optional entry – Tweet about the giveaway.  Please be sure to include my twitter handle!  Leave me an additional comment.

You have until Tuesday April 12th to enter.  I’ll announce the winner the following day.  Good luck!

**The giveaway is closed and a winner has been announced.**

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta

15 Mar

Typically, when our schedules coincide, Alex and I walk to and from work together.  It’s a nice chance for us to talk and we get some exercise in!  Last night was the first time in a loooooong time that we were able to walk home while it was still light out.  I’m very happy with this day lights saving business 🙂

Last night’s dinner was an impromptu recipe because I really had no idea what to make.  I knew I had some chicken in the fridge and I always keep pasta on hand, so after some thought, I came up with this dish.  The flavors of this dish really worked!  I keep surprising myself with my cooking abilities, haha.  But honestly, this is such a simple quick meal, even the most novice of cooks could make it.

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1lb chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 4oz pasta, uncooked (I used Barilla Plus Elbows.)
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6oz container of greek yogurt (I used Fage.)
  • 1/4 cup spinach and artichoke hummus (I used Sabra –> just bought this over the weekend and it’s halfway gone; love it!)
  • 1/4 cup Italian blend shredded cheese (The blend I used had mozzarella, provolone, asiago, parmesan, and romano)
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Chop onions, mince garlic, and cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic to the skillet.  Cook for about five minutes before adding the chicken.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat water to boiling and throw your pasta in.  After the pasta has cooked for 6 minutes, throw in two cups of broccoli.  Cook for another four minutes.
  4. While both the pasta and chicken are cooking, prepare your sauce.  In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, hummus, cheese, and spices.  (PS… using hummus as pasta sauce is not my original idea!  I’ve seen it various places over the blogosphere.  It’s such a genius idea because it makes the sauce extra creamy!)
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, add the sauce to your skillet and heat over low until the pasta is done.
  6. Once the pasta and broccoli have cooked for 10 minutes, in total, drain both.  Add sauce to the pasta and you’re ready to serve!

What have you done to “celebrate” day lights saving time?  Have you ever used hummus as pasta sauce?

Five Favorites Friday – 3/11/11

11 Mar

Hello there Friday!  You’re a welcomed addition to my week 🙂

For today’s post, I want to do something a little different.  I’d like to share my five favorite health food products as of late.  So, without further ado, allow me to share the foodie love.

Coconut Butter


I did not think there was a better nut butter than peanut butter (say that 10 times fast, eh?).  But then I tried coconut butter.  It’s rich and creamy, with a slight hint of coconut.  When I first tried it, I was expecting it to be sweet but it’s actually rather decadent in a semi-sweet kind of way.  It’s great drizzled over fruit or oatmeal or even mixed into yogurt.  You can also drizzle it over ice cream and it’ll turn into a hard, coconut flavored magic shell.  Yum, yum, yum.  I think I’ve eaten a little bit every single day since I first tried it.  And I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.

Fage Greek Yogurt & Stevia Drops


Greek yogurt is certainly not a new-to-me product but Stevia is.  I’m not sure why I waited so long to try it out.  Probably because I’m not a huge fan of adding sweeteners to my food.  But sometimes the sourness of plain, greek yogurt just isn’t appealing, ya know?  I’m glad I took the leap because it was love at first bite.  I use about 10 drops per 6oz container and the yogurt tastes just sweet enough.  Because of the creamy texture of the yogurt, this sweet treat tastes decadent while still being very healthy!

Cacao Nibs

I bought these on a whim.  I like chocolate.  I like antioxidants.  I like fiber.  So, I thought, why not?  I was actually surprised to find how bitter they are and at first, I didn’t like them.  But then I gave them a second try.  And a third. And a fourth.  You get the idea.  Over time, they grew on me.  And with all the health benefits, what’s not to like?

Nutritional Yeast (a.k.a. Nooch)

According to wikipedia:

It is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium. Some brands of nutritional yeast, though not all, are fortified with vitamin B12. The vitamin B12 is produced separately from bacteria and then added to the yeast.

I happen to like it because of it’s cheese-like flavor.  I’ve tried it on kale chips, mixed into sauces, and over salads.  For more great recipes using Nooch, check out these blogs: Love Veggies & Yoga, Peas & Thank You, and The Edible Perspective.

What foodie items are you loving lately?