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Peanut Butter Protein Bars

5 Jul

Isn’t it always a shame when a three day weekend is over?  If I had my way, every weekend would be a three day weekend.  Who’s with me?!

This past weekend was particularly awesome.  The weekend included:

  • Three days with my man 🙂
  • A barbecue with friends
  • Delicious cookies
  • Video games (L.A. Noire, Dr. Mario, and Guitar Hero, to be specific)
  • Watching movies and reading a book
  • And, last but certainly not least, starting the Insanity 60-day challenge!

If you haven’t heard of Insanity, you can read more about it here.  In a nutshell, it involves intense cardiovascular endurance to help burn fat and tone muscle.  I’m three days in and I’m already sore, but I’m also really enjoying it.  It’s a tough workout but afterward I feel strong!  I’m excited to see what 60 days of Insanity can do for me 🙂

Along with the workouts, came a nutrition plan that outlines a diet focused on balancing lean protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.  Most of the meals that are suggested sound great and rather easy to prepare but as I was reviewing it I was struggling with the snack selections.  Only a few items seemed portable, which is important as I’ll be eating my snacks at work.  So, I decided to create my own protein bars as the perfect afternoon snack.

I have to admit that I’m thrilled with these bars!  I was hestiant because I just made some of it up but I shouldn’t have doubted myself.  These bars are fluffy, filling, and oh so peanut buttery.  And check out the stats:

I added some raisins for texture and taste but feel free to add whatever mix-ins you like; chocolate chips, peanuts, or rice cereal would all be great options.

I have a few ideas of other flavors, so if you’re not a peanut butter lover, stay tuned.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find something that suits everyone!

Peanut Butter Protein Bars
(adapted from Peas and Thank You)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used 1/4 cup Raw Protein & 1/4 cup Pea Protein.)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or 4 egg whites)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine protein powder(s), ground flaxseeds, sugar, and baking soda.  Slowly add peanut butter and vanilla to the dough, and mix until a crumbly texture forms.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  4. Fold in egg whites until just combined.  Add raisins and until incorporated.
  5. In a greased 8×8 pan, spread the dough until it is in a thin, even layer
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
  7. Allow to cool before cutting into 8 bars.

Again, these bars were great!  If you’re looking to keep them completely vegan, try substituting two flax “eggs” for the egg-whites.  I can’t say that you’ll have the same results but it’s worth a try.  Let me know if you do!

Have you ever created your own recipe from scratch?  Was it a success or not so much?

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?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

26 May

Good morning friends!  We’re heading to Winston-Salem this morning.  Our flight was due to leave at 9:30 but it is now delayed to 10:30.  Bummer, but I guess you have to expect these things with air travel.  At least it gives me a chance to blog about breakfast!

Today I was in the mood for something cold and sweet.  A smoothie it is!  This morning’s smoothie included:

Blend, blend, blend and breakfast was served.

This smoothie was much better than Tuesday’s.  The chocolate peanut butter protein powder and the banana made for a really sweet smoothie!  The banana also added a nice creaminess factor!

I try not to use the BSN Syntha-6 Chocolate Peanut Butter too often because of it’s extensive ingredient list but the flavor is pretty spot on.  It’s a pretty good option while I shop around for other powders.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got to chat about!  I promise the next time you hear from me, I’ll be in North Carolina 🙂

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Cashew Peanut Butter

16 May

Yes, it’s quite a mouthful.  On so many levels.

In fact, if my mouth weren’t so full of Honey Roasted Cinnamon Cashew Peanut Butter I might be able to tell you its fabulous.  And that I’m addicted.

You see, ever since I made my first batch of peanut butter, I’ve been having so much fun.  My mind has been full of flavor possibilities and my mouth has been full of nut butter.  Do you see a trend?

Over the weekend I indulged myself with this sweet, smooth, and rich nutty creation.  A not-so-thin layer spread over an English muffin and topped with bananas, was the perfect treat.

So if you need a pick-me-up on this dreary Monday, this is just the thing. 

Oh who am I kidding?  This is always just the thing.

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Cashew Peanut Butter
(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, optional
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. On a pan covered with parchment paper, spread out peanuts and cashews.  Drizzle honey on top and mix.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.  Be careful they don’t burn!
  4. Once nuts are roasted, dump into the food processor and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Begin processing the nuts.  This mixture did not butterize as readily as the peanuts alone so you may have to scrape down the sides of the processor several times.
  6. To help the nuts butterize, I added some coconut oil about five minutes in.  You can decide if you want to add it as you don’t necessarily need it.
  7. Once the nuts are smooth, add the cinnamon and salt through the feeding tube.  Continue to process until the desired consistency is reached.

Someone out there please confirm that I’m not the only nut butter addict.

Honey Roasted Homemade Peanut Butter

9 May

Early last week I shared with you how I make peanut butter from scratch using only two ingredients.  It’s such a simple recipe (if I can even call it that) and it packs so much flavor!  While discussing the recipe with a coworker, he suggested using honey roasted peanuts.  I was certainly intrigued.

Instead of buying honey roasted peanuts (which contains a shocking amount of ingredients), I decided to roast my own peanuts in honey.  It was very simple and added only 10 minutes to the whole process.  Those 10 minutes are worth it my friends because this peanut butter was unreal.  I was thrilled with my original and now I’m in love with the new and improved version.

If you own a food processor, do yourself a favor, make this honey roasted peanut butter!

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
(adapted from Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Line a pan with parchment (this makes clean up a whole lot easier).

Pour the peanuts on the pan, drizzle the honey on top and mix.  It may be hard to mix at first as the honey can be sticky but once it heats up in the oven, it’ll be much easier to stir.

Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.  Make sure they don’t burn!

Dump the hot nuts into the food processor quickly before they harden and stick to the pan.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes before processing.  Turn the processor on and let the nuts do their thing.  It should take about 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add in the salt and process again until it’s well mixed.  Try not to eat all of it straight from the processor.

I sent this to my mom for Mother’s Day along with her mini-loaf of Peanut Butter Banana Bread.  It’s absolutely a recipe worth sharing with someone you love.  Or, if you can’t bring yourself to share it all, make a double batch and keep some for yourself 🙂

Five Favorites Friday – 5/6/11

6 May

Earlier this week, I shared a tutorial on how to make your own peanut butter at home.  Ever since then I’ve had nut butter on the brain.  I even created another recipe thanks to a suggestion from my coworker. 

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share it with you shortly.  Dare I say it’s even better than the peanut butter recipe?  But you’ll just have to check back and judge for yourself.

Keeping inline with my nut butter infatuation, I’ve found some stellar recipes that all use nut butter.  Here are my five favorites for Friday May 6, 2011:

  1. Dark Chocolate Cinnamon PB Cups (from Nutrition Nut on the Run)
    I’ve made my own peanut butter cups and I have to say that they don’t even compare to store-bought.  They are just so much better!  You can customize each ingredient to suit your taste, such as the use of dark chocolate instead of milk, or adding cinnamon.  I love all that Hillary did with these PB cups and I can’t wait to replicate them in my own kitchen!
  2. Pistachio Butter Cups (from From Donuts to Delirium)
    These look phenomenal!  The pistachio butter has such a vibrant green color that makes the cups look even more irresistible than they sound. 
  3. Cinnamon Raisin Almond Butter Cookies (from Kiss My Broccoli)
    I love the combination of cinnamon and raisin in just about anything.  Add almond butter to the mix, and I’m sure you can’t go wrong.  These cookies look fantastic!
  4. Pink Fuzzy Slipper Cookies (from Hungry Happenings)
    These cookies involve peanut butter in the form of Nutter Butter cookies.  And, quite frankly, they are just adorable.  Ever since I found them, I’ve been brainstorming occasions for which to use them.  So creative!
  5. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies (from Mind Over Batter)
    A delectable twist on a childhood favorite.  Yum!

What was the last thing you made using nut butter?  Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

How to make Homemade Peanut Butter

2 May

Over the weekend it occurred to me that my posts haven’t been showing up in Facebook for a couple of weeks now.  What a shame!  I know that you want to catch up on what you’ve missed so be sure to read all the posts.  Here are few highlights:

Moving right along…  Today I want to share with you one of my latest obsessions. 

Homemade peanut butter. 

It’s amazing how simple it is, so long as you have a food processor.  (If anyone knows how to make peanut butter without a food processor or high-speed blender, please tell me immediately!) 

The ingredient list can’t be beat!  All you need are peanuts and maybe a little bit of salt but that’s entirely up to you.  I’m going to walk you through the process one step at a time.

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  While the oven is heating up, get your nuts ready.  I use Planter’s dry roasted unsalted nuts. 

This way I can control what goes into the peanut butter and well, I’m in love with the ingredient list.

Check that out, it only contains peanuts!  Love 🙂

Okay, so back to the steps.  To roast your nuts, you want to spread them out in a thin layer on a baking sheet, like so.

Roasting the nuts releases their natural oils and gives the nut butter a stronger peanut flavor.  You could probably skip the roasting step but it makes for a better peanut butter, so why would you?

Once the oven is heated up and the nuts are ready, place the baking sheet in the oven for three minutes.  After three minutes are up, remove the sheet, stir the nuts and return to the oven for another three minutes.  At this point your kitchen will smell like peanuty perfection.  However, refrain from eating the nuts as they will burn your tongue.  Ow.

After the nuts have cooled for a minute or two, dump them into your food processor.

Make sure the lid is on tight, plug in the processor, and turn it on.  After about a minute, you’ll have a crumbly, chopped peanut mixture.  It’ll look something like this.

Scrape down the sides and continue to process for another few minutes (about 2 to 3).  You’re almost there!

You can stop here if you like a thicker nut butter, but I like mine creamy and drippy so I processed the nuts for another minute or two.  At this point, I added about 1/4 teaspoon of salt just to add a little flavor.  Like I said above, that’s completely optional. 

In the end, you’ll have something that looks like this.

So smooth, so creamy, so tasty!

When I garner enough self control and don’t eat it straight from the jar with a spoon, I like to eat my peanut butter

The options are endless!  I used some of the peanut butter from this batch to make Christina’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  The banana bread was incredible!  It turned out so moist and full of banana flavor.  I made three mini-loaves which I plan to give away as Mother’s Day gifts.  I highly recommend you do the same!

Have you ever made homemade nut butter before?  What’s your favorite way to eat peanut butter?