Archive | Protein RSS feed for this section

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?

Advertisements

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?

Zucchini Lasagna

27 Jun

One of the best things about the blogging community is its infinite amount of inspiration.  There are so many bloggers and countless recipes that the possibilities are truly endless.

This recipe is the love child of two stellar recipes, Lightened-up Lasagna from meals & moves and Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna from Peas and Thank You.

I love the idea of using zucchini in place of noodles for the added nutrition and flavor.  And using cottage cheese in place of ricotta is brilliant since it’s chock full of protein!  I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate protein into my diet.  (Vegetarians; you could even leave out the meat and still be left with a protein rich meal.)

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 zucchini slices into strips, lengthwise
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place an oiled skillet over medium heat and cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.  Drain fat once the beef is cooked through and add the tomato sauce to the skillet.  Heat thoroughly.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg, and parsley through pepper.
  4. Lightly oil a 9×5 loaf pan.  Begin layering your ingredients; start with a single layer of zucchini, then add half the cottage cheese mixture, and half the beef mixture.  Repeat once more and top the final layer with shredded cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble.
What recipes blog-inspired recipes have you created?

On the Lighter Side: Deviled Eggs

23 Jun

Deviled eggs always remind me of picnics.  When I was a kid, my mom would make them as a special treat to have along with our sandwiches and juice boxes.  We’d eat them on top of a picnic blanket while waiting for the 4th of July fireworks or in the backseat of the car after a fun day at the amusement park.

While I love my mom’s version and they’re great for an occassional treat, I decided to make a lighter version that can be enjoyed more frequently.  In place of mayo, I used protein packed Greek Yogurt which made for an extra creamy filling and a little bit of hummus provided a whole lot of flavor. 

These deviled eggs would be great as a healthy appetizer served before a meal off the grill or as lighter finger food when you have a few friends over.  You could even make a meal out of them, much like Alex and I did.  You and your guests won’t be disappointed.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 0%)
  • 1 Tbsp hummus
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper and paprika

Directions:

  1. To hard boil the eggs, place them in a saucepan and fill the pan with cold water just until the eggs are covered.  Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil.  Once it is boiling, cover the pan and remove it from the heat.  Leave the cover on for 12 to 14 minutes.  Drain the hot water and dunk the eggs into ice water.  Let them sit in the water until they are cool to the touch.  Peel the eggs.
  2. Slice the eggs lengthwise and place the yolks into a small bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except paprika, to the bowl and mix with a fork.  Fill each egg white with a scoop of filling and dust with paprika.

Do you have food that reminds you of summer time picnics?  Do you like deviled eggs?

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?

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!