Tag Archives: snack

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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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?

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?

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?

Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread

12 Jun

My infatuation with bread baking has not ceased.  Last weekend, when I was home, I made a loaf of Victorian Milk Bread that I hear was great.  Unfortunately, I was on a flight back to NYC when my family was enjoying it, so I never got a chance to try it.  At least they got to partake in some of my culinary experiments!

This weekend I attempted a different kind of bread all together; pull apart bread.  If you’ve never heard of it, I’m sure you can figure out what it’s all about from the name.  Let me tell ya, it’s a lot of fun to pull the loaf apart and enjoy it layer by layer.

I’d never made pull apart bread before so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  I needn’t have feared.  This bread was phenomenal!  Between Alex and I, the loaf was gone in a day.  What can I say?  We love soft, pizza flavored bread that melts in your mouth.  And chances are, you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread
(adapted from Kirby’s Cravings)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter, divided
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian blended cheeses
  • 10 to 20 pepperoni slices, chopped

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix sugar, yeast, and water.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy.

Once the yeast is foamy, add two tablespoons of butter and mix.

In a separate, larger bowl, add the flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Pour the yeast mixture into the well and slowly beging to incorporate the flour.

At this point it may seem that you have too much flour but continue mixing and the dough will come together.  Once most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  The dough should become smooth and elastic.

Grease a large bowl with olive oil (or cooking spray).  Insert the dough and turn it to cover with oil.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour.

We’ve been running the air conditioning since we’ve been experiencing some really high temps.  So, I was worried our apartment wouldn’t be warm enough for the dough to rise.  To remedy this I turned on the oven and placed the bread on top so that it would heat right up.  It worked like a charm.

Once the dough has doubled in size, rolled it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 of an inch think.  Brush the dough with one tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle the seasonings on top.  Next, cover the seasonings with cheese and chopped pepperoni.

Cut the dough into 2″ x 3″ squares and layer them into a 9 x 5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

This step was tricky for me.  The cheese and pepperoni did not want to stick to the dough and I couldn’t get the squares to stand up right.  So, I tipped the pan upright at a 90 degree angle and began to insert the squares.  It worked much better.  I still had some loose cheese that fell onto the countertop so I just sprinkled it on top of the loaf.  It still turned out lovely.

Once your loaf is formed, cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes.  I placed mine on the stove top again.

Now that the dough is nice and fluffy, place the loaf into the a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  To check that the bread is cooked throughly, insert a knife into the middle make sure it comes out clean.  Then you’re ready to dig in!

Yum!  This recipe is a keeper.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

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?

Hilton Head

31 May

On the last full day of our trip, Alex’s family gave us a tour of Hilton Head Island.

Neither of us had ever been before so it was nice to see the area with a few experts!

Our first stop was a cute area of small shops and restaurants.  We had some time before lunch to walk around and explore.

Do remember when slap bracelets were the coolest thing ever?!  When I was in about third or fourth grade, they were all the rage but eventually the school banned them because too many kids were getting hurt.  Sad, but true.

Eventually it was time for lunch at the Salty Dog Cafe (not to be confused with the Wreck of the Salty Dog, as pictured above).

Everyone at the table shared an order of fish bites and hush puppies.  I hadn’t seen hush puppies on a menu in so long!  For my entrée, I had the shrimp salad.  It was really great.  The shrimp was plump and juicy and it felt good to eat some veggies.

After lunch, we continued on our way…

Do you see the tiny crab?  There were tons of them crawling under the docks.  They must have been no bigger than the palm of my hand; so cute!

We walked around Harbortown for a bit before stopping for a cool snack.

I went with cookie dough!  It was just what I needed to cool down 🙂

Eventually we made our way to the beach but not without stopping in a gift shop first.  I couldn’t resist taking this picture for all you golf lovers out there.

I couldn’t imagine carrying that around with you as you golf.  Hilarious!

Once we made it to the ocean, we walked along the beach for a little while.  The water was so warm and the beach was quite crowded!

Many thanks to Alex’s family for showing us around Hilton Head.  We had a great time seeing the island!

Have you ever been to Hilton Head?