healthy

Strawberry Protein Bars

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The past two weeks really spread me too thin. From public meetings to car issues, long runs and traveling, my ability to accomplish anything outside of work and running was just about impossible. The daily grind of waking up at 4:30, running, planning my meals, working, doing strength training, going to pt appointments, adding in doubles, running errands, making dinner, and trying to get to bed by 9 really took its toll on me. Needless to say I never made it to bed by 9. Weeks like the past 2 always frustrate me. I love to cook and bake and experiment in the kitchen but when time holds me back I am always too tired to make the effort.

Tuesday this week was like therapy for me. With a couple hours to myself and an idea for a new recipe, I felt completely in my element. I got my jar of the new Strawberry BiPro protein powder last week and I have been dying to test it out. I have been racking my brain with what kinds of recipes I could try and what flavor combinations would work best. My idea for this recipe stems from my need for a high protein, low sugar, healthy post-run option for busy mornings. Typically, I make myself a bowl of whole grain low sugar cereal and then mix some unsweetened cashew milk with a half scoop of vanilla BiPro to pour over top. This is great but also much more time consuming. I also wanted something that would allow me to include Generation UCAN in its raw state. I have made several muffins using UCAN but the baking process changes the superstarch and makes its super powers go away somewhat. When I say super powers I am talking about it’s ability to keep blood sugar steady and tap into fat stores for energy. UCAN used in combination with a protein source has a substantial impact on the recovery process. The protein begins to do its work immediately in rebuilding the broken down muscle and the added superstarch extends the recovery window so that you are able to continue to utilize the protein from your next meal as an aid in the recovery process. The superstarch’s ability to utilize fat for fuel keeps you energized and focused even after a long hard workout or run. I’ll admit the first time I tried UCAN’s protein enhanced version after a workout I was amazed at how much more awake I felt the rest of the day!

Now on to the other star in this show. The strawberry BiPro. When I opened the container I was amazed by just how good it smelled. Like literally strawberry cream savers. Anyway, this protein is gluten free, lactose free, and caffeine free. It is naturally flavored and sweetened with real strawberry pieces. 0g of sugar and 1 g of carbohydrate this stuff is for real. With only 6 ingredients it surpasses many different protein powders, shakes, and bars in that it doesn’t have a laundry list of added preservatives and foreign ingredients. I scoop contains 90 calories and 20g of protein which reaches the recommended grams of protein needed for adequate recovery after exercise. There are no artificial or natural dyes so the protein isn’t any abnormal shade of red. Mixing it with a cold glass of cashew milk is even delicious by itself!

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So when I decided I wanted to create a protein bar I knew exactly what Ingredients I had to use, some type of UCAN and Strawberry BiPro. I knew the recipe had to be raw so I needed to figure out what I could mix with it to make it all hold together and with good texture. I decided my best option would be to use the plain UCAN superstarch and bring it all together with cashew butter. I love the combination of strawberries and chocolate so I had to find a way to get that in there. If I had a better way of covering the bar in chocolate to fully cover it I would have. Then I used just a bit of agave to sweetened the deal. The important piece of information here is the use of a sweetener that would not spike the blood sugar negating the benefits of UCAN. The chocolate I used was Lily’s Chocolate chips which is sweetened with stevia which satisfies this condition. Now a days its becoming easier to find cashew butter at the store but you can also make your own pretty easily without any added oils! This recipe is raw and very simple to make! Anyway see the recipe below and enjoy!

p.s. any of my followers get 10% off with code: BLOG10

(Fine Print: 10% off purchase and the end date is 3-24-17. Must use valid promotion code. Not valid with other offer, discounts or promotions. Limit one promotion code use per customer.)

Strawberry Protein Bars

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine the BiPro Protein powder, UCAN superstarch, and salt if using. Cut in the cashew butter until it resembles a crumbly mixture.
  2. Add in the cashew milk and agave and combine. Once incorporate kneed it all together with your hands.
  3. Once together form the dough into a rectangle. The dough may be sticky so if needed use some extra superstarch on the exterior of your rectangle and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.

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  4. Cut the rectangle into 6 equal bars and space out on the baking sheet. Melt the chocolate and then spread on the bars. To do the bottom, place the bars in the freezer for about 15 mintues then coat the bottom of the bar,

    5. Store the bars in the fridge and enjoy after long runs or hard workouts!

For a printable recipe click here: Strawberry Protein Bar

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Elderberry Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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To put it nicely, this has been one heck of a long week. The type of week that invokes the temptation to gorge yourself on chocolate. If it had not been for leftovers I wouldn’t have thought twice about ordering pizza every night. Problem being, I am in base training and this is not the time for letting my nutrition slide.

In the base training phase you are slowly building your mileage back up after a well-deserved break. In running, just like building, you need to have a strong foundation or “base”. Slowly increasing your mileage each week with runs at low to moderate intensity with no high intensity workouts is necessary for injury prevention and sustainability. This phase also involves regaining your fitness and dropping the extra weight and fat you should gain during a training break. Gaining a few extra pounds and extra fat is good for prepping your body for a new training cycle. As you increase your mileage your metabolism lags behind so in essence you are able to operate at a slight caloric deficit without getting hangry and feeling drained. During this phase I try to watch what I eat while indulging when my body needs it. Indulgence in moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy diet.

This leads me into the creation of my most recent recipe…Elderberry Chocolate Avocado Mousse.

 

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When cravings strike and I want something sweet I like to find options that are both delicious and beneficial to my health. This recipe definitely fits that standard. And yes I know, avocado is for guacamole and tacos, believe me I thought the same thing…until I tried this. The avocado makes this recipe super creamy and honestly, it’s hard to believe there is no heavy cream! Avocados are super nutrient dense with heart healthy monosaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats help the body better absorb vitamins and minerals. The fiber in avocados helps to maintain a healthy immune system and contributes to a healthy gut.

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The other 2 stars in this show are of course the Norms Farms Elderberry Wellness Syrup and Generation UCAN chocolate protein powder. If you missed my last post, Elderberry has amazing benefits to athletes! (click this link for more info: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/carl-thompson/elderberry-health-benefits-exercise_b_8171086.html ). The elderberry syrup promotes recovery and a healthy immune system so in combination with the avocado, this recipe will keep you strong and healthy. I would also like to add that the elderberry flavor complements the chocolate flavor amazingly well! The UCAN protein powder contains a complex carbohydrate called superstarch. This superstarch metabolizes slowly keeping energy levels and blood sugar stable while increasing the bodies ability to burn fat for energy. This protein version contains whey protein so if you wish to make this vegan you can use the plain Cocoa Delite UCAN superstarch that does not contain added protein.

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This recipe is raw, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, and sweetened with low-glycemic index agave. In light of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, this recipe would make for a great dessert for your planned festiviites! Top with raspberries and blueberries to make it nice and festive!

Elderberry Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients (except the 2 optional toppings) into a high speed blender or food processor and process until all ingredients are well combined and smooth.
  2. Place in serving dishes and top with whatever desired toppings you choose! I suggest extra dark chocolate and Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Sea Salt Probiotic Granola

elderberry chocolate mousse (click to print!)

Fall Recipes

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Over the summer I started using a new produce box company, Papa Spuds, where I can order seasonal fruits and veggies in addition to recipe kits, meats, cheeses, eggs, and more and have them delivered on a bi-weekly schedule directly to my house! I love buying my produce this way because it helps me to eat seasonal and I get the freshest of the fresh! Papa spuds operates on a credit system allowing me to the pick the items I want and will use and gives the opportunity to pick the grower. I can choose local or out of state, organic or conventional, and can see ratings on different suppliers. My favorite thing is the recipe kits. These recipe kits normally highlight a specific seasonal ingredient giving you all of the ingredients you need besides minor things like olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and you get the point. The recipe is provided so your good to go! One of my most recent recipe kits was for Dijon Roasted Sweet Potatoes and they turned out great! I tossed them into a salad with chicken and other healthy ingredients to get this delicious dinner:

Dijon Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Superfood Salad

Dijon Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad
Dijon Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

This was definitely as good as it looks and super filling! The teff in this is a new ingredient I have just started using for its amazing health benefits. A grain used as a staple in many Ethiopian dishes, teff is a very tiny grain that is so small that it can only be eaten in its whole form. Containing 123mg of calcium per cup, teff leads all grains in calcium content and has the same amount of calcium as 1/2 of a cup of cooked spinach. Additionally, it is high in resistant starch meaning that it is high in dietary fiber which can help control blood sugar and can be beneficial for weight management and colon health. Teff is also high in protein and it has been estimated that Ethiopians get about 2/3 of their dietary protein from it (Whole Grains Council). Teff cooks similarly to quinoa, absorbing the water as it cooks. It is prepared in a 3 to 1 ratio, liquid to teff.

Now on to my second new fall recipe, Cornbread Waffles with Kale Salad and Rotisserie Chicken. I love making waffles because of how easy they are to make. I also very much love cornbread so naturally I had to come up with a cornbread waffle! I wanted to make this waffle healthy so I could use it as a hearty whole grain carb to go with my dinner. I am often pressed for time at dinner because my stomach has no patience so I have found my ways of making uncomplicated meals that are quick, healthy, and nutritious. I always make it a point to include vegetables and greens in addition to a lean protein and whole grain carb source. I quickly threw together this cornbread waffle recipe by meshing a couple of recipes in Purely Elizabeth’s Eating Purely Cookbook. I am still perfecting this one but I will give you my recipe for you to tweak as you feel necessary! Then to finish out this meal I got a plain rotisserie chicken, removed the skins and pulled the all the meat off the bones for use in this dinner and meals throughout the week. Then I chopped some kale and tossed with some other yummy ingredients and a homemade vinaigrette to make this dish:

Cornbread Waffles with Kale Salad and Rotisserie Chicken

Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles

Cornbread Waffle with Kale Salad and Rotisserie Chicken

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Yield: 7 waffles, 3-4 servings of salad, 6-7 servings of chicken

Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles!

Ingredients:

  • Waffle
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
    • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
    • 1/4 cup buckwheat
    • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1.5 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 6 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (buy one with only 6 or 7g of sugar!)
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 2 ounces pumpkin goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew pieces or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (reduced sugar ones if you can)
  • Optional addition: 1/2 an avocado
  • White Balsamic Vinaigrette:
    • 3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (the one i used was white balsamic shallot vinegar but any good quality one is fine)
    • 3 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
    • pinch of salt
    • pinch of pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. agave nectar

Instructions:

  1. Start you waffle iron up to get it heated. While it is heating combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (cornmeal through coconut sugar). In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, olive oil, greek yogurt and cashew milk.
  2. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. When waffle iron is ready spoon about 1/2 cup of batter into the iron (depends on your size of waffle iron here, I have to waffle iron that makes 2 square waffles so I do about a half cup for each waffle.)
  3. While the waffles are cooking combine the vinaigrette ingredients together in a mason jar and shake.
  4. Put all of the salad ingredients together in a bowl and toss together with however much vinaigrette that you desire.
  5. Once waffles are ready place one waffle on your plate, top with kale salad and some warm rotisserie chicken and enjoy! (can add extra dressing on top or top with my favorite maple siracha dressing which is a 3 to 1 ratio of siracha to maple syrup)

Dijon Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

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Dijon Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • Dijon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
    • 1.5 lbs. sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cubed
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot, chopped
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 3 tbsp. dijon mustard
    • 1.5 tbsp. pure maple syrup
    • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (rosemary is also a good substitute!)
    • 3 fully cooked chicken or turkey breakfast sausages, chopped up (optional)
  • 1/2 cup teff
  • 1.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 fully cooked chicken breast, sliced (I buy this from traders joes, they sell them individually sealed and already cooked so they make it easy for me to prepare quick dinners in a hurry!) Use 2 if you do not add the sausage above.
  • Maple Siracha Dressing:
    • 3 parts siracha (3 tbsp siracha)
    • 1 part maple syrup (1 tbsp. maple syrup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 with the rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Place cut potatoes, shallots, and sausage (if using) in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup and thyme leaves. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss well to combine and evenly coat the potatoes. If you need more sauce to evenly coat you can always make more!
  4. Pour everything onto a greased baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. You may want to toss the potatoes around about 20 minutes to make sure they roast evenly.
  5. While the potatoes are cooking, salt the water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling add the teff and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the water has been fully absorbed.
  6. Now to assemble the salad! In the large bowl the potatoes were tossed in, add the chopped kale, goat cheese, potatoes, teff, and chicken (may want to warm the chicken in the microwave briefly before adding). Toss everything together and serve with as much or as little maple siracha dressing as you like!