Posts Tagged by protein
|March 6, 2014|
Mac & cheese is definitely one of my favorite guilty comfort foods. It’s a funny story though, because generally a lot of comfort foods come from when you grew up with, but when I was little I LOVED the blue box mac & cheese and wasn’t the biggest fan of the home-made stuff.
When I was a kid, my Grandma would pick my sister and I up from school every Friday and we’d all have dinner together. When it first became a weekly thing, she asked my mom what my sister and I liked to eat. My mom said macaroni. My Grandma, being the AMAZING cook she is, made it from scratch. And of course, me being the child I was, I said it wasn’t the same as having the blue box mac and I liked “my mom’s” better. Although we all know “my mom’s” was really my way of saying I liked the boxed kind. To this day, I still feel a little ashamed because the next time my grandma made mac & cheese for us, she made it out of the box. Sure I loved it at the time, but looking back on it … I was young and ignorant … what can you do?
I can confidently say that my palate has gotten a lot better (and I no longer prefer boxed foods, haha). But either mac & cheese recipe, blue box or from scratch, can put a damper on the diet.
Mac & cheese is full of fat and carbs. But I wanted to make a skinny version that didn’t just replace everything with fat-free labels. Can anyone honestly say that fat-free cheese is better than the real thing? No.
I wanted to keep the essence of mac & cheese intact by not touching those two ingredients. I used full fat cheeses and normal pasta (because I’m also not a fan of wheat pasta) but just replaced the heavy cream and butter with cauliflower. With the added fiber, it’s definitely more filling than the heavy buttered up mac. Not to say this is an every day “healthy” meal, but it’s certainly better than the traditional recipe, twice-baked with bread crumbs on top.
The serving size is for a full bowl of mac, so if you want to indulge without using this as a cheat meal, eat it as a side dish with some chicken and spinach. Who says macaroni has to be a main dish?
Side note: This recipe passed the boyfriend test. I gave it to him and didn’t tell him it was cauliflower. About half way through, I asked him what his opinion was and told him it was cauliflower. He didn’t taste it until I told him. #winning 🙂
Skinny Mac & Cheese
Makes 4 Servings ~ Macros per serving: 28g Fat, 68g Carbs, 34g Protein
- 3 cups uncooked pasta of choice
- 1 small/medium head of cauliflower
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to tast
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Pour in your favorite pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Personally, I like to go for the fun kind like fusille (spiral) or farfalle (bow-tie, although it technically means butterfly in Italian). Radiatore pasta is what can be seen in the photos.
While the pasta is cooking, cut cauliflower into florets. Place cauliflower, garlic cloves, and chicken stock into a covered pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let steam build in the pot. Cook until cauliflower is tender (about 5 minutes depending on the size of florets).
Drain pasta and set aside.
Pour cauliflower, garlic cloves, and chicken stock into a high-speed blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot used to cook the cauliflower. At medium heat, slowly stir in the cheese until melted smooth to create a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Gently stir sauce and pasta together. Depending on your pasta and how well it absorbs the sauce, you might have extra cheese sauce. Add it in slowly and put any extra sauce in a tupperware. (You can use it as a sauce for veggies, chicken, etc.) Serve immediately.
I topped mine with a little cayenne (optional!) for an extra kick, but feel free to add your favorite topping. Some tasty ideas: bacon, green onions, jalapeño, diced ham (probably not all these ingredients at the same time)
Play around with different cheese options. They all have different nutritional value to them so have fun experimenting. For instance, the parmesan was lower in fat and higher in protein than the cheddar. I added it to balance out the fat content so there would be more protein than fat per serving.
|February 13, 2014|
Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Have you gotten your loved one a gift yet?
It’s pretty standard to buy a girl flowers and chocolates. For me, of course I like the flowers, but when I get chocolates I say, “thanks, yum” but I’m really thinking, “I won’t be able to eat these.”
For all those guys out there, do a girl a favor. Don’t give them something they can’t eat. I complied a list of great ideas for those last-minuters. So instead of turning to the nearest 7-11 to pick the shelves clean of the left over reject chocolate boxes (because by now the good ones are gone), head to the sporting goods store. I promise they won’t be sold out.
- I’m nuts about you – While a box of chocolates is traditional, a package of nuts is far more enjoyable for a health nut. Even chocolate covered almonds is more likely to get eaten than traditional chocolates. I’d eat nuts. If they were covered in chocolate, I’d just pace myself. Just don’t confuse a chocolate truffle with a whole almond with a chocolate covered almond. Still two completely different things.
- You got me all shook up – Can you really have too many Blender Bottles? I only have one, so maybe someone that has 5+ might tell you something different. But I keep loosing mine or forgetting it at the office. To me, I could definitely use a few extra bottles. Might as well get some in a few colors and sizes too 🙂
- I like how you roll – Having a good foam roller is good for any fitness junkie. Foam rolling is a sweet treat for your muscles. There are a TON of foam rollers and other similar products, everything ranging from $5 to $50. It does make a difference to have a good foam roller. Sure my black PVC pipe does the job, but having the actual thing would be a nice gift. I’ve borrowed the RumbleRoller from my trainer and I can tell you for a matter of fact – it works better than my PVC pipe.
- Your pace or mine? – What girl doesn’t love a new pair of shoes? And when they’re a dedicated gym goer or regular runner, getting new fitness shoes is a treat. If your Valentine is a runner, steal one of his/her running shoes and take it to the store with you. Tell the staff that you are looking for a shoe that has a similar amount of cushion, stability and motion control. If they are not as experienced in shoe fitting for runners, you can pick a shoe out and just keep the receipt. Pictured are the new Reebok ZQuick. Aren’t they cute?
- You get my blood flowing – Compression socks help improve blood flow, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster, more efficient recovery. Not to mention you can get some really cute colors and designs. I picked up a pair of Pro Compression Marathon Socks from an Active.com deal and have been in love since. I’m looking forward to adding more colors and designs to my sock drawer. Compression socks are the way to go … especially for long distance runners.
- You’re whey out of my league – Whey … It’s pretty much a standard. Just like anything in the cupboard, it eventually runs out. I’m nearly out of my vanilla whey. But it could be cute to get chocolate and do a play-on-words with that … “whey better than a box of chocolates.” I had trouble with my last whey powder clumping when I used my blender bottle so I’m on the prowl for a new brand. My trainer Emily recommended I get Gnarly, so that’s why this one is on my list. Hoping to try this one next.
***All opinions are my own. I was not compensated by any mentioned brands.
|February 11, 2014|
Lately I have been craving cake batter. Maybe it’s my lack of baking cupcakes … I usually bake cupcakes at least once a month so I guess I’m used to spoon-licking and have been missing it. I actually impulsively bought a cake batter protein powder.
But I’m impatient. So this morning I made my own cake batter shake.
I actually got my package in the mail later today and tried the protein powder I purchased for dessert and I like my Strawberry Cake Batter Protein Shake recipe better.
Strawberry Cupcake Batter Protein Shake
Macros: 4g Fat, 6g Carbs, 26g Protein
- 1 cup ice (or about 8 ice cubes)
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 6 medium-sized strawberries
- 1/4 tsp butter extract
- 2 tsp stevia
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Optional: whipped cream & sprinkles
Blend all the ingredients together. Pour into your favorite jar, mug, cup, or tumbler. This recipe should fill a venti size cup. If you don’t want to add the protein powder, add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Optional: Top it off with whipped cream and sprinkles.
Note: Macros were calculated with a 25g protein scoop and without whipped cream and sprinkles.
|September 16, 2013|
So this recipe I actually created as one of the first recipes for my blog, but I came across the issue of not having a high speed blender OR a food processor. If you aren’t sure if you have a high speed blender versus a regular blender, generally the question to ask yourself is, “does my blender work as well or better than a food processor.” Ok, well that may not be the official question to ask yourself but I sure asked myself that one.
The first time I tried making this I put the avocado and banana in a blender with the almond milk, thinking that it might blend like I was making a smoothie and I would add all the other ingredients after. FAIL! There was not enough liquid so it barely blended and there were still chunks of avocado and banana. I ended up pouring it into a bowl and trying to mash it by hand and then I whisked the ingredients together. I ended up with chunky pudding, and no one wants chunks of avocado in their pudding. It was gross. So if you get chunky pudding, you might not have a high speed blender.
But after all said and done, I am finally sharing my recipe (and it tasted good this time) because I finally got my kitchen essentials. I got a food processor as a house warming present from a friend and this Summer I bought a Vitamix at the OC Fair. So giving it another whirl, my recipe really was good once the chunks were no longer in the equation. Enjoy 🙂
PS – I promise you that you can’t taste the avocado. It’s my secret ingredient … it adds the creaminess to the pudding without any dairy products.
Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding
- 1 ripe avocado (pitted & peeled)
- 1 overripe banana
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if you can’t eat it all in one sitting. It should serve two for a snack or one for a full meal. Feel free to garnish with an extra banana cut into slices (to get a similar look to my photos).
If you are like me and add protein powder to everything: Reduce the honey to 2 tbsp and hold the cocoa powder. Add a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the blender or food processor. Then add raw cocoa to taste. You probably wouldn’t be adding any more than a few tablespoons max. Most flavored protein powders will have enough chocolate to flavor your pudding. Also, they usually have added sweeteners which is where the decrease in honey comes in. Of course if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can add more honey.
As for using the raw honey – You don’t have to use raw, I just prefer raw because it’s less processed. Easy 1:1 conversion for raw versus regular honey if you don’t have raw. Although I suggest you try raw honey at some point. It tastes amazing!!!
|June 18, 2013|
I’ve never really felt comfortable or confident enough to show a side-by-side before and after photo. I think it’s because I was ashamed of how I looked in addition to not being happy with where I am right now. I am definitely not ready for a before and after photo yet. But I am finally feeling comfortable to show a side-by-side.
I refuse to call it “before and after” because it’s not. After insinuates that I am done and I am where I want to be physically, and that’s not the case. And before insinuates that there is one point or one photo that symbolizes before you began to get into shape and show progress. Well, I have had ups and downs my whole life when it comes to weight loss. Of course there were times that I was at my heaviest, but there were also times where I was almost at my goal weight. Right now, there is still a lot of body fat to lose and a lot more toning to get done. But honestly, I feel great right now and I think I look pretty good too. (Photo below is a year’s progress)
One of the biggest struggles I’ve had to overcome is to let go of the past. It’s hard to see yourself overweight and actually wanting (or willing) to share any of those photos. But the truth is, those photos exist and I can’t change that, nor would I want to. All my photos have some great memories attached to them. It’s only been recently that I can look at those photos and think to myself, “wow, look how big I was“ – versus, “wow, look how big I am.” I don’t think I will ever look at old photos and see only the good memory and not see overweight girl in addition . But the important thing is that I can recognize that it’s past. I see that I’ve changed, both physically and mentally. I’m not the person in those photos. I am much more confident, driven, and overall much happier.
Losing weight is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Our bodies can achieve so much more than we think they can. I gave up alcohol for about 5 months just to prove to myself that I could do it (and I love my happy hour.) You have to test your limits and then try to break them and climb higher and higher every time.
I used to only have my long-term goal for what I hoped to look like after losing all my weight. Now I constantly set new short term and long term goals that really don’t have much purpose or reason other than to test my limits. Currently, my goal is to do 10 pull-ups by July 4th without any resistance bands or help up from my trainer. Why did I set this goal? I just wanted to see if I can do it – and I know I can with hard work.
I won’t ever say losing weight is easy. If it was, I wouldn’t still be trying to get there. But once you learn to embrace the mental game and are willing to challenge everything you thought you could do, it will get easier.
|June 14, 2013|
Let’s talk chili. It’s probably one of the easiest things you will ever make (microwave food excluded) but to me, it was one of those things that seemed tough and a little intimidating. There are so many ingredients and most recipes are made to slow cook, what if I add too much of something and then when it’s time to eat my chili is inedible?
Seriously. I have nightmares about making food for a party and ruining it and everyone at the party goes hungry and starves and it’s all my fault … I am a strange one.
Anyways, back to my point: chili is one of the easiest things you will ever make. Put it in a pot and leave it there all day. Come for dinner and it’s ready!
Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
- 1 cup dry black beans (cooking directions below) OR 2 cans black beans, drained
- 24 oz boneless chicken breast (about 3-4 breasts)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 chopped red onion
- 1 chopped jalapeño
- 1 small can of chopped green chilies
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 can of corn
- 3 chopped roma tomatoes
- 2 cups of chopped Okra (20 oz.)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (about 1 handfull)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbs cumin
- plain greek yogurt to top it off with
Put all the ingredients together in a slow-cooker, excluding the Greek yogurt. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 3 hours. You may need to add extra water to your chili depending on your slow cooker. Temperatures can vary, making the required water amount vary. Once it’s done, pull the chicken breasts out of the slow cooker and shred the meat. Put the shredded meat back in the pot and stir. Serve and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt – it makes a great sour cream substitute!
Also, chili is so easy to play around with and change things up. If you don’t like okra or want things a little more spicy, this is the dish to experiment with. Feel free to substitute things or add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. It really is harder to mess up chili. As long as you have the right seasonings you are good to go!
**if you want to use pre-cooked chicken, instead of doing 2 1/2 cups of water, use 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water. A lot of the flavor is coming from the chicken, and if yours is already cooked, the chicken flavor wont seep into the chili as much as needed for flavor.
How to Make Your Own Beans
Forget the canned stuff. Yea, you can use it – but making your own is SO much cheaper. A couple pounds of beans cost just as much as a couple cans (generally). So I opt to making my own beans. Another plus is that it doesn’t have all the preservatives that canned beans have.
First, measure the beans. My chili recipe calls for one cup, so that’s where you’d start.
Then you sort the beans. Most of the packaging that beans come in have cooking directions. But “sorting” is where most package directions fail to include or explain. Sorting beans is something you have to do by hand. I think the easiest way to do it is by pouring some of the uncooked beans onto a large cutting board or tray making it easy to see all the beans. It’s even easier if the tray or cutting board is the opposite color of the beans. For instance, it was very easy to see the black beans on my white cutting board.
Then section by section, I drag the ‘normal-looking’ beans off the cutting board, into my colander. The beans you don’t want in your colander are the ones that look deformed or misshapen and rock/dirt clumps. Yea, those rock-like clumps are dirt. If you get it wet and then mush it between your fingers, it turns to mud. GROSS! That’s why we sort the beans. You don’t really need to worry about beans that are halved like some of them in my pile above, but I like to get them out just because I figure I am already going through all the work, I might as well. But most people let those be.
Next, rinse the beans in colander. Rinse them well … we did just pull some dirt out of the pile after all.
Then pour the beans in the pot with the 4 cups of water (1 to 4 ratio). The water doesn’t really need to be exact. You generally just need to make sure the beans have plenty of water to soak up. You always want there to be extra water in there so if you don’t want to measure (I don’t normally measure) just be sure to check on the beans every so often to make sure they have plenty of water.
Bring the water to a rolling boil and let it boil for 2-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 – 2 hours until it’s reaches the desired softness or put it in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to use the beans, drain and rinse the beans again.
You might be asking yourself, do I need to drain the beans? Can I cook with that water? (or at least I asked myself that)
Soaking the beans allows some of the indigestible sugars to be released from the beans themselves. You know why people say beans give them gas? If you drain them after soaking, there’s less of those sugars to give you any digestion discomfort. – Also found out, your plants will LOVE this water. So if you don’t like to waste, introducing your new plant food.
|March 12, 2013|
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my photo a while back of my fatal attempt at making paleo pancakes. Once I tried to make the “just add water” Bisquick pancakes, let’s just say they were inedible. Every time I tried to make pancakes on my own, I failed miserably. But I really wanted to make green pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day so I volunteered the time of my handy dandy boyfriend, let’s call him the Pancake King for now, to help me out with this recipe.
My first attempt was just like any other. My pancakes would never end up on someone’s breakfast plate. The Pancake King told me I had two big problems: 1. my batter was too liquidy 2. my flame was too high. So I modified the recipe and lowered my flame and voila! The magic happened. It’s amazing what a little guidance can do!
Spinach Banana Pancakes for St. Patty’s Day
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 overripe bananas
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
Add the oats to a food processor or high speed blender until the oats are finely chopped – borderline powder. Then add the banana and spinach to the food processor until the banana and spinach have blended evenly into each other and there are no more chunks of anything. Then add all the liquid ingredients and blend. Next, all the dry ingredients. You can easily do this with a stand mixer as well. However, the oats, banana and spinach need a blender or food processor to get the right texture and I prefer to only get one appliance messy. My food processor did the job just fine.
Then use your choice of oil, butter, or non-stick cooking spray to coat your pan. Bring flame to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter in the center to make your desired pancake size.
Here’s where the Pancake King comes back in. I had no idea when to flip a normal pancake let alone a green one. A little tip on the flipping green pancakes, you can’t judge it by the golden edges because the green doesn’t really change color the way a normal pancake would. It’s best to watch for bubbles. When you see bubbles form on the top, flip!
If you don’t allow them to cook all the way through, they will be mushy. This was the other hard part to judge. I did it by taste testing the first one. Then I knew for sure the right timing for the right consistency.
This batch made about a dozen pancakes for me. It’s very easy to cut the recipe ingredients in half if you only want to cook enough for 2. You can top it with whatever floats your boat. Photographed, I topped it with fat-free whip cream and sprinkles. The Pancake King chose to top it with peanut butter. The options are endless.
|February 7, 2013|
Ok, many of you have been asking about the perfected smoothie recipe I included on my 2012 recap photo, so here it is! I LOVE this recipe. Bananas are always in the house because I can’t seem to get enough of them.
Bananas are also great if you’re craving something sweet. Only 110 calories each and has about 3 grams of fiber helping you feel full. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, and possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Combine these two ingredients with a little extra whey protein and you got a power smoothie in your hands!
Cinnamon Banana Smoothie
- 2 spotted bananas
- 1/2 cup ice
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Add all the ingredients into the blender and blend till smooth. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon on top or some chia if you like. For an extra vanilla punch, add the optional 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. When I’m running out the door I usually don’t add it but when I have the time, it really does add some extra vanilla flavor which compliments the drink.
Tip: For thicker smoothies, freeze the fruit and skip the ice. This works with any smoothie recipe. Just be sure that your blender can handle the frozen fruits. Strawberries and a few other fruits are very tough when they’re frozen and could send your blender to it’s death bed if it’s not build for high intensity blending.