Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin Protein Doughnuts

I was a busy girl today! I took my day off to sleep in a bit. I got up around 8:30 and have been on my feet ever since running errands and cooking.

First Dylan and I ran around to several stores including Party City, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, the local Mall to hit Hot Topic, and then finally Vitamin Shoppe.

I had a very sucessful haul today shopping. I got something for my Halloween costume, a digital scale, doughnut baking ban, brag's liquid aminos, a new pair of work-out pants, and some vanilla almond crunch Quest bars that I have not tried yet! I really have wanted a digital food scale for quite some time. Weighing food is so much more accurate than going by measurements. I hope that using it will help me to gain some lean muscle weight because my food calculations will be more accurate. I also had big plans for the doughnut baking mold. I have been eyeing this pan up for quite some time, but didn't have the money. So, I got a 20% off coupon in the mail for Bed Bath and Beyond and decided today was the day! Then, I put it to use tonight and made PUMPKIN PROTEIN DOUGHNUTS!

What you'll need:
for the doughnuts-
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of coconut flour
1 1/2 scoop of vanilla flavored whey protein (I used Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream flavor)
1/2 cup of pure canned pumpkin
1 large whole egg
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of raw stevia
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg 
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk

for optional "frosting":
2 tablespoons of non-fat plain greek yogurt (I always use Chobani)
1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum
2 packets of raw stevia
5-10 drops of vanilla creme liquid stevia

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix your wet ingredients for your doughnuts together and also the dry separately before combining and mixing well. Spray your doughnut baking pan (these could very easily be made into muffins as well!) with non-stick spray. Fill the molds with your batter. I baked mine for about 15-18 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean after sticking one into a doughnut. You can top it with the vanilla creme "frosting", more cinnamon, or pumpkin flavored cream cheese spread, or get creative. These are high in protein and low in active carbs. You could eat two (...or three) without the guilt! These would be good for pre or post workout as well.

I really can not wait to make up more doughnut recipes for you guys.

I also have been working on slowly sampling Artisana products that they were kind enough to send me to write a review for you guys. I should have that up at some point later this week. I have been sampling the packets slowly because I have cut nut butters out (except for peanut flour sparingly if I need it). I know, I am such a nut butter freak. I had to cut it out because I was getting out of control with the portioning and I also want to see how cutting out some fat does for my abs. I will be eating my beloved nut butter again very soon, but for now I have been forced to be creative with my nightly casein protein snack. I have been known for using a lotttt of peanut butter. But, I like having to think up some alternatives for a couple days. 
This is so good and tastes kind-of like amazing pumpkin cream cheese. 1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt (Chobani), 1/4 cup non-fat cottage cheese, 1/4 cup pure pumpkin, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream whey from Optimum Nutrition, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, 2 packets of raw stevia, and 1 tablespoon coconut flour. Mixed well topped with 1 tsp organic brown sugar, 1 tbsp coconut flour, and 1 packet of stevia along with 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk and mixed well into a crumble-like texture. Finally, 2 tablespoons of Kashi go lean cinnamon crumble.

Another awesome purchase of mine this week was from Target. I finally was able to find tea that I have been looking quite some time for! Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride by Celestial Seasonings! You probably are thinking, there is no way that a tea can taste like sugar cookies.. WRONG! This tea is so fantastic it is even boyfriend approved. With just some stevia and a little bit ok unsweetened almond milk to bring out the flavor, it tastes like a liquid cookie. Very good for soothing sweet tooth cravings like I get so badly! I also bought some French Vanilla coffee that was on sale and like most vanilla flavored things it is delicious. I gotta have a caffeine, one of my vices!

I hope you guys are having a great restful weekened!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Candy Cravings! Almond Joy Oats and Cake Batter Protein Pancakes

Hi everyone! It’s Sunday. Working another 8 hour shift of overtime today. Although my job is not very physically taxing and really is quite pleasant for the most part (who can complain about blogging, reading, texting, playing video games and watching films all while at work?), working 48 hour weeks is taking a toll on me. At least I am making money and getting closer to being able to sign up for the NASM personal training certification course. That is what is keeping me going: imagining my possible future that all of this extra time I am working will help me pay for. Have to work for what we want!

I’m sitting here typing this and sipping on some pumpkin spice coffee and trying to think of topics to discuss. Nothing is coming to me! I need you guys to give me some feedback on what types of things you would like to see me discuss on here. Leave me a comment and let me know some questions or things you would like me to talk about. Of course, remember that I am not an expert and anything I say on here is strictly personal experience and what works for me.

I have been trying to experiment with combinations of food. One of my favorite things to do is to take a bunch of different veggies with (or even without sometimes) a lean protein and mix them together.

I was in the mood for pineapple chicken quesadillas, so I made a big batch of pineapple, 
low sodium (also well rinsed) black beans, chicken breast, tomato, kale, red bell pepper, jalapeno, 
and sweet onion that I can use in burritos/quesadillas/eat as is! 

Sometimes if you have no idea what to eat is to look what you have, and just throw things together! 98% of the time I love the turn-out and then you know another meal you can make if you’re lacking in creativity or ideas on a particular day. We all have our creative slumps, with a clean eating lifestyle it is so important to keep things interesting and not eat the same things every day.

For breakfast the other morning I basically had a candy bar… No, not an actual candy bar, but it was delicious enough to be!! I was craving an Almond Joy so badly, so I made some Almond Joy Egg White Oats!

What you’ll need:
½ cup of whole grain rolled oats (cooked in 1 cup of water on medium heat)
2 large egg whites
2-3 packets of raw stevia (or more depending on how sweet you want your oats)
1 tablespoon of coconut manna (1/2 for in the oats, 1/2 for on top)
1 1/2 tsp of unsweetened natural cocoa powder
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon of shredded unsweetened coconut flakes (for on top)
6 almonds (for on top)

Cook your oats like normal in water, adding the cocoa powder, ½ tablespoon of coconut manna, and 2 egg whites about 1-2 minutes before the oats have finished cooking. Then mix in your stevia (or natural sweetener of choice) and a bit of unsweetened almond milk. Top with the second ½ tablespoon of coconut manna, coconut flakes, and almonds. I like to pour a bit of unsweetened almond milk around the edge of the bowl. This turned out so lovely and pretty that I had to share it with you guys! Definitely a nice pick-me-up.

At work I have been reading a book I recently purchased on me Acer Iconia Tab Tablet ($200, GameStop) written by Michael Pollan called The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I was told that I should read Pollan’s books by a friend. The book is so interesting and informative. I never knew that the history of Corn was so fascinating and rooted in our society. I like it so much so far that I have ordered one of his other books from Amazon called In Defense of Food. If you are interested in food and nutrition, I highly recommend his books. His writing style is fantastic.

Since I am so interested in nutrition and health, I am trying to start reading more books about the subject so that I can be more informed (especially for when I become a personal trainer, and hopefully nutritionist). One of the best things you can do if you have a question about a topic or just want to be more educated in a realm of study is to do research! Understanding of a topic does not just happen. Seek to learn as much about a subject as you can so that you can make informed decisions! If you are new to a healthy lifestyle and feel lost and confused, look up some things! I frequent health, fitness, and bodybuilding blogs daily to help me learn more. There is an endless stream of information available to you right at your fingertips, so use it! Read some books and studies. We all started somewhere!

When I woke up this morning I thought about how I have not had protein pancakes in a while. I went to Wegman’s yesterday and picked up some new goodies to try out. One of the purchases was some gluten free yellow cake mix from Betty Crocker:

Although it may not be 100% “clean” it is one of the better cake mixes without a ridiculous list of ingredients. Thanks to Heather who has some recipes using this brand of cake mix, I picked it up after seeing it on her blog.

I made cake batter protein pancakes with banana frosting! These are the prettiest and most colorful pancakes I have ever made. They really cheered me up and got me ready for my shift today.

What you’ll need:
For the pancakes
½ scoop vanilla ice cream optimum nutrition whey protein
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons yellow Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix  
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/8 tsp of baking soda and also cream of tartar
a bit of rainbow sprinkles (optional)

For the frosting
 1/3 of a mashed large banana
1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk

I mixed the dry ingredients and wet ingredients for the batter prior to combining. Mix well. Add the sprinkles last and don’t mix them in too much or all of the color will come off. White they are cooking on a non-stick sprayed pan, make the frosting. My recipe made 5 smaller pancakes. I topped the pancakes with my banana frosting and bit more sprinkles. It was so delicious! I love fun colorful food. Nothing wrong with some sprinkles once in a while. I hope you guys have and/or had a great day and enjoy your Sunday!
Meg x

Monday, October 1, 2012

Squash Preparation and Eggy in a Basket

Happy Monday and first day of October to you all! October is such a great month. I know so many people are dreading winter coming, especially those of us in areas who get pounded with snow. Being in Pennsylvania, some years are mild in the winter, others are really bad. I love snow, but I hate driving in it. I have gotten a new vehicle since last winter, so I am hoping that it drives much better in inclement weather. However, we shouldn’t be worrying about snow yet! Right now we should enjoy the gorgeous changing leaves, cool dewy mornings, hoodies, jeans, and all of the amazing comfort foods that fall graces us with!

This is my first fall clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Before, I never cared what season brought what produce. I actually had really no knowledge that fall was squash season, which now seems blasphemous! I love squash now. As a kid I used to hate it! I would have to take bites and, without chewing, swallow it whole with my drink. I now eat a lot of spaghetti squash, zucchini, and recently I have been in love with acorn squash! I still have to try butternut squash and some other varieties as well.  I get a lot of questions as to how I prepare both my spaghetti squash, and now acorn. I figured I would just make a post about it so that if anyone needs help figuring out how to make it, then can reference this post.

The way that I prepare both acorn and spaghetti squash are very similar. First, I preheat my oven to 350 degrees. I cut my squash in half (not through the middle) so that it is cut through the stem and the base. Separate the two halves and remove the seeds and center of the squash. If you want, you can save the seeds and bake them! Once the squash is cleaned of the stringy core and seeds, I put it on a baking pan. I have the cut sides facing up (so you can see the inside of the squash). Next, I add about ½ an inch to an inch of water to the baking pan.  If you choose, you can season the squash now. I leave it plain because I like to eat my squashes with different seasonings and dishes. Next, I put the squash into the oven. Depending on the size of the squash, it can take half an hour to over an hour. I usually check it at the 25-30 minute mark. To check if the squash is done, insert a fork into the “meat” close to the flesh of the squash. If the fork goes in easily and the “meat” can be pulled away from the flesh, it is done. Mine are typically done within 30-45 minutes. 

For spaghetti squash, you take a fork and scrape the inside of the squash. Don’t do it too hard because you want the squash to take a more noodle-like texture vs. a mashed one.

For acorn squash, you can cut it into cubes and remove the flesh, or you can mash it up to store it.

Both types of squash are incredibly easy and convenient. If you are like me and like to prep foods at the start of the week so you have easy and quick meals (if you are clean eating, body building, or just have a busy schedule, and aren’t doing this yet, you should because it makes life so much more simple to have food pre-cooked and ready!) then these squashes are great! I hope that this helped to clear up any confusion concerning preparation of these two fantastic fall veggies. If you need reference photos, I am sure that Google has plenty to look at!

I just received some wonderful news! The lovely people at Artisana foods will be sending me a package of their products to do my first review! I am so excited. I have wanted to start reviewing products and this is a great first step, especially for a nut butter addict like me! Thanks so much to my love @spoonfulloffit for giving me a lead. Adore her and her blog, you should check it out!

The other day while at work (yes, at work, my job is boring!) I was watching the film V for Vendetta. I had never seen it before (I give it an A+ by the way). The character V is seen making something I had never seen before and he called it “eggy in a basket”. In a frying pan, he had a slice of bread with an egg in the center. My mind was blown and I was inspired to make it clean for myself to enjoy. I had never been a fan of egg yolk until my boyfriend made me try several months ago. I was extremely picky before my clean lifestyle and had been too scared to try it. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised! Carbs and protein, perfect for breakfast AND as a pre or post work-out meal. I had one two days in a row. Since I will probably be making them a good bit, I decided to put up a little tutorial so that you guys can make it for your own as well!  

What you’ll need:
A slice of whole grain bread (or whatever bread you use, I just use Nature’s Own 100% whole grain no sugar added)
A large egg
Non-stick spray, coconut oil, or olive oil
Black pepper
Sea salt (optional)

First, spray a non-stick frying pan or grease it with whatever your choice of non-stick product/oil you prefer. Set the stovetop temperature to medium-low heat. If you want to butter your bread to help it brown go ahead, but I don’t feel that it needs the extra fat or calories. Take a slice of your bread and using a cup mouth/large shot glass/something round press it into the center of the bread slice until it cuts the whole way through and you can remove the little round piece.

Next, place the piece of bread in the skillet with the center piece too if you wish. I like to use the little round part to help sop up the delicious egg yolk. Allow it to brown a bit on both sides. Remove the center piece and set it aside. Don’t make it too browned because you still need to add the best part!

The egg! Make sure to add a little more non-stick spray in the center hole if you think there will be a sticking situation. Crack the egg right in the middle of the bread. Season it with sea salt and black pepper if you choose.  Allow the egg to cook for about a minute or so and flip!

Let the other side cook for another minute or so. Then remove from heat and enjoy! This is such a neat way to get both protein and carbs. I am addicted to them now. Just be careful of how much egg yolk you are consuming. The yolks are high in cholesterol and too much in a diet isn’t good for you, but everything in moderation. Eggs are very healthy and should play a pretty decent size role in your clean eating diet (if you aren’t vegan of course). 

 NOM! So delicious!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Garlic Sticks

Sometimes I am really craving a good garlic-stick. Well, sometimes it isn't the best time to eat something super greasy from a pizza place. I decided to make a cleanish treat that would satisfy my craving for a pizza shop staple that is low carb and high in protein and made: Cheesy Cauliflower Garlic Sticks!

What you'll need:
One cup of riced cauliflower
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons of almond flour/meal
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning mix + some on top of the cheese
artisan blends parmesan cheese

parchment paper
1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 clove of garlic, chopped up fine

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rice your cauliflower and combine it in a bowl with the ingredients listed above except for the 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese and clove of garlic. Take a baking sheet and put a piece of parchment paper down, then spread the well mixed ingredients onto it. Spread it out so it is a rectangle or square (or whatever shape :P). Leave a little thickness to it. I placed another sheet of parchment paper on top. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the "crust" over and remove the sheet on top. It should be a bit browned on top. Place it back onto the baking sheet and spread 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese on top, sprinkle some italian seasoning mix on top of the cheese and the well chopped garlic clove. Place back into the oven for about 10-15 more minutes or until it is browned and cheese is melted. Mine made 8 garlic sticks.

For 1/2 of the cauliflower garlic sticks (mine made 8 total), there were about 182 calories, 11.2 grams of fat, 4.2 saturated fat, 4.7 grams carbs, 1.3 grams dietary fiber, 1.2 grams of sugar, and 17.4 grams of protein.

I served mine with organic traditional tomato sauce. This would also work really perfectly as a crust or pizza base. I am going to make it again with spinach, tomato, and garlic. I really hope you guys experiment with this recipe. I really enjoyed it and so did my taste tester, my Aunt.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Turkey Black Bean Burgers!

Black Bean Turkey Burgers.

What you’ll need:
Extra lean ground turkey (99%)
Organic blue corn tortilla chips (I used one serving which was about 7 chips)
1 ¼ cup organic and/or low sodium black beans (rinsed and pre-cooked for about 7-10 minutes)
Southwest chipotle Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper
-You could also add in peppers, onions, worcheshire sauce, or whatever you would like to add more flavors to your burgers.

First I took my black beans which I had already rinsed and pre-cooked a previous time. I rinse my beans before using them to remove excess sodium from them. I lightly mashed them up, but not too much. You want both mashed and some whole beans in your burgers to give them texture and girth. I then crushed up the tortilla chips with my hands and added both the chips and beans into a bowl with the ground turkey. Then I added in about 1 ½ tsp of Mrs. Dash southwest chipotle seasoning and a good bit of fresh ground black pepper. Mix all of the ingredients together with clean hands. Make sure it is all thoroughly mixed. I then shaped 6 burgers. Make sure to tuck in any whole black beans that may be sticking out on the sides. They may pop out while cooking otherwise. I cooked them on the stovetop with non-stick spray for about 10-15. They turned out so tasty. My aunt had a bite of one of mine and liked them so much that she made them for their dinner last night. It made me feel really awesome. 

For one burger with the ingredients I used there are 157 calories, 1.8 g of fat with only 0.2 from saturated fat, 11 g carbs, 2.4 g dietary fiber, no sugar, and 21.3 g protein.

These were definitely a success. I also love having leftovers to be able to use for lunches and dinners for the next couple days. I had one the first night I made them on a slice of whole grain low sugar bread with spinach and all natural Newman’s pineapple salsa on top with sriracha. Then last night I had one in a salad with a baked low carb high fiber tortilla torn up in it, sautéed red onion, jalapeño, and green bell pepper, pineapple salsa, and sriracha. I loved it both ways.  There are so many ways to eat these burgers. You could also make a burrito or break it up and make a Mexican-style pizza! I am definitely going to be using this recipe again in the future. I love the high protein in them. I hope

Friday, September 21, 2012

Savory Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bread

Hey guys! I hope you all had a fabulous rest of your week! It’s Friday and I am so happy to be able to relax and stay up later this evening (for me, that will probably be around 11:30 haha). Over the next several weeks I am going to be working overtime due to not having enough officers to staff sites. That’s ok though! I pretty much am just picking up 8 hours on Sundays. I have decided to start saving the overtime money to put towards getting certified in personal training through NASM and then after I get that, I am going to get the certification for nutrition through them as well. I am so excited that I have decided to do this. Working out and eating healthy has made amazing changes in my life and I want to be able to help people make those same changes. First step is getting CPR/AED certified. Going to work on getting that first because it is the cheapest part of this journey. I am so excited!

Last night I had picked up a new ingredient at the store that I keep seeing in a lot of protein recipes: cream of tartar. When I bake with protein a lot of times the muffins and breads seemed to go flat. Cream of tartar works with baking soda in order to help firm up egg whites and give baked goods a better density and consistency. I got the all natural brand and it was about $6 for a decent sized shaker. Of course I had to experiment right away! I have some zucchini in my kitchen that needs to be used up, so I took one medium one and created a savory and delicious Chocolate Protein Zucchini Loaf.  

What you’ll need:
1 medium zucchini grated finely and moisture squeezed out (about a cup of zucchini)
½ tsp all natural baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
½  cup almond flour/meal
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 ½ scoops rich chocolate whey protein (I used Optimum Nutrition)
2 tbsp all natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
4 packets of all natural raw stevia
2 egg whites
½ cup unsweetened almond milk

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees. I grated my zucchini finely into a bowl. Once it was grated, I squeezed out the excess water from it. Once drained of excess moisture, I added in the almond flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, stevia, and coconut flour. I mixed those and then added in the unsweetened almond milk, 2 egg whites, and mixed those into the batter well. Make sure to mix it really well to make sure the protein and cocoa doesn’t clump up in your bread. The last two ingredients I added were the baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix well again. I took a medium bread loaf pan and greased it. You can use coconut oil or non-stick baking spray. Pour the well mixed batter into the loaf pan. I baked my bread for 35 minutes. It came out smelling so amazing. I was surprised that I was able to make this bread so easy compared to my other breads that came out looking flat and lifeless. My boyfriend, aunt, and little cousin all tried it. It was a hit and they said they want more! It is always a plus when I get something kid approved! He was shocked when I told him there were veggies in that bread. The only change I am going to try next time I make this is to add a little more stevia to see if I can make a sweeter version. Maybe even some honey or agave. Overall, I was super pleased with this recipe. It would go well paired with nut butter, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, pretty much anything really because it is a savory bread. I really was digging the macros as well:

For the recipe how I made it the calories are about 106 calories for 1/6 of a loaf. 5.0 g of healthy fat, 5.9 g carbs, 3.1 dietary fiber, 1.3 g sugar, 10.3 g protein.

I plan on experimenting with more breads this weekend and maybe even muffins! So, hopefully I will have more recipes for you guys soon. I hope you enjoy this one if you make it. Let me know how it turns out by tagging me in your photo on Instagram. I love seeing people’s variations of my recipes <3 x