Recipe: Smoothie bowl

I won’t lie, whenever I see smoothie bowls online I am always envious because they also look delicious and perfectly put together. I don’t know about you, but fruit doesn’t keep me very full so it’s something I typically pair with something else. I may have berries in my oats or a banana with my protein shake. I top yogurt with fruit and nuts sometimes. But on it’s own I could eat a ton of fruit and not be full for long.

However, since  March we’ve been consuming a ridiculous amount of fruit that has led to the purchase of large bags of frozen mixed fruit. It lasts longer than fresh fruit and it’s perfect for in yogurt and smoothies. I do buy fresh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE crisp fruit, but honestly guys, read the labels. Frozen fruit is just as nutritionally dense as fresh and you can find bags that have NO additives, which makes it a pretty economic choice when some fruits aren’t in season.

What brought me to this recipe is the search for a snack while lunch was cooking. For me this was an appetizer to baked chicken. I was running low on veggies and was trying to figure out a carb to have with lunch. I then realized that I could just have lunch in parts and call it a meal.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit
  • 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative
  • 1-2 tablespoons of protein powder
  • Optional toppings: nuts, seeds, granola, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, more fruit

Directions

1. In a food processor, grind/chop 1 cup of frozen fruit for a few minutes. You’re going to want to pulse the fruit as it start to chop. I used mixed fruit from Dole that I got a sale a few weeks ago.

*Using a few fruits gives a good base of flavor and textured. You could combine bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc. if you don’t have a pre-bought bag.

2. Add a 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative to the chopped fruit. I used almond milk. After blending in milk, consistency should be thick like frozen yogurt.

3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of whey casein protein powder. I added 1 tablespoon, which is about 1/4 scoop of protein powder. The more protein you add, the thicker it’ll be and you may need to add a little more milk. If you’re using whey isolate it may not be as thick as whey casein blend. If you’re using a vegan or plant based protein, I’m unsure how thickness will be impacted.

4. Transfer fruit base to a bowl and level out.

5. Optional: Top with your favorite toppings. The fruit base will have a lot of flavor so you can eat it on its own or you can jazz it up with toppings.

* Be mindful of you’re toppings and what they add nutritionally and calorically. This base is a moderate carbohydrates base with 5-12g of protein depending on how much protein and brand (1 or 2 tablespoons) you added. Nuts/seeds/nut butter will add fat and some protein; fruit will add more carbs; coconut will add fat and carbs, etc.

Estimate nutrition for my specific base: 1f | 18c | 7p

With toppings: 9f | 30c | 9p

 

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Recipe: Grilled Chicken Shawarma Skewers

Guys, it’s hot outside, which means it’s hot inside. It’s not just hot, it’s humid and muggy. If I had allergies like JP I would also bitch about the pollen count, but I don’t so I won’t.

Last year when we moved into our apartment, aside from the fitness center, one of the outdoor amenities that really excited us, was the grilling. We have access to both charcoal and gas grills. While charcoal is perfect for s’mores, gas is perfect for everything else.

We’ve grilled more this year than last year and that’s because we have more time and our jobs allow us to be home at roughly the same time. While grilling is easy and the dinner prep is minimal, it may require more hands than two.

This recipe is something that I made last week so that we had something quick to eat after work, but didn’t have to put too much energy into it – the heat kills our motivation for cooking and the last thing I want is a hot kitchen.

Aside from Pinterest, I have way too many cookbooks for someone my age and a subscription to Food Network Magazine. I get ideas and then roll with them. This one is a combination of three recipes – from the spices to the ratios.

What You’ll Need

  • Chicken breast of tenders
  • Ground Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Minced garlic
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Skewers (wood or metal)
  • Plastic bag

Directions

1. Trim excess fat and cartilage off of your chicken, then cube into small bite-sized pieces. I used 8 ounces of chicken, so my ratios are for 8 ounces, which is about two servings.

2. In an empty, plastic bag add a teaspoon of each: ground cumin, curry powder and minced garlic. As far as brands, I don’t use a specific brand – I buy what’s affordable/on sale at the time I need it. The store brand is fine and if you’re brand loyal, that’s also fine.

3. Add to the bag, juice from half a lemon. I opened the bag and squeezed it directly in.

4. Add a tablespoon of olive oil (not pictured) to the bag.

5. Add chicken to the spice bag, seal and shake. When sealing the bag, don’t remove all the air out so that the chicken has freedom to move around and get coated.

*After bagging my chicken, I put it in the fridge for the day while I went to the office. To prevent potential contamination, I placed the bag in a glass bowl on the bottom shelf.

6. Divide chicken in half and skewer.

7. Pre-heat grill for a few minutes so the grate can get up to temperature, this may take 3 to 5 minutes. Place skewers on hot grill cooking each side for about 3 to 5 minutes. The duration may change depending on how big the chicken has been cut and how much chicken is on each skewer.

How we plated:

9. Slice a red onion and tomato into small pieces. I cut red onion rings in half. I also did the same to the tomatoes.

10. On a pita, spread a tablespoon of hummus (plain, garlic or roasted red pepper would pair well with the spices) and a tablespoon of tzatziki.

10. Place red onion and tomatoes on the pita and sprinkle some feta.

11. De-skewer chicken and place on top of pita.

If you’re not interested in plating like we did, this would be great with rice and veggies – we had broccoli and salad on the side of ours. You could also use it on top of salad.

Do you enjoy grilling in the summer?

❤ Cristina

Recipe: Banana Bread Protein Pancakes for 2

One of the most popular posts on this blog is my protein pancakes using Kodiak Cakes pancake mix. Their protein mix (Powercakes) released in 2013, well before I created my recipe in 2015, but it was before I could find the mix anywhere near me. My recipe is one of the simplest recipes I have on this blog.

Their mixes have gone through some changes over the past few years, allowing them to continue to be balanced and provide more volume.

Kodiak Cakes Powercakes are a staple in our house because of how easy they are and with their recipe changes to their mix, I don’t find myself often needing to use my higher protein recipe.

However, there are times when we run out of mix or we’re not home, like this weekend, but we want pancakes.

As I mentioned the other day, there were a few things we were bringing from our fridge to JP’s parents fridge because we didn’t want to come home to throwing out food. A banana is one of those items I put in our food bag for the weekend.

This morning we woke up at 6:30 am without an alarm. This is sleeping in for us. We went to bed early last night after pizza date night. We had content bellies then, but this morning I could hear JP’s growling.

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He asked what was for breakfast and my first response was “I don’t know, eggs? What are you in the mood for?” His response was usual – “I don’t care.” It doesn’t really answer the question, but it doesn’t ignore it either.

So as always, I looked at my Pinterest boards to see if there was anything I had pinned that I’ve wanted to try and then I searched for something new when I didn’t see anything I wanted to make.

I knew I had a banana and that’s about all I knew. Here’s the recipe that inspired mine.

And here’s the journey of my banana.

What You’ll Need

  • a medium sized banana (mine weighed 126g)
  • 1 egg
  • ~1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk (I used 2% because that was what was in the fridge)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 10g of protein powder (I used chocolate cupcake protein from PEScience)

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine a medium-sized banana and whole egg using. I used a whisk because the batter won’t be super thick, but may have banana chunks.

2. Add all-purpose flour leveled in measuring cup. I had started with a 1/4 cup and then went back to add an additional tablespoon. Using a full 1/3 cup would be completely appropriate.

3. Add a splash of vanilla. This is really about taste. You could also add some cinnamon if you wanted to as well.

4.  Add 1/4 tsp of baking powder.

5. While the banana is sweet, the pancake batter is really plain without a sweetener of some kind. I used a teaspoon of brown sugar, but you could use honey, maple syrup or an alternative like Splenda/Truvia. Just be mindful different kinds of sugar have different levels of sweetness so you may not need as much.

6. This step really is optional, but if it’s left out then these aren’t really protein-y pancakes. Protein powder. I used 10g, which is about 1/3 of a scoop of protein for PEScience. This adds about 4g of protein per serving, so 8g for all of the batter.

* For rough estimate, I divided the batter in half and called it good enough.

7. Heat a medium or large skillet to medium or medium/high heat. I used a little cooking spray on the pan, you don’t need a lot and depending on the pan you may not need to spray in between cakes. Pour batter to pre-heated skillet and cook on each side for just over a minute. This is relative to your pan and how it contains heat.

8. (optional) Top with chopped pecans or walnuts.

Nutrition for just the pancakes: 3.7F/35.3C/11.2P

 

❤ Cristina

Recipe: Egg Stuffed Red Onion

Eggs and egg whites are a staple in our house. We eat them a ton of different ways, although it’s fair to say scrambles and omelettes are the easiest and most often form they’re consumed in.

AS we packed up to head to JP’s parents house for the weekend…and decided to bring a few things with us that we didn’t want to have to throw out when we returned, I found myself with two bowl-like pieces of red onion. The first thing I thought was “I could cook an egg in there.”

I’m pretty sure not many would think of that, but I did.

A few years ago, I shared a recipe for egg stuffed tomatoes – something I still make, but not as often. While that recipe is easy and a favorite of mine, it leaves you with soft almost fully cooked yolks. It also involved a bit more time and an oven.

What You’ll Need

  • red onion bowls or thick red onion rings
  • eggs – 1:1 egg per onion piece
  • cooking spray
  • shredded cheese (optional)

Directions

1. If you have a whole onion, cut thick slices about half an inch to an inch thick. Separate the rings and utilize the largest rings. If you have an end piece of an onion like I did, cut the bottom of the onion out like pictured below.

2. Using cooking spray, lightly coat a skillet and place onion rings or bowls in the pan. Cover with a lid for a minute or two so that steam can help soften the onions. Flip onions and recover for another minute.

3. Crack a whole egg in the middle of the onion bowl or ring. Allow for the bottom to cook before recovering pan with lid. You shouldn’t need any more cooking spray than the initial amount used in the beginning when the onion was added to the pan.

4. Uncover the pan after a minute to determine doneness. If you like your yolks runny, cooking may only take a minute or two. If you prefer a more cooked or soft yolk, allow egg to cook covered for about 3 or 4 minutes.

5. Garnish with shredded cheese. I choose mozzarella and used about half a serving per egg. This step is optional and so is the amount. If you like cheese or have more room for higher fat in your diet then go to town!

6. Plate a serve. We had our with fresh heirloom tomatoes and toast.

Notes: I wish I had Everything but the Bagel seasoning with me because I think those flavors would’ve been great with onion and the yolk. I choose red onions because I prefer the spicy flavor they have after cooking, but you could use any onion type. Just be mindful of cooking. I find that yellow onion cook down faster.

Nutrition for just the egg stuffed red onion: ~7F/4C/9P

 

❤ Cristina

Recipe: Shredded Steak Tostadas

As warmer weather is approaching, we’re shifting how often we use the oven. It doesn’t matter if you have air conditioning, the oven turned on in the late spring and summer makes for a really warm kitchen. We cook a lot of things stove top, use our George Foreman or go outside and grill.

For this recipe, all you need is pots and pans and some tongs.

As we’re getting back into our routine of having dinner together again since the semester is over, I’ve been trying to incorporate meals that take a little longer or utilize entrees that may have a little assembly. I don’t need to rush dinner or have it in a Tupperware anymore, so this is a perfect opportunity to use corn tortillas.

I’ve made BBQ chicken tostadas before and since I had shaved steak I looked to see if there was a recipe that would be similar that I could check out.

Here’s what my Pinterest search looked like.

Pinterest steak tostada

So I skimmed through a few recipes and then decided to throw my own thing together.

What You’ll Need

  • Vegetables to saute (whatever you like, onions and peppers are perfect with this)
    • Red onion
    • White onion
    • Tomatoes
    • Bell Pepper
    • Mushrooms
  • 8 ounces shaved steak (I used Trader Joe’s because it’s lean and reasonably priced)
  • Jerk seasoning
  • 4 corn tortillas (I used Goya)
  • ~1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ~2T Mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking spray

Directions

1. Wash and chop vegetables into small pieces. They don’t need to be minced, but should be close to bite size.

2. Spray a medium sized pot with cooking spray and add vegetables. Put on medium heat. Stir occasionally as vegetables sweat.

3. In a separate pan, add shaved steak and seasoning blend. I used Jerk seasoning, but you could use something smokey or spicy for this recipe. Put on medium heat so you don’t burn the meat.

4. In a small pan, spray cooking spray or use a little bit of olive oil (with a paper towel) to lightly coat the bottom. Put on high heat to get pan to temperature, then decrease heat to medium/medium-high. Place a corn tortilla until you see air pockets form and the bottom side of the tortilla is browned. This should take a few minutes if the pan isn’t warmed up yet, then flip and let second side to brown. Repeat this for all corn tortillas. You may need to spray or wipe olive oil in between tortillas.

5. For plating, place a corn tortilla on a plate and spread plain Greek yogurt, I used a spoonful. Since this recipe makes two, I used half the steak for both tortillas, then added vegetables followed by shredded mozzarella cheese. Many recipes called for mozzarella, but you could use cheddar or a blend – whatever you prefer.

Nutritional estimates: ~350 calories, 11F/36C/32P

As always, nutrition will change based on brands and cuts of meat. If you use a different cut of meat, it may has more fat and therefore more calories. If you use more or less vegetables, etc.

If you want to check out the recipe that had inspired my BBQ chicken tostadas a while back, here it is!

❤ Cristina

Recipe: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

I owe you this recipe. A few weeks ago I went on a chicken salad kick, mostly because I love dill and this was an easy way to get in some protein without a ton of carbohydrates. I don’t like to put food into categories – I want to eat what I want when I want it, so chicken salad and tuna salad are often snacks in this house.

Like most of you, the weekends are for grocery shopping and meals are a moshposh until that happens. So we were looking at all the parts that we had in the fridge and tried to figure out what we could do with them – that’s where the cinnamon raisin bread in this recipe came into play.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad for Two

What You’ll Need

  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grapes, chopped
  • 4 slices of bread (I used Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin)
  • 1 teaspoon of dill weed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Oven or toaster oven

Directions

1.In a medium sized mixing bowl mix cooked, cubed chicken, Greek yogurt and dill weed. I had seasoned my chicken when I baked it, but it can be plain as well. Mix thoroughly.

 

2.Mix in chopped grapes. I quartered our grapes because they were large, but whatever size you prefer. Depending on the size of the bread or if you choose a wrap may not need to quarter them.

 

3.Mix in walnut pieces. I put my walnuts in a bag and used a meat tenderizer to break them into smaller pieces. I’ve found that using a knife can be a long process and dangerous if your knife isn’t sharp enough. If you have walnut or pecan pieces already you can skip this step.

IMG_0574

4.(Optional) Toast your bread! For a hearty sandwich, I find that they can fall apart if there’s a lot in the middle, so toasting helps prevent this. I put my toast in the toaster oven for 2 minutes at 300 degrees. You may not need to toast for this long, again, it’s preference.

5.Add half of the mixture onto your toast and serve!

Nutrition for 1 serving: 372 calories, 10F/39.5C/37P

  • Fats decrease without or with less nuts
  • Carbohydrates change depending on bread/grain type
  • Protein changes depending on amount of chicken

Recipe: Classic and Thin Crust with Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

Pizza is a weakness.

I’m not the only one that feels this way. We don’t really order take out because I’m going to want to eat the whole thing. No amount of lifestyle change has made an impact on how I feel about pizza.

I’ve talked about my own struggles with food and there are events in my history that my eating can be linked to – these are times of high stress, times my PTSD is triggered, times of anxiety. For me, like many people I’ve spoken to and worked with, removal of an item can be helpful, but it doesn’t necessarily teach us how to behave around that food.

One way I’ve learned how to behave and treat certain foods is to keep them around in moderation and make some of them on my own. Pizza is one of those foods.

This is easy and completely from scratch, so let’s get started with the dough.

Do you like a classic, standard crust or do you prefer a thinner crust? Choose your crust below.

Classic Crust

What You’ll Need

  • 3/4 cup +1 and 1/2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/3 tablespoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of warm water (around 110 degrees)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine flour and salt until blended well. Then make a well.
  2. Warm the water to 110 degree to active the yeast. Too cold or too hot can prevent the yeast from working. I used a cooking thermometer to determine exact temperature.
  3. Add water to the well and dump in yeast and sugar. Let is sit for about 10 minute until bubbly.
  4. Add olive oil to the well mix with a fork until most of the dough has formed a ball.
  5. Then using your hand kneed the rest of the flour and dough pieces into the dough ball.
  6. Let the dough rest in a greased bowl with a cover for about two hours so it can rise.
  7. On a counter or large flat surface, sprinkle some flour down so that your dough doesn’t stick.
  8. Wipe some flour on a rolling pin and roll your dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  9. If you’re using a pizza stone, prep your pizza stone as necessary. I used a metal pizza tray, which I sprayed with cooking spray.
  10. Lay your rolled out dough on the baking stone or sheet.

This nutrition of the whole crust is  482 calories, 4.5g of fat, 84g of carbohydrates and 15g of protein.

Thin Crust

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder (I used 1/4 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of water

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine dry ingredients until blended well.
  2. Add olive oil and water to flour mixture and mix with a fork until most of the dough has formed a ball.
  3. Then using your hand kneed the rest of the flour and dough pieces into the dough ball.
  4. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. On a counter or large flat surface, sprinkle some flour down so that your dough doesn’t stick.
  6. Wipe some flour on a rolling pin and roll your dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. If you’re using a pizza stone, prep your pizza stone as necessary. I used a metal pizza tray, which I sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Lay your rolled out dough on the baking stone or sheet.

This nutrition of the whole crust is 620 calories, 20g of fat, 92g of carbohydrates and 16g of protein.

Now for toppings. This is where nutritional value can really change.

Pick your sauce. Pick your toppings and just be mindful.

Philly Cheeseteak Pizza

We went thin crust and sauceless because we made Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and felt that it had enough flavor that we wouldn’t be missing anything by not having sauce.

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 ounces top sirloin, sliced and pan-fried
  • 1 medium bell pepper – about 150 to 200g, sliced into strips
  • 1 small red onion – about 75g sliced into strips
  • 4 large mushrooms – 50g sliced
  • 56g of mozzarella provolone shredded cheese blend
  • 28g of Parmesan Romano shredded cheese blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven 425 degrees so it can warm up while you get your toppings ready.
  2. Trim excess fat off your steak and slice it into 1/4 inch thick strips, ours were about an inch or two long as well.
  3. Cook steak in a medium sized pan. You will use this pan for the veggies as well, so a medium to large pan is necessary. You can use olive oil or cooking spray if you think you’ll have issues with the meat sticking to the pan. We used a little bit of olive oil wiped with a paper towel.
  4. Cook steak about half way before removing it from the pan. It’ll continue to cook in the oven and no one likes dry steak. Spread evenly onto your crust.
  5. Using the same pan, add sliced veggies and sautee in the steak juices until tender. You can skip this step if you prefer crunchy veggies on your pizza.
  6. While your veggies cook, in a small bowl mix your shredded cheese.
  7. Sprinkle a small handful of cheese over the steak already on the crust.
  8. Add your cooked veggies to the crust. Try to spread them evenly. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese to your crust as evenly as possible.
  10. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on how crispy you like your pizza.

 

Nutritional Notes:

  • Fat content in dairy changed depending on the kind of cheese you buy, however, so does the melting. If you get a cheese that is lower in fat, it tends to be a little drier and won’t necessarily melt as well. If you want to go with a lower fat dairy, 2% still tastes good, melts and saves a gram or two on fat per serving.
  • Fat content in meat changes greatly depending on the cut. We used tri-tip sirloin steak, which has 9g of fat per 4 ounces according to the package we bought. Round, sirloin and top sirloin are the leanest cuts of steak.

We each ate half a pizza.

I also made a salad with tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli slaw and balsamic and oil.

When you’re cooking at home and cooking bulk or in an assembled way like a pizza is you make the best estimates for portions.

I know for certain that this WHOLE pizza was 61g of fat, 110g of carbohydrates and 86g of protein. We tried to spread the steak and cheese as evenly as possible and we got it cut pretty much down the middle.

I estimated that I ate about 30.5F (with 9.5g of saturated fat)/55C/43P or 667 calories.

Now before some of you freak out. Let’s discuss. The steak was pretty lean, the veggies were fresh veggies and the cheese was well under a standard portion at a restaurant.

I ate half a pizza, which was about four slices, completely loaded. If I compare this pizza to Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza here’s what we get:

A medium Domino’s pizza is 8 slices and so is the large.

1 slice of medium Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza has:

  • 230 calories
  • 10g of fat including 5g of saturated fat
  • 26g of carbohydrates
  • 10g of protein

So if I ate 4 slices of this pizza, I would’ve consumed 920 calories, 40g of fat (20g of saturated fat), 104g  of carbohydrates, 40g of protein.

1 slice of large Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza has:

  • 310 calories
  • 13g of fat including 6g of saturated fat
  • 35g of carbohydrates
  • 14g of protein

So if I ate 4 slices of this pizza, I would’ve consumed 1,240 calories, 52g of fat (24g of saturated fat), 140g  of carbohydrates, 56g of protein.

I want us to be realistic.

I’m sure many of you are saying well that’s not a lot healthier than going out for pizza because I ate half the pie – but be honest with yourself. Will you stop at a slice or two? Will the ingredients you’re getting be fresh or lean or antibiotic free (if you’re into that kind of thing). I’m pro-greasy egg rolls, sometimes, but cooking at home provides you the advantage of choosing your ingredients and building your nutrition skillfully.

I could’ve stopped at two slices, but I also planned for this. I knew I would want more than two slices. Knowing we were having a later lunch with the football game around 1:30 pm and we ate more densely and didn’t eat dinner until about 7 pm, which was chicken breast and broccoli #balance.

We don’t always make loaded pizzas like this. Sometimes we do lean chicken breast and veggies. Sometimes we do individual pies so we can each have different toppings. We almost always put veggies on our pizzas so we can say we did so.

Both of the crust recipes can be used for calzones or personal sized pizzas if you want something more individual or have picky eaters. I think you get more volume by making it at home than you do out at a restaurant, but to each their own poison.

 

 

 

Recipe: Walnut Butter

Currently, there are 10 jars of nut butter sitting in my cabinet.

1. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl from Peanut Butter and Company

2. Mighty Maple from Peanut Butter and Company

3. Nutella – yes, that counts, hazelnuts!

4. Unsalted cashew butter, store brand

5. Pumpkin Spice from Peanut Butter and Company

6. Extra Crunchy Skippy

7. Smooth Jif

8. Brownie Batter from D’s Naturals

and now, chocolate protein walnut butter and plain walnut butter

It started with an email from The Peanut Principle telling me about their year of sale or coupon, regardless, I sighed because 1. I have a lot of jars in the cabinet and 2. I didn’t really need to spend the money on more right now. JP and I were getting dinner ready and I asked him if he thought we would have time to try to make our own this weekend.

He immediately turned to the cabinet and grabbed a full bag of whole shell walnuts and said “could we use this?” Yep. Yep, we could.

So I looked online so see if there was any magic to making nut butter and you know what, there’s not. So we played around and gave it a go.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Food processor
  • 1 to 2 cup of nuts, unsalted
  • optional – salt
  • optional – protein powder, we used Chocolate Cupcake from PEScience
  • optional – Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • optional – vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pick your nut! I know, I know, but you need to decide what butter you want. I chose walnuts.
  2. If your nuts are already shelled, you can add between 1 to 2 cups to your food processor. If they’re not shelled, shell them and make sure that all the piece of shell and inner skin are removed.
  3. Pulse your food processor on chop for a few minutes before switching to grind. If your food processor doesn’t have multiple settings or has numbered settings you will want to processor the nuts until they are smooth. Scraping the sides every now and then to ensure that all pieces of what may be meal now continue to be ground down.
  4. When ground to desired smoothness, pour into a jar and store in the fridge.

To make protein infused nut butter

  1. Make the recipe above and divide in half then add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  2. Once vanilla is blended in, add a scoop of protein of your choice slowly. We used chocolate frosted cupcake by PEScience, which will cause the nut butter to dry out slightly. I believe all powders would cause the nut butter to dry out though, not just the whey casein blend.
  3. To combat the dryness of added protein, add a little bit of water. I added 1/2 a tablespoon of water at a time up to about 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. To enhance the chocolatey-ness of the nut butter or because I wanted to add chocolate sauce… I added 1 tablespoon of Hershey’s syrup and blended.

Nutrition for a 28g serving of protein walnut butter using 100g of blended nut butter: 12.5F/3.6C/7.1P

*Notes*

I would wait until the next day to put add-ins into the nut butter because this gives the mix time for the oils to separate, which may help with mixing in the protein. Since it is naturally and minimally made, we have had to mix both butters before every use so that oils are mixed thoroughly.

Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It’s single digits and with the wind, we’re hitting negative temperatures. I know, I know. I live in New England, I did it to myself. I like it here, but living here for about five years doesn’t make it easier dealing with the snow, the bitter cold or plastic wrapping my windows. Yes, for those in warm weather – plastic sealing your windows can help keep the draft out.

One thing that has been helping us this fall and into the winter has been making soup and chili. Our rotation has been ground turkey chili, white chicken breast chili and broccoli cheddar soup with the latter being added to the recipe collection this season.

We’ve buy a lot of vegetables in bulk from BJ’s whole sale, we also go to you-pick places in the summer and I’ve been trying to utilize as much of the veggies and fruit as possible. Broccoli cheddar soup is one of the recipes that allows me to use all the parts of broccoli without waste.

To me, at least, the stalk is usually a little bitter and needs to roast a lot longer than florets do, however, in this soup all parts continue to cook down and there’s no lack of flavor.

Back in the day, I could easily consume a bread with broccoli cheddar soup from Panera, however, that was before my diet changed and before my digestion system changed. If you’re someone like me who experiences lactose intolerance to things like cheesecake, soft serve ice-cream or heavy whipping cream, but can handle hard cheeses or goat products – this recipe will be for you.

Low Dairy Broccoli Cheddar Soup for Two

What You’ll Need

  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 200g of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of almond milk or other milk alternative
  • 1 cup of water + 1 tsp of salt free chicken seasoning (you can also use 1 cup of chicken broth, I’ve made this recipe both ways)
  • 1 tablespoon of flour (you can skip this step if you don’t want your soup thicker)
  • 1/4 cup or more of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Baking sheet
  • Medium sized pot
  • Food processor

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop broccoli into 1 to 2 inch pieces include both florets and stalk in using a crown, if you using pre-cut florets cut florets into smaller pieces suitable for roasting.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread out broccoli pieces so that they lay flat and aren’t piled on each other. Spray broccoli with cooking spray. If you prefer to cook with oil, use about a table spoon of olive oil to toss the broccoli in before laying it on the greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake broccoli for about 15 to 20 minutes (this is the longest part of this recipe).
  5. While broccoli is baking, peel and chop the red onion and dice the carrots. These pieces should be small
  6. In a medium pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add chopped onion. If you want your carrots a little softer, you can add them with the onion at this step. Let vegetables simmer for a few minutes until onions become more translucent.
  7. Add 1 and 1/3 cup of milk alternative. I used almond milk, but I have used cashew milk before.
  8. Add 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of salt free chicken seasoning – I did this as a chicken broth alternative because I was out. I’ve made it with 1 cup of chicken broth, you could also use 1 cup of water with a bouillon cube. If you want this to be completely vegetarian, you can also use vegetable stock.
  9. With a whisk, mix ingredients well and top with a lid and let simmer on low heat until broccoli is finished roasting.
  10. Once broccoli is down roasting, you have two options – chop in a food processor and then add to the pot or add directly to the pot. I’ve done both. With the broccoli chopped fine, the soup become thicker on it’s own while with the whole broccoli it’s more soup and may need a thickening agent.
  11. If you prefer a more soupy broccoli cheddar soup you can skip this step: After you’ve added the broccoli to the pot, remove a little bit of the liquid into a small cup or bowl and then add 1 tablespoon of flour to create a paste. Mixing the flour in a small amount of liquid allows for it to be combined thoroughly and prevents clumping. Add the paste to the pot and whisk thoroughly.
  12. Lastly, add your cheese. I used a shredded cheddar jack and used about a 1/4 cup. You can use more, you could also use a different cheese blend.
nutrition label for broccoli cheddar soup on blog

Nutrition calculation in MyFitnessPal Recipe Creator

Macro Nutrients: Fat (cheese, milk alternative, butter) Carbohydrates (broccoli, onion, carrot, milk alternative, flour) Protein (cheese, milk alternative, broccoli)

Recipe: Stove-top Gingerbread Oats

Insert winter/holiday season pun/quote here.

I’ve probably consumed more pumpkin foods than I should’ve this fall, and now I’ve been turning to gingerbread and mint. As my adventure through my Pinterest pins continues, I’ve been trying to see how I can utilize my baking pantry in other ways that cookies and muffins.

I had found a few pins for gingerbread oats, but many had barely any oats and they were loaded with sugar. You can make good, sweet oats, without loading them with sugars or carbohydrates that won’t provide satisfaction.

So if you don’t mind stove top and you have about 5 minutes or so, this recipe may put you in a mood that satisfies the desire for gingerbread cookies  while leaving you’re stomach full.

What You’ll Need

  • Milk or milk alternative – I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Rolled oats
  • Molasses
  • Almond butter – I used crunchy
  • White chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a medium sized pot, you’ll want a little room, warm on low heat about 3/4 cup of milk.
  2. When the milk is slight hot to touch (not boiling), add half a cup of rolled oats. This is a serving for the store brand I used.
  3. Keep the burner on low heat, you don’t want these boil and burn on the bottom.
  4. Mix in 3/4 tablespoon of molasses.
  5. Mix in 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter, I used crunchy because I prefer it. You can use smooth or crunchy – you can even use peanut butter if you don’t like almond butter.
  6. Immediately remove pot from burner and either store in a tupperware for later or bowl for serving. Removing from the burner is important because even if you turn it off the heat will continue to cook the oats.
  7. Top off with a few white chocolate chips. This is completely optional.

As always, brands and portions impact nutritional value. These oats were 280 calories, 8.5F/46C/7P