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SBJ is the new PBJ Power Bars

In addition to enjoying some awesome weather and family fun yesterday I was in the kitchen whipping up some great bars as inspired by Oxygen’s new Fat Blasting foods guide.

SB Protein Power Bars

Great as an afternoon pick me up with some green tea or some quick post workout fuel, these are super quick to throw together and the flavor combinations are endless. I’m thinking an almond butter and dried cherry batch is next 😀

*Inspired by Oxygen – Fat Blasting Food Guide with a few tweaks in ingredients for what I had on hand.*

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes (includes time in fridge to set)

Ingredients

8 oz dates

1/4 c water

1/4 c sunflower butter

1/4 c flax meal

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder

pinch of salt

4 oz dried apricots, diced

1/2 c Uncle Sams Original cereal, divided in half

Instructions

1. Blend together dates and water in food processor

2. Add sunflower butter and blend until smooth. May need to add more water to help thin mixture slightly *I could probably eat just this mixture smeared on a waffle or toast with banana – soooo good*

3. Add protein powder, flax meal, and salt; blend thoroughly. Add diced apricot and half of the cereal to food processor and pulse until just combined.

4. Place a long piece of wax paper into a baking dish – leave enough wax paper to hang over edge. *I highly recommend using the wax paper if you want your bars to come out in one piece – not pieces. The tin foil was kind of a fail*

5. Pour mixture into baking dish and use the wax paper to press evenly into baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cereal on top of mixture.

6. Place in freezer for an hour to firm up enough to cut into 8 pieces. Store individually wrapped in fridge or freezer.

Seriously delicious and a cinch to throw together! Totally recommend picking up  any of Oxygen’s publications but especially this Fat Blasting Food Guide – tons of great tips and recipes as always.

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Vegan Cornbread

Hey Hey Hey!

After wallowing in my own funk last week, this week feels like sunshine and unicorns and rainbows or maybe just partly cloudy …

As I mentioned before Alex as Debbie Downer = Alex turned Baker in the kitchen. So here is recipe #2 for the week.

Vegan Cornbread

For a turn of events, my younger brother was on a mission to clean out the fridge full of leftovers. The last tupperware container to tackle was full of a tasty turkey chili made by Mom and you certainly can’t have chili without cornbread (tortilla chips do come pretty close thought ;). Without any eggs in the fridge I opted to try out a vegan twist on my usual recipe.

Yield: 6 mini loaves or 10 slices

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: ~25 minutes

Ingredients

1 c whole wheat all purpose flour

1 c cornmeal

3 T sugar

2.5 t baking powder

1 t salt

black pepper

chili powder

1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce

1 c almond milk

~1/4 c vegetable oil *I used just a little less than that because I was finishing what was in the bottle*

~1 c yellow corn *I might have mixed in a lot more .. I love a chunkier texture for my cornbread*

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Spray  your miniloaf pan or whatever baking pan you are using with non stick spray.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in medium bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in separate smaller bowl.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the corn kernels – Don’t overmix!

4. Pour into your baking pan and bake for ~20 minutes

Enjoy a slightly spicy, super moist partner to your next bowl of chili 😀

Turkey chili with whole wheat pasta - leftover mess bowl

I’m super excited to rock the red at tonight’s Capitals game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (booooooo!)

How do you like your cornbread – chunky or smooth?

Cleaned Up Coconut Rice Pudding

So here is one of the recipes I promised the other day –  a cleaned up version of a comforting favorite 🙂

*I will totally add pictures tomorrow as I am currently at the boyfriend’s house and without my camera cord – womp womp* Edited to add: Wow … thought I snapped more pictures than I did … I guess I was too focused on eating the end product. Oh well 🙂

Coconut Rice Pudding

Yield: 6 – 1/2 c servings

prep time: ~45 minutes (if cooking rice)

total time: ~60 minutes (if cooking rice) or ~20 minutes if using leftover rice

What an awesome way to make use of leftover plain brown rice! Enjoy for dessert or as a great alternative to your bowl of oats in the morning. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite whole grains!

Ingredients

1 c brown rice

1/2 c sugar

1 c unsweetened almond milk

1/2 can of light coconut milk

splash of vanilla extract

1 serving of Vega Vanilla Chai

2 oz of coconut flakes

sprinkle of cinnamon

chopped almonds

Instructions

1. Cook brown rice per instructions or use 1 cup of leftover brown rice

2. In a medium saucepan combine almond milk and light coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and whisk in sugar and vanilla extract.

3. Add the brown rice and continue to cook for another 10 minutes to soak up all of the coconutty goodness 🙂

4. Once the rice mixture has reached your preferred creaminess remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Mix in the Vega Vanilla Chai, coconut flakes, and cinnamon.

Edited to add: *WARNING – The Vega Vanilla Chai will give your final product a slightly greenish hue so if you are color sensitive with your food feel free to substitute your favorite vanilla flavored protein powder*

5. Garnish with chopped almonds and enjoy! 🙂

This recipe reminds me of my grandma’s arroz con leche she would make for us during winter … but more exotic and vegan 😛

Green but good 🙂

Now to finish the night with some The Biggest Loser and a #fitblog chat. Have a lovely evening!

What’s your favorite childhood dessert?

Semi-Clean Cannolis

So the boyfriend and I are all about cannolis for special occasions – especially as an after dinner treat for his birthday.

I thought for the family Ravens Football/Christmas Eve extravaganza next weekend I would try out a semi-clean version of our favorite dessert. We will definitely be enjoying some rich food and drink that day so at least the dessert can be a little bit lighter option for everyone to enjoy 🙂

Semi-Clean Cannolis

This is a somewhat time intensive baking project but totally worth the finished product! Not all of us have tubes for making cannoli shells lying around the kitchen so I thought that the aluminum foil cylinders were a pretty crafty substitute. These shells are baked instead of traditionally fried and the filling is lower fat so don’t feel guilty about indulging after dinner while enjoying a cappucino.

Yield: 12

Prep Time: ~40-45 minutes (shells prep and filling)

Cook Time: ~10-12 minutes (shells)

Ingredients:

Shells

1 package of frozen phyllo dough

1/3 c granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs butter, melted

Filling

1 lb non fat ricotta cheese

4 oz low fat cream cheese

3/4 c powdered sugar

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp nutmeg

8 oz mini chocolate chips (or you could roll like we do and use basically the whole bag :D)

Instructions:

1. Place a colander in the sink and line with cheese cloth. Spoon the ricotta onto the cheese cloth and let drain until there is no excess moisture. (didn’t actually have cheese cloth on hand so this step was skipped but needed)

2. While your ricotta is draining you can start on the prep for the shells – Pre heat the oven to 375F.

3. Cut out 12 pieces of foil measuring approximately 12×4. Roll into a cylinder (just like a jelly roll) with approximately 1 inch opening and coat with cooking spray.

4. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

5. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a cutting board and brush with butter and sprinkle with ~1 tsp cinnamon sugar mix. Layer one more sheet on top and brush with butter.

*Make sure the rest of your phyllo dough is covered with a damp paper towel so it doesn’t dry out and crack*

Unfortunately mine already came dried out and cracked … I guess that’s why it was on sale …

6. Cut the phyllo dough into 4 pieces lengthwise. Roll the phyllo dough with the foil cylinder (just like a jelly roll) and coat with cooking spray.

7. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for approximately 10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.

8. Place the drained ricotta into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy.

9. Add in the cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips. Mix on medium until just combined.

10. Once the filling is mixed, your shells should be nice and cool. To remove the foil cylinders, gently twist the ends of the foil in opposite directions and carefully pull.

11. Spoon the ricotta filling into a gallon Ziploc bag and cut off ~1/2 in of a corner.

12. Fill the cannoli shells, dust with powdered sugar if you’d like, and EAT!

Nutrition Information:

per 1 cannoli

275 Kcal

11 g Fat

6 g Saturated Fat

40 g Carbohydrates

35 g Sugar

6 g Protein

Veggie Lentil Soup

Whew! A laid back weekend made for a busy Monday morning.

Started the day off with a tasty egg/egg white sandwich on a whole wheat english muffin with a little smear of apricot jam (sounds weird but totally delicious)

With a tasty breakfast in my belly it was time to head to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items for my meal plan this week. I thought I was being clever going out with a full stomach, my meal plan, and grocery list – but I was a sucker for some of the sales they had going on at Safeway, and I had a few items not on the list make their way into my cart (I didn’t even realize Safeway started carrying Kodiak Cakes! So excited for breakfast this week!)

Some of my buys went into this tasty and hearty creation.

Veggie Lentil Soup

Nothing beats a rich and hearty bowl of warm soup when the temperatures start to cool down – it’s even better when you only have to clean one pot when you’re done! There’s no real rhyme or reason on which veggies to include in this soup – the spinach and asparagus were on their last leg in the fridge so just use what ever you have one hand (mushrooms, peppers, peas, etc)

Yield: 8 portions

Prep Time: ~10 minutes

Cook Time: ~40-45 minutes

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil

~1 c onion – fine chop

1/2 c carrot – fine chop           *for these vegetables you’re looking for a 2:1:1 ratio*

1/2 c celery – fine chop

2 cloves garlic – smashed

1 lb of lentils – rinsed

1 can (~14 oz) diced tomatoes

2 qt veggie stock

1 bunch of asparagus

1 bag of spinach

Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Coriander to taste (or whatever blend of seasonings you have on hand)

Directions:

1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once warm add onion, celery, and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent (~5 minutes) If you are adding any heartier vegetables like peppers, portabello mushrooms, etc add to pot during this step as well.

2. Once the veggies are cooked, add the lentils, tomatoes, and stock.

3. Season and bring to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, lower the temperature, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

4. After 30 minutes add the asparagus (or other quick cooking vegetables you may want to add i.e. peas or broccoli) and cook another 10-15 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat, add spinach (or any dark leafy greens you have on hand), and stir to wilt the greens.

6. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

This soup is a perfect way to sneak in some extra fiber and serving of veggies into your diet. I will be serving this tasty soup with some natural chicken sausage flavored with tomato, basil, and mozzarella for an added kick of protein and crusty sourdough bread. Yum!

What soups are you guys making this season? I’ve been craving some spicy chili recently so that might be simmering in the kitchen this weekend.

Banana Cake FTW!

Good evening folks!

I had a pretty productive afternoon at Starbucks today with good ol’ fashioned timelines for the future. (Hmm what do I want to be when I grow up…)

I started to get antsy around 2pm so I headed to the local Giant to pick up the last couple of ingredients for my baking project.

I was pretty stoked to use up some over the hill bananas in a quick and easy recipe I found in my copy of Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook by Barbara Kingsolver.

The recipe was pretty straightforward so there weren’t any additions on my part – except for the 1 cup of whole wheat flour I substituted because I ran out of AP flour. And without further ado:

Banana Cake with Sour Cream Frosting

Yield: 8 mini loaves or 10 pieces (if baked in 13×9 pan)

Prep Time: ~15-20 minutes

Bake Time: ~30 minutes

Cake:

2 c All Purpose Flour

3/4 t Baking Soda

1/2 t Baking Powder

1/2 t Salt

1 stick of Unsalted Butter – room temp

1 1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

3/4 c sour cream

~3 large bananas- mashed

2 T lemon juice

Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 c sour cream

2/3 c confectioners sugar

Preheat your oven to 350

Butter and flour your baking pan

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl

In a separate bowl beat together sugar and butter

Add eggs and beat until fluffy

Add sour cream, bananas, and lemon juice

Add your dry ingredients to the banana mix and beat until well blended

Transfer your batter to your baking pan, bake for 15 minutes, turning, and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown


While your cakes are baking beat together cream cheese, remaining sour cream, and confectioners sugar for the frosting

Let the cake cool completely and then frost generously 🙂

I hope these can make it until tomorrow’s movie marathon – but there are some curious members of the household chomping at the bit to have a taste.

Lunch

I was feeling kind of lazy so it was just a baked veggie patty smothered in ketchup with another frozen veggie mix  from Green Giant. This mix of peppers, carrots, and broccoli was a total disappointment – watery, bland, and really heavy on broccoli stalk…

The afternoon/early evening was finished out with some cleaning and a 2 mile easy run with the boyfriend.

Dinner

Mom was super awesome and brought home some delicious charcoal Peruvian chicken with a small side salad.

We’re not entirely sure what these sauces are that accompany the chicken (just referred to as white and green lol) I’m pretty sure the white is made from mayonaise while the green is some sort of spicy pepper puree – both totally mandatory when eating this smoky bird.

Since I was dipping this chicken in mayo I did remove about half the skin but did enjoy some crispy crunchy pieces 🙂

Now to finish this post because it’s pretty word and picture heavy and relax for the rest of the evening. Maybe search out some Star Wars themed cocktails…

Anyone else caught the baking bug recently? I think my baking kicks up when it gets chilly outside and really hits overdrive around the holidays.