Monday, December 12, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I love creating my own protein shakes, especially in the morning when I am always crunched for time. You can't beat the quickness factor and if you choose your ingredients wisely you have a super balanced meal that should keep you satiated and provide you with sustained energy for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Everybody reacts to food in different ways, but if you find that this doesn't sustain you, brings on cravings or sends you into sleep mode, you may be lacking enough good fat, quality protein or are going too heavy on the simple carbohydrates.
As a parent of two teens I always try to lure them away from the pull of fast food and other junk that seems to be lurking around every corner - from the fast food court at the mall to the church basement at youth group events. I try to come up with recipes that are delicious, don't scream "healthy" and are suitable stand-ins for their current crap-laden faves. Hopefully with this one I will have them at "chocolate shake" without having to even go near the drive-thru.
As far as nutritionals, this recipe has far more protein than a typical fast food shake. I checked out McDonald's stats for their 16 ounce Triple Chocolate version which came in at 13 grams compared to mine which racks up 32.5 grams, coming mostly from high quality whey protein. Whey protein is loaded with amino acids which have been shown to boost mood and behavior along with the protein content which helps with focus and concentration. As far as the sugar content, which is really the "bad guy" of the equation, the fast food option rolls in at a whopping 84 grams, while mine only has a mere 2 grams. Excess sugar may lead to weight gain, fatigue, poor mood and may contribute to a myriad of other health issues. It can also bring on cravings for more of the white stuff - which may make one think that they are lacking willpower, when in fact it is just the simple logic of sugar feeding sugar. Lastly, the fat content - although the numbers aren't that far off - 14 grams in the Mickey D's, 12 in mine - it's the quality of fat. In my recipe I use coconut oil, a healthy fat which actually accelerates fat burning in the body and helps keep you satiated, is great for healing the gut and makes skin glow. Oh - and the calorie factor - mine comes in at 267 calories while McD's is a staggering 580 - both approximately the same serving size.
So, if you're looking for some quick, easy and healthy breakfast or snack options to fuel yourself or that seemingly always ravenous teen, save yourself a trip to the drive-thru and whip this up in no time in your own kitchen. Feel free to experiment and make your own combinations using nut butter in place of the coconut oil, vanilla protein powder instead of chocolate, or adding a few berries to give it a fruity flavor - the options are endless!
Chocolate Protein Shake
1 C Vanilla Almond Milk ( I use unsweetened Blue Diamond in the box)
1 scoop Jay Robb Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (smartly sweetened with stevia)
12 drops liquid stevia (I use Sweet Leaf by Wisdom Foods)
1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil ( I use Nutiva brand)
2 ounces cottage cheese ( I use half a container of the little four ounce Breakstone's lowfat
1/2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiardelli)
Mix in a blender until well combined and serve. Feel free to adjust quantities to your liking, knowing that this may change the nutritional profile slightly.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
- Wash eggplant and slice into rounds rather than length wise.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place eggplant on a large metal baking tray and brush both sides of the eggplant lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with just a touch of salt.
- Place in oven for 15-25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes.
- Eggplant will get very brown and will need to be flipped so the other side may brown as well.
- Eggplant should be crisp and very brown when done.
- Remove and place on a plate to serve - enjoy!
Monday, December 6, 2010
One of things that I love about gifting homemade treats is picking out cute containers to store them in. You can showcase your creations on a pretty holiday plate or arrange it in festively decorated take out containers, gift bags or tins and use last years' holiday cards to create cute little gift tags. No need to get elaborate, just have fun with the presentation, even involving your kids in the process - especially if you are preparing gifts for your awesome sitter, Susie's unbelievably patient teacher, and the school bus driver, who is thankfully always running a few minutes late. Check out Target, Walmart and even online sites like Oriental Trading Company for container ideas.
Dark Chocolate Holiday Bark
12 Ounces Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Morsels
3/4 C chopped, toasted pecans
3/4 C dried cranberries
- Melt chocoate in microwave in a large Pyrex measuring cup for 1 minute and stir.
- Microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Mix half of the pecans and half of the cranberries into the melted chocolate and stir.
- Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, using a spatula to spread it out, careful not to make it too thin.
- Sprinkle remaining pecans and cranberries onto the chocolate, pressing them down with a spatula.
- Put tray in freezer for 1 hour to harden chocolate. Then peel from wax paper and break into pieces. Enjoy!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Be mindful of what you are eating. Scan the buffet table before you actually start to dig in. Pick a few items that really make your mouth water and take reasonable amounts of each. Savor, relish and actually enjoy what you are eating, instead of trying to scarf it down and get to the next buffet item. After you are done put your plate down, grab a beverage and mingle. Chat it up with friends without worrying about the possibility that there may be spinach stuck in your teeth or you may be stuck with a too big bite in your mouth when someone is trying to converse with you.
Take the focus off of food and be grateful for your blessings. Think about all the wonderful positives in your life and be thankful.
Bring an item to a party or if you are entertaining at home, make a few dishes that you know that you can indulge in without regret. My favorite is mashed cauliflower that is a great stand-in for mashed potatoes. It has all the creamy richness, but without all the heavy calories and starch that potatoes have, plus it will help keep cravings for more starch at bay. Here's the recipe...
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and trimmed
1 T butter
1/8 tsp sea salt
Splash of 1/2 & 1/2
Steam cauliflower in a pot with water and a steamer basket for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Remove cauliflower from steamer basket, drain water from pot and place cauliflower back into pot. Add butter, salt and 1/2 & 1/2 and use a hand held immersion blender to puree, using quick pulses. Can also use a blender or food processor instead of an immersion blender. Serves four as a side dish.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Perhaps you decided to embark on an outdoorsy, family adventure this month and have already headed out to the nearest orchard, enjoyed the beautiful fall weather and picked some delicious apples. If that was the case, you have probably exhausted yourself baking a bunch of pies and are still wondering what do with the seemingly endless bounty of apples that have been sitting on your kitchen counter for the past week. If you are looking for a simple recipe with minimal fuss, consider making your own applesauce. Seriously, if you can peel apples and boil water, you can master homemade apple sauce. First, either go to the grocery store or pick your own naturally sweet apples, such as Gala, Fuji, MacIntosh or Honeycrisp to name a few. This year I used a mixture of Fuji and McIntosh and these two varieties combined made my applesauce so sweet that I didn't need to add any sugar at all.
Here's what to do to create some heavenly sauce in your own kitchen...
Apple Sauce 101
Wash, peel, core and chunk as many apples that will fit into a large, thick bottomed pot.
Add 1/2 cup of water, put the lid on and turn the burner on high heat.
When the water begins to boil and things really start to get going, turn down the heat to medium low, so the apples are at a simmer.
Keep the pot covered and stir every 15 minutes or so. It's important to stir well from the bottom so the apples cook down evenly.
Let the apples cook for an hour or more, depending on whether you like your applesauce on the chunky side or smooth.
At this point you can add some cinnamon to taste and remove from the burner to cool a bit.
Serve & place the remainder in a container and store for up to a week in the fridge .
You can also freeze leftovers and take out to thaw a day before you plan on eating. Applesauce freezes really well.
I guarantee this homemade applesauce will taste way better and be alot healthier than anything you have ever had from a store and by selecting the right apples, it will be so naturally sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.