Be Mine! Sugar-free Strawberry Protein Truffles

This post is sponsored by Now Foods. I received products for review and compensation for my time, however all comments, opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

Today, I’m delighted to share with you a Sugar-Free Strawberry Protein Truffle recipe that will take your Valentine’s Day game to a whole ‘nutha level! These sweet little treats are not only sugar-free and dairy free but also pumped up with sustaining protein and heart-healthy fats that won’t jack up your blood sugar and then leave you in a nasty carb crash.  Perfect for a post-workout treat, healthy dessert, sensible snack and really cute way to woo the one you love on Valentine’s day! Sugar Free Strawberry Protein Truffle - a low carb way to show your sweetite that you care this Valentine's Day. A sensible snack, post-workout treat or healthy dessert

Now, before you get confused, I’m a way more of a Race Boss than a Cake Boss! My cake, candy and cookie decorating skills can be so lame that I’m often forced to do penalty burpees! But these protein truffles are simple to make and there is no “cooking.” Plus, I’ve offered several decorating options – easy, easier and easiest!

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Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars are Spuds for Speed!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA  however all opinions, comments, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Potatoes are a healthy source of energy-providing carbs for the athlete.

Ever heard the expression “all meat and no potatoes”?

Ironically, this old-school insult means, “Dude, you’re fat!” But, many would probably assume the opposite in this high-protein diet world where we’re all freaking out over carbs. Yes, while protein is good, so are carbohydrates. I’m not talking about sugary or highly-processed carbs that are stripped of their inherent wholesomeness, I’m talking about complex carbohydrates – like the very healthy potato.

Can I get a virtual high-five for the potato?!

As a lifelong athlete, I’ve used potatoes as part of my training diet year after year. Potatoes are an on point food choice to help fuel an active lifestyle. Spuds for speed, that’s what I’ve always told people! Potatoes are packed with complex carbs to provide the energy my body and brain needs to train, compete and recover optimally. Because they are unearthed from the ground, potatoes are also a great source of minerals including potassium, iron and magnesium. Athletes need these things in abundance and that’s why potatoes are actually a common sight along the courses of ultra-marathons, Ironmans and century rides.Pull ups with a 10 lb bag of potatoes!Oh, and you can use a 10-lb. bag of potatoes for a pull-up challenge!

Other potato perks — they come in their own wrappers, are simple to cook, extremely versatile in recipes and are inexpensive – I just love the cleverness of Mother Nature! If you need a healthy,             balanced meal on the quick and cheap, it’s a loaded baked potato piled high with all the leftovers in your fridge for the win.

Pull up with 10 pound bag of potatoes

Another way I love to eat potatoes, just roasted in a pan with some olive oil.

If you’re getting bored with potatoes, think creatively. There are so many other ways to enjoy them than the traditional baked potato. Plus, there is a rainbow array of varieties including white, red, russet, yellow, purples, fingerlings and petite potatoes. While my go-to side dish the night before an endurance event is a simple baked potato with salt, I am way more potato crazy in the weeks leading up to a marathon or long beastly obstacle race. Mashed, minced, toasted, riced, pureed, grilled, spiralized, oven-fried … whew, I’m the Bubba Gump of potatoes.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars

Today I’m sharing a unique and family-approved way to eat your potatoes that includes a healthy balance of protein – and, by the way, a medium (5.3 ounce) potato has more than 3g of protein on its own! My recipe for Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars uses the fluffy innards of a baked potato along with Greek yogurt, eggs and a scoop of protein powder to create a marvelously moist “bar” that has the texture of a muffin. Each muffin bar has only 70 calories and no sugar, but 10 grams of energy-boosting carbs and more than 6 grams of protein. Plus, between the potato and protein powder, there’s no need to use any type of flour, other grain or filler, meaning these muffin bars are gluten-free.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars are gluten-free, sugar-free and a smart way for runners, obstacle course racers, triathletes and other endurance athletes to fuel up and recover optimally.

I devour these Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars for pretty much any occasion – breakfast, pre-workout fuel, post-workout recovery snack, and dolloped with fruity yogurt for a healthy dessert. I betcha these special spud snacks won’t last long at your house. That’s why I always bake two batches and freeze bars from the second batch individually in zip-top bags for grab-and-go munching – they are always thawed out after my workout!

Get spud smart and get more information about how potatoes power performance at PotatoGoodness.com/performance!

How are you putting potatoes on your plate? Favorite recipe? What’s the last endurance event  you tanked at? tanked at? Do you think you needed more carbs?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes and pierce around sides with fork. Place in center of microwave and cook on high for approximately 4 minutes, or until yielding when squeezed and soft and fluffy inside. Cut in half, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a tablespoon, scoop pulp of potato and place in blend, discarding skins. Add eggs, Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of the milk and blend until smooth. Next, pulse in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and white pepper until just combined.
  4. In small bowl, mix together baking soda, salt, white pepper, and protein powder. Pulse this mixture into the blender in batches until smooth, adding the additional milk if batter seems to thick.
  5. Prepare 9” x 9” rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Pour in batter and bake for approximately 14 to 16 minutes or until turning lightly golden brown and toothpick pulls clean from the center. Let cool for 30 minutes and cut into 8 bars.
  6. Dust with additional cinnamon and a bit of powdered sugar, if desired.
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Wholly Cannoli Protein Mug Cake #NextLevelNaked

Cannoli Protein Mug Cake with Naked WheyMaybe I don’t do desserts as decadently as the Italians, but after digging into one of my Cannoli Protein Mug Cakes, your taste buds will be exclaiming, “Batta Bing, Batta Boom! And, with 20 grams of protein per serving of cake (yay, the entire cake), so will your biceps – BOOM! Cannoli Protein Mug Cake takes only about 1 1/2 minutes to cook and is a healthy dessert option, post-workout snack, or even breakfast!

I keep the signature chocolate and pistachio garnish of cannoli, but ditch the custard-filed fried shells for a light and tender “cake” made with protein power, a bit of gluten –free baking mix, an egg, and skosh of coconut oil. It’s a healthy option for dessert, post-workout, or even breakfast – and, did I mention it takes less than 90 seconds to cook?

Vanilla Protein Mug CakeAfter “baking” in the microwave, your mug cake is going to look pretty “plain vanilla,” but that’s okay. It is vanilla, after all, made with Less Naked Vanilla Whey Protein from Naked Nutrition. The Cannoli Protein Mug Cake recipe at the bottom of the post, without the garnishes, makes a versatile basic mug cake base that other ingredients (like fruit or peanut butter) can be stirred into before cooking or sprinkled on afterward. But, today we are going healthy CANNOLI all the way, and you’ll soon forget about any diet-busting cravings you may be having – FUHGEDDABOUTIT!

Naked Whey protein powder over Cannoli Mug Cake

So, as I just name-dropped, this recipe uses protein powder from Naked Nutrition. It’s definitely “nutrition with nothing to hide.” Naked Nutrition has a variety of products, but I’m focusing on the whey protein today, because that is what I use in my daily routine. This quality whey protein comes from grass-fed cows’ milk sourced from small dairy farms and state-of-the-art manufacturing process that ensures that the product has what it needs, and doesn’t have what it shouldn’t – it’s clean, lean protein with no artificial anything! For example, the Less Naked Vanilla Whey Protein is made with just three ingredients -grass fed whey protein, vanilla, and organic coconut sugar and each serving has 25 grams protein and 5.9 grams BCAAs. And, of course, it’s non-GMO, soy free, growth hormone free, and gluten-free.

I like that Naked Whey is sweetened with Organic Coconut Sugar, sometimes I need a bit of quality carb energy to fuel my workouts, but white table sugar is definitely out of the question for me and zero-calories substitutes don’t put any gas in the proverbial tank.  Coconut sugar is a great option as an energy-providing sweetener because it is lower on the glycemic-index (preventing dramatic rises and falls in blood sugar) – refined white sugar has a glycemic index of 99 and coconut sugar only 35. In addition, coconut sugar (also called palm sugar by some) is inherently loaded with nutritional benefits, notably a high level of inulin (a dietary fiber) that serves as a prebiotic to support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Studies have shown that a healthy digestive tract can reduce the incidence of certain cancers and diabetes while increasing fat metabolism and encouraging a healthy body weight. Sign me up.

jennifer naked whey I find the unflavored and vanilla whey proteins to be a great base for my protein-based baking, like protein pancakes, power muffins, and mug cakes like the Cannoli Protein Mug Cake I am sharing today. Oooh, but this girl sure does love chocolate, and a massive 5-pound tub of Less Naked Chocolate Whey Protein makes my mind start spinning with smoothie and healthy dessert-like creations, like protein brownies, protein pops, protein truffles, and more. Thanks to my stash from Naked Protein, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more chocolate protein recipes from me soon.

Less Naked Chocolate Pudding

In the meantime, check out this Chocolate Protein Pudding recipe from the Naked Nutrition Instagram profile. Seriously simple and insanely delicious, just peel the lid off a 6-ounce Greek yogurt and stir in a scoop of powder.  I ALWAYS take a protein-rich snack at bedtime because 1) I’m hungry and 2) muscle most muscle growth and repair happens while we sleep!

In addition to Vanilla and Chocolate whey protein powder, Strawberry and Unflavored are also available. Naked Protein also makes so many other quality protein options to meet a variety of dietary, recipe and taste requirements including Grass-Fed Whey, Goat Whey, Casein Protein, Pea Protein, Egg White Protein, Organic Rice Powder Protein, Peanut Butter Powder and more. CHECK OUT ALL THE PROTEIN OPTIONS HERE.

When you need something sweet, what do you usually grab? To you make mug cakes or mug muffins, what is your favorite mix-in or topping? Racing this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Cannoli Protein Mug Cake
Print Recipe
Coconut oil cooking spray 2 tablespoons Vanilla Protein Powder 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking mix 4 teaspoons zero-calorie measure-for-measure sweetener 1/8 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 large egg 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon coconut oil 2 teaspoons chopped pistachios ¼ cup “coco whip” or non-dairy whipped topping 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Cannoli Protein Mug Cake
Print Recipe
Coconut oil cooking spray 2 tablespoons Vanilla Protein Powder 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking mix 4 teaspoons zero-calorie measure-for-measure sweetener 1/8 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 large egg 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon coconut oil 2 teaspoons chopped pistachios ¼ cup “coco whip” or non-dairy whipped topping 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Spray a large microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine protein powder, gluten-free baking mix, sugar substitute, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir together until combine well.
  3. Mix in egg, lemon juice, water, and coconut oil until combined.
  4. Pour into sprayed coffee mug and microwave 1 minute 15 seconds, or until cooked through. Microwave times may vary depending on your appliance.
  5. Remove mug and invert onto plate, gently slide out cake. Let cool for 2 minutes. Using serrated knife, carefully slice cake crosswise through center, remove top and set aside. Put ½ of whipped topping on one cake piece, sprinkle with a few of the pistachios and chocolate chips. Add top layer of cake and add remaining whipped topping, sprinkle with remaining toppings including lemon zest, if desired.
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Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust to #KeepOnTrack

This blog post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Pure Protein. All opinions are mine alone. #KeepOnTrack #CollectiveBias

Summer has been busier than a gym in January but I’m not letting my hectic schedule sabotage my good intentions. I’m keeping on track with my higher-protein diet by keeping my pantry, purse, gym bag, and mobile snack station (haha, the car) stocked with the new Pure Protein Plus Bars. Considering I’m out of the house most of the day working, running errands, shuttling my teen boys to their sports practices, and finding time for my own fitness routine, having a few of these insanely delicious protein bars at the ready has kept me from getting so hangry that I have the mother of all mother meltdowns.  In addition, the bars can be used to make quick nutritious desserts, like my recipe for Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust that I’m sharing in this post.   

Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust

To make this nearly sugar-free pie, I used one of the NEW Pure Protein Plus Bars that I purchased at Walmart. When you shop Walmart for Pure Protein Plus Bars, be sure to use Ibotta to earn $1.50 back.

Pure Protein Plus #KeepOnTrack

For more Pure Protein Plus Bars inspiration, visit this website. Make sure to enter the sweepstakes below too for a chance to win prizes to help #KeepOnTrack!

Pure Protein Plus Bars #KeepOnTrack Sweepstakes

These bars are available in four flavors (Cookies and Cream, Mocha Brownie, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) that all sound ultra-decadent, but after checking the nutrition label, I found they actually make a quite balanced and sensible snack solution. I’ve been grabbing one for a quick breakfast, bedtime snack or for post workout recovery.

You can find these bars at Walmart on the nutrition aisle near the Pharmacy!

The preferred amount of protein I look for in a nutrition bar is around 20 grams with low sugar content and, ching-ching-ching, this new product delivers. Additionally, the NEW Pure Protein Plus Bars have that soft and pleasantly chewy texture I crave plus they are GMO-free, gluten free, have no artificial sweeteners and are high fiber (15 – 16g).

Oh, and the super delicious flavors are worth shouting out again (and again!) Hello, Cookies and Cream, Mocha Brownie, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough — welcome to my life.  But, unlike the real deal desserts, these bars are mindful of my mission to #KeepOnTrack with a higher protein, lower carb diet.    Making "crust" out of Pure Protein Plus Bars

So, ready for that apple pie I mentioned earlier?! My recipe for Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust takes all of five minutes and is made with an Apple Pie Pure Protein Plus Bar.  It’s a super speedy, protein-packed and no-sugar-added version of my favorite, all-American summer dessert. It’s almost magical how, after the bar is soften for a few seconds in the microwave, it becomes malleable enough to roll out or break in bits and press into the bottom of a pan.

While “making” the crust, slicing and softening your favorite variety of apple tossed with a sprinkling of cinnamon in the microwave takes just mere minutes. No added sugar required – apples are a great source of naturally sweet, complex carbohydrates that can be quickly accessed by the body as fuel for running, workouts or the relentless demands of a hectic life.  

Cinnamon Apples for Clean Protein Pie
Go ahead and pin or print out this protein dessert recipe to #KeepOnTrack and satisfy your sweet tooth at a moment’s notice.

Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust is a healthy option for dessert or a post workout snack.

 

Pure Protein Apple Pie
Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust
Print Recipe
All-American and all good for you, this cleaned up apple pie is packed with protein and real fruit -- the perfect healthy dessert or post workout snack.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Pure Protein Apple Pie
Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust
Print Recipe
All-American and all good for you, this cleaned up apple pie is packed with protein and real fruit -- the perfect healthy dessert or post workout snack.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Unwrap one Apple Pie Pure Protein Plus Bar and set on microwave-safe plate. Microwave on “defrost” setting for 20 seconds, or until warm and malleable but not too hot to handle.
  2. Break up warm bar into bits and place in the bottom of an approximate 6” diameter tart pan, skillet or ceramic dish. Using fingers or back of spoon, press down until formed into a crust that covers bottom of pan. Lightly coat fingers or spoon in coconut oil if beginning to stick.
  3. Cut medium apple into thin slices and place in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave apple slices on high for three minutes, stirring halfway through. Drain off any excess liquid.
  4. Drizzle with coconut oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and stir until coated.
  5. Place apples on top of protein bar “crust.” Sprinkle with pecans and top with yogurt.
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Giant Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie #TheNaturalCitizen

Sometimes I stumble onto something while shopping and I’m all like “ooooh, I want that so bad. . . but I totally don’t need it right now, I have way too many.” Usually, I cave in . . . and quick! Case in point, the continually growing size of my already enormous running shoe, compression sock, flip flop, trucker hat, miniature bowl, exotic herb, flavored tea and protein powder collections.

The Natural Citizen Organic ProteinYeah, yeah, I have a stock pile of protein powder of all different ilks and ingredients . . . some of it I found, must most found me for review or recipe development.  Naming a “best” protein powder is really so subjective, basically it boils down to individual nutrition needs, lifestyle, taste and tolerance. But, dang, some protein powders are definitely choices than others! My practical side tells me to use up all my stash before I actually BUY the product I prefer.But let me tell you, I recently found a protein powder that had me running to the trash with my mother lode of “meh” products – it’s the Organic Protein from The Natural Citizen. By the way, use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com        

Baking with Organic Protein from Natural Citizen

This new plant-based Organic Protein powder is totally on point to boost your next smoothie, but I’ve also used it for baking everything from pancakes and cookies – check out my Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie recipe below!  This protein powder is sublimely simple, and that gives me control over what I do or don’t put it my recipe. On its own, this powdered supplement has just four organic, whole food ingredients – hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi protein. One serving delivers 15 grams of vegan protein per serving along with fiber, omega fatty acids and amino acids – oh, and for only 80 calories!  Plus, there are no added flavors and other undesirable “extras” so the taste of Mother Nature’s other wholesome food can shine through.Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.

So, raise your hand if you want a cookie for breakfast but thing you shouldn’t?!  Well, my single-serve Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie will make you think you’re really splurging first thing out of bed, but actually its super healthy and balanced with 25 grams protein for sustained energy and muscle-making and 25 clean carbs to help power your body and brain for the morning’s tasks, workouts or whatever you do! In about 15 minutes from start to finish, you’ll be enjoying a super-sized, under-300-calorie cookie with your morning coffee – and that’s my cup of tea!  It’s also gluten-free, if that is a concern.

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a gluten-free, single serve way to start the day -- or eat later for a healthy snack.

The Natural Citizen has a full line of other wonderful products that are all non-gmo, organic, gluten-free and vegan including Organic Digest, Organic Greens, and  Organic Energy.natural citizen productsAs a totally on-the-go person who probably doesn’t get as much sleep as she needs, I’ve fallen in love with the Organic Energy. This blend features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support – no more getting jacked up on too much caffeine.  I found the ripest, sweetest Texas melon yesterday and blended up this recipe for a Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie - Natural Citizen

This is how you make the Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie:

Blend together and pour in tall glass (or melon bowl):

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2/3 cup chopped honeydew
  • 1 scoop Organic Energy
  • Stevia,  to taste
  • Ice, as needed

 

This post is sponsored by The Natural Citizen, however all opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com

What is your go-to morning meal? Are you getting enough protein at breakfast (you need around 25g)?! What are your non-negotiables in a protein powder? What do you “collect”? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, mix together protein powder, oats, baking blend, stevia and chia seeds until combined.
  2. To these dry ingredients, add coconut oil and egg white and stir until incorporated. Use hands to form into one large dough ball.
  3. Spray center of baking sheet with cooking spray, or use silicone baking sheet. Set dough ball on top of this spot.
  4. Use hands or spray a flat-bottomed bowl with cooking spray and press down on dough ball until spread out approximately 5 inches in diameter. Use hands to shape sides, if needed.
  5. Top cookie dough with dehydrated or dried cherry pieces and almonds and lightly press down with bowl again to “set” them. You can also just mix these into the dough, if you don’t want to get fancy.
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees in the oven (or toaster oven) for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or center set and edges and top turning light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest on pan for 2 minutes. Eat.
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Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge #MySignatureMoments

Thank you Randalls and Albertsons for sponsoring this post. Check out the new Signature family of brands from Randalls and Albertsons, with more than 4,000 Signature products available and a 100% money-back guarantee.

Today I’m sharing my recipe for Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls, a healthier dessert option for those days when the sweet tooth is acting up (pretty much all the time with me). This no-cook recipe is quick and easy and fits into my healthy, busy lifestyle so nicely – my family and I enjoy it as a more balanced option to candy – it has no added refined sugars, only honey.Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls make a healthier dessert option and are great for workout fuel and recovery.

With an approximate 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio, these energy protein balls also make a nice little workout recovery snack or race fuel to eat on the course.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein FudgeIt’s been my experience that the success of a no-bake recipe can only be as good as the quality of the ingredients that found within. I was a national name brand devotee in the past, but have found that many of the store-label products are just as good (if not better) than the items I grew up with. Randalls and Albertsons grocery stores are making it easy to tackle my shopping list and keep whipping up healthy recipes with their new, exclusive line of Signature products. From coffee to juice, soup to cereal, fresh fruits and veggies to fried chicken and other yummy pre-prepped foods, there are more than 4,000 different products available that help make my life tastier, easier and all-around neater (that’s because they also stock all my must-have home staples like paper towels and cleaning products)!   Oh, and I’m saving money, too! Whoohoo! Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls = with Randalls Signature Select

I used Signature Kitchens Chopped Pecans, Signature Kitchens Clover Honey and Signature Select Hazelnut Chocolate Spread from Randalls in this yummy, easy protein snack recipe.

Randall Signature Select CoffeeSeriously, I can’t express my love for Randalls enough, and not just for the Signature line. When they opened a location at the front of my neighborhood a few years ago, I literally cried from sheer joy– I’m not kidding! Prior to this, “a quick trip to the store to grab a few things” was a 1 to 2 hour time commitment depending on the time of day.  I would have to drive about 10 miles one-way to make an emergency coffee restock for the morning or to pick up ingredients that were left off my list. Because of this, we often did without! Imagine the horrors and distress this created for me, an unorganized food blogger!

Randalls supporting my neighborhood fun run!

Randalls supporting my neighborhood fun run!

The staff at my neighborhood Randalls rock! The cashiers and managers know me personally, always take the time to smile and say hi, and answer my questions if I can’t find a particular product I need for a recipe. If I ever have a problem with a purchase (a rarity), it’s always resolved immediately — Randalls stands behind their 100% money-back guarantee on the Signature line of products. Management at this nearby location supported my oldest son’s Eagle Scout Project with a huge donation of bottled water and bakery cookies and promote health, fitness and an active lifestyle as sponsors of an annual fun run in the neighborhood. I am always the first one over to their tent to pick up water and goodies!

randalls signature spaghette

Dinner super quick, easy and yummy with go-to pantry items in the Signature line!

Find out what I’m raving about yourself! I buy my Signature products here in Austin at my local Randalls and Albertsons stores, but they are also found in the whole family of Albertsons Companies grocery stores including ACEM, Jewell-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Shaw, Star Market, United Express, United and Carrs/Safeway.

Also, enter for a chance to win one of 40 $25 gift card to Randalls so you can fall in love with the new Signature line of products, too!  The giveaway ends on May 6, 2016 – must be 18+, a US resident and only one winner per household.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together hazelnut chocolate spread and honey.
  2. Stir in chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  3. Stir in protein powder until beginning to ball up. Use hands to knead mixture until smooth.
  4. Divide “dough” into 18 equal parts – about 1 tablespoon each. Roll between hands to form into ball.
  5. Eat! Store leftovers in refrigerator to maintain firmness.
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D’oh! Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites

Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites are a healthier way to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping mend muscles after a run or workout.Yes, I have been guilty of eating REAL cookie dough and a lot of it. Once as a kid, my indulgent grandmother let me eat as much as I wanted while my annoyed mother looked shaking her head and telling me I was going to get sick. So, what happened? I barfed . . . mothers are always right. While I still like to make “real” chocolate chip cookies for the family now and again, I try to stay out of the dough (as much as I can). My recipe for Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites is a healthier option with no raw eggs, no gluten, and no added sugar except for a few chocolate chips.

jen and dough boyWith less than 100 calories and almost 5 grams of protein, one these yummy little no-cook treats also make a sensible alternative to eating that whole chub of cookie dough and turning into the Pillsbury Dough Boy (but, darn if he isn’t the cutest thing).

Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with the smattering of chocolate chips, but you can also omit these from the recipe.

 

Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites are a healthier way to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping mend muscles after a run or workout.I’ve added a whey protein powder for sustained energy, muscle-making and to prevent that sugar crash that comes with eating too many sweets. The protein also makes this no-bake recipe a great choice for your post-workout or run recovery snack.  You can use your favorite brand of protein powder, but note that it may change the nutritional info depending on the brand and exact ingredient list.

Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites are a healthier way to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping mend muscles after a run or workout.

Also, I used Nuttzo  Seven Nut & Seed Butter which is my nut butter of choice – again, you can sub in whatever almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butter you like, but I highly recommend this one because it is packed with so much extra wholesome goodness.  Save 20% on your order with my discount code FITFORK-20 at Nuttzo.com.Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites

jen finish area spartan beast dallas editI’m making an extra batch this week to take along on our road trip to Spartan Houston!  It has been raining buckets all over Texas so it looks like it’s going to be ANOTHER wild, wet and super muddy course. If you’re thinking about running an upcoming Spartan Race (check calendar here), there is a new limited-time discount code SPRING20 you can use at checkout to save 20% .

Admit it, do you eat raw cookie dough? Have you ever run an obstacle course race, which one? Please share in the comments below — thanks, XOXO, Jennifer 

Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites are a healthier way to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping mend muscles after a run or workout.
Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites are a healthier way to satisfy a sweet tooth while helping mend muscles after a run or workout.
Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add protein powder, almond meal and oat flour in bowl; stir to combine. Stir in chia seeds and flax seeds (if using a nut butter that already includes these seeds, simply omit these ingredients).
  2. Add nut butter, 2 tablespoons of almond milk and stevia to bowl. Use spatula to combine well; mixture should be a bit crumbly, but hold together when pinched between fingers. If too dry, add additional almond milk a teaspoon at a time.
  3. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  4. Roll approximately 1 tablespoon between palms of had to form ball; repeat with remaining dough.
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Shiner Bock Beer Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits for CrossFit 16.1 Recovery

Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.Oh hello, how was your weekend? Mine was very meaty and gritty, let me explain! First up, I had to, ahem, knock out Cross Fit Games Open 16.1 Workout. And, when I say “knock out” I mean muster up every gram of grit I have to lunge around with a really-heavy-to-me 65 lb. overhead bar. Seems everyone else was worried about the Chest-to-Bar Pull ups in this WOD which I nailed unbroken (need to have some silver lining in the recap).However, the Achilles heel of my scrawny rear is any task that requires more butt strength than getting up off the couch. I kid, but still.

CrossFit Games Open 16.1 Workout - thefitfork.com

In the end and with many rest breaks, I lunged 275 meters with more than half of my body weight above my head  (tongue out!). . . at the finish of one set I half dropped the bar on my head. That hurt. As I bragged mentioned, I killed the Chest-to-Bar Pullups and the positive visualization of whipping those out is what would get me through the last few lunges in each round.  And, the burpees – well, they were burpees. One young beast of a girl at the gym scored nearly double to me – so awesome, so humbling!  Right now I am hanging at 14h place in my age group for the South Central states region (and will surely drop significantly by Monday night when all scores are reported), I’m really happy that I challenged myself to do something that was out of my comfort zone. That’s what it’s all about, right?!

Shiner Bock Short Ribs and Chipotle Cheese Grits

So, I rarely write a race or workout recap without also including a recipe –for me the love of food and fitness are forever entwined.  So, anticipating my fatigue from the CrossFit 16.1 WOD, I knew I was going to need a protein-rich meal to bring the old bod back to life. In the morning before heading out, I threw some beef short ribs and a bottle of beer in the slow cooker to work their magic. To prep dinner, I only needed 10 minutes to whip up some grits and toss a salad – thank you Crock Pot for doing all the heavy lifting at dinner!

Chipotle Cheese Grits are ready in 10 minutes and add South of the Border meets The South flair to dinner.

Hope you enjoy this recipe for SHINER BOCK BEER SHORT RIBS WITH CHIPOTLE CHEESE GRITS – I originally created it for the Texas Beef Council – head on over there if you’d like to learn a little more about this cut of beef or get my useful slow cooker tips. It’s a super easy and forgiving recipe that will pamper your primal meat cravings without any fuss. Not normally on my diet, the Chipotle Cheese Grits were a delicious treat . . . and using some of the beef liquid reserved from the Crock Pot complemented the peppers’ smoky heat and kicked up the flavor of often bland grits into beast mode!  And, the ribs were literally fall off the bone tender which I feel was somewhat metaphorical for the state of my muscles.

ancho chili slow cooker pot roastIf you are looking for another beef slow cooker meal,with Texas flair, check out Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast —  cook up a chuck roast and serve over potatoes, in tacos or on a salad.

So, did you break a sweat in the CrossFit Games Open WOD 16.1 ? Have you ever eaten or made beef short ribs? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.
Shiner Bock Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits + CrossFit 16.1 Recap
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Shiner Bock Beer Beef Short Ribs can be made ahead in the slow cooler -- and then the grits only take 10 minutes make.
Shiner Bock Short Ribs with Chipotle Cheese Grits + CrossFit 16.1 Recap
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
For Short Ribs in Slow Cooker
For Chipotle Cheese Grits
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rub olive oil in bottom of skillet, bring to high-heat.
  2. Pour Greek seasoning into shallow dish and roll each short rib though to coat.
  3. Add seasoned short ribs to skillet, searing quickly for about 30 to 60 seconds per side. Remove from heat.
  4. Add broth, beer molasses, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper sauce to slow cooker, stir to combine.
  5. Add short ribs to liquid and place lid on slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Ten minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of strained short ribs cooking liquid from slow cooker, add to medium pot.
  7. Add water, salt and chipotle in adobe sauce to pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add instant grits, stirring frequently for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
  8. Remove pot from heat and cheese, stir until combined.
  9. To serve, make a pile of grits and place a short rib on top. Present with strained short rib juice, if desired.
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