Posting a little ahead of schedule to give y’all a heads up that National Chocolate Cake Day later this week – on January 27th to be exact. I want to give you plenty of time to start thinking of how you to pay homage to one of the world’s most popular desserts — will you partake in a cupcake, a layer cake, a Bundt cake, a sheet cake or even a single-serve mug cake? Heck, make them all!
This year, my Wow, it’s a Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Cake needs to top your must bake list. I’ve topped it with rich butter macadamia nuts, but it’s equally delicious eaten plain with just the ganache or topped with other garnishes like raspberries, pistachios or orange zest. Even though it’s dreamy and decadent-tasting enough for a hardcore chocolatavore, it’s got some decent nutritional value and is even Paleo diet friendly, gluten-free and lower carb
National Popcorn Day is coming up (January 19th) and that’s a food holiday on my food bucket list . . . my literal list of foods to eat from a bucket (haha)! But, seriously, popcorn is totally worth its salt as a snack food, it’s a healthy whole grain (a seed, actually) that is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free and a great source of dietary fiber. It’s inexpensive and delicious gobbled up simply fresh-popped or drizzled, coated or tossed with any number of other yummy things. And, “yummy things” is the segue into my recipe for Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn.
Yes, Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn! It’s like a coffee house and a movie theater hooked up and produced hundreds of perky little chocolatey offspring. It’s just so delicious, and you don’t even have to feel guilty – only 99 sugar-free calories!
Feedback is in from friends, family and those of y’all around the Internets . . . . this hearty, healthy Banana Quinoa, Oats ‘n More Breakfast Bake is a winner! Other nutritious ingredients I’ve snuck inside this make-ahead breakfast meal — hemp seeds, chia seeds and cacoa nibs!
Weekends are for waffles, especially around the holiday season! I “leggo” the typical waffle a long time ago, they are so carb heavy and the straight-up sugariness would always leave me with the hangries an hour or two later. But, not so with my Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup when I pump up my waffles with a little protein powder, almonds and a little Greek yogurt on top, I get a morning meal that makes me feel fuller longer.
I’ve used a gluten-free flour blend to keep it friendly for those with intolerances and it’s also dairy-free if you choose not to dollop with Greek yogurt at the end. Depending on what type of preserves you choose at the store, the recipe can also be refined sugar free.
Feel free to make a double batch, let cool, and then stick in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast later – they are so good sandwiched with nut butter in the middle (and convenient for car munching)!
My old-school, weary waffle maker is on it’s last legs and I’ve asked Santa to take me to the next-level of waffle making with the Smart Slice Waffle Iron from Breville. It has “Waffle IQ” — I need those smarts!
Also, please take a look-see at these other healthy waffle recipes that will start your morning off most magnificently – I have a sweet and a savory option for you! Why not make some for your holiday guests?!
Place gluten-free flour blend, protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl and whisk to combine.
In smaller bowl, whisk together legs, vanilla extract, butter and milk until frothy.
Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined; okay if a few lumps.
Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop mixture onto waffle maker. Spread evenly and close. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
To make syrup, add frozen cherries to medium sauce pot and pour in juice. Stir in cherry preserves and real maple syrup; bring to light boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
To serve, pour syrup over waffles and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and toasted almonds.
This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA however all opinions, comments, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!
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.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.
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.
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.
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!
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-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dust with additional cinnamon and a bit of powdered sugar, if desired.
Pumpkin fans, you’re going to love these waffles a latte! They are crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside with the comforting flavors of pumpkin, fall spices and coffee. Yup, coffee for that little extra morning kick — nothing like keeping the love for PSL strong! Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles are a must-make for your next weekend brunch – heck, even throw a scoop of coffee ice cream on top for an amazing autumn-inspired dessert!
Made with gluten-free ingredients, nutrient-rich pumpkin, and coconut oil and coconut sugar (low glycemic impact), my waffles are so much healthier than those frozen store purchased alternatives – and really not that hard to prep. My recipe makes 12 huge, 4-square waffles (so 48 individual waffles), that can be stored in the freezer and popped in the toaster oven on those crazy mornings.
Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, coffee, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; beat well.
Gently fold in the flour-spice mixture to the moist mixture.
Cook according to your waffle iron directions, until a deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Serve with honey butter, maple syrup or your favorite toppings.
* You can make your own oat flour by putting old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats in a food processor or blender and pulsing until they are finely ground. Oats are gluten-free by nature, by if you have an allergy, make sure that you are buying certified gluten free oats that have been processed in a gluten-free facility.
Um, YES PLEASE! Give me that Jalapeno Feta Cornbread — and find out why I don’t mind having a second slice!My Jalapeno Feta Cornbread will be the star of your next meal and makes the perfect paring for my Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili. Bake up a batch of this old-fashioned quick bread in a cast iron skillet for the crunchiest crust, a country-style presentation and a surprising health benefit – extra iron in your diet!
You heard me right, cooking and baking in cast iron can fortify a recipe with iron transferred from the pan. Iron is an essential mineral that the body uses to deliver oxygen to the body via our red blood cell. On average 10 of American women are iron deficient with one recent study suggested that more than half (56%) of recreational joggers and competitive runners suffer from an iron deficiency that may negatively affect performance. Runners, cyclists, CrossFit athletes and other athletes typically need more iron in their diet than the average Joe because this essential mineral is lost via menstruation, pregnancy, sweat, GI distress, and even repetitive foot-strike (“footstrike hemolysis”). Also, some chronic medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease can prevent the prober absorption of iron.
The more acidic a food (like tomato sauce), the more iron will be leached from the pan, but even baked goods like this cornbread can get an iron-boost from cast iron cookware. On average, one cup of cast-iron skillet food gains 6 to 8 milligrams of iron, helping you to meet daily allowance of this mineral (For women aged 19-50, the RDA is 18 milligrams per day).
However, don’t just count on cast-iron or iron supplements to get the optimal amount – getting iron from fresh foods is optimal. Beef, spinach, broccoli, beans, legumes, and dates are all high-iron choices, you can find out more on this earlier blog post I wrote about Anemia in Runners.
Here are some iron-rich recipes to serve up with this cornbread!
Note, I originally developed this Jalapeno Feta Cornbread recipe for Litehouse Foods, using their deliciously tangy, creamy artisan feta cheese.
Also, let me just add — this cornbread is off the hook drizzled with honey — I like the new Truvia Nectar, a honey/stevia blend that has 50% fewer calories and carbs. Get a free sample! #sponsored #UseLikeHoney
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to large bowl and mix together.
In separate medium bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk; stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 3 ounces of the feta cheese, reserve remainder.
Place butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish and set in oven for a couple minutes to melt. Remove skillet and swirl butter around to coat bottom.
Pour remaining butter in batter and stir to combine.
Top cornbread with sliced jalapenos, seed side up and sprinkle batter with chives and remaining feta.
Bake cornbread in center rack until golden brown on top and toothpick pulls clean from center, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm. If not serving right away, turn from pan to cool on wire rack.
I make no excuses, I have a sweet tooth. Almost daily I eat chocolate, coated on almond for balance. Ha ha! I love fruit just as much as chocolate, and in my dream life would have a personal chef at my beckoned call to serve me sliced watermelon and pineapple drizzled with passion fruit. Oh, and figs. Give me all the figs, especially figs with honey.
However, even too much of Mother Nature’s “candy” can start to rack up the calorie and carb count and that’s why I have fallen in love with a new product from a brand we all know, Truvia® . Truvia® Nectar is a blend of stevia and honey that makes a great substitute agave, sugar, and honey – and it only has 10 calories and 2g carbs per serving.
Since I love having my “sweet” protein things for breakfast – protein shakes, mug cakes, fruit-speckled oatmeal and such, decided to make a protein mug cake using Truvia® Nectar – I’m calling it ‘Stevia-Honey Blend’ Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake and it works equally well for a healthy dessert as it does a protein-packed, lower-carb breakfast.
This recipe is as simple as lining a 16-ounce coffee mug with sliced fresh figs, adding a drizzle of the stevia-honey blend and then topping with my go-to recipe for a vanilla protein mug muffin (that has been sweetened with Truvia® Nectar and spiked with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon). You can use the protein powder of your choice and a regular flour or gluten free mix. The, just pop in the microwave for about 90 seconds and get your figgy jig on!
After “baking” in the microwave, you can enjoy this sweet treat right out of the mug with a spoon, but I prefer to serve it upside-down cake style and invert it only a dessert plate so that I can see the beautiful figs on top. A dollop of Greek yogurt, extra slice of fig and drizzle of Truvia® Nectar make this mug cake recipe extra special.
I thought the taste was fantastic and have also used it to sweeten my coffee, stirred into plain Greek yogurt topped with nuts, and in other recipes like this Salted “Honey” and Ginger Broiled Grapefruit. Truvia® Nectar is truly a sensible way to replace honey’s calorie content without sacrificing sweetness.
Spray a large microwave-safe 16-ounce coffee mug with cooking spray. Line figs in bottom of mug and halfway up sides, drizzle figs with 1 teaspoon of Truvia Nectar. Set aside.
In small bowl, combine protein powder, gluten-free baking mix, baking soda, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Stir together until combined well.
Whisk in egg, almond milk and remaining Truvia Nectar until combined.
Pour into sprayed coffee mug, over figs, and microwave 1 minute 30 seconds, or until cooked through. Microwave times may vary depending on your appliance. Cake will rise above rim and then “fall” once removed from microwave.
Remove mug and invert onto plate, gently slide out cake. Let cool for 2 minutes. Top with Greek yogurt, additional figs and Truvia Nectar drizzle, if desired.