I’m nuts about the holiday season – absolutely, positively, literally nuts! Pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios, macadamia and more, it’s hard to name a favorite. Only chocolate rivals my passion for nuts, and this year, I’ve come up with an exotically-spiced nut recipe that incorporates my love for these two – Paleo Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts.
A jar full of Paleo Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts makes an edible gift that most everyone (with good taste) will appreciate. Plus, the smell of roasting nuts is guaranteed to draw a crowd, so make a couple batches because you may just end up with an impromptu holiday party on your hands! Read on to get this paleo diet friendly recipe that is fun, fit and frugal to give as a gift: Continue reading →
Autumn means ALL the pumpkin-spiced things! It’s a seasonal craze I can support — and, by support, I mean “hold up to my mouth and shove in!”
So, with the hubby’s birthday right in the smack of pumpkin month, I don’t even ask him what flavor cake he wants. He’d normally say “chocolate,” but in September, October and November, the only option is pumpkin spice. Check out my Lightened Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake (gluten-free), get the recipe and find out what yumminess I served it with. Continue reading →
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.
It’s treat time! I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar again, but this time it’s a Paleo-diet friendly cookie that is inherently gluten-free and also table sugar free! Paleo Gingerbread Cookie Brittle is very easy to make and will fill up your home with the wonderful spice-and-all-things-nice scent of the season. Crunchy, buttery and so delcious!
Almond and coconut flour are the foundation of this cookie brittle recipe, along with all the traditional gingerbread spices including ginger, cinnamon and cloves. To sweeten, there is a touch of blackstrap molasses and Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ . This sugar substitute has just 1/3 the calories of table sugar but tastes like sugar and bakes like sugar, cup for cap. It’s has a low Glycemic Impact and is made with natural ingredients include erythritol, organic inulin, organic stevia, and guar gum – the first three sweetener ingredients I mentioned are considered Paleo while Guar Gum, a legume extract used as a thickening agent, is technically not Paleo because it comes from the legume. Strict Paleo devotees may choose to swap for another sweetener – coconut (palm sugar) would be my suggestion, it just has a higher calorie count.
A couple tricks to making this cookie brittle. First, be mindful that you are pressing the dough down evenly and thinly, about a 1/4” to 1/3” inch thickness gives the best crunch experience. Second, if you want to have uniform pieces of brittle (rather than a charming jumble of broken off pieces), you need to immediately use a brownie cutter or pizza wheel to cut into the warm, soft cookie brittle before it hardens up. After cutting, don’t move the pieces until completely cooled. Third, eat “naked” or top as you please – I drizzled with chocolate melted with a dash of coconut oil but you could also do a lemon glaze or press in nuts before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix, together almond flour, coconut flour, sugar alternative, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt until combined.
Next, stir in softened butter and molasses until everything incorporated.
Dump out onto the parchment-lined 13 ” x 18” pan and form into rectangle approximately the size of the pan and ¼” deep. Press with palms of hand or bottom of glass to spread out and keep a uniform consistency.
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.
Ahhh, wouldn’t a tropical vacation be wonderful about now?! You won’t actually feel the sand beneath your toes, but my recipe for Jerk Halibut with TipsyTropical Fruit Salad will whisk you away on a transcendental taste adventure thanks to plenty of Caribbean-inspired flavors. You can use any fish you like for blacking with my jerk seasoning blend, but meaty halibut really satisfies and holds up well in a skillet or on the grill. All the spicy heat of jerk is offset by a cool chopped fruit salad that has been macerating in a tasty tequila dressing.
Now, as you may already know, Halibut is not caught in tropical waters. It’s a cold water fish and Sizzlefish.comdoes a great job with their Alaskan-sourced halibut. But, boy oh boy, how I do love this elegant, steak-like fish that cooks up so light and flaky. Halibut isn’t part of the Paleo Prime fish collection I typically order from Sizzlefish.com (includes a variety of items from Gulf Shrimp to Coho Salmon), but their Halibut is sold in 14 4-ounce pieces that ships flash-frozen on dry ice straight to your door — it would make a nice stash in the freezer!
To prepare fish, unwrap and pat dry with paper towels. Leave skin on underside of halibut if attached.
In small bowl, toss together allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, red pepper, cloves, cumin, salt and black pepper until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil and mix until a paste is formed.
Rub paste over all sides of fish. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil) to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add halibut and sear on each side (front and back or all 4 sides if cut think and long) for several minutes each until spices have formed crust and fish is no longer translucent.
Add all ingredients for fruit salad, except avocado, to bowl. Prepare dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients in small bowl until combined. Pour dressing over fruit salad. Gently stir in avocados.
To serve, place mount of fruit salad on plate and top with halibut. Season with Sriracha or hot sauce if desired.