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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PSL & Thank You! Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving anPumpkin 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!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining.

bite-of-pumpkin-spice-latte-wafflesMade 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.

 

 

 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingSugar Free Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting

No added sugar in these scaled down delights — fun for a Halloween day breakfast or snack.

Need a mini donut pan?

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans, Caramel & Greek Yogurt - TheFitFork.comPumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes

 

All-time winner, any season, with my family — I stockpile canned pumpkin just to make these in the summer!

 

 

 

 

pumpkin-vanilla-chai-oats-cupPumpkin Vanilla Chia Protein Oats

Make this one in the slow-cooker – added protein powder makes this breakfast a long-lasting winner.

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favorite pumpkin spice flavored recipe or product of the season? Please share in the comments, XOXO — jennifer

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving an
Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles
Print Recipe
Perk up your fall breakfast or brunch with a stack of these fall-flavored waffles that are sure to please the whole family.
Servings Prep Time
12 large (4-square) waffles 5 minute
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 large (4-square) waffles 5 minute
Cook Time
30 minutes
Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving an
Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles
Print Recipe
Perk up your fall breakfast or brunch with a stack of these fall-flavored waffles that are sure to please the whole family.
Servings Prep Time
12 large (4-square) waffles 5 minute
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 large (4-square) waffles 5 minute
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: large (4-square) waffles
Instructions
  1. Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
  2. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, coffee, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Gently fold in the flour-spice mixture to the moist mixture.
  4. Cook according to your waffle iron directions, until a deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  5. Serve with honey butter, maple syrup or your favorite toppings.
  6. * 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.
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Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protien Oats + #Giveaway for Hot Cereal / Rice Cooker

This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, however all opinions, comments, content and enthusiasm are my own.

One morning this summer I made a family favorite recipe for Pumpkin Protein Muffins. When the kids woke up to the amazingly “autumn” smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin baking, they were disoriented. . .. but excited, nonetheless.! “Is it already Thanksgiving, mom? Did we sleep through the first day of school and Halloween and wake up in the middle of the fall holidays?” 

By the way, I’m giving away a really awesome Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker from Hamilton Beach this week – this counter top appliance will Change. Your. Life.  Hop to the bottom of the post to enter.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oats in Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker

That got me to thinking. Why DO we primarily limit cooking and baking with pumpkin to the months of September through December?  While fresh pumpkins may be seasonal, the canned puree is equally as nutritious and a heck of a lot more convenient. Pumpkin ( a fab source of fiber, vitamins Vitamin A, and healthy complex carbs) is a veggie I’d like to see more of in my life for the entire year!  And, so here I am in September, as cliché as it may be, sharing a pumpkin recipe – but, good gourd, this one is workable into anyone’s busy schedule, 365.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Protein Oats -- 288 calories, 26g protein, fiber and healthy carbs to fuel your day or workout. Plus, this recipe is made in a rice cooker in just 5 to 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal – why, hello creamy pie-and-coffee-shop inspired morning concoction that is actually as nourishing as delish. I’ve used a blend of old-fashioned oats mixed with my favorite seeds (hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin – you can tweak as you like) along with pumpkin puree, creamy almond milk, and vanilla protein powder to bring each serving into the approximate 25g protein range which is what I strive for at my morning meal

Now Foods Products used in Pumpkin Protein Oats from thefitfork.com

***Please note, the recipe nutrition will vary based on the protein powder you use (I used Vanilla Whey Isolate from Now Foods) and mix ins (I used the Triple Omega Seed Blend from Now Foods) . With just 288 calories per hearty serving, I’ve kept this sugar-free recipes under 300 calories buy using my preferred cup-for-cup measure sugarless sweetener (Sugarless Sugar Baking Blend from Now Foods).

In a rush? This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. If you’re in a super morning rush, set everything out in the rice cooker (except the perishables) the night before and finish off in the morning. Oh, and did I mention that there is caffeine built right into this recipe thanks to steeping chai into the liquid used to make oatmeal. It’s genius.  Of course, please use caffeine-free tea if you are sensitive.

hamilton-beach-rice-cooker-2Did you notice how I alluded to a Rice Cooker? The convenience factor here is that I’ve made this pumpkin oatmeal recipe in a Rice Cooker!  You heard me right – rice cookers aren’t just for cooking rice anymore, you can make some amazing recipes in a rice cooker like cheesy grits, steamed salmon with rice and veggies, chocolate cakes and more!  I’ve made my recipe in the 4-20 Cup Rice and Hot Cereal Maker from Hamilton Beach, it’s the best small kitchen appliance evahhhhh!  I’m giving one away, jump to bottom of post to enter!

hamilton-beach-rice

I resisted getting a rice cooker for a really long time, thinking it would just hog up space in my cabinets and rarely get used – not the case! It’s more of a “multi” cooker than a “rice” cooker and I it at least once a week to prepare a meal for the family – even my teens know how to make simple recipes for dinner in it. Plus, with a 20-cup capacity, it’s perfect for meal planning – I often double or triple my batches of rice, quinoa, oats or whatever I have going in in the cooker and then freeze portions for later in the month.  It’s a busy mom’s best friend!

Have you cooked anything unusual in a rice cooker? What is your favorite fall flavor? Should pumpkin be a year-round thing? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Enter Giveaway Here:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal (Rice Cooker)
Print Recipe
Enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin in a warm and nourishing bowl of oatmeal that has been pumped up with protein powder and seeds. Whips up in 10 minutes in rice cooker!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Protein Oatmeal (Rice Cooker)
Print Recipe
Enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin in a warm and nourishing bowl of oatmeal that has been pumped up with protein powder and seeds. Whips up in 10 minutes in rice cooker!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add almond milk, water and tea bags to large glass measuring cup and microwave until hot, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and let steep another 3 minutes. Discard tea bags and set liquid aside.
  2. In bowl of rice cooker, add oats, nutrition boosters (seeds, etc), protein powder, sugar substitute, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together until combined.
  3. Add pumpkin to bowl and pour in milk/tea mixture. Mix together until everything combined.
  4. Put lid down on rice cooker. Set timer for “heat/simmer” for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened to desired consistency. I prefer mine thicker!
  5. Serve warm in bowls with Greek yogurt and pecans or other garnishes. May store leftovers in refrigerator for days or in freezer for 6 months.
  6. To make in microwave, place all ingredients in 2 quart lidded casserole and microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring halfway.
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Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples + 10 Best Baking Apples

Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed ApplesCooler, crisper days have arrived and I have a hankering for a more homey and comfy breakfast than my typical smoothie or on-the-go protein bar. But with the craziness of my morning routine (my personal running, tying up work loose ends and giving rides to school), I rarely have time for anything coming out of the oven. But my recipe for Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples can be quickly prepped and cooked in the microwave, so I’m winning before sun up. In fact, this is what I ate for breakfast the morning that I woke up really early to drive to Marble Falls, Texas and ended up winning the entire Hill Country Half MarathonSuper Oatmeal Stuffed Apples

My “super” oatmeal is far from the cement-like, sugar-laden and fake-flavored oatmeal packets found next to the Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts. Instead, this powered-up oatmeal stuffed in my apple has been fortified with extra taste, texture and nutrition thanks to the addition of uncooked quinoa, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices mixed together with my dry, quick-cooking oats.  I typically will make a big batch and then scoop out what I need in the morning for this apple recipe or just for a simple bowl of oatmeal.

On crazy weeks when I don’t have time to scoop and stir, I like to buy Super Oats Nuts & Seeds.

After pulling my stuffed apple out of the microwave, I drizzle it with Almond Vanilla Opadipity by Litehouse sweet Greek yogurt dip. I love this lightly sweet Greek yogurt dip as a healthy topping on all my family’s favorite breakfast foods including this oatmeal recipe, but also pancakes, waffles and granola parfaits.

Oatmeal Stuffed Apple Scoop 686 x 550I like to use a great big Honey Crisp apple as my vessel to hold my mix of “super” oatmeal, the center is just scooped out with a melon-baller to create the perfect edible bowl.

Now, not all apples are the bomb for baking – some varieties, like the ubiquitous Red Delicious, seem crisp and crunchy when plucked off the tree (or out of the produce bin) but can turn mushy and mealy in the oven. For treats like apple pie, tarts and muffins (and especially my recipe for Super Oatmeal Stuffed Baked Apples), I prefer my apples to remain a little al dente – and I think most would agree!  Here is a list of my favorite 10 apples with flesh that stands up to baking and offer a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors. Try using a variety of these apples for a more complex flavor and colorful presentation.

TheFitFork.com - Apples10 Best Apples for Baking

  1. Honey Crisp
  2. Golden Delicious
  3. Granny Smith
  4. Braeburn
  5. Jonathan
  6. Melrose
  7. Mutsu (Crispin)
  8. Pink Lady (Cripps Pink)
  9. Rome Beauty
  10. Winesap

If you are looking for more healthy apple recipes, check out this bumper crop collection from CookingLight.com.

Best Apple Recipes - Cooking Light

 

Are you an apple fan? What is your favorite variety to eat out of hand, or bake with? What is your favorite topping for oatmeal? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Slice top off each apple approximately 1-inch down.
  2. Use melon scooper to scoop out apple flesh, leaving a ¼” to 1/3” thickness on apple.
  3. Pick out seeds and core of flesh and chop remaining apple flesh finely.
  4. In medium bowl, toss together oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and Stevia. Stir in chopped apple pieces.
  5. In microwave-safe measuring cup, boil water and stir in ONE CUP into the oatmeal until combined.
  6. Place apples in microwave-safe baking dish. Stuff mixture evenly into the two apple “bowls,” packing down and over stuffing, if necessary. Set “lid” apple pieces in the side of baking dish.
  7. Add ¼ cup water to bottom of baking dish. Cover with dish lid. Microwave for 3 minutes on high, and then in additional 1-minute increments until oatmeal is cooked through and apple is tender (microwave times will vary by appliance).
  8. To serve, top oatmeal stuffed apples with Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dip, extra pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon.
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Sugar-Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts - TheFitFork.comI don’t need to explain myself, it’s October. But, I will because I like to talk! October is the month when all things pumpkin happen and I when I kick up my running into a higher gear for a late fall season marathon. This year, I am also doing Spartan Beast in Dallas on Oct. 31st — I know, SCARY in so many ways!

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting

The point is, I need some extra power in this month of pumpkin-mania and so I’ve pumped up my recipe with protein powder. You can use whatever type of protein powder you prefer — whey, soy, pea, or whatever! This recipe is also sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free (pumpkin seeds are SEEDS, duh) and Paleo friendly. Enjoy!

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingWhat is your favorite pumpkin treat of the season? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting
Print Recipe
Enjoy the "it" flavor of October and make some muscles in the process with this easy baked donut recipe that uses protein powder. Gluten free, nut free and paleo-ish!
Servings Prep Time
12 donuts 10 mintues
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 donuts 10 mintues
Cook Time
12 minutes
Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting
Print Recipe
Enjoy the "it" flavor of October and make some muscles in the process with this easy baked donut recipe that uses protein powder. Gluten free, nut free and paleo-ish!
Servings Prep Time
12 donuts 10 mintues
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 donuts 10 mintues
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: donuts
Instructions
For donuts:
  1. Preheat oven to 350  degrees.
  2. In large bowl, mix together protein powder, coconut flour, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, add water, ground flax seed, milk, vanilla, pumpkin puree and coconut oil; whisk until combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing with until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into a non-stick mini donut baking pan and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until lightly browning and springing back to the touch.
For Frosting:
  1. Mix cream cheese, stevia and vanilla together until smooth.
  2. Spread onto tops of cooled donuts. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, if desired.
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