November is here and it’s time to start thinking about healthy Thanksgiving side dishes! One of the best things, other than gathering with family and friends, is the sheer smorgasbord of side dishes that go along with the meal. On a normal day, I’m lucky to get two plant-based accompaniments with our main protein, but during the holidays it’s more like a dozen delicious things to go alongside our turkey or roast.
This recipe for Lemon-Ginger Green Beans with Almonds is a snap to make and so much fresher and fitter than the creamy green bean casserole of yore. Read on to get the 10-minute recipe and a few other ideas for vegetable side dishes. Continue reading →
Quinoa is just such a handy grain . . . er, seed, to have around. It easily cooks up on the stove top in about 15 minutes (with less mess than rice, in my opinion) and is packed with a head-spinning assortment of nutrients including lots of iron, an abundance of fiber and plenty of protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it boasts all 9 of the essential amino acids — a rarity in plant foods.
A fluffy pot of quinoa turns into pure bliss when you pair beautiful golden turmeric, a “superspice” with mild taste and beacoup de health benefits, along with a bit of lemon. Oh, and cauliflower’s in there too — dang my recipe for Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa is healthy! Continue reading →
I love me the soups. Nourishing, comforting, satisfying and life-simplifying, a bowl of soup really hits the spot. Unlike baking, soup making is so forgiving – just throw in what you’ve got! Plus, leftovers never get stale, in fact, they get better! My recipe for Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a great meal for lunch, a light dinner or even on-the-go!
In addition to the directions for making a big pot full at once, I’ve also shared bonus instructions and hacks on how to shortcut the process if you are meal-prepping for enjoyment later. You don’t even have to cook the noodles!
Maybe 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!
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?
After “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!
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.
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.
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
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)
Spray a large microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray, set aside.
In small bowl, combine protein powder, gluten-free baking mix, sugar substitute, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir together until combine well.
Mix in egg, lemon juice, water, and coconut oil until combined.
Pour into sprayed coffee mug and microwave 1 minute 15 seconds, or until cooked through. Microwave times may vary depending on your appliance.
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.
This post is sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, however the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!
There is so much to love about May! The weather is warmer, daylight lasts longer and backyard patios, porches and pergolas are prime party spots for good friends and great food. I don’t know about you, but my go-to cooking method from early spring well into the fall season is grilling. Whether I’m entertaining company or it’s just the family, my trusty grill is this mom’s solution when it comes to whipping up creative, healthy and quick meals.
I will grill anything and everything. I get fired up for grilling the gamut . . . meats and seafood to fruit, veggies and dessert (mmmm, banana boats)! Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chopped Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette that relies on one of my secret weapons when it comes to grilling and barbeque – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauces, Marinades and Rubs.
Grilled corn and chicken are the stars of this simple grilled salad recipe – Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub gives just the right amount of seasoning to poultry and vegetables without being overpowering or too spicy for my kids to eat. This is the original rub of Stubb’s fame, crafted by the legend himself at his original Texas Bar-B-Q joint — “It all starts with good rub.”
To dress this chopped chicken salad that also features jicama and avocado , I’ve created a simple barbecue sauce vinaigrette that is a bit spicy, a bit sweet – and certainly fun to eat! Using Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is my not-so-secret shortcut to prepping this dressing in mere minutes. Of course, this BBQ sauce with hints of brown sugar and chipotle peppers is also excellent used in the traditional way to drizzle or douse on everything from baby back ribs and burgers to pizza and sweet potatoes.
It’s also the sauce I use in my Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. I love that Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces get their bold flavors from real, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Also, you’ll find absolutely NO (none, zip, nada) high-fructose corn syrup in these quality condiments.
Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, maker the No. 1 brand of barbecue sauce, rubs and marinades in the the country, is located right here in Austin, Texas — so I can head over and dive head-first in a vat, if I want! But, these barbecue “helpers” are also sold in 85% of grocery stores nationwide — so, run out and getcha some!
Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette is such an easy grilled recipe and the perfect fixin’s for a potluck or picnic – whether for Memorial Day, a graduation or any summer time celebration. You can also make it the night before, the dish is delicious served cold and the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing help keep the avocado fresh for up to a day in the fridge. If you want to enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian meal — just omit the chicken and dig in!
I know it’s not spring yet, but I’m getting the fever to make delicious yummy things that remind me of warm weather. My recipe for Raspberry Lemon Protien Mug Muffins reminds me of the lemon pound cake that has always been a family favorite, but typically reserved for dessert on special occasions. Single serve, and super yummy, this easy-to-make mug muffin makes a delicious morning meal or satisfying swap when you need a sweet treat at night.
If you think you don’t have time to make a scratch breakfast in the morning, especially a “muffin,” think again! This muffin is mixed up right in the mug and “bakes” in the microwave in 2 minutes or less. You’ll be digging into warm, moist, lemony goodness before the coffee is even done brewing – plus, the only dishes to wash are the mug and your spoon! Win-win!
Another win is that you’re fueling yourself well for whatever the day holds. Between protein powder and an egg white, there is plenty of protein to keep you from getting hungry before lunch — plus, it’s under 200 calories and gluten-free. Here are the specifics: 182 calories, 17g protein, 21g carbohydrate (5g sugar), 4g dietary fiber, 3g fat and calcium). This could vary slightly on the protein powder you are using. I used Meyer Lemons in my recipe which are less acidic and slightly more sweet than a traditional lemon (actually, they are a hybrid lemon-orange) and I love the blemish-free large ones from Frieda’s Produce! Look for these beauties packaged up in a cellophane bag in your produce department.
Using a slow cooker in the dogs of summer? Normally I associate this appliance with winter and making stews and pot roasts. But, in an effort to keep from heating up my kitchen further during this 100+ degree heatwave, so it makes perfect sense to me! I think you’ll love this Sugar-Free Peach Sauce recipe that is super easy to whip up in the crock pot, is deliciously aromatic as the spices mingle together – and it’s a great way to take advantage of a bumper crop of summer peaches.
If you REALLY have a windfall of fresh peaches that you can’t eat up before overripening, then check out my How To Freeze Peaches.
If you don’t have fresh peaches, feel free to swap in frozen peach slices (store bought or home packed) – it’s a pretty forgiving recipe. It is my experience that the store-bought peaches need the higher range of Stevia listed in the recipe.
Enjoy this healthy fruit sauce either warm or cold by the bowl full– and also used as a topping on yogurt, waffles, protein pancakes and in smoothies. It is also great to pack up into a small container and send in your child’s lunchbox. Instead of eating a processed sugary treat, peaches make an excellent source natural carbohydrates for quick brain and body energy – plus, you get the extra benefits of fiber, potassium, vitamin C.
Blanch, peel and pit peaches; cut into slices. Or, if using frozen (easiest method), partially thaw in microwave. Place fresh or thawed frozen peaches in the food processor and process until flesh is getting smooth, but still slightly chunky. Pour peaches into slow cooker set on LOW for 6 - 8 hours, stirring a couple times during the day. After 8 hours, stir in lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger. Sever warm or cool. May be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or freezer up to 6 months.