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!
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!
Today (January 31st) is National Hot Chocolate Day. I love me a hot beverage any time of day during colder weather, but tea, coffee and even a classic mug of cocoa can keep me up at night thanks to caffeine. Even though regular hot chocolate only has about 1/8 the caffeine of a cup of coffee, that little bit can still make a difference if you struggle with sensitivities, insomnia or other sleep issues. Plus, it’s so sugary – who wants that sugar buzz at night? Not me.
So, I made a few swaps to a rich and chocolaty recipe I make often for the kids. This homemade hot beverage will nutritiously satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you drift off into dreamland. Plus, it’s free of caffeine thanks to carob powder and also added sugars – only a bit of the natural sugars you get in the cherry juice.
Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering and marvelously moist (apologies haters of that word) cake that’s approved (by me) to eat along with your cuppa Joe at breakfast . . . or at lunch or dinner, for that matter. It’s a Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake! No, I’m not pulling your LEGume, but I did use legumes (that is, lentils from Farmer Direct Co-op) to keep my quick-to-fix cake tantalizing tender as well as boost up the nutrition.
This yummy, quick-to-fix cake is a healthy solution for those sweet breakfast or snack cravings. Free of high-gylcemic sugars and overly-refined flours and grains, this recipe relies on the wholesome goodness from plantains, lentils and a gluten-free baking mix. I used a one-to-one measure sugar replacement to keep the calories and carb count down – my go-to is Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ from NOW Foods. But, you can also swap in a different sweetener, like coconut sugar, if you prefer.
I use Farmer Direct Co-op as my source lentils, these little green gems are organic, non GMO and fair trade. In the past, I had a hard time thinking of uses for lentils past soups or stews . . . or keeping a jar of cooked lentils in the fridge to sprinkle on my salads. But then I had a light bulb moment –why not use pureed lentils (or beans) in recipes for baked goods to add moistness with less oil – plus more fiber and protein!
I knew my kids would be suspicious if I told them we were eating a cake made of plantains and lentils – so I didn’t say a word. When they gobbled it up and asked for more “banana bread,” I knew this recipe was a winner! While I have cooked it in a 10” pie dish, it also bakes up well in an 8” x 8” brownie pan or as 12 standard-sized muffins.
When it comes to being organic, farmer-owned and fair-deal, Farmer Direct Co-op is 100-percent all of the above and more. Their mission is to promote their co-op farmer’s organic products while building and promoting a healthy environment and socially just food system. When you purchase from Farmer Direct Co-op, you’re buying more than a pea, a lentil or a bean . . you’re buying into part of an evolution of eating aimed at truly nourishing the mind, body and soul.
Head on over to Farmer Direct Co-op to learn more about their awesome company and products like 1lb. shelf bags of Pinto Beans, French Green Lentils, Split Green Peas, Regular Rolled Oats and Quick Rolled Oats. STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY! They also have a nice collection of healthy recipes on their blog made with whole foods.
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.
With 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.
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.
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.
I’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% .
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).
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.
Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Roll approximately 1 tablespoon between palms of had to form ball; repeat with remaining dough.
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.
Grapefruit are known for their intense aroma and sharp flavor. It’s hard for me to believe that these jumbo-sized treasures of winter and early spring are not loved by all – because they are definitely one of my favorite seasonal fruits! It’s my guess that these people who say grapefruit are “bitter” or “messy” just don’t know the right tricks of picking out and dealing with grapefruit.
So, let’s start with the picking — to select the most gloriously ripe grapefruit, the skin will range in color from yellow to rosy pink depending on the variety and all types will feel heavy for their perceived size. Grapefruit do not further ripen after being plucked from the tree, so there’s no leaving a grapefruit on the counter to “get ready” – just dig in! If you feel like grapefruits are messy or hard to extract the segments without breaking them up, check out the photo tutorial I put together on how easy it is peel and cut up grapefruit.
I’m also sharing below five of my favorite (and unexpected) ways to enjoy grapefruit that will hopefully convert everyone into fans of the nutritious and delicious fruit!
Creamy Grapefruit Green Tea Smoothie: Get your morning off to a great start with this creamy grapefruit smoothie – the green tea and protein powder will keep your motor running until lunch! Recipe at bottom of post.
Grapefruit Water: Another way to enjoy the pleasant “bite” of grapefruit flavor without actually taking a bite is to add a few slices to your water – the bonus is that it will encourage you drink more water and meet (or exceed) your daily hydration needs! You can also infuse with herbs as desired – I used mint!
Broiled Grapefruit: End your meal with the zing of citrus, broiled grapefruit makes a light dessert option that won’t undo a clean eating diet. Sprinkle a little sugar on top (plus whatever herbs or spices you like) and caramelize under the broiler for about 3 – 4 minutes.This Salted Honey and Ginger Broiled Grapefruit is made by drizzling about 2 teaspoons honey on 1/2 grapefruit and then sprinkling with 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon dried mint — I always use the Instantly Fresh herbs from Litehouse Foods for convenience.
Grapefruit, Avocado and Feta Salad: Another dish so easy-breezy that you don’t really even need a recipe. Simply segment grapefruit (use my directions here) and toss with diced avocado and crumbled feta cheese, herbs or jalapeno peppers if you dare! One of the perk of this dish is that the citric acid in the grapefruit helps to keep the avocado from oxidizing and turning brown – just make sure you “dress” the salad with any remaining juice squeezed from the skin; toss salad gently.
Pink Grapefruit Sorbet – Doesn’t this frozen confection from CookingLight.com look refreshing?! Use as fancy-schmancy palate cleanser between courses or scoop up in frosty bowls. You can even pack this recipe in to pop molds and freeze for pure citrus sunshine on a stick.
Use serrated spoon to remove flesh from ½ of grapefruit, add to blender. Squeeze any remaining juice from grapefruit shell into blender. Add green tea, milk banana, and protein powder to blender; blend until smooth. Add ice, as needed, until desired consistency achieved. Garnish with hulled hemp seeds.