This post sponsored my Bard Valley Natural Delight Dates. However, all content, opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
Growing up, Dad had a joke in our house that cookies eaten outside of normal dessert consumption hours were called “Breakfast Circles,” or “Energy Rounds.” This soon became my line of defense when Mom caught me with my hand in the cookie jar. Thank goodness, my Date & Protein Chocolate Cookies need no explaining away!
These little rounds of goodness are loaded with quality and sustaining energy my family needs to smash through the day’s goals – both physically and mentally. My youngest teenager and I are the athletes of the family and my older two boys are the “math-letes” – bodies and brains BOTH need healthy carbs (backed by a bit of protein) to optimize performance. My cookies, made with absolutely no refined sugar (only Medjool dates and a few other smart ingredients), make the perfect snack to fuel running, workouts, sports practice, and racing to the head of the class! Read on to get the recipe and all the delicious, body-boosting benefits: Continue reading →
What’s spicy, sweet and oh-so nice to eat? My Paleo Sichuan Date Sauce! I was looking for a sugar-free, soy-free, corn starch-free way to replicate one of my favorite take-out dishes and came up with this amazing sauce — it’s now the secret wham-bam-kapow to my Paleo Kung “Power” Chicken!
March is National Sauce Month and this easy sauce recipe makes a feisty sidekick on everything from vegetable side dishes to an entire side of salmon.
Training for spring season obstacle course racing and the 5-week long Crossfit Games Open competition makes me hungry. Really, really hungry. After 25+ years as a competitive athlete, I’ve learned (and sometimes the hard way), what does and doesn’t work for me when it comes to fueling my fitness. Lots of junk food and candy, not so good. Salty, over-sugared or fat-laden drive-thru and take-out meals, also not optimal. Restrictive dieting or skipping meals, even worse.
But, you know what’s good? Healthy, homemade recipes like my Paleo Kung “Power” Chicken, an easy-to-make meal that gives me the energy I need to accomplish my daily fitness goals, make workout gains and recover optimally for the next sweat sesh! There is lots of lean protein for muscle-making, this take-out inspired dinner also features a surprise ingredient that is great for athletes – MEDJOOL DATES! Read on to find out all the deliciously savory-sweet-sticky details and get the recipe! Continue reading →
Ahhhhh . . Chocolate. Pistachios. Honey. A hint of cinnamon. My Chocolate Protein “Baklava” Bites are a muscle-making take on this ancient honey and nut dessert hailing from Greece and Turkey (both countries lay claim to its origin).
You’ll notice there’s no thin layers of phyllo in this healthy sweet treat! No need to get distracted with difficulty of preparation (and gluten) this adds to the recipe. Instead, I’ve put together a 15 minute recipe that is packed full of great nutrition to fuel your active lifestyle and requires absolutely no cooking. Read on to get all the nutty details along with the full recipe! Continue reading →
Leftover steak from the grilling makes the BEST next day salad. Tossing a few extra steaks on the grill is my little secret to putting together a quick meal when life just starts getting too crazy to cook. Since we are now officially “Back to School,” my recipe for Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steak and the next-day “Super Iron Boosting” Steak Salad with Dates, Pistachios and Peppers will most likely be in my weekly lunch and dinner rotation until soup season hits (which is still months away in Texas).
I’ll be showing these two recipes (along with a couple others) in my “Empowered Meal Prepping – Protein for Fitness” class line-up for the Pinner’s Conference in the Dallas area on Sept 9th. Sign up for my class; I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples! Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE
So, let’s start with the steak . . . since you need steak leftovers to make the salad! The beef cut I’ve used is the very tender and quite economical Flat Iron steak, but Top Sirloin, Tenderloin or Strip steaks would all work equally well. The natural sugars from the molasses in this recipe caramelize along with the pepper to make a deliciously crispy crust on the outside of a mouthwatering and juicy center. I like to pair this steak with Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Quinoa
Make sure to save some steak so you can use the leftovers to make my “Super Iron Boosting” Steak Salad with Dates, Pistachios and Peppers. Almost everything about this salad is iron-boosting from the red meat and molasses, to the dates, pistachios (highest iron nut), and spinach. All of us, especially athletes, need iron, a mineral that helps red blood cells get oxygen to the muscles, thusly improving energy, athletic performance and mental functioning.
The salad isn’t a “recipe” per se, just pile fresh baby spinach on a plate and add 3 ounces of leftover steak cut in bite-sized pieces. Top that with other veggies you love, like yellow pepper strips, and a couple tablespoons each of sliced dates, blue cheese and pistachios. I’ve served with my favorite store-purchased Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing from Litehouse Foods.
Above are some useful tips for prepping your salad in a jar, if taking to school or work.
Whisk together molasses, vinegar, oil, pepper, garlic, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and pour into plastic zip-top bag containing steaks. Seal tightly and flip a few times to evenly distribute marinade.
Set in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours, flipping bag occasionally.
Preheat gas or charcoal grill to 400 F degrees.
Remove meat and discard marinade. Season with salt and more pepper to taste.
Place steaks on oiled grates and grill for approximately 7 to 9 minutes on one side, or until moisture starts to pool on the top and beef releases easily from grates with tongs. Flip once, grilling on the other side for 6 to 8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 F degrees with instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of steak
Transfer plates to platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
*Double recipe if you’d like to have leftovers to make steak salad and beef breakfast bowl.
My major food weakness is that I have a sweet tooth, especially for anything chocolate. I can’t pass a bowl of M&Ms without stuffing my mouth (and pockets) and know through extensive experimentation that truly “there is no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.” When I thought it would be a sneaky idea to hide chocolate chips from myself in the freezer, I realized the next morning they taste better frozen! There is no keeping me from chocolate. Period.
While I am focused on eating healthy most of the time, I’m definitely not a food denier. What’s the point in living? However, since chocolate, in some form or fashion, will probably continue to be part of my (daily) life for the next 50 years, I decided to search around for some healthier options that I could indulge in every so often. I love me a batch of these Chocolate Date “Candy Bar” Bites; a recipe based on a friend’s treat and tweaked to my tastes. These fudgy bites are packed with no-guilt, wholesome ingredients and are raw, gluten-free, vegan and Paleo-friendly, if that matters to you. They also taste completely dreamy and make a great workout reward — and that matters to me!
Chocolate Date “Candy Bar” Bites Recipe
1 1/3 cups pitted medjool dates
¼ cup organic cocoa powder
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 cup almond flour
6 ounces Enjoy Life® Semi-sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks, chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on tops) *
Place pitted dates, cocoa, melted coconut oil, vanilla and water into work bowl of food processor; pulse until well combined. Add almond flour and chocolate chips; continue to pulse until mixture creates a cohesive ball.
Roll dough into three ropes approximately 12” long. Press remaining chopped chocolate chips into the top of rolls. Cut each roll into 8 pieces.
*Note you can use whatever brand of chocolate chip you like, but if you are trying to keep a vegan diet or a dairy, gluten, and/or soy-free diet, please read the manufacturer’s ingredient label.