Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat Day


Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat DayTreats, desserts, goodies, nom noms, whatever name you longingly call a little something sweet after or between meals don’t have to be off limits or induce guilt. In fact, if you are craving something outside of your normal healthy-eating routine, it’s better to go ahead and satisfy the urge with a reasonable-sized portion rather than setting aside an entire day to pigging out on whatever “cheats” you want.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars perfect post workout.

Really, when you think about it, no food is a “cheat.” All food provides calories, which translate into energy to burn through the day. —  however, as most of us know, some food provides better quality energy than others!  Most experts would recommend keeping your treats to 200 calories or less and don’t feel obligated to indulge everyday if you don’t really want it!  If you calorie needs are in the range of 2,000 per day, then a 200 calorie treat makes up only 10 percent – just make sure your remaining diet is balanced with lean protein, healthy whole grains and lots and lots of veggies and some fruit.

Why a Daily Treat Trumps Weekly Cheat Day

1) Guilt- Free: Postponing a treat or small splurge and labeling it as “bad” also sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates guilt.  A day set aside to “cheating,” how can that be a good thing?

2) More- Consistent: A daily treat is there every day if you want/need it!  Our bodies respond better to consistent behavior, rather that dieting and overindulging to the extremes.

3) Enjoyment: Enjoy your food, all of it. Being well, healthy and happy means living your life embracing food for what it can do for you and not obsessing over a specific diet, what is good or bad, or setting unrealistic expectations.

4) Extra Energy+: A daily treat can give you those extra calories and other important nutrients you need on days when especially active. You definitely need to consider your activity level when planning snacks!

4) Hormones Happier: Studies have shown that with calorie and carb restriction, Leptin (the hunger hormone) is altered, messing up its ability to tell your brain you are full and to stop eating. Similarly, T3  (the thyroid hormone) can be decreased by calorie restriction and extreme dieting, creating a backfiring situation where your metabolism slows down.

5) Sustainable for Life: With a daily treat, there are no feelings of abstinence,  meaning its easy to keep an overall healthy diet for life.   If you’re eating a variety of colorful, whole foods the majority of the time, a treat now and then or every single day has no harm!

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

You know, some days I slice myself a piece of chocolate cake and other times I’m completely satisfied with a healthy snack like these New Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars I found at Target*  – they totally take, errrr, the cake!  I really appreciate how Outshine® uses simple and honest ingredients  — 100% yogurt, blended with real fruit, that’s it!  These healthy treats contain no artificial colors or flavorings* and are not gunked up with high fructose corn syrup – with each lick and am treated to simply the bright, delightlful flavor as Mother Nature intended. *Check the Store Locator for other locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars I Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are available in seven creamy and yummy varieties including Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango. Also good to know, each frozen bar contains live & active cultures, 5 grams of protein, and 10% of our daily requirement for calcium. The company also makes all fruit bars and fruit & veggie frozen bars!

Of course, Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars make a smart choice to eat after a workout – that little blast of protein helps speed muscle recovery.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

And, because Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are so sensible, I like to occasionally dress these healthy frozen snacks up a little more with my favorite sundae toppings – like today I used the Blueberry bars and topped with whipped topping, fresh blueberries, granola and crushed dehydrated raspberries (those are the “healthy red sprinkles”).

You can find  Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars at Target, Safeway or other convenient locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars Instagram

Also, check out Outshine on Instagram — they have a very cute, vibrant and happy page!

What is your snacking philosophy? What is your favorite healthy dessert or yogurt flavor? Any big plans for these last days of warm weather? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Hunger Slaying Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack.  Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit.  You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! jennifer dragon fruitThe Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it!  There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.

Dragon Fruit Varieties

dannon dragon fruit yogurt1I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas.  They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode,  I’ll be  making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is brimming with beautiful yumminess -- the perfect breakfast, workout snack or healthy dessert! Of course, you can also pour this smoothie in a tall glass! for on-the-go enjoyment.

Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha!  My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.  If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protien powder (or substitute 1/2 banana)
  • Ice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
  • Additional dragon fruit for garnish

To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass)  and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1

Have you ever tried a Dragon Fruit? What is your favorite smoothie ingredient? Had a good, end-of-summer run lately? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Wholly Cannoli Protein Mug Cake #NextLevelNaked

Cannoli Protein Mug Cake with Naked WheyMaybe 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! Cannoli Protein Mug Cake takes only about 1 1/2 minutes to cook and is a healthy dessert option, post-workout snack, or even breakfast!

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?

Vanilla Protein Mug CakeAfter “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!

Naked Whey protein powder over Cannoli Mug Cake

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.

jennifer naked whey 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.

Less Naked Chocolate Pudding

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
Print Recipe
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)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Cannoli Protein Mug Cake
Print Recipe
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)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
90 seconds
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Spray a large microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine protein powder, gluten-free baking mix, sugar substitute, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir together until combine well.
  3. Mix in egg, lemon juice, water, and coconut oil until combined.
  4. Pour into sprayed coffee mug and microwave 1 minute 15 seconds, or until cooked through. Microwave times may vary depending on your appliance.
  5. 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.
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Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust to #KeepOnTrack

This blog post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Pure Protein. All opinions are mine alone. #KeepOnTrack #CollectiveBias

Summer has been busier than a gym in January but I’m not letting my hectic schedule sabotage my good intentions. I’m keeping on track with my higher-protein diet by keeping my pantry, purse, gym bag, and mobile snack station (haha, the car) stocked with the new Pure Protein Plus Bars. Considering I’m out of the house most of the day working, running errands, shuttling my teen boys to their sports practices, and finding time for my own fitness routine, having a few of these insanely delicious protein bars at the ready has kept me from getting so hangry that I have the mother of all mother meltdowns.  In addition, the bars can be used to make quick nutritious desserts, like my recipe for Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust that I’m sharing in this post.   

Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust

To make this nearly sugar-free pie, I used one of the NEW Pure Protein Plus Bars that I purchased at Walmart. When you shop Walmart for Pure Protein Plus Bars, be sure to use Ibotta to earn $1.50 back.

Pure Protein Plus #KeepOnTrack

For more Pure Protein Plus Bars inspiration, visit this website. Make sure to enter the sweepstakes below too for a chance to win prizes to help #KeepOnTrack!

Pure Protein Plus Bars #KeepOnTrack Sweepstakes

These bars are available in four flavors (Cookies and Cream, Mocha Brownie, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) that all sound ultra-decadent, but after checking the nutrition label, I found they actually make a quite balanced and sensible snack solution. I’ve been grabbing one for a quick breakfast, bedtime snack or for post workout recovery.

You can find these bars at Walmart on the nutrition aisle near the Pharmacy!

The preferred amount of protein I look for in a nutrition bar is around 20 grams with low sugar content and, ching-ching-ching, this new product delivers. Additionally, the NEW Pure Protein Plus Bars have that soft and pleasantly chewy texture I crave plus they are GMO-free, gluten free, have no artificial sweeteners and are high fiber (15 – 16g).

Oh, and the super delicious flavors are worth shouting out again (and again!) Hello, Cookies and Cream, Mocha Brownie, Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough — welcome to my life.  But, unlike the real deal desserts, these bars are mindful of my mission to #KeepOnTrack with a higher protein, lower carb diet.    Making "crust" out of Pure Protein Plus Bars

So, ready for that apple pie I mentioned earlier?! My recipe for Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust takes all of five minutes and is made with an Apple Pie Pure Protein Plus Bar.  It’s a super speedy, protein-packed and no-sugar-added version of my favorite, all-American summer dessert. It’s almost magical how, after the bar is soften for a few seconds in the microwave, it becomes malleable enough to roll out or break in bits and press into the bottom of a pan.

While “making” the crust, slicing and softening your favorite variety of apple tossed with a sprinkling of cinnamon in the microwave takes just mere minutes. No added sugar required – apples are a great source of naturally sweet, complex carbohydrates that can be quickly accessed by the body as fuel for running, workouts or the relentless demands of a hectic life.  

Cinnamon Apples for Clean Protein Pie
Go ahead and pin or print out this protein dessert recipe to #KeepOnTrack and satisfy your sweet tooth at a moment’s notice.

Clean Apple Pie on Protein Bar Crust is a healthy option for dessert or a post workout snack.

 

Pure Protein Apple Pie
Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust
Print Recipe
All-American and all good for you, this cleaned up apple pie is packed with protein and real fruit -- the perfect healthy dessert or post workout snack.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Pure Protein Apple Pie
Clean Apple Pie with Protein Bar Crust
Print Recipe
All-American and all good for you, this cleaned up apple pie is packed with protein and real fruit -- the perfect healthy dessert or post workout snack.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Unwrap one Apple Pie Pure Protein Plus Bar and set on microwave-safe plate. Microwave on “defrost” setting for 20 seconds, or until warm and malleable but not too hot to handle.
  2. Break up warm bar into bits and place in the bottom of an approximate 6” diameter tart pan, skillet or ceramic dish. Using fingers or back of spoon, press down until formed into a crust that covers bottom of pan. Lightly coat fingers or spoon in coconut oil if beginning to stick.
  3. Cut medium apple into thin slices and place in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave apple slices on high for three minutes, stirring halfway through. Drain off any excess liquid.
  4. Drizzle with coconut oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and stir until coated.
  5. Place apples on top of protein bar “crust.” Sprinkle with pecans and top with yogurt.
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Day in the Life of a Watermelon Addict #LivingOnTheWedge

I could have named this post “Watermelon Wednesday,” but the current title seems so much better because variations of the events that unfold below could happen any day of the year. For reals, I’m always #LivingOnTheWedge , y’all!

5:15 am: Wake up, drink coffee, check my Instagram feed and remember that my friends @WatermelonBoard are hosting a fun photo contest on Instagram. Tag your pics of watermelon #100DaysofWatermelon for chances at prizes all summer long.

100DaysSummerWatermelonBanner

 6:00 am: Trying to get out the door fast, so I eat a protein bar and chug some watermelon juice – it’s just the hydration I need to tackle my 8 mile run on this hot and muggy morning.  Also, research suggests that drinking watermelon juice before an intense exercise session can help reduce heart rate and next-day muscle soreness (thank you L-citrulline)!

Tsamma Juice TheFitFork.com

6:48 am: Mid run full-bottle chug of Nuun Active (watermelon flavor, natch) – packed optimal electrolytes, made with clean ingredients, low in calories and sugar – plus vegan and gluten-free. Save yourself 20% with discount code NUUNAMBASSADORFRIEND

nuun ambassador jennifer fisher watermelon

8:41 am:  Snack on Organic Raw Sprouted Watermelon Seeds – why our mom’s told us not to swallow them is beyond me, they are packed with amazing nutrients.

You can eat watermelon seeds!

9:29 am: Brush teeth with some Watermelon Toothpaste – yeah, it’s for kids, but it’s totally free of yucky stuff . . . . and it tastes like my favorite fruit, so don’t judge.


1

10:43 am:  Purchase two of the cutest watermelon tank tops evvvvvahhhh for my trip to Los Angeles in July to share my love for watermelon (and demonstrate watermelon workouts) on behalf of Watermelon.org at IdeaWORLD Fitness Convention & Expo (yes, my job is awesome).

watermelon tank 2 watermelon tank 1

12:32 pm:   Lunchtime, how ‘bout a breadless with chicken, bacon, basil and provolone – and watermelon for the bun! I’ll have the recipe on this one posted tomorrow!

watermelon bacon  chicken sandwich

2:01 pm: Practice a little #WatermelonYoga ‘cause I’m crazy like that.

watermelon headstand jennifer fisher thefitfork.com

4:08  pm:  Take an afternoon work break and search watermelon-related hashtags on Instagram — #watermeloncake has  21,838 photos (yet my Chocolate Cherry Watermelon Cake is still the best) and #WatermelonYoga isn’t exactly trending with 12 posts – 11 are me (!!) and 1 is some pregnant lady – hahah!

Celebrate special summer days with a healthy "cake" made from watermelon!

6:00 pm: Make a batch of my Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad that almost got me on a season of Master Chef, but got thumped in the end. My delicious jumble of healthy foods and warrior spirit couldn’t quite compete with the OCD craziness of a lady who cried when her raspberry rolled 1 millimeter out of place.

“Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Sprouted Watermelon Seeds is perfect for outdoor summer entertaining and packs well in lunch boxes

 8:09 pm:  Peruse through some past pins on my Living on the Wedge board and wonder if this “skinning a watermelon” really works. Must try tomorrow.

How to Skin a WAtermelon

9:17 pm:  Make my “to-do” list for tomorrow the old-fashioned way, with paper and pen (hello awesome watermelon pens)  — at the top of the list “Buy More Watermelon” !!!

watermelon scented pens

10:27 pm: Drift off to sleep and dream of watermelons growing in a field . . . . that means good fortune is on the way (and no, not a baby!)

Love WATERMELON as much as me?! Check out a bumper crop of my watermelon posts compiled in one place for more recipe ideas, watermelon workouts and helpful watermelon tips.

Tell me something, anything watermelon! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge #MySignatureMoments

Thank you Randalls and Albertsons for sponsoring this post. Check out the new Signature family of brands from Randalls and Albertsons, with more than 4,000 Signature products available and a 100% money-back guarantee.

Today I’m sharing my recipe for Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls, a healthier dessert option for those days when the sweet tooth is acting up (pretty much all the time with me). This no-cook recipe is quick and easy and fits into my healthy, busy lifestyle so nicely – my family and I enjoy it as a more balanced option to candy – it has no added refined sugars, only honey.Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls make a healthier dessert option and are great for workout fuel and recovery.

With an approximate 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio, these energy protein balls also make a nice little workout recovery snack or race fuel to eat on the course.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein FudgeIt’s been my experience that the success of a no-bake recipe can only be as good as the quality of the ingredients that found within. I was a national name brand devotee in the past, but have found that many of the store-label products are just as good (if not better) than the items I grew up with. Randalls and Albertsons grocery stores are making it easy to tackle my shopping list and keep whipping up healthy recipes with their new, exclusive line of Signature products. From coffee to juice, soup to cereal, fresh fruits and veggies to fried chicken and other yummy pre-prepped foods, there are more than 4,000 different products available that help make my life tastier, easier and all-around neater (that’s because they also stock all my must-have home staples like paper towels and cleaning products)!   Oh, and I’m saving money, too! Whoohoo! Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls = with Randalls Signature Select

I used Signature Kitchens Chopped Pecans, Signature Kitchens Clover Honey and Signature Select Hazelnut Chocolate Spread from Randalls in this yummy, easy protein snack recipe.

Randall Signature Select CoffeeSeriously, I can’t express my love for Randalls enough, and not just for the Signature line. When they opened a location at the front of my neighborhood a few years ago, I literally cried from sheer joy– I’m not kidding! Prior to this, “a quick trip to the store to grab a few things” was a 1 to 2 hour time commitment depending on the time of day.  I would have to drive about 10 miles one-way to make an emergency coffee restock for the morning or to pick up ingredients that were left off my list. Because of this, we often did without! Imagine the horrors and distress this created for me, an unorganized food blogger!

Randalls supporting my neighborhood fun run!

Randalls supporting my neighborhood fun run!

The staff at my neighborhood Randalls rock! The cashiers and managers know me personally, always take the time to smile and say hi, and answer my questions if I can’t find a particular product I need for a recipe. If I ever have a problem with a purchase (a rarity), it’s always resolved immediately — Randalls stands behind their 100% money-back guarantee on the Signature line of products. Management at this nearby location supported my oldest son’s Eagle Scout Project with a huge donation of bottled water and bakery cookies and promote health, fitness and an active lifestyle as sponsors of an annual fun run in the neighborhood. I am always the first one over to their tent to pick up water and goodies!

randalls signature spaghette

Dinner super quick, easy and yummy with go-to pantry items in the Signature line!

Find out what I’m raving about yourself! I buy my Signature products here in Austin at my local Randalls and Albertsons stores, but they are also found in the whole family of Albertsons Companies grocery stores including ACEM, Jewell-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Shaw, Star Market, United Express, United and Carrs/Safeway.

Also, enter for a chance to win one of 40 $25 gift card to Randalls so you can fall in love with the new Signature line of products, too!  The giveaway ends on May 6, 2016 – must be 18+, a US resident and only one winner per household.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge
Hazelnut Pecan Protein Fudge Balls
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 balls 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together hazelnut chocolate spread and honey.
  2. Stir in chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  3. Stir in protein powder until beginning to ball up. Use hands to knead mixture until smooth.
  4. Divide “dough” into 18 equal parts – about 1 tablespoon each. Roll between hands to form into ball.
  5. Eat! Store leftovers in refrigerator to maintain firmness.
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Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake for Spring Celebrations

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Today I’m sharing my healthier (but just as heavenly) version of a Gooey Butter Cake – I’m calling it Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake. Before I dive into the recipe (uh . . . figuratively and literally), let me tell you how this sweet treat came to life . . . ‘cause I usually don’t make a lot of cakes.

banana foster butter cakeSo, last week I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the super decadent Banana Foster Butter Cake at Eddie V’s Seafood Restaurant– it’s loaded with fat and sugar (as the name more than hints) and was topped with caramel, whipped cream and butter pecan ice cream. It didn’t take long to remember just how delicious this style of ooey, gooey, butter batter sticky cake actually is – in the past I had made Paula Deen’s version – she’s the Queen of Butter, y’all!Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

Not that I have anything against butter or cream cheese or even a bit of actual sugar in moderation – but, there is absolutely no moderation in these traditional recipes — a modest sized piece with no toppings is pushing 600 calories!  That’s fine every 25 years (haha), but not every weekend. I surfed the internet looking for a healthier butter cake, a preferably one that was gluten-free and lower in sugar so all my family and friends could partake in the cake partaaaay!   I found a reasonably good-sounding Bobby Flay riff (however, not gluten-free) and a few other “meh” makeover recipes as well.  Naturally, in the end, I did my own thing based on the concepts and am more than pleased with the results.

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

butterless gooey cake nutritionApparently everyone else was pleased too, not a single slice from this Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake I made over the weekend for my Mama’s birthday.

And, according to calculations, my version has 188 calories per serving and 8 grams of fat while the, ahem, Southern Lady version has 545 calories and 28 grams of fat for the same size serving! Both nutrition counts are calculated without toppings or a la mode!

Today my gluten-free cake is shown with strawberries to keep it lighter, but I’ve also done bananas and caramel sauce.

Gluten Free Banana Foster Upside Down CakeI’m also a big fan of this gluten-free Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake from Cooking Light! Check it out!

What would you put on top of your Gooey Butter Cake? What is your go-to dessert for celebrations? How many years have you been married, if you’d like to share! XOXO — Jennifer

 

 

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
Print Recipe
Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
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Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
For crust:
For filling:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the “crust” mix together gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), flaxseed, sugar substitute, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg to dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.
  3. For “filling,” beat the Neufchatel cheese until smooth. Beat in the yogurt, butter, vanilla and sugar. Spread over the cake mixture. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of leakage) and bake on center rack for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven with filing is mostly set, but center still looks a little gooey.
  4. To serve, remove side of springform pan and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with preferred toppings, recommendations include berries, candied nuts, caramel sauce or fruit preserves and syrups.
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Raspberry Lemon Protein Mug Muffin – Single Serve

A Raspberry Lemon Protein Mug Muffin is a quick and easy solution to breakfast in the morning - or as a healthy, single-serve dessert before bed!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.

calcium). This could vary slightly on the protein powder you are using.

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!

When life hands you lemons, ask for something with more protein!

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.Meyer Lemon Raspberry Protein Mug Muffin 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.

What’s your favorite quick-fix for breakfast? Have you ever had a Meyer Lemon? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Meyer Lemon Raspberry Protein Mug Muffin
Raspberry Lemon Protein Mug Muffin
Print Recipe
Enjoy a warm, delicious breakfast ready start to finish in 5 minutes! You'll be fueled with protein for your workout, run or busy morning. Gluten Free.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Protein Mug Muffin
Raspberry Lemon Protein Mug Muffin
Print Recipe
Enjoy a warm, delicious breakfast ready start to finish in 5 minutes! You'll be fueled with protein for your workout, run or busy morning. Gluten Free.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. In 12 ounce mug, add egg whites, egg white, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk together with fork until well combined.
  2. Add in protein powder, oat flour and stevia, if needed. Stir until combined.
  3. Add raspberries and gently fold in.
  4. Place mug in center of microwave and cook on high for 60 to 120 seconds, until batter no longer raw (but it will be very moist). Actual cooking time will depend on the strength of your microwave.
  5. Stand by and watch muffin cook so that it does not overflow -- if it starts to rise too much, simply stop microwave, let it settle, and then restart.
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