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 →
National Popcorn Day is coming up (January 19th) and that’s a food holiday on my food bucket list . . . my literal list of foods to eat from a bucket (haha)! But, seriously, popcorn is totally worth its salt as a snack food, it’s a healthy whole grain (a seed, actually) that is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free and a great source of dietary fiber. It’s inexpensive and delicious gobbled up simply fresh-popped or drizzled, coated or tossed with any number of other yummy things. And, “yummy things” is the segue into my recipe for Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn.
Yes, Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn! It’s like a coffee house and a movie theater hooked up and produced hundreds of perky little chocolatey offspring. It’s just so delicious, and you don’t even have to feel guilty – only 99 sugar-free calories!
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! The 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.
I 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!
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
1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
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
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.
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.
It’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!
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.
Seriously, 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!
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!
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.
With temperatures topping out over 90 degrees yesterday and bluebonnets popping up everywhere, it’s safe to say spring has definitely sprung in Austin. And, just in time for SXSW , paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and running the trails over Spring Break. This time last year I was making my Watermelon Brisket Tacos in the SXSW Taco Takedown, that was definitely a #KeepAustinWeird day. This year I am nursing some battle wounds from Spartan Houstonand the Crossfit Games 16.4 Open WOD. However, nothing serious enough from keeping me out of the kitchen.
Today, I’m sharing a protein snack that is fitting for the warm-weather season – Raspberry Lemonade Protein Bites. The sweet-tart zing of this no-bake recipe will remind you of sipping on a refreshing glass of raspberry lemonade on the porch.
Perfect for a post-workout snack or grab-and-go breakfast, these protein bites have about 5g protein and 65 calories per bite and are gluten-free, nut-free and have no-added sugar.
Make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer so you always have a healthy snack at hand – and, if you love the flavor combo of raspberries and lemons and have a five minutes to make breakfast, you’ll love my Raspberry Lemonade Protein Mug Muffin recipe.
Here are some important words of wisdom I have for you- haha:
By the way, I’ve added maca powder to this protein bite recipe for an extra nutrition boost. Maca, a root vegetable indigenous to Peru, has been beloved for thousands of years for its ability to improve stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. Maca root and maca powder includes vital nutrients including healthy fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. If you want to omit, just replace with an equal amount of gluten-free baking mix.
It’s hard to believe that the vibrant fushia red color dusted on these protein bits is all natural and not some weird artificial dye mixed into sugar. Instead, the clever ingredient is simply raspberry powder I made by pulverizing freeze-dried raspberriesin a zip-top bag with a rolling pin! This raspberry dust would also be fun and festive mixed into yogurt, sprinkled on your Easter desserts or even rimmed on a cocktail or healthy beverage.
Add protein powder, almond meal, maca powder and salt to bowl and stir until combined. Mix in coconut oil, lemon juice and mix until everything incorporated. Mixture should be a bit crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If too dry, add a few more drops of lemon juice. If too wet, add a dry ingredient like a gluten-free baking blend, more almond meal or more protein powder a half-tablespoon at a time.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough, form into 12 balls rolling between the palms of your hands.
Place freeze-dried raspberries in small zip-top bag and use rolling pin or side of coffee mug to pulverize. Add a lemon ball, one at a time, into the sealed bag and shake to coat with raspberry dust.
May be kept covered in air-tight container in refrigerator for a week or freezer for several months. Makes 12.
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.
Eating almonds may boost athletic endurance, or so says a recent study published the Journal of International Sports Nutrition. Professional cyclists in the study snacked on either almonds or cookies over the course of four weeks. At the conclusion, almond eaters made the most improvements on bike time trials and researchers concluded that eating almonds helped mobilize more previously reserved carbohydrates rather than breaking down fat as an energy source during intense exercise. To put it simply, almonds are a food for superheros on the course — you may not BONK or HIT THE WALL (as quickly) is you’ve noshed on some almonds leading up to and during intense exercise like long runs, Spartan races, triathlons, ultra marathons and more. Almonds are also a great source of energy-boosting manganese and copper, minerals which minimize the damage free radicals can do to the mitochondria that power our cells and also help keep electrolyte levels in check. Salty almonds, yum!
Whether you are a hard-core athlete or not, the nutrient profile of almonds is a natural fit for fueling healthy, active lifestyles.
A 1-ounce serving of almonds (about 23 almonds, a handful or ¼ cup) has 6g protein, 4g fiber, heart-healthy fats, and lots of vitamin E and other important nutrients – and 163 calories (much less than a candy bar).
Another thing I appreciate about almonds? Almonds are super portable and can go anywhere – toss a handful in a little container and stick in your purse, gym bag, backpack or race belt.
I also like to toss almonds in with fresh fruits for a carb-protein balanced pre or post workout snack.
Sometimes I get “fancy” with almonds and use them in a recipe, here is one of my favorites that is perfect for on-the-go snacking!
Oh, FYI, I just wanted to know that I’m now sharing my recipe on as a publisher on Yummly, visit my Yummly Page! Also, use the Yum button below (in the bar of share buttons) to save my recipes to your personal recipe box on Yummly. If you’re not familiar with Yummly, you should be — it’s a huge recipe database that not only features a digital recipe box for you to save your favorites but also recipe recommendations, shopping lists, and supporting Iphone and Android apps to help you with meal ideas on the go!
We are several weeks into 2016 and I’m checking in to report how I’m sticking with my New Year’s health and wellness best intentions. Increasing my flexibility? Taking baby steps, but to say I’m there is a stretch! Sleeping better? Still just day dreaming about it. Drinking more water? That’s a check! Keeping with my fitness routine? Of course, that’s the fun part of my day! Whipping up creative protein-rich meals and snacks? Naturally – some good things never change!
One thing that hasn’t changed for me over many, many years is my love for Yoplait® yogurt. I have my “old friend” flavors, like Vanilla that is yummy just as it is or as the base for my many fit foodie creations, and new favorites like Plenti already packed with wholesome ingredients. I don’t think my taste buds will ever get bored with Yoplait® — with 125 flavors in the Yoplait® family and my imagination, I think I could come up with a new way to “1-Up My Cup” of yogurt every day for the rest of my life!
Love the Everyday Low Price on Yoplait at Walmart!
For example, adding a little carton of Greek 100 is a great way to pump up my smoothies with a creamy texture and boost of protein. Adding berries, bananas, chocolate chips and some sugar-free chocolate syrup makes a healthy sundae I would feel good about eating every day of the week! Oh, and I’ve made a million yogurt parfaits, put yogurt atop my pancakes, and dipped fruit slices into dessert-like flavors such as Red Velvet Cupcake, Strawberry Cheesecake and Boston Cream Pie! So, are you ready to 1-Up YOUR Cup? Today, I’m sharing Dreamy Orange Vanilla Fluff in an Orange Bowl — a frosty and fit treat made with Orange Crème Light Yoplait®. The Orange Crème is from the “Light” line which is one of my favorite as I’m always looking for ways to avoid added sugar.
Love I can count on the Everyday Low Price on Yoplait® at Walmart.
I’m also happy to report that Yoplait® now adds NO aspartame to any of their flavors and they are easy to stock up on at your local Walmart — that’s where I find all the best flavors!
My recipe for Dreamy Orange Vanilla Fluff in an Orange Bowl incorporates vanilla protein powder to provide even more protein– after intense workouts and long runs, I need to PUMP IT UP with 20 to 25 grams of protein to help my taxed muscles recover. Yoplait® helps me get a good start on that goal as I 1-Up my Cup! This easy recipe doesn’t necessarily need to be served in an orange “bowl” and be tweaked to work with any of the yogurt flavors that appeal to you – how amazing would Chocolate Cherry Cupcake Fluff be?!
Slice oranges (or tangerines) in half crosswise. Use serrated spoon to carefully remove segments, leaving outer peel intact. Set scooped out “bowls” aside.
Squeeze juice out of extracted citrus segments (approximately ¼ cup). Use whisk to incorporate protein powder, adding a bit more juice or water if mixture gets too thick – but it should be pudding like.
Gently fold in yogurt until just combined. Spoon into orange cups.
Place in freezer to set up along with any excess “fluff” still in bowl. To serve, top filled oranges with remaining semi-frozen fluff and a sprinkling of chocolate chips and pistachios.