Be Mine! Sugar-free Strawberry Protein Truffles

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! Sugar Free Strawberry Protein Truffle - a low carb way to show your sweetite that you care this Valentine's Day. A sensible snack, post-workout treat or healthy dessert

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!

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6 Easy Strawberry + Protein Snack Recipes

Easy Protein and Strawberry Snack Ideasjennifer spartan training up and over cg arenaSchool’s out, sun’s out and guns are out and the skies the limit on all the fun and fit stuff that’s coming up in the next few months!

Not much could be sweeter about summer, except maybe a top-crop snack of strawberries. Strawberries balanced with a bit of protein are the perfect healthy snack to fuel the body for one warm-weather activity to the next.

On their own, strawberries are quite the super food, providing a quality source of simple carbohydrates that the body can turn into quick energy for runs, workouts and even power-thinking! The high fiber and water content found in this fruit creates a feeling of welcomed fullness, while keeping the calorie count low – a single medium strawberry only has 4 calories! Plus, a powerful wallop of vitamin C is packed in strawberries, an antioxidant that can help keep muscles, skin and tissues in tip-top shape – just eight strawberries match the vitamin C in a medium orange.

But often, especially for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, merely munching on a handful of berries alone won’t suffice. Pair up strawberries up with a lean protein source for added nutrients and a few extra calories to feel fuller and more fueled for the most vigorous daily routine. Also, eating a snack of carbohydrates with protein (in a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio) 30 minutes after an intense exercise session will help tired and sore muscles recover more quickly.

Check out these Six Strawberry Protein Snacks that can be made in a snap and will fuel you up for running, workouts, climbing and reaching for the sky!

 

Strawberry Banana Mug Muffin with Core PowerClick here for first recipe Strawberry Banana Protein Mug Muffin (20g protein)

Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries & Fit Foodie 5k

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! If you’re looking to surprise your mom with a gourmet treat my Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries are a bold choice! I always see chocolate-dipped berries at the store, but this sweet-savory fruit option makes the perfect prelude to dinner, especially when paired with a glass of wine or sparkling water.

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!

This fruit and cheese recipe is also a spectacular appetizer to bring to either a fancy cocktail party or casual backyard get-together. It can just be our little secret that this healthy recipe only takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, and no cooking! And, I’m partial to Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles from Litehouse Foods, look for it in the gourmet cheese section of your market.  Recipe at the bottom of the post!

The Fit Foode 5k and Race Weekend in Austin, TXAnd, speaking of healthy, yummy food, I want to announce that the Fit Foodie Race Weekend will be in Austin June 24 – 26, 2016. You DO NOT want to miss the epic event for the health-minded epicurean! I have been an ambassador for the race all three years it’s come to Austin, and it is absolutely my favorite 5k! Hosted by Cooking Light and Health Magazine, this is a food and fitness lover’s weekend dream come true – running, workouts and really good food!  There are pre-race parties and post-race parties and yoga, workouts, cooking demos and an over-the-top expo area – as they say, calories burned, calories earned!  The Fit Foodie Race Weekend really is amazing! Plus, this year, marathon superstars Bill Rodgers and Ryan Hall will be making appearance – I’m bringing my selfie stick! Early registration is only $35 for the 5k and entrance into the John Hancock Vitality Village.  Plus, use my discount code FITFORK for an additional 10% off! Register HERE!

Do you have a favorite fruit appetizer? Have you ever run the Fit Foodie 5k (in addition to Austin, the race is also in San Diego, Fairfax and Tampa)? Or, tell me one of your top fun 5ks! Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer 

 

 

 

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: appetizers
Instructions
  1. Slice strawberries in half lengthwise, leaving some of the green top on each half.
  2. With the back of a spoon, scoop out a very small amount of the inner flesh if the berry doesn’t naturally have a significant hollowed center.
  3. In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, blue cheese and walnuts with a small spatula until well combined.
  4. Place about a 1 teaspoon dollop of cheese mixture in the center of each berry half, slightly pressing down to “set” in place.
  5. Drizzle strawberries with honey and sprinkle on a bit more blue cheese, if desired.
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Blue Cheese Strawberry Salad with Spring Veggies

Strawberry Blue Cheese Cucumber Salad small bowlNot only is it Monday, but it’s raining! I’m going to brighten up my mid-day meal with this Strawberry Blue Cuke Salad (aka Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad with Cucumber and Snap Peas), it’s bursting with fresh flavors and a palette of eye-popping colors.  It’s definitely the super-delicious, super-healthy silver-lining to being stuck-inside over the lunch hour!Blue Cheese Strawberry Salad with Cucumber and Snap Peas makes a fresh, fit and flavorful addition to your spring and summer table.

I originally developed this recipe for the Living Litehouse Blog as a way to feature their insanely delicious Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing.  Head over there to check out my Four Tips for a Sensational Salad. I know all the salad-eating secrets and how to keep the love for lettuce alive – I should, since I gobble up about 365 big salads a year!!

Shrimp sauteed with Cajun spicesMeanwhile, make a bowlful of this beautiful goodness and share family-style with those you love. I’m showing this salad as a side today, but I’ll often turn it into apan sauteed shrimp, grilled chicken breast, or chickpeas to add some sustaining protein for the day.

Strawberry Blue Cuke Salad

Or, bottle up this easy salad in a mason jar to take for lunch on-the-go at the office, school or gym.  Just remember the number one tip with jar salads, put the dressing on the bottom and layer upward according to the durability of the ingredients – heartiest go low, fragile an prone to wilt go higher. Check out more jar salad tips hereStrawberries, Snap Peas and StrawberriesDue to my Kitchenaid Spiralizer Attachment addiction, I processed the cucumbers up into twisty-twirly ribbons. But, feel free to use slices or julienned strips. Enjoy!

Check out these blogs I’m linking up with today: The Fit Foodie MamaHello to FitFairy BurgerChocolate Runner GirlConfessions of a Mother Runner, , Running on Happy

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.comAlso, don’t forget to check out 4 Ways to Eat a Bean Burger and enter my giveaway for $25 Visa Gift Card

 

What is your favorite fruit topping for a salad? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Blue Cheese Strawberry Salad with Cucumbers and Snap Peas
Print Recipe
Blue cheese and strawberries make a bold and delicious combination -- add to crunch cucumber spirals and sugar snap peas for a crunch and colorful addition to your spring and summer table.
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 10 minutes
Blue Cheese Strawberry Salad with Cucumbers and Snap Peas
Print Recipe
Blue cheese and strawberries make a bold and delicious combination -- add to crunch cucumber spirals and sugar snap peas for a crunch and colorful addition to your spring and summer table.
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare cucumbers with spiralizer or use vegetable peeler to make long ribbons by swiping end to end. Place prepped cucumber in colander and rinse away any seeds (even “seedless” have some) and let drain for 5 minutes.
  2. Hull and quarter strawberries.
  3. Cut sugar snap peas in half crosswise or larger ones in thirds. Slice a few open lengthwise at the seam to show off peas inside.
  4. Layer in jar in this order: dressing, cucumbers, strawberries, snap peas, and blue cheese. Or, toss with dressing and serve in bowl or on platter.
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Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate #BeeSweet + Giveaway

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate uses Honey Crystals, Fresh Strawberries, and Fat Free Milk that froths up!This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to my Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate – it’s a mug of hot, steamy love. There is no better way to warm up on February 14th, with the exception of a great big hug from your honey. Homemade from the heart, your favorite guy or girl will be tickled pink to sip away at this berry blissful beverage – and you’ll fall in love with how simple it is to make. Read to the bottom for giveaway.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Oh, and something else to adore – instead of fake flavorings, peculiar preservatives and corn syrup sweeteners found in many hot chocolate mixes, this made-from-scratch recipe uses fat-free milk (for the best frothing!), real strawberries and just a touch of added sweetness from Nektar Honey Crystals.

Healthy Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Can you believe this recipe makes it’s own whipped cream?! Well, not really cream, but the air that gets whipped up while blending makes a nice creamy top that is dense enough to hold sprinkles or colored sugar! I don’t really know the science behind it, but fat-free milk works the best for creating foam in the blender or with a frother. If you don’t do dairy, you can swap out for almond, coconut or cashew milk and still end up with a delicious drink.

Dark Chocolate Pretzels Covered with Nektar Honey CrystalsSince this recipe isn’t over-the-top sugary sweet, indulge your loved one with the perfect pairing – Dark Chocolate Covered & Nektar Honey-Crystal Dusted Pretzels. Ahh, strawberry hot chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels ARE a delicious duo, trust me!

And, it’s always tasteful to express your sentiments with food, words are also nice! Send a FREE “HoneyGram” to your sweetie – along with your personalized note comes with a complementary packet of Nektar Honey Crystals to melt your loved one’s heart. Go HERE to send a HoneyGram – hurry, ends 2/7!

Nektar Honey Crystals productsI first discovered Nektar Honey Crystals when looking for a way to pre-sweeten the homemade holiday tea bags I was gifting family and friends  – you must check out my DIY Tea Bag post, it’s genius. You also need to check out Nektar Honey Crystals, an equally clever and convenient idea Forget about the sticky mess usually associated with honey, these 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the familiar flavor of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten free – pick up a bottle of spoonable crystals or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart and also enter my giveaway at the end of this post!

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Kiss of Honey Strawberry Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

  • 8 ounces fat-free (skim) milk
  • 2 to 3 large strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 ounce quality white chocolate, broken into bits
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Nektar Honey Crystals (depending on sweetness preference)
  • Garnish: colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired

To make, place milk and strawberries in a blender.  Blend together for approximately 45 seconds until strawberries are incorporated and froth areating up on top (strangely enough, skim milk works much better than higher fat milks).

Place blended mixture into small saucepan along with honey crystals and white chocolate.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently until white chocolate is melted and drink is heated through. Pour into 12-ounce mug, top with colored sugar or spinkles if desired.

Enter giveaway below to try a bottle of Nektar Honey Crystals!

This post and giveaway sponsored by Nektar Naturals, however the recipe, opinions and enthusiasm are all mine! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Healthy Recipe Pins from 2015

First of all — HAPPY NEW YEAR! Before I move forward into 2016 with all the healthy recipe ideas that are bouncing around in my head, I wanted to share my most loved recipe pins from the last 12 months. If we’re not already following each other on Pinterest, let’s connect today!  So, here you go — a collection of pins that are my most popular. Top Healthy Recipe Pins from TheFitFork.com

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash – This simple-to-make sweet potato dish is paired up with cauliflower for a creamy, dreamy side dish for Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. This side dish recipe has been pinged on Good Housekeeping, Canadian Running Magazine, Glamour and a zillion food, health and wellness blogs.

(Slow Cooker) Salted Chocolate Caramel Crunch –  Crunchy cereal, pretzels and an assortment of nuts get a sweet upgrade with a coating of caramel and chocolate. The secret surprise is that this easy snack mix recipe is made in the slow cooker!

Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos – This summer-inspired vegetarian meal is quick and easy dinner solution for the patio – when the season passes, just swap out the zucchini for a winter squash like butternut!

Balsamic Slow Roasted Tomatoes – Scrumptious beyond imagination, this easy veggie recipe turns what I consider to be a typically bland tomato (if purchased from a consumer grocery store) into a magical topping for salads, eggs, steaks, pasta and more.   Also, freezeable!

Mom’s Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad – This versatile veggie salad can be served as a side dish, atop a bed of lettuce or as a relish for tacos.  Inspired by my mom’s family favorite recipe and kicked up with a little of my chipotle chili powder addiction. A winner in the California All-American Avocado Recipe Contest.

Brain-Boosting Cinnamon Peach Smoothie – One of the things I love most being a healthy food bloggers is explaining how the ingredients in my recipes help optimize well-being. For example,  the cinnamon and natural sugars in this smoothie recipe help improve alertness and brain function – the perfect snack for study sessions or work day pick-me-ups.

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce – I made this quirky barbeque sauce to accompany my Brisket Tacos with Watermelon Rind Relish for the SXSW Taco Takedown in Austin this year.  Basically, in Austin, the weirder and wackier the better and this crazy condiment stole the show!

Southwestern Steak Chili – This delicious chili recipe fills the kitchen with the scent of smoky, spicy goodness and just might cause a stampede to the table. A bowl full (or two) makes a hearty, happy and healthy meal for even the hungriest hombres in your home.

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – Not only is this strawberry tart gorgeous, it’s better for you made with protein-packed Greek yogurt and a gluten-free chocolate crust. A stunning finale to any celebration or Sunday dinner.

Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.comAlso, don’t miss my Running and Fitness Recap (with Bloopers) from last week.

 

 

 

 

 

And, because everyone else is doing it (haha), my #BestNine2015 on Instagram. These are the nine most “liked” posts, but not necessarily my favorite – it’s a bunch of abs, inversions and the peculiarly popular yellow shorts.

Best Nine 2015 on Instagram - @TheFitForkl

What is YOUR favorite recipe of 2015? Please share the link or just give me the down and dirty description in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

6 Ways Strawberries Aid Athletes + Best Berry Recipes

Someday I will have a strawberry patch in my garden  . . . I just need to work on getting that garden first!  In the meantime, I’ll continue to visit my favorite produce departments and farmers’ markets, greedily buying up all the plump and pretty berries in my quest for the sweetest and juiciest picks of spring.

Six Ways Strawberries Aid Athletes

Strawberries are not only sweet-tooth satisfying; they are a superfood that should be part of an athlete’s training diet.  I eat strawberries to keep my performance and recovery at a peak – here are the top six reasons why:

  1. An entire cup (about 12 medium berries) of strawberries has only 50 calories and serves as a source of quick energy thanks to healthy complex carbohydrates.
  2. A serving (one cup) of strawberries provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C. This antioxidant offers a host of important benefits for athletes, including immune system protection and helping the body to recover and repair from intense workouts.
  3. The flesh and seeds of strawberries are a sensible source of dietary fiber, an important nutrient that keeps you from feeling hungry right away and also helps to keep digestion moving along.  Fiber also helps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, according to many studies.
  4. Strawberries are a great source of potassium and magnesium, essential minerals that are lost through sweat. Runners and other endurance athletes (one hour of consistent exercise or more) require more of these minerals to keep electrolyte balances in check. These minerals are also good for bone health.
  5. Strawberries contain a compound called nitrate that has positive effects on blood flow and oxygen around the body. Some studies have shown nitrates can increase the flow of blood & oxygen to the muscles by as much as 7 percent. This can help prevent muscle fatigue, making exercise easier.
  6.  Strawberries contain an antioxidant called quercetin . This plant pigment has been shown to play a role in heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Some scientists studying exercise biochemistry suggest quercetin may enhance endurance and overall athletic performance by serving as an anti-inflammatory agent, improving mitochondrial (energy) function in cells, and boosting the central nervous system with a caffeine-like jolt.

So, enough about how strawberries can benefit runners and other athletes and on to the yummy stuff —  strawberry recipes!  I recently made a quick and easy recipe for Strawberry Blackberry Greek Yogurt Chia Pudding and Shooters for Litehouse Foods. This healthy recipes work as a sustaining breakfast, sensible dessert or nutritious post-workout snack – in addition to the goodness of strawberries, this “pudding” is packed with chia seeds and Greek yogurt for an extra punch of protein.

Berry Greek Yogurt Chia Pudding

For the Strawberry Blackberry Chia Shots, all you do is thin the recipe down with a little extra milk (2%, coconut, almond, soy, etc).  It’s a refreshing alternative to a smoothie!

Strawberry Blackberry Chia Shots

And, speaking of refreshing, how about a scoop of Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Sherbet on a warm spring day?

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - roasted strawberry coconut mile sherbet 1

My Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart (with Paleo Chocolate Crust) has always been a big winner in the spring and is a gorgeous addition to an Easter dinner, graduation or other special celebration.

strawberry yogurt pie

What is your favorite way to eat strawberries?

Fast, Fit Family Valentine Dinners – Mix and Match Menu

10 Ideas for Mix and Match Family Valentine Dinner - TheFitFork.comHas your week of work, working out and kids’ activities been more jam-packed and crazy than a floral shop filled with frantic husbands and boyfriends fighting for the last bouquet? Well, don’t fret that you haven’t made a menu for Valentine’s Day, I’ve got you covered!  Check out my ideas for quick-to-make, kid-friendly dinner ideas that provide the quality nutrition you love!  I have three ideas each for salads, entrees and desserts — plus a bonus baked heart fries recipe– feel free to mix and match!

SALADS:

Spinach Strawberry SaladStrawberry Spinach Salad – This beautiful berry salad will get any spinach avoider to start eating greens!

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Heart Salad

 

Simple Green Salad with Cucumber Cutouts – Dress up a simple green salad with cucumbers punched out in the center with a small heart cookie cutter.

 

 

 

 

Grapefrut and Hearts of Palm Salad

Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad – Fall in love with the sweet-tart zing of this salad from Cooking Light. If you think the kids won’t like the slightly nutty, semi-firm texture of palm hearts (but I think they will), simply swap for another veggie.

 

 

 

 

ENTREES:

Give Me Amore Pizza

Give Me Amore Pepperponi Pizza

Give Me Some Amore Pizza with Quick Homemade Sauce – The kids will be begging for one more slice of this super-quick, convenience crust pizza that features homemade sauce made quickly in the blender (no simmering required).

Fish Baked in Parchment Paper

Herbed Cod with Vegetables in Papillote – This recipe I made for Litehouse foods sounds like it should be learned in a French culinary school, but it’s really super easy! Just wrap up ingredients in parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes!

 

 

 

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steak - TheFitFork.com

Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – You can’t fail with a filet – and caramelized with spices and grilled to perfection, you will win Valentine’s Day dinner hands down.  Oh, and not only is tenderloin super tender (duh), it’s one of the leaner cuts!

 

 

 

 

DESSERTS:

Chocolate Yogurt Tart with Strawberries - TheFitFork.comStrawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – This better-for-you dessert features a grain free crust, creamy filling made with stevia-sweetened Greek yogurt, and lots of lush berries on top.

 

 

 

Strawberry Yogurt Chocolate Ice Cream TopperChocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Topping  – I love this fun idea from friend Emily at the Litehouse Foods blog, she transformed Green yogurt fruit dip into a frozen “bark” to use as garnish on a favorite flavor of ice cream.

 

 

 

Strawberries and Chocolate Dip - TheFitFork.com

Berries with Chocolate Dip – Simple, sensible and a real sanity saver if you haven’t anything planned for dessert

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Lover's Oven Potato Fries for Valentines - TheFitFork.comThese were a popular recipe from last week — Herb Lover’s Oven Potato Fries