Red White and Blue Protein Pancakes

Happy 4th of July!  I’m sitting on our patio writing this post and can’t believe I’m not sweating my you-know-what off.  70 degrees, sunny, and less than the usual 99% humidity we usually have here around this time of year.  I’ll take it!

This morning I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and whipped up a batch of protein pancakes.  I of course had to go with a red, white, and blue theme because…why not?  At first bite, Matt thought these were “legit” (his words) pancakes, meaning unhealthy. Much to his surprise, they are actually paleo.  I love it when I trick him like that. 😉

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Strawberry Coconut Protein Pancakes

(serves 2, makes 5-6 pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • toppings of your choice!

Directions

Whisk together wet ingredients then add dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter onto heated griddle/pan using 1/4c measuring cup.  Flip when batter starts to bubble and firm up.  Add toppings of your choice! Today I used blueberries, honey, coconut and almond butter….and a little syrup.  Hey, it’s a holiday.

 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday!

Organic Matcha Green Tea

Over time, I’ve become quite the coffee lover (or dare I say, addict?) but there is a part of me that wants to be a tea addict, mainly for the health benefits…and because it doesn’t stain your teeth. 🙂 So, when I was given the opportunity to review Kiss Me Organics’ Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, I was excited to give it a try.

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Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder is 100% organic, tested for purity, and contains more than 137 times the antioxidants in regular brewed tea. Yes, 137x!  This Matcha powder is only available on Amazon and comes with a recipe guide that they give all first time customers.  You wouldn’t believe all of the recipes they came up with that can use the Matcha Green Tea Powder…everything from smoothies to salmon. No joke.

I decided to try a smoothie first (recipe below).  I have to admit, my first attempt tasted a little too strong for me and it was hard to get past the green tea taste.  I decreased the amount of powder in the next one and that helped a lot!  I paired it with eggs for some protein for breakfast and it was really refreshing!

The next recipe I decided to try was a green tea latte (recipe below). You know how I love my lattes. 🙂 Some of the recipes I’ve found call for boiled water and frothed milk but I took the easy (ahem, lazy) way out and just heated up the liquids in the microwave.  It was still delicious!  It gave me the energy I needed, without the crazy-caffeine feeling. Don’t get be wrong, I’m not saying I’m giving up my coffee, but it’s nice to know there is a good alternative out there!

Some of the other benefits include:

  • Increased Metabolism
  • Increased Focus
  • Improved Skin Health
  • and hellloooo Antioxidants!

You can read more about the benefits of Matcha here.

I love that it comes in powder form, so you can literally add it to almost any recipe for the antioxidant benefits.  The free recipe guide was a great added bonus because it has a ton of recipes I would never think of that include this Matcha Green Tea Powder.  Also, each serving size is only about 1/2-1 tsp (depending on the recipe) so this bag will last me a while!

A big thanks to Kiss Me Organics for the opportunity to try their product!  Now head on over to Amazon to get your own matcha powder! 🙂

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

DSC02036Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 heaping handful spinach
  • 1/2-1 tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

Blend and enjoy!

Matcha Green Tea Coconut Latte

DSC02153Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2-1 tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coconut milk
  • honey or sweetener (optional)

Directions

Heat water on the stove or in the microwave.  Whisk green tea powder with water then add milk and heat again, add sweetener.

Homemade LaraBars

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!  I know I for one really enjoyed an extra day of R&R. 🙂

When I did the Whole30 I was introduced to LaraBars.  Although “bars” are really supposed to be used sparingly during the Whole30, they were great to have on hand when I was in a bind because they are made of all natural and whole ingredients; no preservatives or ingredients that are impossible to pronnounce.

Since trying more of a paleo-esque lifestyle and especially after the Whole30, I’ve really learned to appreciate “whole” foods and how they affect my body in a positive way.  That means I look at foods that I used to consider staples a bit differently; one of which is protein bars.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a protein bar and/or whey protein, I have just learned that my body doesn’t react the same way to those ingredients as it did before.

I used to avoid snacks like LaraBars like the plague. So you’re saying there isn’t any protein in this? Thanks, but no thanks.  Now, I appreciate food with the least amount of ingredients as possible and since my meals consist of a little more “umph” of the right things (namely more good fats), I don’t have to default to processed protein-packed items like I used to.  That being said, I am on the search for a protein powder with little ingredients because I miss my protein shakes! 🙂

Since LaraBars can get a little expensive I decided to search for a homemade recipe I could easily make at home.  I mean, how hard can it be if all of the ingredients are natural, whole foods that essentially you can find at any grocery store, right? Right!

I found the best base recipe here and have already made many different combinations, depending on what ingredients I have on hand.

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To make 12 bars, here’s the basic breakdown I follow:

  • 2 cups nuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup other dried fruit (I always look for unsweetened and unsulfured.  Trader Joe’s has a few good options.)
  • 1 tsp spice

One of my (and Matt’s) favorites was my take on LaraBar’s Cherry Pie flavor.

Ingredients:

(makes 12 bars)

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup cherries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut (optional)

Directions:

Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until combined and all ingredients are finely chopped. Then, either press dough evenly in small cake pan and cut into bars or form into balls then refrigerate.

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Enjoy the short week!

Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow

After posting so many health-ified recipes lately, I think it’s about time for a good ‘ol cheat day recipe, no?  This is not Whole30-paleo-low-carb-sugar detox-Jillian Michaels approved.  Sorryimnotsorry.  So put on your stretchy pants and let’s get this party started.

My office had a “food day” to celebrate the Cardinals home opener on Monday.  Naturally, I signed up to bring a dessert and headed straight to my Pinterest board to find a recipe I have yet to try.  The lucky winner? Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have since found that it is actually physically impossible to stop eating this stuff.  Trust me, the struggle is real.

IMG_20140406_195658There are a million recipes on Pinterest for this but of course I had to make a few edits….which basically means I doubled the amount of chocolate.  What’s the point if every single morsel isn’t drenched in chocolate-y goodness anyway?

Ingredients:

For “cookies”:

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

For “cream”

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 1 24oz pkg vanilla almond bark
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

Directions:

(You will repeat this process twice, once for cookies and once for cream.)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (like this) on the stove, stirring frequently (for a makeshift double boiler, place a smaller pot inside a slightly larger one with a small amount of water in it and heat on the stove, this helps prevent burning of the chocolate).  For an less complicated option, slowly melt the chocolate in a bowl on low in the microwave, stirring frequently.  Be careful, as chocolate burns easily.  Place the chex in a large bowl and pour the chocolate on top, then stir until combined.  Place the powdered sugar and crushed Oreos in a large ziploc bag.  Pour the chocolate covered chex into the ziploc bag, close it and shake until the sugar/cookies are distributed evenly.  Repeat for the other half of the batch.

Combine the “cookies” and “cream” into a large container.  Crush the remaining Oreos (I used a family size package for this) and mix in with the chex.

Now for the most important direction – Eat your little heart out!

 

 

Dear Plantains, Where Have You Been All My Life?

It’s official.  I am obsessed with plantains and I have no idea why it took me so long to come to this conclusion.  A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Plantain Chips.  I didn’t think it could get much better….but then came the tortillas….and then the crackers.  I’m not going to pretend like I’m some genius who created these recipes out of thin air.  My (recent Paleo convert) mom told me about the tortilla recipe she found a few weeks ago and raved about them.   She also tried making pizza crust with them, which you better believe I will be doing sooner rather than later.  So of course, I had to share these little gems of recipes with you all!

The original recipe for the tortillas can be found here, at Fresh Tart.  The only difference is I used extra virgin olive oil instead of avocado oil because that’s what I had on hand.

DSC02028I definitely didn’t make mine thin enough but it ended up more like pita bread, which was amazing.  Matt couldn’t get over them!

Ingredients:

(Makes 12 tortillas)

  • 4 plantains, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Blend everything together in a food processor until you get a hummus-like consistency.  Spoon onto baking sheet (I covered mine in parchment paper) and spread until about 1/4in thick, or thicker if you want “pita bread”. 🙂  Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks and bake for 10-15 minutes longer.

I mixed shredded chicken with avocado to eat with the tortillas and it was really good!

IMG_20140326_185244And because there was a link on the page for Plantain Crackers, I of course had to take a gander.  Since I was in Betty Crocker mode already and my food processor was already a mess (does anyone else despise cleaning that thing?!) I decided to give them a whirl in the same night.

DSC02027I actually think I like these better than the Plantain Chips!  They really feel and taste like crackers and are much easier to make.

I found the original recipe here, at The Paleo Mom.  Again, only difference is I subbed the coconut oil for extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 plantains, peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you get a hummus-like consistency.  Spread on a small baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Cut into squares with a pizza cutter and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until lightly brown and crispy. According to the original recipe, sometimes hers took up to 80 minutes to bake.

 

Happy Friday!

Ladder Workout and Whole30 Snack

Sometimes when I go to the gym, all I want to do is put my brain on auto-pilot and get in and get out.  A good workout doesn’t always have to be multiple rounds of multiple reps and…wait am I on round 3 or round 4? Was this exercise supposed to be 30 seconds or 1 minute?  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good, intense workout but sometimes it’s nice to put together a short and sweet plan and get ‘er done.

Here’s a ladder workout that requires little to no equipment.  This can easily be done at home, just use a (sturdy!) chair for the box jumps and warm up by doing high knees, running your stairs, “fake” jump roping, etc.

Bodyweight Ladder WorkoutThe Easter egg theme was totally unintentional.  I think it’s my subconscious talking? #comeonspring

I know I’m making this the most random post ever, but I also wanted to share a fun appetizer recipe that is Whole30/Paleo approved! During the Whole30 challenge, Matt and I made it a point not to go out for dinner/drinks because…well, what’s the point?  If anything, the challenge certainly saved us a lot of money!  We did end up spontaneously having a few friends over one night and I was determined to whip up a few snacks that I could eat AND my guests would enjoy….also so I wasn’t a huge hostess-fail. These bacon wrapped dates are good any time, anywhere. Challenge or no challenge.  I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?

DSC02020Bacon Wrapped Dates

Cook bacon in a skillet until halfway done, then wrap around a date (pitted!) and secure with a toothpick. Bake at 350 until bacon is cooked through.  Frying the bacon before baking makes it a little crispier in the end.  I also only used about a half a piece of bacon per date, but it really depends on the ratio you prefer.

 

That’s all for today!  Make it a great one!