Archive | August, 2013

Strawberry Peanut Butter Shake

31 Aug

I use to love peanut butter and jellies.

Actually, they still taste delicious sometimes when I’m needing something simple.  But the kind I use to make weren’t necessarily the healthiest. Jellies packed with processed sugar, peanut butter packed with vegetable oil, sugar, and sodium, and I can’t forget that delicious, hearty white bread. Now I usually turn to Ezekiel bread, homemade raw nut butters, and fresh fruit for my healthy spin on a PB&J. But let’s get back to the real reason of this post.

Today was game day down here in sunny Gainesville, FL, aka, the swamp for my fellow gators! I was feeling so dehydrated after the game, that I knew I needed to eat something substantial yet refreshing. This was the perfect match.


My first order of Casein protein powder also just came in! So I decided to try it out in this lovely shake. The mix of the French Vanilla powder, coupled with the peanut butter and strawberry flavors, was spot on. I couldn’t have asked for a better “post-game” refreshing yet satisfying drink!


PB&J Protein Shake
-1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
-1 cup water or almond milk
-1 cup frozen strawberries
-2 T peanut flour
-1 teaspoon natural peanut butter
-.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 packet stevia
-Optional: 3T rolled oats for a heartier shake!

Directions: Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!


Strawberry Benefits
1) Excellent source of Vitamin C: 1 cup has 100% of your needed daily intake
2) Aids in eye health: antioxidant properties in strawberries prevent cataracts and protects your eyes from sun’s UV rays
3) Helps fight cancer: ellagic acid, a phytochemical, yields anti-cancer properties
4) Prevent wrinkles: Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, which improves skin’s elasticity and resilience
5) Lowers bad cholesterol: Ellagic acid and flavonoids—or phytochemicals—can provide an antioxidant effect that can benefit heart health in various ways
6) Reduces inflammation: antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints
7) Lowers blood pressure: due to the high amount of potassium (134 g per serving)
8) High in fiber: protects from intestinal problems and also slows absorption of sugars in the blood.
9) Aids in weight loss: only 28 calories per serving, fat free, and low in sugar
10) Promotes prenatal health: High in folate, which is recommended for pregnant women or women trying to conceive.

Peanut Benefits
1)Rich in energy, containing many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
2)Good levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids
3)Good source of dietary protein
4)Great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant found to protect against cancers, heart disease, and fungal infections
5)Excellent source of vitamin E, which maintains and protects cell membranes and skin
6)Packed with B vitamins


Breakfast Burger w/ Sweet Potato Waffle Buns+Apple & Cheese Bun Burger

29 Aug

Yes, another competition. A burger one. But this girl doesn’t eat real burgers much, so in order to participate, I made a couple of unique “burgers”.

No burger was actually involved. Haha, I’m not sure if that totally defeats the burger name, but I seem to think not.

One was a breakfast burger, made with waffle buns and egg. And guess what came with the breakfast burger? French toast fries!. The other burger used apple “grilled cheese” buns with a chicken burger. Have you ever had apples and cheese together? It’s a great mix!

Very interesting combinations, and very delicious outcomes. If you want a healthy yet fun spin to the typical burger, these are surely ones to try!


Breakfast Waffle Burger with French Toast Fries

1/2 cup oat four
1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/2 tsp sea salt+baking powder
1 packet stevia

1 egg, cooed on stove
2 slices of avocado
2 baby tomatoes

French Toast Fries
-1 slice Ezekiel bread
-1/4 cup egg whites
-1/4 cup almond milk
-1T honey or stevia

Directions: Combine all waffle ingredients and cook in waffle maker until browned. Place cooked egg, avocado, and tomato slices on 1/4 of the big waffle. Place another 1/4 on top. Save other half of waffle for another day! Cut bread into 4 slices. Combine milk, egg white, and honey in shallow bowl. Soak slices of bread in mixture and cook in pan on stove until all sides are browned and crispy. Serve with burger.


Apple Grilled Cheese Burger

-chicken/turkey burger, cooked
-red onion slices
-1 dried fig, sliced
-spinach leaves

For Buns:
-4 slices of thick apple
-1/4 cup cottage cheese
-1/4 shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Mix 2T each of cottage cheese and cheddar cheese together. Place between two apple slices. Repeat with other 2T and 2 apple slices. Place in pan on stove on medium high heat until cheese is melted on the inside of the “grilled cheese”. Place on “grilled cheese on plate, place burger, fig, spinach, and red onion on it, and top with other “grilled cheese”.

Protein Pumpkin Pie in a Squash

23 Aug

Fall is almost here..and you know what that means! Lots and lots of pumpkin recipes!

I have always seen people bake something inside of a squash, and have always wanted to try it myself. Yesterday, when I finally found time in my busy college schedule to get back in the kitchen for a couple hours, I knew exactly what I wanted to try.


Pumpkin Pie. In an edible, delicious Acorn Squash “bowl”?! With this being high in protein, there is no guilt making this recipe! Squashes are a great source of healthy carbs, and are relatively low in calories along with having many nutritional benefits. Ad pumpkin, well it’s a superfood! There are too many good things I could say about pumpkin. But I will say I am slightly obsessed:)

This is a perfect, single serving Protein Pumpkin Pie to make when having those Fall sweet cravings. Or  any cravings! This will meet your every desire :)


Protein Pumpkin Pie
-1/2 acorn squash
-1 scoop all natural vanilla whey protein
-1/4 cup pure pumpkin, canned
-1/4 cup baking stevia
-1/2 cup liquid egg whites
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-Dash of each: nutmeg, cloves, ginger, sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle squash will a touch of coconut oil, and place half into preheated oven for 10 minutes. While in oven, combine all other ingredients in a bowl. Add more sweetener if desired. Remove squash after 10 minutes. Pour pumpkin pie ingredients into the “bowl” (deep portion) of the squash. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is slightly soft and pumpkin pie filling has formed a browned top. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy


Squash Benefits:
1)Iron rich, comparable to red meat!
2)Rich in Calcium-22% more calcium than milk
3)High in vitamin A
4)Low in fat
5)Fiber content is higher than most vegetables
6)Excellent source of beta-carotene
7)Rich in magnesium (important in activating enzymes required for muscle and nerve function)

Taco Salad in a Jar

21 Aug

Raising the Bar on Food in a Jar. 

Mason jars used to be just for canning – but now they may be more likely used for overnight oats. How do you do food in a jar? I’m raising the bar on food in a jar today.

Did you know that jars are the perfect way to bring salads on the go? Those giant 32 ounce mason jars are perfect for this. When Recipe Redux released it’s theme this month as food in a jar, I knew what I wanted to do!


Salads are the perfect summer meal. Cool, crisp, and refreshing. Oh, and did I mention, an extremely healthy option? However those taco salads you can order out, are usually anything but nutritious. Did you know that a simple chicken taco salad at Taco Bell is over 750 calories and 60 grams of fat?! That is what scares me. People think salad, and they think chicken, and order a meal like that, thinking that they are eating healthy. Unfortunately, choosing to buy rather than pack your lunch comes with a big price.

This is why I have created a healthy option that still has all those delicious flavors. But with not near as much fat. Or calories. I’m not one to keep count of the calories I eat, but over 750 for a simple salad?! I knew there must be a better option.

Meet my 32 ounce mason jar. It is one of my best friends when taking food on the go. I fill it with smoothies and shakes to take with me all the time (like this or this one), but I decided to spice it up from the typical smoothie today. Mason jar, meet delicious salad.


Ground turkey instead of beef, chick peas instead of the typical beans, fresh raw corn. All the flavors you love about a taco. Without the greasy shell. But you may ask, how do you keep your salad becoming soggy? Meet my mini bottle used to carry salad dressing. I found a pack of 3 of these for only 2.99! They are the absolute best for salads on the go, as you keep the salad dressing off the salad until just before eating :) Fill it with dressing of choice, or even just some salsa to go on top of that salad. Whichever you would like. No mater what you choose, you win when you pack this salad to go.


Taco Salad in a Jar
-1/2 cup ground turkey, cooked
-1/2 cup raw corn
-1/2 cup chick peas, drained and rinsed
-1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
-1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
-1.5 cups lettuce, cut

Dressing to go:
-Healthy Ranch Dressing (found here)
-Dressing of choice

Directions: Obtain a 32 ounce mason jar. In the order listed, place all ingredients into jar. Finish off jar with lettuce, to prevent any wilting. Choose dressing of choice and fill any tiny to go container with dressing. Don’t forget a fork! :)

Tomato Benefits
1)Low in calories
2)High in vitamin C
3)Good source of vitamins A,K,folate and potassium
4)Provides thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper
5)Source of fiber
6)High water content
7)Source of beta-carotene and lycopene (good skin protectors)

Chickpea Benefits
1) Great source of protein and fiber ( 1 cup has 10g fiber and 12g protein)
2) Rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc
3) Can improve your circulatory and heart health
4) Fiber aids in a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol

Turkey Benefits:
1) One 3.5 oz serving is packed with 30 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat
2) Loaded with B vitamins:phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and iron
3)Rich in Selenium–antioxidant necessary for thyroid metabolism
4)Contains tryptophan–amino acid that triggers serotonin production and aids in sleep

Vanilla Latte Chia Pudding

20 Aug



Haha yep, remember those green plants that would grow out of some type of fun shaped pot?! Well they aren’t only for growing great plant decorations anymore. They have entered into the healthy eating world now my friends. I mentioned how healthy chia seeds are in a couple posts back. But boy do they add a great texture as well.

Typical puddings usually have some type of unhealthy ingredient to thicken, whether it be the typical heavy cream, which is full of fat, or an artificial ingredient, which needs no more explanation. But say hello to these little black seeds. They may just become your new best friend. They are the perfect thickening agent for any recipe. A healthy and all-natural thickener with many benefits!

DSC_0090You may have seen some chia seed recipes around the internet before, as it’s quickly becoming popular. But this vanilla latte flavor was incredible. What sparked the flavor idea? Well, I can’t say it was my creativity actually. It was more of the fact that I had leftover vanilla flavored coffee one morning that I didn’t want to drink. And thought, hmmm, why not?!

I am most certainly happy I didn’t want the rest of my coffee that day, because what came from it was an amazing, simple snack that I will surely be making more often.


Vanilla Latte Chia Pudding
-1/2 cup Strong Coffee
-1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
-3 T Chia Seeds (4 for thicker consistency)
-1 packet Stevia
-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Directions: Combine all ingredients in mug or small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, to allow it to thicken. Remove and sprinkle with extra cinnamon. Enjoy alone with a spoon, make it into a parfait, or serve alongside a cookie/biscotti.

Chia Seed Benefits
1) Combats Diabetes: with its gelatinous coating it can prevent blood sugar spikes, and is also slow digesting which has lead to it being a possible treatment for diabetes
2) High in fiber: just 1 oz. has 1/3 of daily needed amount
3) Packed with Omega 3 Fatty Acids
4) Supports Bone and Teeth Health: packed with calcium
5) High in Manganese: an essential mineral for your bones
6) Rich in Phosphorous: aids body in synthesizing protein for cell and also maintaining healthy bones
7) High in protein: great source for vegetarians
8) Fights Belly Fat: it’s stabilizing affect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which is tied to an increase of belly fat
9) Contain tryptophan: also found in turkey, it is responsible for regulating appetite and improving sleep
10) Improves heart health

Coffee Benefits:
1) It may lower risk of death according to studies performed
2) Lowers risk of cancer in the reproductive system
3) Lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
4) Help protect your brain
5) Great for skin/decreases skin cancer due to caffeine
6) Reduces risk of oral cancer
7) Strengthens muscles: studies show caffeine has similar effect to DNA molecules in muscles muscles of exercise

Raw Chocolate Tart with Fudgy Mousse Filling

16 Aug

This is made with a secret ingredient.An ingredient that you might not suspect would be in a dessert. But it is. And it was what made this recipe so absolutely delicious!

Because of my last post you may have guessed, but the answer is yes it’s avocados!

If avocados are “The World’s Most Perfect Food”, than why not attempt to incorporate it in things other than your typical guacamole!

Avocados are a perfect summer ingredient for foods as they hard high in fiber and healthy fats that keep you satisfied and slim. Like you can see here, they are perfect not only for savory dishes, but sweet! Why use full fat cream in a dessert when you can use an ingredient that will give you the exact same texture, yet filled with only healthy fats?!

Using avocados as the main ingredient for this tart filling offered such a fudgy, decadent, chocolate flavor. This recipe is completely raw, which makes it simple to create with no cooking time, and also keeps all the healthy nutrients in the ingredients instead of baking them all away! You taste what would seem like a full fat chocolate fudge, yet are actually eating a healthy-fat-filled dessert that offers so many benefits to your health. Some people think avocados are bad because of being high in fat, but that is far from the truth. Just viewing the benefits below this recipe will prove that :)

How is your favorite way to use avocados?? I would have said the typical guacamole, or simply just sliced with sea salt a week ago, but after getting creative in the kitchen, I’ve realized the sky is the limit in using avocados!

Did I mention, the filling for this tart can also be eaten on its own as a rich mousse, which is absolutely incredible!


Raw Chocolate Tart with a Fudge Mousse Filling

Serving: 4 mini tarts

Raw Chocolate Tart:
-1 cup Almonds
-1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
-6 dates
-3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
-2 tablespoons Raw Honey
-1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
-Dash of Sea Salt

Fudge Mousse Filling
-1 cup Avocado (about 1/1.5 large avocados)
-3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
-1/4 cup Raw Honey + 1/4 cup Baking Stevia
-1 tsp Vanilla Extract
-1 tsp Instant Coffee

Directions: Place all Tart ingredients into Food Processor and Blend until a crumbly dough forms. Using mini tart pans,, place a handful of dough into the bottom of each ramekin (makes 4), and press up the sides (make sure to leave a thick enough bottom). Freeze for at least 20 minutes. Blend all Filling ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth. Fill mini tarts with filling, and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Serve cold.

Avocado Benefits:

1) Filled with Monounsaturated Fats: types of fats that help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.

2) By adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients

3) Provides all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, the body readily absorbs avocado protein because avocados also contain fiber.

4) Pack with Folate:  a water-soluble B vitamin that promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”

5) Contains Lutein: a carotenoid that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.

6) Rich in Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

7) Good source of fiber

“I received free samples of California Avocado mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Avocado and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Healthy Ranch Dressing

15 Aug

We all love that creamy dressing, whether on a salad or as a dip for carrots and other veggies, but we also know we aren’t feeding our bodies very great nutrition while having it.

That is why I had to buy it when I found it. You may ask buy what? A big container of Ranch Seasoning Powder. Nothing too bad in the powder, it’s what the directions say to mix it with that’s the bad part! Mayonnaise? No thank you.

The funny thing is, even when substituting something else for the mayonnaise, it still has the same great flavor. And guess what? it isn’t only just good for healthy dressing, but serves as a great seasoning for almost anything! Chicken, veggies, even quinoa like I did with this recipe in another post!


If you like the flavor of ranch, you should certainly invest in some of this. And if you don’t want a big container like mine from Costco, then they sell mini paper packages of a couple servings at most food stores!


Healthy Ranch Dressing
-1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
-1/2 cup Almond Milk
-1.5 T Ranch Seasoning (comes dry in packets)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Let sit in fridge to thicken. Serve as a dressing or dip. Easy enough?!

Tip: For dip or a thicker dressing, use all Greek Yogurt and no milk!

Greek Yogurt Benefits
1) Help fight tummy fat
2) Contains good-for-you bacteria
3) Loaded with vitamins such as potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, B12 and B5
4) Great recovery after workouts: high source of protein
5) High in calcium
6) Prevents high blood pressure
7) Fights off colds and flus: healthy bacteria fights off the bad and boosts the immune system
8) Protects your teeth: lactic acid in yogurt protects your gums
9) High in protein, about 18-24 grams per serving