Gift Guide: For the Foodie

Kitchen Gadgets & Tools

Spiralizer – $26.99

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This is a wish list item for me, but it has AMAZING reviews! I buy pre-spiralized zucchini noodles right now, and I could have bought 10 of these by now based on how much money I’ve wasted doing that. Based on every review I’ve read, this is the best buy for your money. It’s easy to use, and it looks extremely simple!

Cookie Sheet – $7.49
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I got this cookie sheet on sale at Target on a whim and it’s the best $7 I’ve ever spent. I use cookie sheets for roasting large amounts of vegetables each week, among tons of other things, but this thing is the EASIEST cookie sheet to clean, ever. Nothing sticks to it which is perfect for me because half the time I forget to spray it. It’s also beautiful to look at. Even if you don’t think you need it, you do. Go ahead and buy two while you’re at it.

Muffin Tin – $8.49

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This is the pan I make all my mini muffins/pancake bites in! I love this thing so much. It’s super non stick, it’s great quality, and hello, you can’t beat $8.49!

Ninja Blender – $91.99

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I have yet to pull the trigger on the Vitamix so for now, this is what I use! I really do love my blender and part of the reason I haven’t splurged on a Vitamix yet is because I’ve had no problems with my Ninja. It does everything I need it to and more. It’s held up great for two years now, being used at least three times a week. It’s easy to clean, and it’s simple to use. There aren’t a ton of weird functions, just the basics, but that’s what I love about it! What more can you ask for!?

Crock Pot – $29.99

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Not one week goes by where I don’t use my crockpot. I whip this baby out every Sunday for one recipe or another. Crock pot chicken, white chicken chili, etc. It’s a cheap crock pot, but the quality is amazing. I’ve had no problems with mine whatsoever!

Skinnytaste Book – $19.99

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This is my all. time. fave. cookbook! I love Skinnytaste and this cookbook has never failed me. There are SO many great recipes and they’re recipes that anyone can make. I’m not a chef by any means and all of the recipes have been so simple, and SO delicious. I highly recommend this as a gift for recent college grads/newlyweds!

Cookie Dough Scoop – $12.99

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I truly don’t use this scoop for cookie dough all that often, however it’s my short cut for energy bites/balls! Instead of rolling my bites into perfect balls, I just scoop and go. This can obviously be used for cookie dough too, this is just what I use it for most often! I love the Kitchen Aid brand and mine has held up extremely well!

Kitchen Aid – $242.00
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When I first got my mixer as a gift, I didn’t think I’d use it all that often. I was so wrong. I use this thing multiple times a week. Baking is kind of my thing, so that’s what I use it for most often, but with all the different attachments, it has so many more uses than just for baking! This is also a great price, so if it’s something you’re in the market for, jump on it!

Skillet – $10.99

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I use this little skillet daily! It’s perfect for making eggs, cooking small amounts of meat, and most importantly, the @RachaelsGoodEats skillet cookie! It’s uber cheap and worth every penny.

Keurig – $67.98

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I use my Keurig every single day, and I’d say it’s pretty much a no brainer for any coffee drinker! It’s quick, it’s easy, and K-Cups are sold just about everywhere you go! This is the single cup version and unless you’re brewing for an army, this is the way to go! It’s the cheapest option and it gets the job done without taking up too much counter space. Highly recommend, and mine has lasted for years!

Milk Frother – $10

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This tool is a total non-necessity, but for $10, it totally makes my Saturday mornings. It’s super simple to use, all you have to do is fill a mug with 1/4 cup of milk, put this frother in, turn it on and froth for about ten seconds, and then add your coffee. I also love this because it helps dissolve my collagen when I put it in my coffee! And it just makes your coffee look fancy, who doesn’t love that?!

The Goods

PS Snacks – 3 tubs for $32.00

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This product is probably my most asked about product on Instagram. And it’s pretty obvious as to why that is. It’s healthy cookie dough and I could eat dangerous amounts of it. I tell everyone I know about this cookie dough because it truly is so good. If you need something to satisfy your sweet tooth at night, this is the perfect fix! It’s so worth the price! Use “kalekouture” at checkout to get free shipping!

Perfect Bars – 8 for $24

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My favorite bars of all time, ever. These things are worth their weight in gold and are another product I tell everyone about. I could eat six a day and that is not an exaggeration. The ingredient list is as clean as it gets, and the flavor is truly out of this world. I have not had one flavor I didn’t love. If there’s a foodie in your life, get them a box of these and you will 100% be their favorite person for the year. Totally worth the price and then some!

Collagen – $34

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Collagen is what I use in my coffee EVERY single day. It contains 7 grams of protein and it’s tasteless so it’s the perfect way to start your day with a little extra protein! It’s also worked WONDERS on my hair, skin, and nails! Think of it as Biotin on steroids. You can use “kalekouture” for 20% off your purchase making this only $34!

Eating Evolved Coconut Butter Cups – $2.99 for 2 cups

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Another insanely good product to kick your late night sweet tooth, or really just for any time of day for that matter, coconut butter cups. The ingredient list is squeaky clean so it’s a treat you can feel 100% good about! Put some PS Snacks cookie dough on top and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven!

RX Bar – 12 pack for $22 (CHEAP!)

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If you’ve watched my story ever in your life you know my obsession with RX Bars. I have one of these every single day and there is not one flavor I don’t love, so you can’t go wrong with any of them! If you like the chocolate sea salt, Amazon has them for a great price, but you can get these just about anywhere now!

Stevia Drops – $15

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I feel like these drops are a product not many people know about, but I put these in so many different things! They’re a great way to sweeten greek yogurt, you can use them for baking, and I also put a couple drops in my coffee every morning! Don’t let the price scare you. One little bottle will take me a year to go through. You only need 2-3 drops for anything you use them in! They’re so versatile and you’ll use them more than you think! Perfect little stocking stuffer!

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Spiced Up Roasted Veggies

I roast veggies every single week in some form or fashion. However I usually don’t take the time to try to fancy them up by any means. I chop them, spray a little olive oil on them, hit them with a little S&P, and call it good. While this method is quick, and it works for me, this week I decided to actually put a little more effort into the roasting process. It added a whopping two minutes on to my prep time, but the difference this two minutes made was undeniable.

There are two things I did differently with these veggies. First, instead of forgetting about the veggies after they went into the oven, I set a timer for 20 minutes (this is halfway through, total roast time is 40 minutes) to take them out to flip everything so all the veggies could be evenly roasted. You don’t necessarily have to do this, but it definitely makes the veggies crispier. I typically find that my sweet potatoes are always really soft even if I roast them for longer than 40 minutes, so this definitely makes all the difference. Thanks for the tip @wellnessforthewin (follow her if you don’t already!).

The only other thing I did differently was that I seasoned my olive oil (with more than just salt and pepper!) and coated the veggies with the olive oil mixture instead of sprinkling the seasoning on the veggies when they’re on the cookie sheet. I felt like this more thoroughly seasoned them and it gave all the veggies an even coating!

This roasting method can be used for any and all veggies! In addition to brussels and sweet potatoes, I do cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc. This is how I meal prep large amounts of veggies for the whole week and typically two pans of veggies lasts me five days! It’s quick, easy, and there’s minimal clean up!

Ingredients
  • 3 large medium sized potatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup avocado oil (I use Chosen Foods!)
  • 2 Tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put all your veggies into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, honey, spices, and garlic. Whisk until combined.
  4. Cover your veggies with the olive oil mixture and coat evenly.
  5. Dump onto a baking sheet and spread evenly.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  7. While the veggies are cooling, sprinkle them with the dried cranberries.
  8. Enjoy!

Why I’m Not Sharing Ways to “Stay On Track” This Thanksgiving

I was not planning on writing a blog post on this, but after seeing SO many people this week posting their “tips and tricks” on ways to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, I felt compelled to share my own two cents, and it may not be what you think it is. Let me preface first by saying, I’m not dogging on anyone who has written one of these posts. Everyone is 100% entitled to their own way of thinking and that’s what I truly love about blogging – reading about someone else’s perspective!

You knew there had to be a “however”, right?! However. Thanksgiving is one dang day a year. One day. One out of 365 days of the year.

I’ve seen so many people say “limit your desserts”, “load up on veggies”, “drink tons of water so you’re not super hungry when it’s time to eat”, “get an early morning workout in”, “limit your alcohol intake”, “walk off your food after dinner”, etc. I promise I’ve seen it all. All of those things are great, and if doing that makes you feel better, you do you! But I also think it’s okay to spend your holiday NOT conscientiously thinking about these things.

Am I going to limit my desserts? Let me tell you the last time I ate a full fat, full sugar dessert. Besides a donut on Halloween, it’s been months. So no, probably not limiting myself there. Am I going to load up on veggies? If sweet potato casserole counts, yes! Am I going to get an early morning workout in? Does lifting my wine glass from the table to my mouth count? Am I going to walk off my food after dinner? Well realistically that would take days to do, and we go to a movie as a family after dinner, so no. Limit my alcohol intake? No to that too.

I would say for about 350/365 days a year, I count macros, eat nutrient dense foods, make sure to eat enough protein, limit processed foods, limit my sugar intake, work out, limit my alcohol intake, etc. The 15, give or take a few, days a year I let myself completely indulge (like turkey day), account for 4% of the year. Do you think that 4% of the year has any affect on my overall health, or the way I look? No. The only thing it affects is my sanity. I am able to have a healthy relationship with food because of that 4%. I’m able to do all of those things I listed above, the other 96% of the time, because of that 4%.

I am so proud of the way I live my life and the changes I’ve made over the past 5-6 years, but I am also so proud of the fact that I can celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and not feel the need to modify every recipe I’m bringing, or feel the need to say no to trying an additional dessert because I’ve already had one, or worry about what hours Planet Fitness is open on Thanksgiving day. And you know what? Even if I did worry about those things, I wouldn’t be a pound lighter once it’s all said and done. Because one day, makes ZERO difference in the scheme of life.

There was absolutely a point in my life where I did worry about all of these things, as recent as last year. I had a moment the other day when my mom texted me and said “Can you dig the unhealthy stuff off the sweet potato casserole or do you want just a plain sweet potato for Thanksgiving?” While a part of me knows that she was being so thoughtful, the other part of me kind of hated that she had to ask me that. If you were wondering, I responded without hesitation “I can eat the unhealthy stuff!”. And I will, with zero guilt.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fitness and health are parts of my life, they are not my whole life. On Friday, I will go right back to eating like I do 90% of the time, and working out 6 days a week. But if you can’t indulge a couple of days a year, then when can you? Balance is a part of health. Indulging every once in awhile is a part of health. Not working out every once in a while is a part of health.

This subject is something I’m so passionate about, and it weighed heavily on my heart this week. I never want to make anyone feel like the way they’re living their life is wrong, so if you read this post and feel differently, that’s perfectly fine! And if you’re one of the people I referred to earlier, I still love you! I just felt compelled to share because for years, I felt like if I didn’t do things the “healthy” way on Thanksgiving, other holidays, etc., I wasn’t a “healthy person”, I was losing progress, I was going to gain a bunch of weight, etc. And that’s why I restricted myself in so many ways. But in fact, I now feel the opposite.

I hope if you take nothing else away from this post, it’s to give yourself some grace tomorrow. Eat the pie, drink the wine, lay on the couch, BE HUMAN. Be thankful for the people you share your day with, for all the amazing food you’ll eat, the people who prepared it, and for the time you get to spend with them.

I hope you all have the best day tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Happy turkey week yall! I hope you’re planning on spending the rest of the week relaxing, spending time with your loved ones, and eating alllll the food and drinking alllll the wine. That is my exact plan!

I’m sharing this recipe because I’m a) I’m a sucker for pumpkin anything, and b) I’m going to be eating every dessert in sight on Thanksgiving so it makes me feel better to know that at least one of my desserts will be halfway healthy. Plus, I love recipes that I can keep around all year long and this will definitely be a healthy treat staple for me.

That being said, you cannot tell these cookies are even halfway healthy. They’re dense, chewy, and so chocolatey. If I’m being honest I probably tripled the chocolate chips because I didn’t measure but hey, it’s Thanksgiving so that’s acceptable, right!?

This recipe is adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking! I added a little less maple syrup/honey, and I actually didn’t flatten the cookies like her website says to! I think keeping them in their dropped shape helps them stay a little chewier and hold their moisture a little better, but it’s totally up to you!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp mini chocolate chips
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, pumpkin, and vanilla. Stir in the honey/syrup. Add the flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Use a cookie dough scoop to drop the cookie dough into 20 rounded scoops onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
Macros
  • 10g carb
  • 2g fat
  • 1g protein

Birthday Cake Protein Balls

If you know me at all, you know I’d eat concrete if there was a “birthday cake” flavor. That being said, these protein balls have quickly made their way to the top of my “favorite recipes” list lately!

These protein balls are a spinoff of the recipe I shared here. I typically stick to this recipe as a base and switch up the dried fruit and protein depending on what I have on hand/want to use. This recipe is fool proof and it can be made in under 5 minutes!

The best part of these specific balls though, is that they’re made with one of my all time favorite protein powders, which just so happens to be birthday cake cupcake! It is seriously to. die. for. You can order it here! Regardless of if you use it for these protein balls or not, you can also use it for pancakes, shakes, etc., It’s amazing in everything.

Ingredients:
Directions:

This is where the recipe gets tough – just kidding. All you have to do is mix everything together! There’s no order or specific way to do it, just mix until combined! Once everything is thoroughly combined, roll into balls, or cheat (like me) and use a cookie dough scoop! My mom taught me this and it is one of the greatest protein ball hacks. No messy hands, and you get the perfect sized ball without having to roll them! The recipe should make around 18 balls total!

Macros:
  • 11g carbs
  • 3g fat
  • 6g protein


 

What I Eat In A Day

Happy Tuesday friends! This blog post was totally inspired by you and I am so excited about that. I am really loving the new Instagram polling feature because I feel like it’s really going to help me tailor the blog in a way that allows me to post exactly what you’re wanting to see! It gives me quick feedback, and in addition to that being helpful for the sake of the blog, it’s also lighting a fire under my butt as far as blogging goes because I know this is stuff you’re truly interested in!

So, on to the good stuff, what I eat in a day. A few things you should know first:

  • I love to meal prep, but I realize how much time it takes if you overcomplicate things so I try to prep foods that are quick and easy. This is key to making meal prep a habit: QUICK & EASY.
  • You do not need to spend a ton of money in order to maintain a healthy diet. I buy 80% of my food at Hyvee, SAM’s Club, and Walmart. There are a few particular items that I eat that I can only get at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Sprouts, but I do not do the majority of my shopping there.
  • I track macros, so that is how I plan what exactly I eat every day. That being said, my meals are personalized for me and what my body needs. What I eat in a day may be a good outline for you to follow, but please don’t think that by eating the exact things I eat, your body will respond the exact way mine does.
  • A rule of thumb I try to always stick to is: 5 servings of veggies, and 1-2 servings of fruit per day, and the rest (protein, carbs, fats) is based around my macros!
  • Even if you’re not tracking macros, a good rule of thumb for all of your bigger meals is: protein, carbs, and fats. If you make sure to include those three items, you’re on the right track to having a well rounded meal!
Breakfast: 6:00am

I try to eat a big, well rounded breakfast every single day, mainly because that’s the first thing that’s going in my body for the day. I like to think that if I start out on a good note, the rest of the day will follow suit! In addition to that, this meal has to last me from 6:00am to 10:00am so I want it to be hearty enough to keep me full for that long! I always make sure to include a protein (egg), carb (bagel and blackberries), and fat (peanut butter).

Mini Whole Wheat Bagel w 1 Tbsp peanut butter & a drizzle of honey + one hard boiled egg + 1/3 cup frozen blackberries

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Coffee: 7:00am

I drink coffee every single morning. I always stick to one cup, because any more than that and I am feeling sluggish, bloated, and dehydrated. In the summer, I mixed my coffee with protein shakes, but in the fall/winter I drink it hot so I don’t do that. I give it a little protein boost with one scoop of Vital Proteins collagen! For those of you who don’t know, collagen is a flavorless protein that dissolves into anything you want!

1 cup coffee + 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen

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Morning Snack: 10:00am

I eat a snack around 10:00am because I don’t eat lunch until 12:30 and you’re cray if you think I can last 6.5 hours without eating. I have to eat something quick and easy that I can have in my classroom so that tends to be a bar of some kind. I also try to eat a veggie so that I can get a jump start on my 5 servings for the day. I have a wide range of bars I love, but I try to stick to something with a little protein to keep me full until I can eat lunch! I love RX bars, Square Bars, and Quest Hero bars.

85 grams of celery + Maple Sea Salt RX bar

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Lunch: 12:30pm

My lunch is typically the meal that varies the most from week to week. It totally depends on what I’m feeling as far as meal prep goes, what I have time for, and what’s easy to pack! I am always trying to switch things up because I hate eating the same things over and over again. I still try to stick to a protein (ground turkey in the cauliflower rice), carb (grapes and carrots), and fat (hummus) and that is typically the key to holding me over until my afternoon snack.

Chicken fried cauliflower “rice” + green grapes + carrots + spicy avocado hummus

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Afternoon Snack: 4:00pm

My afternoon snack doubles as my pre-workout snack so I typically eat something pretty carb heavy in order to fuel my workouts properly!

Banana + 1 Tbsp peanut butter

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Dinner: 6:30pm

Dinner is another meal that spans a pretty wide variety depending on the week, but just like breakfast and lunch, I always make sure to include a protein (turkey burger), carb (sweet potatoes and brussels), and fat (turkey burger).

Butterball turkey burger (no bun, just plain!) + 100 grams sweet potatoes + 85 grams brussel sprouts

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Dessert: 7:30pm

Yep. Dessert. I have a bigger sweet tooth than a five year old and neglecting it only does horrible things for me so I make sure to fit something sweet into my macros each night or I know I’m in trouble. 90% of the time it’s ice cream and Halo Top is my go-to. One serving of something sweet is typically enough for me, but if I’m still hungry, I drink some water with mio to curb my hunger when my macros are gone for the day!

1/2 cup Halo Top red velvet ice cream

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Water: All. Day. Long.

You’re well aware of my constant struggle with drinking enough water, but I do shoot for 64 ounces of water per day. I use Mio in my water all day long, it helps!

64 ounces of water throughout the day + a few squirts of Mio
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And there you have it! This is a very typical day for me so this should give you a good idea of what I’m usually eating. Like I said before – as long as you’re sticking to a good amount of protein, carbs, and fats at each meal, and some fruit and veggies in between, you’re on the right track! And then of course Halo Top whenever possible! 🙂 Thanks for reading and responding to the poll, I love hearing your feedback so let me know if this was helpful to you!

XO, A

 

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My dad and I went to the farmers market a couple of weekends ago, and ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect zucchini bread recipe. I’m not the biggest fan of zucchini on it’s own, but seeing all the fresh/in season zucchini at the farmers market brought me back to when my mom just to make zucchini bread with zucchini from our backyard garden. After a couple weeks of searching, and two failed attempts, I’m here to share with you the very best, you-can’t-tell-it’s-healthy zucchini bread. Ever.

I feel like I’m a broken record in saying “this is the best” zucchini bread I’ve ever had, because I say that about everything I share with you guys, but I only take the time to blog and share the best recipes here so I feel justified in saying it! And truly, this is the BEST. It’s moist, (I know, I despise this word too, but when referring to zucchini bread, it’s a good thing so bare with me!) it’s dense, it’s chocolatey but not too sweet, it’s everything you could ever want in a zucchini bread! And if the zucchini thing makes you uneasy, trust me when I say you cannot taste it one single bit.

I will preface by saying this recipe took me probably two minutes longer to make than my usual super quick and easy recipes, and that is solely because of the fact that I had to take those extra two minutes to grate the zucchini. However I feel like that’s kind of a goes-without-saying step when you’re contemplating making zucchini bread. Nonetheless, it was still incredibly quick and easy, and I guarantee you have everything you need on the ingredients list already!

I also want to mention that cannot take any credit for this recipe because I did not create it, however Krista, from Joyful Healthy Eats did, and is an absolute genius. If you’re ever looking for a healthy version of your favorite baked treats or you just need a little recipe inspiration, scroll through her website for two seconds and tell me you don’t have the urge to bake something. She is amazing and I’ve made so many of her recipes, and loved every single one! And nothing of hers ever tastes healthy … a win win for everyone.

The recipe is below – mine looks slightly different than Krista’s because I swapped/omitted just a few things, but click here for her exact recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup grated zucchini (about 1½ zucchinis)
  • ¾ cup Enjoy Life mini chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 8×8 loaf pan by greasing the bottom and sides (you can grease with coconut oil, butter, or PAM cooking spray) Lightly dust with flour and shake out excess flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Whisk together.
  4. In a large bowl, add honey, unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until everything is combined.
  6. Fold in the zucchini, chocolate chip, and walnuts.
  7. Add the batter to prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Serve.

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Macros – 1/10th of a loaf:

  • 170 calories
  • 7.7g of fat
  • 25g of carbs
  • 3g of protein

This recipe has good fats from the coconut oil, good carbs from the whole wheat flour and the natural sugar form the honey will give you lots of energy, making it the perfect early morning pick me up, or even pre workout snack! I plan on eating this for breakfast for the foreseeable future, as in until Christmas. Enjoy!

XO, A

Cold Brew Protein Shake

I never imagined I’d have so many direct messages and texts about this cold brew protein shake I came up with a couple of weeks ago, but I’m so glad you guys are asking about it! Instead of continuing to respond to individual direct messages, I figured it would be easier to go ahead and do a blog post about it so that it’s here for you guys to refer back to if you need it! This “recipe”, I keep putting it in quotes because I don’t even know if you could classify it as that because it contains two ingredients, is something I threw together by accident one morning.

I came home from the gym one morning a couple of weeks ago, made a glass of cold brew coffee, and was heading back out the door in a rush. In one hand I had the coffee, and in the other I had a Premier protein shake. My hands were full and I had other stuff to grab, so I decided to dump the protein shake in with the cold brew. Voila, the cold brew protein drink was created! Call me a recipe developer.

You can find the Premier protein shakes almost anywhere but they’re definitely the cheapest at Sams Club or Costco. I like these shakes because they’re convenient to grab and go, and I really like the flavor of the chocolate ones. They come in other flavors that I’m not the biggest fan of, so use other flavors with caution. I have a friend that loves them with vanilla, so if you’re not a chocolate person, try that! I realize these shakes are not made with the most “clean” or “natural” ingredients. However, like always, I preach about having a healthy balance – moderation is key.

For those of you asking what cold brew I use – I get it from Sam’s Club and it comes in a container with three boxes of cold brew coffee for $12. It’s called “Steep18 Cold Brew”. However, any cold brew will work, so use whatever you like and can find!

It honestly tastes like creamy mocha chocolatey milk. I promise it tastes better than it even sounds. But truly, it’s the perfect boost of protein, it tastes like chocolate milk, and it suffices my caffeine fix on my early mornings. Win, win, win.

Ingredients:

coffee

The macros:

  • 3g of fat
  • 5g of carbs
  • 30g of protein

Let me know if any of you guys try it! I hope you all have a great weekend! See you next week!

XO, A

The Chia Craze

Happy Monday y’all! Thanks for stopping by! So, chia pudding. First of all, just little background if you’re not familiar with chia seeds … Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that absorb liquid, swell up, and become gelatinous in texture. They’re an excellent source of omega-3s and antioxidants, and being that they’re so tiny, there are TONS of ways to use them other than chia pudding.
I add them to smoothies, overnight oats, banana bread, yogurt bowls, etc. The options are endless! 

However chia pudding is something that kind of weirded me out when I first started seeing it. I’m so picky about texture when it comes to food, so the thought of these jelly little seeds being the entire base of a pudding didn’t sound super appealing to me. Nonetheless, I see it everywhere, and I’ll try anything once, so I decided to give it a fair shot.

Needless to say, I am so impressed. I used a recipe from The Minimalist Baker (who I am a HUGE fan of, check out her website for tons of healthy recipes!) and I am 100% sold. The recipe was so quick and easy, and the pudding turned out great! Even my mom and brother who don’t usually like my uber healthy concoctions, didn’t mind it!

Although I was a little concerned about the texture of the pudding, it didn’t end up bothering me at all. Because the chia seeds soak up all the almond milk as it sits over night, they become pretty plump and make the pudding very thick. I would compare the texture and consistency to a thicker tapioca pudding. It was perfectly sweet, and totally something I would choose when I’m looking for a healthier dessert option. 

There are TONS of recipes out there, it just takes a little searching to find one you like! So even if this recipe isn’t for you (it’s pretty dark in chocolate flavor because of the unsweetened cocoa powder), definitely look for one that sounds good to you, and give it a try!

The recipe (via The Minimalist Baker):

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) almond milk
  • 1/3 cup (63 g) chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-5 Tbsp (30-75 ml) maple syrup if not blending (can sub 5-9 dates, pitted, if blending)
  • optional: 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • optional: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients except sweetener to a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. If not blending (which I preferred!), sweeten to taste with maple syrup at this time. If blending, you can sweeten later with maple syrup or dates.
  2. Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours (or until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).
  3. If blending, add to a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Sweeten to taste.
  4. Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days, though best when fresh.
  5. Serve chilled with desired toppings, such as fruit, granola, or coconut whipped cream.

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The benefits of chia seeds:

  • contain tons of omega-3 fatty acids
  • contain protein, fiber, and tons of antioxidants
  • contain vitamins A, B, D, & E
  • can prevent premature skin aging
  • considered a prebiotic (not probiotic) which aids in digestive health
  • considered a linoleic acid which helps with fat absorption and heart health
  • boosts energy and metabolism
  • 1 oz. of chia seeds is 18% of the daily recommended calcium

Why I love it & when I would eat it!

As you can see from the bulleted list above, there are obviously plenty of health benfitis to eating chia seeds, but more so than just the health benefits, it’s a great option for when I’m wanting something to satisfy my sugar cravings at night. My go to is usually Halo Top, but I’ve started cutting back on dairy lately so this is the perfect way to cure my sweet tooth without having to use ice cream as my only option. I love the richness of the dark chocolate, and the chia seeds definitely keep me full long after I’m done eating them!

Have a great week babes, let me know if you try this recipe!

XO, A

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Balls

This recipe was recommended to me by a friend of mine, (Hi Julie!) and after making these protein balls only one time, I’ve memorized the recipe and am fully convinced they will be a staple in my weekly meal prep rolodex.

First of all, and really most importantly in my humble opinion, these protein balls taste like straight up cookie dough. I truly didn’t know if I would be able to get all 28 balls out of this recipe due to the amount I had eaten by the time I needed to start rolling the mixture. But besides that, this recipe could not be any simpler. You guys know by now that a “7 ingredient max” is my number one prerequisite for baking … and this recipe hits the nail on the head! It took me all of 10 minutes to get the ingredients, mix em all up, roll into balls, and stick in the fridge. I spent just as much time eating this dough as I did rolling it. It is so addicting, trust me.

These protein balls are the perfect pre workout snack because they contain a great amount of protein, carbs, and fat, which are all essential macronutritent components to properly fuel your muscles with before a workout. In addition to their macro makeup, they’re fairly small, so they wont weigh you down or make you feel sluggish if you eat one or two before you head to to the gym. They’re also perfect for early morning workouts! I don’t know about you, but it takes everything in me just to get out the door at 5:00am, let alone make myself a nutrient dense pre workout snack, so that’s where these come in! They’re quick and easy to grab and eat on the go on my way out the door so that I’m not working out on an empty stomach!

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

  1. Mix all the wet ingredients first – the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla, until it becomes creamy and combined. (*If your peanut butter is super thick, warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to thin it out a little bit – this helps it combine with the other ingredients a little bit better!)
  2. Then mix in the dry ingredients – oats, chocolate chips, and coconut, until well combined.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls – my recipe made 28 exactly.
  4. I added an extra step here and warmed up 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with a splash of almond milk in the microwave to create a chocolate drizzle for the top. Not a necessary step but totally recommended!
  5. Stick them in the fridge if you’ll eat them all within 5 days, or the freezer if you think it’ll be longer! Either way they taste fabulous!

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Macros

My recipe made 28 protein balls, so the macros for each are listed below. If your recipe made more or less, plug in your ingredients to MFP and adjust accordingly!

  • 106 calories
  • 10g of carbs
  • 7g of fat
  • 3g of protein

And there you have it! 5 steps and 7 ingredients – it doesn’t get much easier than that! Special thanks to Erin at “Texaserin Baking“; the creator of this amazing recipe! Be sure to check out her blog for more awesome recipes.

XO, A