Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Bread

While I am not on the bandwagon of typical pumpkin spice lattes (sugar, syrup, chemicals, yuck), I AM a huge fan of actual pumpkin, and I love using it in breads, muffins and smoothies. This wonderful, seasonal gourd also boasts plenty of health benefits:

 

The beta-carotene (which gives it the orange color) converts into a form of Vitamin A, improving eyesight.

 

Packed with fiber, pumpkin meat aids in digestion and keeps you full longer.

 

Antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body, which can help slow the aging process (think wrinkle-free!)

 

More potassium than a banana, making pumpkin puree the perfect addition to your refuel shake after working out.

But just in case you’re tired of the usual pie, here’s a fun variation that would make a tasty on-the-go breakfast, or save it for dessert!
Or both.
Because it’s the holidays.
Don’t worry about indulging, because this loaf is gluten free and each thick slice is 13g of protein with less than 20g of carbs! The Caramel Spice Crumble tops the loaf off with an amazing blend of seasonally-perfect spices.

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SUBSTITUTES:

You could try other protein powders, but if you do, I suggest a whey protein blend similar to PEScience- isolates will NOT work. Vegan powders are usual a hit or miss. There’s a reason why I stick with this brand for baking… so if you sub the powder, please keep in mind that taste and texture will be different and I cannot guarantee exactly how it will come out!

The Caramel Spice cashew butter can be swapped for a different nut butter, whatever flavor you think you’d like!

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Breakfast Brownies

Who here can get their children to eat multiple servings of vegetables every day? I’m sure they are obsessed with nutrition, right? Anybody have toddlers who understand that omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks for brain growth? Do your kids readily gobble up all the protein they need to get “big and strong”?

I have to admit that my kids are some of the best eaters I have ever met. That said, they are still 3 and 5 years old and definitely form their own opinions about food. One week they are all about sweet potatoes, the next week they won’t touch them. One day they will eat an entire avocado with a spoon, the next day it’s “Mommy, avocados are spicy” (‘spicy’ is the term my kids now use for things they don’t like. I have no idea how that happened, but here we are).

Sound familiar?

I’ve found a few ways to sneak things into foods that they already like (spinach in smoothies is nearly invisible as far as taste goes, flax meal blends great in pancakes, etc), but I am always looking for more ways to do it!

These yummy and easy Breakfast Brownies are packed full of important vitamins, protein and fats that will keep young tummies full and start the day off right! Perfect for busy on-the-go mornings or a nutritious after-school snack. Forget the cereal and bagels, check out the health benefits of just some of the ingredients:

Almonds – vitamin E, magnesium, protein and antioxidants.

Avocado – more potassium than bananas and loaded with fiber.

Carrots – antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K and B8, potassium and protect the central nervous system.

Coconut oil – the fatty acids kill harmful pathogens and prevent infection, keeps you full longer, and supply energy to brain cells.

Eggs – lots of protein, zinc, iron and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Zucchini – anti-inflammatory and contains manganese and vitamin C to keep the heart strong.

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Feel free to substitute the protein for another brand, just make sure it’s a whey blend or pea or plant base; isolates won’t work. Been there done thaaaaaaat.

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Peanut Butter White Chocolate Protein Cookies

I’m going to keep this short and sweet:

These are officially my favorite and simplest cookie of all time.

No eggs.

No flour.

No dairy.

No oil.

And they take a total of 10 MINUTES to make and bake. Seriously: 2 minutes to make, 8 minutes to bake. You can’t even make a trip to the grocery store and buy pre made cookies in 10 minutes. I should probably rename these the Instant Gratification Cookies… 🤔

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Triple Chocolate Protein Cake

The only thing better than a chocolate cake filled with three types of chocolate is a chocolate cake filled with three types of chocolate that is ALSO packed with protein and other fabulous-for-you ingredients.
Wow. So much chocolate in that paragraph.
Almost as much as I put in the cake.

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The way this comes out so incredibly fudge-y is… A VEGETABLE! I know. It’s crazy. But a hearty blend of sweet potato purée worked some magic in this batter.

I used regular orange sweet potato, though I should note that white sweet potato has a milder flavor if you want to try this recipe but are skeptical of using a root vegetable in a chocolate cake…
But seriously: No. one. will. know.
And who cares if they do?
Sweet potatoes have a ton of awesome benefits:

  • Vitamin C – wards off viruses, accelerates wound healing and produces collagen which preserves joint health and skin elasticity.

  • Vitamin D – boosts energy level and mood, helps build healthy bones and supports the thyroid gland.

  • Iron – increases white blood cell production, resistance to stress, and metabolization of protein.

  •  Magnesium – responsible for hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body and reduces nerve and muscle stress.

  • Potassium – regulates heartbeat and nerve signals and reduces swelling.

All that in a chocolate cake. Damn. You’re welcome.

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Peanut Butter White Chocolate Protein Fudge

Definition of SIMPLE
: not hard to understand or do
: having few parts : not complex or fancy
: not special or unusual
: Peanut Butter White Chocolate Protein Fudge

#MerriamWebsterSaidSo

This simple, no bake fudge requires zero culinary proficiency, a few basic ingredients, and this time I guarantee you have them all on hand.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can sub out nearly any item for something else and it will still work:

– No Quest protein? Use your favorite [whey/casein blend] brand.
– No FiberYum syrup? Use honey or agave.
– No Buff Bake White Chocolate peanut butter? Use literally ANY other peanut butter.
– No cashew milk? Use almond or coconut milk.
– No banana? …….Okay no sub for this one, go to the store. The trip is worth it.

That said: I have not tested any other variation, so when I say it still “works”, I mean I know it will still make a fudge. Whether or not your spin on it tastes like unicorns and sunshine and the best day of your entire life like mine did is an entirely different matter.

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Side note: I would cut the fudge into squares while still inside the cold pan, otherwise they will start to melt into the cutting board as you slice away at them. Not that I know this firsthand or anything.

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German Chocolate Protein Brownies

FACT:
Did you know that German Chocolate Cake has nothing to do with Germany? that was actually created by an American? Yeahhhhh ‘Murica. We come up with the best stuff, I swear.
In the 1850’s a man named Samuel German created a dark chocolate especially for baking, and the manufacturing company named it after him: “German’s Baking Chocolate”.
Well, somewhere along the years that “s” came off the title, and the traditional chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting that we know and love became known as German Chocolate Cake.

While my brownies are a stretch on the original concept, the idea is similar, which is why I kept the title. Just in case there are any foodies out there currently scoffing at my dessert for lack of authenticity… consider that opening paragraph my disclaimer.

Anyway. Here’s a picture to distract you from your judging:

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ANOTHER FACT:
The brownie itself is Paleo! Usually I use a whey/casein protein blend in my recipes, but this time I opted for a plant-based protein.
Also, I used one of my favorite flavored nut butters for the frosting, but if you sub what I used for plain cashew butter, then the entire recipe is Paleo! You know, exactly like a caveman would have baked it. Obviously.

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OKAY JUST ONE MORE FACT:
The base for this is made with avocado.
AVOCADO.
(wait what)
Chill. It does not taste anything like avocado. I added way too much chocolate in there for that. What the avocado does is make these brownies so soft and incredibly fudge-like that it’s impossible to believe there’s an entire one hiding in there. Plus you get the added benefits of healthy fats, potassium and fiber. You’re welcome.

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Are you seeing this crazy fudgey-ness right now???

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

You know what foods don’t get enough love?
Celery. Spinach. Cauliflower rice. Cabbage. Cucumber. Zucchini.
Let’s face it, they are not very sexy foods.
But you know what they are perfect for? VOLUME. Adding substance and helping you feel full without overloading on calories. This is key if you want to drop weight and/or lean out without sacrificing on the quantity of food that you take in every day.

I mean seriously, check out the macros on these! All with no (or very negligible) fat, are low carb and low calorie yet still include some protein and fiber. Oh, and these numbers are based on two cups–yes CUPS–of each!

Zucchini – 4g protein / 8g carb / 2g fiber / 58 calories

Celery – 1g protein / 6g carb / 3g fiber / 32 calories

Spinach – 2g protein / 2g carb / 2g fiber / 14 calories

Cauliflower – 4g protein / 10g carb / 5g fiber / 50 calories

Cabbage – 2g protein / 10g carb / 4g fiber / 44 calories

I usually add a cup or two of one of these vegetables in with whatever meal I’m eating, mix it up, and it suddenly becomes a lot more food in my stomach which means I feel satisfied longer… which is everything.

Other things to try that make these a little more interesting:

– Grilled zucchini topped with garlic salt, oregano, basil and parmesan cheese.

Celery dipped in your favorite nut/seed butter.

– Use spinach in salads instead of romaine or iceberg lettuces. Also add spinach to your morning omelet for extra fiber.

– Make Mexican “rice” using cauliflower rice: add your usual seasonings but use the veggie instead of the grain for a low-carb, nearly identical-tasting alternative!

– Raw cabbage leaf wraps (instead of bread) for sandwiches, or chop and sauté it in a stir fry.

You know what else I love about these veggies? Their low-caloric profile allows me room to eat fun things. Sexy things. Like this banana bread. Yeahhhhhh. Let’s talk about sexy chocolate chip banana bread.

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In addition to the incredible, melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich, tasty combo of bananas and chocolate, this hearty bread is actually made with chickpea flour, giving each slice a whopping 8g of fiber!
Plus it’s also free of nuts (peanuts are legumes, guys, don’t get it twisted), dairy, gluten and soy. Winning.

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I mean…!

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