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 Banana Protein Waffles

If you’ve followed me on social media for more than the last, let’s say, 15 minutes, you are likely aware that I am obsessed with waffles. Breakfast, lunch, post-training, dinner, dessert… They’re the most versatile food in my dietary arsenal, one of my obvious favorites, and let’s be honest, have you ever looked at a plate full of these dripping in syrup and toppings and just thought, “…nah.”?

That’s what I thought.

Anyway. Versatile.
I make different types based on what time of day I’m eating them. For instance, if I have them for breakfast I will make them higher in fat (use a whole egg in the mix and top with some sort of fun peanut/almond/cashew butter) to keep me full while I work all morning.
If they are a post-training refuel then I will make them low fat (using egg whites) and higher carb (add bananas, granola, chocolate, cookies, etc). Post-training is probably my favorite time to eat these because I either 1) just had my body and soul crushed, in which case waffles cheer me up, or 2) I had an awesome session, in which case I want to freakin celebrate–with food of course. Either way, these tasty pancakes with abs are always there for me, you know?

I can also make nearly-zero-carb “prep waffles” when I’m a week out from a meet and have to make weight. Not nearly as much culinary fun on those, but my point is I always find a way to make waffles happen in my life, regardless of whether I’m on a macro budget or not.

You see? Waffles. Every day. For every occasion. It’s the perfect food.

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Thanks to the fantastic humans at Better Body Foods, I was surprised with a huge tub of PBfit Powdered Peanut Butter, among other goodies, so I dedicate this first waffle post to them, and, of course, the love of all things peanut butter-related.

This recipe is an example of a variation I would eat post-training. Just one variation of, oh, about 500? I appreciate having choices.

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Note: for a more “traditional” waffle consistency, I recommend using a whole egg instead of just the whites. I am sensitive to the yolks, which is why I usually use just the whites.