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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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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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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Creamy Cashew Hazelnut Bars

Simple can be fantastic. Yes, a lot of things I make require some special ingredients or certain proteins in order to get just the right taste and consistency, but these? These decadent bars have less than six ingredients and are so simple to prepare.

The bottom layer is filled with two main ingredients—cashews and coconut—which provide these treats with antioxidants, essential minerals and plenty of vitamins. The healthy monounsaturated fat in the cashews is similar to that found in olive oil, and much of the coconut fat comes in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are transported to the liver and used as energy in the body. How’s THAT for a healthy dessert?

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For the top layer I used one of my favorites: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. This stuff is basically Nutella, except WAY BETTER because it is made with REAL ingredients like nuts, organic sugar, sea salt, vanilla… you know, things that happen to be found in nature. Then I drizzled chocolate over each bar because quite frankly I couldn’t see a reason not to.

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Completely free of gluten, soy and dairy plus being almost Paleo… these bars are proof that healthy doesn’t have to mean boring or gross!

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Note: FiberYum can be substituted for another sticky syrup like honey, maple syrup or agave… just know that it will change the macros.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Brownies

One day I will post something that has nothing to do with peanut butter or chocolate…

[in best Viggo Mortensen voice] “…BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY.”

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Three things you should know:

1) These things are the most fudge-y, chocolate-y, peanut butter-y brownie I have ever made.

2) I purposely divided the pan into 9 HUGE servings instead of the typical 12 you find in most recipes. Because I don’t believe in eating small brownies. Ever.

3) On top of all that, they are also gluten free! Okay well the brownie is, can’t speak for the P28 on top, but that’s okay, we aren’t perfect here. If you don’t tolerate gluten or dairy you can easily omit the P28 Caramel Turtle spread and substitute with another favorite nut butter. Whew. Problem solved.

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Protein Samoa Cookies

 

Well what do you know, it finally happened; I got the blog up. And it only took 6 months, 3 web hosting companies, 2 domain changes, 36 calls to tech support and 462,000 hours agonizing over layout and structure.
This is normal, right?

It feels odd to launch with practically zero content, but adding food is the easy part. Believe me, I have no shortage. Recipes backed up for days. Not to mention new things I want to try. So brace yourselves.

Part of my reason for experimenting with food all the time is because I never want to feel restricted—okay, “left out” (yes, I am a child)—for switching to a whole food lifestyle and eliminating things from my diet that I’m sensitive to. I love taking common treats and finding a way of making them more “friendly”, whether that be low-carb friendly, Paleo friendly, gluten-free friendly, vegan friendly, macro friendly….. You get the point.

Which brings me to my next point: These cookies.

After I turned over a box of Girl Scout Samoas and analyzed the label filled with 27+ ingredients, realized I didn’t know what half of them were and finished sweating at the amount of carbohydrates per serving, I took a stand and took to the kitchen. These were always my favorite Girl Scout cookies, and I wasn’t about to be left out this season.

 

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