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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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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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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Triple Layer Protein Cookie Dough Cups

Growing up, my comfort food was cereal. It was my breakfast 99% of the time and also solved virtually every problem in life. When I was five and the mean boy stole my crayons or when I was sixteen and he broke my heart, a bowl or two or five of milk and cereal would instantly make me happy.
My two favorites were Cinnamon Life and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (sensing theme here?). I could put away an entire box if my Mom allowed. Which she didn’t. But figuring out how to do life was hard, and cereal always helped.

While my kids and I usually enjoy a fairly simple, whole food diet, there are certain staples from my childhood that I get for them on occasion; one of those being a fun cereal of their choice.
I love the Mom’s Best Brand cereals because they have lots of popular flavors made without all the yuck like preservatives, food dyes, chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. They’re also not expensive; I usually find them on sale for $2-3 a box.
If you are looking for a cleaner alternative to the cereal game, I highly recommend giving this brand a try!

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This time around, we had Toasted Cinnamon Squares, and I wanted to make something fun that reminded me of being a kid again…  with protein, though, because gains.

With a dark chocolate base, chewy protein cookie dough center, crunchy cinnamon toast crust all stacked and drizzled in a high-protein snickerdoodle glaze, it’s an absolutely fantastic little bomb of yum.

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