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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Everything in moderation. Except for sprinkles. You can never have too many sprinkles.
I used my base waffle recipe for this stack, added vanilla extract for extra flavor, and then, of course, sprinkles, because you cannoy have birthday-themed anything without them.
The YouFreshNaturals Birthday Cake Coco-Nut Butter was the perfect “glaze” on the top layer. This was a post-training meal for me so I also added half of a Lenny & Larry’s cookie for extra carbs and calories to refuel.
Speaking of carbs and calories, if you’re reducing either of those you can easily omit the nut butter and cookie and this stack becomes 215 calories and only 11g of carbs! However, you really won’t get the full celebration-in-your-mouth effect without all that extra birthday fun on top. Trust me on this one.
If you don’t follow me on Snapchat yet, you should (“alphakilo7″…go ahead…I’ll wait…), because I always snap the food on there first before I dress it up and try to use proper grammar and add it to this blog.
Macros are wrong I know I know
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.
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.