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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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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‘Merica Protein Waffles

Apparently my latest sprinkle obsession is contagious, because I have gotten so many snaps and texts from people who have been adding them to their waffles and pancakes these last few days… YAS! I think it’s amazing. Sprinkle happiness everywhere! All the pun intended!

Plus I’m still pretty convinced that sprinkles have no macros or calories, soooo LOAD ‘EM UP, FAM, LOAD ‘EM UP.

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I realize I am posting this AFTER most people have had breakfast, but for those of you slightly hung over from Memorial Day weekend festivities, here’s an idea that will instantly make your day better. Because sprinkles.

I think my favorite part about these is that they are gluten-free AND super easy to make AND there are only 6 carbs per waffle! Yes, that even includes the chocolate. But not the sprinkles… because we already decided those don’t have calories, remember?

Side note: you can absolutely use your own waffle recipe for these. I just can’t promise Grandma’s super-secret traditional mix is as macro-friendly as mine…

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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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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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