No-Bake Almond Joy Protein Truffles

proteintrufflesI think it’s safe to say that I am obsessed with these. And that may be putting it lightly. You really can’t have a bad day when you eat a ball of chocolate.

But how about a ball of fudgy, chocolately, chewy, rich, –>enter other foodie lingo<– decadence for less than 2 grams of sugar?

SIGN. ME. UP.

proteintruffles3I wish I could personally deliver these to all of your doorsteps because they are truly that good..!

This is what gets me excited (clearly) about eating healthy. It is never boring or unsatisfying as long as you get a little creative. I love experimenting with clean protein powders to make pancakes, shakes and other desserts that taste super decadent, yet are nutrient-rich with a low glycemic index.

If coconut isn’t your thing, these are just as delicious without it. You could also swap the almond butter for peanut butter and make yourself chocolate peanut butter truffles. You deserve them. Plus, is there any better combination in existence?

proteintruffles2I’ve been carrying these around in my purse all week and eating one after almost every meal. Mind you, I eat between 5-6 small meals a day. Every day I’m trufflin’.

The one warming I will give you – portion control proves to be very challenging with these balls o’ joy. Proceed with caution.

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Slow Cooker Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Red Quinoa

jerkchickenSlow cooker jerk-marinated shredded chicken over red quinoa with black beans, corn, avocado and cilantro. This dish packs a lot of flavor for how low in calories it is. It’s the perfect all-in-one meal to prepare on the weekend and take for lunch during the work week.

Clearly, I can’t quit the quinoa. This is only the 289745th recipe I’ve used it in. It’ just so dang versatile in cooking and serves as a blank canvas for endless flavor combinations. Not to mention the health benefits – high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is the perfect substitute for rice or pasta for an overall nutrient-dense meal.

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Strawberry Basil Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing

toastedwalnutSpring greens topped with sliced strawberries and fresh basil tossed in a rich toasted walnut balsamic dressing. If you’ve never tried strawberries and basil together, they are a match made in heaven. To the point that I may start using them in place of tomatoes in Caprese salad ;)

All aboard the strawberry Caprese train. It’s going to be the new thing.

toastedwalnut2This salad is perfect for the spring and summer months. It’s light, refreshing and ideal for a cook out or fancy dinner in. I like serving this salad as a starter or side, however if you’d like to add a little protein and serve it as the main course, thinly sliced steak or grilled chicken would be excellent toppers.

I am one of those add-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-salad kind of people. I will literally browse through my refrigerator and add unthinkable things to salads. To a point where it shouldn’t even be called a salad any longer. Just a bowl-o-stuff.

But out of all the bizarre things I add to salads, fruit is almost always a must. I will grill just about any fruit, add cheese and nuts and it always comes out delicious. You just cannot go wrong with that combo.

toastedwalnut3I toasted these walnuts in coconut oil, however you could sub for butter if need be. If that’s the case, I would add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to add to the overall volume of the dressing.

A good quality balsamic is a must. Quality truly makes all the difference in a balsamic vinegar. A cheap balsamic will taste like straight vinegar, however a quality balsamic will be sweet, silky and pack the perfect punch of pungency (whew, what a mouthful).

Top this salad with mozzarella, gouda, goat cheese or whatever your cheesy preference is. Bon appetit!

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Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Compote

ricotta3The first day of Spring can only mean one thing… Pancakes! It’s what’s for dinner. It’s what’s for lunch. It’s for any and all seasons, really. I waste no time trying to think of an excuse to eat them.

Especially this stack ;)

As excited I am about entering Spring, I decided to just go ahead and skip to blackberry season (aka summer) with this recipe. Trust me, so worth it.

ricottapancakesI want to eat my weight in these pancakes every morning. They are super thick and almost a cross between biscuits and pancakes. Think warm biscuits with a dessert-like topping. Sounds like a pretty excellent way to start your morning, huh? Best part is they are whole wheat, high fiber and high protein.

Biscuits/pancakes + pseudo-dessert + guilt-free. Day. Made.

ricotta4Now these are not your super fluffy, buttery, traditional pancakes. That’s usually the price you pay when baking with whole wheat flours. With that said, they won’t be for everyone, but hopefully they’ll be for you. If not, i’ll just come over and polish off your leftovers.

Thick, Semi-fluffy, moist and delightfully dense. The ricotta kicks up with moisture and adds a nice dose of protein.

And this blackberry compote? Oh my. I want to put it on everything. Starting with pork. After the pancakes. Pancakes for dinner. Pork for dessert. Done.

ricotta2

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Eggplant and White Bean Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

kalesalad3Grilled eggplant and cannellini beans tossed in garlicky kale topped with sharp parmesan cheese. The perfect jazzed-up salad to serve as a main course or side.

kalesalad4The key to using raw kale in salads is to thoroughly massaging the leaves. I typically massage the leaves using a mix of fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt to help tenderize the leaves. A nice little rubdown transforms this rough, somewhat bitter green into a sweet, silky salad base.

Massaging this green is super simple. Start by de-steming the leaves and tearing them into bite-sized pieces. Take bunches of kale pieces in both hands, rub them together and repeat for ~5 minutes. You’ll notice a visible change; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become softer in texture.

kalesalad2Kale’s nutrition profile honestly astounds me. It undoubtedly packs the most nutritional bang for your buck out of all cruciferous vegetables. It is loaded with Vitamins K, A and C and beaming with antioxidants and fiber.

With all of the fantastic health benefits, perhaps you could serve this salad with something a little more savory…. such as burgers or steak. It can serve as the ‘calm before the storm’ warmup salad. Or it could serve as the Monday detox salad after a weekend of questionable edible decisions. We all have them. –>Guilty.

kalesaladIt’s light, yet full of substance. It’s simple, yet full of flavor. I may be biased, considering if you toss anything in garlic and parmesan cheese, I will likely ask for seconds. However, I’m usually not even a huge fan of kaleAt all. So I’m thinking if I like this salad, you probably will too ;)

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Foodie Friday {3/7}

Happy Friday and Happy National Nutrition Month!!

NNM-2014National Nutrition Month (NNM) is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each year there is a different theme that highlights the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy lifestyle habits.

This year the theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. To quote the Academy, “Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most. This year’s key messages for NNM focus on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

This has been my favorite theme of NNM month to date. After all, the idea of healthy and tasty coexisting was the driving force behind creating Dishing Out Health.

To honor and celebrate this theme, let’s talk food :D. So much good stuff to share with you today!

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Banana Split Protein Smoothie

IMG_3149My inner five year old is giddy with excitement over this. I spent a good 10 minutes rummaging through my pantry in search of colored sprinkles to really give this smoothie the full effect.

Because honestly, what is a banana split without sprinkles and a maraschino cherry? Well, apparently, this smoothie.

shake2Oh well. I don’t even care because this smoothie is thick and it’s creamy and it’s a whole lot of other wonderful things that I love.

I made this yesterday and inhaled it in 3 seconds. Clearly this left me feeling like the whole *banana split experience* passed me by, so I made it again today. This time I really took my time sipping it and imagined I was enjoying a real banana split. Time check? 10 seconds.

Case in point – it’s THAT good. Even better? You only need 5 ingredients – milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk), vanilla Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, 1/2 of a frozen banana and chocolate protein powder.

shake1As far as protein powders, my two absolute favorites are Sunwarrior and Perfect Fit. Both are clean, plant-based powders that blend well and taste fantastic. I can not recommend these two enough. They are only sold online, though well worth the investment! 

I strongly recommend using frozen fruit in most smoothies, especially frozen banana. Blended frozen bananas add a decadently creamy consistency to smoothies – similar to ice cream. Since I used both frozen banana and frozen strawberries, no ice was even needed. This helped prevent the smoothie from tasting like it was watered down.

This smoothie is my version of a big hug to you. Give it a try and see if you can beat my 3 second inhalation without getting brain freeze. Woo!

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Zesty Loaded Black Bean Salsa

zestysalsaPrepare yourself for one of the easiest, yet most versatile salsas to grace the recipe archive. Black beans mixed in a hodge podge of corn, tomatoes and feta cheese among other wonderful things. It’s light and refreshing with a kick of zesty spice.

beansalsa2I’ve seen other variations of this salsa made with juiced lime in place of dressing. I’ve made a lime version before and it is very good if you like the taste of lime. I mainly only enjoy limes in margaritas so I prefer a little dose of Italian dressing over the juiced citrus.

salsa3Saying this salsa is simple is even an understatement. All you need is a can opener, a cutting board and a knife. However, minimal slicing and dicing is even required. Which is unfortunate for me since I like to play with knives in the kitchen like a Samurai sword fighter. However fortunate for most when time is of the essence and flavor is paramount.

salsa4This salsa/salad/fiesta in a bowl makes an awesome accomplice to chicken, fish and beef. You could throw it in a taco, pile it over a bed of lettuce or eat it with some good ol’ tortilla chips. As long as it makes it to your mouth, mission accomplished.

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Thai Peanut Chicken with Quinoa

thaichicken1Occasionally I make a meal that I can’t stop thinking about – a meal that I want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A meal that I will stand at the fridge and dig my spoon into at 5AM before hitting the gym. A habit I really need to kick..

thaichicken2It is just THAT delicious. It tasted great cold, reheated and every which way around. It kind of reminded me of a lightened-up Pad Thai – my all time favorite Thai dish.

This dish features a flavor-packed cast, including aromatic ginger, garlic, spicy Sriracha, savory sesame and creamy peanut butter. This dish really proved my theory to be true that everything tastes better with peanut butter. Everything.

thaichickenThis is definitely the type of dish that gets better and better as it sits. The ease and simplicity of making it is also extra enticing. It’s also the perfect all-in-one meal you can prepare at the start of the week and pack up for weekday lunches. Your coworkers may just start drooling over the smell and assume you brought in Thai takeout from the night before ;)

thaichicken3This dish can easily be made meatless by subbing the chicken for 2 scrambled eggs or tofu. I equally adore both ways. If you’re not into quinoa, brown rice or rice noodles would be an excellent swap. This recipe really allows you to get creative. Add in any veggies you like – bean sprouts, cabbage, corn, broccoli, turnips, etc.

Whichever spin you decide to take, you have to try this recipe. It jumped up to the top of my all-time favorite list with just one bite. Doooooo it! ;)

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The Perfect Protein Oats “ProOats”

I’ve posted these oats in a “Foodie Friday” post before but I love this blank-canvas style recipe so much that I wanted to give it its own post.

After countless trials, I have finally perfected my ProOats and now have yet to deviate from this recipe. The weeks I am on an oatmeal kick (as opposed to a protein pancake kick), I make these every single morning and they never get old. The only thing I change is the toppings. A few of my favorites are pictured below.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (may omit)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder (I use and highly recommend Sunwarrior)
  • 1 egg white (or 1/3 cup liquid egg whites)
  • 1-2 tsp nut butter of choice
  • Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Heat oats, almond milk, water and flaxseed in medium sized sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once mixture is bubbling and oats are almost cooked (~5 minutes), add one egg white (or 1/3 cup liquid egg whites), turn heat to low, and stir continuously for 30 seconds-1 minute until egg white is completely blended in mixture.
  3. Turn off heat, add 1 tbsp protein powder, another splash of almond milk (~2 tbsp) to help blend in the protein powder, nut butter of choice and cinnamon. Transfer to bowl and top with fruit and/or nuts of choice.

Adding the egg white makes the oatmeal so creamy, similar in consistently to porridge. Between the addition of protein powder and the protein in the egg white, these oats will keep you full and satisfied well into the morning.

As far as sweetness, the sweetener in the protein powder combined with the addition of a fruit topping usually makes the oats just sweet enough for my liking. They don’t taste nearly as sweet as the pre-packaged apple cinnamon or brown sugar varieties of oats, so if you prefer that level of sweetness, you may want to add a tbsp of your sweetener of choice.

Favorite Topping Combos:

Pear, Cinnamon and Walnut ProOats with Hazelnut Agave

prooatsI diced 1/2 of a pear and cooked it stove-top in ~2 tsp of coconut oil and 1 tsp of cinnamon for 5 minutes, until softened. I added a few chopped walnuts and a small drizzle of hazelnut agave nectar that I actually found at Home Goods. It is incredible!! You can also purchase the agave online through VitaCost.

Banana, Walnut and Cinnamon ProOats

oatmealSimply slice 1/2 of a banana and add a few chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon.

Nutrition facts for oats alone (no additional toppings)

Calories: 280; Total Fat: 9.5 gm; Saturated Fat: <1 gm; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Carbohydrates: 27 gm; Fiber: 5 gm; Sugar: 2 gm; Protein: 27 gm

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