Beet brownies

So the last time we were at Costco I told Chris I HAD to have the party sized box of pre-steamed baby beets.  He told me it was an impulse purchase.  I told him he was wrong.  I’d eat all the beets in my lunches.

Um, that’s a lot of beets.  After going through a couple of packs I was beeted out.

So I did what any normal internet-loving lady would do.  I turned them into dessert.

Beet Brownies
Recipe from here.

  • 6-8ish pre-steamed baby beets (or real beets that you cook 1st)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 pan (I use olive oil in my mister). Mix everything up in a food processor.

Pour into the pan (lick the bowl too till its spotless because the batter is amazing). Bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool.  Eat.

Update – I tossed the extra brownies in the freezer (to prevent myself from scarfing them all at once) and turns out they are amazing frozen!  They taste sort of like a spicy cinnamon fudgesicle. 

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2 October Challenges, family visits + I can’t stop eating M&Ms

Couple things to talk about today…the most interesting might be that I physically cannot stop eating M&Ms.  Like seriously impossible.  My mom gave me a bag of the minis which she said we were suppose to save and give out as Halloween Candy (um, have you met me and my sweet tooth) and I wasn’t going to open them I swear, but I got snacky on the car ride home from Olympia and well, pretty much I’ve done nothing but dive into the bags ever since.

And while eating all that candy wasn’t good I’d like to think of it as my last hoorah before October challenge number one starts tomorrow.  Challenge one = no sugar.  One of the pilates teachers and the Zumba teacher at the gym are giving up sugar and I’m joining in.  They’re following this 21 day detox plan which includes both sugar and alcohol and I’m sure a couple other things that you can find in the guide.  I haven’t gotten the guide and I don’t know how closely I’ll follow the alcohol plan because cutting out sugar is enough.  And we’re not talking natural sugar, we’re talking sweets – candy, cookies, M&Ms’ etc.  Last weekend I told my grandma I was going to give up candy starting last Monday and I did good until the weekend when I blew it on some delicious banana, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies that Chris’ grandma made me so hopefully a new month will give me that push to really make it happen.  Let me know if you want to join me, I could definitely use the support.

October challenge number two is a fun little contest I found here. It’s called the Rocktober challenge and basically every day there’s a fitness/healthy challenge that you need to do and take a picture of and then tweet it to @MichelleLMyers.  Tomorrow is “athletic shoes.”  Easy.  I looked at the rest of the month and they’re pretty fun – wall sit, favorite nut butter, fitness quote that inspires you…Oh and best part, you are entered to win prizes if you complete the whole month.

And now, the actual reason I started this post, the recap of my weekend.  We went up to Seattle to watch my Washington State Cougars take on the Oregon Ducks.  I knew it was going to be a blow-out so I didn’t have very high expectations but surprisingly the Cougs held their own for the first half before stinking it up big time in the second.

And because we like to pack in as many things and people as possible, we hung out with Chris’ grandma and cousin on Saturday where beyond just feeding us delicious cookies made a tasty lunch of grilled turkey, grain salad, fresh from the garden tomatoes and avocados.

We also hung out with my dad, step-mom and sister.

And on the way home this afternoon we stopped in Olympia and had lunch with my mom, brother and grandma at Red Robin (and it was delicious – the whiskey river BBQ chicken wrap with honey mustard for the fries in one of my most favorite meals).

And now that I’ve written a novel it’s time to go.  Revenge is on!

Happy Monday + Grilled sweet potatoes

Now that Monday’s pretty much over is it bad that I’m already counting down to Friday? I honestly have no big plans but I think the fact that summer is almost over makes me appreciate it more.  I realized I can’t remember the last time I actually sat outside in my Adirondack chair drinking coffee on a Saturday morning so I fully plan on taking advantage of that before I can’t.  I also feel like baking.  Maybe because fall is in the air or something but I have this crazy craving for something pumpkin-y.  I also really want to clean out my closet and dresser and then re-evaluate my wardrobe.  Kind of like back to school shopping except I’m not going back to school…Wow, I just realized the above paragraph makes me sound old.  Eh, oh well. I’m still jazzed.

You know what else I’m jazzed about?  Tonight’s dinner.  It was so good.  I had initially planned on making BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and Annie’s but Chris has Hood to Coast this weekend so he gets to dictate most of the meals this week and this one sounded good to him (side note, anytime my husband wants quinoa instead of pasta is a good day).

And because I’m trying to cut back on carbs I subbed in sweet potatoes for the traditional quinoa (and yes I know that sweet potatoes are a carb).

They were so easy to make, just scrub a sweet potato, slice into rounds, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and garlic (these are the same ingredients I used on the corn).  Wrap in foil and grill for 15-20 minutes.

And for dessert I had some watermelon.

And now I’m off to relax.  I actually feel like I could fall asleep at the computer right now which isn’t good since it’s not even 9 – maybe my workout wore me out?  I went for a 30 minute slow jog on the treadmill and then hit up my favorite lunchtime pilates reformer class.  Tomorrow I’m actually getting up at 5 so that I can get in some cardio before another reformer class.  My gym offers classes at 6 and 7 AM on Tuesday/Thursday’s but I don’t love the teacher so I usually skip it but tomorrow this sub is coming in and I really want to try her class.  I’ve heard she’s hard.  Can’t wait.

Also, wanted to pass along this post from One Fit Foodie.  Great stuff about how people (particularly “healthy living bloggers”) should make sure they’re eating real, whole food to fuel their bodies and not fake chemicals and giant bowls of veggies with no protein.  I totally agree with her.  It drives me crazy to read these blogs (that I’m sure young, unaware women are reading) and see them filled with recipes that while low in calories are super high in processed foods or consist only of a huge plate of broccoli.  Yikes, don’t get me started on this.  Kind of hit a nerve.  Anyway, go check out her post and her site.

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?  For some reason I can’t think of any engaging question to ask so I’ll turn things around.  Anyone have anything they want to ask me?  About anything? 

Ooh or tell me what your favorite fall baked good is.

Fun with protein powder on a Friday night

Wild Friday night over at this house.  Let me tell you.  While Chris is off in Vegas at a Bachelor party I decided to experiment with protein powder and see what kind of semi healthy treats I could make.  I made 3 things and while all of them are delicious, I don’t know how “healthy” any of them are.  I’ll let you be the judge below.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Protein Cookies

I saw a recipe on the back of our oatmeal box and tried to figure out how to make it healthier and add in some additional protein.  I know baking is a science and things need to be a certain way to turn out right but I’ll tell you right now I don’t roll that way.  I dump stuff into a bowl and see what happens.  And these turned out pretty good. After they came out of the oven I let them cool and then stored them in the freezer.  Mostly so that if I really want a cookie I have to let it thaw and hopefully that will prevent me from eating a million in one setting.

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Mix everything together and place slightly flattened balls on an un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Makes 24-30 cookies

  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup protein powder (I used vitacost vanilla whey)
  • 1 cup coconut flour (if I make these again I would use regular flour)
  • 1 &1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips

Nutrition per cookie (from myfitnesspal):
130 calories
5 g protein
5 g sugar
7 g fat (this is good fat from the coconut oil)
3 g fiber

Up next is something I don’t even know if I should share on here because they are so good they’ll probably get you in trouble.  And then you’ll get mad at me for telling you about them.  But they’re soooooooo good.

I started brainstorming about a new protein bar on Monday after I ate a Zone bar in the car on the way home from the beach. The protein bars I made a couple of weeks ago were good but I wanted that crunch from the Zone bar.  And so I found a recipe from Dashing Dish.  If you have not checked out her updated site, you must.  It’s awesome.  I mean, how could you not want to make something called Peanut Butter Protein Rice Crispy Treats?  The DD version had 9 grams of protein per bar and only made 9.  I wanted to double that amount and get a couple more grams of protein so again, more experimentation.  And I will admit at one point I was dumping random things in so I’m hoping this is an accurate recipe.  Worse case, follow the one on Dashing Dish.  You won’t be disappointment.

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Protein Bars
(Original Recipe belongs to Dashing Dish).  My version makes about 18 bars.

  • 5 cups gluten free rice crispy treats (the GF brand was cheaper than Kellogg.  Unless you have to be GF you could use the original)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used TJ’s creamy Valencia with sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 2 cups protein powder (I used vitacost vanilla whey)
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Now the directions is where it gets a little tricky.  In the DD version, Katie says to mix everything together in a bowl. Instead, I started out with the food processor because I wanted the apricots chopped.  I got through the apricots, PB, peanut flour, honey, banana, flax, protein powder, and then after adding in 2 cups of the rice crispies I realized I had a problem.  The food processor ground up the cereal so that it was super fine and that’s not what I wanted.  I wanted the crunch of the crispies.  So at that point I transferred everything out of the food processor and into a bowl and painstakingly mixed in the rest of the cereal.  I DO NOT recommend this method.  The mixture was so gluey from all the fruit and honey, plus the protein powder was getting thick… It was a serious workout getting everything mixed.  I even had to give up and eventually mix it all by hand.  If I were to do this again, I would mix up the apricots and banana in the food processor and then transfer to a stand mixer or huge bowl and then mix everything together.  I think it would be a lot easier.

After I got everything mixed, I pressed it into a 9×13 pan sprayed with olive oil.  Then I melted the chocolate plus coconut oil in the microwave (you really need to watch this so it doesn’t burn.  I’d go about 15 sec, mix and then 15 more).  The chocolate will be super liquidy but that’s ok.  Pour it over the rice crispy mixture and tilt the pan so it covers everything.  Pop the whole thing in the freezer for a couple of hours.  And voila.  Done.  But be careful.  Don’t try them or you will end up eating 3.

Nutrition per bar (from myfitnesspal):
300 calories
13 g protein
10 g sugar (These would be good without chocolate which would cut down the sugar)
15 g fat (this is a lot but some of it is good from the coconut and peanut butter)
3 g fiber

And after I had made both of those I had leftover bags of both dark chocolate and butterscotch chips.  And at first I put them in freezer and was done in the kitchen for the night.  But then I realized that unless those chips were used up, I would be going back to the freezer constantly until I’d eaten my way through both bags.  So I came up with this completely random recipe.

Butterscotch/Chocolate haystacks
Melt the chips and mix everything together.  Scoop into balls and freeze.  Store in the freezer.   Makes about 18 stacks.

  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips
  • 4 tablespoons ground flax
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 2 cups Kellogg bran buds
  • 1 cup GF rice crispies

Nutrition per stack (FYI I’m not claiming that these are good for you):
130 calories
3 g protein
11 g iron
5 g fiber
14 g sugar
7 g fat

These are definitely a dessert and I’m hoping one of these little guys will be enough to ward off those after dinner sweet cravings I always seem to get.

So there you go.  3 ways to use protein powder.  After all of that time in the kitchen I was exhausted so I curled up on the couch and caught up on Revenge and New Girl.  This morning I got sucked into a marathon of Bethenny Every After and now it’s almost noon and I feel like I’ve done nothing with my day besides watch TV, blog and eat oatmeal.  I’m going to spend some time with my friend the spin bike and then I have a bridal shower to go to at 2.

I know it’s Cinco De Mayo but after my big bday last weekend and with Chris out of town, I’m not super into it.  I would be quite happy if I spent another night cozied up on the couch with a girly chick flick.  But I might hit up Journey’s with some friends later.  Do you guys ever have weekends like that?  Where you want to do nothing but stay in?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Trying new things

Chris is gone this week on a work trip which means I got to be a little more experimental in the kitchen.  While Chris will always try what I make, I don’t want to make him try something gross so I like to test most new creations out before I debut it.  Glad I did.  Because nearly all of today’s concoctions were failures.

Breakfast was a green smoothie for day 3 of the green smoothie challenge.  If I thought I was crazy with the carrots yesterday then today took it to the next level with sweet potatoes.  It sounded like a great idea.  I love pumpkin in my smoothie so this felt like it would be similar, and while I liked the taste, I didn’t like the texture.  It almost reminded me of applesauce.  I think if I’d added a little more milk it would have been fine but I didn’t taste it before I poured it.  If you like thick smoothies you’d probably like this one.  I just like mine super thin, almost watery.  But on the plus side, I think it filled me up more because I didn’t get hungry once today.

Sweet potato, almond & banana smoothie
Mix all the ingredients together.  Serves 1

  • 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes/yams
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used this)

My “during the day” food was pretty normal (almonds, quinoa bean salad mix).  It was once I got home that things went downhill.

I attempted to combine 2 recipes – A black bean goat cheese burger with a quinoa burger.  I only used the black bean recipe as inspiration, thinking I’d just add black beans to the quinoa burger recipe.  I started by mashing black beans.  Easy.  Then as I got through the rest of the ingredients I saw that it called for splenda (which I don’t eat) and flour.  Perfect, I thought.  I’ll use coconut flour to bring in the sweetness.  Bad plan.  And I didn’t have cottage cheese, so I skipped it.  It couldn’t matter that much right?  I ended up with a decent consistency and scooped out 4 1/4 cup, cute little burgers and started frying them.

Cute little guys

But then they kind of fell apart.

Burger turned bowl

To be honest, they weren’t that bad.  A little dry so I mixed up some fry sauce (ketchup and light mayo) and  that helped but I threw out the rest of the mix after the first 4.  Lesson learned here?  If I want a burger get some turkey.

Then I wanted some dessert so I thought, I’d whip up something similar to this chia seed protein powder pudding.  I was suppose to let the chia seeds soak in the liquid for 20 min.  But I wanted it right away so I didn’t.  Just dumped chia seeds, almond milk, protein powder and honey in a glass.  Taste was great.  Texture was like chunky milk.  Fail.  But I actually ate it anyway.  Don’t judge.

What did I learn tonight? Recipes are written for a reason.  And I should follow them.  I also learned that I’m tired of trying new things and maybe I’ll just eat cereal for the rest of the week…

Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies

Lots o chocolate

So last week I was craving sugar like a crazy woman.  I have a huge sweet tooth so craving sugar is not totally abnormal around here but last week it was out of control.  Like I’d start craving it after lunch and the craving basically wouldn’t go away until in a huge moment of weakness last Thursday I ended up eating massive amounts of Reese peanut butter sticks and a huge bag of caramel corn.  And then I basically fell into a sugar coma.  Not a proud moment.  Thank goodness that sugar splurge seemed to have calmed things down.  I don’t know what was going on but even Chris was craving sugar and he never wants it. It was weird.  It was almost like a magical sugar fairy flew over the house one night and accidentally dumped a bunch of dust over our house or something… Hopefully I made it through the worst of it but just in case, I wanted to create some sort of protein snack that included dark chocolate to proactively kill that sugar bug.

After browsing around for some protein cookie recipes, I landed on this one.  It sounded easy enough and I had all the ingredients here.  I doubled her recipe and then because I didn’t have enough honey, subbed in some greek yogurt.  I also tossed in dried cranberries, chia seeds and dark chocolate.  I put a cup of chopped dark chocolate in here and I actually think they’re too chocolatey. (Seriously I might go into sugar shock after one of these).  1/4 to a 1/2 cup would probably be just as good.  I also think it would be great to add 1-2 mashed bananas to make them a little more moist.  We didn’t have any so these are a tad on the drier side but still tasty.

I’m still debating when I’m going to eat these.  Normally I have a protein snack pre-workout but my sugar craving is striking at 3pm so thinking I’ll do an apple before heading to the gym and save these bad boys for my after lunch dessert.  I tossed them all in the freezer to hopefully prevent me from constantly snacking on them.  I’ll bring one to work each day and if I try to dig into them at home at least I’ll have some time to think about whether or not I really need them while they thaw.

And now I’m off to the grocery store to get groceries for the week.  Should be a pretty cheap bill since I went to Costco yesterday and picked up most of our meats and other essentials.

Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies:
Mix together the ingredients below.  Form into balls.
Bake for 15 minutes @ 350 degrees.
10 g protein, 8 g sugar, 135 calories, 5 g fat, 17 g carbs, 3 g fiber (based on calculations at myfitnesspal.
Makes 24 cookies.

  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 c non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 c old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1&1/3 c vanilla protein powder ( I used Sun Warrior Vanilla)

Yum

Melty goodness. Swoon

Into the freezer they go

Holy Banana’s Batman – Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

I have a huge sweet tooth and am always looking for new healthy treats, plus I can’t eat sugar because of the January Challenge.  I’d seen a recipe like this on Pinterest and wanted to give it a shot plus I wanted to try out my  new powdered peanut butter.  This definitely exceeded my expectations. Super tasty!  I think it will be even better on a hot day during the summer.

Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

1 serving, about 125 calories, 5 g protein.

  • 1 frozen banana chopped up into small slices/disks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut flour (I used this stuff but PB2 is another popular brand)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Put the frozen banana slices and milk into a food processor.  Blend until a creamy mixture forms.  Add peanut flour.  Blend.  Get a spoon.  Enjoy immediately (kind of a soft-serve type texture) or freeze for later.

I think this would also be good with some add-ins, like dark chocolate chunks, butterscotch/PB chips, maybe even crushed graham crackers.  The possibilities are endless.

1st, the banana forms into crumbly pellets

Then it gets smooth

Then you add peanut butter

Holy Banana’s Batman – Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

Then you eat