Thursday, February 20, 2014

Samoa Cookie Smoothie/Shake

So, my last post was focused on the lovely birthday cake that I made for my lovely, Samoa loving sister (link there). Bottom line? I seem to have been swallowed in a caramelly, chocolatey, coconutty phase. With the cake neatly polished off and not a single crumb in sight, I knew I was going to have to return to square one to satisfy my cravings (our neighborhood seems oddly devoid of door-to-door girl scouts. Where are they when you need them?)

And, since I am completely in love with smoothies that basically taste like milkshakes (oh, the magic of frozen bananas!) I thought, "It's time food a protein smoothies...samoa style."*

*I don't think I actually literally thought this. My mind went something more along the lines of "Ahhh, Hungry!! FEED ME!!" I get grumpy without my snacks.

It looks a lot more chocolatey than it actually is (I didn't want the chocolate flavor to overpower the caramel and coconut), but trust me on this: it's a keeper in my long smoothie line up. Psst... it's only 120 calories, too! You could probably only eat about 2 actual samosa for that amount, and feel a lot less satisfied!

(this recipe could easily be double for a more hearty post-workout snack)

1/2 frozen banana
2 T. fat free cottage cheese
1/3 scoop vanilla whey
1/3 cup almond milk (add more for thinner)
5-6 ice cubes (add more for thicker)
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 drop butter extract (optional)
2-3 drops coconut extract
1.5 T. Torani sugar free salted caramel syrup
Pinch Xantham gum

Blend everything but the gum until smooth. Add the gum to thicken it up and blend again until you reach desired consistency. You can always add more banana/ice/cottage cheese to make a larger volume/ thicker shake.

I topped it with coconut to make it look pretty :)
Are you hungry thirsty now?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthier Samoas Cake

It was my sister's birthday this weekend, and I really wanted to make it special. So, what did I do? Cooked of course! I wanted to give her a beautiful, delectable cake that she would salivated over. Literally. Okay, maybe not, but still.
Ever since we were little girl scouts in our cute little brown vests, her favorite cookie has been the samoa. (Mine is a tagalong, in case anyone is curious, which you're probably not) Shortbread covered in caramel and toasted coconut, drizzled with chocolate...I'll admit, it's pretty yummy. (Still doesn't beat chocolate and peanut butter in my opinion thought!) So I decided I'd try and make a cake to rival that cookie!
It's not a super great picture, I know, but it truly doesn't do the cake justice. It is just an iPhone camera after all though, so be sure to reserve judgement until AFTER eating it.

And, bonus, you can eat more than one slice without feeling TOO guilty, because I decided to healthify it just a little!
Normally, a butter and sugar-laden cake dripping with dulce de leche, sweetened coconut, buttercream, and chocolate would certainly put a dent in your daily calories...I don't even want to know how many a single slice has. This, on the other hand, is in no way low calorie, but for a cake it's pretty darn good as well as having significantly less fat, calories and sugar than the traditional version.
Move over girl scouts, samoa cake is coming to town!

1 box sugar-free devil's food cake mix
1 can (12oz) diet coke

25-30 pitted dates, soaked in water
Pinch Salt
 2 T. Torani Sugar Free Caramel Syrup

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1.5 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 T. Light Margarine or Butter

  1. Grease a Bundt or angel-food cake pan WELL and preheat oven according to package directions. You could also make it as a regular cake, but I think this looks more fun.
  2. Mix cake mix and diet coke in a medium sized bowl until all lumps are gone. Pour into greased pan and bake as directed (it may take a few extra minutes than 'normal')
  3. Meanwhile, put the dates, caramel syrup, a pinch of salt, and about 1-2 Tablespoons water in a food processor and blend well until there are no chunks and you get a thick, caramel-like paste. You may need just a bit more water, so adjust as necessary.
  4. When cake is done, spread coconut flakes on a cookie sheet and toast in oven, about 5-7 minutes. Check on them frequently and "stir" or move them around often because the coconut will burn easily! You want it to get lightly tan but not too crispy
  5. When cake has cooled, take it out of pan and frost using the date caramel you made. Then cover it with toasted coconut. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave 30 seconds, stir, and microwave in 10 second intervals until melted. Pour in stripes over cake, like on a samoa cookie.
That's it! The entire cake has about 2600 calories (like I said, it's not light by any standards), but compare that to this samoa cake, which has a whopping 7,850 calories for the entire cake!! That's a lot, so even a modest slice probably has 300-400 calories. My cake has only 1/3 the calories, so even with a pretty large slab you get about 200 calories and all the delicious flavor! Take that!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hazelnut Mocha Frappacino Smoothie

In case you couldn't tell, I've been on kind of a smoothie kick. They're a great way to sneak in some extra fruit, protein, and, if you can handle it, veggies…Unfortunately, green smoothies just weird me out, so either I need to buy an opaque cup and blender to make them with, or I'm just sticking to the tried and true.

And since I'm a poor college student who is still using her iPhone as her blogging camera… well, I think you can probably guess which of those choices I'm opting for. But hey, I love salad, so I make up for it right?
Evidently, salad loves me right back. Pictured above is a nice little combo I got at a falafel place in Cambridge, MA- plain old green salad topped with enough hummus to make even ME happy (and it was AMAZING hummus. So creamy. I need a recipe) and 4 huge falafels! Plus, a smile, which is priceless in my book.

These past couple of days I have been craving Starbucks HARD. Despite the less-then-optimal weather conditions, this girl is in need of a nice cold frappacino. My dirty little secret… that's the only thing I ever order from Starbucks. Can I really call myself a coffee snob? I'm a fake ! *dramatic sob*

Well, on to the recipe. Coffee snob or no, it's delicious. It's so thick and creamy that I wanted to call it a shake, but it's also a candidate for a smoothie, AND a frappacino. I was going to make the title some ridiculously long thing, but that's neither her nor there (okay, it was going to be Smoothakacino. There. I said it.)

Hazelnut Mocha Protein Frappacino
1 packet instant coffee grounds 
6 large ice cubes (probably a cup?)
1/2 frozen ripe banana
2 T. cottage cheese
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 scoop vanilla whey powder (or chocolate)
1/2 T. dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 T. Sugar-Free Torani Hazelnut Syrup
Pinch Xantham Gum (can omit, but will be icy)

Blend everything but the gum together until smooth. Add the gum and blend until thick. You can always adjust the amount of ice and milk to suit your preferences

Slurp that sucker up and enjoy! It's about 150 calories and 15 grams protein!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Brownie Batter Shake (and shh, it's healthy!)

Do I even need an intro for this, with a title like that?
And pictures like this, even from my crappy iPhone camera:
Yeah, I think not.
This is super chocolatey while not being overly sweet (you could obviously change that pretty readily if you just added some stevia or sugar) and truly does taste like brownie batter in liquified form. And it's low-fat, full of vitamins and minerals from the almond milk and pumpkin, and has lots of protein (gotta have that in our shakes!) Give it a try and you'll slurp it right up!
So thick, it's basically ice cream!

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 ice cubes, or more to desired consistency
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (optional)
1-2 stevia packets (optional)
1/4 tsp xantham gum (optional)

Topping: 37 calorie brownie (!)

You know the drill…blend it all up and slurp!
With the protein powder, it's all about 300 calories, 20 grams protein!

Drowning in Syrup

I have a confession to make:
I have a bit of a cool-unnecessary-food-item addiction.
I'm the person who, while grocery shopping, ends up with an extra 1/2 cart full of items I'll never use that I saw at the end of the aisles and thought "Oohh, that looks good!" And then it sits in the cupboard uneaten for three months until it goes bad.
But that won't happen here:
Torani sugar free syrups. Yes, five bottles of them. No, I'm not ashamed. After much deliberation, I purchased: Chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter, hazelnut, salted caramel, and s'mores. Wouldn't it be awesome to add just a bit of these to a smoothie or oatmeal and get a completely different flavor?

The verdict: thus far, I've tried peanut butter and cookie dough…and I'm not all that impressed. The flavor of the peanut butter is really weak, which is such a bummer because I would probably GUZZLE that thing in a heart beat if it did. Okay, maybe it is a good thing. And the cookie dough is… not very chocolatey. It's got a great smell, but really it just made things sweet, not cookie-doughy. The jury's still out on the other three flavors…

Still, I am determined to continue using them anyway. I bought them, I paid good money, and I will consume. Just let this be a warning: pick your flavors carefully, and don't get your expectations too high.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

Some days, you just need a refreshing glass of… cookies?
I tend to hate making recipes that I claim taste "just like" something else, because I never want to disappoint someone who is really craving the real thing. But this time, I'm confident enough to say that this smoothie is basically COOKIE IN LIQUID FORM!
Doesn't that look good?
I have been trying to eat more protein shakes lately because I'm trying to boost up my protein intake, so I thought I'd do a little bit of experimentation with my beloved blender. I wanted something thick, creamy, sweet, and of course, not chalky. If you like oatmeal cookies, I think you will love this, too.

*Note: I didn't really measure things before tossing them in the blender today, so these ingredients are just estimates! You can tweak as you like!

1 frozen banana, broken into chunks
2 T. rolled oats
2 tsp. raisins
1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese (you can't taste it, honest!)
1 scoop vanilla whey powder
1 packet stevia
Dash Cinnamon
1/2-1 cup almond milk
3 ice cubes (I used frozen almond milk so it doesn't dilute)
1/4 tsp. xantham gum (optional, for thicker shake)

Blend it all up until it's nice and thick and creamy! I topped mine with some more raisins and granola for a little bit of a crunch! Slurp it up and try not to get a brain freeze! This smoothie is full of muscle-building protein, healthy fiber, natural sweetness… and it's low-fat too!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Protein Pancakes

There are certain people who think that pumpkin is a seasonal flavor.

I am not one of them. And, hopefully after these pancakes, you will not be either.
I mean, let's just talk about how great pumpkin puree is. First, it has amazing flavor, second, it can be used as a lower-fat alternative in baking for oil or eggs, third, it makes things super moist, and fourth, it's actually pretty cheap! So stock up, people, because you will want to make these! (Bonus: they're good for you, too!)
And then make them again. And again. And again.
Oh, and did I mention that this HUGE stack, with the whipped cream and chocolate topping, is under 300 calories? With about 20 grams of protein?
I knew you would come around.

(Original recipe here)
1/3 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
1/4 cup Pure Pumpkin
1/2 scoop Vanilla Whey Powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Butter extract
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup Liquid Egg Whites
1-2 Tbsp Almond Milk
1 Stevia Packet

Chocolate Layer: (technically optional, but who are we kidding)
1 Tbsp PB2/Powdered Peanut Butter
1/2 Tbsp Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1 packet Stevia

2 Tablespoons Cool Whip Free (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients for pancakes and mix well until everything is incorporated.
2. Spoon batter onto heated griddle and cook as you would any other pancakes (I made four medium-sized)
3. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the chocolate layer. When pancakes are done, spread chocolate layer between each pancake, then top with cool whip. Yummy!!

Nutritional breakdown:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 202 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Saturated Fat 
Trans Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 191%Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 18%Iron 17%
Nutrition Grade B
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

High Protein/Low Carb Chocolate Raspberry Crepes

I know what you're thinking: a low carb crepe recipe? Please… it must taste like rubber! Well, I'll let you be the judge of that:
Doesn't look (or taste!) like rubber to me! There are only 5 grams of carbs for BOTH crepes (filling not included) along with a whopping 18 grams of protein (filling still not included)!! Plus, the crepes themselves are pretty versatile, so the chocolate raspberry filling that I whipped up for them is only one of countless possibilities for them. Maybe I'll have to try some Nutella or peanut butter and banana (we all know that I'm a girl after Elvis' own heart!)
Practically OOZING with velvety chocolatey goodness!
So, without further ado, a crepe recipe from me to you! (I'm such a dork, but oh, well. I embrace it)


For Crepes:
2/3 cup egg whites
2 T. ground flax seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 packet stevia
dash vanilla extract

For Filling:
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 T. dark chocolate cocoa powder
1-2 packets stevia
1/8 tsp. butter extract (optional)
Raspberries, for topping

1. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat (I always like to spray mine with some non-stick cooking spray just for extra assurance that I won't be left with a burned mess!)
2. Whisk together ingredients for crepes. When skillet is sufficiently heated, pour half the batter in and swirl it around the pan to coat evenly. Cook until you see bubbles start to form and you can turn it over easily. Flip and cook on other side. Repeat with other half of batter.
3. Combine your filling ingredients. You may want to take a taste and see if it is sweet enough or chocolatey enough for you before you spread it all over your breakfast! Top everything with raspberries and there you go!

Beet Crust Pizza

Basically, unless you've been living under a rock in the healthy living blogger world, you probably know or at least have heard of, the infamous Cauliflower Crust pizza. Since pale/low-carb/grain-free stuff is all the rage right now, it kind of makes sense why people are using this miracle veggie as a vehicle for the American staple of pizza… I bet we consume even more of this sauce and cheese laden flatbread than even the Italians!

Anyway, I love my cauli, don't get me wrong: it's great roasted, toasted, fried, shredded, steamed, mashed… even when I was a kid I would beg for steamed cauliflower for dinner! But let's talk about a different veggie that has stolen my heart - Beets.

They are such a beautiful deep red/purple color, full of fiber, potassium, and just the right hint of sweetness, especially when roasted and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar! Mmmm. Plus, there was a huge can of beets sitting on my shelf that needed to get used up, so I thought, "Why not try and make something interesting out of this?"

Behold: the beet crust pizza.
Topped with hummus, cucumber, nutritional yeast, and balsamic vinegar!

Okay, if you're looking for a greasy, saucy, cheesy pizza with a fair amount of crunch, this isn't it. Sorry. Really, it's a pizza in name only (and the fact that it's round and topped with random items). It tastes more like a soft, beety burger than a crusty bread, but that was fine with me. It's still full of great nutrients, fairly low in fat and calories, and delicious (or at least,  I think so.)

And let me be totally honest: it came about basically from me throwing a whole bunch of random ingredients in a blender, crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best. But then again, don't all the best recipes?


1/4 cup uncooked TVP granules
1/3-1/2 (15oz) can beets
2 T. egg whites
2 T. rolled oats
1 T. ground flax
Garlic Powder
Minced Onion

To Top:
Balsamic Vinegar
Cucumber Slices
Nutritional Yeast

1. Cook the TVP according to package directions.
2. Throw all the ingredients (minus the toppings) into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the amount of spices to your own personal preference. Note: the 'batter' may be a little bit liquid-y. 
3. Either spray a microwavable plate or pan and spread your batter on that and microwave for about 3 minutes on high, then flip and microwave an additional minute to desired consistency, or bake in the oven at 350F for about 20-30 minutes (I used the microwave method because I am an instant gratification type of person, and can't stand waiting for things to bake, so I can't personally vouch for the results.)
4. Top with whatever you like, mine are just suggestions!

Just look at that creamy patty!

Linking to the HOST