Protein Packed Nachos

Now that the new Quest Nutrition chips are in stores, I finally got my hands on a couple bags so I could try them out. First up: sea salt and sour cream and cheddar.

I’m not a giant chip eater– I really only grab a few chips if there’s a bowl sitting in front of me at a party. Other than that, they are something I could definitely live without (…and pretty much do). Because of this, I didn’t really feel like just eating the protein chips straight out of the bag.

Unfortunately Fortunately, I was starving and I needed to throw something together quickly. Quest Nachos it was!

To Make: (1 serving)

You Will Need:
1 bag of Sea Salt Quest Nutrition chips
4 oz. ground meat of choice (I used 99% lean ground turkey)
1 oz. cheddar cheese (shredded or chopped very small)
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1 slice onion
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
Shredded lettuce
4 cherry tomatoes
Hot sauce
Seasonings of choice (I used garlic powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper)

Before cooking

Before cooking

To Make:
Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté meat with seasonings until halfway cooked. Add peppers, onion, mushrooms and stir occasionally until fully cooked.*

Empty bag of chips onto a baking sheet lined with foil and spread so they are flat.

Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the chips.

Spoon meat mixture over top of the chips, spreading evenly.

Top with lettuce, tomatoes and the remainder of the cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.

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*To cook my meat, I use a cast iron skillet. I add the meat and cover the bottom of the pan with water. I then add spices and cook most of the way, add in extras and cook until no pink remains.

Primal Coconut Flour Pancakes

I never used to consider myself a pancake person. For some reason, the whole pancake-thing never really did it for me. I was always left unsatisfied, always wanting more, not because I was still hungry, just not thrilled.

As I’ve become more of a “foodie,” the idea of different pancakes has intrigued me. You can do almost anything with them–sweet or savory, thick or thin. Big stacks or one big cake. While I never enjoyed drenching my plate in maple syrup, the idea of special sauces on top or in between each fluffy layer is something I think about when planning a new recipe.

These pancakes are simple, healthy and filling with only a few ingredients and minimal effort. If you follow a dairy-free diet, I would think that the yogurt could be replaced with applesauce or mashed banana–other types of pancakes on their own and definitely worth a try!

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Ingredients:

1.5 TBL plain Greek yogurt
2 TBL coconut flour
1 flax egg (1 TBL flax+2 TBL water, mix and let sit for 2 minutes)
1 egg
1/2 TBL chia seeds (optional)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Blueberries

To Top:
Remainder of plain Greek yogurt container or 1/3 of a cup or so if using a larger tub
1/2 TBL peanut flour (or peanut butter/almond butter)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Blueberries

To Prepare:

In a small bowl, make your flax egg and put aside. In another bowl, combine coconut flour, chia seeds, yogurt, egg, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix to combine using a fork. Add coconut milk a little at a time until the batter is thick but can easily be mixed and spooned onto a pan. Ensure all lumps are mixed out. Fold in blueberries and let sit for 2 minutes.

While waiting, mix together yogurt, vanilla and peanut flour in a bowl and put to the side.

Grease a skillet and place over medium heat. When up to temperature, check consistency of batter. If it has thickened, add a little more coconut milk to get it back to the original consistency. Spoon batter into the pan and spread evenly into a circle. It will not expand or rise.

Do not turn until the sides and top begin to cook, then flip. When pancake is cooked completely through, remove from pan. Spoon a dollop (about 1/2 a tablespoon) of peanut butter yogurt onto the top. Repeat with remainder of the batter.

Spoon all leftover yogurt over the top of the pancakes and sprinkle with additional berries.

 

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I’m a fan of changing recipes up to make them a little healthier. I love spinach in my smoothies, exchanging tons of vegetable oil for another fat and cutting out refined sugar for something else sweet.

I’m sometimes a little wary of throwing vegetables in baked goods though in fear that there will be little strands of veggies and or taste less like a treat and more like a salad.

I’ve made zucchini bread which doesn’t taste like zucchini and I’ve heard of sweet potato bread but never actually tried it.I had a container of boiled sweet potato that needed to be eaten so I figured I would try to throw it in something delicious.

These cupcakes are chocolate-y, moist and not incredibly sweet but sweet enough. They’re also low in calories, carbohydrates and fat which makes it a lot easier to eat more than one.

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Chocolate Sweet Potato Cupcakes

1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2.5 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
6 packets monk fruit in the raw
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup egg-whites
1/4 cup boiled sweet potato

Optional Frosting:
1/4 cup peanut flour
1/2 packet monk fruit in the raw
Drop of vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix.

Add in egg whites, yogurt, sweet potato, milk and mix well until no lumps remain and batter has a cupcake batter consistency.

Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and fill each liner half way with batter. The batter should make 12 cupcakes.

Bake for 8 minutes or until the top has set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from pan and place on a rack.

When cool, frost with your choice of frosting or a simple peanut butter frosting:
For the frosting, mix 1/4 cup peanut flour with a drop of vanilla extract and half a packet of monk fruit in the raw. Add water a tablespoon at a time until it develops a peanut butter consistency. Frost cupcakes.

 

Nutrition Facts for 12 unfrosted cupcakes:
45 calories/8 carbs/0 fat/3 protein

Spaghetti Squash Bake

I love when recipes are easy and tasty at the same time. Set-it and forget-it type meals also always work. They’re simple, quick to throw together and you can forget about them until the timer goes off.

Spaghetti squash called my name at the grocery store the other night when I went to pick up my beloved butternut so it went into the cart instead. I knew I didn’t just want a bowl of plain squash topped with sauce so I made a baked version instead which worked perfectly.

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(Sorry for a terrible picture. I dug in too quick the first time I ate this)

 

You’ll Need:

1 spaghetti squash

2-2.5 cups of tomato sauce (either homemade or jarred)

1/4 to a 1/3 lb. of ground beef or turkey

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the squash in half length wise and place inside-up on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

While your squash is cooking, prepare the meat for the dish by browning up the ground beef in a skillet on the stove. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until there is no pink. 

When the squash is done, remove from oven and lightly hold top using a towel or pot holder. Using a fork, pull the meat of the squash downwards until all strands have been pulled. Put squash in a baking dish. Do the same with the other half.

Pour sauce, almost all the cheese and meat over the squash and mix well. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the top begins to crisp a little and the cheese has melted.

Remove from oven, scoop into dishes and serve. This meal reheats well and is also good eaten cold.

 

Crunchy Chocolate Bark

Sorry I’ve been MIA–it’s finals and I have a lot of work to do so I’ve been eating oats, salad and stir-fry on repeat every day. 

I shouldn’t walk down the aisles at the grocery store because they tempt me with sales and things I don’t need. I try to avoid mindless wandering through the store but most of the time, it’s just too tempting.

Example 1: Today there was a sale on Baker’s chocolate making them 2 for $5. I ran out of my unsweetened chocolate a few weeks ago so obviously it was necessary to replace. I also didn’t realize they had white chocolate bars. Into the cart both items went.

Example 2: I’ve been CRAVING graham crackers lately. Is that weird? I just love them. Well, Teddy Grahams were on sale soooo, those made their way into the cart too.

And because it’s finals and I have many other things I should be doing, I decided I would use this chocolate and these grahams to make bark since I’ve been wanting to make some since I saw the Pioneer Woman’s Halloween Bark a few months ago. She defied the law with that one because it seems like people only consume bark during the winter holidays. I don’t know who decided that–chocolate is good 365 days a year.

(As a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten chocolate bark. Or any bark for that matter.)

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I was going to use Teddy Grahams as a base but then decided to use puffed millet for some crunch. Warning: puffed millet does not stay still very well and takes a little manipulating. It spreads when the chocolate is poured over it. I haven’t figured out how to fix this.

Also, feel free to use whatever you want for the candy and toppings or leave it relatively plain like I did for half with just some coconut and sea salt. I just used things I had around my house.

Can I give you a suggestion? Gift this to someone. I don’t know about you, but if someone brought this to my house, I’d eat it. It’s fast, cheap, pretty and it tastes good. It’s a winner!

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(I am not the best drizzel-er, but I’m working on it)

Puffed Chocolate Bark

You’ll Need:
Bark:
4oz. package unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
Approximately 12oz. dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 60% Ghiardelli and 60% Trader Joes)
1.5 oz. Baker’s white chocolate bar
2 cups puffed millet (I got mine from iHerb.com–get $10 off your first purchase when you use my code WTD353)
1/2 tsp. peanut flour (optional–but also from iherb.com)
Toppings:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Around 1/2 tsp. Pink Himalayan sea salt (or any sea salt)
1/2 fun size pack M&M’s, chopped up
5-8 Teddy Graham’s chopped up
1/2 tablespoon Jet Puff mallowbits

To Make:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour puffed millet on top, forming a flat layer as best you can.

Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler over medium-high heat. *Pot filled with a little bit of water with a smaller pot or heat proof bowl on top with the chocolate. You could also use a microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between

When melted, slowly pour over puffed millet in a zig-zag formation then attempt to spread more evenly by using a spatula or fork and lightly moving the chocolate.

Wait one minute for it to cool just enough, then sprinkle toppings over the chocolate. Press down lightly on toppings with a fork if needed.

Melt white chocolate in a new pan/bowl and using a spatula or fork, drizzle half over the top of the bark by quickly moving your instrument of choice over the top in zig-zags. If using, mix peanut flour into the remainder of the white chocolate, and drizzle using the same method.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to harden for at least 45 minutes. Break apart and eat!

*side note: either save the extra puffed millet or toss it. mine has little pieces of chocolate and sea salt from drizzling and sprinkling so it will be eaten on top of yogurt or with almond milk or something! 🙂

Spicy Sweet Stir-Fry

As I sit to write this, it’s 4:54 p.m. and I’m eating my dinner. For anyone who says eating early dinner is wrong, well, I don’t want to be right. I’d be willing to say there’s lots of us hungry people that sit from 4:30-5:30 or even 6:00 waiting until it’s appropriate to eat something and call it a meal. Those people can join me on the quest to make anytime dinner time. Maybe not anytime, but anytime after 4:30 or when it’s close enough to 5.

I’ve actually eaten the same dinner for the last week and a half. This almost never happens because I generally get insanely bored eating the same thing over and over. Case and point: different flavors of oats every day make it seem like something fresh and new.

I’m usually not even a stir-fry person but jeez, this one has knocked my socks off. There’s so many flavors and it’s warm and comforting with a little kick of spice. It’s also incredibly versatile. Like any stir-fry, add what you have. Except the sweet potato. Keep that–trust me. Putting the sweet potato at the bottom allows it to absorb all the sauce and warm up and makes every bite a little better.

There’s no photo because I do not for the life of me know how to take a good picture of something messy in a bowl but when I do (maybe when I make this again..tomorrow) I’ll add one.

Spicy Sweet Stir-Fry

1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) broccoli
6 frozen asparagus spears, broken in half
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 baked sweet potato, skin on (put this in the fridge before hand or make it the night before so it’s cold)
1 piece cooked chicken/serving of any kind of meat you desire, or have it vegetarian style
1-2 tablespoons sriacha
1-2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 tablespoon peanut flour (optional but encouraged +1 teaspoon peanut butter)
1/2-3/4 cups water
Chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cinnamon

Add the spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli and carrots to a deep pan and turn onto medium heat. Pour the water over the vegetables. There should be enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

Cover with a lid and steam for 3 minutes.

Cut up meat if adding and add it to the pan. Put lid on for another minute.

Drizzle sriacha and aminos over vegetables, and sprinkle with peanut flour and spices except cinnamon. If using peanut butter, add to the middle of the pan. Stir everything up.

Allow mixture to cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Cut cold sweet potato in half and put in the bottom of a bowl. Mash and sprinkle with cinnamon. Remove pan from heat and pour over sweet potato.

Let it rest for 1 minute, then dig in.

No-Bake Cookie Dough

I’ve been looking for a no-bake cookie dough without chickpeas for a really long time. I’ve perused Pinterest, blogs and Google to find a recipe without chickpeas (…or any beans), eggs, sugar, flour and butter and essentially came up with nothing. I’ve made cookie dough before using peanut butter and coconut flour so I decided to go with that base and then switch it up a little.

Don’t just my photography skills–this was hard to take pictures of for some reason (probably because 1) my house is dark 2) i wanted to eat it).

 

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No-Bake Cookie Dough 

2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
1 Tablespoon peanut flour (i got mine from here)
1/2 tsp. butter extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. flax egg (ground flax and water, mixed and set in the fridge)
1/2 packet stevia
dark chocolate pieces 
3-4 tablespoons almond milk (didn’t really measure, kept adding and mixing until it was a doughy consistency)

Mix everything but almond milk in a small bowl or mug. 

Slowly pour in almond milk while mixing until it becomes the consistency of cookie dough. You may need a little more or less depending on your preferences.

Put in the fridge for 20 or so minutes (or longer) to get cold. 

Enjoy straight off a spoon without fear of getting salmonella!