April 28, 2014

Sweet Potato Avocado Quesadillas

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It’s no secret that I love Mexican food. Often, when I’m asked what my “last meal” would be, or “if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life…” my response is “something Mexican.”

Throughout the past several weeks of my clean eating journey, I’ve been keeping small corn tortillas on hand.

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Corn tortillas are not totally “clean” because they have preservatives, but a girl’s gotta have some balance. They fit into my meal plan and they make a quick meal. I’ve been making a batch of chicken in my crockpot and pairing it with some salsa, tortillas, and a veggie.

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Other staple ingredients in my diet are sweet potatoes and avocado. Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, meaning they’re digested by the body slower, making you feel full for longer periods of time. Plus, they taste amazing. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. And they taste pretty good too.

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The buttery + sweet combo of avocado and sweet potatoes is so irresistible to me. Then for these quesadillas you throw in some gooey pepper jack cheese and some chicken for protein… BAM, healthy, nutritious, and filling lunch (or snack, depending on your dietary needs). Feel free to skip the chicken to make it vegetarian!

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Sweet Potato Avocado Quesadillas

Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces sweet potato, cooked
  • 1 ounce avocado
  • 1 ounce chicken
  • 2 4.5" white corn tortillas
  • 1 ounce pepper jack cheese
  • Dash ground cumin

Mash the sweet potato and avocado in two separate bowls. Sprinkle the sweet potato with a dash of ground cumin and stir.

Shred the chicken. Shred the cheese or break it into pieces.

Heat a pan over medium high. Add one of the tortillas and half of the cheese. Top with sweet potato, avocado, and chicken. Finish off with the other half of the cheese and remaining tortilla.

When the cheese on the bottom has melted and the tortilla begins to brown, gently flip the quesadilla.

Cook until the rest of the cheese has melted and the tortilla begins to brown.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, or sour cream/greek yogurt.

http://www.nowyourecook.in/2014/04/28/sweet-potato-avocado-quesadillas/

April 1, 2014

Homemade Greek Yogurt

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For the past few months, I’ve been making my own Greek yogurt. I’m finding that homemade greek yogurt is a staple in my fridge.

Greek yogurt is like a “super” version of regular yogurt. It’s thicker, so each serving of Greek yogurt has much more protein than regular yogurt. Protein-packed foods keep you fuller for longer! Greek yogurt typically has a stronger tart flavor compared to traditional yogurt, but this homemade Greek yogurt is more mild.

I use it in place of sour cream or mayo, as an ingredient to make creamy sauces, and as a lifesaver for when I haven’t eaten enough protein for the day. You can also use it to make frozen yogurt or add it into smoothies. Use it to frost cupcakes or cake or even pancakes with a tiny bit of water, vanilla extract, and sweetener. Some cupcake recipes even call for greek yogurt as an ingredient in the cake. Add some herbs and a bit of water and use it as a marinade for meat. Add a dollop on top of oatmeal.

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Making Greek yogurt at home is so easy. In a nutshell, you buy a gallon of milk and a 6 oz cup of Greek yogurt. Heat the milk, let it cool, add the yogurt, let the mixture sit. Strain the mixture. Tada! You have Greek yogurt!

Only two ingredients are needed: milk and Greek yogurt. The store-bought Greek yogurt is like your “starter,” similar to making sourdough bread. And when you make your next batch, you’ll only need to buy a gallon of milk — just save a cup of your first batch of yogurt ot use as your starter!

Warning: Not all store-bought Greek yogurts are made equal! If you’re particular about natural/artificial/organic/clean eating types of things, be sure to check out the ingredients of your Greek yogurt. I tend to buy Fage Total 0% because it comes in a 6oz container, which is exactly what I need for this, and because the only ingredients are skim milk and cultures. Chobani is also fine, but it only comes in a 5.3oz container. Watch out for strange added ingredients, like modified corn starch.

And the second best part, is that it lasts a long time! I’ve used it three weeks after making it and the yogurt still tasted great and I didn’t get sick. But don’t hold me to it!

If you’d like to make a fruity flavored Greek yogurt, add some jam, frozen fruit, or pureed fruit to your serving.

Now the one caveat: It takes some time to make. WAIT! Don’t click away yet — 90% of the time required is hands-off. I tend to make a new batch of yogurt on days when I’m working from home or on the weekends so I’m around to check on it here and there.

Try making your own yogurt!

Special Equipment Needed: Two large and tall pots, cheesecloth, strainer or colander.

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Homemade Greek Yogurt

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon non-fat/skim milk
  • 6 oz or 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Remove all the racks from the inside of your oven, and make sure your oven is off. Place a large beach towel inside.

Pour the entire gallon of milk into a very large pot.

Heat the milk over low until the temperature reaches 175 - 180 degrees. Stir occasionally so the milk doesn't begin to burn.

When it reaches the desired temperature, turn the burner off and allow the milk to cool to 115 degrees.

When the milk reaches 115 degrees, whisk in the entire container of store-bought Greek yogurt.

Cover the pot with its lid or a plate. Put the pot in the oven and wrap it with the towel.

Let the yogurt sit for about 6 hours. The whey (watery stuff) will begin to separate out.

After 6 hours, remove the pot from the oven. Place a strainer on top of another large pot. Line the strainer with cheesecloth.

Pour the yogurt into the strainer. Cover the yogurt with the cheesecloth or a clean towel and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

The mixture will become very thick. Scoop it out into airtight containers and keep refrigerated until ready to use!

http://www.nowyourecook.in/2014/04/01/homemade-greek-yogurt/

February 19, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

February may not be Pumpkin Spice Latte season, but I hardly think Pumpkin Spice Latte lovers will protest a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes, right?

Protein pancakes have been my go-to morning meal since I began eating well over my body weight in protein grams daily. Without exaggeration, there have been maybe 5 weekdays over the past 7 weeks that I’ve had something other than protein pancakes.

If you look around, there are plenty of protein pancake recipes out there using oats and protein powder as well as coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, bananas, etc. etc. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

The only way I’m able to fit in pancakes during the week is if they’re super quick. Do you have time to measure out 5+ ingredients, then mix them together, cook, flip, eat? I sure don’t.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

These pancakes are essentially three measured ingredients, and two add-ons that you can just sprinkle in. I’m providing measurements for the pumpkin spice and ground coffee here for perspective and because not everyone knows there’s a big difference between a teaspoon of spices and a tablespoon of spices. But once you’ve seen the proportions, you’ll be able to just eyeball it!

Tips: Watch carefully! Don’t let the pancakes cook too long or they’ll be too dry. You want the bottom edges to look slightly firm. The tops will begin to have a sheen and look slightly set, but still wet. Flip now! Do not wait for bubbles like traditional pancakes. You won’t see any.
If you want “syrup”: After measuring the scoop of protein, sprinkle maybe 1/8 of the scoop into a tiny dish. Add (literally) a few drops of water at a time and mix to form a syrup consistency. Pour this on top after the pancakes are done.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

Here I’ve topped mine with 1/2 tablespoon almond butter. More topping ideas: Maple syrup (duh), chocolate chips or syrup, additional pumpkin pie spice, yogurt (or yogurt jazzed up with stevia and cinnamon, thinned with water slightly to make a “frosting”), marshmallows, sprinkles, coconut flakes, etc.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes Nutrition Label

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Pancakes

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 scoop Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey Cinnamon Swirl or vanilla protein powder with about 130 calories and 25g protein per scoop
  • 1 packet or 1 dropper full no-calorie sweetener (I use liquid stevia)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional: splash of vanilla extract

Pour 1/4 cup almond milk into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water so the liquid comes just between the 1/3 and 1/2 cup markers. Add this and the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Process until smooth.

Scrape the batter down using a spatula.

Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray or coconut oil spray.

Pour a small amount of batter into the pan. I usually start on the edges of the pan and am able to get 3 pancakes 3-3 1/2 inches wide. Place remaining batter aside.

Don't let the pancakes cook too long or they'll be too dry. You want the bottom edges to look slightly firm. The tops will begin to have a sheen and look slightly set, but still wet. Flip now! Do not wait for bubbles like traditional pancakes. You won't see any.

Cook for about 30 seconds on the second side, until the bottom sets and is able to be lifted with a spatula.

Continue with the remaining batter.

Top with desired toppings and enjoy!

http://www.nowyourecook.in/2014/02/19/pumpkin-spice-latte-protein-pancakes/

February 4, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

I’m totally in love with this Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread.

One of the things I miss most since starting my clean eating meal plans is DESSERT! Prepping 5 meals a day for 5-7 day days at a time is really time consuming. I’m still trying to get everything down, so I’m hoping it will get quicker eventually, but right now I’ve been in the kitchen a lot after work and then jumping into bed so I’m well rested when my 5:30am alarm goes off.

This hasn’t allowed for a lot of time to explore clean baking, but through the magic of Instagram, I’ve found a few recipes I’ve been meaning to try out.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

I found a recipe for protein banana bread and put a few twists on it to keep the fat and sugar counts low.

Do not ask me if I licked the bowl and/or spatula. I mean… Come on… Who does that :p

This protein bread recipe is out of this world. This is coming from the girl who looooves traditional baked goods made with all purpose flour, whole eggs, sugar, and real butter.

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The unbelievable truth is that this banana bread is made with no refined flour, no added sugar, and no butter. It’s gluten-free, clean, has 16g protein, and is low fat, only 2g. And only 5 ingredients if you don’t count the vanilla extract and cinnamon (two of my favorite things — if you don’t have these in your pantry at all times, we can’t be friends!).

!!!

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Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread Nutrition Label

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Serves 6

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Protein Bread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats or oat flour
  • 2 scoops Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey Cinnamon Swirl or vanilla protein powder with about 130 calories and 25g protein per scoop
  • 4 ripe bananas (about 12 ounces without peel)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt with 120-140 calories per cup (Voskos, Trader Joe's)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • coconut oil spray or coconut oil, for greasing pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add all the ingredients except the 1 tablespoon cinnamon (only add 1 teaspoon cinnamon at this point) to a blender, NutriBullet, or food processor. (If you're using plain vanilla protein powder, add 1 teaspoon additional cinnamon.) Process until smooth.

Spray a loaf pan with coconut oil. If you don't have coconut oil spray, melt a teaspoon or so of coconut oil, dip a paper towel in it, and wipe on the bottom and sides of the loaf pan. You can also use regular nonstick spray.

Pour the batter into the pan. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter back out of the pan and place it in a small bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon cinnamon and stir well.

Dollop the cinnamon batter mixture onto the top of the regular batter. Swirl using a spatula or spoon. Be careful not to over-swirl, as you'll lose the pretty effect.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Allow to cool and then slice into 6 pieces.

http://www.nowyourecook.in/2014/02/04/cinnamon-swirl-banana-protein-bread/

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 A case of the Mondays can quickly be turned around when you get a good email from your boss on the drive in. My company is super small, we don't have a long client listing or a swanky office in Silicon Beach, but we are capable of amazing things! Love my coworkers like family and my boss has a heart of gold :) November will mark 9 years since I started as the company's first non-executive employee!  Farthest run ever! My goal was 5 miles, but I kept slowly increasing as I went and eventually decided I'd go for 6.5 miles  it's a lot easier to run at 6pm with 4 meals in your stomach vs 6am with just a slice of toast.  Forgot my overnight oats at home. Sesame bagel from Milo+Olive will have to do!

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