Homemade Chocolate Candy

IMG_2892

I’ve always been a person that needs a little something sweet after a meal and these homemade candies are perfect!  Actually they are great for whenever you feel a sugar craving coming on.  They satisfy your sweet tooth, are easy to make and good for you!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

IMG_2864

You have the option to use maple syrup, VitaFiber, or you could opt for a sugar free version by using liquid stevia.

Step one:  melt coconut oil in microwave

IMG_2914

Step two:  I used VitaFiber and heated it over medium to low heat until it began to bubble.  I poured it, along with the coconut oil, vanilla and 10-15 drops of liquid stevia, over the cocoa powder.

I use measuring cups to make it easier to pour into the ice cube tray.

IMG_2915 IMG_2916

Step 3:  mix everything together until smooth

IMG_2870

Step 4:  pour 1/2 of the mix into ice cube tray, then sprinkle in your dried fruits and nuts

This would be super cute to find heart shape trays especially for Valentine’s Day.💞

IMG_2917

Step 5: cover the fruit and nut mix with the remaining chocolate mix and pop it in the freezer for a few hours.  Let them sit out for a few minutes and they pop out nicely when I take a butter knife to one edge.  Enjoy!

IMG_2921

 

Advertisements

Homemade Quest Protein Bars

I’m so excited to share with you how to make your very own Homemade Quest Protein Bars! Quest bars are my favorite because they are made with quality ingredients that I can understand, and they make a great healthy dessert.

The catch is, spending $2-3 per bar everyday can get expensive, and they aren’t sold at a lot of places. Discovering how to create my own solves these problems, and I can control the ingredients to make them even healthier!  Another BONUS is they can be made in 3 minutes!

The magical ingredient that allows the protein bars to be ‘Quest like’ is a low carb and chewy (binder) syrup, IMO (aka. isomalto-oligosaccharide) called Vita-Fiber.

The company that makes Vita-fiber shares this nutrition information about the product:

Zero Sugar – No Aftertaste – Low Calorie – Super Versatile
Baking to  Beverages – Gluten Free – Non-GMO – Vegan
Nothing Artificial – No Stevia – No Sugar  Alcohols – Low Glycemic
Supports Digestive Health – Excellent Source of Prebiotic Fiber
Does Not Cause Tooth Decay – Diabetic Friendly – No Allergens

This is pretty awesome, right?!  I like not having to use nut butters, honey or any other fat or sugary substance to hold the bars together.

Here is a link to FAQs about this product: http://bioneutra.ca/frequently-asked-questions/

I bought mine at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/VitaFiber-IMO-Syrup/dp/B00TIX50OQ

IMG_2253

These were some of the firsts ones I made: Double Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Roll, Oreo and Chocolate Peanut Butter

Ingredients needed: VitaFiber, favorite protein, extract of choice, and any mix ins you like.

😊Once you get started it’s so much fun creating new flavors the time flies!

Here is the base recipe:

  • 2 TBS VitaFiber
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder
  • 1/4 tsp extract
  • 1 tsp milk (I use almond) *gradually add a splash more if you find it’s too dry

You can adjust the recipe based on what you want in your macros.  For instance if you don’t want as much protein or if you don’t want to use 2 tbsp of the syrup then you might want to go with 1/2 scoop protein powder; 1- 1/2 tbsp VitaFiber; and 1 tbsp milk.  Play around with it and enjoy creating your own!

Here are the steps:

IMG_2251

  1. Use a small pot and have all your ingredients ready to mix in.  Heat the syrup in a saucepan on medium-low heat until it starts to bubble.  It takes about a minute.

*Another option is to microwave the syrup in a glass bowl for 20-25 sec.

IMG_2252

2.  Once it starts bubbling, remove it from the heat and immediately stir in your ingredients, except for your special add ins like chocolate chips, dried fruit, sprinkles, etc.

3.  Let cool for about 2 minutes.

4.  Scoop the dough into a Ziploc snack bag. Fold in your add ins and form into a bar.  (trust me on this, otherwise it will stick to your hands).

5.  Cool in refrigerator for an hour to set.

I love ‘almost done’ cookies so I bake them at 350 degrees for 5 min. or pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.😋

Here are the recipes I used for the bars in the photo:

Double Chocolate Brownie – 2 tbsp VitaFiber Syrup, 1 scoop protein, 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp dark chocolate morsels.  Splash of almond milk if too dry.
195 calories, 28 carbs, 30 protein, 21 grams of fiber
Chocolate Peanut Butter- same as Double Chocolate Chip except add in 1 tsp peanut butter.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough- 2 tbsp VitaFiber Syrup, 1 scoop protein, 2 tsp almond flour, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp almond butter, 1 tbsp dark chocolate morsels (make sure not to mix in until the dough cools).
Peanut Butter- 2-1/2 tbsp VitaFiber Syrup, 1 heaping scoop protein, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp crunchy peanut butter.
Cinnamon Roll- 2 tbsp VitaFiber Syrup, 1 scoop protein, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 6-8 raisins.
Oreo- 2-1/2 tbsp VitaFiber Syrup, 1 scoop protein, 1 oreo cookie crumbled up and mixed in.

I’ve been having so much fun creating these bars, and I’m still tweeking and trying new things!  I would love to hear back from you about what you try.  Enjoy!

Roasted Coconut Protein Truffles

These are quick and tasty treats that satisfy hunger cravings and guarantee energy.

All you need to make these delicious lil’ truffles is 4 ingredients:

IMG_1040

1 cup vanilla whey protein

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk

Optional ingredients:

*2 TBS dark chocolate melted

*smidge of coconut oil on hands to form truffles

*1/4 cup Cacao Nibs

1st step:  roast the coconut flakes until it browns nicely.  Set it aside to cool.

2nd:  mix your protein powder with coconut flour (you can sub this with almond, oat or quinoa flour, these flours can be eaten raw).  Add the coconut flakes.

3rd:  add the milk of your choice, I prefer the almond milk.  You want a consistency that will bind the ingredients together.

4th:  shape into various balls.

5th step is optional:  Coat or dunk the truffles in melted dark chocolate.  I melted dark chocolate morsels in a glass bowl in microwave and stirred every 10-15 sec. until melted.

Put in refrigerator for 20 min or longer and Enjoy!  😁

This is a batch I made w/out the chocolate and instead I used Cacao Nibs.

IMG_1048

Cacao (ka·cow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate.  These untreated seeds are nutrient packed and can even be considered a superfood!  Cacao beans offer a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals so I throw them in my healthy baked goods all the time.

Here are just some of the benefits that make Cacao a Total Superfood!

  • Magnesium and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Beautifying:  extremely high in antioxidants to protect cells from premature aging.
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Fiber

 

 

Miracle Potion For Your Weight, Skin and Everything In Between

My new favorite thing is apple cider vinegar.  One of my clients turned me on to this when I was complaining about having a cold.  She is a registered nurse and an administrator of a hospice company, and she swears by the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, especially in shortening a cold.   She was so excited about it that she brought a bottle to our next fitness class for everyone to try:)  LOL!

We all headed to the ladies room after our fitness class at the UFC, and brought out the shot glasses.

093

Luckily no one spit it out all over the mirrors! haha:)

If you can get past the taste and smell, apple cider vinegar is really amazing. From your head to your toes, it’s good for the health of almost every body part.

Here are just some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar that I found in my research:

  1. Strengthens Your Immune System.

As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, take a dose of this germ-busting miracle worker to help head off the infection.   The acidic environment kills the germs.  Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour.

Another recipe option I found is to mix one teaspoon apple cider vinegar, one teaspoon cayenne pepper and three teaspoons clover honey in a glass of warm water.  All three ingredients will work together to help you heal.

2.  Balances Your Digestive System.

Drinking apple cider vinegar before a starchy meal will allow the starches you don’t digest to feed the good bacteria in your gut.

If you want to reduce gas, dilute a tablespoon of enzyme-rich apple cider vinegar with a cup of water or tea, and drink before a meal. This will also combat constipation, since the vinegar stimulates digestive juices that help your body breakdown food.  (Dr. Oz, The Seven Surprising Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar.)

3.  Helps with allergies.

Research indicates that apple cider vinegar can help allergies because of how it helps break up mucous and reduce sinus congestion.

4.  Helps with weight loss.

There are some studies that propose that apple cider vinegar can increase satiety, which helps you eat less.  Researchers suggest that vinegar may turn on certain genes involved in breaking down fats.

The effect is probably very subtle, says Chicago dietitian Debbie Davis, RD. “It may have some benefits in terms of weight loss and weight management, but it is definitely not a quick fix.”

Although apple cider vinegar seems to be a miracle worker, it’s the entire lifestyle that counts if you want to see results.  Use it to aid your weight loss along with exercise and portion control.

5.  Does Wonders For Skin.

If you are burnt to a crisp after a long day in the sun, apple cider vinegar can soothe your skin. To neutralize the burn try adding a cupful or two to your bath and soak for 10 minutes.  The apple cider vinegar help restore your skin’s pH levels and your skin will feel cool and soothed.

It is great for clearing up the skin.  This is my favorite benefit because I have seen an immediate change since I started using it as my toner.  I mix 2 oz of apple cider vinegar with 2 oz of filtered water in a bottle.  Apply it to a cotton ball and rub on your face and neck.  It restores the proper pH levels to your skin so it is great for every skin type.  It is also is good for reducing the appearance of age spots, pimples and acne scars.

Tips on Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

  • When you buy it make sure it is cloudy and reads on the label with “the mother.” The “mother” is a blob at the bottom and it is full of probiotics and other good bacteria.

appleecider32oz%202-500x500

(This is the brand I buy at WinDixie in Louisiana, so I’m sure you can find it in most grocery stores.)

  • There are many suggestions I found on taking apple cider vinegar. The nurse I mentioned earlier takes it straight and follows it up with a glass of water.   Some people mix it in with apple or grape juice. I dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons with a small amount of water and honey.
  • It is so acidic that mixing it with water or juice makes it more palatable.
  • Take it before a meal or along with your meals one or two times a day.

Although there isn’t a lot of scientific support, the homeopathic benefits of apple cider vinegar should not be underestimated.  It’s definitely worthwhile to try.

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

 10599610_491077604328276_3946579466917514597_n

Peanut butter is my weakness, but with this healthy recipe I don’t feel guilty for my indulgence:)  The mix of superfoods, protein powder and a touch of honey makes this snack incredible, not to mention how easy it is to make.

I always make 2 batches because I share them with friends, and they always want the recipe so here it is:

2/3 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup of honey

1/4 cup of stevia (you can eliminate this & add a bit more honey)

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder (I use Gold Standard Whey)

3 TBS of wheat germ (or flax seeds or chia seeds)

*Add a tiny bit of water to form balls

Mix all the ingredients together.  The consistency should be like Play-Doh.  Roll into 14 small balls.  Refrigerate them and enjoy!  YUMMO!

010

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I love the chicken lettuce wraps from P.F. Chang’s and this recipe is a scrumptious comparable to the finger licking appetizer.  You can make a meal of it by adding a vegetable medley on the side or rice and black beans.  I made a few healthy adjustments that don’t interfere at all with the flavorful dish. The sauce is so delicious, you will want to make extra to have for drizzling on salads and vegetables.

010

The recipe is from Brandi Milloy, POPSUGAR Food

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce or chili garlic sauce

1  8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 head bibb or butter lettuce, separated into leaves

1 small bunch green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. In a medium wok or skillet set over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Add the chicken, and cook until browned on all sides; transfer to a plate.  Spray with Pam or vegetable spray, the same skillet, and cook the garlic and mushrooms until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha to a mason jar, and shake to mix.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pan with mushrooms and garlic. Add the water chestnuts, pour sauce over the dish, and toss to coat; cook until just heated through.
  4. Serve with leaves of butter lettuce and green onions.

Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

After indulging through the holidays and coming out of the winter months, your body is craving a cleansing.  This week I am sharing several detox salad recipes that are power packed with nutrients, but not at the price of flavor.  You can even enjoy your salad along with grilled cold water fish or chicken to get even more detoxing support through their good fats and protein.

Today’s featured detox salad is Asparagus & Quinoa.

asaparagus and quinoa

Quinoa, pronounced as Keen-wah, is a superfood that you will want to have as a staple in your diet.  I wasn’t too interested in it at first because I wasn’t wild about the taste, but after learning how amazing this food is, I’ve been finding tasty ways to cook with it.

2013-05-31-guinoainbag

Here are just a couple of the benefits of this superfood:   Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and contains all nine essential amino acids.  Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and this can alleviate migraines.  Other health benefits of magnesium include body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.  Shabang!  No wonder the Incas believed it increased the stamina of their warriors.

                                                Asparagus & Quinoa Salad

1 Cup uncooked quinoa008

10 asparagus spears

1 beet roasted and chopped

2 cups of spinach and mixed greens

For the Vinaigrette

*this serves 6 so you will have some to use later

                                 3/4 cup of olive oil

                                 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar

                                 2 TBS water

                                 2 TBS Honey

                                 Season to taste with pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the quinoa
  2. Trim the woody ends by simply breaking the ends off.  Place asparagus spears in boiling water for 2 min.  Plunge them in cold water.  Chop them in 1 inch pieces.
  3. Coat the mixed greens lightly with dressing.  Place quinoa on the salad bed, then the asparagus, top with beets.
  4. Drizzle with the dressing and toss.

Apple Cider Vinegar benefits are plentiful too.  I was surprised to find it helps with hiccups;)  But, for our purposes, the big reason you want to integrate this into your diet is because it aides in weight loss.  The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism and reduces water retention.

Delight your digestive system and taste buds with this flavorful salad:)