How To: Perfectly Portioned Nut Butter

When is a tablespoon really a tablespoon? Usually when we’re measuring our favorite things like nut butters, chocolate or any other favorite treat we’re more than willing to eyeball it. However, when you’re working towards weight loss/maintenance it doesn’t really work that way. Even though nut butters have many benefits; healthy fats, proteins, etc, the calories can add up quickly if you let your eyes do the measuring. I’ve been preparing my kitchen and food to make things simple for after my surgery and easy for anyone that’s here to help me. I suspect I’ll be drinking lots of protein shakes and one of my favorite things to add in in peanut butter or cashew butter. You can save time and extra dishes by portioning out your nut butters and freezing them! As a bonus it means you need less ice!

How To Portion Nut Butter

You’ll need a 1tbsp measuring spoon, some parchment paper and a baking dish/try. This takes about 5 minutes but then all you need to do is grab a block or two each time you make a smoothie!

Use your tbsp to measure out portions. | Transfer to the freezer for storage.

Use your tbsp to measure out portions. | Transfer to the freezer for storage.

You’ll need a 2nd spoon to transfer it out of the scoop and on to the parchment. Once you’ve filled your dish transfer to the freezer and let them set up. Then move to a container with a lid to prevent freezer burn. I ran out of peanut butter only 3 portions in but I’m working on the cashew butter next. I’ll transfer to freezer bins and label them for when my post-surgery helpers are here. Hopefully it will make for quicker smoothies and less mess! TIP: YOU COULD ALSO USE AN EXTRA ICE CUB TRAY, remember to measure to make sure you know how much fits in each section.

Hemp Granola Bites

Home made “balls” or bars seem to be the hot thing right now and yet I’ve never tried to create my own….until today! Inspired, I rounded up my favorite ingredients and got to work. Food texture is a huge issue for me so I wasn’t sure how these would go over. Let’s just say I’ve messaged a few friends to see if they want some so I don’t eat them all.

Hemp Granola Bites

We’ve got some of my favorite pantry staples here. North Coast Naturals Daily Cleanse & Hemp Seeds, Nature’s Path Hemp Plus Granola, Cashew Butter, Natural Delights Organic Dates, Organic cinnamon and maple syrup. Just a heads-up – these dates are non-pitted so be sure to take the pitts out before blending! This recipe is so simple and comes together in about 10 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 Organic Dates
  • 1/3C Daily Cleanse
  • 3/4C Hemp Granola
  • 1/8-1/4tsp Organic Cinnamon
  • 1/4C Cashew Butter (any nut butter will work)
  • 3tbsp Organic Maple Syrup
  • 28g Hemp Seed – do not add to blender mix

NUTRITION Per Ball: 120.9 Cal | 2.6g Protein | 5.3g Fat | 17g Carbs

Add everything EXCEPT Hemp Seeds to blender and blend well.

Add everything EXCEPT Hemp Seeds to blender and blend well.

After things are mixed well transfer to a bowl and mix in your hemp seeds. Grab a tablespoon to measure out portions. You should get between 16-17 balls depending on how heaping your spoon fulls are!

Hemp Protein Balls

These are so so delicious and the texture is amazing. Make sure you’ve got friends to share these with or some serious self control! If you’re looking for something with higher protein you can add a scoop or two of your favorite protein and add an extra tbsp of maple syrup. Tomorrow there will be another variation of these with higher protein and a different base cereal.

Classic Breakfast Remixed: Protein Toast

This new breakfast / snack was inspired by Sawyer’s new favorite breakfast: “Peanut Butter & Jam”. It’s not actually PB&J, but she doesn’t need to know that! We use Silver Hills Bakery bread. It’s a sprouted grain bread that’s made with organic sprouted grains and has around 100 cal &  6+g of protein per slice – no “diet” bread can compete with that kind of goodness! I discovered this bread when I was looking for a way to sneak some protein into her lunches when she was on a jam sandwich kick a while back.

Protein packed breakfast

Since the kids don’t care for the ends I save those for me – I think they’re delicious! I use cashew butter for our toast and an organic strawberry jam. Since hemp seeds have become my new hot sauce (I put them on EVERYTHING!), I thought I’d add a little extra nutritional punch by sprinkling about 1/3 scoop of hemp seeds over my toast. I love this breakfast on a “quiet” Saturday morning with a cup of tea. If you need something more “on the go” fold it sandwich style and take it to-go in the car on the way to work!

If you’re keeping track of calories this breakfast will bring you in right around 363 calories. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 2 Slices Big 16 (200cal)
  • 1tbsp Cashew Butter (80cal)
  • 1tbsp Organic Strawberry Jam (30cal)
  • 1/3 Scoop Hemp Seeds (53cal)

This is a breakfast that will keep you satisfied for quite a while and hits each of your macro groups (protein/fat/carbs) and is fairly cost effective as well. McDonald’s has been promoting their “Only 290 Calorie Egg McMuffin” lately as a great breakfast option (more on that to come) – I don’t know about you but I’d rather have 70 extra calories of REAL food that will nourish my body!

The kids even love this bread!

The kids even love this bread!

Don’t have any jam in the fridge? Sawyer swears a little bit of organic apple sauce in place of the jam is delicious. Not sure how I feel about that one just yet!

DIY Recovery Drink

A few weeks ago I received a lovley package from my friends at North Coast Naturals full of all kinds of their products. If you were to look at my instagram feed you’d notice I put hemp seeds on pretty much everything. Looking for a great breakfast option – check out what I came up with! Last weekend, Angela from Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat, and I met for lunch at a local vegan restaurant and she mentioned that she adds some of the L-Glutamine to her pre-workout drink. I had some in my care package from NCN and finally gave it a shot in my lemon water – didn’t change the taste at all!

Upper Body Workout: Shoulders, Lats, Biceps, Chest

Upper Body Workout: Shoulders, Lats, Biceps, Chest

The grocery store happened to have organic fresh cranberries on sale for $0.99/bag so I picked up 4 bags and have been adding these little magic gems to my smoothies all week. After my workout today I started to make my lemon water with the added L-Glutamine and thought I’d try some cranberries as well. Not only would this be an excellent post-workout recovery drink but by combining the cranberries & lemon it would provide a gentle detoxing effect as well!

DIY Detox Recovery Drink

Let’s talk about how to whip up this drink! You’ll need:

Step 1: Place the cranberries and water in a blender and blend until combined. You’ll have extra left over, so save it in the fridge for later. Measure out 1/2 cup and add it to your large mason jar.

Step 2: Squeeze the 1/2 lemon in the large mason jar

Step 3: Add 1 scoop of the L-Glutamine

Step 4: Fill with filtered water, add lid and shake well!

Add a little ice if you like it colder & enjoy! I thought about juicing the cranberries but I wanted to use the entire berry to keep the fiber and some of the other goodness you lose when juicing.

Interested in learning more? Here’s some info from the NCN site…

What Is It Used For?

Supplementation of 100% pure L-Glutamine powder has been common for over 20 years beginning with use by athletes. Many studies suggest it helps with recovery, alleviating physical/mental stress, joint pain, and mental fitness. It has also been found to have a significant effect on the body’s rate of tissue repair. Glutamine can help to reduce depression, anxiety, irritability, moodiness, insomnia, and distress due to short bowel syndrome.

What does Glutamine do?

  • Maintains the health of your intestinal tract
  • Helps your body produce glutathione, a key antioxidant nutrient
  • Ensures proper acid-base balance in your body
  • Helps maintain your muscle mass
  • Vastly improves recovery times from injury, surgery and exercise
  • Increases resistance to colds – Glutamine is a primary immune system “booster”.
  • Slows the aging process by increasing “youth hormone” – Youth and Immunity Booster Studies have shown 2 grams of L-Glutamine daily increased growth hormone levels by over 400%.
  • Athletes note increased power and endurance.
  • Participates in glycogen synthesis
  • Provides nitrogen compounds for the manufacture of nucleotides which are used to make DNA and RNA.
  • Helps maintain cell volume and hydration

Taking L-Glutamine after workouts or before bedtime, times when muscle tissue typically undergoes repair and recuperation can be particularly effective.

Make a larger batch and have it on hand for when you’re done your workout, or even during your workout!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash: 3 Easy Steps

Trying new foods is something I’ve always struggled with and trying new veggies is even harder for me. Thanks to the internets I’ve been seeing these amazing spaghetti squash creations in my social feeds for months and finally decided to take the plunge and buy a spaghetti squash. I wasn’t ready for full on mushy cooked squash just yet. The first one I bought sat on my counter and waited to be cooked for weeks. Into the compost it went, a fresh one was purchased and I was finally ready – a bit dramatic right? I know, I know.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

I’ve fallen in love with this super versatile veggie – I even ate it for breakfast last week! According to this site a 1 cup serving (cooked, boiled, drained, no salt) of spaghetti squash contains:

  • 42 Calories
  • 0g Fat
  • 28g Sodium
  • 10g Carbs
  • 2g Dietary Fiber
  • 4g Sugar
  • 1g Protein

Sounds pretty awesome to me! I was skeptical that this would taste just like eating a bowl of traditional spaghetti. Once you add some organic sauce, a little cheese and some meatballs or lentilballs you’d never know the difference – okay you might be able to tell a little but it’s amazingly close!

So how do you cook it? 3 Simple Steps:

  1. Slice in half (length wise)
  2. Scoop out seeds
  3. Add seasoning of choice (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with Unbleached Parchment Paper. Place the squash open side down and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool a bit and scrape out with a fork.

I always have half of one in the fridge for quick meals. It’s so versatile and is great for any meal or even a quick snack.

Organic Red Potato Spicy Fries

Sweet potatoes are normally my go-to for fries and pretty much everything else. Recently at our local grocery store I noticed they started to carry organic potatoes (red, russet, and yellow), so I thought I’d give them a try. Naturally one of my favorite things to do with a potato is to make fries. It makes a great snack and a nice side dish to any meal. They’re simple to prepare and only take about 20-25 minutes to cook!

Organic Red Potato Spicy Fries

You’ll need 1 red potato, garlic powder, parsley, and some cayenne pepper. Extra virgin olive oil is optional.

Prep your fries.

Prep your fries.

Quarter your potato and then slice into thin fry like pieces. Sprinkle each spice to your liking, I’d suggest going lighter on the cayenne pepper – you can always add more! Mine turned out quite spicy – almost too much so! Pre-heat your oven to 425, cut and season your fries. If you’re going to drizzle with EVOO be sure to measure out 1-2tsp and drizzle, then mix them well to coat all the fries. Bake for 15 minutes, turn fries over, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy as a light snack or side dish.