Coconut & Date Protein Bites

As part of Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Test Kitchen Program, I made this month’s recipe, Coconut & Date Protein Bites.

These little bite-size snacks are gluten-free, full of coconut flavor and have a hint of sweetness, without any added sugar.

Original Recipe, via Food & Nutrition Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup siggi’s Vanilla 0% Yogurt
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates, chopped (about 12 to 13 large dates)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds, hulled
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut plus more for rolling

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency. We like keeping the pieces larger for a crunchier ball.
  2. When desired consistency is reached, form 1-ounce balls then roll in the shredded coconut to coat.
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as a quick snack!

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 18 bites

Recipe Test Notes

I wanted to increase the protein of these little bites, so I included some hemp protein powder. While I was preparing the bites, I found that the mixture was extremely dry, probably due to adding the dry protein powder, so I added more Siggi’s yogurt. Since it was still dry, I added 1/4 cup melted coconut oil to bind the mixture a little bit better. I chose coconut oil because I wanted to boost the coconut flavor of the bites. It worked well!

Jen’s Final Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5.3 oz cup of Siggi’s Coconut 2% Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates, chopped (about 12 to 13 large dates)
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted, sliced almonds
  • 1 packet (or 4 T ) of Hemp Pro 70 protein powder
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency.
  2. When desired consistency is reached, form 1-ounce balls (I didn’t roll them in coconut because they weren’t sticky enough)
  3. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as a quick protein-packed snack!

Yield: 15 bites

 

A bit about the nutritional benefits of the ingredients

Coconut flour 

Coconut flour is a great gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour. It has a hint of coconut flavor and is considered an excellent source of fiber with 6g of fiber per 2 tablespoons. It is also high in iron!

Coconut oil

High in lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride, coconut oil can be substituted for butter in vegan recipes, but it is still high in saturated fat, so don’t overdo it!

Siggi’s 2% Icelandic-style yogurt

Siggi’s 2% yogurt provides 170 kcal per container, with 5 g of fat and 15 g of protein, with no added sugars! It is also a good source of calcium.

Hemp protein powder

Four tablespoons of this plant-based protein powder provides 130 kcal, 3.5 g of fat, and 15 g of protein.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acid–or alpha-linolenic acid–which help to raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol!) which promotes heart health.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are another great source of omega-3 fatty acid! They are also a great source of fiber and protein. Flax seeds also contain Vitamin B1, Manganese, Magnesium and Phosphorus. Magnesium and Phosphorus both play an important role in bone health.

Dates

Adding dates to baked goods provide a sweetness without adding sugar. The are a good source of fiber and are fat-free! 1.5 oz of dates also contain 280 mg of Potassium.

Almonds

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats (the good kind!) which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also a good source of the antioxidant Vitamin E! Almonds also contain a lot of magnesium and potassium, both of which are important for heart and muscle function.

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Soy Chorizo, Spinach and Cheese Mini Quiches

Good morning, happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. This weekend I finally had time to make some mini quiches (or mini egg cups, whatever you like to call them). I wanted something quick, easy and full of protein to have for breakfast during the week so I made a batch of these little guys–they are so tasty! And they are crust-less! Enjoy.

Soy Chorizo, Spinach and Cheese Mini Quiches
Adapted from SkinnyTaste Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets

1 egg quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 package of soy chorizo
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, steamed
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. spray muffin tin with non-stick spray (or use muffin liners)
3. beat eggs and egg whites in large mixing bowl
4. add chorizo, cheese, spinach, salt and pepper to egg mixture and mix well
5. evenly distribute egg mixture to muffin tin
6. bake for 20 minutes

makes 12 mini quiches

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nutrition facts for one quiche

egg muffins

 

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Cooking and Baking Up a Storm

Sunday is usually my day for grocery shopping, cleaning, or relaxing. Sometimes spent studying for tests that I have the upcoming week!

I’ve been having the urge to bake and cook but during the week its so hard, so Sunday I usually make a big batch of something for the week.

I was eying a recipe for a roasted veg mac and cheese that I spotted on Pinterest a few weeks ago. Thankfully I remembered the ingredients when I went to Trader Joe’s on Sunday!

It came out looking so great! It was pretty easy to make too.

mac

I also tried baking real bread for the first time ever. I’ve made a lot of quick breads, beer bread and Irish soda bread before, but have never tried a real crusty bread before. I had this recipe pinned for a YEAR, and finally got around to trying it. I tweaked it a bit–I used 2 cups of whole wheat bread flour and 1 cup of white flour vs. the 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. I just switched it because I found whole wheat bread flour in the bulk section of the Healthy Living Market. I also swapped maple syrup for molasses since I didn’t have any molasses on hand.

It seemed easy enough–just had to make time for it to rise (12 hours + 2 hours for a second rise). I may have cheated a little bit. I also didn’t want to be putting bread in the oven at 11pm. Plus, it didn’t look like my dough was rising all that much?

dough

It ended up getting nice and crusty. But I realized I had the oven shelf too close to the bottom of the oven, and the bottom got a bit too dark.

bread

It still tasted delicious, though! I will definitely be making it again. I’d really like to do more bread baking since its pretty easy when you follow the steps!

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Healthy Apple Butter-Filled Muffins

I’m impatient. Its only June and I’m already dreaming of fall. I know, I know, but its my favorite season! So, I still had some home made apple butter in my pantry from last fall and I wanted to use it up…so why wait? I’m the girl who eats pumpkin butter in April..anyway…I found this recipe for apple butter-filled muffins and it looked delightful. I made some healthy substitutions and they came out really tasty.

*Adapted from Taste of Home Apple Butter Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 flax egg {1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water and let stand for 3 minutes}
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup home made apple butter

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and spices in large bowl
3. Combine flax egg, soy milk and apple sauce until mixed well
4. Add remaining wet ingredients (except apple butter) to dry mix until batter is  just combined
5. Add 1 tbsp of batter to greased muffin tin
6. Add 1 spoonful of apple butter to top of each muffin

7. Add remaining  batter to until apple butter is covered
8. Bake for 20 minutes
9. Enjoy!

Makes 12 muffins

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The Best Banana Blueberry Muffins

Sunday amidst studying for microbiology, I figured I would do some muffin baking.

muffins.jpg

I usually only bake with what I have on hand, so I found an easy enough muffin recipe by Martha Stewart! I tweaked it a bit in order to use what I had:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pasty flour
  • 1 cup regular whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

And then followed the instructions for Martha’s recipe.

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They came out so good! The blueberries were actually the ones I had in my freezer from last July when I went blueberry picking and they still tasted fresh!

  DSC08363.JPG

These are so good. Make them ASAP!

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