Buffed Up Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter

Sometimes I think I’m an evil little genius. Then I realize I’m actually making something that’s good for me, so I’m actually not so evil at all!
I’ll let myself keep the “little genius” title though because that makes me reminisce to Baby Geniuses, and I thoroughly enjoy that comparison.

Okay so back to the good stuff.
Nut butters are great and can be a good source of protein but what if you could have one that has Doubledouble the protein for even fewer calories plus extra fiber!
You said whaaat???
Yes, you heard me right. And it is amazingly smooth and incredibly delicious without the addition of sugar or salt.
I apologize in advance for your desire to eat the entire darn thing.

Dipping pretzel in nut butterMakes 1 cup of Nut Butter

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 serving vanilla protein powder of choice (My top picks are organic Tera’s Whey or Vega One for a vegan option)
~20 drops of stevia or sweetener to taste
Optional: ½ teaspoon butter extract (which is actually vegan)

Blended up nut butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place 1 cup almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place into the heated oven. Roast for ~15 minutes, stirring them around halfway through.
Once almonds have cooled, place all ingredients except for the whey protein into a blender or food processor. You’ll probably have to stop and scrape the sides a few times to get the entire mixture fully smooth.
Finally, add the protein powder and blend again until fully incorporated.

Enjoy with anything you would use normal nut butter for!

Pretzel on nut butter

Cauliflower Rice Sushi

So unless your head is under a rock (and no judgement here, rocks are pretty sweet) you’ve probably heard of cauliflower rice. Basically you throw some cauliflower into a food processor or blender and whiz it up to magically create what appears to be white rice. You can use this “rice” in place of regular rice in many dishes.

The endless possibilities of cauliflower rice set off a lightbulb in my head- why not make sushi with it?! By no means is regular rice the devil, but by replacing it with cauliflower you are left with a nutrient filled but less calorie dense alternative- which basically translates as an excuse to have more wine.

Makes 1 roll

Ingredients:
1 cup riced cauliflower
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon egg whites
1 sheet nori
Tamari/Braggs liquid aminos

Possible Add-Ins:
Cucumbers
Avocados
Bell peppers
Carrots
Mango
Sushi grade fish
Tofu
Sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)
…seriously whatever you want, this is the perfect time to clear out your fridge…

cauliflower sushi in hand

Directions:
Create your cup of riced cauliflower by either hand grating it or using a food processor or blender. Place your riced cauliflower in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.

Add the egg whites to the cauliflower rice, stir it around and place it back into the microwave for another minute.

Remove the bowl from the microwave, add the rice vinegar and place your cauliflower rice into the fridge.

Once your “rice” is completely cooled you can begin assembling!

Place your nori sheet onto a flat cleaned surface and dump your rice onto the center of the sheet. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, spread the rice evenly onto the nori sheet.

Now it’s time to start adding the good stuff. Start placing your fixin’s onto the center of your sheet. Make sure that if you have several slices of the same ingredient that they are the same size so the ingredients line up well and it rolls up nicely.


rolling cauliflower sushi
Finally, your sushi is roll-ready. roll up your sushi, and for optimal slicing results, place your whole roll into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

cutting cauliflower sushi
Once it is cool to the touch, slice and enjoy with a side of your favorite soy sauce/alternative.
finished cauliflower sushi in circle

Crustless Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Fall is just around the corner which is the perfect excuse to eat pumpkin, despite the fact I find a way to add it into everything year-round anyways. Coming home from work the other day, I was craving something sweet but didn’t want to spoil my appetite for dinner.
At this point the idea for crustless pumpkin cheesecakes was born.

I decided to fully embrace the stereotype that girls like mini things and made 24 adorable baby cheesecakes. While these were perfectly bite sized treats, you could easily use larger muffin tins or even a large cheesecake tin and cut the cheesecake up into individual slices.

While I certainly don’t restrict myself from indulging in treats, it’s always nice to have a healthier, yet still tasty option. Oh and did I mention you can eat this entire recipe for under 240 calories and 35 grams of protein? Thought you may wanna know.
crustless cheesecake muffins final
Ingredients:

½ cup fat free cottage cheese
½ cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup pumpkin puree (be sure not to buy pumpkin pie mix!)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons milk of choice (I used cashew)
Sweetener to taste (I used 15 drops of liquid stevia)
3 tablespoons liquid egg whites

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Place all your ingredients but the liquid egg whites into a blender and blend until smooth.
Add in your egg whites and blend again until combined.crustless cheesecake muffins unbaked
Pour mixture into silicone molds or tin greased with coconut oil and place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Once tops are lightly golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

crustless cheesecake muffins baked

For best results, place the cheesecakes  into the fridge for at least an hour to allow them to fully set. Enjoy topped with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon.

crustless cheesecake muffins final 3

Green Marinara Sauce

Green marinara with pretzels

This one is less of a recipe, more of a throw a bunch of stuff in a blender and eat kind of thing. I However, I’ve had numerous people try it and want to know how I make it so… here it is! This green marinara is a quick and delicious sauce for pasta, vegetables (especially zoodles), salad dressing alternative and even a veggie/cracker dip.

While it tastes great, it also looks like green gloop which means people think it’s gross so there’s more for you to eat! In addition, basil and parsley are natural proven detoxifiers which makes this a perfect easy recipe for Sunday- if ya know what I mean.

Makes a little over 1 cup of sauce

Ingredients:
½ cup your favorite store-bought marinara with ingredients you can pronounce
1 cup basil
2/3 cup parsley
1 roughly chopped small clove of garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Dash of cayenne
Squirt of lemon juice

Optional:
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
Pinch of sweetener

Directions:
Place everything into a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it!

Green Marinara Ingredients

As stated, you can add nutritional yeast or even parmesan for some cheese-y flavor and/or hemp protein for an extra protein boost. Feel free to adjust the spices to your own liking and add in some hot sauce for marinara with a kick or some sweetener for a sweeter sauce.

Green marinara on zoodles

Dirty Chai Protein Shake

Now that my routine has changed from getting up for 10am classes to waking up at 6am to run before work, I’ve made some adjustments to my morning routine. I’m never in the mood for a big breakfast, especially when it’s early in the morning. However, after a run I need some fuel to start my day so I came up with this delicious shake to get a jolt of caffeine and protein.

Perfect for an on the go snack, breakfast, pre-workout jolt or as a magic potion to transform yourself into a morning person.

dirty protein chai

Makes 1 shake

Ingredients:
1 cup cashew milk
1 cup brewed and chilled chai tea
1/2 cup cold brew or chilled coffee/shot of espresso- check out my cold brew coffee how to here  !
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my favorites are organic Tera’s Whey or Vega OneVega One for a vegan option)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetener of choice to taste

Directions:
Put everything into a mason jar and shake (preferably with the top on)- and that’s it!
If you’re worried about protein powder clumpage you could alternatively blend it for 20-30 seconds in a blender.

unmixed dirty protein chai shaking dirty protein chai

For a frozen blended treat, another option is to make the mixture sans cashew milk and freeze in an ice cube tray. Place it in the freezer and once it’s frozen, pop the cubes into the blender and add cashew milk until you’ve reached a desired consistency.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has changed my life. It’s so easy to make, tastes way better than regular coffee, and best of all, it’s cheap.

If you’ve generally stayed away from coffee, cold brew could be a great alternative because it is a lot less acidic (around ⅔ less) than regular ‘ol joe. It also tastes remarkably better since the coffee’s true flavor is able to better develop through the process and its lower acidity allows these flavors to shine through.

mason jar cold brew
Ingredients:
Water
Shade grown organic coarse ground coffee
Optional: teaspoon cinnamon/cloves
…Yeah that’s it

Directions:
Use a 1:4 ratio of coarse ground coffee to water and place it in a french press. Add in optional spices. You need to use course ground coffee to make the filtration process easier and not have bitter coffee.

Give the coffee and water mixture   a stir and let it sit with the french press top on but not pushed down in the fridge or on your countertop for at least 12 hours but no more than 24.

cold brew french press

Once time is up, press the french press down like you normally would. Now you have cold brew concentrate. You can this straight if you want everyone around you to be instantly annoyed, or you can dilute the concentrate. A typical ratio is 1:1 of concentrate to water, but feel free to experiment to your liking and/or caffeine requirements 😉

Crispy Tofu Tacos

Taco Final 1

Serves 2-3

Ingredients you NEED:
1/2 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon Sriracha (if you don’t like hot, use a mild hot sauce or tomato paste)
5-6 drops liquid stevia/teaspoon agave/sugar/honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime
1 tablespoon oil (grapeseed, canola, even olive or coconut)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Corn tortillas

Ingredients that aren’t essential but make the dish INFINITELY better:

Slaw/cabbage mix mixed with red wine vinegar, salt & pep
Bell peppers
Onions
Guacamole/avocado slices
Salsa
Tomatoes

Directions:
Take your tofu and blot it dry with a paper towel. Doing so will take out some moisture and allow it to better absorb the flavors you’re going to add. Next, cut the tofu into ½ – ¼  inch cubes.
Mix together the Siracha, sweetener of choice and balsamic vinegar into a bowl and throw in your tofu cubes and gently stir to coat.

Tofu Dry Mixture

In a separate bowl, combine the almond meal and seasonings (chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder). You can totally adjust the spices to your liking and feel free to use a pre-made taco seasoning to make things a little easier. After you’ve given your little tofu cubies a few minutes to soak up that siracha goodness, dump them in your almond meal mixture and coat them real goood. Not coated=not crispy and we’re trying to disguise these soy nuggets as much as possible so the boyfriend doesn’t realize what he’s eating.

Crisped Tofu

Begin heating your skillet with a tablespoon of oil. Any type of oil will work, just know that any non-neutral tasting oil will impart its flavor on the tofu. Sauté your minced garlic for a minute and then add your tofu, stirring occasionally so all the sides get nice and crispy. When the edges are nice and browned, turn off the heat and give it a good squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro/parsley.
To serve this, while the tofu was crisping, I sautéed some onions and peppers in some olive oil on the stove. I microwaved each corn tortilla with a damp paper towel in the microwave and topped them with some of the cabbage that I let marinate for about 10 minutes with the vinegar and salt and pepper and added the sautéed veggies and then the tofu. Finally, I topped mine with some guac, sliced tomatoes, salsa, and a drizzle of lime juice.

Taco Final 2

Dinner is served. All done in about 20 minutes so Casey is happy. Boyfriend thinks he’s eating cubes of cheese so he’s happy. Meal is full of fresh produce and plant protein so belly is happy.

I’d say this was a success.