Vegan Pumpkin Spice Protein Bites

When on the go I always like to carry an arsenal of snacks with me. It is easy to bring along nuts, fruits, etc. but in terms of protein sources, it can be a little trickier. I try to stay away from prepackaged protein bars as they tend to have super funky ingredients, so I decided to set out to create my own fun protein treats!
These pumpkin spice bites are vegan, high in protein, a good source of fiber and super easy to take on the go. They also taste like cookie dough so who wouldn’t want that?! These are perfect as a snack or dessert, and if you eat the entire recipe it’s only ~160 calories.

Ingredients:
1 serving vegan protein powder (I used Earthblends Non GMO Vanilla Pea Protein)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2-3 teaspoons syrup of choice (I used a pre biotic fiber syrup but agave, honey, maple syrup, etc. all work)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ – ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (can also use just cinnamon or a mixture of cloves, cardamon, etc.)
⅛ teaspoon butter extract, optional, but surprisingly vegan!
½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener to taste

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Directions:
Whisk together the 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to create a “flax egg”. Place this mixture in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Remove flax mixture from fridge and add in protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and optional butter extract and sweetener (liquid stevia works great). Stir and then add in 2 teaspoons of syrup and stir entire mixture with a spoon. Depending on how try your mixture is, add in another teaspoon of syrup. Do not lose faith though, and keep mixing! It will take a bit for a thick dough to form. If mixture really is too dry then, add in a teaspoon or two of water, but be wary of adding in additional liquid.
Once dough is fully formed, using your hands create 4-5 balls. Place these fridge and allow them to set up for at least 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed, place about a ½ tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa on a dish and individually roll each ball to coat in the cocoa.
Keep in the fridge for optimal texture, but refrigeration is not necessary.

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Sweet Spiced Kabocha Squash

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Nothing says winter veggie to me more than squash. A great source of vitamins A & C, carotenoids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and a slew of other benefits, squash is a hearty vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways.
My favorite squash of them all is kabocha. Not to be confused with kombucha the fizzy probiotic drink, kabocha or japanese pumpkin is both lower in calories and carbohydrates, yet sweeter than other squash varieties.

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Serves 4 Sides

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each ground ginger and nutmeg)
1 medium kabocha squash

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Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425.
Cut kabocha squash in half and scoop out seeds and guts. Slice squash into pieces around 1 inch thick.
Cover a sheet pan with tinfoil (or alternatively with coconut oil spray) and spread out slices of squash onto one even layer.
In a small bowl combine the oil, sugar, and spices.
Drizzle/brush the mixture evenly on top of the squash pieces.
Bake for 30 minutes.

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Grain-less Pumpkin Cake Muffins

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I would step up my pumpkin game and create some yummy muffins. Nothing screams this holiday’s signature flavors more than pumpkin, and fortunately for all of us, pumpkin is actually good for you! Low in calories and high in vitamin A and fiber, it can be added to a variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
The muffins turned out even better than I thought they would! However, if you are looking for a dense muffin, these won’t be it. They have more of a cake-like consistency, hence “cake muffins.” I’m thinking of coining the term “cuffin” right now…

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You could even use this recipe to create a loaf or a cake. Just adjust baking time accordingly.
Oh and each muffin is only 100 calories but packs 5 grams of protein with only 11 carbs, three of which are fiber, making this muffin perfect for any time of the day.
Have it for breakfast, a snack, dessert, or even served with lunch/dinner in place of cornbread in your meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I ended up just using 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom)
2 tablespoons granulated stevia (or honey/agave/maple syrup)
2 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
⅓ cup light canned coconut milk
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, stevia, and salt.
Add in each of the wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated
Pour the batter into a muffin tin to create 12 individual muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once removing muffins from the oven, let it sit until cool before removing from pan and slicing.

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To create a delicious yet healthy protein frosting, combine a tablespoon of plain/vanilla Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and a dash of cinnamon. This will create enough frosting for 1 muffin so multiply accordingly!

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Buffed Up Pumpkin Butter

With Fall in full swing, there is no time like the present to fully embrace pumpkin flavored everything. I chose to revisit my original Buffed Up Almond Butter and make a version that is more seasonally appropriate.
This could not be simpler to make and is packed with protein, 0 added sugar, low carb, and reasonably low in fat is well (and what is there is good fats coming from nuts!)
You can really use any nuts, peanuts were just what I had on hand. For protein powder, I used vanilla, but nowadays there are so many options like cinnamon or even pumpkin spice that a variety would taste delicious.
So ditch the sugary and nutrition-less pumpkin options from stores and try this one out for size.
Warning: Not only white girls will dig this pumpkin flavored treat.

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Ingredients:
¼ cup peanuts (raw or roasted)
⅓ cup pumpkin puree
1 scoop protein powder of choice
½ teaspoon cinnamon/pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Stevia or sweetener of choice to taste
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached. I chose to leave mine a bit chunky for some extra texture.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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