Protein Bars

Get ready for the longest recipe of your life. That’s actually really easy.

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 cup protein powder (I’ve been using soy. It’s cheap.)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 for a glass pan). Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, then spray the foil –  this is so it’s easily lifted out to cut into bars… no pan sides to get in the way. Get out a cookie sheet and either spray it or line it with parchment paper.

Mix together the protein powder, flour, oats, oat bran, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar, making sure there are no clumps. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Measure the yogurt, oil, and vanilla into a second bowl, stirring until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix until thoroughly blended. I end up using my hands, since it’s a super thick batter – almost like dough.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, patting it evenly into place with your hands. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cut into bars of any size or shape.

Put the bars on your cookie sheet and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. (For extra-crunchy bars, turn off the oven and leave them in there for up to 45 minutes longer.) Remove the bars from the oven, and place them on a rack to cool.

Eat the bars within a few hours, or seal them in a heavy zip-style plastic bag and store in the freezer. If you want them extra crispy, stick ’em in the toaster after defrosting.

 

Variations – you can make the main recipe with any combination of the following adjustments:

• Replace the canola oil with 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (softened in a microwave).

• Replace the flour with quinoa, ground to a powder in a blender or an electric spice grinder.

• Replace the yogurt with mashed silken tofu (soft or firm). Add an extra pinch of salt.

• Add up to 1 cup chopped nuts and/or sunflower seeds.

 

Notes: for nondairy bars, replace the yogurt with unsweetened applesauce, canned pumpkin, or mashed banana (or try the silken tofu option mentioned before). Add an extra pinch of salt if using pumpkin or silken tofu. I’ve never done any of the variations, actually, so I can’t speak for their taste.

Guacamole

Adapted from add a pinch.

  • 3 Jumbo avocados (or 5-ish regular ones)
  • Fresh lime juice, 1/2 to 1 Tbsp
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • dash-dash-dash of Ground Cumin… to taste 🙂
  • Seasoned Salt, to taste

 

Mash the avocados in a bowl, with a fork. Leave some chunks. Mix in the tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Then mix in the cilantro, cumin, and seasoned salt. Taste it and see if it needs more of anything. This is one of those things you play by ear. Or by taste, in this case. 😛

Note: to keep it fresh, stick the pit back in the guacamole, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap so it’s touching the guac all ’round – the point is to keep as much air out as possible. Stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

Cherry Mocha Latte Smoothie

Adapted from fitsugar. This is a great breakfast, snack, or dessert.

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries – frozen or fresh (this was about 10 cherries)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, chilled/room temp
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp protein powder
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 ice cubes

Shove it all in the blender and blend away. Makes 2 large cups.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

Use this with potatoes, broccoli, onions, whatever. Adjust the amount depending on the amount of vegetables you have.

 

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
  • Heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp “21 Seasoning Salute” (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse Kosher salt

 

Combine it all and mix the vegetables all up in it. Pour ’em all in a roasting pan and bake for 30-ish minutes at about 400 degrees.

Cinnamon Nut Ring

This is like pound cake.

 

  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and dust with flour. Blend butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine baking powder with warm milk and stir into batter. Add flour and beat until batter is creamy and smooth. Add cinnamon, almonds, and walnuts. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Apple and Cinnamon Loaf

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped apples
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; whisk well. Add butter, egg, milk, and vanilla; stir to mix. Fold in apples and raisins. Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle top with pecans. Bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan; remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Apple Cranberry Chutney

This chutney is really good with turkey, and I’ve heard it’s good with baked chicken too, though I haven’t tried that yet.

 

  • 2 granny smith apples (2 cups, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Small pinch of ground cloves

 

Put all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for a few minutes more, to reduce any remaining liquid. Makes about 2 cups. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

 

Creamy Mocha Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp instant coffee powder or granules
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • One 7-or-8 oz. jar marshmallow cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
  • One 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Set aside. In a saucepan (make sure it’s larger than 2 quarts!), combine sugar, milk, marshmallow cream, butter, coffee liqueur, and instant coffee. Heat to boiling over med-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread fudge into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm. Then, remove from pan and discard foil. Cut the fudge into squares, and keep it tightly wrapped/covered.

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

This is one of my favorite soups. Hands down. Adapted from Southern Food.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or just used pre-minced garlic cause you’re lazy like me)
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups diced, peeled tomatoes – canned or fresh
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 8-10 oz cheese tortellini

Saute sausage in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over med-high heat until cooked through (break it up with a  spoon as you go; should take about 10 min). Transfer sausage to a bowl. Leave the fat/grease in the pan. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute until tender, about 5 min. Return sausage to pan. Add broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, wine, basil, and oregano. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 35-45 min. Add tortellini to soup and cook until tender, about 8-10 min. Season soup with salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 6.