No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsAs I mentioned when I posted that sweet potato veggie burger recipe, I’ve been on a kitchen mission lately to recreate things I regularly buy. It saves money, and it means I know exactly what is in everything I’m eating—always a nice bonus. I try to eat as little pre-packaged food as possible, but it can be tough to avoid the convenience of granola and protein bars when I’m running around in between teaching classes, getting in my own workout, and working on the blog. There are some wholesome, real-food bars out there, but for the most part, reading the ingredient labels on those things is like reading a chemistry equation. Why not just make my own? Can’t be that hard, right? Right! These are super easy. No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars 

No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

Yield: 8

No-Bake Chewy Granola Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup protein powder (I used Healthy Skoop)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almonds (I used roasted almonds but raw would be perfect, too!)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Crush the almonds into little chunks--I did this by pulsing them in the food processor a few times. Put the dates in a food processor and blend until chopped into a big gooey, sticky ball.
  2. Mix the oats, protein powder, dates, crushed almonds and dried cranberries in a bowl.
  3. Place the almond butter, vanilla and honey in a small skillet and heat over low heat until fully combined and runny. Pour it over the dry mixture and stir together. Use your hands to make sure it’s fully combined.
  4. Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper and press the mixture evenly into it.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Lift parchment paper from the pan and cut the mixture into 8 equal bars.

Notes

Store in a Tupperware container for a couple days. If you want them to last longer, store in the refrigerator. These are a little sticky, so I’d recommend placing a small piece of parchment paper in between them when stacking for storage.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2015/01/28/no-bake-chewy-granola-protein-bars/
No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola BarsNo-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a huge animal-product consumer. The protein powder I used in these bars was introduced to me by a BTone client—Healthy Skoop is plant-based, and I’m really liking it! I admittedly don’t supplement my diet very often, but when I do make a morning smoothie or a recipe like this, the vanilla Healthy Skoop has been great. If you want to try it out, you can use the code PUMPS15 to get 15% off any purchase through 2/28/15 (excludes the super sampler).No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars No-Bake Chewy Protein Granola Bars

Do you use plant-based protein powder or stick to whey? What’s your go-to brand? How about protein bars—what brands do you like?

Hope all you Northeast readers are staying warm and enjoyed the snow day yesterday!

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Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets

Mini Won Ton Cup OmeletsBut seriously, is it ever not time for breakfast? Pancakes for dinner, cereal for…every meal, and now mini omelets for your next party. I came up with these mini won ton cup omelets as part of my project with Nasoya, and they’re easy to make and delicious. Eat them as a snack or serve them at your next gathering—the won ton cups make them the perfect finger food!

Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets

Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets

Yield: 12

Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets

Ingredients

  • 12 Nasoya Won Ton Wraps
  • 4 eggs (2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites)
  • 2 scallions, green parts chopped (discard white part)
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Optional:
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 package of Nasoya Organic Firm Tofu (2-3oz)

Instructions

  1. If you're adding in the optional tofu, cut away 1/4 of the block of tofu and sandwich it between two paper towels. Apply pressure by topping it with a plate and then something heavy (a can of tomato sauce, for example). Let the liquid drain from it for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add a bit of extra virgin olive oil and the garlic to a skillet over medium heat. When garlic begins to turn golden, add in the mushrooms, chives and tomatoes and sauté until cooked (about 5 minutes). Add in the basil right at the end and stir until it has wilted.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the sautéed vegetables (and mozzarella if you’re adding cheese). If you're adding tofu, cut your block into tiny cubes and stir those in as well.
  5. Line a lightly greased mini cupcake tin with the won ton wraps. Press a wrap in each hole, gently folding the sides to fit around the perimeter.
  6. Using a spoon, carefully dump the egg-veggie mixture into the won ton cups.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Tips of won ton wraps should be golden brown, and egg should be fully cooked.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/12/04/mini-won-ton-cup-omelets/

Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets mini-won-ton-cup-omelets-2Sorry for the photo overload–these were almost as fun to take pictures of as they were to eat. And speaking of which, I ate all 12 myself in two sittings if that says anything about how yummy they are. I try to only make big batches of things when I know my boyfriend is around to eat the majority of it, but he was cutting weight for his MMA fight when I concocted these little morsels DAMNIT. I ate more than half the batch for brinner (breakfast + dinner = brinner?), stored them in a tupperware container in the fridge overnight, and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes the next day to snack on them throughout the morning. I thought they still tasted great after being reheated, so all you food preppers might want to add this recipe to your weekly plan!

Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets Mini Won Ton Cup Omelets

This post was sponsored by Nasoya. I was given full creative control over the content and, as always, all opinions are my own.

What’s your favorite way to eat breakfast…not at breakfast?

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Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Nutty Strawberry Protein SmoothieHello from California! I’m actually writing this yesterday on the plane so no updates on the Stitch Fix & LUNA blogger vacay—if I were to take a stab at foreseeing the future though, I’d say I’m having a blast today! And now that I’ve totally confused you…

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

I don’t regularly supplement my diet, but after a particularly long or intense workout (for example, when I take back-to-back megaformer and spinning classes), I do pay more attention to my post-exercise nutrition. In general, I don’t think of diet/nutrition as a science or numbers game, I just make an effort to put more of the good stuff and less of the junk into my body each day. It works for me. But that being said, if you’re working out regularly, you absolutely need to be getting enough protein so that your muscles can repair themselves and strengthen (grow).

Within 30(ish) minutes of finishing a tough workout, I try to have a snack or meal that’s high in protein—and I like to keep it easy. If I workout before breakfast, that might mean I’ll have a couple scrambled eggs or a smoothie packed with protein as my morning meal. If it’s later in the day, I’ll grab a piece of toast with almond butter and bananas, or maybe a quinoa salad topped with nuts.

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

If I’m going the smoothie route, I’ll typically just put protein-rich foods into the blender—spirulina, hemp seeds/protein, a handful of nuts, peanut butter, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love spirulina and hemp protein, but unless you’re making a green smoothie, it turns everything brown. When my friends at Game Plan Nutrition sent me a sample of their vanilla whey protein powder, I couldn’t wait to make a strawberry smoothie that actually looked like a strawberry smoothie. Beautiful, right?? :)

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Not only is it beautifully pink, but it’s SO GOOD–I really loved the taste of Game Plan’s vanilla protein with the almond and berry flavors. Also super important to me, Game Plan doesn’t use any chemicals or hormones in their protein powder.

This smoothie is also super filling. I made this thinking it’d be a single-serving but I had to split it into two. And I think I’m going to start topping all my smoothies with crushed nuts from now on because the texture added by the almonds was unreal.

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Yield: 16 oz

Serving Size: 8 oz

Nutty Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used a Game Plan sample pack = 30g)
  • 1 heaping cup fresh strawberries, greens removed (7-8 depending on size)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Handful crushed almonds (put some in the smoothie, top with the rest)

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a blender, top with some crushed almonds and enjoy!
http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/06/11/nutty-strawberry-protein-smoothie/

You will fall in love with this smoothie! Let me know if you try it out. And you can check out Game Plan HERE.

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