Put-It-On-Everything Black Bean Spread

Black Bean Spread - this recipe is so easy and versatile! Great as a topping for scrambled eggs with hot sauce, as a spread on tacos/burritos, or as a dip with salsa and chipsI am starting to seriously crave fall. I love summer, but with weddings and trips almost every single weekend—most of which either start on Thursday or extend through Monday—I’m exhausted. Happy and having a blast, but exhausted.

When Labor Day passes and I can finally settle back into some semblance of a routine, one thing I’m excited about is cooking regularly again. I want to share easy, versatile recipes that can be used in many ways throughout the week because I find these are the most practical and the ones that become a staple for healthy eating. Lets get a head start with this black bean spread/dip! Black Bean Spread - this recipe is so easy and versatile! Great as a topping for scrambled eggs with hot sauce, as a spread on tacos/burritos, or as a dip with salsa and chips

Some ways I use it:

  • Spread on tacos/burritos/fajitas
  • Spread on toast with some avocado slices
  • As a topper for scrambled eggs with some hot sauce and a sprinkle of cheese
  • As a dip with salsa and chips (perfect if you’re hosting a get-together!)

Black Bean Spread - this recipe is so easy and versatile! Great as a topping for scrambled eggs with hot sauce, as a spread on tacos/burritos, or as a dip with salsa and chips Black Bean Spread - this recipe is so easy and versatile! Great as a topping for scrambled eggs with hot sauce, as a spread on tacos/burritos, or as a dip with salsa and chips

Put-It-On-Everything Black Bean Spread

Yield: 1 cup

Put-It-On-Everything Black Bean Spread

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can black beans
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Dash – 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the beans and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Put everything in a food processor. I usually add 1 tbsp of evoo right away and then gradually add the second tbsp as I process, if needed. Combine for about 30 seconds for a coarser texture; up to a couple minutes for a smoother texture.
  3. Eat it as a spread on tacos, fajitas or sandwiches. You can also use it as a topping for scrambled eggs with some hot sauce (so good!) or as a dip with tortilla chips and salsa.

Notes

The red onion is totally optional. I love the addition, but I’ve made this spread without it a few times, too, and it’s still delicious. If you don’t like cilantro, just omit it.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2015/08/19/put-it-on-everything-black-bean-spread/

Ok I’m thinking we spread this on a taco, top with some lettuce and this stupid-easy slow cooker chicken, add fresh chopped tomato and avocado, and then sprinkle with hot sauce. Who’s with me??

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Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)All you 13-year-old boys reading this post are probably having a field day with the title. No? Just me? Ok… 😉

Immature humor aside, there are probably at least a trillion ball recipes floating around Pinterest by now. I personally have an entire board dedicated to them because for some reason, bite-sized anything just melts my heart.

       Follow Nicole | Pumps & Iron’s board Balls & Bites on Pinterest.
Instead of giving you an exact recipe, I wanted to share a loose framework for putting together a yummy nut butter protein ball that allows you to easily customize with your favorite ingredients. When I’m making balls, I usually just wing it these days, tossing in whatever I have on hand. As long as the dry-to-wet portions are right, you can really have fun with the details. Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls

Yield: 10 balls

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c quick oats (grind them up in a food processor)
  • ½ c nut butter of choice
  • ¼ c protein powder of choice
  • 2 tbsp liquid flavor of choice (maple syrup, honey, lemon juice, agave, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp- ¼ cup add-ins of choice (shredded coconut, hemp seeds, raisins, nuts, dates, spices, etc.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional, but I always add it)

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a food processor until combined. If you want to add in raisins or nuts, you can omit those ingredients from the food processor and roll them in afterwards to give the balls a chunky texture.
  2. If the mixture is too dry, add in a little more of your favorite liquid ingredient. Too sticky? Add in a little more oats or protein powder.
  3. Roll into two-bite balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2015/06/09/customizable-nut-butter-protein-balls/

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)I’ll leave you with three combination examples I’ve made recently:

Lemon Coconut Almond Butter Protein Bites

  • 1/3 c quick oats, ground
  • ½ c almond butter
  • ¼ c vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (+a little for coating)

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)

Basic Protein Almond Butter Bites

  • 1/3 c quick oats, ground
  • ½ c almond butter
  • ½ c vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)

Cinnamon Raisin Almond Butter Protein Bites

  • 1/3 c quick oats, ground
  • ½ c almond butter
  • ½ c vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c raisins

Customizable Nut Butter Protein Balls (you pick your favorite flavors!)

What are your go-to flavor combos for these types of snacks?

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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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