Protein Peanut Butter Cups

I saw Reese’s Eggs in the store yesterday and couldn’t get them off my mind. Why are they so much better than regular Reese’s peanut butter cups? I think it’s probably the higher peanut butter to chocolate ratio. Anyways, I whipped these up to kill my craving. Hope you like them!

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein powder (I used BSN)
  • 2 tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs Stevia (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (If you don’t do dairy or have this on hand, you could probably skip this ingredient, I just added it for more volume)
  • 1/3 cup Almond or skim milk
  • 2 1/2 tbs Creamy peanut butter

Variations: If you want a lower calorie treat, substitute 4-5 tbs of peanut flour mixed with 2 tbs water for the regular peanut butter. You can also use a mini muffin tray to make smaller cups.

Whisk together everything but the peanut butter until you have a pudding consistency. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into muffin tins with paper liners (about 1 heaping tablespoon into each). Leave in the freezer about 20 minutes or until hardened. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter into each cup then top with the rest of the chocolate mixture. Freeze 1-2 hours before eating. Store any uneaten treats in a zip lock in the freezer.

Makes 5 Peanut Butter Cups.

Nutrition Stats: (for 1 cup)

Cals: 94

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 5 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

 

 

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Skinny Peanut Butter Cookies

For the record, this isn’t really an original recipe. I think everyone’s heard of the 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie ( Mix 1 cup peanut butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg). I wanted to try it with stevia to see if they would be just as good – success! I also added some vanilla for extra flavor.

pbcookie2

These low carb beauties can help you fit your fat quota for the day. I’ve been tracking my macro-nutrients lately to make sure I’m getting enough fuel and I tend to fall short on fat. I’ll take any excuse to eat more cookies!

  • 1 cup Peanut butter (I used natural)
  • 2/3 cup Stevia
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract

pbcookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and roll into 1 inch balls. Do the criss-cross fork thingy. Bake for 10 minutes. These cookies don’t spread much – but they are a bit more crumbly than a regular cookie. Makes 18 cookies. Enjoy!

Nutrition Stats: for 1 cookie

Cals: 88

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fat: 7 grams

Sugar: 1 gram

 

Samoa Protein Shake

I have zero self control with Girl Scout cookies, which is probably why I avoid purchasing them/having them present in my house.

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I made this drinkable version that won’t go straight to the badonk:

samoa

  • 1 scoop Vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbs Butterscotch pudding mix (I used fat free/sugar free)
  • 1/2 tsp Xantham Gum (optional)
  • A few drops of coconut extract
  • 1-2 tbs Unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • 1 tbs Sugar free Hersheys syrup (or chocolate chips)

Blend all but the last two ingredients with ice and water or almond milk. Garnish with the coconut flakes and chocolate or mix it all together.

Nutrition Stats: (for 1 shake, blended with 1 cup almond milk)

Cals: 196

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 5 grams

Sugar: 2

 

Greek Yogurt & Berry Popsicles

The weather is getting a little bit warmer and I was daydreaming about BBQs, going to the lake, tennis, and berry picking when I remembered this recipe I would make on a weekly basis last summer.  Because who wants to spend $4.99 on a box of mediocre frozen treats when you can make your own? Sometimes I would add 1/2 or a whole scoop of vanilla protein powder if I knew I was going to be wanting them after a workout.  You can do the same or mix it up with different fruit/greek yogurt flavors.

popsicle

  • 1 cup Plain, fat free greek yogurt
  • 1 cup Almond milk or low fat milk
  • 4-5 Packets of Stevia
  • 1 1/2 cup Mixed fresh or frozen berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries)
  • Optional add ins: 1/2 banana, protein powder, 1 Tbs cheesecake pudding mix

Mix all ingredients in the blender. Save a few whole berries and toss in before you pour into popsicle molds if you so choose. Freeze 5 hours – overnight.

Makes six popsicles (obviously depends on the size of mold you have) If you don’t have them, do it the summer camp way of pouring it into dixie cups with a popsicle stick.

Nutrition Stats for one popsicle:

Cals: 50

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fat: 1

Sugar: 4

Karcher Ricotta Pancakes

   Whoa…I logged in today and saw my last post received 5,000 views. I’m flattered that anyone would want to read my little site, let alone people from Bahrain, Portugal, Chile, and other random countries that show up in my viewer stats.
      I realized I need to mix it up with recipes as not everyone likes to cook or bake with protein powder and stevia. This pancake recipe has neither, but is still low sugar and packed with protein . My mom sent me this recipe, which has been in my family for at least four generations on the Karcher side.
ingredients
It wasn’t an unhealthy recipe to begin with and doesn’t need the substitutes I used, I just wanted to see if it would taste just as great with a few changes. The only ingredients I modified were changing the cow’s milk to almond milk and flour to spelt flour, which I’ve been loving lately. Spelt flour tastes great, seems to work better in recipes than oat flour, and is higher in protein than white & wheat flour. It’s also more water soluble, which is why you should use a little less than called for when substituting it in a recipe, hence why you’ll see a scant 1/2 cup. If you go with regular flour, use a whole 1/2 cup.
ricotta
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 8 oz. low fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 2/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or skim)
  • Scant 1/2 cup Spelt Flour (or 1/2 cup regular flour..oat flour would probably work too)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Separate eggs and beat whites until stiff. Set aside. Mix yolks, milk and Ricotta together. Add flour and baking powder, then vanilla. Fold in stiff whites. Batter will be super fluffy. Cook on a pan sprayed with cooking spray. These pancakes aren’t very sweet since they have zero sugar/sweetener in them so definitely go crazy with toppings like fruit. I’ve tried mine with homemade blueberry compote and peanut butter. Serves 4.
Nutritional Stats (1 serving is 2 pancakes)
Cals: 172
Protein: 13 grams
Carbs: 10 grams
Fat: 6 grams
Sugar: 5 grams

10 Things to Know Before you Compete

I knew I wanted to compete in a fitness competition the minute I picked up a copy of Oxygen magazine in 2008 but figured I would never have the guts to go through the intense training, be able to give up sweets, and even more daunting – be in a itsy bitsy suit in front of an audience.

Last year, I made the decision to finally go for it. It was the busiest possible time in my job I could have signed up to prep for one – but I needed that laser sharp focus to time manage. It was a very rewarding experience and I would definitely do it again (I plan on trying my hand at the Figure division down the road). I’ve had quite a few people ask me about it as they consider competing so I thought I’d put it all my advice here.

1) Your mind must be in the right place. Take personal inventory on why you want to take the plunge.  If you want to do one because you view it as a way to lose weight, because you want to see how lean you can get, and because you can’t wait to get reinforcement from people on social media when you post selfies of your ab progress, stop right there and don’t do it. If you put your self worth into your appearance or have a poor body image, realize that you are paying for people to judge the way you look and the mix of those two things will only be detrimental. I had to resist the urge to constantly critique my own physique as the show approached, even though my goal wasn’t necessarily for the stage. While competing seems like a narcissistic goal (and trust me, it is if you are doing it for the reasons above), it should be aiming for an accomplishment of hard work, discipline, and results from the weight room.

2) It costs $$$.  Training, National Physique Committee Membership card, the Ooompa Loompa spray tan (yes, its required and costs about $120), suit, supplements, entry fee, travel & hotel, competition hair & make up…it all adds up. I was able to save a little by borrowing a suit and found ways to work it into my monthly budget.  I also looked at the costs as an investment. I learned a great deal about nutrition and still use a lot of my workouts I learned from my trainer. The cost did prevent me from doing another months later as my husband and I are saving for a home, but I don’t regret a dime that was spent for my first show.

3) You’re going to be a time management expert. My life for 13 weeks was the following: Wake up at 5am, do a half hour of cardio, pack meals in tupperware, go to work, weight train, prep meals for the next couple of days, repeat. I have the utmost respect for mothers who compete because honestly it felt like a full time job. Even though my life felt rigid, I also was able to accomplish a great deal in my limited time. Time Management was one of the best things I learned in the competition experience.

comp

4) Your booty might show up in a Google search. Mine is not, thank goodness. However, if you do multiple shows (especially the bigger regional ones), chances are the professional photographer at the event will throw those pictures up online.  Competition suits leave little to the imagination. While they show off the results of your hard work – having your glutes for the world to see online is just something to consider.

5) People won’t understand what the heck you’re doing.  You’re going to get asked questions, because what kind of freak carries a cooler around with them and eats chicken, asparagus and brown rice out of tupperware during a catered work meeting? Most of the younger generation is aware of fitness competitions as they have increased in popularity. Try as I might to explain what I was doing to some, they still had the impression I was doing a power lifting competition or Hawaiian Tropic bikini contest.

6) Post Traumatic Competition Disorder My husband and I stopped at the Otis Cafe the morning after the competition and I proceeded to eat enough Cinnamon Roll French Toast for four grown men. I definitely indulged after the show but luckily found this article before the contest day that explains how detrimental it is to pig out without abandon after being on a strict diet for all of those weeks. Again, if you have a poor body image, the weight gain after a competition can throw you into a depression after seeing yourself so lean for all of those weeks.

7) There is a Dark Side to Competing I didn’t have this experience but many in the fitness community online reveal that they had coaches who put them on 900 calorie diets, loading them up with stimulants, and 2 hours of cardio each day to get ready for a show. Run as fast as you can from these “coaches”. Do your research and ask questions before you sign up with a coach. FYI – my coach was Amy Ramage based in Oregon City, who I highly recommend. Your health is not worth compromising for a few moments on a stage. Even though I had a healthy prep, I took a full week off from the gym after the show and my body thanked me for it. I was exhausted from all of those weeks of training.

ironmansmall8) You’ll have to dig deep. Competition prep is anywhere from 20 to 10 weeks long. There will be days when you don’t feel like going to the gym and you’ll have to say no to delicious food at social gatherings more times than you can count. I’ll tell ya though…there is no greater motivator than knowing that you’ll be up in front of an audience of strangers in a competition suit.

9) Say Goodbye to your Comfort Zone. I didn’t know this until I had committed to a show so I’m going to let ya’ll know you have to be naked when a random person applies your spray tan. Also, posing just did not come naturally to me. I felt completely silly but its such a huge part of the judge’s decision, especially in the Bikini division. Come up with an alter ego if you must when you practice, but practice often.

10) Have Fun – Its just a fitness competition, not the Olympics for goodness sakes. Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the accomplishment. I didn’t need a plastic tiara or trophy to get something out of the experience of competing. To be honest, the glamour and fanfare of the competition wasn’t at all my favorite thing. It was hard work of the training and day by day individual responsibilities that proved to myself how mentally and physically tough I could be.

For those getting ready for or thinking about preparing for a show, get ready for a rewarding and challenging journey. Just remember to stay true to and be kind to yourself.

These are a few of my favorite things…

The following products are staples in my kitchen that make life easier, healthier, and tastier. 

Quest Bars – I’ve been part of the Quest cult for about 4 years. I really can’t get enough of their flavor or find a protein bar with cleaner ingredients for 20-21 grams of protein. I’ve tried every single flavor and there was only one I didn’t care for. My favorites are: Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Cinnamon Roll. Though these are being sold more and more places, its still cheapest to buy online at the Quest website, or Netrition.com. (Sports Nutrition Center in Tigard, OR also has great prices)

Xantham Gum –  This is used by people who are allergic to gluten to add volume and viscosity to bread and other gluten-free baked goods. While I don’t have a gluten intolerance, I use 1/2 tsp of Xantham Gum in all of my protein shakes. It thickens them up to give the best milkshake consistency. It can be found in a lot of health and gluten free sections of grocery stores.

Peanut Flour –  Peanut Flour is a dry powder formed after the partial extraction of oil from the roasted peanut seed.  Typically, instructions are to add 1 tablespoon of water to 2 tablespoons of flour to make a peanut butter substitute or you can just use the flour for baking or thickening soups/sauces. There are several brands that sell peanut flour, both plain and flavored. I love PB2 for baking and topping for pancakes and waffles but PB Lean is probably my new favorite. Peanut flour is reasonable (usually 2.99 for a jar online) and is starting to pop up in most grocery stores.

Biotest Metabolic Drive & Cellucor Cor-Fetti Protein Powder – These have been my go-to whey protein powders lately. I love Biotest’s flavor and quality but Cellulor Cor-Fetti (yes, like cake batter) has been a fun flavor to mix it up lately. It’s not a strong cake batter taste – but still makes a good shake. Lately, I love mixing little Cor-Fetti with greek yogurt and stevia as a “frosting” for my Funfetti protein bars (see below). I buy these online.

corfetti2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nunaturals Stevia – I’ve tried several stevia brands and this is my favorite. It doesn’t leave a bitter after taste. I buy the box of individual packs at my local grocery store but you can also find it on Amazon.

Maple Sugar Flakes – For those who don’t like artificial sweeteners and find stevia too bitter, Maple Sugar Flakes are a great substitute. Per teaspoon, it has only half the calories of white sugar and about one-third the calories of honey. I haven’t tried it with baking but its a great on oatmeal, yogurt, and in marinades. You can find it on Amazon or in Whole Foods or Williams-Sonoma.

Ezekiel 4:9 Bread –  Whole wheat bread is a fine option (I still love having Dave’s Killer Bread once and awhile) but Ezekiel’s ingredients are far superior.  Its made from a mix of sprouted whole grains (such as barley, millet and spelt), and legumes (such as lentils and soybeans). Unlike whole wheat bread, it contains no flour or added sugar and is a complete protein. It does taste a bit different than wheat bread and can take a little while to get used to but I love its nutty flavor. I used this mostly for toast, make breadcrumbs with it for meatballs, and love making french toast with the cinnamon raisin kind.  You can kind it in the freezer section or health section of most grocery stores. I stock up when its on sale.

Nature’s Hollow Jam – Personally, I’d rather lick the bottom of a shoe than eat Smucker’s Sugar Free Jams. Nature’s Hollow is SO good and is naturally sweetened. I mix it with greek yogurt as a topping for pancakes/filling for crepes. (It’s still not as good as mom’s freezer jam though)