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.
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)