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Marcy’s Protein Powder-less Protein Bar

5 Oct

I know I last wrote that I was on vacation. A lot has happened since I’ve last written here. I’ll have to leave that for another day. Today I want to post a recipe for an easy to make protein bar that doesn’t require protein powder. According to “The U.S. Navy Seal Guide to Nutrition” you don’t need protein powder. And I quote, “Don’t get trapped into buying so-called ‘muscle building’ powders and potions. Proper training and a good diet will provide the lasting EDGE when it comes to building strength and muscles.” (p. 95) Who am I to argue with the Navy Seals?

Ingredients

3/4 cup roasted almond butter

1  1/2 cups oats (Old Fashioned or steel cut)

1/2 cup flax seed meal (I found it at Meijer)

about 10 large Ghiradelli 60% cacao bitter-sweet chocolate chips (chopped)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 Tablespoon honey

 

Directions

Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well except for the honey. It depends on how soft your almond butter is. If the ingredients seem dry, drizzle in the honey a little at a time. I didn’t want to make this too sweet and I think it came out with just the right amount of sweetness.

Substitutions:

You can substitute almonds for the pecans. You can substitute cashew butter for the almond butter. You can use more or less chocolate chips and you can substitute dried cranberries for the chocolate chips. This is a recipe you can play with and make your own.

Taste It!

Taste the mixture to see if it needs anything. Always do a taste test whenever you are experimenting in the kitchen.

 

Spread the mixture in an 8 x 8 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Have one sheet going north/south, the other going east/west with ends laying over the sides. Pan Lined with Parchment Paper Fold the ends over on top of the flattened mixture. Press down with your hands making sure to push the mixture into the corners of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.

When cold enough, cut into 8 bars and then wrap them individually. I wrapped them in wax paper but some of the oiliness from the almond butter came through the next day so be prepared for that.

Results:

The only thing I didn’t like was that these bars have to be refrigerated so they stay firm. They keep in the refrigerator 1 week. I’d like to find a recipe where I can bake a protein bar and not worry about keeping it cold enough to take with me on my adventures. If I find one, I’ll post it here. So, I put them in an insulated lunchbox with two small frozen Rubbermaid ice packs. 

The other thing was that these had too many calories for me: approximately 270 for each bar. If you can handle that amount, then go for it. As of now, I can’t. If you have to go through the effort of keeping something cold, you might as well pack a yogurt cup. It’s less calories, about 120, has more calcium and some contain vitamin D too. On the other hand, the bars contain a lot of fiber and the yogurt often doesn’t or has very little. Six of one, half a dozen of another!

Still, if you like protein bars, these are much better for you than store-bought.

This recipe is high in protein and fiber. It’s a great snack after a workout. I gave mine out to my friends at the Y where I’ve been working out. (You didn’t think I was really on vacation did you?) They enjoyed them. You will too.

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New Food Friday Flash – A Better Breakfast

17 Apr Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast for Breakfast

I’m a big fan of PBS. They have a program; actually, it’s more like a documentary, they call “Breakfast Special.” Apparently, it was so popular that they now have a Breakfast Special II. The narrator and cameraman (and crew) go around the country at various restaurants that serve breakfast. These breakfasts are special! The interviewed customers rave about them. The program is light and funny. The breakfasts are typically huge, sometimes unusual, and very delicious-looking. When they stopped at a restaurant that served buckwheat pancakes (at only a certain time of the year), my mouth watered so much that the next day I ran out and bought buckwheat flour and made my own! Since sadly, I am not a breakfast lover, I decided it was time to make my own “Breakfast Special.” That’s why I chose it for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

Breakfast has never been my favorite meal of the day. Sure, I love my recipe for Southern Rice Pancakes but it is time-consuming and the syrup and butter I put on them goes straight to my hips. A few times a year I’ll treat myself to bacon and eggs but I recently learned I’m allergic to sulfites. So, in an effort to eat a healthful breakfast and incorporate more beans in my diet, I created a recipe that I love and I want to share it with you. The following are the star players.

 

The Grits

Grits are similar to corn meal which is how you make polenta. Polenta is a southern Italian staple. I’m half southern Italian (and half northern Italian) so the chances of my liking grits, ironically popular in the south of the US, were good! Grits are white whereas corn meal is yellow. Grits are grittier and corn meal is creamier. I top the grits with a pat of butter.

 

The Beans

I’ve discovered refried beans. I don’t know why they’re called “refried” because they aren’t fried to begin with so how could they be “re” fried? In the supermarket, you can buy various types of refried beans, some with lard, some without, but I like the lardless Pinto refried beans. I doctor them up in a tablespoon of olive oil in which I fry half a chopped onion, one clove of garlic chopped, and about a teaspoon of Chipotle in Adobo Sauce (comes in a can) minced. I keep my Chipotle in Adobo Sauce in a container in the freezer and when I need it, I scrape it with a fork or whatever is handy and put it in the pan. This all gets sautéed until the onions are translucent. Then, in goes the can of beans. I mix it well, put it in a dish, and take as much as I want to go with my grits, saving the rest in the freezer.

 

The Egg

Any egg will do, but if you really want to spoil yourself, use Eggland’s Best eggs. The flavor and vitamin/mineral content is superior. I like mine well peppered with a little salt.

Beans, grits, & egg

A well-peppered egg on top of grits and refried beans

 

The Grapefruit

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Looking at the Red Texas Grapefruits I bought at Meijer, I can see it is no lie. They are wonderfully sweet! If you haven’t had a red Texas grapefruit, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Try some grapefruit

Texas Red Grapefruit

 

The Alternative

I made oatmeal instead of grits but put on too much cinnamon. Yet it turned out great and now I prefer it that way! Sprinkle on a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and it’s a nice alternative to grits and better for you. Buy old-fashioned oats, also better for you.

 

I coat my 6-inch cast iron pan with a little coconut oil and spread the bean mixture on one side and the grits or oatmeal on the other. Top this with an egg, salt, and pepper and it’s ready for the toaster oven for 7 minutes at 400° for a still jiggly egg. Experiment with the time to get your egg the way you like it.

 

While this is baking in the oven, I am eating my grapefruit. I also make myself a large hot cup of water with ¼ of a lemon squeezed in and a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger. Sometimes I add honey, sometimes Truvia, a natural sweetener. It’s better than tea or coffee. Actually, it tastes a lot like regular tea to me but doesn’t stain your teeth and ginger is good for you.

 

This breakfast is divine! The beans are a little spicy, the grits or oats a little sweet, and the egg, well the egg is an egg and if you like eggs, it’s good! The grapefruit is sweet and juicy! Sometimes I’ll have a slice of Irish Soda Bread too with butter or jellies depending on how hungry I am and how much time I have.

Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast for Breakfast

Beans, Grits, Egg, Irish Soda Bread Toast

 

Now I can join the people who love breakfast as long as I’m having THIS breakfast! Try my breakfast special, you’ll like it!

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