Category Archives: Vegetarian

Black Forest Cake Smoothie & Protein Shake Recipes

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ I took Friday off of work to spend a long weekend with my mom. It was great catching up – and I’ll share a full post of our adventures tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday, I guest posted on Domestic Superhero with another dessert smoothie recipe! (<— click to check it out! :-)) I was inspired by an article I found on Greatist about how cherry juice can help with sore muscles and thought the combination of cherry juice and chocolate protein powder would make a great dessert smoothie! Not to mention, it’s pretty healthy and tastes like Black Forest cake! Yum!

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In addition to the smoothie recipe, I also whipped up a Black Forest Cake Protein Shake recipe – all the goodness without the blender!

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Black Forest Cake Protein Shake
Serves one.

    – 2 cups cherry juice
    – 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or 1 scoop unflavored protein powder with 2 tablespoons cocoa)

Blend or shake together ingredients in a blender bottle.

This protein shake is great for muscle repair and recovery immediately after working out – but the smoothie is too if you’re looking for something a little thicker or you aren’t into protein powder.

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Zucchini Pancakes

One of my best friends went home to visit her family last weekend which is good news for me because every time she takes a trip home, she brings me a load of fresh vegetables from her dad’s garden! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Check out that huge haul of veggies! I actually knew it was going to be a challenge for me to eat them all myself. Luckily, my mom is coming into town for Labor Day weekend and I know her and I will eat up a ton of them! My friend also brought me some zucchini bread which I had never had before and is absolutely delicious. It takes like dessert to me! In addition to the zucchini bread, she also gave me two of the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen! I hope the picture does them justice – they were each literally the size of my forearm.

So one of my first challenges was to decide what to do with all this zucchini! I already had zucchini bread – so I was looking for other ideas. I decided on zucchini pancakes, or latkes or zucchini fritters – whatever you want to call them. I’ve seen them called a bunch of different names on the internet. Basically, they’re very similar to potato pancakes.

First thing, I shredded up about a zucchini and a half (I saved half and diced it up to use in a frittata). I was a little wary of the task of shredding up that much zucchini, but it actually went pretty easily – probably because the zucchini has such a high water content. Because of that, I didn’t want soggy pancakes so I put the shredded zucchini in a strainer with a little salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then, I squeezed it out in a water towel. I’m glad I did because a ton of water came out!

Next, I mixed the shredded zucchini up in a bowl with granulated onion, granulated garlic, eggs, and a little flour.

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I heated up a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet and dropped in small, silver-dollar sized pancakes of batter and cooked over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides.

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I drained the pancakes on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

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Ta da! These are delicious. They really remind me of potato pancakes, and a little bit of hashbrowns. They would be great served up with ketchup, or sour cream, or even apple sauce (which is traditional for potato latkes). I definitely saved up the leftovers for my mom and I to enjoy for brunch on Friday!

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Zucchini Pancakes
Makes approximately 12 pancakes, depending on size.

    – 2 cups shredded zucchini
    – 2 eggs
    – 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
    – 2 teaspoons granulated onion
    – 1 tablespoon flour
    – 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and sautรฉ a few tablespoons of batter (small pancake size) in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, approximately 5 minutes per side. Serve for breakfast or brunch.

Pumpkin Granola Recipe

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was jam-packed with fun activities. Friday night Heather and I got dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant then went to see The Mortal Instruments. Heather was a big fan of the books, which I’ve never read, but I thought the movie was pretty good. Saturday morning we went to Body Pump where I managed to stay up on my toes for all 10 push-ups in the shoulder track! ๐Ÿ™‚ They weren’t full-on 90 degree “real woman” push-ups though so I’m not counting it as something I can cross off my bucket list just yet!

On Saturday, we went to the Toby Keith concert and had absolutely beautiful weather. Toby Keith is one of my all-time favorite performers to see in concert. He just puts on such a show, and you really can’t compete with someone who’s been making hits for 20-ish years. Heather and I did lots of dancing, and really enjoyed ourselves.

On Saturday I also decided to make some more granola (because I ran out) and decided to make a pumpkin version to celebrate the fact that I found canned pumpkin in the grocery store! I used the same basic recipe as before, but changed it up a little to accommodate the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spices. It turned out delicious! It’s a different type of granola than my last recipe though. The last recipe was very crisp and not very clumpy – but this version has a lot more chunks and the chunks are crisp on the outside but chewy in the center, because of the pumpkin. I think it’s a delicious new texture for granola!

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Pumpkin Pie Granola
Makes 5 1/2 cups.

    – 4 1/2 cups oats
    – 1 cup pecan bits, or chopped pecans (optional – but they just seem to go with pumpkin to me!)
    – 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    – 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    – 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    – 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
    – 1 can pumpkin puree
    – 3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or other sweetener)

Mix all ingredients together. I found that because of the pumpkin it takes a while to really get it all incorporated. Spread the mixture onto a greased baking pan (I used coconut oil), breaking up any big chunks as you go. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crisp.

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I added pecans to this granola because pecans and pumpkin seem to go hand-in-hand to me. I think it’s because every year for Thanksgiving my mom makes a pecan pie (because it’s my stepdad’s favorite) and a pumpkin pie (because it’s my favorite). Either way, it turned out delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

Peachy Green Smoothie

This morning I changed up my usual green smoothie a bit. Yesterday, I tweeted out an article about various ways to eat Greek yogurt. One of them was to use it as the base for a smoothie with juice – what a great idea! While I usually use a tablespoon or so of Greek yogurt in my smoothie, I have never used it as more of a main ingredient. So this morning I whipped up this tasty peach smoothie.

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I’ve also started using a new technique for incorporating Greek yogurt into my smoothies. It may just be in my head, but it seems like the kale blends smoother when I wait and add the Greek yogurt to the blender once the smoothie is already pretty well blended. It doesn’t take much to incorporate the yogurt so it works well (hence no yogurt in the picture). This smoothie turned out to be so creamy (thanks to the yogurt) and had a great peach flavor. It would also blend to a nice peach color, if it weren’t for all the kale I add to every smoothie. Feel free to leave the greens out if you prefer!

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Peachy Green Smoothie
Serves one.

    – 3 cups kale, loosely packed (or spinach, or omit)
    – 1 1/2 cups apple juice or green tea
    – 1/2 cup frozen peaches (if you use fresh, add some ice cubes to get the smoothie to the right consistency)
    – 1 frozen banana
    – 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

My other smoothie recipes:
Tropical Mango Green Smoothie
“Chocolate Milkshake” Workout Recovery Smoothie
Berry Green Smoothie

Other links that might interest you:

~13 Biggest Fitness Myths(Women’s Health)
~Strength Training Cheat Sheet(Women’s Health)

Freezer Cooking: Mixed Grains and Veggies Side Dish

Last night for dinner I pulled one of my all-time favorite side dishes out of the freezer – my ‘Mixed Grains and Veggies.’ I developed this recipe about a year ago based on a side dish I had purchased from Let’s Dish. I fell in love with the combination of couscous, rice and veggies and it’s such a quick side dish to pull out of the freezer and whip up for dinner. The thing that makes this recipe hard to blog about is that I never just cook up a batch and eat it for dinner. I cook one huge batch, split it into dinner-sized portions and then freeze them for later dinners. So the recipe as-is makes a ton of food, and I’m not sure it’s the most dinner-friendly on it’s own since it requires cooking up couscous and rice. But – on a positive note – it’s great for using up leftover rice/couscous/even quinoa! And if you’re like me, and you like to have a “freezer cooking” day where you make a bunch of food for later dinners – this is the recipe for you.

The original side from Let’s Dish had red rice in it. I had never had red rice before, but I instantly fell for it! It’s got such a nutty flavor, and chewy texture – there really is nothing like it. Unfortunately, the only red rice I found in my supermarket is this mixed rice packet with red, black, and wild rice.

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I do really love this mixed variety – but if you find red rice in your grocery store definitely feel free to substitute that!

Mixed Grains and Veggies Side Dish
Makes approximately 9 (large) servings, I split it into three freezer bags of approximately 3 servings each.

    – 1 1/2 cup couscous, cooked (I’ve used both regular and pearl for this recipe – I prefer pearl but they’re both delicious)
    – 1 1/2 cup rice, cooked (red rice, wild rice, or some mixture)
    – 1 red bell pepper, diced
    – 1 shallot, diced
    – 2 teaspoons dried thyme
    – 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or dried basil or parsley)
    – 1/2 cup frozen peas
    – 1/2 cup frozen carrots
    – salt and pepper, to taste

Sautรฉ the red bell pepper and shallot over medium heat in a little olive oil with the thyme and Italian seasoning until tender, approximately 3 minutes.

To cook this dish for immediate consumption:
Add the couscous, rice, peas and carrots to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil as necessary and let the mixture cook over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes until parts of the rice/couscous get toasted and crunchy (think paella).

To prep for freezer storage:
Set out three freezer bags (I use a medium size – about half the size of a gallon bag). Divide the rice, couscous, and frozen vegetables evenly in between the bags. Do the same with the red bell pepper/shallot mixture. Seal and freeze. To re-heat, add the entire contents of the bag to a sautรฉ pan over medium heat and cook until heated through and crunchy on some parts, approximately 8 minutes.

This is a great side dish for a variety of foods, but my favorite way to eat it is as a side to chicken sausage. I’m in love with this spinach and feta chicken sausage from the grocery store – and it makes for a quick and easy heat-and-eat, and healthy, dinner! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Today’s Healthy Living Articles…

~ Best Drink to Recover from Post-Workout Soreness (Women’s Health> I know Monica from Run Eat Repeat is excited about this one!

~ How to Run Your Fastest Race (Women’s Health)

~ 8 Foods You Should Always Buy at the Farmer’s Market (Rodale News)

Workout Recovery Smoothie – Dessert Style!

After posting my fitness bucket list yesterday, my Body Pump teacher saw it and was all about me tackling 10 push-ups last night in class. Conveniently, there were exactly 10 push-ups in our shoulder track. I’m proud to say I stayed up on my toes for all 10, but they were mostly little half push-ups like I tend to do. I’m looking to get down to full-on 90 degree badass push-ups. It’s going to take some practice! My friend Jennifer at Wine to Weightlifting also recommended this 100 push ups training program that I think I’m going to give a shot. The website isn’t the best but the training plan looks do-able. 100 pushups? Definitely my personal great white whale. Heck, 10 is going to be a challenge. But I’m going to try it out and report back!

After class last night I wanted a post-workout snack but wasn’t feeling any of my usual choices. I have blogged in the past about post work-out snacks if you want to check it out. Last night, I decided a smoothie was in order. And I was feeling indulgent so I decided to go for a “dessert”-style smoothie. Meaning it ended up tasting like a chocolate milkshake. Yum.

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And it was packed with protein, and relatively healthy. Not to mention seriously easy to throw together.

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Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake” Smoothie
Serves one.

    – 1 frozen banana
    – 1 cup soy milk (or milk of your choice)
    – 2 tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread (I used one single serving packet of Justin’s)
    – 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
    – 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! I loved the frothy, smooth consistency of this smoothie. And it really did taste like a chocolate milkshake. It was the perfect way to end the evening!

Some articles you might enjoy…

~ 25 Best Nutrition Secrets (Women’s Health)

~ Tips for Making an Exercise Comeback (Women’s Health)

~ 12 New Workout Songs (Shape) – I’m seriously always on the lookout for new music!

~ Quick Breakfast Ideas (Inspired RD)

Naan Bread Pizza

This week for Meatless Monday I made a dinner I was a little too excited about…Naan bread pizza!

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First, I have a well documented love, well letโ€™s say obsession, with Naan bread. Itโ€™s just so pillowy and tangy and delicious. I always buy some to eat with my tandoori chicken, but it worked out that I finished eating the chicken and hummus and tabbouleh before I ran out of Naan bread. Now this is a crisis I can deal with! ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™ve seen a handful of pins floating around Pinterest about using Naan bread to make pizza. It seemed like the perfect way to finish off my leftover Naan while using up other foods that I had around the house!

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I heated the oven to 450 (my standard Naan-warming temperature) and cooked the Naan for 4 minutes on the first side. Then, I removed it from the oven and topped it with some leftover garlic scape pesto, sliced tomato, and mozzarella cheese and cooked it in the oven for another 4 minutes just to heat it through and melt the cheese. So simple and delicious! The Naan was a unique crust โ€“ with all the tangy, chewy flavor that I love โ€“ and the garlic scape pesto was nice and garlicky without overpowering the sweet tomatoes.

Iโ€™m in love with this recipe! Itโ€™s so easy to throw together and it gives me yet another excuse to buy Naan bread โ€“ which may be a bad thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the Day
There are so many options for pizza styles/toppings out there! ๐Ÿ™‚ What are your favorite combinations?