Energizing Sweet Potato Pie Protein Shake

It is day three post-Turkey Day, and I bet you have some sweet potatoes around that you don't know what to do with. Lucky you are reading this! I used some leftover steamed sweet potato to make this protein shake. Not only will this have you feeling energized post-workout, but you will also think you traveled back in time to Thursday celebrating Thanksgiving. 

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That drizzle though.. I added a honey drizzle to the top. 

That drizzle though.. I added a honey drizzle to the top. 

What gives this smoothie the energy? I added some maca (lepidium meyenii)  powder which comes from a herbaceous biennial plant of the crucer family native to the high Andes of Peru. Maca has been seen to help with fertility, hormone balance and energy levels. It is also an adaptogen, like ashwagandha, I have mentioned on this blog before. Right now, we are not sure how it actually increases energy but many people who consume it regularly report it. The possible theories include how it helps promote adrenal health and also help controls the hypothalamus. Nonetheless, this recipe is tasty and provides a great boost of energy from protein, and healthy carbs. 

Recipe: (serves 1)

Ingredients: 

-1/2 ripe banana 

-1/4 cup steamed sweet potato 

-1/2 Tbsp. bourbon maple syrup 

-1/2 Tbsp. maca powder 

-1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 

-splash of vanilla extract 

-3/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened vanilla

-1 scoop whey protein powder, vanilla (I used Thorne Pharmaceuticals) 

-1 handful of ice cubes

Directions:

-Place all of the ingredients above into a blender. 

-Blend until smooth and add to a cup. 

-Enjoy! 

MACROBALANCED TIP: Want to decrease the carb and add more fat? Remove the maple syrup and add in 1 Tbsp. of plain smooth almond butter. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 247 calories, 40 grams carb, 24 grams protein, and 1 gram fat

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Curried Quinoa Stuffed Honey Nut Squash

Real talk. When I first bought these little honey nut squashes, I called the baby butternut squash.  So if you want to call them that too, no problem. To be technically correct, they are honey nut squash and they taste like butternut but a little sweeter. They are also a lot easier to manage and breakdown. Double win. 

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The thing I love about winter squash is that is can either go sweet or savory and be totally delicious. Add cinnamon, coconut oil and bake? Tastes like pumpkin pie. Add curry powder or garlic? Tastes Indian or Italian. So versatile! I played off both sweet, salty, and savory for this dish which I think you will love. 

Recipe: (serves 6)

Ingredients: 

-3 Honey Nut squash

-½ cup water

-1 Tbsp. avocado oil

-1 cup of onion, chopped

-¾ cup leeks, chopped

-1 small Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, diced

-1 tsp. curry powder

-1.5 tsp. cumin

-1.5  tsp. salt

-1 tsp. pepper

-1 bag of Trader Joe’s fully cooked microwave-in-bag quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)

-½ cup dried cherries

-⅓ cup pistachios shelled

-dash of red chili flake (optional)

-2 slices Swiss or cheddar cheese

Directions:

-Pre-roast/steam 3 honey nut squashes.

Two methods: Instant Pot: Poke holes and add to ½ cup water. Steam on high for 4-5 minutes. I put in whole and cut after steamed. Oven method: Cut each honey nut squash, clean out middle and remove seeds. Roast in a casserole dish at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

-Set aside partially roasted or steamed honey nut squashes cup in halves. Place them inside up in a casserole dish.

-Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. while you prep the stuffing.

-To a non-stick pan that is placed on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. avocado oil, 1 cup of onions, 3/4 cup leeks, 1 small apple (diced), 1 tsp. curry powder, 1.5 tsp. cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook down until soft on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

-For the quinoa, I use Trader Joe’s fully cooked quinoa which I microwaved for three and a half minutes and let sit in the the bag for two. Once the quinoa was cooked, I added it to a large bowl as well as the onion, leek and apple mixture. I mixed this and add 1/3 cup dried bing cherries and 1/3 cup shelled pistachios. Mix again until fully combined and add a final season of 1/2 tsp. Salt added a little red chili flake (optional).

-Once the mixture is combined fully,  add about 1/3 cup mixture to each half of the honey nut squash. Right in the middle that is hollowed out that looks like a compartment.

-Cut two slices of swiss or cheddar into long strips and place them on top of each half like a lattice.

-Bake at 375 degrees F for another 25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 266 calories, 39 grams carb (7 fiber), 10 grams fat, and 8 grams protein. 

MACROBALANCED TIP: Pair this with your lean turkey this Thanksgiving week for a healthy meal on the big day or leftovers night! 
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Smoked Salmon Collard Green Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Smoked Salmon Collard Green Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Why choose collard greens? 

If you are looking to add a huge boost of nutrients, choose this recipe. The main component, collard greens, is packed with vitamins and minerals. It contains 250% of your daily value of vitamin A, 50% of your daily value of vitamin C, and also contains vitamin K and calcium. Vitamin A and C are great to consume during the falls because they are both powerful antioxidants that help with boosting immune health. Collard greens are also important for bone health by boosting calcium stores and vitamin K which act as a modifier of bone matrix protein and increases calcium absorption. 

Not only are collard greens high in vitamins, but they also are low in calories and high in fiber. One cup, boiled,  contains 62 calories, 11 grams of carb but 8 of them come from fiber. 

If all of this info has not encouraged you to try collard greens, I am not sure what will. 

Macrobalanced 5 Ingredient Pasta Bowl

Macrobalanced 5 Ingredient Pasta Bowl

I may be Italian but I actually quit eating pasta daily when I also ended my committed relationship with flare jeans. Yes, that long ago. Now thanks to companies using different flours to make their pasta, I have reintroduced it back. Many of these new flours take the ordinary pasta and give it a nutrition makeover by adding more vitamins, protein, and fiber. Making it truly more macrobalanced. For the recipe today, I used Banza chickpea pasta for their #BanzaPlus5 challenge to celebrate National Pasta Month.

Cauliflower and Nectarine Salad with Toasted Nuts and White Balsamic Dressing

Cauliflower and Nectarine Salad with Toasted Nuts and White Balsamic Dressing

It has been a while friends and I am so sorry for that! The last couple months were filled with craziness from going on vacation, studying for a test, wedding plans, and serving my clients best! My blogging came last to all of those, but don't worry! I see a lot more recipes and posts coming your way! 

Stress Reliever Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Stress Reliever Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Making your Sunday brunch, even more, chill with these protein pancakes. They contain ingredients that have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety so not only it is fun to eat pancakes but you can find zen doing so. This recipe uses Birch Benders Paleo pancake mix which I love! It contains limited ingredients, is high in fiber, and uses monk fruit for a small amount of sweetness! Can't get any better. (#notsponsoredjustlove)

High Fiber Cold Asian Noodle Salad

High Fiber Cold Asian Noodle Salad

I love noodles and although regular noodles tend to be low in fiber, these Healthy Noodles are full of it and are gluten free, dairy free, and fat-free. With just 25 calories and 4 grams of fiber. This is a  great option for those trying to boost fiber intake and perfect for lunch meal prep. 

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

Spending over two dollars on a protein bar no more! These homemade protein bars are easy and inexpensive to make. Bigger plus? You control the added ingredients and add in any ingredients you want. One last plus? These are NO BAKE! 

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

These two recipes contain all of the best summer produce that California has to offer. Thanks to my CSA (community shared agriculture) both of these recipes were born. I get inspiration from all the organic produce that comes to my door every week and it makes it easy to show how amazing vegetables (and fruit) can be.  It may just be me, but fresh vegetables straight from a small farm are the best! If you subscribe to any CSA's in your area, comment below with which ones you use! The best way to support these CSA's is to spread the word and share with others. 

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were one of my favorites growing up and to this day I have a huge obsession with peanut butter. Since we are at the height of berry season, I wanted to share something easy to make with strawberries. This recipe is also gluten free and dairy free. Super easy to make in advance for breakfast meal prep. 

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

So happy to post a new Workout Wednesday post because working out has been so much more fun the past couple weeks!  

One reason? A new playlist!

This playlist includes some of favorite jams for the summer and great tempo to run to. 

Another thing that I have been loving is using going outdoors for exercise during the week. I have been sporting tanks and t-shirts during my runs to get some sun, and on Thursday mornings JT, our EXOS coach, has been taking us outside to do our circuit training or sprints. Fresh air and sunshine make it so nice! 

Below check out what I did last week for my workouts and an Home Workout circuit that does not require weights. ENJOY! 

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

This meal is something I totally didn't plan but turned out great. Poaching is a technique I got more familiar with when I was hosting a cooking workshop recently at work. I never realized how easy it was to poach fish which ensures a moist, flaky product. I also used the residual poaching liquid to cook the kale. The residual liquid brought such a nice flavor to the kale. When it comes to fish, I find that I am mostly a salmon gal but I have been starting to try new kinds to broaden my horizons. Weekly, I hop over to my local Whole Foods and choose what wild fish they have on sale. This week it was rockfish which I was excited to try. Rockfish is a flaky white fish, similar to white cod. Whitefish provides many health benefits which I am happy to share.

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

One thing I love about blogging is having a platform to spread education. Today I want to educate you all on something very important for our earth and environment. There are many things we can do as humans in this world to prevent climate change (yes Trump this is a thing) and one thing I try to focus on is reducing food waste. I like to use all fresh foods (less packaging) and I like to utilize every part of the food given to me. This dish I think shows that concept. I received golden beets in my CSA box and where many people might throw away the greens, I see it as an opportunity to get more greens in my day. One less thing being put into the trash, and one less bag of greens I need to supplement my CSA with. To inspire you to reduce food waste, I have some tips on how to do it below. 

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

With Memorial Day coming up, this is a perfect side to bring to a BBQ. It is also perfect for summer meal prep. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that can withhold marinating in a salad dressing without wilting and can actually get better with time. I had it three days in a row for lunch and it never got old. My favorite topping? Tuna! It was a perfect mix of lean protein, fiber, and healthy fats. 

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

This week in the Bay Area has been a scorcher. Currently, a high of 92 degrees as I write this right now. When the weather starts to get warm, I immediately crave post-workout smoothies. There is a method to my madness when it comes to making a Macrobalanced protein smoothie which I will explain below. 

Workout Wednesday: Find the Workout Best for YOU + Weekly Workout Diary

Workout Wednesday: Find the Workout Best for YOU + Weekly Workout Diary

It is no secret that I love to exercise and maybe even the point of too much. Exercise has been in my life consistently for as long I can remember. I had a gym routine by the age of 14 in high school. Some years I had a bad relationship with exercise (i.e. in college I did almost 3 hours a day) and now I have a good relationship with exercise (exercising 6 days a week but no more than 45-90 minutes most days). Though I have a great relationship with it now, I have been struggling with something the past few weeks that is different.

Strawberry Buttermilk Quickbread with Crunchy Granola Topping

Strawberry Buttermilk Quickbread with Crunchy Granola Topping

Adding buttermilk to bread and desserts is a foolproof way to make any baked good tender and moist! This bread was a product of having some leftover buttermilk from making Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (YOLO eat them at least once) and having strawberries that were going to go bad. What turned out was amazing! For my gluten free ladies, instead of all purpose flour, use King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.