Refreshing Shake

So who’s ready for the first protein shake recipe of the year????

I’ve made shakes since the new year but, wow, was this one blog worthy! So much so, that I dropped everything I was doing to write this up!

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Outside the original Starbucks! Best Caramel Macchiato ever!

I was watching Unique Sweets, last night, and they highlighted a cheesecake business, The Confectional, located in Pike Market! I love Pike Market! I spent a week in Seattle a few years ago with Phi Theta Kappa at my first International Convention! Every morning, I walked down to the Market to get fresh produce.

Anyway, they mentioned this lemon white chocolate cheesecake and the gears started to turn… Dang, that sounds good…

Lemon White Chocolate CheesecakeWP_007575

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cheesecake pudding mix, sugar free, fat free
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free white chocolate syrup
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used cookies n’ cream)
  • Ice
  • Water
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum (optional)

Blend everything and enjoy! Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired.

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I topped mine with some cinnamon and Fiber One bran cereal to complete that cheesecake feel! I loved it! It was refreshing and unbelievably fragrant!

I started thinking about the many ways you could make this using any combination of the following:

  • lemon pudding mix, sugar free, fat free
  • white chocolate pudding mix, sugar free fat free
  • lemon syrup, sugar free

Let me know how yours turn out!

 

Two In One

I really could go on and on about my love of different fruits. Today is National Blueberry Pie Day so I wanted to do something with blueberries to celebrate. Ever since Barry and I started dating, my love of all things blueberries keeps growing. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of bananas, as you well remember Walnana!

You know when you but fruit, thinking it will be gone in no time, and suddenly realize “Oh darn! Its mushy”? Well, thats what was happening with the bowl of bananas on the counter. Almost completely black! Which, of course is perfect for baking!

Blueberry Banana Muffins!

make 16 cupcakes (12 muffins)

  • 1 cup mashed bananaWP_005748
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 to 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the bananas through Splenda. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon through oats. Fold in the blueberries and optional chia seeds. Divide amongst lined cupcake or muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the centers come out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for at least 10 minutes and dig in.

Nutrition (1/16 with 1/2Tbsp chia):

Calories: 74, Fat: 0.5g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 162mg, Carbs: 15.7g, Fiber: 1.7g, Sugar: 2.5g, Protein: 1.9g

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You will not regret the aromas that travel throughout your home! Heavenly!

For the sake of the blog, I cut each muffin in half, and experimented with toppings. So far, I can vouch for plain muffin, sweetened cream cheese (fat free cream cheese with a sprinkle of Splenda, smashed banana, and, of course, nut butter!

Natale Italiano

Many Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Seven Fishes, however I celebrate Christmas day with the Italian side of my family.

Nonetheless, I still stick with baking my nonna’s papilli and pizzelles every year. For Christmas dinner, we typically have ravioli, sausage and meatballs. This year, I made a batch of my gnocchi to have, as well. I was very excited for my family to taste one of my favorite recipes!

This year, I also made two new additions to the Italian recipe stash, both of which turned out delicious! Being an incredibly proud Sicilian, I was ampt to bake these!

I attribute both recipes to Giada, and tweaked her recipes. Mmmm I could not get enough of these treats. The first is a perfect mid morning snack to have with your coffee. The colors of the pistachios and cranberries mimic the colors of Christmas, and the white chocolate adds just the right amount of sweet to offset the tart berry. I love the mild hint of lemon in the biscotti, too!

Natale Biscotti

makes 24 biscottiWP_004987

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 6 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, in shell, roasted and salted
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp flax milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the Splenda, buttery spread, applesauce, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the liquid eggs, slowly incorporating. Add the flours and baking powder in.

WP_004961While the dough is combining and forming, remove the nuts from there shells. Coarsely chop the bear pistachios  and set aside. Now, roughly chop the dried cranberries. While the mixer is still blending the dough, toss in the pistachios and cranberries and mix until evenly disbursed.

Transfer the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log. (This part gets your hands sticky and doughy).  Bake for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

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Once cooled, transfer the log to the cutting board, and using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, back on the lined baking sheet and return to the oven at 350 F for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

In the meantime, create a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl placed over the pot. Stir the chocolate and milk in the bowl until the chocolate melts. Using a brush, paint the chocolate over the cooled biscotti. Refrigerate until the chocolate dries, about 35 minutes, then enjoy!

Giada Note: “The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.”

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Fun Fact: “Bi”- “Scotti” translates into “twice baked.” Get it?

Funny Story: When I was younger, dad and I would take nonna food shopping. I can still picture this in my mind. We were in the aisle of Pathmark and I asked if she wanted “biscotti” (pronounced bi-scott-E). “You’re Italian… its “biscotti” (pronounce bish-kot). From that point on, the “E” sound never  left my mouth again when referring to this cookie.

The second recipe is perfect for after dinner. Its like a Fig Newton for Guidos. I am a huge fan of figs. I remember my nonna’s neighbor had a fig trees in the back yard, and every year, I would get to pick some off the bush. Mmm there’s nothing like a fresh fig. I just loved how beautiful these little crescent pastries were and how stuffed they were with the goods! The mild and seedy figs pair perfectly with sweet raisins. I am also a fan of the slight citrus notes from the lemon zest and orange juice!

Sicilian Fig and Walnut Christmas Crescents

makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Pastry Dough:

  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substituteWP_004992
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup Splenda, granulated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light

Filling and Cookies:

  • 8 ounces dried Mission figlets, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar free syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, Trop 50 preferred
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • about 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute (egg wash)

For the pastry dough:

Mix the flours, Splenda, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add the applesauce and butter to the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients with your fingers until incorporated.

Whisk the liquid eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and divide the dough in 2. Place each ball dough on plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap the dough disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling and cookies:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely, yet roughly chopped. Set aside. combine the figlets, raisins, lemon zest, and cinnamon in the food processor, while incorporating the syrup and orange juice until fully blended. Scrape the fig mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the walnuts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2  baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out 1 cold disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (I used a cup with similar dimensions), cut out dough rounds. Gather the dough scraps into a ball, flatten, wrap, and re-refrigerate disk while assembling the cookies.

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Spoon 1/2 heaping Tablespoon of the fruit mixture in the center of each dough round. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal. Arrange the cookies evenly apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies, lightly, with egg wash. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, while repeating the process and assembling the remaining dough and filling into more crescents.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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I actually ended up having excess filling… I can’t wait to do something with it!

Buon Appetito!

Protein Pancakes Two Ways

While picking up some things at the farmers market, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I ask Barry what kind of fruit he wanted in our pancakes, since his initial craving for raspberries was no longer an option. (They were out of raspberries.) “Blackberry,” he said. I’m not usually a fan of blackberries, but I gave in since Barry wanted them and thought of a way to incorporate the fruit into brunch.

Since I use cottage cheese in my pancakes, I thought about the time I made blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes and how delicious they turned out! I threw a bag of lemons in the cart and when we got home, I got to work. The pancakes I made for Frank and Barry, a little heartier and stick to your ribs kind, were based off Julie’s Banana Bread Protein Pancakes.

Blackberry Lemon Oat Protein Pancakes

serves 2WP_004686

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 packets Splenda

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the batter on a skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, over medium heat, and pour batter by the 2 Tbsp, and cook accordingly.

Nutrition: (1/2 recipe)

Calories: 256, Fat: 3.4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 4.5mg, Sodium: 362.5mg, Carbs: 36g, Fiber: 6.7g, Sugar: 3.4g, Protein: 20g

This recipe made lots of pancakes and were quite filling, as Frank and Barry left three on the serving plate.

The ones I made for myself were based off my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes. I little softer and lighter, but every bit as delicious.

Blackberry Lemon Protein Pancakes

serves 1

  • 1 scoop vanilla  prWP_004688otein
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese, fat free (about 80 calories per 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Nutrition:

Calories: 88, Fat: 1.1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 1.5mg, Sodium: 264.5mg, Carbs: 8.8g, Fiber: 1.2g, Sugar: 4.5g, Protein: 10g

I liked the texture the blackberry seeds gave the pancakes. I really loved the occasional sweet, but tart, bite of lemon zest!

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No one needed any butter for these babies. Frank ate his plain, in fact! Barry and I did a smidge of a drizzle of SF syrup.

And we were super full! Plus, I adore the purple hue!!!