Banana Protein Power Bites

Ever get tired of the store bought protein bars? Some are good and some are really bad. I used to buy a few and store them in the glove department for when I was on the move; you know, just incase I got hungry mid-day and the only thing nearby was something that would probably take me an hour or more to work off later in the day. 

These days I prefer to see firsthand what is in the food I eat. I’ve noticed I am a lot less fatigued since I quit the fast meal, heavily processed stuff. These little protein bites are perfect to make if you need a quick recipe or just want something different than fruit/veggies for a snack. 

I’ve made some no bake protein balls before and they went pretty quick. This time I added banana to the mix to give a little more moisture for the oats. They weren’t as firm as the previous recipe without banana, but they held up just as well with taste. Banana, chocolate and peanut butter are a recipe match made in heaven if you ask me.

 

Banana Protein Power Bites
Yields 12
Pretty incredible little ball of protein for those who enjoy bananas, oats and peanut butter.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  2. ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  3. very ripe banana, mashed
  4. ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  5. ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mash your ripe banana in a small bowl using a whisk.
  2. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl. Mix well, either with a wooden spatula or clean hands. Using a tablespoon to scoop, roll into individual ball shapes and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Add cookie sheet to fridge for at least an hour to firm. Replace protein balls into a plastic airtight container and store in fridge.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be doubled.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

White Whole Wheat Banana Bread Recipe + New Mixing Bowls

I’m gonna start this post by gloating about how much I love these new Rae Dunn mixing bowls that my sister found for me. If you’re familiar with any of Rae Dunn’s stuff, you’ll know that the mixing bowls are one of her newer released items and they’re extremely hard to find. They’re so dang cute and my own personal collection is so close to being complete.

Bonus – I’ll be using the heck out of these! 

Moving forward – on Saturday, I fiddled around trying to figure out breakfast and came to the conclusion that all those super ripe bananas I had sitting on the countertop (we’re talking 10+ medium size bananas) needed to be used. I decided 6 would be used for Banana Nice Cream (recipe to be blogged in the future) and the other 4 were going to help me create this delicious and healthy Banana Bread that I could enjoy over the course of the week. Plus I am on flour overload over here.

I’ve switched to using White Whole Wheat Flour verses the regular All-Purpose Flour. The health benefits behind White Whole Wheat are pretty remarkable – all those nutrients that are stripped of the bran when producing All-Purpose Flour, remain there and fully intact with White Whole Wheat Flour. We’re talking fiber, calcium, iron and more. If that isn’t enough to convince you to switch over – how about this? White Whole Wheat Flour improves body metabolism.

You had me sold at “metabolism.” Get you some.

And because it’s already been asked – “What’s the purple in the bread?” It’s called cooked banana slices. It’s okay. It’s edible. It’s not going to hurt you. It’s just banana.

White Whole Wheat Banana Bread
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup honey
  2. ¼ cup coconut oil
  3. ¼ cup brown sugar
  4. ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  11. 1 large ripe banana, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Well grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using a large mixing bowl, add honey, coconut oil, brown sugar, greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Whisk well.
  3. Next add mashed bananas. Whisk well again.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, slowly add flour to mixture. Stir well, it'll be slightly clumpy - thats okay. Add banana slices, gently folding them in to mix with everything else.
  5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan and serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I spent the middle of my March Madness-on-a-Saturday afternoon online looking for some new healthy recipes for the week that I could give a try. Pinterest never fails, I found this easy (and super delicious) recipe from Gimme Some Oven that I just had to prepare for my lunches. Not only does it include just a few simple ingredients – the dressing is extremely tasty and blends well with the pasta and vegetables.

Meal prep keeps me on my toes. I’ve always believed that if you don’t plan accordingly, you’re setting yourself up to potentially slide off the path. 

Luckily – this pasta salad holds well for several days. Prep away.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Quick take on a Mediterranean style pasta dish that's best served cold.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-ounce box of farfalle pasta
  2. 1 English cucumber, diced
  3. 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
  4. 4-ounces crumbled fat-free feta cheese
  5. half of a medium size red onion, sliced thin
Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
  1. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  4. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  5. 1 teaspoon organic honey
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta accordingly. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta can be handled.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a large bowl, add your pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion slices. Mix well. Carefully fold feta cheese into mixture, followed by drizzling the lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing overtop. Toss salad well so that dressing is evenly spread.
  4. Divide between 4 bowls and serve with additional feta cheese if desired.
Notes
  1. The original recipe calls for olives. I don't care much for them, but if you do, feel free to add a handful to the ingredients.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Banana Bread Donuts

For years I had a staple recipe for banana bread that I used. I made it so often that not only did I know the ingredients by heart, but I probably could have prepped the entire thing blind-folded. It’s unfortunate that it was also super unhealthy. So I did a little research and I tested for a recipe that I could happily indulge with and at the same time not feel entirely guilty. And then I decided – let’s give an even more fun twist and create donuts out of it!

I have a donut pan – so yes, I cheat just a little when it comes to donut making. I’d like to give the ol’ make em round yourself a try but haven’t done so yet. If you don’t have your own donut pan, you can pick them up just about anywhere (Target, your local grocery store) for under $10. That’s a bargain if you’re a donut lover or live in a house full of donut eaters. 

AND – If you just aren’t into the donut thing at all, you can absolutely use this recipe as one for banana bread and just prepare in a loaf pan. Increase your cooking time to 50-55 minutes (it varies depending on your oven) or until the toothpick comes out clean as a whistle.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread Donuts
Yields 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
22 min
Total Time
32 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
22 min
Total Time
32 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. ¾ cup granulated sugar
  3. 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  5. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 2 egg whites
  7. 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3-4 medium bananas)
  8. ¼ cup applesauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Well grease donut pan and set aside.
  2. Using a medium size mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. Next add mashed bananas, applesauce and egg whites to a medium size bowl. Mix until bananas are well blended with applesauce and egg whites. Slowly add to dry mixture, making sure to stir constantly until combined well. Pour evenly into pan, about ¾ full.
  4. Bake for 22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Notes
  1. If you are absolutely anti-sugar, you can try substituting with honey. I'm not sure what the results will be because I haven't personally tried it yet. If you do, let me know!
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/
 

15 Minute Garlic Croutons

Have you ever passed by the marked down aisle of food at the grocery store and wondered what you could do with any of the marked down bread? So much! Yesterday I bought a bag of french loaf pieces that was marked down to 49 cents with the intentions of making croutons out of it. I’ve got a salad planned for my lunch this week, as well as a soup and croutons go well with both.

Anyone can make their own croutons with just 4 basic ingredients and an oven. Add some spices or parmesan cheese to give them a more flavorful taste to match whatever entree you have planned to incorporate them in. I promise you won’t buy store brand croutons again!

Homemade Garlic Croutons
Yields 4
You can make your own croutons with just 4 ingredients and an oven.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of bread, cut into small cube shapes
  2. ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add bread cubes to a large bowl. Sprinkle both garlic powder and sea salt overtop, gently stirring. Next drizzle olive oil overtop and carefully fold; making sure to coat all bread.
  3. Using a cookie sheet, add bread; spreading out evenly so none overlap. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly they brown.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before adding to your recipe or storing in a gallon size ziplock bag.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Happy 2017! I decided to start up the new year with a more strict diet and exercise plan due to adding a few pounds on over the last year that I’m not too happy about, just like pretty much everyone else in the world. With bikini season a few months away, I know that winter time would be the best time to start focusing on tightening up my healthy lifestyle a bit, starting with what I eat.

While putting together my meal plan for the week, I decided to include a breakfast casserole that would not only taste good reheated, but hold me over until my morning snack. This previous week I enjoyed an overnight oats breakfast and while that was delicious, I was craving something more “solid.” With a breakfast casserole, not only would I be getting a good source of protein from the eggs, but I’d also be getting a good source of calcium from the dairy; something we all could use. Plus I’d feel more full after eating my portion!

A breakfast casserole can vary in ingredients but usually consist of a basic build; eggs, milk and cheese. To add taste and a better base to mine, I decided to add southern hashbrowns and ham as well. The hashbrowns would give a nice golden crust feel to the casserole while the bacon and ham would just be a bonus addition for the tastebuds. It also helps that I already had all of these things on hand.

As for my dairy; I love to purchase products that are locally made whenever opportunity arises and Reiter Dairy has over 20 dairy farms here in the state of Ohio. Our nearby grocery carries Reiter’s milk product DairyPure and after doing a little research on the brand, I decided I wanted to give it a try. 

What I love most about DairyPure is their 5-Point Purity Promise. When you purchase DairyPure milk you’re giving your family not only a product that comes from cows that are fed a healthy-diet, but also has no artificial growth hormones, has been tested for antibiotics, is continuously quality tested to ensure purity and is cold-shipped from their dairy. Hearing that, I knew that this would be a product that I can feel confident feeding to my family. 

Be sure to check out Reiter Dairy to see which of your local groceries carries their products. 

 

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Serves 8
In need of a quick and delicious breakfast for brunch, "Breakfast for Dinner," or something you can reheat in the morning throughout the week? This breakfast casserole is perfect for just that and can be thrown together in just 5-10 minutes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 16 oz diced ham, package should state that it's already fully cooked
  2. 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  3. 8 cups frozen southern hashbrowns
  4. 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  5. 12 large eggs
  6. 1 cup DairyPure milk
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. a pinch of ground pepper, for taste
Instructions
  1. Well grease two quiche pans or a 9x13 size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine ham, cheese, hashbrowns and bacon well. Add to combination to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  4. Wash out large mixing bowl and next add eggs, DairyPure milk, salt and pepper (optional) whisking well. Pour overtop ham and hashbrowns, making sure that it is evenly spread.
  5. Cook for one hour.
Notes
  1. If you'd prefer to just make a smaller serving - cut ingredients in half and use just one quiche pan.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, and opinions I have expressed here are that of my own.

Yoga and YogDev Wheel Review

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Lately on my no cardio days (Tuesday and Thursday) I’ve been working on my balance and stance by doing an array of yoga exercises. Most are more geared towards helping amenorrhea (something I have been experiencing for some time now) but every now and then I’ll do a session that focuses on just balance. And since I’m not the most balanced person to begin with; I figure it’ll take some time before I feel 100% confident in taking my yoga “experience” outside my bedroom walls. In the meantime, test and try over and over, right?

So when Shaun from YogDev reached out to me about trying the YogDev Wheel, I couldn’t say no. I’ve seen yoga wheels being used on instagram photos by some individuals that I follow and I’ve always been intrigued. Not only can some of these girls and guys do these ridiculously awesome looking poses, but they’re doing them with a yoga wheel! You know – resorting back to the middle school, “she has that ability, I want that ability too!” mentality. 

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But the wheel is so much more than just a tool that helps you look awesome while working on both your core and ability to better balance yourself. There are many things that a yoga wheel can help improve including:

  • Release muscle tension
  • Build strength in both your core and back
  • Stretch key areas: chest, shoulders, back and hips
  • Tone mid-riffs, arms and buttocks
  • Drastically improve balance
  • Challenge basic yoga poses
  • Help to transition into a headstand or handstand

Those sound like things that everyone can benefit from. I’m all about toning my core so I was excited to try out the wheel once my YogDev package arrived. 

First off – I want to take a couple sentences to dedicate to how well designed this wheel is. The particular wheel I was sent was gray and white, which is perfect because my house is all neutral and I have OCD about things matching. Also, when positioned with the wheel, you don’t have the unfortunate skin pinches if you were to flinch slightly or feel like you have plastic squished between your legs or digging into your back arch – the padding material is so soft and comfortable. 

What else is awesome is that YogDev sends you a small pamphlet that gives you a variety of poses to use with the wheel – something anyone without yoga wheel experience needs! What I loved most about that was the listed poses too was that they didn’t seem too far-fetched for a beginner or someone who may not be super flexible.

I can’t wait to continuing using the yoga wheel in an abundance of ways and gaining the courage to actually video my experience – I need a little more practice first though! In the meantime, if you’re interested in having a YogDev Wheel for yourself – check them out here. Don’t forget to check out their mats and towels as well! 

 

Pasta Arrabbiata

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It feels like it’s been some time since I’ve done a meatless Monday post, let alone cooked a meatless meal on a Monday. While searching for clean-eating recipes for the week, I stumbled upon this one from Yummily Yours that I had to try since I’m still in the quest for finding the perfect natural (aka unprocessed) marinara sauce. 

It’s crazy how little amount of time and effort it takes to make a marinara. I like more chunks of tomatoes and less “sauce” in mine, so I don’t necessarily puree the tomatoes – just halve them and cook or bake. Tomatoes are magical like that. 

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So Arrabbiata is a spicy sauce that is made from garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. I laid low on the red chili peppers and used chili powder myself because I was going to have the children try the sauce, but my husband deemed it an “adult meal” and now I know next time to actually use red pepper FLAKES, not ground chili. I left it as it’s intended to be cooked in the recipe below though. 

I was most thoroughly excited about learning how to get that “restaurant shine” you see often see in pasta dishes when I tried this recipe. The secret? Add a little under half a cup of the water you cooked your pasta in to the skillet you’re cooking your tomato mixture in. Who would have thought?!

Pasta Arrabiata
Serves 3
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 8-ounces linguine pasta
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. cherry tomatoes , sliced into halves
  5. 2 tablespoons chilli flakes
  6. 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  7. grated parmesan, for topping.
Instructions
  1. Bring a large saucepan to a raging boil and add pasta. Cook according to package.
  2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add minced garlic, allowing to saute; 3 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and cook until they appear softened and the skin looks slightly broken.
  3. As pasta is finished, drain all but 1/3 of pasta water if possible. Add just pasta to tomatoes and mix well, adding salt and pepper for taste if desired. Next add pasta water, stirring so that the water and olive oil are combined. This sound appear to thicken the sauce some.
  4. Garnish with chilli flakes and parsley, stirring again to combine. Serve with grated parmesan strips overtop.
Adapted from Yummily Yours
Adapted from Yummily Yours
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Pumpkin Donuts

 

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The best pumpkin donut I have ever tasted!

Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Yields 18
Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice Donuts will be a distant memory after you try your hand at making your own pumpkin donuts!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cup puree Pumpkin
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. ½ cup vegetable oil
  4. 1½ cup granulated sugar
  5. 1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1½ teaspoon salt
  7. 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
Buttermilk Icing
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 cups confectioners sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 tablespoon whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a donut pan. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl add pumpkin, eggs, oil, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Mix well until completely combined. Slowly add flour, mixing well.
  3. Fill each donut til it is ¾ filled and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Remove each donut gently using a fork and place onto a cooling rack.
  4. While donuts are cooling off, add butter into a small size saucepan over med-high heat. Stir well, using a wooden spoon if able. Remove from heat when butter has melted and pour into a medium size baking bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Stir well.
  5. If donuts are cool enough to handle, dip the top carefully into icing mix and return to the cooling rack. The glaze will harden at a generous speed.
Notes
  1. To maintain a cleaner space - place a piece of parchment paper underneath cooling rack to catch donut icing when it drips.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/