Replacing Pumpkin

So, as you all are probably well aware, sometime around Easter it started to become impossible to find canned pumpkin anywhere. This made me very very sad because I love canned pumpkin in my oatmeal. But recently, while at an expensive, local, wholefoodsesque grocery store I discovered this:

It was located on the shelf next to some organic pumpkin (which I also picked up), but I thought to myself, “Hey, why not give this baby a shot?” A look at the nutritional profile was not as exciting as pumpkin, but I decided it would do.

So, this morning I took the plunge and opened this baby up:

Looks a little bit lighter than the organic pumpkin that I had previously used from the same brand. But it actually has the same smell. (reminiscent of baby food, but not so much as to repulse me)

I decided to make my usual pumpkin-peanut flour- blueberry-spices oatmeal concoction, only with butternut squash instead of pumpkin.

mixed with quick-cooking steel cut oats & oat bran (prepared with 1/2 cup milk)

The results? Delicious! It has a distinctively… lighter? flavor than pumpkin but it still went beautifully with this oat combination. In fact, I think I like this stuff better than the organic pumpkin of the same brand. (Granted, Libby’s still takes the cake… or should I say can)

On a side note, I’m marveling at how quickly this past hour flew by. I think I may just treat myself and watch a movie or something to enjoy the rest of my evening. Weekend starts tomorrow at 4:00PM!

What new-to-you product have you tried lately?

Do you have any awesome plans for the weekend?

I’m attending a birthday party on Saturday, but I’m hoping to pack in additional funness.

Ok for some reason I am compelled to post this:

I apologize.

 

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Not-your-average PB Sandwich + Site Update

So I suppose if you’re viewing this post right now, you already notice a big difference in my blog’s look. I haven’t 100% settled into a theme yet. (Trying to blog around my work schedule is haphazard at times) But if you haven’t notice already, I’ve officially switched to posting in WordPress! I’m really excited about this change and am slowly but surely learning my way around this baby.

But now on to the good stuff alright? :

Wait, what is on that sandwich?

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of quick meals. (Read: lately I’ve been running late to work frequently and having to make quick meals) So probably the easiest-peasiest quick meal around is Peanut butter and Jelly, right? Well, as I may or may not have mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of jelly. I prefer to eat whole fruits rather than fruit-spreads. My go-to for this purpose (as I’ve mentioned before) is pear. However, I haven’t found any good organic pears lately. I guess that’s what happens when the seasons change. ANYWAYS (stick to the topic Megan!)- I came up with two peanut butter sandwich ideas that were pretty alright.

Peanut Butter Sandich Idea #1 – Peanut Butter & Kiwi Sandwich (of course w/cinnamon)

I figured sweet fruit = very close to jam. And I was pretty on with this baby. It had a nice texture and was a pleasant change to the typical peanut butter sandwich.

Unfortunately, I realized later that my kiwis were a little funky, so I didn’t get a good idea as far as the actual flavor of the sandwich. But hopefully I’ll find some good kiwis and give it another go soon.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Idea #2 – Peanut Butter, Berries, & Peanut Flour Sandwich

  Step 1 – Microwave 2 frozen strawberries & 1/4 cup frozen raspberries for 30 seconds. Smash with a fork and mix well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 – Mix in 1 tablespoon peanut flour. Stir well until well-blended.

 

 

Step 3 – Go crazy and decide you’re going to add another tablespoon of peanut flour for the heck of it.

Step 4 – Spread 1 tablespoon crunchy (my preference) peanut butter on a piece of  your favorite bread (mine is Trader Joe’s Sprouted Rye). Pour the Berry-Peanut Flour mixture on top.

spread & sprinkle w/cinnamon

 

 

make sure to eat all the fillings!

 

 

 

 

 

ooey-gooey deliciousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK So now that I have your mouth watering sufficiently, I must note that next time I make this sandwich, I’m going to cut the peanut flour by 1 tablespoon and up the peanut butter by 1/2 tablespoon. I think that change will create the perfect ratio for this sandwich.

What’s your favorite peanut butter sandwich combination? 

Got any awesome super-quick meals you want to share with me?

TWIW + Peanutty Protein Goodness

So over the course of the past few months, I’ve come to realize that bloggers love acronyms.

So, in accordance with the blogger-laws-of-the-interwebs, I’ve turned This Week in Workouts to TWIW… it’s a vital difference, obviously. Here goes:
TWIW(This Week in Workouts)
Sa – off
Su – off (clearly my weekend was event-filled)
M – Circuit Strength Training
Tu – 30 min. Quick Cardio (high-intensity floor cardio) + 60 minute Power Yoga (this made me incredibly sore for two days)
W – 45 minute elliptical
Th – Circuit Strength Training
F – 60 minute KickIt Core (Kick Boxing w/extra core work… my back is soooore)

So you know how I told you guys that I always eat a late night snack? Well, I was perusing blogs the other day (while simultaneously debating what my late night snack would be) and I stumbled upon a fantastic find! So now, without further ado, the best-new-addition-to-the-foods-that-I-eat/love/am-addicted-to:
… brought to you by Clean Eating Chelsey
… because I didn’t change her recipe at all…
…. and it was so delicious…
Peanutty Protein Muffin (for 1) source
Ingredients
– 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water, beat with a fork until gelled
– 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– dash of cinnamon
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup peanut flour
Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a mug, one at a time. Mix well.
2. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
3. Top or stuff with something delicious.
4. Devour!

wet ingredients
mixed up and ready to microwave…

…2 minutes later…

Voila!
Slid easily out onto a plate…
With 1/2 tbsp crunchy (kroger natural) peanut butter
Ahhhhmazing!
other filling ideas:
– Cut in half and stuff with strawberry slices
– While warm, cut in half, stuff with chocolate, and eat like a sandwich
– Your favorite jam
– Ice cream(mmm)

Nutrition Facts:


No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

As you all may have read in an earlier blog post of mine, some studies have found that ingesting protein before a workout can increase your metabolism for hours after your workout. (Source:RealAge) So I’ve been trying to make sure that if I’m headed to the gym a good while after a meal (or before a meal, in the case of AM workouts), I eat something that’s rich in protein.

I had been mixing 1/2 scoop protein powder with cold coffee before my morning workouts, but then my changing work schedule had me going to the gym after work for a couple days last week. So I was faced with a dilemma: what to pack with me to get my pre-workout protein?
SOLUTION:
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls
(adapted from a recipe by Chalene Johnson… which I found on about 10 different pages but can’t find the original)
Ingredients (makes 10-12)
– 1/2 cup peanut flour
– 3 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Designer whey)
– 1/2 cup oat bran
– 3 tbsp peanut butter (I used crunchy), melted slightly
– water
Directions
1. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
2. Add the peanut butter and mix as well as you can.
3. Add enough water to make the mixture sticky and moist.
4. Roll into 10-12 balls and place on a plate covered with wax paper. Pop in the freezer for a 10 minutes or so.
5. To store, I wrapped each individually in wax paper and plastic-baggied 8 for the freezer and 2 for the fridge. Move the frozen ones the fridge the day before you want to eat them.
ingredients.
dry ingredient blend.
finished product.

Obviously,  I forgot to snap a picture of the mixture pre-ball-formation haha. This balls turned out to be pretty good! The taste reminds me of those really good chocolate-peanut butter no bake cookies only healthier-tasting.

Nutrition Stats:

Hip Hip Horrapppppy Friday!

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As you can probably tell, I am very exceedingly excited that today is Friday on my off-weekend! I’m looking forward to a weekend full of friends, fun, food, and great workouts!
  Yesterday I came home to find that my package of peanut flour had arrived! So this morning I woke up, eager to give it a try!

Upon first inspection, it looked just like Trader Joe’s package, only twice the size (and a different brand).
Opening the package yielded the same conclusion. Same smell, same texture.

Same nutrition as TJ’s brand. (Though this packaging doesn’t list the daily values of magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin e, etc., I imagine it would be the same:
image from Lauren‘s blog.)
To do a taste test, I set out to make my pumpkin-peanut flour steel cut oats. 
Heaping 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin + 1/8 cup peanut flour + cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg

mmmmm
Conclusion: I have found my replacement for TJ’s Peanut Flour… Now to see if I can find a way around these massive shipping costs… (as you may recall, the shipping cost was the same as the item cost, which made this 2 lb. bag cost me $15)

Old Faithfuls

I have a few “old faithfuls” in my repertoire. These are the recipes that I can make over and over in varied ways without much thought. The one that has probably already become obvious to you is oatmeal. I make it in varied ways all the time. For instance, today I started my day out with Pumpkin and Peanut flour Steel-Cut Oats.

pumpkin/peanut flour mixture
…w/oats and spices

Another “old faithful” of mine is Asian Stir Fry. There are three steps to making a delicious stir-fry. These steps can be intermixed to make for a more efficient cooking time:

Step 1: Select and prepare protein
– Some of my typical selections are tofu, tempeh, and scallops. To prepare any of these, I simply spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and saute the selected protein chopped into bite-sized pieces (or whole for scallops)
– Optional- sprinkle the protein with chinese five spice powder for additional flavor.
– Once fully cooked, I transfer it to the plate that I’m going to eat from and save for a later step.
Step 2: Select and prepare the sauce
– Typically I will mix a little bit of water with about 1/2 tsp cornstarch per serving of stir fry. (Sometimes I add peanut flour instead of this step)
– To this mixture, I add about 1 tbsp of flavorful sauce per serving. Per serving, I usually do 1/2 tbsp soy sauce combined with hoisin, oyster, and/or fish sauce.
– Next, I add vinegar, lemon, or lime juice. I usually add the same amount as the flavorful sauce.
– Mix in 1 clove minced garlic and 3/4 tsp grated ginger per serving.
– Optional – Add chili garlic sauce
Step 3: Select and prepare the vegetables
– Some favs: cabbage, carrots, asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, bell peppers
Preparation: Prepare protein (step 1) and set aside. Then, stir fry desired vegetables over medium high heat with desired oil. Once vegetables are crisp-tender, mix in sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Add protein. Cook 1 minute, until heated.

Tonight for dinner, I decided to make…
Tofu and Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry w/Hoisin-Peanut Sauce (for two)
Protein: Diced tofu sautéed w/chinese 5 spice powder
Sauce: 1 T peanut flour, 1 T red-sod soy sauce, 1 T Hoisin sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1 1/2 t grated ginger, 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Veggies: red cabbage, scallions, carrot, broccoli, crushed red pepper, black pepper, EVOO

mmm mmm good

I love making stir fry because it includes lots of vegetables, it’s super flavorful, and it allows me to eat with chopsticks!
What are some of your old faithfuls?