Meatless Monday – Protein Bites

I’ve been wanting to make some protein bites (or protein balls) for, I don’t know, a few years now. Don’t ask me why I’ve not done this yet, because I have no good answer. So, today, after a flurry of PINTEREST¬†pinning of protein bite recipes, I realized I had all the ingredients to make them…when does that EVER happen? To me – never. Into the kitchen I went.

I combined a recipe I found online with a few tweaks of my own, which means that YOU can make these with whatever you have in your kitchen, too. Like, now. Go do it. It’s worth it. ūüėČ I’ll share with y’all what I did with¬†mine, based on the recipes I read and what I had on hand. What¬†I built mine upon was found over on SUPERSKINNYME.COM. ūüėÄ And the results are an overall 5/5 stars from the family. Success!


img_20160208_132743.jpg

PROTEIN BITES RECIPE

 

  • 2+ cups of dry ingredients for the base (I used half a bag of a pre-packaged mixture of organic oats and seeds from Trader Joes, because that’s what I had on hand, plus 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dry ingredients for flavor (I mixed an even amount of organic coconut flour and organic coconut palm sugar, then 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 ¬†cup of dried fruit (I used a mixture of dates and raisins – but make sure whatever dried fruit used is pitted first…otherwise…disaster in your blender)
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter (or any nut butter of choice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a food processor (I used our Nutri-Bullet), mix all wet ingredients and dried fruit and blend till desired consistency (mine took only a few seconds of pulsing). Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix till well blended (I ended up using my hands to really mix everything together…the spoon wasn’t cutting it and a fork wasn’t much better). Place bowl in the fridge for 20 minutes to ‘set’. Remove, mix with a spoon once more, and scoop a small amount of mixture into palm and roll into a ball. The end result should be about bite-size. My mixture came out to 27 balls. ¬†They can be stuck in the fridge for later, or eaten immediately. Half of mine were consumed within 3 minutes. O.O

 

NOTE: It helps to press mixture together into a firm consistency in your hands while rolling, to avoid the balls from falling apart. Mix what’s in the bowl intermittently¬†as you make the balls to keep any loose¬†dry ingredients from collecting on the bottom – less waste at the end!

BONUS: I considered rolling the bites around in the cocoa powder I have on hand, but was curious to see if they tasted chocolately with the cocoa powder already in the mixture, and they did, so I didn’t coat them in more cocoa…this is really just a preference. ūüėČ

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Time from Mixture to Mouth – under 35 minutes

**Totally vegan, packed with protein, and can be easily made 100% organic. If you make some, let me know how it went! This weekend I’m going to grab up some dried cranberries or even cherries, more nuts and seeds, agave nectar, chocolate chips, etc… and play around with this recipe – which is the beauty of it – you can completely tailor it to your tastes. Enjoy!

Meatless Monday – Veggiestrone

I have a friend who emails me yummy veggie dishes every week and this one, though easy and something we’ve all probably had a version or two of before, just hit me in the feels today¬†and required I share it. It’s been chilly in San Diego, with bi-polar weather, so warm veggie soup sounds delish. I’ll be making it this weekend for sure! Thanks Steph, for the recipe!!

screenshot_2016-01-11-11-29-19-1.png

NUTRITION – Per serving: 169 calories; 25g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 7 g protein; 4 mg cholesterol; 8 g dietary fiber; 718 mg potassium; 641 mg sodium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (123% daily value), Vitamin C (87% dv), Folate (23% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Calcium (16% dv).

Meatless Monday – The Blogger List

Regardless of whether you go meat-free only on Mondays or every day of the week, there comes those times when all of us stand in the kitchen staring into the cabinets and the fridge with wide eyes, wondering what to make for the family (or ourselves). I love pinning meals that are already vegetarian and vegan, or can easily be made so, onto my meal boards on Pinterest (check some of them out HERE). But during a recent search to find a few vegetarian or vegan blogs, I stumbled upon a great page with a master list of bloggers that are all about Meatless Mondays. I HAD to share it.

CLICK HERE for An Awesome

Meatless Monday BlogGER List

Cutting back on meat is healthy for everyone, so hopefully you’ll find one of these blogs helpful the next time you need some Meatless Monday ideas! And remember – you don’t need a fancy recipe to make a dish meat-free. Vegetables, fruits, grains, etc…all those yummy sides you fill your plate with have infinite meal possibilities.

Click on the Pinterest images below to link back to their original source for some yummy Meatless Monday meals!





Happy Meatless Monday, Everyone!

Meatless Monday – Eat the Rainbow!

image

One easy way to a healthier diet is eating lots and lots of different colors. But, why? Phytochemicals are naturally found in plants and help make the blueberry so blue, the spinach super green, and cherries that deep, dark red. These suckers can help stave off cancers, too. A more colorful diet makes for a more diverse intake of essential vitamins and antioxidants. So, what does this mean? If you want a better balance of all the good things our bodies need – Eat the Rainbow, friends!


Find out how Phytochemicals can help fight cancer, from the American Institute for Cancer Research


I am not a perfect eater. In fact, even though I’m a vegetarian, I still love junk food – like the salty stuff on occasion – and chocolate (it has its own food group in my house, y’all), not to mention pastas and rice. But, I also love my fruits and veggies. And I know they are damn good for me, which is why I eat them daily and drink them often, to give myself that great colorful burst of phytochemical-rich foods.

All the yummy goodness in the picture above went into one of my breakfast smoothies this weekend, as well as a few things not pictured: frozen mango, a whole banana and a small dollop of peanut butter (there was no spinach left in the house – had to resort to my second favorite high protein source), plus some good old H2O. Yes. Yes, it was delicious. So delish that I had to share it.

Happy Meatless Monday, y’all!

Meatless Monday…All About the Birds

This weekend I was sitting with my friend, her mom and her mom’s friend, talking about animal related things, and Miss M, as I’ll call her, asked me when I made the connection and became a Vegetarian – what was it that flipped the switch? Unlike a lot of questions I get asked about my lifestyle choices, I didn’t have to think carefully before answering her, because I instantly knew the answer: it was the broken chicken leg.

In a sense, I would say I was becoming a Vegetarian for years, without even realizing it. As a new mom and owner of a childcare, I really want to ensure my kids were all getting the healthiest of foods, living as chemical free as possible and wearing clothes that didn’t come from animals skins. I began to do research on the foods we ate. Organic vs. Non-Organic. Natural vs. Organic. Pesticides. Antibiotics. Animal Rights. Factory farming. Free range. Animal testing and experimentation. Animals for entertainment. The fur industry. Chemicals in cleaners… Seriously, you name it, I wanted to learn about it. And this took me down a road that led to some painful discoveries about my diet and lifestyle.

I’ve always loved animals, you see. Grew up around dogs and cats and nature. I rescued a baby bird once. Caught lizards as a little kid just to check them out and get them to relax long enough to hold onto my finger. And frogs – I loved frogs. Every camping trip by water consisted of me on frog hunts. I was always fascinated and in awe of nature, like most children are. It’s really never mattered to me if an animal has hair, fur, scales, feathers, whiskers, blubber, fins, tails, horns or hoofs – I love them all. On my journey of self-discovery, I stumbled upon image after image, video after video, of humans doing the most horrendous things to animals. Pigs in gestation crates. Chickens in battery cages. Cows hanging alive by one foot getting their throats cut, male chicks being ground alive because they mean nothing to the industry, foxes being stripped of their flesh while still alive and dumped on top of one another left to slowly die, rats in labs with screws and holes in their heads, and oh my GOD, this list goes on forever. I knew, like all of us do, that an animal had to die to end up as a burger, a fillet, a steak, ribs, etc…but I never questioned my diet when I was younger because I’d been raised eating animals and loving animals. I saw those things as falling into two separate worlds. I could love my cat and dog, and eat a cow and pig – no problem. Because the two were different. But are they?

IMG_8644.f8e0f1e358916ed982f2b55e5ae6d832888

The research started. I watched the undercover videos, and one in particular; a video of an undercover investigation at a chicken factory farm provider for a major chicken supplier for food chains and grocery stores all over the world. I sat in my plush swivel office chair frozen in place as factory workers lifted chickens up into the air and slammed them into concrete walls, onto the floors and then stomped on their already frail and calcium depleted bones, breaking wings and legs and necks. I didn’t understand how something like that could (and does) happen. Legally. Real people, real animals, real torture. I was traumatized. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open for the whole video. You can watch it HERE.

Now, let us fast-forward a bit after I watched that video to the last time I cooked chicken for my family. As I dropped the raw pieces of legs and thighs into a large pot of boiling water, and watched the blood rise to the surface of the water and begin to turn brown, I realized that nearly every piece of meat in that pot had a broken bone cleanly snapped in half. I can still see myself standing in that kitchen watching the ‘meat’ float around, seeing the joint of the legs separating from the meat from whatever previous damage it had endured and it hit me. Seriously hit me – like a punch to the gut. I almost cried over that pot, wondering if those parts came from chickens who had been crammed in crates, thrown against walls and stomped on. And something happened. I saw the ‘food’ I was going to eat as what it was…an animal, a being just like me. Once living, breathing, thinking, feeling. And yes, I did eat that chicken, but with every bite, my mind thought of the outer skin as flesh, the meaty part as muscle and fat, the bone as skeleton. I never ate chicken again. Shortly after that, I became a true Vegetarian. One year later, after learning more about the egg industry side of chicken farming, I removed egg from my diet. And since then, I’ve been on the slow process of going Vegan.

I told Miss M that it took one broken bone for me to make the connection between animal and being. And that connection can’t be forced on others. My story might help another ‘see’ the industry for what it is, but I know that most will need to experience their own ‘moment’. And that means research. We were born to live, born to learn, and what we put into our bodies and on our bodies is one of the most important things we can learn about. You don’t have to sit and watch video after video of torture, but I suggest you watch a few. See what it’s really like for the animals that end up on our plates. Because we owe them that. Over 200 million turkeys give their lives for us each year. Over 8.5 billion chickens. The numbers are staggering. And I think their lives matter just as much as my dogs and cat.

I am the voice of the voiceless
Through me the dumb shall speak
Till the deaf world’s ear
Be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.

And I am my brother’s keeper
And I shall fight his fight
And speak the word
For beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)


Learn more about Birds on Factory Farms from the ASPCA.