Protein Trail Mix “Cookies”

trail mix protein cookies close

Due to our work schedules, we generally eat dinner pretty late (at least on most people’s schedules). By late, I really do mean late. It’s not unusual to sit down around 9 (or later some nights). This creates 2 problems for me. As you can imagine, no matter what time of year, I don’t have much natural light for photos around 9 PM. Second, I tend to get hungry sometime in the hours between lunch and dinner. I generally do pretty well if I’m still at work, but if I happen to be at home, all bets are off. I’ve been trying to plan “healthier” snacks for those times so I don’t end up attacking the Nutella jar with a spoon 🙂

These “cookies” are one of those healthier snack options. Not only are they a bit sweet, but they’re packed with ingredients that really do help keep me full until it’s time to eat. I ran across this recipe thanks to one of my co-residents from last year, but the original recipe comes from Peas and Thank You. Don’t be worried about the texture of the mixture after you add all the ingredients. It will seem crumbly. You’ll have to pack the cookies a little with your hands to form the balls, but they will come out of the oven in one piece. Promise. My cookies tend to stay pretty soft in the middle, but for whatever reason, Brooke’s form this nice crust when she bakes them. I’m actually jealous of her crunch, but they taste great either way.

trail mix protein bars before mixing dry ingredients

trail mix protein bars before baking

These also make a great “I’m craving something just a little bit sweet” dessert swap. Not that I would know. 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Protein Trail Mix “Cookies”
From Peas and Thank You

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
3/4 cup. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chocolate chips (calls for dark chocolate; I used milk chocolate)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
3 Tbsp. honey
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed with the milk and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Add the flaxseed mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. To make the cookies, using hands or an ice cream scoop, pack the dough into balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies start to brown on the top. Let cool completely on the pan before transferring to an airtight container to store.

Yield: 12-15 cookies

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Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix

I realize that I am suppose to be studying right now, but there is only so long that one can read legal statues without a break. One down and one to go. I am wishing that the test was sooner and that I had more time to study at the same time. During my break, I thought I post a quick recipe that would be great for a snack, potluck, or basically any gathering to which you would bring food along. I know I would certainly welcome some right now as I sit here amongst my mountains of papers and highlighters 🙂

In reality we made this recipe for no reason at all (other than to have at home) because my husband found Chex on sale at the grocery store. It probably cannot be classified into the “healthiest” snack in the world, but it is fun to have around as a sweeter snack every once and awhile. We’ve made it a couple of times now, and it is definitely something that is a hit here. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix
Found on allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
5 cups wheat Chex
1 cup lightly salted almonds
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup dried apples, cut in halves or thirds
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt-covered raisins

In a large microwavable bowl, mix the cereal and almonds. Set aside.

In a 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave (cover the cup with a paper towel to avoid any explosions). Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon and microwave uncovered on high about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until the mixture is boiling; stir. Pour over the cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir in apples; microwave on high for 2 minutes or until apples just begin to brown on the edges.

Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool, about 15 minutes. Place in a serving bowl, stir in yogurt-covered raisins. Store in an airtight container.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Can I get a woo hoo! I finally got my Authorization to Test (ATT) today to take my board exams! I’ve been trying to study, but it’s a little hard to concentrate without a test date looming. I have two of them now – one next week and one the week after. So, if my posting is a little less frequent, please forgive. My nose will now be to the grindstone. These should be the last tests I’ll have to take in my professional life, and I promise that I will be back after the 9th in full force. 

Outside of all that hoopla, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Hope you all have some fabulous plans with friends and family (much better than my dates with my books). Please remember to think of our troops during our celebrations this weekend, as part of the holiday is to honor their service to this country. 

While this hummus may not quite be patriotic, it is “redish,” and I thought it would make a great last minute dish if you are still looking for something to take to that Monday barbecue. Hummus is always a great appetizer, and roasted red pepper has to be my favorite variation that I’ve tried. It also can make out to be healthier side because the chickpeas give it quite a bit of fiber and vegetables make great dippers (not that pita chips don’t). It doesn’t melt and transports well, so there really isn’t any excuse not to bring this along. I know I will dig in if you do 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
From The Best Light Recipe

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini
3/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (1/4 tsp.)
pinch cayenne pepper

Process the chickpeas, water, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, 2 teaspoons of the oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne together in a food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. The hummus covered, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature. To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, and drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the well (can skip this step). Serve with pita chips, crackers, or desired vegetables for dipping.

I am linking this to Mangia Mondays.

Final Countdown to Christmas #2: Peppermint Marshmallows

I’m getting a little late in the day on this one, but it’s still technically Tuesday. Better late than never right? We had a marathon baking session today to almost finish out my baking list, so I should be set for the next few days. 

Marshmallows are something that have been on my “to make” list forever. I have wanted to make them for quite some time, but they seem like one of those things that need an “occasion” such as a camping trip or something along those lines. My “occasion” never came up, so there they sat on the list.

I saw this recipe on What Megan’s Making a couple weeks ago on her 12 Days of Christmas Countdown, and it was perfect. My occasion would be Christmas Eve and the destination for these little goodies was definitely going to be a steaming, hot cup of hot chocolate! 

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I’ve actually made these twice. The first time with only a hand-held mixer and the second time in Arizona with my kitchen aid. They worked well both times, but I could definitely see the mixture set up a little quicker using my stand mixer. It almost set up too much as it was really hard to get the pretty red swirls in the second batch. My only advice with this recipe would be to stop the last mixing process if you think they’re getting pretty thick. You want to be able to pour them very slowly not have to press a spatula on the goop to get it to spread out =) However, while my second batch wasn’t quite as pretty, they are still delicious. Try these out! I know that mug of hot chocolate is calling your name!

(Printable Recipe)

Peppermint Marshmallows
Adapted from Martha Stewart and What Megan’s Making

Ingredients:
vegetable oil cooking spray
1-1/2 c. warm water, divided
2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 pkg (1/4 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 large egg whites

liquid red food coloring 
Line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper and coat the parchment with cooking spray. Set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and let the mixture come to a boil. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. 
Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract. Set aside.  
Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar/gelatin to the egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes or until the mixture looks like it is really starting to thicken.
Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl the drops into the  marshmallows to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares using a pair of kitchen scissors. Roll the cut marshmallows in powdered sugar to prevent sticking and store in a ziploc bag or airtight container.

Pumpkin Granola

It’s already the middle of October, and pumpkin recipes seem to be everywhere right now. I, too, have already joined in the pumpkin madness, making these delicious cookies a couple weeks ago. My issue with these recipes is that many of them call for 1 c. of pumpkin puree, thus leaving me wondering what I should do with the half can of pumpkin sitting in the fridge? The answer absolutely is to make this granola from Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod

I seem to be on a granola kick lately (I’ve made 3 different recipes in the last month), but this is absolutely the best granola recipe I’ve ran across thus far. The spices, pumpkin, and maple syrup combine to give it a great “fall” flavor, but my favorite part has to be the chunks.The pumpkin puree and applesauce work as binders to make the oats hold together giving you larger chunks of granola pieces. Perfect.

 I stayed pretty true to Maria’s recipe, only adding about 1/2 c. of almonds to the oat mixture before coating it with the wet ingredients. If you’ve got that random partial can of pumpkin sitting in your fridge, please make this granola. You can always bring some to me if you end up with too much =) Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Pumpkin Granola
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
5 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (can make your own)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. whole almonds
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pepitas (or pumpkin seeds)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a small bowl, combine the oats, spices, salt, and almonds. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into the oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let it cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Serve with yogurt or milk or just enjoy it plain as a snack =)

Cinnamon and Molasses Granola

The test is done! Woo hoo! I am so glad that I can finally relax a little more and enjoy an evening at home with the hubby! This is a granola recipe that I found here on allrecipes.com. I like this recipe because it uses things that you typically have around the house. So many granola recipes call for flaxseed and wheat germ. I just can’t justify buying something that is farily expensive like that for only 1 recipe that I might make once and awhile. I’ll stick with my oats. In addition to that, I also am not the biggest fan of nuts in my food, so this recipe was right up my alley.
The original recipe also calls for raisins. I left them out for personal preference (I’m sounding farily picky…) but have substituted dried cranberries with great success. This is definately more of a “crumbly” type granola. There aren’t any large chunks in the finished product. I have played with the proportions of sauce to oats a little bit, and I suppose you could up the sauce:oat ratio more if you like more chunks in your granola. As is, this one works for us. The hubby likes to use it as an ice cream topping, and I like it in my yogurt as well as plain. It makes a pretty good study food for brain power 🙂 Enjoy!
Cinnamon and Molasses Granola
4 c. oats (I’ve used both old-fashioned and quick oats)
1 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey, and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over oat mixture; stir to coat. Spread in a shallow baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until coconut looks toasted. Cool. Add raisins or dried cranberries if desired. Store in an airtight container.