One of the things that’s difficult about watching one’s macronutrients is that it is harder to eat more than 100 grams of protein per day than one thinks. It’s easy to do this for 1 day, a week, but every day for weeks? That’s hard, even if you just focus on getting that protein first and maybe not looking at carbs and fat. If you’re also counting carbs, or limiting them, it gets even harder. This past weekend I attempted to cook protein rich meals (from scratch).
Mega Granola Oat Nut Chocolate Chip Protein Bar, or, Squirrel Food
In the afternoon while slaving away at my computer, I crave a snack but it’s hard to find something high protein, healthy, not too sweet, and guaranteed unprocessed. So why not make your own? This smelled really good as I mixed it together.
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup milled flax seeds
- 3 huge scoops vanilla protein powder
- 1 tbspn blueberry extract
- 1 cup pre-prepared granola mix (from my local grocery store)
- 2 small handfuls of your favorite raw nuts or what you have on hand
- 2 small handfuls of dried fruit (I had cranberries and raisins)
- 2 tbspn cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 cup peanut or your choice nut butter
- 1/2 cup Manuka honey
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1-2 cups soy or your favorite nut drink
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter or spray a flat cookie sheet.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together except for the chocolate chips.
3. Mix all the wet ingredients together until mostly combined.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. At this point, it should smell good. Mine did.
5. Add any wet ingredient you prefer if the mixture is too dry or more rolled oats or wheat germ if too wet. I ended up adding an extra tablespoon of peanut butter to soak up the dusty wheat germ/flax seed that weren’t absorbed.
6. Plop the mixture onto the pan and flatten with a spoon until desired thickness/thinness. My mixture only took up half my pan.
7. If you choose to use chocolate chips, press the chocolate chips into the top of the mixture.
8. Bake until edges are golden brown or dark brown (or in my case, like they are half a minute from burning). Mine took approximately 18 minutes. Place on cooling rack and let cool.
Some of my favorite protein products
Blueberries and cream cookies
I used Christina Tosi’s recipe.
It calls for dried blueberries. I had fresh blueberries because it’s summer and they’re in season. My mom has a dehydrator. Little did I know, it took the dehydrator 18 hours to dry a pint and a half blueberries HALFWAY. 18 HOURS. So I said, F*** that, and put them in the toaster oven at 225°F for 5 hours and I got my cup of dried blueberries. The rest of the recipe was at least easy to get.
Since I had a bad start to cookies by baking them flat, touching, and burnt a couple of times, I shaved off 25°F from the official temp. I baked mine at 325°F for 15 minutes and they turned out golden tan with a chewy middle. And they did NOT flatten out to the extent that they touched each other! I also hand mixed in the milk crumb and blueberries instead of using the mixer.
Speaking of milk crumb, it is delicious on its own. I’m attempting to make vanilla protein milk crumbs with rolled oats (original recipe plus vanilla protein powder, rolled oats, and a tsp of milk), so I don’t have as much of a guilt trip, but we’ll see.
Independence Day Chocolate crumb chocolate cupcakes
Sometimes I’m motivated to cook something involved and good. And lately I’ve been jonesing for a home made bolognese sauce. However, I didn’t have red or white wine, so I used sake. I also added cinnamon and nutmeg. And the only canned thing I added was tomato paste. Everything else was fresh. Noodles were homemade and hand cut.
One of my favorite desserts is a nice, colorful fruit tart. And lately, I’ve been bingeing Masterchef shows from the US, Canada, and Australia. Along the way, I built up enough motivation to try to make a fruit tart. Actually, tartlet, because I don’t have a 9-inch tart pan. I used the tart recipe from a French baking book (all tart recipes are generally the same, so a Google search would pop up dozens of recipes) as are the pastry cream recipes.
The pastry cream gave me the most trouble. I followed the recipe and got this thick, bright yellow globby concoction, which looked all wrong to me. Then Mom came to help me and she got the same results! So we refrigerated the second result and the next day I whipped some heavy cream to mix the globby stuff in. Of course, it just gave me whipped cream with yellow clumps, so I took the hand blender and manually blended the mess.
You guys, it worked. Not only that, after I blended it and left it out on the counter while the crusts baked, it got smoother and creamier. In the end, I got my pastry cream. However, I know that there must be an easier way to make pastry cream than the way I did it, but I didn’t have enough eggs.
In the future, I think I’d want to make a more lemony-tasting pastry cream to contrast the strawberries (which we picked at a local farm; the eggs used were from my sister’s chickens, so they were also local). I’d also like to make multi-fruit tarts with a clear glaze as well as chocolatey tarts for Rob (who doesn’t like fruit or nuts, only chocolate). And instead of using rice, I bought some pie weights for next time.
Support your local farmers!
….and fresh picked fruits taste so much better than the prepackaged ones from the supermarket!
Saturday brunch with Mom
Photo dump March 26 – April 8, 2022
Blueberry bacon pizza
- Pizza dough (we made this from scratch but you can get pre-made ones at your local grocery store or use your favorite pizza dough recipe – but use bread flour!)
- Carmelized onions
- Bacon (I trimmed the fat off mine), cut up
- Cherry tomatoes, sliced
- Goat cheese
- Handful of basil leaves
- Pepper & salt
- Olive oil
- Drizzles of maple syrup
After smoothing the oil on a pan and on the flattened dough, I sprinkle some pepper and salt on. Then layer the rest of the ingredients at will. Drizzle the syrup on top. Bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is golden.
If this isn’t your thing, my mom made a more traditional pizza. She boiled large tomatoes and peeled them, and cut them up into strips. After the oil, salt, and pepper, she put the tomatoes down in a layer, then the basil, then mozzarella, and then some sliced olives. The options are endless!
The past 14 days in pictures
I’ve been drinking a smoothie every afternoon. Before that I’d only have 2 meals a day, one in the morning (a giant breakfast) and I wouldn’t be hungry again until dinner (a smaller meal). Then I started to really workout and as a result, I got hungry. A smoothie fit perfectly into the afternoon.
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup fresh berries or other fruit of choice
- High protein yogurt (I mix half of the high protein yogurt from Aldi’s and half of the local grocery brand)
- 1 scoop Ascent vanilla whey protein powder or your favorite protein powder (best tasting protein to me)
- 1 scoop Naked Creatine
- 1 cup (approx.) your choice of milk or juice
I love berries so I’m always making a banana-berry mix. The banana is not only for flavor but it helps thicken the smoothie a little. Sometimes, when I have fresh mangoes around, I’ll use a mango/peach fruit blend with mango/peach yogurt. The flavor options are endless!