Grilling in the Rain and Protein Fudge

Yesterday, it rained all day. Slightly tragic for a Memorial Day BBQ, but we were very resourceful:

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The grill was set up on the porch with an umbrella overhead…fool proof. In addition to veggie burgers and brats, we had caramelized onions, cucumber yogurt salad, carrots and hummus, corn salsa, and blue tortilla chips:

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Last but not least, an apple crumble and a birthday cake:

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Everything was delicious.

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And now…time for a protein fudge recipe I made a while ago. I was inspired by a thin mint protein fudge recipe by the Fitnessista. My version nixed the thin mint concept and made a few substitutions.

I combined 2 scoops of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder with one scoop of oat bran (I just used the protein powder scooper to measure the oat bran):

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Then, I added two tablespoons of honey peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of truvia, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract:

 

 

 

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Mix it all together:

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And flatten it out in a small tupperware:

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Meanwhile….it’s time to make the frosting! Melt 2 tablespoons chocolate chips with one tablespoon of milk:

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Spread on top of protein mix and allow to harden in the fridge:

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By the time I took these pictures, the fudge was half eaten…sorry. Also, if you are judging my fudge consumption, at least a week had passed since the making of the fudge and the pictures above. So there. 🙂

 

Minneapolis Institute of Art

I’ve been experimenting with different types of protein pancakes lately (see here and here), and I decided to give things another whirl this morning.

I mashed up 1/2 of a very ripe banana plus a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder:

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Then, I added one egg, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, 3 tablespoons almond milk, and 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter:

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Plus 1/4 cup rolled oats and 1 scoop of Tera’s Whey chocolate protein powder:

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The batter was very liquidy, but it firmed up after cooking for a few minutes on the skillet:

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Served with more walnut butter, the other half of the banana, and a couple teaspoons of maple syrup:

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These were tasty, but I didn’t love them. I’m still on the search for a great recipe! Ideally, I’d like to have a few pancake recipes that I absolutely love and can rotate through on those mornings I’m craving something warm and doughy and delicious…I’ll keep you updated as I continue my search!

In other news…I visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) today. The MIA has a collection of over 83,000 objects ranging from textiles to paintings to new media. Best of all, general admission to the museum is always FREE. Special exhibits rotate through, and these exhibits are often for a low cost. I went and saw a terracotta warriors special exhibit there a few months ago, and today I visited the special exhibit More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness.

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The exhibit is meant to explore the changes in our experience of reality due to technology and social upheaval around the world. The exhibit’s title and message is derived from Stephen Colbert’s term – ‘truthiness’ – which describes fabricated truths that disregard facts and/or logic. His term describes mistaking (or perceiving) what we wish to be true for that which is true.

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As might be expected, the exhibit was a little bizarre. There were several pieces of video art as well as some online installations. Here’s a fav:

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Overall, the concept was interesting but I found most of the pieces a little scary. For example, there was one piece that showed the reactions of individuals who, while using chatroulette, were linked to a picture of someone hanging. Although this special exhibit wasn’t my favorite, the MIA is an incredible resource to the Minneapolis community and I would highly recommend going there (for free!!) on a regular basis.

Experimenting with Breakfast

Although I find many intriguing recipes on the blogosphere, I am probably most frequently interested by breakfast recipes. I never realized how many different ways there were to use oats or protein powder or eggs or bananas or…you get the idea. If you’re not someone who gets excited about the prospects of breakfast (somehow, I never seem to struggle with that myself), my best advice to you is to start blog hopping. I guarantee you’ll be looking forward to tomorrow morning before long. 🙂

This week, I tried two breakfast recipes I’ve had my eye on for a while. The first was a version of oatmeal minus the oats, most frequently admired on Tina’s blog, Carrots N Cake. Tina’s version was adapted by Girl Meets Whisk to create this recipe, and – finally – I changed that version to make my own.

I used the following:- 1/2 cup almond milk
– 3/4 cup egg sub
– 1 banana, smooshed
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 tablespoons ground flax

I whisked everything together for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat until the mix thickened. I served topped with a large quantity of honey peanut butter:

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This was tasty, but it didn’t keep me full quite as long as I was hoping.

The other breakfast recipe I finally tried this week was breakfast cookie cereal from The Fitnessista.

I combined 1/2 cup of oats with slightly less than one scoop of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder:

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I added a few shakes of cinnamon, a touch of vanilla, and stirred to combine:

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Add approx. 1 tablespoon peanut butter and stir:

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According to Gina’s recipe, the mixture is supposed to become cookie-dough like after stirring in the peanut butter. I think my peanut butter to oats ratio must have been really off, because I was a long shot from anything like cookie dough. I added a banana though and mashed that up into the mixture, and that held things together a lot better:

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I topped with a generous amount of almond milk:

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This tasted good while I was eating it but, again, didn’t seem to keep me full that long. I’ve been struggling to find a breakfast that really keeps me satisfied until lunch.

Does anyone have suggestions for tasty and filling breakfasts?

Magers and Quinn

Magers and Quinn Booksellers is a real gem. Right in the heart of Uptown Minneapolis on Hennepin between Lake and 31st, Magers and Quinn is the Twin Cities’ largest independent bookstore. Open until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weeknights, it’s always busy, always well-stocked, and always has several carts of sale books displayed on carts outside the front door. Inside, it’s a treasure trove.

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As soon as you walk into the front entryway, there’s an impressive collection of displays and shelves. It gets better though when you realize there’s an even larger back section:

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M&Q’s numerous awards are humbly stowed away in a corner:

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The atmosphere is one where you can browse through books in the store and not feel any pressure to buy or be on your way. On several occasions I’ve relaxed in the store, reading through cookbooks or browsing topics, and no employee has ever seemed to mind. Today, I was interested in browsing some food theory books:

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After skimming through Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, I decided to purchase a copy of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. The book is about the American food paradox: the most nutritionally focused our society becomes, the less healthy we are. I’m interested to read it and think I will learn a lot!

After my adventure at the bookstore, I was in need of a snack when I got home. I decided to make a protein shake with 1 scoop of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder, 5 strawberries, 1 cup of almond milk, and 6 ice cubes:

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Very refreshing! I like the flavor of this protein powder a lot, but I don’t think I could stomach it with just water.

Oat Bran Protein Pancakes

Earlier this week, I looked outside and was sad to see that it looked like this:

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Little did I know, that only a few short days later it would look like this:

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What?!?! #Minnesota in mid-April #WTH

There is a silver lining though. While the weather gets worse, my protein powder pancakes recipe is getting better! A few days ago I posted about these protein pancakes made with rolled oats. They were good, but I wanted to keep experimenting. Today, I tried basically the same recipe but with oat bran instead of regular rolled oats.

First, mix 1/3 cup oat bran with 1 teaspoon ground flax:

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Add one egg and 1/3 cup cottage cheese:

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Add one scoop protein powder (I used Tera’s Whey chocolate):

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Mix all together:

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Cook on the skillet for about 3 minutes on each side:

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I am getting so much better at flipping the pancakes! I think that was partly because the oat bran held these pancakes together better than the rolled oats did. I topped my pancakes with walnut butter and a couple teaspoons maple syrup:

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These were very good, but I definitely want to experiment more with other pancake varieties. Anyone know some yummy, quick, and healthy pancake recipes?

Protein Powder Pancakes

I made an impulse buy this week…

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I’ve tried a few protein powders over the last couple months because they show up occasionally in recipes on the blogs that I follow, and it seems like it could be a good way to get more protein in my diet. TO BE CLEAR: I’ve been thinking of the protein powder as a way to add a little more punch to my meals and not as a ‘meal replacement’ the way protein shakes are sometimes used. Since I bought the whole container, I now need to find/create recipes to use it in! My first attempt was protein pancakes this morning. I got the original inspiration for this recipe from Happy Being Healthy.

Here is my own version of protein pancakes (full recipe below)…

First, combine 1/3 cup oats with 1 teaspoon ground flax:

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Add in one scoop chocolate protein powder and one whole egg:

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Add 1/3 cup cottage cheese and stir to combine:

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The mixture was very lumpy – if you wanted a smoother pancake you could put the mixture in a food processor or blender. I poured the batter onto the skillet as two pancakes. I waited about three minutes and the flipped…

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As you can see, flipping pancakes has never been my forte. Nonetheless, they turned out pretty nicely shaped in the end. I served them with walnut butter, a banana, and a splash an undisclosed amount of maple syrup:

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I liked these pancakes a lot! The protein powder gave them a slightly bitter flavor, but they definitely filled me up. I want to try a few other ingredient combinations, but I am definitely keeping this recipe on file for future use!

Ingredients
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground flax
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used Tera's Whey)
- 1 whole egg
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese
Method
Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. 
Pour batter onto skillet as two large pancakes.Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. 
Serve with nut butter, fruit, and syrup of choice!