Protein Power Waffles

Productive procrastination: doing tasks to keep busy while avoiding what one really needs to do.  Of this, I am the queen.

Some days, I am filled with the strong desire to clean every square inch of my apartment, do multiple loads of laundry and fold everything neatly, wash my car, and even organize old files on my computer. Sounds like an awesome use of my time, right?  The problem is that I only seem to muster the energy for such tasks when I actually need to be doing something else.

Right now, that “something else” happens to be studying for finals.

As the first module of grad school comes to a close, I find myself channeling my productive procrastination in the kitchen.  This is a good thing, since I have been noticeably absent from the blog since the first day of school in August.

My latest creation: Protein Power Waffles.

Protein Power Waffles

These came about for two reasons.  First, I wanted to create a breakfast recipe that would power me through dreaded finals week and that I could prepare ahead of time.  Second, Texas/OU weekend is upon us in Dallas, and I could think of no better way to signal my Texas pride than by putting my Texas Waffle Maker to use.

My Protein Power Waffles are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and packed with protein!  You only need one bowl to mix everything together, which makes clean-up a breeze.  My favorite part about these waffles (other than their shape) is that you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and pop them in the toaster in the morning (or evening–I am never opposed to breakfast for dinner.)

Serve with a touch of butter and a drizzle of sugar-free syrup for a classic topping, or try a fun twist: banana + nut butter or Greek yogurt + berries. Use your imagination to dream up your favorite topping combination; that is productive procrastination at its finest.  There are so many ways to enjoy Protein Power Waffles — even if you are cheering for the Sooners this weekend.

Protein Power Waffles

Yields: 5 giant Texas-sized waffles

2 cups oat flour (Pulse oats in food processor or blender to make into a flour.)
3 scoops protein powder (I like StrongGirl Vanilla Ice Cream)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-4 Truvia packets (or equivalent sweetener of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetend cashewmilk (Silk is my favorite)
1/2 cup egg substitute

Preheat waffle iron.  Pulse oats in food processor or blender to make into a flour.  In a large bowl, stir together oat flour, protein powder, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, and sweetener.  Add in vanilla extract, cashewmilk, and egg substitute and mix together until just blended.  Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes.  Cook on waffle iron in batches until golden brown.  Store leftovers in the freezer, and toss in the toaster to reheat!

Servings: 5
Serving Size: 1 waffle
Calories: 200
Fat: 3.8g
Saturated Fat: 0.3g
Carbs: 25g
Sugar: 0.7g
Fiber: 3.6g
Protein: 17.7g

Healthy Egg Casserole

As April showers bring the promise of May flowers, I find myself yearning for Christmas morning.

Why, you ask? Do I wish for snow and colder weather? Definitely not. Do I want to snuggle up with a blanket and watch my favorite Christmas movies? Confession: I do that anyway. (Hanna quirks: I am constantly cold, and I firmly believe Elf was created to generate giggles and joy all year long.) The real root of my desire is simple, special, delectable, and dreamy all rolled into one dish: egg casserole.

Although the menu for my family’s Christmas breakfast varies from year to year, egg casserole is a staple that has earned a permanent spot in the buffet lineup. Fluffy in texture, hearty in nature, and loaded with sausage and cheese in every bite, egg casserole is absolutely divine. A few modifications to the original recipe transform this holiday favorite into a healthy everyday meal known as Healthy Egg Casserole. In this recipe, the key players (eggs, whole milk, white bread, pork sausage, and cheese) have been replaced with their healthful counterparts (Egg Beaters, almond milk, whole wheat bread, turkey sausage crumbles, and fat-free cheese); however, the end result is every bit as flavorful.

Healthy Egg Casserole is extravagant enough for a fancy weekend brunch, but easy enough for a weeknight dinner. (Another quirk of mine: eating breakfast for dinner, often.) Because the dish can be prepared in ten minutes the night before you serve it, this casserole is the perfect choice for lazy Saturday mornings. All you have to do is pop it in the oven when you wake up and allow it to bake while you sip your coffee. This recipe yields a generous amount, but freezing the leftovers works like a charm! Heat in the microwave, and just like that you have a scrumptious weekday breakfast or even a protein-packed dinner in a pinch.

They say not to put all of your eggs in one basket. I agree; put them all in my Healthy Breakfast Casserole instead, and every morning can feel like Christmas morning!

Healthy Egg Casserole

Yields: 12 servings

2 1/2 cups cooked turkey sausage crumbles (about 10 ounces)
2 cups egg substitute (or 8 eggs) + 2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 thin slices whole wheat bread, cubed (I use Sara Lee Delightful bread – only 45 calories per slice!)
1 cup fat-free cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

If turkey sausage is not already fully cooked, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Drain and transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels.

Whisk egg substitute, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sausage, bread cubes, and almost all of the cheese, saving approximately 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered for 45 – 55 minutes. Freeze leftovers.

Servings: 12
Calories: 120
Fat: 3.6g
Carbs: 11.2g
Sugar: 1.1g
Fiber: 3.5g
Protein: 14.3g

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Signs of spring are all around.

Out with puffy coats, snow, and heavy comfort foods. In with patio dining, blooming tulips, evening runs, skirts, and strawberries.

As a food blogger, I adore strawberries. In addition to being juicy and delicious, these red beauties are versatile, nutrient-packed, and photogenic. My only gripe about strawberries is that their peak season only runs from April to September. Bring on the strawberries all year long!

Strawberries are scrumptious enough to enjoy on their own, but finding creative ways to use them brings me great joy. Combining my love for strawberries and chocolate in the form of a healthy muffin with only 120 calories? Now that’s enough to put some spring in my step!

My Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins are exceptionally easy to make. You can stir all ingredients by hand – no mixer necessary! – and they take less than 30 minutes to make from setup to cleanup. The ingredient list is simple, but the texture and the flavor of the final product make these muffins heavenly. Unsweetened applesauce replaces butter or oil to produce a moist muffin that is low in fat and calories. Translation: These skinny muffins taste amazing AND will facilitate bikini season preparation. Beach body or yummy muffin? You don’t have to choose!

Making a batch of Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins is a marvelous way to celebrate the beginning of spring and, of course, strawberry season. Please join me in raising a muffin to springtime and to strawberries: cheers to a fruitful season!

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yields: 10 muffins

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Truvia Baking Blend (or 1/4 cup sugar)
2 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar (or 1/4 cup brown sugar)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 egg white
1 cup strawberries, diced
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, the applesauce, and the egg white until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in strawberries and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Servings: 10
Serving size: 1 muffin
Calories: 120
Fat: 2.4g
Carbs: 23.8g
Sugar: 8.2g
Fiber: 2.5g
Protein: 2.2g

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

I once gave up doughnuts for Lent. It was a long six weeks.

When I was a little girl, doughnuts were the ultimate treat. Seeing the vibrant red glow of the “Hot Now” sign at Krispy Kreme was the cue for the mouth watering to begin. “Doughnuts with Dad” events at school were sacred, and weekend morning doughnut runs were reserved for the most notable occasions.

As I grew up, I became more health-conscious and learned that while delicious, doughnuts were not exactly a superfood. My favorite doughnut variety (chocolate glazed with sprinkles) contains 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 23 grams of sugar. Yikes! This is dangerously close to the American Heart Association‘s recommended maximum of 25 grams of added sugars I should eat in an entire day! Maybe it was not such a bad idea to give up doughnuts for Lent–or for life.

But that would be too extreme.

What if I told you that you could make a lower-sugar, lower-fat, all-around-healthier version of your favorite doughnuts that are every bit as scrumptious as the real deal? You can. Just bake them!

Baking avoids the mess of frying and results in soft, dense, moist doughnuts that are perfect for topping with the drool-worthy combination of cinnamon and sugar. After watching Ina Garten prepare her Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts on the Food Network, I created this recipe. I love Ina’s philosophy of focusing on the basics.  She uses ordinary ingredients and cooks them in a simple way to produce dishes that are full of flavor.

These doughnuts call for everyday ingredients that you probably already have in the pantry. I use Truvia Baking Blend for the doughnuts and Truvia natural sweetener for the topping, but you could use regular sugar if you prefer. The only unusual thing you will need is a doughnut pan, which you can find for about $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, or Sur la Table. If you don’t have a doughnut pan, you can bake in a muffin pan instead.

Baked doughnuts are a cinch to make and simply delightful. This healthier version tastes even better than the real thing, evoking all of the precious childhood doughnut memories without any of the guilt–unless you gave up doughnuts for Lent.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

Yields: 12 doughnuts

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or 1 1/2 cups sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 large egg)
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon almond extract

4 tablespoons light butter, melted
1/3-1/2 cup Truvia natural sweetener
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 doughnut pans with cooking spray.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, yogurt, and almond extract. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the doughnut pans. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

For the topping, melt the butter in a saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut in the butter first and then in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Servings: 12
Calories: 130
Fat: 2.7g
Carbs: 27.9g
Sugar: 6.8g
Fiber: 3.1g
Protein: 3.5g

Overnight Oats

Mondays can be a bit of a drag.

Nine-to-fivers are all too familiar with the sinking feeling that accompanies the sound of the alarm on Monday morning. The anticipatory Sunday Night Blues have given way to the beginning of another work week, and the countdown to Friday commences with the first press of the snooze button.

If you may be suffering from a case of the Mondays, here is one way to combat your gloominess: Overnight Oats.

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats are simply oats that are soaked in liquid overnight. The oats absorb the liquid, and the mixture is eaten cold in the morning. No cooking required. All you have to do is throw together a few ingredients before bed, and breakfast is waiting for you when you finally decide you have hit the snooze button too many times.

This is, without a doubt, the easiest breakfast recipe of all time. Step one: Mix all ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Step two: Grab a spoon, and enjoy your breakfast! You can prepare the oats in a jar or other portable container so that you can enjoy your breakfast once you get to the office.

The base recipe listed below is a blank canvas just begging for toppings, and the possibilities are endless. Fresh fruit? Absolutely! Peanut butter? You bet! Leftover Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie? Why not?!

Some of my favorite toppings include PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, blueberries + Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter, banana + Dark Chocolate Crunchy Nuttzo, and strawberries + chocolate chips.

Protein-packed and fiber-filled, Overnight Oats will give you the fuel you need to power through Monday morning. Before you know it, you will be getting ready for Tuesday and dreaming of your next topping combination for your Overnight Oats.

Overnight Oats

Yields: 1 serving

1/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup milk (I prefer almond milk)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon Truvia (1 packet) or sweetener of choice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Optional toppings:
Fresh fruit
Nut butter
Chocolate chips
Cocoa powder
Protein powder
Dried fruit

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or jar. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. Add additional toppings in the morning.

Servings: 1 (base)
Calories: 170
Fat: 4.5g
Carbs: 22.9g
Sugar: 3.1g
Fiber: 5g
Protein: 10.1g