Tag Archives: christmas

Unbelievably Tasty Protein Packed Festive Treats

I love Christmas. I love it all. But for me, the stand out part is the food – so much effort, so much taste, so much deliciousness, but also, so much junk! So, to offset my Christmas chocolate consumption, I selected two of my favourite festive sweet treats and gave them a no junk fueled, protein kick.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you *drum roll* my super easy to make & amazingly tasty and crowd-pleasing “Salted Caramel Protein-Stuffed Dates” and my “Irish Cream Layered Protein Truffle Bites” *applause*.

I’ve made both of these recipes with the awesome & brand spanking new all purpose protein cooking mixes from Protein Pow. Not only are these mixes GMO free, gluten free & soy free, but they are also made with totally delicious and natural ingredients, not a single dodgy additive, preservative or emulsifier. The pea mix (which is hands down, my favourite & makes my recipe for the most insane vegan, gluten free brownies) is also vegan.

New Protein Pow All Purpose Cooking Mixes

New Protein Pow All Purpose Cooking Mixes

Why have I used these mixes instead of single ingredients? Well, let me tell you…

Firstly, they are insanely easy to use & SOOOOO delicious – chuck the mix and a few store-cupboard ingredients in a bowl, mix & shape & WHAM, natural & delicious protein bars. Chuck it in the oven & BAM, awesome protein muffins. Throw it in a frying pan & HEY PRESTO crazy good pancakes! (not an exhaustive list of uses AT ALL!!)

Secondly, they are really cost-effective (especially with the 25% discount code I have for you, at the bottom of the post!). If you buy individual pre-made protein bars, you know that they are around £2 or £3 EACH – you can make heaps more from this bag for considerably less per pouch. Also, it saves having to go out and buy all the individual ingredients – the protein powders, the coconut flours etc – it can quickly become expensive & cupboard filling!

Thirdly, by grabbing a bag or two, trying it out & posting your results, you could be in with a chance to become part of the Protein Pow family – how awesome is that?! Details on how to apply can be found here.

Anyway, I digress, I can’t help it, I’m just so excited by these products & how accessible it makes protein baking. On to the (AMAZINGLY SIMPLE) recipes!

Salted Caramel Protein-Stuffed Dates

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Dates always say Christmas to me. Who else remembers those little white lozenge-shaped plastic boxes of dates that came with a spiky stick to pick them out? That always signified that Christmas had arrived. Well, I’ve moved slightly away from those somewhat dry, hard and tiny dates and used medjool dates, because, well, more date, obviously, but also, they are so soft, sweet, sticky and full of fudgey caramel flavours. Plus, they have a huge cavity that can be super, mega stuffed with the delicious protein filling.

If you are searching for a sweet, sticky, salted caramel hit this Christmas – then THIS recipe is for you! I fed one to my husband & he exclaimed that there was a “party in his mouth”. Now, seeing as he didn’t even get that excited at our wedding, or at the birth of our child, I’m guessing they’re pretty good! I accidentally ate 3 of the 4 that I made!!

Ingredients (makes 4 stuffed dates, can totally be doubled/tripled…):

  • 15g Protein Pow All Purpose Whey Protein Mix
  • 15g Cashew Nut Butter (milder in flavour than peanut or almond)
  • 5g syrup (I used date, for the full caramel hit, but use whatever you’ve got!)
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 4x medjool dates
  • Selection of nuts/seeds for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. Grab a bowl & throw in the mix, the nut butter, the syrup & salt. Mix mix mix until you get a dough.
  2. Divide the dough in to 4 and shape in to little date-sized sausages.
  3. Slit each date open & remove the stone. Replace the stone with a piece of dough.
  4. If you’ve chosen to add toppings to make them look even more festive and fancy, chuck them on now, or not, up to you, they are insanely delicious with or without!

Macros (per date, without additional toppings):

105kcals, 2.1g fat, 20.8g carbs, 2.4g protein

 

Irish Cream Layered Protein Truffle Bites

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Now, these will really impress your Christmas guests (though, in fairness, I’d be reluctant to share!!!). Irish cream liqueur has ALWAYS been the festive tipple of choice in my family. I remember being allowed to have a tiny taste as a child and I was hooked! Each year, when winter draws in & the Irish Cream comes out, I know that Christmas is around the corner. So, I have invented a ridiculously tasty, Irish cream fueled, cakey, nutty, super simple, triple layered protein chocolate. You will not believe how simple the dough layers are!!

Ingredients (makes 6 decent-sized chocolates):

White layer:

  • 30g Protein Pow All Purpose Whey Cooking Mix
  • 20g Irish Cream

Brown layer:

  • 27g Protein Pow All Purpose Whey Cooking Mix
  • 3g Cocoa Powder
  • 20g Irish Cream

Middle layer:

  • 15g nutbutter (I used an amazing Tiramisu flavored nut butter from Protein Pick and Mix, but use whatever you have or like)

Chocolate coating:

  • 30g dark chocolate
  • 5g Irish cream

Method (you’ll be amazed at how easy these are!)

  1.  Start by making the white layer: Chuck the two ingredients in a bowl & mix to a dough (see, easy!)
  2. Make the brown layer: Chuck the three ingredients in a bowl & mix to a dough.
  3. Roll out the white dough to about half a cm thickness, cut in to 6 equal sized pieces.
  4. Repeat with the brown dough.
  5. Divide the nut butter across the brown pieces and spread out. Top with the white layer.
  6. Gently melt the chocolate and Irish cream (careful not to split it). Dip the layered blocks in to the chocolate & put on foil. Dust with extra cocoa & a sprinkle of sea salt, if you like.
  7. Set in the fridge for a few minutes.
  8. Try not to eat them all straight away!

Macros (per piece):

104kcals, 4.6g fat, 10.3g carbs, 4.8g protein

So, how easy were they??? Amazing, huh? Your Christmas guests will never guess that they are so full of goodness, because they taste so naughty!

The good news for you guys is that I’ve got a mega code for you to grab a whopping 25% off of your order over at the Protein Pow shop, so go grab yourself a bag or two of the mixes, make some amazing & delicious creations & don;t forget to apply to join the family! Use the code CMPOW25.

Enjoy!

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Dear Santa, I’ve been ever so good…

Now, I’ve been pretty committed to being good this year, so I reckon that Santa should take note of my ultimate Christmas list. Some of these will most definitely NOT be under the tree this year, because my Santa is a bit of a tight-wad, but hey, it’s worth asking for a Christmas miracle, right?!

Dear Santa,

Pretty please may I have these things??

  1.  A TRX home suspension trainer:

trxI started using this back in the Summer & you just wouldn’t believe how amazing, effective & difficult it is. Working out using your own bodyweight is amazing on so many levels. Helping to build strength and mobility in a million, bajillion different ways. If you’ve never tried this out before, you are really really missing out. Venture out in the cold, find a gym that has one and get someone to show you what to do with it. I promise, you will be hooked!

2. A new, bigger kettlebell:

kettlebellI’ve already got an 8kg kettlebell (in a rather attractive purple colour), but as I progress with using kettlebells, I’m beginning to need a slightly heavier one for certain moves. It is actually best to have a variety of kettlebell weights as different weights are better for certain moves, but they are kind of expensive, so treating yourself to one every few months is cool. I personally like the vinyl coated kind. Not only do they look pretty awesome, but the vinyl cushions your forearms a little and it allows a little extra grip when your hands start to slip. I like these Fitness-Mad Kettlebells, which I found on amazon, but try a few out & see which you prefer!

3. Quest Bars:

quest barsI just can’t get enough of these. Sure, you can buy quest bars, by the box, nearly anywhere, but you’re stuck with just one flavour. The awesome guys at Protein Pick & Mix have got a ‘Not so dirty dozen’ mix – pick 12 different flavours if you like – totally up to you what you go for. This is genius because I find I like most of the flavours, but I don’t want a whole heap of one kind. Also, the dudes behind protein pick & mix are brilliant, super friendly & possibly the fastest dispatchers of protein laced goodness ever! Check them out for all your protein needs! (P.S. I’ve just seen that they do gift vouchers now too, so, you know, they are just perfect for a stocking…!)

4.  Omron BF511 Scales with Body Fat Monitor:

omron scalesTo be honest, my 10 year old crappy digital scales that I bought from a supermarket are just not cutting it for me any more. Whilst they occasionally can provide me with my rough weight (I say rough, because the reading depends on where I put it on the floor, where I stand on it & which day of the week it is), they can’t give me the information that I really need. I’m less interested now in what my overall weight is, and more interested in what is making up my weight. The Omron BF511 Scales with Body Fat Monitor gives me readings and classifications in: body fat, BMI, skeletal muscles, visceral fat, resting metabolism. I found this set on Newitts website.

5. The Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch:

tom tom cardioAs far as I’m concerned, this watch is the mecca of all GPS watches.  Take all the good things associated with an average GPS watch, like run tracking, times, auto sync-ing, water resistance etc, then add in the fact that it has a built in cardio monitor – yes, built in, no stupid chest band – win win. It is easy to use and navigate through, it has a slim design and it looks pretty awesome too, but at over £200, Santa has gotta realllllllllllly love you! 😉 Grab this awesome watch from Tom Tom.

6. A pair of Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Trainers:

nike freesI’m becoming a bit of a trainer collector. I’ve gone from having one pair (that I’d owned since I was 15 – now got rid of!) to 4 pairs; a pair of crosstrainers, a pair for natural style running, a pair for gym work & a pair of trail shoes for OCR events. These flyknits would make an awesome addition to my spring running collection – lightweight, flexible & comfortable. I found these on startfitness.co.uk – I use this site lots for brilliant bargains!

7. A ticket for Tough Mudder 2015:

tough mudderIf the phrases ‘OCR’ or ‘Tough Mudder’ mean nothing to you, then either read ahead & find out all about it, or quit now & let it remain a mystery. These mud filled obstacle course races (OCRs) are a bit more than your average run in the park. Think river walking, mud swamps, tunnels, walls, bars, ladders, ropes, fire pits, logs, tyres, electrocution, cuts, bruises, sprains, blood, sweat & tears. I took part in my first OCR event earlier this year at mud monsters run & it was AMAZING! I’m also signed up to the Dirty Dozen Races next year. But everyone knows that Tough Mudder is the king, so I want in!

So Santa, if you are reading, please take note! I reckon this beats last year’s list that consisted of chips, wine, crisps, cheese, wine, cake & wine…?!

Cheers,

Charlie *kissy kissy kissy*

 

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Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

I’d like to dedicate this post to my beloved hand blender, who passed during the final stages of this recipe. RIP dude, you did me well.

Rather than sitting through the odious task of watching my 3 year old eat her porridge one oat at a time, over a period of fourteen hours (well, seems like fourteen hours), I decided to go make a new protein snack. All hail, a new, luxurious snack king is born.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

These sticky, chocolatey, gooey, spiced protein truffles are packed with good things and awesome taste. I’m actually not a fan of Christmas pudding, but I’d eat a bowl of these!

Makes 10 delicious, sticky truffles:

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured whey protein (or use vanilla & omit the vanilla drops listed below)
  • 2tbsp coconut flour
  • 2tbsp chopped mixed nuts
  • 1tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 pitted medjool dates
  • 2tbsp apple juice
  • 2tbsp no added sugar morello cherry jam/conserve (I used Meridien)
  • 12 drops vanilla flavouring drops
  • 1scant tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 1tsp light agave syrup (if needed)
  • 2tsp ground almonds (for coating)

Method:

  1. Chuck all the ingredients (minus the syrup & ground almonds) in a bowl.
  2. Blend with a stick blender.
  3. Taste for sweetness, add syrup, if required.
  4. Using 2 teaspoons, divide in to 10 truffles and pop on a non-stick paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Pop the ground almonds on a plate and gently roll the truffles around to coat & shape in to little balls. There should be *just* enough ground almonds to give them enough of a coat to stop them sticking to you, the paper, the tray, the atmosphere!
  6. Bung them back on the lined tray & in to the fridge for an hour or so, or until they are set, or until you cannot wait any longer to eat them!

Nutritional Data (approx.) – per truffle:

kcals: 86, fat: 3.2g, sat fat: 1.6g, carbs: 10.9g, fiber: 1.5g, protein: 3.6g

Store these delicious truffles in the fridge and either eat them when they are firm-ish and cold, or allow to warm at room temp for 10-15mins first, if you don’t like cold chocolate.

These will keep, covered, in the fridge for 2-3days, but if they last longer than 5mins, then you are pretty well disciplined! 😉

Try them out, see what you think & lemme know!

P.S. A Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffle is for life, not just for Christmas! 🙂

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September, Time for a Change…?!

I literally cannot believe that September is here already. I’m sure that Summer has really only just begun, but, thinking about it, Summer has been (mostly) full of long & wonderful days.

September still, as it always has, marks a new start for me, a time for change. Thanks to my brief career in teaching, I am functional only through an academic calendar. I still feel the ‘fear’ that I know all teachers around the country are feeling this week. I STILL get the nightmares about forgetting to have planned a lesson, forgotten resources, waiting to teach the class that you really can’t stand… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use a ‘real’ calendar. And, anyway, what’s wrong with that? I love the feel of a new beginning along with the browning of the leaves, the chill in the air and the all important run up to Christmas.

This September, in particular, feels most important to me. It suddenly struck me, this morning, that my little girl will be heading off to big girl school next September. That’s only one year left. Big deal, I hear you say, well, it is a big deal to me. Don’t get me wrong, she has great fun at nursery and will be starting her new preschool class there this week. She’s very excited (& actually, I’m excited too, to get some time back to work). But there it is… work…

I’m tired of work, of being self-employed, of having an entire business on my shoulders. Tired of dealing with emails, deadlines, schedules, accounts, marketing, making, complaints, mistakes, listings, photographs. Tired of sitting up late in to the night trying to get orders finished or sitting with my bastard of a kiln, who, really is actually quite good, but in desperate need of a service and new elements, so again, my fault really, because that’s another thing that I’m in charge of. I’m tired of balancing all of that with looking after a small person, who, over the summer has had very limited time away from me. So we’re walking, playing, making stuff, cooking, building, searching, hunting, painting. I’m tired of also having to balance all the other, normal day to day stuff too, the laundry (how the hell do we ALWAYS have a whole laundry box, with just 3 of us?), the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the gardening, the tidying, the fixing that needs doing, the bill sorting, the endless list of paperwork that is always in need of sorting. Did I mention that I also have another job too? This one doesn’t even pay as it’s a voluntary position, burning the candle from all ends, maybe?! Yet, by not having a ‘real’ 9-5job, I’m apparently not doing anything… *insert anger face*

One thing I’m not at all tired of though, is my new life. My new ability to be able to eat well, keep fit and ENJOY it. Really, since January (when I first started to change my life), everything has got better. I feel as though I’ve found something that I am meant to enjoy. After recently joining a local gym, I’m even more excited about keeping fit. Firstly, I am amazed that I am able to walk in to a gym. These places have scared the bejeezus out of me, always. Now, it is like my church. It is the one place I can go & do whatever I want to do, for however long I want to do it and I don’t have to worry about/think about anything else. I can be totally, 100% selfish about my time there & it is great. I’m learning new techniques, using new equipment & it feels awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel weird walking in there & I totally don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but I figure I’ll get there, right?!

Anyway, so September is a month of change, a month of possibilities and the mark of the beginning. I know that I have just one year left to make some massive, huge and scary decisions. Decisions like, WHAT do I actually want to DO with my life?! I reckon my free-pass expires when P starts school, so I’ve got 52weeks to figure out what I’ll do with myself come next September. I can’t return to teaching, it was never my job soulmate. In all honestly, I can’t keep plugging at my business, whilst it has brought in a miniscule (more or less none) bit of money over the last few years, it is too taxing, it is too 24/7 and, 5 and a half years of working long hours for nothing takes it’s toll. I suspect that fish is dead in the water, but it’s hard to actually let go, to admit defeat, to call it a failure.

I’ve made a decision to cool it this year with my business. I worked tirelessly last Christmas, pulling 18hour days, 7 days a week, for 2 months up to Christmas. I sure didn’t make a fortune from that, but it did mean that by the time Christmas day rolled around, I was finished. Christmas last year made me realise that I was missing all of the good bits, missing watching my little girl get excited about Christmas. I missed ME getting excited about Christmas. For the first time in EVER, we took our decorations down before the end of the year – I was so sick of it all!

I’ve become too used to working from home, so a ‘real job’ scares me. I’ve got too used to working for myself, so the thought of having to answer to someone makes me, well, a bit cross. I’ve got too used to being my own boss, how do I adjust to not randomly making jam inbetween orders? But, you know, the bills don’t pay themselves, right? So I have to do something. I’m not sure that I’ve got the strength or the energy to set up or run another business, or even a franchise of a business, in order to continue working from home. Boy, this is tricky… I’ve also got more crazy decisions to make regarding schooling for P – that’s a whole other blog post right there.

So, I’ve made a decision. I’ve decided that this year, 2014-15 is for me. I am going to take some time to find out what I want to do, I’m going to look in to new jobs and training courses, I’m going to take lots of time to figure out what (if anything) I’m good at and what I enjoy. I’m going to take this time to spend more rewarding time with my girl. Rather than juggling orders and emails whilst telling her to sit down and watch Frozen for the 100th time, we’re going to go out, explore & enjoy her last year before she embarks on a whole lifetime of learning and new experiences. I might even find a rekindled love for my business after a decent break! So, yes, I “won’t be doing anything” as I still won’t have that 9-5 job for a while, but you know what, I’m OK with that & if anyone else isn’t, then it doesn’t matter, because that’s not my problem!

 

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