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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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My Fantasy Food Team

I stepped on the scales this morning – I actually don’t do this very often, as I find it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on how you behave for the rest of the day/week/month if you don’t like what you see. According to my (cheap, old, not very accurate) scales, I now weigh in at 139.5lbs. The half pound is very important because that makes me UNDER 10 stone, that is NINE STONE something. A loss of OVER five stone. Good times.

Anywho, I’ve noticed recently, that a lot of people I know are passing comment on my weightloss (something that actually creeps me out a bit!) & then asking how I’ve done it. Well, there’s no special secret, trick or magic spell. The answer is simple:

Eat better. Move more.

You’ll notice that I’ve said “eat better“, not “eat less“. Whilst limiting calories is an age-old, time-tested way to certainly reduce weight, it is actually more important to make sure that you are eating the right things first. For example, you could calorie count a 1500kcal diet & eat low fat crisps, low fat cheese, and sugar-free sweets till the cal counter tells you you’re done. You’ll have sunk your daily intake, but likely feel hungry, tired, a bit crabby as you are being ‘punished’ on your diet. You’ll also be far more likely to crave more food & make further poor choices.

I’m a huge advocate of snacking. Little healthier snacks between meals will stop you from sugar-crashing & craving a quick fix, like chocolate. Choose things that are full of either proteins or complex carbs, as these will help you to feel fuller for longer.

By eating better – choosing fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks AND the odd treat, you will find that you will not be so hungry, nor as likely to delve in to a huge bar of chocolate. You won’t feel so ‘punished’ if you are full. You won’t feel so terrible if you actually allow yourself an occasional treat*

*a giant bar of chocolate, giant bag of crisps, 3 bottles of wine isn’t a treat – try a small bar of chocolate, a bag of baked crisps or a glass (maybe 2) of wine.

I thought I’d share my food staples with you. These are foods that I eat at least 2/3 times a week. Foods that help me to feel full and that feel like a treat in themselves, when really, they’re all pretty healthy! They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but give some of them a go:

  • Nakd & Trek Bars – I’ve mentioned these in a previous post. They are still delicious, sweet & sticky – perfect for sweet cravings. They have also just released a Christmas Pud flavour & it is out of this world.
  • Quest Bars – These aren’t for everyone. I spend quite a bit of time doing exercise, both cardio & weights. I am aiming to build strength, build muscle. These delicious protein bars come in heaps of different flavours and feel like a real treat. They are low in carbs, low in cals and high in protein. They are a bit on the £££ side of the snack world, but for me, they are totally worth it & they are a MILLION times better than a yucky protein shake!
  • Yoghurts – Either plain, fat free greek yoghurt (I like fage total the best), or, Danio fruit minis, or Liberte fruit layers. All low in fat and low in cals, but thick & creamy, so quite filling.
  • Fruit – I eat heaps of fruit. If I’m feeling lazy (and likely to reach for something worse), I’ll get the pre-prep packs from the shops, but most of the time, I’ll prepare it myself. Try freezing grapes as a great sub for sweets. Eat alongside other foods to make it go further & fill you up even more. Grab up a sack of clementines – seasonal & the perfect size for snacking on. A good ol’ banana is a powerhouse!
  • Marks and Spencer’s Guilt-Free Snack Range – The crisps that these guys sell are great, mostly around or under 100kcals per pack. Huge range of flavours. My faves are the sour cream and chilli lentil curls & the little bacon lentil tubes. Also a great pesto chickpea shell flavour available too. Perfect substitute for ‘normal’ crisps.
  • Popcorn – Amazing stuff. My fave brands are metcalfes (the sweet & salt and the  heat & sweet are to die for). Also try portlebay – the lemon sherbert flavour is unbelievable! Popcorn is relatively low in cals and the flavoured varieties make it feel like a special treat.
  • Rice-cakes – These are a bit of a new revelation for me. My faves at the mo are made by Kallo. There is a great kiddy range that are strawberry yoghurt & come pre-packed in 2s. Also give their dark choc and orange flavour a go!
  • Quorn – low fat, low cal, protein source & really reasonably priced. The family ‘chicken’ roast is so good & ridiculously good value!
  • Ryvita – great source of fibre, low in fat, low in cals and perfect for topping with delicious stuff. My fave topping is cottage cheese, ham, fig and basil.
  • Warburtons Wholemeal Pitta Halves – I don’t eat much bread, but these are high in fibre and relatively low cal. Great to eat with soup.
  • Low Fat Cottage cheese – great source of protein and low in fat & cals. Great as a topping, or as a replacement for mayo. Chuck in on crackers, mix in to tuna, blob it on soup, spread on ham and add a gherkin for a roll-up snack, use it in cooking & baking too.
  • Protein powders – these are great for whipping up great snacks. I’ve got the protein powder cookbook & the banana bread & vanilla blueberry muffins are super delicious and quick to make. Most of the recipes are low carb, low fat, high protein & made with great stuff like coconut flour.
  • Oats – I eat these mostly as porridge (made with skimmed milk), but also use them in lots of recipes
  • Soup – the days are getting colder and darker & soup is great for lunch. Make your own where possible, but for those of you with limited time or without the inclination to make it, there are some very good pre-prepped stuff in supermarkets now. Just try to avoid aby that have cheese or bacon/chorizo in, as these will be higher in fat and therefore, higher in cals too.
  • Vegetables – A bit of a no-brainer, but eating loads of veg will help to fill you up. Eat it raw, steamed, boiled, roasted. As a quick side dish, I like to chop loads of crunchy veggies up and chuck in a spoon of plain greek yoghurt, some lemon juice and some herbs & seasoning – perfect speedy sort-of coleslaw!
  • Veg chips – some days only chips will do – unless you can make veg chips! I like to make veg chips using carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and sometimes bog-standard normal potatoes. A teeny bit of oil, a good non-stick baking tray, hot hot hot oven and a great seasoning mix (I use semolina, for crunch, a little sea salt and some paprika and cumin). So good, give them a try!
  • Hognuts Nutbutters – A relatively new find for me. So delicious, loads of gorgeous flavours of nut butter – all hand blended & high in protein. Great toast topper, awesome stirred in to oats, or baked in to a protein cookie!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but they are certainly favourites of mine. I try to avoid full fat cheeses and fatty meats such as salami or sausages. I don’t eat very much bread or pasta, but when I do, I eat wholemeal, where possible. I limit my alcohol intake and don’t drink at all during the week. I generally have a day of ‘relaxed’ eating at the weekend, especially if there’s a birthday or if friends are over. I do still put everything in to myfitnesspal though – even if it is wayyyyyyy over what I should have had – I find that by doing this, it does make you think & ask yourself whether you should really have that extra slice of cake or not – the answer is usually not! 😉

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