It is my birthday!  Best day of the year, when I can say its my day!!!!  My mom told me a fun fact about today…today is Thursday and I was born on a thursday so I think that makes this day extra special 🙂

I feel really good about my birthday this year.  First of all, I’m weird and I like the fact that it is a even age for me.  I don’t really have any back up for feeling that way, I just do…deal!!!! ha

Anyway since my birthday is on a thursday nothing too exciting will be happening…I do have to work and all so I’m going to spread out my birthday celebrating into the weekend as well, like friday, saturday and sunday kind of spread ha

What I think is great to share today on my birthday is the foodie pen pal exchange that I started participating in last month.  Reading through my morning ‘newspaper’/blogs, I stumbled across a new to me foodie pen pal exchange.  For more information on the details and how you can join up in it too, check out this link.

Foodie Pen Pal

I think it is an awesome idea!  I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.  I had a wonderful time shopping for the person I was paired with.  They actually ate like me so it was fun to share with them the gems I have found in this city as foods I enjoy and think they are exclusive to my city.

Here is the wonderful e-mail I received from my pen pal in response to the box I sent her.

“Everything was absolutely delicious. Your homemade cocoroons were so light and melty and yummy. I just purchased my own dehydrator, so I’m looking forward to making my own macaroons! All of the other foods were delightful as well – the suncake, chocolate kale chips, and flax crackers (both of which I’ll be trying with my dehydrator). The only thing that didn’t make it in the mail was the Purity Bread: it was covered in mold.  😦 But thank you for alerting me to Julian Bakery! I plan on ordering a loaf of Purity Bread on my own in the near future, because it smelled really good and the ingredients looked great too.
So, anyways, thank you for the thoughtful and tasty package! Whomever receives a box from you in future Foodie PenPal months sure is lucky :)” Emily Polster

***Definitely learned about what products may or may not make it depending on how it is packaged.  Sorry again about the bread.  I offered to send her another the proper way, but she was a sweetheart and understood the trial and error and loved the fact that I introduced her to the company, which is what this is all about anyway.

Enough about that and on to the wonderful package I got from my pen pal!!!!

This is the box of goodies I got!  I love that there were products I know and love (can’t ever have to many mary’s gone crackers!).  It was wonderful to see the cornbread mix.  Not that cornbread mix is exciting, but it meets the gluten free dietary restrictions I follow and have always eyed the product to buy but never looked at it and said yes I’m going to get you and eat you.  I’m glad it was given to me because deep down there has been the urge so now I can make the urge come true 🙂  The Good Natural Bar was a new product to me and the statistics looks awesome.  Plus I’m a sucker for peanut butter.  I really enjoyed the bar, it wasn’t chalky like some food bars with low sugar can be.  The quinoa was wonderful as well, I added some edamame for a protein touch!  The candied ginger I have not tried yet.  Honestly, I’ve never had it but I read a lot of bloggers who enjoy it.  I look forward to the special moment when I open the box and try my first piece!  Thank you Beth for your wonderful box you sent me!!!  I appreciate the time and care you took paying attention to my picky diet 🙂

Here is a peak at my Birthday Breakfast I made for myself 🙂  Super Yummy and Protein Packed!

Happy Birthday to me and all of the other May babies as well as gemini’s (you guys count too)!!!!!!!

What?!?!?  Yup I said it!  Pie for breakfast.  And not just a slice…the WHOLE pie!

I thought I would recap some of my breakfasts I have been preparing myself if I have the time before I get to my morning clients or workout.  If you have time in the morning, I guarantee these are worth the prep and cooking time to make them as pancakes, if not you can throw it all in a pie dish and bake it the night before.  Just take it out of the frig in the morning, add your toppings and enjoy.

The basic ingredients to them with slight variations:

either coconut flour or rolled oats

pumpkin

egg whites

baking powder

vanilla

cacao or chocolate protein

stevia

2 protein pumpkin oat pancakes

Coconut Protein Pumpkin Breakfast Pie

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Breakfast Pie

All of these pies are gluten free, dairy free, meat free, sugar free and low car (except the oat one will have more carbs in them).

I am a firm believer, as some of you might know, of the importance of breakfast.  It is important to fuel your body from the fast it has been under while sleeping, but more importantly it is important to fuel your body with healthy whole foods!  Food is your bodies medicine.  Give your body the proper nutrients and it will pay you back by giving you great energy and fuel to tackle your day.  I feast in my breakfast in order to fuel myself for the day ahead.  The other food I consume during the day is to just keep me going until bed.  Your day should not be little food in the morning with a huge dinner at night.

Why is it necessary to eat a lot at night?

-Either you didn’t fuel it properly during the day and now your body needs fuel to store since it thinks it will be starved again tomorrow

or

-you are eating out of gluttony

There really are no other reasons so stop eating so much for dinner!

Fuel properly right away and make sure you eat less and less as the day comes to a close!

I love a good shot in the morning.  Yes nothing feels better than waking up and kicking back a shot.  Yup thats the way I start my morning…don’t you?

Ha gotcha.  Yes my shot is of apple cider vinegar.  It is a little bit of a bite so be warned your first shot of it.  Aren’t all shots a little difficult to kick back though.  I will choke this one down over the others any day!  If you still can’t seem to get over the taste then you are in luck because I have a few alternative ways to get in your morning shot!
In the mean time please check out the benefits of ACV here : Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
My recipes are inspired by Bragg’s own bottled versions.  Lets not say inspired…heck they are pretty much the same ingredients but my ratios.
If you don’t want to make it on your own there are bottled versions of my two personal favorites: Ginger Spice
and Limeade.  There is also a grape one and Honey one but those do not come in at zero calories.
Here is what I like to do:
No choking ACV morning shot
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
Metabolize Upper ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
plus 2 tsp cayenne pepper or however much your mouth can handle
Blood Sugar Control ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
2tsp cinnamon
Omega ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
1 scoop chia seeds
(allow drink to sit 30min before consumption so that chia seeds can soak up the water and gel up)
Its a fun texture to drink 🙂
Spicy Omega ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
1 scoop chia seeds 
(allow drink to sit 30min before consumption so that chia seeds can soak up the water and gel up)
Its a fun texture to drink 🙂
plus 2tsp cayenne
Lemonade ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
.5oz fresh lemon juice
As you can see there are many variations!
This last one I am going to share with you is like a nice cold drink on a hot summers day or key lime pie in a glass…you decide
Key Lime Pie ACV
1.5 oz ACV
8oz water (I prefer alkaline)
1tsp stevia
1 oz fresh lime juice
 What is your favorite way to have ACV?

Thats right PB2. This post will be dedicated to a few things I like to eat with PB2. Incase you aren’t familiar with PB2 it is basically the same thing as peanut butter but less calories and fat but not processed like better n butter. That still still kind of gives me the creeps to this day.

What is amazing about PB2 is that you can add it to anything. It comes in a powder so it mixes easily into anything you want. Of course you can add simply just water to it to make some peanut butter yumminess. Which leads me to my first picture.

If you are like me and can’t really choke down celery unless it is paying tribute to when you were a child.

Ants on a Log

I just can’t choke the celery down any other way.  Honestly it is a texture thing.  I am not usually picky with textures but the stringiness of the celery gets to me.  I also have this problem with triscuits.  Does anyone else feel the same way?  I don’t like the strings and the thought of them getting caught in my teeth would be a nightmare.  The peanut butter adds as a buffer/lubricant for NO STRINGS in this girl’s teeth!

So here you go, an even lower calorie ants on a log.  Celery with PB2!

Locally if anyone is interested, I actually found some for sale at rainbow acres in venice for the same price as they sell it on amazon for.

PB2 is definitely the most amazing in a smoothie.  Earlier this week it was national peanut butter and jelly day so I celebrated with a peanut butter and jelly smoothie.  Not the typical PB&J sammie but oh so delicious.

If you are like me I used to love PB&J as a kid.  Who am I kidding, it was still a staple for me in college.  Lots of creamy peanut butter, thick layer of jelly on some nice white wonder bread. Not to mention I would add fritos on it as well for a nice salty crunch (yea that was the fat kid thinking).  It was always better when mom made it 🙂 everything is though, right?

So here is a healthy, high protein, no starchy carb from the bread alternative.

PB2 & J Smoothie

1 cup frozen spinach

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup fresh frozen strawberries

2TBS PB2

1/2 cup Low fat cottage cheese

1 scoop unflavored plant fusion protein powder

pinch xanthum gum

pinch guar gum

handful ice cubes

throw everything in ninja blender and blend for a few minutes

This will create a HUGE cup of smoothie greatness.  For the average person is this two servings but I eat it all to myself!

Another huge staple in my life is making chocolate ‘pudding’ for desert before bed.  Now I do need to warn you that I am not telling you to do this because it has raw egg in it.  I am merely sharing with you what I eat.  I do feel that if you buy a quality pasteurized egg that there is no worries of getting sick from it.

Chocolate Protein ‘Pudding’ with a new PB2 twist

1/2 cup eggology egg whites

1 scoop dutch chocolate plant fusion protein

splash of unsweetened coconut milk to keep things moving along

2TBS PBs

pinch stevia

stir until you get the right consistency.  If you like it thicker omit the milk, if you like the runny add more milk

 

I hope you enjoy some of my PB2 treats!

 

What do you like to do with PB2 or what would you do with PB2?

This is a toast to marketers!  I give you lots of credit for your work!  You convince the people all around to believe in what you want them to believe.  I know I have been a victim of marketing but ever since I have taken the time to educate myself about a healthy lifestyle including healthy food choices I pride myself in not falling into this marketing trap.  Once of my clients got the chance to go to the natural foods convention and took home LOTS and LOTS of free products.  During one of our training sessions he brought me one of the products to try because he said the stuff was EVERYWHERE.  Due to the marketing of the product the product does in fact seem like a good product.  However if you really look at the product it is nothing the BIG BOLD words on the label has to say.

Well Chia Water.  I believe you have made lots of a people a victim to your liquid so now I am making you a victim of this blog.

Here is the marketers wonderful job on the product

We have learned 5 things!  This product has:

Omega 3

Antioxidants

Fiber

Calcium

and more Fiber

Here is the nutrition facts listing what the product actually has:  remember there should be lots of fiber, omega 3, calcium and antioxidants…lets see if the marketing matches the nutrition facts…

Omega 3: by definition is a fat…there is 0g of fat listed in the nutrition label.  No fat to me equals no Omega.

Fiber 1g:  For me if I am looking for a product to provide me with fiber (remember they also listed it atleast 3 times-then I want LOTS of fiber)…1g of fiber doesn’t cut it to me.

Calcium: 10mg…really???? 1% COME ON!  Give me some calcium.  Especially those drinking this product that aren’t drinking calcium dense dairy products.

ALL IN ALL THE NUTRITION LABEL TO ME SAYS SUGAR!  I AM A DRINK OF SUGAR AND NOTHING ELSE YOU HAVE TOLD ME IT WAS.

If you still don’t believe me, then here are the ingrients…

Hmm thats funny, the second ingredient listed after water is SUGAR!!!!!!

Please feel free to form your own opinion about this product.  I think you know mine by now.  I would love to hear what you have to say about this product and any other products you feel like you have been a victim of marketing!

Ugh…both in taste and attitude.  My attempt at making some protein pumpkin mini pies was a total disaster.

Typically in my kitchen I get inspired by recipes on see online by fellow bloggers, pinterest, television, etc and then I try to recreate them with my own twist.  Typically adding in some more nutrients to make them even that much better on the nutrition scale.  This time, it was a total flop.

I decided that these Protein Pumpkin Crustless Pies looked like a wonderful idea to whip up quickly with a can of pumpkin I picked up from the store.  I have been having an itch to make something with pumpkin and thought it would be perfect.  Not having ALL of the exact ingredients I thought I had some pretty good substitutions and wanted to give it a try.  Horrible idea.  The toffee whey protein listed in the recipe might just be the nice addition her original recipe included.  I used a little bit of chocolate protein (I know not the best choice but I have been out of vanilla and unflavored-they are on their way).  I also used my lactose free cottage cheese instead of quack-which was already listed as a great alternative.  I think where I went super wrong is that I decided to add in some frozen spinach to add some greens to the meal without the flavor.  I never taste the spinach in my smoothies and thought I could do the trick here too.

My pies were not a complete disaster I admit.  They were more savory than I was looking for them to be.  I wanted them to be a sweeter food I could enjoy for breakfast.  When I eat these I think of more a side dish with dinner.  I have had a few of them but I am seriously considering just throwing them out.  Ah I hate more than anything to throw away food.

Maybe the dog would like them.  Pumpkin is good for them and made with clean ingredients.  I just don’t want him to really eat people food, well more importantly not beg.

Anyway my attempt and disaster at the pies turned into a wonderful breakfast this morning.  I used the leftover pumpkin to make myself a wonderful breakfast in bed on the pouring rain morning we had today.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

-1/4 organic pumpkin puree

-1/2 cup gluten free oats

-2 TBS chia seeds

-2 egg whites

-pinch trader joes pumpkin pie spice

-1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein (MRM)

The night before put half of the oats, pumpkin and chia seeds in a bowl to soak overnight.  The night morning add the rest of the oats, egg whites and spice.  Pour a quarter of the batter into a frying pan with coconut oil.  I made my first pancake with no protein.  Then I decided to add in the protein.  The batter made 4 pancakes total.

I topped my pancakes with half of a banana sliced up, some agave drizzled on top and some cinnamon sprinkled on top!

Breakfast in bed with a side of coffee and some coupons to look through, oh and the peaceful rain…ahhhh was heaven!

Oh yea I added a little bit of cacao on top the last minute 🙂

I always find myself wanting to buy bananas.  When I am not at the store and even when I am at the store I have bananas on my mind.  Maybe because I am just straight up bananas…

I always run into the issue of when I do buy bananas that I buy to many and they go ripe before I wanting to consume then.  When this time comes, the power of the freezer comes in handy.  Those bananas go straight into the freezer unpeeled and freeze to death until they are engulfed by the blades of my ninja blender chopping up a smoothie.

Of course though when it comes time to having the time and cravings to make banana bread no ripe bananas are to be found in my kitchen.

I decide to head to whole foods and ask if they have any really ripe bananas in the back, they want to give me.  Credit to whole foods they say they do a pretty good job and cycling through the bananas at a good rate to not keep ripe ones around.  After chatting up the produce guy he suggests me just baking the bananas in the oven before hand to soften them up.  Kudos to you whole foods produce man, you have just saved the day!  Note: keep the banana in the peel when doing so, I asked this question and I am glad I did because I would have taken them out of their peel and thrown them in.  I found they soften up well enough at 350 degree for 15 minutes.

After looking at a couple sources and getting inspiration for banana bread, I decided to take a few ideas from a couple recipes and add in my own twist as well.  After reading Peanut Butter Fingers post on making bread with chickpeas I just had to do it as well.

I decided on Vegan Protein Banana Bread.  No flour. No egg. No dairy. No sugar. No Gluten.  Protein Packed Banana Bread that is.  I always want to make sure what I am eating has a protein punch and this bread has just that, thanks to my lovely touch on it!

The inspiration to baking also came from a recent present my step-mother gave me as an early birthday present!

The baby needed to get into action.  Mixing Vegan Protein Banana Bread was her first mission.

Vegan Protein Banana Bread

1 can garbanzo beans (I used this as a replacement for flour)

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla stevia

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup almond meal (I used this instead of flaxseeds)

4 ripe bananas

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBS fresh lime juice

1 tsp baking sode

1 tsp salt

1 pouch vega vanilla chia protein powder (I added this in to give the bread a protein punch.  I would have liked to only use vanilla protein but I used what my resources gave me at the time)

Mix wet ingredients together in mixer

Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl by hand

Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

I found that I had to add a little more coconut milk to get things moving but that is because of my additional protein powder to the party.

Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes in a greased loaf tin.

Yes my bread looks more like a biscotti (minus the hard crunch texture).  Lets just say I did not bake it for as long as it needed.  I think Banana bread tastes better with that extra gooeyness of the banana just melting in your mouth.  If you want an actual bread look and texture check your bread after 75 minutes and then gauge how long to keep baking for 🙂