Really Delicious Protein Balls

I ripped this recipe out of a magazine that I got at a local health food store and held onto it for a long time before finally giving it a try, with only a few modifications. When my husband tried one and told me to put this recipe at the top of the pile, I figured it was worth sharing.  It is a great source of protein and healthy fat.  Just remember, serving size is 1.

Grab N’ Go Protein Bites

Adapted from a Recipe by Gwen Eager for Garden of Life https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/garden-recipes/grab-n-go-bites/

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of protein powder (I used Garden of Life Sport Vanilla Powder)
  • 2 cups of unsalted cashews (I used salted cashews, oops)
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raisins (recipe called for dried cranberries but I was trying to avoid the added sugar and haven’t found any that are apple juice sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 20 small dates soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a bowl, combine coconut flakes and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. Place protein powder and cashews in food processor and process until well mixed with a flour-like consistency.
  3. Remove dates from water.
  4. Add coconut oil, dates and cranberries to mixture in food processor and pulse until everything begins to stick (about 20 pulses).
  5. Roll cookie balls and coat in coconut flake/cinnamon mixture.
  6. Refrigerate to harden the texture of the cookies.

Approximate nutritional Information (per cookie ball, assuming unsalted cashews)

170 cal; 5 g protein; 9 g total fat (3.5 g sat fat); 18 g carb; 0 mg chol; 2 g fiber; 13g sugars

Please note, I tried making these in my Vitamix.  I highly recommend that you use an actual food processor as step 4 didn’t go very well in the Vitamix and I almost burned out the motor.

 

Sensibiliteas!

Sensibiliteas Tea Display

Tea 101

Tea is so good for you!  Not only is it 0 calories, but it has been shown to boost immunity, slow cognitive decline, rev your metabolism, help relieve stress, decrease your cardiovascular risk and more!

A few weeks ago I went with some friends to visit Sensibiliteas, an ‘everything tea’ store located in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls.  The hundreds of teas lining the wall of the store was impressive as the picture above shows.  We spent quite some time listening to Ben talk to us about tea in general, and their store in particular.  What an eye opener!  Here are a few things I learned during our visit:

  • All tea comes from the tea leaf, or camellia sinensis.  The differences in tea quality are directly related to how the leaves are processed.  There is no such thing as decaf tea leaf tea.  Decaf tea is simply processed tea, and the actual processing of the tea removes some of the valuable antioxidants (called catechins).  Same goes for powdered forms of tea.
  •  Many bagged teas are low quality.  This is partly due to the fact that producers use machines to harvest the leaves.  The highest quality teas are hand picked.
  •  A simple way to take the a significant amount of caffeine from your tea is to seep it for 30 seconds, toss that water and then seep fresh hot water.
  •  If you seep your tea for too long, tannins are released and your tea might taste bitter. I learned that the hard way just the other day.  Yuk!  For best results, steep your tea for at least three minutes and squeeze the bag at the end.  Try to avoid adding milk or cream, which can bind tea’s beneficial compounds and make them less effective.  On the other hand, if you add lemon or lime, you can enhance absorption of catechins.
  •  Teas do expire over time and lose some of their beneficial nutrients, especially when exposed to light or moisture.  Store your tea in a dry, dark place.  Tins or ball jars are simple and effective storage containers.
  •  Many popular loose leaf tea companies have artificial flavors and colors in their teas and/or added sugar. No wonder my family always thought that Teavana tea tasted so good!

Three types of tea:

  • White: the least processed and therefore has the highest levels of antioxidants.
  • Green: less caffeine than black tea and about 50 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.  Matcha is green tea ground into a powder.  Be careful as the caffeine is more concentrated!
  • Black: has 75 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

When preparing tea, for best results, steep it for at least 3 minutes.  Be wary of adding milk or cream as studies have shown that these liquids bind to tea’s beneficial compounds and diminish their antioxidant effect.  Adding a twist of lemon or lime, however, is beneficial as the vitamin C in citrus can increase the absorption of catechins up to three fold!

Sensibiliteas

Here are a few things I learned about Sensibiliteas in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls:

  •   They have over 500 teas to choose from!  Most of their teas are $3 for one ounce.  One ounce makes about 10 cups of tea.  The more you buy the more you save with their discount incentive.
  •     Some of their teas have a designated charity, so when you purchase it you are also giving to a local cause such as the South High Marathon, WAIT house, etc.
  •     You can bring your own container to them to have it filled.
  •      They sell tea supplies, tins and so much more.
  •     If you bring a bagged tea from home to them, they can try to match the ingredients for you.
  •     They are open from 11 – 5 Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 10-5.

If you are not a tea drinker, I encourage you to take time to learn more about it and try it for yourself!  Here’s a link to a good WebMD article about the types of teas and their health benefits: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits#1.

Genesis 1:29  Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.”

Black Bean Soup With A Secret Ingredient

This recipe is a winner in my household and it’s so simple, healthy and loaded with nutrients.  It came from a cookbook my mother gave to me years ago called Mom’s Updated Quick Meals Recipe Box – 250 Family Favorites in Thirty Minutes or Less by Donna L. Weihofen, RD.  The secret ingredient is pumpkin.  You can easily add meat to this recipe.

Ingredients

1 T oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 T ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken broth
3 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
2 T apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large soup pot, heat oil.  Add onion and cook over medium heat until lightly brown.  Add garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add all remaining ingredients except cheese.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until ready to serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with grated Parmesan if desired.

Serves 10

Easy, Tasty, Healthy Lentil Stew

I’ve given this away many times and people say they like it a lot (and their kids!).  This is one of the healthiest meals you can make, and so easy!  Only labor intensive piece is the chopping but worth it!

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

1 tsp garlic

4 cups chicken broth  .  Many broths on the market, even organic ones, have MSG (monosodium glutamate) or hidden forms of it’s most active ingredient, free glutamate (autolyzed yeast extract, yeast extract, disodium inosinate, hydrolyzed proteins and autolyzed proteins to name a few) in them.   If you are trying to avoid MSG you may want to make your own broth.  There are many recipes out there.  Here’s a simple one.

https://www.google.com/search?q=easy+homemade+chicken+broth&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

1 cup water

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained

1 cup dried lentils

3/4 cup instant brown rice

1/2 tsp crushed pepper (this gives it just the kick it needs but doesn’t make it too spicy)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic to pan and saute for 8 minutes or until tender.  Add broth, water and tomatoes.  Bring to boil.  Stir in lentils, simmer 25 minutes.  Stir in rice, simmer 20 minutes.  Stir in red pepper, salt and black pepper.  To make it even easier just add the lentils and regular brown rice at the same time and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is to your liking!