Red Currant Muffins (GF, DF)

So the number one question I'm probably going to get is WTF are currants? Honestly, I didn't even know myself until about 2 days ago. I stumbled upon some red currants at a small, local market when I was looking for blueberries and was intrigued. Obviously I googled them, and one of the first things that popped up was, "If you find local currants, buy them!" So I followed suit, snagged my currants, and headed home. Side note - they were gone in 2 days. 

From what I read, they seemed like tart berries, so I played around with them in the kitchen for breakfast. I loved the breakfast; My niece did not. Needless to say, they're definitely tart. So I figured the perfect way to balance out the tartness would be to put them into some delicious, sweet muffins. They did not disappoint! I made them gluten free and dairy free, and they are still so perfect and moist (sorry for the use of the word, but they are). Plus the sweet and tart balance is on point. And if you aren't feeling the idea of tart currants or just can't find them, feel free to swap them out for the berries of your choice. I'd imagine blueberries would be a great sub.

Here's What You'll Need:

-1 cup quinoa flour (I use this one)
-1/4 cup coconut sugar
-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
-Pinch of sea salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 egg
-3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
-3/4 cup red currants

Makes 6 muffins

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix together all ingredients minus the currants until smooth.
3) Fold in the currants (may reserve a few to place on the tops of the muffins).
4) Evenly disperse the mix in a 6-cup muffin tin. Optional - top each with reserved currants.
5) Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are fully cooked through.
6) Remove the muffins, serve, and enjoy!

These muffins make for the perfect snack, treat, on the go breakfast, or even dessert! I haven't tried subbing other flours or milks, but I will update this post if I do. Or feel free to let me know how it goes in the comments below! I would also imagine the ghee would work as a sub for coconut oil as well as a vegan egg for the egg, but again, I haven't tested it out yet. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Spring Asparagus and Tomato Penne with Barilla ProteinPLUS

This post is sponsored by Barilla; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Barilla; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

Spring is finally upon us, and I couldn't be more excited! That means fresh, bright produce and lots of outdoor time, so I decided I needed a recipe that celebrates all of the above! And what screams spring time picnics more than a fresh, veggie-packed pasta salad dish?

I had recently stumbled upon Barilla ProteinPLUS pasta at my local Walmart. It's packed with 17 g of protein (per 3.5 oz portion) from all natural vegetarian ingredients including egg whites, grains, lentils, and chickpeas. It's also a great source of fiber and ALA Omega-3. It seemed like the perfect base for a quick, easy, and delicious meal any day of the week, so I ended up picking up the penne to give it a try. 

I thought it would pair perfectly with some bright spring veggies like asparagus and tomatoes to make a light and fresh pasta (or pasta salad) dish while still being a good source of lean protein. I added in some lemon juice, pine nuts, basil, and a few other ingredients to bring that extra flavor, and it all came together to make a great meal or side that'd be perfect for your next picnic!

Here's What You'll Need:

-One 14.5 oz box Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne
-1 bundle of asparagus (~20 spears)
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
-1/4 cup pine nuts
-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/4 cup shredded or shaved parmesan
-1 tbsp EVOO
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper

Serves 4 as a meal or 7 as a side or appetizer

Instructions:

1) Cook the Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne according to the directions on the box.
2) Remove the bottoms from the asparagus, and bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (may also grill or steam until tender instead).
3) Cut the asparagus spears into thirds.
4) Toast the pine nuts on the stove top until they begin to turn golden (about 3- 5 minutes).
5) In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients until well blended. I reserved some of the pine nuts, basil, and parmesan to top it all off, but feel free to mix it all in if desired.
6) Serve warm or refrigerate to serve as a pasta salad, and enjoy!

Barilla Gluten Free pasta was recently named one of Parent's Magazine's "Top 25 Allergy Free Foods" making it a great choice to swap in for the ProteinPLUS penne if allergies are a concern! You can also use this Ibotta link to get some cash back when purchasing your Barilla pasta. Make sure to check out these other delicious Barilla recipes and their Pinterest board for more inspiration! And let me know what you think in the comments below!

Double Chocolate Protein Banana Bread - Vegetarian + GF

Since being introduced to Naked Nutrition's clean protein powders with minimal, straight-forward ingredients, I've been having so much fun playing around and coming up with new plant-based protein-packed recipes. Their Chocolate Less Naked Pea Protein contains just pea protein, raw cacao, and coconut sugar. That's it! No weird junk and nothing to hide. So naturally, I've been having a blast trying it out in all of the chocolatey goodness that I can think of, and this week is no different! In fact, I was feeling extra chocolatey this week which led me to this double chocolate protein banana bread recipe.

It's not only packed with all of the chocolate. It also brings the protein and other nutrients while being vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free. It can also easily be made vegan by swapping out the eggs with flax eggs or nut free by swapping out the almond milk. It's basically the perfect way to Saturday, and will most likely be gone by the end of the weekend. No joke.

Here's What You'll Need:

-2 ripe (ideally spotty) bananas
-1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
-3/4 cup coconut flour
-2 eggs
-1 scoop Naked Nutrition's Chocolate Less Naked Pea Protein powder
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tbsp chocolate sunflower seed butter (I used this one) or the nut butter of your choosing
-1 tbsp cacao powder (I used this one)
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choosing)
-1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips 

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mash your bananas in a bowl with a hand mixer or wooden spoon.
3) Mixed in the coconut oil, eggs, sunflower seed butter, and almond milk.
4) Add in the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips), and mix until well combined.
5) Fold in the chocolate chips. I reserved a few to add onto the top at the end, but feel free to add them all in if desired.
6) Pour the mixture into a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan, and spread it out evenly.
7) Bake in to the oven for about 50 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).
8) Let the bread cool a bit for about 15-20 minutes before removing and slicing it.
9) Serve, and enjoy!

Hello chocolate heaven! Am I right? I know what I'm having as my dessert...and pre and post-workout snacks...and probably breakfast, lunch and dinner the next few days. But really, it's hard to keep your hands off (and mouth full) of this banana bread. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I've recently become obsessed with making my own nut milks, specifically cashew milk, ever since coming across Ellie's Best nut milk bags. For some reason I was under the impression that it would be difficult, but it's SO quick and easy. I just soaked a cup of cashews in water for 2+ hours, strained and rinsed them, and tossed them in the blender with 3 cups filtered water and a pinch of sea salt on high for a minute or two. Filtered it through my nut milk bag, and BAM delicious, creamy, unsweetened cashew milk. You can use the code Stacy10 for 10% off your own Ellie's Best nut milk bag by the way!

So basically I've been going through cashew milk like crazy these days. It's so tasty, and the consistency is nice and creamy. So I thought it would be the perfect ingredient for some creamy, vegan mac and cheese. You guys know I'm veggie crazy, so I decided to add in cauliflower because it would just soak up the taste of the delicious sauce. And I decided to keep it gluten free and protein packed with some Ancient Harvest POW! Green Lentil Penne.

Here's What You'll Need:

-7 oz Ancient Harvest POW! Green Lentil Penne
-1/2 head cauliflower, cut into pieces
-1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-2 tsp Dijon mustard
-1 tsp lemon juice
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 tsp sea salt + extra
-1/4 tsp black pepper + extra
-1/8 tsp turmeric
-1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)
-2 tbsp avocado oil

Serves 2

Instructions:

1) Toss your cauliflower in the avocado oil with some sea salt and black pepper, and roast it in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until it starts to brown and soften.
2) In the meantime, cook your pasta according to the directions.
3) Strain your pasta, and use the warm, empty pot to mix together the cashew milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, turmeric and chili powder.
4) Once cooked, remove your cauliflower and cut into smaller pieces.
5) Mix the cauliflower and cooked pasta into the sauce, serve, and enjoy!

Not into cauliflower? Feel free to swap it out with the veggie of your choosing! I also topped mine with a bit of red pepper flakes for some extra heat. Let me know how you play around and what you think in the comments below!

Protein Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Happy Friday, everyone! What better way to celebrate than with CHOCOLATE! Not just chocolate but healthy, protein-packed chocolate covered strawberries? Does it get much better than that?!

These babies have just a few, natural ingredients. I'm talking cacao, natural sweeteners, coconut oil, and the best vegan protein powder around! They make for the perfect guilt-free dessert or snack while still bringing the flavor, and they're super quick and easy to whip up. Grab a couple before or after the gym, as a post-dinner dessert, or even to top off your morning oats. They're great any time! 

Here's What You'll Need:

-8 oz fresh strawberries
-1/4 cup coconut oil, softened to room temperature or slightly melted
-1 1/3 tbsp (that's 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) Naked Nutrition Less Naked Chocolate Pea Protein Powder
-1 1/3 tbsp (that's 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) Cacao powder (I used this one)
-1 tsp pure maple syrup
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1) In a bowl, mix together the coconut oil, Naked Nutrition protein powder, cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt until smooth.
2) Dip each strawberry into the chocolate mixture and place on a parchment lined plate. You may want to use a spoon or knife to spread the chocolate.
3) Put the plate of strawberries in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
4) Enjoy!

It's that simple, and you have yourself a delicious treat to last the weekend! Yes, they'll go that fast. Let me know what you think in the comment's below!