Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Protein SmoothieIt’s time to break out your blender (again)!  I’ve got a delicious new addition to my Smoothie Lineup, and this time it’s the classic combination of peanut butter and banana.  Starting with a pairing like that, how can you go wrong?  Frozen bananas provide natural sweetness and thick creamy texture, and peanut butter protein powder packs a punch of protein with less fat than regular peanut butter.  I’ve also used almond milk as the liquid in this recipe for added creaminess but fewer calories and carbohydrates than dairy milk (you can of course substitute to suit your personal preference!).  It’s quick and easy and tastes great – what’s not to like?

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(High-Protein) Banana Cream Pie Overnight Oatmeal

Banana Cream Pie Overnight OatmealIn case you missed it, summer is (officially) here (in the Northern hemisphere, anyway – Aussie readers, you can make this anyway, or Pin It and check back in six months).  Summer cookouts abound and no one wants to turn on the oven, or even the stove if it can be avoided.  Good news – this recipe requires neither!  And while many summer desserts trick us with their emphasis on fruits, they can still be deceptively high in fat and calories.  Not so with this decadent dish!  I’ve taken the classic banana cream pie and turned it into a healthy, high-protein breakfast with the goodness of whole grain oats.  Make mornings happier, especially if you have a few extra mouths around the breakfast table to feed (school summer vacation, anyone?  You can always omit the protein powder and reduce the liquid slightly for the junior set).  Enjoy the taste of a classic cool & creamy sweet summer-time dessert with none of the guilt (or excess fat or calories) in this healthy, high-protein make-ahead breakfast!

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How-To: Make Unsweetened Applesauce at Home

Ripe Apple“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  “You’re the apple of my eye.”  Oh, apples!  So good on their own, so good in desserts (Salted Caramel Apple Bake, anyone?), so good at breakfast (Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal), so good in soup (Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash Soup)…the options are endless.  And after all of that shameless self-promotion, what about applesauce?  Well, as you know, I’ve been loving my Vitamix high-speed blender and one of their first recipes I checked out was for Cooked Applesauce.  It’s seriously JUST APPLES.  And any regular jug blender or food processor should do the trick – I’ll show you how in this “How-To” and you can enjoy healthy, homemade applesauce, free of added sugar or preservatives, any time, either as a snack or as an ingredient in a recipe.  No need to go to the store!

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Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Double Peanut Butter Protein PancakesIf you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should – I post mouthwatering food photos, including recipe links, pretty much all day every day!), you’ll know that I am ALL ABOUT my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes.  I eat them at least a few times a week and I never get over how incredibly good they are and how you’d never guess that they’re a “protein” pancake.  I won’t even share them with my own flesh and blood (I keep telling The Golden Graham Boy “you wouldn’t like them – they’re not for kids,” as he doesn’t need that much concentrated protein in one serving, nor the touch of Sucralose that comes in my protein powder.  Moreover, they’re for Mommy and I’m not sharing!).

I didn’t think protein pancakes could get any better – but they did.  I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me they could – but they did.  It wasn’t until I ran out of my regular vanilla protein powder and decided to use peanut butter flavour protein powder instead that the magic happened – and boy, it did!  Still incredibly low in fat, carbohydrates and calories, these Double Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes have 43g of protein per serving and are free of grains, gluten and refined sugar.  You’ll never look at breakfast (or pancake supper) the same way again.

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Easy Meatless “Cheater” Chili (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-fiber, Low-fat, Vegan)

Easy Meatless Cheater Chili BowlI’m back with the second installment of Weeknight Winner Wednesdays!   This edition features a high-fiber, flavourful meatless chili that you can have on the table in about two shakes (that’s twenty minutes) with one simple make-ahead ingredient.  No sweating over a simmering pot for hours.  And with high-fiber beans stealing the show, no one will miss the meat in this vegetarian, low-fat chili.  YOU control the heat, so you can make this just as hot (or not) as you like.  This is another nutritious and delicious dish you (and your family) are sure to love.

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(High-Protein) Banana-Coconut Cream Pie Bowl (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Banana-Coconut Cream Pie Toasted Coconut ToppingHave you ever gotten into a snacking rut?  Throwing the same granola bars (or Quest bars) into your lunch bag (or purse or backpack) week after week?  Digging the same badly bruised fruit out of the bottom of your gym bag?  Spooning the same pre-packaged single serving yogurt flavours into your mouth while you peruse Pinterest (look for me!) but pretend to work?  SNACK BOREDOM STOPS HERE!  I’m bringing you all the rich, creamy deliciousness of BOTH Banana Cream Pie AND Coconut Cream Pie in one innocent-looking bowl of high-protein, gluten-free, grain-free, refined-sugar free GOODNESS!

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(High-Protein) Mango Coconut Overnight Oatmeal

Mango Coconut Overnight Oatmeal Spoonful“Carry on my wayward son” (Kansas) – I’m not sure what it is about blogging that makes me want to sing, but random ditties always seem to pop into my head as I’m posting. In this case, I was thinking about carrying on with all of my great Overnight Oatmeal ideas.  I can’t believe no one called me to task for failing to post a new flavour combination last week!  But never fear, The Golden Graham Girl is here!  (Or back.  Or whatever.)  And I’ve got a great new summer-themed idea, just in time for the first official day of summer (happy Summer Solstice and International Yoga Day, everyone!  And FATHER’S DAY – yes, you can make this for Dad!  And since you can make it the night before – if you hurry – you won’t have to get up early to present dear ol’ Dad with breakfast in bed!  Win-win!).

As I’ve mentioned before, South Korea may not always have what I’m looking for in the local grocery store, but they do have a fantastic selection of seasonal produce.  And guess what’s in season right now?  MANGOES!  Sweet, juicy and downright delectable, I was more than happy to make a mess making this oatmeal.  And of course you know that I’m all about all things coconut.  Mango and coconut is a great summer duo and for great reason – they taste great together!  Not to mention they’re healthyhealthful and good for you in oh-so-many ways.  As always, I’ve added my signature high-protein twist to this dish (you can always omit the protein powder if you don’t need this boost!) and it’s just as easy to make this recipe as ever.

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How-To: Plan and Prepare Healthy Meals

Image source:“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  This axiom is attributed variously to the late war-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and to self-help guru Alan Lakein.  Regardless of who said it, it rings true in many realms, not the least of which is health and wellness.  “Fitness starts in the kitchen,” is another popular adage.  I believe both of these statements to be patently true, especially when you are first starting out with healthy eating and active living.

Changing habits is hard work, and until better-for-you choices become reflexive and automatic (this comes with experience and practice), it can be nice to set yourself up for success in as many ways as possible.  Planning and preparing for healthy meals (and snacks) can help to take the guesswork out of your day and help you to make good decisions when hunger pangs strike you at 2:43pm on your way past the vending machine (or even 2:43am when the middle-of-the-night-munchies strike).  Being able to get healthy, family-friendly meals on the table in less time than it takes for the pizza delivery to arrive also means that you will be less likely to pick up the phone for takeout in the first place!

This post is dedicated to bringing you guidelines, tips, tricks and suggestions for healthy meal planning and preparation.  This will support your wellness goals and hopefully save your sanity during the weekday dinner rush!

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Good-for-you Chicken Fried Rice (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, High-protein, Low-fat)

Easy Weeknight Chicken Fried RiceChicken. Fried. Rice.  How many of your late night Chinese food takeout feasts have featured this delicious, crowd-pleasing side dish?  What if I told you I had an easy, healthy recipe that would slash the fat, pump up the protein and fiber and reduce the sodium without compromising the taste?  You’d probably call me crazy!  (And I suppose you’d be at least partly right).  But in my mission to make EVERY meal supportive of my strength training regimen (high-protein, here I come), I found a way, and my first candidate for Weeknight Winner Wednesdays!   That’s right, I’ll be posting quick and easy, nutritious and delicious, FAMILY-FRIENDLY fare that will be your new “go-to” for weeknight dinners (and the leftovers make great lunches, too!).   Not every Wednesday, necessarily, but Wednesday for sure.  Let’s talk about this craziness…

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Strawberry-Coconut Chia Protein Smoothie

Strawberry-Coconut-Chia Smoothie“Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty…” (“Summer in the City” from The Lovin’ Spoonful, in case you weren’t keeping up with me there).  Or, “Sunny days. Oh, sunny, sunny, sunny days…” (“Sunny Days” from Lighthouse – I didn’t even know this was a Canadian group until just now!).  That just about sums up life in Ulsan, South Korea these days.  So, with the mercury rising, I’m looking for great ways to stay cool and hydrated.  Ice cream comes to mind, as do slurpees, slushies and sno-cones.  But what about something with a little more oomph and a little less refined sugar (not to mention artificial colours and flavours)?  With more than 35g of protein and none of the junk, this Strawberry-Coconut Chia Protein Smoothie will power you up AND cool you down.  It looks, smells, tastes and even FEELS like a strawberry milkshake – your tastebuds will be none the wiser.  Bonus?  The sound of your blender will drown out my summer ditties!

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