Banana-Pineapple-Spinach Protein Smoothie (Vegan option)

Banana-Pineapple Spinach SmoothieThis “green” smoothie might be a verdant colour and it might feature some decidedly good-for-you green ingredients, but the taste is nothing but sweet yellow summer sunshine!  Ripe bananas and tropical pineapple will wow your tastebuds and your body will thank you for all of the extra goodness of GREEN tea and GREEN spinach.  Packed with protein, potassium and quick-acting carbohydrates, this is the perfect pre- or post-workout pick-me-up.  It also makes a great “any time” summery snack or meal.

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(High-Protein) Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal

Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oatmeal SpoonfulCherry blossom season in South Korea is BEAUTIFUL.  Streets and countrysides are lined with trees whose branches are clouds of pink and white blossoms.  As the season progresses, these blossoms drop away and float down like a soft, warm wonderful kind of snow and blanket the shoulders of the roadways.  But what’s even more beautiful, in my mind, is the bounty of fresh, ripe cherries that follows.  Rich, deep-red cherries with shiny, glossy skins are currently lining the shelves of grocery stores, fruit stands and markets everywhere.  Their fresh, tart sweetness is begging to be eaten and I am eating them in abundance!  I eat them by the handful, the bowful, the bagful, and the whole darn boxful!  And guess what happens to pair perfectly with juicy cherries?  Rich, complex, oh-so-slightly bitter deep-dark chocolate!  I was literally mid-drizzle with my chocolate syrup* poised over a bowl of fresh chopped cherries when my latest idea for Overnight Oatmeal sprang to mind.  Dark Chocolate Cherry is decadently delicious and still as healthful, high-protein and wholesome as ever!

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(High-Protein) Salted Caramel Apple Overnight Oatmeal

Salted Caramel Apple Overnight Oatmeal BowlSince apples are really a fruit of the fall, I guess I could be accused of pushing the season (but not in a lameefficient let’s-buy-new-school-supplies-in-July kind of way).  But summer makes me think of carnivals and festivals (a little shout-out for the Calgary Stampede July 3-12, 2015, a.k.a RIGHT NOW – Mr. Golden Graham’s hometown, yee-haw, ya-hoo!), and carnivals make me think of candy apples!  And deep-fried Oreos.  But I don’t have an overnight oatmeal for that. Yet. So back to the candy apples. Sticky, sweet and, well, apple-y, this overnight oatmeal has captured it all but without the sugar. And regret. No-regret oatmeal! Catchy, isn’t it?

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Weeknight Winner Wednesday: Basil-Ricotta-Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Lemon

Basil-Ricotta-Parmesan Crusted TilapiaTwo classic Italian cheeses pair up with fragrant basil and zesty lemon to create the perfect creamy, crusted topping for flaky white tilapia fillets.  Perfect paired with roasted or grilled seasonal vegetables, this is an elegant yet easy dinner dish.

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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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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) 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: http://averyleighdesigns.com“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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