Pumpkin Peanut Butter “Buckeye” Balls

Is it really September already?? I’m not sure how every is feeling, but our August flew by. Jeff and I took a much needed relaxing vacation through California (more about that to come later!) and celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it has been 3 years already! Last year was filled with so many exciting changes; I cannot wait to see what this year brings!

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I’m not sure about you, but in our household the start of football season is a big deal. Jeff and I are proud alumni of the Ohio State University (how many of you just cringed…), and the first game is always exciting and much anticipated as September rounds the corner. Our Saturday was very simple this weekend. We watched a lot of football and enjoyed a variety of snacks, dips, and ice cold beer.

If you know anything about Ohio, or Ohio State football for that matter, buckeyes are a tradition that most Ohioans look forward too. Buckeyes (the food, not the nut or football team) were present at our wedding, and I look forward to my grandmother making them each year for Christmas. While the original buckeye recipe isn’t exactly the healthiest, it definitely reminds me of home and is something that will always stay tucked away in my recipe box. These buckeyes are a little different, a little healthier, and have the perfect fall twist that helped me kick off football season!

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While I know not all football lovers cheer for my Ohio State Buckeyes, I am happy to share my Pumpkin Peanut Butter “Buckeye” Balls with you in hopes that they make your game day spread. These are quick, simple, and easy to make and can also serve as an easy snack for busy days or after school snacks for your kids. I hope you give them a try! Happy Sunday y’all!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, unsweetened smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup organic honey
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 3/4-1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

It a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and honey. Stir with a fork or whisk until all peanut butter is smooth and well incorporated into the other ingredients.

Fold in oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the oats are covered evenly, then sprinkle in the chia seeds. Mix lightly until the chia seeds are well incorporated. Try not to over mix. Chis seeds will start to form a “gel” that helps bond and hold the balls together, but this process can happen too quickly if over stirred and they will become gummy.

Once all ingredients are well incorporated, form small balls (about the size of an extra large gum ball) with your hands. Place on a large dish or cookie sheet and pop into the refrigerator. Re-roll after about 15 minutes, then place back into the refrigerator. Let harden for about 15-20 more minutes.

Once your buckeyes have become firmer, melt 3/4-1 cup of dark chocolate chips in the microwave or double broiler. If microwaving, stop and stir the chips every 20-30 seconds until fully melted to help prevent them from burning.

Dip buckeye balls into the melted chocolate about 1/2 way. Place back on dish or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put back in the refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes before serving. Keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week!


Cocoa Banana Protein Balls

Happy Monday everyone!!! What a weekend we just had. We had a BUNCH (and I mean a bunch!) of family members come in to town for a surprise party for my father-in-law! Our weekend was filled with so much fun, food, sun, and of course a ton of new memories that I’m so thrilled we got to make! I was so excited to see cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course have a few of them stay in our new home.

To help with preparation and getting the house ready the week before, I made these yummy little balls for on-the-go snacking and to help keep my energy high each afternoon. I love small, easy snacks that I can pop in my mouth after work to help give me a little energy boost before exercising or working on things around the house. These were so easy and delicious, I definitely can’t wait to make them again!

A fun thing about this recipe is it is vegan and gluten free, so if you follow a special diet or have any type of dietary restriction, this may be a good recipe for you to try! You can also add different ingredients to tailor the flavor to your liking. Different additions, such as coconut flakes, can change up an otherwise simple and easy ingredient list.

I hope your week goes by fast and these little tasty bites give you a little extra energy to tackle your to-do list!! Have a great week y’all!

Cocoa Banana Protein Balls

  • Servings: 12-15 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1 large Tbsp unsalted PB
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegan vanilla protein powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon

Directions

In a food processor, grind cashews, almonds, cocoa powder, peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, salt, and protein powder. Stop to scape the sides once or twice. The ingredients may start to form a paste-like consistency. If a large “doughy” ball starts to form, that is ok. Continue to pulse or grind until you get a consistency you like (I tend to go for a fairy smooth texture with a few chunks here or there).

Use your hands and a small spoon to form small, gum-ball size balls. Put on a plate and cover with foil or in an air-tight container. Let refrigerate and harden for at least 15-20 minutes before trying! Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week (can freeze for longer use). Enjoy!


All The Christmas Goodies!

Good morning everyone!! It’s 2 days after Christmas, and I am tired and ready to get back to a normal routine! While the past few days have been amazing, I am ready to go for a run, meal prep, and cook an easy and simple dinner tonight.

The past few days have been filled with lots of yummy food, family, friends, and drinks. We spent our first Christmas morning in our new home, and it was so nice to be able to wake up and cook a delicious breakfast for Jeff and I. I think I have eaten more chocolate and cheese in the past 72 hours than I have all year!

I have 2 yummy recipes to share that definitely should make your holiday menu next year. One is an easy sweet and salty snack that your guests will love, and the other can be added to your holiday brunch. Like I mentioned, chocolate has been a key ingredient in my diet the past few days so you can expect it to be a key ingredient in these recipes as well!

I love breakfast food, so any time I get a chance to make it a little extra special I jump on the opportunity! While my usual breakfast consists of eggs, oatmeal, or a smoothie filled with fruits and veggies, special times call for something a little more fun and definitely on the sweet side. Jeff and I both have a serious sweet tooth, so why not indulge a little on Christmas morning?

Side note —- it’s ok to indulge during the holidays!! A day or two of eating foods that aren’t in your “typical diet” is not going to make or break your health and fitness goals of 2017. So don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy what is in front of you!

The two recipes I’m going to share today are for my Christmas Reindeer Chowย and Baked Chocolate Chip French Toast.

If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be the reindeer chow, but only because I’m a sucker for a salty and sweet combo. They are both super easy and can feed a crowd. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend as much as we did! Merry Christmas and happy almost New Year! Let me know what you think if you give these recipes a try!

Christmas Reindeer Chow

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1/3 cup red, green, and brown M&Ms
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 cup cinnamon Chex cereal (optional)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.

Spread all ingredients out evenly onto wax paper. You can break apart some of the pretzels so all pieces aren’t so big.

Melt the white chocolate either in the microwave or with a double boiler. If microwaving, be sure to stop and stir every 15-20 seconds to avoid the chocolate from burning.

Drizzle the white chocolate on top of the pretzels, marshmallows, peanuts, cereal (optional), and M&Ms. Use as much chocolate as desired.

As the chocolate dries, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the ingredients. Let site for 15 to 20 minutes or until the white chocolate is fully dry. Once dry, break apart the mixture into bite size pieces. Some of the M&Ms and peanuts may fall off; that’s ok!

Put your Reindeer Chow into a large decorative or festive bowl for serving! Leftovers can be kept in a ziploc bag or air tight container.

Baked Chocolate Chip French Toast

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of freshly baked bread (I used a whole wheat loaf from a bakery)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (other options – fresh blueberries, blackberries, peaches, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc.)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut loaf of bread into large chunks. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour milk and egg mixture on top of the bread. Massage the bread to assure all pieces are moistened.

Grease a medium sized baking dish that is shallow enough to contain any extra liquid that may not be absorbed. Evenly distribute the bread in the pan. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top (I pushed a few into cracks between the bread as well).

Allow bread to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top starts to become golden brown and crispy. Serve warms with a side of fruit, nut butter, syrup, or honey on top.


Banana Bread Protein Balls

You guys know I love my protein balls! I’m a total snacker, and I always have been. I’m constantly grabbing a bite of something if I pass through my kitchen or am heading out the door. This only increases when I’m training or running more than usual.

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I had some super brown bananas that needed to be used or frozen and was trying to think of a creative way to use them yesterday. My go to is always banana bread, but I wanted to try something a little different!

I had been meaning to make a batch of protein balls for snacking and thought, why not mix the two? Hens, my Banana Bread Protein Balls were created! They are delicious!!! The base of the protein balls was a combination of raw cashews, almonds, oats, and peanut butter. I hadn’t planned on adding oats in the beginning, but the banana was so gooey and wet that I needed something a little dryer to soak up the moisture.

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Keep these in an air-tight container or covered with tin foil in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. You can also freeze them for longer use! Hope you enjoy these delicious little bites! Happy Monday everyone!

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Banana Bread Protein Balls

  • Servings: 16-18 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 brown bananas
  • 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted PB
  • 1/3-1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
  • dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a food processor, grind cashews, almonds, peanut butter, cinnamon, banana, and protein powder. Stop to scape the sides once or twice. The ingredients may start to form a paste-like consistency.

Once your nuts are are finely ground and blended into the other ingredients, add the oats (pending how wet the banana was, you may need to increase the amount of oats used) and pulse or lightly grind until incorporated. The texture should be fairly thick and able to easily form small ping-pong size balls without sticking to your hands. You may make yours bigger or smaller based on preference.

Add a dark chocolate chip to the top of a few or all of the balls. Let refrigerate and harden for at least 15-20 minutes before trying! Store in an air-tight container or covered with tin-foil in refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!


First pumpkin cookie of the season!

It’s officially pumpkin season! You know, even though our afternoons are still hitting 100 degrees I am not letting the toasty walks to my car after work ruin my usual spring into fall foods and recipes. I have been itching to make something with pumpkin, so obviously my first go to was cookies!

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Quick side note… does EVERY nutrition/whole food bar company make a pumpkin spice version now?! Holy moly! My Instagram feed has been BLOWING UP with every food blogger out there posting about pumpkin Perfect bars or Rx Bars. I have to stay true to my favorite whole food bar brand Lara Bar; their pumpkin pie bar is amazing!

So a little about this recipe…

Its not low in sugar, it’s not grain free or vegetarian, and yes it contains fat. These cookies were made to be delicious and boy are they! I use whole wheat flour, oats, and pumpkin puree as my base with coconut oil and a whole egg for fat. Start your pumpkin season off right with these little beauties!

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In case you read my last post, in terms of calories I’m not sure what the calorie content is of these cookies. Sometimes I will calculate calories for my recipes just to share here for extra info. I will say, regardless of the calories, these are freaking amazing! They are made with ingredients that are easy, simple, and many might already be in your pantry. I hope you give them a try, and as always let me know what you think! Happy Tuesday everyone!

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Chocolatey Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, combine 1 egg with brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Mix with a fork or whisk until brown sugar is well incorporated into wet ingredients with minimal to no lumps.

Add oats, flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a large spoon or fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. Lastly, fold in your chocolate chips or chunks (whatever your preference!)

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and scoop large spoonfuls about 1-1 1/2 inches apart. The cookies do not really spread out, so if you would like them flatter, lightly press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until they slide off the sheet easily without breaking. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Keep in an air-tight container for 3-4 days; refrigerate to keep for about 5-7 days. Enjoy!