Caramel Wraps Part 2

The verdict is in, and we have 2 contenders! I will note here that there are NO picture of caramel on apples.  We ate them all! 🤦‍♀️🤣  If you need to check back to the original post here it is!!

By the time I was done my family had no patience to wait for pictures, they wanted to taste test!!! I love my kids ❤️

Our first recipe was Hand-crafted Dairy/Casein Free Chewy Caramels from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

I did follow the quantities exactly, but I could not find the MimicCreme so I used CoffeeMate almond/coconut creamer. I also had dark brown sugar on hand instead of light, so you’ll notice how dark the mixture got in the pictures. It did lighten up a bit as it cooked. I think I simmered it a little too long though. There is a slight after taste, it’s not burnt tasting but similar to coffee beans that have been over cooked. The flavor over all was great though and the texture was spot on. It was sticky enough to attach to the Apple, but left at room temp it did slide off after a while.

 

Recipe # 2 was Dairy Free Glistening Honey Caramel Apples from Chemistry Cachet

We maintained most of the ingredients that were used in the first recipe. Instead of vanilla I bought French vanilla coconut milk, which tends to be very sweet ( we didn’t need to add anymore sweetness and I didn’t want to reduce the honey)

I will admit to an epic fail here. This recipe was by far the best, but I used wax paper instead of parchment paper 😬 and we could only get small bits off to taste 🤦‍♀️ I had to throw 98% out because I couldn’t even slowly pull bits off without getting a chunk of paper. Lesson learned universe!!! This is a great one with sea salt 🤤 I believe the stickiness factor would have lent it well to staying on the apples even at room temp.

I tried this one in mini cupcake tine to form mini caramels.  My kids scraped the paper with their teeth!!!  It was that good!

Recipe #3 is Paleo Caramel Apples from Plum Joyful

I do not know what happens with this recipe, but at some point during the cooking process I messed something up because it would not set AT ALL!!! I will admit that this was also the third recipe in a row, so I probably stopped paying as close attention to cook time and temperature.  I let the mixture sit for an hour and it was still liquid. It tasted great and the color was beautiful though🤷🏼‍♀️ so I will definitely try again because I love the idea of a 3 ingredient caramel!

 

I will continue to try out these and more recipes.  Tell me what you think of these and any other alterations you have or would make.

As always, see you on the other side!

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Dairy Free Caramel Wraps!

Halloween parties are underway and I have been tasked with finding a dairy free caramel for my son to be able to participate in the class activity of making caramel apples.

I love that so many people are experimenting and exploring non-traditional recipes now!  I am not a chemist, but I love to cook and try new things out.  There is a surprising amount of people who have gone through caramel apple withdrawals since going vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free/nut-free etc.

I have found several great recipes for dairy-free caramel apples, downside is you have to put it on the apples warm off the stove.  So my mission is to find a recipe that I can spread out on a piece of wax paper, let it cool and transport it to school to be put on an apple at a party in the afternoon. Very Old-school.

I have 3 contenders:

Hand-crafted Dairy/Casein Free Chewy Caramels from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

Paleo Caramel Apples : Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free from Plum Joyful

Dairy-Free Glistening Honey Caramel Apples from Chemistry Cachet

 

I believe all three of these appear to solidify well once cooled.  The trick is getting them to cool into sheets that can be applied to apples later.

2 use full fat coconut milk and one uses Earth Balance Buttery Spread and MimicCreme unsweetened cream at the fat base.  They all use honey as the sugar base which sounds delicious!!!

I have actually placed an order for everything I need on my Amazon Prime account.  I am posting this on Tuesday October 24th and I have to have something for Halloween next Tuesday. Once I get the ingredients I will get to work playing in the kitchen and let you all know how everything turns out!!

Amazon Fresh

As always see you on the flip side!!!

 

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Stuffed Peppers – Halloween Style!

I love stuffed peppers! They are filling, relatively easy to put together and they freeze well (a must in my house!)

AS many of you know I am a coach with Team Beachbody and they are always testing and coming up with great recipes that follow a variety of food/clean eating plans.  The following recipe takes stuffed peppers up a notch by adding a halloween twist!

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post at TeamBeachbody.com

“What I love about this jack-o’-lantern stuffed peppers recipe is that it’s a festive twist on a savory dish that lets my family enjoy the holiday with a little less sugar. They’re a fun Halloween treat to prepare for your kids and something you can feel great about them digging into! The fun part is in carving the bell peppers, which act as edible jack-o’-lanterns. You’ll want a sharp knife for this, and ideally one that’s small enough to make tiny cuts (a paring knife works well). Then you’ll simply carve out little eyes, a nose, and a smile. And ta-da, the hard part is over!”

Jack-o_-Lantern_Stuffed_Bell_Peppers_in_post

Here is a link to the full article 

The original recipe contains meat, If you are looking for a lighter version or vegan version this Quinoa Stuffing is a great option.  It has a Tex Mex flavor to it and is basically a chop it, dump it, mix it recipe.  I also have another vegan stuffing recipe that has a balsamic base to it you can find that here.

Quinoa Stuffing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 16 servings, ⅔ cup each

Ingredients
2 Tbsp . olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
8 medium celery stalks , chopped (about 4 cups)
2 medium green apples , with peel (about 2 cups)
4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
2 cups dry quinoa , rinsed
1 tsp . sea salt
1 tsp . ground cumin
½ tsp . ground black pepper
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup pine nuts

Instructions
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add celery and apple; cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
Add broth, quinoa, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add cilantro and pine nuts; fluff with fork and serve.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 156
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 196 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 4 g

If you follow any of the Team Beachbody workouts with meals plans here is a breakdown of how the quinoa recipe will fit into your day.

P90X/P90X2 Portions
½ Carb
½ Single Serving Snack

P90X3 Portions
½ Protein
1 Carb
½ Fat

Body Beast Portions
½ Protein
1 Starch
½ Fat

21 Day Fix/Extreme/Fixate Containers
1 Yellow
½ Blue

 

Photo Credit goes to Photographs by Anguel Dimov Who photographed for the original blog post

AS always, I’ll see you on the other side!!

Back at it (again!?)

I feel like the end of the summer is always the time of year when he REALLY get off track, with everything. Schedules are all messed up, what we are consuming probably doesn’t qualify as “food” 75% of the time 😬 and I feel like I’m scrambling. Anyone else?!?

Well, school has finally started and that means a fall clean out of my house from the closets to the pantry and everything in between. Meal prepping becomes mandatory just due to the crazy schedules we all keep and I actually get my butt in gear and post regular content again!😂👏

I feel like there has been a lot of changes and buzz words floating around the diet/fitness/health world this summer. I have gotten the opportunity to spend a lot of time with cross-fit and power lifting athletes as well as runners; and they have definitely influenced some of the ways I think about food now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am neither a power lifter or a runner in ANY capacity! 🤣 But, I do love learning how other athletes care for their bodies in pre and post- workouts and how that varies from what they do at events to gear up and recover.

So the next few posts will be on that track, but I also want to hear from you. What have you learned or have questions about with food, training, gaining or losing weight. I love to research and hear new ideas, so post you comments and questions here or on FB.

I am also on Snapchat now (slowly figuring it out 😉🤣) so find me there and get a glimpse inside my world with my family, pets, students and any other random thing that goes on in my life!!

As always, see you on the other side!

Protein Consumption

I love protein as a topic, especially and an athlete who cannot consume dairy.   There is a lot of different research out there about what protein is best and how much is best and when to consume it. So in this article I'm going to highlight different types of proteins and what they do for the body. As far as how much to consume that all depends on your body, your sport, the time of year, the quality of the protein. So it's always best to ask a medical professional when you are going to start changing nutrient quantities in your own diet.

First off, lets talk about what protein is. If you asked the general population, the standard response is "meat." That is only part of the picture. Proteins are carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules just like fats and carbohydrates.  The thing that sets them apart is they also contain nitrogen molecules, which allows proteins to repair and help rebuild cells. Proteins are made up of 22 amino acids; 13 are made by the body and 9 need to be consumed from food.

All animal sources of protein contain all 9 essential amino acids, but several plant sources contain all 9 as well. Quinoa, hemp, chia and soy are great examples of plant based complete proteins.

A couple main types of protein are Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine and Cysteine.  Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) are absorbed directly into the muscle tissue for energy use without having to be processed through the liver first. This makes it a great fuel for athletes to have in their system once the stores of glycogen have been depleted. Some researches believe BCAA can decrease muscle damage if consumed before and after exercise, amounts varied greatly so speak with a sports nutritionist if you want to begin adding BCAA to your daily regime.  Included in BCAA are whey and casein proteins.  Both are derived from milk and have differing absorption properties.  Whey protein absorbs quickly without being metabolized making it popular among weight lifters.  Casein must be metabolized by the body before it can be used, which gives the body a steady stream of amino. The downside to BCAA is it's a no-no for those of us who cant have dairy.

Soy has been found to be a great comparable alternative to animal proteins. The texture and flavor lend itself well to most dishes that require ground meat. Downside here is it's hard to find a non-GMO soy product and studies are showing that too much soy can cause issue with hormone production. It is also found in EVERYTHING! So you're probably getting more soy that you think.

Quinoa and chia are staples in my house. I use quinoa as an alternative to rice in almost every dish that calls for rice. I also add it to my salads par-cooked to get more plant protein and crunch in my salad.

Chia has an interesting texture. When you add it to liquid it forms a gel-like casing around the seed. So I tend to add it to my yogurt and oatmeal. In yogurt it gives a tapioca like texture and I don't even notice it in my oatmeal due to that fact that I add nuts raisins and apples as well😉

Like with all foods you want to get a variety. Each food may have its one or two nutrients it's known for, but getting a variety adds the benefit of additional nutrients you didn't know your body wanted.

As always leave your questions and comments below or on FB

See you on the other side!

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