Tag Archives: peanut butter

Energy Ball Recipe Roundup and a Foot Compression Sleeve Review

21 Apr

Last month was my mom’s birthday, and given that she’s into all things health and fitness these days, I couldn’t get away with gifting her a box of chocolates or a bottle of booze (because I did that last year!). Instead, I made her a variety box of energy balls. She teaches up to 6 Zumba classes a week, on top of her day job and being a property owner and landlady. So I know energy is extremely valuable to her. Rather than store-bought options, I wanted to make treats that are super healthy, full of natural and real ingredients, and homemade, because what mom doesn’t like something their kid made for her!

The trip to the store to make these was surely a heavy one – peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, extracts, and TONS of dates – went into these energy balls. Luckily, there were a few too many to fit in the box for her, so I got to keep some behind for my own enjoyment! And because they’re so tasty, I wanted to share this roundup of energy balls with all of you. These vary in type: I wanted a mixture of flavors that spanned chocolatey, fruity, nutty, and salty. All you need are a few ingredients for each of them, a strong food processor, and some patience! Because these use real food, you can keep them in the fridge up to a week, or do what I have: store them in the freezer, and take out one or two a day to thaw for the next day’s refueling. Make a big batch and you’re good for a whole month!

Energy Ball Recipe Roundup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pina Colada Energy Balls – these taste just the drink! I dare you not to eat the “batter” straight from the bowl. But trust me, their flavor only improves over time. Two things I did differently:  replaced the macadamia nuts with cashews, and added 1/4 tsp coconut extract.

Peanut Butter, Coconut & Chocolate Chip Balls – this type of energy ball is one of my favorites, mostly because they are held together with peanut butter 🙂 Instead of peanuts, I used mini chocolate chips for extra sweetness.

Lemonade Protein Balls – I love how juicy these balls are 😉 they’re bursting with lemon flavor, so it’s hard to eat just one. I used coconut oil instead of coconut butter, and added 1/4 tsp lemon extract to up the lemony goodness.

Thin Mint Protein Balls – It’s hard to imagine a protein ball that tastes like a favorite Girl Scout cookie, but this one nails it! Make them now – you won’t regret it.

Fig Newton Balls – These are the simplest of the lot, made with just walnuts and dried figs! And yeah, they totally taste like the classic cookie 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls – These balls taste like a bite of autumn, but are perfect for any time of year. They use real pumpkin puree, which is pretty awesome. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I used chopped almonds.

In line with the healthy theme, I wanted to share with you a review of Plantar Fasciitis Compression Foot Sleeves that SLS3 recently sent me! I’m still new to compression gear, but I already know these foot sleeves are pretty great. I’ve realized that when lacing up my running shoes, I LOVE the feeling of the tight shoes on my feet. That pressure is actually comforting. Of course, after a long run, all I want to do is kick off my shoes and peel off my socks, to let my feet be free. But as soon as I’m out of the shower, that desire for compression returns. I pull on these compression foot sleeves and feel instant relief.

foot sleeve

There are many more benefits to these sleeves, too:

  • They come in a range of sizes, so whether you have big or small feet, you’re all set! And trust me: I have big feet, and these fit me like a glass slipper….or what Cinderella surely would’ve preferred to her glass slippers! 
  • Whether you’re heavy into sports or just on your feet a lot, these sleeves will reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Medical professionals designed the sleeves, so they are perfect for foot and ankle support, which helps stimulate the healing process and increase blood flow to speed up recovery. 
  • They’re actually comfortable! I’ve worn them alone, under socks, and even with socks and shoes to leave the house. The material is thin enough that they aren’t bulky at all.
  • The fabric is moisture wicking and breathable – exactly what your tired feet need! You’ll stay dry and oder free 🙂 

Interested in owning a pair? They’re currently discounted 50%, so grab some for just $19.90 through Amazon (and on Prime, too!), and feel the relief!

foot sleeve 2

I received a pair of Plantar Fasciitis Compression Foot Sleeves from SLS3 to review and no additional compensation for this post. All opinions are my own!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles

10 Jun

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Ah, breakfast. My absolute favorite meal of the day, and one which I would happily enjoy for every meal of the day! The options are endless…sweet, savory, pastry, eggy, cheesy…I could go on.

One of my newest favorite breakfast meals are waffles! I’ve posted about the quick & easy dish before, but once is never enough. Besides, with a nice basic recipe, it’s easy to let the mind wander into more creative variations. Which is where this recipe comes from. Combine a craving for PB&J, a healthy breakfast, and the time to make something really amazing, and you get Peanut Butter & Jelly waffles!

But wait! There is neither real peanut butter nor sugary jelly in this breakfast. A heaping scoop of powdered peanut butter, creaminess from coconut milk and quick-stewed strawberries gives the illusion of something indulgent and naughty without actually being bad for you. Add in some protein powder and keep the flour whole wheat, and there’s a balanced breakfast ready to go!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

While we’re on the subject of breakfast, let’s talk about eggs. Given that waffles require so little time to cook, the egg in the batter might be off-putting to some people. But with Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs, there’s nothing to worry about! Pasteurization means that their eggs are safely and slowly heated in warm water to kill any potential germs, negating the risk of Salmonella. If you stick with pasteurized eggs, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffles
Serves 4

  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 serving of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 C PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 2 tbsp nondairy powdered milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 C canned coconut milk (shake well before opening)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pasteurized egg, separated
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup

Turn on the waffle maker to its highest setting. 450° is good.

In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together. Whisk in the milk, oil and egg yolk. In a small bowl, beat the egg white until light and fluffy.

Carefully mix the egg white into the batter.

Grease waffle iron with PAM or coconut oil. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into the center and close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes, transfer to a plate, and repeat with the rest of the batter. Note: this makes nicely small waffles. If you want large ones, use 1/2-2/3 cup of batter per waffle.

Optional: keep the plate of finished waffles warm in the oven, turned to its lowest possible temperature, until all have been cooked.

While the waffles cook, combine quartered strawberries with the maple syrup in a microwaveable bowl. Zap on full power for 2 minutes. You may need to stir and microwave another minute – you are looking for a stewed consistency, the flavor of which will be strawberry jam.

To serve, place two waffles onto a plate and spoon the strawberry mixture on top. Add any other toppings you desire: more maple syrup, a dollop of nut butter, sliced banana, etc.

PB2 and Jelly Mug Cake {Vegan, Gluten Free}

1 May

This quick, vegan, gluten free single serving dessert is what a peanut butter & jelly sandwich would taste like in a cake form…a healthy cake!

With batter made from powdered peanut butter, coconut butter and flaxseed meal, you’re already getting lots of protein and healthy fats. But when you use just a bit of maple syrup to sweeten and a splash of milk to bring it together, you’re golden! The fresh berries turn into a jelly-like consistency in the microwave, which gives you an end result of the perfect childhood sandwich, as a mug cake!

PB2 and Jelly Mug Cake | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Not the prettiest mug cake, but it’s SO tasty!


Whip up one (or two – I won’t judge) the next time a craving for PB&J hits. That’s exactly what inspired me to develop this!

PB2 and Jelly Mug Cake 

Serves 1

  • 1 tbsp coconut butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water (to form a gel)
  • 3 tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 3 tbsp soy milk or other nondairy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 fresh blackberries (or 1/4 C of other fresh berries)

In a small mixing bowl, mix flaxseed meal with water to create a gel.

In a microwave-safe mug, glass bowl or ramekin, melt coconut butter.

Transfer melted coconut butter to the flaxseed gel. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the berries.

Stir together VERY well. Transfer batter back to the container you used to melt the butter. Place fresh blackberries into the batter.

Cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let cool a bit before digging in and destroying enjoying!

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds

17 Dec

So this past weekend I competed in a cookie contest. What’s better than cookies and competition?! Milwaukee had its first Cookie Takedown, and it was a blast! About 20 of us home cooks entered, and brought 250+ of our best cookie to the table. Sadly, I did not win, but the whole process was a fun one!

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mmmmmmelty Kahlua truffles

I’m not much for recipe testing, but entering this contest, I knew I had to put my best morsel forward. So, my friend Shana came over and we test two different cookie recipes, marked down notes of any changes, compared them analytically (read: ate lots of cookies and commented on them), and finally chose the one I’d enter: peanut butter cookies rolled in colored sugar, topped with a homemade Kahlua espresso truffle. But that’s not much of a name, so our creative sides came up with: Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds.

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Making one batch of cookies is nothing compared to making 4 or 5 batches of the same cookie. The kitchen turns into a factory and the countertop is your assembly line. Stacks of cooling racks donned the table, and smells of peanut butter wafted throughout the house. It sure was work, but fun and edible work! Employing the changes noted from the recipe testing session, I successfully made 250 “clouds” and let Milwaukee eat them up (ok, there are a few leftover which are slowly being deployed to my friends and family.

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Our presentation at the contest.


Whether you need to make a ton of cookies, or just one batch, give this one a try! It does require some work – you’re not just squishing Hershey Kisses on these cookies, but the homemade truffles are SO WORTH IT. Seriously. Besides, you’ll most likely end up with leftover truffles…perfect for nomming on, or throwing into your next batch of brownies! Get baking, friends!

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds, adapted from The Kitchn

Makes about 4.5 dozen cookies

For the Kahlua Truffles:

  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp Kahlua liquer
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, finely ground

For the Peanut Butter Clouds:

  • 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 C creamy peanut butter (not the natural stuff!)
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1.5 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • colored sugars for coating

Begin by making the Kahlua truffles. Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler halfway full with water. Place the top pot over it and bring water to a rolling simmer. In the top pot, mix the chocolate chips with the Kahlua and espresso powder. In a small pot, heat heavy cream until bubbles just begin forming

In a small pot, heat heavy cream until bubbles just begin forming – this won’t take long at all. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate chips. Stir well with a spoon and keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from the double boiler and let sit to cool. I found that it works best if you let the truffle mixture sit in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, to speed up the cooling process – just don’t forget it’s in there! Or you’ll have to simply reheat over the double boiler.

Once the chocolate is thick enough to hold it’s shape, start making the truffles. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Spoon chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Squirt out truffles to form small mounds like a Hershey’s Kiss. Continue this process until all chocolate is used. Place the pan in the freezer to get them as hard as possible.

Tip: if you don’t have enough baking sheets, you can use a glass baking dish, round cake tins, even a piece of sturdy cardboard! A flat surface covered in parchment is all you need.

Now, for the cookies! Or rather, the “clouds.” Preheat your oven to 345 (yes, that’s very precise). Line 2 large baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter until creamy. Add in the sugars and continue to beat together. Now add in the egg, vanilla and milk. Beat until light and fluffy.

While things are beating, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Pour half the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until it’s all incorporated.

Pour about 1/4 C of colored sugar into a small bowl, for coating.

Using the large side of a melon baller (yeah, don’t use a cookie scoop for these – the size of a melon baller turns out perfectly when baked!), scoop cookie dough and form into a sphere with your hands. Roll in sugar, but leave one side sugarfree – place that side down on the cookie sheet and continue until the sheet is full. Be sure to leave about an inch or two between cookie balls.

Once the sheet is full, place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for exactly 9 minutes at 345 degrees, turning the sheet around halfway through. While that’s baking, work on the next sheet of cookie balls!

When the cookies are done, remove from oven and immediately squish the frozen truffles on top, pressing down slightly. Let the “clouds” cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack only once they are cool enough to pick up – any sooner, and they’ll fall apart in your hands…and you’d have to eat those!

Repeat this process until all the cookie dough is used up.

Store cookies in your favorite cookie tins or snowman shaped cookie jars. Eat and be merry 🙂

Peanut Butter Kahlua Clouds | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Me and Shana, my official taste tester & cookie buddy, ready to hand out cookies!

What recipe would you have used in a cookie contest? I’m always looking for the next best recipe!


Grain Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

23 Jan

It’s taken me a while, but I finally tried powdered peanut butter! PB2 is the brand, and the appeal is that it is a powdered form of peanut butter, with most of the fat removed. This decreases the calorie and fat count per serving, which is ideal when you want peanut butter flavor, but don’t want all that comes with it. As a disclaimer, however, I will say that good fats are good! In the same day I made and ate this cake, I also had a huge handful of actual peanuts. With fat. And salt. And they were delicious; along with plenty of other healthy fat servings. You should know by now that eating fats will not make you fat. In fact, getting the proper amount of fats in your daily intake will make you feel fuller, stronger, and can help lead to weight loss/maintenance.

Grain Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

So if you give PB2 or any other powdered variety a try, don’t forget to add fats to your diet in other ways and meals. This fun, quick and tasty single-serving cake is perfect for when you’re craving something chocolatey and delicious. It requires simple ingredients, takes only a few minutes to make, and is sure to satisfy your cravings, day or night! I followed Katie’s recipe with a few minor changes. Let me know how it works out for you!

Grain Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

That’s my new fleece cheetah blanket you see as a background (thanks mom!)

Grain Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake, adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Serves 1

  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter (PB2)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp honey (or one packet stevia if you’re strictly vegan)
  • 2 tbsp mashed banana (or applesauce, or oil of choice)
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together very well. Add the wet ingredients, and stir until completely combined – you don’t want chunks of cocoa powder!

Grease a 1-cup ramekin or a coffee mug and pour in the cake batter. Top with chocolate chips if using. Bake in the microwave for 90 seconds. Carefully remove (it’s hot!) and let stand for a couple minutes to set. Dig in while it’s still warm, though, as the center will have a slight gooey quality 🙂

Eat it as is, or top with some jam, peanut butter, chocolate chips, or your favorite frosting.

What recipe satisfies YOUR late-night cravings?

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