Tag Archives: snack

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree

20 Apr

Picture this: it’s 10 PM and you’re so hungry that your growling stomach is sure to keep you from falling asleep. So you grab some chocolate, or a handful of trail mix, or pretzels. Sound familiar?

But is 10 PM really the right time of day to eat? Most would argue it’s not wise. But do you understand the science behind it?

Today’s guest, Kevin Jones, shares how to determine when you should be eating. The recipe that follows is a great example of what you should be eating – a healthy, high-protein, dairy & gluten free dinner that’s perfect following a workout or simply a busy day at work!


Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Breaking Down the Details on the Best Times of the Day to Eat

About The Guest Author: Kevin Jones writes for a number of sites across the web, sharing his wisdom and expertise in the health and fitness industry. He has written extensively for NordicTrack and ProForm, offering out-of-the-box workout plans and nutritional advice. During his free time, he likes to be very active with his wife and two children, hitting the slopes of Park City, Utah or chasing down Salt Lake City’s Korean food trucks. Connect with him online; LinkedInTwitter.

My grandmother – a very opinionated woman – has always been very vocal about the way you should eat, and when. Her philosophy, passed to me in my formative years, was that you eat heavy in the morning, heavier in the afternoon, and light in the evening. “And none of that silly no-fat nonsense…give me my butter, or lose a hand!”

For a long time I ignored these lessons, eating with the gusto and carefree nature of youth. Now that I am older, and I have to think of weight gain, heart health, and indigestion, I have started wondering if she was right.

We all know that healthy food is good food. But what are the best times to eat it?

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Erratic Diets and The Harm They Do

Eating irregularly is bad for you. That might seem like a drastic statement, but it has been shown to be true again and again. A study by Harvard University found that just a few days of eating on an opposing schedule could cause serious sugar and insulin spikes where none had been present before.

Another study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that nighttime eating could cause an increase in weight gain. Still another found that late eating impacted circadian rhythms and disrupted sleep patterns.

So, to recap, eating late at night, or just in a way that is different than your usual pattern of meals, can screw with your blood sugar levels, your sleep, and even make you fat. That seems like a pretty serious thing to me.

Eating Post Workout

Another factor to keep in mind is when working out. Exercise taxes the body, eats up all the food-provided energy in the system, and puts strain and tears within muscles that need to be repaired. Protein rich snacks or meals following intense activity are crucial for the body to function properly.

But did you know dehydration may keep you from getting the nutrients you need? Long distance runners are familiar with runner’s trots. But anyone can experience diarrhea following a workout, often sparked by improper hydration.

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What All This Tells Us

We can make a couple of assumptions about diet based on the above facts. First, eating late at night is a no-no. Second, proper hydration is crucial for proper nutrient retention. Third, our bodies are delicate tools that have to be properly balanced.

Eat well, eat often, and don’t eat too late. Oh, and keep drinking water. While the eight glasses a day rhetoric may be a myth, the need for keeping ourselves nice and hydrated is not.


Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

With that in mind, here’s a protein rich meal that’s great for dinner! Tofu’s texture is not for everyone, but when pressed and roasted, it’s much more palatable! Pair this with a simple puree of roasted vegetables, and you’ve got dinner in the bag. Enjoy!

Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 block firm tofu, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper – to roast
  • 1/2 C vegetable stock, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Roasted pepitas, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray with oil.

Wrap the drained tofu block in a clean tea towel and place a heavy object on top of it, like a heavy pan or book. Let this sit while you prep the veggies.

Chop all the veggies – neatness doesn’t count in this recipe! Lay them out on one of the baking sheets with the garlic and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Stir a bit and make sure the veggies are in a single layer. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Slice the pressed tofu into long, thin strips. Place in a single layer on the second baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until dry and crispy. It’s best to put the tofu in the oven 10 minutes after the vegetables have been in.

Once the vegetables are roasted, transfer them to a blender, along with the warmed vegetable stock, seasonings, and vinegar. Puree until smooth, taking care to let steam escape from the lid by removing the middle piece and holding a towel loosely over the top. Taste and adjust as desired.

Pour the vegetable puree into four bowls. Top with the roasted tofu strips and garnish with roasted pepitas. Enjoy hot!

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip

24 May

Can you believe that before this past weekend, I had never been hiking?! This fact seemed to shock quite a few of my friends. After all, I’m a runner and a lifetime Girl Scout – week-long summer camp was a regular annual experience for me, but aside from walking from our tents to the mess hall, I’ve never been on a proper hike. Until now.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Boy, have I been missing out! Our friends Adam and Jill invited Chris and myself to join them on a hiking day trip in Utica, IL. Sounded like it could be fun, so we were in. Starved Rock State Park is a 2.5 hour drive from Milwaukee, so we left early in the morning to arrive around 10:30am. Being the over-planner that I am, we had figured out all the food & drink, clothes, first aid and emergency supplies that we could possibly need for the day. I was tasked with making a pasta salad that could sit in the cooler all day, homemade trail mix, and some kind of granola bar or bite to replenish the carbs we’d quickly burn through.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Once we walked up to the two “tourist” spots in the park – Starved Rock and Lover’s Leap, we had had enough of all the slow pokes, so we moved the car to a parking lot further away from the visitor’s center to do some real hiking.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.comA quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit salad from Jill, my veggie pasta salad, chips, and perhaps a little something from Wisconsin (cheers!), we hiked out to see a few gorgeous canyons, complete with small waterfalls. The closer we got to the canyons, the cooler it became – a welcome relief from the hot, sunny 80+ degree day. The ground was pretty easy to walk on with a handful of muddy spots. The streams were what got me – too big to jump over (mostly) but too small to warrant turning around. Thankfully, Chris was really good at finding me the best places to cross where my shoes would become only slightly wet (they dried off quickly, too).

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The views really were beautiful. Everything was bright green, we were relatively well-shaded, and the rocks of the canyons had this amazing layered yellow hue to them. Hiking to and from each canyon spot made us work up an appetite, so we stopped for a snack break before hitting the final, steepest trail. The granola bites I ended up making are filled with a tart roasted rhubarb puree. The crust is made up of ground oats, 7-grain cereal, coconut oil, peanut butter, flax, and cinnamon – definitely a hearty, compact snack! I wanted to make sure we were set with carbs, protein and fat, and I think I nailed it! These had to stay in the cooler and the perfect snack break.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Our final trail of the day was the most challenging. The view up looked daunting. It was steep, and lacked a lot of footing. There is a wooden staircase built in for the steepest portion (which is also right next to a county road), but we had to manage the rest on our own. And it was well worth it! A few water stops later, and we were presented with a fantastic view of the river and surrounding park. I can see why people enjoy this! I can now say I’m one of them 🙂

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The descent to the bottom of the trail was almost just as challenging, as we worked to avoid slipping and falling. When we returned to the car, I experienced the most wonderful feeling of taking off my shoes and socks! Haha, yeah, that felt great – I’m so glad I brought flip flops to change into and rest my feet.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

We headed home, with a pit stop along the way for a bathroom and much-deserved cold beer, and finally reached Milwaukee again. I had so much fun, that the four of us are already working on our next hiking trip! In the meantime, I’m going to be making these roasted rhubarb granola bites pretty often. It’s a great way to use your rhubarb harvest, and is a much healthier snack than cake or pie. They’re easy to make, and can be frozen for enjoyment later on!

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites
Makes 12 bites

  • 3 C chopped rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp creamy nut/seed butter of choice
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 C Maple
  • 3/4 C Oat flour
  • 1 C Bob’s grain cereal
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with PAM.

Spread chopped rhubarb on the baking sheet. Drizzle with honey. Roast for 25 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through, to prevent burning.

Transfer rhubarb to a bowl and mix in the cornstarch. Use an immersion blender to puree the roasted rhubarb. Set aside. Note: leave the oven on!

In a medium bowl, melt together the nut butter and coconut oil. Mix in the maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the oat flour, cereal and flaxseed meal until well-combined and hydrated.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the crust mixture into each paper liner and pat down with the back of the spoon. There should be some crust mixture remaining.

Spoon in a scant tablespoon of the rhubarb puree. Finally, spoon about a teaspoon of the leftover crust on top of the rhubarb.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the tin. Transfer the tin to your fridge and let chill a few hours or overnight. This will help set it up.

Remove from tin and serve. Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Roasted Rhubarb Granola Bites + My First Hiking Trip | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Apple Cornmeal Protein Muffins

4 Apr

I’ve been doing a lot more cooking that revolves around running nutrition. I have to consume more carbs, more protein and more fat…and I love it! I’m always hungry and always thinking about food. So I really have no problem working more food into my daily diet. As I train for my upcoming half marathon, I continue to eat as unprocessed as possible, eliminating chemicals and additives. But I’m always looking for ways to add carbs, protein, and fat. On those short run days, that’s pretty easy to accomplish. But on long run days, replenishing those calories can be challenging.

Apple Cornmeal Protein Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

While I’m hungry all the time, I can only fill my stomach so much. Which is why nutrient-dense foods are a must-have. And thus, I present these apple cornbread protein muffins! They’re full of protein, healthy carbs, and plenty of fiber. They’re also vegan, gluten free, oil free, and free of refined sugars. So, kind of the perfect snack or breakfast. Oh, and they’re completely moist, with a bit of crunch to them thanks to the cornmeal. Naturally sweetened, these muffins will hit the spot any time of day.

Apple Cornmeal Protein Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Make these scrumptious muffins for a week’s worth of breakfast, an easy snack pre- or post-workout, or just a healthy treat to enjoy when you want something on the sweeter side. Throw a few in the freezer to pull out when you need to refuel after a hard workout (just toss into a 350 degree oven for a couple minutes to warm up from a frozen state).

Apple Cornmeal Protein Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 large apples, shredded
  • 1 C nondairy milk + 1 tsp lemon juice (to curdle)
  • 2 flax eggs (or two large eggs if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 C cornmeal, medium ground is best
  • 1/2 C oat flour (note: measure after grinding oats into flour!)
  • 1/2 C vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 12 walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spread the shredded apple in a single layer. Let dehydrate in the preheating oven for 5 minutes. This will help reduce some of their moisture.

In a large measuring cup, combine the milk and lemon juice. Let sit 5 minutes to curdle. Then add the flax or chicken eggs, vanilla and honey/maple syrup. Whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, oat flour, protein powder, baking powder & soda, tartar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture and whisk again, making sure to combine well so as to hydrate the cornmeal and oat flour. Fold in the shredded apple.

Spray 2 silicone muffin molds with olive oil PAM; place molds on a large baking sheet. Scoop batter into the molds, filling to the top – these will not rise very much. Press a walnut half into the top of each muffin, if desired.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the oven and let sit inside another 2 minutes with the door closed. Remove from the oven, and transfer silicone molds to a cooling rack. Let sit 10-15 minutes and then carefully pop out the muffins to let cool completely on the rack. Enjoy warm, or store, cooled, in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days. These can also be frozen for up to 3 months!

Apple Cornmeal Protein Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Linking up with Running on Happy & The Fit Foodie Mama, and Confessions of a Mother Runner & A Whisk and Two Forks for #MeatlessMonday! Also linking up with Running in a Skirt for Best of the Blogs!

Hummus and Feta Cucumber Cups

18 Oct

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra Dipping Co. LLC, and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

We’re in the midst of football season (both American and the soccer kind for me), which means every weekend sees tables full of chips & salsa, burgers, beers, sodas, and everything else unhealthy. It’s hard to resist those snacks, especially in the heat of a neck-and-neck game. My approach? Always offer to bring a snack to share! This way, you can control exactly what’s in it – salt, fat, and empty carbs can be reduced or avoided, but flavor can still lead the way!

That’s why I always do something with hummus. Did you know, #twospoons of hummus per day can fulfill your weekly bean recommendation? Yep, two tablespoons of a delicious snack is GOOD for you. So now comes the question of the best way to serve such tasty hummus. Sure, you can make a veggie tray, or bring tortilla chips. But why not get creative? These cucumber cups combine a fresh crunch of cucumber, savory-sweet sun-dried tomato hummus, and slightly salty feta cheese. Everyone will love these cups at the next game-day get together!

Hummus and Feta Cucumber Cups | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Hummus and Feta Cucumber Cups

Makes 20 cucumber cups

  • 4 cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 package Sabra Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • paprika, to serve (optional)

Slice cucumbers into rounds, about 1.5″ thick. You’ll get about 5 per cucumber.

Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds from each cucumber piece, leaving just enough in the bottom of the “cup” to hold some hummus. Discard the seeds and repeat for all of the cucumber.

Stir up the package of Sabra Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, mixing together the seasoning on the edges and the sun-dried tomato puree in the center. Spoon two teaspoons into each cucumber cup, or until full. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top of each cucumber cup.

At this point, you could refrigerate the cucumber cups a couple hours, until your party guests arrive. Before serving, sprinkle lightly with ground paprika. Enjoy!

Protein Carrot Cornbread Muffins

30 Jul

Sometimes all you want is cornbread. But the fatty, carb-loaded version just won’t cut it. Especially when you’re bringing a snack to a friend who just had a baby. In her case, health, protein and nutrients are key with all food choices. So I knew I had to step it up a notch.

Protein Carrot Cornbread Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

These cornbread muffins are far from ordinary. They’re loaded with shredded carrots, have tons of protein from a powder, are vegan, and crazy flavorful. Oh, they’re also low in fat, gluten free and wonderfully moist! You can pretty much please anyone with these bad boys, new moms included 🙂

Protein Carrot Cornbread Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Of course I had to bust out the corncob-shaped silicone baking mold! There are only so many uses for that thing 😛

Protein Carrot Cornbread Muffins, adapted from SuzLyfe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1.5 C shredded carrot
  • 1 C gluten free cornmeal
  • 1/2 C gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C vanilla protein powder of choice (gluten free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1 tsp cream of Tartar
  • 1 C skim or nondairy milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350° and spray silicone muffin molds with PAM.

Spread shredded carrots on a pan lined with aluminum foil. Place in oven for 5 minutes go reduce some of the moisture.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl mix together the wet ingredients.

Add wet to dry, mix well, then add in the carrots.

Scoop batter into prepared silicone muffin molds. Make them full to the brim! You should get 12 muffins. Optional set filled silicone molds onto a baking sheet – this will make it easier to put into and get out of the hot oven.

Bake 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool down enough to pop them out of the molds. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Eat immediately, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Protein Carrot Cornbread Muffins | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

%d bloggers like this: