Peanut Butter Banh Mi

If you haven’t tried a Bánh Mì sandwich yet, you are seriously missing out. Alas, worry not, for I am about to remedy that tragedy. If you haven’t even heard of Bánh Mì, well, I can fix that too. Let’s get our culture on for a split second.

The sandwich originated in Vietnam during French colonial rule and is characterized by it’s French-Vietnamese fusion ingredients, which include some source of protein (pork, chicken, tofu, etc. ), a mayonnaise spread, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber slices, and fresh cilantro (coriander). Traditionally, the term “bánh mì” actually refers to the bread that is used for the sandwich, which happens to be a thin French baguette. However, as it gained popularity, the sandwich as a whole became generally recognized as “bánh mì.”

My first Bánh Mì experience was mind-blowing. I was enjoying live music at the local Saturday Market in the town square with my wonderful boyfriend. So I guess you can say that all the positive factors for the perfect first experience were all there. The sandwich really made an impression on us, and before we knew it we were experimenting with the ingredients and making versions of our own! My Peanut Butter Banh Mi was a result of this on-going love-affair, and my love for it only grows stronger with every bite!

Peanutbutterbahnmi

Peanut Butter Banh Mi

Ingredients:

  • Whole Grain Tortilla or a Whole Grain Baguette
  • Shredded or Cubed Chicken mixed with Asian Peanut Butter Paste
  • Fresh Spinach
  • ½ of a Small Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/2 of a Cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped or minced
  • Juice of Half of a Lemon
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ⅛  tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0%)

Directions:

Chop the cilantro and cut the carrot, cucumber, and red bell pepper into matchsticks and place in a bowl. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix.

Spread each tortilla or slice of baguette with a little greek yogurt (about 1 Tbsp). Layer with fresh spinach, peanut butter chicken, and mixed vegetables. Dig in!

I love using peanut butter chicken in this recipe, but it also tastes amazing with seasoned pork or shrimp. It is so versatile! Get inspired and let me know in how you like your Bánh Mì in the comments below!

 

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Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites

I used to hate bananas. The texture, the taste, the way “banana” rolled off my tongue. “Ba-na-na.” Hmph. I just simply pretended bananas didn’t exist. I left them alone, they left me alone, and all was well in the world. There was only one problem with this relationship between bananas and I: bananas are incredibly good for you and so versatile in the kitchen. Well, I have been cramping a bit during my workouts lately, and I could use a little extra energy pre-workout anyway…UGH, fine. I’ll learn to like them. But how?

Well, I love chocolate. MMM…chocolate. Yes, chocolate is nice, especially with peanut butter. Especially with anything, really. But how does this relate to learning to love bananas? WELL, let me explain it to you by using this simple equation: Chocolate+nut butter+banana=NOM. It’s simple really. Eventually you may even be able to subtract the chocolate, divide by the nut butter, and…just get a banana. It’s a novel idea.

That is how I did it. I utilized this cutting-edge, break-through approach of just eating a lot of bananas until I liked them. And it worked. Bananas and I are now close friends, and I suggest you include more of them into your diet. Except I will never recommend eating a banana whilst taking a hot bath. I tested that one out for you all, and trust me, it just isn’t a good idea.

Chocolate, nut butter, and banana all together in delicious harmony, however, is always a good idea. And with that, I present to you: Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites.

image-1

Yeah, that just happened. And they were every bit as good as they sound. Did I mention that they are totally healthy? Yes, they are also that. So, what aren’t these little guys? Existent, because I ate them ALL.

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites

Serving Size: 1 Banana Bite

Serves: as many people as you are willing (or not willing) to share with.

Calories per Serving: 105

Macros: Carbs: 4g

Fat: 10g

Protein: 2g

**Serving size, calories, and macros are approximate, not exact!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • All Natural Nut Butter (I used homemade roasted almond butter)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • Stevia, to taste.* (see note under “My Tips.”)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Shavings

Directions:

Peel the banana and slice it into ½ inch thick segments. Top each segment with approximately 1 tsp nut butter. Place banana pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate coating. In a bowl, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, and stevia (to taste). Mix thoroughly, making sure to break up any chunks of cacao powder. Set aside.

Remove banana slices from the freezer and carefully coat each one in the chocolate mixture. Place banana bite back on the cookie sheet to allow it to harden while you coat the others. Repeat this step, coating each banana bite twice. After the second coating, dip the top in unsweetened coconut shavings. Place cookie sheet with chocolate covered banana bites back into the freezer and freeze for another 30 minutes.

Enjoy these delectable little bites frozen, or let them thaw out in the fridge for a few minutes! The banana gets nice and oozy-gooey, and it is just too good to pass up.

BananaBites2

My Tips:

  • *There are many different kinds of stevia products out there on the market like liquid extract, powdered extracts, and stevia in the raw. Each varies in strength. Because of this, there is no exact measurement for the amount of stevia that you should use. Just sweeten the chocolate to your preferred level of sweetness using whichever product you have!
  • If you do not like stevia, or you do not have any, use a natural sweetener like honey or 100% pure maple syrup.
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Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup

In the heat of a hot summer day, I think we can all agree that we would give just about anything for a chilled refreshment. Ice water, iced tea, lemonade, you name it. All these things can be considered summer essentials. I like to try new things, so this summer I finally tried something new that used to throw me for a loop: chilled soup. Every hip and trendy restaurant in town was serving it, and I thought, “Hey, I’m cool too!.” So, in an effort to prove how hip and trendy I was, I gave it a little taste. Just a small bite at first to see what I was getting myself into. Then I face planted into my bowl.

It was so refreshing and crisp, simple and satisfying. Now I can’t imagine summertime without it. A summer without chilled soup is no summer at all!

Next thing I knew, I was dreaming up ideas and combining flavors in my head that made my mouth water with anticipation.

lemonmint

First up in the batting order we have a simple Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup, a sweet combination of cucumber, watermelon, and tangy lemon that is crisp and delightful during the afternoon heat! This one quickly found itself a permanent home on my summer essentials list.

Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup

Serving Size: 1 ½ Cups

Serves: 4

Calories per Serving: 35

Macros: 2g Carbs

0g Fat

2g Protein

**Serving sizes, calories, and macros are approximate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced.
  • ½ a small Watermelon, cubed.
  • Juice of half of a Lemon
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt

Garnishes:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

Combine the cucumber slices, watermelon cubes, lemon juice, and salt in your food processor and blend until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with a tablespoon of greek yogurt and chopped mint and cilantro.

Enjoy!

gazpacho

 

 

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Strawberry Shortcake Casein Protein Mug Cake

Any fellow strawberry shortcake fans out there? This little dessert is a body builder in disguise, and it is virtually shame-free.  From the moist, strawberry sprinkled cake to the sweetened yogurt oozing over the top, everything in this cake is made of “clean” ingredients that will actually feed your body with what it needs to grow muscle: protein! It is the perfect post-workout snack if you had a late gym session or if you need a little guiltless pleasure when that nighttime sweet tooth creeps up on you. Since casein protein digests slowly, it will feed your muscles through the night! Bonus!

StrawberryShortCake

Lately, I can’t get enough of mug cakes. Genius.

Strawberry Shortcake Casein Protein Mug Cake

Serves: 1 person

Calories per Serving: 315

Macros: 19g of Carbs

11g of Fat

35g of Protein

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ Tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Casein Protein Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • Stevia, to taste
  • ¼ Cup plus 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Natural Apple Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Strawberry, cubed

For the Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Nonfat Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
  • ½ Tbsp Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ⅛ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Stevia, to taste
  • 2-3 Strawberries, cubed
  • ½ Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut, shredded or chopped

Directions:

In a coffee mug, mix the ingredients for the cake, first dry then wet, making sure it is thoroughly blended. Mix in the cubed strawberry. Batter is relatively thick. Microwave for 3 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the topping. In a bowl, combine the greek yogurt, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia. Let chill until cake is finished.

Top the mug cake with the “icing” mixture and garnish with cubed strawberries and the coconut. Enjoy!

StrawberryShortcakeBite

My Tips: 

  • When the cake finishes cooking in the microwave, let it cool for a few minutes in the mug before flipping it onto the plate. It allows it to cook a little more and really set! I also find that this makes it easier to remove it from the mug.
  • If you don’t have casein protein handy, you can substitute it for whey protein. I have not done this, but you may have to tweak the recipe a bit to get the desired consistency. In my experience, I have needed less liquid when baking with whey.