A little over a month ago, I decided to change up my workout routine. With my work schedule and social life the way it is, I couldn’t always make it to the gym classes I liked, and I found that my regular cardio routine (read: a half-hearted two mile run/walk) was starting to not cut it anymore. So, I decided to start lifting weights. And, while I’m not sure I can say I see physical results just yet, I sure am hungry all the time!
That’s where these protein muffins come into the picture. They provide just the right amount of sweet, while still being the perfect pre-workout snack. The best part is, they are chock-full of protein.
I used the ceramic muffin pan that Marta got for me, and as you can see, was fully occupied with taking muffin photos … that is, until Sophie (my cat) crept into the picture.
Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Muffins (adapted from DailyBurn)
1 1/4 Cups and 3 Tbsp. of Whole Wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. of Ground Flaxseeds
2 Tsp. of Baking Powder
1/8 Tsp. of Salt
2 Bananas, mashed (*note: use ripe bananas, as they will help naturally sweeten the muffins)
1/2 Cup of Nonfat, Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup of Almond Milk
1 Tbsp. of Vanilla
1/4 Cup of Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (for homemade, click here)
Sift together the following dry ingredients: flour, flaxseeds, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Using another bowl, mix together the eggs, banana, Greek yogurt, almond milk and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, just until combined.
In a generously greased muffin tin, fill up cups half way. Drop in a large teaspoon-size dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread. Cover the chocolate hazelnut fully with more muffin batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Eat immediately, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for two days.
Being home for Christmas break, I couldn’t get enough of the fresh California produce. I forgot how lucky we were to have fairly good quality fruit all year round, which I don’t get to the same extent in New York. My sister and I went to downtown Palo Alto for a morning yoga class, and decided to try the new Acai Bowl joint, Bare Bowls, to top off a healthy day. Bare Bowls was fantastic and very refreshing, but man was it over-priced, as all Palo Alto spots tend to be. My sister and I decided to make our own Acai bowls the next day for breakfast!
I definitely took advantage of the fact that my parents own a Vitamix, which makes Acai bowls, or VERY thick smoothies, much easier to make. An Acai bowl is basically a smoothie so thick you have to eat it with a spoon, with acai, other fruit and typically some kind of nut butter. Acai bowls are then topped with more fresh fruit, granola, nuts, coconut shavings and any other topping of choice. We didn’t have acai berries, but used acai juice and added bananas, strawberries, blackberries and peanut butter to make the base. We topped it off with banana slices and granola for a refreshing, hearty breakfast. Overall I was pleased with the results, and even more thrilled we were able to eat outside.
4 Tbsp Acai Juice
1 Heaping Tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter
8 Ice Cubes
Toppings: Banana slices, granola, other fruit
Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. (Note: the base of the acai bowl should be very thick. Some normal blenders, including my own, will not work well with such little liquid. I was fortunate enough to use my parents’ Vitamix while I was home which worked great. Feel free to add more acai juice in order to property blend). Top with banana slices, granola and other toppings of choice.