Saturday, September 13, 2008

Power Protein Balls

I've been experimenting with my vanilla and chocolate whey protein powder, looking for tasty, easy, economical ways to incorporate it into our diets. I adopted a recipe that Michelle and the kids used to make some great no-bake "power balls" to come up with this recipe that I thought good enough to take to the gym with me for taste testing ...everyone that tried one declared them delicious, and I promised I'd post the recipe. These are waaay healthier than the "chocolate no-bakes" I made for years, I think they will help me kick my evening ice cream habit, and Amber might even find them a suitable substitute for her beloved "buckeyes". Here's the recipe:

Mix well together in large bowl:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats/oatmeal

  • 2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder (1/2 to 2/3 cup) (I use EAS)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (for the fiber and omega 3's)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey's special dark)

  • 1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit of your choice)

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Form into 1" balls. Makes 20.
If you find the mixture too dry to form balls that stay together, add more peanut butter. Brands differ a bit in the amount of oil they contain.

Based on this recipe and 20 balls, each power ball has:

  • 102 calories

  • 5 grams fat (no trans, all healthy fats in peanut butter and flax)

  • 5 grams protein

  • 1.5 grams fiber

  • 5 grams sugar (honey & raisins)

  • 10 grams carbs

I tried doubling the flax seed to increase the fiber and decrease the sugar proportionately, adding additional peanut butter, cocoa and cinnamon, but they were a little too dry and didn't taste as good, although the Cullum kids still devoured them.

I've been experimenting with some protein pumpkin pancakes and will post the best recipe soon.

I like mixing a scoop of the vanilla with plain non-fat yogurt and ground flax seed to have over fresh berries and fruit.....yumm....

Or throw in a scoop of either flavor along with cinnamon (and ground flax seed!) to a serving of old fashioned oatmeal for another quick tasty breakfast that will hold you for hours longer than the oatmeal alone.

Note: If you haven't purchased whey protein powder before, you might think I'm out of my mind for calling it economical, but one serving of the EAS brand, which supplies 23 grams of very lean protein, works out to about 30-35 cents a serving.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fitness Joy

Pool swims were nixed several days last week because of storms, so late afternoon on Labor Day, I biked to the beach for an open water swim to see if all my hours of drag-reduction swim drills had netted me anything.  

I was surprised to find I had the water all to myself.  A few people were grabbing the remaining rays of afternoon, but most, apparently had figured their holiday was over.   Gustov had supplied a stronger than usual undertow close to the shore, but once I got beyond the line of cresting waves, the water felt incredibly calm.  I swam parallel the shore for awhile, basking in the sun, the salt, and the silent rhythm of the waves, before trudging through the sand to shower, slide my feet in my shoes, and start home.  I couldn't help but give thanks for the privilege of living in such a beautiful place where I can bike to the beach in 15 minutes to swim in the glorious Gulf.

The view west from the top of Sand Key Bridge.

Avian picnic inside Sand Key Park

One of the Art Deco mansions (yes?, Steve)  on, where else?, Belleair Beach.  

Transport along the intercoastal , from the Ulmerton/Walsingham bridge.

Belleair Beach, of of my favorite venues for viewing Christmas lights. 

I like that I was able to frame the Clearwater Causeway Bridge with the Sand Key Bridge in this view from the northern end of Sand Key Park, but what I especially like are the feathered party crashers.

"The heavens declare the glory of God..."  

I was so involved in watching what I thought were manatees, ( the dark spots a few feet out from the boat) tease the boaters and swimmers, that I missed the very best shots.  I'll have to do some research on that incident.  Dolphins, I've seen plenty of times in this particular area, but I wasn't aware of manatees showing up here before.  Their size and color made me go with manatees - along with the fact that they didn't breach the water the way dolphins usually do, but when I look at this photo I'm not sure.  This is the intercoastal side of the Sand Key Bridge.