Chocolate Smoothie with a Twist

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017! I know, I know…I am 12 days late on that greeting, but at least I’m here now writing a new post!

Last weekend we experienced winter. And it is now over and spring is here, at least for a few days. We had ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures for 3 days last week. Today, we are pushing 72 degrees! Tomorrow should be the same as today; Saturday will drop down into the 50s, but then we should have about a week or so with temps in the mid-60s every day! I just love life in the south!

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I sort of fell off the proper eating path over the holidays when the hubby and others who shall be nameless brought delicious tasting, but oh-so-bad-for-you foods into the house! I am working hard at getting the sugars out of my system and eating right once again.

Although I was brought up in the south, there are some southern foods that I just never got a taste for. Black-eyed peas and collard greens make a traditional New Year’s Day meal, but not in my house! Okra is another southern staple that I just never enjoyed. However, now that I am trying to eat the Trim Healthy Mama way, I have discovered the health benefits of this southern veggie. If you are like me and need a little convincing that okra really is good for you, then read this article. You will be impressed!

The new THM cookbook has a few recipes in it using okra. I have made the brownies with it and was very impressed. Last week I discovered the chocolate smoothie! If you have the cookbook, you will find the recipe on page 415. Today I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Oh, my word! Ya’ll, this is amazing! If you didn’t know that there is a cup of okra in the smoothie, you would never guess it! I like it so much better with the peppermint than without!

Since I did change up the recipe some, I will share it with you here.

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. frozen, diced okra (I actually thawed mine some.)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. Pyure sweetener
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 3-4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Put everything in the blender except the ice and protein powder. I added the peppermint oil to the coconut oil first, and then added it to the remaining ingredients. Blend well…very well! Add the ice and blend again. Add the protein powder last and blend one more time.

Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Coconut Fudge Brownies

Here we are at the end of June! We are half-way through 2016 already!! I can’t believe that we are heading towards another 4th of July. I am pretty excited about this coming weekend because, if all goes as planned, I will have ALL four of my kiddlets under my roof once again…for about 48 hours! Hey, I’ll take what I can get! I have no idea when we will all be together again because one of my blue stars will be leaving in early July for the other side of the world. This makes me sad! I’ve never been so far away from any of my kiddos as I will be for the next 3-4 months. And before he returns, one of my other blue stars will be leaving as well. While my momma heart will worry about them, I  understand fully that this is what they are called to do at this time. I will pray for their safety while they are gone and for their safe return.

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Now to the recipe. I took a recipe featured in the new THM cookbook and made some changes ( read “experimented”) and came up with this pretty amazing recipe. Keeping it in the fridge helps keep it fudgy until it is all eaten…which won’t be long, I can assure you! I have made these brownies several times and none of the guys in my family know that there is okra in them! And as a bonus…they are low-carb!

BROWNIES::

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. peanut butter powder

3/4 c. coconut oil

3/4 c. butter

1-1/2 c. sweetener (I use Pyure)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. oat flour

1 c. unsweetened dried coconut

1-1/2 c. okra (I use frozen. Let it thaw slightly before using).

6 eggs

ICING:

2 oz. cream cheese

2 tbsp. butter, softened, but not melted

1/4-1/3 c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. sweetener

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the brownies: melt the coconut oil and butter in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder and peanut butter powder. Stir well.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.  In your blender, combine the okra, eggs and vanilla. Blend completely so there are no particles of okra seen. Pour the cocoa mixture and the okra mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well.

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Combine the icing ingredients in your blender or food processor. Give it a taste and add more sweetener if needed. Spread on cooled brownies. For a garnish, grate an 85% chocolate bar over the icing.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Skillet Trout

Since the hubby and I have been eating the THM way, I have been serving more fish and chicken than red meats. Hubby usually likes almost any kind of seafood. Me? Not so much. I remember as a child when my family would do the occasional meal out. Dad and Mom loved the local fast food fish place. I am pretty sure that my brother and sister did as well. However, I just could not bring myself to order fish. I would always order chicken strips instead. Yes, I was that child. I still order chicken at a seafood restaurant. I do like a tuna wrap once in a while, but that’s about the extent of my seafood consumption.

A few weeks ago I was able to buy some fresh trout at a fairly decent price. When I get deals like this, I will freeze individual portions to make it easier when the time comes for cooking it. Last night I pulled out the trout and then proceeded to search for some trout recipes. I found several and combined them using some of my THM knowledge gained over these last months.

The hubby has always enjoyed fish breaded and fried. The breading, though, is usally full of carbs. Knowing this, I decided to experiment using psyllium husk flakes as my breading. It worked quite well! Whole psyllium flakes have 10 grams of carbs in 2 tablespoons. However, those carbs are all dietary fiber! This means it is really zero carbs! Tim’s trout turned out nice and crispy and well-seasoned!

2 tbsp. whole psyllium flakes

salt, basil, garlic powder,  and onion powder to taste

2 tbsp. or so of Dijon mustard

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 filet of trout (4-6 oz. maybe?)

coconut oil for frying

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Combine the psyllium flakes with the seasonings on a plate. Mix well and set aside. Combine the Dijon mustard with the lemon juice and spread half of it on one side of the fish. Set the fish on the psyllium mixture to coat well.

Place the fish, seasoned side down in the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes. While it is frying, use a pastry brush to apply the remaining mustard mixture. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning mixture over the fish. Gently turn the fish over to fry on the second side, about 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat, cover and let it rest for about 3-4 minutes or until the fish is done all the way through.

Serve with a green leafy salad!

Twice Cooked Sweet Potatoes

I can’t believe we are at the end of June already! Summer has officially started, the days are getting shorter and the year is half over! Seriously, time truly does fly when you get older!

Since sweet potatoes are allowed on our THM eating plan, we eat them often and I needed to come up with a way to use any that we might have left over. Usually I bake one medium-size potato for each person who will be eating. Last week I ended up with an extra one since son #2 didn’t eat dinner at home.

This recipe is really easy to make and tastes very good!

baked sweet potatoes

1-2 tsp. coconut oil

seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. Whatever you might like!

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut up into bite-sized cubes. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the potato cubes. Gently turn them as they brown until they are golden crispy on all sides. Sprinkle with seasonings as they get crispy. Serve with your favorite meat and a salad! THM friendly!

On-the-Plan Peanut Butter Cups

As most of you know I’ve been trying to help the hubby to lose weight and exercise ever since September. I am delighted to tell you all that he is just one pound away from 30 pounds lost!! Believe me when I say it has taken lots of hard work!! He has been swimming laps, lifting weights, and walking. We even completed a 5K last weekend!! We didn’t run it or even jog it, but we power-walked it and jogged a little of it. Here we are crossing the finish line:

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We all know that Valentine’s Day is a day for candy and flowers, right? Well, since the hubby has been working so very hard to lose the weight, I did not dare purchase his favorite peanut butter cups for Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, on the Trim Healthy Mama face book page, someone shared a recipe for peanut butter cups that are permitted on the plan. I was so excited to see the recipe!! I knew that I could give my man his favorite treat but not give him a sugar high. I don’t remember who shared the recipe or if it came from a blog, so I apologize in advance for not giving credit where credit is due.  And of course, these don’t taste completely like the name-brand candies that can be purchased at the store, but they still give the delicious peanut butter/chocolate flavor that most of us love.

3/4 c. coconut oil, solid but soft

1 tbsp. natural peanut butter

3 oz. 85% chocolate (I got it at Aldi)

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 pinches of sea salt

1/2 c. sweetener (I used a powdered Stevia and needed a bit more)

1-2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all these ingredients together in the top of a double boiler. Bring water to a low boil in the bottom part of the double boiler. Whisk until melted and smooth.

Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. Drop about 1 tsp of the chocolate mixture into each liner. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes. Keep the remaining chocolate at room temperature.

While the first layer of chocolate is hardening, mix all these ingredients together until well-blended:

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted, but not hot

1/3 c. natural peanut butter

1/4 c. full-fat cream cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. powdered sweetener

1-1/2 scoops vanilla whey protein isolate

Once blended well, drop about 1 tsp on the top of each muffin paper and smooth it out a bit over the chocolate. Stir the remaining chocolate and pour about 2 tsp. on top of the peanut butter mixture. Make sure to cover the peanut butter. Return pan to the freezer or refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When set, remove paper liners of peanut butter cups from the pan and store in a plastic freezer bag in the fridge. They soften easily at room temperature, so be sure to keep them in the fridge.

You may have extra chocolate and peanut butter mixtures. I lined a glass pan with foil and spread the extra peanut butter blend in it, and then drizzled the remaining chocolate over the top of it. Once it set, I broke off pieces to enjoy!

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Grain-Free Protein Bars

It’s hard to believe that we are done with the 3rd week of January already! Last week we had 5 or 6 cold dreary days before we had sunshine. This week we’ve had warm sunny days until today when we had rain and cold temperatures again.  Winter in the South..you have to love it!

My Christmas cactus finally decided to bloom, and the other day I noticed that only half of it is blooming!! I guess the other half decided to rest this year!

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The hubby is still working hard keeping to the THM eating plan and has added lots of exercise to his days.  While his weight loss is still only about 20 pounds down, his clothes look like they are beginning to hang more loosely on him!

I came across this recipe on the THM Face book page several weeks ago and finally decided to make it today.  It is an easy recipe to make and is full of flavor.

My batch of these protein bars I used a mixture of almonds and sunflower seeds since that is what I had on hand. I also used powdered Stevia instead of liquid since I have none of that.  For the chocolate topping I used 2 oz of 85% chocolate and mixed about 2 tsp. of stevia into it before spreading it over the top.  Delicious!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

If you read my last post about the pumpkin dip, you will remember that I am trying to keep my hubby on a low-carb eating plan. This is not always easy to do, but he’s a real trooper and has done well so far. There have been “cheat” meals, especially when we were out of town, but he’s been good to get right back on the plan. For the first week or so he had headaches which we attributed to carb withdrawal.  Once he got over that hurdle, he found it easier to stay with the plan.

Unfortunately, I am the one struggling with what to cook for dinner! You’d think it would be fairly easy since I am feeding just the two of us! However, sometimes it takes work for me to figure out if I need to serve him a satisfying meal, an energy meal, or a fuel pull meal!  You can check these out on the Trim Healthy Mama page!  It is all still a big learning curve for me.

Sometimes with this eating plan, we just need a good snack…a tide-me-over until time for dinner.  The other day I decided to make some chocolate covered strawberries.  Strawberries are on the plan, but regular chocolate is not.  Thankfully, the sisters who wrote the book created a recipe called Skinny Chocolate.  It is amazing!  Yesterday I melted some that I had in the refrigerator and dipped frozen strawberries into it.  Because the berries were already cold, the chocolate hardened quickly. They were a hit with the hubby!

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. coconut oil

2-3 tsp of stevia sweetener

Strawberries

Put the cocoa powder into a small bowl. Add the coconut oil and sweetener. Stir all ingredients well until the sweetener melts well into the cocoa powder.*  If desired, stir in 1/2 c. unsweetened dried coconut.

Dip frozen strawberries into the chocolate. Set on wax paper or aluminum foil until set.

If you don’t want to use the chocolate right away or if you didn’t use all of it with your strawberries, pour the chocolate onto a plate covered with wax paper or foil and freeze until solid.  Break it apart to eat as mini chocolate bars or to blend into Greek yogurt!

*Definitely make sure that the sweetener is totally dissolved into the cocoa powder or the chocolate will taste bitter!