Today’s WIAW will be quick and dirty, as it’s been a busy week and an even busier Wednesday (hence the evening post!)  thank you again to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this weekly round-up for us to share our recipes, a few laughs, and maybe some interesting stories to close out the summer.

In addition to my summer staples of fresh fruits and veggies, I came across an easy protein bar recipe that could be a great staple to take along on hikes, bike trips, road trips, or even as an on-the-go breakfast while running errands (like I did this morning) or a nighttime snack when you need a little something to satisfy your peanut butter and banana cravings (like I did five minutes ago!) I’ll share this recipe in a moment, but here’s a quick rundown of the day’s eats:

Breakfast: I wasn’t that hungry after this morning’s workout so I had peanut butter jelly toast and coffee (no picture, but it’s the same as last week’s recycled photo!) My stomach was ready for more after a couple hours, but coffee and tea was enough to keep me satisfied until lunchtime.

Lunch: fruit and veggie salad with protein powder-infused yogurt! Fruits: apple, pear, grapes, strawberries, blueberries. Veggies: celery, cucumber, shredded zucchini. This is a good way to add more veggies into your day, just slice them thin/small so you won’t be overwhelmed by a mouthful of zucchini…unless you like zucchini a lot!

Fruit and veggie yogurt bowl and a cup of Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Breeze green tea for lunch.

Snack: half a Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bar! It was so chewy and gooey, and half was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth (picture and recipe below.)

Dinner: quick and easy chicken, broccoli and quinoa:

No dessert if I have wine…and I did have wine!

Protein bars are great, and I used to have them for lunch along with an apple on the days I had back-to-back classes in college. I haven’t bought one in a while and when I do feel like trying one out, it’s usually the price that convinces me not to buy one.  I got this super easy protein bar recipe from http://fatlossschool.com/how-to-make-your-own-whey-protein-bars/. You can make these bars whatever flavor you want with different protein powders and some of your favorite baking spices. I made this version using some powdered peanut butter to help cut down on the fat and it still has a great taste.

L-R: powdered peanut butter, oat flour, nut butter, protein powder & banana.

Thick and sticky, just like cookie dough.

I use tofu containers to mold them, but any small container will do.

Put the plastic wrapped protein mix in the freezer to firm up before slicing.

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars, also can be made into bite-sized nuggets (left).

Chewy Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars (vegan)  recipe from http://www.fatlossschool.com
Give them a light coating of oats and chopped nuts. These protein snacks can also be baked.

1 cup oat flour
1 cup dairy-free vanilla protein powder (or protein powder of your choice)
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter (like PB2)
1 large ripe banana
1/4 cup nut butter
1/4 cup water (I used water that had soaked dates in it to make it a little more sweet)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine oat flour, protein powder and powdered peanut butter (if using) with a whisk. With a fork or pastry cutter, mash in banana and peanut butter, adding a little water at a time until cookie dough consistency. Blend well.

Line a small loaf pan or container with plastic wrap, leaving half hanging over the side. Spray the inside with cooking spray. Add mixture to loaf pan, or if using a small plastic container, add half of mixture. Flatten with spatula, cover mixture with plastic wrap and press firmly. Repeat with remaining dough. Freeze for 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 10-12 servings.

Baking option: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bars into thirds, place on silpat, ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes, cool before storing in airtight container in fridge for a week or wrap in foil and freeze for up to two months.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the nutritional info (oat and nut coating nutrition info not included):

Total 1/12th serving 1/10th serving
Calories 1360 113.5g 136
Protein 101.5g 8.5g 10.2g
Fat 61.4g 43.4g 5.2g 3.6g 6.2g 4.4g
Carbs 158.6g 13.3g 16g

(NOTE: I made a mistake on the fat! I counted 20 grams instead of 2, yikes!!! Luckily my recalculations brought it down, sorry about the scare, folks!)

Options (extra calories apply!):

– omit PB2 and increase nut butter to 1/2 cup, use less water
– substitute Nutella for half of nut butter
– substitute 1/4 – 1/3 cup apple sauce, pureed sweet potato or canned pumpkin for banana
– add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

What’s your favorite protein bar flavor? Are there any protein bars that are worth shelling our a couple bucks for or do you enjoy making them yourself?

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It’s the last WIAW that focuses on Fun, Food and Fitness, but after a few weeks it should become habit, right? It certainly seems to be going in that direction, and I can only thank Jenn at Peas and Crayons for this month’s fit-focused theme!

In the way of fitness, I’ve been getting back to a regular schedule with Jazzercise DVDs as well as these awesome workouts:

Last December I was looking for some ballet-inspired workouts (never danced, but I took ballet classes in college and loved it!) and came across Ballet Body by Leah Sarago. The workouts are challenging, to say the least, and uses body-weight resistance with ballet, pilates, yoga and other dance-inspired principles to strengthen and elongate your muscles. Leah focuses on form, so the moves look beautiful and graceful but it takes a LOT of strength and control. Sound like something you’d like to try? Visit Leah Sarago Fitness to find out more about these workouts, see a video trailer, and learn more about Leah!

I exercise in the mornings and have a cup or two of coffee before I start. Post-workout breakfasts have been looking something like this:

Refreshing and healthy!

This protein shake & fruit salad provides you with lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein, plus it’s low in fat. Also, if you’re not big on drinking your 6-8 glasses of water per day, this will definitely count towards it (about 14 ounces in the shake, plus some from the fruits…hey, that’s about two glasses right there!)

Lunch was tuna-tofu salad seasoned with Spike (flavorful no-sodium spice blend):

Those flax chips are nice and crunchy but to be honest, I didn’t like the tuna mix that much…Bumble Bee Tuna is pretty mushy.

For an afternoon snack, I had a couple of Carrot, Almond and Raisin Energy Bites from a recipe posted by Baking Serendipity (please go to her website to view her awesome recipe and photos!) I love the combination of freshly grated carrots and peanut butter, though I did substitute almond butter to suit my husband’s taste. I like the chewy texture of the oats right after I mixed them, and if you let them sit overnight they get softer from the moisture, but are still delicious:

You can pop this whole thing in your mouth!

Dinner was a quick mish-mash of crumbled sausage, mushrooms, onions, kale, tomatoes & carrots. I also cubed up some “soft” tofu (package says ‘soft’ but texture was pretty firm) with our first home-grown, prematurely picked cucumber and seasoned it with shoyu, ginger, and sesame oil:

Tofu, cucumber, shoyu (soy sauce,) fresh grated ginger and sesame oil. I was more anxious to eat that than the mish-mash. :)

All the food pics were taken with my LG phone camera but I miss my old phone which had a much better camera (Samsung Solstice.) I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t been devoting as much time to nicer food pics this week, but I assure you they will be back!

I know we don’t always lug around our SLRs, so what kind of phone do you have? Does it take great pics? What do you like/don’t like about your phone camera? (I can’t shut off the noise of my ‘shutter’…way too obvious when I’m taking a photo of restaurant food!)