Blueberry Protein Smoothie

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Yay! I’ve gotten back to blogging, its been very difficult to balance school, ballet, and blogging and unfortunately, blogging has been taking a back seat to school and ballet ūüė¶ But, thankfully, everything is starting to come to a close.  Ballet will be over tomorrow and I graduate high school in a week.  There’s a feeling of nostalgia that has been passing over me lately.  I will be going to college next year, and officially closing the door on my professional ballet career. While this was an incredibly difficult decision to make, it is also very liberating to know that I have a thousand possibilities waiting for me. I’m beyond excited to start college and start a new chapter of my life.  As I look back on the past few years, I learned so much about myself and who I want to be.  Everything is going to change drastically.  High School is going to be over soon and college awaits, and while I am so scared about what lays ahead, I’m excited to embark on a new adventure.

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So now that you have that little update on my life, I thought I’d give you all a great protein smoothie recipe because right now smoothies are all I seem to be able to handle.  I recently got hemp protein powder from Manitoba Harvest, and I am loving it. I wanted to get a plant based protein powder just because I’ve never used protein powder before and figured I’d rather play it safe and stick to plant based stuff.  Also, I freaked out when I saw it was hemp protein powder because hemp seeds are one of my favorite supplements and I put them in practically everything. If you’ve seen any of my other smoothie recipes you know hemp seeds are always included.

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Anyway, we’ve had so much fresh fruit in the house that I just had to make a smoothie!

What you need

1 container of greek yogurt

2 tablespoons hemp protein powder

handful blueberries and blackberries

1/2 frozen banana

3 ice cubes

water-amount to preference

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe! If you make it let me know how you like it!

Love,

Jess

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

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So this was a big event for me baking wise. ¬†I have been wanting to make a cake for a really long time, but just haven’t had the time yet. ¬†I have made cakes before, but they were smaller. ¬†This is my first real layer cake complete with frosting and filling, so I was really excited. ¬†Mostly I make individual sized desserts like brownies, bars, and cupcakes.

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I wanted to do something different than your traditional chocolate and vanilla. ¬† I found this wonderful recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I knew immediately I had to make it. Originally it called for raspberries, but since I didn’t have any, I substituted with strawberries and it came out wonderful! ¬†Its a vanilla cake recipe and then filled with chocolate chips and strawberries…what more could you want?

Also, just to note, the recipe calls for it to be a 3 layer cake; however, I only had two cake pans, so I just made a two layer cake, which was delicious all the same!

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I brought it to my family for Easter Sunday last week, and everyone loved it! I think its just a really great recipe that can satisfy a lot of different people.

Original Recipe can be found here.

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What you need

Ingredients:

3 and ¬ľ cups (405g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, melted
1 and ¬ĺ cups (350g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (480ml) buttermilk*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries
Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)
MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3-4 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (63g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 – 5 Tablespoons (45-75ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
salt, to taste*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously coat three 9x9x2 inch round baking pans with nonstick spray (I used coconut oil spray). Set aside.

To make the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and then set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave in a large bowl. Then, vigorously whisk in the granulated sugar, then the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Once the wet ingredients are whisked together, slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are barely any lumps. The batter will be very thick – try not to overmix. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips – be gentle.

Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

Make the frosting: Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. This will create a nice creamy base for the frosting. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. Mix on low. Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. If your frosting is too thin, add up to 1 more cup of powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add up to 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Taste and add salt if you prefer.

Assemble and frost: Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Place 2nd layer on top, and add more frosting on top and spread around the sides.

*I did not have buttermilk, so I just made it myself.  To do this for the 2 cups milk, add 2 two tablespoons white vinegar to it and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

* I forgot to add the salt and vanilla to the frosting and it tasted fine, it was just very rich.  These measurements are from the original recipe, so use if you like.

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This was such a delicious cake, I really recommend it if you’re looking for something a bit different or a bit more sophisticated.

Let me know how you liked it!

Love,

Jess

Peach Crumble Bars

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We always get fruit of the month, which is great, because every month we get a new selection of fruit. ¬†However, sometimes, it’s just too much fruit. ¬†This month, we got peaches. ¬†I love peaches, but what I love more than eating peaches, is baking with peaches. ¬†I love to make peach stuff, just because I think peach desserts are so yummy, and the texture is great for baking. ¬†With my family over this past weekend, I decided to make Peach Crumble Bars. Since, we had three birthdays to celebrate, I was going to make something more along the lines of cupcakes or brownies, but the cake we got was so big, I decided a dessert that was different with fruit would be better. Also, I really needed to use the peaches. ¬†I got this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. ¬†I love her blog, so if you want to check out her original recipe, click here.¬†IMG_3759

I made a few changes, basically I kept it simple by just subbing out all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, and cutting back on the sugar. ¬†Instead of a cup, I used 3/4 cup. ¬†Minor, minor changes. ¬†With family over, I didn’t want to take too much liberty with the recipe because the last thing I want to do is mess up a dessert for 14 people. ¬†My aunt was helping me bake it and she said I was very methodical. ¬†I tend to be a slow baker, but also, I haven’t baked all summer, so getting back into the groove of it took some time.

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Anyway, with a little help, I managed to make these delicious peach crumble bars. ¬†My mom was super excited to try them. ¬†When they were baking in the oven, they gave off a wonderful aroma of peach and lemon. ¬†It smelled delicious, and everyone who walked into the kitchen commented on how wonderful it smelled. Before they were even done, my mom was saying how she’s gonna have to try it before dinner. ¬†I did end up trying them before dinner, and let me tell you, they were amazing. ¬†They got great reviews from everyone, and they might be my favorite dessert I’ve made so far. ¬†They are delicious!

From Brown Eyed Baker:

INGREDIENTS:
For the Dough:
3 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¬ľ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
5 cups diced or sliced peaches (about 7 peaches, peeled)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¬Ĺ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¬ľ teaspoon salt
¬Ĺ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¬ľ teaspoon ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. ¬†I greased with coconut oil.

2. For the Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

3. For the Filling: Place the diced, peeled peaches in a large bowl.  Squeeze juice out of two lemons and sprinkle two tablespoons over the peaches. Mix gently with a spatula. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture over the peaches and mix gently again with the spatula.

4. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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This looks simple, but if your not a fast baker, it can be a long task. ¬†The hardest part for me was peeling the peaches. ¬†Everything else was easy, but I had trouble with that-that was when my aunt stepped in to help. Overall, they turned out wonderful. ¬†The bake time is 45 minutes, and that was a perfect time. ¬†Pull them out at 45 or you’ll probably overcook them.

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Definitely try this recipe!

Love,

Jess

Fruit and Nut Bars

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So I was shopping in Whole Foods the other day, which is a really dangerous place for me. ¬†I can spend a ton of money in that store because I’m just so intrigued by all the fancy health foods. ¬†When I get to the bar aisle, things just go down hill. ¬†After that aisle, I get to the register and end up with a super large bill, primarily of bars. ¬† ¬†I love protein bars, energy bars, granola bars, superfood bars. ¬†Basically anything in bar form, I love. ¬†You name it, I’ve tried it. ¬†Luna bars, Lara Bars, Nu Go bars, Kind bars, Zone bars, Cliff bars, Odwalla bars…the list goes on. ¬†I have deduced myself to a favorite though, the Luna Bar Chocolate Peppermint Stick. ¬†These are soo good-Its chocolatey and minty goodness! ¬†Unfortunately I don’t know how to make a copycat Luna Bar, and I don’t even want to try because I’m sure I’d ruin it.

What I am making are fruit and nut bars. ¬†A significantly less expensive option made with six ingredients ensures you a healthy way to refuel with not a lot of calories. ¬†A word of warning: A lot of times protein bars can contain a lot of fat. ¬†Read the labels before buying bars. You want to make sure you chose something thats typically 160-200 calories. ¬†Especially with Cliff bars, a lot of time they will be very caloric and actually say “meal replacement bar, ” but people don’t realize this and eat it in addition to a big lunch. Just make sure you know the ingredients and calories with bars because sometimes they can fool you.

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Alright…now onto the recipe. ¬†These are going to be made with almonds, raisins, craisins, dates, hemp seeds and goji berries. ¬†the original recipe off of FitSugar just uses almonds, raisins, and dates, so as long as you have those three ingredients, your good to go. ¬†I love hemp seeds and goji berries so I just figured I’d add them in since it seemed like an easy way to add nutrition.

What you need…

1 cup almonds

1/4 cup raisins

10 pitted dates

1/4 cup craisins

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1/4 cup goji berries

Place all ingredients in a food processor, I used The Ninja. ¬†Mix until they form a texture that resembles cookie dough. ¬†You don’t want it to be too mixed up, just until its soft and pliable. Then remove from the processor and form rectangle of dough. ¬†Make this rectangle the size you want your bars to be and then freeze. ¬†After an hour or two (I left them in for a while) take them out and cut to size. ¬†Freezing helps to make it easier to cut.

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I just keep the uneaten ones in the freezer till I want them to keep them good and save space.

These are a lot yummier than I had expected, and most of these ingredients are common household items, or you can get them easily at a grocery store. ¬†I just thought these are a fun way to make super healthy fruit bars that won’t break your diet or the bank!

Hope you liked this recipe and are enjoying your summer!

Love,

Jess