Alphabet Photography: Revisited

Clearly, I have not been keeping up with my alphabet challenge. I started hitting a rut and couldn’t take pictures I felt lived up to my raised expectations of myself and winter has put a serious limit on the hours of daylight I’m available to take pictures.

With that being the case, and because I’m in the midst of a huge blog re-vamp, I’ve decided to change this challenge for the remaining half of the alphabet (but dammit I will finish it!).

Instead of taking two weeks for each letter and taking as many pictures as possible, I will take one week, and take just ONE really good photo (well I will take more than that, but my goal will be to get one usable one).

These will now happen on Sundays – “Snapshot Sundays” I will call them. So I’ll do the first one (with the letter “L” tomorrow!)

Strawberry Banana Protein Muffins

I am on a ROLL this week. So many recipes and I’ve actually managed to photograph them all. I made these Monday night in anticipation of the ice storm so I would have something to eat for breakfast in case I lost power. Plus I had bananas and strawberries to use.

Strawberry Banana Protein Muffins

Let me just say…I don’t make muffins very often. I have tried several different healthy muffin recipes and they just don’t ever turn out that great. Regular muffins I’m sure would be awesome but I try to keep things healthy if I’m putting in the effort. I think the only good ones I’ve made were the chocolate chip banana ones, which I apparently didn’t blog about. So these are nothing special but I popped one in the microwave for 20 seconds to have with my eggs this morning and it was fine.

Strawberry Banana Muffins02-17-2015-01

Also, another reason these might suck is because I didn’t have 1/2 cup of greek yogurt left, so I started cutting the recipe in half…but forgot to cut all of it in half. So I had some extra things in there like vanilla and milk. That definitely could have affected the taste.

Strawberry Banana Muffins02-17-2015-03Strawberry Banana Muffins02-17-2015-02

Let It Snow!

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Snow-02-17-2015-28

I love that morning after it snows (*cough* sleets), and you wake up anxious to see what it looks like outside. I still feel like a little kid. Except now I still have to set an alarm, and check on the roads to make sure staying home is acceptable. Which it totally was today. It looks like snow on the ground, but it’s actually solid ice. That’s not the stuff you sink into when you walk on it. I left no footprints where I went today.

Shelley Lake Snow

These were all taken at Shelley Lake…1.5 miles from my apartment. Yes, I walked. It was cold. And probably not worth it because everything looked a lot less sparkly white than I had envisioned, but I used it as a challenge – try to find some decent shots in a very dull, desolate…grey place.

Shelley Lake Snow

Everything was so grey. Half of these I converted to black and white because the only color in them to begin with was a tiny hint of green or brown in the trees.

Shelley Lake Snow

Shelley Lake Snow

I liked this spot because the lake was frozen over here.

Shelley Lake SnowShelley Lake SnowShelley Lake Snow

I saw no humans outside today. It was very deserted…and peaceful

Shelley Lake Snow

I swear the geese thought I was crazy. Look at them all huddled up together…

Shelley Lake Snow Shelley Lake Snow

I love this shot because I didn’t have to stage it. That branch was just laying there begging to be photographed.

Shelley Lake Snow Shelley Lake Snow

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

PB Protein Balls-02-15-2015-01

Simple recipe. Delicious pre-workout snack (or anytime snack really).

I made these for one reason. I was bored. And I have an inability to sit still and relax. These are great for right when I wake up in the morning before my workout though – give me a little extra umph since I wait to eat breakfast until afterwards.

I believe this recipe I followed exactly (Shock!)

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 balls

Ingredients

1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chipsDirections:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and roll into balls. I got 12 (about a tablespoon each). Original recipe says it makes 10 though so make them whatever size you wish!
  2. Refrigerate to firm up balls

Peanut Butter Protein BallsPeanut Butter Protein Balls Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Nutrition Info: (for one ball in batch of 12) Calories: 90 Carbs: 11g Fat: 4g Protein: 4g

Spinach and Goat Cheese Chicken Quesadilla

Spinach_Goat_Cheese_Quesadilla-02-17-2015-05

This is probably the first thing I’ve ever really made without a recipe that is actually worth talking about (and that I was actually able to photograph. Thanks, snow day!). This was inspired by the chicken I made for Valentine’s Day because I still had leftover ingredients from it so I figured – why not stuff them in a quesadilla? Best decision ever.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Chicken QuesadillaSpinach and Goat Cheese Chicken QuesadillaSpinach and Goat Cheese Chicken QuesadillaSpinach and Goat Cheese Chicken Quesadilla Spinach and Goat Cheese Chicken Quesadilla

Spinach and Goat Cheese Chicken Quesadilla

Ingredients:

1 spinach wrap
1 oz goat cheese
1 strip of bacon, crumbled (I had some already cooked and crushed up…it’s useful to have around to throw in my eggs in the morning and salads..and quesadillas!)
1/2 grilled chicken breast, cubed or shredded (I also cook a lot of chicken at once to throw in things during the week)
Baby spinach – however much you like!
Optional: Fresh rosemary (I had some still because I bought it for the stuffed chicken so I threw a little in there)

Directions:

1. Spread goat cheese on tortilla
2. Put all the other ingredients on top
3. Fold in half and cook in quesadilla maker (if you have one. I’ve always had one since I began cooking so I have no idea how to instruct you to cook a quesadilla on a stove but I’m sure you can google it)

This is a really light and tasty meal. The goat cheese gets all melty and the rosemary and bacon add some awesome flavors. I was very pleased with it.

Nutrition Facts: 393 Calories, 30g carbs, 15g Fat, 40g Protein

Valentine’s Treats

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my kitchen lately. I’ve really hit my groove with cooking and baking. It’s a lot of fun. I entertained a man friend on Valentine’s Day so I made a cute meal for us. I then photographed the leftovers the next day when it was light out.

Dinner: Herb Stuffed Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Satueed Asparagus and Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

Herb Stuffed Chicken

For the chicken I kind of morphed two recipes. I used the ingredients from the recipe linked but I used thin sliced chicken breasts and rolled it up then just baked them for 40 minutes.

Strawberry Spinach Salad Strawberry Spinach Salad

The salad obviously uses spinach instead of romaine. And the dressing I made with 1/4 cup of honey instead of sugar.

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse!

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

This was absolutely delicious considering how healthy it was. And the little chocolate bowls I made were pretty simple, they just took one practice run. I melted chocolate chips, and then lined the inside of silicone cupcake molds with chocolate, put them in the freezer for a minute and then I repeated to make sure the walls were thick enough.This stuff doesn’t keep, but it’s relatively light so eat up! I went to eat it the next day and I guess the coconut milk lost it’s creamy texture or something because it was liquid.

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes-02-08-2015-03

I think these were the first pancakes I made without ANY flour in them. I’ve made some with as little as a few tablespoons in the entire mix, but this had none whatsoever. It used oats and protein powder instead.

I’m actually going to spell out the recipe because I changed it a bit. It was adapted from here

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Flourless Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Serves: 2-3
Serving Size: About 3 Pancakes (4″ diameter)

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (I’m sure any kind of milk would work)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (or however many you want)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (again, any milk would work probably)

Mix everything in a blender (except chocolate chips, stir those in later) and cook pancakes on the skillet as you normally would. For the sauce, you can also mix everything in a blender.

I skipped adding the chocolate chips in the batter because I always forget that critical step, but I sprinkled them on top of my pancakes instead. The nutrition facts for the sauce might be inaccurate. I said it serves 3 and probably used about 1/4 cup for one serving of pancakes, but as I put the leftovers away I knocked it onto the floor and so I couldn’t really measure what was left to check my guestimations.

This recipe was very heavy on the banana flavor. The original had strawberries in the sauce instead of bananas which I think I would prefer since there are already bananas in the batter (and I put sliced bananas on top. Who’s genius idea was that?). So next time, I will use strawberries…spring is coming soon and they will always be in my fridge!

One more note: I think these would taste even more amazing with a tablespoon of peanut butter added to the batter. And it would help thicken it…it’s a very thin batter which makes them hard to flip. But they were yummy, have no flour in them, and are chock-full of protein!

Pancakes: Nutrition Facts: (when calculated for 2 servings) Calories: 329, Fat: 12g Carbs: 30g, Protein: 21g

Sauce: Calories: 63, Fat: 1g, Carbs: 13g, Protein: 3g