Choco ‘n Coco Protein Ball Treats

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Oh yeah -- added ye 'ole chocolate nibs and coconut this time.

Oh yeah — added ye ‘ole chocolate nibs and coconut this time.

Just finished up BATCH #2 of my protein bombs — and I gotta say, these turned out so much better than the last.

I’m having a hard time just eating one!

Well…they taste SWEETER than last time — and I added coconut flakes and cocoa nibs.

The one thing I didn’t change was using flax meal as the binder. So, again, totally VEGAN!!

And no nasty white sugar, just sweetened by nature with dates.

Date paste and almond butter processing -- the first step.

Date paste and almond butter processing — the first step.

But, my process was remarkably different this time…

On Friday I made a ‘date paste’ and worked it into almond butter in the food processor.

(It took all my energy not to spread that delectable goodness on a piece of toast. lol!!).

This wet mix was refrigerated overnight in a glass container.

On Saturday this ‘wet’ mix was transferred into a big mixing bowl — so it could sit to reach room temperature.

This is just combining the wet (almond butter and date paste) -- and dry ingredients.

This is just combining the wet (almond butter and date paste) — and dry ingredients.

Then I started adding scoopfuls of protein powder, the flax meal, the cocoa nibs and coconut.

Once I started mixing I realized I needed more moisture and added water by the tablespoon. (About 8 tablespoons will do the trick.)

I finally was able to get a ball of dough — like a big cookie dough ball. YES!!

I tasted a little and voila!! Yummy goodness.

As soon as the mixture turned into a big cookie dough bowl, I said 'BINGO! We've got a winner!

As soon as the mixture turned into a big cookie dough ball, I said ‘BINGO! We’ve got a winner!

And there are so many variations to think about for future experiments!!

Maybe next time we’ll just roll these all around in the nibs and coconut.

Here are the amounts and ingredients used:

  • 6 full scoops Sun Warrior Classic Protein Powder (natural flavor)
  • 4 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (Trader Joes)
  • 4 tbsp fresh grind almond butter (Whole Foods)
  • 84 grams Deglet dates (made into a paste using water)
  • 8 tbsp water
  • (makes about 7.5 balls — approx. 2 ounces each)

Nutrition info. for each ball:

Calories: 175

Total Fat: 7.8g

Fiber: 2.8 g

Sugar: 7.7g

Protein: 15.2 g

Protein bars: Figuring out the right mix

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Each 'bomb' has about 15 grams of protein, and only 5 grams of natural sugar (date sweetened.)

Each ‘protein bomb’ has about 17 grams of protein, and only 5 grams of natural sugar (date-sweetened.)

I made up a batch of protein bars last night.

Actually, I should call them ‘protein bombs.’

Each ‘bomb’ has about 17 grams of protein, from one scoop of vegan protein powder.

And no refined sugar.

(Each is sweetened by one Deglet date = 5 grams of natural sugar.)

Instead of a traditional binder like egg or egg whites, I used ground flaxseed and water. (Worked like a charm … thank you my vegan foodie friend — you know who you are!!)

I started thinking about this 5-ingredient protein bar recipe after seeing something similar at the gym.

A company out of Chicago called RX Bar makes a great product with only five ingredients. (I should also mention I’m a huge supporter of Dale’s Protein Bars.)

(Mind you, I am not a baker, so my process last night was a bit crazy.)

I started out making JUST ONE serving/bar/ball:

  • one scoop Sun Warrior Classic Protein Powder – Natural flavor (80 cals)
  • .4 ounces Deglet date — which is about 1 date (about 25 cals)
  • .3 ounces cashews (about 57 cals)
  • 10 roasted unsalted almonds from Trader Joes (about 50 cals)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed (about 45 cals)
This is what you would need for one bar: vegan protein powder, one date, cashews, almonds and ground flaxseed. So simple!! (just add water and pulse!)

Ingredients for JUST ONE bar/ball/bomb: vegan protein powder, one date, about five cashews, 10 unsalted roasted almonds (from Trader Joes) — and ground flaxseed. So simple!! (just add water and pulse!)

Those ingredients were poured into the food processor — and pulsed — and pulsed — and pulsed.

(Realizing I needed some moisture to get the right consistency, I added warm water teaspoon by teaspoon ….so I could roll a ball.)

I think at the end I added about 4 teaspoons of warm water.

I ate that ball and figured it would do the job just fine. (This is definitely not your  CINNABON-like treat lol!!)

Making 12 in the food processor -- I found -- is not so easy :)

Making 12 in the food processor — I found — is not so easy🙂

And here’s where you are gonna laugh at this newbie baker … I figured, heck, lemme make 12 of these — so I can pop them in my lunch bag … To make a batch I’ll just multiply the ingredients of one by 12.

HAR HAR!!!

If you have a food processor you know what happened next.

I loaded that puppy to the gills — and after a few minutes of pulsing, that motor had had enough.

So, I transferred everything to a big mixing bowl and did the rest BY HAND.

Here’s the ingredient list for the 12 ‘protein bombs’:

  • 12 scoops Sun Warrior Classic Protein Powder – Natural flavor
  • 12 Deglet dates
  • 3.6 ounces cashews
  • 3.6 ounces roasted unsalted almonds from TJs
  • 12 tablespoons ground flax seed (from Whole Foods bulk section)
  • 26 tablespoons of warm water (added 4 tablespoons at a time)
I call this a 'protein bomb' plate. lol!!

I call this a ‘protein bomb’ plate🙂

Now, I’m sure you can load on all the water at once, and maybe I’ll try that next time.

The trick next was making each ball the same size and shape. (By this point I was too tired to do any real math lol!!)

So out of the glob in the mixing bowl, I pulled out about a ball full of mixture and weighed it on my little kitchen scale. 2.6 ounces for that first ball. Ok, I thought. Each ball will be rolled at 2.6 ounces.

(In the end, I ended up with 14 balls of 2.6 ounces each.)

This attempt no. 2 was a good start, and these are gonna do the job of curbing hunger and providing a little sweet treat, but I have a long way to go.

Hubby taste tester says a little ‘crunchy’ could be added. I couldn’t agree more.

And next time, we might even rock a little COCOA into these babies.

BOMBS AWAY!!

Yard Photos: Blessed with all this water

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With the epic amount of rain from May, I'm seeing color from this Pride of Barbados in our front yard.

With the epic amount of rain from May, I’m seeing color from this Pride of Barbados in our front yard.

Love the 'Cuban Gold.'

Love the ‘Cuban Gold’ against the Pride of Barbados.

Aloe Vera is having a lot of little babies.

Aloe Vera is having a lot of little babies. (Oh, boy, I need to get out there and weed, lol!!)

Tip Photinias added a few feet (maybe more) with these recent rains.

Tip Photinias added a few feet (maybe more) with the recent rains. (Oh, those pavers have a layer of mold that needs to be removed. ugh.)

Another project involves finding a better spot for this budding fig tree. (Who knew the crape myrtle would shoot up past the phone lines. lol!!)

Another project involves finding a better spot for this budding fig tree. (Who knew the crape myrtle would take over!!)

 

Yard Photos: Constant rains == lush blooms

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Yes, it's a weed, but the blooms are spectacular :)

Yes, it’s a weed, but the blooms are spectacular🙂

You’d think it’s April with the amount of showers we’ve been getting.

Really — and i’m not kidding — I can’t remember the last day of FULL-BLOWN-SUNSHINE.

It’s just really upside down world here.

But, hey, this is Austin, and we’re HIP with WEIRD. In fact, we revel in it.

So, there you go….

Well…with all this, there’s-A-BLOOMIN everywhere…

Here are some recent shots from our backyard…

violet_two

mandevilla

Potted sage in back.

Potted sage in back.

Mom babied this guy -- recently brought him back to us. (Kalanchoe).

Mom babied this guy — recently brought him back to us. He DOES NOT like too much water. (Kalanchoe).

Kitchen Remodel: Keeping SANE

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I woke up at mom's this morning...to the smell of these bad boys -- chocolate, nuts, raisins and oats -- this is how I'm staying sane. (Grateful for mom and her place.)

I woke up at mom’s this morning…to the smell of these bad boys — chocolate, nuts, raisins and oats — this is how I’m staying sane. (Grateful for mom and her place.)

This week the kitchen floor went in -- we are so pleased with how well the old floor integrated with the new one. (I'm being displaced for a few days during the sanding/finishing. George is the trusty watchman :)

This week the kitchen floor went in — we are so pleased with how well the old floor integrated with the new one. (I’m being displaced for a few days during the sanding/finishing. George is the trusty watchman🙂

Here's the old tile floor ... come on ... I know you want some lol!!

Here’s the old tile floor … come on … I know you want some lol!!

This week the cabinet order was submitted. (To get ready for that meeting I spent some time sketching -- so we could determine the final resting place of lower cabs.)

This week the cabinet order was submitted. (To get ready for that meeting I spent some time sketching — so we could determine the final resting place of lower cabs.)

Here's another sketch to figure out the specs on the 'mudroom bench.'

Here’s another sketch to figure out the specs on the ‘mudroom bench.’

When the remodel feels overwhelming I try to look back at this picture...and I see how far we've come. (But oh, what a process!)

When the remodel feels overwhelming I try to look back at this picture…and see how far we’ve come. (But oh, what a process!)

Kitchen Remodel: ‘Rock’ up, lights in, new steps

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Today our electrician said abracadabra....you wanna see some of the lights on...and poof...THERE WAS LIGHT!!!! (We are still working over the plan for the ceiling...we are looking at a Jan. 1 finish date).

Today our electrician said “ABRACADABRA….you wanna see some of the lights on??”…and poof…THERE WAS LIGHT!!!! (We are still working over the plan for the ceiling…we are looking at a Jan. 1 finish date).

This post has been a long time coming.

I’ve wanted to post so many times in the past few months, but geez, this kitchen remodel is taking every available second. (I know you know if you have ever had the extreme pleasure of going through this experience.)

This was the 'state of disaster' during the summer. (We had a sink and a working fridge while we tried to finalize a design.)

This was the ‘state of disaster’ during the summer. (We had a sink and a working fridge while we tried to finalize a design.)

It was back in March I started taking down sheet rock in the kitchen — and the lovely pony wall. The idea was…change the way it looked so I could see the possibilities. Which helped and didn’t help. (Remember we spent that horrible month dealing with pests who realized we had shifted their stratosphere. They wanted in and we did battle. And thankfully won.)

It took several conversations with architects, designers and then finally the builder we went with — to decide on the layout of the new kitchen. (BTW…I love working with this builder. He is amazing … and knows just when to call me out on my BU___T.)

A few more words on my lovely builder … we spent a lot of time in the ‘design’ phase. He advised me the more time we spent there, fewer problems would be encountered during the actual construction phase. Boy, was he right. (We still, every now and then, remind each other, ‘Hey, didn’t we talk about that. You know. The cabinet here in the corner was gonna work this way.’)

This is the kitchen about two weeks ago...right after they put up the 'rock' and just before the tape and float guy worked his magic.

This is the kitchen about two weeks ago…right after they put up the ‘rock’ and just before the tape and float guy worked his magic.

The real demo work didn’t start until about six weeks ago — and it feels like every day there is a moment when I stop and almost want to cry because I see the design taking shape. I see our shared vision coming into view.

(Speaking of view, we replaced the old window above the sink with a picture window of the backyard and this, with the new patio door — provides so much light you don’t even need to turn on lights. YES!!)

It was just within the last two weeks the sheetrock went up — and then the tape and float guy did his job.

Actually, today, some of the can lighting was turned on in the kitchen. So, what has always been a dark, dank space where I washed dishes, is fully illuminated…and since I know where the counters are going I can tell every inch will be as light as 3 o’clock on any Austin summer day. YES!! Seriously, folks, it’s bringing tears to my eyes.

The guys couldn't match the color of the the siding ...they just don't make it anymore...so we agreed to use white...we're gonna paint the entire house anyway.

We couldn’t match the color of the siding …they just don’t make it anymore…so we agreed to use white for now…we’re gonna paint the entire house anyway.

One of the big moments today was the demolition of ‘cinder block’ stairs that would take you from the back of the house to the backyard. Jeff and Jason, our day-to-day guys on the job, walked those cinder blocks out to the BAGSTER out front. So, now, this is the third or fourth BAGSTER we’ve used up just on ‘little things’ with this job.

As they peeled back some of the blocks, they discovered items left from the initial construction of the stairs — a LITE PILSNER BEER CAN, an OLD MOTOR and a construction brick that says ‘FRASER CLAY.’ We were hoping to find a baggie with money, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Oh, well…there’s next week. ha!!

A super fun moment watching Jeff drill away at the 'cinder block' steps we have used for the past seven years. Thank the lord they served us well...and I am glad we have a way to dispose of them :)

A super fun moment watching Jeff drill away at the ‘cinder block’ steps we have used for the past seven years. Thank the lord they served us well…and I am glad we have a way to dispose of them🙂

All the fun treasure found today in the 'cinder block' structure...a old beer can, a clay brick..and an old motor...you know...just 'backfill' for us country folk.

All the fun treasure found today in the ‘cinder block’ structure…an old beer can, a clay brick..and an old motor…you know…just ‘backfill’ for us country folk.

This is probably the fourth BAGSTER we have filled with just 'odds and ends' of this kitchen remodel.

This is probably the fourth BAGSTER we have filled with just ‘odds and ends’ of this kitchen remodel.

(thanks, btw…for sitting through this long post, and trying to make out what’s in these fuzzy images. My Canon is being shipped back to the factory — to deal with the SD card slot — which is jammed. So, for now, I’m having to take pics on my i-phone. Ugh.)

Bath Remodel: Finished, thank goodness!

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Finally, finally, finally our new master tub completed. (Finished about two months ago, and just getting around to posting.

Finally, finally, finally our new master tub completed. (Finished about two months ago, and just getting around to posting the pic.)

This is the old bathroom before the new Kohler tub went in. (We had no plans to redo this bathroom until we discovered a leak had pretty much destroyed the sub floor.)

This is the old bathroom before the new Kohler tub went in. (We had no plans to redo this bathroom until we discovered a leak had pretty much destroyed the sub floor.)

This is mid-construction -- note the big hole at the front of the tub...you stick your hand through there and it goes to the dining room. Fun!

This is mid-construction — note the big hole at the front of the tub…just in case you felt like sticking your hand into the dining area.

This is the tile job that got the first crew fired. (Thankfully on the second go-around we selected much larger tiles == less grout lines == better on a pier and beam house that shifts with the wind :))

This is the tile job that got the first crew fired. (Thankfully on the second go-around we selected much larger tiles == less grout lines == better on a pier and beam house that shifts with the wind :))

What’s Up In the Yard: Crazy bloomin crepe myrtles

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We've had so much rain the crepe myrtles (planted as babies last summer) -- are in full bloom. So much so, my friend and garden Coach Colleen had to come out and help me prune.

We’ve had so much rain the crepe myrtles (planted as babies last summer) — are in full bloom. So much so, my friend and garden Coach Colleen had to come out and help me prune.

It was so cool Colleen brought a bucket o garden tools. I told her I felt like a garden geek -- as she was oiling my new bypass pruners. She loves finding old gardening tools at garage sales...and I love her for that.

It was so cool Colleen brought a bucket o garden tools. I told her I felt like a garden geek — as she was oiling my new bypass pruners. She loves finding old gardening tools at garage sales…and I love her for that.

There have been a few additions since I last posted, like this fig tree ... which is gonna produce some mighty tasty candy.

There have been a few additions since I last posted, like this fig tree … which is gonna produce some mighty tasty candy.

Also new is this shrimp plant, which actually survived a torrential downpour when we bought it at the nursery a few months ago. Mom questioned its ability to survive...I figured it would make it since I heard they were pretty prolific growers.

Also new is this shrimp plant, which actually survived a torrential downpour when we bought it at the nursery a few months ago. Mom questioned its ability to survive…I figured it would make it since I heard they were pretty prolific growers.

This crepe myrtle -- named after my Aunt Debbie -- grew at a dizzying rate. Colleen coached me through pruning some of it. She said we'd finish in the fall. It's in its 'nice awkward teenage phase.'

This crepe myrtle — a Muskogee — named Debbie, after my aunt — grew at a dizzying rate and just showed its first glorious pink blooms. Colleen coached me through pruning some branches. And then this winter, we’ll finish up.

So, yes, weird things happened with this record rainfall...like seeing this Turk's Cap bloom for the second time (I swear!)

So, yes, weird things happened with this record rainfall…like seeing this Turk’s Cap bloom for the second time (I swear!)

Photos: May looks the best so far…

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Right now is probably one of the best month’s for Austin — for enjoying the outdoors without intense AFRICA HEAT.

Succulent with new growth in the backyard. (This guy was half of one I took out of the front yard last summer.) Opuntia microdasys var. undulata

Succulent with new growth in the backyard. (This guy was half of one I took out of the front yard last summer.) Opuntia microdasys var. undulata

Last night we even had what sounded like EPIC RAINFALL — so it’s ALL HAPPY HAPPY — except for my crazy curly hair — and the HUMIDITY — and the subsequent mosquito attacks.

Mom gave me this oleander last year (only stood about two feet). This summer it might reach the roof of the house lol!!

Mom gave me this oleander last year (only stood about two feet). This summer it might reach the roof of the house lol!!

oleander_red

 

This lil guy got a buzz cut yesterday. (Mexican feather grass helped by the wind to carry babies to new locations.)

This lil guy got a buzz cut yesterday. (Mexican feather grass helped by the wind to carry babies to new locations.)

My sago in the back was looking bleak last summer, but new growth means we're in the clear. yipppeee!! (Cycas revoluta)

My sago in the back was looking bleak last summer, but new growth means we’re in the clear. yipppeee!! (Cycas revoluta)

It’s YUCCA time!

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My prickly pear is not happy as the yucca climb to new heights.

My prickly pear is not happy as the yucca climb to new heights. Thank you rainfall🙂

Red Yucca is my all time fav and they are blooming all over the neighborhood. I only have one here in the front yard facing the street (note to self: must get more :)

Red Yucca is my all time fav and they are blooming all over the neighborhood. I only have one here in the front yard facing the street (note to self: must get more🙂

yucca_fromstreet

First year for salvia and me thinks it really likes it here.

First year for salvia and me thinks it really likes it here.

Just to end this post on a high note...this is my friend's Larkspur PATCH...and it's magnificent  :)

Just to end this post on a high note…this is my friend’s Larkspur PATCH…and it’s magnificent :) 

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