homemade kale chips and cheese sticks

the kitchen is usually my solo domain, but i never pass up the chance to share what i love with the one i love.  however, these snacks are so easy to make, i let Sonny do all the work this time.

he tore 1 big bunch of kale from its stems.  they shrink after baking, so it's cool to keep them kinda large.

washed and dried.

he then showed the kale some love and gave it an olive oil massage. no dirty talk needed though.

i went ahead and lined the baking pan with wax paper since his hands were oily.

last thing; he sprinkled the kale with sea salt and popped them in a 350 deg oven for 12-15 min. you gotta watch them cause they burn EASILY.

again, they'll shrink, but don't overcrowd the pan.


light, crispy, easy-peasy.

next, baked cheese sticks.  i LOVE cheese; i was extremely anxious to make and eat these.

the stuff:

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • tony c's and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 beaten egg white
  • 5 sticks of light mozzarella string cheese

do this:

 we halved 5 light string cheese sticks for a total of 10.  no deep-frying or high fat cheese needed and they still came out tasting like a restaurant appetizer.

flour first, then egg wash, then panko. i sprayed some no-stick cooking spray on them so the flour would stick though.

sonny got restless real quick and dumped them all in at once. men. lol

 if you have left over ingredients, make more and minimize waste.

bake for 10 min in the oven or just until the cheese starts to melt. you gotta watch these too, but i wanted mine to burn a little cause burnt cheese tastes darn good.  each stick is only 40 calories!

the marinara sauce was perfect- made it feel like we were eating pizza!  you have to eat them quick else they will be a melty mess. that wasn't a problem though.

 super crispy on the outside and all gooey and cheesy on the inside.

great job, Sonny!!! who knows, maybe i'll cut the grass this weekend.


p2 pancakes - pumpkin & protein

guess what i'm up doing? editing exercise VIDEOS!!!! i like step by step pictorials for exercises in magazines etc, but that PLUS a video of someone actually doing the move is even better.  don't you think? i do!  so, that's the plan.  i saw today just how much work goes into doing these vids, whew.  all worth it though.  Sonny is my camera man for the moment and is also in charge of alerting me if i say something wack or correcting me if my form is slipping. yall bear with me/us- i hope to post my first vid (glute work!!!) any day now.

i taught an hour long strength class this morning and i left feeling so energized.  as bad as i wanted my oatmeal, i sped home to make a new, clean breakfast: pumpkin protein pancakes.

1 serving (the entire recipe):

175 cals

30 g protein

11 carbs

6.5 g fiber

i gave Sonny two and topped my two with PB2.

you don't have to use protein powder if you don't want- you can use whole wheat flour instead.  that will, however, change up your nutritional stats.

p2 pancakes

the stuff:

  • 1 scoop protein powder OR 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp pure canned pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites or 1/4th cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 tbsp almond milk, soy milk, or even skim
  • 1 packet truvia (or any other 0 cal sweetener you'd like)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or more..dash away)

do this:

mix everything together,  spray your no-stick cooking spray into your pan, and cook.  once bubbles start to form, go ahead and flip them. they cook quickly on med. heat, so keep your eyes on them.

tonight's dinner was TOO EASY.  here's my salmon slab from earlier this week.  i put it in a pan, sprinkled my dry ranch dressing mix on top, and put it right back in the fridge.  after about 2o min or so, the seasoning had completely soaked into the fish, so i popped it in the oven.

450 deg for just 10 min.

 that is IT.

i made some red beans in my slow cooker the night before, so i paired the salmon with them as well as some 'coleslaw'.  i turned the package around and could not figure out for the life of me why the stats were so dang high for some dry cabbage.  then i found that little packet of fat dressing hiding in there and proceeded to toss it OUT.

9 grams of fat and 10g sugar for just a two tbsp serving? no thank you.  i liked the coleslaw dry better anyway because it added crunch.

i like bowls. a lot.  as a kid, i HAD to eat my food portions one at a time and they could not be touching. so weird.  but now, i like a little bit of everything in one bite.  this is one of my fav, beat up bowls.  i think it's older than me.

this was just a quick snack as we're headed out the door to another, yep, you guessed it- 1st birthday par-tay! it's gonna be a positive, productive monday tomorrow.  claim it; it's yours.


banana oat protein YUMmuffins

thanks a TON, Ogechi!!! a girl after my own heart. she knew i would be geeked over this recipe and she was exactly right. these muffins are great for breakfast or a snack.  Ogechi also makes a FANTASTIC black bean/sweet potato soup i can't wait to share with you guys- she brought me buckets of it right after i got home from delivering my son.  she is just awesome like that and no you can't have her cause she's all MINE!

Banana Oat Protein YumMufffins (or bread!)
the stuff:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (toasting always makes a difference)


  • 1/4 cup  coconut oil (in solid form)
  • 1 whole egg 2 egg whites
  • 2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup chia gel (mix together 9 tbsp water & 1 tbsp chia seeds then wait 10-15mins to turn into gel....it's quite interesting to watch )
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

do this:

preheat oven to 350 right now. also, go ahead and activate those chia seeds.  the chia seeds replace the oil & the butter- neither are used or needed in this recipe!
put them in a small separate bowl and add the water.
 measure out all dry ingredients in a bowl MINUS the walnuts. *tip* swirl it around a few times with a whisk to combine & break apart all the ingredients. set aside.
in another bowl, mix coconut oil, eggs, bananas, applesauce, chia gel & vanilla till well combined.  here's another *tip*- make sure your wet ingredients are room temperature so your coconut oil doesn't harden on you when you mix them together.
Ogechi told me this stuff made a world of difference in the flavor department for these muffins.  i found it in WF and prayed it was worth all 7 dollars. it was.
 be sure you buy it in solid form.  looks just like hair grease.
keep adding..
my bananas weren't super ripe, but if yours are, mash them all up.
i left my batter a little chunky, of course.
gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients till everything is combined. do not over mix!
fold in walnuts aaaaaaaaaand (optional): 1/4 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips! will do that next time..don't have any right now:(
pour in a greased loaf pan or do muffins. this recipe makes 12 large muffins or 18 medium ones. top with any leftover nuts and bake.
i pulled the muffins out after about 20 minutes- look at those fresh banana chunks.
it was SUCH a beautiful Houston day! we were invited to my friend Joanna's potluck party in the park and the muffins were perfect timing.  SO, because we were going to a party, i added some buttercream frosting on top and more toasted walnuts!! otherwise, no party, no frosting.  keep them clean.
happy birthday, Joanna! have a muffin!
or three. they're guilt-free!
i hope YOU enjoyed your st. paddy's day as much as i did!
how did you celebrate for st. paddy's day this year?

cake in a can


last night's light dinner: salmon cakes and quiona.

this week, HEB's fresh salmon is on sale and finally in my budget. so, i picked up a big slab of it- you'll see it again shortly.  the other 75% of the year, i buy the canned stuff and either make my salmon fish for lunch, or protein packed patties/cakes for dinner.

dump the can in a bowl along with:


  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt (no mayo!)
  • 1 tbsp capers (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard or dijon mustard (or both)
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 2 big stalks celery. chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 egg whites (beaten)
  • tony c's and pepper to taste
  • sriracha (if you want...Sonny HAS to put this on everything so i squirted some in for flavor and heat)
  • juice of half a lemon (i only had a lime at the time and that worked well too)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

mix. again, i like my veggies nice and chunky. dice them finer if you don't though.

waste is no bueno, so if you want to start with 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour then add more as needed, that's cool.  the egg whites provide more protein and holds the patty together.  the panko breadcrumbs add texture and crunch- you can either add them into your salmon mix, OR add it to the flour and coat your patty with it. your call.

shape and dip both sides.

i pan 'fry' these in butter flavored cooking spray for 3-4 min on each side.  every now and then i'll use a tbsp of LOL whipped butter or a splash of olive oil.  i can squeeze about 10-12 patties out of 1 can which will give you about 80 cals and 2g of protein per patty. if you drop the panko, so will your cal count.

 time to whip out the quiona, finally.

and i've been saying it wrong this entire time. apparently it's pronounced 'keen-wa', not 'key-o-nah'. no matter how you say it, it's suuuuuper boring eaten by itself.  it's light, fluffy, slighty crunchy, and an extremely popular 'superfood'  in the vegetarian community.  i totally recommend this over rice as a side, any day.  since it's friday,  i won't bore you with why you should eat it this time, but just know i eat it and highly recommend it. (ok if you have a few extra minutes, read this.)

i cooked it up similar to rice.  1/2 a cup of quiona, and 1 cup of water makes for a nice big serving.  once it boils, turn the heat to low and let it do its thing (with the top on) for 12-15 min.  after that, let it sit for another 5 min, then grab a fork and fluff your heart out.

to make this a little more exciting, i chopped up a ripe tomato, some fresh parsley, and tossed in a handful of cranberries (see top picture).  i'll be in my test kitchen this weekend baking up some stuff, and hoping to finally turn some of these drafts into posts!!!