Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)

Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)


I have been seriously struggling with a sweet tooth lately and have had a craving I cannot seem to satisfy with dates and nut butters alone. So if I cannot eat a big piece of chocolate cake at 3:00 pm everyday, I think these little snack nuggets will suffice.

You can whip these together in 10 minutes and enjoy them when you need your daily pick me up. I added chocolate chips to my balls but you can definitely omit them if you wish. I used the mini chips by Enjoy Life.

To make these you will need…

¼ Cup Organic Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

1 Cup of Cooked Quinoa

2 teaspoons of Honey (Agave or Maple Syrup will work)

1 teaspoon of Molasses

1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

Optional: ¼ Cup mini dairy free chocolate chips

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl until well combine. Be sure to let the quinoa cool before you add everything else. Roll tablespoon size lumps into pretty little balls. You can put these in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to make them set or you can just put them in the fridge and allow them to harden slowly. I gobbled up all the bits that didn’t make it into a neat ball and clean up was a breeze with just one pot to clean. Store them in the refrigerator.

My balls have about 2 grams of protein and 50 calories each, incase you are counting.

I am about to go have one now with a big chai :0)


Raw & Gluten Free “Donut Holes”

Well it snowed for about 12 hours today. I was able to make it to one client but even that was pushing it. So I had a bunch of downtime today, which was nice. I got to have a long workout, take a shower long enough to shave my legs, shoveled out our walk way and my car and I caught up on all workout and nutrition plans for clients. I have probably had 10 cups of loose leaf tea as well. Now that I think of it, I accomplished quite a bit. I share all this because I like to bore you, so lets talk “Donut Holes” (heavy on the nuts, sans dough).

I recently inherited my mom’s super retro food processor. While my boyfriend says is sounds like a lawnmower, I love it. It works well and it has a little sentimental value. Apparently my mom made all my baby food in this bad boy Oyster.


These little protein bites are slightly sweet and packed with protein and fiber. I wouldn’t put them in the dessert category because they lack the decadence I demand in a dessert. I would call them the perfect pre workout snack or addition to breakfast.

Here is what you will need:
• ¾ cup of almonds
• 12 pitted dates
• 2 tbsp of peanut butter
• 1 tbsp chocolate protein powder
• 2 tbsp of chocolate tahini


My favorite chocolate tahini. Just 2g of sugar!


First place almonds in a food processor or vita-mix. Process until you have an almond meal consistency. Move your meal to a mixing bowl. Process your dates for about 30 seconds or until you have a sticky paste. Add the rest of the ingredients including the almond meal to your date paste. Pulse continuously as needed until you everything is combined. Move your “dough” back to the mixing bowl to roll into tablespoon sized balls. I keep my donut holes in the refrigerator but they are perfectly fine covered at room temperature.


Almonds post processing

If you want to make these a little more dessert like you can add some mini chocolate chips. You may find you need a little honey to help the chips stick.



Heirloom Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

I made this hummus for the superbowl, but it was such a huge hit I have to share it! The dip is red because I used red heirloom spinach.   If you look closely you can see the purple spinach in my photo.


I love hummus because it has so many uses.  You can use it simply as a dip, to flavor a dry chicken breast, as a mix in for your tuna salad, as a condiment on a sandwich or pita or if you like it as much as I do you can eat it with a spoon…don’t tell.

If you have a food processor or a Vitamix this recipe is a breeze! It will take about 15 minutes total to put together, I then let it cool and set overnight in the fridge.  You could definitely serve the hummus right away if you are in a pinch :0)


2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
5oz fresh spinach (I used red spinach)
1 can (14oz) artichoke hearts, drained
2 cans (15oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and peeled
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin


Start by sauteing the olive oil, garlic and spinach.  While that is cooling you can begin to process the garbanzo beans, adding in the rest of the ingredients one at time and pulsing until you have a smooth consistency.  I added the spinach last.

Go ahead and give it a whirl!

Avocado Protein Pops

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A Popsicle just screams summer to me.  Like everyone else, I grew up downing Freeze-E pops and chasing the ice cream truck.  Today there are tons of healthy pops you can find in the grocery store that do not contain high fructose corn syrup or unnatural dyes.  It can still be a little more fun to make your own sweat treat.  I wonder how well muscle milk freezes? Tehe

A friend sent me this link via Facebook for an Avocado-Lime pop last week.  I doctored it up and improvised with ingredients I already had at home.  Here are the ingredients I used:



  1. Throw all your ingredients in a blender and run until smooth
  2. Pour into a Popsicle mold and store in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours
Look at that green creamy goodness

Look at that green creamy goodness

I tried a pop after a very very hot and humid run with my good pal Amanda Bacon, who’s mom actually supplied the recipe.  What would I do without Bacon women?It’s creamy, delicious and actually pretty filling. It tied me over until my dinner date at 8:00 pm.  The healthy fats in the almond milk and avocado keep you satiated while the whey protein feeds your muscles after a hard workout.  The potassium in the banana helps prevent cramping and adds sweetness. Every part of this recipe (my version)  is wholesome and natural.  The original recipe I referenced uses Stevia, which is a processed zero calorie sweetener that is advertised as all natural.  However, Stevia is only all natural when you extract  oil straight from the Stevia plant.  The granulated Stevia you buy in the store has been spliced and processed to create another zero calorie product, which is why I added the banana for sweetness and omitted the Stevia.

As for the protein powder, I would have used vanilla if I had it. But I only had chocolate and a few samples of Warrior Whey’s special flavors, one of which was green tea.  I will definitely make a variation of this Popsicle in the near future, or as soon as I finish all my Avocado Pops.

Have a safe and fun 4th of July weekend!

Toasty Coconut and Banana Oat Muffins

Toasty Coconut and Banana Oat Muffins

These muffins are a like a clean bowl of oatmeal you can take on the go, did I mention they are a healthy pre-workout carbohydrate and freeze  well?  Saturday morning I was out of greek yogurt and was in a … Continue reading

Product Review: Smart Bar

1001555_611192732307519_882851334_nIf you don’t live in the Virginia Beach area, you have probably never heard of Smart Bars.  I only came across these hand made bars while scanning through WordPress myself.

Being a personal trainer means I am always on the go,  my dinner often consists of protein bars, green smoothies or whole fruit.  Over the years I have become very picky when it comes to the protein and snack bars I chose.    Many products marketed as healthy are filled with sugar, chemicals, and non food ingredients with a name more than 3 syllables long.   I have my “go-to” snacks, but I am always looking for something new–for myself and to recommend to clients.

When I am looking for a nutritious snack, I look  at the ingredients first.  You want to make sure you can pronounce everything on the list.  In addition I like to keep sugar under 8 g when choosing a snack or protein bar.  If the sugar is relatively low and the bar is made with all natural ingredients, you are usually in a good place.  Protein is always a plus. One sneaky nutrition fact to be looking out for is Sodium, which fills so many “health” foods.  I don’t worry about the fat content. If the bar is filled with healthful and natural ingredients like almonds and walnuts, it’s good fat and will keep me full through all my evening sessions.

Lets talk about Smart Bar now.  Smart Bar is created by Matthew May, a chef in Virginia Beach.  He makes the all natural granola bar by hand with whole food ingredients.  The round granola bar uses only 9 ingredients and contains no preservatives.  It’s also gluten free! The snack bar is advertised as “perfect for breakfast”, “perfect for lunch”, for “before or after your workout” and as an “anytime” snack.  Take a look at the label here:


I had half of a bar this morning and it is very tasty.  You can pick out all the ingredients as you nosh.  It is a chewy vs. crunchy granola bar, like a bowl of steel cut oats without the nuisance of dishes to clean.  I had a bowl of fruit around 8 am and half a Smart Bar around 9:30 am and I was full and satisfied until 1:00 pm.  All the ingredients in this product are things I enjoy on their own (dried fruit and chocolate are my weaknesses), so it is no surprise that I enjoyed the flavors and texture of Smart Bar.

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I love the round shape, you trick yourself into thinking it is a cookie

I was a little surprised by the sugar content.  This all natural snack bar has 2 g more sugar than a snickers bar.  I would like to see honey  further down on the list of ingredients.  However, dried fruit is pretty high in sugar as well, so that could be another culprit.  I would not recommend this bar for anyone who is watching their carbohydrate intake.  On the other hand, this is a great pre workout snack for endurance athletes.  I will probably save the rest of these bars for a snack prior to a 10 miler.

1510987_619496081477184_148302298_nOverall, this is a tasty all natural snack or meal replacement.  I love that you are not ingesting any sketchy hidden preservatives.   I would recommend Smart Bars to endurance athletes (runners, cyclist and triathletes), who have the need for the 45 g of carbohydrates that his product pacts.  While the bar is very wholesome and delicious, I don’t think I could recommend it to my everyday clients who are looking to lose and maintain weight.  I would love to see a lower glycemic version of this product with less honey and maybe some more nuts.

I absolutely love the packaging.  Each bar is individually hand wrapped in wax paper.  I can tell the labels have been put on by hand.  It is refreshing receive a quality product from a small business. If you are in the Virginia Beach area I recommend making an order for pick up, just to give them a try.

If you are interested in purchasing Smart Bars you can do so here.

In addition, I want to share with you my current “Go To” Bars.  You can find them all at most grocers.  Chia Bars by Health Warrior are a little new to the mainstream grocery market but I saw them at Harris Teeter recently and I know you can get them at Whole Foods.  Chia Bars are great for in between meals.  They contain just 5 g of sugar and only 100 calories.  This is great for anyone looking to lose or maintain weight.

A good tip is to avoid anything that tastes like dessert.  If it is low sugar and tastes like a snickers, it is probably packed with unnatural, non food ingredients.

What is your “Go To” snack/meal bar? Leave a comment, I am interested!