Test Kitchen: Feed Your Sweet-Tooth Addiction!

Let’s start by saying, “it’s not our fault.”   Needing carbs…wanting carbs..CRAVING carbs is hardwired into our systems.   Dr. Oz stated it concisely:  “Ever wonder why white carbs are so addictive? It has to do with chemicals that travel from the stomach to the part of the brain where you produce dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Once these areas of the brain are stimulated, you’ll keep on wanting more of the addictive substance, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or carbs.”

See, it’s not our fault.  It’s how we’re wired.   But let’s face it, those sweets and carbo-dense snacks are making us dense, especially around the midsection.  Luckily this past weekend I was struck with a chest cold and decided to take a couple days to recuperate at home.  Not one to sit idle, it became weekend TEST KITCHEN.

Many of my clients share my struggle with sweets and carbs.   We know they’re bad, but we just can’t help the craving.  And when we start, it’s hard to stop…piling on the damage.  What the hell, I just had one cookie…might as well have another 2 (3 or 5).

Spent a good part of the weekend searching for some new, interesting options.  The web is teeming with recipes and suggestions, ranging from 3 ingredient simple recipes to culinary masterpieces.   I always opt for easy and portable.  I’m on the run most of the week and need things I can take with me and eat in-between clients.   I had the opportunity to try several recipes and saw many epic kitchen disasters, from the inedible to the just plain bleahhhh.   But happy to report I stumbled on a few gems that are SUPER easy and, although still a work in progress, appeasing the cookie/carb monster within.

By far the easiest and most successful:
PALEO BANANA PANCAKES (GF bonus!)

2 ingredients. 5 minutes. Delicious snack!

2 ingredients. 5 minutes. Delicious snack!

courtesy of my pal Dawn Forrester (http://dawnforrester.com/home/)

  • 1 Banana (ripe is better)
  • 2 eggs
    • mash banana and beat together with the 2 eggs
    • drop spoonfull on lightly greased (PAM, butter or coconut oil) griddle
    • When edges start to form, flip (brown both sides).
    • Yummy (and sweet) enough to eat plain.  Or smear with almond butter and eat like a sandwich!

** don’t be afraid to get creative.  Add a few crushed walnuts for protein and healthy fat.

 

PROTEIN OATMEAL COOKIES:

Protein Oatmeal Cookies

Protein Oatmeal Cookies

courtesy of Michael Kory at LeanBodyLifestyle

*disclaimer, these are not the consistency of regular cookies and do have a slight “protein powder” taste.  But they satisfy a cookie craving for sure!

  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 3-4 scoops of vanilla protein powder (I used whey)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp Stevia or Truvia
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • additional seasoning and additions of choice (I used 1/8 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 chopped walnuts & cinnammon)
    • Pre-heat oven to 325
    • mix all ingredients together.
    • grease cookie sheet (or they WILL STICK, even if non-stick) with cooking spray
    • drop spoonfuls.   Use the back of the spoon to flatten slightly (they will not spread in cooking)
    • Bake 13-15mins (keep an eye out.  Bake too long and you’ll have dry crackers)

 SUGAR-FREE MERINGUE COOKIES

courtesy of Rory at Lipstick Kitchen.

*time for another disclaimer.  I’m still working on perfecting these – texture and taste.   First batch looked good, but too sweet and chewy.   Second batch was less sweet, but texture was something like a sponge.  Third try was better – crunchy texture and better flavor, but can definitely be clicked up a notch.

Sugar-Free Meringue Cookies

simple to make, but takes patience. These aren’t instant gratification.

  • 1/2 cup of egg whites.
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1-2 tbsp stevia or Truvia (to taste.  I found 2tbsp too sweet.  cut back to 1 tbsp).
    • Preheat oven to 215 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
    • Pour egg whites into bowl and let warm up to room temperature.  Rory suggested setting them atop the stove as it preheats.
    • Using a whisk, by hand or elec mixer, beat eggs for about 5mins until stiff
    • slowly add in cream of tartar and continue beating.
    • slowly add in sweetner and continue beating (about 10mins total beating time).
      • mixture should be so stiff that you can turn bowl upside down and nothing comes out.
    • If you want to add extra flavor, here’s your chance, but you have to be QUICK!   Try to avoid oils, as they’ll deflate the eggwhites.  Try Almond extract, lemon extract or peppermint.  Use sparingly (1/4 tsp) and add along the side of the bowl.  Then quickly beat into mixture.
    • drop in dollops on parchment lined cookie sheet.
    • bake for 25mins.
    • turn cookie sheet and bake for an additional 25mins.
    • Turn oven off and leave them sitting in warm oven for an additional 20 – 60mins. (THIS IS WHERE I’M STILL EXPERIMENTING.  Every oven is different.  I removed them at 20mins and I found them chewy.  I left them for 60mins and I found them deflated and crunchy (which I liked), but unattractive.  Like cow-puckies.)
    • Experiment dusting w/ additional seasonings, like Cinnamon or cocoa.

FROSTING!

Protein Frosting

How to make a yummy protein cookie even yummier! Protein frosting!

  • 1 scoop vanilla (or choc) protein powder
  • add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and stir, until you get the consistency of frosting. (careful.  too much and it will be runny)
  • spread atop the cookie and enjoy!   No extra sugar, but lot’s of protein!

 

Want to take these treats to an even BETTER level.  Frost ’em.  Yup, I said frosting!

 

If you experiment with this recipe and come up with options that work better, please share!

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