wedding wins and happenings

Hi loves. I’m still alive. I promise.

My weekend just started and I feel like it’s almost over. Oh the joys of working every Saturday.

But that won’t be changing anytime soon, so I guess I should just stop complaining about it.

I’ve been keeping busy with the whole wedding stuff and actually getting a lot done!

We got some of our engagement photo’s back and I am just in love with them! Our photographer is seriously amazing and the main thing I loved about our session was we didn’t do the cheesy posed pictures. She actually told us we weren’t allowed to do any (I did request a few specific poses) but she wanted us to basically just hang out, be ourselves and she would capture the true emotion.

And she did!

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We did some inside the bar and our photographer actually found this really awesome hallway to do some shots in. I think they all turned out great and I can’t wait to get more back.

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Other things checked off the wedding to-do list, I finally chose my bridesmaids dresses and I bought my wedding shoes! It seems like all my purchases have kind of been not planned, just felt right, but I think that’s the way it should happen.

As for the bridesmaids dresses, my sister went to try on dresses I liked and randomly tried on another one she liked and I ended up loving it best! I went to a local store to look at color swatches and they offered to let me try on the dress. What girl doesn’t like trying on dresses?

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I will have it in more of a light cappuccino color that I think will go really well with our theme.

As for my shoes I went just going to get a feel for what heel height I wanted. I found two pairs that I liked…

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One pair I really thought was a classic shoe and the other had a little glam to it. I of course wanted a little more glam and it turned out they were on sale so I figured why not.  Well turns out they were on extra sale and I got an extra 50% off the already reduced price. So let me just tell you, I paid $15 for my shoes.

#weddingwin

Now if I could just get Matt to choose and decide what he is going to wear… that would be nice.

Boys gotta love them. At least he does cute things randomly for me though.

Like when he went to our local coffee spot to get us some coffees, I stayed home to start breakfast.

My iced Americano had a very special message.

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His and hers coffee. That coffee tasted extra good.

And if that didn’t make breakfast all the better, Matt was actually a sweetheart and had dinner ready for me after an extra long day at work.

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Baked chicken with quinoa, steamed broccoli and I toasted up a bread stick from Great Low Carb Bread Company in the oven when I got home .  They sent me a few new products and this was one of them.  I will admit that they aren’t as buttery as I would like and were a little dry, but I loved the texture of them. I did discover that they are a great dipping vessel. And you guys know how I love to dip!

I made a little marinara dip and solved that problem.

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In sending me their new products I begged them to send a few more of their squares. I love these things!

The brownie is by far one of my favorites to use as my dessert.

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And let’s be real, anything topped with reddi-whip is extra amazing.  Matt and I randomly picked up a bottle at Target the other day and I seriously forgot how simply good it was. And yes we do reddi-whip shots each time we use it. You just have to, I think it’s a rule.

Well loves it’s Sunday, so I’m off to do what I do best.
Drink beer and watch football.

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chocolate chip pumpkin bread

This post has been long in the making.

A couple weeks ago I teased you with multiple pictures of my first ever pumpkin bread! I will admit I am not the best baker. I am that person that doesn’t measure, throws in random ingredients, mixes it all together and just hopes for the best. Now when you’re cooking, not a big deal, but baking? One miss measurement of a flour, too many eggs, not enough liquid:flour ratio can instantly ruin a baked good. Which is why most of my baking results may not look pretty due to not rising, rising then falling flat, or straight out remaining mush, they usually taste decent. And I am not one to waste, so I typically just cover whatever it is in peanut butter and call it good. Because really, peanut butter makes everything better.

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Case in point, my failed attempt at a green plantain waffle. It’s ok, the drippy peanut butter made it allll better.

But I am happy to say that when attempting my first true pumpkin bread I decided to take a very safe route and actually follow a recipe. Well ok, I won’t lie, I did kind of combine two, but it was because I wanted to use certain ingredients over others and we all have our personal preferences.  But other then that, this non measuring girl actually measured her ingredients and restrained as much as she could to not just add in random things.

It paid off.

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My house smelled amazing as the pumpkin bread aroma filled the air. It took all of my will power to not immediately try a chunk when this came out of the oven, but I let it cool before breaking off a small slice for Matt and I to sample. We  both instantly had expressions of “oh my gosh this is so good” on our faces.  I then quickly cut off another small slice.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

(Based on this recipe)

Ingredients

- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil*
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

* could use 1/2 cup butter – softened

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Directions

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Mix together flour, baking soda, baking power, spices and salt in a medium bowl until well sifted.

- In a large bowl beat together with an electric mixer sugar and oil, adding in eggs one at a time. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and continue to beat together scraping down sides as needed.

- Add in dry ingredients, mixing until well blended, but do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips – saving some to sprinkle on top.

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- Pour batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from oven, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes (the hardest part). After 15 minutes remove loaf from pan and allow to cool for a few more minutes before slicing.

Sometimes I think it’s a little self torturous to bake, I mean the heavenly smells that baking creates and the inability to immediately devour your delicious creation is just plain mean.

But alas, after proper cooling time you are free to dig in.

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This bread was so moist (i hate that word, but this bread deserves it) and with the melty chocolate chips inside was pure heaven in my mouth. This bread was so good that Matt almost got mad at me when I said I was going to take half the loaf to work with me.  He never gets that way with my baking. It’s not that my baking is bad, but usually he will offer to take leftovers to his work as well. Maybe that was just a subtle hint that was my baking was bad.

I was nice and left him a few slices which that same night he had for dessert.

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Cool Whip on pumpkin bread is pretty amazing by the way.

I did manage to take some of the loaf to work with me and it must have been meant to be because a client had brought me a present that day.  I had been raving about the pumpkin butter from Trader Joes and even though unknowingly to her, I already had my stash at home, she had brought me some!

And if you even had to guess, yes the pumpkin butter was epic with the pumpkin bread.

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And maybe my previous baking was bad, because this loaf lasted probably a whole 15 minutes in the clinic. (i had to wait longer for it to cool!)

So I guess my main point is you need to make this bread. You will thank me. Your significant others will thank me. And if you’re nice enough to share or have any left overs, your co-workers will thank me.

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What was the last thing you baked?

wedding fun and dinners out

Hello loves! Long time no talk!

As always I have been busy busy busy, but this week I actually have two days off from work, so I am trying to take advantage and catch up on a few things. Of course wedding planning takes the forefront, but I also thought since it was What I Ate Wednesday time, I would give you guys a little sneak peak into what I’ve been eating lately.

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Fall into Good Habits: WIAW

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But while we’re on the wedding talk I will just mention that Matt and I did our engagement photo session over the weekend and had a blast! We did it at a local spot called the Brat Haus.  We chose this location because we wanted it to be a bar scene and not only did their inside bar have some great photo options, but they also had fun outdoor areas to take pictures.

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One thing I will say is I love our photographer. She had gotten there before up and as we drove us she basically ran to our car with excitement telling us all the ideas she had. We had so much fun with her and she really wanted us to just be ourselves, hang out and to let her capture our real love. And she let me take an Instagram selfie at the end of the session. A sign of a true great photographer.

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We haven’t gotten the photo’s back yet, but she did post a teaser on her blog.

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(photo courtesy of Katina Patriquin Photography)

I can not wait to see the rest!

But enough wedding ramble, on to the foods!

I will admit most of it has not been home cooked. We have been eating out like mad people, but honestly I’m not really complaining.

Dinner dates at Whole Foods have been happening a lot.

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It just is honestly so convenient after work, and since we have basically become regulars, it just feels like we’re hanging out with friends at the bar and having dinner.

I also think I could eat sushi everyday. And their brussels sprouts on the hot bar.

Which is a good thing because a few days later we had a sushi date with a friend at our favorite sushi spot.

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I usually get the Rainbow Roll, but decided to try something new and got their Alaskan Roll, which was spicy salmon, krab mix, and cucumber. Anything from this place is pretty much amazing, their fish is always so fresh.

The lack of cooking continued through out the week. When you have good food so conveniently close to you sometimes it’s just too easy to just eat out or grab something and bring it home.

Enter Chipotle.

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Matt and I have a thing that every time we get Chipotle, we have to eat it picnic style and eat on the ground. It’s silly, but it’s because the first time I ever had Chipotle he actually laid out a blanket on the floor and we had a little picnic.

And to keep the Mexican theme going, it was just Taco Tuesday (is this a thing anywhere else? apparently it’s a huge thing here in arizona, but i hadn’t heard of it before moving here).  Soooo of course Matt and I had to go get some taco’s.  I met him for lunch after some errands and taco’s were had.

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We were both surprisingly impressed with these taco’s. Carne Asada with a pickled jalapeno salsa, avocado cream, and pickled cabbage. Not only were these taco’s pretty to look at, they were absolutely delicious.  It was the perfect combination of flavors.

Some other tasty treats to mention.

I recently won a giveaway for Bare Snacks Coconut Chips.

Now let me say. I have been on a pretty big coconut kick as of late. And I knew I liked coconut chips to start with, but their chocolate bliss coconut chips. Holy Goodness. These things are ah-mazing.

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I’ve been putting them on basically everything, even fro-yo brought home. I mean why pay for mediocre toppings, when I have more delicious ones at home?

And one last thing to mention.

HOLIDAY CUPS.

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I may or may not have gotten a little too excited when I got my coffee the other morning and saw the holiday cups were back. I know everyone loves their holiday flavors, but white chocolate mocha’s with soy will always be my winter beverage of choice.

Well loves off to do more wedding fun stuff, I hope you all have a wonderful week.

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What is your favorite winter drink?

Do you celebrate Taco Tuesday?

october foodie pen pal reveal

Loves. I know it’s been awhile, but I’m well and alive.

Barely.

I’m telling you, getting married… it’s one of the most stressful things a person can do. Trust me, I am overly excited to marry the love of my life, but I really feel the whole wedding thing is for everyone else. If it were up to me, I would elope and be done with it. But let’s be real. I am pretty excited about my dress. But all the other hoop-lah, I can do without.

I do have a lot of goodies to share with you, but they will have to wait until I can actually sit down for more than 10 minutes.

Until then we have one thing I have to make time for.

Food Pen Pal Reveal.

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Since Lindsay does such a great job at putting together this shin-dig and having a beautiful baby on top of it, it’s only fair for me to do my part and highlight the program.

This month I was paired with Christina who was new to the program! I actually really like getting paired with newbies as I hope to give them a good first time experience!

For a first timer I think Christina did great. She was great in asking me my preferences and for examples of items she should look for. I was excited to see what she was going to pick out for me.

One of the first things I will say about Christina’s package was I loved that she took the time into decorating the box. I am a sucker for personal touches.

Here is what she sent me.

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Bare Snacks Coconut Chips, Tropical Dried Fruit Mix, Van’s PB&J Bars, Falafel Chips, wild riceworks, and Tabasco mustard.

I told her I tried to eat a more gluten free based diet, loved chips/crackers, dips and healthy snacks.

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I’ve tried the falafel chips before, so I knew I was going to like those and I was very excited to try the wild riceworks crisps. I also love mustard so I was very excited about the Tabasco mustard as I love me some spice!

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I’m not a huge dried fruit person, but I will say this tropical mix looks good! I’m sure Matt will be snacking on this as well! And since I’m pretty much pb&j obsessed and have always been a fan of Van’s products, I am very excited to try these bars.

So thank you very much Christina, I hope your first foodie pen pal experience was a good one!

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What kind of snacks do you like best? Chips? Crackers? Candy?

snacks i’m loving

Hello my loves.

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. It’s so hard for me to concept a weekend anymore since I work every Saturday, my weekends fly by a lot quicker when I only have one day to really relax.  And not that I don’t miss him, but Matt was at a design conference all weekend, so I actually had some quiet time to myself. But I’m not going to lie, it can get a little boring.

I probably should have worked on more wedding things, as I feel like it is quickly creeping up on me, and I still have so much to do, but I took the quiet time to actually just relax and chill out. I try to keep my stress levels low, but when you finish addressing all your save the dates only to notice at the very end that there was a typo on the date and the wrong year was printed… kind of hard not to freak out a bit.

It doesn’t help that on top of it all Matt and I have both been sick for the past few days, so I haven’t had much motivation or energy to do more than lay on the couch in my spare moments.

But I did of course want to check in with you lovelies and share a few goodies.

Since I’ve been sick, my appetite has of course been a bit off. I find myself snacking a lot more as I don’t have as big of a hunger for big meals.  But I’ve never had problems with being a snacker and thankfully I have had some tasty treats showing up at the house.

When I know I need to get some energy in me and don’t have the appetite for a huge meal, nuts are always a go to for me.

Have you guys heard of Living Nutz?

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They provide raw organic nuts and seeds and they come in some really interesting flavors.  Not only do I think the fact that their products are organic are great, but the fact that they are raw and unprocessed  I think is amazing.  They explain that this keeps more nutrients and enzymes in the nuts, making them better for you. And did I mention their amazing flavors?

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I was most blown away by the Tahitian Vanilla Coco Creme Walnuts, as I love walnuts to begin with, but the exotic vanilla flavor was amazing. I ate these straight from the bag, but also topped my yogurt and ice cream with them. Such a nice sweet crunch.

The Vegan Cheezy Almonds were another favorite and these were a great addition to my salads.  Again a nice added crunch.

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Have I mentioned I love crunch? I am such a texture eater.

Speaking of crunch.

I recently reviewed the new Quest Nutrition protein chips and I am still loving those.

Perfect little protein snack and I highly recommend if you have any left over guacamole from Chipotle like I did, they go amazing together.

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But really anything covered in guacamole, especially from Chipotle, is amazing.

And while we’re on the topic of amazing, you know what else is amazing?

Winning giveaways.

I was lucky enough to win a few giveaways recently and had my prizes delivered.

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I am so excited to try these new KIND granola bars. I am a huge fan of their other bars and granola, so I’m pretty sure I will be a fan of these as well!

I also received another surprise on my door step recently.  I have worked with Enjoy Life Foods in the past in reviewing some of their products and honestly I have never been disappointed in what they make. I recently made my very first chocolate chip pumpkin bread using their dairy free mini chips ( keep an eye out for a recipe), that when this surprise package arrived I was more than excited.

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I love their seed and fruit mixes and love that their products are nut free and gluten free. A perfect snack when I need a little something in between meals. I take this to work a lot to snack on through out the day. So thank you very much to all my friends at Enjoy Life for thinking of me and sending these my way!

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What snacks have you been enjoying lately?

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do you even quark?

I know. What a lame introduction to an awesome new to me product.

I love my greek yogurt. I will admit that the tangy taste of plain greek yogurt took some getting use to, but I just adore that thick texture.

So when I heard of Elli’s Quark I was intrigued. And after reading their description on their website, I knew I would love this product.

Elli Quark is a spoonable fresh cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt,
but with a richer, less sour taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than
Greek yogurt, with high protein and no added sugars.”

Sound’s pretty delicious right?

And if that wasn’t tempting enough, check out all the amazing flavors they offer.

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I mean seriously. Red Velvet, Sea Salt Caramel, Mint Chocolate, just to name a few. And of course some delicious classics like Blueberry, Peach and Vanilla.  I honestly didn’t know what to try first.

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I started with a classic though and tried the peach.

And as expected the texture was spot on, and I was really impressed with the chunks of peach that was in the quark.

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But really, look at that creaminess.

I will honestly say though that the flavors I thought I would enjoy the most…I didn’t. I of course was crazy excited for the red velvet and banana fosters, but found myself enjoying the peach and strawberry the best. Sometimes simplicity is better.

Overall though I was very impressed with Elli Quark and would gladly purchase it again.

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Have you heard of Quark?

What flavor would you be most excited to try?

quest nutrition chips review

So let’s start with a little honesty. I know Quest Nutrition bars are all the rave. And yes, I drool over all the Quest creations that are all over Pinterest and Instagram. But up until recently I never had the best Quest bar experience. Maybe I just had the bad luck of always getting duds, but it seemed all my Quest bars were always hard and not soft and doughy like I was seeing everyone else experience. So I won’t lie in saying that I kind of gave up on Quest bars. That was until the new Cookie’s and Cream flavor came out.

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This flavor completely changed my mind on Quest bars. I was hooked.

Proof?

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I got a whole box.

But note to self: the longer these sit the harder they get. Maybe that was my problem in the past? I was buying bars that had been sitting out awhile. I just didn’t seem to eat them quick enough and as time passed it seemed the bars got harder and harder.

So with my new found love for the Quest Bars you can imagine this snack girls excitement when she saw that Quest Nutrition was coming out with a new product.

Chips!!

I.Love.Chips.

We all know I am a huge dipper, so chips are by far one of my favorite snacks. And a chip with added protein?

Count me in.

Seriously, I got a got a bit too excited when my Quest chips showed up on my doorstep.

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And to my delight these did not disappoint.

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I broke into the cheddar & sour cream first because those are one of my favorite flavors of regular chips.

These chips basically reminded me of a baked chip, but it’s great knowing there was extra protein in these.

I wish I could say I made something fancy to dip them in, but I seriously just ate them straight out of the bag.

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My only complaint?

That the bags weren’t bigger. Seriously, this girl can demolish a bag of chips in a matter of seconds.

But with these, I didn’t have any guilt after.

So if you haven’t tried these new chips I highly recommend you do. And with my new found love for all things Quest I am anxious to try their pasta as well. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t love pasta, and if I can find a guilt free delicious pasta? Sign me up!

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Have you tried Quest’s new chips?

What’s your favorite Quest Bar flavor? Any fun recipes?

chickpea protein brownie bites

I am the master of simplicity.

Breakfast use to be my favorite time to get fancy and creative, but this was before having to be at work at 6:30am.  Now breakfast is anything that is quick and portable. Not as fancy. I do miss my beautiful oatmeal bowl creations.

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But long gone are those days.

More than likely even on my days off my breakfasts look like this.

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Peanut Butter Toast.

But I made a random genius addition of adding crumbled graham crackers on top. It was a nice added crunch and flavor.

And to be even more plain.

Bagel with Cream Cheese.

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However the fact that this was a P28 bagel and that I added Growing Naturals Vanilla Blast Pea Protein to the cream cheese took this up a notch as well. But still, pretty simple.

But then one day I got the baking bug. I don’t know why, but one night I decided to actually experiment with a recipe I had seen and prep some protein muffins for my breakfasts.

I will admit in taking them out of the oven and tasting them I wasn’t too impressed.  But after one night in the fridge, they got 100x better.

So my advice to you, if you make these, which you should, wait until the next day to eat them.

 Chickpea Protein Brownie Bites

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Ingredients

- 1/2 cup chickpeas

- 1 scoop chocolate protein (30g) (I used Designer Whey)

- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (could use pumpkin)

- 3 tablespoon liquid egg whites

- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 2 tablespoon almond milk

- 1 teaspoon vanilla

- sweetener to taste (I used NuNaturals liquid vanilla and cocoa syrup)

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Directions

- Drain and rinse chickpeas.

- Blend chickpeas, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla.

- Mix in remaining ingredients until well blended.

- Pour into muffin tin or brownie molds.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

- Let cool and eat plain or top with desired frosting. *

* As mentioned I highly recommend storing these in the fridge over night and eating the next day. Also these topped with Sweet Spreads white chocolate coconut butter was pretty much amazing. Regular peanut butter I’m sure would be equally delicious.

I love that I can just grab a few of these in the morning and be on my way. Portable breakfasts are definitely a must now. I’m also excited to play around with the flavor and use different flavor protein powders.

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What are you favorite portable meals?

Peas and Crayons