I love coffee and drink it regularly, but I have never been one to drink more than one cup/day. The more active I am, the less I want to drink it, and it has always been that way. Too much of a good thing is actually not a good thing at all.
I am still working on some recipes to add to my repertoire of protein balls. A lot of them call for peanut butter due to the amount of protein it packs in; however, I find it sickly sweet and almost detestable after a few bites. So … had to work on a few things! Before I detail my process, and I call it a process because it isn’t merely about substitutions. Before I introduce the line-up, here is a picture of the finished product, a mini version, good to have in-between workouts; and a standard one, great for a snack in-between driving kids to and from activities, or to and from the office.
Mini version – 1 tsp scoop
Standard – 1 T scoop
Here are some of the ingredients I use:
This is the brand of instant espresso I like to use. Remember to crush the granules finely. The product on the left – by Akava – is a natural coffee alternative – derived from the chicory plant. Chicory tastes similar to coffee. I drank one cup per day for a while, and will tell you that it does not do for your body what coffee does. It can be good or bad – some people like the caffeine kick while some don’t. I used this to make my coffee cookies because they were for family members of all ages. I did not want to be feeding caffeine to children.
There are so many protein powders out there. I have been using these for a while because they are not artificially-flavoured and sickly sweet. Although protein powders are highly processed, I do turn to them once in a while, as they are a quick replacement for a banana or granola bar.
And that my friend, is matcha green tea latte. I used this for my chia breakfast jars instead of pure powder because it is less potent, adds just enough of a hint of green tea, and it does not have bitter aftertaste. Cacao is chocolate in its pure form. Although it possesses a slightly bitter taste, almost like a dark chocolate, I like it. I prefer cacao simply because it’s a healthier choice. It is an expensive ingredient, but so worth it!
I love seeds – they can be used 1:1 interchangeably. The only seed I would read up on before you use it, is chia. Chia is something I would not use in smoothies, as it thickens up to a texture I don’t really like. Also, chia can stick to your teeth and along the gum line.
Sweeteners – there are many around, but I took pictures of a few that I have on hand. I use them as a substitute for maple syrup or honey, especially when making protein balls or granola bars. The sweetness level changes with different combinations of fruits and nuts. I did not find agave syrup to be a good binder when making granola bars or protein balls; however, brown rice syrup worked well. Keep experimenting until you find a combination that works for you!
OK, here is the recipe:
1 c of old-fashioned or quick oats
2 T protein powder or skim milk powder
1/4 c instant espresso coffee granules – I crushed these to a finer granule
1/4 c cacao nibs
1/2 c flaxseed meal
1 T chia seeds
1/2 c almond butter
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
Place dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix until well incorporated. Cream together the almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour the almond butter mixture into the dry, and fold until combined. Use a scoop to shape into balls, your hands, or press into silicone moulds for easy storage, and removal. Must be stored in refrigerator.
Keeps fresh in a tightly sealed container for up to two weeks.
Don’t like coffee? What would your “protein surprise” be?