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#PWMF Recipe Contest Snack Winner: Kimberly's Espresso Protein Balls

We’ve come to the final recipe winner, so I suppose I should say something about when the free contest recipe e-book will come out, eh?

Setting an exact date is tricky, because as soon as I do the universe begins to work against it. That said, I will try my very best to have the e-book done by Sunday, November 9. IMPORTANT: Once the 2014 e-book goes up, I’m taking the 2013 e-book down for a while (don’t call me a meanie, my shopping cart software only lets me have so many files without charging me up the wazoo!), so use this link to download your FREE copy before it goes POOF!

Ok! Now that we’re done housekeeping, let’s talk snacks. I like snacks. Do you like snacks? Or maybe you’re a bit afraid of snacks. Understandable. There is a very fuzzy line between a snack and grazing and most of us just don’t want to take the chance. But a good snack can help you get needed calories and nutrients and keep your blood sugar stable, especially in longer stretches between meals (like the dreaded “lunch to dinner” stretch).

That’s why I included a snack category in this year’s contest. And here’s your winning entry!

Kimberly’s Chocolate Espresso Balls
(inspired by the Protein Power Ball recipe on the Bariatric Foodie site)

  • 1 c crushed Cracklin Oat Bran cereal (or high-fiber cereal of your choice)*
  • 1/3 c. Chocolate PB2 (Nik Note: In the absence of peanut flour ¼ c. natural peanut butter + 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder would do but note that raises the calorie count significantly – and no I’m still not telling you the calories, sorry!)
  • 3 scoops of Click protein mix (any flavor; I usually do 2 scoops Decaf Mocha and 1 scoop Vanilla)
  • 2 packets no-calorie sweetener
  • 1/2 c. skim milk
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. sugar free chocolate chips

Put cereal, PB2 and Click into a mixing bowl and stir well.

Add Splenda. Stir well.

Add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing after each. Stop adding milk when consistency is a moist dough, not sticky.

Stir in chocolate chips, if using.

Check the consistency of the mixture, by rolling a small amount into a ball. It should easily form a ball, but be dry enough it doesn't stick to your hands. If the mixture is too sticky, put it in the refridgeerator for 30 minutes. The cereal will soak up the excess moisture and make it easier to roll
Roll dough into balls, using rounded tablespoon-full will give you about 24 balls.

Place balls into airtight container and store in fridge. Note: the longer they are stored, the softer the cereal will become. They are best within the first 2-3 days)

Judge Maryann said she liked the recipe because it produced a snack that was snack-sized that is tasty and adds protein to her day! Here's Maryann's picture of the Espresso Protein Balls.

#PWMF Recipe Contest Dessert Winner: Sue's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Y’all thought I forgot about the rest of the “Play With My Food” recipe contest winners, didn’t you?
NOPE! We’ve got two more Foodies to feature.
First up, Sue! She submitted a yummy WLS-friendly dessert recipe that judge Denise thought was out of sight!
Sue’s Pumpkin Cheesecake
 Here is Sue's entry photo:

  • 1 -8oz pkg Greek Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4c. + 2Tbs Truvia baking blend
  • 1 small can packed pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In a bowl beat cream cheese until smooth and add in protein powder, vanilla and 1/2 of the Truvia. 

Mix well.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. 

Add pumpkin, remaining Truvia and spice.  Mix well.

Pour into a sprayed glass pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

Nik Notes:
 I have extensive cheesecake experience so you KNOW I have to put in my three cents!
  • Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know of my quest for a cheesecake free of cracks! For some of you, cracks are no problem so long as it's yummy! And sometimes (especially if you're having guests) presentation is more important. If you’d like to lessen the likelihood of cracks, it’s a simple thing to do. Just put an oven-safe pot of HOT water into the oven when you put your cheesecake mixture in there. The cheesecake doesn’t need to sit IN the water, you can put the water on the same or another rack. The steam helps it cook gently.
  • I also have always cooked cheesecakes at 325 for 35 minutes, turned the oven off, and left it open a crack to finish cooking as the oven cools down. Why? Because Alton Brown told me to!
  • Lastly, if you have a springform pan those make cheesecake extraction a snap! Just make sure to line the bottom with parchment paper so you can easily get it off the pan.
Here’s what Denise said about Sue’s cheesecake!

"The texture was moist and smooth. Flavor was good. Kid liked it. Passed all tests. Lol. Not as dense as classic cheesecake, but I didn't expect it to be. Easy, protein enhanced, and yummy."

The very first picture in this post is a slice of the cheesecake Denise made according to Sue's recipe. Here's a picture of the entire cheesecake:

#PWMF Recipe Contest Dinner Winner: Erin's Creamy Chicken Fajita Soup

(Heh...Dinner Winner...ok...moving along...)
Dinner! I don’t know about you but it’s always been a challenging meal for me.

I think it’s the finality of it all. Like dinner. It means you’re, like, done. With food. For the rest of the day. (In my head.)

My issues aside, a good, WLS-friendly dinner the entire family can eat is worth its weight in gold. It means you don’t have to play short-order cook to your family and you can all sit down and eat the same thing at the same time (theoretically). That’s important.

Hillery, our dinner judge, is a working girl. She manages to pack a lot into her day and now she’s having a baby! So she was looking for a good dinner that doesn’t take long to make, that both she and her hubby can enjoy.

Here’s her pick.

Erin’s Creamy ​Chicken Fajita Soup

  • 4 C. boneless, skinless chicken breasts , shredded
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 1 (28 Oz. Size) Can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5 Oz. Size) Cans Great Northern Beans
  • 2 (14.5 Oz. Size) Cans of Sweet Corn
  • 2 (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Carrots
  • 8 C. Low-Sodium, Fat-Free Chicken Broth
  • 8 Oz. Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Package of Fajita Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder. Salt, Pepper to taste
Add chicken breasts to slow cooker. Add enough water to cover meat and cook on low for 6 hours. Take cooked chicken out, once cool enough shred meat. Set chicken aside.

Remaining liquid can be added with chicken broth.

Drain and rinse beans, carrots and sweet corn, set aside.

In stockpot, add diced onions and saute on low for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining liquid and greek yogurt. Bring to a boil and stirring constantly until smooth.

Add to stock pot, whole can of stewed tomatoes, package of fajita seasoning, beans, carrots, sweet corn and chicken.

Reduce heat, add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Note: If you have picky eaters at home, I puree my beans and tomatoes prior to adding.

Additional add ins depending on tastes:
  • Hot Sauce
  • Diced Jalapenos
  • Diced Green Chilis
  • Use 1 can of Black Beans, 1 can Great Northern Beans
  • Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese for topping
Unfortunately, Hillery had a family emergency (NOT the baby!) that has prevented her from snapping a pic of Erin's dish, but she assures you all that she loved it and will snap a pic and send it in very soon. I'll update when I get it.
Congrats, Erin! Keep playing with your food!


#PWMF2014 Recipe Contest Lunch Winner: Margaret's Avocado Egg Salad

(Dear Margaret: This is by far one of the BEST food pictures I've ever been sent!)
The lunch judge – Pam T. – is not easy to please.
We’ve been friends forever and two more days. You all know her without knowing her, especially if you’ve ever bought a Bariatric Foodiebook – she designed all the covers!
And as hard as she works on her design stuff and as meticulous as she is with it, she is a self-professed “lazy cook.” I can’t get her to try any of my recipes that involve more than a few ingredients or a few steps. When she does try my recipes, she always plays with it to reduce the amount of ingredients and steps! 
So I was especially curious to see which lunch recipe she chose as the winner. Pam would like you to know it was not an easy decision. Each judge had to prepare the recipe(s) they were considering for the win. I believe Pam tried three.
But in the end, here is the winner!
Margaret’s Avocado Egg Salad
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle relish
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder or 2 tbsp minced onion
  • Paprika (optional)

Slice hard boiled eggs and remove the yolk.
Mix the yolk with relish, mayo, salt, pepper and onion (just as if you were making deviled eggs).
Chop the egg white, cut the avocado into bite size piece and add to the eggs.
Pour the mayonnaise mixture over top, gently mix to coat everything.
Spoon on a lettuce leaf and sprinkle with paprika. Serve.

Here's what Pam had to say about what makes this a winning recipe:

"It's egg salad, with a twist! I love that this is as easy to make as normal egg salad, but the addition of avocado takes this egg salad to the next level. I also loved that this is a low-carb option by using lettuce leaves as the vehicle for the salad rather than bread."

So there you have it. Simple. Nutritious. Good! Here's Pam's photo of Margaret's recipe:


#PWMF2014 Recipe Contest Breakfast Winner: Vicky's Strapatsada

I’m still working on the free recipe e-book for this year’s “Play With My Food” recipe contest, but I thought in the meantime I’d showcase the winning recipes. So check back this week as I post each of the five winning recipes in the following categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert.
First up, breakfast!

The winner of the breakfast category also has the honor of having submitted a recipe I had never, ever, EVER heard of in my life. But it’s kinda fun to say. Stapatsada!

This is a yummy breakfast recipe from Greece, where Vicky lives. (How awesome is it that we have Foodies, everywhere?)

Vicky’s Strapatsada
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoonful of olive oil
  • 1/2 tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper finely chopped
  • 50 gr feta cheese (1/4 c. for us non-metric using Americans!)
  • Pepper, to taste
In a non-stick frying pan heat the olive oil with the green pepper until soft (2-3 minutes). (Nik-note: I’d set a pan over medium heat, allow it to get hot [2-ish minutes] then add olive oil.)

Add the tomato and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Beat the egg and add to pan along with the feta cheese crumbled.

Cook for another 3 minutes. Add pepper to taste (no need to add salt as feta is quite salty), turn off heat and let stand for another 5 minutes. It will continue to cook.
Serve hot.
Here’s what the Breakfast Foodie-Judge had to say about why this was a winning recipe:
This recipe was super flavorful, the simmered tomatoes gave this dish a fantastic rustic flavor...and while I would have probably added a tiny bit of salt (not recommended in the recipe) they flavors were fabulous together. I also chose this recipe because 90% of the time when I choose to prepare an actual breakfast and not a breakfast drink, I am the only person who will eat said breakfast.
This recipe had all the flavors I love, and was a perfect portion for me. I started out with half of the finished portion (as the recipe said it was filling) but I found that the full portion with a couple slices of tomato was just the right size for me. No leftovers!
Before the judges could make a final decision on a winning recipe, they had to prepare the dish they were considering. Here’s Shannon’s Strapatsada.

Congratulations to Vicky, who will win a $50 Amazon gift card for her winning entry.
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