Alissa Carpio / The Fit Freelancer

Health & Fitness Writer, Blogger and Brand Ambassador

I bring Fitness Appeal to your Brand.

Washington DC - Northern VA

Blog.

Recipe: Protein Balls

I’ve been wanting to share some recipes for protein balls, or protein truffles, for a long time now. I love this treat because not only is it a great option to kick your sweet tooth in a healthy way, but the recipes are very forgiving, quick, and versatile. You can basically just throw together some stuff from your pantry, and – voila! – instant tastiness!

This particular recipe was adapted from a friend, full-time working fit mom of three, wife, personal trainer and NPC Bikini Competitor Maddy Alvarado. For more great ideas, you can follow Maddy on Facebook or Instagram @Fitmommymaddy.

Maddy Alvarado

Maddy’s Raw Almond Butter Protein Balls

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 T Chia Seeds
2 T Ground Flax meal
8 T (1/2c) Raw unsalted almond butter
4 T (1/4c or about 1 scoop) protein powder
4 T unsweetened carob chips
1/3c Walden farms pancake syrup
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, let chill for 15-30 minutes. Using a small cookie scoop, form balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill until cold and set. Store in fridge in airtight container.

All the ingredients and finished version of Maddy’s Protein Balls!

Maddy's Raw Almond Butter Protein Balls

 

I added some ingredients that I had handy and just love.  I swapped natural peanut butter for almond butter and ground cacao nibs for carob chips.  Below is my version.

Alissa’s Oat Peanut Butter Protein Balls

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Gluten-Free Oats)
2 T Chia Seeds
2 T Ground Flax meal
1/2c unsweetened flaked coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2c plus 2 T natural peanut butter
2 scoops (1/2c) chocolate protein powder (I used MuscleMeds Carnivor)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 T stevia (I used Truvia)
1 T ground cacao nibs (use a coffee grinder)
2-3 T melted coconut oil
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, let chill for 15-30 minutes. Using a small cookie scoop, form balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill until cold and set. Store in fridge in airtight container.

Note: You might have to play with the amounts of protein powder and nut butter/coconut oil to get the right texture.  The mixture should be moist enough that when you form the balls, chunks don’t fall off.  If you add 2 scoops of protein powder, you will probably have to add an extra 1-2 tbsp. nut butter/coconut oil.

After a quick chill and forming the balls…

Protein Ball Recipe

 

 

The finished version! Yum!  Goes great with a delicious cup of coffee in the afternoon. :)

Protein Ball Recipe

Coffee

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Snack Attack!

Published in the April 2014 Issue of MAX Sports & Fitness Magazine
Snack Attack
In my latest article, Snack Attack, learn the importance of each of the three macronutrients in terms of performance and recovery. Check out three delicious recipes for whole food, on-the-go snacking, courtesy of Healthy Jasmine (Jasmine Jafferali) and Pineapple and Coconut (Shanna Schad).

Click here to read Snack Attack! Article [PDF] or click here for the Digital Edition of MAX S&F Magazine and go to page 46 for the story.

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All About #FaithBite

#faithbite LogoHey friends! I am super excited to share my new project with you. As many of you may have seen, I commonly use the hashtag #faithbite on my Facebook Page and Twitter posts.

In case you were wondering, a #faithbite is a short, snappy bit of inspiration for your daily Christian Walk. I post scripture, inspirational quotes in line with Biblical truth, short devotional pieces and journal excerpts using this hashtag.

While I am the official registrar of #faithbite on Twubs, (http://twubs.com/faithbite) hashtags cannot be owned, and anyone may use them. So if you’re interested in following or participating, please use the hashtag to your heart’s content. You may also join my Twubs page as a contributor, or just follow along to get your daily #faithbite!

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Live, Laugh, Love: What It Means to Me

This piece was a blog entry originally published at Prevention.com in 2008, during my time as a Buzz Blogger.
Woman Laughing
We’ve heard it over and over again and seen the cute little signs in friends’ homes and colleagues’ office cubicles. But have you ever actually pondered what this little phrase means? Have you ever tried to apply its wise words to your life on a daily basis? It’s extremely difficult, but not impossible, and very well may be one of the keys to true happiness.

I am a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving woman. I know that many others share my religious views, while many do not. That will be a never-ending debate and I’m not here to convince you of the Bible’s objective truth. However you may take it, the Bible is a source of wisdom and encouragement, among many other things. I use it as my guiding principle in life, my moral plumb line to which I refer in times of difficult decisions or trying times.
In addition to the Bible, I read encouraging quotes and resources of a non-religious nature. I like to see how these other resources compare to biblical teachings, and then apply it to my life. I’ve done that very thing with the common phrase “Live, Laugh, Love.” What does it mean and how can I apply it on a daily basis? Here’s my take on it.

Live – To me, this means not taking for granted any of the wonderful privileges, blessings and benefits I’ve been given in life: my fortunate situation as an American citizen (including freedom, riches and luxuries as simple as running water!), relationships and experiences with friends and family that make life worth living, and the gift of life itself.

With all that enriches my life, I feel as though I’d be doing God a disservice by not experiencing everything to its fullest. I have a certain set of talents and abilities, and I believe I should grow and hone these gifts and use them to enhance others’ lives, as well as my own. Instead of wishing I had something that I do not have, I aim to be happy with what I have been given, under any circumstance. As women especially, we can be picky and envious of what others have: if we’re born with straight hair, we want curly; a nice round booty, we want to be stick thin; a thin build, we want curves; a redhead, we go blonde. Be content with what you have, and appreciate your differences and what makes you unique. Appreciate others’ differences, too.

Laugh – Don’t take life too seriously. Don’t miss out on those special moments and important relationships because you’re too busy trying to get that promotion at work, finish your third post-baccalaureate degree or make it in show biz. Your children only grow up once. Everyone will eventually die. Don’t spend your entire life chasing after things that will die and fade away. Take time off work. Go on family trips and vacations. Relax and enjoy a glass of wine and some good conversation. Live life to the fullest and with no regrets.

Love – Loving others is not just having mushy feelings about that person. True unconditional love puts others ahead of self and accepts people for who they are on the inside, not on what they have or have not accomplished, what they look like or what problems they may have. One of the best ways to display love is to do something special for someone else. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it shows kindness and displays an act of selflessness, especially when we do things we don’t feel like doing. You don’t have to like someone to show them love. Sometimes an act of love may feel unnatural, but if you do it anyway it helps you grow and mature as a person.

Here is one of the most beautiful writings on love that I have ever read:

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]…”

Taken from 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, Amplified Version of the Bible

Every time I see the phrase “Live, Laugh, Love,” I think about what it really means and how I’m reminded to act out those very things on a daily basis. This simple little saying actually says quite a bit when you break it down. It’s definitely one of my favorite inspirational quotes and I try to remind myself to live that way every day.

If you enjoy following my Faith entries, feel free to share and repost to your social media accounts and use my hashtag, #faithbite!

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Four Kitchen Appliances You Didn’t Know You Need

I have a small kitchen, and that means I don’t go out and buy every new Keurig- and Ninja-sized appliance that comes along. I prefer buying what I know I will use often, what will save me time, and what takes up minimal space in my kitchen. With that in mind, here are four of my favorite kitchen appliances – well, you could really call them accessories – that I can’t live without.

Mandoline. I originally bought my mandoline (they retail at your grocery store for about $12-$20) to make homemade sauerkraut, but I’ve since found many other great uses for it. The most practical and frequent is adding thinly sliced veggies and fruits to my dinners. For instance, I just whipped up a batch of grilled Asian-style chicken tenders. I wanted to add some “oomph” to the recipe, so I decided to slice a granny smith apple into the dish during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Since the mandoline slices paper thin, the apples cooked up in just a few minutes, and added a great sweet tang to my dish! Another favorite use for my mandoline is to slice carrots into my greens as they are sauteeing. The sweetness of the carrots really offsets the bitterness of the greens, and adds a pop of color.
Mandoline Slicer

Cookie Scoop (large and small). These were an idea from my mom. She always had them on hand for formulating and testing low-carb cookies and other baked goods. I use them for so much more than cookies, though. They are great for meatballs and protein ball truffles. They are a great time saver and create uniformity in cooking time and appearance. It’s nice to have two sizes, because sometimes you want to make big cookies, and sometimes you want bite-sized poppers! The cost is about $13 each. I also like OXO brand.
OXO Cookie Scoops

Parchment Paper (natural). I love my natural parchment paper! Why natural? It’s better for the environment and better for you. Traditional parchment paper is often bleached with chlorine, plus it’s sometimes coated with quilon. Quilon contains the heavy metal chromium, which can leave trace toxic elements when heated. Natural parchment paper, on the other hand, is unbleached and is coated with silicone. My favorite brand is If You Care FSC Certified Parchment Baking Paper.
Parchment Paper

You can use parchment paper for everything you bake, and you can even reuse it! For a great time saver, bake your sweet potatoes, chicken, and fish on parchment paper. You don’t need to grease the pan, so it saves excess fat calories, as well. And of course, it’s the best for cookies!

Salad Spinner. I bought my large salad spinner while I was a member of a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). Greens from a farm or farmer’s market are usually unwashed, so they can be very dirty! The only way to prep them right is with a salad spinner. Also, if you like to bake kale chips, spinning the kale in the salad spinner speeds up the drying process. My preferred brand is OXO, and the large version retails for about $30.
OXO Salad Spinner

If you liked this article, let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page, and I will continue sharing helpful kitchen products for clean eating and healthy living!

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