Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

I recently tried Kodiak Cakes pancake mix (Power Cakes, Protein Packed) and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I’ll make pancakes for breakfast once in a blue moon, but this mix boasts 14g of protein for 3, 4-inch pancakes…so I wanted to give it a try. I prepared the batter with milk (which brought the protein up to about 18 g) and a little cinnamon and they came out great! A healthier alternative if you enjoy a classic pancake breakfast every once and a while.

I decided to make muffins using what was left of the pancake mix and added my own fall flare to the recipe listed on the box. Here’s my recipe:

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes flapjack mix
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup non-fat or 1% milk (I used 0% fat fairlife milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with muffin batter. Bake for about 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

power-pumpkin-muffinNutrition Information: 1 muffin – Calories: 139 cal  Total fat: 5g  Saturated fat: 3g  Sodium: 148mg Carbohydrates: 19g  Dietary fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Protein: 6g – calculated via MyFitnessPal

Pumpkin Power Cake Muffins: Tara Tested, Tara, family, and friends approved! At the request of a colleague of mine, I made these muffins without banana and used pumpkin instead. The flavor worked well with the cinnamon and created a moist texture in the muffin. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of the Power Cake mix, but I was running low and decided to use old fashioned oats to make up the difference. If you are after a lighter, more airy muffin, you might want to use regular or whole grain flour. I am happy with how these came out and look forward to experimenting with different variations and recipes! Dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and peanut butter anyone??

Creamy Kiwi Smoothie

Summer smoothies linger on into fall when there is a new Ninja blender in the house! My Dad, aka “Smoothie Steve” hit the jackpot last week on his birthday when he opened up a new Ninja blender. I gave it whirl myself the other day and created this creamy green smoothie, loaded with vitamin C and 18 grams of protein!

Creamy Kiwi Smoothie

  • 1 container vanilla Greek yogurt (5.3 oz)
  • 1/2 cup non fat milk
  • 1 cup baby kale & spinach
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 2 slices pineapple
  • 2-4 ice cubes

Toss all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth!


Creamy Kiwi Smoothie: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! I enjoy creamier fruit smoothies (maybe because I trick myself into thinking I’m having a milkshake) made with yogurt or milk to ensure that I get a good serving of protein. If you are not a fan of this consistency (like my father), you could use water or 100% juice instead of the yogurt and milk combo. I would recommend adding chia seeds, ground flaxseed, or a protein powder of your choice to up the protein, which will help keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Nutrition Information: 1 smoothie – Calories: 253 kcal  Total fat: 1 g  Saturated fat: 0 g  Sodium: 140 mg  Carbohydrates: 47 g  Dietary fiber: 5 g  Sugar: 37 g  Protein: 18 g

Black Bean Brownies!

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I ever eat a brownie made with black beans?” And I don’t blame you. I understand your concern. I don’t want my dessert to taste like vegetables or beans or anything else that it isn’t supposed to taste like. Enjoying dessert (in moderation!) is important, without it we would constantly feel deprived and potentially sabotage our efforts to eat healthfully. Let me tell you, these brownies give you the best of both worlds. You get some great nutritional benefits that your typical brownies lack without sacrificing any of the chocolately goodness.

2014-10-14 19.46.20

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Rinse and drain the black beans (goodbye excess sodium). Combine the black beans, 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, and canola oil in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work just fine. Process until smooth. Add the eggs, brown sugar, baking cocoa, vanilla, baking powder, and salt (I only had baking soda on hand, so I used about 1/3 of the amount of baking powder the recipe called for). Process again until smooth. Pour the batter into a 9-in square baking dish greased with cooking spray. Top the batter with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 brownies. (recipe from http://www.tasteofhome.com)

Nutrition: (1 brownie) 165 calories, 7 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 4 g fiber

2014-10-14 20.32.262014-10-14 21.05.35

Black Bean Brownies: Tara Tested, Tara and fellow MSU dietetic interns approved! I strongly recommend these brownies to every chocolate lover out there. These brownies are so dense and chocolately, you would never guess the main ingredient is a can of black beans. They are very dense and fudgey, so consider yourself warned if you prefer the consistency of cake-like brownies. I brought these to our weekly internship class and everyone was pleasantly surprised; no trace of beans! Go ahead and make these brownies for your next potluck or family get together without telling anyone what they’re made of and see if anyone notices! You’ll be doing everyone a favor providing a healthier, protein and fiber rich dessert!