Friday, July 6, 2012

Birthday Wishes and Guilt-Free Protein Balls

It's Friday for the second time this week!  And, today is my running buddy's (and sometimes paramedic) birthday.    Happy birthday, Jessie!

Today's Workout:  To commemorate the anniversary of Jessie's birth, we had a birthday run this morning.  Later, I'm going to Bryson's cross training class.  I don't know what he has in store for us today, but I'm sure it will be something real special.  Yesterday, we practiced our form at dead lifting and figured out what our maximum weight was for a 5-rep set.  

Thanks, Emily, for sending this to me!

In Wednesday's post, I mentioned that one of my good friends moved to Hawaii this time last year.  

blurry paradise
Her departure sent me into such a tail spin . . . such a baking frenzy . . . that it was almost my demise.   I made more batches of chocolate chip cookies in the two months after she left than I had made in all of the preceding months of my life.   

I think the chocolate chip cookie baking binge was a result of the fact that . . .  every now and then . . . before she left . . . when I would be sitting in the carpool line at my sons' school, Wendy would run up to my car and surprise me with a giant plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  

And, she makes the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES EVER.  In fact, she converted a chocolate-hater into a chocolate-some-times-er.  

They were so good that four or five of them would be missing before I could get them home before my kids could get in the car.  And, I was real, real stingy with them.  I wasn't above trying to hide them from my kids.   Although the chocolate smeared across my face was usually a dead giveaway. 

But, why would I share them with my little mongrels who can't tell the difference between the best chocolate chip cookie ever and a Chips Ahoy?  Ok, well to be fair, I've never tried these:

There is promise in that little red bag.  Chocolate and peanut butter are my perfect storm.

Oops.  I've digressed to the point where I've lost track of where this post was headed.  Geez.  Blondes.

Oh, yes, I remember.   Instead of chaining myself to my oven during the hottest months of the year last summer on my quest to recreate Wendy's best chocolate chip cookies, I should have just made Wendy's protein balls.   I would have been a better, leaner, more regular woman for it.  

So, even though Friday is supposed to be my "Side-lining the Sweet Talk" post, I'm going to share with you the recipe for Wendy's protein balls.   It's perfect timing, really.  My cake balls on Wednesday were so naughty . .

. . . so far off the rails . . . I feel morally compelled to provide a nicer, healthier alternative.  

And, then because I can't resist the urge to bastardize a recipe and swap out  the sweet ingredients with sugar-free alternatives (and also because I didn't have all the ingredients that I needed to make these last night), I'm going to tell you how I switched it up.

Wendy's Protein Balls

     1/2 cup peanut butter
     1/2 cup honey
     1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
     1/2 cup diced apricots
     1/2 cup sliced almonds
     1-1/2 scoops vanilla protein powder
     1 tsp cinnamon

     1.   Pre-measure all of your ingredients and make sure they are handy because these cook fast.
     2.   In a medium-sized pot, heat the honey and peanut butter on the stove over medium heat until the texture is runny.
     4.   Mix in the apricots, almonds, oats, and protein powder.
     5.   Stir until all ingredients are well coated.
     6.   Cool in the refrigerator.
     7.   Roll into bite size balls (approximately 16).
Crazy as a Mother modifications:  I didn't have peanut butter, apricots, or almonds so I swapped them out with cashew butter, raisins, and chopped pecans, respectively.  My raisins were old and crusty so I boiled them in some water first to plump them up and give them some life.  Also, I used 1/4 + 1/8 cup of sugar-free maple syrup in the place of the 1/2 cup of honey. 

After making the balls, I rolled them in shredded coconut.  I decided to do it at the last minute because the maple syrup made these stickier than normal.  Maybe, I also did it to keep my favorite coconut hater out of them . . . as I REALLY need her to forgo these healthier balls and eat my last two cake balls . . . before I finish them off. 

Have a great weekend, ya'll.


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