I’ve had some pretty nice people do some pretty nice things this past month, and I wanted to say thank you. One way I like to say thanks is by baking. Both of my grandmothers were bakers, always sending us home with a coffee can filled with cookies or candy. Lil Kathy is famous among our family and friends for her chocolate chip cookies, with a tradition of making “Big Cookies” instead of birthday and wedding cakes. When I was younger, and my mom had to bring cupcakes or a dish to pass to school or church, it was never store bought, always baked or cooked. So I opt to carry on the tradition. It means more to me to give something that I’ve spent time making – I mean, who needs another candle or hang towel anyway?
It just so happens that the two people I needed to thank are runners, so I knew they would appreciate my Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Balls – yummy yet packed with some much needed protein, healthy fats, carbs and antioxidants. Without further ado, thanks to Jenny (check out her new blog, Fit Girl Jen) for my SUPER cute new Brooks PureFlows in Neon Blue/Red, and thanks to neighbor – we’ll call her “Shonda” – for boarding up a broken window while we were out of town. Good neighbors are hard to come by, and much appreciated!
Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Balls
Prep: 15 minutes Refrig Time: 45 minutes Yields: Approx 26 balls
Protein Balls are the best because they are no-bake, have only 4 ingredients and taste like cookie dough. Without the raw eggs, sugar and white flour, these bite-sized treats are guilt free and great for a day off or a day of recovery. These balls are vegan and gluten-free, plus if you swapped Almond Butter for the PB, they’d also be peanut-allergy free. Hooray!
16 oz. creamy peanut butter
1 cup vanilla whey protein powder (can also use chocolate)
1/4 cup agave nector (or raw honey)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Baking mats are seriously the BEST – they can go in the oven and seriously – NOTHING sticks to this thing. The clean up is the best. Go get one!
2. Pour flax seed into a shallow bowl and set aside for later.
3. Pour peanut butter, agave nectar and cranberries into a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Add protein powder 1/4 of a cup at a time, scraping the sides with a spatula as you go. The mixture will start to take on the consistency of thick cookie dough and you may need to eventually kneed with your hands if it gets too hard to stir. I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer and it worked like a dream!
4. Using a measuring spoon (1 TBSP or 1/2 TBSP, depending on how big you like your balls. TWSS.), to scoop out the dough, roll into a ball with your hands. Drop the ball into the flax seed and roll until covered. Transfer to wax paper / silicone pad.
5. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, then eat them ALL or store in an airtight container. Balls keep for up to 2 weeks in the frig.
Do you have a favorite protein ball recipe?
What do you like to give as “thank you” gift?