Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chicago Birthday Week Eats

I celebrated my birthday last week with family and enjoyed eats at an old favorite and two new {to me} Chicago restaurants.

On my birthday, my mom and I visited Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits for a late breakfast with baby C. The Ravenswood location {4947 N. Damen Avenue} opened last spring and I have been wanting to try their breakfast for months. Bang Bang is famous for their biscuits and pie. This breakfast did not disappoint! I had an Avocado Biscuit which was topped with fresno chiles, queso fresco, mole spice, and cilantro. I loved that the biscuit was served in a unique rectangular shape. We shared Key Lime Pie for breakfast dessert. Their Key Lime Pie is one of the best I've tried. Check out the menu here.

Later that night we went out for a birthday dinner at Spacca Napoli Pizzeria with K and my in-laws. Spacca Napoli is my favorite Neapolitan-style pizza with an amazing, wood-fired thin crust and authentic Italian toppings. We shared a burrata cheese appetizer to start - the cheese is flown in from Italy weekly. My favorite Spacca Napoli pizza is the Diavola, with blended San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte {cheese}, calabrese soppressata {spicy salami} and basil. Spacca Napoli is located at 1769 W. Sunnyside Avenue. Check out their menu here.

We shared a few bites of tiramisu for dessert and went home for cake. Specifically From Scratch Carrot Cake by I am Homesteader. With cream cheese frosting, obviously.

After a decadent birthday day of eats, I wanted something lighter. My mom and I stopped by Lyfe Kitchen the next day for a lunch out while running errands. We visited Lyfe Kitchen in Lincoln Park {1538 N. Clybourn Avenue} but there are a number of locations in the Chicago area.

I was very impressed with the food! Lyfe Kitchen is an American-style fast casual restaurant with healthy menu offerings. I had the black bean burger which came with a side salad topped with the best lemon vinaigrette. My mom had fish tacos and we also shared baked sweet potato fries. The weather was warm enough to be summer that day so we tried "Lyfe Waters" with lunch. We both had the Cucumber Mint, which includes cucumber juice, mint, lime and agave.

I'll definitely head back to Lyfe Kitchen again for a quick and healthy lunch. Check out the menu here.

I can't resist sharing one photo of our littlest lunch date. He's not eating "real" food yet but he certainly enjoys being out and about!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cinnamon Crunch Protein Waffles

This breakfast recipe for Cinnamon Crunch Protein Waffles is healthy and full of flavor. The extra kick of protein comes from protein powder to keep you full all morning.

I have been creating a lot of new breakfast recipes this year, so I'm especially excited to share my first experience cooking with protein powder.

I used a Quest Cinnamon Crunch Protein Powder Packet in this waffle recipe to increase the protein content and create a healthier breakfast. Quest Cinnamon Crunch Protein Powder Packets are available for purchase at GNC.

I stopped by my local GNC and the packets were available right at the counter. Full sized Quest Protein Powders are also available for purchase. One scoop of this protein powder contains 20 grams of protein, less than 1gram of sugar, and only 100 calories. Quest Protein Powder is also gluten and soy free.

I love anything cinnamon-flavored, especially for breakfast, so the Quest Cinnamon Crunch flavor could not be more perfect for this recipe. I used a waffle iron, but you can easily adapt this recipe for pancakes too.

The best part is this waffle recipe contains less sugar than a typical cinnamon-flavored cereal, with extra protein and delicious flavor. I topped my protein waffles with pure maple syrup and extra ground cinnamon.

Cinnamon Crunch Protein Waffles
Yields: 10 waffles

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 packet Quest Cinnamon Crunch Protein Powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Pre-heat a waffle iron.
*Whisk wet ingredients in a bowl: eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and milk {I used unsweetened almond milk}.
*Add dry ingredients: white whole wheat flour, protein powder, cinnamon, and baking powder. Whisk until the ingredients are mixed well, with minimal lumps in the batter.
*Spray a heated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray or oil. For a four-waffle iron, add approximately 1 1/4 cups of waffle batter.
*Cook until golden brown: 3 minutes for softer waffles and 4-5 minutes for crisper waffles.
*Top with maple syrup and extra cinnamon.

{Adapted from allrecipes recipe for Waffles.}