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Pumpkin Protein Bites

Visalus Vi-ShapeHave you ever heard of ViSalus Vi-Shape® Nutritional Shake? I hadn’t heard of it before until they reached out to see if I would participate in their recipe round-up. They would send me a bag of the Sweet Cream flavor protein powder and I was just supposed to come up with a recipe using it.

Well… initially, I declined. I told them that I didn’t think I was “qualified” to come up with a recipe. But they told me that I really would be and then they mentioned that the shake powder tasted like cake batter.


Seriously, if I could tell you guys my recipe was to just pour some almond milk, add a couple scoops of this stuff, shake it up and drink it I would be tempted. Because it is so good! The protein powder is a mix of soy and whey proteins, has 90 calories and 12g of protein in two scoops.

But I needed to come up with a recipe. Just as an experiment, I mixed it with greek yogurt. Voila, instant cheesecake!

Protein Powder Yogurt "Cheesecake"
Protein Powder Yogurt “Cheesecake”: I used some flaxseed meal to give my “cheesecake” a “crust”

But that’s not really a recipe, so I went back to the drawing board. (Cutting board?) This time my thoughts gravitated toward a crepe. And it tasted alright, but I’m just terrible at making crepes and they were pretty ugly. This was the only one that came close to holding it’s shape.

Protein Powder Crepe
It’s a crepe in a bowl!

They were still pretty fragile, thus the crepe, berries, whipped cream in a bowl presentation. So I moved on to cookies. I went through several attempts, but I think this one is the best. However… I have a hard time calling them “cookies” because of preconceived ideas of what a cookie is. This is a soft, cakey treat and it’s kind of like a cookie, but not really a cookie. Thus, I’m calling them Pumpkin Protein Bites.

Pumpkin Protein Bites from JillWillRun.com

Pumpkin Protein Bites
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Viasalus Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake powder
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • Couple of shakes of cinnamon
  • Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Dump the pumpkin on top.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Add in the chocolate chips and stir a couple more times until they are mixed in.
  6. Let the mixture set on the counter for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Divide into cookie-sized blobs on a greased cookie sheet. (You'll want to grease it so they don't stick!)
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes. They don't spread like cookies, so don't expect that. You just want to let them have time to kind of set up and not be too gooey. Trust me, the long cook time is better.
  9. Let cool. Eat.

Pumpkin Protein Bites from JillWillRun.com

Thank you Visalus for letting me experiment! I actually think I’m going to play around with the protein powder more and see what else I can come up with, I had fun doing this!

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

African Groundnut Stew

African Groundnut Stew

Did you know there are certain foods that are supposed to bring you luck in the new year if you eat them? I think it’s a tradition mainly followed in the south. While I’m not Southern, I did learn about this concept and thought it was a fun idea so I’ve been incorporating it in my family for the past several years. I think most southerners that follow this eat collard greens with black-eyed peas cooked in ham. This is my own interpretation of lucky food for the new year. Our New Year’s Day tradition is to eat African Groundnut Stew, although this is yummy to eat at any time, so don’t just limit it to one day.

  • Eating greens is thought to increase wealth
  • Black eyed peas represent prosperity, I’ve heard because they resemble coins (in someone’s mind.)
  • Grains are supposed to represent long life and/or abundance.

My husband really likes this, it’s great because it’s not tomato based. He hates tomatoes, there are too many tomato based soups! (I love tomatoes though.) And I’m happy with it because it has a rich, thick feel without being cream/dairy based. I’m not a chef or a food photographer, but here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

African Groundnut Stew

African Groundnut Stew
Recipe type: Stew
Serves: 4-6
A hearty stew full of nutrition and ingredients thought to bring luck in a new year.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1½ cups cooked black eyed peas (a can drained and rinsed would work)
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, chiles, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon and cumin. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with the spices.
  5. Add 1½ cups of water. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  6. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl and slowly ¼ cup water, stirring until smooth. Add the peanut butter mixture into the stew. Simmer about 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
  7. Add the black-eyed peas and spinach. Simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Before serving, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  9. Garnish with peanuts, chopped or whole.
Serve with cornbread on the side.