Blog Archives

The Elusive Protein Powder

Helllooo! How is everyone doing? I had a very laid-back Saturday, my favourite kind :)

Started off at 7am (sleeping in!) with some egg-white french toast.


I prefer french toast made with egg whites, but I still spread some almond butter on top for my fat ;)

Citrus on the side!

I hung out in bed for a little bit, then went to BodyStep. Step class is probably the most fun I have working out all week. I don’t always feel motivated to work out on Saturdays after a long week, but I always look forward to that class, so it’s a good way to get me off my butt!

Came home mega sweaty and replenished with a protein smoothie.


  • 1 scoop peach-mango whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 dates
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum


This was soooo thick and creamy! Just like a thick milkshake – it was divine. Those gums are 100% worth the extra $$ if you like smoothies.

However, smoothies never stick with me for that long. Ninety minutes later I was hungry for lunch.


Mini pizza off sorts – garlic tomato paste, Kirkland no-salt seasoning, sliced tomato, smoked mackerel, cheddar cheese on an english muffin.

With carrots + salsa on the side. LOVE this combo! More than any other dipper for carrots. Try it if you haven’t yet!

I somehow found a spurt of energy today and cleaned a bunch and spent some time in the kitchen! First was a kitchen experiment that has been on my mind for a long time. I finally got the guts to do it, and boy am I glad I did!!


Bacon Peanut Butter.

  • 1-2 cups dry roasted peanuts (I just dumped it in!)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • 2-3 tbsp real bacon bits

I blended the peanuts until smooth first, then added the other ingredients. I had to try it immediately on some rye crackers.

Okay, so I know this combo may weird some people out, but I promise you it’s REALLY good, and I would not purposely steer you wrong :P I didn’t add so much bacon that you can taste it. It just adds more depth to the salty peanut butter, and if you concentrate really hard you can taste a little smokiness.

I also whipped up another batch of Deb’s Protein Faux-nola.


First, in a small saucepan, I brought to a low boil:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Once it boiled down a bit, I stirred in two scoops (60g) vanilla whey protein powder and one tablespoon cinnamon.

Then, I mixed it up in a big bowl with:

  • 3 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Spread out onto a baking sheet and put into a 325 F oven. I have no idea how long it cooked for, but I took it out every 5 minutes or so to stir it around, until it was browned and getting crunchy. Some of the bigger pieces may not seem crunchy when you first take them out of the oven, but they will be when it cools down!

The big chunks are my favourite ;) The Grape Nuts added to the crunchy texture too.

I also made a potato salad of sorts earlier in the day that I let chill in the fridge so it was nice and cold for supper.


  • 4 baby red potatoes
  • 1 block herbed tofu
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • few shakes Kirkland no-salt seasoning (it’s a garlic/oregano/veggie-type seasoning)
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 3 small pickles, chopped
  • 2 tbsp real bacon bits

I steamed the potatoes and tofu together first, then mixed everything together once they cooled.

After tossing everything together, I felt that something was missing. So I channelled Mark, my mom’s boyfriend, who always says bacon makes anything taste better. I used up the rest of the bacon bits and he was right! Dee-licious! ;)


Q&A – The Elusive Protein Powder


Justine said:

What kind of protein powder do you use? I bought some chocolate Designer Whey to use for protein cookie dough, and it was hell of nasty.

simplypresent Said:

Question: I have heard mixed reviews about soy protein. What are your thoughts? – Em

I have a question for you.  I don’t really understand the whole protein powder thing.  I see so many recipes for Breakfast cookies and shakes that have protein powder in them.  I went to the local health food store and they have about 100 different ones to choose from.  (they are expensive as I am sure you have noticed…LOL)  What one(s) do you recommend?  Do you know the difference between Whey and Soy powders??  Do you recommend one over the other??
Help I am so confused…LOL.
thanks Stephanie


It seems protein powder is a popular source of confusion :P I’m not sure if I’m the most informed person to give you the deal on protein powder, especially since I’m in Canada and have access to different brands. But I’ll give it a shot. Let’s call it a starting point, shall we? ;)

If you had told me two years ago that I would have to dedicate a whole cupboard to this:

I wouldn’t have believed you :P

I thought protein powder and “Muscle Milk” were only consumed by jocks with no necks that grunt at the gym. Okay…douchebags.

But when I started lifting heavy weights, I did a lot of research that said protein can help muscle recovery. Back in those days I was a pescetarian and looking for more ways to get it in my diet. Specifically protein shakes, as they digest quickly and work to repair your muscles faster after a hard workout (remember! muscle is built during that recovery process!)

I went into GNC and was totally overwhelmed by the hundreds of expensive, giant canisters, so I instead went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest one I could find. Since then, I’ve tried to do a lot of experimenting to find what I like. For the most part, I prefer whey powder, which is a protein that comes from dairy. When searching for whey powders, you’ll likely find two kinds: whey isolate and whey concentrate. Isolate just contains more protein than concentrate, so it’s often more expensive. I either buy an isolate powder, or a mix of the two.

So I’ll show you what’s in my cupboard right now for protein powder. First is President’s Choice Whey Protein Isolate in chocolate flavour.


When looking at the nutrition information, I always look at the serving size. I usually shoot for a powder that has 20-25g protein for 100-120 calories. This one may seem like a lot, but the serving size is 45g, when the standard is around 30g.

The next one is from another Canadian company – PVL. I actually don’t care for their Whey Gourmet line, but the Naturelle vanilla bean flavour caught my eye because it’s sweetened with stevia. 


IMG_4081 IMG_4083

The biggest downfall of flavoured protein powder is that they’re typically artificially sweetened (it’s how they keep the calories and carbohydrates low). This can be a problem if you’re trying to stay away from artificial sweeteners, or if things like sucralose give you stomach problems.

Finally, I have the source of today’s smoothie, Thermo-Lean Iso-Lean in Peach Mango flavour.


IMG_4078 IMG_4079
I find the ISO Lean stuff to be a little too “fake sweet” for me, so this one has been in my cupboard for a while. Okay for a treat sometimes though!

Ironically, I don’t have any of my favourite powders on hand right now, but I’ll show them to you anyway. I always need to have a chocolate and vanilla on hand, and Iso Femme is a brand that is both tasty with good nutritionals.

This powder also makes the best breakfast cookies!

My other favourite kind is from PVL, the Whey Cooler.

This stuff is neat because you mix it with 32 oz water and tastes similar to kool-aid or gatorade.

It really is an awesome thirst quencher! And 20g protein for just 80 calories. 

Now, besides whey powder, I’ve only ever tried hemp protein and soy protein. Hemp is not so great, as it’s “earthy” tasting. But hey, some people dig that. Soy protein is actually not too bad. I’ve only ever bought Bob’s Red Mill unflavoured soy protein powder. I really liked it for cooking and baking, but not so much for smoothies. It was also a really fine powder, so it didn’t harden well in no-bake cookies and bars, it just got chalky.

I know protein powder seems like a lot of money at first, but just remember that it will last you weeks! Think of it like your car – the $30+ you spend on gas is like an investment because it keeps your car running for several days. Well protein powder is an investment that will keep your body running for several days!

Last but least, I feel like I should add protein powder will not make you gain weight!!! I helped my friend pick out protein powder last weekend and she was worried it would make her put on pounds when she is trying to lose some. But it’s just a matter of calories in, calories out. Replace the calories of something you’re already eating with the calories in a protein shake and it won’t make a difference.

Hope that helps!

Question of the Day: Do you use protein powder? What kind? Favourite thing to do with it?


Seasonal Fare

Hellloooo! How is everyone’s week going so far? I’m all screwed up from the holiday. Hell, I’m screwed up all the time :P

I thought my turkey dinner + slice of pie was enough food to replenish me after those 9 miles yesterday, but I woke up at 4:30 am staaaarving. For the first time ever, I actually contemplated getting up in the middle of the night to eat. But I somehow managed to force myself back to sleep for a couple hours. Then I couldn’t take it anymore. At 6:30, I sleepily made a breakfast aimed at getting it in my belly asap.


Fried egg sandwich (with cheese) and a ginormous honeycrisp. As you can tell from the photo, it was eaten in bed. This is because I promptly fell back asleep until 8am after this. Ahhh, sometimes I love working the evenings!

I skipped the gym today to give my body a full and proper rest after my long run yesterday. This wasn’t my original plan, but I figured I’d be in better shape for more intense workouts this week if I was fully recovered. Glad I did! Instead I stayed home and got a lot of housework done.

I was all excited about eating up a sweet potato for lunch today. Alas, it went wrinkly on me. Don’t you hate it when that happens? So I went with plan B – white potato.

I cooked it in the microwave and added it to a garden salad with cottage cheese.


It was delicious! The poor white potato has gotten such a bad rep. But it’s quite good for you!! It’s high in vitamin C, which helps absorb its iron content. It’s also high in minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It’s chock full of B vitamins and folate. It’s even a rich source of antioxidants! Of course, you have to eat the skin to get much of this. You can read more about the wonderful tuber here.

During my cleaning fest today, I found a bar I bought in Detroit and forgot about!


I’ve heard lots of good things about the Kind bars, but I can’t get them around here. So I jumped on this cranberry & almond flavour when I stumbled across it.


Ingredients: Almonds, Macadamias, Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Honey, Glucose, Puffed Rice, Soluble Dietary Fiber (Maize).


Oh. My. Gosh. Thiswassogood!!! Whole almonds, macadamia nuts and cranberries held together with sweet honey and some crunchy bits of cereal. I loved every single bite. I didn’t even mind that it left my hands crazy sticky after.

Unfortunately, dinner was not as successful. You’ve heard me complain about canned pumpkin, but I knew I couldn’t fully judge pumpkin until I made it myself.


I picked up a mini one and considered a million different recipes until I decided on straight up roasting.


I slathered the slices in peanut butter and a dash of pumpkin spice.


To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. It was still tasteless and mushy!! Actually, it was almost watery. The whole time I was eating it, I was wishing it was butternut squash.

My protein for the meal however was awesome.


My other Gardein “chicken breast.” It’s official, I love these!

We’re supposed to be getting our first snowfall of the season tonight! When did it all of a sudden become winter? Wasn’t I just complaining about the heat??

Question of the day: What’s your favourite season? I know this has been asked on other blogs, but I’m curious! Personally, I’m a spring gal. I love the melting snow, and being able to wear ballet flats for the first time. Plus, there’s always so much excitement in the air because there’s a full season of warm weather ahead :)


Thank you soooo much for all the congratulatory comments on my new 5k PR!!! They made the smile on my face even bigger :D Don’t get too excited though. It’s gonna get beat again :P

I was pretty spent last night. I think it was a culmination of my early mornings at work and the hard effort in the race. I conked out at 9:20-ish and woke up to the sound of my alarm at 5:30 am. That never happens.

I was actually pretty pumped when my alarm went off though, because I was getting up for spin class! I was nervous my legs may be a little too stiff for it, but it was actually my heart that was having the trouble! I find with cycling, my weak leg muscles are what always hold me back. Conversely, with running, it’s my cardiovascular ability that limits me. So it was odd to have that reversed today.

Or the RPM class at my new gym just kicks my butt :P

I came home sweaty and endorphin-ated, and whipped up a homestyle breakfast.


Two eggs on whole wheat toast, with pan-fried purple potatoes and onions.

I never do sunny-side up. Instead, I keep the yolk intact, but flip it over in the pan so the whites cook through. Then I pierce the yolk on my toast…


…spread it around like buttah…


…put the egg back on top…


…and devour!!


It makes my belly happy :)

Work was uneventful, with pretty standard eats. I spent the day in a courtroom. My butt does not like the pew-like benches in there. Would it kill them to put in some cushions??

Dinner was fabulous, despite some electricity malfunctioning. Apparently, one wall cannot handle having a light, microwave, and plug-in kettle going all at once. Duly noted. Shout-out to Ellie who helped me figure out how to fix a blown fuse via Twitter!


Spring rolls filled with tofu strips sautéed (not microwaved) in Braggs and sesame oil with raw zucchini. Plum sauce for dipping, and some not-so-purple purple green beans in more Braggs. Luuurrrved it!

Many of you probably know that this is my first September not returning to school. I graduated in journalism/communications last May. I’ve been up on my old campus a few times since school started last week selling old textbooks. I have to say, I loved university. I went to a small liberal arts school, filled with inspiring professors and a wonderful community atmosphere. Being back up on that campus really makes my heart hurt.

I try to be strong and pretend like I’ve enjoyed the transition from school to full-time work. But it’s been hard. I have no desire to return to school right away, but it has been a huge life change for me.

I started my full-time job two weeks after my last exam. So I really had no transition period. It’s just weird to be at work every day, and having to dedicate all my efforts to just one job. Of course, now that I’m in my new place, living all by myself, this change in lifestyle has only been magnified.

Part of my difficulty in transitioning has also been that the majority of my friends moved away when school finished. I work in an office where I am sometimes the youngest person by decades. So my social life has taken a bit of a hit as well.

I keep telling myself that I’ll adjust. I’ll eventually find my own group of people, settle into my new solo apartment, and become more comfortable with my work schedule. I just never expected it to be this difficult. I guess there’s no point to this story. I just had to be honest and get it off my chest! It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately ever since school started again. Change is hard!


Question of the day: Did you go to university? What did you study? If not, what would you study? I’ve been debating going back for law, but I know a lot of law students who are trying to talk me out of it :P

Bonus question: What’s your favourite way to eat eggs?

I guess the upside of not being a student is that I have no school work to do. So I’m off to go be lazy and read magazines in bed ;) Lator gators!