When you just can’t ignore the sweet tooth
It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house and through it all, I’ve fought to stay in my Healthy Solutions Box (aside from when I had Strep last week and could barely get down water, forget a veggie or entree!). I know it’s been rough because my fruit consumption has drastically increased over my veggies, as I’ve been choosing berries over broccoli in my emotion-clouded mood. Don’t get me wrong, I know fruit is awesome and it’s not a terrible choice. But I also recognize I just wanted something sweet because I associate sweet with happier times.
With one shake left to get in my minimum prescription tonight, I opted to have a special treat saved only for that rare moment when I need an extra kick to keep me in the box. And yes I call Benefit Bars “candy bars” – because it helps to remind me they are a “sometimes food” – a tool but more energy dense and addicting than other HMR foods.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pudding
- HMR 70 chocolate shake packet
- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp PB2
- 1 tbsp Torani sugar-free salted caramel syrup
- 2-3 oz cold water
- HMR peanut butter Benefit bar
Mix the shake, cocoa and PB2 together in a bowl. Add syrup and slowly add cold water. The amount of water is a personal decision depending on how thick you want the pudding. Normal HMR pudding is 2oz but with the additional dry ingredients it can be more like a dough.
Place in freezer to expedite the thickening. While it chills, chopped up Benefit bar. Mix into pudding. I actually throw the bowl back into the freezer so I end up with a pretty solid pudding with frozen chunks of candy bar.
This is a more caloric way of enjoying your HMR foods – so I don’t have it often. However it is an easy and relatively quick way to prepare a sweet treat when you need something special.
Celebrating 4/20 the HMR Healthy Solutions Way!
Did you know April 20th was a day recognized around the country as a very special day? It’s true! On 4/20, people around the country gather together to recognize National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!
What better way to celebrate than with an HMR muffin! These won’t quite replicate the cake itself (but to be honest I have forgotten what that cake tastes like), however reading through a number of recipes and descriptors, I have crafted what I think is pretty darn tasty.
I have to thank one of my HMR Program classmates who mentioned making muffins with canned pineapple for the inspiration behind this recipe. (She also recommended what our class calls “The Rosé” – a double entree mixing the Penne and Alfredo – SO GOOD) I LOVE being inspired by my classmates – their stories and experiences motivate me going into rough weeks as I reflect on the lessons I have learned from them.
HMR Pineapple Muffins
- HMR Oatmeal packet
- HMR 70 Vanilla packet
- 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple in it’s own juice
- 1 tsp rum extract
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 pumps Torani Sugar-Free Coconut Syrup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your baking tins. I use a silicone mini muffin tin which expedites cooking time while making it easy for quick release – I also use a quick spritz of cooking spray in the tin before filling it with batter – this also helps with release of the baked muffins.
Mix all of the ingredients together. Fill batter tins. It’s really that easy. The liquids from the pineapple, extract, and syrup are enough to moisten the batter. If you don’t like rum and coconut extract you could easily sub those out. I’m thinking the brown sugar syrup and vanilla extract might be nice as well. Or a brandy extract and a cherry syrup. I was going for a bit of tropical flair after being inspired by my classmate, but the possibilities are endless!
Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the tops of the muffins have browned. Then pop them out of the muffin tins to cool. Your baking time may vary based on oven calibration and muffin tins used.
Toffee Apple Cider – a warming HMR shake on a cold day!
The weather has turned colder in sunny California and that means more hot HMR shakes to stay warm and full during the holiday season.
This one is easy and perfect to sip from a thermos while heading out in the evening to see holiday lights.
Toffee Apple Cider
- 1 ounce Torani Sugar-Free English Toffee syrup
- 1 packet Alpine-Spiced Sugar-Free Apple Cider mix
- 1 serving HMR Diet Vanilla Shake
- 15 ounces hot water
Put everything in the blender and blend on low to help everything dissolve and come together (always be careful blending hot liquids). Pour into a large mug or thermos for a warm and filling beverage!
Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte – An #HMRProgram #DecisionFree Recipe
Pumpkin spice is EVERYWHERE – seriously I must have seen at least ten different brands of pumpkin spiced tea in my local shops. But I finally caved and bought a box because I wanted to mix things up and my other dessert teas were running low.
I realized today after making a tea latte, that I had never posted about these before. But it’s a great alternative to coffee while giving you a warm shake any time of day. I make tea lattes with all sorts of flavored teas but this week have been enjoying a little something extra with the addition of pumpkin spice seasoning added to my shake.
Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte
- Pumpkin Spice Tea (I used the Sprouts Grocery brand black tea)
- Vanilla HMR Shake
- Pumpkin Spice blend (you can find this in most baking aisles)
Boil 14 ounces of water and then brew tea. You can double the bags or reduce the water if you want the flavor extra strong, but I don’t think it’s needed. Once the tea has brewed, add it to your blender with the vanilla shake and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Blend to froth (you can also use a travel milk brother if you are on the road). Pour back into your mug and top with a half-dash of spice. Enjoy! SUPER easy and perfect for sipping during your morning commute.
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate – the HMR Diet hot shakes continue!
It’s cold and rainy here in California which means I am continuing to experiment with hot shakes. I tried to make something a little less sweet this time around while still being rich and filling.
Using unsweetened cocoa and PB2 gave the shake a deep mouthfeel while keeping the overall sweet level down. Perfect to sip while grading research assignments or enjoying a good book.
I used a travel Aerolatte milk frother for my hot shakes. It’s easy to carry, clean, and make clump-free shakes. But this could easily be done with a whisk or a blender (just be careful with pressure that can build making hot beverages in a blender!).
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
- 1/2 tbsp PB2
- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 1 HMR chocolate shake
- 14 oz hot water
Pour hot water in a large mug. Slowly pour in shake powder while frothing/whisking. Do the same with PB2 and cocoa. Make sure to pour powders in slowly to reduce possibility of clumping. Enjoy!
HMR Diet Hack: Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
Let’s start with a confession. Outside of making lattes with my HMR Program shakes, I have had very few hot shakes. I would occasionally try a hot chocolate, but that was about it. However, as I have made it a goal to focus on losing my marathon weight gain, this means incorporating more shakes and entrees to off-set outside foods and one of the ways I was successful in Phase One, was playing with my HMR food to try new things, often trying to hack a food I might have eaten pre-HMR, in order to keep it interesting (while still staying safely “in the box”). So I am trying out a variety of hot shakes in an attempt to stay warm and full this winter.
During the holiday season, I had a chance to try a kid size Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. It was super sweet and a fun treat, but the calories were insane! Even for the tiny thimble they call kid size. Well I loved the flavors so much, I asked if it could possibly be turned into a latte to amp up the volume. But I was told it was just made with milk, white chocolate syrup, and cinnamon dolce syrup, and that it wouldn’t translate well into a latte.
However this week I decided it would translate very well into an HMR shake! And while I haven’t had a Starbucks version to compare it to (nor do I plan on it) — this is a sweet and filling beverage that only has the calories from the shake. It’s in the box for both Decision Free and Healthy Solution folks while being the perfect cold weather pre-portioned meal for Phase Two folks too!
HMR Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
- 1 HMR Vanilla Shake (I used the 120)
- 1 tbsp Torani Sugar-free White Chocolate syrup
- 1 tbsp Torani Sugar-free Belgian Cookie syrup
- 10 oz. hot water
Mix hot water and syrup together. Slowly whisk shake powder into the liquid. I use an Aerolatte travel milk frother (it’s inexpensive, comes in a travel case, and prevents clumping!). Enjoy! You could even shake a little cinnamon on top for a pretty garnish.
Spiced Chocolate Cake Pudding (An HMR Diet Decision Free Recipe)
Holidays are full of food-filled memories. The association of flavors and smells with specific events can make it difficult to practice supportive behaviors during this time of year.
I have found it helpful to isolate the flavors and smells to try to figure out what I really miss and if it is really food, trying to find a way to enjoy these things in a new way. The holiday spice blend in many baked treats was one flavor profile I just couldn’t shake, and thus this pudding was born.
HMR Chocolate Spice Cake Pudding
- HMR 70 Chocolate Shake
- 1/8 tsp Penzeys Cake Spice
- 2 oz water
Whisk all ingredients together. Enjoy! I have tried it with slightly warm tap water which made it even more comforting, but it also tasted great chilled in the freezer.
HMR Healthy Solutions Pineapple Mint Magic!
I am loving returning home from a workout and throwing together a giant blended shake! And adding in frozen cauliflower and a blend of other ingredients helps bulk it up and make it more filling.
To make it easier, I do mass prep. I happened to have color sandwich bad and have measured out a cup of frozen cauliflower plus whatever other produce/herbs I use. Now I can grab a color coded bag, add water and shake mix and blend! No thinking required!
This blend reminds me of Hawaii for no reason other than the pineapple. The amount of mint will vary based on your tastebuds.
- One cup frozen cauliflower
- One cup frozen pineapple
- 4 to 8 mint leaves
- HMR Vanilla Shake (I use the 800)
- 1 to 3 cups of water depending on desired consistency (I usually use two)
The first three ingredients can be packed together in a freezer bag until ready. Put all ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy!
HMR Healthy Solutions Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake
This shake contains a secret ingredient. One I CANNOT believe I ever put in a shake. But I did it. And have done it a number of times with a variety of fun combinations I can’t wait to share!
When my Phase Two health educator suggested putting frozen cauliflower in a shake instead of ice, I thought she was crazy. She claimed you couldn’t taste it. “Ha!” I thought. “It seems just weird enough that it might be true!”
It took me several months before I dared to place a cup of frozen cauliflower into my Vitamix. But with a serving of frozen fruit in there and an HMR shake, she was right! Plus as it melted, it didn’t water down the shake like ice. And for only 25 extra calories I was getting another serving of veggies with all the fiberous nutritional goodness that comes with it.
So here’s one of my combos that isn’t overly sweet but is super refreshing after a workout.
Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower
- 1 cup frozen cherries (make sure there is nothing but cherries on the ingredient list!)
- 1/4 tsp fresh ginger
- 1 HMR chocolate shake
- 1.5 cups of water
Blend until smooth and enjoy! If you like it sweeter, I would suggest adding some Torani sugar free Black Cherry syrup.
HMR Healthy Solutions Pumpkin Pie Shake
When I was on Decision Free, I crafted a Decision Free Pumpkin Pie shake to get me through the holidays. Now that I have started playing with fruits and veggies in my shakes, I decided to try another experiment.
This shake will very in thickness based on the amount of water you use. I used less water to make it thicker like a fast-food shake but if you add more, it will spread the flavor out and give you more volume. This recipe filled two 16oz tumblers and a 12oz tumbler, so even thicker it still made quite a bit.
Make sure you use pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling which is full of extra sugar (and calories). Also, this shake isn’t super sweet. If you like sweet pumpkin pie, you will want to add more syrup or non-caloric sweetener. But I like my pie only slightly sweetened.
HMR Healthy Solutions Pumpkin Pie Shake
- 2 HMR 800 Vanilla Shake packets (or your favorite HMR Vanilla shake)
- 1.75 cups of pureed pumpkin (it was one can of pureed pumpkin)
- 2 ounces Torani SF pumpkin pie syrup
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 16 ice cubes
Blend pumpkin, syrup and water together until combined. Add cinnamon and shake packets and blend again until combined. Add ice and blend until smooth.
HMR Healthy Solutions Carrot Cake Shake
I have had a weird craving for carrot cake. And I can’t deny that a giant piece would totally hit the spot right now. Creamy icing. Sweet carrot and fruit flavors.
But I know I would feel pretty gross if I ate a slice of carrot cake. The sugar crash and high calories would be disadvantageous to the lifestyle I strive to maintain.
So I created something that honestly, I wasn’t sure would work. However after having a shake for breakfast and another in a thermos for an afternoon snack, I am already planning on making this again tomorrow!
And laugh if you want, but this is the first HMR shake I have added any fruits or veggies to. I know! I am shocked too! I won’t do it a ton because I like to chew my produce but I will definitely be playing around some more in the future!
Feel free to adjust the amount of syrups and cinnamon to your taste. This is definitely a sweet shake!
HMR Carrot Cake Shake
- 1 HMR Vanilla 800 packets (you can sub in your HMR vanilla shake of choice)
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small apple
- 5 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla bean syrup
- 3 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla cinnamon syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup of water
- 8 ice cubes
Blend carrot, apple and water together first to break down the produce. Add shake mix, syrups, and cinnamon. You may need additional water depending on how pulpy you want it. Add ice cubes.
I use a Vitamix which breaks everything down very nicely. Results may vary with blender choice as to the consistency.
HMR Decision Free Butterfinger Shake
Although I have transitioned from Decision Free through Healthy Solutions and from Phase One into Phase Two, I still find shakes to be an important part of my daily life. A blended shake with an HMR 500 packet is only 100 calories but is incredibly filling for a relatively long period of time. When I was in Decision Free, I couldn’t imagine that I would still enjoy and drink as many shakes as I do, but I am still playing with recipes and enjoying shakes and mousses!
This shake is inspired by two classmates who transitioned to Phase Two when I did. I can’t believe it took me this long to hear about their Butterfinger shake but with some easy alterations, I made my own. Their shake used SF FF pudding which I don’t keep in the house due to the sweetener used, so I needed to figure out my own version. They also add Molly McButter for some extra butter and salt but I didn’t for mine.
This ratio blends enough in my Vitamix to fill my venti double-insulated Starbucks cold cup to the top.
HMR Diet Butterfinger Shake
10 pumps of SF Butter Rum syrup from DaVinci
1 cup of cold water
1 packet of HMR 500 vanilla (you could probably sub in your favorite vanilla HMR shake)
1 tbsp PB2
12 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except the ice on low to dissolve the powders. Add ice and blend on high under smooth and fluffy. Enjoy!
Dirty Chai Latte – An HMR Diet Recipe
Holy moly folks! Starbucks has an iced coffee (unsweetened) that you can buy in stores! I went to my local Safeway last night and found a carafe of coffee in with the milks and juices after hearing about it from a friend. It was much cheaper than buying it at the cafe (although you could probably make your own cold brew at home for cheaper – I will try that someday). I had also picked up some sugar free chai syrup from DaVinci this last week, so an idea was brewing (haha get it? BREWING! okay sorry…) to try to make one of my favorite pre-HMR beverages.
A dirty chai is a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It is delicious and a total pick me up. But chai syrup and milk are both really high in calories, making this drink a TOTAL calorie bomb! Instead I made a super filling blended shake that was totally satisfying for only 170 calories!
Dirty Chai HMR Style
- 8 ounces cold brew coffee
- 8 pumps sugar free chai syrup (about 2 ounces)
- 1 HMR 800 Vanilla shake packet
- 8 to 10 ice cubes
Blend everything but the ice first then add the ice and blend to desired consistency. SO GOOD! And when it gets colder I will be attempting a hot version that won’t have as much volume without the ice but should still be a fabulous morning treat!
Dessert Pizza on HMR Decision Free
I am running now pretty consistently as I see half marathons approaching quickly on the calendar. Following my long runs I try to have some broth or something with sodium to replace lost salt from the run. However I am not usually really hungry. It means that some evenings I have a little extra food I need to consume to meet my minimum prescription!
This week I will begin to transition to Healthy Solutions. I have been on the HMR Decision Free diet for nine long months and haven’t stepped outside of it. I am down 117 pounds at the nine month mark and will be starting the school year soon, thus it was in my best interest as I get closer to my goal but needed to also manage the stress of the new school year, that I transition now. So I was feeling a little bit of awesome on Sunday when I had two shakes left in my Decision Free prescription and wanted to make something special.
This recipe isn’t really much of a new recipe at all. It uses other recipes to create a giant frosted cookie!
I used my basic muffin recipe but used a vanilla bean syrup instead of the chai and rum syrups. I also only made one-third of the recipe (one oatmeal, one 70 shake, 1/4 cup syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp baking powder) and then I poured it out onto a silpat mat on a cookie sheet (parchment paper on a cookie sheet would also work). Then I baked it for about 15 minutes until it was browned slightly on top.
I let the giant cookie cool before removing it from the cookie sheet. Meanwhile I made an HMR chocolate 70 into a pudding per packet description. I spread it out on top of the giant cookie like frosting and used a pizza cutter to slice the dessert pizza.
This is a very calorie dense dish for HMR – it’s about 430 calories! And depending on your prescription it may be more than 2 shakes (I know on my Healthy Solutions prescription is it four shakes!). So this is a rare special treat and I drank a lot of water with it. However it was super satisfying and a perfect way to top off an awesome day of running!
I know it isn’t always a good idea to celebrate with food. I usually find other ways to celebrate accomplishments like getting a new nail polish or watching a trashy tv show I like. How do you celebrate without food?
Almond Roca Mocha Frappe
I have been working out every morning since I started teaching at summer debate institute. I figure it will help transition me into the school year while allowing me to beat the heat. And when I run in my local neighborhood, I end the run with a special treat! I get a trenta (aka really big!) unsweetened passion iced tea from Starbucks to enjoy on the walk back to my apartment. While I am there, I also pick up a tall (aka small) black coffee.
After drinking the iced tea, I have a perfect vessel to carry a homemade blended coffee beverage to work, which I make right after I shower and get dressed for the day!
Today’s shake was so delicious I had to share right away!
- 1 HMR Diet Chocolate Shake (I use the 800)
- 12 oz black coffee chilled (I throw my cup in the freezer while I shower and get ready)
- 2 oz Torani SF Almond Roca syrup
- 8 ice cubes (or the amount you want for desired texture)
Blend away and enjoy! A perfect sweet treat to jump start your day!
Vanilla Scented S’mores Shake
Reflecting on summer evenings with friends pre-HMR takes me to making s’mores with homemade vanilla marshmallows. The rich sweet flavors were what I attempted to recreate with this shake and it didn’t disappoint. I hear there is a sugar free toasted marshmallow syrup that exists but I haven’t seen it yet to try out.
1 HMR Chocolate 800 packet
2 ounces Torani SF S’Mores syrup
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup of water
8 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except ice together to mix. Add ice and blend until fluffy. Enjoy!
I bet this would also make a delicious hot beverage – it’s on my list of drinks to try!
Vanilla Rose Peach HMR Shake Recipe
Our health class this week was a party! No, it wasn’t just a fun class but an actual party. To be more specific, it was a condiment potluck where we all brought some of our favorite condiments to share with our classmates. I swapped some condiments as well as went out and bought some new ones — feeling totally inspired!
And just in time for a really hot weekend!
This shake uses rose water which adds floral notes and a level of complexity to the shake that I can’t explain but it really does elevate the meal. Play around with the amount you use as I tend to enjoy strong flavors but rose water, like the lavender extract, can be overpowering. So if you like more subtle flavors, start with half the rose water.
Vanilla Rose Peach Shake
1 HMR 800 Vanilla
2 ounces Torani SF Peach syrup
2 tbsp rose water
1 cup water
8 ice cubes
Blend liquids and shake mix together. Add ice and blend until smooth and fluffy.
Chocolate Lavender Shake with Sea Salt
I have always enjoyed unique flavor combinations as well as mixing sweet and salty flavors. When brainstorming new ways to mix up my HMR diet shakes, I started to reflect on gourmet chocolates I had enjoyed prior to starting the diet. This smooth floral shake has complexity and yet still offers all the benefits of an HMR meal. I let my Vitamix run extra long to make the shake extra fluffy!
Chocolate Lavender Shake with Sea Salt
One packet of HMR 800 Chocolate
1.5 cups of water
8 ice cubes
1/2 tsp food grade lavender extract
Blend shake, water and extract together. Add ice cubes and blend until fluffy. Pour into glass and sprinkle with flake salt.
HMR Diet: Spiced Rum Muffins Recipe
As I have worked to increase my physical activity, I have found myself needing to fuel on-the-go. This combined with the travel demands of the job have left me playing with ways to increase the portability of the HMR shakes and cereals. This is one of my go-to recipes. It’s important to remember that these would be a low volume food — I make sure to have at least 8 ounces of water with each serving in order to help with the volume of the meal.
Spiced Rum Muffins
3 HMR Oatmeal packets
3 HMR 70 shakes – vanilla
1/4 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Chai syrup
1/2 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Butter Rum syrup
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 tsp baking power
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking spray quickly over mini muffin tins (I find the silicone mini muffin tins to be the easiest).
Begin by mixing the oatmeal, syrups and water in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat for two minutes. Stir and let cool for about five minutes. At this point the oatmeal will have cooked and soaked up much of the liquid but will still be warm. Add the shakes and baking powder by folding them in. The heat from the oatmeal will begin to activate the rising agents and over stirring will deflate the batter. You want those air bubbles being created in order to have fluffier muffins!
Gently spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven calibration – you want a nice brown color on top and a slight firmness to the muffin when you gently touch the top. After removing the pan from the oven, you will want to work to release the muffins from the pan relatively soon after baking or you risk the temperature issues between the heat of the pan and the cool air above causing the muffins to collapse. I like to use a butter knife if I have trouble just popping them out and then I put them on a rack to cool.
After muffins have cooled, I divide the muffins into 9 equal servings. Depending on which pan I use, I either get three or four mini-muffins per serving. I am on HMR Decision Free 3/2 with the 180 shakes, so 1/9 of this recipe counts as half of a shake for me (1/9 of the recipe is like a half an oatmeal or one 70 shake calorically). I then put the servings into snack bags and put them in either the fridge or freezer depending on when I plan on consuming them.
HMR Mocha: On the Go and In the Box!
If you haven’t read my blog before, you may be unaware that I am always on the go. Which means I don’t always have the luxury to make shakes in the comfort of my kitchen.
That said, I love fancy coffees and giving up those special treats was difficult. Luckily, with the help of my travel milk frother, I have been coming up with some on-the-go specialties!
This one is the easiest and is a favorite staple in my current rotation. Order a medium black coffee in a large coffee cup (in Sbux speak that’s a grande in an venti cup!). That gives you room to add an HMR chocolate shake packet and optional sweetener (none for me). Then froth that baby up! The travel milk frother breaks down the shake powder and blends inside the coffee cup while adding a light froth on top. Enjoy!