When life gets heavy, make some Protein Cherry Cheesecake bowls

It amazes me how often life can bring new surprises and opportunities. A handful are easy to accommodate, appreciate and take in. Others seem heavy.

They can cause confusion, misinterpretation, emotional withdrawal, overwhelm and senseless actions. Most of the time, those are the ones that we cannot control the end outcome. We need to analyze and act quickly, the best we can. How do you take time to think and mentally prepare?

Over the past several years, my “think zones” are one of two places.

  1. In nature. I love to explore a new park, a rural area away from the city scene and just escape the buzz and commotion. Whether it is greenery or floriculture, I have a strong connect to the gifts Mother Nature first instilled on the planet.
  2. In the kitchen. I can clear my head and mind of most everything to just create, cook, bake and try new recipes. It’s so soothing for me. And if there is a lot in my head, I will usually walk to the kitchen to refocus and shift my energy to productivity.

After I’m done, I can come away with a clear head. And some tasty meals or sweets 😀

Strong Sweet Caroline cherry cheesecake bowl

This one in particular, I came up with after a craving for some cheesecake. No point in spending money on sugary, less healthy cheesecake when I could make my own macro-friendly and gut healthy version.

The base was cream of rice, just like my post workout meal is supposed to be. But instead of doing just whey protein isolate and berries, I changed it up.

I don’t do this every day but on occasion, I will be within my macros and make slight changes to keep me accountable.

Strong Sweet Caroline Cherry Cheesecake Bowl

If you aren’t a cherry fan, you can easily do this with alternative berry like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Berries are lower in calories, lower on the glycemic index and pack a punch of antioxidants and beneficial vitamins.

And a touch of two crumbled Annie’s Honey Graham Crackers made the look and feel even more darling.

Now that I think about it, a touch of whipped topping (coconut or dairy version) would have made it even better! I typically stay away from fats post workout. So if I recreate again, I’ll add that on top.

What truly added the thickness and texture to the “cheesecake” was my Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin. Before you get your panties in a bunch, it is unflavored and per two scoops, provides 20g of collagen and 17g of protein! Talk about WINNING for a healthy gut!

Strong Sweet Caroline Cherry Cheesecake Bowl with Vital Proteins

After I made this, I ate it slowly, enjoyed each bite and took a epsom salt bath. I left my phone in another room and just zoned out. It was amazing.

After that 15 minutes, I did not feel any heavy burdens. I was refreshed. You don’t have to do exactly what I do. It might be surrounding yourself with people. I like some alone time. It might be playing a game, drawing, coloring, or listening to soothing music. Find what works for you. Do you, boo boo!

If you’re keen on a new recipe, try this out. You don’t have to use Beef Gelatin. Instead you could try another Collagen Whey Protein or regular whey protein. Alter as you see fit and have fun with it!

Protein Cherry Cheesecake Bowls


  • 1/3 cup fresh cherries, washed, de-pitted and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin or alternative Collagen Whey
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • Pinch baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cream of rice, cooked in bowl


  • Cook cream of rice as directed on box. I usually use less water to make a thicker consistency. Once cooked, use spoon to push to sides and bottom of bowl to form “crust”.
  • In Vitamix or blender of choice, combine cherries, yogurt, milk, ice cubes, gelatin, stevia and baking powder. Blend on high for about 10-20 seconds until smooth.
  • Pour into cream of rice crust and top with piece of fruit and if you’re like me, a ground up cracker (or two).
  • Eat immediately or place into freezer for 10 minutes to set. YUMMY!

Obstacles bring you options and an Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Have you ever felt a moment where you just keep hitting obstacles? That’s been me the past week. From cooking snafus and burning myself to discovering new business needs on permits and finances, it’s been eventful. And I’ve struggled to keep my head above water, physically and emotionally.

I’ve been told this is the beginning of entrepreneurship. Just try and hold on to your seat!

The kitchen is usually my release. It allows my creative mind to work, try new flavors, make foods not only taste good, but look good too. I’ve lost some of that recently with trying to learn new recipes, stay up to date with food safety protocols and cook for clients [and then finally for myself].

Luckily for me, I have managed to keep my head down and continue the grind. What happens when you see an obstacle?

We have fight or flight responses. Our adrenaline kicks in. These are the breaking points we need to beat the plateaus and grow.

This week, I’ve come to realize that obstacles bring you options. You will have more than you can handle at some moments. Ultimately, that gives you the option to more clearly define goals, purpose and action steps as well as see new options you would have never imagined!

The other day, I was feeling like baking and made these delicious protein pumpkin peanut butter cookies.

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

The recipe, taste and consistency were perfect.

I then thought, “what if I added these cookies with some Enlightened Ice Cream for a preworkout shake?

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Magic. I love all their flavors but for some reason, cold brew coffee and pumpkin peanut butter cookies sounded good and it did not disappoint!

The only thing missing was someone to share them with. David was out of town and I would not be seeing anyone for a few days. That’s when it occurred to me that I am sharing.

As those who have followed for a while might know, I love goal setting, reflection and am very futuristic. I am in the midst of setting my 2018 goals (they are not resolutions because mine continue to evolve). One new goal is that for January, I plan to release my first e-book! This one is a dessert e-cookbook and will feature 50 delicious, tested and proven clean treats you and your loved ones will enjoy.

I am also preparing a 1-month challenge contest based around one of my favorite topics: meal prepping! I’ve had many people reach out about how-to’s, tips, recipes and staying committed to healthier food selections. This will touch on all of those and more and I will present an award to a winner at the end of the month!

Stay tuned for updates on both projects, as well as Meals Beyond Athletes. It’s amazing how when you put your mind to it, you can turn like the flip of a switch to overcome those obstacles and discover new options.

For those seeking a new option for a sweet indulgent but healthier, high protein shake, try the recipe below.

I hope you’ll join me in this excitement because I know the next few months will be full of MANY obstacles turning into options! Never take for granted the blessings and gifts right in front of us. I’m thankful for all of you followers and encourage you to share this message with a friend who it would resonate.

Make it a great day and take time to choose your options!

Strong Sweet Caroline

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Enlightened Cookie Shake

Serves one, because it’s too good to share. Unless you double the recipe.

Macros: 238 calories, 29g protein, 21 carbs, 4g fat, 4g sugar


  • 1/2 scoop True Nutrition custom whey protein in Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor
  • 1/2 c Enlightened Ice Cream in Cold Brew flavor (discount “STRONGSWEET20” for broad bean crisps ordered online)
  • ~1/3-1/2 c unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • 1 Protein Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookie by me 🙂 – replace with cookie of choice


  • In food process or blender, combine ice cream, almond milk, whey protein, and half of your protein cookie.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into glass and top with other half of your cookie.
  • Indulge without guilt. 🙂

Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships #1: 4 steps to introduce your family to your new health goal and make homemade sweet potato fries

This is the first article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships.
I moved over 12 hours away from home after college. This was a large adjustment physically and emotionally. What few people know is that when I first moved, I lived out of a hotel for a full month. This was the turning point.
8373f-syngentaseedproductionplantI looked in the mirror and I hated myself. I hated how I looked. I had constant low energy. I was eating out every day for every meal. I knew that I needed to make a change before my metabolism slowed even more and my genetics caught up with me and my weight gain. This is when I chose to start dieting and making conscious food choices.
It was not a light decision, but I made the commitment to myself and my health. I started working with a coach and after a few months, the changes were obvious. I had adapted to this new mindset, new habits and new lifestyle. After about seven months of being in Nebraska, I made my first trip back home to Ohio to see family. They were nearly in shock.
The changes I had made were not just physical. I had a new focus and key element in my life. I was particular about what I ate, when I ate and sometimes how I ate. I had a nice time with the family and traveled back to Nebraska. It was not until a few months later I realized how my visit impacted my family… not very well. I had been self-centered and ignorant of the perspective my family had. I realized I did not share what I was doing and provide background on why I was choosing to do what I do. This is a mistake I want to help prevent in your life. Here are the first five steps to introduce your family to your new health goal. And a simple homemade sweet potato fries recipe!
Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

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So easy, everyone can do it! Protein Oats

If it was easy, everyone would do it. I’m here to tell you, making protein oats is easy and everyone can do it! This meal gives you a serving of whole grains, protein and can be easily modified to fit your tastebuds or diet needs!

When I think about protein oats, it reminds me how no matter my emotional feelings, the meal itself is satisfying. I can warm it like in the recipe shown, I can put it in the refrigerator for “overnight” protein oats, I could bake it in the oven, I could cook and then freeze and so many more options. Those different textures and tastes can fit my different needs.

The needs in this recipe: peanut butter. I fulfilled the need.

Crazy Richard’s peanut butter is my absolute favorite. First, it’s an Ohio-based company. Second, the only ingredient: peanuts! Both the smooth and chunky textures taste great and it’s simple. Do you see a theme here?

True Nutrition has become my standard source for whey protein. I’ve been loving their New Zealand Grass Fed Whey and this time, used the chocolate peanut butter flavor. Delicious.

And oats. All oats are grown gluten free. The only concern some might have is if they are processed in a facility where gluten-containing grains (barley, wheat or rye) were processed. Since I’m not concerned about mine, I just use the quick-oats.

Watch below for this easy video and trick I used for a cake-like consistency of my protein oats. Enjoy and share how you flavor or modify your recipe!

Recipe: Protein Sweet Potato Waffle

Life is like baking or cooking new recipes. We must take different ingredients, mix them together, alter the procedure and see what yields. If it tastes bad, either modify it or don’t make it again. Simple idea, right?

If I’m trying to come up with new recipes, it is usually pulling random ingredients out of my cupboard and fridge/freezer. Can you relate? No one likes the hassle of having to run to the store late in the day/night for that ONE ingredient the recipe author claims is necessary or the recipe will be a flop. The best thing about trying out new recipes is that if they fail, I can either improve the recipe or not make them again. I’ve attempted sweet potato waffles a few times. The first few were kind of dry… But this one, I think I’ve got it down.

protein sweet potato waffle

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Recipe: Oatmeal Creme [Protein] Pie

Last weekend, I visited my boyfriend in Atlanta, Georgia. He and I both have a sweet tooth but he isn’t as much of a chocoholic like me. Instead, I decided to try a different kind of protein-packed sweet curbing treat.

Behold, the oatmeal creme protein pie.

Oatmeal Creme Protein Pies_2

The soft, yet crunchy cookies surround a yogurt-based filling. The recipe is easy to modify with add-in ingredients like chocolate chips, raisins, nut butters and more.

Oatmeal Creme Protein Pies_3

I chose not to add any additional sugars, because the Greek yogurt and whey protein have some natural-derived sugars in them. But, you can definitely use honey, stevia, monk fruit, agave or maple syrup in the cookies and filling for some added flavor.

Ready for the recipe? Watch below or read further on.

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Recipe: Caroline’s Shamrock Muscle Shake

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As a girl with much Irish heritage, this is a fun holiday for me. Although I no longer participate in drinking that green beer, I still enjoy dressing up with green and gold and reflecting on my time spent in Ireland a few years ago.


One treat I enjoyed at a young age were the Shamrock Shakes from McDonald’s. Yummy! I’ve always been a mint chocolate fan and those would always hit the spot. Well, now that I’ve gotten older and understand all the added sugars, carbohydrates and processed garbage in those ice cream treats, I have decided to invent my own.

Naturally, I had to pour it into my Guinness glass.

This sCaroline's Shamrock Muscle Shakehake includes some of my favorite protein brands: Muscle Egg and Halo Top. I’m still waiting for my local stores to start carrying Eat Enlightened Ice Cream, as I think their texture and flavor is better than Halo Top but we can discuss that another day.

I am using My Macros+ app to calculate all my macronutrient contents for recipes. It really helps hold me accountable to my daily food intake, understanding portions and making more fun recipes like this. Download today for a minimal charge and find me (SweetCarolineW).
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