5 Cool Things to do with Pumpkin and Protein Powder: Pumpkin FraPROccino

On Monday I started this series off with a comment about how there are so many more things to do with protein powder besides making shakes. But, I couldn’t publish this series without serving one up. Trust me, if you’re gonna make a protein shake, you want to learn how to do it right.

Most importantly, you need to pick the right protein powder. If you don’t like your powder, you’re not going to like anything you make with it. I’m not an expert in protein powder by any means, but I’m happy to share with you what kind I use and why I use it.

I decided to make protein powder a part of my diet when I began the New Rules of Lifting for Women program a few years ago. After careful examination of my diet, it seemed like the only way to make sure I was getting at least 30% of my calories from protein and at least 1 gram per pound of body weight (two fairly common, simple guidelines to go by if you’d like to maintain a moderately low-carb diet and enhance a strength-training program.)

So I began checking out a bunch of different protein powders online. I wanted to balance nutrition, taste, and price. Some protein powders are higher in calories than others, and contain a good deal of carbohydrates in addition to protein. I’d guess that these are best for meal replacements, or if you don’t feel like adding anything else to your shake. I wanted a protein powder that contained just protein, so I could have more flexibility in adding ingredients to a protein shake, or adding the powder to other meals and snacks.

With this in mind, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey popped up as a good choice. It had the nutrition profile I wanted (24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat per 120-calorie serving), plenty of good customer reviews on various websites, and it seemed like a great value compared to others. On top of that, it comes in tons of flavors.

I’ve been using ON 100% Whey for about two years now, but I can’t tell you how it compares to other brands. That’s because I haven’t tried any. What can I say? I did my research and made a good choice. It works for me and I’ve been happy with it.

So about those shakes. A good protein powder should make a decent shake on its own, but you can create some seriously good creations depending on what you add to it. I’ve found that cottage cheese is a great mix-in, resulting in a creamier, more frappe-like shake. Not to mention, it’s extra protein. And xantham and guar gums must be heaven-sent. They thicken like nothing else; I have even used them to make protein shakes the texture of soft-serve (in other words, a spoon is required!)

Some of my favorite protein shakes have been inspired by a certain coffee shop’s (extremely high in sugar) frozen coffee beverages. I essentially make the same thing at home, swapping protein for all those carbs. I call them “FraPROccinos.” Clever, huh? And it goes without saying that mine are much cheaper too.

Take this Pumpkin Spice FraPROccino. It’s huge (that’s a venti, or large size cup I “borrowed”) and it has less calories than it’s tall (aka, small) counterpart at said coffee shop. My version is just as tasty too, but a heck of a lot more satisfying thanks to 26 grams of protein. (Tell me – when is the last time 45 grams of sugar filled you up? That’s how much is in the smallest available size. I can’t think of any good reason to justify drinking that much sugar.) Next time you’re tempted, do yourself a favor and order an empty cup instead. Bring it home and fill it up with your own FraPROccino. Then come back and thank me.

Pumpkin Spice FraPROccino

2 cups ice cubes
1 scoop (25) gm Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Cake Batter, or vanilla flavored protein powder
1/4 cup (60gm) pumpkin puree
2 oz lowfat cottage cheese
8 oz water
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 packet Truvia Natural Sweetener, or other sweetener to taste
5 drops NuNaturals Liquid Vanilla Stevia Drops
1/4 teaspoon each xanthan gum and guar gum*

Combine all ingredients except the the gums in a powerful blender. Process until smooth, then add the gums and blend for about 20 seconds longer.

*If you’re already a protein shake aficionado and you haven’t tried the gums, you’re totally missing out. It thickens like nothing else.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 174.4
Total Fat: 2.3 g
Cholesterol: 32.5 mg
Sodium: 369.5 mg
Total Carbs: 12.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
Protein: 26.2 g

This recipe is linked to the Simply Sugar & Gluten Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesday feature on 11/23. Check out the link for more delicious ideas!

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18 Responses to “5 Cool Things to do with Pumpkin and Protein Powder: Pumpkin FraPROccino”

  1. 1

    Bliss — November 10, 2010 @ 4:04 pm Reply

    I can't tell you how excited I am to go home and try one of these! I love pumpkin flavored coffee but limit myself to only one Starbucks Pumpkin latte a season because the sugar and caffeine inevitably give me a stomach ache – this will be a fantastic alternative that will also suffice as breakfast! Thanks also for the info on protein – I use Designer Whey, which is great for smoothies and drinks but gets a little chalky in oatmeal. I'll try ON whey next time I'm out.

  2. 2

    teresacooks — November 10, 2010 @ 5:11 pm Reply

    this sounds so good I think I'll run out to the health food store to get the gums. . .I only have spirulina in the house. . . I'll check out the nutritional info and see how it compares. What a great nutritious treat.

  3. 3

    Joanne — November 10, 2010 @ 6:46 pm Reply

    Whoa. I love how large that is for so few calories. That is basically like the biggest most satisfying midday snack I've ever seen.

  4. 4

    Whit — November 10, 2010 @ 6:48 pm Reply

    I cant wait to try this! I recently was given a sample of the gums and haven't tried them yet. I love this idea!

  5. 5

    camelia — November 10, 2010 @ 8:14 pm Reply

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  6. 6

    Elina — November 10, 2010 @ 8:26 pm Reply

    Ooh, I haven't checked out your blog in a few days and this is really perfect timing. I just wrote a post about trying to incorporating more protein into my diet. This is perfect! 🙂

  7. 7

    JQ Bancroft — November 11, 2010 @ 12:59 am Reply

    Cara–which brands do you use for your stevia products? I have Stevia by the makers of "Sugar in the Raw" (so I think it's called Stevia in the Raw? Or something like that) and the flavor is so overwhelmingly bitter for me 🙁 I've heard the bitterness varies by brand though, so I was hoping I just picked up a bad brand at the grocery store!

  8. 8

    Cara — November 11, 2010 @ 1:29 am Reply

    @JQ – look for NuNaturals brand liquid stevia extract. I order it on Amazon. I get the vanilla flavor. It's very concentrated so just a few drops in coffee, a protein shake, oatmeal, plain yogurt or cottage cheese goes a long way! I do not find it bitter.

  9. 9

    Lindsay — November 11, 2010 @ 1:49 am Reply

    Guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow? hehe. Loving this series. Also, I was wondering if you can tell us more about guar and xanthan gums. I have xanthan and it seems to make things thicker and more "frosty", do I need guar also?

  10. 10

    stephen — November 11, 2010 @ 2:29 am Reply

    sounds very interesting. .Starbucks rules! such a cool idea. CAn't wait to try it:)health is riches

  11. 11

    feerlessfood.com — November 11, 2010 @ 7:17 am Reply

    This sounds great! I can't wait to try it! Lately I've been mixing protein powder, oats, and egg, and a little water into a dish and microwaving it for a few minutes. I call it "oatmeal brick" lol. It would be great with some peanut butter or nuts mixred in as well…I just haven't done that yet.But now I'm going to try it with Pumpkin! Thanks for the inspiration! (I've made it before with sweet potato and that was great too)

  12. 12

    Kerstin — November 15, 2010 @ 3:01 am Reply

    I love this idea – you should sell them! I need to get better about making sure I'm getting enough protein so I'm really enjoying this series of posts 🙂

  13. 13

    teresacooks — April 5, 2011 @ 1:13 am Reply

    this sounds so good I think I'll run out to the health food store to get the gums. . .I only have spirulina in the house. . . I'll check out the nutritional info and see how it compares. What a great nutritious treat.

  14. 14

    LaDonna — August 10, 2011 @ 1:16 pm Reply

    This was Amazing! Thank you

  15. 15

    Cara — August 10, 2011 @ 1:17 pm Reply

    Glad you liked it! I was just thinking about this shake and how I'm going to be enjoying it a lot this fall. Then again, why wait?!

  16. 16

    Mandy Smith — August 25, 2011 @ 8:11 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for posting this… for so many different reasons. I was just begining to look into protein powders and didn't know where to start. I wanted something that was only (mostly) protein and didn't know if such existed. Second, I NEED a healthier alternative for the regular pumpkin spice lattes and this is perfect. Lastly, I've been using xanthan gum for a while but haven't heard of the guar gum in conjunction. I'll have to try it. Any reason why you think the combo works better than just one or the other?

  17. 17

    Cara — August 25, 2011 @ 8:14 pm Reply

    You're welcome, Mandy! I like to use a combo of xantham and guar gum because I find that xantham makes it thicker while guar makes it creamier. You can certainly get by with xantham alone but the guar gives it a little something extra!

  18. 18

    Vanessa — October 17, 2011 @ 11:06 pm Reply

    I am totally a protein shake aficianado (as you said) BUT I've never tried it with xantham/guar gum. I hope these will be easy to find at my grocery store – I'm excited!

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