Almond Butter Coconut Bars (Clean & flourless!)

Finally able to post a new recipe! I have been trying a few original recipes over the last couple of weeks and have bombed big time. Yikes. Throwing away such high quality organic ingredients makes me sad, but I don’t want to post anything here that I wouldn’t recommend making on your own.

Also, I know this blog is food related but I have to share two exciting updates on my end.

  1. Today is my FIRST anniversary with my husband! I’m officially an old married lady and couldn’t be prouder!
  2. Today is also my first day of starting a one year program to become a certified health coach. I’ll be looking for clients in about 6 months so stay tuned!

Ok, now on to the food.

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As you all know, I work for Pinterest, which means I am on Pinterest a LOT. I see an ad for Thrive Market frequently that advertises getting one free product and have always been a little skeptical (although, side note – our ads are highly monitored by a policy team, so I’m not sure why I was so hesitant to believe it. Just assumed it was too good to be true!) A coworker of mine came over my desk and said “Get this free Justin’s almond butter and make us something please!” So, I did. And it actually was free! Do it!

These bars have pumpkin and almond butter as the base and require no flour – healthy win!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Justin’s Almond Butter – I used the plain kind but any of the flavors would be great and give some good variety!
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin (actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 large egg or one flax egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (or less, but I personally prefer more)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes for topping
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • Nuts, walnuts, pistachios – any other nuts or dried fruit that you want! I only used chocolate but you could get creative here!

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare an 8×8 pan (I’m currently liking this) and set aside
  • In a Vitamix or blender, pulse together almond butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla
  • Add in baking soda & spice and pulse again for a few seconds
  • Once combined, hand mix in coconut flakes and chocolate chips – don’t overmix, but just allow the batter to cover the flakes
  • Pour batter into pan – sprinkle the rest of the flakes on top
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and coconut flakes are golden brown
  • Let cool or dive right in!

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Snickerdoodle Cookie Balls (Keto, Clean, Low carb)

Hi! Happy Sunday!

This is my final week of doing keto. What does this mean? Currently, less than 10% of my diet is currently carbs (it’s almost impossible for me to do NO carbs) and a huge portion of my diet is healthy fat & protein.  I have to say, I actually love it. I have been feeling way more satisfied than I normally do due to the good healthy fats and it’s much easier than I thought it would be. BYE CARBS…actually, more like “see ya later” because I’ll be back some day soon.

All of that to say this recipe is totally keto friendly (*low carb*) and clean. Going forward, most of my recipes will likely be a little less fat-heavy, so enjoy it while it lasts!

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Also, does anyone think it’s funny that most of my recipes end of being balls? Not sure why that happens – ha.

I can’t take full credit for these fun little balls. KetoSizeme.com has the recipe here! 

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Let’s jump into the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup of Stevia in the raw
  • 1.5 cups of almond flour or almond meal (Careful if you substitute with coconut flour, as it’s super absorbent and will dry these out too much)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of cream of tartar
  • Coating:
    • Another 1/4 cup of powdered Stevia in the raw + 2 tablespoons cinnamon

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How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  • Combine all dry ingredients except for the coating ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
  • Separately, whisk egg in a small bowl
  • Add all wet ingredients to the bowl with egg
  • Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredient bowl
  • Using your hands, form the dough into balls
  • Roll balls in the “coating” until they are covered with cinnamon and sugar
  • Bake in the oven for about 12 -14 minutes
  • Note: it’s hard to tell when these are done, so if you think they *may* be close to done, they probably are – just take them out of the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes
  • Enjoy!
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Low Carb Zucchini Bread (Keto, Clean, Sugar-free)

Have you noticed a trend in my last few posts? I’ve really been experimenting with including vegetables into some of my snacks and it’s actually been working out well! I know it seems weird, but zucchini really compliments a typical carb-loaded treat.

Besides having some great veggie content, this recipe is great because it’s low carb and packed with protein – something bread typically does NOT have.

Plus, I love when you can see the veggies peeking through during the final product but can’t taste them! It make you feel better about eating 2… or 3 slices 😉

Many of my ingredients are super quick, but this one took a bit longer. And by a bit longer, I mean about 20 minutes to put together. Still super quick comparatively.

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I love some good crunch in bread, so I added some walnuts here to mix in some really good healthy fats – which keep you full longer and make you feel more satisfied. Nothing wrong with that!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Organic coconut flour – I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 cup organic Stevia
  • 2-3 tablespoons low carb protein powder, vanilla or unflavored – I used Thorne Research 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon – or more if you’re me 😉
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of himalayan sea salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium spiralized or grated organic zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of organic melted coconut oil 
  • Any mix-ins you’d like – I used 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts

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Check out the zucchini peeking out of there – love it!

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a bread pan with coconut oil spray
  • Wash then grate or spiralize zucchini and sprinkle with salt, set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl seperate from the zucchini, mix together
  • Add eggs and melted coconut oil to dry ingredients and use a hand mixer to blend well. Once combined, add in zucchini and mix until blended. Add in any ingredients you desire. Nuts = highly recommended
  • Pour or scoop mixture into the pan and bake
  • Cooking times will vary – mine took about 50 minutes (an eternity when you’re excited to try it!
  • After baking, remove it immediately from the pan and place on a cooling rack to ensure it doens’t keep baking even after you take it out of the oven
  • SLATER with butter (especially if you are eating a keto diet) and eat!

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Dark Chocolate Avocado Cookies (Keto + Clean eating)

Let’s keep on the train of sneaking in healthy ingredients into treats…

I currently (and always) have an obsession with avocado. It’s by far my favorite healthy addition to almost any meal. Lately, I just don’t feel like a meal is complete without a chunk of avocado of a scoop of guac. Remember when I went through my banana phase? Well, it turns out that avocados have way more potassium and fiber than bananas and way less sugar and carbs – two things I’ve been trying to limit. Bye banana, hi avo.

These barely made it to the blog because my husband couldn’t keep his hands off them. Turns out, I’ve actually run out of places to hide my baked goods so we’ve implemented this rule: JUST MAKE SURE YOU SAVE ME ONE!

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I know I say this a lot because I love sweet treats so much, but these really are gorgeous and full of fiber and healthy fat. (By the way, fat is a GOOD thing. Let’s talk more about this because its honestly something that was hard for me to truly believe. More to come here.)

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Sadly, I totally forgot to take photos of these while I was making them so I only have the final version. There is nothing crazy that goes into these, though, so I think you’ll be able to figure it out by reading directions. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium super ripe avocados (they should be borderline smooshy so they’re easier to mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of sweetener of choice (Stevia or coconut sugar are recommended)
  • 1 cup of almond flour meal
  • 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of dark cocoa mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of himalayan sea salt
  • Sugar free dark chocolate chips
  • Any other additions you want to include – pistachios, walnuts, pecans!

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How to:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper on a cookie sheet to prevent sticking)
  • Add all ingredients to Vitamix and blend!
    • If it looks too dry and not like a thick batter, add a dash of almond milk and blend for a few more seconds.
  • Hand mix in any other ingredients you desire
  • Scoop onto the cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes

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Let me know what you think – and save ONE for moi!

Fudgy Zucchini Brownies (Clean, Keto, Low Carb)

Dessert + Veggies = Best combo

When is the last time you had some beautiful green zucchini in your brownies? This was my first time and I’m shocked at how great they taste. I know it sounds weird but you really can’t taste the zucchini – I swear!

Plus, it looks so pretty once you spiralize it… look!

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I remember in high school, my friends and I discovered that you can take a box of brownie mix and mix it with a can of diet coke to make brownies. At the time, I thought there was no other way to make brownies healthy… Ohhhh… how much I’ve learned since then! (For those of you who don’t know, diet soda does NOT = diet food!)

These are made of all healthy and clean ingredients. While I wouldn’t call these a health food, you can definitely argue that these are healthier than your average brownie.

One thing you’ll notice in these is that they are not shy in butter/oil. As some of my friends know, I’m testing out a ketogenic diet, meaning I’m eating little to no carbs (other than from leafy greens), a little protein, but a LOT of fat. Seems totally counterintuitive for health, I know, but if you read a little about it there are some amazing benefits. More to come on this later.

Let’s dive in!

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Ingredients:

  • One medium zucchini
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil (I use Kelapo)
  • 6 tablespoons of melted salted butter
  • 1/2 cup Stevia or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew butter
  • Dash of vanilla extract (or more if you like vanilla – I am personally obsessed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • One bar of the darkest chocolate you can find

How to:

  • Use a spiralizer or a grater to dice up the zucchini into mini pieces – you can leave the skin on
  • Beat the egg and then add all ingredients except for the bar of dark chocolate into one bowl and mix! (I know, so simple)
  • Once it’s mixed well, chop up the dark chocolate and mix in

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(So colorful and so pretty!)

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  • Grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil spray and pour batter into it. It may appear a bit chunky because of the zucchini – that’s ok

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  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Ok, in this photo, I know they look a bit dry. But I promise you they’re not! The zucchini keeps them moist and fudgy.

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Mmmmmmaybe it’s just me, but I love a good hot brownie right out of the oven. So get yourself a glass of almond milk ready and dig in as soon as they’re done!

If you’re able to make these last for a few days, keep them in the fridge in a tightly sealed container, otherwise the zucchini in them will make them go bad quickly.

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Have you ever used any vegetables in your brownies or cookies? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding (Keto-friendly, clean)

 

Who’s ready for pumpkin season!?

I’m not scared to admit it. I love pumpkin, and I’m ready for pumpkin season.

I know it’s still August and I’m not saying I’m ready for fall. I’m just ready for pumpkin. Pumpkin everything (except for PSLs…those should never be considered real pumpkin!)…let’s get it going.

This is a super easy dessert to throw together. And it’s keto-approved. (More to come on keto!) The hardest part is making sure you make this ahead of time so the seeds have time to soak. After dinner, I always need one sweet bite or something and this really does the trick.

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Pumpkin is full of fiber and chia seeds are full of healthy fats. The two together make this a totally healthy, fun snack or dessert.

This is another one of those throw-everything-together-and-just-let-it -do-it’s-thing” type recipes.

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Do you guys use chia seeds? I had a weird aversion to them for a while. I didn’t like the texture and didn’t really understand why anyone would even bother. They seemed tasteless and just silly. After reading more about them, they’re now a staple for me every single day. If nothing else, I just throw them in my AM smoothie (which reminds me, I should totally do a blog post on my favorite AM smoothies!)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mixture)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1.25 cups of organic unsweetened cashew milk

How to: Combine everything in a bowl. Mixture will be watery before the seeds have time to expand. Set the mixture in the fridge for 3-4 hours, mixing every hour or so. Once they have set a bit, scoop 1/4th of the mixture into a cup. Top with whipped cream, pecans, or walnuts.

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Blueberry + Chocolate Coconut Bites (Clean, Vegan, no-bake)

It’s been hot. Really really hot. Like, “feels like 100” hot here in Chicago. When it’s that hot, who can stand to be in the kitchen with a hot oven? Not moi. Time for a no-bake, chilled sweet treat!

These take about 10 minutes to put together. Another SUPER easy one! You really can’t mess this up even if you try!

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I have to say… one thing I have never been great at is layering on the chocolate drizzle. It’s a mess. I totally intended to have the chocolate drizzled nicely & evenly across the cookie in straight lines.. Ha! Not even close.

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But really…aren’t they more fun this way?

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One of the things I love about these is that they are actually better frozen. They’re like a little frozen blueberry coconut meltaway puff. (What a mouthful!) I’m planning on keeping these in the freezer until about 2-3 minutes before I am ready to eat them. Totally not necessary to keep them frozen, as they’ll maintain their shape even if room temperature. I am just using them to provide a little relief from the heat wave!

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Ingredients:

  • One pint of organic blueberries (you could also use frozen – I just happened to have some fresh organic blueberries laying around…because…who doesn’t? :))
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (if you don’t have any, just put some gluten free oats in your vitamix and pulse until ground)
  • 1.5 cups of unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1 full frozen ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
  • Optional: Dark chocolate for melting

How to: (Um, the easiest ever…)

  • Pulse all ingredients except for chocolate together in a Vitamix – I like to leave a few blueberry chunks in there
  • Using your hands or an ice cream scoop, create balls of the mixture and lay on a piece of parchment paper or on a cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 1 full hour.
  • Melt dark chocolate in a cup or bowl and drizzle (hopefully, more beautifully than I was able to!)

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I chose to use blueberries in this recipe because I just happened to have some. If you’re a cheery person, I can imagine they would turn out INCREDIBLY. Omg, maybe I need to try that too…

Also, you could use strawberries, blackberries, or really any berry! Give them a try with some different fruits and let me know what you think!

Stay COOL! Woof.

Blueberry Quinoa + Oat Muffins (Vegan, clean)

So we all know the saying “when the cats away, the mouse will play”, right? Well, that happened to me yesterday. My husband was out at a music festival all day and I went a little baking-overboard. I baked 5 different recipes. This is one of the creations that came out of the day.

As you can probably tell, I love breakfast foods. Especially on the weekend. During the week, breakfast is always a green smoothie or some oatmeal. But on the weekends, I vary my selections much more. I found some really delicious looking blueberries at the market and couldn’t resist baking with them right away.

I haven’t posted in a while because some of my original creations have been total busts. I had some matcha muffins backfire on me, a few bland “granola” recipes, and even a few bars (which are my normal go-to!) turn out boring. However, I think these turned out well.

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These took a bit more prep work than my normal recipes. That said, they took about 20 minutes in total – much more normal prep time for a baked good. 🙂

Also, the thing I love about these is that they are packed with quinoa & flax seed and you can’t even tell they’re super healthy. You could even throw some chia seeds in there if you wanted the extra fiber & protein!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup cooked & cooled quinoa
  • 1/4 cup organic flax seeds, or flax seed powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas – the more ripe, the sweeter they’ll be
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pint of fresh blueberries – bonus points if they come from a farmer’s market!

How to:

  • Cook quinoa over the stove per the directions on the box, let it cool
  • In a medium bowl, combine quinoa & dry ingredients – mix together; set aside

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  • In a seperate bowl, mash bananas. Once mashed, add in vanilla, applesauce and cashew or almond butter.

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  • Beat until well mixed

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  • Add dry ingredients to bowl with the mashed banana mixture; beat until combined

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  • Wash blueberries and hand mix in

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  • Scoop mixture into a muffin tin

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  • You can add an extra oatmeal crumble if you’d like. This is optional, but all I did to create the crumble was mix together a bit of almond milk + oats, tossed with a bit of agave. Sprinkle the crumble on top, if you choose to use it.

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  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until edges start to brown

IMG_6163.jpgTotally up to you, but I like to eat these piping hot (but that’s how I eat everything!)

IMG_6161.jpgThese would be great to prep on a Sunday for the family and eat all week long! Or, freeze them and warn them a bit before grabbing on the go.

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These would be great with strawberries, cherries, blackberries…the list is endless!

Give them a shot with some different fruit and let me know what you think! Happy breakfasting!

 

Lime + Pistachio Cheesecake Bites (Clean, Raw, Vegan)

Should I just let this photo speak for itself? cheesecake1.jpg

Or maybe this one?!

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I have been eying some vegan cheesecake recipes for a while now, but the hard part is that the base is made from cashews that need to be soaked over night. Finally, I remembered to buy some cashews on a Saturday and soak them in preparation for Sunday Baking. Win for me.

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Ingredients

  • Base layer:
    • 1 cup dates
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
    • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup of pistachios (unshelled, roasted, but not salted)
  • Cheesecake layer:
    • 2 1/2 cups of cashews soaked overnight until mushy
    • 2 tablespoons of room temperature coconut oil (or avocado oil)
    • 2 cups unsweetened coconut
    • 1/2 cup coconut cream
    • Juice of two limes – plus another full lime for decoration
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

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How to:

  • Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside
  • Like many of my other recipes, you’ll simply combine all ingredients in the “base” layer in a Vitamix until pieces are chopped well
  • Once combined, press mixture into the pan and pop in freezer while you prepare the cheesecake
  • Wash the Vitamix and combine all filling ingredients. Blend until chunks are gone.
  • Pour mixture over the nut base and freeze for 2-3 hours
  • Once solid, garnish with crushed pistachios and/or lime pieces
  • Keep these in the fridge or freezer to help them maintain their shape, otherwise they may spread and melt a bit

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Reminder: Just becuase something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These are clean (which is GOOD) but they should be treated as a treat because they are packed with sugar. But, of all the treats in the world, there could be much worse options 🙂

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These can stay frozen for a couple of days, if they last that long. Such a good, refreshing summer treat!

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies (Clean!)

Hi!

When I was younger, pretty much the only fruit I would eat was apples. Other than that, no thanks! Now, I have at least an apple a day (my doctor would be so proud!) so I thought it might be fun to bake them into some healthy cookies.

These are clean and could almost pass for breakfast cookies, since they’re packed with nuts, oatmeal and fruit!

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Like my other recipes, these are pretty simple and come together in about 15 minutes. The toughest part is chopping the apples. After that, it’s smooth sailing.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal (gluten-free works fine!)
  • 3/4 cup of almond flour or coconut flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (you can do more or less depending on your preference, but I LOVE cinnamon so the more the better!)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • Dash of Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave or honey (I used honey)
  • 2 cups diced red crisp apple

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How to:

  • Prepare a piece of parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together all dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Separately, beat egg in a small bowl. Add in vanilla & honey and mix well.
  • Dice red apple into small chunks.
  • Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add apple pieces of mixture and combine well.
  • Scoop into 1 inch balls and bake for 12-15 minutes.

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Let cool for a minute or two after you take them out of the oven, but I liked these best warm! These are not the most beautiful, I admit, but they taste good!

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These can totally pass as breakfast cookies, right!?