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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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.┬áRemember 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. ­čÖé

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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┬áit… 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!

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.

Almond Butter Cups (Clean, Paleo, Vegan)

Who doesn’t love a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? If you say you don’t, I’m pretty sure you’re lying. I try to lie to myself about it sometimes, too, but I gotta admit – they are unbeatable. But, we all know they aren’t the healthiest of treats.

Enter my clean eating & paleo friendly almond butter & coconut cups. Coconut is one of my favorite superfoods and helps to sweeten these babies.

These do take about an hour or so to cool, so make sure you have some extra time before you need to serve these. Once they’re hardened, they will go FAST.

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At this point, can we all agree… peanut/almond butter + chocolate = perfection?

Let me be clear – these are by NO means a diet food, but they are healthy in the regard that they are packed with healthy & natural ingredients. One a day should be more than enough to keep you happy ­čÖé

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Ingredients: (recipe makes roughly 12 – 15 cups)

  • 1 cup almond butter or cashew butter (I used almond)
  • 1 tablespoon of Agave or Honey (I used all natural honey)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup or more of unsweetened natural coconut
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

How to:

  • Add first three ingredients (almond butter, agave and coconut oil) into a small pan and slowly melt until the mix becomes relatively thin and easy to stir.
  • Remove from heat and hand mix in coconut.
  • Using a cupcake tin or other “shaper”, cover the bottom of the tin with the nut butter goodness
  • Pop in the freezer while you melt the chocolate. You will probably need to let these harden for about 30 min or so.
  • While the bottom portion is hardening, melt the chocolate. I did this on the stove but you could also put into a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, mixing in between.
  • Once melted, pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture. Return to freezer.
  • Cups should be frozen within an hour and ready to eat!

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