Pumpkin Spice Cake + Maple Frosting (Low Carb, Gluten-Free)

Happy Fall! It’s pumpkin season…as if it hasn’t been all year!

I know summer is normally the craziest time of the year, but I have to say I think fall is going to be a crazy one as well. We just had our first anniversary last week, my birthday is coming up, and lots of out of town weekends & travel upcoming.

I’m definitely not making excuses here, but just setting expectations (Oh man, Sunday night and I’m already into the work jargon…eek.) that I may be a bit slower to post this fall than I will like. Sorry in advance!

Another (exciting) reason is because this week was my first week of health  coaching classes! I finally took the plunge and am doing a year-long certification course through Integrative Nutrition.  Who’s proud of me?! I am, and I’m so excited to learn more about health & wellness from some super credible sources. I’ll share progress along the way! Also, I will be looking for 6 “test subjects” in a few months, so email me if you’re interested in being a healthy guinea pig.

So, this is one of those recipes where I feel like I end up eating more than I’m actually photographing because it’s so good. When it comes to pumpkin anything, my self control = out the window!

Anyways, time for some cake cake cake cake cake.

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Ingredients:

  • Cake:
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree (just pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cups of almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder – I used whey in this recipe, but you could use any kind of protein
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw
  • 2 large eggs, or three smaller
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • Cashew or almond milk (Amount depends on what type of protein used)
  • Frosting: 
  • 1 cup Powdered Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cashew milk

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How to:

  • Preheat oven to 325 and prepare two 8×8 pans with parchment paper and coconut oil spray. Set aside.
  • Combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, protein, powder and spices).
  • In a seperate bigger bowl, beat together coconut oil, eggs and sugars until well combined.
  • Add pumpkin to the oil and egg mixture. Mix with a hand mixer.
  • Slowly mix flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture by alternating flour and then a dash of cashew milk. The coconut flour in will soak up a lot of the moisture, so the batter will be thick and heavy.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 34-36 minutes.
  • While cake is baking, use your hand mixer to mix together all glaze ingredients.
  • Once edges appear brown and a fork comes out clean, let the cakes cool on a wire rack.
  • To assemble, lay down the first slab of cake and frost. Add the second layer on top and use the remainder of the frosting to cover the cake – or just cover the top so you can see both layers.
  • Eat within 2-3 days and enjoy!

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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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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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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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Breakfast Bars with Hazelnut Butter (Clean, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, healthy!)

Guys, summer may actually be coming! I know this because my kitchen was HOT while I was baking. To be clear, I am no where near complaining, espeically since we only get a small handful of warm days in Chicago each spring. However, if this keeps up next week may be a no-bake week 🙂

One of my summer addictions is iced coffee with hazelnut flavored syrup. Not the cleanest of treats, I realize, but I just LOVE me some hazelnut.

I decided to combine a few of my favorite things so I could have an excuse to bake with something Hazelnut flavored. The recipe itself is pretty basic and forward, and if you don’t like hazelnut you can easily swap out regular peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, or anything else! However, Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter really is the jam. I would even say it makes the recipe worth it.

This recipe is suitable for almost anyone – no flour, no eggs, no butter, and no dairy! Not too shabby.

Let’s do it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten free oats ground into flour, or almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 extra ripe bananas (PS If you don’t have ripe bananas, did you know you can actually ripen fresh bananas in the oven?? Genius)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Agave
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 packet of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter 

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×8 pan with EVOO spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda + salt) and set aside.
  • In a Vitamix or food processor, blend together bananas, agave, vanilla and applesauce.

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  • Combine wet + dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

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  • Spread batter into pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

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  • Make chocolate drizzle by combining coconut oil with cocoa and drizzle over the pan. (This part is optional, but I feel like the bitterness of the chocolate is actually a nice compliment to the sweetness of the hazelnut butter.)

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  • Also optional (but definitely worth it!) cut the corner of the Hazelnut Butter packet and spread across the bars.

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  • Final step: DEVOUR these 🙂 YUM!

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Easy Salted Cocoa Cookies (Clean!)

Hey guys! Happy Saturday  🙂

As some of you know, I work for Pinterest. This is amazing for multiple reasons – one of those reasons, of course, is that I get to be on Pinterest all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I mean, they pay me to do it. If you’re not on Pinterest, stop reading now and sign up. Life changing, for reals.

At this point, my entire Pinterest feed is endless amazing looking desserts, sprinkled with a random rap quote and a cute puppy every now and then. (I love hip hop. And I’ll admit it – I search for cute puppies on Pinterest when I need a mental break at work). “Having” to be on Pinterest all the time now makes me want to bake all the time.  While my real jam is baking SUPER dirty desserts (think Oreos on top of cookie dough on top of brownies with ice cream & hot fudge, etc.), I have turned a new corner.

But, I  can’t give up the sweets. I just can’t. Why would I?

Enter Baking BadAsh. A blog dedicated to my pursuit of taking normally dirty treats and turning them clean. Recipe number one happens to be easy Salted Cocoa cookies. Yes, this chocolate-y goodness below is actually clean & made with healthy ingredients. Indulge now!

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Easy Salted Cocoa Cookies – Clean recipe! 

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup Agave or maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup solid coconut oil
  • Coarse Sea Salt, as needed

Filling ingredients:

  • 1/4 Coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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How to:

  1. Preheat oven temp to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium to large bowl, mix almond flour and cocoa powder.
  3. In a seperate bowl, mix together egg, coconut oil, agave or maple syrup, and vanilla. Put in the fridge for a few minutes – it will make it easier to roll into balls if it’s a little chilled.
  4. Roll in to balls and then push them on to a parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle sea salt over cookies then bake for 12 minutes.
  6. As cookies are baking, star mixing together ingredients for the cookie filling and whip together until  you get to a frosting-like consistency.
  7. When cookies are done, cool for 3-4 minutes then using a frosting tip, add enough to cookie to create the sandwiches. Eat!

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