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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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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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!

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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Spicy! Pink Pistachio Chocolate Fudge

Ok, so….this blog is about clean eating. And these aren’t exactly clean…. Ok they’re not at all. BUT. They are good!! And dannnngggggg… they are pretty.

When I started testing this recipe, I had in mind that I would make a  crunchy bark. Then I channeled my inner fat kid and said “YOLO, I’m going for it, this is now fudge”. Best. Decision. Ever.

Look please.

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Prettiest dessert yet? Could be.

Do you like spice? Ok then we’re good here. Do you also like sweet? Covered here as well. Lastly, do you like PISTACHIOS? I feel like that’s not really even a question…

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Let’s be clear here. These are an exception to what this blog is all about. These are not clean and they aren’t healthy. They should be considered a treat. The good thing is, they are so flavorful you really only need a couple of bites to be more than satisfied.

The photos speak for themselves here, so let’s just get down to it, shall we?

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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 18 ounces white melting candies
    • Note: seperate out about 12 ounces of the 18 ounces of melted chocolate and mix with red food coloring to make pink chocoate!
  • 1/2 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup of unshelled and crushed pistachios

How to:

  • Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper
  • Melt dark chocolate in the microwave, microwaving for 15 seconds, stirring, and then returning to the microwave until completely melted
  • Once melted, mix in chipotle powder – you may want to do a taste test to see exactly how much spice feels right
  • Pour into the lined baking sheet and put in the fridge to set
  • In new and seperate bowls, melt white and pink chocolate the same way as the dark chocolate
  • Pour white chocolate over pink. Using a knife, swirl together the pink & white chocolate
  • Set back in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours
  • Sprinkle with pistachios before serving

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I should warn you that a little spice goes a long way here. Also, I found that it’s kind of necessary to tell people these are spicy before they bite in, otherwise you’ll see their face go into complete shock when chewing. Or maybe watching that that can be part of the fun 🙂

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Eat one and then HIDE these from yourself!!!

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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Green Tea Cookies (Matcha!)

Ok, round 2 of baking with matcha = success!

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Once I made the Pistachio Protein balls, I decided I wanted to try actually baking something with matcha to see how the flavors tasted coming out of the oven. I was not disappointed!

These green tea cookies are based off a recipe I found on Pinterest by Fortune Goodies. Just a few simple swaps from this delicious recipe to make these cookies clean & a bit healthier. I’ve gotta say, she nailed this recipe and hers were much prettier!

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PS If you haven’t read about the health benefits of matcha, I would highly encourage you to do so. Read about it here,  here, or  here – or run a few Google searches. There’s no denying matcha is a superfood powerhouse. I’ve been trying to replace my morning coffee with cashew milk matcha lattes. It works about half of the time. I just LOVE coffee!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder (I prefer this one, from David’s Tea – aka my fav place in the world)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic maple syrup or agave
  • 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together all dry ingredients – matcha, flour and baking powder. (Isn’t this so pretty!??) 1.jpg
  • In a seperate bowl, melt together coconut oil & maple syrup. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredient bowl and mix until well combined. I did this by hand, but a small hand mixer would help! 2.jpg
  • Roll dough into about 24 balls, 1 inch around.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit on the edges. (Only a bit! You want these to keep the lovely green color!)
  • Let these cool for a few minutes.
  • If you want some added sweetness, drizzle some melted white chocolate or frosting across these. Don’t go overboard if you are trying to keep these on the healthier side. They are already fairly sweet and don’t need too much added sugar.

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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 🙂

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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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Edible Oatmeal Cookie Dough Dip (Clean minus your chosen toppings, Vegan)

I have always been a cookie dough fan. Usually, whenever I bake I’m more excited about the dough than the final products. And we already know that I’m a big fan of oatmeal, so when I can eat RAW oatmeal cookie dough, I’m in heaven.

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This is a super easy dip to make and you can really customize it however you want. I chose to add chocolate chips & oatmeal to replicate my favorite type of cookie, but you could easily add sprinkles to make this taste more like sugar cookies, raisins, nuts, the possibilities are endless!

The base of the cookie is completely clean and secretly healthy – great for us bouncing back from Christmas binging. The chocolate chips are obviously the exception here, so make sure you leave those out if you are strictly a clean eater. Also, you probably already have all of these ingredients in your pantry so you can make this TODAY. You will NOT regret it. Now, how am I supposed to distract myself from knowing this sitting in the fridge waiting for me to finish it off!? Ah!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (Make sure you wash & strain well!)
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of nut butter – I used almond, but you could really use any kind of nut butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • Almond milk – only if consistency is thick
  • Any mixings of your choice – I used oatmeal & dark chocolate chips

How to:

  • Throw everything (except for milk and toppings) into the blender or food processor and mix together!
  • Once it reaches a cookie dough consistency, move everything to a bowl and hand mix in any of the toppings you want to add.
  • Eat with a spoon, smooth onto apple slices or crackers, or mix into oatmeal. You really can eat this however you’d like!
  • This can be stored in the fridge for a few days, if you’re able to make it last that long!

cookiedough3.jpgWhat are your favorite toppings? I’d love any suggestions or ideas for how to use this delish dip!