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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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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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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Raw Vegan Blackberry Mini Cheesecakes

Cheesecake – ugh. The best thing in the world, but not for people like me who can’t really handle cheese. Wah wah. Finally, this recipe is something I can get on board with – vegan cheesecake bites, made with cashews. Can it really be true?!?

I stole this recipe (borrowed? 🙂 ) from Little Vegan Bear’s amazing Blueberry cheesecake bite recipe.  Why blackberries instead of blue? No reason – they just caught my eye at the market this morning. Plus – aren’t they beautiful ?

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These do take some time, so make sure you have an hour or so to spend in the kitchen. Not all of the time will be prep time. These require that you create a layer, then let them set for a while before adding on the next layer. All in all, these took me about 1.5 hours. And, I only photographed one of them becuase the others were still setting, but I wanted to get the good, natural light 🙂

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Ingredients:

Base Layer:
1 cup soaked or boiled dates
1/2 cup pecans or other nuts or seeds (anything but cashews!)
¼ cup almonds
pinch of pink Himalayan salt (Or whatever salt you have – I just prefer pink!)

Cheesecake layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked at least 8 hours – overnight is even better
¼ cup agave
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons  vanilla
1 tablespoon lime juice

Blue layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked
1½ cups blackberries
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup agave or maple syrup

Chia jam:
2 cups blackberries (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons organic chia seeds

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How to:

  • Add the base layer ingredients to a Vitamix or blender. Mix well until still chunky, but mixed well and most of the larger pieces are chopped.
  • Spray a muffin pan then spoon mixture into the pan. The mixture should cover the bottom of the pan but not be too thick – think 1/4 of an inch or so.
  • Pop them in the freezer to set.
  • Clean out/wipe down the Vitamix. Next, blend together the cheesecake layer. Give it a taste before you you scoop layer on to the base – depending on your taste, you may want to add another little bit of agave.
  • Once you’re happy with the taste, spoon this mixture on top of the base and put them back in the freezer while you make the next layer.
  • Again, clean out the Vitamix and blend the next layer of ingredients. Mix together the fruit layer ingredients. Again, layer. Again, freeze.
  • Next, you’re going to create the jam that goes on top. Bring blackberries (or your choice of fruit), agave and lime juice in a sauce pan to a boil. Once boiling, smoosh the berries & let the mixture simmer.
  • Add in the chia seeds and let simmer; allow the seeds to soak up the remaining liquid. This should take 10-15 minutes. Once most of the liquid is gone, allow the jam to cool.
  • Once the cheesecakes are solid, scoop a bit of the jam on top. Layer with any of your favorite superfoods – I wish I would have had some crushed pistachios to layer on top of my jam!

Happy Easter! ❤

Pistachio Matcha Protein Balls (Clean, healthy, Gluten-free, no bake)

A co-worker has been requesting that I bake with matcha for some time now, though I’ve been nervous to try it. Matcha is not cheap when it comes to tea and I was nervous that it wouldn’t taste sweet enough without any added or artificial sugars. However, I just went for it … (YOLO)… and these were a huge hit!

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For a first go at baking with matcha, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the results. The green color of these is natural  from the matcha – they would have been the perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat. I guess there’s always next year!

balls1.jpgThese were super quick to make. I put them in the freezer to set, but you could have eaten them right away. This recipes makes about 12 balls depending on size.

Oh, the best part? These are low calorie and HIGH protein, so they make for a great post workout snack or a healthy after-lunch treat. I’m estimating these bad boys come in around 125 calories each.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 scoops any plant based, vegan protein powder (I used Sun Warrior, a personal fav!)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Matcha (If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with David’s Tea – this matcha is great, and they have a few “flavored” options too)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of organic coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure organic maple syrup (could sub Agave if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1-3 teaspoons of water
  • 1 cup of crushed shelled pistachios (to make sure these are clean, just use plain pistachios – not roasted or salted) balls1.jpg

How to: (Told you these were super easy)

  • In a food processor, blend together cashews, coconut, protein, matcha, and coconut flour until well combined and powdery.
  • Add in melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Blend for a few seconds until a heavy dough starts to form.
  • Scoop all of the mixture out and put in a seperate bowl or onto parchment paper so it’s easier to grab and roll the dough into balls.
  • At this point, if the dough isn’t sticking together, add a teaspoon of water at a time, mixing in between, until you’re able to roll these into balls. They should be dry enough, though, that they will stay together on their own and not melt all over the plate.
  • Put all crushed pistachios on a plate and roll the dough around on the plate, pushing the pistachios into the dough.
  • Set these in the freezer to set. This should only take 15 minutes or so.
  • Eat and enjoy!!

 

Thin Mint Cookies (Protein packed, gluten free, clean!)

Its Girl Scout cookie season!(!!!!!)

When I was younger, my dad would buy boxes of Thin Mints and put them in the “outside freezer”, which meant we could only have them as an extra special treat. I was never a huge fan, but it seems as though Thin Mints have the biggest following & the most hype.

So, I set out to see if I could replicate these using mocha & chocolate protein powder, and kind of nailed it on the first try. Coworkers loved these and my husband ate a whole tray before I could get home from work the next day, so safe to say – yes, nailed these. 5.jpg

These are simple, no bake cookies and are made with super healthy ingredients. While you shouldn’t really eat the entire tray in one day (ahem, Bob…) they’re still pretty good for you! (Especially post workout, when your body needs extra protein!)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour or coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa
  • 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
  • 1 – 2 scoops of protein powder (I used Amazing Meal Cafe Mocha protein powder)
  • Peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used Cashew butter)
  • 3-4 tablespoons (or more) Coconut milk or Almond Milk
  • 1 block dairy free dark chocolate (optional!)

How to:

  • In a medium bowl, melt nut butter for a few seconds in the microwave and then add in Agave. Add a few drops of peppermint extract per your taste. Mix well.
  • In a seperate bowl, combine all dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, protein powder.
  • Slowly, add dry ingredients in to wet ingredients and continue to stir. Mixture will be powder-y and thick. Like this. Mmm.

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  • Once combined, add in almond milk tablespoon by tablespoon until the batter becomes moldable.
  • Using your hands, form small balls of dough and line on parchment paper. Pop them in the freezer while you melt the dark chocolate.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate. (I put the chocolate block in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirred, 30 more seconds, etc.)
  • Using a spoon, spread the melted chocolate over the cookies.
  • Put them in the freezer again to set.
  • This recipe makes anywhere from 12-24 cookies, depending on the size. Keep in the “outside freezer” to preserve 🙂

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Enjoy!

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Chewy Chocolate & Coconut Protein Bars (No bake, Vegan, Gluten Free, Clean!)

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As you know, I’m a workout fanatic. Recently, I have started using protein powder after working out to help my body refuel. Not everyone believes your body actually needs protein supplements, but since I don’t normally eat protein in the morning I find it’s an easy add to my breakfast that helps keep me full all day.

Honestly, I could probably eat the entire pan of these. I am thinking of having my husband lock them away somewhere so I don’t do that.

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My plan is to cut these up and put them into individual Ziploc bags for a quick breakfast I can grab on my way out the door. You could even freeze them to make them last a few weeks. Just be sure to thaw them overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour, sifted
  • ½ cup of your favorite protein powder (I like Sun Warrior because it’s vegan and tastes great!)
  • 2-3 T cocoa powder (Or more, depending on your taste)
  • ½ cup almond butter (any nut butter would do)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk or Cashew milk (I’m newly obsessed with creamy unsweetened vanilla cashew milk!
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour, sifted
  • ½ cup of your favorite protein powder (I like Sun Warrior because it’s vegan and tastes great!)
  • 2-3 T cocoa powder (Or more, depending on your taste)
  • ½ cup almond butter (any nut butter would do)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk or Cashew milk (I’m newly obsessed with creamy unsweetened vanilla cashew milk!
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

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How to:

  • Spray a 8×9 or 9×9 pan with  coconut oil spray
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients together (Flour, Protein powder, cocoa powder) and mix well
  • Separately, mix together nut butter and maple syrup and warm over the stove until they’re melted together
  • Once they’re melted, add the vanilla and stir
  • Add all wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients. It should be pretty chunky and hard to stir
  • Spoonful by spoonful, add the milk util a super thick batter is formed
  • Scoop batter into the greased pan and push down firmly to flatten the dough into the pan
  • Sprinkle coconut flakes over
  • Pop in the fridge or freezer and let them set 1-2 hours, or until they become bar-like
  • Slice – makes somewhere between 12-16 bars, depending on size

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Protein Packed Superfood Oatmeal Raspberry Cups

More oats. Can you blame me? They’re just so good and so filling.

These are easy to eat on the run – perhaps in a cab on the way to work from an intense Soul Cycle class? 🙂 Or maybe thats just me.

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Either way, these  breakfast bars are a variation of one of my favorite superfood breakfast concoctions ever made. My coworkers absolutely love these, mostly because of the health factor and the fact that they taste absolutely delish. You can have a 2×2 inch square and be full for breakfast because they’re loaded with so many nutrient dense superfoods. I chose to make these in a muffin tin so that they are perfectly portioned and easy to throw into a Ziploc bag in the morning.

You can make a batch of these and freeze them and they will last for weeks but they’re better warm or at room temp, so make sure you take them out of the freezer the night before you want them.

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Ingredients: (Base)

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of silvered almonds
  • 4 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 cup of whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamnom
  • 2 very ripe bananas – the more ripe, the better!
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 scoop whey protein or any type of protein you like

More ingredients: (Topping)

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup silvered almonds
  • 2 cups of raspberries – or whatever fruit you’d like! Blueberries are also good!
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin quickly or grease with coconut oil.
  • Add all of the “base” ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix. Blend until a creamy consistency forms. This could take a few minutes until the mixture is blended well.
  • Scoop the mixture into the muffin tin. This recipe should make at least 12 breakfast cups.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While they’re baking, combine the ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl.
  • Once the timer for the base goes off, add the toppings to each cup.
  • Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool before eating.

I could see these being really good with some added nuts – pistachios will be my next addition! Also, almost any berry would work. Blackberries, you’re next 🙂

What other type of berry would you use?