I have been making almond milk for my one year old for the past couple of months. We are dairy free in our household for many reasons (ok, except for the occasional Andy’s treat), one being that almond milk has a TON more calcium than cow milk. I love the fact that you can not only make your own homemade almond milk which is FAR better than even the healthiest store bought kind, but you can also use the pulp that is left to make your own almond flour (or you might see it labeled as almond meal in the store). And it’s all so easy! But the downside is that if you have an almost toddler who drinks as much milk as mine (I say almost because she is ALMOST walking on her own and to me that is when she will no longer be a baby *tear*), you are making it ALL. THE. TIME. And it leaves you with almond flour coming out your ears!!! Thankfully, there are so many awesome recipes these days using almond flour. Many vegan and gluten-free recipes use almond flour so hopefully it won’t be any problem using all this stuff up!
I’ve baked with almond flour before and had amazing results. These Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins are still one of my favorite muffin recipes. When I came across this recipe for almond meal cookies with chocolate chips and coconut, I had to try them and they turned out so good. When I say so good I mean the kind of good that I can probably never make them again because my husband and I ate them in like, two days. All of them. Eeek.
They reminded me of a cross between a super soft, thick graham cracker cookie and an almond joy. I mean…kind of delicious. The ingredients are nutritious and if you can limit yourself to just one or two then you’ve got a perfectly suitable (and in my opinion better) substitution for a run of the mill chocolate chip cookie. So if you’ve never used almond flour before, I definitely recommend starting with this recipe!
⅓ c. Sucanat or Coconut Sugar (I used Sucanat and processed mine in my Vitamix dry attachment until it was finely ground)
1 Large Egg
3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ c. Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Chips (I would chop them next time for finer pieces..the big chips made it a bit difficult for the cookies to hold together)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. In a small bowl whisk together egg, coconut oil and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1½-inch balls, place on baking sheets and press down slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes (mine took 8), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks and store in an air-tight container.
So, who isn’t thinking about losing weight and looking hot in a two-piece right now?! I for sure am thinking about it more and more as the weather warms up and summer gets closer. And since I don’t have quite as much time to exercise right now (who knew babies could be so demanding?!) I am watching my diet like a hawk and definitely limiting my sugar intake. Which led me to this recipe for Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding. Did you know you could make pudding with chia seeds?? I love it! Once this mixture sets overnight, the chia seeds plump up and thicken and you’ve got cold, creamy, good-for-you pudding! I made mine with lite coconut milk but you could use almond milk if you’d like and even use a different fruit besides mango. Very versatile! And DELICIOUS. Great guilt-free treat!
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Jeremy has been wanting me to come up with a homemade protein bar similar to a Cliff Bar or Larabar but of course cheaper and healthier. I tried one that I actually REALLY liked and could hardly keep my hands out of (you CAN get too much of a good thing) but he wasn’t really a fan so I moved onto this recipe from The Balanced Platter shared by my cupcake partner in crime, Robyn over at Gluten Free Crazy. And I can safely say we have a winner with this one! Jeremy loves it, I love it and everyone is getting crazy amounts of protein! It’s very chocolatey, very peanut buttery and soooooo yummy. They’re very rich so I cut them into small squares and keep them in the freezer, although they’d probably be fine in the refrigerator also. Great pick me up and healthy dessert option!
½ c. Cooked Quinoa (I had accidentally mixed my dry quinoa and couscous together so it was a mix of both which I really liked!)
½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
¼ c. Chia Seeds
1¼ c. Chunky, Organic Peanut Butter (or smooth)
¾ c. Agave
1½ Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
In a food processor, chop the dates into very small pieces. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds and process until a meal has formed. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the quinoa, oats and chia seeds to the food processor and process until a meal forms again. Add to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add the peanut butter, agave, protein powder, cocoa and vanilla to the bowl of the electric mixer and beat everything on low speed until it is well-blended and starts to clump together. Form into a ball and press evenly into the bottom of the 9x9 pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until firm, lift out of the pan and place upside down on a cutting board. Peel away foil, turn bars over and cut into 1½" squares. Store in freezer.
If I told you this scrumptious looking Chocolate Fudge Tart was gluten free, dairy free, has ZERO refined sugar and is no-bake, would you believe me? Well, it’s totally true! I used this recipe from Deliciously Organic and modified it just a bit to my liking. What resulted was one of the richest, most delicious things I’ve ever had. If you like super dark chocolate and fudge, this is the recipe for you. And if you don’t like super dark chocolate and fudge…what’s wrong with you?!?!!
I love that the crust uses almond meal…it’s absolutely delicious in the recipe. Little confession though…I had to use half almond meal and half oat flour (which I just made by processing organic rolled oats in my processor) because I ran out of almond meal. It was still delicious and I might just make it that way from now on. As with all “healthy” treats, this one still has calories and sugar, just not the refined, overly processed junk. So use moderation but definitely feel free to indulge without guilt! Make it for someone you love this Valentine’s Day!
2½ c. Almond Meal (or half almond meal and half oat flour)
½ c. plus 1 T. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
¾ t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan
⅓ c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
3 c. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
1 t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
2 c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
Lightly oil or spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, cocoa powder and sea salt. Stir in the agave and coconut oil until large clumps form. Press into the bottom and up the sides of springform pan.
For the Chocolate Fudge Filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and salt. With a large wooden spoon, stir in the agave and coconut oil. Mixture will get VERY thick. Pour into the crust and gently spread into an even layer. Freeze or refrigerate for about two hours, until firm. Cut into slices and serve immediately. (I actually froze mine overnight so it was a bit too firm when I took it out of the freezer. I had to let it sit and soften for about 30-45 minutes, just fyi.)
Today I have given a little makeover to one of my all-time favorite recipes–No-Bake Cookies! My mom’s recipe is seriously THE BEST. Yes, I do think that about many of her recipes. Because it’s true! I’ve had lots of other no-bake cookies and people have no idea there is an exact time they need to boil otherwise you get dry, crumbly, icky no-bakes. Such a shame. Luckily my mom’s recipe uses the perfect ingredients and method and they are no-fail every time.
Like I said, I gave them a makeover…a healthy makeover. I was curious if altering the recipe with alternative ingredients would yield the same delicious cookie I grew up loving and eating way too many of in one sitting. Off to experiment land I went! I wanted them to be dairy-free because we don’t drink cow’s milk or eat cow products in our household unless it’s organic butter or Greek yogurt, so I used almond milk and coconut oil. I knew it could be tricky because coconut oil will only firm up according to the temperature in your house so these cookies needed a little help in that department. You must keep them in the refrigerator or freezer after they are done or you’ll have a sticky mess! But we LOVE them cold, straight from the freezer.
Other changes I made were using a reduced amount of sucanat in place of the refined sugar. It gave the cookies an amazingly rich, dark chocolatey, fudge taste. I also used organic peanut butter and thick-rolled organic oats. Very small changes but they make a world of difference in the nutritional content of the finished product. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t eat five of these at once because they’re “healthy” or replace your daily fruit servings with a bunch of cookies! They still have sugar after all, just not refined, processed sugar. Which is a GOOD thing. These are still meant to be an indulgence, but one you can feel pretty good about. Jeremy and I both love them so much…maybe better than the original! Just don’t tell my mom!
1 c. Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that is only peanuts and sea salt)
Line two large baking sheets with foil.
In a large saucepan, combine sucanat, almond milk, cocoa and coconut oil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute and 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Quickly stir in oats and drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then place the pans in freezer for about 10 minutes to firm the cookies completely. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator (we like ours really cold from the freezer).
Up until recently I have bought Jeremy granola every week for I don’t even know how long. I buy a very specific organic brand that is healthy and he likes it so even though it’s a little pricey, I don’t mind pay a little extra for the health benefits. I’ve even made my own granola before but he really likes this specific kind so we’ve always stuck with it. Until now.
That’s right, I managed to find a granola recipe that BEATS THE CRAP out of the store-bought granola. Yesssssss. Not only does he LOVE it, it is even healthier than the organic stuff and, oh yeah, cheaper. The original recipe is here and yes, I took a little liberty and changed some things (shocker, I know). The combination of cinnamon and almond flavor totally works in this recipe and it turns so crunchy after it has cooled. It’s honestly hard to stay out of it. I like to mix some Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes into mine just to give it that cereal aspect so feel free to add or not add…totally up to you. You could throw in nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. Whatever sounds good at the moment!
1 c. Thick Rolled Oats (if you don't have access to rye or red wheat flakes, just use all thick rolled oats)
1½ c. Rye Flakes
1½ c. Red Wheat Flakes
½ c. 7-Grain Cereal (can be found in bulk section of health food store or substitute uncooked millet)
2 T. Chia Seeds
½ c. Sucanat
1¼ t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
1½ t. Cinnamon
⅓ c. Safflower Oil
¼ c. Light Agave
¼ c. Maple Agave
⅓ c. plus 1 T. Raw Almond Butter
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 t. Almond Extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, stir together all wet ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir to combine. It will seem dry at first but keep stirring and it will all get coated.
Divide the mixture between the two pans and spread in an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring, rotating pans and switching racks (if your oven cooks unevenly, like mine does) halfway through. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
I made macaroons for the first time not once, but TWICE a couple of weeks ago. And that’s macaroons, not macarons (which I love dearly). There is sometimes confusion as to which is which, so this article might help clear things up for you if you are not sure on the differences. Not saying you don’t know because I am certain my blog readers are dessert aficianados and semi-experts on all things sweet, but just in case…
Ok. Back to the macaroons. With two o’s.
The first version of macaroon I made was the healthified Quinoa Coconut Macaroon. Totally yummy. Could eat all of them in one sitting. They are decidedly not like a regular macaroon but they are delicious nonetheless. Jeremy even liked them and he despises coconut (so sad). I like that they have protein from the quinoa. Isn’t it amazing what you can put quinoa in?! Of course, I had to add a bit of pure vanilla and almond extract. Makes all the difference, in my opinion.
Later this week I’ll have a little blog post about my sister’s baby shower and the fun, themed dessert table I got to do which included the typical macaroons, along with the recipe!
1 c. Cooked Quinoa (I used quinoa cooked in light, organic coconut milk for even more coconut flavor)
1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ t. Pure Almond Extract
Pinch of Salt
Combine the egg whites and agave in a small saucepan. Over very low heat, whisk the eggs and agave until creamy and warm. Heating the eggs will temper them which will create a nice, crispy cookie exterior. Test with your finger--if they are warm to the touch, they are tempered.
Put the quinoa, coconut and salt in a large bowl and mix in the egg and agave mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet. I actually used a 2 Tablespoon measuring spoon and pressed the mixture VERY firmly against the side of the bowl as I scooped it out and then knocked it against the pan quickly and firmly to get the mixture out. If it starts to fall apart a bit, press it together with your fingers otherwise it will not stick together while baking.
Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes or until completely cool. Store in an air-tight container.
It’s the middle of summer. It’s freaking hot. Like hotter than it has ever been in my 31 years of life. Sweating, sticky and smelly are pretty accurate descriptive words of just about everyone around me, including MYSELF. Who knew it was possible to gross yourself out SO much?!? But it totally is.
Naturally, people are wearing less clothes. And thinking about their figure a little more. Ok, not all people are thinking about their figure but I know I am! Can’t you tell by all the low-calorie, fat-free, sugarless, uber-healthy recipes that I post?! Oh. Maybe not. Ok, usually my recipes are sinful and totally NOT healthy but I like to think of them as treats and hope that other people think of them the same way (am I delusional or what?!). However, I have posted a few nutritious cookie, cake and brownie recipes and hope to keep that list growing. And these pancakes most definitely qualify as good-for-you food! We are totally addicted to these things in our house. I have made them once a week, every week for probably the last month or two. They are an absolutely fabulous gluten-free option and are perfect for breakfast or a snack. I have even thrown some cocoa powder in them for a chocolate version that was quite delicious!
Of course you could always throw in some chocolate chips but I like the cocoa powder because it gives it that chocolate factor without all the added fat and sugar. Feel free to use this recipe as a base and and throw in things like nuts, dried fruit (unsweetened is best) or whatever you happen to be craving at the time! It is so, so good.
3 c. Gluten-Free Oat Flour (I just process thick cut oats in my processor until I get three cups of oat flour)
½ t. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
1 t. Ground Cinnamon (feel free to add more if you really like cinnamon...I probably do more like 1¼ t.)
½ t. Fine Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
3 c. Water
1 c. Creamy, Unsalted, Raw Almond Butter
¼ c. Pure Vanilla Extract
4 t. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ c. Light Amber Agave (or honey, sucanat, etc)
6 T. Chia Seeds
¾ c. Thick-Rolled Oats
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a blender, mix the wet ingredients until smooth and it has a milk consistency. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in add-ins. The chia seeds will make the mixture VERY thick as it sits (almost the texture of a drop cookie) so if you'd like it thinner, don't add as many or just thin it out 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you want. Warm a griddle to medium (I do 325 degrees) and coat with a bit of coconut oil. Scoop batter with a large spoon onto your griddle. Cook for four minutes on each side, until the sides and tops start to look dry. Top with maple agave and fresh blueberries (my personal favorite way to eat them!) and enjoy!
Not so long ago I made my first batch of gluten-free brownies. While good, they relied heavily (as in it’s the main ingredient) on an absurd amount of almond butter. Not that I’m complaining..I love almond butter and could (and do!) eat it by the spoonful and as an ingredient in many baked goods. However, it made for one calorie-laden gluten-free brownie. So since I had also been experimenting with chickpeas in my baking lately (like these awesome Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips Cookies) and wondered if I could use them for some of the almond butter in this recipe.
The results? Fabulous. The chickpeas produced a slightly softer, cake-like brownie with the same richness as the original recipe. And I love that it cut back on the fat and calories while injecting a good amount of fiber. I took these to a dinner and people preferred these over the totally NOT healthy frosted sugar cookies I brought and were asking for the recipe! Yep, a keeper.
1 c. Organic Almond Butter (no salt, oil, sugar etc added)
1 c. (15 oz. can) Chickpeas processed in a food processor until smooth with ¼ c. unsweetened almond milk
¾ c. Honey
1½ T. Vanilla
1 T. Instant Coffee Granules dissolved in 2 T. Hot Water
½ c. Cocoa Powder
1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
½ t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or whatever you have)
3 T. Dark Chocolate Chips or English Walnuts, etc (try to find chocolate chips that are not made with refined sugar, etc)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the almond butter and chickpea/almond milk mixture on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then honey, vanilla and coffee. Beat in cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Spread batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Hi friends! To follow up my majorly delicious (and healthy!) zucchini bread recipe, I thought I’d share even MORE recipes for baking with zucchini! Just in case your garden overfloweth like so many people I know. If you see more than you can bake at the moment, not a problem! Just freeze your grated zucchini and thaw it out at a later time. And I’ve included a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes so there are options for everyone!
Healthy baking has come a looooong way. Especially in my kitchen. I remember back when I did most of my “healthy” baking and it consisted of mass amounts of whole wheat flour, Splenda (God forbid) and tons of egg whites. Thankfully, I now know what healthy really means….REAL ingredients that are not artificial, preservative laden bombs. And most of those recipes honestly, well, they weren’t that great. Let’s just leave it at that.
But the healthy recipes I’m finding nowadays are a whole other story. They are chocked full of nutritious and real ingredients. And I have yet to come across one I did not LOVE. Seriously. Such is the case with these cookies. I found the original recipe on the Texanerin Baking blog and only tinkered with it a bit. Ok, that’s a lie. The first time I made it I messed with the recipe ALOT and while I managed to create what could be considered the most amazingly delicious healthy peanut butter and chocolate chip fudge EVER, they didn’t quite bake up like a cookie. Not to say they weren’t good..just not very cookie like. So I tried the recipe again and stuck as close to the original as possible with only a few minor changes. And they. Were. Awesome.
Don’t let the beans throw you off…it’s amazing how great they work for gluten-free baking and meld seamlessly with the other ingredients. The first time I used beans for these Chocolate Cupcakes with Tart Cherry Frosting, I was highly skeptical, but the recipe turned out awesome and honestly it was one of the best chocolate cakes. In my opinion at least. So give beans a try in your baked goods! They add loads of protein and fiber which our bodies need!
1½ c. (15 oz. can) Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
½ c., plus 2 T. All-Natural Peanut Butter (no oil, salt, sugar, etc)
¼ c., plus 2 T. Honey
1 t. Baking Powder (I use aluminum-free)
⅛ t. Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
⅓ c. Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to get the small pieces of chickpeas and process again until smooth. Scrape into a medium size bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 14, 1½" cookies.
Note: They are best to eat on the first day and are the most like a traditional cookie. The next day they are still yummy but the texture changes just a bit and they seem more like cookie dough.
Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying. You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps. For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.
They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good. The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit. They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice. All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.
Memorial Day weekend is coming, bringing with it lots and lots and LOTS of food. And I don’t know what it’s like where you’re at, but here it’s in the 90s already! And you know what that means…pools. And lakes. And…bikinis. Yes, it’s already swimsuit season! Yikes! Are you ready?!? It kinda snuck up on me, I gotta admit, but I am trying to incorporate more and more natural sweets (as in honey, fruits, etc) into our diet so we don’t look like the michelin man when we bare it all at the first water-type event this year. Of course, can’t do anything about the whiteness (trying to avoid that pesky skin caner) but we CAN do something about the shape of our bodies and our overall health!
(Sorry, little peptalk for myself there. Ahem. Ok, back to the recipe…)
If you are watching what goes in your mouth this weekend (like me and my husband) and are kinda scared about the next 72 hours of festivities and merriment, may I suggest these Honey Almond Date Balls as a sweet and healthy alternative? You might want to double or triple the batch because once people taste them, they will want more. Seriously. Jeremy doesn’t even like coconut and he LOVES these things. I left the recipe alone for the most part except instead of rolling the balls in more almonds, I rolled them in unsweetened coconut.
1 c. Raw Almonds (do 2 cups if you plan on rolling the balls in almonds)
2 c. Pitted Dates, preferably Medjool
¼ c. Raw Honey
⅓ c. Dried, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker.
Roughly chop dates and add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and dates form a ball. Remove from processor to a bowl. And the almonds and honey to the dates. Mix together until evenly incorporated.
Using a damp washcloth to dampen your hands periodically, for the mixture into 1" balls and roll in the coconut.
Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days or transfer to the fridge and they will keep for a couple of weeks.
Ladies and gentleman, I may have discovered my most absolutely, favorite, healthy dessert recipe to date! To say these “rice krispie” bars are good is an understatement…they are amazing. Quite truthfully, if given the choice between these bars and oh say a cupcake, I’d choose the bars! Yes, that’s how good they are!
I found this recipe over at ohsheglows.com and just the words “no-bake” and “almond butter” drew me in immediately. I think one thing that made a difference for my bars was the particular kind of brown rice cereal that I bought at our local health food store. It’s made by Enjoy Life Foods and it was so crunchy and delicious in these. I was a little skeptical about the bars holding together without any marshmallow like a typical rice krispie treat but the almond butter and honey works perfectly as a binder. I did leave them in the fridge, just to be on the safe side and I actually liked them cold the best.
½ c. Almond Butter (or any all-natural nut butter you prefer)
½ c. Honey
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 T. Unsalted Butter
½ t. Fine Sea Salt
3.5 c. Brown Rice Crisp Cereal
⅛-1/4 c. Dark or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, melted (for drizzle)
Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
In a large pot over low-medium heat, add the honey, butter, almond butter and salt. Stir well until combined and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Stir in the brown rice crisp cereal until thoroughly coated.
Scoop into pan and spread evenly. Place in freezer to set for about 15 minutes.
Remove pan from freezer and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Place in freezer to harden the chocolate, about 5 minutes. Slice into squares and serve or store in fridge until ready to serve.