Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Butternut Squash (pumpkin and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butternut squash, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Chia Bars

I’ve been incorporating chickpea (garbanzo) flour into lots of things lately, mainly because it has a fairly neutral flavor once it’s been cooked and adds a good amount of protein and fiber to food. My favorite thing right now is to mix it into my kids oatmeal…they don’t even know it’s there! So when I saw these chia granola bars used it, I HAD to try them.

Aaaaaand…they turned out great!  I was expecting a crunchier bar but mine remained soft which is ok because we still loved them. Looking back over the original recipe, I actually missed the step about pressing them down again after they have been baked so that might have been my problem with them not being crunchy!

They are slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty and quite yummy! Love the good fats, protein and fiber from the chickpea flour and chia seeds and the little crunch from the crispy rice cereal is perfect. Great for breakfast or a snack!

Original Recipe: Power Hungry

Chia Bars
Author: 
Category: Bar
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Rolled Quick Oats
  • ¾ c. Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • ⅔ c. Chickpea Flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
  • 3 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Melted Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, rice cereal, chickpea flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together agave, coconut oil, sucanant and vanilla until blended,
  3. Add agave mixture to oat mixture, stirring until completely coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Spray you hands with non-stick spray and press mixture down gently but firmly to compact into pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (I did 20) or until light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board (you can leave them sitting on top of the parchment paper). Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into bars. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Avery’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

I created this chocolate chip recipe for my daughter awhile ago and had completely forgot about it until recently when the ONE and only friend I had shared it with (I’m a recipe hoarder…I can’t help it!), said she had made them with her kids. So of course I immediately dug it out and got to work on making some.

I had actually forgot how GOOD these cookies are and why I gave them the title of Avery’s “favorite”….because they are addictive and you seriously can NOT eat just one! They’re soft, chewy and have a perfectly rich, buttery, slightly sweet flavor with ZERO butter or refined sugar and to top it off they are vegan with a little help from aquafaba (check out my first time using it here!)! Win-win-win!

I’m completely ashamed to say that are little family of four polished off all 16 of these in about 3 days! Thankfully they are “healthy” as cookies go and will be an every now and then treat from now on! As they should be. 😉

Avery's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Palm Oil Shortening (I used Nutiva which is a blend of palm oils and coconut oil)
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Xylitol
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Agave
  • 3 T. Aquafaba (chia/flax egg or normal egg would work also)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅓ c. Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Chocolate Dream Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, xylitol and agave on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add aquafaba and vanilla. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and slowly add to the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop dough into 1½" balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Allow to cool on pans for about 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 16 cookies

 

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One Bowl Gluten-Free, Vegan Banana Bread

We do gluten-free around here every now and then and it’s not because anyone has any type of allergies but more so because I truly love a lot of recipes that use almond flour. I can’t say I’ve had much success with coconut flour (as in ZERO) but almond flour never lets me down and it surprisingly makes the most moist and delicious banana bread I have EVER had.

My go-to and favorite banana bread recipe for years had been this one but I prefer this gluten-free version WAY more and it is honestly so much better. Plus, it’s VEGAN which I totally love seeing as how we’ve recently decided to eat plant-based in our every day lives.

The original recipe calls for one egg but I have recently discovered the magic of aquafaba. What’s that you ask? It’s bean water! More specifically the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas. Crazy, right?! Well this stuff is magic! It’s a GREAT egg replacement for so many things. I am still learning and experimenting but it works wonders in this banana bread and helps take it to the next level of super healthy deliciousness! I’m pretty sure you’ll never go back to a regular ‘ole oil and sugar filled banana bread after you try this version!

One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Medium VERY Ripe Bananas (I use 4)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 T. Aquafaba
  • 3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ¼ c. Xylitol
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 3½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Almond or Cashew Milk
  • 2½ c. Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1¼ c. Gluten-Free Quick Oats
  • Handful of Chopped Walnuts (optional but delicious!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat ripe bananas until mashed. Mix in all other ingredients through the milk and combine. Add almond flour and oats and stir to combine. Add chopped walnuts (if using).
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (mine took 1 hour and 5 minutes), until a tester comes out clean.
  4. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a super decadent, rich, absolutely DELICIOUS and most importantly HEALTHY chocolate cake–look no further! I can honestly say this is maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and I can only guess it has something to do with the crazy amount of avocado in it! Yes, avocado!

I just love avocado. Although you’d NEVER guess it was in this cake. All you’ll taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Oh and some strawberry. 😉 Avocado is so great for chocolate desserts, like this Chocolate Avocado Pudding and I’ve also seen chocolate frosting recipes that use it in place of butter although I have yet to try it myself! It really is the ultimate super food!

What makes this cake even better is the fact that it is totally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free! Enjoy a big ‘ole slice without any guilt!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Author: 
Category: Cake
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3 c. Chopped Avocado (4-5 large), pureed
  • ¾ c. Xylitol
  • ¾ c. Sucanat
  • ¼ c. Agave (optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or use another ½ cup regular)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Espresso Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks (optional)
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1, 14.5 oz. Canned Full-Fat Coconut Cream, chilled in fridge (unopened) for at least 5-8 hours or overnight
  • 2-3 T. Refined Coconut Oil, softened
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. Agave
  • 2 Packets Truvia (or use couple teaspoons of powdered stevia, etc)
Other
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • ½ c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks, melted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, round 9x9-inch pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the avocado puree, xylitol, sucanat and agave until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans--it will be VERY thick. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  1. Place the metal bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (if you don’t have an electric mixer, a bowl and whisk should work as well).
  2. Place the thick cream part of the chilled coconut milk (you can just discard the liquid if there is any or save for smoothies, etc) into the chilled electric mixer bowl and whisk the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, agave and truvia on medium/high speed until fully combined and thick. Refrigerate or use immediately on cake.
To Assemble
  1. Remove chilled cakes from pans and peel away parchment paper. Put one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Spread ½ of the whipped on the first cake layer.
  2. Top with the second cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped Cream
  3. Place strawberry slices around the outer edge and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

 

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Chocolate Fudge Tart

Chocolate Fudge Tart 2

Chocolate Fudge Tart 1

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?!?!!

Just kidding.

Chocolate Fudge Tart 3

Chocolate Fudge Tart 4

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!

Chocolate Fudge Tart 5

Chocolate Fudge Tart
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 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
Fudge Filling
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Lightly oil or spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust
  1. 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
  1. 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.)
Notes
Serves16

 

 

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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free No-Bake Cookies

Healthy No-Bake Cookies

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!

Enjoy!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free No-Bake Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Sucanat
  • ⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Unsweetened, Regular Almond Milk
  • ¾ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • 4 c. Thick-Cut, Rolled Oats
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that is only peanuts and sea salt)
Instructions
  1. Line two large baking sheets with foil.
  2. 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).
Notes
Makes 30 cookies.

 

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