To beat that afternoon hanger
Looking for a quick and easy snack to grab on the go while still eating something healthy and delicious? Aren’t we all! Energy balls are one of my favorite things to make in mass and then store in my freezer for afternoons when that hanger strikes (we’ve all been there). This version includes a ton of protein packed ingredients and a nice sweetness from the cacao powder and the coconut; not only are they a great snack option but they also can be a perfect 2-bite dessert. The best part about them though? When you make these on your own they cost you about 1/10th of the price you see in those fancy coffee shops. Anyone else have a moral dilemma paying $4 for a small ball made of majority peanut butter and oats!? No way I’m alone in that.
Once the sun begins to shine and it is officially summer, it is as if my body has a trigger response to immediately crave every dessert in site. So, in an attempt to not eat twenty pints of ice cream or store-bought cookies, I make an effort to personally cook the desserts I’m eating to try and fill them with healthier options than many purchased baked goods. These double chocolate chip muffins not only fill that post-dinner craving, but they free of a lot of ingredients that make up most of our desserts (i.e. gluten, dairy, and processed sugar). Behold, my new best friend. And also, my freezer’s newest tenant, because you better believe I have a couple batches of these in there for future night caps!
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You won’t miss the “real” (but fake) version
Awhile back, after finishing a recipe that called for hazelnuts (hello you delicious rack of lamb and full head of cauliflower), I found myself with an extremely large amount of leftovers – thanks to a mother who multiplies anything on a grocery list by 5 just in case an entire unexpected party decides to show up for dinner. As I began reorganizing my drawers to fit the random bag of hazelnuts somewhere that I knew would go avoided for the next few months, I realized that hazelnuts are one of the main ingredients of an oh so deliciously unhealthy old school pantry staple that I haven’t had in forever: Nutella. While I’m still confused how Nutella is marketed as a “breakfast option”, being packed with sugar and other not-so-great ingredients, I thought to myself “what if I made a Nutella that would actually be an acceptable breakfast option? Like a muffin? And why not add in my favorite thing I used to put Nutella on – bananas?” With my mind whirling and my childhood Cam doing her happy dance, I decided to make my own Nutella to include in, and spread on top, banana muffins. Let me just say: Holy. Shit. Do yourself a favor and throw out the jar of Nutella in your pantry (seriously, do that) and make these muffins instead. You will not be sorry or miss the sugar laden real (but really fake) version.
The foolproof way of eating cake for breakfast
I’m back on my muffin kick and I’m not mad about it! Every Easter (and now somehow almost every holiday) I am responsible for one thing in my family’s household: carrot cake. Each year I’ve slowly evolved it into a healthier and healthier version without anyone noticing a difference in taste. In fact, each year my sister becomes more and more obsessed. Since my family will be traveling for the first time on this year’s Easter, I needed to find a way to make this carrot cake breakfast approved so that my family (aka sister) could enjoy her favorite creation of mine throughout the week. My solution: carrot cake muffins. Oh yea, that just happen to be vegan, gluten/grain/dairy free, sweetened only by maple syrup, and BOMB DOT COM.
The best vegan dessert I’ve ever had
This past Sunday I found myself cooking up a storm in my kitchen for majority of the day (putting all the finishing touches on my Whole30 5-day meal plan) and when it was all said and done and I sat down on the couch to unwind, I immediately began daydreaming of new dessert creations. With a few hours to spare before dinner and a running imagination that just wouldn’t sit still and relax, I got up, went back into my kitchen, and assessed what ingredients I had on hand. After realizing I had majority of my favorite things (banana, almond butter, tahini, and chocolate chips), I decided to combine them into the best vehicle possible: a skillet cookie. Being that I am currently dairy & gluten free and that eggs right now don’t seem to be working too well with my stomach, I slowly realized when I popped this baby in the oven that this recipe is actually vegan. While I spent a few minutes questioning who the heck I have become, none of that mattered once I took a bite of this baby. Plus, I happened to have just purchased a pint of Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream (chocolate and mint chip) so I knew I was just about to elevate this to the best (and first?) fully vegan dessert I probably have ever had.
The surprisingly healthy dessert
Sweet, spicy, and salty!? I don’t know if a better trifecta exists. Oh wait, and there is chocolate involved? Now we are freaking talking. This is one of my favorite desserts to serve at a dinner party because not only is it insanely quick and easy to make, but it also is shockingly healthy. Gluten free, dairy free, filled with healthy and beneficial ingredients (hello collagen and avocado), and sweetened simply by honey and cacao powder.
When it comes to snacking on Whole30, there are mixed opinions. Some believe the whole purpose of Whole30 is to break some of the unnecessary eating habits you have. However, if I’m hungry, I’m going to eat. This does not mean I’m snacking throughout the day, but by no means am I going to starve myself for a food plan (refuse to call it a diet) that I’ve decided to follow. That said, it is extremely difficult to find compliant Whole30 snacks other than fruits and vegetables. So as part of my Sunday meal prep, you better believe I’m also making some grab and go foods for the moments in between meals.
The too good to be true healthy dessert
Health kicks or diets can get crazy. A lot of us have been there: you decide to gung-ho cut out a ton of food groups, maybe specifically sugar or dessert, and then realize it is all you can think about. As someone with a serious sweet tooth but also a secret side love affair for all things salty, I combined the two with my new obsession over tahini and made the perfect healthy-fied dessert. No-bake raw coconut cashew tahini bars. Pop these babies in your freezer and have on hand for when you just need that extra something.
Dairy and gluten free raw pumpkin coconut cheesecake bars
Thanksgiving is most commonly associated with a big old turkey, but I would venture to guess that the second dish that comes to people’s minds is a pumpkin pie. What is Thanksgiving without some type of creamy, delicious, pumpkin filled dessert. In an attempt to recreate my favorite dessert but also keep my menu gluten and dairy free, and to include some of my favorite ingredients, I created raw coconut pumpkin cheesecake bars. These are incredibly easy to make and perfectly fill the void of that craving for sweets as you begin to clear your plates.
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Gluten and dairy free dark chocolate banana muffins
Is there any better start to a morning than enjoying a banana baked good with a warm cup of coffee? I honestly cannot think of one. Whether it is banana bread, muffins, cakes, donuts, or pies, anything baked that contains banana is a guaranteed way to my heart. But, let’s be honest for a second here, some banana breads and muffins sold in today’s world as a “breakfast food” are really just cake in a different form. When I was finally old and wise enough to come to this realization, it slightly broke my heart. I love banana bread. I mean lovvvveeeee. The aroma of a fresh cooked loaf makes my heart swell and immediately feel all things comfort. So, instead of giving up on this love affair, with my new-found baking ability and determination to create new recipes, plus a kitchen filled with browned bananas after clicking too many times on last week’s instacart order, I decided to make my own healthified version. These dark chocolate banana muffins are sweet enough to fill that dessert void while also including approved ingredients making it an acceptable breakfast (yes, dark chocolate if purchased in the right form is acceptable in the mornings in my book). Plus, I used Kite Hill’s new unsweetened drinkable yogurt to make these muffins extra moist. Yea, I said it, MOIST. The word that everyone hates using or hearing until a person uses it to describe something you baked and you immediately jump with joy. Behold, the way to my coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family’s hearts.