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Oatmeal Cookie Dough Balls

5 Oct

I’m going to play “dietitian” for a minute here…

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One of the messages that I try to get across to people when they are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes is that once you get away from sugar-laden goods or salty snacks and make them an occasional treat, you won’t crave them as much anymore.

When you get out of the habit of having a bowl of ice cream every night, you begin to realize that you don’t feel your best when you eat it. When you get away from snacking on salty treats all day, when you do treat yourself to a bag of potato chips, they might taste overly salty. A lot of our cravings and food “addictions” are acquired. The more sugar or salt you eat, the more you want it, and the more you need to satisfy that craving.

So, now you’re asking, “What should I do when I get a craving for my daily cookie or sweet treat?”

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I never said you have to restrict yourself.

You should make these oatmeal cookie dough balls.

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They are sweetened with dates and are packed with healthy fats and good-for-you fiber. They are a cinch to make and make you feel like you are eating oatmeal cookie dough right out of the bowl.

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Oatmeal Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 12 balls

1/2 cup rolled oats

10 Medjool dates, pitted

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until combined.

2. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place them on a lined cookie sheet.

3. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes. Place balls in a bag for storage. I stored them in the freezer so they hold their shape.

4. Enjoy when a craving for dessert hits 🙂

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread (vegan)

30 Aug

If you read my last post, you know I have been drooling over the delicious produce at the farmer’s market recently. I was sad to see farmers putting out the last of their zucchini crop last weekend. I definitely got greedy and snatched up more than my fair share.

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I felt a wave of guilt wash over me as zucchini after zucchini was unloaded from my bag…it was like the Mary Poppin’s version of a bottomless grocery bag full of zucchini.

I had to get rid of the guilt somehow…concocting this zucchini bread (and lots of it!) was just the way…in addition to zucchini pancakes, steamed zucchini, and zucchini omelets (more on that later)!

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Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread (vegan)

Makes 1 loaf

Note: I tried this recipe with varying amounts of sugar. I settled on 3/4 cup which was the minimum amount I could use while still having the loaf taste like zucchini bread. A 1/2 cup of sugar was still satisfactory but not the preferred version among tasters. 

1lb zucchini (1 large or 2 medium), shredded

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup apple sauce

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons water

1/4 cup zucchini juice (see below)

1. Combine shredded zucchini with 2 tablespoons sugar in a fine mesh strainer. Place over bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Next, wring out the zucchini with a clean dish towel.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the juice.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a bread loaf pan with cooking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

4. In a separate medium bowl, combine sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, flax eggs, and zucchini juice. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in zucchini. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

4 May

Hello hello. I have been MIA and I apologize. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with another whirlwind week ahead. I had some quality family time over Easter and some quality sister time soaking up the sun in Florida. The hubby and I head on a West coast adventure later this week. All exciting things that have left me with very little time to cook or blog!

I thought I’d sneak in a quick post just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

I love roasted chickpeas. They satisfy the need for a crunchy snack and are full of protein and fiber. You can easily season them how you like. These Mexican roasted chickpeas are the perfect healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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The inspiration for these chickpeas came from these delicious lentil tacos. I tossed a can of chickpeas with the spice mixture from the tacos and some vegetable oil, popped them in the oven and waiting while they roasted to perfection.

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My favorite way to enjoy these was atop a clean version of a taco salad. I tossed together some romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, crushed Beanito chips, avocado, and topped with some olive oil and lemon juice…yum yum yum.

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Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with vegetable oil. Add spice mixture and toss until chickpeas are well coated.

4. Spread chickpeas into a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until crispy, tossing or stirring chickpeas every 15 minutes.

 

Loaded Quinoa Cookies (vegan)

25 Mar

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I’ve mentioned before that I love snacking…specifically the kind that makes you feel like you’re “splurging” but you’re really getting loads of good-for-you ingredients. I especially love that kind of snacking when it’s neatly packaged into a cookie.

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These loaded quinoa cookies do just that.

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The cooked quinoa adds satisfying protein that make these cookies great for an on-the-go breakfast or a tasty snack.

Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you have on hand. The first time I made these cookies, I used a jar of odds and ends mix-ins I had been collecting. The tablespoon of pistachios leftover from making granola, the 1/4 cup of shredded coconut leftover from making banana bread, and the handful of chocolate chips left from making cookies. I’ve made these cookies a few times and use a different combination each time. My favorite combination included pistachios, toasted coconut flakes, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and chocolate chips.

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Leave a comment below with the mix-ins you tried. Happy snacking 🙂

Loaded Quiona Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

3/4 cup mix-ins (any type of nut, dried fruit, chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Add whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and mix just until combined. Fold in quinoa and other mix-ins.

4. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using you fingers, gently press dough balls until flattened. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Raw Vegan Granola Bars

10 Mar

I am posting about one of my favorite things twice because I like it that much…snacking. Healthy snacking to be more specific. These bars are the perfect thing to satisfy an afternoon sweet tooth or to fuel your day for an on-the-go breakfast. They are full of fiber, protein, heart healthy fats, and are naturally sweetened with dried fruit and honey. I made them using Trader Joe’s almond butter. I love all nut butters but this Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter tastes sinfully delicious. I highly recommend it 🙂

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They got a stamp of approval from my hubby which is always a big deal!

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*Edit: These granola bars are technically not vegan because they contain honey. I was recently informed the vegans who eat honey are called “Beegans”. Substitute the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar to make them truly vegan. Enjoy 🙂

Raw Vegan Granola Bars

Makes 10 bars

1 ripe banana

2 cup oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup honey (substitute with maple syrup or honey to make them truly vegan)

1/2 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mash banana well. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

3. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread evenly into pan using the back of a spoon to smooth mixture. Place pan in the freezer for 2 hours. Take pan out of freezer. Remove mixture from pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 10 even bars. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store in freezer.

Ginger Roasted Chickpeas

6 Mar

Confession: I am a chronic snacker.

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What’s another one of my favorite things? Healthy snacks!

I used to think this was a bad thing. That was back in the day of mindlessly munching on nutritionally void “stuff”. I was guilty of a cupboard full of fat-free, sugar-free cardboard. It was low in calories but left me wanting more.

Now, I snack on things packed with nutrition. I feel much more satisfied and know that I will likely fill up on the good stuff before I can overeat it. Snacking helps me feel more satisfied throughout the day and less likely to overeat at mealtime.

These roasted chickpeas are a versatile staple you need in your pantry.

When they are fresh out of the oven, they are salty and crunchy and great right out of the bowl. A day later, they lose their crunch and make a great topping for a salad or pasta.

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Ginger Roasted Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of onion powder

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay rinsed chickpeas on a couple layers of paper towels and pat them dry.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil. Add spices and toss to coat.

3. Place chickpeas in the oven for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan to move the chickpeas around every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are lightly browned and crisp. Keep in an airtight container for up 3-4 days. Chickpeas will lose their crispness after the first day.

Chocolate Chip “Larabar”

27 Feb

I decided to experiment with some combinations to make my own Larabars. Using the brilliant idea from Paleo Paisan, I used the nutrition facts and the short ingredient list to come up with the ratio of ingredients to use.

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I think Larabars are such a great go-to snack. They are delicious and filling without a laundry list of ingredients attached. They are a snack you can feel good about eating. They are also a cinch to make on your own at home!

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I always seem to have a 2:30pm snack attack that usually involves chocolate. I have realized that preparation is the key to any good eating plan. With these chocolate chip “Larabars”, I can feel reassured knowing that I am satisfying my snack attack with a nutritious snack.

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Chocolate Chip “Larabars”

Makes 6 bars

30 dates, pitted

30 almonds

18 walnut halves

24 chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips)

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1. In a food processor, pulse together dates, almonds, and walnuts until a fine consistency is achieved and the dough starts to form a ball, about 2 minutes

2. Add chocolate chips and pulse to combine, about 10 pulses. Add cocoa powder and sea salt and pulse to combine, about 30 seconds.

3. Press dough into a bread pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure dough is pressed evenly and into the corners. Place pan in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. Remove from freezer, cut dough into 6 equal pieces. Enjoy immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5-7 days.

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