Posted on Leave a comment

Easy Chocolate No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies are a favorite of mine because they require so little effort and are ready so quickly! Unlike traditional cookies, these can be made using your stovetop (or heck, even your microwave!) and you don’t have to wait for them to bake. These no bakes contain antioxidant rich cacao powder, fiber packed oats and chia seed as well as antioxidant packed cacao and goji berries. YUM.

Easy Chocolate No Bake Cookies

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Minutes
Makes ~20 Cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
2 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup (You could use up to 3 depending on how sweet you like things!)
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Cacao Powder (Navitas is my favorite!)
Pinch of Salt
1 3/4 Cup Instant Oats
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/4 Cup Dried Goji Berries (If you cant find these, consider subbing something like raisins!)

Instructions:
1. Place coconut oil, milk and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until until coconut oil is melted, about five minutes.
2. Turn off stovetop and stir in vanilla extract, cacao powder and salt to the coconut oil/maple syrup/milk mixture.
3. Add the oats and stir until well combined. Add in chia seeds, coconut flakes and goji berries.
4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, place tablespoon sized scoops of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave raised or using a piece of parchment and your palm or the back of a spoon, press down on the cookies to flatten.
5. Place in the refrigerator for ten minutes or until the mixture is cool. Transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Tips to Building A Healthier Charcuterie Board

There are very few things that I love more than a good charcuterie board. This time of year is full of gatherings and people stopping over. A charcuterie board is a simple but elegant way to feed a crowd and allow people to pick and choose items that they want to eat. While I love charcuterie, I am a firm believer that not all charcuterie boards are created equal and I have come up with five tips to help you up your charcuterie board game to make a healthier charcuterie board for your next gathering or fun, casual meal.

  1. VARIETY: With so many people who have dietary restrictions and food sensitivities, have lots of choices for everyone. Having an assortment of meat, cheese, olives, fruits and/or veggies, dips, crackers (like my absolute favorite Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Crackers that those who do and do not eat gluten love!), nuts, pretzels, bread sticks, dark chocolate, etc.
  2. HEALTHIER CONDIMENTS: Add in healthier condiments and dips to accompany the items on the charcuterie board such as mustards, hummus, yogurt based dips, homemade pesto and raw honey.
  3. BETTER MEAT CHOICES: While cured meats are inherently salty, choose options that aren’t also loaded with preservatives! Look for organic meats, meats labeled “all natural” and meats labeled “uncured” (they’re still cured, just typically in a more natural way!) when choosing your meat for charcuterie boards. Many times, prosciutto is made with just ham and salt. While these are better choices, don’t eat tons of these cured meats as the salt content is typically pretty high!
  4. BETTER FRUIT & NUT CHOICES: Use better dried fruit and nuts! If you are adding dried fruit, check the label for added sugar, oil and preservatives. If you are buying nuts, look for ones that are raw or dry roasted (roasted but using no added oil).
  5. HAVE FUN: Be creative and don’t stress about it! You can’t mess this up!

If you follow Based Wellness on Facebook or Instagram, tag me in your next charcuterie creation so I can check it out!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Absolute Best Cowboy Caviar – A Healthy and Versatile Recipe!

A dip full of veggies has to be healthy, right?! This is NOT the case when you LOAD it up with sugar as is the case in some cowboy caviar recipes I have seen! This quick and easy recipe uses a little bit of agave and is loaded with flavor that is only enhanced the longer it is allowed to marinate for. 

IMG_3114

Cowboy Caviar 

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Rest Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:
1 Red Onion, Minced
1 Green Pepper, Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 15 Oz Can Chick Peas or Black Eyed Peas, Rinsed & Drained
1 15 Oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed & Drained
2 Stalks Celery, Diced
1 Lb Tomatoes, Diced 
1.5 Cups of Corn Kernals, Cooked
Optional: Bunch of Cilantro, Parsley or Scallions, Minced

Dressing:
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Sea Salt, More to Taste
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: Juice From 1/2 Lime

Instructions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients for the dressing and slowly whisk in the vinegar, agave and oil. Mix well and set aside while you prepare the salad. 
  2. Combine the red onion, green pepper, red pepper, chick peas or black eyed peas, black beans, celery, tomatoes and corn in a bowl. Add the option herbs if you are using them.
  3. Add the dressing and stir well. 
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight if possible, the longer this sits, the better it gets! 

IMG_3117

This cowboy caviar recipe is one of my favorites because it is so versatile. It works well served as a side dish (pair with grilled seafood or meat for a perfect summer meal!), a dip with crispy corn chips, as a topping on tacos, with eggs for breakfast and even on top of some crisp greens as a salad. Stir in some cooked quinoa to the cowboy caviar and you have a super easy weekday bring to work lunch. If you don’t like chick peas or black eyed peas, double up on black beans or add in pinto or kidney beans! 

Posted on Leave a comment

Perfect Lower Fat Pesto

When I am working with someone and helping them make healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle, something I always try to do is focus on what they CAN eat, what they CAN do and what they ARE capable of. I believe focusing on the positive and what can remain the same provides comfort for clients and makes the changes less daunting. One of the ways I do this is by helping them swap out items for better choice alternatives. One of the ways this can be done in recipes is by tweaking things like fat, sugar and salt in classic recipes while keeping the main flavors the same.

This pesto recipe is full of bright herby and rich nutty flavors and goes well with sooo many things. While this healthier pesto contains so many of the amazing flavors of a traditional pesto, this recipe has half the calories and half the fat compared to a traditional pesto you might buy at the store or make at home! This recipe also omits parmesan cheese making it a completely vegan pesto recipe.

Perfect Lower Fat Pesto

Makes 6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Cups (3 Ounces) Fresh Basil
½ Cup Walnut Halves & Pieces
3 Medium Sized Cloves of Garlic
1 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Cup Water
½ Tsp Salt

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, blend walnuts and garlic for thirty seconds.

Healthier Pesto 3

2. Pluck off the basil leaves from the stems and discard stems. Add the leaves to the food processor along with the vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Blend in the food processor for a few seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary then add in the olive oil.

Healthy Pesto 4
3. Once everything is well incorporated, slowly add in the water until well combined. Feel free to add the water in 1 Tbsp at a time so that you get the consistency you’d like. The more water you add, the thinner the pesto will be!

4. Once you have reached your desired consistancy by adding the water, taste and add little more salt if you’d like!

Healthier Pesto 1

Use this pesto on pasta (my favorite is Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi!), in a potato salad, to cover roasted or grilled veggies or even as a spread on a sandwich. Mix with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and use as dip!

Posted on Leave a comment

Vegetarian “Chicken Wing” Dip with Jackfruit

Have you guys ever had jackfruit? A year or two ago I was at the grocery store and saw a package of pre-made, bbq style jackfruit that I just had to try. I thought it was really good, but I wanted to experiment with making my own creations with this fruit that has the texture and appearance of pulled pork or pulled chicken.

image7.jpeg

You can find whole, raw jackfruit at many Asian supermarkets. This fruit is absolutely massive – usually the size of a large, oblong watermelon and can be rather messy to “butcher” at home. For this recipe (and others!), I take a shortcut and buy the young/green/unripe canned stuff that’s much easier to manage and allows me to whip up recipes in no time. Despite its name, this young/green/unripe jackfruit isn’t sweet the way you’d think of most fruits and it really takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. Additionally, it’s fat free, has 0 grams of sugar and is rich in fiber.

I created this recipe because it has all the flavor of traditional chicken wing dip but without the meat and without the bottled ranch or blue cheese dressing. When I first became a vegetarian, I was all about the imitation meat substitutes. The more I have learned about nutrition, the more I have realized that “fake meat” is not the solution. While there are definitely exceptions, many “fake meat” options and many imitation dairy products are full of crappy ingredients. If you follow me on Instagram you probably know about my obsession with the Miyoko’s line of vegan dairy product alternatives which I would consider an exception! This brand has some amazing plant based products with awesome ingredients. The vegan butter is my favorite and absolutely AMAZING. I have even converted a slew of dairy lovers to the Miyoko’s butter! You could easily swap some Miyoko’s vegan cream cheese/vegan cheese for the dairy products I used in this recipe to make it vegan.

Vegetarian “Chicken Wing” Dip with Jackfruit

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 20 Oz Can of Young/Green/Unripe Jackfruit (~10 oz Jackfruit When Drained)
1 8 Oz Brick of Organic Cream Cheese or Organic Neufchatel Cheese, Softened
1/4 Tsp Dried Dill
1 Tsp Dried Parsley
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/3 Cup of Frank’s Red Hot
2 Oz – 4 Oz Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Optional: Scallions for Garnish

Instructions:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, dill, parsley, onion powder and garlic powder. Tip: If you forgot to take the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften, zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds. If it is still not soft enough, microwave it for another 15 seconds!
    3. Open and drain the can of jackfruit. Using clean hands (this should be a given but I had to say it) or two forks, “shred” the jackfruit. You will begin to see strands and the the jackfruit will look like pulled pork. image3You may notice that the jackfruit has some  little pods that look like beans or seeds. These are fully edible, but you may remove them if you choose!image2
    4. Add the hot sauce to the softened cream cheese and herb mixture and mix well. Add the jackfruit and mix until everything is combined.image6
    5. Scrape the dip into an oven safe 8×8 baking dish or pie plate.
    6. Grate the cheese over the top of the dip creating an even layer. I use a grater like this with smaller holes as I feel like I can get ample cheesey coverage with less cheese. I personally used 2 oz of cheese for my dip, but up to 4 oz would be fine! Tip: If you don’t have a food scale and you purchased a standard 8 oz brick of cheese, cut the brick of cheese in half and then in half again. Each of the four pieces will be roughly 2 ounces!
    7. Bake the dip for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dip is heated through.image5

I love serving this dip with cut up peppers, carrots, celery and of course corn chips. What are some of your favorite snacks and what healthier twists do you put on them?