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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.

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Sweet + Spicy Brussels Sprouts

I’m an olive oil/salt/pepper savory roasted veggie type of gal, but I wanted to come up with something a little different with some special “treat yo’ self” vibes as the holiday season is approaching. This recipe couldn’t be easier and the combination of salty, sweet and heat with the pecans bringing the texture is amazing. These Brussels sprouts are going to be especially welcome on the Thanksgiving table to bring a pop of green amongst the delicious but bland in color sea of traditional Thanksgiving foods!

Sweet + Spice Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: ~30 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
~1 Lb Brussels Sprouts
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Pecan Halves
2 Tsp Hot Sauce (I used Syrachacuse Syracuse Style Hot Sauce from our new brick + mortar neighbors, Syrachacuse!)
2.5 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and trim the ends of Brussels Sprouts, making sure to remove any damaged leaves. Slice in half length wise.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pecans on baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, place the baking sheet with the pecans in the oven in a middle rack for 3 minutes.

3. While the pecans cook, make the sauce for the Brussels Sprouts by combining the hot sauce, maple syrup, liquid aminos, olive oil and garlic powder.

4. Pour the sauce over the Brussels Sprouts and stir well.

5. Remove the pecans and set aside.

6. Using the same baking sheet/parchment paper, pour out Brussels Sprouts and all of the sauce onto the baking sheet (it may look like a bit of a runny mess, but that is okay)!

Look at how the sauce is soaked up by the Brussels and caramelizes! YUM.


7. Bake for 30 minutes at 425, stirring once half way through. Remove from the oven and combine with the pecans. I broke my pecans up into smaller pieces. Serve warm or room temperature!

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Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

It’s officially squash season! Squash is versatile, hearty and is able to be kept for quite a while if stored properly. Additionally, squash is packed with nutrients! A one cup serving of butternut squash contains about 25% RDI of fiber, is absolutely loaded with vitamin a, and also contains plenty of vitamin c, manganese and potassium!

While I eat soup all year long, something about fall makes soup seem like a requirement. I oftentimes make a batch of soup to enjoy during the week as a quick lunch or even as a snack. This butternut squash soup is creamy, dreamy and also happens to be gluten free + vegan and the addition of turmeric enhances the color and flavor of this soup.

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Sweet Onion, Diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Can Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk*
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

*The Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk is Amazing because it has less fat than regular coconut milk but more fat than “Lite” or light coconut milk which often contains added thickeners!

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the outside of your butternut squash. Dry and slice lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the stringy parts and seeds from the bottom of the squash. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat each half of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the cut side of the squash facing up and bake for ~40 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

2. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and leave it to the side to cool. While it cools, sauté the diced onion and minced garlic in a sauce pan in the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Continue to cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.

3. If the squash is able to be handled, use a metal spoon to scoop out the flesh away from the skin of the squash. Place the cooked squash in a bowl.

4. In a blender, add the squash, onion + garlic mixture, turmeric, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in two batches!

5. Return the blended mixture to the sauce pan and heat through. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with fresh herbs, chunks of roasted butternut squash, pepitas or red pepper flakes.

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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. 

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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! 

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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! 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!