Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Double chocolate muffins that are...healthy?  Yes please!!


Not only do these have a full cup of zucchini (yes, a vegetable!), but they are made using applesauce and coconut oil, honey and NO refined sugar.  They are dense and moist and a perfect breakfast on-the-go muffin.    


I suggest you double the recipe!  They freeze SO well.  I did actually double it because I had an extra zucchini I needed to use.  I'm glad I did.  They went too fast!

Yields 12 muffins

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk or almond milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.  After you've peeled and shredded the zucchini, squeeze out the excess water with a paper towel (do not skip this step!).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs; mix on medium-low until smooth and well combined.  Add in zucchini, applesauce and milk and mix again.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in about 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into the cupcake liners, about 3/4 way full.  Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on the top of the cupcakes.  Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes, remove muffins and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

(Source:  Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Easy Fruit and Nut Bars

I recently discovered Lara Bars and I'm almost mad I did because - why are they so expensive?  I usually buy them when they are on sale at Target or my Kroger for a $1 a piece.  Then, I discovered that you can make your own!  And it's TOO easy! 


Three ingredients - almonds, dates (preferably Medjool) and another dried fruit.  I used raisins.  But apricots, cherries, even cranberries would be great and give you all sorts of different flavor options!  The dates I found at Publix, they have these shelves underneath their produce and I just happened to be looking down.  $3.99 for a nice size plastic tub - I was able to make bars 3 different times with that amount and have about 1/2 cup leftover!

 Yields 8 bars

Easy Fruit and Nut Bars

1 cup almonds
1 cup raisins
1 cup pitted, dried dates (Medjool dates)
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the almonds, raisins and dates in a food processor.  Pulse a few times to break them up.  Process continually for 30 seconds. Scrape the edge of the bowl.

Process continually for 1-2 minutes until a ball is formed.  If using chocolate chips, add with about 30 seconds left so they don't get completely chopped up.

Dump mixture into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and press down firmly to form an even layer.  Chill for 1 hour or overnight.  Cut into 8 large bars or 16 squares.  Keep bars in fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

(Source: Adapted from the kitchn)

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Asian Pasta Salad

I love pasta salads and am constantly on the search for new and different ones.  I am in love with this recipe!  Since making it the first time, I've made it quite a few other times.  Great to take to a summer picnic or as lunch on the beach. 


It's so light.  No mayo or other heavy ingredients.  And the flavors just blend so well together.  I used a rotisserie chicken to make it even easier!  I also used frozen, but thawed, spinach leaves.  You can use fresh spinach and it won't appear so wilted.

 

The original recipe also called for shredded carrots, but I didn't have any on hand.  I may add them another time for an added crunch - or a bell pepper.  Either way, it's just an all around tasty and good lookin' pasta salad!    

Serves 4

Asian Pasta Salad

8 oz whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons diced green onion (green and white parts)
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

Make pasta as directed on box and set aside.  Mix olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, green onion, ginger, salt and pepper with a whisk until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine pasta, chicken, spinach and cilantro.  Pour dressing mixture over ingredients in bowl and toss until everything is coated evenly.  Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and keep leftovers in fridge.

(Source: adapted from Lil' Luna)

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Chocolate Sorbet

I was so in the mood for chocolate ice cream the other day!  I remembered making Ina Garten's chocolate sorbet ages ago so I looked up that recipe again.  And in an effort to make it "cleaner" I substituted the white sugar for honey.  Perfection!!  


I used regular cocoa powder, but the added coffee makes this sorbet taste so decadent and rich - like dark chocolate!  I know they make a dark cocoa powder so you may even want to try that (and omit the coffee).  Like a grown up version of chocolate ice cream and it's so good!!!

Serves 4
Chocolate Sorbet

3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups water
1/4 cup brewed coffee

In a large saucepan, mix the honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.  Stir in 2 cups water and the coffee.  Cook over low heat until the ingredients are dissolved.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.  The sorbet will still be soft; place it in a plastic container and freeze for 1 hour or overnight.

(Source:  Adapted from Ina Garten)

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Banana Raisin Bites

Mm...mmm...little bites of goodness!!  Simple to put together and the ingredients are everything you have in your pantry and fridge.  No sugar (except for the chocolate chips, which are optional).  


Perfect for little mouths - my kids love these!  And sure to curb your sweet tooth craving, but you don't have to feel guilty about eating them.  I also don't see why you couldn't eat these for breakfast on the go - just a mini version of a healthier muffin!


Bananas, unsweetened applesauce, oats, milk, raisins and chocolate chips (again, optional but I just can't help myself!).  If you omit the chocolate, you can use 1/2 cup of raisins.  I use all organic ingredients when I can!

Yields about 16 cookies

Banana Raisin Bites

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups oats
1/4 cup skim or almond milk
1/4 cup raisins 
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in one bowl and stir until everything is mixed together.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the batter on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until they turn slightly golden.  

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

This is definitely going to be on repeat in our house from now on.  Incredibly easy and incredibly good!!   


You can use more onion than I did.  The original recipe called for an entire onion.  I like the flavor onions give, but my husband is not a huge fan and I know he will pick around them.  The awesome thing is that once everything is cooked, the veggies are so tender and almost caramelized.  Yum!!


The chicken falls apart.  I used chicken tenders so they were really easy to slice.  And I may have to add more chicken next time especially since I'm the only one that ended up eating the veggies in my tortilla!  I kept telling my husband that you literally cannot tell what you are biting into and that he would like the veggies, but...no go.


I mean how good does all this look??  You can even double the spice mixture and save for the next time.  Less work when you make them again!  I used corn tortillas but flour will do.  I had an amazing taco from a food truck recently where they doubled the corn tortilla, it was delicious!!

Serves 4

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

1/2 large yellow onion
2 bell peppers (I used 1 red and 1 green)
1 pound chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime
8 (6-inch flour or corn tortillas)
cilantro (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the ingredients for the seasoning in a small bowl and set aside.  Cut the onion and bell peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips.  Place them in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Slice the chicken breasts into very thin strips and add it to the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the over the meat and vegetables.  Drizzle the olive oil over everything and use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is well coated.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Squeeze half of the lime over the chicken and veggies after it comes out of the oven.

Serve by scooping a small amount of chicken and veggies into the center of a tortilla.  Top with cilantro, more lime and sour cream if desired.

(Source:  Adapted from Budget Bytes)

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

These are the best pancakes (seriously, the best)!  I make a ton and freeze them so the kids have them for the week.  Such a good Sunday morning breakfast - and no sugar!!  Just all clean ingredients...love that.


They are perfectly soft and fluffy and crispy on the edges.  We do a lot of butter in between each batch to get the edges just perfect.  Then there is no need to butter them when serving.  They are SO good this way!!  Depending on how many people you are feeding you may want to double the batch - especially if you are planning to freeze.  I use all organic ingredients when possible.  

Yields about 18 pancakes

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 large eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup milk
2 ripe bananas
butter for frying

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the honey, eggs, milk and banana and whisk until everything is combined.  Heat a griddle or pan over medium heat.  Add butter to melt and coat the bottom.  Spoon batter onto griddle or pan, using about 1/4 cup.  When bubbles start to form on the top, flip the pancakes and cook on the other side.  Remove from pan, repeat with butter and batter.  Serve with maple syrup. 

To freeze: place pancakes in a freezer bag, layered with pieces of wax paper.  Heat for a minute in the microwave to serve!

(Source:  Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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