My Sweet Addiction- PeanutButter Chocolate PowerBalls!

The Snacking Challenge

I eat 5-6 times per day and many of these meals are often on the go. I am always on the hunt for that tasty mid meal snack that can boost my energy and keep my tummy full. However, it can be truly difficult to find a ToGo snack bar that isn’t either full of ingredients I do not understand or is not pretty expensive.

The Snacking Solution

It was time to come up with a nutritionally balanced and cost effect snacking solution! After much tweaking and experimenting the PeanutButter Chocolate PowerBall was born!

The PeanutButter Chocolate PowerBall

Ingredients:

  • 1c gluten free oats
  • 1/2c almond slices
  • 1/2c walnut pieces
  • 1/2c unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2c vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp chia
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4c natural PB
  • 1/4c honey

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix oats, almonds, walnuts, coconut, chia, and cinnamon.
  2. In a small bowl mix vanilla, peanut butter, and honey.
  3. Mix the wet into the dry until consistency is even.
  4. Roll into small balls and place in the fridge.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Then enjoy! Keep left overs in the fridge for later of snacking 🙂

PeanutButter Chocolate PowerBalls

This tasty snack is also an awesome sweet tooth soother 🙂

Ice Cream Anyone? 5 Simple Ingredients EVERY home Has!

Summer is an interesting time where we are all trying to “get into bikini shape” but all this heat is leaving us craving a delicious cold ice cream cone from childhood.

Growing up I spent most of my summer days with my cousins.  Many of those days were spent leaving the sticky San Fernando Valley and finding solace at the cool beach.  After a long day of boogie boarding, building sandcastles, playing Frisbee and covering each other in sand Grandma would take us to this delicious ice cream shop.  Nothing tastes better after a day soaking up the sun then a tasty sweet ice cream cone (vanilla with sprinkles was always my go to).

This was a fabulous tradition as a child but it has left me with this deep craving for ice cream every time I leave the beach.  After going gluten and dairy free, ice cream became less accessible.  There were many times I would break my healthy fast and gorge on ice cream and then feel like “death” 20 minutes later.  Luckily with dairy and gluten allergies becoming more apparent many companies have created their own “everything free” versions of ice cream.  Unfortunately I have found (1) they can be super $$, (2) they are sometimes full of ingredients that make absolutely no sense in my kitchen, & (3) do not always taste the best.

Sooo why not make my own??  Thus was born the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Ice CreamVegan Ice Cream

If any of you have ever made homemade traditional ice cream before you know how challenging the stuff can be to make.  Mix the ingredients together, boil on the stove, allow for cooling (usually overnight), then into an ice cream maker… or worse a hand crank machine.  This VEGAN chocolate chip peanut butter ice cream is sooo much easier!

Ingredients:

  • 5 frozen bananas
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural peanut butter (I like the crunchy)
  • 1/3 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor (or Vitamix)
  2. Allow the ingredients to sit 5min (this helps the bananas soften just enough)
  3. Blend until smooth, add additional almond milk if ingredients are not creaming togetherMini Ice Creams
  4. Enjoy and place leftovers (if you have any) into individual mini Tupperware containersIceCream ToGo

I love having these in the fridge because they are a perfect snack for guests (esp kiddos) and a quick and easy end of the night treat for me to enjoy!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana

It’s officially the first week of June.  In these hot days of summer I find my mouth watering at the sound of the neighborhood ice cream trucks.  I remember as a kid during summer break saving up each week for treats from the local ice cream truck.  Drumsticks, Big Sticks, Ice Cream Sandwiches, that crazy Strawberry Shortcake flavored ice cream bar…. I would jump for any of these.  As I got older I realized just how not-so-good these sweet treats were for your body.  I tried to give them up all together and well… that just was not very fun!  But after eating so healthy I would feel terrible just 30 minutes after eating one of these delectable treats.

There had to be a solution!  And I found several :).  After much experimentation in the kitchen… I have found the simplest have been the best!  This is one of my favorites especially for an after dinner treat!

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana!

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, sliced length wise
  • 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter (you can use any nut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Spread peanut butter on one of the banana slices.
  2. Drop chocolate chips on the peanut butter.Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana
  3. Cap with the other banana slice.Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana
  4. Wrap in foil.
  5. Freeze at least 4 hours or until banana is hard and frozen.
  6. Slice banana into bite size pieces.Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana
  7. Enjoy.  Store leftover slices in foil, zip lock, or Tupperware in freezer.

Now when I hear the ringing of the local ice cream truck instead of running outside I run to my own freezer :).

Who doesn’t love homemade bread?

Steaming, moist, soft and with a touch of sweet this Banana Bread is sure to wow anyone!  In most situations as a fitness nutrition coach I would warn you to stay far far away from Banana Bread.  Most Banana Bread is full of unhealthy sugars, fat, and white flour.  But who wants to live without enjoying a warm slice of Banana Bread!?  So I healthified it!

Try this delicious gluten free Banana Bread for breakfast, snack, or even dessert!

Click the link below and indulge this amaziness…

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Mmmm Mondays~ Gluten Free Banana Bread!

Oh banana bread.  I absolutely love banana bread!  But with my gluten and dairy issues I have avoided it the past few years.  Well the time has come to create a gluten free dairy free banana bread!

The smell.  The soft texture.  The amazing taste.  The touch of sweetness.  Who can say no to a fabulous slice of heaven?

To me there is truly no better snack, quick breakfast, or even dessert than this tasty pastry.  Unfortunately the standard banana bread is pretty unhealthy as it is usually made with refined sugar, refined flour, and unhealthy fats.  So I set on a quest of creating the same deliciousness that my mouth always enjoyed but with ingredients my body would appreciate!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana BreadI made mine in a few different dishes so I could experiment with fun toppings!  This actually becomes a great little gift for your favorite friends.  Anthony devoured the banana bread topped with almond slices and sliced Belgium chocolate and I enjoyed the banana bread topped with coconut flakes and Belgium chocolate.

Ingredients (4 servings)-

  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana (ripe)
  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c gluten free oats
  • 1/4 c cashew butter
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp apple cidar vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • dash pink salt
  • topping suggestions- Belgium dark chocolate shavings, almond slices, walnut pieces, unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds

Directions-

  1. Preheat toaster oven to 325.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Oil 4 ramekins (or use cupcake liners) with coconut oil.
  5. Evenly fill ramekins.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until you pack the toothpick test!
  7. Remove and cool before enjoying.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Bread

 

The Bangin’ Vegan Cookie Dough Bites

Who doesn’t love ooie-googie cookie dough?  I distinctly remember a time in college when my friend Amanda made cookie dough not for us to bake sweet cute cookies but just to eat.  Yep, we sat in her living room called our friend Darcie and the three of us ate directly out of the bowl… yikes I know; thank you college metabolism!  While I still absolutely love me some cookie dough I definitely DO NOT love the terrible tummy ache after.  But can cookie dough be made over?  Will it loose all it’s delicious flavor?

You be the judge!  Try it!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 c cashew butter; raw/no sugar added/unsalted
  • 1/4 c peanut butter; raw/no sugar added/unsalted
  • 1/2 c organic coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp gluten free flour (your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 c Trader Joe’s vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in microwave until liquid (about 1 min).
  2. Add nut butters.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
  5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  6. Break dough into little chunks and roll to form balls.
  7. Enjoy!  Keep refrigerated

IMG_7511Open a bottle of wine (red pairs best!), light some candles, turn on some music and your Valentine’s Day dessert is covered!IMG_7518

 

Walnut Pumpkin Shake

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  What a better way to serve your guests the morning of Turkey day than with a tasty holiday inspired breakfast??  This is what I like to call National Eating Day and you will be eating all day; so skip the morning pumpkin cinnamon rolls and give your guests a healthy start to the day!

And in this recipe you get to use your Homemade Walnut Milk from last week!

Makes 1 Shake

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients (except nutmeg) in blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.IMG_6956
  3. Serve and Enjoy!IMG_6966

Pumpkin Paleo Doughnuts!

Thanksgiving is next week and we are all preparing for the eating event!  I am featuring this fabulous recipe by my friend Justin Piccari.  It had been years since I bit into a delicious fluffy doughnut.  In the gluten free and dairy free life these enticing treats were just not an option for my sensitive tummy :(.  A few weeks ago Justin approached me with his new found deliciousness, the pumpkin doughnut.  And yes it is both gluten and dairy free as well as Paleo!

This is a perfect savory dessert for Thanksgiving!  Show your guests that you can have a dessert that is both healthy and delicious!

Paleo Pumpkin Doughnuts

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In the struggle of adopting a nutritional lifestyle change, the cravings set in. Go ahead. Deny it. You’ve never felt the cravings for a nice, fresh delicious pumpkin spiced doughnut that’s still warm from the bakery. The aroma wafting into your nostrils, allowing the scents of the spices and that perfect cup of coffee to paint the picture of the holidays into your olfactory sense, bringing to life nostalgic moments of days past.

I know what you’re thinking. I bet now you want a doughnut. It’s ok to admit, it’s happened to all of us. But you have committed to getting healthier, to losing weight, to straying from the mistakes of the populous. But pine no more my Paleolithic companion! The answer is here:

The cinnamon-glazed paleo pumpkin doughnut is here to save your taste bud woes. Amazingly simple, quick, and quite tasty.

Contrary to popular belief a delicious doughnut doesn’t have to be fat, fried, or even…well…dough. This recipe gains it’s bulk from pumpkin, the Cucurbita pepo, that vegetable-with-a-dent that people like to carve out with spooky faces and far-too-elaborate designs to scare children and illuminate the Halloween spirits before allowing it to rot endlessly on their porch for the next few months. It’s time to put that gourd to work! (What you can eat this thing?? Crazy!)

So without further ado (and more complicated verbiage from myself), the Paleo Pumpkin Doughnut (hereafter referred to as “#OMGPaleoDoughnut”)

Ingredients: (Makes about 6)

Doughnuts

  •  1 Cup Pumpkin Puree (Use canned or fresh – fresh instructions here: http://allrecipes.com/howto/baking-with-fresh-pumpkin/)
  • 2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Coconut Flour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • Spices (Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice – or Pumpkin Spice mix)
  • Applesauce (As needed if batter is too dry)

Optional Glaze

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Crystals
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup

Directions

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350°
  2. Grease cookie sheet with coconut oil (Thin coat. Not too much)
  3. Mix all doughnut ingredients together – Optional – Use food processor to blend ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Divide batter into even portions (Should divide well into 6 portions)
  5. Optional – Use Doughnut mold to make shape
  6. Place onto cookie sheet (If you aren’t using a Doughnut Mold: Place the portion on the cookie sheet and use your finger to give the iconic hole)
  7. Bake for 20 minute or until golden brown (should feel firmer to the touch and get a little crispy)

Adjustments

Now. This is a fun, simple easy recipe. No complicated ingredients, no searching high and low for odds and ends you won’t use again, not odd tools to make them. Out of all the recipes that I have seen for something like this, I’ve tried to make adjustments to be the easiest. I even opt to not glaze the doughnuts in an attempt to avoid the Coconut Crystals.  (Another alternative is Organic Raw Sugar – or just skip to reduce excessive glycemic spike)

Now sit back and relax you sophisticated cavemen. Enjoy sitting by your fire, sipping on some coffee in your smoking jacket and re-enacting the opening from Masterpiece Theatre. This is one snack you won’t have to seek nutritional counseling after.

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 -Justin Piccari

Homemade Chocolate

It’s almost 8pm here in Cali… I have had a delicious dinner, Stuffed Vegetarian Cheesy Eggplant :)…but I am craving some chocolate.  During the week I try hard to stay away from sweets, keeping them a treat for the weekends only.  But sometimes I just need to cave and tonight is one of those nights!  But I don’t want to completely indulge and break all the rules I just want to TWEAK them :).  The answer? Vegan Chocolate 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tsp for greasing
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • coconut flakes
  • raw almond flakes
  • goji berries

Directions:

  1. Warm coconut oil until liquid consistency.  If almond butter has been in fridge warm slightly to make mixing simpler.
  2. In a dish mix almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
  3. Slowly mix cocoa powder into liquid concoction.
  4. Grease ice cube tray; 12 slots.
  5. Slowly pour chocolate mixture into ice cube tray slots; 1/4-1/2″ in each slot. IMG_20131018_162503
  6. Add toppings (goji berries, coconut, almonds)… You can mix the toppings or keep them separate like I did :).IMG_20131018_163025
  7. Cover with foil or plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate until chocolate solidifies (4-5hrs) or if you are in “MUST HAVE CHOCOLATE” mode freeze (1-2hrs).
  9. Pop out chocolate and enjoy!October 022

*** Warning!! Chocolate does easily melt at room temperature so do not leave out too long if you do not want a melty mess :).