I am all about bite-sized treats. There is built-in portion control (theoretically speaking of course!)…then there’s the “cute factor”, and in my opinion, they are more fun to eat.
Though if I’m being honest, I always have more than one. However, with healthier ingredients I feel it’s OK to have that extra serving After all, I am getting an extra boost of fiber from flaxseed meal and oats, protein from the powder and nut butter and the healthy dose of fats keep me full.
These frozen chunky monkey “cupcakes” were adapted from my carob covered coconut protein bars on a whim when I was in the mood for something sweet yet filling and needed a little protein boost. They hit the spot and I made several batches – some with and without the “frosting”, which can be eaten sans-”cupcake” guilt-free as well
That’s a win-win situation in my book!
Frozen Chunky Monkey “Cupcakes” with a Fudgy Nana “Frosting”
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option
1/2 cup natural almond butter or peanut butter (can sub sunflower seed butter for nut-free), room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup or to taste* (could probably sub banana or soaked dates but haven’t tried this)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 grams good tasting vanilla protein powder of choice (I tested this with Jay robb’s whey protein, was 3 scoops)**
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2-3 Tbsp oat flour, oat bran (for grain-free, sub more flaxseed meal or use almond or peanut flour)
pinch of sea salt (eliminate if using salted nut butter)
For the Fudgy “Frosting”
2 small ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1/2 Tbsp honey or agave (omit for less sweet…I was going for frosting)
2-3 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder to taste*** (could sub carob powder for caffeine free)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt, optional but enhances the flavor
Chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (use chips or nibs for nut-free)
For the bottom layer
1. Line a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap or use a silicone mini muffin pan (my preference) and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine nut butter, oil, sweetener and extract. Process until smooth.
3. Add in remaining ingredients (protein powder through sea salt). Pulse until combined and well incorporated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a bit more flour to reach a cake batter consistency (the bottom layer will firm up when refrigerated though).
4. Spoon into 12 individual mini muffin cups and refrigerate until firm (I left the cups overnight, but you also freeze the cups for an hour or so before finishing them with “frosting” layer if using).
For the Frosting
1. While the bottom layer is hardening, prepare the topping. Pulse all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and well combined.
2. Spoon into a piping bag or a plastic freezer bag (this is to make the swirl on top). Place back in freezer for 15 minutes to let harden a bit.
3. Cut a small hole in the freezer bag and pipe onto prepared “cupcake” bottoms. Garnish with walnuts/chips/nibs and enjoy!
Best kept in freezer or frozen banana “frosting” will get goopy and melty. You may have extra frosting leftover depending on how much you pipe…you can freeze the rest and eat them frozen chocolate-nana ice cream cubes!
*My protein powder is sweetened so if you choose a powder that is unsweetened, feel free to add more sweetener to liking. If you want to keep the sugars low, adding a bit of stevia to taste is always an option but you may need more oil or nut butter to make up for the lacking moisture.
**If you would like to eliminate the protein powder, increase the oat bran/flour or almond or peanut flour
***Add cocoa/cacao powder to taste. If you prefer a lighter chocolate taste, use less…for a more intense chocolate taste use more. I used more because I like the deeper chocolate flavor.
I’ve been whipping up omelets, salads and skillet dishes for quick meals these days. Every now and again though, I get the urge (and have the time) to make a more labor-intensive dish…you know the one you can taste the effort and love you put into it?
This is one of those meals. I made these cabbage rolls during our last Spring snow storm when I was craving comfort food and these hit the spot!
For April I was assigned to Sarah’s Fantastical Sharing of Recipes blog for the Secret Recipe Club…and I couldn’t decide what to make! My goodness, Sarah has an extensive list of dishes that I kept scrolling through to choose from. I have her family’s original Tamale Balls and Guy Fieri’s Cherry Cobbler Pizza on my to-make list but when I saw her Classic Cabbage Rolls, I was sold. Besides the cabbage, I had all of the ingredients already on-hand and needed a little “me time” in the kitchen.
I made a few slight changes by finely dicing my onions, using a large head of cabbage instead of medium and used crushed tomatoes instead of diced since that’s what I hand in the pantry. I also used brown rice, unsweetened ketchup, coconut sugar for the sweetener and I added 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms because I needed to use them up in the fridge. Since I used already salted tomatoes, I opted to reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon and increase the black pepper by a smidgen.
Classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (lightly adapted from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes)
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Grain-free option, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free
- 1 large head cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced onion, divided
- 1 Tbsp. butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, Earth Balance (use oil or Earth Balance for dairy free)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans organic crushed tomatoes with basil (or Italian diced tomatoes)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or other sweetener
- 1 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (for grain-free, increase mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup ketchup (I used unsweetened ketchup)
- 2 Tbsp gluten free Worcestershire sauce (I used Lea and Perrins brand)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 lb. ground beef, bison or turkey (if using turkey use lean not extra lean)
- 1/4 lb. Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
- 1/2 cup V8 juice, optional (I didn’t use)
- In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes or until outer leaves are tender. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain. Remove eight large outer leaves (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use) and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large saucepan, saute 1 cup onion in butter/oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, sweetener and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and remaining onion and salt. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture, add in mushrooms and mix well.
- Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in a skillet. Top with the sauce.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add V8 juice if desired. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes longer or until rolls are heated through and a thermometer inserted in the filling reads 160°.
Yield: 4 servings (8 rolls)
I love buying a large bunch of bananas. I only eat but one or two in its fresh form, so when they reach the “ugly” stage and are a little too mushy and sweet for eating, I have a good excuse to bake.
Not only are these soft, cake-like cookies grain-free and vegan, they are sweetened only with fruit — you guessed it, bananas! Instead of baking an entire loaf of banana bread, I opted for built-in portion control in the form on cookies Soft, muffin-like cookies that are reminiscent of the popular quick bread most of know and love. I added chopped walnuts and a handful of golden raisins for some texture, but feel free to swap out your favorite add-ins such as chocolate chips, pecans, dried cherries or even chopped candied ginger for a different twist.
With a short list of ingredients and a snap to prepare, you can feel good about these treats…and even eat them for breakfast
Soft Banana Bread Cookies (Vegan, Grain-free)
Gluten-free, Vegan, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Grain-free, Quick
2 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (can add a pinch of other spices like nutmeg for a different twist too!)
1/4 -1/2 tsp sea salt
2 ripe large bananas or 3 small, mashed
1/4 cup creamy almond butter (or other nut butter)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 raisins (I used golden raisins) or other dried fruit or mini chocolate chips/cacao nibs, optional
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (almond flour through salt)>
3. In a separate bowl, mash together the banana, nut butter and vanilla.
4. Stir in dry ingredients until a dough forms.
5. Using a tablespoon (I oiled mine so the batter didn’t stick), scoop dough into rounded tablespoons on prepared baking sheet (or oil your hands well and rolls into balls if preferred but the dough is sticky!).
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool completely (be patient) before removing from baking sheet, otherwise they will fall apart Enjoy!
Yields 28-30 cookies
I don’t eat much red meat. While I love a good steak on occasion, I typically opt for a seafood, veggie or poultry dish when cooking at home. Boy, that might change after making this fuss-free recipe!
I adapted this dish from The Spiffy Cookie’s recipe for a slow cooker French dip sandwich. I was assigned Erin’s delicious blog this month for the Secret Recipe Club and could not choose what I wanted to make! I was salivating just looking through her recipes with many calling my name like her Reese’s Oatmeal breakfast cookie and Guiltless Avocado Alfredo with Spicy Chicken.
I’ve already started a list of must-makes from her archives but in the end, I selected a dish that forced me to dust off my crockpot that I hadn’t used in ages and get outside my comfort zone with my protein choice– the French dip.
I adapted the recipe slightly by using London broil in place of chuck roast, rubbed the meat with onion powder and a pinch of dried rosemary and then seared the meat prior to adding to the slow cooker to add a little color. I also used a combo of coconut aminos and gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce and omitted the Worcestershire sauce as I didn’t have any on hand. Since I love mushrooms and will find any excuse to include them in a recipe, I sauteed a few for an added bonus to my sandwich.
Not only did I break out my crockpot, I made my own homemade grain-free rolls to serve with this oh-so-tender meat (recipe to come)! Topped with melted cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions, this French dip sandwich was one tasty, flavorful bite! Plus, the leftovers are yummy in a beef and veggie soup or on top of salad greens
French Dip Sandwich with Au Jus (Slow Cooker) (adapted from The Spiffy Cookie)
3 tsp oil, Earth Balance or butter, divided (use oil or Earth Balance for dairy free)
1 medium yellow onion
1 cup low sodium beef broth/stock
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce, tamari, Braggs or coconut aminos (I used 3 Tbsp coconut aminos and 1 Tbsp tamari)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp onion powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp creole mustard
~3lb London Broil (or chuck roast)
pinch of dried rosemary, optional
sea salt & pepper
2-3 cups sliced mushrooms
6-8 gluten free sandwich rolls, split
6-8 slices of provolone or swiss cheese (can use a dairy free cheese or omit if needed)
- Slice the onion into ~1/4-inch rounds. Keeping the rounds intact, place them in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Sprinkled the meat with salt, pepper and onion powder. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tsp oil/butter. Sear the meat on all sides until golden brown to seal in the juices and give the meat a little color.
- Add beef broth, soy sauce/tamari/ aminos, mustard, rosemary and garlic to the crockpot.
- Place meat on top of the onions.
- Cook on low 6-7 hours until beef is fall-apart tender.
- Shred meat with a fork or transfer the roast to a cutting board and thinly slice.
- Remove the onions and set aside. I strain the juice into a large “defatter” measuring cup and get rid of the oil that collects on top (I .
- Return the roast, juice, and onions to the crockpot for up to an hour before serving (I usually switch it to “Keep Warm” so it doesn’t continue cooking).
- While meat is on “warm”, heat a medium saute pan with remaining 1 tsp of oil/butter. Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper is desired.
- Heat the broiler. Place the split sandwich rolls on a lined baking sheet and toast for 1 minute or just until the bread begins to brown.
- Remove the tops from the pan. Lay the beef on the bottom of the rolls and top with mushrooms and cheese.
- Return to the oven just until cheese is melted. Top with onions and sandwich halves and serve with small bowls of au jus, Enjoy!