Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nutty Brownies-Gluten Free (VEGAN - if you skip the dark chocolate topping)

Nutty Brownies-Gluten Free (VEGAN - if you skip the dark chocolate topping)


Ingredients:

1 cup medjool dates

½ cup cashews

3 tsp cocoa or cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

⅛ cup almond milk

1 tbsp stevia in the raw

1 square dark chocolate (86% cocoa is best)

Directions:  Soak the cashews in water for about 8 hours to soften them.  Combine all ingredients, except the dark chocolate square, in a food processor / blender.  I used my Ninja food processor.  Process until all ingredients are fully combined and the cashews and dates are finely chopped.  The mixture should be a thick creamy texture and sticky.  Scoop mixture into a small round dish about 6”.  Melt the dark chocolate square over low heat or in microwave about ⅕ minutes on low about 50% power.  Pour melted chocolate on the brownie mixture and put in frig until it hardens about 20 minutes.  Cut into fourths.  Makes 4 servings.

Approx. Nutrition Facts: Cals. 158   Fat 7.25g   Carbs. 24.25g   Protein 3.5g   Fiber 3g

Spicy Lentil Stew

Spicy Lentil Stew


This is a super easy vegan dish that makes itself.  If you want a true vegan dish, just skip the topping suggestions.

Ingredients:

15 oz can diced tomatoes or 2 tomatoes diced

15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

5 cups vegetable stock or broth

2 cups lentils

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tsp garlic powder or minced garlic

1 tsp basil

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Directions:  Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cook covered on low heat for about 6-8 hours.  Makes 6 servings.  This is super yummy with some unsweetened greek yogurt or light sour cream &/or a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  *Nutrition facts do not include toppings.

Nutrition Facts: Cals. 186   Fat .5g   Carbs. 42.5g   Fiber 16.5g   Protein 15g

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies
(Chewy, gooey, delicious!)



These brownies are truly super good for you!  They are not overly sweet, but that can be changed by adding in more honey, I purposely wanted to keep the carbs / sweetness down being that I’m diabetic.  A friend of mine has a gluten free brownie recipe that uses black beans as the main ingredient and I thought why not use chickpeas in a brownie recipe instead?  Since, black beans have a stronger taste compared to chickpeas, I figured it would be an even sweeter base and I was right.  These can easily be vegan if you sub the chocolate chips for cocoa nibs.

Ingredients:

15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed

⅓ cup honey (You can also use 100% pure maple syrup)

½ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but smooth would be yummy too.)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp each baking powder and baking soda

½ cup dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

Plus, ¼ cup peanuts and ⅛ cup cocoa nibs or dark chocolate chips for topping.

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the chickpeas in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  In a medium bowl combine the honey, peab butter, vanilla, salt, baking soda and baking powder and stir to combine.  Add in the chickpeas and stir to combine.  Then add the chocolate chips and fold those in.  Spray a 8 inch square dish (I used a glass one) and pour the batter into the pan.  Sprinkle on top the peanuts and chocolate chips and press into the batter with the back of a spoon.  Bake in the middle rack for 23-27 minutes.  Makes 16 brownies.

Nutrition Facts:  Cals. 132  Fat 6.5g  Carbs. 14.25g Fiber 2.25g Protein 3.75g

Cashew Butter Stew

Cashew Butter Stew
This is one of my favorite stews of all time, sooooooooooo good!!!!


Ingredients:

15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 apples, peeled and chopped (I use granny smith)

1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced

2 cups vegetable stock

⅓ cup cashew butter (you can sub peanut butter)

½ cup cashews

¼ cup parsley

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp salt

*Directions (If using chickpeas):  In a large pan or wok heat up the red pepper for 3 minutes.  Then, add the chickpeas, broth, black pepper and parsley.  Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.  Add in the apple and cayenne pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes longer.  Then remove from heat and whisk in the cashew butter until fully combined.  Mix in the cashews and serve.  Makes 8 servings.

Directions (If using chicken):  In a large pan or wok heat up the red pepper and chicken strips for about 5 minutes.  Then, add the broth, black pepper and parsley.  Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, the broth should come to a low boil to cook the chicken.  Add in the apple and cayenne pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes longer.  Then remove from heat and whisk in the cashew butter until fully combined.  Mix in the cashews and serve.  Makes 8 servings.

This is delicious over brown rice or just by itself.  If you are a meat eater, this recipe is fantastic using chicken breast chopped up instead of the chickpeas, but then you will need to cook the chicken longer than you would the chickpeas, about another 5-8 minutes.

*Nutrition Facts:  Cals.  179   Fat 9.5g   Carbs. 19.5g   Fiber 4.75g   Protein 6.75g

*Nutrition facts don’t include rice.  If you make this with chicken instead of the chickpeas the nutrition facts will change, less fiber and carbs, about the same protein but a little more fat.

Easy Black Bean Taco Bake

Easy Black Bean Taco Bake


Ingredients:

2 cups corn chips, crushed

15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

15 oz jar salsa

1 red pepper, chopped

1 cup cheese, shredded (I used a cheddar-monterey cheese blend)

⅛ tsp each cumin, chili powder and black pepper



Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 11x7 inch glass pan with olive oil, then sprinkle in the crushed corn chips spreading evenly as a crust.  Then, add the black beans spreading them evenly.  Scoop the salsa on top of the black beans and spread out evenly.  Next, sprinkle the red pepper, then the cheese.  Finally, sprinkle the cumin, chili powder and black pepper over the top.  Then, cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Makes 6 servings.  Top with guacamole, light sour cream or greek yogurt for extra protein.

Nutrition Facts: Cals. 205   Fat 8.25g   Carbs. 22.5g   Protein 8.5g   Fiber 4g

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creamy-Dreamy Super Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Creamy-Dreamy Super Healthy Chocolate Mousse

This truly is delicious!  The first time I made this up and tried it, I couldn’t believe how yummy it was.  I felt like I was being bad and having a treat.


Ingredients:

¾ cup Unsweetened greek yogurt

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp liquid stevia

½ tsp coconut extract (or almond extract or vanilla extract)

½ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Optional:
If you like your sweets really sweet add ½ - 1 tbsp honey*

*Garnish (a few sprinkles of unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds, strawberries or raspberries.)

Directions:  Combine the greek yogurt and the cocoa powder in a small bowl.  Then, add in the stevia and extract of choice and stir the blend.  Top with desired garnish.  Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition Facts:  Cals. 112   Fat 0.5g   Carbs. 9.75g   Fiber 1g   Protein 1g

*Nutrition facts do not include any garnish or honey.

A fun tip about cocoa: Cocoa has Flavanols which are a specific type of compound found in the Flavonoid classification.  Flavonoids are a plant based compound, found mostly from vegetables and fruits.  It has been proven by scientific studies that the bodies circulatory system is boosted after ingesting the flavanols from cocoa, which is great for cardiovascular health.  So, go ahead and have some of my Creamy-Dreamy Super Healthy Chocolate Mousse with some hot cocoa while you snuggle under the fleece blanket (The Easiest Fleece Blanket Ever! - from my DIY crafts page) with the cocoa mask on (Super Moisturizing & Anti-Aging Cocoa Face Mask - on my beauty regimes page).

The Easiest Fleece Blanket Ever!

The Easiest Fleece Blanket Ever!
 


This blanket makes a great gift! For a cut wrapping idea, cut a thin strip off of the blanket before cutting the strips and use it to wrap around the rolled up blanket and tie a bow, super cute!




You will need:

3 yards fleece fabric & a pair of scissors.

To make:

(Check out the pics below) At one corner, start at about 3 inches inwards.  Cut a 3 inch line.   Then, next to the 1st line cut about ¼ - ½ inch over cut another 3 inch strip.  Continue doing this until you reach the end of that side of  fabric, leaving about 3 inch access.  Count the strips making sure you have an even number, this is VERY important!  Then, cut a 3 inch square out of the corner and then continue cutting the fabric strips around the entire fabric blanket.  It is not necessary to be super accurate with the cutting, if one strip is wider or longer it won’t be very noticeable.  Next, starting at a corner take two strips and tie them together, making a semi-loose knot.  Then, immediately tie a second knot on the same two strips, this time making it a tight knot.  Continue tying knots moving around the entire blanket.






That’s it, no sewing!

Roasted Veggie Frittata

Roasted Veggie Frittata


Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, sliced and seeded

1 orange bell pepper, sliced and seeded

2 zucchini, sliced

½ small onion sliced

6 egg whites

4 eggs

⅓ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 tbsp olive oil

2-3 tbsp garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp parsley

1 tsp salt

¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Olive oil cooking spray



Directions:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.  Then, place the peppers, zucchinis and onions on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the garlic on top.  Place in the middle oven rack and roast for 15 - 20 minutes.  Spray a 9 inch casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray and place the vegetables in the casserole dish.  In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs and egg whites.  Then, and the parsley, cayenne pepper, salt and cheese and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture over the vegetables in the casserole dish.  Bake, uncovered, for about 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.  Makes 6 servings / slices.



Nutrition Facts: Cals. 139   Fat 7g   Carbs. 8g   Fiber 3g   Protein 12g

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Super Moisturizing & Anti-Aging Cocoa Face Mask

Super Moisturizing & Anti-Aging Cocoa Face Mask


Ingredients:

1 tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 ½ -2 tbsp Greek Yogurt

Directions:  Combine both ingredients together in a bowl starting with only 1 ½ tbsp yogurt.  If to thick to stir and blend together add in another ½ tbsp yogurt.  Apply to face gently with clean fingers and let sit / soak in for about 15 minutes.  Then gently rinse off with warm or cool water, not hot water.  Wash face after rinsing the mask off, while softly smoothing the mask off don't pull hard. You don't want to create wrinkles, the very thing that this mask helps to reduce and prevent!  Keep extras in a container or covered in the frig for about a week. (There was enough for two masks covering my face, neck and chest area.)



Millions of women in history have used cocoa as part of their beauty regimen since it is very moisturizing.  The Aztecs used it way back in the day; and it is still used in many cultures today.  Cocoa has anti-aging properties from its Flavanols, which defend against inflammation causing free radicals.  The less inflammation going on in and on the body the better, because inflammation causes a plethora of negative side effects including premature aging.



Valentines Doily L-O-V-E Sign

Valentines Doily L-O-V-E Sign

This craft is super quick, super easy and super cheap!  The 3 things I love in a craft, pun intended.


You will need:

Doilies* (I used small and medium sizes,); Glitter glue*; Glue stick; String or yarn (I used some yarn that I had); Scissors; Stickers* (optional)

*I got all these items from the Dollar Tree, but I’ve also seen them at other craft stores for cheap.



Directions: Use the glue stick on the front of the larger doily where you will place the smaller doily on top, then place the smaller doily on the larger doily making sure it is center.  Use the glitter glue to draw one of each letter, spelling “love” or any other Valentines themed word.  Next, place stickers on the doilies in various places, if using stickers.  Then, cut the ribbon or yarn the length needed with a little extra, for wherever you are planning on hanging it.  Weave the string or yarn in the top holes of the doilies.  I use little Command stickers to attach the yarn to the top of my bookcase, tying a double knot and cutting off the extra. And, done!






Spicy Shrimp with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Quinoa

Spicy Shrimp with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Quinoa



This has a surprising spicy bite to it, and is super tasty!  Adding spice to your menu is great because it increases your metabolism temporarily.  This meal is super healthy with lots of nutrients and protein!

Ingredients:

8 oz shrimp, deveined

1 tbsp minced garlic

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

6 roma tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¾ cup quinoa

1 ½ cup vegetable stock

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

½ cup parmesan romano cheese

2 cups arugula w/   1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp black pepper (for dressing)

Directions:  preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.  Cut both end of the tomatoes (so they can lay facing up) and then cut them in half, so that way the middle is facing up once laid on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt ½ tsp salt and black pepper.  Roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are shriveled and very soft.  In a medium sauce pan combine the vegetable stock with the quinoa and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Then reduce the heat to medium low and stir the quinoa every minute or so, cooking them about 10 minutes.  Then remove from heat and  strain any extra stock, add in the cheese and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper and stir / fluff with a wooden spoon or fork.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, then combine the shrimp, garlic and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and cook over medium heat until the shrimp are fully cook.  Combine the 2 cups arugula, with the 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp black pepper and toss to coat.  Divide all the ingredients by fourths (makes 4 servings).

Nutrition Facts: Cals. 274   Fat 14g   Protein 21g   Carbs. 19g   Fiber 5g

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Energy Boosting Mango-Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Energy Boosting Mango-Matcha Green Tea Smoothie



All the smoothies I drink give me lots of energy and keep me full for hours. This smoothie is even more energizing!  The key 'super energizing' ingredient is the Shaklee Energizing Match Green Tea!

Ingredients:

2 scoops Shaklee 180 Mango Smoothee Mix* (if you can find another protein mix that has a mango flavor you could sub with that or use vanilla and add in fresh or frozen mangos. Keep in mind that would change the nutrition facts.)

1 packet Shaklee Energizing Matcha Green Tea**

1 cup water

3-5 ice cubes

Directions:  Mix the tea into the water, then pour into the blender (I found it mixes best when the tea is mixed with water prior to just adding it in powder form into the blender).  Then, add the protein mix (and mango if you are using fresh or frozen) and the ice cubes.  Blend until fully blended.

Nutrition Facts: Cals. 175  Fat 3g Carbs. 18g Fiber 4g Protein 16g