Category: Treats

18 Nov 2019

Apple Pie Crisp Bars

Any pie lovers out there?  I’m not raising my hand on this one because I will say, I’ve never been one myself.  I do however have very fond memories of growing up and watching (sometimes helping) my Mom make pies.  She was and at 96 years old, still is very good at it!  I remember she would take the leftover scraps of pie crust,  form little shapes, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on them and bake them…Yum!!  Maybe that’s why to this day I still love the crust. 

I will admit that I have never made a pie on my own and really have no desire to.  However, I always feel a little sense of guilt at Thanksgiving time because it’s such a traditional dessert.  No worries though, these apple pie crisp bars fill in that gap.  They have that delicious, flaky shortbread crust with all the flavors of apple pie.  So whether you’re like me and can pass on that slice of pie or you love apple pie, I think you’ll give a thumbs up to these bars!  Bonus…crumble topping!!

Note:  I’ve made these bars several times and the pics on this post were taken at the most recent.  It also happens that I ran out of maple syrup by the time I got to the filling.  Oh well, sometimes you have to think on the fly!  So instead I used half honey and half blackstrap molasses.  I mention this only because the apple filling is darker in these pictures than it would be with the maple syrup.  

 

Ingredients:

Shortbread Crust

  • 2 cups+2 Tbsp Paleo flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp grass-fed butter (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (Use a quality syrup as opposed to a conventional light variety.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Apple Filling

  • 2-3 apples, depending on size (about 2 cups), peeled and diced (I used Honey Crisp.)
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp organic coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cardamon
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt

Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 Tbsp almond or paleo flour
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.  The paper will stay in place better if you spray a little oil on the pan first.
  2. Hint:  Prepare your apples first so they are ready to go when you start the filling.
  3. In a food processor, add all of the crust ingredients and process until mixture is well combined and forms a dough consistency.
  4. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press it out evenly so that it covers the bottom of the pan.  Tip: do not clean your food processor, will use it again for the crumb topping.
  5. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes or just until a light golden brown.  Remove from the oven.
  6. While the crust is baking, add all of the apple filling ingredients to a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Allow the mixture to heat.  It will begin to bubble and thicken.  Continue to stir the mixture during this process so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once thickened (about 3 minutes), remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. In the food processor, add the crumble topping ingredients and pulse until they form a crumble consistency.
  8.  Lastly, pour the apple filling over the baked crust.  Spread the crumble topping evenly over the apple filling.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust becomes a golden brown and the apples are tender.
  10. Allow bars to cool before cutting.

 

13 Nov 2019

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This yummy bread is perfect for fall and would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving Day menu or to take as a hostess gift to your Thanksgiving dinner destination.  My family is not big on the traditional pumpkin pie fare, so I will be having several loaves of this bread on hand.  They freeze very well so you can make them ahead of time.  One less thing to worry about!  

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups paleo flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup softened coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (I use the dark amber)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, Swerve or Monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (my go to chocolate chips are Lily’s sugar-free brand)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line loaf pans with parchment paper (I use 2 small).  Put small amount of coconut oil on bottom and sides of pan to hold the parchment paper in place.
  2. Add flours, xanthum gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to a bowl.  Using a whisk, mix to combine ingredients and break up any lumps in the flours.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat with an electric mixer until frothy (about 1 minute).  Add pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, sugar and vanilla.  Beat until creamy.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat to combine.  Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated together (don’t over mix).  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula several times in between.
  5. Fold the chocolate chips and walnuts into the batter.  Set a small amount aside to sprinkle on top.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans.  If using one larger pan, adjust baking time.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes.  I like to check doneness by pressing slightly on the middle of the bread.  It should not feel too soft.  I find that when I use a toothpick to check, it comes out clean even when it may not be completely done in the middle.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.
12 Jul 2019

Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding

This pudding is rich, creamy, delicious and so NUTRITIOUS!!  It’s full of fiber, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants.  Topped with fresh organic berries and you really have it going on!  I prefer to serve mine as a dessert but it is healthy enough to eat for breakfast!! This makes approximately 3-4 servings.  Cover and refrigerate.  I think it will keep a few days in the fridge but it doesn’t last that long in my house so I’m not completely sure on that!!     

 

Ingredients:  3-4 servings

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw organic cacao powder
  • 1-1½ cup coconut, almond or pea protein milk (start with 1 cup and add more if needed)
  • 1 large scoop of whey or pea protein powder
  • xylitol or stevia to taste (or sweetener of choice)
  • pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)
  • 1-2 dashes of cinnamon
  • berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, hemp seeds or cacao nibs (for toppings)

 

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor.  (You could also use a blender or hand mixer.)
  2. Mix until smooth and creamy.  Scrap sides of container halfway between blending.
  3.  Serve in individual ramekins and add your favorite toppings.
16 May 2019

Chocolate Power Balls

Power balls are a tasty mouthful when you’re craving something sweet but are trying to stay clear of sugary treats.  With the combination of protein powder, nuts and coconut, they can serve as a healthy little snack.  But be forewarned, it is very easy to overindulge in these little guys!

There are so many different variations of power balls which makes it a perfect opportunity to mix and match according to what you have in your pantry.  I will usually start with the same foundational ingredients and then start adding whatever I have on hand and they always turn out yummy.  With that being said, I had to somehow put something down in writing in order to post this recipe but there is no need to be locked into these ingredients.  The key is getting the right consistency to be able to roll the mixture into balls.  This is easy to do at any stage of the process by simply adding more dry ingredients or a little extra liquid. 

Note:  This does make a big batch, so I will usually keep half in the refrigerate and the other half in the freezer for later.  

 

Ingredients (makes about 24 large balls)

  • 10-12 dates, softened and pitted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1½ cups any combination of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter or other nut butter (no sugar or oil added)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup date water or other liquid of choice (may need more if mixture is too dry)
  • 1/2 cup collagen powder and/or quality protein powder (could substitute with flaxseed meal)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds/chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • small amount of coconut oil for rolling

 

Directions

  1. To soften dates, place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water.  Microwave for 2 minutes and allow to cool slightly.  Remove the pits and reserve the water for later use.
  2. Add nuts, dates, coconut flakes and 1/4 cup date water to a food processor.  Process on high until mixture is finely chopped and begins to form a paste.  You can continue to mix in the processor or transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add almond butter, vanilla, coconut oil and salt.  Mix well.
  4. Add protein powder, hemp seeds, and cacao powder.  Mix until well combined.
  5. The mixture should be somewhat sticky but also thick enough to roll into balls.  If too crumbly, add a small amount of liquid (water, almond milk).  If not thick enough or too sticky, add a small amount of collagen powder, hemp seeds.
  6. Mix in the cacao nibs
  7. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until mixture can more easily be formed into balls.
  8. To roll into balls, have some coconut oil or coconut spray handy.  Spread a small amount on your hands and in a small scooper or spoon (this is the messy part).
  9. Fill the scooper with desired amount and roll between palms of hand.  Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  10. Continue this process until all the balls are made.  Put the sheet pan in freezer for 10 minutes so the balls are easier to handle.
  11. Place protein balls in a container and refrigerate (I usually put half in the freezer for later).
24 Apr 2019

Easy Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cookies

As you may have noticed, these carrot cake cookies are gluten-free but not grain-free.  Normally all my recipes are both but I decided to add some gluten-free oatmeal for a little extra texture.  Therefore, they are technically not grain-free but could easily be converted by omitting the oats and adding additional almond  flour.  I honestly didn’t even use exact measurements.  That’s how easy these are! Look for a nice cookie dough consistency that’s not too stiff.  Do a trial run with just a few cookies to get the cookie texture you’re looking for.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oatmeal
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1-2 scoops collagen/vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 t Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Swerve (or other approved sugar)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Lily chocolate chips (these are sugar-free, sweetened with stevia)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and maple syrup.  Mix with a large spoon until well blended.
  4. Add carrots, walnuts and chocolate chips.  Fold into batter until evenly incorporated.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a silicone pad or parchment paper.  Scoop batter onto baking sheet.  Do not flatten.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
04 Mar 2019

Grain-Free “Monster” Cookies

I’m sure most of you have heard of monster cookies…chocolate chips, M&M’s, peanut butter chips and oats.  This recipe is my healthier version of monster cookies that are grain-free and loaded with dark chocolate chips, walnuts, shredded coconut and cranberries  for a little extra sweetness.  What I love about these cookies is that they are crispy around the edges and soft and chewy in the middle.  So yummy!!  I dare you to eat  just one!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup fine almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar (can also use a sugar substitute such as Swerve or Natvia)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used organic, grade A)
  • 2 eggs, pasture-raised, if possible (organic is next best option)
  • 8 Tbsp grass-fed butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Lily’s chocolate chips (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • 1/4 cup cranberries  

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add almond and coconut flours, salt and baking soda.  Use a whisk to combine and break up any clumps.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add softened butter, maple syrup and coconut sugar.  Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed.  Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  If desired, mix by hand if dough gets too thick.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut chips and cranberries.
  6. For best results, refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours before baking.  Dough should be somewhat stiff.
  7. Scoop desired size onto baking sheet.  Don’t press down or overcrowd.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  All ovens are different so check the cookies near the end of baking time.  When browned around edges, remove from oven.  They will be somewhat soft in the middle but will continue to cook on the baking sheet.  If dough appears raw, bake for an additional 2 minutes.
  9. Allow cookies to rest for about 5 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack.

 

Note:  You may want to bake 2-3 cookies in the first batch to test the time.  This will ensure that you get the best desired texture and don’t over-bake or under-bake the cookies.

17 Dec 2018

Sugar-Free Holiday Spiced Nuts

A bowl or two of nuts  sitting out for your guests or served along side your other appetizers is always a nice little touch.  These holiday nuts add an extra “wow” and seriously require a warning label on them!  They truly are the perfect combination of sweet and salty and all the spices of the holidays.  When they are baking in the oven, your kitchen will smell divine!  The aroma of the spices coming together will surely put you in the Christmas spirit.  Heck, throw on some Christmas tunes, grab a cocktail and rock around the Christmas tree!!

To make these mixed nuts sugar-free I used Swerve (you could also use another sugar substitute such as Erythritol) as well as a maple syrup made with monk fruit.  If you do not have these items in your pantry, you can also use coconut sugar and a quality maple syrup.  “You do you!”  (Also, I love the spice flavors so I do more like heaping size teaspoons!)

Note:  Place these in cute jar with a bow, a decorative container or bag and they make a great gift for someone special or to take as a hostess gift to a holiday party.  Possible add-ins: crunchy bacon pieces, dried cranberries or some chunks of dark chocolate. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup Swerve (you could also use an organic cane or coconut sugar)
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (I used maple syrup sweetened with monk fruit)
  • 4-4½ cups of nuts (I used pecans, walnuts, cashews and almonds)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil.
  3. In a small bowl, add all the spices and mix well.  Set aside.
  4. Measure your nuts and put in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  Add swerve, maple syrup and spices.  Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour over the nuts and mix until nuts are well coated.
  7. Pour onto parchment paper and spread the nuts out evenly so they are not all clumped together.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir and redistribute the nuts on the sheet pan.
  9. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them!  If the nuts appear to be getting too brown, lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees.
  10. When done, allow to cool on the pan.  Once cooled, transfer to a container for storing.  (If they feel a little too sticky, allow to dry in the oven after it is turned off.)
19 Oct 2018

Loaded Banana Sandwich

I got the idea for this banana sandwich when I saw a similar one online and I decided to put my own twist on it.  There are countless combinations and you could totally make this your own by adding all your favorites.  I used almond butter and some homemade blueberry, peach chia jam for the inside and then sprinkled on all kinds of yummy goodness!  Enjoy for breakfast or really anytime of the day!

 

Ingredients:

  • Banana
  • 2 tsp almond or other nut butter
  • 2 tsp approved jam (I have a winner in my recipe index)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • cacao nibs
  • shredded coconut
  • hemp seeds

 

Directions:

  1. Slice banana in half lengthwise.
  2. Spread one side with the nut butter and the other side with the jam.
  3. Sprinkle hemp seeds on either side.
  4. Put the two banana slices together to form a sandwich.
  5. Mix the cacao powder into the coconut butter and drizzle over the top of the banana.
  6. Sprinkle entire banana with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and additional hemp seeds.
  7. Enjoy!
24 Sep 2018

Grain-Free Peach Muffins

Peach season is the best here in Virginia!  We are very fortunate to have all these wonderful peach orchards around us.  The peaches are seriously so sweet and delicious.  I love just eating them whole but I also love adding them to favorite recipes.

I know the ingredient list for these peach muffins looks a little lengthy at first glance but don’t let that deter you.  If you have everything organized and ready to go it’s really not difficult at all.  The crumble topping isn’t a must but it’s worth making the extra effort.  The other great thing about these muffins is that they freeze very well.  I usually individually wrap them in saran wrap and put them in the freezer.  Then simply pull a few out ahead of time and leave them on the counter.     

Note:  I added pumpkin pie spice and cardamom on a whim.  If you don’t have them in your cabinet, no worries, just omit.  Also, this makes 12 regular size muffins, however, I wanted a little bigger muffin to share with neighbors so I made 11 instead.  

 

Ingredients: (Makes 12 muffins)

Crumble

  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • pinch of salt

Batter

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice and zest
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1½ tsp vanilla

Dry

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 5 Tbsps coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup peaches (not too juicy)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add the ingredients for the crumble.  Use a fork to combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, except the sugar and walnuts.  Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla, sugar, oil, lemon juice and zest.
  5. Gently stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix just until combined.
  6. Fold in the walnuts and peaches until incorporated into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  Top each muffin with a small amount of the crumble mixture.  Gently press into batter.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow muffins to cool briefly, then transfer to a cooling rack.

**  Top with homemade blueberry peach chia seed jam!!  (You’ll find the recipe under sauces.)

11 Sep 2018

Soft and Chewy Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Are you a chewy or crunchy granola bar lover?  Well, if chewy is your jam then you will love these!  Conventional store-bought granola (energy) bars can be very unhealthy and it’s frustrating to me that most people think they’re making a healthy snack choice.  Do you want to know exactly what you’re fueling your body with?  Simple answer…make your own! 

So when I was searching through some of the better recipes trying to come up with my version of a healthy granola bar, oats usually came into the equation.  When I went paleo/primal several years back, I eliminated all oatmeal/oats from my diet because oats are a grain.  They are technically gluten-free but can be cross-contaminated with gluten during processing (hence, gluten-free brands).  They also contain another protein that is similar to gluten and can be problematic to some.  With that being said, they add nice texture to granola bars and so after all these years I decided to buy some gluten-free oats for the sole purpose of making these bars.  However, if you have a gluten sensitivity, I would be cautious and/or limit your intake.  For those of you who do not have concerns, enjoy!!  

Note:  I highly recommend using all organic ingredients for the best quality.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, softened*
  • 1/2 nut butter of choice (I used almond butter)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 3 Tbsp banana flour (you could also use flaxseed meal)
  • 1/2 cup cashew halves (I sometimes use a mixture…almonds, pistachios, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 Tbsp erythritol (optional)
  • 1/4 dried cherries, cranberries or raisins (optional)

 

* Note:  If you don’t have coconut butter, you could replace with an additional 1/2 cup of the nut butter.

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add coconut butter, nut butter, coconut, honey and vanilla.  Mix together into a softened state. (May need to microwave briefly.)
  2. In a food processor, add nuts, oats, and shredded coconut and pulse.  Once the nuts are in a chopped state, add seeds and salt, pulse briefly until incorporated.  Add mixture to the wet ingredients along with the erythritol and banana flour (flaxseed meal).  Mix well.
  3. Stir in the cocoa nibs and dried cherries.
  4. Line a small sheet pan or 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  5. Pour mixture onto pan and spread out evenly according to your desired thickness.  Once spread out, it can be helpful to place another sheet of parchment paper on top and use your hand to press into place.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.  Cut into squares.
  7. These will keep longer if stored in the refrigerator.  Warning, you may not have any to store!