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‘Take Me To the Tropics’ Smoothie Bowl [Recipe]

It’s the dead of winter and I don’t know about you but I cannot WAIT for summer to be here. The cold and dreary here in the PNW has got me wishing for the long days, warm nights, sun shining and a runner’s tan. While waiting patiently for the seasons to change, I have the perfect smoothie bowl recipe that will take you away to the tropics. It’s delicious, healthy, and the perfect wait to shorten the wait for the summer months.

Continue reading ‘Take Me To the Tropics’ Smoothie Bowl [Recipe]

How to Make Easy & Healthy Mini Pepper ‘Nachos’ [Gluten Free and Dairy Free]

It’s getting cooler, comfort food is starting to sound delicious, and you wanna celebrate Taco Tuesday but you still wanna kill it in your skinny jeans. I totally get it, the struggle is real!! Today I’m sharing with you a delicious recipe for healthy nachos that I created last week on a whim. This recipe allows you to have the best of both worlds, it feels so bad, but it’s so good for you. On top of that it’s delicious, satisfying and super easy to make. 

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do y’all feel me!?

Continue reading How to Make Easy & Healthy Mini Pepper ‘Nachos’ [Gluten Free and Dairy Free]

Healthy Plant Based Recipe Round-Up, Perfect for Thanksgiving

The holiday season is here! It came so quick; Thanksgiving is literally right around the corner. In this recipe round up, I am sharing delicious and indulgent plant based recipes that are perfect to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Who says that vegetables can’t be super satisfying?! From appetizers, entrees, side dishes and yummy desserts like sweet potato bourbon pie,  there is something for everyone. Make one of these recipes and take it to your Thanksgiving dinner, I promise it will be a hit. People won’t even know it’s plant based!  Continue reading Healthy Plant Based Recipe Round-Up, Perfect for Thanksgiving

How to Make Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Since finding out about my gluten allergy, I don’t eat cookies all that often. I was puttering around Pinterest one day and saw a gluten free, grain free chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was intrigued and thought, “sounds easy enough”. Then I got the crazy idea to use some protein powder and make them into a protein cookie. The result: an amazingly delicious, gluten free cookie that is low in sugar. img_7176.jpg

You may have seen Lenny & Larry’s protein cookies. They have been all the rage, but they are NOT gluten free. I’m also not a huge fan of their nutrition. High sugar, high calorie and high carb. Not much better than a normal cookie. So I set out to make a gluten free, lower sugar, protein cookie. 

These gluten free protein cookies turned out much better than expected and did not last long. I gobbled them up quicker than I expected. I was looking for excuses to eat these! They are great as a snack or a dessert. img_7171

In this recipe, I used my favorite protein powder, Vanilla Milkshake from Quest. One thing to remember when cooking with protein powder is the kind of protein can really change the recipe. Feel free to substitute your protein powder of choice, just know that it may alter the recipe a bit. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip
Protein Cookie Recipe

prep time: 20 mins
cook time: 15 mins
total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil (if your coconut oil is a little melty, put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until firmer, like softened butter. If you use melted coconut oil, the dough will be greasy)
3 scoops Vanilla Milkshake Quest Nutrition protein powder
6 tablespoons natural almond butter – make sure it has no added sugar!
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
A few Tsp of water, if needed

Directions:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together coconut oil and the protein powder until well combined. If you use coconut oil, it may not come together easily. If needed, use your hands to combine it and then beat another 20 seconds.
3. Beat in the almond butter and vanilla extract & mix until combined. Beat in the egg on low and mix well.
4. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. 5. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 ยฐF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
5. Roll the dough into approx 12 balls. Place on baking sheet.
6. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until browned and the center of the cookie is no longer raw.
7. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

NOTES:
1. You can also roll cookies into smaller balls but this will effect the bake time.
2. The bake time will also vary based on protein powder used & your oven. Start with 11 minutes and check cookies. With Quest protein, it took 15 minutes, however this does vary based on oven.
3. If you wish, flatten cookie ball slightly before baking for a more traditional cookie appearance ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Adapted from TexanErin

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How to Make a Healthy Version of Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

It’s no secret that I love coffee. It is very rare that a morning goes by without me enjoying a cup or two. I also live in the coffee capital, the birthplace of Starbucks. They are on almost every corner & as you probably know, they are constantly launching new seasonal drinks. The lastest one that caught my eye was the vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee.

my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

I usually order very ‘boring’ drinks. I get a black americano, iced coffee or cold brew. Last week I was in Starbucks between personal training clients at the gym and wanted something more than black coffee.  I decided to give the vanilla sweet cream cold brew a try. I asked for very light vanilla sweet cream. I just wanted a splash. Even with the light sweet cream, it was too sweet for me. As I sat there sipping on coffee, I realized that this drink could easily be ‘re-made’ in a healthier version to save on calories & sugar!

My healthy version!
My healthy version!

This healthy makeover also saves you some money & makes it a diary-free drink. I actually liked this healthy version much better than the Starbucks drink. Best part – it’s really easy!!How to make a healthy version of

Healthy Version Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Ingredients

  • cold brew coffee concentrate
    • my favorites: Chameleon Cold Brew (available at Costco or Target) OR Trader Joe’s Cold Brew (my favorite is the new French Roast – blue label)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
    • my favorite:  Silk unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • vanilla flavored liquid stevia – try this one 
    • OR substitute 1 packet stevia + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice (add more or less according to your preference)

Directions

  • Mix up cold brew according to directions. Usually they have to be slightly diluted with a little water.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk & a few drops of vanilla stevia OR 1 tsp vanilla extract & stevia to taste
  • Add ice 
  • ENJOY!!!

This makes a 16oz beverage. Increase amounts to 1/2 cup cashew milk,  1.5 tsp of vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of ice for a 20-24oz beverage. You can also play with amounts according to your taste preferences. IMG_5240

In the graphic below, compare the nutrition facts for my healthy version to Starbucks. No sugar in my version and only 12 calories! 

Starbucks Version

With this recipe you can enjoy a delicious coffee that doesn’t pack a ton of calories. Perfect for summer or to change up your daily coffee routine! 

4 Gluten Free Recipes that are Powered by Plants!

Have you ever eaten a โ€˜meatlessโ€™ or plant based meal? If not, it is because you canโ€™t imagine a meal without meat? Do you think it will lack in flavor or taste weird? The recipes I am sharing today will change your mind. Plant based food tastes good! Lightlife, my favorite brand of tempeh, makes a variety of products that you can use to enjoy a delicious meatless meal. Plant based protein does NOT have to be boring. In fact, in these recipes you wonโ€™t even know it is missing.  

4 gf plant based recioes

Iโ€™m not a vegan or vegetarian, but I tend to be a ‘meat on the side’ kinda girl. I love eating plant based food! That being said, I still need to make sure I am eating enough protein so I build and maintain the muscles I am using during my workouts. I have lots of options as there many ways to get protein other than meat. However when preparing a meal, it can seem like meat is your only option. I like using tofu in recipes or making my own veggie burgers. I had tried tempeh but wasnโ€™t a huge fan until I found Lightlife Flax Tempeh one day at Whole Foods. I randomly came across it when looking for tofu, I was intrigued by the added flax seeds & decided to give it a try. I LOVED it. Ever since, I havenโ€™t bought any other brand of tempeh! I am excited to be working with Lightlife because I already loved them & I know you will too. This post + giveaway is sponsored by Lightlife. As always, all opinions are my own.IMG_4087

Like I mentioned, Lightlife make lots of products that taste GOOD and give you lots of options! I took a salad with the Lightlife tempeh to a dinner party and everyone raved about it. My personal favorite is the tempeh. Due to my food allergies, I have limited options: Lightlife tempeh, the veggie tempeh burger and the smart strips chickn

Eating a meatless meal doesnโ€™t mean sacrificing flavor or taste. You can use plant based proteins to create a delicious meal for your family and/or friends.

Want to try Lightlife?

1) Find out where to find Lightlife products near you! 
2) Enter to win some Lightlife products at a discount. All you have to do is comment on this blog post! I will pick a winner on 5/4/16.

Recipe Round Up

You will love the delicious, plant powered recipes I’m sharing with you today. You won’t even notice the meat is missing! Even the pickiest eaters love these! Because of my food allergies, I only share or feature gluten free recipes. Some of the recipes below are not gluten free, but I have included the modifications below the link ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Sarah’s Summer Salad 

It’s already gluten free! IMG_4089


Orange-Ginger Glazed Tempeh

To make gluten free: substitute the soy sauce for tamari (gluten free soy sauce)Orange_Ginger_Glazed_Tempeh_0

Smart Patty Sliders + Blackberry BBQ Sauce 

with a side of baked sweet potato fries… yum!
To make gluten free: Substitute the black bean quinoa burger (not gluten free) for the Lightlife garden veggie tempeh burger or another gluten free veggie burger. Use a lettuce wrap or a gluten free bun. Substitute gluten free beer in making the BBQ sauce or use a GF bottled  BBQ sauce.veggie-slider-01

Tempeh Tacos

I LOVE tacos! You could easily make this into a taco salad!
To make gluten free: be sure to use corn tortillas!Tempeh Tacos - Close-up - RFD_0

How to Make Gluten & Grain Free Paleo Granola

Granola is like trail mix – I’d rather make my own and decided what to put in it and what to leave out. It’s not fun to pick thru the mix to eat only what you want. It wastes both food and time. This lead me to come up with my own granola recipe, and *gasp* I left out the oats. This paleo granola is all nuts and seeds, zero grains, and it turned out delicious! IMG_9089

There are multiple benefits to making your own granola. You get to decide what goes in it & you can control the amount/type of sugar. Granola is usually pretty calorie dense on it’s own (meaning the serving size is small). Adding lots of sugar and sweeteners to this only makes it worse. Pre-packaged granola is usually full of sugar. There are lots more options now, but I still prefer to make my own. It also allows you to adjust ingredients based on allergies or dietary needs. IMG_9098

This granola only has naturally occurring sugar in it coming from honey. Your body digests this sugar differently because it is a natural source of sugar, so the insulin spike is not as great. As with anything, natural sources of sugar should  still be consumed in moderation. In granola recipes, honey is great to use for this reason because it also serves as a sticky ‘binder’ to help hold the granola together and create those delicious clusters. paleo granola

While I don’t eat a paleo diet, this recipe is paleo friendly. I loved the seed and nut combo in this recipe because it allows me to eat my carbs from other sources. The dried fruit and honey add some carbs, but this granola is high in fat and much lower in carbs compared to average granola. IMG_9096

You can switch up the dried fruit in this recipe depending on the season and what kind of fruit you like. I always recommend using unsweetened dried fruit, because fruit is naturally sweet!  I used golden berries which were delicious, but you could use anything. 

paleo granola twitterGluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Granola 

IMG_9091

Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Homemade Granola
Yields 1
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw walnuts
  2. 1 cup raw cashews
  3. 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 1/2 cup dried fruit (chopped) - I used golden berries, use whatever dried fruit you like
  6. 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  7. 1 T water
  8. 1.5 T coconut oil
  9. 1/4 cup honey
  10. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or with baking sheet liner.
  2. 2. Add first 3 ingredients to blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to chop the nuts, but do NOT grind into a fine meal.
  3. 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg white with water until bubbly and kinda foamy.
  4. 4. Melt the coconut oil in microwave.
  5. 5. Add melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon & salt to the egg white/water mix and whisk together well.
  6. 6. Pour the chopped nut mix into the mixing bowl, along with the dried fruit & shredded coconut. Stir everything to make sure it is well coated.
  7. 7. Spread the granola mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or untill browned and crispy. Stir once after 10 minutes.
  8. 8. Remove granola from oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. DO NOT STIR. This is when the delicious clusters are formed!
  9. 9. Use a spatula and lift granola to break into large pieces.
  10. 10. Once cool, store in a glass, air tight container
  11. 11. ENJOY!!
TIP
  1. ** Granola can go from done to burned very quickly. Be sure to watch it!
  2. Can sub honey for maple syrup to make the recipe vegan. Add 10 minutes to cooking time.
  3. Can sub olive oil or avocado oil for the coconut oil.
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/
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