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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 


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
  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
  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!!
  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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One of My Favorite Healthy Holiday Desserts

Who doesn’t love dessert?! The only downside to dessert is it’s usually full of addiciting sugar and unhealthy calories. Guess what, it doesn’t have to be! The dessert recipe I am sharing with you today is one of my favorite healthy holiday desserts. These baked apples not only taste like comfort food, but they also fills the house with a wonderful aroma. 

A baked apple may sound basic, but let me tell you, it is far from that. It is super delicious, feels like a treat and is very easy to make! In the video below, I explain and demo how to make these baked apples. Below the video I have the recipe. Let’s get cooking! 

p.s. I use honey crystals in this recipe, stay tuned for a chance to win a bottle of Nektar Naturals honey crystals later this week!!! 

Baked Apple

serves 1
(can easily be multiplied to make however many apples you want)

prep time: 15 mins
bake time: 60 mins 

1 apple, cored
1/2 T Nektar Naturals honey crystals
1/2 T cinnamon
1 T walnuts, chopped
1 T raisins
optional: 1 tsp ghee (clarified butter) – can sub grass-fed butter or coconut oil

1. preheat oven to 375F
2. core out center of apple. mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. 
3. spoon dry ingredients into the apple. optional: top with 1 tsp of ghee or coconut oil
4. place in baking dish with 1/4 cup of water in the bottom
5. bake for 1 hour
6. remove from oven and let it cool. serve warm.

left: before cooking. right: after cooking.
left: before cooking.
right: after cooking.


While I like to eat this as a dessert, you could easily have it as a snack. You could also play around with the filling and substitute whatever you like. While I have not tried this, you could potentially make this recipe in a slow cooker on low for a few hours instead of in the oven. 


Let’s chat: have you tried honey crystals? what is your favorite healthy holiday dessert?

Stay Sweet!!

I was given a bottle of honey crystals by Nektar Naturals thru Sweat Pink to sample & try. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. 

Green Curry with Tofu and Kale [Gluten Free & Vegan]

This delicious Thai inspired green curry is the perfect warm up meal. With the days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, this curry hits the spot! It’s an easy to make winter meal. Evernote Camera Roll 20151130 173028

I was inspired to try to make my own curry after my trip to Portland with Ultima. Hayley, the social media director for Ultima, loves Thai curries, so we got them for dinner one night and I was hooked. They are easy to make gluten and dairy free if you have food sensitivities and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Evernote Camera Roll 20151130 173029

This curry has two of my favorite things, kale & coconut milk. It’s also extremely easy to make! This makes 4 servings which is perfect for a family meal or to have left overs. It is delicious the next day.  I paired this curry with quinoa for an extra boost of protein; you can also pair with rice, or leave the grains out all together & eat the curry alone like a soup. Evernote Camera Roll 20151130 173029

Green Curry with Tofu & Kale 

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2-14 oz. cans coconut milk (light or regular)
  • ¼ cup vegan green curry paste (I used ‘Simply Asia Thai Kitchen’ brand)
  • 2 cups dinosaur kale, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ lb. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • cooked quinoa, for serving
  1. Coat skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Arrange tofu cubes in a single layer in skillet. Cook until lightly browned on bottoms, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer tofu to a plate.
  2. Place coconut milk & curry paste in large saucepan. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add kale and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add asparagus and simmer another 2 minutes, until bright green and tender-crisp. Add tofu and stir to incorporate. Add lime juice and salt, taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Divide onto plates or into bowls and top with scallions, basil and cilantro. Serve with quinoa or eat alone like a soup. Evernote Camera Roll 20151130 173029
That’s it! This recipe is ready in about 30 minutes and is so delicious you will be hooked just like me! Enjoy!!!
Tell me: have you tried thai curry before? 
This blog is part of the Meatless Monday link up hosted by Running on Happy and The Fit Foodie Mama! #MeatlessMonday
Stay Sweet!!
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What is Day of the Dead? + Adorable GF Shortbread Cookies [recipe]

Day of the Dead or, Dia de los Muertos, sounds like a scary holiday, but that could not be any further from the truth. It is a Mexican celebration that is a beautiful celebration of life. It has been gaining popularity in the US over the last few years. You have probably seen the ‘sugar skulls’, known as calaveras in Spanish, in different stores or on social media. Last year a cupcake shop here in Seattle even made calavera cupcakes! 

pic from Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle

Dia de los Muertos is a day to remember loved ones who have passed. People create displays in their homes for the deceased called ‘altares’. These always include a picture of their deceased loved one and is decorated with marigold flowers, pan de muerto, a special bread made for this holiday, paper picado, tissue paper cut into designs, and sugar skulls. The display also includes an assortment of their favorite things which could food, tequila or alcohol and symbols of other things that person loved. Dia de los Muertos is characterized by bright colors, whimsical designs and celebration. 

a dia de los muertos display

The holiday is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. November 1st is dedicated to the children and the 2nd is for the adults. On these days, the families will go visit the grave of the loved one and eat lunch with them. The time in the cemetery is not one of grieving, but rather it is a party! People enjoy this time as a family and it is believed that the deceased are there eating with them. 

Some cities, like Los Angeles, have Day of the Dead festivals in which you can experience some of these holiday traditions first hand outside of Mexico. They are beautiful celebrations and I highly recommend going to one in your city if you are able. Again, this holiday is not a morbid or scary holiday, but rather a celebration of life and death. In Mexico, death is viewed as something inevitable, it is part of life. So instead of avoiding death, they stare it in the face, they defy it and even make fun of it. This celebration is part of that and part of a remembrance of loved ones who have passed. 

IMG_9337One of the most famous images you will see that represents Dia de los Muertos and much more about Mexican history and culture is La Catrina. You can read  more about the history of this image in this article. I have loved La Catrina since I first learned about her while studying Spanish and Latin American art in school. One year I will be her for Halloween 🙂 Last year while in Mexico I bought a ‘catrina’ that I absolutely adored. 

me and my catrina. doesn’t she look like me? 🙂

This year I was fortunate to be able to be in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos. I was reminded of what a beautiful celebration it is.

This cross is made out of marigold petals. Sometimes for day of the dead you will see entire murals on the ground made from ashes and flower petals. They are beautiful!
This cross is made out of marigold petals. Sometimes for day of the dead you will see entire murals on the ground made from ashes and flower petals. They are beautiful!


To celebrate, yesterday I made some gluten free ‘calavera’ shortbread cookies. They have no refined sugar and are really delicious. You can use any cookie cutter you like or you can buy the ones I usedFullSizeRender-2

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 T ghee, melted
1/4 cup light maple syrup OR honey
1/2 tsp stevia (liquid or powder)
2-4 T unsweetened almond milk (add if consistency is too thick)

sugar skull cookie cuttersInstructions
1) Preheat oven to 300F. 
2) In a bowl, whisk the 2 flours, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and xanthan gum. Add melted coconut oil and ghee. Mix well using the back of a spoon to press and stir and mix dough together.
3) Add the honey or maple syrup and stevia and mix throughly. 
4) Dough will be somewhat dry, so keep this in mind when you are rolling it out. If you need to add more almond milk to make it softer, add 1 T at a time.
5) Roll dough out to desired thickness and use cookie cutters. Dough may be fragile so be careful. 
6) Place on cookie sheet and bake 20-30 minutes. Check cookies at 20 mins, they may be done. 
7) Cool and enjoy!!!

Get the sugar skull cookie cutters here!



Easy & Healthy Comfort Food: Pumpkin Hemp Soup

It’s cold out and the holidays are quickly approaching. We are pulling out our slow cookers and putting away the BBQs (sad face). Most of us start to crave comfort food and the winter hibernation begins. Winter can be the time that the weight creeps on, but it doesn’t have to be! You can create make healthy comfort food that satisfies the cravings and tastes amazing. 

This pumpkin hemp soup is the perfect way to enjoy comfort food in a healthy way. It’s all the fall flavors without loads of calories. Plus, it is extremely simple and quick to whip up on a weeknight.IMG_7697

If you aren’t familiar with hemp hearts, they are an amazing source of plant based protein. There are 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas in a serving (3 tablespoons). They are so easy to use that you can throw them in a green smoothie, sprinkle on top of salads o use in a soup like I did here. I love to take hemp hearts with me when I travel as a source of protein. As you will see, they are delicious and very easy to use. 

You can buy hemp hearts at your local health food store such as Whole Foods, or you can purchase them online via Amazon or on manitobaharvest.com. Use code HHSP1015 for 20% anything on the Manitoba Harvest web store! 

IMG_7699Pumpkin Hemp Soup

recipe inspired by Manitoba Harvest

serves 3-4

2 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 cups veggie stock
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup hemp hearts
pepper to taste


  1. In a skillet add olive oil, onion and garlic & cook over medium heat until they are translucent.
  2. Put the pumpkin, vegetable stock & almond milk in a high power blender. Add the cooked onions and garlic. Add the Hemp Hearts and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  3. *If using a blendtec or vitamix, you can skip this step as your soup will already be warm* Pour the soup into a large pot and cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Once the soup reaches the desired temperature, ladle it into bowls and serve. You can also top it with extra Hemp Hearts and chives if desired. IMG_7700

Tell me: Have you ever tried hemp hearts? 

This post was sponsored by Manitoba Harvest and Sweat Pink. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting my sponsors!


Easy Recipe: Make Your Own Pumpkin Yogurt

Pumpkin has gotten quite the stereotype over the last few years… 

While I do think this whole pumpkin-spice craze has gotten a little out of control, it doesn’t change the fact that real pumpkin is great for your health and delicious too!

I have created my own share of pumpkin recipes… protein muffins, a real pumpkin spice latte, some pumpkin protein balls, and even a pumpkin quesadilla. I have also purchased the NEW Quest pumpkin pie protein bar (it’s delicious, more on that later). xx Using REAL pumpkin has excellent nutritional benefits. It is loaded with potassium, which aids in recovery after a workout. It is also high in Vitamin A and contains other vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is a part of the squash family, so without all the added sugar and sweeteners, it is a healthy food.

This time of year, I enjoy eating my share of pumpkin. Pumpkin and pumpkin spice have become a signature fall flavor, so I like to create healthy recipes with those flavors so I don’t feel deprived. Like I shared above, pumpkin itself is a very healthy food, it is everything that gets added to it that is not. 

Pumpkin Yogurt  

Making this yogurt is extremely easy and a great way to enjoy pumpkin flavors without all the added sugar. I have made this yogurt using two different brands of yogurt, Siggi’s which is a skyr and Fage which is a greek yogurt.

Both these yogurts are high in protein. The Fage yogurt has no added sugar or anything, it is just straight up greek yogurt. Siggi’s is a good option for those who do not care for the greek yogurt texture. Siggi’s does have a tiny bit of added sugar, however compared to other yogurts is it not bad. It is also very high in protein. 


3/4 cup yogurt OR a single serving container
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
optional: dash of stevia

To make:
Mix yogurt and canned pumpkin together. Sprinkle in pumpkin pie spice and stevia if using. Mix again lightly. Enjoy!!!

pumpkin yogurt

This pumpkin yogurt is a great, high protein snack that will keep you full till the next meal. It is also great for breakfast. 

Tell me: How would you enjoy this yogurt? Is there anything you would add?

Stay Sweet!

Gluten Free Vanilla Cinnamon Protein French Toast

This recipe could not be any easier, or more delicious!This is a wonderful weekend breakfast (try it this weekend!) or it can be made ahead of time meal prep style. This protein french toast is gonna be your new favorite breakfast! 


I love this recipe, I have eaten this protein french toast before long runs, as a fun breakfast and for lunch too, so it works for any time of day 🙂
Runners: this is the perfect pre-race meal!!!

When I found out I was allergic to gluten, I thought my days of eating french toast were over… but they are not! IMG_5561If you find a really good gluten free bread, you may not even know this french toast is gluten free! (I LOVE Canyon Gluten Free Bakehouse bread, it’s so soft & yummy. Link below to find @ store near you)

The other fun part is there are so many ways to change up this recipe. You can change the flavor of protein powder, play around with the toppings and type of bread. The sky is the limit! Be sure you include some sort of nut butter though… I mean you don’t have to, but why wouldn’t you!

Vanilla Cinnamon Protein French Toast 


  • 1/2 Cup Liquid egg whites (4 egg whites)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder 
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Slices cinnamon raisin gluten free bread (I used Canyon Gluten Free
  • Fresh or frozen strawberries – if frozen let them thaw first 
  • 1-2 Tsp nut butter of choice (optional)


  1. In a bowl, stir together the egg whites, cinnamon, protein powder, almond milk, and vanilla extract.IMG_5560
  2. Place the bread in the egg mixture and let soak for ~3 minutes. Flip and let the bread soak another ~3 minutes.IMG_5562 IMG_5563
  3. Once the bread is ready, spray a griddle (or large pan) with cooking spray and heat to medium heat.
  4. Cook the bread until lightly golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side.IMG_5583
  5. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some fresh or frozen strawberries and some nut butter of choice. 
I used thawed frozen strawberries and spooned some juice on top as well. YUM!
Stay Sweet!