Healthy Cooking

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Free Resources for WEBSITE (4).png

One of my favorite things to do is to re-make traditional recipes into "health coach approved" recipes.  Lately, I've been wanting to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, but wanted to stay away from 1. the sugar 2. added gluten and 3. unnecessary dairy especially when it came to something sweet so I made up this recipe that got the approval of my kids and everyone else who tries them!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cup Lakanto sweetener

1/2 tbsp. unsulphured blackstrap molasses 

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 cup gluten free flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 cup Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper. 

1.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the coconut oil, Lakanto, molasses, vanilla and pumpkin together until smooth.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. 

3.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.  Then add in the chocolate chips.

4.  Once mixed, spoon out dough in small balls (about 2 tbsp in size) and place on parchment paper.  Slightly flatten the dough because the cookies will only slightly spread in the oven.  

5.  Bake for about 10 minutes and allow to rest on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  

6.  Enjoy! 

If you love this recipe, head on over to my Healthy Holiday Eats page to be notified when my new holiday cookbook is released!  

Cheers!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

5-Day Meal Plan

vince-lee-199076.jpg

I recently asked a few clients how they REALLY felt about meal planning and I got a lot of eye rolls and head shakes so I'm assuming it might not be up your alley, either.  Which is totally fine.  I love meal planning, but I'm also obsessed with planning in general.  In fact, I even have a master's degree in Instruction and Curriculum (which is basically mapping out, organizing and planning information for educational purposes).  

So I wanted to share a 5-day meal plan with you using some of my favorite foodie bloggers and clean eating chefs from around the web - I will also vet these recipes so that they are 1. whole foods based 2. gluten-free 3. dairy-free or mostly dairy-free 4. soy-free 5. delicious and not overly complicated.  If I have a suggestion for how to make a recipe healthier, I will also include that, too! 

1. Italian Butter Bean Bake  

Time saving tip:  Buy the pesto sauce pre-made. 

2. Baked Sweet Potato Dinner(s)

Pro tip:  Make enough to eat for breakfast or lunch the following day. 

3. Seven Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Pro tip: Cut way back on the Asiago cheese (by at least half) and substitute the regular pasta with a gluten free grain - I'll be using buckwheat (which is gluten-free) to amp up the nutritional density of this dish. 

4. Noodle Free Pad Thai

Pro tip: To add extra protein to this dish, I'll be serving this with grilled chicken.

5. Cauliflower Crust Pizza 

Time saving tip:  Make the cauliflower "flour" the night before or earlier in the day.  Also, check out your grocery because places like Trader Joe's carry a plain pre-made cauliflower/corn flour pizza crust in their freezer section.  

Leave me a comment and let me know which recipes you liked so I can post more like them! 

White Bean Dip

Here is a great way to use the white bean dip as a leftover. I made my son cous cous for part of his lunch so I took some of that and topped it with tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, avocado, PARSLEY, a squeeze of lemon, EVOO, s&P and a big dollop of the white bean dip. It was so so good. If you are gluten free use greens or quinoa as your base. If you're trying to lose weight, keep the cous cous or quinoa portion to 1/2 cup or less.  🙌🏻

Dinner & Dessert Menu for Valentine's Day

Are you looking for a fun, healthy meal to have Valentine's Day?  This would be a great dinner to have with your special love, with your family, or with a group of special friends!  Both recipes below are gluten-free, dairy-free and good for you and they are a cinch to make so you have less time in the kitchen and more time with those you care about.  

Creamy PB Protein Smoothie w/ Hemp Seeds

A seriously yummy smoothie great for getting in a decent amount of protein for breakfast or at any time of the day. This is also a great go-to for those who have chocolate or sugar cravings in the afternoon!

Creamy PB Protein Smoothie w/Hemp Seeds

Main Ingredients

1banana

3/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup gluten free oats

2 pitted medjool dates

1huge spoonful of organic peanut butter (or more if desired)

1 tbsp. raw shelled hemp seeds

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 ice cubes

topped with bee pollen (optional)

2 scoops collagen peptides (optional)

Preparation

1Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until you get a creamy consistency. Pour and then top with bee pollen if so desired.

Additional Notes

If you have a hard time finding fresh Medjool dates where you live, you could substitute with another sweetener, like honey, or use a sweeter non-dairy milk alternative, like oat milk.

Upgrade Your Thanksgiving Traditions

happy-thanksgiving-cornucopia-1.gif

Go ahead, be a rebel.  Instead of serving the traditional Thanksgiving meal, why not switch things up a bit this year?  While searching for my own replacement dishes, I thought it would be helpful to share with you all the recipes that have made my personal short list.  Consider swapping mashed white potatoes with one of the healthier sweet potato versions below or trade the green bean casserole (that nobody eats anyway) with some sauteéd sesame green beans.  A mission I’ve been on this year is to find a healthier option for cranberry salad and I think I’ve found it with the mandarin-cranberry relish by Nourished Kitchen.  It looks amazing and I can't wait to try it!  Don't feel the need to break tradition completely, though.  I mean you should probably still serve a gorgeous farm raised turkey (unless all your guests are vegetarians or vegans), but consider getting a smaller bird and pairing it with something plant-based like Acorn Squash Roasted with Walnuts and Cranberries (note: I would sub in coconut palm sugar and use olive oil instead of the butter).  There are many options available, but you should start your planning now if you’ve not done so.  A quick Google search revealed most of these awesome alternatives so check these out first and then take a few minutes to peruse yourself.  I know I’ll be serving my Red Kuri Squash Pie with Savory Crust for dessert and I encourage you to try it out, too.  For family gatherings, I use a traditional crust recipe using real butter, so if you are sensitive to wheat and/or dairy, be sure to visit some of the links I have listed as dessert options below.

Also, for those of you who don’t have time to sit and plan a menu, check out all the resources I've listed below!  Many of these dishes will be good throughout the holiday season.

Aside from the actual dishes themselves,  I wanted to give you a few things to keep in mind as you’re planning and then ultimately enjoying your Thanksgiving meal:

-Find a turkey that is farm raised and free of antibiotics or hormones.  

-Stay away from recipes that use heavy cheeses or heaven forbid, marshmallows, for toppings.

-Avoid recipes that use more than ½ cup sugar or Jell-O and if possible replace all white sugar with a substitute like coconut palm sugar, which is low glycemic, or a Lakanto sweetener, which is derived from the monk fruit. 

-Opt for foods with color over foods that are white (white mashed potatoes, white bread, white pasta, etc.)

-Use healthy grains like quinoa, millet or amaranth as a salad or roasted squash topping.

-Twenty minutes before the main meal, drink some water to help boost metabolism and to help prevent overeating.  It's also best to drink your water before your meal as opposed to with your meal so that you don't disrupt stomach acid pH.

-Drizzle your salad with an organic, cold-pressed olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper instead of the more mainstream store bought dressings that often contain artificial flavorings and added sugar.

-I mentioned this above, but be mindful of color!  Get a broad spectrum of phytonutrients into your body just by eating lots and lots of colorful fruits and veggies.

-Fill half your plate with plant based foods.

-You don’t need to eat the whole bird.  Keep your meat portion in check by sizing it up against the palm of your hand, which is roughly six ounces.

-Don't forget to chew your food.  Give digestion a head start by putting your fork down between bites, enjoy your delicious food and your lovely guests and chew...and then chew some more ;)

-You don’t need stuffing AND a slice of bread.  Swap your stuffing for a wholesome grain and ditch the bread...especially if you plan on eating dessert.

-EAT DESSERT.  Don’t make yourself miserable by watching everyone else eat their pumpkin pie while you sulk in the corner taking a bite here and there off everyone’s plate.  Just be mindful and remember that it’s not dessert at Thanksgiving that determines a healthy lifestyle, it’s what you do every other day that does.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts and Bread Stuffing w/Apples from FOOD52
Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts and Bread Stuffing w/Apples from FOOD52
Mandarin & Cranberry Relish from Nourished Kitchen

Mandarin & Cranberry Relish from Nourished Kitchen

Polenta Crostini w/ Butternut Squash, Polenta & Sage from Edible Perspective
Polenta Crostini w/ Butternut Squash, Polenta & Sage from Edible Perspective
Red Kuri Squash Pie w/ Savory Crust
Red Kuri Squash Pie w/ Savory Crust

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

I roast a chicken every week for my family and I reserve the carcass to make a savory, nourishing stock that can be used immediately or preserved for months to come.  Enjoy!

Homemade Dried Italian Herb Mix

I know a lot of people who successfully grow herb gardens all summer long, but how about harnessing all of that homegrown goodness for use during the winter months?  In my most recent YouTube video I take you step by step through the process of harvesting, drying and storing your own dried Italian herb mix from your homegrown herbs. 

I also wanted to make it easy for you to gather supplies for making your own so I've linked some resources from Amazon for you below:

Would you like to see a specific health & wellness demo on video?  Let me know below in the comments!  Until next time, Be Well.

Homemade Almond Milk

Many people are moving away from dairy milk and are using more nut milks in their daily diet, but have you ever read the labels of store bought almond milk?  As carrageenan (a naturally derived seaweed linked to brain issues and tumors) is being phased out of the main ingredients, the options aren't as dim, but there are still added sugars and preservatives included that just aren't necessary.  And let's talk about the taste for a second...I have a hard time drinking store bought almond milk because the taste is too sugary and dull (meaning, I couldn't decipher any almond taste).  Homemade almond milk is very rich, with its own sweetness and you can tell that it's fresh.  This recipe takes about ten minutes to make and will yield about 2 1/2 cups of milk.  I will often double or triple this recipe.

Ingredients and Materials: 

Instructions:

  • Start by soaking the almonds in water overnight or for a few hours (this first step is optional, but your body will be better able to absorb the nutrients from the almonds if they are soaked).
  • Place the almonds and three cups of water into your high speed blender and blend on high for about two minutes.
  • Pour the mixture through the nut bag into the large measuring bowl with pour spout, working the liquid through the almond pulp until the pulp is almost completely dry.  
  • Toss the almond pulp and pour the almond milk into your glass container.  
  • Keep the almond milk in your refrigerator.  It will stay fresh for 3-4 days, probably longer. 

Let me know how your almond milk turns out!  I can guarantee that once you realize how simple it is to make your own and how much better tasting it is, you'll want to avoid the store bought stuff, too.  Have fun!

While you're at it, give this video a peek because if you love almond milk, I have a hunch you're going to love what's inside the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle as well ;) 

xoxo,

Stephanie

Kids' Probiotic Mango Smoothie

To help keep my son's immune system strong, I give him probiotic smoothies at different times throughout the week for part of his breakfast or lunch (or snack - he eats a lot).  This particular recipe of ours is very versatile, but this is one of our favorite combos. 

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 tsp. powdered probiotic designed for kiddos

1/2 cup cultured coconut milk (which also includes active and live cultures)

1/2 cup nut milk (we usually use almond or coconut milk)

1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, pour and serve. 

We hope you like it as much as we do!

Until next time, Be Well.