Tasty Tuesday: Caramel Sauce

caramel-sauce

There’s just something about autumn that demands we eat apples with caramel. It’s a fun treat to share with family, friends, and neighbors, and caramel can be used in so many ways! Use it to drizzle over fruit, pancakes, other desserts, or mix it with your protein or shakeology shake!

I found two caramel sauce recipes and I just couldn’t decide which one I liked better, so I’m sharing both with you! Each recipe is dairy, sugar, and gluten free. It’s a clean eating recipe that still gives you the traditional caramel flavor!

Coconut Caramel Sauce:

Ingredients

Directions

1. Place coconut sugar, coconut cream and salt in a small sauce  pan. Heat slowly while stirring to dissolve the coconut sugar.

2. Bring mixture to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken further as it cools.

Caramel Sauce Ice Cream Topping
3. To test, take the saucepan off the heat. Spread a little sauce on a saucer (or similar) and place in the freezer for a few minutes. If the caramel doesn’t thicken (enough), simmer the sauce for a little longer.

4. Stir vanilla extract into finished caramel sauce.

Notes
I used the soft, paste-like kind of palm sugar, that you’ll find in Asia. Granulated coconut sugar works as well, but will produce a darker caramel sauce.
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (you can use either reduced fat or full fat – if you’re in the US you’ll want to use “premium” coconut milk that has as little ingredients as possible – ours just had coconut and water)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Place all of your ingredients into a medium to large non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients and bring caramel to the boil.
  3. Keep cooking your caramel until it thickens and darkens, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once your caramel has thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving or storing in a clean container or jar.
  5. The caramel will stay fresh in the fridge for around a week, but it will harden once cooled. To warm your caramel for serving, simply put a couple of spoonfuls of the caramel into a small microwave safe dish and heat for ~10 seconds or heat on the stove.

Don’t forget to check out the recipe index on  my page to find more of my favorite clean eating foods!

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Punch & Baked Doughnuts

pumpkin-punch

It’s getting closer to Halloween and the treats seem to be everywhere! Show your family how yummy healthier versions of store bought treats can be. Involve your kids to help mix up the pumpkin punch, and they’ll LOVE the magic of making their very own doughnuts at home. These treats aren’t 100% clean, but they’re what I like to call “cheating clean”–a healthier alternative to a cheat meal that’s full of sugar and calories. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Punch

  • 1-2 scoops of mango sorbet (found in the ice cream aisle)
  • half V8 fruit fusion peach mango flavor
  • half FIZZE sparkling clementine beverage (found in the aisle with other glass bottle sodas, although this is NOT a soda)

For some extra fun, have kids decorate their clear plastic cups to look like pumpkins with permanent markers–like a Sharpie (washable ones will smudge all over their hands). Do this BEFORE you mix the punch to avoid spills.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, milk, egg, oil and vanilla.
  4. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Using a spoon mix until just combined. Do not overmix or the doughnuts will be tough. Use a pastry bag or large plastic bag to pipe the mixture into the donut pan. (You can purchase donut pans online at stories like amazon, or at stored like Bed, Bath & Beyond) Alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the molds, but the finished doughnuts may not appear as even.
  5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed gently around the edges. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the doughnuts cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the molds to release the doughnuts. Invert the donuts on the rack and cool completely, or enjoy warm.

Variation: Substitute applesauce for pumpkin for healthy baked applesauce doughnuts

img_7733

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Applesauce

applesauce

When life gives you apples, make applesauce! It’s apple season, so take advantage of local You-Pick orchards, buy them fresh at a farmer’s market, or just find a good deal at the store! There’s just something about homemade applesauce….it tastes so much better than store bought and it’s better for you too! Store bought apple sauce has a lot of added sugar and preservatives. I love knowing exactly what my family is eating and that it’s healthy for them!

Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C. The flavonoids in apples reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, reduce excessive fat production in liver cells and lower your risk of heart disease. The soluble fiber in apples lowers your risk of heart disease by decreasing your bad cholesterol levels. Studies have shown the pectin in apples is a natural appetite suppressant, making them a great way to curb your appetite.

Applesauce makes a great healthy snack for kids and adults and it can be used as a substitute for oil in your baking recipes.

Applesauce is seriously so easy to make yourself and can for your family’s use throughout the year. You don’t need any fancy ingredients, tools, or special knowledge. Just follow these easy steps!

  1. Pick your apples. I like red apples for applesauce because they tend to be sweeter.img_7496 You can choose to either peel your apples or leave the skins on. Then just core your apples and cut them into chunks. Keep in mind about 6-8 medium apples will make 1 quart of applesauce.

2. Place apple chunks in a pot on the stove with about 1 cup of water per every 8 apples. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5-7 minutes.

img_7497

3. When apples are tender, remove pot from heat and use potato masher to mash apples to desired consistency. For a smoother applesauce, you can put the contents of your pot into the blender. If your applesauce is too thick, you can add water until you reach the right consistency. I try to get mine to be a little runnier than pudding. During this step, you can also  add your sugar or cinnamon. Personally, I don’t add anything to my applesauce. Homemade applesauce is already pretty sweet, and the sauce will continue to sweeten as it sits on the shelf. I’d rather add cinnamon or maybe a natural sweetener to individual servings if I feel like I need it later on.

4. Once your applesauce is at the consistency you want, pour sauce into clean, sterilized jars and put on the lids and rings.

5. In a large stock pot with a lid, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add jars of applesauce.

img_7499

Make sure water covers the tops of your jars. Put the lid on your stockpot and process your jars in boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove jars from water to cool on the counter top. As jars cool, the lids should “pop” indicating they are sealed. Sometimes it can take several hours for the lids to pop. If you press down on the tops of your lids and it gives/ makes a popping sound, your jar is not sealed. You can try processing in boiling water again, or just put the jar in your fridge to use in the next few days.

And that’s it! Now you have homemade applesauce to enjoy throughout the year!

For my recipe for strawberry applesauce, click HERE!

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

pumpkin spice

I’m a couple days early posting this, but I know how some of you LOVE your pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!! Nothing gets me in the mood for fall like the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves baking in my kitchen. However, many recipes out there call for tons of added sugar and oil and are not very healthy at all. Who says your pumpkin recipes can’t be healthy AND taste good?! Some of the recipes I found aren’t just baked goods either. They’re things like hummus and salad dressing–I think it’s fun to branch out with flavors and see what new yummy favorites I can find.

Pumpkin recipes

Let’s start with an old favorite for many of you PUMPKIN COOKIES!

Pumpkin Cookiesrec30

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 2 cookies each

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1¼ cups pumpkin puree
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped raw pecans (optional)
24 pecan halves

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven for 350° F.
2. Lightly coat two baking sheets with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine oats, almond flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine egg, pumpkin, and maple syrup in a large bowl; mix well.
5. Add flour mixture and chopped pecans to pumpkin mixture; mix until blended.
6. Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet; flatten cookies with a spatula. Top each cookie with a pecan half.
7. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes or until firm.

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

Ingredients8022440732_f11d580af4_o
  • For the Pumpkin Goddess Dressing:
  • 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
  • ⅓ cup pure pumpkin puree (I used the canned version)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or about ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 acorn squash, plus olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt for roasting*
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pkg. (5-6 ounces) mixed salad greens (you can use any blend that you prefer, but I like a mix that includes broccoli slaw, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and chicory)
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender and combine. Chill until ready to use.
  2. To roast the acorn squash: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Slice squash lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice horizontally into ½-inch thick rounds. Place sliced squash in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and salt, to taste. Toss squash to coat.
  4. Bake squash at 400 degree F for approximately 20 minutes (or until tender and caramelized), flipping halfway through.
  5. Once the squash has cooled, cut it into bite-sized pieces and place it in a large salad bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add Pumpkin Goddess dressing and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Notes*can substitute with diced roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash

Ingredients

pumpkin-blondies-image
Photo Via
  • 3/4 Cup Creamy almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp Pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 Cup Pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Coconut flour, sifted (31g) *
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tbsp Almonds, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line the bottom of an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray the sides generously with coconut oil spray. **
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl,*** melt the almond butter with the maple syrup in the microwave until the almond butter is creamy, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the pumpkin into the mixture and beat with an electric hand mixer until well combined, scraping the sides down as necessary.
  4. Beat the coconut sugar, vanilla and apple cider vinegar into the almond butter mixture until well combined.
  5. Add the sifted coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into the mixture and stir until smooth and well combined. Make sure you scrape all the flour off the sides of the bowl into the mixture.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes before baking, to allow the coconut flour to begin absorbing the moisture.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are crisp, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting into bars and DEVOURING. ****

Notes: Gluten free baking can be tricky, so I highly recommend measuring your flour to make sure you get perfect results.
*These bars are very moist and dense and you need to get them out of the pan carefully. If you want them to be super easy, you can leave an overhang of parchment paper, so you can lift them out of the pan to cut once they are cooled.
*** Don’t like microwaves? You can melt them together on the stove too!
**** Since these brownies and dense, you need to cook them low and slow. Resist the urge to check them before the time is up, or they will deflate. Also, make sure they are TOTALLY cooled before cutting. If you want them to be a little firmer, then let them completely cool in the refrigerator.
Store blondies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients:hummus-meal-chickpeas-paste-seeds-grains-6

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 & ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice {about 1 large lemon}
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 {15 oz.} can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Handful of pepitas {optional}

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except pepitas, in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with pepitas
  3. Serve with pita chips or vegetables.

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients5025148597_5efded775c_b

  • 2 and 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and then grease or line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
  2. Place of all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Using a spoon, gently stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into the muffin tin, filling each about 3/4th of the way full. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes, until light golden brown.
  4. Allow to to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before stuffing in your face.

Notes *can also use 3T melted coconut oil *These muffins keep best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For EVEN MORE healthy pumpkin recipes CLICK HERE for a MEGA recipe index!

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: DIY Energy Bites

Energy bites are so easy to make and are so good for you! They provide a pop of protein, fiber and healthy fats that help curb hunger pangs, especially when we’re craving junk food. They are quick and convenient and once you learn the basics to making these energy bites, the possibilities for flavor combinations is endless! Some of my favorite recipes linked below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your own!

So first, the 5 Staples of an Energy Bite:

EnergyBites

  • The nut butter helps hold the energy bite together, plus gives you some protein & healthy fats. Use about 1/2 Cup
  • Your protein powder also provides protein, and if you’re using shakeology as your powder, you’ll also get all the other nutritional super-foods packed in there too. The powder also helps give you some flavor. Vanilla and Chocolate are common flavors used in energy bites, but don’t be afraid to use other flavors as well! Use about 2 scoops
  • Use one or more of the extras listed. Vanilla and Cinnamon are also great choices for some added flavor! Use 1/2 to 1 tsp for those, and with others, like the oats, try about 1 cup.
  • Adding seeds provides even more nutrition! Sprinkle these in to taste
  • Sweeten up your energy bite with any of the natural sweeteners on the list.Use about 1/4 cup, or to taste.

Most recipes have you mix ingredients, form into bite sized balls, and chill before eating. These can be kept in Tupperware for about a week in the fridge–which makes it super easy to grab and go when you need that pick me up. These are also a kid favorite as after school snacks or some added nutrition in the morning before heading out the door.

Try these Energy Bite Recipes–and if you don’t have some of the ingredients, try substituting some of the other ones mention above:

Recipe1.energyballs

Lemon & Coconut Bliss Ballslemon-and-coconut-bliss-balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut + extra
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp honey or rice malt syrup (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  • Place all ingredients into the food processor and blend for 1 minute.
  • Roll into small balls
  • Roll in extra coconut.
  • Place on a lined tray and chill in the fridge until firm.

Makes approx 15 balls..

Ingredients:Carrot-Cake-Energy-Balls-2
1½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
⅓ cup all-natural smooth almond butter
4 Medjool dates, coarsely chopped
¼ cup raw walnut pieces
¾ cup shredded carrots
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger

Preparation:
1. Combine Shakeology, oats, almond butter, and dates in food processor; pulse until dates are incorporated.
2. Add walnuts, carrots, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; pulse until just blended.
3. Roll into fifteen balls, about 1-inch in diameter each.

Total Time: 15 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 15 servings, 1 ball each

Ingredients:
1½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
½ cup almond flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup all-natural almond butter
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup sliced raw almonds

Preparation (Click here for step-by-step photos!):
1. Combine Shakeology, almond flour, and oats in a medium bowl; mix well.
2. Add almond butter and almond milk; mix well with a spatula or clean hands until it forms a thick batter.
3. Roll mixture into fifteen balls, each about 1-inch in size.
4. Roll balls in almonds.

 

Tasty Tuesday: Going Bananas over these clean eating recipes

bananas

Have some bananas lying around? Don’t let them go to waste! Try these delicious, clean-eating recipes that use bananas for a healthy treat.

Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. Use mashed bananas to substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies, for example, for a healthier treat. Bananas are known for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana. According to Colorado State University Extension, potassium is necessary for good nerve and muscle function as well as for maintaining a healthy balance of fluids in the body. The potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps after exercise. Bananas also have Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Manganese, and Fiber. (source)

So why no banana bread? An average slice of banana bread has 196 calories and 33g of carbs. This first recipe is way to still get than banana bread goodness with less calories and carbs: a serving a cinnamon bananas has only 73 calories and only 19g of carbs.

Recipe2.CinnamonBananas

Next up, try this Elvis Shake for a refreshing drink:

  • 2 large bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (can use almond, soy, or coconut milk)
  • 6 tablespoons nut butter (either peanut or almond)
  • 2 table spoons honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups crushed ice cubes

Place ingredients into blender and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately.

avacadopudding

Need a chocolate fix? Number 3 on the list is a childhood favorite: Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

pancakes-party-children-fun-recipe-baking-cooking

No. 4: 2 Ingredient Flour-less Pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

mash eggs & banana (and cinnamon)  together and fry them like regular pancakes! Serve with fresh fruit

No 5: Try these energy bites for an afternoon pick me up! I love when I can “clean cheat” a snack that tastes like a treat!

Recipe1.energyballs

 

 

 

Tasty Tuesday:Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

avacadopudding

Does anyone else get freaked out by foods that don’t seem to expire? Pudding is one of those store bought foods that has so many added and processed ingredients in it that it seems to have an eternal shelf life (seriously, my friend opened a package from her parent’s food storage room that “expired” in the 90’s and it looked exactly the same as a new package–not cool!) Unfortunately, pudding is a food that kids love and beg for when we’re at the store. Heck, even some adults love the creamy texture and sweet flavor.

I was able to find a clean eating version of this popular snack and it’s amazing! So many good for you ingredients and this is one of those fun recipes that kids can help with.

Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

  1. place avocados, bananas, and honey into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth
  2. add vanilla extract and unsweetened cocoa powder to avocado mixture and continue blending until well combined
  3. divide pudding into 4 single serve cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. These are best served very cold.