dairy free

Dark Chocolate "Cookie" Dough

Every once in awhile, I crave sweets.

And my husband? A lot more often than that. Not to mention the multitude of events I get invited to where I need to bring something, and roasted veggies just won't do.

So I hit the internet to discover what others were making or attempting, and stumbled upon this glorious idea of chickpeas as the base for a dough ... a cookie dough! Any time I discover something on the internet, I immediately close down my computer and dive headfirst into my cabinet. See, I LOVE creating from scratch, and from the ingredients I already have, know, and trust. It makes me feel that much more able to share these recipes with you if I've had to stumble through a few less then delightful iterations before publishing.

I enlisted the help of two trusty friends for a version of this recipe ... Justin's Almond Butter and Eating Evolved Chocolate ... and for another version, Sprouted Cashews and Justin's Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups. These brands are about as clean as they come, and are smaller brands which is a big thing for me - I love supporting the local small businesses whenever I can, especially when their ingredients are on point.

OKAY... so now to the cookie dough. The HEALTHY cookie dough...

LRG_DSC00955.JPG

Ingredients:

  • 1 can BPA free organic garbanzo beans
  • 2-3 tbsp almond or cashew butter, or 1/4c sprouted cashews soaked in 1 tsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raw local honey
  • 1/4c millet flour or almond flour
  • 2 Justin's or Eating Evolved dark chocolate nut butter cups, or 2 tbsp cacao nibs, or 2 tbsp crush raw dark chocolate

You'll need a food processor or high-powered blender for this ... otherwise you're in for a forearm workout!

Instructions:

  • Drain and rinse garbanzo beans
  • Add all ingredients except cacao nibs or nut butter cups into the food processor and set to puree
  • Puree for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are evenly blended
  • Crush or chop the chocolate
  • Scoop out into container and add in the chocolate pieces
  • Fold chocolate into the dough until evenly mixed
  • Refridgerate for at least 30 minutes and dough will harden
  • Serve with celery or roll into balls

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders

When we think healthy, we tend to think we are going to need to cut out some of our favorite foods. The most common thing I hear is, if I eat healthy it will be boring and tasteless.

But that's not true! I believe it just means thinking about the ingredients you're using, avoiding things that create inflammation or cause intolerances to flair up, steering clear from sugar, and focusing on real food.

One of my favorite foods growing up were my mom's chicken cutlets - they were greasy, salty, and covered in italian bread crumbs... and so very delicious. I think what I loved most about them was how she sang when she cooked, that she would let me help her, and that we would eat thme right out of the pan steaming hot. The experience with her really is what I savored - and of course they were delicious. So whenever I'm craving my mom, or her chicken cutlets, I know I can whip up these great alternatives that are grainfree, free from additives, and are baked so they aren't covered in oil. They're also super easy to whip up and can bake in the oven along with roasted vegetables or any other sides!


IMG_0817.JPG

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg (free range, organic if possible)
  • 1/4c millet or almond flour
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning, dash of salt, and pepper
  • 2-4 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (free range, organic if possible)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg
  • On a plate, combine millet, seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp coconut
  • Remove fat from chicken and rinse
  • Dip chicken into the egg, then place on plate of coating and press down to coat the chicken; flip and get the other side
  • Place chicken on the baking pan, and continue process until all chicken tenders are ready to go
  • Bake for 10-12m minutes or until bottom is a bit browned, then flip and bake for another 10 or so, checking chicken to make sure it is white when cutting into the thickest piece
  • Remove from oven and serve!
  • Dip the chicken

Pre-Workout Nutrition & Healthy Snacks

My clients often are already fairly active in the gym, and have begun to reclaim their love for movement. By the time we start working together, they've realized that being healthy, as well as looking and feeling the way they want to, takes more than just an hour of sweat -- it's really tied to your nutrition.

Meals tend to be easy, there are so many great recipes to experiment with, and so many simple tricks we incorporate to balance plates and eat more veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and good protein sources. But when it comes to eating snacks or knowing if/what to eat before working out, and finding things to replace the typical sugary, carby go-tos that so often clutter our cabinets, the real challenge is illuminated.

So this week, I was inspired by my clients' questions around healthy snacks, and wanted to share some of my favorite snacks that can also double as a pre-workout energy booster!

First, let's quickly discuss why eating before working out can be important.

  • I'll caveat this by saying that sometimes fasted cardio or fasted HIIT is good for helping get to a goal, but you should be nourishing your body with protein & carbs within 30 minutes of moving if you're training fasted.
  • If you're planning to workout for an hour or more, having some fuel will ultimately help you have more energy to power through your sweat-sesh, and will prevent your body from eating away at the muscle you're working so hard to build because it needs energy!

Here's some science behind food & how it impacts your body during a workout:

  • Carbs help your body use up glycogen that is stored in your cells, which can fuel both short workouts and high-intensity exercises
  • Fats digest more slowly, and can provide fuel for longer gym sessions
  • Proteins help to prevent muscle damage and promote muscle recovery
  • Water, aka being hydrated, will help you perform your best and sustain your performance

So yes, eating before working out is important!! SO... what can I eat if I'm trying to eat clean, and how can I use this same idea to apply to healthy snacks?

  • Balance your meals with a good ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat
  • Or if you're visual, try a fist full of carbs, palm size of protein, and a thumb size of fats
  • Aim for whole foods so you can increase volume! For example, an energy bar is just that, a single bar... however for the same amount of protein, carbs, and fats, you could consume an apple, 4-5 walnuts, and a 1/2-3/4 scoop of protein OR a small piece of grilled chicken in a collard green wrap with avocado and grilled veggies. So much more filling, and nutritious!
Screen Shot 2019-01-24 at 10.44.53 AM.png

So I'll close this out by sharing one of my favorite preworkout snacks - sliced apple with shredded coconut, goji berries, almonds, and a sprinkle of chia seeds. You can sweeten this up a bit more with some low-sugar homemade jam or local raw honey, or swap the almonds for almond butter! What I love the most about this is how full of flavor and complexity this dish is, how many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants this packs, and it takes awhile to eat which helps me feel satiated and re-charged!

Give it a try, add your own healthy twist, and tag me in your creations or post a picture to the comments!!