Healthy (to die for) Shortbread

Oh, shortbread. It’s one of those things we don’t see/eat very often, but one bite of that buttery, crumbly goodness and it’s enough to throw all of those healthy habits right out of the window and dig in…hard. Just me?? Inspired by Bulletproof’s Shortbread bars (containing collagen, which is great for skin health, hormonal balance, bones and joints, and digestion) this simple, no-bake recipe is full of healthy goodness and tastes just as good as the real deal. Seriously!

Healthy Shortbread (raw & gluten-free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (I use Vital Proteins, but this is optional/tasteless)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • dash of sea salt
  • filtered water as needed
  • coconut oil or parchment paper to coat pan

Slightly melt coconut butter and regular butter until soft or liquid and throw all ingredients together into your food processor. Mix until consistent. You may have to stop to collect mixture a few times. After a minute or two, add water by the teaspoon until mixture starts to slightly stick together into a dough (you should not need much water.) Grease a square or rectangular pan or glass container with coconut oil or cover with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Once dough is mixed and consistent, pour into pan/container. With a spoon (or your fingers!) spread and compact dough until it evenly coats the bottom (thickness doesn’t matter.) Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours. Once solid, use sharp knife or metal spatula to cut into the shape of your choice, remove, and devour.

One Healthy Breakdown: do they call it shortbread because it doesn’t last long?? 😉

PB & J Sorbet

This super simple sorbet is easy to whip up any time of day for a tasty treat in as little as three ingredients. If you have a little sweet tooth, you’ll love this alternative to ice cream. No dairy, gluten, or added sugar involved. Basically, think of it like a dessert smoothie…but better. Oh, you may have noticed that I’m kinda in love with anything PB & J…if you don’t feel the same way, just omit the nut butter for a classic berry sorbet.

Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 cup frozen berries (I use a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cacoa powder for a slight chocolatey taste
  • Optional: 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek for protein, coconut for dairy free)

Simply blend all ingredients together until it’s the consistency of sorbet and enjoy! Feel free to add some toppings, like coconut, chopped nuts, granola, cacoa nibs, etc. for a crunch.

One Healthy Breakdown: if you’ve had a bad day, sweeten it with sorbet!

One Healthy Gingerbread Recipe

All I have been wanting to eat lately is food that tastes like Christmas…anyone else?! Spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and foods like citrus fruits, pomegranates, and cranberries are lighting up my life. Homemade gingerbread, however, is brand new to me…until now!

Growing up, we always had gingerbread in the house this time of year, but I don’t even know what was in it. After looking at several gingerbread recipes online, I decided to create my own version with more spices and less sugar. Just one taste of this healthy homemade gingerbread and I know it will be a new holiday tradition. I love it THAT much and you will too!

The best part is that this gingerbread contains no granular sugar, just honey, maple syrup, and molasses. (To be honest, I don’t even think I own sugar. There’s just no need for it when there are delicious natural substitutions out there.)

It’s also dairy free and can be made gluten-free as well! Let’s get started, shall we?!

One Healthy Gingerbread Recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2  cups healthy flour of choice (I used spelt)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Toppings:

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • canned full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, then mix together. You don’t need a fancy mixer, a regular old fork will do. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and fill the pan with batter, leaving a few inches at the top (this stuff rises!) Bake for 45-50 minutes.

To make the frosting, skim the top half of the coconut milk from the can (be sure not to shake it as to only get the thick paste on top). Add in honey, (or maple syrup if you prefer) vanilla extract, and whip it together. This will make a thicker frosting. If you prefer a thinner frosting to drizzle on the bread instead, you can water it down with the thinner coconut milk from the can (or a little bit of water) use 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you get the right consistency.

Once the bread is cool, frost and top with pomegranate seeds, which are equally nutritious, delicious, and festive. Feel free to get creative and try different toppings, like chopped nuts, red and green sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or cinnamon. Make one loaf to have at home and others as gifts. The perfect Christmas breakfast or healthy dessert this time of year!

One Healthy Breakdown: Happy holidays and happy baking!

*Caroline O’Neill is a year round Hamptons resident and health and wellness lifestyle blogger of Bloom & Spark with a passion for nutrition, yoga, food, spirituality and personal development.

Thanksgiving Staples Done Right

Thanksgiving food has a bad rap. Not only is the holiday a celebration of gratitude, giving, and grub, but Thanksgiving dinner can actually be pretty freaking healthy with a little bit of thought, control, and balance. So, ignore the hype, don’t fast for the feast, and go into the meal knowing that it’s not your last, so enjoy! Here’s the deal on those Thanksgiving staples:

thanksgiving

Turkey: the main event. Turkey is actually a healthy, low-fat lean protein with tons of vitamins, so let it take center stage on your plate. It’s when the turkey is covered in stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and devoured alongside alcohol, dinner rolls, and dessert. So, instead of using the turkey as a means to hold these other foods, actually enjoy the turkey itself!

Potatoes: potatoes are a healthy, starchy veg BUT they’re usually ‘buttered up’ (literally) with tons of butter, cream, and cheese, adding tons of fat. If you’re like us, you’d take sweet potatoes any day over regular white potatoes – they’re sooo much sweeter! Luckily, sweet potatoes are also sooo good for you, full of Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and beta-carotene. Just keep it simple with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) or butter and some cinnamon, rosemary, or your favorite spices. If you agree to disagree and prefer the white mashers over orange, simply enjoy a small serving, not a potato volcano on your plate…unless you’re gearing up for a post-Thanksgiving marathon. In that case, you’ll actually need those carbs!

Brussels Sprouts: this cruciferous veggie is a fall staple in the OHH kitchen. Full of fiber, they’ll help you to digest your holiday meal while lowering cholesterol and risk of certain cancers when eaten regularly. Plus, they’re so damn good! No reason not to pass the sprouts, please!

Cranberry Sauce: sadly, we’re in America and that means that your traditional cranberry sauce is more like a gelatin of sugar (with very little to no cranberries) that plops out of a can. Not so appealing. Why not try to make your own, because real cranberries are actually a great source of antioxidants. Here’s a super simple recipe without the added sugar or chemicals!

Casseroles: yeah, not so healthy. The dish on casseroles: not to rag on this classic holiday dish, but a casserole is basically an excuse to make a normally healthy food (like green beans) into a cheesy, buttery, saucy, glutinous dish, with a bit of veggies hiding inside. Keep things simple and skip the ‘role, just stick to the good old veggies above!

Dessert: Have your cake and eat it too. Pumpkin and pecan pie, yum yum. Ok, so not the healthiest things in the world, but again, pumpkin and pecans themselves are both full of nutrients, so if you’re in charge of the pie, aim to bulk up these ingredients and dial down the sugar. Either way, there’s no need to turn down Thanksgiving dessert, just have a few bites of your very favorite, enjoy the deliciousness, and be done with it. It’s when dessert becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet that’ll have you feeling YUCK with a side of guilt.

One Healthy Breakdown: Thanksgiving is one meal, one day, and the focus should be on gratitude over grub…but enjoy the grub too! Happy, healthy holiday!

Cookie Dough Protein Bites

Cookie dough. One of life’s treasures. What about cookie dough we can feel good about eating? That’s right, no salmonella in these bad boys, just pure protein, natural sweetness, and serious cookie-dough deliciousness. No need for cookies when you’ve got cookie dough protein bites!

img_7976

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (approx. 3 cups) cooked chickpeas
  • 5 medjool dates (be sure to remove pits!)
  • 2 heaping tablespoon rolled oats (plain, uncooked)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon raw cashews
  • 1.5 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or cacao chips/nibs
  • optional: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and/or collagen peptides for added protein

Instructions:

Mix everything together in a Vitamix, high quality blender, or food processor. Once mixture blends and forms into dough, roll into balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Devour and enjoy! We dare you to have just one…it’s impossible.

One Healthy Breakdown: just as yummy as the real deal, but super healthy!

Decadent Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate mousse…yum….  Healthy chocolate mousse? Hmmm…

Avocado is the magic ingredient making this mousse light and healthy, yet decadent and delicious. If you have a couple of avocados lying around getting super soft, that’s a great excuse to make chocolate mousse (and if not, go get your hands on some and make this!)

img_7613

Ingredients: (makes 3 servings)

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate or cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peanut or almond butter (omit for nut-free)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • dash of sea salt
  • optional: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder and/or collagen peptides for added protein

Instructions:

Combine and melt chocolate/cacao nibs, coconut oil, and honey/maple syrup together on stove or in microwave. Add all ingredients into blender/food processor and blend until consistent. Refrigerate at least 25 minutes and devour. Top with chopped nuts and/or granola if you’d like.

One Healthy Breakdown: there are many delicious ways to eat avocado, but this is the most decadent way by far!

No Bake Chocolate PB & J Cups

Introducing Lisa Hayim, founder of The Well Necessities, and her Chocolate PB & J Cups that are sure to make your mouth water…at least ours did.

These are seriously my most loved dessert creation, so easy, and come out so damn good!

pbcups

Recipe: (makes six PB & J cups and takes about one hour)

Ingredients:

1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons jelly
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter OR 4 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
2 tablespoons water
6 cupcake tins

Instructions:

1. Add almond milk to chocolate and heat until just melted and smooth. Use a fork to mix.

2. In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter with water until creamy.

3. Using half of the chocolate mixture, evenly distribute into the cupcake tins, spreading so that it is even on bottom, about 1/2 inch thick.  Place in freezer for 10-20 minutes until cool.

4. Remove cups from freezer, add jelly to each cup,(about 1/4 inch thick) and add remaining chocolate on top. Place in freezer again about ten minutes until cool.

5. Evenly distribute the peanut butter mixture on top of each cup.

6. Place in freezer to harden and enjoy in 30 minutes!

One Healthy Breakdown: dessert done right, RD approved and delicious!

* Lisa Hayim is the founder of The Well Necessities and TWN Collection. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist in New York City and created The Hugly (healthy ugly) cookie.

 

Peppermint Mocha Chia Pudding

Wow. Peppermint, chocolate, and coffee culminate to make this perfectly decadent combination. Did we mention it’s super healthy too? Nutritious and delicious anytime of day! With no added sugar, this dessert-like treat can even be enjoyed for breakfast!

FullSizeRender_2

Ingredients: (makes one meal serving or 2 smaller snack/dessert servings)

  • 2/3 cup almond or coconut milk (make your own!)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2-4 tablespoons coffee (cool/room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons cacoa powder
  • 2 small drops peppermint extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Mixture will thicken to pudding. Remove, stir again, and serve chilled. Enjoy this decadent (super healthy!) sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: who says healthy doesn’t taste good delicious?!

Banana Almond Butter Cookies

Banana Almond Butter Cookies? Why, yes, thank you. Megan of ‘Megan’s Morsels’ shares her super simple recipe for these delicious (and nutritious) treats!

image1(2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 fully ripe (slightly brown spotted) banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 scoops high quality vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tbsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3  cup pure maple syrup (or more for sweeter)
  • 2 or 3 spoonfuls of almond butter (yum!)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine all the ingredients in one bowl and mix thoroughly until you achieve a thick cookie dough consistency
  • Form balls with the dough and then flatten to make cookies and place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly firm and even a little golden brown on top
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy!

One Healthy Breakdown: these cookies are perfect for any time of day!

image2

*Megan Marcotrigiano is a health coach and Pilates instructor. She also makes and sells organic, gluten and dairy free treats known as Megan’s Morsels.

Healthy Holiday Eating with Bloom & Spark

Aside from cozy fires, warm sweaters, and time with family, the holidays are often full of endless parties and copious amounts of food. There’s no need to deprive ourselves; it goes against the abundance and gratitude that the season brings. Here’s how staying present at the party can help you to in maneuver tricky situations and feel your best:

food-sweet-cookies-christmasBefore the party, make a plan and stick to it. Think ahead what you will eat and what you won’t eat to feel good about yourself. By planning ahead, you can have what you like without going overboard. Maybe you skip fried food, minimize sweets, or limit drinks. Maybe you make a compromise with yourself – have the dessert but skip the appetizers. You could stay near the veggie plate while you chat to avoid mindlessly devouring the plate of pigs in a blanket. You could bring your own homemade dish to ensure that you at least have something healthy to eat. Whatever your game plan is, decide ahead of time and stick to your plan! Eating a light meal or healthy snack at home before you go to the party will ensure that you don’t grab whatever is in front of you out of hunger. These superfood balls may be just the trick to your nutritious and delicious pre-party plan.

IMG_5792Bloom & Spark’s Superfood Balls:

Superfood balls are really popular right now for good reason! The great thing about them is that once you have the base, you can really add anything you want to make them your own. Start with dates and nuts in the food processor and feel free to add coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maca, goji berries, chocolate, even essential oils like peppermint and cinnamon. You could even roll them in ground up candy canes for a festive and tasty holiday touch! These are also the perfect thing to bring to a party if you want to avoid sugary desserts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 10 dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp maca powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions: Mix everything (except the cocoa powder) in a food processor. Once all ingredients are incorporated, take out half of the mixture and set it aside in a bowl (if you want to make half of the batch chocolate like I did.) Add the cocoa powder to the mixture that’s still in the processor. (If the mixture is a little dry you can add 1-2 tsp of water while it’s still in the food processor to moisten.) Roll both mixtures into bite size balls and let them cool in the refrigerator before serving/eating. Yum!

IMG_5800*Caroline O’Neill is a year round Hamptons resident and health and wellness lifestyle blogger of Bloom & Spark with a passion for nutrition, yoga, food, spirituality and personal development.