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.

Healthy, Happy Gingerbread Men

Once upon a time…

Gingerbread menGingerbread cookies are a holiday staple. Enjoy these little crunchy cookies done right with natural ingredients

Ingredients: (makes about 3 dozen cookies)

  • 3 cups flour (buckwheat, whole wheat, or spelt are good)
  • 3/4 cup baking stevia or succant
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup black-strap molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup organic unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ensuring dough is consistent. Feel free to use an electric mixer or food processor on low speed. Once fully mixed, remove dough and divide into two parts. Wrap both in plastic and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350. After 2-3 hours in fridge, remove dough and roll on a floured cutting board until thin. Use cookie cutters or simply make round cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes (check at 10). Let cookies cool completely before decorating, playing imaginary gingerbread family, or devouring.

One Healthy Breakdown: run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me…

Holiday Flavored Smoothies

With the holidays just around the corner, incorporating some sweet seasonal deliciousness into your green smoothie is a great way to stay on track and taste the holidays in the healthiest way. Try these pumpkin pie, chocolate peppermint, and gingerbread smoothie recipes this season!

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie:

  • 1 cup spinach or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/3 cup frozen cauliflower rice (optional, adds creaminess and extra nutrients)
  • 1 scoop vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or chai, protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 dates
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Blend all ingredients, top with granola or shredded coconut, and be thankful for this healthy version of pie in a cup!

peppermint

Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie:

  • 1 cup spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder or 1 heaping tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup frozen cauliflower rice (optional, adds creaminess and extra nutrients)
  • 6 fresh mint leaves (if you have them)
  • 1 drop peppermint extract
  • 1 date
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk/water

Blend all and sip with a smile! Much healthier than peppermint bark or Thin Mint cookies, but that same minty flavor to kick the craving!

gingerbreadcookies

Gingerbread Smoothie:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla, gingerbread, or chai flavored protein powder
  • 1/3 cup frozen cauliflower rice (optional, adds creaminess and extra nutrients)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and/or clove
  • 2 dates
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

One Healthy Breakdown: Eat (or drink) your way through the holidays with healthy smoothies!

Love Grace Juice Cleanse – Sunlight in a Bottle

I recently tried Love Grace Foods‘ three-day juice cleanse. This was my first ever juice cleanse and guess what? I survived! …a little cleaner, greener, and lighter from all of that bottled sunlight! Love Grace shipped me (door to door service from NYC!) five full juices plus a ginger bomb for each day. Allow me to introduce you to the colorful wonders: Super Cider, Purify, Restore, Green Sunshine, and Longevity Tonic. With names like these, you know it’s made with love.

lovegraceAlthough I liked some juices more than others, I loved the variety of organic ingredients. I loved knowing that I was truly eating (well, drinking) a rainbow, with about 20-30 varieties of fresh produce daily, way more than I would ingest normally. Although the cleanse provides a calorie deficit, each and every one has nutritional value and is instantly absorbed due to the nature of Love Grace’s juicing. This isn’t a ‘get skinny fast’ cleanse, it’s SO much more. Love Grace’s ingredients don’t just flush the body out, but also replenish the good stuff we need long-term, like cancer and Alzheimer fighters.

Juicing is detoxifying, cleansing, rejuvenating, and inspiring. This cleanse was just the refreshing kick I needed. Speaking of kick, these cold-pressed, organic, raw, juices pack a powerful punch. Like that blink a few times, woah that’ll wake ya right up! Especially that ‘Ginger Bomb Elixer,’ it’s packed with anti-bacterial and antiviral ingredients to rev the metabolism and up your energy, preventing the body from slowing down due to the lack of calories. The shot is super intense, yet totally refreshing.

photo 1 My favorites included the Purify, (breakfast of super greens sweetened with coconut water) Super Cider (apple, carrot goodness) and, of course, the Chocolate Superfood Smoothie (banana, flax, cacoa, goji berries, dates, and more.) This Chocolate Smoothie literally got me through the cleanse, it made it all worth it – the chocolately light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily, Love Grace allows customers to customize their cleanse and purchase juice a la carte. Good news for me, now that I’ve tried them all out and picked my faves. Hello, chocolate for dinner everyday.

photo 3In all seriousness though, these daily protein smoothies provide the sustenance an active body needs. Made of way more than just produce, they’re thick and satisfying. The superfood smoothies and the ginger bombs are what set Love Grace apart from all of other juice cleanses on the market, and that I like.

The other huge perk of juice cleansing was the convenience factor. With a fridge stocked with juice, I didn’t have to think about grocery shopping, meal planning, or cooking. I happened to be attending an all day Re:TREAT while I was cleansing, which conveniently allowed me to focus 100% of my attention, instead of having to think about prepping and packing meals. I cleansed in every sense of the word; physically and mentally.

So, I bet you’re dying to know: was I hungry? Yes. Not even going to lie, at times I was starving, but not to the point that it effected my body other than a grumbling tummy. I didn’t get headaches or lightheaded, not even from the torture of replacing my normal morning coffee with peppermint tea. I didn’t go to bed starving and I made it through intense workouts just fine.

So, was it worth the hunger pangs, lack of snackin’, and coffee cravings? Yes. It was worth it to wake up feeling lighter, cleaner and leaner throughout the entire day, and it gave me a new appreciation for everything I put in my mouth. Plus, the results didn’t reverse themselves (even after my much-anticipated post-cleanse breakfast of *healthy* pancakes.)

One Healthy Breakdown: Yes, I’d absolutely juice with Love Grace again, but next time around, I’ll probably customize my own cleanse. If you’re looking for an easy, reliable first cleanse or even a long-term healthy upgrade, (made with love) check out Love Grace Foods.