Plant-Based Pesto Quinoa

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I set two goals for the month of September: 1. better meal prep and 2. daily meditation. Truth be told, the meal prep is going pretty well. Why it’s more difficult to find the time to  literally sit still than it is to exert effort into things like shopping, chopping, and cooking is beyond me. Meditation is a work in progress…but at least the meal prep is going well. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?!

Anyway, I typically meal prep on Sundays and I usually roast some chicken and a ton of veggies. Last Sunday, I was a little sick of chicken, so instead made a big batch of quinoa to have throughout the week. I didn’t want the quinoa tasting like bland leftovers, so I decided to mix things up and pesto-fy my quinoa….because anything with pesto is delicious, no?! Plus, not that I’m into labels or anything, but this baby also happens to be vegan/plant-based, gluten free, dairy free, and choc-full of all of your macro-nutrients. Yup, you’ve got protein, carbs, fat, and a serving of greens too – all in this one super simple dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, or sub for parmesan cheese if desired)
  • 1/2 cup organic corn

*note: all of my ingredients were organic, but if you’re going to go organic on anything, corn is the most important because conventional corn is so highly GMO. I use frozen organic corn and just thaw it out beforehand.

Cook quinoa (cook however you like to cook your quinoa. I cooked it on the stovetop in 2-3 cups water and a pinch of sea salt.) While quinoa is cooking, make the pesto by combining arugula, basil, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the pine nuts, and nutritional yeast in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Toast the other tablespoon of pine nuts, but be sure to watch them because they toast fast! (Truth: toasting nuts usually takes me two attempts because I forget about them and burn them the first time. Don’t do this.)

Turn heat off, but leave pot on the warm stove and stir in pesto, corn, and pine nuts. That’s it! Enjoy for lunch or dinner…all week long!

One Healthy Breakdown: Meatless Monday…and Tuesday…and Wednesday…

 

Basil Guacamole Dip and Sweet Potato Chips

Since it’s been a hot minute (ok, a loooong while…blame it on my need to soak up every single waking second with baby girl…and the fact that she lets me get very little else done!) since I’ve posted a recipe, the big come back better be double good…and it is!

A creamy, zesty, bbq-friendly but good enough for a dinner party too chips and dip. If you can’t decide between pesto and guacamole, this recipe is going to be your best friend. Not that we’re into labels or anything, but it also happens to be diary and gluten free and vegan too.

The icing on the cake? The perfectly roasted crunchy sweet potato chips so good that they put sweet potato fries to shame. Not that you’re not already salivating, but allow me to also mention the fact that this is super simple and easy to whip up. In fact, I did it before baby girl’s attention span ran out…which is pretty damn quick! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 small or 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Blend everything together in a high powered blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix) until it’s thick and creamy. That’s it!

For the chips, take 1-2 sweet potatoes (I used one large) and cut into thin round discs. Roast in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees until crispy (about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.) Let cool and arrange around your dip.

One Healthy Breakdown: good luck making this one last more than a few minutes!

 

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I just love anything (and everything) with a tangy lemon flavor. Lemon squares, you’re SO GOOD…but you’re SO BAD! This guilt-free, grain-free paleo bread with lemon, blueberries, and very little sugar…now that’s a show stopper. This deliciousness can be made as a loaf or muffins, crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. Does it get any better?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut flour (or healthy flour of choice)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 or 3 lemons (depending on how lemon-y you like)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside blueberries and lemons. Combine all other ingredients in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Wash lemons and grate the zest of one lemon into mixture. Cut lemons in half, remove seeds, and squeeze juice into mixture. Continue to blend until batter is consistent and smooth. Add blueberries and stir by hand. Grease loaf or muffin pan with coconut oil and pour batter in, leaving about an inch on top for loaf to rise. (If you have leftover batter, it can be used for muffins or pancakes.) Bake for 35 minutes (25 for muffins!) and check with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through, if not, continue to bake another 8-10 minutes. Once top has started to brown, remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. Enjoy this sweet and sour snack!

One Healthy Breakdown: take that sugar-laden lemon bars!

*recipe inspired by Savory Lotus’ Blueberry Lemon Bread

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!

Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars

What looks like a brownie but has zero grains, dairy, chocolate, or added sugar? Another experiment gone right in the OHH kitchen, Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars, of course! These babies are chock-full of superfoods and taste, so much so that even the littlest critics will enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 cooked beets (I used 2 precooked Love Beets)
  • 2 tablespoons goji beries
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
  • 5 whole figs or dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
  • splash of almond milk (if necessary)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a brownie pan with coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix or high-powered blender/food processor. Once mixture is blended, pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a fork or knife to make sure bars are solid, they may need a little bit more time depending on your pan size. Let cool, cut into bars, and enjoy for breakfast, snack, post-workout fuel, or a healthy dessert all week long!

One Healthy Breakdown: these bars are paleo-rific!

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.

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!

Sweet Potato Protein Muffins

These sweet potato muffins were an insta hit! Packed with protein, fiber, and sweet flavor, you can’t go wrong whipping up a batch of these babies for an easy breakfast or snack! Dont’ be afraid to substitute the sweet potatoes for pumpkin as well!

FullSizeRender(71)

Sweet Potato Protein Muffins:

Makes 6 regular sized muffins. Note that I used 1 can of organic sweet potato puree; however, you could use 1-2 baked sweet potatoes – equal to about 1.5 cups of sweet potato if you prefer.

Pre-heat oven 350 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweet potato puree or the equivalent of 1.5 cups of baked sweet potato (as long as you have a good blender, you can leave skin on – it’s the healthiest part!)
  • 1/2 cup raw rolled oats
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon / or a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk

Instructions:
blend or mix the above (I used Vitamix)
lightly coat muffin tin with coconut oil and pour mixture into pan, filling muffin just over halfway
bake muffins at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Once muffins golden on top, check with a fork or knife to make sure that muffin is cooked through. Let cool and remove from tins. Enjoy and refrigerate leftovers.

One Healthy Breakdown: September tastes oh so sweet!

Five Healthy Flour Alternatives

Most recipes we come across call for good old white flour, also known as all-purpose flour.  What’s so wrong with that? A lot. All-purpose white flour is basically just empty calories – short-term energy that makes our blood sugar spike without any nutritional value. Did you know that white flour is actually wheat stripped of the whole-grain elements, the bran and the germ, meaning that it lacks the fiber and nutrients. It is also commonly bleached white with chemicals.

breads

Whether you’re making cookies, muffins, pancakes, scones, or dessert, substituting white flour for one of the following healthier options will upgrade your recipe into a lighter, more nutritious, easier to digest option simply with this one easy switch.

  • Coconut flour is made of the superfood coconut, making it gluten-free, paleo, high in fiber, protein, energy, and low in carbohydrates. It’s dense and yields great pancakes (like these Delightful Banana Pancakes) and baked goods.
  • Almond flour/almond meal is made of almonds, also gluten-free, paleo, high in protein, and healthy fats. The difference between the two is simply that almond meal includes the whole nut while almond flour is made from blanched (skinless) almonds, both packed in vitamins and minerals. Try these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins made with almond flour.
  • Quinoa flour is made of grinding the seed we all know and love, quinoa! You can buy quinoa flour or you can grind your own uncooked seeds. High in fiber and nutrients, this gluten-free flour is light, a bit nutty, and a complete protein, making the perfect post-workout treats.
  • Spelt flour is a species of wheat that is light, nutty, and high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It is one of the oldest crops in history and very versatile. Although spelt does contain gluten, it is known to have many health benefits, including numerous minerals necessary for bone health. You can read more about spelt flour here.
  • Oat flour is simply ground oats. You can purchase it at a health food store or just grind up your own raw oats in a blender or coffee grinder. Oats are super high in fiber and other vitamins and minerals, so you can’t go wrong with this healthy option. Just be sure to search for “gluten free” if you’re sensitive to gluten. (Oats don’t actually contain gluten; however, they can be processed in a plant with gluten.)

One Healthy Breakdown: get empowered with healthy flours!