Homemade Larabars

I’m always on the hunt for on-the-go bars. Not only should they taste delicious, but the perfect bar must be made of real, whole foods. Larabar gets an A in my book because of their minimal ingredients – real, whole food that we’re all familiar with…which also means that they’re pretty easy to recreate, customize, and they involve no baking whatsoever. Shall we?

Homemade Larabars: (makes 10 bars)

Ingredients:

  • 10 dates
  • 2 generous tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew butter are all great)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt
  • water as needed
  • totally optional modifications:
    • 1/3 cup oats (for a serving of healthy carbs)
    • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons coconut butter or shredded coconut
    • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (for added protein)
    • 2 tablespoons high quality protein powder (for added protein)
    • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (for picky kids with a serious sweet tooth)
    • replace 1/2 of dates with other dried fruit of choice, like apricots or goji berries
    • 1/4 cup blueberries for blueberry flavor

Add all ingredients (except water) to food processor and mix. If mixture is too dry to stick together, add a teaspoon of water and continue to blend. Once mixture is consistent, transfer to a square pan or glass container and smoothly spread it as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove and cut into square or rectangular bars and remove bars as you wish (ideally with a flat metal spatula.) You can either keep in same container or individually wrap bars for travel. Enjoy a bar as a snack, pre-workout energy boost, or a sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: oh the possibilities with homemade Larabars!

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!

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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!

Pumpkin Spice Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This breakfast recipe is not only easy and healthy, but also clearly the epitome of fall. Autumn is surely the season for all things pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon. Breakfast should fuel your day with long-lasting energy and deliciousness. Check and check. Let’s dig in, shall we?!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or water (or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 apple chopped or 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds) chopped walnuts, or pecans

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Instructions:

Add oats to liquid in pot on stove on medium heat. Once oats begin to cook and thicken, turn heat to low and add all other ingredients. Stir and finish cooking (should take about 5-8 minutes.) Once the oatmeal is thick, remove from heat and let cool a minute before serving. Feel free to top oatmeal (just for visual appeal) with apple slices and cinnamon, more pumpkin, sprinkled nuts, or nothing at all. Enjoy this hearty fall-flavored meal!

One Healthy Breakdown: fueling with fall foods.

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.

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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!

Does Fat Make You Fat?

News flash: a low-fat diet can actually cause weight-gain, not a diet high in fat. So, what is fat anyway and why do we assume that fat is what makes us fat?

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Fat is a nutrient that our bodies need, in fact, about 30% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat. This may surprise you, but it’s true!

There’s a catch, though, sort of. We should be eating good quality fats, just like we should be eating good quality foods in general. That means no trans fats. Deal?

So, what are the healthy, good quality fats that we should be eating? Good question. Nuts and seeds, avocado, fatty fish like salmon, coconut, olive oil, unprocessed lean meat, flax, dark chocolate (yay!) and dairy. These healthy fats do not cause obesity, heart attacks, or high-cholesterol, but actually promote nutrient-absorption, raise immunity, and actually burn fat. Really!

Fat also makes us feel satisfied for longer. For example, adding a spoonful of nut butter to your apple or half an avocado to your eggs will make you feel more satisfied, help your body absorb the nutrients it needs, and ward of hunger longer. Win/win!

One Healthy Breakdown: do not fear the fat, eat the fat!

Healthy Holidays with Lifeway Kefir

Lifeway Kefir is helping to keep us healthy this holiday season! Kefir, sometimes called the “champagne of dairy” is a cultured probiotic dairy beverage that’s been around for more than two thousand years. With the consistency of drinkable yogurt and a tart and tangy taste, kefir’s versatility ranges from granola to smoothies, salad dressing, to holiday treats.

Here are the health benefits of kefir plus a delicious recipe for “Strained Kefir with Fresh Pear, Nuts and Seeds,” brought to us by Lifeway Kefir.

  • Kefir contains live and active probiotics, live organisms that provide a myriad of health benefits. Like other fermented foods, including miso, sauerkraut and kimchi, kefir supports a healthy gut, where 70-80% of the cells that make up the immune system are located.
  • Kefir may help to maintain a healthy weight. It is high in protein, which increases satiety and reduces hunger cravings throughout the day.
  • Kefir can improve your skin, as it contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), a popular ingredient in skin care products.
  • The live and active probiotic cultures found in kefir may help support healthy digestion.
  • Not all brands of kefir are lactose free, but Lifeway Kefir’s unique fermentation process and specific cultures ensure their kefir is 99% lactose-free. Unlike other dairy products, it is suitable for most people who are lactose intolerant.
  • Kefir can improve mood, as it contains tryptophan, the amino acid that helps raise levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Kefir supports bone density, as one serving provides 30% of your daily calcium needs.

Strained Kefir with Fresh Pear, Nuts and Seeds by Lifeway Kefir

Kefir_parfait_pear_nuts_fbIngredients:

  • 1 32 oz bottle Lifeway Plain Whole Milk Kefir
  • 1 ripe pear, sliced*
  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste
  • Ground nutmeg, to taste
  • Honey, to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

The night before, or up to three days in advance, line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth or coffee filters. Rest the strainer over a deep bowl, careful to make sure the bottom doesn’t touch, and pour in the kefir. Cover the bowl and strainer with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least eight hours, to strain. After the kefir has strained, transfer the thick cream to a container with a lid and place in the fridge until ready to use. Discard the liquid whey, or save for use later. You will have 2 – 2 1/2 cups of thick kefir cream. To prepare the pears: clean, slice and remove the core of the pear. Add to a bowl with lemon juice and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To serve: add 1/2 – 3/4 cup strained kefir to a bowl or parfait glass. Top with sliced and seasoned pears, nuts and seeds of choice. Drizzle with honey, if desired, and serve cold. Feel free to use sweet or sour apples, plums, bananas or berries – whatever is in season and you have on hand!

One Healthy Breakdown: a super healthy sweet treat – the best of both worlds!

Pumpkin Treats Two Ways

These are hands-down two of the best pumpkin treats everrrrr invented. Pumkins are not only a fall staple for their color and taste, they also deliver a rich dose of antioxidants to boot. You can feel good about making these treats over and over and over again.

Pumpkin Nut Fudge: (vegan, gluten-free, and can be made sugar free)

IMG_3116Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (I like Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin or you can make your own)
  • 1/4 cup cacoa powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup or honey (optional, omit for sugar free recipe)
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice (peanut, almond, and sunflower seed all work great)
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

You’ll need two separate bowls to make the layers. For chocolate fudge, combine cacoa powder, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon maple syrup/honey. Melt briefly (microwave for about 20-30 seconds or use stovetop) and stir fudge until consistent. Pour half of fudge on parchment paper in a square pan. Put in freezer or fridge for 5-10 minutes while making pumpkin layer. For pumpkin filling, combine pumpkin with the remaining coconut oil (2 tablespoons) and maple syrup/honey (1 tablespoon.) In a blender or mixer, add nut butter and sea salt and mix until consistent. Spread this layer on top of fudge once it’s solid and freeze or refrigerate another 5-10 minutes. Once pumpkin layer has solidified, add remaining fudge and refrigerate another 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

*option: for a sweeter treat, simply melt chocolate chips and coconut oil for fudge layer. For a less-rich and more “cookie-like” fudge, add almond meal to fudge layer. Recipe adopted from Detoxinista.

Pumpkin Oat Cookies:

cccIngredients:

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Instructions:

Mix or blend all ingredients together, adding chocolate chips last. Scoop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto cookie pan over parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until outside becomes crispy.

One Healthy Breakdown: you’ll be extra thankful for pumpkin this season after tasting these treats!

 

 

Homemade CocoNut Milk

No, you’re not nuts. Not only is it possible (and super easy!) to make your own nut milk, it also happens to be WAY more delicious and nutritious than store-bought. All you need is a cup of nuts, one can of organic coconut milk, and some water. See, simple enough already!

image(44)On day three of Whole30, this not-a-fan-of-black-coffee sought out for an alternative to her usual cartons of unsweetened almond milk…and what she got was far superior – a decadent, creamy concoction that makes a plain cup of coffee a supreme experience. Another victory for good old whole foods and homemade simplicity…hold the following: Cane Sugar, Salt, “Natural Flavor,” Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan gum, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Evaporated Cane Juice, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, D-Alpha-Tocopherol, Syrup, Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Carrageenan, L-Selenomethionine, Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid. Just to name a few of the many additives found on the most popular brands of nut milk. Here’s how it’s done:

IMG_1610Step 1: soak about a half cup of nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, or any combination of these – raw and unsalted is best) in a bowl of water overnight or for at least three hours.

Step 2: drain soaked nuts in strainer.

Step 3: pour rinsed nuts, 1 can coconut milk, and two cups of water in your Vitamix or high-powered blender and go to town. Once mixture is blended into liquid, store in fridge and use within a week. Makes about six cups. Amazing with coffee, tea, granola, oatmeal, and pretty much anything else. Note that if you’re not a fan of coconut, feel free to blend soaked nuts with one cup water and call it a (coconut-free) day! Also, feel free to experiment with flavorings – cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom, sea salt, rose water, etc.

One Healthy Breakdown: go nuts…coconuts!

Sweet Apple Pancakes

This deliciously warm and comforting breakfast is light enough to eat year round, enjoy!

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Mix the following ingredients in a bowl for batter: (single serving, multiply for more.)

  • 3 tablespoons flour of choice (I used buckwheat because that’s what’s in my cabinet.)
  • ¼ cup organic, unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon raw oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • splash of almond milk
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites (substitute with water and flaxseed)

Serve with maple syrup or garnish with sliced apples and chopped nuts. Enjoy every last bite.

One Healthy Hamptons: You can never have too many pancake recipes up your sleeve!

Homemade Nut Butter

Homemade nut butter. Why didn’t I do this sooner?! Ever since I hopped on the almond butter train, I’ve been shocked by the price (over $20!) of organic, almond butter! When you go through the good stuff as fast as I do, that’s quite an investment. So, I started to wonder if I could ever be one of those really cool people who make their OWN nut butter. From scratch. At home. I did a little research on best practice and gave it a whirl. Literally. It worked like a charm. So, I kept it up and now I rarely buy jars at the store anymore. There are so many fun combinations of nut butter to try!

almondbutterHere’s how: Use about 1 cup of nuts for about 1 jar of nut butter and a strong blender or Vitamix. Just blend away. Check every so often to spoon mixture from sides (if it all builds up on the side, the blade will start to burn out.) It takes about 10 minutes for the oils to come out and take the mixture from powder to smooth and silky buttah. Watch my very own almond butter video here and enjoy!

You can make nut butter out of:

    • Almonds
    • Cashews
    • Walnuts
    • Peanuts
    • Sunflower seeds (and most other seeds!)
    • Hazelnuts
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Pecans
    • A whole lot more!

Feel free to mix and match. If you love the taste of roasted nuts, just roast your nuts before blending. Lastly, if you like your nut butter crunchy like me, add in some nuts at the end for one last ‘blend.’

Try some add-ins to really get creative:

Sea salt
Dark chocolate chips
Unsweetened coconut
Banana (keep refrigerated after)
Cacoa powder
Carob chips
Cinnamon
Honey
Maple syrup
Sea salt
Vanilla extract
Pretzels
Pumpkin puree
Cranberries
Raisins
Goji Berries

One Healthy Breakdown: you’re nuts if you don’t try this at home!