Peanut Butter Love Fudge

The other night I was having a major sweet attack. I wanted cake and sprinkles and rainbow frosting. But I knew that just wouldn’t do. So I looked through my kitchen and decided to experiment. I have officially created a monster – if you can make it through this post without wanting to make these then more power to you!

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I love fudge and for most of my life I’ve made it every Christmas but there’s always SO MUCH sugar that by the time I’m done licking my fingers I feel sick to my stomach with a tummy ache that lasts for hours. That’s not how fun food should be! Nothing should make you feel that sick. And while this recipe does use chocolate chips and honey, I can tell you that even after devouring the entire recipe upon realizing how amazing it is, I didn’t ever get that same painful sick feeling I have with refined sugar.

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One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it only has 4 ingredients. It’s so incredibly easy and delectable, you’ll want to make it all the time – and in bigger batches! Sidenote: I’m seriously leaving my computer right now to grab a spoon of peanut butter – I CAN’T HANDLE all these pictures!

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Here what you’ll need:

  • 3 well rounded TBSPs of peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP coconut flour – I used Nutiva’s Organic Coconut flour – it smells amazing and 1 TBSP of it has 4g of fiber, crazy right?!
  • 1 TBSP Pure Honey
  • 1 TBSP chocolate chips

Directions:

In a bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut flour, and honey. Pour into a small dish lined with wax paper. The smaller the dish, the thicker the fudge will be. Put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Next melt the chocolate chips in 15-20 second intervals in the microwave and then pour over the fudge. Put back into the freezer for at least 45 minutes (if you can wait that long).

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I took mine out and let it sit in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before I cut it into 4 pieces. It made it a little gooey and slightly soft. The creamy texture and sweet taste are a perfect combo.

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Nutrition info below. Let me know how you like the fudge!

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Banana Almond Butter Blondies

These.

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The other night I was craving a Hershey’s bar so bad I was making noises and embarrassing myself at the grocery store. I KNEW though that if I caved, I’d be upset. Not because indulging is bad but because Hershey’s bars are now made with more fake ingredients and isolates (ingredients found naturally that are then isolated and put into products in higher amounts than found in nature) than they once used to. Without going on a rant with this alone, I’ll get to the story about me laying in bed for over an hour pouting that my life was over that night because I wanted a chocolate bar and I couldn’t have it. The 26 year old version of a tantrum.

But I didn’t cave. Instead, I thought about what I had in my kitchen and decided to come up with a healthier recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thus, the birth of the banana almond butter blondie bars was born and let me tell you, these are dynamite delicious! So much so that my husband and I inhaled the entire 12 bars within 20 minutes of them coming out of the oven. But you know, it was for science…and blogging…and all of you! I took one for the team! ….erm. Good lord I already want more of these!

This was also my first time buying and using dates. I’ll be honest, I was always hesitant because they look like a pile of bugs. But great odin’s raven are these things sweet and amazing! In fact, of all the dates I’ve experienced, these were definitely the sweetest (see what I did there – my Dad humor has no end). And while dates are high in fructose, they also are packed with magnesium, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. In other words. they are a MUCH better alternative to get some sweet in your baking that just using refined sugar.

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I’ll stop teasing and give you the recipe already 😛

Recipe:

  • 3 bananas
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a smaller baking dish (I used a glass 6×8 or so) with wax paper and cooking spray. Mash together bananas until creamy. Slice up pitted dates. Combine all ingredients into a bowl with mashed bananas. Pour mixture into lined baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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The beauty of these is you can eat them immediately for more of a bread pudding type treat. If you were really being bad you could add ice cream. Letting them cool for at least 20 minutes though gives them time to solidify more into bars. I can’t tell you what they are like cooled further or even refrigerated because we ate them too fast (nom nom nom) but I will do an update soon.

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Slice them into 12 pieces for the following nutritional info per serving.

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Baked Pickle Chips

There’s nothing like going to a bar and ordering a basket of deep-fried pickle chips, crispy, dilly bites of delicious. But they are deep-fried and then my body hurts. Last night I decided to try baking them homemade and not only did I like them more, but they were just as crispy and wonderful.

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There’s also something indescribable about taking the time to hand bake your own food. Gathering all of the ingredients, hand dipping each slice into the mixture and watching them crisp in the oven. Food always tastes more enjoyable when it’s not just something going mindlessly into your mouth, but something you’re proud of, something you hand crafted.

This recipe was inspired by some recent posts I’ve seen about baking vegetables into chips. You could do this with a variety of things like sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, kale, etc.

For this recipe (feel free to double it or quadruple it for more people) you’ll need:

  • A jar of dill pickles
  • Grated Parmesan (I used a store-bought bottle because it was what I had in my fridge, but fresh parm would probably be better)
  • Bread crumbs (I used organic ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Fresh dill

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Measurements:

  • 3 dill pickles
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Loose and sprinkled fresh dill

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start by rinsing off your pickles so they aren’t overwhelmingly salty. Then slice 3 of them into tiny chip size slices. Next time I might also try letting them air dry on the cutting board for an hour or so they get a bit more crispy in the oven. For this round, I used them right away.

Crack your egg into a bowl and scramble with a fork.

Mix together Parmesan, bread crumbs, and fresh dill.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly coat with olive oil.

Then one by one, dip pickle slices into egg and then coat with bread crumb mixture. Press each piece firmly to make sure they stick. I had to wash my hands a lot since the mixture would clump on my fingers.

Bake chips for 8-10 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 5 minutes. The tops should be lightly browned and crispy. You should be able to dive right in. This recipe made about 35 pickle chips and clocked out at around 170 calories.

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Black Bean Brownies

My baking experiments are often just that, mega experiments. Luckily I have fiancé who’s willing to try just about anything and a blog that allows me to showcase my trial and error experience. So thank YOU!

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Last night I decided to give the whole bean brownie thing another go and these turned out WAY better than the garbanzo bean brownies I made a while back. This time I added in applesauce which made the texture a lot more soft and brownie-like. I also added in a tablespoon of REAL sugar. Ladies and gentleman, I’d always much rather use a little bit of real sugar for taste than ANY of that fake stuff.

Here’s the new recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray a smaller baking dish with cooking spray. I typically use an 8×8 or in this case I used a random 10×6 I had lying around

In a food processor or bowl with an electric mixer combine:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons pure honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 whole wheat oats (steel cut preferred but I used quick oats because it was what I had)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

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Mix ingredients until well blended. Batter will be thick and comparable to real brownie batter. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and then cut into 25-35 pieces. In this recipe I cut mine into 35 pieces so each one was bite size and only 25 calories.

Nutrition info below. Happy nomming!

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Better Banana Bread

Whatcha gonna do with those extra banananananas?!? Well you’ll only need two for this recipe and the browner they are, the sweeter your clean banana bread will taste! This recipe ROCKS! I’m telling ya, you’ll want to gobble it right up. Each loaf makes 8 super soft and velvety 106 calories pieces of heavenly banana bread. When most recipes are close to 250 calories a piece and pushing 20g of sugar, you’re bound to feel guilty but not with this one!!

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What’s the key to healthier baked goods? Well for one thing, I’ve learned that you do not need mountains of flour to hold something together. All this time, I always thought that 2 1/2 cups of flour was a staple amount just because, I dunno, that’s what people have always done. I got away with just 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe and the bread is more spongy and soft and luxurious than anything I’ve ever had.

I always like to sub in some healthier alternatives for ingredients. So instead of regular butter and milk and white flour, I opted for some healthier alternatives. First up, I used Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. I love this stuff.

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I also used my favorite yogurt butter by Brummel & Brown that has only 45 calories per tablespoon.

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I also used almond milk instead of regular milk.

The Recipe:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 TBSP Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TSBP almond milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
  • Mash together bananas in small bowl, add in almond milk, ground cloves, and cinnamon
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer
  • In a third bowl, combine all dry ingredients; baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whole wheat flour
  • Pour banana mixture into butter and sugar bowl
  • Then add all dry ingredients and blend together with the mixer
  • Pour into lightly greased (I always use Pam or any spray) loaf pan. I think mine is around 5×9
  • Baking for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted into center of loaf comes out clean
  • Drop out onto cutting board or flat cutting surface and let cool for 10-15 minutes
  • Slice into 8 pieces for 106 calorie servings. Bread will be very moist and will need to cool completely before storing in containers or Ziplocs to keep it from getting soggy.

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No Bake Clean Cheesecake

This easy no bake cheesecake is a great way to satisfy your cheesecake craving without feeling guilty. Being a cleaner recipe, it won’t taste as sugary as a slice of Sara Lee (which holds a whopping 330 calories and 33g of sugar for one piece). But, as time goes by and you begin to eat less sugar, you’ll find that this cake is extremely satisfying, delicious, and surprisingly filling!

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What you’ll need:

  • 6oz cream cheese (you can also used the whipped kind for fewer calories. I stick to regular as I try to avoid anything that says “light” or “fat-free” because they typically contain more chemicals/fake sugars)
  • 1/2 cup grape nuts
  • 1 tsp. yogurt butter (I use Brummel and Brown)
  • 2 tbsp. pure honey

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Directions:

  1. Melt yogurt butter in microwave for around 20 seconds or until completely melted
  2. Mix yogurt butter in a small bowl with 1/2 cup grape nuts to help hold them together for the crust
  3. Spread grape nut mixture onto a lightly greased small pie pan. This will be a very thin bottom coating and there may be a few gaps, don’t worry. The idea is just to get a little crunch at the bottom of the cake.
  4. Set pie pan with grape nut crust in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden
  5. In a separate bowl, combine 6oz of cream cheese with 2 tbsp. honey and melt in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until soft and pour-able.
  6. Pour cream cheese mixture on top of crust
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  8. When ready to serve, top with raspberries or fruit of choice and enjoy!

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1/4 of the cheese cake comes in just under 200 calories with 10.4g of sugar. As always, calories may vary depending on the type of cream cheese you use and how much fruit you add-on top. I am looking forward to experimenting with varying cheese cake recipes in the future and may also try a crust-less version soon!

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Garbanzo Bean Brownies

Say whaaaaat! I’ve been on this quest in 2014 to find ways to make clean and healthier versions of foods I love. Sometimes for me it’s more about the texture of foods than anything else. And I will tell you that these have a very similar feel to regular brownies.

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I’ll be honest, they won’t taste like sugary brownies, but they will be healthy! My boyfriend made a face when he tried them and said “I DON’T LIKE IT!” like a 3 year old. So they aren’t for everyone. They taste a lot more like an oat bran bar.

Worst case scenario, if you don’t like them, you can keep the recipe for April Fools 😉

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbonzo beans, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 quick oats (whole wheat)
  • 2 tbsp White Chocolate Wonderful (or nut butter of your choice)

I put all of the ingredients straight into my Ninja blender and blended until smooth.

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Pour into greased 8×8 pan. The mix will rise a little but not by much. It will be thick.

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Bake for around 20-25 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

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You can also top them with some melted peanut butter for extra taste.  I may try altering the recipe in the future. You could use any type of beans really. I may experiment with black beans and using applesauce instead of honey. A lot of these bean brownie recipes call for chocolate chips but I didn’t have any and am trying to stay away from chocolate so I just used the cocoa.

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