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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Ultimate Banana Pancakes

Sometimes I want breakfast for dinner. More importantly, sometimes I want pancakes – ok I ALWAYS want pancakes. But what I don’t want is a bunch of syrup and butter and that horrible sick and shaky feeling I get after inhaling a stack of them.

So here comes lovely option B 🙂

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There’s tons of recipes out there for protein pancakes filled with tons of protein powders and what not, but I tell you something – that’s just not for me. You don’t need excess protein (especially from powders) to get enough in your diet. Plants have protein, too! And you don’t need as much as you think to build muscle. Plus so many of them have sucralose and other fake sugars and chemicals in them – yuck! But that’s a topic for another time.

Today I want to talk about pancakes and making them clean and healthy.

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What you’ll need (makes 3 medium sized pancakes – that are oh so filling):

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup whole grain oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 date, pitted

Optional toppings:

  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 TSBP sliced almonds
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

Heat up your skillet over medium heat. Chop pitted date into tiny pieces. Mix/mash together banana, oats, eggs, and date. Pour into 3 medium sized pancakes in greased skillet. Top with lid. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the banana completely mashed, it’s fun to bite into a glob of it in the middle of the pancake when they are done. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Tops with peanut butter, coconut, almonds, raspberries or any of your favorite ingredients.

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These were super filling and amazing. The peanut butter melts into ooey gooey heaven. The mixture of everything together is the perfect amount of sweet and indulgent.

 

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The pancakes alone net around 345 calories, 5.6g of fiber and 16.9g of protein. Additional toppings add varying calories.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake: Less Than 8g of Sugar

I have a sweet tooth. And after the holidays I find myself craving chocolate like CRAZY! Instead of banishing all things sugar, I’m trying to work to find the right lifestyle balance. Tonight I embarked on creating my first mug cake and lord help me, I’m still sitting in my living room in shock at how good it was. There’s a 100% chance I still have hazelnut spread on my face…oh and apparently on my shirt, oops.

If you just HAVE to have a piece of cake, this is the way to go.

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What you’ll need:

  • A microwave
  • A mug
  • Cooking spray
  • A desire for cake
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure honey
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate hazelnut spread (or peanut butter of your choice)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

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Directions

  1. Spray mug with cooking spray to coat bottom and sides
  2. Combine all ingredients except hazelnut spread or peanut butter (this will be the frosting) and sprinkles
  3. Beat together with a fork
  4. Pour into mug
  5. Microwave in 1 minute increments until top is fluffy and cooked through. It took my 800 watt microwave 2 minutes.
  6. Take out and pour onto plate. It should just plop right out and look like a cute little muffin and look something like this:

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7. Let cool for 3-5 minutes (this thing is a little hottie!)

8. Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread and frost your cake muggy!

9. Sprinkle on some sprinkles!

10. Try not to moan as you eat it

Tips and suggestions:

  • As I spooned on the hazelnut spread, it began to melt which made it easier but you may find that melting the spread or peanut butter ahead of time and then drizzling it on is easier.
  • I used Barefoot & Chocolate’s  hazelnut chocolate spread but try any kind you want! Regular peanut butter would work fine as well. Or White Chocolate Wonderful. I like Barefoot & Chocolate because they use all natural, fair trade, and organic ingredients.

IMG_2292I was amazed at how tasty, satisfying, and delicious this came out. Unlike some of my past alternative recipes (that have maintained the texture of sweets but not the taste) this actually taste like and felt like real cake!

The entire thing is under 200 calories and 8g of sugar. If you’re watching carbs it nets you 20g WITH the frosting. Below I’ve compiled the nutrition facts for my recipe and then some of the Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting. By the time it’s said and done, a regular piece of cake can be as much as 440 calories and 38g of sugar!

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Let me know how you like it!

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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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Healthy Fudge: Yeah You Heard Me

I don’t know about you but I’m in the post holiday sugar withdrawal zone. I am craving sweets hard and wanting to eat non-stop. I hear so many people saying things like “In 2014, I’m not going to eat any more sweets, sugars, or bake anymore cookies!” While that’s admirable, I don’t want to give up all of that stuff. Fun food is an amazing part of life. It’s why this year I’m going to be devoting so much more time to finding clean and healthy alternatives and recipes.

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A while back, I created my own version of clean fudge. It’s so easy, so delicious (did I mention SO DELICIOUS) that you’ll be asking yourself why you aren’t eating this right now and always.  Banana Coconut Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge!!!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium-large banana
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon shredded coconut
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Mash up the banana and 1 tbsp of peanut butter in a bowl
  2. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper
  3. Spread peanut butter banana mixture over wax paper into a square (or into a cookie cutter of your choice)
  4. Set in freezer for about 15 minutes
  5. While freezing, in a small bowl, add 1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa at a time and small drops of water until you get a chocolate mixture. This will be poured over the fudge.
  6. Pour chocolate sauce mixture over the banana fudge and then lightly sprinkle with shredded coconut
  7. Freeze once more to your liking

Fudge needs to be eaten within about 10 minutes of taking out of the freezer, otherwise it melts pretty fast. But it can be taken out and cut into smaller pieces, put into a ziplock container and put back in for easy snacking. This is a great treat substitute for when you really want to go out for ice cream or are craving chocolate. Plus, it’s super healthy and you can eat the entire thing and it’s only 149 calories!! I usually cut it into 4 pieces so they’re only around 37 calories each!

Try it out and let me know what you think! I’m looking for ideas for other varieties, too, much with other kinds of fruit or nutella or almond butter.

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Clean Peanut Butter Cookies

Tis the season for cookies and sweets and a TOUGH time of year to cut out sugar. But I can say that I have been rather successful in this endeavour thanks to creative meal planning. Just because you want to drastically cut sugar out of your diet and lifestyle does not mean you have to give up cookies!!

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Last night I was craving one of my favorites, peanut butter cookies. I used to make these all the time when I was a kid, spooning up the dough, rolling them in sugar crystals, pressing them into intricate designs with a fork. But last night I knew that there was absolutely no way I could make those without wanting to eat all of the dough and the sugar rush alone would make me feel shaky after nearly 3 weeks of great eating.

So? I decided to experiment with my own recipe. I’ve seen a lot of protein muffins and cookies but I never have protein powder on hand and didn’t want the extra calories that go along with some of those. I just wanted basic ingredients.

Here’s how it went down.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat instant oats
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (this is optional and didn’t make much of a difference to me, really)

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until well mixed. This took some maneuvering to get the peanut butter to mix in well without sticking to the sides of the blender.
  • Spoon onto ungreased baking sheet. This recipe yields 8 cookies
  • Bake 10 minutes

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Cookies will look greasy when they come out of the oven. This is because of the peanut butter and the absence of flour holding it all together. Let cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a plate. I wouldn’t advise using a cooling rack since these babies are more crumbly than the average cookie.

I will warn you!! If you are expecting some sugary gum drop in your mouth, you’ll be disappointed. These cookies have less than 1g of sugar in each of them so they won’t taste like your grandmas cookies. However, I notice that the more I eliminate sugar from my diet, the more flavorful all foods become.

The consistency is dense and they are surprisingly filling! I brought a couple into work today after baking them last night and they are even better the next day after cooling and solidifying more. I realized while making these that I was EXCITED to eat cookies even though I knew they wouldn’t taste like the regular kind. It’s amazing how we crave the feeling of food sometimes more than the actual flavor.

Plus! These things are healthy! Only 65 calories per cookie and 3.2g of protein.

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8 Tips For Meal Planning & Packing

Sometimes the easiest way to stay on top of your game is to plan and pack your meals. Bringing a lunch, making overnight oats the night before, these are all great ways to look forward to food and what you’re going to eat. It keeps you from getting super ravenous and hungry that you want to give up or cheat and put everything in your face.

I know it can take a little effort and is something to adjust to, especially if you’re used to going out to eat all the time or just grabbing whatever before you head out the door.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’m eating today at roughly 1200 calories.

  • Overnight Oats for breakfast – recipe coming soon!
  • Fiber filled snacks for mid-morning and afternoon: apple slices with peanut butter, blueberries, and raw almonds
  • Mesquite turkey breast sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread thin slices (I LOVE this stuff) with 1 TBSP mayo and some horseradish
  • Lean turkey burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, onions, and either mayo or avocado

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Here’s some great tips for packing and planning meals to make it easier and less stressful. Soon you’ll be in the habit and it won’t feel like effort at all 🙂

  1. Portion out your snacks ahead of time. When I buy raw almonds or any of my favorite snack, I like to take time to make snack packs for either the week or with the entire package. With almonds, I portion out 15 or so (100 calories) into snack-sized ziplock bags. Then when I’m making lunch I can just throw them in or grab a bag on my way out the door for a snack later.
  2. Find ways to make healthy versions of meals you love. Just because you’re trying to eat healthier and change your lifestyle habits, doesn’t mean you can never think about cheese ever again! Find ways to make a healthier lasagna with whole wheat noodles or squash instead. Substitute lean ground turkey for ground beef. Use lettuce instead of burger buns. I recently found a great recipe for buffalo chicken wraps that I’m going to make with my Mom this weekend. They look delicious and will be healthy!
  3. Find creative ways to transport food. Mason jars are all the rage lately for storing salads (with all of the wet ingredients at the bottom and the lettuce sitting on top). They are also great for making overnight oats and smoothies and then you can just take them with you on your way to work or where ever you may go!
  4. Don’t make rules for what can be eaten when. I am guilty of this all the time. it doesn’t have to be breakfast time for you to eat eggs. Healthy food can be eaten at any time of the day. As long as you are getting great nutrients and feeling full you can eat cereal for dinner and a sandwich for breakfast. Don’t put limits on yourself. Make things easier.
  5. Buy a water bottle and use it. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the most important things for maintaining energy, staying healthy, and fueling your body. Buy a quality water bottle for your home and office so you are always an arms reach away from drinking those 64+ ounces!
  6. Plan meals and pack snacks that you’ll look forward to! Sometimes the hardest part about making healthy habits is feeling like you’ll never have good food to look forward to ever again – not true! Plan times for special meals and moments of indulgence to help keep you on track during the week. Knowing you get to have a glass of wine or a piece of pizza on Friday can help keep you focused and truly appreciate these foods and drinks when you do get to have them.
  7. Food doesn’t have to be an event. I’ve always felt like I needed to plan some elaborate dinner when I got home but the truth is, food is fuel and it doesn’t have to be the main event surrounding everything we do. It’s okay to get home and have a hodgepodge dinner of whatever you have around the house.
  8. Choose foods that come in their own container. Foods you can throw into your lunch bag without worrying about more bags or containers are great. Make hardboiled eggs for the week and keep the shell on and then take them to work for an easy, protein filled snack. Apples, pears, oranges, avocados, yams, and other fruits are great for this, too! Ready to go foods like low-fat string cheese and greek yogurt are also easy to throw into your lunch (they can just become a little expensive if you’re always buying ready-made snacks).