Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts {Paleo} for Holiday Gifts

I’m nuts about the holiday season – absolutely, positively, literally nuts! Pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios, macadamia and more, it’s hard to name a favorite. Only chocolate rivals my passion for nuts, and this year, I’ve come up with an exotically-spiced nut recipe that incorporates my love for these two – Paleo Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts.Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts are an easy, yummy gift made with cocoa powder, date sugar and assorted raw nuts like pecans, cashews and almonds.

A jar full of Paleo Cocoa Chai Spiced Nuts makes an edible gift that most everyone (with good taste) will appreciate. Plus, the smell of roasting nuts is guaranteed to draw a crowd, so make a couple batches because you may just end up with an impromptu holiday party on your hands!  Read on to get this paleo diet friendly recipe that is fun, fit and frugal to give as a gift: Continue reading

Purple Sweet Potato Salad with Figs, Pomegranate and Balsamic Syrup

Nothing better than a beautiful salad alongside dinner and there have been so many fresh and colorful “fixings” at the market. In Texas, our seasons seem to not pay attention to the rules — they intersect and linger around, meaning lots of produce choices for me!Purple Sweet Potato Salad with Figs, Pomegranate and Balsamic Syrup.

 

For example, I’m still seeing fresh, summery figs in abundance, but also cooler weather fruits and vegetables like pomegranates and purple sweet potatoes. I can’t decide what to choose, so I choose it all and make a Purple Sweet Potato Salad with Figs, Pomegranate & Balsamic Syrup. Read on to get the recipe and (hello) learn more about these out-of-the-ordinary, colorific tubers! Continue reading

Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos to Fuel Ninja Leprechauns

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You probably won’t ever find me sitting in a pub downing Guinness or whisky, but I’ll definitely eat! So today, I’m sharing my crazy, tasty spin on traditional tavern food and Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos are featured on my menu! Corned Beef Irish Potato Nachos

Those lucky Irish, with their abundance of potatoes! Spuds make a super great fuel choice for athletes, the complex carbs provide healthy energy to help nail workout and run goals. I did a whole blog post on this that you can check out HERE. Add corned beef from the deli, sharp white cheddar and a bit of cabbage should you care, and these nachos will have your taste buds dancing a jig.  Continue reading

Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodles

The best thing about slurping up a big bowl full of my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodlesis the overload of delicious meat and veggie goodness sans the traditional noodles (we be low carb-ing it over here). The second-best thing is cracking Pho jokes, puns and innuendos with the family while eating this fast and fit meal.   Kids: “Mom, dinner tonight is pho-nomenal, it’s un-pho-gettable! You should take a picture of it, it would be good pho-tography.” Me: “Only the best pho you guys, that’s pho-sure.”

Beef and Zucchini Noodle Pho

But, no joke, this quick soup is not only “good pho you” it’s weeknight dinner winner when you just don’t have hour after hour to simmer down oxtails, beef knuckles and leg bones and exotic charred spices into the traditional Vietnamese broth. So, I might have broken a few ancient tenets of pho-making here and there – but, then again, I used zoodles (gasp) instead of the thin white rice noodle that my neighbor’s grandmother would more approve of. I’m a rebel who, with my zucchini, is squashing all rules!

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Slow Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon

Now that I have eaten #AllTheThings this past month leading up to Christmas, I’m planning a lighter menu for New Year’s Eve. A whole side of salmon is a showy (and amazingly simple) celebratory meal that will make waves with your family and friends ringing in 2017. Wow your crowd with my recipe for Slow-Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon, it’s just as delicious as it is dazzling. Slow is the way to go! Raspberry Dill Salmon Horiz

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3 Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips – Beet, Turmic & Matcha

Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt DipsBrighten up any winter snack situation with these Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips colorized with some of Mother Nature’s most vivid ingredients including beet powder, turmeric powder and matcha tea. No need to go all fake and freaky to create edible rainbow colors for your holiday appetizers and other fun recipes throughout the year. These natural ingredients are superfoods (typically found on the health food, spice and tea aisles) and not only pump up the pigment, but boost nutrition as well!

Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt Dips are a vibrant addition to a holiday party, celebration or for home snacking! Can also be used as salad dressing, or drizzled on sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and more.

While there are lots of additional benefits, beet root powder boosts nitric oxide in your blood (helping circulation, blood pressure and stamina), ground turmeric is a spice that can help to reduce inflammation and lessen the perception of pain, and matcha tea is known to boost the metabolism, calm the mind and help protect against certain cancers.

tumeric-beet-matcha-powder The other beauty of these three Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips is how easy they are to make – I originally created the recipes for Litehouse Foods using first their Homestyle Ranch Dip, then later the OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Dips and finally with Greek yogurt from scratch.  Using prepared dips (found in the refrigerated section of your produce department) is an “almost homemade” shortcut perfect when you need to pull together a party ASAP or at the 11th hour realize you didn’t bring a dish for the office shindig. I feel more than comfortable using the Litehouse Foods brand because they are VERY mindful to keep their products as fresh and preservative as possible.

But, knowing these dips aren’t easy for some of you to find (and that many prefer scratch recipes), I’ve written out the full preparation of the recipes (and then noted how to swap in the prepared dressings if that’s the route you choose). The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen “superfood” ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!

These dips also take sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and steamed veggies to the next level with just a drizzle or dollop! Enjoy and Happy Holidays to Hue!

If you need a visual on the beet powder, ground turmeric and matcha — here are the products I used:

Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt Dips
Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt dips
Print Recipe
The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen "superfood" ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt Dips
Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt dips
Print Recipe
The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen "superfood" ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Instructions
  1. Add Greek yogurt to small bowl. Stir in all ingredients except for optional garnish. Let sit in fridge for an hour to overnight to let flavors mingle. Add garnish before serving.
  2. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies. Can also be used as a sauce or spread for sandwiches, wraps, side dishes, fish, chicken and more.
  3. To make with Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dip or OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, simply use 8 ounces in lieu of the Greek yogurt and spices.
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Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup

Weekends are for waffles, especially around the holiday season! I “leggo” the typical waffle a long time ago, they are so carb heavy and the straight-up sugariness would always leave me with the hangries an hour or two later. But, not so with my Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup when I pump up my waffles with a little protein powder, almonds and a little Greek yogurt on top, I get a morning meal that makes me feel fuller longer.

Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup are a better way to fuel up in the morning -- also sugar free and dairy free (without Greek yogurt topping).

I’ve used a gluten-free flour blend to keep it friendly for those with intolerances and it’s also dairy-free if you choose not to dollop with Greek yogurt at the end. Depending on what type of preserves you choose at the store, the recipe can also be refined sugar free.

black-cherry-almond-protein-waffles

Feel free to make a double batch, let cool, and then stick in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast later – they are so good sandwiched with nut butter in the middle (and convenient for car munching)!

breville-waffle-makerMy old-school, weary waffle maker is on it’s last legs and I’ve asked Santa to take me to the next-level of waffle making with the Smart Slice Waffle Iron from Breville. It has “Waffle IQ” — I need those smarts!

Also, please take a look-see at these other healthy waffle recipes that will start your morning off most magnificently – I have a sweet and a savory option for you!  Why not make some for your holiday guests?!

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving an

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

 

 

 

 

Hatch Green Chile Cornbread Waffle with Egg - TheFitFork.comGreen Chili Cornbread Waffles with an egg on top!

 

 

 

So, whatcha doing this weekend? Making waffles? What is you favorite type of waffle and/or topping? Please share (so I can drool) in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup
Print Recipe
Fill up your tank with these easy gluten-free waffles that are boosted with protein powder and sweetened with a healthier syrup if delicious dark cherries.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup
Print Recipe
Fill up your tank with these easy gluten-free waffles that are boosted with protein powder and sweetened with a healthier syrup if delicious dark cherries.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
For Waffles:
For Syrup:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle maker to medium heat.
  2. Place gluten-free flour blend, protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In smaller bowl, whisk together legs, vanilla extract, butter and milk until frothy.
  4. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined; okay if a few lumps.
  5. Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop mixture onto waffle maker. Spread evenly and close. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. To make syrup, add frozen cherries to medium sauce pot and pour in juice. Stir in cherry preserves and real maple syrup; bring to light boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. To serve, pour syrup over waffles and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and toasted almonds.
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