Almond Joy Cookie Brittle { Gluten Free }

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.

I’ve been baking for others, ever since I was a grade school girl! I would pour over my now vintage children’s cookbook thoughtfully deciding which recipe would suit a family member or friend best. A specialty I made for my little brother nearly every Saturday morning was a muffin dunked in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I have no doubt he’d remember, if you asked! Almond Joy Cookie Brittle with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Blend

I wish my brother was closer so I could share a batch of my gluten-free Almond Joy Cookie Brittle with him, especially since his birthday and the holidays are fast approaching! Oh wait, I can ship the cookies his way and turn an ordinary day into the sweetest mail day ever!   Read on to get the recipe, find out how baking for others benefits all parties involved, and learn how Bob’s Red Mill helped make this batch of cookie brittle the best yet!  Continue reading

Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls … Mmmm, Pasta!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®  & La Moderna but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyExceptionalPasta #GoldenHarvest  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Eating bowl full of La Moderna Golden Harvest NoodlesNoodle night has been a “thing” at my house ever since my boys were toddlers who dared venture only as far as plain buttered pasta. Now all three are teens (one’s nearly 20) with taste buds much more adventurous and welcoming to new ingredients at our noodle nights. Since this mama is a healthy foodie, my family has come to expect my pasta recipes to be packed with as much nutrition and flavor as possible to optimize our active lifestyle. Food is fuel, but it should taste good too!

Molasses Steak on Butternut Carrot coconut Cream Pasta seems rich and sinful, but is actually a health and diary-free dinner.

My healthy pasta recipe today is Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls with Molasses Steak. For most of us, pasta equates “comfort” and eating it out of a big bowl packed with fresh, flavorful and fit-focused ingredients is not only an edible hug of happiness, but also one of health! I’ve been one to cut carbs here and there, but I always come back to pasta when I need to fuel my long runs, intense workouts or even just jump out of a brain fog. Butternut Carrot Coconut "Alfredo"La Moderna Golden Harvest is a brand I’ve been going back to time and time again for my pasta creations. Not only is the consistency, texture and flavor of this 100% Durum Wheat product on point, it’s also a good source of protein (8 grams per serving) thanks to the special selection of high protein wheat that is harvested from desert valleys on Mexico bordering California.

butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-noodle-bowl-overhead-la-moderna

The main protein source for my pasta bowl is sirloin steak that has been soaked in a mollassas marinade, grilled indoors or out, and sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces. While I’ve used lean top sirloin, you could also use any other steak cut that you prefer (such as strip or flat iron) or even heat up leftover roast or brisket. Spinach beefs up this recipe with even more iron in addition to my steak, it’s a must-have mineral this runner girl always needs to cure her fatiuge!

butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-sauceThe sauce is super creamy and rich, but surprisingly healthy made of wholesome ingredients including pureed butternut squash, carrots, coconut butter and coconut milk – there is no cheese or traditional milk, so this recipe remains dairy-free. It’s so creamy and rich tasting, it has the texture of an alfredo sauce, but my version it’s so much more sensible for an athlete’s diet. Plus, it’s seasoned with turmeric and ginger which have a host of health benefits to support optimal wellness.

la-moderna-producgts

La Moderna comes in many familiar past shapes including spaghetti, elbow, rigate and rotini and you can find them at your local Walmart, that’s where I shop for mine. Check out the product locator before you head out shopping! Also, learn more about the brand and stay up to date on their latest products and promotions by following their social media – La Moderna Facebook, La Moderna Twitter, La Moderna Instagram, and La Moderna Pinterest

beefy-butternut-carrot-coconut-cream-pasta-toes

What is your favorite pasta shape? What is your favorite sauce or toppings? Do you use pasta to “carb-load” ? Please share in the comment below – XOXO, Jennifer

Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls
Print Recipe
Beef up your noodle bowl with protein rich pasta and a rich, creamy but healthy dairy-free sauce made from butternut, coconut, carrots and turmeric.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Beefy Butternut-Carrot-Coconut Cream Noodle Bowls
Print Recipe
Beef up your noodle bowl with protein rich pasta and a rich, creamy but healthy dairy-free sauce made from butternut, coconut, carrots and turmeric.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
For marinade & steak:
For Pasta & Sauce:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Whisk together molasses, vinegar, oil, pepper, garlic, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and pour into plastic zip-top bag containing steaks. Seal tightly and flip a few times to evenly distribute marinade. Set in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours, flipping bag occasionally. Preheat gas, charcoal grill or indoor grill pan to 400 F degrees. Remove meat and discard marinade. Season with salt and more pepper to taste. Place steaks on oiled grates and grill for approximately 7 to 9 minutes on one side, or until moisture starts to pool on the top and beef releases easily from grates with tongs. Flip once, grilling on the other side for 6 to 8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 F degrees with instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of steak Transfer plates to platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain, and then cutting again into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, add chopped squash and carrots to microwave safe container and add ½ cup water. Loosely place lid on container or vent with plastic wrap and microwave on high for approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables softened. Drain water and set aside. In large skillet, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and bring to medium high heat. Add diced onion and cook for several, stirring constantly, until onions translucent and turning golden brown on edges. Transfer cooked squash, carrots, and onion with garlic to blender. Add ginger, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Pour in 2 cups of coconut milk and pulse until finely pureed. If needed, add up to another ½ cup of coconut milk a splash at a time to achieve desired consistency.
  3. Boil pasta according to manufacturer’s directions on box. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside. Transfer pureed mixture back to skillet to reheat gently over medium-low heat. Stir in chopped spinach and cooked noodles, stirring until combined for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to individual bowls or serve family style on a platter. Top with sliced beef. Garnish with chopped parsley and unsweetened, shredded coconut.
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Good Morning! Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake (gluten free)

Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake  Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering and marvelously moist (apologies haters of that word) cake that’s approved (by me) to eat along with your cuppa Joe at breakfast . . . or at lunch or dinner, for that matter. It’s a Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake! No, I’m not pulling your LEGume, but I did use legumes (that is, lentils from Farmer Direct Co-op) to keep my quick-to-fix cake tantalizing tender as well as boost up the nutrition.

Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake is free of refined sugar and the lentils add extra protein and fiber!

This yummy, quick-to-fix cake is a healthy solution for those sweet breakfast or snack cravings. Free of high-gylcemic sugars and overly-refined flours and grains, this recipe relies on the wholesome goodness from plantains, lentils and a gluten-free baking mix. I used a one-to-one measure sugar replacement to keep the calories and carb count down – my go-to is Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ from NOW Foods. But, you can also swap in a different sweetener, like coconut sugar, if you prefer.

Farmer Direct Co-op Lentils

I use Farmer Direct Co-op as my source lentils, these little green gems are organic, non GMO and fair trade.  In the past, I had a hard time thinking of uses for lentils past soups or stews . . . or keeping a jar of cooked lentils in the fridge to sprinkle on my salads. But then I had a light bulb moment –why not use pureed lentils (or beans) in recipes for baked goods to add moistness with less oil – plus more fiber and protein!

slice plantain lentil cake toes

I knew my kids would be suspicious if I told them we were eating a cake made of plantains and lentils – so I didn’t say a word. When they gobbled it up and asked for more “banana bread,” I knew this recipe was a winner! While I have cooked it in a 10” pie dish, it also bakes up well in an 8” x 8” brownie pan or as 12 standard-sized muffins.

farmer direct logoWhen it comes to being organic, farmer-owned and fair-deal, Farmer Direct Co-op is 100-percent all of the above and more. Their mission is to promote their co-op farmer’s organic products while building and promoting a healthy environment and socially just food system. When you purchase from Farmer Direct Co-op, you’re buying more than a pea, a lentil or a bean . . you’re buying into part of an evolution of eating aimed at truly nourishing the mind, body and soul.

Head on over to Farmer Direct Co-op to learn more about their awesome company and products like 1lb. shelf bags of Pinto Beans, French Green Lentils, Split Green Peas, Regular Rolled Oats and Quick Rolled Oats. STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY!  They also have a nice collection of healthy recipes on their blog made with whole foods.

Have you ever used beans or lentils in a a baked recipe, how so?! Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer 

This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-Op, however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.

Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake
Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake
Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cook lentils in water according to package instructions, let cool to room temperature. Drain cooking liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  3. Add cooked lentils to food processor along with chopped plantain and almond milk. Process until reasonably smooth. Pulse in one egg oil and coconut oil until combined.
  4. Remove work bowl from processor and add sugar substitute, stirring in to combine. Add baking mix and mix until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula, as needed.
  5. Pour batter into baking 10-inch round or 8" x 8" square baking dish coated with coconut oil spray. Sprinkle top of batter with shredded coconut and sliced almonds (or tiger nuts).
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center pulls clean. Let cook and cut into nine slices served with a drizzle of honey over the top.
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Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

One bite of my Brazilian Beef & Plantain Bowl (with egg, honey and toasted coconut) and you’ll happily say “Tchau” to a tower of pancakes, waffles or buttered toast in the morning!  Loaded with protein, quality complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients, this easy breakfast made with leftover steak will fuel you for a full morning of demanding activities! The flavor combination may sound weird, but trust me, it’s so delicious! Pra caramba!

Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl is a healthy way to start the day, packed with 28g protein and quality complex carbs for energy.

The protein in the recipes is a combination of 3-oz. left over lean steak (like top sirloin, strip, tenderloin, flat iron, etc.) and a single, sunny-side up egg. Along with a little bit from the plantain, you’re getting about 28 grams of protein with this meal – the ideal amount to consume in a single sitting.

Each Day is a New Start! It’s the perfect morning meal for a Protein Challenge!  Each day is a new start, so beat yourself up if your diet wan’t exactly “on point” yesterday — you get a new chance to eat well today!

I always feel best when I’m eating 25g – 30g protein evenly spaced at each meal. Plus, it helps prevent snacking!

 

 

If you’re not familiar with plantains, you can typically find them in most grocery stores in the “exotic produce” area. This “vegetable-banana” is a less sweet and a little more starchy tasting than a regular banana – but so yummy when baked, microwaved or sautéed! They are a common ingredient in the cuisine of Mexico and Central / South America and in Brazil go by their Portuguese name of “banana-da-terra.”

Oh, and now for something crazy beef & bananas that isn’t actually food! It’s me planking until failure the other day before teaching a Grilling 101 class at the Texas Beef Council. 

pinners conference pic 1I’ll teaching a class on “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness”  at the Pinner’s Conference in Dallas on Sept 9 & 10th. I’ll be sharing this Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl along with a delicious Molasses & Pepper Flat Iron Steak recipe and Super Iron-Boosting Steak Spinach Salad. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Have you ever used plantains in a recipe? Do you have a planking hashtag for me?  Are you watching the Summer Olympics? What has your favorite moment been so far? Please share in comments, XOXO – Jennifer

 

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Sauté chopped plantains and yellow peppers for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, or until plantains turning golden brown and peppers softening.
  2. In the last 90 seconds or so of cooking, stir in steak chunks to gently reheat without overcooking. Slide the steak mixture into 4 cereal-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Immediately poach or fry eggs to your preferred level of yolk “doneness.” Slide a cooked egg on top of each bowl of beef mixture and season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey!
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Coconut Macadamia Fried Rice Recipe + #MustHaveBox

I don’t eat rice very often, it can be pretty boring (IMO) and really doesn’t fit into my lower-carb protein plan. However, I’m not a NO carb kind of girl – no way, no how. Sometimes I need that precious energy source to propel me through an endurance event, boost my brainpower or just keep me from going bonkers.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice

Brown rice, which is a great source of fiber, is a smart and easy-to-make option when it comes to eating healthy, whole grain carbs. Research has shown that brown rice can reduce diabetes risk,  help manage weight, lower cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of getting certain cancers (read more about all this at The Whole Grains Council.)

Easy Coconut and Macadamia Fried Rice is a island-inspired side dish or vegetarian meal filled with healthy fats.

So, to avoid the blah-fest that is plain rice, I decided to up to the flavors with a health take on fried rice – you’re going to go crazy for my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice! Made with lots of coconut items including coconut water, coconut oil and unsweetened coconut – there is a that wonderful hint of tropical paradise with every bite. The macadamia nuts back up the beach eats vibe – and the whole thing is just loaded with healthy fats and extra protein from the eggs to help you fill filled up for longer.  (get recipe at bottom of post — but below are some great NOW Foods products I used and love)

Also, I have to tell you about the best thing to show up at my door this week (aside from my Fed Ex man who loves to yap about Spartan Race just as much as me):

popsugar box

A box of gifts for me and it’s not even my birthday (yet) or Christmas!  POPSUGAR sent me this Must Have box to try and it totally made my day, my week, my June!  This monthly subscription box is aptly named “must-have” – all the most fabulous, fun things a fit and fashionable girl could want are specially curated and packed into one awesomely exciting box to open.  You never know what each month’s #MustHaveBox will behold – but the surprises never fail to win me over on pure whimsy and major whoohoo!

The June Pop Sugar Must Have Box included:

  • jen pop sugar underarm wipeNeutral Diamonds printed Sarong by HAT ATTACK – I’m packing this easy, breezy cover-up in my weekend bag for my next trip to the beach. It’s perfect for a swim suit cover up, but gorgeous enough to wear as a wrap at the dinner hour.
  • Cheers” Gold Bottle Opener by SISTERS OF LOS ANGELES – A chic and unique upscale beer drinker would never think to use a tacky, cheap promo bottle opener. This sleek , golden opener takes the top off iced cold beverage in chic summer style.
  • Ridley’s Games Room “Who Am I Quiz?” by WILD AND WOLF – Oh, you know game night at my family reunion is going to get rocking with this celebrity-inspired guessing game! How fun!
  • Born on the 4th Nail Laquer by NCLA – So, I know what my toes are wearing on Independence Day! This glittery, glam polish!
  • Are You Ready Compact Mirror by KNOCK KNOCK – This cheeky compact will help me be ready for that next selfie situation.
  • Underarm Deoderat Wipes by PACIFICA – Lightly perfumed and oh-so convenient, this is my favorite item in the box . .. errr, uhhh, cause I stink after working out and running errands all day.
  • Sriracha Snacks by PRESSELS – Less fat and salt than many other snack foods and that spicy kick of Sriracha to boot – a winner!

So, what is your new favorite workout, fashion or food find for this summer? What is your favorite nut? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice
Coconut Macadamia Fried Rice Recipe + #MustHaveBox
Print Recipe
4 large eggs, whisked 2 tablespoons coconut oil (divided) ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut ½ cup thinly sliced green onions, bulb and tops 1 teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice
Coconut Macadamia Fried Rice Recipe + #MustHaveBox
Print Recipe
4 large eggs, whisked 2 tablespoons coconut oil (divided) ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut ½ cup thinly sliced green onions, bulb and tops 1 teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add rice to coconut water and cook on stovetop, in microwave or in rice cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove rice, spread out on rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to large skillet, bring to medium heat and add shredded, unsweetened coconut. Stir continuously for 3 to 4 minutes, or until turning golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool on paper towel.
  3. In same skillet, add another teaspoon of coconut oil and scramble eggs for approximately 5 minutes or until set; scrape into a bowl.
  4. In same skillet, add remainder of coconut oil and bring to medium high heat. Add cooled rice, and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until hot. Add in green onions, toasted shredded coconuts, scrambled eggs, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir around for another 1 or 2 minutes
  5. Top with chopped macadamia nuts.
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