Cooking is my thaaaaang! I’ve been going hard in the kitchen since 4rd grade, teaching myself how to make everything from buttery cinnamon muffins to tater tot casserole. Flash forward four decades and I’m still in full meal-making beast mode nearly every day. Although, this time as it all goes down a little “healthier” thanks to my role as a clean-eating cooking coach, corporate recipe developer and personal chef (haha) to my family with three teenage boys.
But sometimes this hardworking mama needs a break and that’s where Snap Kitchen saves the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. I can count on this convenient healthy meal shop to cure my hangries while keeping me on track with nutritious foods to fuel my running, workouts and active lifestyle. Read on to find out how you can make eating clean at every meal easy thanks to Snap Kitchen. Plus, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for eating clean and having a giveaway for a $25 Visa Card so you can get your mouth on some of these meals yourself.
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.”
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!
Posting a little ahead of schedule to give y’all a heads up that National Chocolate Cake Day later this week – on January 27th to be exact. I want to give you plenty of time to start thinking of how you to pay homage to one of the world’s most popular desserts — will you partake in a cupcake, a layer cake, a Bundt cake, a sheet cake or even a single-serve mug cake? Heck, make them all!
This year, my Wow, it’s a Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Cake needs to top your must bake list. I’ve topped it with rich butter macadamia nuts, but it’s equally delicious eaten plain with just the ganache or topped with other garnishes like raspberries, pistachios or orange zest. Even though it’s dreamy and decadent-tasting enough for a hardcore chocolatavore, it’s got some decent nutritional value and is even Paleo diet friendly, gluten-free and lower carb
Cookies are part and parcel of the holiday season in every family, in every culture, from Christmas sugar cookies, rugelach for Hanukkah, bene Wafers (sesame seed cookies) for Kwanza and more. All of these cookies are so yummy (really what cookie isn’t, chocolate krinkles are a favorite) but so many are loaded with sugar, refined flours and whatnot – and not to mention artificial dyes and colorings in the case of the typical decorations for cutout sugar cookies.
Sometimes it’s fun to create new, healthy traditions with your family that meet your own dietary restrictions, taste preferences and needs for optimizing performance. That’s why I came up with these Paleo Pistachio, Chocolate & Beet Cookies – there is no added sugar, 75 calories per cookie and only 5 grams carb. Plus, they are gluten-free but not vegan unless you use a vegan egg substitute.
The beet powder (I used Beet Essence from Green Foods) is rich in antioxidants, many of which help to reduce inflammation. Organic Cocoa, Sugarless Sugar (a stevia-based blend) and Coconut Oil from Now Foods create a sweet, chocolatey taste and pistachios give that salty, nutty taste I love – plus iron! Did you know pistachios are the most iron-rich nut of any?
Strange as they sound, everyone loves these Paleo Pistachio Chocolate Beet Cookies – even Lucy!
Last week, we devoured another winning cookie concoction, Paleo Gingerbread Cookie Brittle. This one is so easy, just smoosh into the pan and break! If you don’t want to cut into tidy wedges, you can just break it off in sweet shards!
Mix together stevia, potato starch, almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, beet powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
Stir in coconut oil and egg until all dry ingredients are incorporated. If dough seems too wet (could be if eggs were too large), add coconut flour 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough pulling away from sides of bowl.
Shape dough into approximately 1 tablespoon sized balls. Roll into pistachios and press down slightly so they adhere, if necessary.
Place balls on ungreased baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Press down on cookie dough lightly with the bottom of a baking glass to flatten slightly.
Bake at 350 F degrees for 10 minutes. Let rest on pan for 2 minutes before removing with spatula to cool completely.
It’s treat time! I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar again, but this time it’s a Paleo-diet friendly cookie that is inherently gluten-free and also table sugar free! Paleo Gingerbread Cookie Brittle is very easy to make and will fill up your home with the wonderful spice-and-all-things-nice scent of the season. Crunchy, buttery and so delcious!
Almond and coconut flour are the foundation of this cookie brittle recipe, along with all the traditional gingerbread spices including ginger, cinnamon and cloves. To sweeten, there is a touch of blackstrap molasses and Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ . This sugar substitute has just 1/3 the calories of table sugar but tastes like sugar and bakes like sugar, cup for cap. It’s has a low Glycemic Impact and is made with natural ingredients include erythritol, organic inulin, organic stevia, and guar gum – the first three sweetener ingredients I mentioned are considered Paleo while Guar Gum, a legume extract used as a thickening agent, is technically not Paleo because it comes from the legume. Strict Paleo devotees may choose to swap for another sweetener – coconut (palm sugar) would be my suggestion, it just has a higher calorie count.
A couple tricks to making this cookie brittle. First, be mindful that you are pressing the dough down evenly and thinly, about a 1/4” to 1/3” inch thickness gives the best crunch experience. Second, if you want to have uniform pieces of brittle (rather than a charming jumble of broken off pieces), you need to immediately use a brownie cutter or pizza wheel to cut into the warm, soft cookie brittle before it hardens up. After cutting, don’t move the pieces until completely cooled. Third, eat “naked” or top as you please – I drizzled with chocolate melted with a dash of coconut oil but you could also do a lemon glaze or press in nuts before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix, together almond flour, coconut flour, sugar alternative, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt until combined.
Next, stir in softened butter and molasses until everything incorporated.
Dump out onto the parchment-lined 13 ” x 18” pan and form into rectangle approximately the size of the pan and ¼” deep. Press with palms of hand or bottom of glass to spread out and keep a uniform consistency.
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.
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.
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!
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.
When 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.
Looking to keep it light and low-carb this summer? I have four fun “sandwich” ideas that offer a real blast of flavor without any bread or buns that will be a hit at your backyard 4th of July celebration, family picnic in the park or anywhere else you plan to do some outdoor entertaining.
First up is my Watermelon Grilled Chicken Capr-easy Sammie. I’m never run out of ways to eat watermelon (you know how I love #LivingOnTheWedge).
Simply take a juicy, grilled chicken breast, two strips of thick cooked bacon, and a slice of mozzarella or provolone and slide between two ½” planks of watermelon cut right from the sweetest, ripest “heart” of the melon. Top with basil and drizzle with some balsamic syrup if so desired!
I’ve been using Sargento® Ultra Thin® Cheese Slices this summer (the company was kind enough to send me product to try and review). Verdict – I love these paper thin slices of natural cheese that deliver 100% of the flavor I want for only 45 calories per slice (that means I can have a couple slices)! I also like how they are thin enough to roll up, fold up or “ruffle” like I did for a garnish on my sammie!
Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!” That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer. Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration. Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.
When I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!” That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits. Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.
To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste. A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need. Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off. Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.
This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!
Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot? Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water.
Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.