Happy WIAW, everyone! Jenn at Peas and Crayons has brought us another opportunity to share some tasty bites and great recipes with everyone, so please check out her site to see what everyone’s been snacking on lately…it just might be something you’re craving!

The week went by so fast, and I somehow feel a bit more disorganized than usual. I didn’t have a game plan for today’s WIAW, particularly for this month’s theme, so instead of a new recipe I will reintroduce some of my favorite healthy snacks  inspired by other bloggers and favorite recipes.

I woke up with a crazy sweet tooth and actually considered making a batch of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast! But instead of cookies, I ended up having a piece of toast with Nutella, a blob of vanilla coconut cream, strawberries and crunchy peanut butter:

This filled me up quite a bit, but I think I would have been better off with a green shake.

Lunch was leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. It’s just a throw-together veggie soup, nothing extravagant, but it was perfect for today’s cloudy, rainy weather:

Instead of rice, I added some broken pieces of sprouted grain spaghetti.

My snack was a bit of cheesecake (it was messy so I didn’t take a photo,) coffee, and Golden Oreos. My sweet tooth was satisfied, but this snack was a big mistake because shortly after I started to feel incredibly sleepy. This always happens when I eat dairy and wheat products, which is why I can fall asleep right after eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast! My cravings overrode my common sense–never a good thing! :(

As tasty as they are, tiny snacks like these can really knock me out (zzzz….)

I had some chicken in the fridge that needed some attention so made Moroccan Chicken Tagine, a deliciously spicy and savory North African stew posted by REM Cooks. I love spices and have 20 bottles of different spices next to the stove, including two versions of Ras el Hanout that he provided the recipes for…thanks, Richard! I made my version with a mix of black eyed peas, black beans and pinto beans instead of chickpeas:

Tagine is the traditional stoneware used, but a Dutch oven works great, too!

Delicious and savory, sweet and spicy, you gotta try this recipe!

Here are some of my favorite healthy snack recipes. They’re easy to make, stores nicely in the fridge or freezer, and can be enjoyed by those on gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free diets! They taste great, and even if you’re not on a special diet, you will enjoy them just as much as a regular snack, maybe even more. :)

Fudgy Cocoa Bites made with dates, raisins, nuts, and cocoa:

Deliciously fudgy cocoa bites

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites from Gabby at  The Veggie Nook:

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites

And lastly, this Carrot Apple Ginger Cake, which is great for breakfast or with afternoon coffee or tea. It’s packed with real apples and carrots, fresh ginger, and has a lot less sugar and oil than regular cakes…and, it’s wheat-free!

Carrot apple ginger cake topped with goat cheese & a drizzle of ginger-infused agave syrup…yum!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a happy and healthy Wednesday!


It’s that time of week again, folks! Time to sit back and enjoy another episode of “What I Ate Wednesday” (WIAW,) sponsored by the good folks at Peas and Crayons, where “Food is art and you are what you eat. So eat healthy…eat happy…eat pretty!”

(applause!)

Today I’ll be featuring a recipe that I’ve been making for the past ten years or so. It’s the longest-running recipe I’ve had, and is the only recipe I have ever memorized. It’s been my favorite for weekend breakfasts and presenting them as thank-you gifts, and I like to think that I’m pretty darn good at making them. So deciding to change up an old standard like this one by making it gluten-free made me a bit nervous.

But before I get further into this discussion, here’s a quick run-down of foods from the past couple of days:

Breakfast was coffee (no photo but it was dark, sweet and delicious) and a home-baked treat of my featured food, gluten-free scones (recipe below):

 

Cheddar & Asiago cheese scones in my husband’s childhood milk cup. :)

Lunch was a mixed-greens salad with some mixed-colored veggies. I was never a big fan of making my own salads, so adding tons of color is a good way to have a healthy bowl of greens (and purples and reds and oranges!):

Dinner was Turkey Bean Burgers seasoned with miso paste on rice noodles tossed with seaweed & miso dressing. This was supposed to have been submitted in Monday’s Recipe Redux Challenge, but I wasn’t totally happy with how it turned out. The seaweed in the patties didn’t stand out as much as I hoped for, and the rice noodles could have used some “oomph,” perhaps with more veggies tossed in, and not just sitting under it!

Miso paste in the patties gave it a nice flavor.

Now, here’s a little more background on the scones I’m featuring today. This is a recipe I first came across ten years ago from Joy of Baking and is by far the most delicious and easiest baked good ever made. The scones have a crisp, almost flaky exterior which keeps the insides soft and flavorful. Fresh from the oven, you can split them in half and slather on some butter as the warm, steamy centers melt them into delicious oblivion.

Since I am trying to stay wheat-free as much as possible, I modified this recipe by switching out the regular flour for a gluten-free blend, courtesy of Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. The result? Deliciously tender, melt-in-your-mouth, crisp, flavorful bites of gluten-free indulgence!

Cream Scones, original recipe from Joy of Baking
Best if eaten within a day or two, but freeze any extras you may have tightly wrapped in foil. Defrost by leaving out for 15 minutes, then pop in toaster oven on medium setting. It will taste like it was freshly baked.

2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used 2 parts white rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour mix already includes this!)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter
add-ins (optional, see below)*
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla

*optional add-ins:
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup chopped nuts or chopped cherries
–  1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup shredded, toasted unsweetened coconut + 1 teaspoon coconut extract
– 1/2 cup dried cherries or blueberries
– 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until butter pieces are about pea-sized. With a rubber spatula, gently mix in one of the add-in ingredients listed above. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and 1 egg. Mix until well incorporated. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Dough should be just a little sticky. Divide dough in half, forming each into a ball. Flatten ball to a circle about 1″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles, set on cookie sheet about 1″ apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

Beat remaining egg white with 1 tablespoon cream. Using a pastry brush or back of a spoon, brush scones with egg wash.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops begin to turn golden, rotating tray 180 degrees halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let sit for for a minute before transferring to serving plate. Serve warm with butter or preserves.

Cut each circle into 8 little triangles. Alternatively, you can roll out the entire dough and use a round cookie cutter.

The eggs from my sister’s chickens have a rich, yellowy-orange yolk. You can see how thick it is in the egg wash used to brush the tops of the scones.

These tender scones are delicious with coffee or tea, or even as a late night snack.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This being my first What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) post sponsored by Peas and Crayons, I wanted to kick it off to a good start, especially because I’ve been going off my healthy eating path and WIAW is a good incentive to get back on track. I’ve been eating  less healthy greens and eating more snacky stuff this past week and I noticed a HUGE dip in my energy level in the afternoons. Normally I’d see my husband yawning in the afternoon, but this time it was ME who felt tired, lazy and just wanted to drink coffee to help get me through. Although I still made healthy dinners and lunches, I ate less of the good and more of the bad.

I notice how much better I feel when I eat primarily veggies, even better with raw veggies (the Blood Type Diet says a diet focusing on vegetables are beneficial for A-types like me.) I try to do at least 80 percent veggies/legumes/fruits when I prepare my meals, which isn’t that difficult, but I’d like to increase the raw veggie consumption, as well.

To start off, I had a Chocolate Avocado Smoothie  for breakfast. The fruits and veggies are raw, the “seasonings” are not, but it’s a heck of a lot better than a toaster pastry!

Don't let the chocolatey goodness fool you, this shake contains vegetables!

For lunch I ate a ground-up nut mixture that contained carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and seasoning. I’m avoiding wheat products this week, so I wrapped it in lettuce leaves and had it with Gouda cheese:

My afternoon snack were these incredibly indulgent and almost raw Fudgy Espresso Bites (see delicious recipe below):

Instant espresso enhances the dark chocolate flavor of these fudgy cocoa bites.

For dinner I made veggie chicken soup, which is great when you’re trying to clear the fridge to make room for more fresh veggies! I seasoned this batch with Spike:

Veggies, pearl barley and chunks of chicken make this a hearty and flavorful soup.

Dessert was an almost raw Key Lime Avocado Pie:

Tart, light and refreshing!

And now here’s the Fudgy Cocoa Bites recipe, inspired by The Rawtarian’s incredibly delicious Raw Chocolate Cake recipe:

Fudgy Cocoa Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not sure if this qualifies as raw since the alcohol is distilled?)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave sweetener (for Ginger Cocoa Bites, please see instructions below and make syrup first.)

Instructions:

After soaking all the seeds and nuts, drain thoroughly. Add to food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates,  cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Process until mixed thoroughly and date pieces are chopped fine. Slowly drizzle in agave (or open the top and pour agave in, this way there’s less syrup stuck to the bottom) and process until mixture forms a ball.

Form dough into teaspoon-sized truffle bites, press into mini muffin tins or candy molds. Dust with extra cocoa powder if desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up then remove carefully. (I’m not sure what the longest is you should store them for, but I’ve had mine in the fridge for a couple weeks and have been nibbling on them daily.)

Ginger Cocoa Bites: (I got the ginger syrup recipe from The Veggie Nook’s Lime Cornmeal Pancake recipe, but instead of maple syrup I used agave…and added a LOT of ginger! This is so delicious I keep a stash of this handy. Thank you, Gabby!) Ginger syrup –  In a small pan on the stovetop, heat the 1/4 cup agave with 1 tablespoon thinly sliced and chopped ginger. Simmer on LOW HEAT for 3 minutes to reduce the spiciness of the fresh ginger. Turn off heat and cool the syrup while you combine the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle agave syrup and ginger pieces into mixture, process until mixture forms a ball and form into truffles or press into molds.

Espresso Cocoa Bites (my favorite!): add in 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules or 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules and 1/4 teaspoon stevia with cocoa powder. Form into desired shapes, sprinkle with just a pinch of espresso or finely ground coffee granules.

Peanut Butter Cocoa Bites: add 2 tablespoons smooth or creamy “no-sugar” peanut butter before adding agave.

Gluten free, dairy free bite-sized pieces of rich chocolate flavor with an incredible fudgy texture.

Enjoy your Wednesday, and eat well!

Perfect for parties, just layer it, serve it, enjoy it!

Hi, everyone! I’ve been invited to a Linky Party by justafrugalfoodie and I’m bringing the best thing I ate this week, this delightfully delicious avocado key lime parfait! It’s light and creamy, refreshing, and filled with wholesome, nutritous ingredients. One taste of this lip-puckering parfait and you’ll be pleasantly pleased!

Having not grown up with the four seasons, spring is a new experience for me. I always thought winter would be a snow-covered scene until the first day of spring, when the snow would melt on cue, birds would start singing and blossoms would start popping up. I guess it  doesn’t happen exactly like that, but there’s that unmistakable transition to earlier mornings that make me feel better about waking up with the sun.

I saw a cooking show that featured a delicious key lime pie, something that made me yearn for a fresh tasting “hello, spring!” kind of dessert, yet still be comfy and homey-feeling. I love the immediate pick-me-up that the scent of lime and lemons can give you, there’s no other fruit that leaves you feeling more optimistic. Key lime pies are so delicious and refreshing, but can also be overly sweet, cloying, and leave you feeling like, “Blech, I just ate some key lime pie,” instead of “Yay, I just ate some key lime pie!”

I needed a healthier version, and a search for ‘raw key lime pie’ on the internet led me to The Bees Knees Kitchen where her incredibly delicious recipe uses the nutrient-dense avocado as the base. Avocados are a wonderful source of fiber, vitamin E,  potassium, and folate, and also helps your body assimilate fat-soluble nutrients like lutein and alpha- and beta-carotene*. Such a simple recipe with healthy ingredients, no baking, and the fresh, lively citrus certainly satisfies your sour tooth, while the smooth, velvety texture just says ‘comfort food’.

I made a few modifications to the ingredients and served it up parfait-style. I took one parfait to my husband (two spoonfuls lighter, I had to be sure it was up to snuff!) and he enjoyed the tart flavor from the avocado filling as well as the addition of the yogurt-lime topping. What a great dessert to bring into spring!

*source, http://www.avocado.org/avocado-nutrients/

Avocado Key Lime Parfait
This would also make a great breakfast, where the crust can be sprinkled on like granola.

Filling:

2 avocados
1/3 cup key lime juice or lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon stevia
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
zest of 1 lime

Blend all the ingredients  in a blender until smooth, adding more honey or stevia to taste. Set aside.

Crust:

2/3 cup pecans, walnuts or almonds
2 teaspoons coconut flour or flaked unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup agave syrup
stevia
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt

Directions:

For crust texture – Put pecans, coconut flour or flaked unsweetened coconut, stevia, lime zest and salt into a food processor, pulse into crumbs. Process and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup agave syrup in the chute. To test if done, pinch a small amount between your fingers, crumb mixture should hold. For crumbly topping, don’t pulse as long, but keep larger chunks of nuts for that “granola look.”

Yogurt topping:

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon stevia
2 tablespoons lime juice

With a spoon, mix all ingredients until well combined, adding more agave to taste.

To assemble:

In a glass cup, layer 1 teaspoon crumb mixture, 1 tablespoon of key lime filling, and 1 teaspoon of yogurt, repeat. Garnish with mint sprigs, lime slice, and coconut flakes. Makes 4 servings.

For Key Lime Avocado Pie: Use 1 cup sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup almonds, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained. In a food processor add nuts, 1 teaspoon stevia, 1 tablespoon agave and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until it forms a dough. Press into springform pan lined with wax paper. Press dough 1″ up the sides. Add avocado filling and top with yogurt. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or until firm enough to slice.

 

 

My cat Wolfie loves yogurt, but this snack is for me!