Fresh strawberries are finally in season here in New England. I’ve seen so many awesome ways to use strawberries on social media lately, not to mention tons of cute pictures of people going berry picking! Check out my previous post on things to do with strawberries here.
I love apple crisps in the fall, so I thought I would make a healthier crisp to eat for breakfast during the summer.
This is a “breakfast crisp” rather than a “dessert crisp” because it contains no added sugar (besides some maple syrup) and no butter. Hooray for a lighter, healthier option! That being said, if you served this with some vanilla bean ice cream it would make a totally awesome dessert despite it’s lack of typical “dessert ingredients”.
It’s been too long since I last posted a “treat” recipe here! Today I was craving chocolate but the only chocolatey ingredient I had lying around was cacao powder…so I whipped these up. They’re definitely more nutrient-dense than brownies, cookies, and dark chocolate bars!
I’m a big fan of really dark, bitter chocolate. The taste of cacao powder fits the bill for that category. With no milk these are almost vegan (they contain honey). They’re super rich and creamy but don’t require any baking, making them an awesome summer dessert because there’s no need to heat the house up with the oven!
Look for an almond butter with just almonds on the ingredients list to ensure you’re getting the healthiest option.
Movie nights are perfect in so many ways. They’re a great excuse to stay in with your friends or family, make delicious snacks, and get cozy while watching your favorite film. There’s one thing that isn’t so perfect, though: those snacks! Microwave popcorn, candy, soda, and ice cream are hardly healthy, and they might leave you with a stomach ache rather than creating a relaxing night. So I’ve decided to create some lighter alternatives to make your movie night picture-perfect.
First up: popcorn. My family doesn’t have a microwave, so we’ve been popping kernels on the stove (or our wood stove!) for most of my life. Most microwave popcorn brands contain nasty trans fat (even if they claim they don’t) and processed ingredients that are migraine-inducing (at least for me!). Here’s what you need to make your own simple, healthier popcorn:
2/3 cup corn kernels (pick whatever brand you can find at your grocery store, no need to be picky)
3 tablespoons oil of your choice (I used coconut oil!)
I would recommend using the biggest pan you have (at least 4 quarts) because it’s hard to eyeball how much room the popcorn will take up once it’s popped! Let the oil melt on medium heat, add the kernels, then cover with the lid left slightly ajar, and wait until all or most of the kernels are popped! Be careful not to burn it. You can add any toppings you like, but I added sea salt and cinnamon. The possibilities are endless!
Now you’ll want something gooey and sweet to munch on. You could pull out a roll of cookie dough, but we all know those aren’t good for us. I created a recipe for protein packed, whole wheat cookie dough! Here it is:
4 tablespoons nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter)
3/4 cup milk or nut/soy milk
1 teaspoon butter
3 teaspoons sugar (add more or less to your taste)
Mix everything together and add more of any ingredient to taste! If you don’t have a thick consistency, just add more flour or protein powder. I think it tastes like a yummy Clif Bar, so don’t think it will end up EXACTLY like your traditional cookie dough…but it’s totally delicious either way.
Serve it with a sprinkle of cinnamon in your favorite mugs and you’ll have an instant crowd pleaser. And because of the black tea and stimulating spices in the mix it will give you a tiny boost to keep you awake for the whole movie!
Lemon herbal water is perfect for cooling your taste buds down after the chai. I make it all the time, not just for special occasions, and it’s a great way to stay hydrated if you don’t love plain water or just want the benefits of fresh lemon and herbs (the claim is they are detoxifying, especially for the skin). This is a perfect summertime drink because there are plenty of fresh herbs to use. Just pick (or buy) some spearmint and basil leaves, add some lemon wedges and you’re done! So easy and refreshing.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, hopefully with a movie night thrown into the mix! 🙂
Mix the peanut butter, cacao powder, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla in a bowl or a food processor. (Tip: add the honey tablespoon by tablespoon to get your desired taste.) The fudge will be smoother in the processor but we all know it can be a pain to clean! Using a spoon or spatula will work fine; that's what I did.
Put the nuts of your choice (I used pecans because that's what I happened to have in the kitchen) into a large bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into a coarse powder (or bring out the food processor).
With clean hands, roll the dough into small balls and roll each one in the nut powder to coat it.
Stick each completed bite on a sheet with parchment or wax paper and let them cool and harden in the fridge.
Feel free to double this recipe, it only makes about 10 bites. Also, I used unsweetened cacao powder (NOT cocoa powder) so if you wanted a sweeter taste add more honey. I found that it works to just add the honey by taste because everyone likes different amounts of sweetness. I like mine to taste like very dark chocolate, so I used a little less than 3 tablespoons of honey.
You want the peanut butter to have ingredients of just peanuts or peanuts and salt to avoid trans fats! Also, the coconut oil should smell like fresh coconuts. Use local honey if you have it.
Why cacao not cocoa? Because cacao has a greater nutritional value than cocoa. Cacao is generally less processed. For example the sole ingredient in the one I used is “Organic Cacao Powder”. Just one ounce of it has 10 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, 4% of your daily value of calcium, and 10% of your daily value of iron. That’s pretty impressive for just one ingredient! It does have a bitter, “dark chocolate” taste, but it’s very enjoyable! The creaminess of the peanut butter balances it out nicely and the fresh coconut deliciousness of the coconut oil is perfect for the summer. Not to mention the free-radical fighting antioxidants in the unprocessed cacao; also perfect for that summer sun!
This culinary creation is inspired by this recipe! Go check it out!