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Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 large ripe bananas

3 organic eggs

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅓ cup natural creamy almond butter

⅓ cup coconut flour

⅓ cup cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup dark chocolate chunks

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or grease with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract and almond butter until fully combined.
  3. Add the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients and mix well. Gently add the chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 16 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.

Serves 12

Party Empowered: Tips and Tricks to Healthful Feasting

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for summer. I’m craving a little sunshine, BBQ with family and friends and a glass of Rose. Here is my guide to partying it up while maintaining healthy habits. Party Empowered…

 

  1. Foundation is everything. Set the foundation for a healthy day of eating by eating a well-balanced power breakfast that keeps you fueled and focused until your next snack or meal. My go to breakfast is two whole eggs, ¼       avocado and berries. Make smart choices all morning long, and you’ll be more inclined to keep it going than if you started the day with a donut.
  1. Arrive “satisfied.” Don’t starve yourself until the party or “bank” your calories. I promise this method will backfire and you will likely make poor choices and overeat. Plan a pre-party snack — such as a cup of gazpacho or egg muffin cup – and you won’t be so inclined to overdo the appetizers.
  2. What’s the “special”? Don’t waste your time putting anything between your lips that isn’t special. Ask the host what the most coveted dish is. Maybe it is an heirloom tomato salad (wahoo, dig in!) or perhaps it’s the famous mud pie (reason to eat grilled veggies and skip the chips, so you can have a taste). The point is, scope the menu, survey the buffet and plan your plate.
  3. Delay your drink. Before you arrive, decide how much alcohol you are going to have. The extra calories and inhibition lowering side effect are reason enough for you to D E L A Y your first drink. When the host asks what you’re drinking, opt for a sparkling water with lemon for the first round. If the parties goes on, continue with water or sparkling water in between alcohol.
  4. Hone your food GPS. Navigating the fare may take some creativity. Grab a plate. Make one beautiful meal out of the healthy stuff and what you love most. Anything you put in between your lips should have hit your plate first. This will prevent grazing and mindless eating. No salad? That’s OK, pile your plate with lettuce, tomatoes and onions as well as whatever else you find on the burger fixin’s table. Pair the guacamole that is sitting in the center of the bowl of chips with the crudités hanging out next to the cheese board. Partake in the veggies while the burgers and dogs are grilling and hold out for the lean protein that you love, like steak, fish or shrimp.
  5. Bring your food. You should have 2 – 3 signature dishes such as a tomato salad, tandoori chicken or zucchini carpaccio to contribute. Bringing healthful fare to the party ensures there is something you will be able to enjoy without worry. You’ll feel healthiest, most empowered and suffer less regret if you choose mostly veggies and lean meats, so make a beautiful plate and enjoy it.
  6. Do dessert. Eat fruit. Whole, sliced, grilled and clean, loading up on water volume, antioxidants and satisfying fiber is definitely a great way to conquer the end of the meal. Indulge mindfully. If you want the cookie or piece of pie then own it. Plate it. Eat slowly and enjoy it. It’s going to be a long summer of BBQ’s, cookies and your favorite farmers market pie, so don’t waste your time on treats that aren’t special.
  7. Reframe. You are actually not going to the party for the food. The food is just an excuse to get YOU to the party, so be present with your friends and family. Prioritize catching up with loved ones, making memories and another milestone in the year over the food. Really connect with the guests, support the host and participate in the event. It’ll take your mind off of the loaded potato salad.

 

Go-To BBQ Recipes

There is absolutely no reason for you to feel like a victim when you roll up to the Memorial Day BBQ you’ve been invited to. You don’t have to succumb to the hot dog and bun, chips and dip or the potato salad laden with mayo you’re praying doesn’t make you sick.

 

Party EMPOWERED! Bring one of these three super simple, ridiculously healthy recipes with you and you’ll be eating and sharing your healthful ways. Partygoers are sure to thank you!

 

Memorable Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 12

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved (look for the multicolor ones)
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 1 European cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 1 bunch basil, sliced into chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use your good one here)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the olive oil, vinegar and lemon together with the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  2. Pour the dressing over the vegetables.
  3. Let the salad marinate for an hour at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

 

Tandori Chicken

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 12 skewers*

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Juice of one lime
  • Fresh pepper
  • 5 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 12 12” wood skewers soaked in water
  • Fresh lime wedges for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken to make the marinade.
  2. Skewer the chicken onto the 12 skewers and coat with marinade for 30 – 60 minutes.
  3. Grill the chicken on medium high heat for 3 – 4 minutes per side, discarding marinade. You can do this ahead of time and serve room temperature. Garnish with fresh lime wedges.

* Note, if you prefer, you can skip the skewers and grill the chicken breasts whole. Slice the chicken breasts horizontally, through the thinnest side to make each breast into two full sized, but thinner breasts. Increase cooking time to 4 – 5 minutes per breast.

 

Zucchini Carpaccio

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 12

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slender green zucchini, sliced paper thin on a mandolin
  • 4 slender yellow zucchini, sliced paper thin on a mandolin
  • ½ cup mint, sliced into chiffonade
  • ¼ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 8 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Extra large serving plate

 

Directions:

  1. Arrange the zucchini in concentric circles slightly overlapping on the serving plate. Sprinkle evenly with mint.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the zucchini. Allow 10 minutes to 30 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  3. Just before serving, sprinkle the pine nuts over the zucchini and use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmigiano Reggiano over the plate.

 

 

Charoset Muffins

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 18 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

Charoset:

  • 2 medium granny smith apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Muffin:

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • ½ cup matzo meal flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup charoset

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the charoset by mixing all of the charoset ingredients together. This can be made a day in advance and chilled in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and prepare 20 muffin cups with liners.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients, from the almond flour to the salt. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients from the honey to the vanilla. Combine the dry into the wet ingredients and fold in 1 cup charoset.
  4. Fill the muffin cups ½ way and bake for 18 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Time: 20 active minutes, 1 hour cooling
Makes: 20 truffles / 10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

10 oz 70% cacao dark chocolate (I like Hu)
1 large, ripe avocado
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon high quality vanilla extract
Toppings: high quality cocoa powder (Navitas is great), dried coconut, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash it until it is creamy and no lumps are left.
  2. Break or chop the dark chocolate and melt it in a double boiler, over simmering water until smooth. (Alternately, you can use your microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).
  3. Add the chocolate, salt, vanilla and avocado together and mix until combined completely. Refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Scoop out 1 teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball, using the palms of your hands and light pressure. Repeat until all of the truffles are formed. Roll the truffles in your favorite toppings and refrigerate again, if needed.

Turkey Veggie Slider Bar

INGREDIENTS:

Burgers:

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 3 small zucchini, grated
  • 2 medium carrot, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Toppings:

  • Mini  whole wheat buns
  • Romaine lettuce leafs
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Pickles
  • Avocado slices
  • Cheese
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, carrot, garlic, salt, pepper and eggs.
  2. Form the mixture into 8 patties.
  3. Heat olive in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Cook the patties, turning once until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Place on a platter with toppings on the side, and let guests assemble their own.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Lettuce Cups

INGREDIENTS:
5 organic chicken breasts, about 3 pounds (you can use thighs, too)
1 18 oz bottle high quality bbq sauce (I like homemade from a farmer’s market, but in a pinch, a bottle from the supermarket will do)
One big white onion, sliced thin
1 European cucumber, sliced paper thin
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 – 4 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place the chicken, barbecue sauce and onions in a slow cooker set on low and forget about it for at least 6 hours and as many as 10.
  • Place cucumber, vinegar and sugar in a bowl and refrigerate for as long as the chicken cooks.
  • Before you serve, take the chicken out of the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Put the chicken back in the sauce.
  • Serve the chicken in the lettuce cups, topped with cucumbers.

Serves 10.

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree or organic canned pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional: Add organic raw coconut, chocolate chips or chopped pecans as toppings

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with muffin liners.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together
  3. Mix wet ingredients together
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
  5. Pour batter into muffin tin, about 3/4 cup full for each.
  6. Bake for approximately 22-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean
  7. Enjoy!

Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 green onion stalk, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
2 tbsp almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp organic olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl
  3. Spray a mini muffin tin with olive oil
  4. Scoop a tablespoon into each mini muffin cup
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Serve hot or freeze and reheat

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Protein Muffins

INGREDIENTS:
2-1/2 cups almond meal
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp hemp seeds
3 large eggs
1.5 large mashed ripe bananas
2 maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped organic strawberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tin with organic cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray).
  2. In a large bowl whisk the almond flour, baking soda and salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, banana, maple syrup oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until blended. Fold in strawberries.
  4. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes until set at the centers and golden brown at the edges. Move the tin to a cooling rack and let muffins cool in the tin. Eat up!

Serves: 10