Bake A Better Breakfast: Gluten-Free & Vegan Blueberry-Banana Muffins

Image from Food Doodles.

Looking for a new healthy breakfast recipe? Or something to take to school or the office? We’ve got the perfect muffin recipe for you. These blueberry-banana muffins are vegan and gluten-free! Oh and did we mention they are largely guilt-free because we are eliminating fatty oils and using good-for you ingredients like organic blueberries, bananas, and flax! Give these a try, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (1/2 brown rice and 1/2 gluten free baking mix – like Bob’s Red Mill) If you don’t have brown rice flour, 2 cups of gluten-free mix will do
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or stevia in the raw
  • 2 ripe organic bananas, mashed well
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave, or honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup almond or rice milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (add after mixing wet and dry ingredients together)
  • 1 cup organic blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the muffin pan with vegan cooking spray or butter or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl mash the bananas well. Then add the additional wet ingredients from the apple sauce through vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients from the flour through the sugar and mix well.
  4. Slowly stir together the wet and dry ingredients until well blended. Then add the apple cider vinegar.
  5. Fold in the blueberries
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups about 1/3 of the way full.
  7. Bake 22-25 minutes in preheated oven or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins are tasty and healthy. A great snack or breakfast to keep around the house, and perfect for sharing with friends. Have a happy Tuesday!

What are your favorite kind of muffins?

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3 Healthier Ways To Indulge In Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

Who doesn’t love cookie dough? We will fess up to having cleaned a spoon or two that was covered in the stuff. It is so sweet, so comforting, and guess what it doesn’t have to be so unhealthy! Today we’ve got 3 recipes to share with you that offer healthier ways to indulge your cookie dough craving. These treats would be great for parties or girls night, or even just good treats for your kids!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt – this glorious recipe comes from The Suburban Girl Gone Country and has been circulating Pinterest boards! We tried it out and it really does taste like cookie dough (different texture but similar taste). We used unsweetened plain soy yogurt and a little stevia in place of Greek yogurt. This would make a great snack for kids, especially if you are trying to get them to enjoy yogurt (and get their calcium)!

Image & Recipe by The Suburban Girl Gone Country

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles – These truffles from Chef Chloe are less sinful then traditional cookie dough. She omits eggs and uses vegan margarine. But we’d be interested to try using yogurt or apple sauce for part of the margarine to cut back on fat. The best part about this recipe… you can control your portions by just having one (OK maybe two) truffle(s) at a time.

Vegan Cookie Dough Truffles – Image & Recipe from Chef Chloe

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip – You won’t believe the secret ingredient in this dip… and neither will your friends. This dip is gluten free, high in protein, and can easily be made sugar free & vegan! Make up a batch and indulge mostly guilt free… we promise you won’t regret it!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dip – Recipe & Image from Chocolate Covered Katie

Are you a cookie dough fanatic? If so let us know what you think of these recipes!

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Gluten Free Brownies

Image from Comfy Belly

Today we’ve got a recipe for delicious, cakey gluten-free brownies adapted from the book Gluten Free Baking Classics! These are so tasty nobody will even notice they don’t contain any wheat. We whipped up a batch of these for a joint birthday party this past weekend (but forgot to snap pictures), and they were a hit. These are great for birthday parties, pot lucks, or the holidays. You can add mix-ins according to your preferences. Chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, or caramel sauce make nice additions! Oh and did we mention we seriously cut the sugar on these too by using stevia in place of sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 ozs. semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup stevia in the raw
  • 2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, or chocolate chips, or dried fruit, or a combination.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit, 350 if you are at altitude. Position rack in lower-middle oven, and grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter in a heavy sauce pan. Once melted, remove the pan from heat and whisk in stevia and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in eggs, one at a time until mixture becomes smooth and glossy.Add the flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips add them and stir to combine.
  5. Pour batter into prepared 8-inch square pan and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely, then cut & serve!

What is your favorite brownie recipe? And do you like dense or cakey brownies? We can’t make up our minds.

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Tasty Kid’s Party Recipes: Vegetarian “Chicken” Strips, Sweet Potato Fries, & Homemade Sauces

Vegan Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries – Image & Recipe from Oh She Glows

All kids love chicken fingers and fries! It’s such a classic and the recipes we are sharing today are a healthy and vegetarian (and vegetarian) way for you, your friends, and family to enjoy this classic American meal! The recipe is super easy to whip up within an hour, and if you don’t want to opt for  tofu, you can always use chicken instead. We came across this great recipe from the blog Oh She Glows, who adapted her recipe from a great cookbook: Veganomicon. It looks so cheery and tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (or Soy, or Rice Milk)
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/3 Cup Cornmeal (We Used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cornmeal)
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs (or Substitute with Gluten Free Crumbs, or Panko)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • For Fries: 1 Large Sweet Potato + 1 Tsp Olive Oil + 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon + Pinch Salt + 1/4 Tsp Cumin

Recipe: Follow Oh She Glow’s excellent step by step instructions complete with pictures! When we made it they turned out amazing, and honestly tasted a heck of a lot like chicken! Of course you could always use chicken in this recipe, and have a healthy baked chicken strip recipe. The fries are so tasty, but depending on how you cut them, they may need a little less time than the strips.

Homemade Sauces for Dipping

Really take it up a notch and whip up some delicious homemade sauces. We have collected a few recipes for:

Homemade Ketchup – Courtesy of Skinny Taste

Homemade Honey Mustard – Courtesy of Pennies on a Platter. Hint: To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce – Courtesy of Simply Scratch

We are huge fans of this recipe, even though we aren’t huge fans of tofu. So if you are looking for an easy weeknight meal, or a fun party food that you don’t have to feel guilty for, give these recipes a try! They won’t disappoint!

What are your thoughts on tofu?

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Skip the Chips &Soda Part II: Serve These Refreshing Beverages Instea!

Earlier this week we shared some healthier and happier alternatives to chips that you can serve at parties.Today we’ve rounded up a collection of alternatives and recipes that won’t have you or your guests missing the soda!

Swap Out Soda With These Alternatives:

Flavored Water – A pretty, healthy, and affordable alternative to soda. Just buy your favorite fruits and veggies (we love strawberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, and cucumbers), slice them up, and add them to a glass pitcher to steep with ice water, or add them directly to your guests glass! You can pick fruits that coordinate with your party’s color scheme or that celebrate the flavors of the season!

Juice Spritzers – super yummy and super affordable. Pick up your favorite juice and add tonic or seltzer water for a refreshing, fruity, and fizzy soda alternative! You can also add fresh fruit, mint, or basil to liven up your spritzer.

Iced Tea – this is a staple in my opinion, and if you aren’t serving up the super sweet southern version it is a healthier alternative. You can go with a traditional black, or serve green, or fruit flavored iced tea. Try swapping the sugar out for a natural sweetener like agave or stevia to keep calories low. We are in love with this recipe for Blueberry Mint Iced Tea by Brooklyn Gallery!

Blueberry Mint Iced Tea – Recipe & Photo from Brooklyn Gallery

Ginger Ale – So technically this is soda, but ginger ale is wonderful for your stomach, and if you are going to consume any form of soda you should give this spicy and refreshing flavor a try. We love Reeds natural ginger ale, and now they even offer a “light” option that is only 55 calories a bottle!

Reeds Ginger Brews

what is your favorite beverage to serve at a party?

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Skip the Chips & Soda Part I: Serve These Healthy Chip Alternatives Instead!

Chips and soda… the staple at any party, gathering, lunch, or event. They seem to be easy crowd pleasers and relatively affordable. But the average 12 oz soda contains 140 calories and 39g of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends 37g of sugar per day for men and 25g of sugar daily for women. We all want to live healthier and happier. It doesn’t mean we can indulge in a sweet treat or drink every now and then.

This week we have some swaps you can make that won’t have you or your guests missing the chips and soda!  So don’t worry, you won’t be the weird guest or bad host if you show up with one of these alternatives in place of the standard chips and soda. Instead your healthier options may end up being the life of the party! We will start out by sharing some swaps for potato chips, and Thursday we will have a collection of alternatives to soda!

Swap Out Chips With These Alternatives:

Apple Chips – These are a lighter and healthier alternative to the standard potato chip delivering a nice crunch and slightly sweet taste.

Seneca Apple Chips

Kale Chips – These aren’t as pretty as some chips, but they are very healthy and tasty!

Baked Kale Chips from All Recipes

Soy Crisps – These are super crunchy, high in protein, and taste great alone or with any dip you would normally serve with chips.

Whole Foods Sea Salt Soy Crisps

Fresh Veggies – These are crunchy and pretty, and serving them with a healthy dip can deliver the salt and tang you crave in a chip! You can save time and pick up a pre-made platter from just about any grocery store these days!

Fresh Veggie Platter

Whole Grain Pretzels – We are in love with the Newman’s Own line of pretzels! They are made with organic ingredients, low in calories, have an excellent crunch and taste, and are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. We are partial to the honey wheat!

Newman’s Own Pretzels

Lentil Chips – these chips are light, fluffy, high in protein, and very tasty!

Mediterranean Snacks Baked Lentil Chips

Lentil Crackers – These crackers are crispier and crunchier than the chip version and super tasty!

Mediterranean Snacks Lentil Crackers

What would you serve in place of the standard potato chip?

 

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2 Easy Lunches With Homemade Hummus

On Tuesday we shared our versatile recipe for making your own hummus. Hummus is great  as a dip, but it also makes a great spread for sandwiches and wraps. So today we’ve got two easy lunch recipes to use your homemade hummus for! Enjoy 🙂

 

Crunchy Veggie Hummus Wrap

 

You can play with this recipe depending on the veggies you like, or add some cheese or olives for extra punch!

 

Veggie Wrap with Eggplant Dip

Veggie Wrap with Eggplant Dip (Photo credit: Vegan Feast Catering)

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla or wrap of your choice (there are some great low-cal options available these days)
  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • 1 to 2 tsp mustard (honey or spicy brown depending on whether you like it sweet or spicy)
  • 1/8 cup sliced or diced cucumber
  • 1/8 cup diced tomato
  • 1/8 cup sliced or diced bell pepper
  • 1/8 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 slices red onions
  • Spinach or any lettuce/leafy green you have on hand
  • 1/8 cup alfalfa sprouts

Directions:

 

  1. Lay out your tortilla and spread the mustard and hummus on one side.
  2. Add the veggies, then add the spinach and sprouts last.
  3. Give an additional squirt of mustard if you wish, then roll up the tortilla.
  4. Slice in half or devour it whole 🙂

Hummus Powerhouse Sandwich

garden veggie sandwich

garden veggie sandwich (Photo credit: calamity_hane)

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 slices of sprouted grain bread, lightly toasted
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1-2 slices of Havarti cheese
  • 6-8 thin slices of cucumber
  • 1/8 cup shredded carrots
  • 2-4 thin slices of avocado (depends on how much you like avocado)
  • 1-2 slices of tomato
  • Handful of spinach
  • A lot of fresh sprouts

Directions:

 

  1. Lightly toast the bread to give it a little durability.
  2. Slather hummus onto one of the pieces of bread then layer the cheese, cucumber, carrots, tomato, spinach, sprouts, and avocado.
  3. Top the sandwich off with the other piece of bread (and maybe a toothpick to keep it in place). Enjoy your veggie and flavor-packed lunch!

Which hummus and veggie lunch is your favorite?

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Homemade Hummus!

A dish of hummus (A Lebanese Dish) with pine n...

A dish of hummus (A Lebanese Dish) with pine nuts at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we’ve got a recipe for healthy and delicious homemade hummus that will give you lots of options to customize based on your families topping preference. It makes a great snack to enjoy during a party, football game, or even just at lunch time. So forget about the store-bought stuff and give this homemade version a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, or 2 cups cooked
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Variations: Add one, or a combination of these

  • 2 cloves chopped garlic (optional)
  • 2 diced roasted red peppers (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp diced jalapeños (optional)
  • Pine nuts (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. In a blender combine all the ingredients and blend until creamy or smooth. You can add any of the variations to the blender or top the basic hummus recipe with one or all of them depending on what flavor you are looking for. Place the hummus in a bowl or glass container with a lid (if you intend to store it).
  2. Garnish the hummus with pepper, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Serve with veggies, pita, pretzels, tortilla chips, or use a sandwich spread.

How do you like your hummus: garlicy, spicy, or plain?

 

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Fruit & Nut Granola Cookie Bites

High Fiber Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

High Fiber Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fruit & Nut Granola Cookie Bites – Makes About 30 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine the banana with the brown sugar in a large bowl and beat in the egg, the baking soda mixture, the flour, the salt, and the vanilla. Stir in the oats, the apricots, raisins, cherries (or cranberries), walnuts, and almonds and combine the dough well.
  3. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough about 4 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. We like to leave them as cookie balls, but you can also flatten them out.
  4. Bake the cookies in batches in the middle of a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom.
  5. Transfer them to racks and allow them to cool.

These cookies are a very healthy and nutrient packed alternative to traditional oatmeal raisin cookies, and they are super yummy. Make some up to keep around as a healthy snack, or serve them up at your next party or gathering! What do you think of this recipe?

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Apple Inspired Appetizer: Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Points

With Gravenstein apples just coming into season we felt inspired to share a recipe featuring the delicious California apple! This would make a great appetizer for a party or even just a healthy snack to share with little ones. (Picture from The Girl Who Ate Everything).

Ingredients:

  • 2 Kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Gravenstein – peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries diced
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. fruit preserves, any flavor you like! We love orange marmalade in this one.
  • 10 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix the kiwis, Gravenstein apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, brown sugar and fruit preserves in a large bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Coat one side of each whole wheat flour tortilla with cooking spray (buttered flavor works nicely). Cut the tortillas into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit salsa.

Of course you don’t have to use Gravenstein apples, or you could change up any of the fruit really and still get great results. What are your favorite apples!

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