Mocha-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love coffee. I love chocolate. I love baked goodies (the healthy versions, of course). This recipe consists of all of all of these things. So by now you should have realized something.  And that is.. this recipe is awesome.

Oh. I almost forgot to mention that this recipe is free from any refined sugars, grains, gluten & dairy. BOO-YAH. …Who even says boo-yah anymore? Um. Moving on to the recipe before I embarrass myself any further…

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pureed butternut squash
  • 1 cup nut-butter of choice (peanut, almond, cashew, sunbutter, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (or dark chocolate) (**I only only put 2 chips on top of each mini muffin, as I feel like there’s already enough chocolate in the muffins!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350f/175c
  • Steam/Boil butternut squash until it’s tender (you’ll be able to easily stick a fork in it)
  • Use a food processor/blender to puree the butternut OR mash by hand (I’ve done both)
  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Evenly distribute batter amongst 24 mini muffins
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

Substitutions:

  • Sweet potato in place of butternut squash
  • Crunchy or smooth nut-butters – your preference
  • Substitute another sweetener for the maple syrup (agave nectar, honey, etc)

Enjoy as part of breakfast, brunch, snack, dessert.. Hey, if you want them for lunch: go for it, who am I to judge? Though, I would recommend you accompany it with something a little more nutritious as well.

My excellent assistant, stirring away.

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Sniff test! Yup, that’s good and chocolate-y.

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Into the muffin pan they go! Bake for 15 minutes or so and..

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Voila! Look at these cuties!

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And a close up just to tease you.

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..What are you still doing on here? GO MAKE THESE!

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Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Perfect for a snack, pre or post workout, or even breakfast (though personally I would need something a bit more filling).

Goodies required:

  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter, or nut butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Handful of ice – for thickening the smoothie
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds (optional)

Blend all of it together! Put the liquid and softer items at the bottom so that it blends together better.

Both seeds I listed are optional, however both have great nutritional contents so, why not add them? The same goes for the spinach; trust me, the first time someone suggest to me to put spinach in a smoothie I thought, ew! Would it even blend up? That would have to taste awful.  But in reality, you can’t taste it since there’s so much fruit in it – even it does alter the color a bit.  Give it a try, what’s the worst that could happen?! 🙂

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Spinach-Turkey Meatballs

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you truly must!  And for those of you who have; you know just as well as I do how amaze-balls (yes, I went there) spag squash is.  What’s so great is you just have to slice it in half, scoop out the guts, and then bake it face down in the pan for about 1 hour.  You then scoop it out, and can serve it virtually any way you want.  It really takes on whatever seasoning or flavors you put in it.  I usually go for either pesto or a tomato sauce, but the possibilities don’t end there.

This recipe is for spinach-turkey balls, which I paired with spaghetti squash (see, my rant wasn’t completely pointless) and a homemade tomato sauce.  I really love these meatballs, however, since making them the first time I found that they could have some more flavor, so I added sauteed fresh basil & some minced garlic in with them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground lean turkey OR chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 tsps garlic powder (or a little more for flavor)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup wholewheat bread crumbs
  • 1 splash almond milk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375F or 190C
  • Mix chopped spinach, diced onion, egg, cheese (if using), and milk until a paste forms.
  • Add meat, and then fold in the remaining ingredients.

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  • Roll into 1-2inch balls and place on baking sheet with parchment paper for an easy clean up (or lightly grease the pan)

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown

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IDEA: If you wanted to make a burger rather than meatballs – you could easily just form these into a patty instead, and either bake them or cook them in the oven.

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I sauteed veggies to go along with it, and made homemade tomato suace; it was a big hit even for my friends and family who typically scoff at my “healthy” alternatives and such.

 

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Soup

Last night I must’ve known that today was going to be a hectic, long day.  I say this because I told myself, make a crock-pot dinner tomorrow morning before work – and I am SO thankful I did.  I got this recipe from someone I follow on instagram – and her website is actually: http://paleonadime.blogspot.com.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, and am really happy with how it turned out.  However, I did add corn which is not paleo; therefor this version is paleoish! 😛

Recipe:

1 lb chicken breast (diced or shredded – your preference)

1.5 cups carrots (I sliced full carrots but you could use baby carrots)

1 diced sweet potato 

4 cloves minced garlic

1 diced onion

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 – 3/4 cup hot sauce (Use as little or as much as you like depending on your preference)

1 can(15 0z)/cup diced tomato

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce 

1 can (15 oz) white kidney beans

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

Salt / Pepper to taste

Mix all of these together in your crock pot; cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.
I actually cooked mine on low for 6 hours and it was fully cooked & the veggies were soft.
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Keep in mind that if you don’t like some of the veggies or other ingredients in here – you can either A) substitute ingredients OR B) simply not include them.  The original recipe called for 2 ribs of celery, sliced.  However, I don’t like celery so I omitted it.  One of my favorite parts of cooking is tweaking the recipe to make it a little different each time – so don’t be afraid to alter recipes and try new things!!

Homemade pesto

 

 

 

 

Who knew that pesto was so easy to make? I surely didn’t! Not only did it take under 5 minutes to make, but it’s also only FOUR ingredients.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup dry pine nuts

1 bunch of basil

Juice from 1 lemon

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Now put all of those goodies into your food processor, and puree until you get this consistency:

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Voila! No need to buy store made pesto again!

I have to thank one of the lovely moms I work for, for sharing this recipe with me today. A real eye opener! If I’m capable (and it’s not super pricy) than I would much rather make it myself rather than purchase “store bought” any day!  When you do it yourself you KNOW what you’re putting into the recipe, therefor you KNOW what you’re putting into your body!

2 ingredient pancakes

Now, who doesn’t love pancakes? Only weirdos, right?  Well believe-it-or-not I was one of those weirdos not that long ago.  I’ve just never been that big of a fan of pancakes. Usually they’re just huge, too thick, and get soggy from all of the (very) sweet syrup..Gross! However, since my newfound lifestyle change, I’ve found myself craving them.  This is probably because I don’t eat sweet things often other than fruit.  So this put me in a bit of a predicament.. How can I satisfy my pancake craving without really indulging?

After a few minutes on google I came across this uh-mazzz-zing 2 ingredient pancake recipe.  Yes, you read that correctly: TWO ingredients; that’s all.  Those two ingredients you ask? Egg, and banana. That’s it!  Okay, okay, okay, I’ll stop ranting and give you the recipe already 😀

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: Chocolate chips, pecans, almonds, raisins, etc

Preparation: 

  • Mix the eggs and banana together.  (I prefer to use it blender/food processor – use whatever is easiest for you)
  • Add fillings if you fancy
  • Now just cook these bad boys like you’d cook any other pancakes
  • Top with fruit, nuts, syrup, nutbutter – ENJOY!

Tips:

  • I let the mixture set for a few minutes before cooking them otherwise you get extremely flat (yet still delicious) pancakes.
  • Look out for the little air bubbles on top of your pancakes – when there’s a bunch that means it’s time to flip those flap jacks!

I hope you enjoy these guys! They’re full of potassium, fiber, vitamin c,  and protein but you’ll feel like you’re indulging big time.  These pancakes are one of my absolute favorites now – I can’t get enough!