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Sugar-Free Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sugar-Free Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Keepin it Real Cranberry Sauce Cranberry sauce is a holiday table staple. But I’ve always been slightly weirded out by the jello-y mush that comes from a can. And which initially retains the shape of said can. Weird. And they usually contain corn syrup and […]

Paleo Mushroom Gravy: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipe

Paleo Mushroom Gravy: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipe

It’s Gravy Baby Turkey or not, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without gravy. Traditional gravies are obviously made with the turkey pan drippings, cutter, cream, and regular all-purpose white flour. None of which are suitable for a vegan and or paleo-friendly recipe. So here ya […]

Paleo Stuffing Stuffed Baked Delicata Squash: A Vegan Thanksgiving Solution

Paleo Stuffing Stuffed Baked Delicata Squash: A Vegan Thanksgiving Solution

The Main Attraction: Vegan Feast Alternative

Nothing truly replaces a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. But these days there are plenty of options that deliver all the fall feels for vegans and people trying to adopt a more plant-based. But for a lot of us out there, it’s also important for dishes to be grain-free and paleo. Which is pretty tricky for a Thanksgiving feast. Enter this baked delicata squash with paleo stuffing.

One part squash, one part flavorful paleo stuffing, without any gluten, grains, dairy, or carbs. The stuffing itself is also low-carb and keto-friendly.

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving

Top it off with vegan gluten-free gravy, and now you’re really in business. It also works as a hearty side dish, and the stuffing can stand alone as a delicious paleo alternative to stuffing.

The stuffing can even be a dish in its own right. I’m honestly kind of obsessed with this cauliflower rice, mushroom, and leek version of paleo stuffing infused with herbs. Delicious.

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving

And easy.

Thanksgiving dinner and holiday feasts are already complicated enough, I wanted something that would come together relatively quickly. The squash does require an oven, but the stuffing can be made in advance and cooks up in one pan in about 10 minutes. Boom.

And seriously the flavors are just so satisfying. I adore herbs like rosemary, sage, and tarragon, and they pair so well with the earthiness of the mushrooms and the aromatic leeks.

Paired with the hearty sweetness of the squash, it creates a tantalizing blend of satisfying flavors..

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving

Delicata Squash: The Cheerful Holiday Guest

I don’t cook often with delicata squash, but it’s so darn cute and cheerful that it makes a great addition to a holiday feast. It’s the cute and dainty member of the squash family. It’s smaller, tending to weigh less than a pound, oblong, and has yellow and green stripes accented with orange running down the sides.

The skin is thin and actually edible. Not everyone loves to eat the skin, but it adds that visual appeal to your holiday plate. It tends to be a tad bit on the dry side, which is why I bake it with oil and top it with stuffing and gravy.

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving

Delicata Squash Health Benefits

Delicata squash is rich in fiber and provides a healthy dose of iron, which is crucial for healthy cell production. It also provides a solid dose of calcium, so there’s no need to worry about nixing the dairy and missing out on this key nutrient for bone health.

Like other orange and yellow-hued foods, delicata squash provides a nice dose of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, which are both crucial for immunity. Vitamin A is also essential for eye health.

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving

vegan paleo stuffed delicata squash vegan thanksgiving
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Paleo Stuffed Baked Delicata Squash

A vegan, paleo main or hearty side dish for the holiday table 

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash
  • 1+1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil coconut oil works well
  • 2 cups cauliflower rice *may purchase or make by pulsing a head of chopped cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms I use cremini or button
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, de-sprigged
  • 1 sprig fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, de-sprigged
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Cut the squashes in half from top to bottom and coat with olive oil. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

  2. While the squash is baking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower rice, mushrooms, leeks, and fresh herbs and sautée about 8-10 minutes, until thoroughly soft and slightly browned. 

  3. Add the apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. 

  4. When the squash is ready, remove from the oven, stuff with the stuffing, and serve. 

Recipe Notes

Serving size: about 1/2 squash per person. Stuffed, this alone makes for a meal for most. As a side, cut into quarters. 

The stuffing may be made in advance and added about 10-15 minutes before the squash is finished. 

Sweet Potato Mash: Nailing the Breakfast Game

Sweet Potato Mash: Nailing the Breakfast Game

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast For those skeptics our there, just hear me out for a second. Sweet potato may not jump to mind as a traditional breakfast food option. But really, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sweet potatoes basically […]

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Have your Pie and Eat it Too… For Breakfast Literally there was frost on the ground this morning when I woke up, and I don’t think yesterday was any warmer. In the cold weather, my breakfast smoothies aren’t quite as appealing. I crave warm food, […]

Quick Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

Quick Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

Healthy Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip

Pumpkin season is officially upon us. We have pumpkin and squash and sweet potato versions of everything. But pumpkin pie-inspired delicacies are in a category of their own.

With the holidays coming up I wanted to make a healthy version of some kind of pumpkin-pie inspired dessert. I wondered what pumpkin pie filling would be like as a dip – like pumpkin pie without the crust – and sure enough pumpkin pie dip is a thing.

But it’s mostly not a healthy thing. The versions I found were filled with cool whip, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and altogether processed, chemically-laden, sugar-filled and dairy-heavy ingredients.

paleo pumpkin pie dip vegan sugar-free recipe

So I figured I’d create a clean vegan, paleo, sugar-free fix. And sure enough, it worked out quite simply and here we have it: a paleo, vegan, sugar-free pumpkin pie dip.

And yup, it’s super easy! It’s possible to make this in five minutes with just five simple ingredients if you have pumpkin pie spice on hand. But with variations in brands and whatnot, I have also included a version that addresses consistency and ingredient availability. We can call it the ‘gourmet’ version, if you will, still just five minutes to make.

I serve it with fresh apple slices, but this morning I was really craving something warm yet healthy. I decided to throw some apple slices in the oven and bam, naked baked apple slices were born. Brilliant on their own, but a perfect match for this pumpkin pie dip. I threw a portion of the dip in the oven for a few minutes, and it was like fall pie heaven for breakfast…

Imagine pumpkin pie meets apple pie, and it’s ALL healthy and clean. Boom. Win. I’m 100% sure the dip would also taste amazing with some paleo, gluten-free gingersnaps, so I’m gonna work on that…!

Paleo pumpkin pie dip vegan sugar-free recipe

Naturally Nutritious

While this is *not* a low-calorie treat, it is full of nutrition, healthy fats, and all-natural ingredients. Plus it skips the added sugars so it won’t send you on a sugar-cravings roller-coaster. Healthy fats and fiber keep you satisfied, so you’re less likely to go into over-eating mode.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin puree (not the pre-sweetened pumpkin pie filling) is high in fiber, loaded with vitamin A, and is a solid source of iron, vitamin C, and calcium. It is also jam-packed with beta-carotene.

Due to it’s nutritional profile, pumpkin contains many health promoting benefits, including anti-cancer properties from the beta-carotene, improved immunity, and sharper vision.

Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut, while high in fat, is actually full of health-protective benefits. First off, there are misconceptions regarding the fat in coconut milk. Full-fat coconut milk is actually composed of medium-chain saturated fatty acids which are metabolized faster by the liver. Studies suggest that coconut consumption has no deleterious impact on cardiovascular health.

Additionally, the lauric acid is known to be a powerful antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease-causing organisms. So, coconut products may actually protect the body from infections and diseases.

Health Benefits of Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder (also known as arrowroot flour or starch), which I used to thicken the dip, is a stellar addition to the paleo pantry. Not only does it work beautifully as a substitute for processed, GMO-laden cornstarch, it actually contains a number of health benefits. It contains a good amount of potassium, iron, and B vitamins which benefit metabolism, circulation, and heart health.

Furthermore, studies have shown that arrowroot powder may stimulate the immune system. As a potentially potent prebiotic, evidence suggests it is excellent for gut health (which is key to all health) and is therefore implicated in gut-associated immunity. Arrowroot powder is also bland, which makes it suitable for people on neutral diets or with digestive upset.

Health Benefits of Warming Spices

Finally, the warming spices in pumpkin pie are packed with too many health benefits to list them all. But to name a few, cinnamon, ginger, and the pumpkin-pie spice blend itself possess anti-inflammatory powers, antioxdidants, anti-microbial properties, and disease-fighting powers.

paleo pumpkin pie dip vegan sugar-free recipe

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: A Health-Promoting Dessert

Due to it’s ingredients, this pumpkin pie dip is not only a healthier version of dessert, but without the sugar and dairy, it may actually be a health-promoting treat. These ingredients help us fight off invading pathogens, so with cold and flu season upon us, eat up! It’s no wonder we crave these flavors this time of year: our bodies know what we need!

Just go for organic, high-quality ingredients, and serve with healthy dippers like fresh apple slices or naked baked apple slices.

paleo pumpkin pie dip vegan sugar-free recipe
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Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: Sugar-Free, Vegan, Paleo Recipe

This sugar-free, paleo, vegan dessert dip tastes just as decadent as other versions, but swaps in health-promoting ingredients and skips the sugar. 

Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12
Author Amanda

Ingredients

  • 1 can organic pumpkin purée about 2 cups
  • 1 cup organic full fat coconut milk may increase, if using a thick milk and skipping the flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream may skip if using extra thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp all natural organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 tsp monk fruit sweetener adjust sweetness to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon *may sub pumpkin pie spice blend for all spices below
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to your food processor (a good blender can work too).

  2. Blend on high until thoroughly mixed. 

  3. Refrigerate until serving. *The arrowroot actually thickens further overnight, so this is even better made a day or two ahead, which is a win-win for your holiday menu planning! 

Recipe Notes

The simple version just requires the pumpkin purée, full fat coconut milk, 2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and sweetener of choice (all natural monk fruit or stevia ideally, maple syrup to keep it paleo). Bear in mind coconut milk consistency varies by brand. If it's too runny, you will likely need to add a thickening agent like arrowroot powder and/ or extra coconut cream. 

Adjust spices to taste. 

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can […]

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

Best Soup Ever Pumpkins and squash are everywhere, and squash soup has been high on the to-do list. I’ve made several versions in the past, but this time I wanted to spice things up a bit and thought I’d add some ginger and turmeric. No […]

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars: Vegan Gluten-Free Refined Sugar-Free Recipe

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars: Vegan Gluten-Free Refined Sugar-Free Recipe

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Bar Style

Fall is officially in full swing. Pumpkins. Pumpkin spice. Pumpkin everything. Apples. Chai spice. Cinnamon brooms…yep I got one from Trader Joe’s, and it smells amazing. It smells like fall, and it smells like baking.

So even though I’m making efforts to avoid sugar and stick to my whole foods nutrition plan, I couldn’t resist whipping up one of my all-time favorite treats, with a pumpkin spice twist: meet my Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Bars.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie bar vegan gluten-free sugar-free recipe

No-guilt Treat

Honestly, I’d already tweaked the original recipe to be vegan and refined sugar-free (aside from whatever was in the chocolate chips) by using flax eggs, coconut oil, and coconut sugar, but I took it a step further and cut the sugar even more and added pumpkin and spices to the mix.

Once they were out of the oven, I immediately remembered why I haven’t been baking as much: it’s nearly impossible for me to resist treats when they’re in front of me! And when they’re ‘healthier,’ it’s just way too easy to justify having it for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and for dessert…!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie bar vegan gluten-free sugar-free recipe

I definitely wouldn’t recommend consuming these for every meal – they are a sweet carby treat after all. But, that said, they are packed with protein, fiber, nutrients, healthy fats, and even add a dose of iron and antioxidants from the chocolate (as long as you choose high-quality chocolate).

So go ahead and make them, and be sure to share the pumpkin spice chocolate deliciousness.

Pumpkin oatmeal chocolate cookie bar vegan gluten-free sugar-free recipe

pumpkin oatmeal chocolate bar
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free pumpkin oatmeal chocolate cookie bars

Course Dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16
Author Amanda

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour (blanched is best, meal works too) any gluten-free flour works
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp monk fruit
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp ground flax (plus 6 tbsp water to make 2 flax eggs)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats

For the Chocolate Filling

  • 2 cups shredded cacao butter *can sub one cup of high quality chocolate chips for the cacao butter and cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup 100% cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp monk fruit
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, with extra hanging over the edges so you can easily remove. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax with the water, stir gently once or twice, and set it aside.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, monk fruit, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you're using a hand mixer), mix the pumpkin puree, applesauce, almond butter, flax mix, and vanilla. 

  4. When it's well-mixed, put the speed on low and slowly add the dry mix to the wet. Once its thoroughly combined, add the oats while it's on low. The mixture should be quite thick. Set it aside.

  5. Using a double boiler set-up (or directly in a saucepan), melt the cocoa butter. Once it's melted remove from the heat and stir until any remaining solids dissolve. Stir in the cocoa powder until it's thoroughly combined and no dry powder remains. Stir in the vanilla, monk fruit, coconut cream, and maple syrup. 

  6. Take about half to 2/3 of the pumpkin oat mixture and, using a spatula, coat the bottom of the baking dish so the bottom layer is about half an inch thick. Press it down and into the corners. Then take the chocolate mixture and pour it over this bottom layer. Take small chunks of the remaining oat mixture and drop it on top of the chocolate, spaced roughly around so the chocolate peeks through. They don't have to be perfect! 

  7. Bake for about 25 minutes. If the dough seems a bit soft, bake for up to an extra 5 minutes, depending on your oven. 

  8. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. You may even wish to refrigerate these before cutting to ensure the chocolate is fully set. (Although, sometimes I like them fresh out of the oven and super gooey – warning they will not look pretty this way!) 

  9. Store in an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator if storing more than one day. 

 

 

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut bacteria: The key to health All disease begins in the gut. ~ Hippocrates We have 70 trillion cells in our body. And we have 100 trillion cells in our gut. Meaning the gut bacteria we house far outnumber our own cells. There’s a reason […]


Life in Progress

My One Year Cancerversary

My One Year Cancerversary

The Preliminary C Diagnosis: Looking Back

A year ago today I received a call when I was at work. It was the director of the Lymphoma center at Columbia. I went into the bathroom to take the call. Gently but without mincing any words, he informed me that the preliminary results of my needle biopsy were in: I had lymphoma.  (more…)