Tag: Dairy-Free

Kale Chips Two Ways: Healthy Snacking Made Delicious

Kale Chips Two Ways: Healthy Snacking Made Delicious

Kale with a Crunch Kale chips are delicious. Trust me on this one. If you’ve been scared to eat a chip made out of a vegetable, or scared of vegetables in general, stop whatever you’re doing and make these. They’re crispy, crunchy, light, and oh […]

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary for the win When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal […]

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, which is pretty much why naked baked apple slices were born.

In yesterday’s post where I shared my vegan paleo sugar-free pumpkin pie dip, I mentioned that I made naked baked apple slices so I could have my ‘pie’ and eat it too – for breakfast. Warm apple pie meets warm pumpkin pie. Done and done.

baked apple slices

Slicing Things Up

Really, naked baked apple slices happened for three reasons: I wanted something warm for breakfast, I really wanted to eat the pumpkin pie dip and was in need of a healthy vehicle, and I was too impatient to wait for a whole baked apple.

Since I already used apple slices with the pumpkin pie dip, apples of course jumped to mind first, but I didn’t want to eat cold, raw apple slices. Stewed apples wouldn’t serve as an appropriate dip vehicle, nor would a whole baked apple, which I’d have to slice anyway and would take far too long to bake for my impatient stomach. So, the obvious solution was to pre-slice the apple and bake those babies up.

baked apple slices paleo vegan sugar-free

An Apple A Day: The Health Benefits of Apples

And as the doctors say…. eat up! Apples are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber, making them a powerful prebiotic. The phytonutrients and antioxidants are linked to a reduced risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. They also contain vitamin C, B-complex, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorous.

Apples also improve neurological health. They are particularly rich in the antioxidant quercetin, a substance found to help reduce cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. They also help prevent dementia and reduce the risk of stroke. Pass the apples, please.

baked apple slices paleo vegan sugar-free

Go Naked

Baked apples usually come loaded with all sorts of fixins like dried fruit, sugar, and oats or granola. Totally delicious, but full of unnecessary added sugars and fussiness for my purposes. So I made em naked.

I plopped the slices on the baking pan, drizzled some water and vanilla extract over them, and put them in for just 10 minutes. Result? Perfection. (Well for my simple purposes anyway!)

I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the slices before dipping them in, and bam it was like apple pie meets pumpkin pie in the easiest, healthiest way possible.

These naked baked apple slices can be served as a quick healthy snack or dessert in their own right, and with under 5 minutes of prep time and just 10 minutes in the oven, there’s pretty much no excuse to not make them!

baked apple slices paleo vegan sugar-free dessert

baked apple slices paleo vegan sugar-free dessert
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Naked Baked Sliced Apples

A quick, easy and healthy version of the classic baked apple. 

Course Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp warm water really you don't need to be precise here. just need to add some water to the pan so the apples don't dry out.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice your apple. Place the slices on a pan. 

  2. Drizzle the apples with the water and vanilla. You can combine the vanilla with the water in a small cup before drizzling. 

  3. Place them in the oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve naked, or with my pumpkin pie dip.

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. 

 

 

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Cleanse your system the fun way The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to […]

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Cool for the Summer: Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Ohhhh yes, this raw vegan creamy celery herb soup recipe is a win! More raw soup. Souper delicious. Souper healthy. Creamy. Refreshing. Bursting with layers of flavor. So I went to the local farmer’s market […]

Paleo Dark Chocolate Sugar-Free Recipe

Paleo Dark Chocolate Sugar-Free Recipe

Organic Vegan 0g Sugar Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe – No Sugar Alcohols Necessary

Life without chocolate simply wouldn’t be worth living, so when it comes to healthy chocolate, I’ve become somewhat of an expert. Ok ok, expert is a bit of a stretch. But I’ve been doing all the necessary (and delicious!) research. Because I need sugar-free paleo dark chocolate in my life. Fortunately, this recipe passes my super-strict test.

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

I’ve tasted the healthiest chocolate bars. I’ve researched and tested the best cocoa and cacao. I’ve searched for clean sugar-free chocolate recipes. And I’ve experimented with making my own paleo dark chocolate. Because sometimes, you just gotta create your own solution.

Recipes for homemade chocolate abound on the internet. But whenever I searched for ‘sugar-free’ paleo dark chocolate, the recipes generally replaced sugar with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. Although all-natural and each great options in their own right, they still contain sugar. And really what I was looking for was a sugar-free, paleo dark chocolate without sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are a great solution for many, but I (along with many others) don’t always respond well to them.

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

Because of my gut-healing journey and my need to steer clear of sugar, I embarked on a mission to make delicious treats with literally zero grams of sugar – not just refined sugar but any sugar. I did all sorts of experimenting in the kitchen with stevia and other sweeteners containing sugar alcohols. These can work great for loads of people and each has their own place, but I’ve finally found my favorite sweetener: monk fruit.

Monk fruit: The superior sweetener

Monk fruit’s all natural, does not contain sugar alcohols, and has no funky aftertaste (like many find with stevia). So imho, it’s the best option. When I first researched this sweetener, I experienced a little sticker shock. But it turns out a teeny tiny bit goes quite a long way, so the upfront cost is absolutely worth it. In fact, when I use monk fruit, I find that an eighth of a teaspoon is sometimes sufficient for an entire recipe. And if I want to sweeten my coffee, for example, just the tiniest dash will do.

Beyond personal taste preferences, using any of these sugar alternatives requires a bit of experimentation and a fair bit of caution. Despite what many of the packages indicate, the vast majority are not a one-to-one substitute for sugar. As far as sweetness is concerned, I find that less is more in all cases.

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

Anyway, back to the chocolate.

As much as I love chocolate and chocolate-containing goodies, I knew absolutely nothing about making chocolate when I first embarked on my paleo dark chocolate making endeavors. So I did my best searching for simple versions to work off of.

I first experimented with several homemade chocolate recipes using stevia. It worked, but the stevia aftertaste was detectable. I also added different flavors like coffee, cinnamon, sea salt, peppermint, and hazelnut. I varied ingredient quantities, and tried adding a touch of coconut oil, and, finally, coconut milk. 

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

Finally, I’ve landed on a version worth sharing.

This paleo dark chocolate requires just five ingredients – cocoa butter, cocoa powder, monk fruit, vanilla extract and coconut milk – and takes just five minutes to make (minus setting time). Without the coconut milk, the blend tastes a bit dry. These days, I do appreciate the taste of very dark chocolate (I often purchase 85%). However the powder quality comes through a bit too much without the milk.

I tried adding coconut oil as a couple recipes do. The chocolate was definitely a lot smoother, but I didn’t love the addition of extra oil. So finally I tried coconut milk and found a winner. It lacks the oil and the chocolate is still so much smoother on the palette.

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

And it’s super easy to customize: I sprinkled it with a little sea salt, because dark sea salt chocolate is one of my fav versions, ever. You can make any flavor you choose using this as the base and blending in essential oils or organic extracts.

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

 

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

 

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

All you do is melt the cocoa butter using a double boiler setup on the stove, then mix in the remaining ingredients, scoop it into a mold, and set it in the fridge or freezer. I actually did purchase a chocolate bar mold from Amazon which I love.

But you can simply coat the bottom of a dish, plate, small loaf pan – whatever works. It may be more difficult to remove intact. But it doesn’t really matter if the chocolate breaks into pieces if you’re just making it for your own consumption purposes!

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate

Best of all – you can chop it up to make vegan, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, sugar alcohol-free paleo dark chocolate chunks for your baking needs 😉

Sugar-Free Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated cocoa butter, or cocoa butter discs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp monk fruit sweetener (start small and adjust to taste!)
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut milk

How to Make:

  1. For quicker, even melting, grate the cocoa butter, (or purchase the discs to skip the grating). Place the cocoa butter in a double boiler, or in a medium-sized glass bowl.
  2. If you do not have a double boiler, fill a medium-sized saucepan with 1 inch of water. Very carefully nest the glass bowl on the rim of saucepan (make sure it nests securely).
  3. Heat on medium to high heat bringing to a gentle boil at most, allowing the the cocoa butter to melt completely. Remove the glass bowl from heat as soon as the last bits melt. Immediately mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla, sweetener, and coconut milk. With the last three ingredients, start small, and adjust to taste. You should achieve a smooth ganache-like mixture. As you mix the ingredients, do not let the chocolate cool too much otherwise it may become rough.
  4. Using a spatula, fill your mold. Then allow to set. You may place it in the refrigerator to set, or the freezer to speed up the process. (If you’re in a warm climate, you’ll definitely need to set it in the fridge or freezer).
  5. Keep refrigerated. Makes a bit more than 3 ounces. Enjoy!

*These quantities filled my break apart 3oz mold, with a couple spoonfuls left over (which obviously went straight into my mouth… perfect 😉

Want more vegan, paleo, sugar-free chocolate recipes?

Check these out:

Cheers! xx

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Pass the Cheese Please… Or not. So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled […]