Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chickpea Chip Cookies

garbanzo bean cookies

Ah yes, another chickpea cookie recipe.  The last one I made was great--if you want a sweeter more melt-in-your-mouth version, check out this one I created a couple years ago.  The one below I threw together recently is also very filling (and easier for me to resist) as well as not quite as sweet.  I like it without the additional honey, but if you are used to more traditional desserts, either keep the honey in, or add additional chocolate chips.

This is a good protein cookie to have a few as breakfast and keep you satisfied until lunchtime, or as a little energy snack or dessert.  I enjoyed them most warm almost right from the oven, and the husband appreciated them with a little more chocolate.  As he pointed out, if you hand him something that looks like a chocolate chip cookie, but tastes very healthy, it's a bit of a letdown.  For me though, cookies like these still seem like a decadent dessert--just customize it to your sweetness preferences!

chickpea oatmeal cookies

Chickpea Chip Cookies
yields 15 little cookies

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sunflower seed butter* or almond butter
2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle sea salt
1-1/4 cup gluten-free quick oats**
3 to 4 tablespoons mini nondairy chocolate chips (or more to taste!)

*I used Wild Friends Organic Maple Sunflower Seed Butter, which lends a little sweetness already, allowing me to skip the honey.

gluten-free protein cookies

Directions:

1.  Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and take a little time to rub off most of the skins.
2.  Heat oven to 300 degrees and continue prepping the cookies as it warms up.
3.  Puree the beans with the vanilla and nondairy milk, scraping down the sides of your processor or blender as needed until mostly smooth.
4.  Add egg whites, sunflower butter, powder and salt, and honey if using.  Pour this mixture into a bowl.
5.  Stir in quick oats into the mixture, or **make your own by food processing regular gluten-free oats until coarse and chopped.  Stir in chocolate chips.
6.  Spoon into cookie-size of choice (cookies won't spread) onto a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.  Bake at 300 for 18 to 20 minutes, turning the cookie sheet around halfway through.  It may take closer to 20 minutes if you added honey.  Serve warm or melt additional chocolate and drizzle on top if preferred!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Bowl

nice cream


This smoothie bowl is refreshing, filling and tastes like an ice-cream dessert.  Rather, it's a wonderful fruit, muesli and seed medley that packs a nutritional punch and won't leave you feeling bloated or stuffed like a dish of ice-cream might!  If you like acai bowls or smoothies, you'll love this recipe.  I for one much prefer to "eat" my smoothies; it's much more satisfying as a delicious meal.

healthy smoothie bowl


Strawberry Banana Breakfast Bowl
serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1-1/2 frozen bananas
3 frozen strawberries
2 splashes coconut milk (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 fresh banana, sliced (or berries)
2 tablespoons dried mulberries
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
3 tablespoons muesli*

*I recently discovered Seven Sundays Blueberry Chia Buckwheat Muesli that is very tasty (and gluten-free).  Feel free to make your own too with your favorite seeds, oats, fruits and nuts if desired.  Also, get creative: fresh berries, chia seeds, coconut or almond butter would all make good toppings as well.

dairy-free breakfast bowl


Directions:

1.  Puree banana, strawberry and nondairy milk in a food processor or blender, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed until mixture is creamy and looks like soft serve.

strawberry banana vegan ice cream

2.  Slice 1/4 of a fresh banana, and layer banana, muesli, hemp seeds and any other topping of choice.
3.  Enjoy before it melts!

smoothie bowl


seven sundays muesli


Friday, December 4, 2015

Pumpkin Mulberry Breakfast Cookies

This is a recipe I created a couple weeks ago (before my fantastic week in the hospital, ha).  I had discovered two opened bags of organic dried mulberries which is pretty unusual for me--they are so expensive that usually I keep very good track of my precious mulberries.  In fact, I'm not sure I've ever offered them to my husband.  Dried blueberries for him, organic mulberries for me--how selfish!

Anyways I wanted a pumpkin cookie, and it was breakfast time, and I wanted to eat some mulberries.  Somehow the combination not only worked, it tasted amazing.  So here you are--a fast and easy cookie recipe with yummy and nutritious pumpkin, chia, and yes, mulberries.  If you don't have any though, any dried fruit such as raisins, currants, cranberries, blueberries or something similar would work fine.  Heck, if you want more of a dessert, omit the fruit and add in your favorite chocolate chips!

pumpkin mulberry cookies


Pumpkin Mulberry Breakfast Cookies
yields 10

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 egg or egg replacement
3/4 cup gluten-free oat or regular flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oats
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
sprinkle sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup dried mulberries (or fruit of choice or chocolate chips)


gluten-free healthy pumpkin cookies

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Mix all wet ingredients together, then stir in dry ingredients.  Add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of pumpkin if the batter looks too dry.
3.  Stir in mulberries or dried fruit on hand, or for a more dessert option, nondairy chocolate!
4.  Divide into 10 cookies and bake for 10-12 minutes or until set but look soft still.  For my oven, 11 minutes is perfect.  Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before pulling off the cookie tray.  Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge; will keep for a few days.

healthy breakfast cookies

gluten-free mulberry cookies


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gifts for the Fitness-Lover this Holiday Season

I thought about writing this post last night, after my mother asked if there were any non-baby items I would like for Christmas.  In a snapshot, I've been in the hospital for a week for preterm labor, and now am home resting and waiting for the twins to make their appearance.  I'm SO excited to meet our babies, and also very excited to be more mobile and able to exercise again.  So I've had a lot of time to think about what fitness-related gifts I would love to have for post-baby fitness.  I've also included a few things I already own that I love.  Side note: there are no affiliations here; I make absolutely nothing on blogging at the moment, and certainly not on any of these products.  This is just for fun and if someone I know decides to treat me to one of these gifts, then hurrah--and if you like this list and want to share with a loved one, please do!

Fitness and Running Gifts for the Holidays 2015
These are arranged into least to most expensive.  Not all are running related, and I admit most but not all, are geared towards women.


1.  Raw Energy Cookies, $ priceless
If you'd really like to save money, get a mason jar and fill it with ones of my easy raw cookie bite recipes.  Add a gift tag and ribbon, and there you go--a tasty energy-packed treat to fuel the athlete in your life.  Easy and homemade=everyone wins.  Try this raw cookie dough bite recipe!


2.  Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry, $12
This is a book I actually got for my husband as a birthday gift, and it's really great.  Any runner would benefit from this book focused on running health and improvement.  If you live in the Monterey Bay area, swing by The Treadmill family-owned running store in Carmel for a copy.  While you're there, get some great running expertise and shoe fitting targeted to your body's needs.  Also, a gift card to a local running store is a easy go-to choice!

3.  Sparkly Headbands by Sparkly Soul, $15
These are a fun holiday option!  Supposedly they are nonslip and guaranteed to fit every head shape.  I love all the shiny options, especially this Oregon Duck-colored one ;)  I have a ton of headbands and have lost a ton of headbands--for me Lululemon ones with silicone like the no-longer-available Skinny Satin Pirouette band are my favorite, though most of my simple Nike ones have stuck with me as well.  These are so stylish though and could be used while working out, or out and about town or dressed up for a date night.  You can find them on sparklysoul.com or Amazon.


4.  Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller, $35
Again, go to The Treadmill to snag this and learn how many different ways and areas of the body to use this on.  For me, foam rolling has proven more effective than stretching even, though I try to do both.  Whether you're pregnant, running marathons, or anything in between (or both!) aching muscles will really benefit from getting rolled out.  Also available online on Amazon, etc.



5.  Beach Babe DVDs, Tone It Up, $27 to $37
A friend recommended the Bikini Series videos on YouTube, and that's how I discovered the mega-successful Tone it Up girls.  I'd love to do their bundle service or fitness subscription package or retreat, but the DVDs are a great starting point.  They have fun free sample YouTube videos, and I've loved every workout so far.  It's not too challenging--good for a beginner getting into strength training or just delving into HIIT training, for some of their workouts.  For new moms stuck at home, I imagine squeezing in a few short videos shot in beautiful beach locations could be a good mood-booster!  ToneItUp.com is where you can find fitness accessories, resources, nutrition or packages.


6.  Nike Handheld iPhone Case, $40
I found this on Sports Chalet, though I know there's probably tons of different versions.  I love this one, though I also like this Nathan one that's even cheaper, at $26.  This one is for the iPhone 5/5s so for all you fancy iPhone 6ers, you may have to search for an updated version.  Normally I don't run with my phone but I predict that may change when I have two babies at home and want my husband or whoever is with the girls to be able to reach me at all times!

7.  Barre or Fitness Class Packages/Gift Card, $50-$200
This is one of the best ideas ever--a few classes or a package for barre, yoga, spin, etc--however the fitness lover in your life loves to sweat!  I'm hoping to be able to pick up barre classes again in the not too far future.  Also a gym membership would be a good option--I'd love a month or two at the Monterey Sports Center--Cielle is my favorite barre teacher there.  CarmelBarre is another great option for the Monterey Bay area, with tons of class times and different teachers.

I was front desk girl at Studio Barre in Carlsbad before moving to Monterey, and Studio Barre has the best barre classes I've ever taken.  I recommend Studio Barre if there's one near you!

8.  Run Fast Neck Warmer by Lululemon, $68
I know, I know, almost $70 for a neck warmer?!?  This is a definite splurge but I CAN say that Lululemon's rulu fabric is magical.  It's warm and soft and as someone sensitive to so many materials and textures (I'm that weirdo that cannot handle denim or anything scratchy), I can say it is absolutely great.  It is reflective and can be pulled up over the head like a hood or cinched around the neck.  I think next winter in Virginia, I would definitely find a use for this!



9.  Nike Roshe Run Hi Sneakerboots, $100
Soo I'm weirdly obsessed after my kinda sister-in-law that works for Nike had a pair.  It feels like a slipper plus running shoe, and while I wouldn't recommend them as a regular running shoe, the older version did serve me well two winters ago when I would walk or jog or a combo of the two to get to work at Elegant Elephant Baking Co. in Eugene.  While my husband was deployed, I worked for this fantastic gluten-free bakery and biked, walked or drove from my parents' house.  When a rare week of snow came, I was able to wear them to travel to work and not freeze.  I had SO many people compliment me on them even though, as my twin points out, they remind her of elf booties.  Anyways, the pair I had I purchased on eBay since I couldn't find them anywhere, and they were always a half size too small, which I refused to admit.  Finally I gave up and sold them on eBay, especially since pregnancy has made my shoes a bit tighter.  When I saw the new updated version, I knew I had my new most-desired item.  So hopefully Santa will bring a pair of these in size 8 ;)  You can purchase them on Nike.com or Zappos, etc.
10.  Fitness Band or Smartwatch $80-crazy
The ones I am interested in are the Vivofit 2 for a fitness band, or for smart watches, the Garmin Vivoactive or FitBit Surge or Apple Watch.  Amazon seems to have the best prices, though I've seen sales on Best Buy, etc too.  They all have great qualities though none are perfect--basically it depends on what your preferences are, and what's most important (heart rate monitoring and gps capabilities bring up the price).  When my wonderful neighbor that owns and loves the Vivoactive offered up her unused Vivofit 2 for me, my husband was off the hook for a SmartWatch Christmas gift, but maybe eventually I'll splurge for that Vivoactive or Apple Watch!


11.  Run All Day Backpack by Lululemon, $118
I used to work for Lululemon when I lived in Carlsbad (as well as at BodyROK teaching SPX Pilates and Studio Barre--I lived fitness!).  Say what you what about this yoga company, but they do have impressive quality.  I still live in the same clothes I purchased working there 4 years ago, and almost all of them have stayed in great shape. Some of the tops have worked startlingly well through a twin pregnancy too, so i'll have to see how the stretchy material rebounds post-pregnancy.  Anyways, I've "made-do" with a few small backpacks that I pretended were running ones, like my beloved Dakine pack that is basically disintegrating after 10+ years of frequent use.  I would LOVE this one, which is reflective, water-resistant and in true Lululemon style, features tons of pockets and hidden functional features.




12.  Waterproof iPod Shuffle by Underwater Audio, $140 Bundle or $175 Sports Bundle
For the swimmer in your life!  Since swimming was pretty much the only approved exercise for my third trimester, I fantasized about being able to listen to music or audiobooks while repeating endless laps.  I cannot honestly say how well they work (they do have good Amazon reviews) but it sounds pretty great.  I'd love to use this while aqua jogging too, instead of how I used to put my iPod in a  plastic baggie and clip it on top of my bun, and hope the guy in the next lane didn't splash too much.  (Seriously, I've had a lot of time to watch people's swimming forms and sometimes it astounds me how much water people can whip about with their arms and legs doing freestyle/front crawl.  Though they are probably burning more calories with the excessive flailing, so I guess they win after all).




And there you go!  As you can tell, I really like black and green fitness-anything, ha.  I'd love to know your can't-live-without gadgets or fitness gifts.  Have fun gifting and sweating this holiday season--hopefully I'll be joining you soon!  Hopefully I'll be up and about developing more healthy recipes for you on your health and fitness journey as well.
xoxo


Monday, November 23, 2015

Cranberry Chai Granola


cranberry chai granola with nektar honey crystals

The spices make it smell sooo good: just like the holidays.  Better and yummier than potpourri!

I woke up recently craving granola: specifically a lightly sweet spiced granola.  I also felt like a little pre-holiday baking to get me in the spirit (yes, I've already started listening to Christmas music whenever I walk the dogs...)

This granola recipe was inspired by the Nektar Honey Crystals I was given to play around with recently, and I must say I am very happy with the flavor the honey provides--also to be quite honest, it's much easier than messing with a sticky honey jar and trying to make sure the honey gets incorporated in.  I'm also happy to announce that one of you will get the chance to win your very own jar of Nektar Honey Crystals!  To enter, head over to Instagram or facebook and let me know what your favorite holiday-time breakfast is.


Christmas came early!

One of you will win your very own Nektar Honey Crystals
Unfortunately most granola has gluten, or at the least, is made with oats that are not certified gluten-free, meaning they likely are cross-contaminated by either being used on the same machinery as wheat or in the same facility as wheat.  Even if you can procure some gluten-free granola, more often than not it contains lots of cane sugar or oil.  I avoid most nuts and flax due to sensitivities, so long story short, I've rarely had a store-bought granola that didn't make me sick.  Luckily, granola is pretty simple to make and stores for quite awhile.  Here's a granola almost everyone can enjoy, and best of all, there is absolutely no oil, and just a touch of honey sugar and apple-juice sweetened cranberries.  Hurrah, a delicious guilt-free filling holiday breakfast at last!

Cranberry Chai Granola
Oil-Free & Gluten-Free

gluten-free oil-free healthy cranberry chai granola

Ingredients:


3 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup millet (uncooked)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons Nektar Honey Crystals
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup apple-juice sweetened cranberries


Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a pan with a silpat, or parchment paper.
2.  In a large bowl, mix oats, millet, seeds, honey crystals and spices.





3.  Juice half an orange (1/4 cup plus a little extra), add to the mixture and stir, coating ingredients.


Any orange juice will do, but it is best straight from the fruit!
4.  Lay granola mixture on the pan and bake 30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every 10 min as not to burn.  Add the cranberries at the end, baking an additional 5-8 minutes.
5.  Let cool and serve.  If cooled completely will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gluten-Free Muffin Mix 3 Ways

Happy November!  It poured rain much of today in Monterey (to my absolute delight!).  Being in a drought, obviously rain is always good.  Since rain is pretty rare here, I relish the chance to enjoy warm tea and nestle on the couch with a little work or book to read.  I came across a Bob's Red Mill gluten-free muffin mix package and decided a rainy overcast morning was the perfect chance to experiment.  Also, why stop at muffins?  I wanted a pumpkin waffle for breakfast, so figured I would play around with a few different flavors and breakfast items.  Thus two different muffin flavors and one great pumpkin waffle came to be, all from one easy gluten-free dairy-free mix!

Though I prefer baking from scratch, it is a nice luxury to whip up a one bowl recipe in just mere minutes, with a foolproof result.  

gluten-free pumpkin muffins


Gluten-Free Muffin Mix 3 Ways
Yields 2-3 waffles and 12 muffins

gluten-free muffin mix waffle


Ingredients:

1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muffin Mix
3 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

Add-ins (see directions before adding!)
pinch each of ginger, allspice and cinnamon
crystallized ginger
nondairy chocolate chips
unsweetened coconut



Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners or spritz with oil.
2.  Place mix in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add oil, pumpkin, eggs and nondairy milk and stir well.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Muffin Mix



3.  Set aside 1/3 of batter and add a handful of nondairy mini chocolate chips, and add about 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.
4.  Preheat waffle iron.
5.  Stir in spices into pumpkin muffin batter, and set aside about 1 to 1-1/2 cup of batter for waffles.
6.  In the remaining batter, stir in crystallized ginger.

gluten-free waffle and muffin mix


7.  Spoon chocolate chip batter and crystallized ginger batter into muffin tin; it should make about 6 of each (fill each tin at least 2/3 full).
8.  Bake for 20-24 minutes (mine were perfectly done at 21 minutes).  While the muffins are baking, cook the waffles and serve plain or with unsweetened applesauce.

pumpkin waffle


Let muffins cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing and enjoy!

gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and ginger pumpkin spice muffins
 

If you can handle ingredients like corn and xanthan gum, this is a super fast way to make fluffy muffins and waffles very quickly.  It's also a one-bowl recipe, making clean up a cinch.  I made these for my husband knowing he had a 12 hour work day ahead of him, and plan to freeze any extras, but they would be a great fast and easy brunch for company or to give as a gift! The mixture is pretty sweet, so it's definitely more of a breakfast treat or dessert item.

I'd love to see Bob's Red Mill make a less sweet version sans corn products, but in the meanwhile it's a great gluten-free, soy, nut and dairy-free option.



gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin spice muffins