Paleo Almond Brownies

Hi guys and gals. How is everyone doing? Hopefully well with Spring coming right around the corner! It is going to be 50 in Minnesota today and I am going to enjoy it with a 10 mile run. Sorry treadmill I am breaking up with you today and moving on to the outdoors, lol.

As for what is going on with me….well, I am busy running fitness and clean eating challenge groups. They are so rewarding and help keep me on track with my nutrition and fitness, but also makes me feel so great when my challengers get the results they are looking for! In my latest 7 day challenge, I had a challenger send me a personal message saying they struggle with eating chocolate and it is must have item in their diet.

Chocolate, oh yes, I get it. For me, I have a hard time living without peanut butter. I work daily to limit how much of this little jar of heaven I put in my mouth. Back to chocolate, I told my new friend that I would do my best to find recipes that would help her with her chocolate fix. I found some recipes on Pinterest and posted them to the Facebook group page, but then it dawned on me…..why not make her a brownie recipe? Hello…..I love baking and love sharing my healthy creations, so I got busy in the kitchen and came up with this healthy and delicious brownie recipe this morning. When I saw morning, I MEAN MORNING. These babies came out of the oven at 3:21 AM. FREAK! Yes, but I am a morning person 100% and who doesn’t love having a brownie for breakfast, lol. I only had a 1/2 of one, but the day isn’t over yet. I will be eating the other half and maybe one more after I finish my run. WHOOP, WHOOP.

All right, so I hope you all enjoy these brownies. They are the bomb! Seriously!

Paleo Almond Brownies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Almond Butter (unsweetened)
  2. 2/3 C Cacao Powder (unsweetened)
  3. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  4. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  5. 1 tsp Almond Extract
  6. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  7. 2 Eggs
  8. 1 tsp Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients in a medium sized bowl with a hand mix until combined together.
  3. Pour into an 8x8 greased cake pan.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes (test with fork; if it comes clean the brownies are done).
  5. Cool for 10 minutes until devouring!
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Orange Cinnamon Rolls

What a day yesterday! I started out my day with a 40 minute lap swim. I am incredibly slow swimmer! I mean ridiculously slow. I seriously think I swallowed a gallon of water as fast Thing 1, faster Thing 2 and wicked fast Thing 3 were making so many waves that I felt like I swimming in the damn English Channel. My competitiveness really wants to call them Jerk 1, Jerk 2 and Jerk 3, but I know deep down that if we did a running race they would eat my dust!

All right, so besides swimming, I also picked Mason up early and treated us to some Chipotle. Everything was going great until Mason turned into the Exorcist. He ate quite a bite of guacamole and rice, so when it came up the second time around I was immediately taken back to the scene in the movie! Talk about a fun time trying to get him calmed down because he was scared out of his whits and holding back the dog from eating it while trying to clean it up. Why on earth do dogs insist on eating vomit? Complete chaos I tell you! Then Mason threw a fit because he wanted to continue to wear his exorcist stained t-shirt. Come on dude? Really? NOPE, in the wash you go! Wow, wow, wee, wow!

Before all of the chaos happened I did make two batches of orange glazed cinnamon rolls. Two batches, what for? Well, I followed a recipe from my new cookbook, “Every Last Crumb” by Brittany Angell. So, I am not usually a follow the recipe to the “T” kind of girl. I am just a rebel by nature and just don’t like to follow the rules. In fact people who are total rule followers get on my nerves rather quickly. I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, “Loosen up your bung hole, folks”. I mean really is adding another teaspoon of flour going to muck up your recipe, NO! Anyway, I actually was a rule follower when making the cinnamon roll dough and filling (the icing I changed because I wanted it to be orange flavored). Curses for being a stickler because the dough came out too sticky to roll. It turned out I could only make a orange cinnamon roll cake and the bottom burnt to smithereens. It still tasted incredibly good, but who wants to scrap the top off and toss the burnt part. NOT I, said the cat.

Not satisfied I made another batch. These are yeast rolls kids, so this was a daunting and long process! I am talking an over an hour per batch. However, I knew exactly what I wanted to change to make them turn out the second time around. So, back to my trailblazer ways of doing what I wanted instead of following the rules, I added more tapioca flour to the dough, tossed in some vanilla to give a bit of Pazzazz, changed the way I rolled out the dough (using flour as the non-stick surface instead of oil) and prepped the pan differently for baking in the oven (original recipe lined the bottom with parchment).

BOOM, BOOM, they turned out G-R-R-EAT (in my Tony the Tiger voice). I mean so great that I wanted to eat the whole pan. I didn’t, but darn it, wouldn’t that be awesome to do! However, I do like being fit and I am pretty sure eating 9 cinnamon rolls would surely defeat that purpose! I mean look at this picture don’t you just want to dig in with your fork…..

Orange Cinnamon Rolls Pan

Thanks to the brilliant Brittany Angel for the recipe because with a couple modifications these Paleo friendly rolls are simply amazing! 

Orange Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 9
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Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
Sweet Dough
  1. 1/2 C Applesauce
  2. 1 tbsp Quick Acting Yeast
  3. 3/4 C Coconut Flour
  4. 3/4 C Tapioca Flour
  5. 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  6. 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  7. 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  8. 3 Eggs
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla
  10. 1/2 C Palm Oil Shortening or Spectrum Vegetable Shortening
  11. 3/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar or Evaporated Cane Sugar
Cinnamon Roll Filling
  1. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  2. 1 tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
  3. 2/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar
Orange Glaze
  1. 1 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar or Evaporated Cane Sugar
  2. 1 1/2 tsp Orange Extract
  3. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  4. 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  5. 2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk
Directions
Sweet Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add applesauce to microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds if applesauce is cold or 30 if warm (make sure it is lukewarm; roughly 110 degrees for proofing the yeast). Stir in the yeast until combined and allow the yeast to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix together coconut flour, tapioca flour, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder in a stand mixer. Add in the sugar and butter and combine until a crumbly dough forms together.
  4. Pour in three eggs, vanilla and the applesauce mixture. Mix on high speed for 2 minutes until a sticky dough forms.
  5. Place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter and cover the surface area with additional tapioca flour. Place dough on top of the paper and add a couple more tablespoons of flour to the top so that you can push down the dough. Form a 14 by 10 rectangle by pressing down the dough as evenly as possible with your hands. Make sure you have enough flour underneath and on the top to avoid it from sticking to your fingers or the work surface.
Cinnamon Filling
  1. Grease an 8X8 metal cake pan with palm oil shortening to avoid the rolls from sticking during baking.
  2. Mix together the melted coconut oil, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the dough.
  3. Start to roll the dough into a cylinder. It may be sticky so work slowly and use a spatula to lift the dough as necessary along the way. After the roll is formed us a sharp knife to cut the dough evenly into 9 pieces. You may need to wipe of the knife after each slide because the dough will stick to the blade.
  4. Using a spatula, lift each roll into the pan, placing them cut side up. There will be about a 1/2 inch gap between the rolls. This gap will fill in as they rise and bake.
  5. Turn off the oven and place the rolls inside. Allow them to rise for 15 minutes with the door open. After 15 minutes close the door and allow them to rise for another 25 minutes.
  6. Remove them from the oven, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake them uncovered for 30 minutes.
Orange Glaze
  1. While the rolls are baking, add the sugar to a spice or coffee grinder to make powdered sugar. Depending on the size of your grinder you may need to do this in two steps. Stir together the powdered sugar with the non-dairy milk and extracts.
  2. Remove rolls from oven and allow rolls to cool for 10-15 minutes before sprinkling on the glaze.
Adapted from Every Last Crumb
Adapted from Every Last Crumb
http://barerootkitchen.com/

 

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Tropical Blueberry Bars

As I was mixing together the Peanut Butter Oat Bars, Luke comes up to me and says, “What are you making?” I told him, “Peanut Butter Oat Bars.” After hearing the words peanut butter and oats he immediately got a sad look on his face because he can’t have either on his AIP diet.

After he left for work, I rummaged through the pantry looking for ingredients for protein bars that he could eat and came up with these tropical blueberry bars. When he got home that night he was like a kid in a candy store eating these bars! Over the years I have learned that it is the little things that truly make people happy and I am just glad something so small could make Luke’s day!

So, if you are allergic to peanuts, cannot tolerate oats (I have a hard time digesting them so I eat them occasionally and pay for it later) or are following the Paleo diet than these are the perfect bars for you.

Tropical Blueberry Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Dried Pineapple, chopped
  2. 1 C Dried Blueberries
  3. 6-8 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  4. 3/4 C Almond Butter
  5. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  6. 1 1/2 C Walnuts
  7. 1/2 C Pepitas
  8. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  9. 4 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  10. 1 tsp Vanilla
  11. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Add dried fruit and nuts/seeds to food processor and chop until they are in small pieces. Mix in the maple syrup, almond butter, sunbutter, sea salt, vanilla and coconut palm sugar until blended together and resembles a thick dough.
  2. Press into an 8 X 8 cake pan. Refrigerate for an hour before cutting into bars and serving.
  3. Bars can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months if they are in an air-tight storage container.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I found a baby picture of Mason while cleaning out my office along with an unused picture frame. Instead of it continuing to collect dust, I put it out next to the TV in my office. Well, Mason, engaging in his terrible twos, thought it would be fun to start sliding the frame across the TV stand. PUSHING MOMMY’S BUTTONS, yeppers! I asked him to stop. He scowled and proceeded to throw the picture frame against the wall. It didn’t break luckily, but it put a hole in the sheet rock. I wanted to say, “What the blankety blank is wrong with you, you flippity flip, jerk off!” Obviously I didn’t say this!

Instead my reaction was to turn off cartoons, take away his milk, cars/toys, etc. until he apologized. He laid on the floor kicking and screaming for a good 15 minutes until finally he got up, came over and said, “I am sorry mommy.” I showed him the hole in the wall and told him, “You gave the wall an ouchie and that is not nice. What do you say to the wall?” He then apologized to the wall. Super cute, but jeez I kept thinking, “Oh my, this is just the tip of the terrible twos and “terror”ific threes iceberg! Fun times ahead!”  

Allright, now on to my some breakfast goodies….Homemade Clif Bars…SO YUMMY! 

My all time favorite snack for long runs are Chunky Peanut Butter Cliff Bars. They are 100% amazing, have many good organic ingredients. Even though the ingredients in Clif Bars are far better than almost every other energy bar, I am still skeptical of soy lecithin and soy protein. In a pinch this my bar of choice (e.g. on the road or away from home or just when I am too lazy to make some at home). However, I really do like to make my own energy bars because then I know all of the ingredients and can control the amount/type of sweetener. Hope you enjoy these bars as much as my mouth does!   

Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 - 2 C Gluten Free Certified Oats
  2. 1 C Peanut Butter
  3. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  4. 4 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  5. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  6. 1/4 C Cacao Powder
  7. 8-10 Medjool Dates, remove pits
  8. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Chop dates in a food processor until they are broken down into small pieces. Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cacao powder, coconut oil, salt, and coconut palm sugar and mix together until combined together.
  2. Pulse in the oats 1/2 cup at a time until they are mixed together and a thick batter forms. I only used 1 1/2 cups for my bars, but add more depending on if you want the bars dry or not.
  3. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8 x 8 cake pan.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour, cut into squares and serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Frozen Strawberry Parfait

Another breakfast item, whoop, whoop! I love smoothies, but sometimes I want them to be thicker and have some crunch to them! To get this effect yesterday, I made a smoothie, but added less liquid to make it thicker and layered it between a nut mixture to give it some crunch. I was also able to sneak some spinach into the smoothie layer too. I know kids are suckers for not wanting to eat greens, but I bet you they would eat this and not even know there was spinach in there (well unless they see you make it). 

I must admit that even though I am loading this recipe under breakfast, I actually made this for lunch because I wanted a strawberry spinach salad, but wasn’t in the mood for physically eating spinach. I go through streaks where I am salad fanatic and then don’t want to be near greens for months. What to do? Well, put greens in something so I don’t even know I am eating them. Yep, yep, just call me a BIG KID. 

At any rate this totally hit the spot! Enjoy! 

Frozen Strawberry Parfait
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
Frozen Strawberry Layer
  1. 1 C Frozen Strawberries
  2. 1 C Spinach
  3. 1 C Ice
  4. 1 C Strawberry Greek Yogurt
  5. 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
  6. 3/4 C Pomegranate Juice
  7. 1/2 C Water
Almond Coconut Granola
  1. 1/4 C Almonds
  2. 1/4 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  3. 1 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 C Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Directions
Frozen Strawberry Parfait
  1. Place smoothie ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend on low to get the ingredients to start mixing together and turn to high. May need to stop periodically and mix everything together by hand a few times (or use the plastic mallet that comes with your blender to push the ingredients towards the blade while mixing). Stop when the ice, spinach and frozen strawberries are blended together.
Almond Coconut Parfait
  1. Pulse together almonds, coconut and sweeteners in a small food processor. Chop together until the almonds and coconut are into smaller pieces.
  2. Add 1/2 of the frozen strawberry layer to a glass, top with fresh strawberries and a tablespoon of the granola mixture. Repeat this and add more granola/strawberries to the top.
  3. Serve immediately.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Hazelnut Banana Cakes

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am brewing up some breakfast goodies! The first recipe in the breakfast roundup are these delicious Paleo friendly Hazelnut Banana Pancakes. Not really sure how I thought of this recipe. Honestly I was looking over ideas on Pinterest and was going to do some Paleo blueberry pancakes. However, when I got into the kitchen yesterday morning the idea popped into my head of why not make good use of the Justin’s Hazelnut spread that I just bought at the grocery store!

Now, I know the go to Hazelnut spread is Nutella, but have you ever looked at the ingredients? All I can say is GROSS (it is filled with garbage). Check this out:

Nutella Hazelnut Spread: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor

Sugar is the number one ingredient and hazelnuts are third. Wouldn’t you expect hazelnuts to be first if that is what it is, A HAZELNUT spread. Also, I do not like additives of lecithin emulsifier and vanillin (artificial flavor). Artificial flavor, really? All right so here is your healthier show down: 

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter: Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Dry Roasted Almonds, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa, Organic Cocoa Butter, Palm Fruit Oil*, Vanilla, Sea Salt.

OH SNAP, the number on ingredient is hazelnuts and WOW, you can make a product without artificial ingredients and additives (WHO KNOW?). Oh and sugar is third ingredient and not first, but even better it is evaporated cane sugar. Most importantly it just tastes real to me in comparison to Nutella. I will let you be the judge, but I LOVE Justin’s stuff. They make bombtastic almond butter. I mean seriously, THE BEST PRODUCTS! I know it is pricey, but it is worth it considering they do not add crap like artificial flavors and emulsifiers. 

Hazelnut Banana Cakes
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Blanched Almond Flour
  2. 1/4 C Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  3. 1/4 C Cacao Powder
  4. 1/4 C Hazelnut Butter
  5. 3 Eggs
  6. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  7. 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  8. 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  9. 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  10. 2 Bananas
  11. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Mash bananas with a potato masher in a small bowl.
  2. Add dry ingredients (almond flour, salt, baking soda, cacao powder and coconut palm sugar) to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined.
  3. Pour in the milk, almond extract, eggs and hazelnut butter into the food processor. Mix until combined together.
  4. Heat up coconut oil on a large griddle over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of the pancake mixture in four sections of the griddle. Make sure you leave a little space between or you will have one large pancake. When bubbles start to form in the middle of the pancake, flip them over and cook them on the other side. Each side will take about 2-3 minutes on a hot griddle.
Notes
  1. For thinner pancakes use additional almond milk (2-3 tablespoons).
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Almond Cranberry Cookies

After only getting four hours of sleep I really needed something protein dense and a little sweet to get me through my workout and my work day! So, I was going to make my apricot cashew cups with cherries instead of apricots, but I thought a cookie would hit the spot better. Also, since I am on day 5 of a 22 day challenge I knew I would get some frowns when I posted a picture of the cookie to our board, but I don’t consider these cookies a non-healthy item! They are free of processed sugars, grains and butter. The fats are almost 100% from nuts, so I just went with it. 

I guess most importantly is I want to encourage people to eat items like this when they are doing clean eating or fitness challenges. I know the goal is to lose weight and these may seem like you are setting yourself back, but how are these cookies different than a Larabar or a protein bar? It is just because they are called a COOKIE that you think, “OH, she (or I) should not be eating that!” WRONG! If you work out and run as much as I do then you should be eating these! 

All right enough of my sermon! Aside from these cookies we are doing great on the home front. Luke’s doctor gave the go ahead for him to eat rice, which is UBER exciting for him. For those who know my husband his lifeline in the past was Asian food, so  when he went on the AIP diet rice was the toughest one! He still can’t have soy though he has to be really careful when he goes to Chinese restaurants and only get steamed veggies with rice and then he adds coconut aminos, which is like soy sauce. FUN TIMES! 

Enough ramblings for one day….I need to get my BUTT to work :) 

Almond Cranberry Cookies
Serves 24
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Almonds, raw
  2. 1 C Cashews, raw
  3. 1/4 C Almond Butter
  4. 2 tbsp Palm Oil Shortening
  5. 1 Egg
  6. 1 1/2 C Almond Flour
  7. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  8. 1/4 C Agave Nectar
  9. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  10. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  11. 1 tsp Maple Extract
  12. 3/4 C Cranberries
  13. 3/4 Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add nuts to a food processor and mix until the oil from the nuts starts to break down into a butter. Once this happens add in the palm oil shortening and the almond butter. Continue to process until a smooth butter forms.
  3. Add in the almond flour, baking soda, agave nectar, egg, maple extract, sea salt and coconut palm sugar. Pulse 8-10 times until the liquids are completely combined. You may need to stop the food processor and stir by hand.
  4. Pulse in the chocolate chips and cranberries.
  5. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto to a cookie sheet (about the size of a golf ball) and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transfer to a cooling rack.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Banana Bread Bites

What a great weekend. On Saturday we had our first Christmas party at my Aunt Marie’s house. They live on a farm and have a beautiful old farmhouse. It was fun seeing family and participating in the white elephant gift exchange. Luke got the game Stratego, which is actually a cool gift and I got a head scratching gadget that looked like a whisk from outer space. Oh, what to do with more junk? Anyway, Mason had a blast playing with his cousins and some new toys! I also loved seeing my cousins. We were a close knit bunch growing up so it is great to catch up considering we do not see each other as much anymore. I have been socially isolated myself for a while (reasons why are a whole different topic and why I started participating in Beach Body challenges and became a Beach Body Coach….will get into more of this detail in my 21 Day Fix challenge starting on January 5th), so it was nice to come out of my shell. Thanks again to Marie and Dale for hosting another great party!

After my aunt and uncles’ house we went to Eagle Bend to have Christmas with my Dad (Byron) and his wife Denise (my stepmom). Mason had a ball trying to destroy their gingerbread house and the winter Christmas village. Our dog also decided that it would be a good time to throw up on the bathroom rug and on the carpet in my brother’s old room. We also went out for dinner at the Pizza Ranch for some gluten free pizza (poor Luke couldn’t have any because of the AIP diet). Mason could, but he had two bites of pizza dipped in his ice water. Guess he is trying to be a trend setter! I didn’t follow suit! The thing he devoured was two small cups of ice cream….go figure! Normally, I do not allow him to have dessert if he didn’t eat well, but it was Christmas and grandpa and grandma are allowed to break the rules! 

On an another fun note, as I mentioned above I joined my friend’s Beach Body Coaching team last Friday. Whoop, whoop, so now I am going to start officially running challenges, which are based off of these amazing products: Beach Body Challenge packs and Shakeology. Honestly, I personally haven’t tried any of the Beach Body challenges yet, but have tried Shakeology (YUM to the MAX) and am planning to start the 21 Day Fix on January 5th with Jackie and her group. My husband is going to do the P90x Challenge. There is also a less intensive program called the 3 day Refresh for those who just want to get their feet wet a little before diving in head first. If you want to join let us know so you can be added to the group. I have read numerous success stories of people losing weight, having more energy and just feeling better overall.

I should mention that you DON’T have to buy any of the challenge packs or shakeology to participate in one of our groups! I just have the products listed as a suggestion if you want to try them :) As I test them out I will give you more information and then you can be the judge if you want to invest in them. But I can say is Shakeology tastes amazing (best tasting protein/superfood shake EVER) and it is loaded with superfoods! Check out this ingredient summary to see why I choose to use Shakeology as a protein shake :) Also, I have seen numerous people achieve weight loss goals with their challenge packs! I am not doing it for weight but rather to be at maximum performance for Boston Marathon training. 

Anyway, in preparation for the 21 Day Challenge my brain is brewing up different snacks that I could make. Knowing that I have a sweet tooth and would be craving some healthy goodies during the challenge, I came up with these Banana Bread Bites. They are loaded with protein from the Gluten Free Oats, sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter. The banana chips and spice mix make them UBER DUBER tasty and remind me of banana oat cookies or banana bread (hence the name)! Obviously the texture is different, but you guys get my drift. At any rate, they just need to get in my belly!

Banana Bread Bites
Serves 18
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Banana Chips
  2. 1/4-1/3 C Agave Nectar
  3. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 6 Medjool Dates
  5. 1 C Sunbutter
  6. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  7. 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp Cloves
  9. 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  11. 1 tsp Vanilla
  12. 3/4 C Oats (certified gluten free)
Instructions
  1. Add banana chips, dates and sunflower seeds to a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are chopped into small pieces.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and continue to pulse together until a thick dough forms.
  3. Roll into golf ball sized bites.
  4. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for three months.
Notes
  1. Start with a 1/4 cup of agave nectar. If the mixture is too dry then another tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to come together.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Paleo Cookie Dough Balls

I am doing a four day clean eating challenge with my cousin’s wife, Jackie. She is leading it and so far it has been amazing. We have an open conversation forum on Facebook to share sweaty selfies, what we ate for meals/snacks and talk about any of our struggles for the day. If you ever have an opportunity to do one I would 100% suggest trying it. She also is a consultant for Shakeology. I haven’t tried their products yet, but I order a sampler pack of their chocolate and tropical strawberry vegan flavors. The stuff is packed with more than 70 super-nutritious ingredients, including:

  1. Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals – to help reduce hunger and food cravings.
  2. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients – to help detoxify and protect the body against free radical damage.
  3. Adaptogen Herbs – to help increase energy and combat stress.
  4. Prebiotics, Probiotics, Fiber, and Digestive Enzymes – to aid digestion and promote regularity.

Also, I have created a dairy free and grain free version of my own for after Thanksgiving, so if you want to recharge your batteries after shoveling in tons and tons of turkey, try my Clean Eating Challenge.

All right, so now going back to the challenge I am doing now. I really wanted some cookie dough and I mean in a bad way. I am thinking it is because it is that time of the month and all I want is sugar. Okay, I know TMI. Well, all women get monthly visits from Aunt Flo whether they like it or not and that B&TGH just isn’t very pleasant most months! So, to curb my cravings I made these Paleo Cookie Dough Balls. They are very, very yummy and TOTALLY HIT THE SPOT! 

Paleo Cookie Dough Balls
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 3/4 C Almond Flour
  2. 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  3. 1 tsp Vanilla
  4. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  5. 2 tbsp Agave Nectar
  6. 2-3 tbsp Carob Chips
Instructions
  1. Add two cups of almond flour to a food processor. Mix until it resembles a smooth butter. You may need to stop half way through to push down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Pour in the remaining almond flour, salt, agave nectar, coconut palm sugar, vanilla and carob chips. Pulse together about 10-15 times until a thicker dough forms. Roll into golf ball sized balls.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pumpkin Spice Granola

With Thanksgiving coming right around the corner I have been craving pumpkin pie! However, I have never really been fond of the crust. I usually would eat the filling and leave the crust sitting miserably on my plate. However, I love granola. I could eat it for every meal! So, this recipe goes out to all of you pie crust haters!

I served this granola with my sweet potato pudding recipe! YUMMY! Eat your heart out!

On a side note, I have to let you know that I pulled this granola out of the oven right before I went to pick Mason up from daycare. I also had his dinner all set to go. As soon as he saw this granola it was all she wrote with his dinner. Good news is he loved it! He had two bowls with some yogurt.  

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  2. 1 C Carob Chips
  3. 4 tbsp Sunbutter
  4. 1/4 C Honey
  5. 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  6. 1 C Banana Chips
  7. 1/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  8. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place ingredients into a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until every thing is combined into small clumps.
  3. Pour granola evenly onto a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes stirring half way through.
  5. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes before serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Apricot Cashew Cups

This recipe is the beginning of many energy bars, cups, balls and bites that I will be making over the next 22 weeks for Boston Marathon training.

I am fully aware that it would be a hell of a lot easier just to grab a box of Clif bars from the store. However, the protein blend in these bars typically contains soybeans, soy protein, soy flour, rice flour and barley malt and a grain blend of inulin, flaxseed, oat bran and psyllium! Soy, barley and oats are difficult for me to digest and give me intestinal distress, so this recipe is my attempt to make a more allergy friendly alternative for fueling my runs.

The star ingredients are cashews and apricots, but I tossed in Maca as an added bonus. Maca powder is a Peruvian nutritional supplement that is used to treat various conditions, ailments and diseases. The key benefit of Maca is it has been associated with enhanced athletic performance. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, examined “eight healthy cyclists were timed while completing a 40-kilometer bike ride before and after 14 days of taking maca. The study found that maca supplementation significantly improved the athletes’ cycling time, pointing to maca’s energizing effects.”

You will also notice I have included carob chips and are probably curious as to why I am classifying this recipe as Paleo when carob is a legume. Well, according to Mark’s Daily Apple, it is Paleo-friendly because we are actually consuming the carob pod and not the seed where harmful anti-nutrients reside. 

Apricot Cashew Cups
Serves 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Cashews, Raw
  2. 1/2 C Apricots
  3. 3 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt
  5. 1 tsp Vanilla
  6. 2 tbsp Honey
  7. 1/2 C Carob Chips
  8. 1 C 65% Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Put 2 cups of the cashews, apricots and coconut palm sugar in a food processor and process until broken down into fine pieces (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add salt, vanilla, carob chips, honey and remaining cashews. Pulse 10-15 times until cashews have been broken down into small pieces.
  3. Line muffin tin with paper cups. Press down the cashew mixture into cups about 3/4 of the way up. Make sure to firmly press into cups before adding chocolate.
  4. Pour chips in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Repeat 3-4 times until chocolate is melted. Do not over do it or chocolate will become lumpy.
  5. Pour a thin layer of chocolate into each cup. I use a large soup spoon and then push it out to the edges.
  6. After cups are filled, you can smooth out the chocolate more by tapping the muffin tin lightly on the counter a couple of times.
  7. Place muffin pan in refrigerator for an hour before serving.
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Sleigh bells ring….are you listening? In my kitchen, baked goods are glistening. A beautiful sight, my mouth’s happy tonight! Eating some drizzled cookie bars! 

How about a little tune to kick off my holiday baking expedition?

Every year, I make a whole host of different cookies and bars to share with family and friends for Christmas. Normally, I make a mixture of gluten free and gluten filled goodies. However, this year I am only going to make Paleo and gluten free versions because everyone in my house now eats gluten free.

One recipe that I tested yesterday was a chocolate drizzled almond cookie bar. My whole mission was to omit eggs and dairy, considering several folks are allergic, and to use as little sweetener as possible while still making them edible. Mission accomplished because these are DELICIOUS!

Obviously these are not going to make it to Christmas because either myself or Mason will have them devoured before then, but you could make these up to a month in advance and freeze them. In fact, for Holiday baking I make cookies up to 3 weeks prior and just store them in our garage. Now grant, I live in Minnesota and have the luxury of doing that, but if you live in a warmer climate just put them in an airtight container in your freezer. I promise they will still taste great after you thaw them for an hour.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp Palm Oil Shortening, melted
  2. 2 C Almonds, raw
  3. 1 1/2 C Almond Meal
  4. 1 tbsp Coconut Flour
  5. 1/3 C Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup
  6. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  7. 1/2 tbsp Vanilla
  8. 1 tsp Salt
  9. 2 C Mini Chocolate Chips, I prefer Enjoy Life
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add almonds to a food processor. Mix until a fine powder forms. Toss in the melted palm oil shortening and mix together until almond butter forms. Will take approximately 5-10 minutes. You may have to stop and push down the sides to get a uniform mixture.
  3. After butter has formed, pour in the almond meal, coconut flour, agave nectar, coconut palm sugar, vanilla and salt into the food processor. Pulse until a thick cookie dough forms.
  4. Add in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (1 Cup) and pulse together a few more times until the chips are combined into the dough.
  5. Press the dough into a lightly greased (I used a little palm oil shortening) 8 x 8 metal cake pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. While the cookie bars are cooling, add remaining chocolate chips to a small microwave safe bowl. Heat up in 30 second increments, mixing in between until chocolate is completely melted. It took 1 minute and 30 seconds for me.
  7. Using a metal spoon, scoop up some of the melted chocolate and lightly drizzle over the top of the bars.
  8. Cool for an hour (if you can wait that long), cut into squares and eat your heart out!
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Chunky Chocolate Cookies

Okay, so I have never in my life made double chocolate chunk cookies. Grant it, I have made about a 1,000 batches of chocolate chip cookies, but never any cookies where chocolate is the star ingredient. Going into my baking adventure I wanted to make chocolate chip cookie dough bites covered in chocolate. However, when mixing the dough it came out a darker shade than I wanted for pictures, so I morphed the recipe into these chunky chocolate cookies by adding in cacao powder and melted chocolate.

Not using egg, very little shortening and no baking soda or baking powder, I fully expected one enormous pancake coming out of the oven. However, as I watched these little babies bake away, I was doing cartwheels across the kitchen floor because they actually looked like a cookie and tasted pretty darn delicious too. I must admit I am not a big chocolate girl either and I think these are yum-tastic. Seriously, at a party if this cookie and a sugar cookie were chilling together on a plate (pending they were gluten free) I would always reach for the sugar cookie. Sorry chocolate I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I am sugar first girl :)

In all seriousness, Paleo chocolate lovers should take note because these are delish! I promise they will leave your taste buds feeling oh so fantastic. ENJOY! 

Chunky Chocolate Cookies
Serves 24
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Almond Butter
  2. 2 tbsp Palm Oil Shortening
  3. 1 1/2 C Almond Meal
  4. 1/3 C Agave Nectar
  5. 1 tsp Vanilla
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 4 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  8. 2 C 70% Cacao Chocolate Chunks
  9. 1/4 C Cacao Powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt one cup of the chocolate chunks in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments (stirring in between) until done. It will take between 1-2 minutes to melt completely.
  3. Add to food processor along with the almond butter, palm oil shortening, vanilla, salt, cacao powder, agave nectar and coconut palm sugar. Mix together on the pulse setting until a smooth dough forms.
  4. Pour in the almond meal and remaining chocolate chunks and continue to pulse until the dough is thicker and mixed together.
  5. Place walnut sized dough balls onto metal cookie sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks.
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Flax Chia Protein Balls

For the last 6 weeks I have been trying to follow the Autoimmune Diet Protocol with my husband. He is doing it to determine if eliminating certain foods will reduce his psoriatic arthritis symptoms and I am tagging along because I have a whole host of digestive issues from food (e.g. milk, wheat, potentially oats & nightshades as I am learning from the elimination diet).

Even though I have felt very good on the diet, I have found it very difficult to find sources of energy that keep me going for high endurance physical activities. It really hit me last Sunday when I trekked out for a 14 mile run. From the start, I felt off and my time showed it. On a normal training run I clock in at around 8 minute miles, but that day I was just under 9. This is not optimal when I am training for the Boston Marathon. Due to my general decline in running ability, I have started to reintroduce foods, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, nuts/nut butters, and gluten free grains (oats primarily), that gave me energy for runs before. The kicker now is oats, unless I consumer them in small quantities they are really hard on my digestive system. I made these scrumptious little bites with oats and I have predominantly okay, but I am going to try other recipes using Quinoa flakes.

What I can say is I have been making my normal green smoothie and then grabbing two of these babies before my short runs this week and my times are back up. Whoop, whoop! These little treats have made a WORLD of a difference in my performance and I am sure they will help you too. Needless to say, I still like the overall feel of the autoimmune diet, but I really need to fuel my marathon training. To do that I am going to keep adding homemade energy bars and balls to my workout routine. Also, overall the next couple of months I plan to add a lot of different variations of these little guys, so stay tuned!

Oh, these are pretty easy to make too! All you have to do is add the ingredients to your food processor like this picture and hit buttons (well and maybe stir them a few times):

Flax Chia Protein Balls2

The chia and flax seeds make these energy balls slightly crunchy. If you do not like that texture then use flax or chia meal. Now on to the recipe!

Flax Chia Protein Balls
Yields 2
Protein packed energy balls that are perfect for workouts and snacking!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Gluten Free Oats
  2. 1 C Ancient Grain Cereal Flakes
  3. 2 tbsp Flax Seeds or Meal
  4. 2 tbsp Chia Seeds or Meal
  5. 4 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  6. 1 1/4 C Almond Butter
  7. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  8. 1/8 C Maple Syrup
  9. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to a food processor and pulse together until a thick dough forms. You may have to stir the mixture a couple of times mid-way through the process.
  2. Once the dough has come together, you can either press it into an 8x8 pan to make bars or take a heaping tablespoon and roll them into balls like I did in the picture.
Notes
  1. For the ancient grain flakes, I used Erewhon Quinoa and Chia cereal flakes.
  2. I store mine in the freezer (for up to three months) and take a couple out 10 minutes before I want to eat them.
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Cinnamon Applesauce

With a trip to the apple orchard comes lots of apples! I am in the process of making an apple butternut squash soup (it is cooking away in the slow cooker), but I also made this delicious cinnamon applesauce in my other slow cooker. In fact, between pre-marriage and marriage we have 6 slow cookers in our house. Talk about having a slow cooker showdown, huh?

For fun, my little mohawk man loved this applesauce … I think he even used some to spike his hair!

Mason and applesauce

So, if you have little ones and want huge smiles on their faces, getting all your slow cooker and whip up a batch of this delicious gluten free and Paleo friendly applesauce!

Cinnamon Applesauce
Serves 16
With apples in season, this is the perfect fall recipe. Just grab your slow cooker, toss in some apples and a couple hours later you will be enjoying this delicious snack!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 dozen Medium Apples (any variety)
  2. 1 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (optional)
  4. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  5. 1 C Water
Instructions
  1. Remove peel and core from apples. Cut into 1 inch slices.
  2. Add apples, cinnamon, water, coconut palm sugar and maple syrup to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  3. After apples are completely tender (broken down into smaller pieces), use emulsion blender to make into a smoother sauce if desired.
Notes
  1. I prefer a creamy applesauce so I used an emulsion blender to make mine really smooth. If you prefer a chunkier applesauce, skip step three in the directions.
  2. For apples, I used Sweet Sixteen for this recipe, but other apples (going with Minnesota grown) that would be great are Sweet Tango, Honeycrisp, Zestar and Fireside. Many are ready now, but Fireside is a late harvest (end of September; beginning of October) if you cannot make to the orchard until later.
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Quinoa Monster Cookies

One of my all time favorite cookies is Monster! I just love the combination of peanut butter, oats and chocolate all wrapped into yummy goodness. However, these cookies are loaded with sugar and lots of butter. Not to mention many of the recipes have wheat flour in them. My quest was to make them “healthier” version (well, at least I did my best to reduce some butter & sugar).

Most monster cookie recipes have M&Ms in them as well, but word of caution is that M&Ms have petroleum-based artificial food dyes in them (Check out this article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-f-jacobson/mms-artificial-dyes_b_4116130.html). To make a long story short:

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that dyes can cause hyperactivity in sensitive children. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledges this, but the FDA has refused to ban dyes or even require a warning notice on labels. However, the European Union does for most dyes.

The FDA drives me crazy! Clearly, Europe is on to something! At any rate, if you can find some that are colored naturally I would recommend it. Even though I know the dangers, I lived a little here and used the M&Ms from the states this time. Mostly, because I had them leftover from Halloween :) However, in the future I will get them on Amazon because Europe bans artificial food coloring in M&Ms!

FYI, the final cookies were toddler approved….all I heard was “More Momma, more!”

Quinoa Monster Cookies
Serves 24
Gluten free, nut free & higher protein remake of monster cookies. These are so delicious that I dare you to eat just one!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Quinoa Flakes
  2. 3 C Oats (Certified Gluten Free)
  3. 2/3 C Butter, room temperature
  4. 1 C Sunbutter
  5. 1 Egg
  6. 3/4 C Honey
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla
  8. 1/2 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  9. 1 tsp Salt
  10. 2 tsp Baking Soda
  11. 1 C Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life)
  12. 1 C M&Ms
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter, sunbutter, sugar together until smooth.
  3. Add in salt, honey, egg, vanilla until combined.
  4. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl & then combine with wet ingredients until mixed.
  5. Hand stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets & cook 10-12 minutes. Cool a couple of minutes and transfer to cooling rack.
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