Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

It’s back to school time for most of us moms… anyone doing a happy dance??  I have to admit I’m not!!  While I thrive on routine, I do miss my kiddos during the day.  And I hate waking up their sleepy little heads when the little hand on the clock is pointing to 5…

But I feel like I can make up for it a bit by sending them to school with healthy snacks, like these sunbutter hempseed energy bars.  I mean, if they’re going to be away from the house for 10-12 hours a day, the least I can do is wave them off with a yummy and energy-filled treat that won’t squish all over their lunch box.  How’s that for showing love?

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

These little dudes are perfect for those nut-free classrooms too, because they’re based on sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) so they fall within the nut-free regulations, woo-hoo!  They’re rich in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, so they’re super satisfying, and sweetly delicious… or deliciously sweet??  Both, actually!  And of course you know I’m a big fan of adding extra ingredients… everything from grated orange rind to dried cranberries to chocolate chips… it all works!

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

As far as holding up under the pressure of being carted around all day, these bars are tops.  I can guarantee you will not have an “unfortunate lunch-box event” (such as has occurred in our family in the past, but we won’t talk about it… it involved yogurt and that’s all I’ll say,) and that’s always a blessing.

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

But here I am talking like these are only for the school-going set… shame on me!!!  Please don’t let your offspring eat all these cute little bars by themselves- that would be a mistake for sure.  You’re gonna want ’em too: for breakfast, post-workout, afternoon snacking, with coffee… yup, they’re pretty much perfect for every occasion.

Maybe the best thing about these bars is that they take only about 10-15 minutes to whip up in your blender or food processor.  So you really have no excuse for not making a batch… or two… just to make sure there are some left for the kids.

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 small bars

Sunbutter Hempseed Energy Bars

A super easy, nut-free, low-sugar, high fiber treat that your kids (and you!) will love!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower butter
  • 2. T. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 T. unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1-2 T. coconut to sprinkle on top (optional)

Instructions

  • Place oats, hemp seeds and chia seeds into a blender or food processor. Blend or process (pulse) until finely ground but not oily.
  • In a small saucepan, heat sunflower butter, coconut oil, & honey until melted. Add to blender or food processor along with vanilla, 1 T. dried coconut, and dried cranberries/chocolate chips if using, and blend on lower speed to mix. DO NOT over-process or it will get super oily!!
  • Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan, then sprinkle with additional 2 T. coconut if desired. Chill briefly in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.
  • Cut into 12 small bars and store in the fridge.
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/sunbutter-hempseed-energy-bars/

Espresso Energy Balls

Espresso Energy Balls

Sometimes the best things are born out of necessity… like these wonderful little bite-sized balls o’ energy.

I often come in from teaching 2 bootcamps so ravenous I could eat my right arm off, and feel like face planting into the closest food handy.  I usually take time to make a smoothie bowl or chickpea omelette, but sometimes I just want something quick (and healthy!) to munch on while I’m whipping it up.

What’s a hungry dietitian to do??…

Read More »

Happy 1st Birthday to The Expat Dietitian!

Chocolate zucchini birthday cake

I love birthdays!!  And it doesn’t even have to be my own!  But now… I do have another birthday to celebrate each year: the birthday of this blog!!!  Can you believe it was one year ago today that I first hit that “Publish” button to bring “The Expat Dietitian” into being?

Friends, looking back on this [fantastic, amazing, sometimes frustrating, mind-boggling, sleep-losing, & ultimately rewarding] year of blogging has brought all sorts of thoughts & remembrances into my mind…

As absolutely terrified as I was to press “Publish” that first time, with the Banana Oat Cookies… I was even more terrified…

Read More »

Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies

Why is it that all my desserts involve chocolate of some sort??  But I guess there’s no need to apologise for that…

These trail mix cookies came into being from my strivings to make a “not-unhealthy” cookie that my kids wouldn’t realise was not unhealthy!  Ha!  It was somewhat of a challenge, and took several tries.  My final attempt (this recipe) was one I thought would be a complete failure, because the dough was so oily after I mixed all the ingredients.

Trail Mix Cookies

But no!  It baked up beautifully!  These little babies are crispy on the outside and soft inside.  My own analysis told me I had a winner.  But I knew the real test would be when the kids came home from school and tried one.  Would the cookies pass, or would I be accused of “putting weird stuff inside”??

I waited… They arrived… They ate…

Trail Mix Cookies

Success!!!  Not one sound except “mmm!” escaped the kids’ lips as they plowed through as many cookies as possible with dinner looming.  Chocolatey, peanut buttery, crispy, chewy… these are everything a cookie should be.  And “not unhealthy”?? Amazing!

Trail Mix Cookies

It’s truly hard to believe these cookies are vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and with a nut-free option.  Spoiler: I used “flax eggs” (flax meal + water) instead of eggs, coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar, and oat & coconut flour instead of wheat flour (use certified GF oat flour if you need to be sure it is gluten-free).  For the nut-free option, you can use sunflower seed butter (or tahini) to replace the peanut butter, and obviously, omit the chopped nuts.  So while they are clearly not low in calories or fat, these little treats won’t send your blood sugar through the roof, and they have a decent amount of fiber as well.

Trail Mix Cookies

I wouldn’t eat them for breakfast or anything… but I suppose with a glass of fresh almond milk, it wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do!  Enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 20 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 135

Fat per serving: 7 grams

Carbs per serving: 15 grams

Protein per serving: 3 grams

Fiber per serving: 2 grams

Trail Mix Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 T. coconut oil
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs (2 T. flaxmeal + 5 T. water, let stand 5 min)
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2-4 T. coconut flour
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup peanuts, pecans, or a mixture of the two
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 180 C.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together coconut oil, peanut butter, coconut sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add flax eggs, chia seeds, and cocoa powder and stir well.
  • Stir in quick oats, oat flour, baking soda, & salt. At this point your dough will be quite wet and oily, that’s normal. Add coconut flour one tablespoon at a time until dough has dried out enough to stick together when you press it. (Depending on how runny your peanut butter is, you may not need all 4 tablespoons of coconut flour.) The dough will still be oily even when it presses together, that’s normal.
  • Add dried cranberries, peanuts, & chocolate chips, mixing well to combine.
  • Roll into small balls, place on a baking tray and flatten into a cookie shape. Cookies will not rise or spread much.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned & set. Remove from baking sheet to cool thoroughly. Makes about 20 cookies.

Notes

1. For nut-free option: substitute sunflower butter or tahini for the peanut butter, and omit the chopped nuts. 2. Try to use runny rather than stiff peanut butter for this recipe.

Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/trail-mix-cookies/

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

I must confess that Valentine’s Day has never made a whole lot of sense to me.  I mean, if you have a “true love,” then why set aside only one day to celebrate… CELEBRATE EVERY DAY, PEOPLE!!  And if you don’t, then it seems like a sort of “in-your-face” holiday at best.  I’ve long harbored a secret feeling that V-Day is probably just a big marketing scheme of Hallmark…

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

But before I sound too jaded, I will also confess that I’ve mostly enjoyed this maudlin holiday on the benefits of its chocolate-pushing alone. …

Read More »

Chocolate Orange Almond Muffins

Chocolate Orange Almond Muffins

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the flavour combination of chocolate and orange.  Baskin-Robbins used to make a flavour called Dark Chocolate Orange, and it was so dark it was almost black, really great I’m sure for my mother to try to clean off my face when I was finished.  But from the moment I put my tongue to that cute little pink taster spoon, I was hooked.  Rich dark chocolate colliding with the tangy sweet orange on my taste buds… well, it was like a flavour burst from heaven to my 5-year-old imagination.  But alas, Baskin-Robbins stopped making this flavour… …

Read More »

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

You know you’ve hit on something good when you have to make two batches of it in order to have enough for a complete photo shoot!  And I still had to be careful of camera angles…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

This recipe originated in my Ma’s kitchen, probably about 20 years ago.  I told you she was “eating clean” before that was even a thing!  I still have her handwritten recipe for these kisses on an index card, and the only changes I’ve made are to roll them in balls (she flattened them into cookies), reduce the maple syrup a tiny bit, and dip them in chocolate.  This indulgence takes these kisses to a whole ‘notha level, and I’m sure Ma would approve.  Of course, if you want to keep it simple, just skip the dip, and you won’t be disappointed. Well, you might be a little…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

These kisses require only 5 ingredients and about 35 minutes to prepare, including the dipping.  That’s pretty amazing for a Christmas cookie!  They are vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and suitable for paleo diets (although I’m not sure cavemen had access to chocolate…)

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

The only slightly tricky part is forming the dough into balls (or mounds, or whatever shape you want,) because it’s really sticky!  You can get around this by keeping a little dish of cold water by your bowl and dipping your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to them too much.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Melt your dipping chocolate while you wait for your baked kisses to cool, then dip away!  I dipped half in the chocolate, then used the tines of a fork to fling the rest of the chocolate on top.  But do whatever suits you!  Dip the whole thing if you like, or just glaze the top… whatever floats your boat.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

I have to warn you, though- they’re addictive!  They’re small and easy to pop into your mouth.  I don’t normally have the urge to eat past my, ahem… “reasonable point of fullness”… but these little bites of heaven defy all sense of reason.  The flavour and texture combination of sweet toasted pecans, chewy coconut, tart dried cranberries, rich dark chocolate, just a pinch of salt… well, they can be dangerous.  There, you’re warned.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Now, go make them.

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 18 kisses

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt
    To dip:
  • 2 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C (375F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pecans in a blender or food processor, and process until fine crumbs form. Don’t over-process or the pecans will get oily.
  • Remove to a mixing bowl and add coconut, maple syrup, chopped cranberries, and salt. Mix well, until mixture sticks together when you press it.
  • Form small (¾-inch) balls, wetting your fingers as necessary to keep mixture from sticking. Place on baking sheet about 1½ inches apart.
  • Bake 14-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and cool for 10- 15 minutes before dipping.
  • To dip, melt chocolate and coconut oil over very low heat in a small saucepan. Dip one side of each pecan ball into the chocolate. Set on parchment paper. Use a fork to distribute the remaining chocolate over the dipped kisses.
  • Chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set, then store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.

Notes

The prep time includes the time it takes to cool and dip them... these cookies are fast!

Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/chocolate-dipped-cranberry-pecan-kisses/

5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Hey friends, I haven’t meant to neglect you in the dessert department, but I see that it’s been a savoury 3 months since I’ve given you anything sweet.  Perhaps I felt guilty for posting 2 desserts in a row that time in September?  Nahhh!!!

Those of you who know me,  know that I love dessert.  I eat something sweet every day because if I don’t, I feel kind of cranky, and nobody likes that!  But it’s gotta be healthy or I won’t waste my calories on it.  Wasting my calories makes me even more cranky.  Anybody relate?

Most of my sweet intake involves chocolate of some sort.  If I don’t have anything baked on hand, I’ll always resort to my 70% dark chocolate bar.  But sometimes I want something creamy and dreamy and dip-able… but without the saturated fat of butter and cream, of course.

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

This is where the cashew comes in.  Cashews are the vegan’s best friend when it comes to making things creamy without using cream.  Or butter.  Or sour cream.  Or cream cheese.  Or any of those other heart-clogging fats.  Raw soaked cashews blend up like magic into a perfectly smooth, silky consistency that just melts on your tongue.  And not only that, cashews are also high in mono-unsaturated fats, which lower your LDL (read, bad) cholesterol, while raising your HDL (good) cholesterol.  You also get a decent amount of protein, copper, and magnesium from these little babies.  So let’s blend away without guilt, people!

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

This fudge sauce contains only 5 ingredients and takes only 5 minutes to make.  That could be dangerous!  But as healthy as it is, I’m gonna give you the go-ahead on it.  Especially because it’s soooo good with fruit!  But it would also be delicious on vegan peppermint ice cream (I’ll give you a recipe soon, I promise!), smeared on banana oat cookies, or, I’ll be honest… just right off the spoon.

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

You can vary the amount of coconut milk to alter the consistency of your sauce.  With the amount in the recipe, it’ll be like thick hot fudge right out of the blender.  But after it’s refrigerated for several hours, it firms up to more like a soft Nutella.  You really can’t go wrong!

I used just enough sweetener to make it very “70% dark-chocolate-like.”  So if you prefer a lighter chocolate flavour, increase the maple syrup by 1 Tablespoon and reduce the cocoa powder by 1 Tablespoon.  And I promise you that you do NOT taste the coconut milk… however, if someone is not a fan, just sub almond milk.  You know I love it when you personalise your recipes!

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

But however you choose to make this fudge sauce, definitely make it.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.

5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Prep Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cashews, soaked for 3 hours & drained
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (I used regular)
  • 1 t. vanilla

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until silky-smooth.
  • Serve as a fruit dip, on cookies or muffins, or just eat it right off your spoon!

Notes

If you haven't soaked your cashews ahead of time, you can soak them in hot water for 30 minutes and they'll be good to go. Don't forget to drain them!

Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/5-ingredient-vegan-fudge-sauce/

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Squares with Chocolate Glaze

No-bake peanut butter oat squares

Everybody hold onto your hats… I’M GIVING YOU TWO DESSERTS IN A ROW!!!

What is this world coming to???

If you take a look at my Recipe Index, you can clearly see that I’m due to give you either a salad or a soup next.  Those poor slots have only one lonely post each… oh, the woes of a baby blog!  But sometimes dessert just happens to happen at my house- and that’s never a bad thing.

No-bake peanut butter oat squares

My friend Emilie described this recipe to me while we sprinted around the block during bootcamp one morning, and in my acute oxygen deprivation, I didn’t note the details.  But it sounded fabulous- and healthy!  When I began to make it, I couldn’t recall the exact ingredients (honey, no honey?), nor the proportions (a whole jar of peanut butter??)  Yet I forged ahead anyway, knowing that she would rescue me from any peanut butter square emergency.  I think I might have made the recipe a bit differently than Emilie does, but the end result was the same: rich, perfectly salty/sweet, glazed with dark chocolate… and dangerously delicious….

Read More »

Banana Chocolate Chip Snack Bars

It’s autumn in the U.S., and zucchini abounds in gardens, grocery stores, and recipes…  especially snack recipes: zucchini bread, cake, muffins, fritters… the list goes on and on.

But here in Philippines, it’s just typhoon season, and zucchinis are imported and expensive.  So we’re gonna have to make our snack food out of something else.

Banana chocolate chip snack bars

Enter the humble banana: always plentiful, always delicious, and always cheap- the local ones, anyway.  I learned early during my stay in the tropics that there is more than one variety of banana!  In addition to the American Cavendish that I grew up with, I am now privy to several other varieties, including our hardy and local favourite, the “Lacatan.”  These bananas take their time ripening and have a strong, sweet banana flavor.  When they eventually do go brown on the counter (after about a week or more,) they are perfect for mashing and baking up with oats and chocolate chips….

Read More »