Guilt Free Strawberry Jam

Oh hey there! Long time no see. After weeks of absence I finally decided to write something:) And the first thing I thought I’d share was a delicious recipe for strawberry jam that changed my world. No really, it kind of did.

So I’ve always liked jam but have never eaten it since focusing on health. For years I’ve gone to family parties and avoided the homemade strawberry jam because I knew how much forsugar was in there. Jam was just never an option. If I was going to splurge it would be on chocolate, not jam.

A cute friend in my neighborhood knew we were limiting sugar at our house and brought over some simple, delicious, jam that was an instant game changer. With only 3 clean simple ingredients jam was back on the menu for my occasional Gf waffles, protein pancakes or PB&J.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups washed, cut strawberries (stems removed obvi)
  • 1/4 c raw local honey
  • 2T chia seeds

Directions

1. Blend strawberries together until your preferred consistency (some people like chunky)

2. Mix in honey and chia seeds

3. Pour into a sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and store in jars in fridge or freezer.

….look at this delicious stuff. So yummy, simple and clean, no refined sugar or preservatives, and extremely easy to make.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Protein Ice Cream

chocolate protein ice cream

If you want to be entertained, watch the video of my girls and me making homemade chocolate protein ice cream here: Part 1   Part 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
    • I just use 3 cups of goat milk because it’s creamy enough for our liking
  • 1-1/2 scoops of your favorite flavor of protein powder (2 scoops was a bit much for this recipe)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • optional* 1 cup fruit you may want to add to mix things up!

Directions

  1. Add ingredients (except fruit) together and blend until smooth.
  2. Add any fruit you may like and pulse your blender until fruit is chunky but not liquefied (the extra liquid will throw off the proportions of the other ingredients and could make your ice cream watery)
  3. Pour into an instant ice cream maker like mine or use an “old fashioned” homemade ice cream maker.
  4. Enjoy!

I hope you will indulge in a little guilt free ice cream and let me know how you like it! Please share with your friends if  this recipe got a ‘thumps up’ from you. Share what you did differently that you liked more/less.

Love, Katie

Sweet Potato Lava Brownies

My girls asked for a treat tonight and I had a sweet potato in the fridge and thought….well let’s find a recipe for sweet potato brownies! I made sweet potato brownies once before, a few years ago, but lost the recipe. After searching good old google and not finding any recipes that looked good or that I had all the ingredients for, I just made my own recipe…and… it turned out AWESOME! I was too excited to not share it right away.

A few weeks ago I was at Happy Sumo for sushi and decided to try out their “lava” cake for dessert. There wasn’t so much “lava” in it but it was moist and dense and delicious. My sweet potato brownies had the EXACT same consistency + a bit more lava. I have some friends who are always looking for desserts that are healthy but also tasty enough that their non-healthy friends will eat them. This recipe checks both boxes! Throw some vanilla protein goat milk ice cream on top and you’re golden! (I’ll share my goat milk protein ice cream recipe soon).

If you need a chocolate fix this recipe will do the trick! PLUS you can feel good about knowing you’re using wholesome ingredients + free of gluten and refined sugar. Try it out yourself or tweak the recipe like I did and tell me what you think! I plan to use applesauce instead of butter next time to see how it turns out and maybe even add a bit of protein powder too…hmm…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baked sweet potato (bake 1 large potato at 400 degrees until its super soft)…now that I think of it, you could probably use pumpkin instead of sweet potato too… now my wheels are turning! ha
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter melted (sub 1/2 cup coconut oil or other “fat” and see how you like it!)
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/4 c honey (you could sub agave or pure maple syrup)
  • 3/4 c oat flower (I just put whole oats in my Vitamix and blend until flour-like)…try other flour substitutes and tell me what you like best!
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c dark-no sugar added chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Pre-cook your sweet potato @ 400 degrees. Then turn oven temp to 350 degrees to prepare to cook brownies. Melt butter in a sauce pan.
  2. Combine wet ingredients and mix on low speed until smooth
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir in
  5. Pour into greased 9×9 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting + Enjoy!

 

Energy Balls

Let’s face it, I’m a sweets girl. I have a weakness for cookies, and chocolate. So when I’m off sugar and flour I definitely get my sweet tooth cravings. The longer I go without sugar and flour the easier it becomes to stay away from it but there are always those hard days along the way that really test my self control that I have to push past. For those days I LOVE to satisfy those cravings with Energy Balls! These nutrient packed “treats” are also great for taking on hikes or eating any other time you’ll need some satiating nutrients. My doula introduced me to theses goodies when she brought them to the hospital as a post delivery treat for me.This recipe is SO versatile I usually don’t even measure the ingredients; I just throw in a bunch of stuff that looks good and make sure it sticks together! I’ll post a fool-proof recipe below for you to try out. I’d love your feedback and your own personal variations!

Energy Balls

  • 1.5 Cups whole Oats (I get the big box from Costco)
  • 1 Cup unsweetened coconut flakes (Harder to find but I’ve seen unsweetened coconut sold at Walmart and Whole Foods stores. You can also order some Bobs Red Mill coconut online)
  • 3/4 Cups natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 Cups ground flaxseed (this helps the mixture to stick together. Use more/less as needed)
  • 1/3-1/2 Cup raw honey or agave (I usually play around with this quantity to get the most stick out of the least amount of honey as possible)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla (this really makes a big difference in the taste so don’t skip this ingredient!)

Optional: Chocolate mmmm….

  • At the Whole Foods store you can find real dark chocolate chips that have no sweetener in them but still taste SO yummy. As much as I love chocolate my girls and I love these Balls even without it. When I put in chocolate I usually just end up picking out and only eating the chocolate 🙄

Directions: throw ingredients in a bowl and mix it all together. If you know how to stir you are certified to tackle this recipe. When ingredients are mixed evenly, use a tablespoon to scoop the mix out and roll into balls between your hands. They are ready to eat right away!

ut just in case these directions aren’t fool proof enough for you I took some glam shots today while I made my own batch! I hope you love these as much as I do and can find a way to make them your own by substituting other ingredients you love + then sharing!

Love, Katie

Super Bowl Snacks

One of the biggest sporting events is soon to be upon us and if you are like me, eating healthy isn’t too hard until there is a holiday…or birthday…or event…or someone brings cookies home…or I pass the baking isle at the grocery store…ok, so its never “easy.” It takes a lot of work to get into a good eating habit! One thing that makes eating healthy MUCH easier is identifying foods that you love that are within your personal eating plan. For me and my family we try to stay away from added sugar and gluten and try to incorporate veggies in every meal. Planning meals and snacks ahead of time also allows us another level of control over our diets; preventing us from caving when we are hangry and have to make quick decisions about what to eat.

In honor of the Super Bowl, one of those days where diet usually goes out the window, I thought I would share with you some ideas for super bowl food that I love that are sugar free & gluten free.

#1 Cowboy Salsa

Image result for cowboy salsaphotocred: tablespoon.com

My sweet friend SueAnn introduced us to cowboy salsa and we fell in love. Full of healthy fats and yummy flavor, this filling appetizer is a favorite at our house. Make this salsa your own by incorporating ingredients you love or prefer more than what I’ve listed.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 avocados diced
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed) substitute white beans or any other beans you love.
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes or 3/4 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1/2-1 purple onion diced (depending on how much you like onions)
  • fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • lime juice
  • salt/pepper/other seasoning
  • Chips: our new favorite chips are the Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Really like heat? add some minced jalapenos!

I mix all the first 5 ingredients together and then add cilantro, salt. pepper, and lime juice until it tastes just how I like it. Its different every time! My favorite seasoning for guacamole or cowboy salsa is Flavor God’s Himalayan Salt and Pink Peppercorn. It tastes so yummy and its the only seasoning you need for this dish. 

#2 Loaded Potato Skins

Image result for loaded potato skinsphotocred: delish.com

I love loaded potato skins! This is another delicious snack that fills you up and leaves you satisfied. The most nutrients in a potato are found in the skin so this is definitely the way to go when eating a potato. Plus there are SO many versions of loaded potato skins you can create to fit your families food preferences. 

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Cheese (pick your favorite, my husband has been loving smoked Guda lately but you could use a lower fat substitute like fresh Parmesan, mozzarella, etc. Others love low fat The Laughing Cow cheeses which could substitute your sour cream too!)
  • Uncured Bacon or turkey bacon. Cook before hand. (cured bacon contains added sugar)
  • Sour Cream (If you are on the cottage cheese train you can sub cottage cheese for sour cream. If that’s not up your alley, get low fat or fat free sour cream.)
  • Chives
  • Seasoning (we love all the Flavor God seasonings)

optional add-ins:

Directions: Wash potatoes. Bake at 350-400 degrees until you can stick a fork in them (I crank up the heat when I’m short on time). When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and scoop out a majority of the inside of the potato, enough to leave a stable “shell”. Fill with your preferred meat or meat substitute, veggies, and top with cheese.Put in the oven on broil until the cheese is melted. When the potatoes have cooled add sour cream or dressings. 

Want extra flavor? Smoke these bad boys in a smoker (we love our Traeger) when melting the cheese on them. 

No waste: Use the insides of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, potato salad, or breakfast potatoes the next morning for breakfast. leftover potato shells can be grated into hash browns for the next morning too!

#2 B (Healthier Options) Loaded Zucchini Boats

Image result for loaded zucchini skinsPhotocred: The Skinny Fork

Literally do the exact same thing as loaded potato skins except use zucchini instead of potatoes. However, in the case of the zucchini skins, I would recommend cutting the zucchini in half first and creating the ‘”boat” while the vegetable is still firm. It gets quite a bit weaker after cooking. Don’t overcook the zucchini or it will get soggy and wont hold its shape well. Bake @ 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. 

#3 bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos

Image result for stuffed jalapenoPhotocred: I Breathe I’m Hungry

Leave it to my husband to come up with the best bacon wrapped recipes ever! The first summer we were married we managed to grow a few plants in our tiny side yard and somehow the jalapenos were the most successful…ironic because I don’t care much for spicy things…but they were good! Just like the loaded potato skins these guys are as versatile as you want them to be. Load them up with your favorites and enjoy them for an appetizer on game day!

Ingredients

  • Jalapenos. The bigger the better (they fit more food)
  • Low fat cream cheese (1 package should do unless you are feeding a flock of people)
  • 1-3 cups Your favorite cheese or low fat cheese (we love parmesean)
  • 1 package uncured Bacon (or bacon substitute)
  • Your favorite seasonings. Flavor God “Bacon Lovers” & “Ranch” would pair well for these.
  • Optional: Bacon bits

These ingredients should give you enough food to fill about a whole cookie sheet with jalapenos. 

Directions: You may want to wear food handling gloves while preparing jalapenos…just to be safe. Wash and cut jalapenos in half. Remove all seeds with a small spoon or knife so you are left with a shell. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheese, bacon bits, and seasoning together until it tastes right to you. With a spoon, fill jalapenos as desired with the cream cheese mixture. Cut strips of raw bacon in half. Then wrap 1/2 piece around each jalapeno so that the contents of the jalapeno are wrapped in a delicious bacon blanket 😉 

My preference would be to smoke these guys until the bacon is cooked and almost crispy. If you don’t have a smoker, go ahead and bake them in the oven at 375 -400 degrees until the bacon is cooked. should be ready within 15 minutes.  Tip: if you don’t love the heat of jalapenos you can boil them before stuffing them to cook them and get some of the flavor out. 

#4 Stuffed mushrooms

Image result for stuffed mushroomsPhotocred: tablespoon.com
(note: this pic looks a bit different than my mushrooms look because I don’t use breadcrumbs in my recipe)

Our family eats a lot of mushrooms and often times I’ll make stuffed mushrooms as an entree for dinner. They are also great appetizers!

Ingredients

  • 1 large Costco package of mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb of  sausage (make sure to find a kind that has no sugar added, ask the meat department at your store what kinds they offer without sugar. If they only have an unseasoned version you will need to add your own seasoning) If I am trying to cut back a little on fat I’ll often times mix 1/4 lb of sausage with 1/4 lb of lean ground beef or ground turkey rather than use all sausage.
  • 2-4 oz shredded Parmesan cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt/Pepper (add to taste)

Directions: Wash mushrooms and remove stems. You can choose to use the stems when filling your mushrooms, save them for breakfast the next day. or discard them. I like to include mine. Chop mushroom stems in to small diced or minced pieces and put them in a bowl. Add sausage, 3/4ths of the shredded cheese (leave the rest for topping), 1 egg, and anout a 1/2 of salt & pepper to the bowl. Mix with a spoon….or with clean hands if you can’t stand trying to mix it with a spoon, like me. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and use a spoon to fill each mushroom very full with the filling. Top mushrooms with cheese. Bake at 375-400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the mushroom is melty and bubbly (I realize “melty” isn’t really a word). 

#5 Home Made Popcorn

Image result for home made popcorn
photocred: Brown Eyed Baker

This is definitely not an original recipe. But I think we sometimes forget that popcorn can be a great “munchy” snack that can satisfy our desires to fill our faces without consuming a ton of calories. I also consider making popcorn at home much healthier than buying a microwave bag of popcorn. Why? 1. I don’t use microwaves at all. We don’t even own one. (I’ll have to post some studies about microwaves later). 2. I get to see what goes into my popcorn. No preservatives, no fake cheese or butter flavors. 3. I think it tastes better

Ingredients

  • Popping corn – Good ole’ Orville R is  my go-to but brand doesn’t make a huge difference.
  • Your preferred cooking oil – Olive or Coconut oil are my main oils.
  • Salt

Get a large saucepan, cover the bottom with a layer of oil about as deep as one popcorn kernal. Turn your stove heat to medium-high and let the oil heat up. I put in one kernal to test the oil…when it pops its ready. Pour in a layer of popcorn kernals so they are covered by the oil. Put a lid on the pot……..wait……….pop………pop, pop, pop…when the popping is going crazy go ahead and turn your heat down to low to avoid burning. When the popping slows down with a few seconds in between pops dump the popcorn into a large bowl. Cover with salt to your liking. 

Sweet Tooth Cravings

Image result for berry medleyphotocred: Hopeful Things

I know the recipes so far have satisfied more of a salty sort of hunger so I thought I would list some of the things that help me overcome that sweet tooth craving. 

  1. Fruit: melon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, clementines. Any whole food that is sweet is ok in my book (unless you have specific inflammatory limitations).

  2. Apples and Peanut butter: PB may not be low fat but it sure hits the spot sometimes when I pair it with apples. Use natural PB with no added sugar. Even better, go to a whole foods store and grind your own peanut butter or almond butter.

  3. Protein Ice Cream (more to come on that in a later post)

  4. Energy Balls (also soon to come)

  5. Home made 100% fruit juice Popsicles

  6. Fresh fruit smoothie or cold pressed juice

  7. Dessert flavored gum – my husband things I’m crazy but chewing on some delicious watermelon gum or any of the ‘dessert” flavor gum often times helps keep my mouth busy and my sweet tooth craving satisfied when I really need to ignore the dessert table.

These are just some of the MANY sugar free/gluten free foods I love to make but they were the first that came to mind when thinking of what I like to eat during a Super Bowl party. I hope you’ll try one of these recipes out in the near future and give me your feedback! If you like the recipe please share and if you don’t…just keep your mouth shut 😉

p.s. If any of you are freaking out because there are not specific quantities of ingredients in my recipes or specific baking instructions its because that’s just how I cook ha, ha. Every time is different because every day is different. Sometimes I’m in a rush so I crank the heat up, sometimes I’m cooking for just my family of 4, other times I have 10 or more mouths to feed, so its always different. If you don’t feel strong in your ability to improvise on your own or “guesstimate” when things are done just message me and I can give you more specific help.  Happy Eating!

Love, Katie