Every day for breakfast I have a smoothie filled with all sorts of nutritional goodness from greens, berries, banana, homemade almond milk and flax seeds. Some days though, I want something different and I will make oatmeal topped with banana, grated apple, cinnamon, a few walnuts, some almond milk and a touch of maple syrup. Kinda hard to eat a bowl of oatmeal on the run or if you’re in a hurry though, and impossible to eat out of your hand (not that I’ve tried). So, I set out to make a super healthy muffin that would be like a bowl of oatmeal disguised as a muffin. These muffins have the same ingredients as my hearty bowl of oatmeal with delicious toppings. They are dense, hearty and satisfying and best of all – easy to make!
* You need a 6-cup muffin tin for this recipe as it makes larger muffins than the 12-muffin pans. You can purchase here:Jumbo Muffin Tin. You could use a regular 12-muffin tin and make smaller muffins – just cook them for less time, 30-35 minutes.
* If your bananas are super ripe you can omit the maple syrup as the ripe bananas will add just enough sweetness.
There is no shortage of granola recipes on-line, though I’d never heard of a chocolate variety so when it popped into my head as I was working out, I jumped on it. Many of my recipes come to me during exercise – weird. Anyhow, I got the idea to use cacao nibs and cocoa powder to make the granola chocolatey. Sure, I could use chocolate chips but this is granola, it’s supposed to be healthy!
For those not familiar with cacao nibs, they are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to the point where all that there is left to do is process them into bars. Like dark chocolate, they are somewhat bitter and they are very pure with no added sugar. I like them in the granola however because there are plenty of other sweet elements. The bitter, nutty flavor of the nibs with the cherries, cranberries and maple syrup and/or date paste is delicious. Best part? Your milk in the bowl ends up like chocolate milk! Who doesn’t love that?
Cacao beans, and thus cacao nibs, are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium — a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies — with 272 milligrams per 100 grams. Cacao nibs are very high in antioxidants, and have about 9 grams of fiber per 1 ounce!
Since they will melt like any other type of chocolate, you need to wait until the granola is cooled before adding the cacao nibs.
Yep! These nummy cookies only have 5 ingredients and take about 5 minutes to throw together. They’re just about the healthiest cookie you could eat, and probably the easiest to make. Since they don’t have added sweeteners they are only mildly sweet, but the raisins help with that. I’m calling them a cookie because of their shape but classifying them as a snack since they’re so good for you (don’t panic – they’re good)! Granted, they are no Oreo cookie, but that’s not the goal here. They are soft in texture but hold together just like a regular cookie. I spread a little bit of peanut butter on one – what a delicious snack!! *choose certified gluten-free oats
I know. It’s getting a little ridiculous. Another pumpkin recipe. I can’t help it! I told you I love all things pumpkin. The season is short – I must embrace it!
So, I made a pumpkin-spice cake for my sister’s birthday this past week. It was really good. The next day I tweaked the recipe just a bit and made delicious cupcakes. The next day I tweaked it even more, making them gluten-free, and a sharable recipe was born!
If you don’t care to make these cupcakes gluten-free, whole wheat pastry flour is fine. Also, use 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice if you’d rather not bother measuring out the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.
I don’t generally make or eat things that are frosted due to the high fat content of frosting, even if it is vegan, but I’ve managed to keep the fat pretty low on these by only using no more than 1 tablespoon of frosting per cupcake, which is plenty and just right. Still, these are a treat and not something I’d recommend be eaten regularly. 🙂
*Oil-free if left unfrosted. The cupcake itself is oil/fat-free but Tofutti Cream Cheese is made with oil.
A few ingredients and a couple of really ripe bananas is all you need for this easy recipe. These little bites are dense and delicious! They’re also wheat free (gluten-free if using certified gluten-free oat flour), and low-fat. I recently substituted dried cranberries for the chocolate chips for a friend who doesn’t like chocolate (can you imagine?). They were delicious even without the chocolate chips!
The only problem with these is that they don’t last long when I make them.
*gluten-free when using certified gluten-free oat flour
Summer Fruit Cobbler. Vegan. Oil-free. Gluten-free*
A fruit cobbler is one of my favorite desserts. I take it or apple pie over something chocolatey any day! We were having company and I wanted a dessert that would be nice for a chilly evening, and that incorporated seasonal fruit. Most fruit crisps are loaded with fat and lots of sugar, but not this one! The only fat is naturally occurring in the oat flour. No added oils or butter. I used peaches, mango and blueberries and they tasted wonderful together, all warm and saucy. For an extra special treat, serve warm with non-dairy ice cream. 🙂
*gluten-free if using certified gluten-free oat flour.
Sweetened with fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit, so help me God! These oatmeal cookies almost shouldn’t be called cookies because they are good for you! The sweetness in these babies comes from banana, applesauce and date paste, as well as raisins and, as a treat, a few chocolate chips. Of course if you add chocolate chips, that changes things, but the heart of the cookie will still be super healthy. Be aware these are only slightly sweet. They are perfect for our family as our palettes have adjusted to less sugar/sweets (which can happen for everyone – just takes patience!). If you aren’t there yet, you may want to add more raisins and/or chocolate chips, or more date paste.
**Date paste is made by soaking whole, pitted dates until soft and much of the water is absorbed, and pureeing in food processor or blender until smooth. Here’s how: 1) Soak 1/2 lb dates with 1/2 cup water several hours, until much of the water is absorbed. 2) Use food processor or blender to create a creamy, smooth paste. Store in freezer (it doesn’t get hard!) and use in baked goods such as this one, as a fruit spread etc. Chef AJ has many recipes using dates in her great book Unprocessed.
* gluten-free as long as certified gluten-free oats and flour are used.
I’ve attempted to create granola-type bars in the past and haven’t been happy with the results. I got lucky this time. These are super easy to make and very quick. They are packed with Omega-3’s, protein and fiber.
Note: this recipe is only gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour, which are both easy to come by.
I stopped eating them years ago, after I changed my eating ways to low-fat, plant-based. A sad time in a way. I loved my new healthy path, but I also really loved scones. And cookies. And donuts. And cakes. And pastries. I always say “if I could give that stuff up, anybody can!” It’s not like I ate them all the time but I treated myself more than I should have. Vegan treats and baked goods are becoming more mainstream, but they are by no means healthy. The animal products have been removed (win!) but they still have a ton of fat and heavily refined ingredients. Which is why I love creating healthier versions of fattening vegan baked goods. These scones fit right in with that mission. Are they health food that should be eaten all the time? No. But they sure are better for you than most, and satisfy a craving without putting your health at risk and creating a ton of guilt! Enjoy!