Lemony Coconut Clusters [vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free, soy-free)

LemonCoconutClusters1I threw these together one morning when I knew my green smoothie wasn’t going to be enough.  I just needed something to chew and help me feel satiated.  These little bundles did the trick. If you’re looking for light, airy and fluffy, run away.  They are dense, fiber-filled clusters of lemony, oaty goodness.  I love oats, and I adore lemon, especially during warm months, so the combo seemed like a good fit.  Just zesting lemons instantly elevates my mood so I especially love dishes that call for lemon.  This recipe is super easy and quick to make, and very healthy consisting of healthy, whole foods.  These are every bit as good without coconut so if you don’t care for it or can’t have it, feel free to omit.  Make sure your bananas are very ripe; if they aren’t you may need to add more than the called-for 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.


Blender Pancakes [g/f + vegan + no flour + no oil)

BlenderPancakesThese babies were created when I just threw a bunch of pancake-related items in my Vitamix.  I didn’t feel like measuring out the flour and I figured using rolled oats would work, blended along with everything else.  And work it did!  Yummy.  Easy to make, healthy and delicious.

Feel free to add chocolate chips, blueberries or chopped/sliced bananas to the batter once it’s poured onto the griddle.

Gooey Pumpkin-Oat Bars | vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, flour-free, low-sugar

IMG_9175I’ve said it many times – I.  Love.  Pumpkin.  All things pumpkin, whether it be savory or sweet.  I especially love the spices that are associated with pumpkin flavor – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, etc.  These delicious bars have them all.  The bars are substantial and very moist (hence the name Gooey Pumpkin Bars).  I only used rolled oats so no need for flour here.  The only sugar in the batter is 1/3 cup and I used Sucanat which is minimally processed.  The chocolate chips add sugar, of course, and are optional (but, um, why would you leave them out?). Seriously, you may opt to leave them out if you plan on eating these for breakfast, or leave them in for more of a dessert item.  For gluten-free bars be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.

Chocolate Cran-Cherry Granola

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.

5’n’5 Apple Cookies – 5 Ingredients & 5 Minutes!

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

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

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.

Banana Oat Energy Bars (vegan, oil-free, gluten-free)

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.

Lentil Patties (vegan, low-fat, gluten-free, oil-free)

Nothin’ fancy about these veggie patties, but they are easy, tasty and satisfying.  I ate mine plain, with catsup, but I would love to try one on a whole grain bun with caramelized onions and all the fixins.  Yum.  Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats and soy sauce (tamari) if you need these to be bona fide gluten-free.

Whole Grain Bread! Bread Maker Recipe

Several years ago, I asked hubby for a bread maker.  My big plan was to make lots of fresh-baked loaves of bread and never have to buy another loaf again.  Ah, to be young with such lofty goals.  I baked one loaf, it wasn’t great, and the unit was stored in the garage for several years.  My older, and much wiser self decided to dust that bad boy off and give the whole bread-making thing another shot.  SO glad I did!  My amazingly wonderful friend Donna makes bread all the time and is always telling me how fun and easy it is – and how great it makes the house smell.  She was so right!

I did some research and played around a bit with ingredients and ultimately came up with this whole grain treat.   If you don’t have a bread maker, ask Santa or whomever to bring you one.  You literally dump the ingredients in the metal “bowl”, and walk away.  Definitely the lazy man’s way to make bread (though not as lazy as buying a loaf at the store!).

Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Muffin Recipe. Vegan, Oil-Free, Low-Fat, Wheat-Free! Good for Breakfast, Snack or Dessert.

I was inspired to create these tasty muffins as I was preparing for a 5 hour flight for which I would be leaving my house at 5 a.m.  I knew it would be too early for my usual breakfast smoothie, and I was already planning on packing a PB&J sandwich for later in the day….what would I eat for breakfast?? God knows there wouldn’t be options on the plane.  Sure, I could have brought Starbuck’s oatmeal or McDougall’s instant oatmeal (great for travel) on with me but I wanted something different; something substantial, not too sweet, and didn’t need to be warmed.  Thus, these Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Muffins were born!