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.

Enjoy!

Sunflower Banana Muffins || gluten-free + oil-free + vegan + no sugar added

IMG_9303These muffins are an excellent way to use those overly ripe bananas sitting on your counter. The flavor of banana and sunflower seed butter is a delightful combination. The texture is dense and very similar to banana bread (yum!). In addition to being tasty and satisfying, they are also healthy, void of gluten, dairy, eggs, oil or sugar. What’s left, you ask? Healthy and delicious whole foods, including dates as a sweetener, which are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bites

Chocolate Chip Banana Bites. Vegan. Oil-free. Low-fat. Gluten-free*

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

Banana Almond Shake (non-dairy, no added sugar or fat, gluten-free)

One of my favorite things used to be banana ice cream shakes from Ruby’s Diner.  Man, I loved those things.  Of course, this is years ago when I used to eat dairy products.  While I was pregnant with my daughter (21 years ago, yikes!), my unhealthy eating led to gestational diabetes.  I was told that the last few months of my pregnancy would be ones with ZERO sugar, not even fruit! I was devastated, especially because I had just started feeling well after dealing with morning sickness for 5 months straight (another reason I wish I’d known more about health and the best ways to take care of myself).  Why am I telling you this?  To illustrate how much I LOVED those darn banana shakes.  8 hours after I gave birth, I was allowed to go back to eating whatever I wanted.  Guess what the first thing I wanted was?  A Ruby’s banana shake!  My sister and her friend brought me one in the hospital and I devoured the entire thing.  If only I’d known what harm I was doing to myself AND my nursing baby.

What can I say? I was young, dumb and uninformed.  Now that I’m oldER, wiser and quite informed, I still love banana shakes (and anything “banana”) but I know better than to consume them.  I could, of course, just replace the milk and ice cream with non-dairy versions, but that’s not much healthier.  Sure, there’s none of that pesky, unhealthy dairy protein or saturated fat, but there is still a lot of other fat and tons of sugar.  My recipe for this shake has no sugar (only that from whole fruit), and does not contain ice cream, rather, frozen bananas and ice.  It’s truly delicious and a treat I don’t feel the least bit guilty about enjoying!

Banana Donut-Muffins (vegan, gluten-free, no-sugar added, oil-free)

Banana.  I love it anyway I can get it.  Straight up banana, banana bread, banana non-dairy ice cream, banana sandwich (with a little peanut butter, of course), or these delicious super healthy donut-muffins I made the other day.  Shaped like a donut, with the dense texture of a muffin, these are little cuties really are tasty.  Thanks to Chef AJ for the original recipe and Healthy Girl’s Kitchen for tweaking them a bit and posting the recipe here: http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com/2013/03/chef-ajs-just-banana-muffins-possibly.html#more

The only change I made was I added 1/2 tsp nutmeg.  These healthy treats have zero added sugar – they are sweetened naturally by the bananas, apple sauce and apple juice.  They aren’t super sweet, which is partly why I like them.  While I still have a sweet tooth, thankfully it takes very little to satisfy it since I changed my evil eating ways.  It’s confirmation that I really was a sugaraholic before.

I used a combination of my one donut pan (makes 6), and 6 muffins. I cooked them for 22 minutes, but the muffins, which are a little taller than the donuts, could have used another minute or 2 in the oven.  The recipe doesnt specify banana size.  My bananas were ginormous so I only used 3.  So, I’m assuming using 4 average sized bananas would work perfectly.

Banana-Oat Pancakes

In our house, Sundays are known as “pancake Sunday!” Normally, pancakes are seen as a treat, eaten only occasionally.  Since these are healthy, there’s no need for deprivation! Just go easy on the syrup, and if you must, use a tiny bit of Earth Balance instead of butter or trans-fat-filled margarine.