Delicious and healthy (yes, these 2 words in the same sentence) recipes that do wonders from the inside out... they not only help you fit back into those skinny jeans but your skin and hair will thank you too. Join me in the kitchen while we create Recipes for Radiance! xoxo Jessica
You know it’s going to be a long night if you plan on doing any Black Friday shopping. Either late night or early morning… you’ll need some energy! How about these 4-ingredient Black Friday Energy Bars! Easy enough to make after a long day of cooking and nutritious enough to eat all night long. Enjoy!
Black Friday Energy Bars
Ingredients: - 1/2 cup nuts of choice, finely chopped - 1/2 dried fruit of choice, chopped ( I used dried cranberries) - 8 pitted dates, mashed into a date paste - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Optional: mini dark chocolate chips and/or coconut shred
Prep: Mix all ingredients together (by hand works best) until ingredients are evenly incorporated. Allow 'dough' to harden slightly in the fridge for 5 minutes. Place dough between pieces of wax paper and roll out to desired thickness with a rolling pin. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut bars to desired size. These are sticky so place bars between wax paper when storing.
BLACK FRIDAY BONUS. Are you doing any online shopping this Black Friday or perhaps this Cyber Monday? Go ahead and get cash back at your favorite stores online with your FREE account. I walk you through a quick 2 minute tutorial on how to sign up for your FREE membership. I'm using it and loving it! Click the image below or go here for the tutorial. Happy Shopping!
There will be no sugar coma this Halloween! Well, at least not if I can help it! A beautiful presentation of Halloween themed goodies that are healthy and ready in minutes. Perfect for a get-together or something to take away the urge to tackle the kid's candy buckets.
Chocolate Covered Apricots
Ingredients: ~ Dried Apricots ~ Extra dark chocolate, melted ~ Sea Salt Prep: Dip half of each apricot into melted chocolate. Place on a wax or parchment paper lined tray. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt while chocolate is still wet.
Halloween Fruit Skewers
Ingredients: ~ Cantaloupe, chopped into 1 inch cubes ~ Blackberries ~ Wooden skewers, halved on an angle Prep: Skewer blackberries and cantaloupes alternately on each wooden skewer half. At least 4 pieces of fruit will fit on each skewer. Place in refrigerator until serving. Can be prepped night before or morning of.
Ingredients: ~ Strawberries ~ White chocolate, melted (good quality) ~ Mini Chocolate Chips Prep: Wash and dry strawberries. Dip each strawberry in melted chocolate. Do not tap off excess chocolate, allow to puddle under each berry while on platter- this will make the 'ghost tail'. Allow chocolate to sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute before applying the eyes and mouth, as they will slide if the placed on while chocolate is too wet. For the eyes, have the chocolate chips pointing out. For the mouth, have the flat part of the chip facing out.
These are fun treats at the house while you're passing out candy or to bring along to a pot luck on this fun and festive holiday.
This dessert is the best thing you’ll put in your mouth this Fall season. Do you love peach cobbler as much as I do? Do you feel as guilty as I do after I finish a gooey helping...or two?! Well, today we are revamping this classic comfort dessert into a figure friendly, just as delicious, take on the classic peach cobbler. Roasted Peach Halves with an oatmeal topping make this the perfect dessert to help with portion control AND with the satisfying flavor and texture what we all know to love makes this dessert a hit! It’s a 5 minute prep and perfect for company or as an after dinner dessert. Enjoy!
Roasted Peach Halves with Oat Topping
Ingredients: 3 ripe peaches, halved and pits removed ½ cups oats, divided 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar ½ tsp. cinnamon Pinch of Salt 1 Tbsp. organic butter cold 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, NOT melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an oven-proof small skillet, lightly grease bottom of pan with coconut oil.
Place peach halves cut side up in skillet.
In a food processor, process ½ of the oats until it becomes oat flour.
In a small bowl, mix oat flour, remaining ½ cup oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until incorporated.
Chop the butter in tiny pieces before you mix it with the oat mixture, it will be easier to combine this way. Add butter pieces and coconut oil to the oat mixture and with a fork or two knives, cut in the butter/coconut oil into the oat mixture until it is incorporated and resembles a coarse crumb mixture.
Evenly place the coarse crumbs on top of each peach halve.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy! Serve plain or with low fat ice cream. J Enjoy!
I’m putting some spice back in your life this week with my Spicy Chicken over Grilled Pineapple. To compliment this spicy kick, we will offset it with sweetness. A killer combination of pineapple and a hot grill will lock in all the natural sugars and help make this dish burst with a winning combination of flavors.
Spicy Chicken Over Grilled Pineapple
1/4 C. Pineapple Juice 3 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp. Honey 2 Tbsp. Red onion, chopped 1 Jalapeno, deseeded and chopped 1 Garlic clove, minced 1/4 C. Cilantro Zest and juice from 1 Lime 4 Rings of Pineapple 4 - 6oz. Chicken Breasts, Organic, if you can
For the marinade: In a food processor, pulse all ingredients except the pineapple rings and chicken. Place chicken in a bag or bowl and pour marinade over chicken and mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours. When ready to cook chicken, over medium heat, place chicken on a single layer in pan and cook 6-7 minutes per side until the internal juices run clear. While chicken is cooking, grill pineapple slices over another preheated to medium skillet (4 minutes per side) or on a George Foreman Grill, if you want the fancy grill marks, for 6 minutes. Place cooked chicken on top of grilled pineapple slices with ready to serve.
Curious about Chia? These tiny little seeds are packing major nutrients to make you glow and keep you full with a great balance of fiber and protein. Try this yummy, easy recipe... Chia Seed Fruit Parfait to see what all the goodness is about!
Here’s the skinny on Chia seeds:
1. Chia seeds provide massive amounts of nutrients considering their tiny size. In just 2 tablespoons you’ll receive:
Fiber: 11 grams. Protein: 4 grams. Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s). Calcium: 18% of the RDA. Manganese: 30% of the RDA. Magnesium: 30% of the RDA. Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA. They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
2. Loaded with antioxidants. And as we know, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
3. High in quality protein and fiber. This helps with your feeling of fullness and could help you lose weight.
4. High in Omega-3 fatty acids. Gram for Gram, Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon.. I know, who knew?!
Ingredients: - 3/4 C. Coconut or Almond Milk - 2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds - 2 tsp. Maple Syrup/Honey/Agave - 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract - Tiny Pinch of Salt - Fruit of choice: Sliced strawberries and blueberries
Prep: In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the fruit. Stir and cover. Place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. The next morning, and after the Chia seeds have expanded, give the mixture another stir. Layer a jar or dessert glass with pudding mixture alternately with sliced fruit of choice. Enjoy!
This week’s episode is showcasing a simple eating plan that is sure to detox your body from serious cravings due to the amount of processed sugars and simple carbs running through the blood stream... AKA clean eating. I had an upcoming role in the film, Bunnyman III and I wanted to look and feel my best for the emotionally demanding role.
I stumbled across a 2-week meal plan that Dr. Oz featured on his show. It was called the 2-week Rapid Weight Loss Diet. Knowing Dr. Oz. isn’t going to promote or endorse anything unhealthy or crazy, I decided to check it out. The 2-week meal plan was so doable. Common ingredients that were specific, low-glycemic, WHOLE foods. The only dairy he includes is Greek Yogurt. I decided to give it a shot. He said the average weight loss for those 2 weeks is 9 pounds. I certainly didn’t have 9 pounds to lose BUT all the testimonies were boasting less cravings, more energy, and of course, weight loss. So I gave it a shot. Surprisingly, I wasn’t hungry throughout the day because there are some foods (low-glycemic veggies) that you can eat by the truck loads all day long. I will say, it took me about 3 days to kick the sugar cravings… gosh I love sweets.. but I did it! By the fourth day, my energy was through the roof, my skin was radiant, eyes clear, and my waist was starting to seriously streamline. By day ten, I was on top of the world and trimmed 3 pounds (that is all I had to lose) and I went into the shoot feeling and looking very healthy and confident.
This episode is completely dedicated to that meal plan. Below you’ll find the entire list of what you can have each day. Go ahead, give it a go for 14 days. What do you have to lose?
Dr. Oz’ 2-Week Rapid Weight Loss Diet (i.e. clean eating jump start)
Wake up: Start the day with a hot cup of water and ½ Lemon
Breakfast:(Smoothie) 2 Tbsp. Rice Protein Powder 2 Tbsp. Flax Seed ½ C. Frozen Berries ½ Banana 1 C. Unsweetened almond Milk Optional: ½ tsp. Cinnamon
Throughout the day, you may have the following each day in no particular order:
Protein: One 6-oz. serving of meat (Chicken, Turkey, or Fish)
Carbs: ½ C. cooked brown rice (otherwise no carbs/starches)
Fats: Good fats in moderation (ex: olive oil, avocado)
Dairy: 1 C. of 2% Greek Yogurt (otherwise no dairy)
Vegetables: UNLIMITED low-glycemic vegetables (see list below)
Snacks: Hummus, pickles, a couple handfuls of nuts
I have just the cure for that sweet tooth when you’re wanting a chocolaty, fudgy, guilt-free treat. These Amaretto Black Bean Brownies will melt in your mouth. This gluten and vegan friendly recipe is finished off perfectly with the hint of amaretto and sliced almond topping.
While trying to find an egg substitute, I became fascinated with what I found… flax eggs.. Ah ha, finally a name to the face. I already knew the egg-like texture that the flax takes on when soaked in water and this is just fabulous to substitute in this brownie recipe. Would you like to know some health benefits of using flax eggs when compared to regular diary eggs? I did too so here ya go…
Flax seed and eggs differ in their nutrient content. One large egg in a recipe contributes 72 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. A tablespoon of flax seeds has 55 calories, 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat. If you're trying to save a few calories, flax seeds are a better choice. If cholesterol levels are your concern, flax seeds may also be a better choice. You'll get 3 grams of dietary fiber from eating flax seeds, which may help lower cholesterol, while eggs provide none. Flax seeds are also a cholesterol-free food, while one egg has 186 milligrams of cholesterol.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another factor in your decision to use eggs or flax seed is their omega-3 fatty acid content. According to MayoClinic.com, flax seeds contain a precursor to omega-3 fatty acids. These fats play a critical role in your brain function, growth and development. They may also reduce inflammation in your body and lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis, according the University of Maryland Medical Center. Most eggs from the grocery store don't have a significant omega-3 content, however hens that are free range and eat a large amount of grasses tend to lay eggs with a high omega-3 content. Source
So there you go. Just one of the many nutrient-dense ingredients in these yummy brownies. Enjoy!
Amaretto Black Bean Brownies
Ingredients: 1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed 2 Flax Eggs (2 1/2 Tbsp. Flax Seed + 6 Tbsp. Water) 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted 2 Tbsp. Amaretto Liquor OR 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract 1/2 C. Raw Sugar 3/4 C. Cocoa Powder 1/4 tsp. Salt 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder Optional: Chopped Almonds for Topping
Prep: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 12-muffin tin. Set aside. 2. Prepare the flax eggs by combining the flax seed and water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and reaches an egg-like texture. 3. In a food processor (If using a hand mixer, the batter will be lumpier…then we’ll call it the rustic version) combine all ingredients and process for 3 minutes until fairly smooth. If mixture is too thick, add a little almond milk to thin out just a bit. 4. Divide batter in the muffin tin and top with slivered almonds and bake for 25 minutes. This will still leave the muffins fudgy in the middle. J Recipe adapted from this source.
When I think of dessert, nothing says comfort more than a sweet, dense pound cake. They say go big or go home. Welllll, a once in a while indulgent treat can still have a few healthy short cuts. So how about we 'Go Big' in the direction of home? Let’s bring a little comfort to the waistline by using only a quarter of the butter and subbing the rest with rich, creamy Greek yogurt. Speaking of comfort, I was completely out of my comfort zone gliding through the air on my first zipline adventure a few weeks ago. Seeing how I could have only experienced this view by stepping out of my comfort zone made it totally worth it. Comfort zone lesson of the week learned.
This comfort cake still boasts the sweet, flavorful cake that we all know to love. This is a slight tweak to Gaida De Laurentiis’ Orange Ricotta Pound Cake….meet Orange Ricotta Quarter Cake.
Why Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt? The benefits of Greek yogurt over regular yogurt, just to name a few: Source
Higher in protein
Lower in carbohydrates
Lower in sodium
It’s thicker and creamier…which is fabulous for this quarter cake.
Orange Ricotta Quarter Cake
Lighter version of pound cake using only a quarter of the butter.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 C. Flour 2 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder 1 tsp. Salt 1 1/2 C. Sugar 1/4 C. Butter, softened 1/4 C. Greek Yogurt 1 1/2 C. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese 3 Eggs 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract Zest from 1 Orange Optional- Strawberries for serving
Prep: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan or bundt pan and set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until incorporated.
In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, cream together butter, Greek yogurt, and ricotta cheese. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add orange zest and extracts.
Incorporate the dry ingredients a small batch at a time just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 45-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Serve with sliced strawberries to finish off this dessert.
Head on over to www.RecipesForRadiance.com for your FREE gift - 7 quick and easy cooking tricks to burn fat faster! Yes, please. :)
What if I told you that with 5 minutes and 6 ingredients, you could be well on your way to boosting the collagen in your skin, reducing the inflammation in your face and under your eyes, decreasing the appearance of fine lines, AND potentially minimize the aging process? Umm, yes please! My Super Skin Smoothie will help you with just that. Packed with power-house ingredients, this recipe is not only creamy and delicious, it’s a perfect prep for any event or occasion that you need your skin to look sleek and inflammation-free. Speaking of power-house ingredients, here’s the SKIN-y on a few of them:
Kale is very rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Vitamin K is a wonderful nutrient that acts as an inflammatory and antioxidant- helping to reduce some of the puffiness in your face and under your eyes, giving you that sleeker look. The Vitamin C boasts fabulous collagen production in the skin to help tighten and lift. Source
Bananas also have wonderful benefits for the skin. The large amount of antioxidants and manganese protect the body from damage caused by oxygen free radicals which lead to premature aging of the skin. Source
Almond Butter is helping round out our radiance by providing Vitamin E. Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. In recent years, vitamin E supplements have become popular as antioxidants. These are substances that protect cells from damage. Source
Field trips are fun and well, lavender fields are pretty fun too. I had a surprisingly inspiring excursion with a few friends several weeks back visiting a lavender farm and it was BEAUTIFUL! Not only was I completely inspired by the beautiful scenery and aroma filling the air but I was so excited to come back and bake SOMETHING with lavender….Lemon Lavender Scones!!
There was the cutest little ‘lemonade stand’-style tea room with wonderful drinks and baked goods ALL infused with lavender.
I wanted to try everything just to see what all the different things tasted like with lavender… but that would have been pretty gluttonous so I just stuck with sampling lavender lemonade, lavender tea, a lavender sugar cookie and a lavender scone with lavender jelly…. Eek! They were all delicious!! I wanted to bake something bright and tasty with lavender and I adored the scone I ate so I decided to make my own version. Lemon Lavender Scones! If you’re like me, you may not have culinary lavender hanging around the house. That is where lavender tea comes in handy… to make these delicious scones annnnnddd enjoy calming lavender tea.
Lavender can be used as a natural remedy to potentially assist with these health conditions:
Ingredients: 1/2 C. Almond Milk 1 Tea bag Lavender tea 3/4 C. Almond Four 3/4 C. All Purpose Flour 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder 3/4 tsp. Baking Soda 1/3 C. Cold butter, cut into tiny pieces 2 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
Prep: 1. First, to make the lavender infused milk: In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring almond milk and contents of one tea bag to a simmer. After simmering for two minutes, remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. While you continue with the rest of the recipe, allow this mixture to cool in the refrigerator in the meantime. 2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 3. In a food processor OR a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pulse or mix (with a hand-mixer) just until incorporated. Add butter and pulse gently. Add lemon zest and pulse gently.Add lavender milk and pulse gently. 4. Move mixture to a floured surface and knead just about 5 times (do not over-knead). 5. Form a 6 inch circle with the dough and cut into 6 wedges. 6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes just until the top is lightly golden brown.
I’m shaking up a long time favorite on this week’s episode.
A typical hash brown quiche is beautifully transformed serving up a sweet potato crust, savory chicken sausage, and a surprisingly rich and nutty dairy milk alternative to make this dish a creamy, satisfying success! Hello world, meet my Sweet Potato Breakfast Quiche. To cut out some of the unnecessary fat and added hormones that are found in dairy milk,
Hormones have been used for decades in the meat and dairy industries. Synthetic estrogen and testosterone are the most common. Typically, farmers implant a pellet in a cow’s ear at an early age; it releases hormones throughout the animal’s life. Source
I’m substituting half and half (what I’ve usually used in the past) with a flax seed-almond milk concoction…. and it’s delicious! I blend toasted flax seed with almond milk and the result is a creamy, rich, nutty flavor that adds such a depth to this quiche, you won’t miss the dairy milk at all.
The sweet potato crust balances the savory chicken sausage perfectly and you are left with a wonderful dish that will be gone in no time!
Ingredients: 3 Sweet Potatoes, shredded (approx. 3 cups) 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil 3/4 C. Chicken Sausage 3 Eggs, Organic 2 Tbsp. Flax Seed 1 C. Almond Milk 1 C. Shredded Cheese 1/2 C. Scallions, chopped Pinch of Salt & Pepper
Prep: 1. So that the flax seeds can soak for a few minutes, combine the flax seed and almond milk and set aside. (This can also be done the day before and left in fridge). 2. For the crust: preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Shred sweet potatoes and dab some of the excess moisture off with a paper towel. In a quiche dish/pie pan, combine the shredded sweet potato and the coconut oil and press evenly to cover the pan and press up the sides as well. Bake the crust for 30 minutes. Allow crust to cool slightly. 3. Meanwhile, over medium heat, brown chicken sausage in a skillet and allow to cool slightly before chopping up. 4. In a blender, blend flax seed and almond milk mixture until smooth. (It will thicken as you blend). 5. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in the flax seed/almond milk, chicken sausage, cheese, scallions, and salt/pepper. Mix lightly until incorporated. 6. Pour mixture into slightly cooled crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the center is set.
This week’s episode features one of my go-to favorite savory dishes. Honey Curry Chicken with Coconut Rice. My love for curry began with this recipe. Most of the time you can find real gems of recipes in those fundraising recipe books usually sold though someone’s church; recipes that have been go-to favorites passed down for many years. I’ve only tweaked one thing about this recipe (less butter) and trust me that it is just as amazing and flavorful with the reduced-butter version. This honey curry marinade puts this chicken over the top and will have your family asking for it time and time again.
Add a little spice to your life… with Curry. For several reasons. The key ingredient in this spice blend is Turmeric which is found in the more typical yellow curries. Its main active component is curcumin and can potentially help prevent:
Reducing blood pressure
Food poisoning prevention
Turmeric comes in the supplement form as well so rest assured you don’t have to make Honey Curry Chicken every night, unless you want to :), to spice up your life a little with this ‘prevention powder’. Source
We’re finishing this dish off with the perfect pairing- coconut brown rice. This savory, healthy dish will be one you keep in the rotation for many years to come. Enjoy!
Honey Curry Chicken
Ingredients: 1 lb. Chicken breasts/thighs, organic 2 Tbsp. Butter, melted ¼ C. Honey 1 Tbsp. Curry Powder (yes, 1 Tbsp) 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard ½ tsp. Salt ½ tsp. Lemon Pepper
Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If marinating before baking, combine all ingredients in a Ziplock bag and add the chicken to the marinade for an hour up to overnight. Or you can pour the freshly mixed marinade right over the chicken in a baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the juices run clear. Pair with yummy coconut rice in the recipe below.
Ingredients: 1 C. Brown Rice (I use Thai Jasmine) 1 C. Coconut Milk ¾ C. + 2 Tbsp. Water 1 Tbsp. Dry Shredded Unsweetened Coconut 1/2 tsp. Salt 1/2 tsp. Coconut Oil
Garnish: 1-2 Tbsp. Toasted coconut 1 tsp. Dried Basil (optional) Recipe adapted from this source
Prep: Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir until liquid comes to a gentle boil; stop stirring and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Turn off heat and leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. Toast coconut by placing dry shredded coconut in a frying pan over medium-high heat and stir ("dry fry") until light golden brown.
This week's episode features healthy, super simple recipes and presentation ideas that will keep you patriotic all year long. Who says red, white, and blue have to be reserved just for a holiday? Magical things happen when you combine strawberries, blueberries, and angel food! And let’s talk about Strawberry ‘Sliders’, shall we? Whether peeps are coming over, you’re going over, or you just want a healthy snack to have on hand, these Strawberry 'Sliders' and All-Star Angel Kabobs will have you waving that flag high.
Ingredients: Strawberries, sliced 1/4 inch width-wise Blueberries White chocolate chips, melted OR Greek Yogurt
Prep: Dab sliced strawberries on a paper towel to remove excess moisture (so the chocolate or Greek yogurt won’t slide off). Top each slice with melted chocolate or Greek yogurt. Top with Blueberries. Great for presentation at parties or keep them on hand in the freezer.
Prep: For uniform pieces of angel food cake, prepare in a 9x13 pan instead of a bundt pan. Once cake has cooled, slice into one inch cubes. I usually leave the strawberries whole, minus the green tops. Skewer each kabobs however you fancy.
Leftover Strawberries? Sure, you could snack on them in the carton OR...
Strawberry Straws Your straws will be strong enough to pierce through the strawberries. Add extra flavor to your beverage of choice (even if it is just water) and talk about ADORABLE presentation.
The inspiration for this recipe of Midnight Chocolate Vegan Cake Pops came to me in the wee early morning hours while I was on set filming my latest role in a horror film, Bunnyman III. A dark, yet ironically funny at times, horror flick. All of my scenes were night shoots so how fitting than to make dark midnight chocolate cake pops. While all my fellow actors huddled around the craft service table looking for anything to consume that will keep us awake between scenes, these cake pops would have been the PERFECT bite-size jolt of goodness to keep us going. These aren't just your average cake pops. I’m turning the presentation-notch up one more dial and making them into cake pop kabobs- perfect for summertime treats, BBQ outings, or just fun for the kiddies who are probably staying up past midnight on these school-less summer nights. These rich cake pops perfectly balance out the taste buds with skewered fresh fruit.
There are so many different dietary restrictions that people have these days and the fabulous thing about these particular cake pops is that they’re vegan. If I never told you they were vegan you would have no clue. These are the most delicious cake pops I've ever had! Everyone that’s tried them says they can’t believe it’s not butter… wait, no, that’s not it. They can’t believe how moist they are. Yeah, that’s it! By the way, this makes a fantastic cake all by itself. The vegan icing that we use to mix into the crumbled cooked cake sets this dessert over the top.
Enjoy this episode as I take you behind-the-scenes with a few photos from the set and also my welcome intro shot at the final location of my last day on set. For my final scene, it’s shot in an old haunted house that gets used as a scare maze each Halloween… how fitting for this final scene. All the critters came out at midnight and there was no exception to that rule on the set. Sure we hired some critters accompanied by their animal trainers but there were a few other uninvited, deadly guests that decided to show up...such as this little vixen.
Enjoy this recipe. It is sure to be a SCREAM!!!
Midnight Chocolate Cake Pops
Ingredients: Vegan cake recipe courtesy of this source.
Cake: 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups organic cane sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup cocoa powder 3/4 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 2 cups cold water
Icing: 1 cup organic cane sugar 6 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 cup cocoa 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup water or almond milk 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla
12oz Dark Chocolate Chips 1 tsp. Coconut oil Kabob skewers If making kabobs: I used strawberries, dark purple grapes, and blueberries
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Sift all dry ingredients (listed under cake ingredients) together into a large bowl.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the remaining wet ingredients (listed under cake ingredients).
Mix until blended (bubble will start to form from the vinegar).
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Set cake aside to cool. You will only be using 2/3 of this cake for the cake pops.
For the Icing, mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk.
Stirring constantly, heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes or until very thick.
Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla. Allow to cool.
To assemble the cake pops:
Crumble 2/3 of the cooled cake into a large bowl. Mix in 1 cup of the icing by hand until cake crumbs form into a large ball.
Roll approximately 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Pop in the freezer or fridge for 30 minutes to harden before dipping in chocolate.
In the meantime, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil (stir every 30 seconds!) in the microwave until smooth.
First dip the skewer into the chocolate before piercing the ball. Then dip ball in the chocolate to coat. Add any sprinkles to the wet chocolate. I used stars to go along with the 'Midnight' theme.
Allow chocolate to harden before skewering with fresh fruit.
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This week’s episode is in celebration of the Summer Solstice which marks the first day of summer and on this particular day has the longest hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. I attended a Summer Solstice celebration on a beautiful horse ranch just outside of Los Angeles. I know, I wouldn’t have pictured a horse ranch outside of L.A. either. And what a wonderful time it was! In ‘light’ of the event… get it? I’m really chessy with the puns, I decided to make Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Pop Kabobs. When I think of outdoor get-togethers I picture kabobs and BBQ on the grill and these dessert kabobs give that wink and nudge to the grillin’ theme. Not to mention they are sunny, fresh, and a HUGE hit! Oh, did I mention they are GLUTEN FREE too? With so many dietary preferences that people have (hello, it’s Los Angeles, people) This is a yummy dessert that EVERYONE will love including the gluten-free folks. To keep in the bright and sunny color scheme, I used juicy fresh-cut pineapple and golden honeydew melon.
These cake pops were such a hit even the black stallion on the ranch must have wanted a bite and thought my butt was a cake pop… BECAUSE IT BIT MY BEHIND!!!! Haha, my friend just happened to get it on camera too and it’s in this week’s show. Enjoy!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Pop Kabobs (Gluten Free!)
2 C. Almond Flour ¾ C. Coconut Flour ½ tsp. Sea Salt 1 tsp. Baking Soda 2/3 C. Honey, melted 2/3 C. Coconut Oil, melted 4 Large eggs ½ C. + 3 Tbsp. Full-fat Coconut milk 2 Tbsp. Pure Lemon Extract Zest of 1 Lemon 1 Tbsp. Poppy Seeds Cake pop recipe courtesy of this source.
Coating: 1 Bag white chocolate Chips, melted 1 tsp. Coconut oil, melted Zest of lemon for garnish
Wooden Kabob Skewers, cut in half on a diagonal Light colored fruit – I used fresh pineapple wedges and golden honeydew melon
Sift almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix honey and coconut oil. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
Add coconut milk, extract and zest until combined.
Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
Add poppy seeds and mix by hand.
To make transfer easier to the cake pop machine, pipe mixture into a Ziploc bag (snip small hole at point) or use a piping bag and fill your pre-heated cake pop maker.
Bake in cake pop maker for 4 minutes then unplug cake pop maker and continue baking another 4 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.
Once cooled, place in refrigerator for a few hours before coating.
When it’s time to coat, place chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until chips are soft. Then mix until smooth.
Dip end of skewer in melted chocolate before skewering the cake pop (when the chocolate hardens, this will prevent sliding).
Role the cake pop in the chocolate or drizzle chocolate over the pop while turning and allow the excess chocolate to drip off.
Place pops on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. While chocolate is still wet, top each pop with a little lemon zest.
This week’s episode of Six Ways to Salmon…ROUND 2! is all about the marinade baby. These final three recipes to round out our Six Ways to Salmon are sure to leave those taste buds dancing. More flavorful, simple recipes perfect to spice up your lunch or dinner menu if you know you’re going to have some version of a fish for protein. We are using bold, delicious flavors and the beauty of that is, the salmon does not need to marinade long to reap the benefits of all that goodness. In fact, the final marinade we have to round out the six is actually a vinaigrette that will be spooned over the top of the salmon after grilling. Say goodbye to boring, bland fish, and helllooooo to healthier, delicious ways to spice up your salmon.
Fresh Facts about Wild vs. Farm Raised Salmon (Source)
So much talk about wild vs. farm raised salmon. Is farmed reeealllllyyy that bad for you? With the farm raised method of growing salmon in dense packed pens near ocean shores, the chance of disease and toxins to spread amongst all the tenants is higher in these tight quarters. The majority of these toxins are actually found in the fish feed- specifically, PCBs (toxic man-made chemicals). Soooo, wild caught is the best option when available BUT…never fear, you can still reap the benefits of farm-raised, and here’s how: (because unfortunately, most of the salmon available is farm-raised)
Limit your consumption of farm-raised to once a week.
Cook your salmon thoroughly and remove as much skin as you can - you’ll take a lot of the toxins out of it (the toxins are stored in the fat).
Also, check out this Salmon Face-off here to see exactly how wild and farmed salmon measure up to each other.
Here goes, Round 2- The Marination Round.
Sweet Balsamic Salmon
Ingredients: 4 Fillets Pinch of salt and pepper ~ 3 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard ~ 3 Tbsp. Honey ~ 3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Prep: For marinade, combine all ingredients. Lightly salt and pepper each fillet. Pour marinade over salmon in a zip lock bag or storage container. Marinade as little as 15 minutes- to an hour- to overnight. (Remember the acidity in the vinegar will start to ‘cook’ the salmon if left marinating too long). Pre-heat skillet to medium heat. Put a tad bit of oil in the pan. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
Garlic Asian Salmon
Ingredients: 4 Fillets Pinch of Salt and Pepper ~ 1/4 C. Olive Oil ~ 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce ~ 2 Scallions, chopped ~ 1 Garlic Clove, minced ~ 2 tsp. fresh Ginger, minced
Prep: For marinade, combine all ingredients. Lightly salt and pepper each fillet. Pour marinade over salmon in a zip lock bag or storage container. Marinade as little as 15 minutes- to an hour- to overnight. Pre-heat skillet to medium heat. Put a tad bit of oil in the pan. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
Ginger Thyme Salmon
Ingredients: 4 Fillets Pinch of salt and pepper ~ 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar ~ 1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, grated ~ 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, ~ 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Prep: Pre-heat skillet to medium heat. Lightly salt and pepper each fillet. Put a tad bit of oil in the pan. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side. While salmon is grilling, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside. When the salmon is finished, spoon the vinaigrette mixture on top and…VOILA!
This week’s episode of Six Ways to Salmon is such a cute dinner idea if you're having guests over- each can choose a different flavorful piece AND this is perfect to spice up your lunch or dinner menu if you know you’re going to have some version of a fish for protein. Whether it’s salmon (my fave) or another cut of fish, these recipes of bold flavors will season up your salmon six different ways and will not disappoint. Who says your meals have to be boring? We can take the same beautiful piece of salmon and spice it up 6 easy, healthy, delicious ways. In Round one, we are taking the first three recipes and they are our Half Baked Round.We start these babies out on a skillet and then finish them off in the oven. For these first 3 recipes, here are 3 fun salmon facts for a mental appetizer:
Eating salmon makes you smarter and happier! The brain is 60 percent fat and most of that is the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Thirty percent of the grey matter in the brain is DHA showing how critical it is for brain function and a healthy nervous system. Eating salmon regularly has been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of depression, hostility in young adults and cognitive decline in the elderly. Source
Eating salmon is beneficial in the treatment of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions. Salmon contains small proteins called bioactive peptides. One in particular, called calcitonin has been shown to increase, regulate and stabilize collagen synthesis in human osteoarthritic cartilage. This salmon-found protein also improves bone density and strength. Source
Eating salmon increases your cardiovascular health. Salmon contains high levels of the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. These fats are responsible for many cardiovascular benefits such as reducing inflammation, keeping the blood from clotting excessively, and relaxing and dilating the arteries. When eaten 2-3 times per week, salmon can protect you from problems such as heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and high triglycerides. Source
Dijon Crusted Salmon
Ingredients: Per piece Pinch of salt and pepper ~ 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard ~ 1 Tbsp. Bread Crumbs
Prep: Pre-heat skillet (no plastic handle on skillet) to medium heat and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly salt and pepper each fillet. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each piece. Sprinkle bread crumbs on each piece to cover. Grill for about 3-5 minutes on one side only. Then put the pan in the coven to finish off for another 7-10 minutes. No need to flip the salmon. In the last minute, you can turn on broil to really crust up the top but WATCH it the whole time. It can burn very quickly on broil.
Lemon Dill Salmon
Ingredients: Per piece Pinch of salt and pepper ~ 1 tsp. Dill, fresh or dried ~ ½ lemon, cut into thin slices
Prep: Pre-heat skillet (no plastic handle on skillet) to medium heat and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly salt and pepper each fillet. Sprinkle dill on each piece to cover. In one layer, lay lemon slices right on top of the salmon. Grill for about 3-5 minutes on one side only. Then put the pan in the coven to finish off for another 7-10 minutes. No need to flip the salmon. In the last minute, you can turn on broil to really caramelize the lemon but WATCH it the whole time. It can burn very quickly on broil.
Sweet Dijon Salmon
Ingredients: Per piece ~ 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard ~ 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Prep: Pre-heat skillet (no plastic handle on skillet) to medium heat and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each piece. Sprinkle brown sugar on each piece to cover. Grill for about 3-5 minutes on one side only. Then put the pan in the coven to finish off for another 7-10 minutes. No need to flip the salmon. In the last minute, you can turn on broil to really caramelize the top but WATCH it the whole time. It can burn very quickly on broil.
A healthy twist on this elegant, quick dessert has never tasted so good. We are transforming traditional Bananas Foster into a healthier, figure friendly version called Bananas Imposter… this knockoff has never left you so satisfied for not having the real thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love making the traditional Bananas Foster, especially when we have company over. It’s quick and looks (and sounds) way more elegant than it is to make. And when your guests see the action in the kitchen from setting your pan aflame, it is sure to woo woo them. However, on those regular nights at home when I have that sweet tooth and would rather not have all that action taking on the form of an expanding waist line, I blissfully opt for my rich, flavor-packed Bananas Imposter.
The depth of flavor is concentrated when we use a generous teaspoon of vanilla extract (ok, so I lied, there is alcohol in this imposter version…a teaspoon, in the form of extract). While the delicate taste of agave nectar and its full-bodied companion, honey, pair up with the natural sugars in the banana, you’re left with a satisfying flavor leaving no regrets while indulging in this imposter version. Round out the treat with our sweet spices and this topping can stand up, dress up, and seduce any bland frozen yogurt, or Greek yogurt.
Makes 2 Servings Ingredients:
1 Banana, ripe or just under ripe 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract 1 tsp. Honey 1 tsp. Agave 1 tsp. Coconut oil Healthy base of your choice: Greek yogurt, low fat ice cream (I use Arctic Zero)
Pre-heat skillet to medium-low heat. Add just a few drops of coconut oil to pan – just enough to coat so the bananas don’t stick. Slice bananas into ½ inch slices (or length-wise if you want them chunkier). Add bananas to the pan in a single layer. Sauté for a few minutes until the bananas begin to caramelize on one side. In the meantime, for the sauce, add the remaining ingredients to a small dish and mix until combined. When the bananas are ready, flip to the other side and add the sauce on top of the bananas. Turn the pan to low heat and just heat through for a few minutes. Careful not to overcook as the sauce will begin to harden and caramelize if left for too long. Add this topping to Greek yogurt, low fat frozen yogurt, or quinoa. You can even save half to use on your oatmeal in the morning.
If you’re looking for a savory appetizer this Memorial Day weekend, I have a tasty one for you. My Guilt-free blue cheese burgers will satisfy those taste bud as a full-fledged burger or replicated into miniature sliders as an appetizer or potluck. They’ll hit the spot when you want the full flavor without the guilt. Within the extra lean meat, we are packing tons of spinach in these burger patties. A tasty way to add more greens, I’d say.
Spinach is loaded with Vitamin A, K, D, & E. It’s also a good source of magnesium, riboflavin, and potassium. Spinach also serves as a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Researchers have also identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that act as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents.
Some wonder how many nutrients are lost on this superfood in the cooking process. While cooking spinach somewhat degrades the folate and Vitamin C content, it liberates the antioxidant carotenoids, which increases their bioavailability. For instance, there are higher levels of Vitamin A in cooked spinach than its raw counterpart.
Ok, enough about the technical stuff ;). Instead of incorporating the burger with blue cheese crumbles, I am making a silky, creamy blue cheese mousse. This allows you to control the amount of dairy you’d like in your bite and it will make a wonderful base; binding our patty to the bun. Oh yeah, we’re not using a regular bun either… by ‘bun’ I mean a purple cabbage leaf. Before you judge, trust me, your mouth will so appreciate that needed crunch annnndddd I’m saving you 100-200 calories alone just by not using the typical breaded bun. There’s enough flavor in the burger and blue cheese mousse that you won’t even miss it. Promise.
Alright, let’s do this.
Guilt-Free Blue Cheese Sliders
Ingredients: Makes 12 regular size muffins or 24 mini muffins
2 Garlic Cloves, minced ½ Onion, diced 1 lb. 96/4 Extra lean ground beef 2 Eggs, lightly beaten ¼ C. Bread crumbs 1 Tbsp. Grill seasoning 1 Box (10oz.) Frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water Purple cabbage leaves Blue cheese mousse (recipe below)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins. In a skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the onion and garlic in a sliver of butter (not even a tablespoon) for 5-7 minutes. This extra sautéing step really helps the depth of flavor of these muffins. Meanwhile in a large bowl, add ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, grill seasoning and spinach. When the garlic/onion mixture is translucent, wait a few minutes, to take some of the heat off, before adding to the bowl. Mix until combined but do not over mix. Fill muffin tins until almost full and bake the muffins for 20 minutes. If using mini muffins, bake for 15 minutes. While the muffins are baking, prepare the blue cheese Mousse.
Blue Cheese Mousse
Equal parts: Blue cheese Non-Fat Greek yogurt Whipped cream cheese Mix all 3 together and add freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Purple Cabbage ‘Buns’ – Take red cabbage leaves and cut them in any shape to match your muffin size or burger patties. I used biscuit cutters but cookie cutters or a knife do just the trick too.
Once the muffins are cooked, allow to cool several minutes. To assemble, place 2 tsp. of the mousse on the cabbage leaf ‘bun’ and place muffin right on top. If making burgers, I use 1 Tbsp. of the mousse.
Guilt-Free Blue Cheese Burgers
Ingredients: Makes 5 burgers
2 Garlic Cloves, minced ½ Onion, diced 1 lb. 96/4 Extra lean ground beef 2 Eggs, lightly beaten ¼ C. Bread crumbs 1 Tbsp. Grill seasoning 1 Box 10oz. Frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water Purple cabbage leaves Blue cheese mousse (recipe above)
Pre-heat skillet to medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in a sliver of butter (not even a tablespoon) for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, add ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, grill seasoning and spinach. When the garlic and onion mixture is translucent, wait a few minutes, to take some of the heat off, before adding to the bowl. Mix until combined but do not over mix. Prepare 5 equal patties and grill in same skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side depending how you like your burger. Prepare the blue cheese mousse as your condiment and add 1 Tbsp. to your purple cabbage ‘bun’.
We’re kickin’ it up and guiltin’ it down with this week’s episode of Healthier PB2 Thai Noodles.
If you’re not on the PB2 band wagon, hop on this flavor train because there is SO much you can do with this powdered goodness. Its creamy, almost peanut butter taste gives the perfect wink and nudge to the ‘real stuff’. I love it with celery, oatmeal, even in my protein shakes but today we are going to chow down on a flavorful Thai recipe. Thai doesn’t have to be complicated or too spicy either. This recipe (adapted from Bell Plantation) switches just a few ingredients to offer a healthier version of their delicious recipe. I am using whole wheat pasta which is significantly higher in fiber and nutrients than its refined counterpart. I also substituted low-sodium soy sauce and vegetable broth instead of using chicken broth.
I can polish off half a jar of peanut butter before I realize what just happened. Are you with me?! So PB2 is perfect when you want the creaminess without the calories and guilt. Since these little peanuts have been dehydrated, most of their healthy fat and Vitamin E have been extracted so if you’re looking for your daily dose of healthy fat, look elsewhere – avocado, almonds, or salmon anyone? Don’t worry, plenty of options to choose from. Bonus- PB2 does offer 5 grams of protein per serving.
So let’s do this. Here is this delicious Healthier PB2 Thai Noodle recipe. With bursts of flavor, it re-heats wonderfully for leftover too.
Healthier PB2 Thai Noodles
½ lb. Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti Noodles, cooked al dente 2 Carrots, julienned (“Oh, you fancy, huh?” Just cut them into thin strips) 1 Red Bell Pepper, julienned 6 Green Onions, chopped 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger 2 Cloves garlic, minced 8 Tbsp. PB2 + 4 Tbsp. Water 1 tsp. Sesame oil (sub olive oil if no sesame) ¼ C. low-sodium soy sauce 1 tsp. Chili sauce (optional, if you have it) 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar 1 Cup vegetable broth
Cook noodles al dente and set aside. I added a tad bit of olive oil to the noodles to prevent the starchy stickiness. Pre-heat skillet or wok to medium high heat. Chop carrots, pepper, onions and add to pan with 1 tsp. coconut oil. Mix PB2 and water in a separate small bowl until smooth. Add the PB2 to a bowl with the remaining ingredients. When the veggies are tender but still a little crisp, add in your noodles and prepared Thai sauce. Stir and heat through for a few minutes and ta-da, there you have it!