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Filtering by Category: Dessert

Maple Almond Butter Muffins, Gluten-Free and Gain-Free

Sharon Muse

The inspiration for our blog can strike us anywhere, we are constantly keeping our eyes open for new ideas and love taking an existing good recipe and making it even better. These Maple Almond Butter muffins were inspired by the recipe found on top of a Siggi’s Greek yogurt container. We liked how their recipe was written but wanted to see if we could make these gluten-free and grain-free and still taste good. It did take several attempts, but we finally got it right – and these are delicious!!

We replaced the wheat flour with a combination of almond flour and coconut flour. Not only are these flours both gluten-free and grain-free, they boast a lot of nutrients as well. Both flour alternatives have a lower glycemic score, have more fiber and will not irritate your gut like wheat flour can.

Almond flour has a lot of Vitamin E and about sixty-five percent of the fat it contains comes from monounsaturated fat. Why is this good? Monounsaturated fat is known to be excellent in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and good for overall heart health.

Both flours have a good amount of iron, manganese, and copper but coconut flour is higher in fiber. And we know we needed some protein in there so we increased the amount of eggs from one to two, plus the Greek yogurt in there has a ton of protein! We even have ground flaxseeds for added health benefit, so these muffins are packed with nutrients! We could go on and on about these healthy ingredients but let’s get straight to the recipe!

Ingredients:

Makes 12 muffins

DRY:

¾ cup almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup flax seed

2 tsp.  baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1/3 cup mini dairy-free chocolate chips

WET:

¼ cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk

¼ cup maple syrup

2 eggs

¾ cup Siggi’s Vanilla Yogurt

¾ cup almond butter (can use any nut butter you like)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350° and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients, whisk to incorporate and toss in the chocolate chips.

3.) In a medium bowl add all the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate.

4.) Fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated, but making sure not to over mix.

5.) Fill each muffin liner with the batter evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips on top (optional) and bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then move them to a drying rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

 

Fresh Strawberry Nice Cream Bars

Sharon Muse

We were not joking when we said we picked way too many strawberries on our trip to Washington Farms. Since we both individually felt the need to fill our buckets up to the brim with strawberries, we knew were had to create quite a few recipes to work our way through them. First we made a delicious Fresh Strawberry, Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing, then we we baked a Vegan Strawberry Crumble, and now we are giving you this amazing recipe for Strawberry Nice Cream Bars. By now, we are hoping, you've heard of nice cream; the delicious healthy, dairy free alternative to good ol' fashion ice cream. And we are also hoping that you haven't gotten sick of strawberries yet, but honestly, who gets sick of strawberries?!

If you live in Atlanta like we do, you know the humidity has set it and there is nothing better than food that cools you down. Well we lied, there nothing better than some good AC during these hot and humid times but cool foods come in a close second. Since these bars are made with whole food ingredients and minimal additive sugar, we love to enjoy them at all times of the day. Whether that's during the day right after a long walk outside with our dogs or after dinner as we sit and relax on our porch, they are always the perfect cool treat.

After reading our previous strawberry featured posts, you already know that strawberries are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, anti-aging flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. So lets talk about coconut milk for a second. To some coconut milk has gotten a bad rep because of how calorie and fat dense it is, but it is actually one of the world's healthiest foods. Coconut milk is abundant in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) fatty acids, specifically lauric acid that’s easily absorbed and used by the body for energy.  We all know how important healthy fats are for us; they improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, aid in weight loss, help build muscle, and helps prevent joint inflammation and arthritis. Coconut milk also contains electrolytes, that will help you stay hydrated during the hot summer months. The combination of electrolytes and healthy fats improves digestion and relieves constipation by nourishing the digestive lining. On top of the abundant health benefits, coconut milk tastes so good, so there is really no reason why anyone should avoid it. We just suggest that it is consumed in moderation due to it being so high in calories.

Now that you know all the health benefits these nice cream bars have, its time to whip up a batch and see how good they taste! They are the perfect summer dessert and are so easy to make for any dinner party or BBQ you will have this summer. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

makes 4 bars

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

6 ounces full fat coconut milk

1-ounce orange juice

1 -2 T maple syrup

Chocolate coating:

1/2 cup Dairy Free Chocolate Chips, we love Enjoy Life Brand

1 tsp. coconut oil

*Will need a popsicle mold that holds at least four ice pops.

Instructions:

1.) Add frozen banana, strawberries, coconut milk, maple syrup and orange juice in a blender and process until smooth.

2.) Pour equally into four popsicle molds and place in the freezer for about 8 hours or overnight.

3.) If you choose to drizzle chocolate over them (and who wouldn't?), remove the popsicle from the mold by running it under hot water for a second. This will loosen it from the mold and should pull right out. Then place them all on a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer and refreeze for about an hour (to make the chocolate coating). 

4.) To make the chocolate coating, place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl and melt in the microwave in 30-35 second intervals, stirring in between to melt the chocolate. Be careful not to overheat it as this will burn the chocolate and you will need to start over again.

5.) Pull the popsicle out of the freezer and drizzle the melted chocolate over on top and enjoy!

Vegan Strawberry Crumble

Samantha Serpe

You may remember a couple of weeks ago we took a little road trip and went strawberry picking. It the perfect day; the sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and we practically had the strawberry fields to ourselves. We got so caught up in the moment that we didn't realize how many strawberries we actually picked. We both walked away with a five-pound bucket and wondering what in the world we were going to do with all these strawberries! That night we got home we made a delicious Strawberry, Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing for dinner, but that barely put a dent in our huge haul. So our minds started to churn and we thought who doesn't love a healthy dessert featuring this season's favorite fruit?! And that's when we decided to make this amazing Strawberry Crumble.

As you all know there is a lot more to strawberries than their amazing taste, they also come with a big nutritional punch. If you read our Strawberry, Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing post, you know these ruby-red berries are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, anti-aging flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. Beta-carotene, which is a precursor to Vitamin A, is responsible for the berry’s beautiful color and Vitamin C is present in the form of ascorbic acid. One cupful of strawberries has over 89% of our daily need of Vitamin A and 149% of Vitamin C. And both of these vitamins bring a ton of anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting benefits.

To add even more nutritional value to this dish, we mixed in some frozen wild blueberries. Did you know there is actually a difference between wild blueberries and cultivated blueberries (the ones you typically find at your food store)? Wild blueberries grow naturally in fields and rocky hills, whereas cultivated blueberries take careful planning and planting. Wild blueberries tend to be smaller and appear to be a darker blue. Not only do they look slightly different, they are also more nutritious! Wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidants of cultivated blueberries, thanks to a higher concentration in the flavonoid anthocyanin. If you're wondering, "where the heck do I find these better berries?", we found them in the frozen fruit isle at our local Whole Foods.

The mixture of the fresh strawberries and wild blueberries makes the perfect dessert...it tastes amazing, has a great nutritional value and it won't throw you off your healthy eating plan. We found that it is great for when you have company over because you can mix everything up in advance and then throw it in the oven as your eating dinner. Plus it has totally been a crowd pleaser, especially when we add some vegan vanilla ice cream! We hope you enjoy this dessert as much as our families and we have!

Ingredients:

Strawberry Mixture:

4 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped

1 1/2 Cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1 T organic cornstarch (or arrowroot)

1/2 T fresh lemon juice

2 T maple syrup

Crumble:

3/4 Cup almond flour

1/3 Cup rolled oats (gluten-free if need be)

1/4 Cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

3/4 Cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 Cup chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut)

3 T coconut oil, melted

1 T maple syrup (optional)

Optional: vegan vanilla ice cream

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all of the Strawberry Mixture ingredients together in an 8"-9" pie dish. Toss to make sure berries are coated evenly.

2.) In a small bowl, combine the Crumble ingredients except for the coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix until well incorporated and then mix in melted coconut oil and taste. If you feel like you would like it sweeter add the tablespoon of maple syrup.

3.) Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until crumble is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Top with your favorite ice cream and enjoy this healthy, summer dessert!

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake, Vegan and Gluten-Free

Sharon Muse

Mother's day is around the corner and we created something special we think she will love. This Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake is so delicious and decadent, you won't believe it is actually filled with healthy ingredients - but it is!

For starters, the entire cheesecake contains no dairy at all - but is still as creamy as if it did. There is not a spot of gluten in this either, so if you or your mom is dairy and gluten intolerant or allergic, this is the dessert for you! Often times when we go to a vegan restaurant they don't have many gluten-free items on the menu and especially very few gluten-free desserts but we've got that covered.

This is actually an easy dessert to make but it does take some preparation time so please, please read the recipe and plan ahead of time to surprise your sweet mama! After all, she is worth it - right?!

You may not recognize one of the ingredients, Lucuma powder. We found it at Sprouts so I am sure other health food stores have it or you can get it here from Amazon (just so you know, we do receive a tiny bit of referral income if you purchase it here - but we promise that is not why we are putting it the recipe). Lucuma powder comes from the Lucuma fruit found in Peru. The Peruvian people have been using this for centuries and refer to it as the "Gold of the Incas". They love this flavor so much that it is the most popular flavor ice cream there. 

Now on to Lucum's health benefits - it contains a good amount of calcium, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, Vitamin B3, and protein. It can be used as a natural sweetener and with its low glycemic index, it won't raise your blood sugar level. Regular sugar wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, but lucuma powder has been shown to actually stabilize it. It can be used in place of regular sugar by using two tablespoons of lucuma powder to one tablespoon of sugar. You can use it in smoothies, sprinkle some in your yogurt, and even mix up a little in your nut butter to give it a caramel kind of flavor. Here we used it for the flavor as well as it thickens the jelly a bit. It is totally optional though so don't let this deter you from making this amazing cheesecake recipe.

Give this recipe a try and be sure to tag us @sageandcelery so we can see your creations!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
8 Medjool dates - pitted
4 T cacao powder
4 tsp coconut oil
.
Peanut Butter Cheesecake filling:
2 cup raw cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours or boil for 10 minutes then drain)
1 cup raw peanuts (soaked for 4-6 hours or boil for 10 minutes then drain)
1 cup coconut yogurt
2 T coconut oil
2/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
2/3 cup coconut milk or almond milk
2 T mesquite powder
4 Medjool dates
1 tsp. Himalayan salt

Jelly:
2 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup orange juice
4 tsp. coconut nectar (you can use honey if not vegan)
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
4 T chia seeds
2 T lucuma powder, optional (this will help it to thicken)

Items you will need:

*Parchment paper

*9-inch springform pan
 

Instructions:


1.) First make the jelly: combine frozen raspberries, orange juice, coconut nectar, vanilla bean powder and chia seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You will want to stir while the jelly simmers to break up the berries. Let the jelly simmer around 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and add the Lucuma powder if using. Keep stirring to cool down for a few minutes and place in the refrigerator to cool and thicken. This may take about an hour so it’s good to make ahead.

2.) While the jelly is cooking – 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Place all the ingredients for the crust in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Press down the crust in a 9-inch springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper.

3.) Spread half the jelly over the crust and place back in the refrigerator to chill while you make the delicious peanut butter filling.

4.) In a clean blender, place the drained peanuts and cashews along with all remaining ingredients, blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure all the ingredients are blended together well.

5.) Spoon the peanut butter filling on top of crust and jelly. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove from freezer and remove the outside of the springform pan. This is the part where you can get creative, top with chopped nuts, drizzle chocolate on top. Place back in freezer until you're ready to serve. Let sit for a few minutes before serving and enjoy!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Almond Butter Eggs

Sharon Muse

So...we are on a bit of a chocolate and nut butter kick these past few weeks, but the combination is amazing so we decided to take a shot at remaking an old favorite. Do you remember those delicious egg-shaped Reese's cups? As kids, we would look forward to them every year in our Easter baskets. Why did they taste so much better in an egg shape? While we love them still, we wanted to create a delicious version but one without so much processed sugar, preservatives, and ingredients that our body does not recognize.

We also slightly amped up the nutritional value by using almond butter instead of peanut butter. While both peanut butter and almond butter have similar nutritional value, almond butter does come out on top in a few areas. Almond butter has almost twice the amount of fiber per serving, nearly three times as much Vitamin-E and about twenty-five percent more monounsaturated fat as peanut butter. Remember, monounsaturated fat is the good kind of fat, the heart-healthy kind. However, if you just can't live without your peanut butter, then, by all means, use that instead. The result will be delicious and you will still be able to pronounce and recognize every ingredient in this recipe!

We also added a date caramel paste to update these egg cups but again, if you are a traditionalist in this area, just leave that part off.

So...have some fun making these, it's not often we get to play with our food and get away with it, enjoy! 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup almond butter

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

Date Paste:

5 dates, pitted

1.5 T water

1/8 - 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating:

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

2 tsp. coconut oil

Instructions:

1.) In a medium-size bowl, mix almond butter, coconut flour, and maple syrup together and set aside.

2.) If your dates are not soft and fresh, soak them in very hot water for 10-15 minutes and drain before using. Place the softened dates, water, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until it resembles a paste and set aside.

3.) Take a scoop of the almond butter mixture and form into egg shapes and press down in the center to leave a spot for the date/caramel paste. Spoon a little on top of the egg and repeat until you are finished with both. You should have about 15 or more egg shapes, depending on how big you make them. We suggest making them about as thick as traditional Reese's cup. place them on a tray and freeze for 20-30 minutes.

4.) In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil. You should do this in about 30-second increments and stir in between so the chocolate doesn't burn. While the chocolate is melted, dip your frozen egg shapes into the chocolate making sure all sides are covered. Allow to cool on a piece of was paper to harden or freeze to harden even more quickly. Store in the refrigerator, eat cold or bring them to room temperature - either way, they are delicious!

Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Sharon Muse

This delicious muffin recipe came as a result of a craving for Reese's peanut butter cup AND a chocolate cake. We wanted something that tasted delicious but wasn't full of all the refined and processed sugar and flours that you normally see with baked goods. These muffins taste almost too good to be healthy - but they aren't - they are gluten and wheat free and have about 25% of your daily fiber needs in one little muffin. They are made with oat flour, so along with the fiber, you also get heart healthy benefits...all while eating something that tastes like it came from a bakery. 

Sometimes healthy baked treats taste alright for your everyday life, but they may not taste good enough to serve when company comes over. Well, we say that life is too short to eat bad food! Healthy food can taste amazing as well and we think you can serve these muffins to anyone, they are that good! In fact, we are going to add them to our Easter brunch menu...drizzled with the Peanut Butter Maple Sauce - yum!

makes 10-12 muffins

Ingredients:

Dry:

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup gluten-free oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup powdered peanut butter

3/4 good quality unsweetened cocoa

Wet:

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, from a carton

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 T coconut oil (use refined or melt first)

1/4 cup (plus a little extra if you want to sprinkle on top) dairy-free dark chocolate chips, we used Enjoy Life brand

Optional Peanut Butter - Maple Sauce:

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

2 T  organic maple syrup

4-6 T unsweetened cashew milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°.

2.) Place all of the dry ingredients (with the exception of the chocolate chips) together in a large bowl and whisk together to combine until clumps are gone

3.) In a smaller bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients together and whisk to combine.

4.) Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and start to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and continue to combine all of the ingredients.

5.) Spray a 12 count muffin pan with coconut spray and evenly scoop the batter into the muffin pan. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips if you like. 

6.) Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before you dive into them (it's hard to wait for these babies but it is worth the wait!). Drizzle the sauce over them if desired - you won't be sorry ;)

*Note: Depending on the size of your scoop, you may not have enough batter to fill 12 muffins. If this happens, be sure pour a little water into the empty cups before putting the pan in the oven. This will protect the pan from burning.

To make the Peanut Butter Maple Sauce:

1.) Combine all the ingredients (start with 4 tablespoons of the milk and add more to achieve the desired consistency) in a bowl and whisk together. Drizzle on top of the muffin or dip the muffin into it - or smother it with it - this sauce is Ah-mazing!! Enjoy! If you have any leftover sauce, store it in the refrigerator for up to a week - you will need to heat the sauce to use it to bring it to a thinner consistency.

Paleo and Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Sharon Muse

Chocolate is a regular in our diet so even though Christmas and Valentine's Day have passed the taste of chocolate has not and there's no way we could wait until Easter. Our theory is, if you are gonna have some chocolate, why not do it right and eat a chocolate truffle?! But we aren't talking about just any old truffle - these are homemade and healthier than the store-bought kind. 

Another great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to make and completely dairy-free. So if you have people in your house allergic to dairy - go ahead and let them enjoy these! You won't miss the dairy at all. While these truffles are easy to make, they are so creamy and decadent - you will feel like you are treating yourself. So go ahead and give these a try - sit back with your favorite Netflix show, a glass of red wine and enjoy!

Ingredients:

makes about 2 dozen, depending on the size you make them

Truffles:

2 cups Dairy Free Chocolate Chips (we use the brand Enjoy Life)

1 cup of canned coconut milk

2 T coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 T chia seeds

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. mint extract

Coating:

1 cups Dairy Free Chocolate Chips

2 tsp. coconut oil

toppings (optional): dried coconut, coarse sea salt, cacao nibs, chopped nuts, macadamia nuts if you want to stuff the truffles while rolling

Instructions:

1.) To make the truffles: Place chocolate chips, coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut sugar in a medium-sized glass or microwavable bowl. And microwave in 30 seconds increments (stirring in between) until the chocolate is melted and smooth. **If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can heat the ingredients on LOW in a medium-sized pot and stir frequently so the chocolate doesn't burn.

2.) Add the extract, chia seed and stir to combine. Pour into an 8" x 8" glass pan. Make sure the mixture has cooled to room temperature and then put in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours allowing the chocolate mixture to cool completely.

3.) Now that the delicious chocolate mixture is chilled, scoop into balls (can use a spoon or a small ice cream/melon scooper). Working quickly, place truffles on a cookie sheet that is lined with wax paper. If you want to stuff the truffle with nuts now is the time!

4.) Now place the truffles in the freezer for 30-45 minutes and then roll them into round balls.

5.) While the truffles are freezing - start to prepare the coating. In a glass bowl, place the chocolate chips and coconut oil and microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate has melted. You can do this on the stove on LOW - **see above.

6.) Using a fork or toothpick, dip the chilled truffle balls (one at a time) in the melted chocolate and place on wax paper. This is when you want to sprinkle your topping on if using. Once finished, place the coated truffles in the refrigerator to harden. Once they harden you can enjoy!

Paleo Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Sharon Muse

Nothing says "I love you" like chocolate! Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day with your significant other or with your best friend, you will want to have this cake as part of your celebration!

We took the traditional molten lava cake recipe and made a few changes - well, we think we made a few improvements. We took all the gluten and flour out and you won't miss it one bit. We also switched out the butter and used coconut oil. The results? A delicious and healthy-ish dessert that is elegant enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight. 

In full disclosure, we tested this recipe several times (it's a hard job, we know). Each time we made it, it tasted amazing but came out more cake like and less molten lava-like. This was a labor of love so we kept trying until it was just the way we wanted it to be! After many times, we learned to keep an eye on your oven and pull it out before you think it is finished, it will be worth it in the end!

Ingredients: 

Makes 4

3/4 cup (4.5 oz) semi-sweet or dark dairy-free chocolate chips

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. mint extract

1/8 tsp. salt

3 T coconut sugar

1 tsp. coconut flour

2 tsp. cacao or cocoa powder (plus more to flour the ramekins)

2 egg

2 egg yolk

4.5 T coconut oil (plus more to grease the ramekins)

4 heart-shaped or round ramekins

Instructions:

1.) Preheat your oven to 375° and grease the bottoms and sides of 4 ramekins with coconut oil and then flour the bottoms and sides with cacao or cocoa powder and set aside.

2.) Heat chocolate and coconut oil on the stove or microwave, stirring until all the chocolate is melted. 

3.) Let the chocolate mixture cool and set aside. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, mint extract, salt and sugar and beat with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes or until the coconut sugar is dissolved

4.) Pour egg mixture over the chocolate mixture. Sift the cacao or cocoa powder and coconut flour on top and gently fold all the ingredients together until blended through. Be careful not to stir too much air into the mixture.

5.) Pour the batter into the greased and floured ramekins evenly. Place all on one baking sheet and bake 12-14 minutes (see note).

6.) Remove the ramekins from the oven and let sit for just about 1 minute. You can then invert onto a plate or eat right out of the ramekin. Feel free to garnish with powdered sugar, mint leaves, strawberries, cacao nibs - whatever sounds good to you. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes: If you are using heart-shaped ramekins, we found they only needed to bake for about 12 minutes. The traditional round ones we tested used were deeper and needed to bake for about 14 minutes.

 

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

Sharon Muse

Last week we talked about how to get back on track after the holidays with our 4 Detox Smoothies and while they have been super helpful, the sugar cravings have been kind of rough this week - ugh! But don't worry, we have something to satisfy those cravings, it's healthy and really does the trick. 

Apple Pie Overnight Oats - YESS!! This is so easy, nutritious and DELICIOUS! You may remember from our Apple Pancakes post just how nutritious oatmeal and applesauce are for you and why we are such big fans (if not, click HERE for a refresher). The biggest take away from that post is fiber and vitamin C are super important. Fiber will keep you fuller longer and well...it will also keep you regular (you know what we mean *wink, wink*). Not a popular topic, but it is oh-so-important! And as we all know, vitamin C helps boost our immune system, which we definitely need this time of year.

So back to sugar cravings. Since we are trying to limit our amount of added sugar, this recipe is perfect to help combat that yearning. We left majority of the sweetness to the apples, oh the beauty of fruit, and then added only a teaspoon of maple syrup and you can absolutely leave that part out if you want to - it's only a suggestion.

This makes a quick and easy breakfast or it also makes a great pre-workout snack. The combination of cinnamon, applesauce and a tiny bit of maple syrup really reminds us of apple pie and it also did the trick and outsmarting our sugar cravings!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of oatmeal (use gluten-free if needed)

1/2 cup of unsweetened organic applesauce

1/2 cup of unsweetened nut milk (we used Cashew milk)

1 tsp. organic maple syrup

1/2 - 1 tsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon

Toppings: chopped walnuts or nut of choice

Optional: add a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder

Instructions:

1.) Place all ingredients in a large mason jar and put the lid on it. Shake until all of the ingredients are combined. Refrigerate overnight and top with added cinnamon and nut of choice, enjoy!

*Note: you can mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then transfer to an airtight container of your choice to refrigerate. Top with nuts and cinnamon and enjoy!

4 Post Holiday Detox Smoothies

Samantha Serpe

all four smoothies.jpg

We all know the holiday season means letting loose and overindulging a bit and to be honest, that's what makes it so fun! But by the end of the month, we are totally ready to get back to our normal lifestyle where we look, and most importantly, FEEL our best.

For some January is a time for renewal, a time to try to reset your life especially when it comes to nutrition. For others, January is a time of stress because there is so much pressure put on us to be something that we weren’t just last month. Let us just say this first, you are just as perfect and wonderful today as you were last month and the month before that! We like to use January as a total reset button for our minds and our bodies and sometimes we need a little extra help to get back to where we were before the holidays.

And that's where smoothies come in! We have 4 different detox smoothies for you that each serve a different purpose in resetting your body and getting all your organs and internal systems functioning optimally again! We suggest replacing one meal a day with a smoothie for a week, limit or remove sugar and processed foods as well as exercise 4-5 times a week to help jumpstart your New Year goals and get your body feeling great again. And remember to always listen to your body! Don't be afraid to rest when you are tired and eat when you're hungry!

For each smoothie, all you have to do is throw all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and then enjoy! They are especially great if you are on the run and can't sit down to enjoy a meal!

 

1.) Green Detox Smoothie

When you give your body an abundance of nutrients it will help flush toxins out of your body. This smoothie is full of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and other healthful nutrients giving your body a detoxifying flush. Chia seeds and avocados are a great tool to help do this; the fats keep bile levels up and help get rid of the toxins in our system and the fiber carries these toxins out. 

Cucumbers, on the other hand, are really hydrating for the body, which is perfect after a month of indulging in dehydrating foods and drink. It also supports the digestive system and helps to reduce inflammation. Ginger has a very strong flavor but if you can tolerate it, it is great for reducing inflammation in the body. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. So, if you struggle to keep your blood sugar stable, consider adding ginger to your smoothies, juices or meals.

Ingredients:

½ frozen avocado (freezing it makes the smoothie creamier)

a handful of spinach

½ peeled cucumber (can leave skin on if your blender can handle it)

½ inch peeled ginger

½ cup frozen mango 

1 T chia seeds

½ cup almond milk

1 T maple syrup

 

2.) Orange Creamsicle

All the sugar consumed during the Holidays can really take a toll on our immune system, well that and all the endless parties and overcommitting ourselves. We all know oranges are a great source of vitamin C, which helps boost our immune system, but they also have a lot of fiber, potassium (know to reduce high blood pressure), folate and vitamin A! And Pineapples contain bromelain which combats inflammation in the body. 

Ingredients:

2 oranges, peeled

½ cup frozen pineapple

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (we used Perfect Fit)

 

3.) Liver Cleansing Smoothie

Before we even go into the benefits of this smoothie we need to acknowledge that, yes, it sounds weird and yes, beets can occasional taste like the earth. But we need to emphasize how important the liver is to our everyday life! "When working properly, the liver clears 99% of the bacteria and other toxins during the first pass. However, when the liver is damaged, such as in alcoholics, the passage of toxins increases by over a factor of 10". So that being said, we felt it necessary to give you a smoothie to help recover the liver from all that extra wine this month.

Beets, while not a favorite of everyone, definitely deserve a shout out when trying to detox from a month of parties and pastries. They contain a very powerful antioxidant only found in only a few foods called betalains. This is where the beets get their color and betalains work directly with the liver to detox the blood. Dandelion greens have been shown as an antioxidant that lowers blood sugar and they may also help in strengthening bones with the high amount of vitamin K they have.

We absolutely love MCT oil (MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides) for all the health benefits it offers. Dr. Axe says,  “medium-chain fats are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism.” If you would like to read more about the health benefits of MCT oil, please click HERE.

Ingredients:

¾ cup peeled and cooked beets

1 carrot peeled if not organic

Handful of dandelion greens

1 apple

juice of ½ of a lemon

1 T MCT oil

½ cup water

 

4.) Berry Good Detox Smoothie

This is smoothie has many detoxifying elements such as fiber, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, folic acid, phytonutrients, and more! 

Cherries are known to support sleep while detoxing because they are a good source of melatonin. They are high in potassium and fiber and shown to be anti-inflammatory. Kale contains vitamins A and C, protein and phytonutrients that act as antioxidants as well as it is a good source of fiber. Hemp seeds help to alkalize the body while providing plant-based protein, omega 3 healthy fats and are high in fiber and minerals. And finally, pomegranate juice contains a powerhouse antioxidant that support the immune system.

Ingredients:

½ cup frozen cherries

½ cup frozen blueberries

handful of kale (stems removed)

½ cup frozen pineapple

1 T hemp seeds

½-3/4 cup pomegranate juice

 

Healthy and Delicious Mint Chocolate Fudge

Sharon Muse

If you are like us, you love giving homemade gifts this time of year. It is always so special when someone takes the time to make something by hand from their kitchen. But finding a healthy dessert recipe that tastes good enough to give as a gift can be a tall order. We love taking old recipes and putting them through our Sage and Celery filter to make them healthier, but it is really important to us that they taste fantastic. We have the perfect recipe that meets all of our requirements that not only you, but any receiver of this gift will absolutely love!

Homemade fudge, yep you read that right, we have a healthy recipe for fudge!! And not only does it taste delicious, it is so easy to make. So you don't have to be a veteran in the kitchen to give your friends and loved ones something fantastic that is made in your kitchen and from your heart.

If you look at traditional fudge recipes they are often made with loads of refined white sugar, butter, and condensed milk. Our version replaces the butter with coconut oil and we used a natural sugar instead of the refined white variety. Coconut oil has many health benefits; it has been shown to raise the good cholesterol known as HDL and lower high triglycerides levels. It also improves memory and brain function as well as energy and endurance. Don't just take our word for it though, here is a great article on the health benefits of coconut oil. And we promise you won't miss those other ingedients at all, this recipe tastes even better!

If you are looking for more homemade gift ideas, we have a Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix that makes a great gift as well. Or you could go crazy and make both because who doesn't love chocolate?!

makes about 12 squares

Ingredients:

1 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Topping: 1/4 -1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

1.) Line small glass container with parchment paper. The one we used is about 5.5" square in size.

2.) In a bowl which together all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips. Keep whisking until the fudge is velvety smooth.

3.) Pour into prepared dish and put in the refrigerator to set for just a little (about 5 minutes) before topping with the chocolate chips. If you put the chocolate chips before the fudge has a chance to set, they will sink to the bottom. Allow the fudge to set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and then cut into small square pieces and enjoy!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

Sharon Muse

You all have probably enjoyed traditional hummus and you most likely have had a few different varieties, maybe a red pepper or pesto hummus and I think we can all agree that they all are delicious. But have you ever tried dessert hummus? Yes, you read that right - hummus isn't just an appetizer anymore. We turned it into a healthy dessert or great snack when you are craving something sweet.

The main ingredient in any kind of traditional hummus is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans and we are starting with our hummus the same way. These legumes come to us from the Mediterranean and the Middle East and have become super popular here in the US and all over the world. And for good reason, they are very versatile and very nutritious. 

Chickpeas are a complex carbohydrate that is also high in fiber (unlike simple carbs) and aid in keeping blood sugar levels stable. The fiber and plant-based protein keep us fuller longer. All of this combined slows down our digestion which is what keeps our blood sugar level stable. They are also high in iron and manganese.  Manganese contributes to healthy bone structure, bone metabolism and assists metabolic activity.

We also added almond butter for healthy fat and even more fiber. Plus we tossed in some dark chocolate chips just cause, who doesn't like chocolate?! And one last thing - you are not going to believe how easy this is to make!

Ingredients:

1 (15 0z.) can of chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid from the beans and make our Double Chocolate Chip Cookies) 

2 T maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond butter

3 T coconut milk

1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Apple slices and graham crackers for dipping

Instructions:

1.) Puree the chickpeas in a food processor until there are not any large pieces.

2.) Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond butter, coconut milk, and cinnamon and blend on high until smooth.

3.) Empty into a bowl and fold in the chocolate chips and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins

Sharon Muse

Have you ever just had a craving for something and couldn't get it off your mind? Well, that is how this week's recipe came about. Carrot cake was on the brain all week and instead of making a traditional one that is loaded with vegetable oil and refined sugar, we made a Sade & Celery version that is every bit as tasty! We also put them in muffin tins for portion control - this way, we weren't tempted to eat the entire cake.

The first thing we did was replace most of the vegetable oil with applesauce. Applesauce is a great way to cut down on unhealthy oils seen in lots of traditional baked goods. Then we swapped out the refined white sugar for coconut sugar. Coconut sugar (sometimes called coconut palm sugar) is better for you than white sugar. First, it is mainly made up of sucrose and only contains about 3-9% fructose. You definitely want to limit your intake of fructose as it is 100% processed through the liver and that can be taxing. Coconut sugar also has trace vitamins and minerals where white refined sugar has none. It has gut benefits and thanks to the fiber, inulin, it is more slowly absorbed by the body.

We, of course, used freshly grated carrots which are widely known for their beta-carotene content but they also boast a good amount of fiber, Vitamins A, C and K. They also have potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Then we took out regular all-purpose flour and in its place, we used ground oats (AKA oat flour). Oat flour is naturally gluten-free and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. So why wouldn't you want to use it instead of all-purpose flour?!

You may think that since we swapped out lots of ingredients, that these won't taste nearly as good as the real thing, but trust us, these muffins are delicious! And if you want to get fancy, we even provide a healthy option for icing! 

Makes 6 muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 T coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely grated carrots

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup oat flour **

Icing: coconut butter, melted and spread on top of each. Then sprinkle with cinnamon. (optional)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Then line your muffin pan with liners - you will only need six so if your muffin pan is for 12 fill the other 6 with a little bit of water before putting it in the oven.

2.) Shred carrots finely - if needed use a knife and cut them into even smaller pieces.

3.) In a large bowl, combine applesauce, coconut oil, and coconut sugar - stir to combine. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and shredded carrots, again stir to combine. 

4.) Add in the remaining dry ingredients and make sure all the ingredients are mixed together well.

5.) Evenly scoop out the batter into six muffin liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes. You can insert a toothpick into a muffin and if it comes out clean or has a few crumbs on it, it is done. 

6.) Allow cupcakes to cool before icing with melted coconut butter (optional).

**You can purchase oat flour or make your own. To make it, pulse oats in a food processor until finely ground.

 

Pumpkin Spice Hazelnut Brownies

Samantha Serpe

We're not going to lie, this recipe was a complete accident. As we were testing out a different recipe for blondies, something went wrong. Not wanting to waste all the ingredients, we tried to fix it and what came out was so delicious and so perfect for the upcoming fall season. If you haven't already noticed, this time of year you cannot go to a coffee shop or the grocery store without seeing pumpkin flavored goodies everywhere. We so happened to have a few cans of pumpkin puree sitting in our pantry and decided to get in on the pumpkin action too. With the pumpkin puree, we were able to make a pumpkin hazelnut butter that ended up being the key ingredient in these brownies.

You can certainly roast your own pumpkin and puree it but we found it is really easy to use canned organic pumpkin puree for this recipe. If you choose to roast your own, make sure you use the small kind that are meant for pureeing and making pies, not the kind you use to carve a jack-o-lantern. Pumpkins may look fantastic carved on your front door but they also provide a lot of health benefits. They are most known for the antioxidant, beta-carotene which is converted by the body to Vitamin A once ingested. Beta-carotene can play a role in cancer prevention as well as help keep your skin wrinkle free. Pumpkins also boast a good amount of Potassium, Vitamin C and a good amount of fiber, making it great food for post workouts.  A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

If you have read our post on How to Make Homemade Healthy Nutella then you know we are big fans of hazelnuts as well since they contain many nutrients that positively impact our bodies. If you haven't read the post, it is a must because you will not only learn about the health benefits of hazelnuts, but you will also get a fabulous recipe for a chocolate hazelnut spread (AKA "Nutella").

Now that you know how good pumpkin can be for your body lets get back to the delicious pumpkin hazelnut butter. We found ourselves with a little bit left over after using a cup for the recipe and instead of throwing it away we decided to keep it. We added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to the butter to sweeten it up and we have been using it as a spread on toast for a quick morning breakfast. You can top it on oatmeal, smoothie bowl or even your favorite dairy-free ice cream or "nice cream" for an easy dessert!

So you will see, this is not just any ordinary brownie. This recipe is grain-free, gluten-free and filled with nutrients your body needs. 

Ingredients:

For Hazelnut Pumpkin Butter:

2 cups blanched hazelnuts**

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 T pumpkin spice

For Brownie Batter:

1 cup Hazelnut Pumpkin Butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

3 T coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (we used dairy free but use what you like) plus more chips to sprinkle on top.

Sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut cooking spray or another type of cooking spray.

2.) Place blanched hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in oven for 8-10 minutes or until toasted. Making sure not to burn them. Places toasted hazelnuts in a high-speed blender or a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add in pumpkin puree and spices and blend until combined.

3.) In a large bowl combine 1 cup of hazelnut pumpkin butter with eggs, vanilla extract, and maple syrup and stir together. 

4.) Add in baking soda,  salt, coconut sugar and coconut flour and stir to combine - making sure to stir out any lumps.

5.) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine well. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Sprinkle extra chips and sea salt on top.

6.) Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. These brownies are best when they are just under cooked. Each oven is different but ours turned our delicious at 25 minutes.

** The skins on hazelnut can be bitter so you will want to use them without the skins. If you cannot find blanched hazelnuts in your grocery store, here is a link to blanch them and remove the skins. How to Blanch Hazelnuts

Blueberry Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Samantha Serpe

Us gals at Sage and Celery love experimenting with new recipes and one way we do that is by trying other like-minded blogger's creations. It's a great way to get our creative cooking juices flowing while supporting people who share the same love of healthy and delicious food. One evening we stumbled upon this recipe from Lauren Lea Balanced and we knew we had to try it out. I mean, who doesn't love a warm and gooey oat fruit bar and then you add in peanut butter...its practically sounded like it came from heaven. Laura Lea was a genius for recreating the traditional blueberry crumble into a modern day ingredient and nutrition packed bar.

So we whipped up a batch of these bars and when finally tried them we could test the potential, but knew we had to make some changes to make it perfect for our taste buds. Once we made a few tweaks to the recipe it came out SO perfect, we couldn't stop eating them! We even made a batch for a girls night so all of our friends could test-try them and they were an absolute hit! They didn't stand a chance, even next to the sugar filled chocolate cookies and pieces of cake! At that moment we knew we had to share this recipe with everyone.

You know that we strive to share recipes that are a great balance of delicious and nutritious and these bars are just that! The blueberries give these bars a big antioxidant boost. Blueberries are low in fat and sodium and an excellent source of Vitamin-C, which is necessary for the growth and development of tissues. It also promotes the healing of wounds and of course, we can't forget that Vitamin-C keeps our immune system healthy. Blueberries are also high in fiber and manganese which helps the body process nutrients like carbohydrates and protein.

We used a good amount of oats in the recipe, but thankfully they are a good source of fiber, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and copper. Oats are also naturally rich in antioxidants, most notably Avenanthramides - which has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Since oats contain the soluble fiber, Beta-glucan, they can stabilize blood sugar and reduce LDL and total cholesterol. 

This just gives you even more reason to get yourself in the kitchen and start baking these delicious bars. They are amazing as an afternoon snack or even as a dessert. We found the best way to eat them is to reheat them in the microwave and then top it with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream...can you say YUM?!?

Click here for the original recipe by Laura Lea Balanced or see below for our version!

Servings: 16 bars

Ingredients:

Base and Crumble:

3 cups instant oats

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup runny unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry Filling:

3 cups frozen blueberries

2 T arrowroot powder (or substitute non-GMO cornstarch)

3 T coconut sugar

1/4 tsp blueberry extract (optional, but it really enhances the blueberry flavor)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper.

2.) Add 1 1/2 cups of the instant oats to a food processor and process until they become a flour consistency. Add oat flour to a large mixing bowl, along with the remaining instant oats, sea salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. Mix to incorporate ingredients evenly.

3.) In a small bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until it becomes a semi-sticky crumble.

4.) Add 2/3 of crumble mixture (about 2 cups) to bottom of baking dish and pat firmly into an even layer.

5.) In your food processor, combine all blueberry filling ingredients. Pulse just until it forms an icy crumble (make sure it doesn't become liquidy). Scrape blueberry mixture onto a baking dish and spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining crumble mixture and press it down gently.

6.) Bake crumble for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing with a very sharp knife.

7.) Allow bars to cool completely before storing in an airtight container and enjoy!! Bars will keep for 48 hours on the counter or 5 days in the fridge.

 

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten-Free and Paleo

Sharon Muse

Do you ever want just a little something sweet that won't derail your healthy eating efforts or send your body into a sugar coma? Yes? Then this is the recipe for you! This chocolate chip recipe is not only grain free, it is free of refined sugar as well making it a perfect afternoon snack or easy dessert. We even snuck in a superfood that is not so widely known, Mesquite powder.

You may be wondering what mesquite powder is and why it is deemed a superfood. We were certainly curious too. Sharon's good friends, Keith and Kelly first introduced this to her a month ago and we've been wanting to incorporate it in a recipe ever since. Yes, when we say mesquite powder we are referring to the mesquite trees, the ones you use when grilling. But don't worry, we aren't asking you to put wood into your chocolate chip cookie, mesquite powder just uses the pods that grow on the branches.

These pods fall off the trees, are dried and finely ground into a powder. Mesquite powder has a nutty brown sugar taste and it delicious when added to smoothies, in energy bars, topped on yogurt, mixed into nut butters for added nutrients and flavors. We personally found that it is delicious when added to our chocolate chip recipe. But we didn't use it just for the taste, mesquite powder brings more to the recipe than just flavor. This caramel looking powder is high in protein, fiber, and many nutrients including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and lysine (an amino acid also found in tomatoes). It is also high in fiber and considered a low glycemic index food meaning the powder will help slow down the absorption of food and thereby not spiking your blood sugar levels. It is for these reasons and the delicious taste that we added it to the recipe below.

Servings: 12-15 cookies

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup Almond flour

1/4 cup Mesquite powder (we found it on Amazon)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 egg

3 T maple syrup

1/4 cup melted coconut oil 

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (we used dairy free but you can use what you like)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. In a medium size bowl, add all of the dry ingredients (almond flour through sea salt) and stir to combine, making sure there are no more clumps.

2.) In a small bowl, add all of the wet ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and stir to combine. 

3.) Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and make sure you incorporate well. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

4.) Scoop into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on the pan before removing and then enjoy!

Double Chocolate Chip Avocado Bread + A Deep Dive Into This Super Fruit

Sharon Muse

 

This double chocolate bread is so delicious, you can even give it as a gift - that is if you can part with it. The nutritional value is superb because there are both healthy fats and superfoods (avocados and coconut oil and raw cacao powder) in this recipe. It is grain free as well, so if you are trying to avoid grains, this is the recipe for you! 

We spoke about the health benefits of avocados in our Avocado Egg Salad recipe, but we thought we'd go into a little more detail as to just how great this stone fruit it. Yes, avocados are a fruit - in fact, these are one of the only fruits that contain healthy fat. Most fruits have carbohydrates, and while avocados do have carbs, the bulk of their carbs are made of fiber leaving their net carbs very low. They are made of 75% water, 15% fat, 8.5% carbs and 2% protein. They are low in sugar, meaning they will not spike your blood sugar like some fruit can. Of the 8.5% of carbs, 78% is made up of fiber. We want fiber in our meals for a few reasons: it will keep us fuller longer, keep us regular (ahem - you know what we mean :), and fiber feeds the good bacteria in our gut.

Avocados are loaded with Vitamins and Minerals:

  • Folate: essential for normal cell function and tissue growth and vital for pregnant women.
  • Vitamin K1: important for blood clotting
  • Potassium: helps us control our blood pressure (fun fact: avocados actually have more potassium than bananas, who knew?!) 
  • Copper: helps us formulate collagen (for firmer skin) and aids in the absorption of iron
  • Vitamin E: a powerful antioxidant responsible for balancing hormones, repairing damaged skin. Plus it helps fight free radicals and prevents the development of diseases 
  • Vitamin B6: converts food into energy - who doesn't need more energy?
  • Vitamin C: this antioxidant as we all know helps keep our immune system in check and is good for our skin 

If you are still with us, let us tell you a few more interesting health benefits - studies have shown that avocados have the ability to lower total cholesterol, raise HDLs (the good cholesterol), lower LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and reduce triglycerides (the amount of certain fat found in the blood). But remember, a certain kind of fat is your friend like mono and polyunsaturated fats. Without these fats, we wouldn't absorb some of the nutrients from the food we are eating.

While all of this may seem overwhelming, the one takeaway is that avocados are really good for our bodies and you will love them in this bread!! Now on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup avocado

3 T coconut oil (melted if not using refined coconut oil)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 T canned coconut milk

3 T maple syrup

2 eggs

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder  

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/3-1/2 cup dairy free mini chocolate chips (any kind or size of chocolate chip will work here but we prefer the dairy free kind)

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350° and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

2.) In a food processor place the avocados and pulse to mash. Or you can mash them in a bowl first. Add in coconut oil, vanilla, coconut cream, honey, and eggs and pulse until smooth.

3.) In a medium bowl add all the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

4.) Fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together.

5.) Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips on top and bake for 40-50 minutes. I would check at the 40-minute mark with a toothpick or cake tester - if it comes out clean, then your bread is done. Be sure to let it cool on the pan before removing.

Inspired by Living Healthy with Chocolate.

How to Make Nice Cream 3 Different Ways

Sharon Muse

There is no question that ice cream is a delicious summer favorite, but the store bought kind and even homemade versions are filled with tons of sugar and loaded with unhealthy fat. Plus, the dairy in ice cream can often leave us feeling bloated and uncomfortable, which nobody wants! But don't you worry, we have an excellent alternative for you: Nice Cream!

Nice Cream is the healthier cousin of ice cream, and you can make this treat from the comfort of your own home. It's cold and creamy, super easy to make, and really delicious. Just start with a base of frozen bananas and any nut milk you like and blend - easy right?!

Bananas are really healthy - they are rich in fiber, contain many antioxidants, nutrients, and are low in calories. One medium banana has only 105 calories and contains Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Vitamin C and much more. The riper the banana is, the more fructose (sugar) it will have and therefore be sweeter. For the purpose of Nice Cream, you want the bananas to be ripe but not over ripe.

Below, we have shared three add-ins to make different flavors that we love and we think you will too. So next time that pesky sweet tooth starts nagging, you can just whip up a batch of your favorite Nice Cream!

 

Servings: 3-4

Base Ingredients:

3-4 Ripe bananas

1 Tablespoon Nut Milk (we used Unsweetened Cashew Milk)

Add-ins:

Mint Chocolate Chip:

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

1/2 cup Dairy-free chocolate chips

Pinch of Spirulina

Handful of Spinach

Pina Colada:

1/4 cup canned coconut milk (that has been in the refrigerator overnight)

1/2 cup frozen pineapples chunks

1/8 - 1/4 toasted coconut flakes

Chocolate Almond Butter:

1/8 cup chocolate chips, melted

2 tablespoon Almond Butter

Instructions:

1.) For the Nice Cream base: Place frozen bananas in food processor or high-powered blender and blend until you reach a creamy consistency, similar to soft serve ice cream. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and blend some more. You can enjoy as it is now or place in a bowl or container and put this in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden up. This is delicious as it is or if you want to get creative, keep reading for the other flavors. 

2.) For the Mint Chocolate Chip flavor -  after you blend the bananas and milk, add the peppermint extract, spinach and a pinch of spirulina (mainly for coloring). You will need to blend this well to incorporate the spinach. Once you have the color and flavoring just the way you like it, place the mixture in a bowl or container and fold in the chocolate chips. You will most likely need to put this into the freezer to harden up. 

3.) For the Piña Colada flavor - after you blend the bananas and nut milk, add the coconut milk and blend some more -  then add the frozen pineapple chunks and continue to blend until you get the consistency you want. Place in a bowl or container and fold in the toasted coconut flakes. Either enjoy or freeze to harden up.

4.) For the Chocolate Almond Butter flavor - after you blend the bananas and nut milk, add the almond butter until you get the consistency you want. Place in a bowl or container and fold in the melted chocolate - this will freeze up quickly and look like ribbons of chocolate in your ice cream. Freeze to harden for about 30 minutes and enjoy!

 

Bourbon and Peach Creamsicle

Sharon Muse

This one's for you, dad!! We wanted to make a recipe just for the special dads out there. Most of the recipes we make get the skeptical eye from the men in our lives (that is until they taste them), but we know this recipe is going to immediately spark their interest. With this hot weather that most of us are experiencing right now, we decided to create another delicous ice pop to cool us off. Since we are based in Atlanta, Georgia we just had to use peaches. They are the state fruit, in season and pair really well with bourbon. Yes, you read that right, BOURBON! And what man doesn't love bourbon? 

Just when you thought the star of these ice pops is an alcoholic treat we are here to tell you that peaches are giving the bourbon a run for its money. They pack a nutritious punch and contain more vitamins and minerals than you think. Shhh, don't tell dad, just let him think these treats are decadent because they certainly taste that way! Now, back to peaches - they are a great source of Vitamins A and C and a good source of Vitamins E, K, B1, B2, B3, and B6. They also contain a lot of minerals that our bodies need like calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper. We think the bourbon and the peaches are the perfect combination -, mixing a little naughty with a little nice.

To make these ice pops even more delicious, we threw in a creamsicle layer made with greek yogurt and whole grass-fed milk. So there is a creamy layer in between two layers of the sweet peach and bourbon mixture and what a decadent treat it makes! It's the perfect addition to your Father's Day  BBQ and the perfect way to show the men in your life you love them! 

Ingredients:

For the bourbon, peach part:

4 -5 ripe fresh peaches 

1/2 cup honey

3 T Maker's Mark bourbon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the creamsicle part:

1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (we used Fage)

1/2 cup Whole Milk (we used Atlanta Fresh Cream Top)

1-2 T coconut sugar 

1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract 

Popsicles Molds (we found ours at Whole Foods)

Instructions:

1.) To make the bourbon peach mixture, chop up the peaches (skin and all) and place in either a food processor or a blender. Add the honey, bourbon, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and blend until there are pureed.

2.) To make the creamsicle mixture, combine all the ingredients and either whisk together until smooth or put in a blender and process until smooth.

3.) Carefully pour the bourbon mixture in the bottom one-third of the mold and freeze for around 30 minutes. 

4.) After 30 minutes, take out of the freezer and pour the creamsicle mixture for another third of the mold. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

5.) Pour the remaining bourbon peach mixture to the top of the popsicle molds and freeze for 5 hours or overnight. To remove, carefully run the popsicle mold under warm water to release it from the mold and enjoy!

 

Vegan Orange Creamsicle Ice Pops

Sharon Muse

Memorial Day Weekend is just a few days away and to us, it is the inauguration of Summer BBQs. When we think of BBQs we think grilled food, refreshing drinks and desserts that cool you down. And what's better than having a delicious, but healthy ice pop to cool you down after a long hot day? We were tired of the sugar bombs of ice pops that were sold at grocery stores which contain artificial ingredients and unnecessary additives, so we decided to start making our own. The first one we are presenting is a spin on our childhood favorite, the orange creamsicle!  

Our Vegan Orange Creamsicle is made which just FOUR ingredients! We used canned coconut as the base to make it extra creamy. Many people are instantly turned off by canned coconut milk due to the high-fat content it contains. But they should fear no more because it is filled with many healthy benefits and the fat it contains can actually help with weight loss. About half the fat in coconuts comes from a medium-chain fatty acid (MCTs) called lauric acid. Unlike longer-chain fats, MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to the liver, where they’re used for energy. They are therefore less likely to be stored as fat. Lauric acid also linked with improved cholesterol levels and heart health. On top of that, coconut milk is an excellent source of minerals, such as manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

We, of course, added in the juice, pulp, and zest from fresh oranges. By doing this, we boosted the nutrient value of these delicious treats. Oranges have Vitamin C but buy using the pulp as well as the juice, we kept the fiber in there too. We opted not use store bought orange juice since we found it usually comes from concentrated oranges and squeezing your own oranges is way more cost efficient than buying "fresh squeezed" orange juice. The citrus of the orange juice and zest makes this ice pop so refreshing! Since the coconut milk isn't necessarily sweet, we added a touch of maple syrup and vanilla extract and let us tell you, it is the perfect addition!

This is a treat that your kids will love, but to make it more appealing to adults we drizzled the ice pops with dark chocolate and sprinkled chopped almonds and cacao nibs on top. You will wow all of your guest with these gourmet style ice pops. After making these ice pops you will never want to buy popcicles at the store again!

Ingredients:

1 can full-fat coconut milk- entire can - liquid and all

1/2 cup Maple Syrup

1/4 t vanilla extract

3 oranges - juice and pulp

zest of one orange

Popsicle molds - we found ours a Whole Foods

Toppings: dark chocolate, chopped nuts, coconut (optional)

Instructions:

1.) Empty entire can of coconut milk, maple syrup, extract, oranges and zest into a high-speed blender. Blend until all incorporated. Taste and adjust to your liking.

2.) Carefully pour into the popsicle molds and place in the freezer overnight.

3.) When you are ready to enjoy your ice pop, melt some chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between so you don't burn the chocolate. Be sure not to get any water in the melted chocolate as it will seize up and be useless. 

4.) Place the mold under warm water to release the ice pop from the mold. Place on wax paper and working quickly, drizzle the melted chocolate over the ice pops and sprinkle your toppings of choice. Now, sit back and enjoy your delicious ice pop!!