Category Archives: Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Watermelon Sticks

I’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties with my photos/camera/laptop, and I’m not quite out of the clear yet, but I think I’ve figured out how to still make things work for now, it’s just a little extra work on my part. On top of that, my kids are out of school for the next couple of months and I am trying to soak up all the extra time with them, so my posts may be a little less frequent during the Summer months.

I got the idea to cut the watermelon into sticks, from my mom and I love it! Most often I cube it, removing all of the rind, and sometimes we do triangles, but this is a fun and pretty way to serve it and still be able to hold onto a bit of the rind as you eat. It’s an easy, inexpensive, fresh snack to have on the counter for kids to grab, or to bring to a BBQ to share with friends.

Start by slicing your watermelon in half, right down the middle of the fat part (not the long way, the shorter way). Lay the cut side down on your cutting board and then cut vertical lines about 1-2 inches apart across the entire watermelon. Then do the same thing but making horizontal cuts.

 

The edge/corner pieces don’t have as much melon on the rind, and don’t look as pretty, so I just cut the melon off of those and we eat them right away and don’t put them on our serving dish.

So pretty and fresh! Perfect for summer!

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Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegetarian

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!

THE RECIPE

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, Salads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Superhero Muffins

These Superhero Muffins are a recipe I lightly adapted from the cook book, Run Fast, East Slow. Shalane, an olympic marathon runner, often enjoys one of these before a long run or as a snack. They are filled with nutrient dense ingredients including zucchini, carrots, almond meal(they’re gluten-free), oats, walnuts and more! Shalane used olive oil in her recipe, but we subbed that out for coconut oil and a little applesauce, but either way works great.

If you’re not sure how to get grated zucchini and carrots, take a look at the picture below. Basically, I grate it on the really small holes on my cheese grater.

We added carob chips to these muffins, but you could also do chocolate chips or raisins, or you can leave them.

I like to line my muffin tins with silicone liners for easy clean up, and so it’s easy for the kids to grab one and take it to school for lunch. Paper liners are great too, I just always have these on hand because they’re reusable. You can also just spray the pan with Pam.

Enjoy!

Superhero Muffins– adapted from Run Fast, Eat Slow
*makes 15 muffins

1/4 c coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 Tbsp applesauce
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 c zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
1 c grated carrots(about 2 carrots)
3 eggs
2 c almond meal**
1 c rolled oats
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
(optional) 1/2 c chopped walnuts
(optional) 1/2 c raisins, chopped dates, or chocolate/carob chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper or silicone liners, or spray with Pam. In a medium saucepan or a microwaveable bowl, warm the coconut oil, applesauce and maple syrup until coconut oil is melted(if they’re not warm, the coconut oil will turn into firm clumps). Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the zucchini, carrots and vanilla. Stir in eggs. Add the almond meal, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Add the optional chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Using an ice cream scoop, pour batter into the muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes(20-25 for mini muffins).

*these can be frozen in a tupperware or freezer ziploc bags. Pull out in the morning and it’ll be thawed by lunch, or you can defrost in microwave on low power.

**I make my own almond meal in my high power blender by grinding 1 1/2 c raw almonds until they resemble almond meal. I blend for a few seconds, then scrape with my rubber spatula and blend for a few more seconds….don’t over blend as it’ll turn to almond butter.

 

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Powdered Peanut Butter & Banana Protein Shake

For those of you who follow me on instagram(elisa_realfoodsmom), you’ll recognize this recipe from a post I did last week.

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I found this powdered peanut butter on sale at Sprouts and picked it up when I saw there were only three ingredients and no refined sugar (peanuts, salt and coconut sugar, which is unrefined).

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Since then we’ve made multiple batches of peanut butter and banana protein shakes! You could also sub the powdered stuff for all natural peanut butter, 1:1 ratio (if you’re watching calories though, the powdered is the way to go).

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THE RECIPE:

Powdered Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Shake
*Makes about 14 oz

10oz unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like sunwarrior vegan mix)
1/2 frozen banana
4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Makes about 14 oz!

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Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Almond Flax Protein Balls

We love protein bars and balls (I’ve posted recipes for both in the past), and I have a new one for you today which I’m super excited about because it is delicious! You guys, I hide these from my kids, they’re that good. I make them when they’re at school so they don’t even know, and then I put them in our fridge in the garage, behind something big :). I only make 16 at a time which will last me a couple of weeks, or at least a week! But with 5 kids snacking on them,  and begging for more, they wouldn’t last a day in our house. I suppose I could double the recipe….maybe someday I will, and then maybe I will share. Maybe.

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At the very end of this post I will have the macro numbers since my hubby and I are doing an 8 week macro counting challenge…which is hard but kinda fun, like playing a game, and since my husband and I are doing it together we can motivate one another. He’s raising his macros trying to gain a few pounds, and I’m doing the opposite. He’ll text me a couple of times a day with “i’m stuffed” or “I’m so full”, and I text back with some encouraging emoji like a thumbs up for “you got this!”, but inside i’m thinking, “I wish that were my problem, being too full.” Instead I’m mostly not ever full, but I’m not starving either. It’s all good and we only have 6 1/2 weeks to go! :). I’m hoping this whole process will teach me to be more aware of my foods and their caloric content and it’s a good reminder for me that I don’t need to be, nor should I be, snacking all throughout the day and that it’s okay to be hungry, probably good actually, because it means I’m allowing time for my food to digest fully, not overloading my system, and it makes me appreciate the flavor of foods more; everything tastes amazing these days!  Alright, enough of that, let’s get on with the recipe!

In a medium mixing bowl add almond butter, syrup, flax, protein powder and vanilla and stir together. Add almond flour and mix well.

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Place on an ungreased cookie sheet using a cookie scoop to measure. They can be very close together as they will not change in size. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge to chill for half hour or more. Feel free to then transfer them to a smaller tupperware container.

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You can store these in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy!

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Almond Flax Protein Balls- lightly adapted from Clean Simple Eats
*makes 16 balls; 1 ball is 1 serving

1/2 c almond butter
1/4 c pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp ground flax
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sunwarrior’s vegan vanilla powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c raw almonds, ground to almond flour in high power blender (or 1 c almond flour)

In a medium mixing bowl add almond butter, syrup, flax, protein powder and vanilla and stir together. Add almond flour and mix well. Place on a cookie sheet using a cookie scoop to measure. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge to chill for half hour or more. Transfer them to a smaller tupperware container.Store in the fridge or freezer.

111 calories;  7.8 g fat, 6.7 g carbs, 4.1 g protein

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Filed under gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Muffins are a nice grab-and-go food to throw in lunches, take on the road or have as an after school snack. And I LOVE when we find an awesome one that the whole family loves and it’s whole grain AND it doesn’t have any refined sugar, which is what you’re getting here! These peanut butter and banana muffins were a huge hit in our house. These muffins are fast(about 10 min of prep time, then 18 minutes to bake) and easy to whip up so give them a try!

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THE RECIPE:

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Muffins lightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
*makes about 18 muffins

1 1/2 c mashed banana (3 large bananas)
1/3 c honey
1/4 c applesauce (or melted coconut oil)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c creamy natural peanut butter
1/3 c milk (almond, cows, they all work)
2 c whole white wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 18 silicone liners (or paper liners or just grease with spray/oil) in a muffin tin. In your Bosch (or with a handmixer and large mixing bowl), combine the bananas, honey, applesauce, egg, vanilla, peanut butter and milk and mix together on low speed. Add the flour, powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix again and then using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into each muffin cup (about 2 Tbsp; filled about 3/4 full). Bake about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Store in a tupperware.

*These can be frozen either in a tupperware or ziploc bag. We pull one out of the freezer in the morning, stick it in a sandwich bag to bring with us, and it’s thawed by lunch.

 

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Filed under Breads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Cookies

I hope you all had a nice Christmas; it is my absolute favorite holiday! I love the lights, the music, the food, I love acting out the nativity with our family and reading the Christmas story and one of my favorite things is having Scott around for several days in a row. This year we were so pleased that his parents were able to join us for Christmas from NC, and Scott was home for almost a week straight which was heaven on earth!

I am so excited to share this breakfast cookie recipe because I am loving them! It’s more of a quick, grab-and-g0 healthy snack or breakfast, rather than a dessert-type cookie. I freeze almost the entire batch and then eat one or two a day, straight out of the freezer; they don’t require any thawing time. If you don’t freeze them, just know that they are a softer cookie and I think after day two you’ll find they get even softer when stored in a tupperware so you’d probably want to freeze them after a couple of days. I waited a day before I froze mine. For those of you that care, each cookie is 100 calories when you make 36 cookies(I’m doing My Fitness Pal again for a short time which I don’t love, but because of all the yummy Christmas foods we still have around the house, I’ve been snacking way too often so this’ll help keep me in check). I found this recipe in this month’s  Runners World magazine, which was submitted by Elyse Kopecky and though her recipe only makes 20 cookies, I found when I used my cookie scoop, 36 was a more accurate amount. If you make them bigger, then obviously, the calorie count per cookie will be higher.

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Here are the ingredients:

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You can buy almond flour, or you can grind your own if you have a high power blender. I just straight up throw in whole, raw almonds and grind them for several seconds, mix it with a rubber spatula, grind for several more seconds, and it’s done!

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I added raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts but you can leave them plain or add some chocolate chips or whatever else you like.

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I mix all my ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

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 I baked these on my silicone mats. I love these baking mats because of ease of clean up and I love that I can slide the whole mat off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack with the cookies all in place and it only takes a second.

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Have them cool completely before storing them in a tupperware or in freezer ziploc bags.

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Have a safe and Happy New Year!

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THE RECIPE:

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Cookies
*Makes about 3 dozen

2 c almond flour (I make my own grinding a little less than 2 c, whole raw almonds in my Blendtec)
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/2 c melted coconut oil
optional: 1/4 c raisins, chopped dates, walnuts or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add your flour, oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt. In a small mixing bowl combine your pumpkin, syrup, and oil. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add in any optional raisins, nuts, chocolate chips etc and stir until incorporated. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place on cookie sheet baking for about 25 minutes, until golden(check after 20). Makes 3 dozen cookies.

You can eat these right away or store in a tupperware container for a couple of days. They are also great cold and I like to freeze most of mine and eat them straight out of the freezer (they don’t require any thawing time because they’re a softer cookies).

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’m posting this a couple of days early in case some of you still have pumpkin seeds you need to use up. We have a lot of pumpkin seeds from carving 5 pumpkins and this is a recipe we like to make once we’ve scooped out all the guts and washed off all the slimy stuff.

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I’ve heard that for more even baking, it’s good to boil the seeds first for 10 minutes, then dry and then bake, so that’s what I do and it’s worked well. I mix up the seeds with the oil and the spices right on the sheet pan (with a silicone liner) and then spread them out and bake.

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THE RECIPE:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2-2 1/2 c raw whole pumpkin seeds (washed and dried)
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Dump washed and dried seeds on a jelly roll/sheet pan lined with silicone or parchment. Drizzle with coconut oil and sprinkle with spices. Stir together and spread out over pan. Bake 1 hour.

*for more even baking, I’ve found it helpful to boil the seeds in salty water for 10 minutes, drying them and then roasting them in the oven.

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Filed under Halloween, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Overnight Oats (in a jar)

I’ve seen recipes for  overnight oats posted on instagram and pinterest for some time now, and I finally decided to give them a try when my running buddy mentioned that she makes these weekly, the night before a busy day, and then just grabs it out of the fridge in the morning and takes it along with her. Some days are busier than others and having a healthy and filling snack on hand and ready to go, is so nice. Like oatmeal, these overnight oats have a mushy consistency; the chia seeds and oats soften with the milk and yogurt, and the yogurt gives it a little bit of a tang,but you also get the sweetness from the syrup and the optional grated apple. I really like this, though I know oatmeal and mushy dishes aren’t everyone’s thing, but give it a try before you judge!

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I took this picture below, right after I combined all the ingredients and stirred them together, so as you can see, the oats and chia seeds haven’t yet softened. If you decide to use steel cut oats, just make sure you really do let this sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours. You can get away with 4 hours with regular rolled oats, in fact I do that all the time, throwing this together in the morning and eating it for lunch or as a late afternoon snack.

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THE RECIPE:

Overnight Oats (in a jar)

1/2 c rolled oats (can also do steel cut if you like the chewier texture)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/4 apple, grated (I prefer without skin)

Combine all ingredients in a 12-16 oz mason jar and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and allow to sit overnight, or at least 4 hours (8+ hours if using steel cut oats; steel cut would be fine left in fridge for a couple of days). Eat chilled.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Applesauce Muffins with Streusel Topping

I frequently read recipe books and magazines; these applesauce muffins are a recipe I lightly adapted from the most recent Costco magazine, and they are so good! My husband ate 3 the day I made them, and he is not a big guy and doesn’t eat a whole lot. I love that the original recipe used applesauce and honey for the sweetener and fat/oil. I substituted half spelt and half whole wheat flour for the white flour in this recipe, but really you could do any combination.

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My tip for speeding up the muffin making process and for more even size muffins, is to use an ice cream scoop to divy out the batter.

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If you want to make any mini muffins, you can use a cookie dough scoop.

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This recipe makes about a dozen muffins, which doesn’t seem worth the time and effort for my family of 7, so I double it which made 24 regular sized muffins plus half a dozen mini muffins.

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I use coconut sugar for the streusel, which is an unrefined sugar, and it’s amazing!

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Applesauce Muffins with Streusel Topping

*makes 1 dozen muffins; can easily be doubled

Streusel Topping:

1/3 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Muffins:

2 c flour (I use 1 c whole white wheat flour and 1 c spelt flour)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/3 c honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 count muffin tin or line with paper/silicone muffin liners. Mix the streusel ingredients together until small clumps form; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, egg and honey until combined. Add in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, salt and baking powder and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle streusel topping over the batter and bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle, comes out clean. Carefully remove muffins to cooling rack (may need a knife or fork to help loosen muffin from around edges).

*If you want to make some mini muffins, decrease the baking time to 10 minutes, and I use a cookie scoop to fill those mini muffin cups.

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers