Date Energy Balls

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I love making energy balls because they’re nutrient-dense, portable, easy to make, and the perfect healthy on-the-go snack.  Especially now that we’re quarantining and working remotely at home, it’s more important now than ever to have some handy and wholesome snacks available.  Personally, I’m so laser-focused when I work from home, that I find it hard, at times, to get up and prepare a proper snack for myself.  These energy balls are ideal for that very reason-—you can easily grab them from the freezer and pop a few in your mouth to give you the energy you need.  And I do prefer keeping these in the freezer because I like the bite to be extra cold.

This recipe was inspired by Melissa’s Healthy Kitchen Birthday Cake Bliss Balls.  I tweaked it slightly to make it SCD legal.  I haven’t tried this, yet, but I think these energy balls would also taste amazing with some lemon zest added to them because lemon zest makes everything taste better.

Ingredients:

  • 16 walnuts (32 halves)
  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Drizzle of honey (optional)
  • Dash of sea salt

Preparation:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and shredded coconut until crumbly.  Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt until well combined and a sticky mixture forms.

Scoop the dough by tablespoons and shape into balls.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the balls.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition facts per serving (serves 12): 103 calories, 7.4 g fat, 3.8 g saturated fat,  1.1 mg sodium, 1.2 g protein, 8.1 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 6.6 g sugar

SCD Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

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A few weeks ago, I made my very first SCD cheesecake with blueberry compote and I’ve been in love ever since.  I was intimidated to make it at first but it was actually SO easy.  After many Google searches, I found this recipe that uses coconut flour as the crust, which I was thrilled about, because I don’t tolerate nut flours.  I used a 9″ springform pan.

The taste is incredible and truly out of this world.  I’ve seen other SCD cheesecake recipes where people said the cheesecake just tasted okay and was nothing like New York-Style Cheesecake but I swear to you that this SCD cheesecake literally tastes like the real thing!  I’ve been making it weekly and help myself to two slices a day for breakfast since the slices are thin and much smaller compared to New York-Style Cheesecake.

For the dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC), I dripped 3 cups of yogurt for 24 hours, instead. Legal DCCC is nowhere to be found where I live.

For the blueberry compote, I used a different recipe than the one indicated in the cheesecake recipe that I just shared.  I actually got the recipe from @approvedpaleo on Instagram.  I used a few cups of fresh blueberries, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 3 tbsp honey, like her recipe called for.  I brought it to a simmer and then, turned the heat to low for about 15 minutes until the compote thickened.  Make sure to constantly stir the mixture so that it thickens and doesn’t burn.  If you decide to use frozen fruit, you’ll have to cook it for much longer since the frozen fruit will let out more moisture as it defrosts.  When I made strawberry compote, I actually had to add 1 tbsp of gelatin because it just wouldn’t thicken.

If you’re a cheesecake fan, I highly recommend this recipe.  It’s hands down my favorite SCD dessert recipe I’ve tried in the almost 2 years that I’ve been on SCD (and trust me, I’ve made a lot of SCD desserts!)  You get the sweet indulgence of cheesecake without the guilt, bloat, and calories!

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Nutrition facts per serving (serves 8): 227 calories, 9.1 g fat, 5.5 g saturated fat, 79.8 mg cholesterol, 13.8 mg sodium, 5.1 g protein, 32 g carbs, 3.6 g fiber, 17.4 g sugar

Honey Glazed Candied Walnuts

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This is so simple that it’s almost silly to share a recipe for it but in case some may not know: honey glazed candied walnuts are delectable and serve as the perfect dessert when your sweet tooth hits! The fact that these are made with honey, instead of refined sugar, just packs tons more nutrition without compromising deliciousness. This treat can be super indulgent and the calories add up quickly if you don’t watch it, which is why I like using exact measurements.

Ingredients:

  • 7 whole walnuts (or 14 halves)
  • 14 g butter (you want just enough to coat the walnuts with)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt

Preparation:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and honey. Add walnuts. Stir for 2-3 minutes until walnuts have toasted and mixture has caramelized. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool (waiting for it to cool is the hard part for me!)

You can break them up into chunks after they’ve cooled to sprinkle on salad or munch on (if they last that long) or you can do what I often do: transfer to a plate and eat it directly off there with a fork. So good, decadent, and healthier than the Standard American Diet desserts!

Fun facts: Eating about 7 walnuts provides 2,542 mg of much-needed omega 3. Also impressive is the amount of copper, magnesium and Vitamin E, not to mention all the other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds.

Nutrition facts: 405 calories, 31.4 g fat, 9.2 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 82 mg sodium, 5.3 g protein, 37.6 g carbs, 3.1 g fiber, 34.5 g sugar, 39% Vitamin D, 2% Calcium, 7% Iron, and 1% potassium

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

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Something I’ve missed while being on SCD has been baked goods. For anyone who’s on a grain-free diet, you know how hard it is to find a baked good that has the right gluten-like consistency but without the gluten. Most grain-free baked goods I’ve tried have an overly moist consistency that’s not too appetizing, especially when you’re not using almond flour. The problem I have with almond flour is that my stomach just can’t tolerate it, no matter how many times I try, so I’m grateful that Comfy Belly offers a ton of coconut flour recipes.

These Lemon Muffins she posted are to die for! The consistency is on point and tastes no different than a typical muffin laden with gluten. In fact, I’ve had a handful of friends try these muffins and not only could they not tell they were grain-free but they even gave the muffins rave reviews.

For me, this recipe yielded 12 muffins, which brought down the calories from 134 per muffin to only 89. They taste great with and without blueberries, and they also taste great with blackberries. Definitely give these a try next time you have a sweet tooth and want to eat a treat that’s not only healthy but also, tastes amazing without ruining your waistline.

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Paleo Cinnamon Cookies

Let’s talk snickerdoodles. They’re soft, they’re chewy, they’re sweet, they have cinnamon all over them, and like all other cookies, they taste great with a cold glass of milk to wash them down with. When you’re on a gluten-free or strictly Paleo diet, more often than not you crave a good cookie. When I came across this pin on Pinterest for Paleo Cinnamon Cookies and saw that the cookies not only looked easy to make but needed minimal ingredients (all of which I had in my pantry), I was thrilled. The only alteration I made was using almond flour, instead of almond meal. Using almond meal gave the cookies a more grainy, undesirable texture and taste for me.

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I love that the recipe calls for coconut oil, instead of butter, as I found using coconut oil gave these cookies a richer and moister taste. Be prepared to make a few batches of these babies because I assure you, they will be gone fast.  Like most other Paleo treats I make, these don’t last very long in our home. I highly recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe to have extra batches on hand.

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

The aroma of gooey cinnamon rolls baking in the oven is probably one of the most heavenly scents ever. During my teenage years, I worked at a department store and remember the sweet, overpowering smell of them baking at the Cinnabon that was all the way on the other side of the mall. Back then, I didn’t have a metabolism to worry about, so, I indulged in them whenever the craving hit me. Now that I’m older, though, and don’t have quite as quick of a metabolism, I’ve realized that while cinnamon rolls are, in fact, still amazing, that their accompanying calories are not.

Needless to say, when I came arose Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins, I was ecstatic, especially since she used basic ingredients that I had laying around in my pantry.

Here are how mine turned out. Aren’t they lovely?!

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One batch of these was gone in just a day, which didn’t stop the inner fat kid in me from making subsequent batches. I love that they’re in muffin form, too, which makes them portable and easy to grab in the mornings when you’re on the go.

Head on over to her page for the recipe (in case you resisted the urge earlier and haven’t already)! And, don’t say I didn’t warn you about how incredible these taste. They will be sure to become a favorite in your home and win your tastebuds over.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I’m seriously in love with Danielle Walker’s cookbook! Since buying it, I’ve made a dozen of her recipes and each one keeps getting better!  When I saw her, “Real-Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies,” well, I knew I had to put it to the test.  Any recipe that has, “real-deal,” as part of it is just daring to be challenged!

You can find the recipe for the cookies here.  The verdict?  These are truly the real deal!  They turned out moist, incredibly soft, and fluffy!  My husband took a bite and asked,

“Are you sure these are gluten-free?  They taste like they have gluten in them!”

Needless to say, I made a batch of these last night and they are all gone today.  Next time I will need to double up the ingredients because these babies go fast!

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Tell me these cookies don’t look absolutely amazing!

On a side note: eating healthy has really changed my life for the better.  Before, I used to eat healthy because I knew it was the right thing to do but I didn’t really do it because I enjoyed it.  Now, though, I do it because I know I am putting only the best ingredients in my body and that realization alone makes me feel good.  Now, I truly enjoy making healthy dishes.  I really credit Paleo, the SCD, and eating gluten-free to me being able to drop all but 3 pounds of the weight I gained during my pregnancy, in less than 5 months (with very little exercise)!  Anyone that has a baby knows that trying to squeeze in gym time is hard but luckily, 80% of weight loss, in my opinion, has to do with your diet.  You can go to the gym all you want but if you’re not putting clean, healthy food into your body, it will be challenging to lose weight in the long run.

So, next time you’re at the office and you see donuts and cookies (not the real-deal chocolate chip ones), think twice before picking up those sugar-laden junk food items.  Instead, know that pretty much any “bad” food you see can be recreated into something healthy and delicious.  That’s why I’m so grateful for Danielle’s book — she’s recreated so many of my favorite dishes that I really don’t miss the junk food I used to eat.

Eat healthy and feel good about yourself!  It’s as simple as that.

Now, go bake some chocolate chip cookies.

Enjoy!

Paleo/Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

What’s the best thing to do with bananas that are getting overripe? Make banana bread! That’s why I absolutely love banana bread — it gives me a way to get rid of my bananas while also enjoying an amazing and easy to make treat! This is another one of Danielle Walker’s recipes (yes, I’m on a roll here!) and once again, it did not disappoint! Words can’t even describe how incredible this turned out: super moist and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can find the recipe here. In the past two days, I’ve made two batches because it’s just that good. One thing I should mention: I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar, so I left it out, and it was still amazing. So, if you don’t have any, I wouldn’t worry about it, as it didn’t ruin the recipe.

Enjoy!

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

When you go the gluten-free route, you will probably miss a lot of your favorite foods, but if you’re creative enough or know someone creative, you can relive all your favorite foods, again! This is another recipe out of Danielle Walker’s book that I tried, except I didn’t make her cilantro-serrano dipping sauce that the recipe called for because I was too lazy. Nevertheless, the baked sweet potato chips on their own are amazing, even without the sauce. Your house will be swirling with all sorts of delicious scents when you put these in the oven. Other things I did differently with this recipe: I left out the chili powder that the recipe called for, since I can’t stomach very spicy foods, and added crushed black pepper to it, instead. I sprinkled the chips with salt and pepper before putting them in the oven. I baked them on one baking sheet, instead of two, and broiled the last few minutes to make them crispy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, with skins on
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I substituted this for freshly crushed black pepper)

Preparation:

Use a mandolin or a very sharp knife to cut the potatoes into even 1/8 inch thick slices. Place the potatoes in a bowl, cover with ice water, and soak for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse the chips and pat them dry. Toss them in the oil, then spread them in an even layer on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy treat!

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Paleo/Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Thank you, all, for your patience, as I know I’ve been on a hiatus. My pregnancy ended and I now have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. We’ve gotten into somewhat of a routine now, so I can finally squeeze in some time to post recipes on here more often. Also, since I am no longer pregnant, I  can finally stomach gluten-free foods, again, and have been back on a gluten-free diet. I’m not longer strictly on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet anymore but have now broadened my diet to include anything gluten-free. I feel the gluten-free route is just healthier and overall, makes me feel at my best.

A few weeks ago I came across Danielle Walker’s gem of a book, Against All Grain. I knew that if I wanted to truly dedicate my lifestyle to a gluten-free one, that I had to make it as easy as possible on myself, and that meant having a book I could visit for recipes, instead of having to tap into my own creative mind to invent my own or do random Google searches to find recipes. Let me tell you, her book is worth every penny! This week I’ve made half a dozen of her recipes and each one keeps impressing me.

We’ve had some zucchini in our fridge for weeks now and for fear of it not going bad, I decided to make zucchini bread. I opened Danielle’s book and sure enough, she had a recipe in there for zucchini bread. Let me tell you, it’s seriously the most delicious, moistest zucchini bread I have EVER tried. I was completely floored at how heavenly it turned out! Anyone eating it would never in a million years guess it was gluten-free! My mom made it, as well, but used unsweetened applesauce, instead of the banana the recipe called for, and it definitely did not turn out well (she found it was undercooked after she sliced it, so she put it back in the oven, only for the slices to come out slightly charred.) So, if you’re going to make this recipe, I would suggest not substituting anything.

I’ve linked her recipe above for you all. The recipe in her book differs slightly because the book recipe says to pour the batter into a single 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, which is what I did. If you’re going to use a single loaf pan, you’ll want to put it in the oven for 40 minutes. Also, I added 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips to my batter, as well as sprinkled a generous amount on top. Danielle’s recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips but how can you go wrong with chocolate? For those on the SCD, just leave the chocolate chips out.

Seriously, go try this bread, and if you’ve dedicated your lifestyle to gluten-free, like me, I highly recommend you buy Danielle’s book. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

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