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

Shirazi Salad

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With the majority of us still quarantined at home and the summer weather on the horizon, I thought I would share this classic Shirazi Salad recipe with you all.  This salad is light, refreshing, and perfect for a hot day when you want to cool down and aren’t in the mood to eat anything heavy or use the stove.  I grew up eating it and would always look forward to my parents making it for us.

It’s called Shirazi Salad because it originated from the city of Shiraz in Southern Iran.  It’s a popular and traditional Persian salad that’s incredibly easy to make.  You traditionally are supposed to add onions to it, but my stomach doesn’t do too well with raw onions, so I left them out.  If you do decide to add onions to yours, use red ones.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients and mix!  That’s it.  The end result is an incredibly cool, extremely flavorful, and healthy summer salad that you’ll go back to again and again.

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Beef & Spinach Pie

Have you ever wanted comfort food but without the guilt and extra calories?  When my mom made me what I call beef and spinach pie last year, it tasted just like that.  It’s a relatively simple dish—just beef, spinach, onion, and eggs, but looks like a lot more labor and love went into it.  It’s one of my favorite SCD meals to eat because it’s not only comforting but it’s a meal you can feel really good about eating, too.  For some reason, the cooked egg inside the pie takes on the flavor of cheese to me, which is a major plus, because who doesn’t love cheese?  I actually thought it was cheese the first time I tried it and couldn’t believe it when my mom told me I was tasting eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 red onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food process the onions or finely dice them.  Then, fry them in a nonstick pan over medium heat until browned.  Put the onions aside.

Fry the beef until browned.

Cook the spinach in a small pot with water for about 5-10 minutes until well cooked.  Drain the spinach and chop.

Add the onions and spinach to the beef.  Add water and place a lid on the pan for 5 minutes or until the beef is moist.

Remove the lid and continue cooking until the extra water has cooked down.

Season the beef mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the beef mixture to a small casserole dish (no oil is required).

Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix into the casserole dish with the beef mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes.

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I typically like eating mine with half of an avocado to get in my daily dose of healthy fats.

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Bon appétit!

Nutrition facts per serving (serves 9): 70 calories, 4.8 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 33.6 mg sodium, 6 g protein, 0.53 g carbs, 0.13 g fiber, 0 g sugar

SCD Nachos

Okay, guys, I think this is seriously the closest we’re going to come to getting nachos on SCD.  The other day when I posted my Mini Bell Pepper Chicken “Nachos” recipe, someone mentioned that I should try making the nachos with cheese crisps as the chips, which was truly genius, because that’s just what I did today and it almost felt like I was eating the real thing!  Nothing will ever be like eating real tortilla chips but this sure was close.

Ingredients:

  • Make the “chips” using my Cheese Crisps recipe
  • 3 oz of lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1 tbsp SCD yogurt

Preparation:

Cook your beef in a nonstick pan over medium heat until browned.  Add your seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder) and olive oil.

After baking the Cheese Crisps, arrange them on a plate.  Add your beef on top, along with the green onions, tomatoes, and avocado.

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Drizzle a spoonful of SCD yogurt on top.  Of course, you can use whatever toppings you like but these are the toppings I used.

These nachos had the perfect crunch that I had been missing for so long!  If you’re a nachos fan, like me, I hope you give this recipe a shot and let me know how you liked it.

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Nutrition facts: 528 calories, 40.5 g fat, 19.5 g saturated fat, 120.7 mg cholesterol, 505.4 mg sodium, 30.8 g protein, 9.3 g carbs, 3.6 g fiber, 3 g sugar

Persian Omelet

Growing up, my dad would always make us Persian omelets on the weekends, which consisted of eggs mixed with tomatoes, onions, and turmeric.  If you’re Persian, then you know that turmeric is a staple spice in every Persian’s household.  Not only does it give a unique and distinctive taste to dishes but it’s anti-inflammatory and jam-packed with health benefits.

My dad’s Persian omelets were something that my brother and I never stopped looking forward to eating.  However, after eating my dad’s Persian omelet and then, seeing an American omelet, I remember feeling confused.  Persian omelets look nothing like the traditional omelets we make in America.  Persian omelets look more like scrambled eggs, whereas American omelets are typically rolled or folded over, with meat, veggies, or cheese in between.  Nevertheless, Persian omelets are absolutely delicious and a true favorite of mine.  Although I love cooking and consider myself to be a good cook, I find myself feeling intimidated when it comes to making Persian dishes I grew up eating, even if it is just an omelet, in this case.  But when my dad recently showed me how to make a Persian omelet, I couldn’t believe just how easy it really was and wondered why I didn’t attempt to make it sooner.  Breakfast time definitely would have been more exciting, delicious, and nutritious.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 eggs
  • Red onions, chopped (use however much to your liking; I’m a little sensitive to onions, so I use less than a handful but enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cilantro (optional)

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Preparation:

Heat a tbsp of oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat.

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Add your onions and cook until golden.

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Add your tomatoes.

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Cover the pan with a lid for about 5 minutes, keeping a watchful eye on it.  You don’t have to worry about your onions burning because the steam trapped inside the pan from the closed lid will add moisture to the onions.

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When you remove the lid, the tomatoes should be soft enough where you can break them up with a wooden spoon or the spatula you’re using.

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Add your turmeric, salt, pepper, and another tbsp of oil, in order to prevent the tomatoes from sticking to the pan.

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Crack your eggs right into the pan and swirl around.

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Keep swirling the eggs around with the tomato and onion mixture until they form into scrambled eggs.

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Voila!  Just as easy as that, you’ve got yourself a Persian omelet.

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While it’s not traditional to garnish it with cilantro, I did, because I absolutely love cilantro on anything.

I hope you enjoy this dish!  Please leave me a comment if you decide to try it.  I’m curious to know how many others love this dish as much as I do!

Nutrition facts: 162 calories, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 370 mg cholesterol, 146 mg sodium, 12 g protein, 5 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar

Mini Bell Pepper Chicken “Nachos”

The world has changed drastically since I posted my last recipe a month ago.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and working remotely, I’m now able to put more time, love, and energy into cooking.  I’m also able to eat fresh meals more often (like eggs in the morning, which wouldn’t taste good heated up at work, and green smoothies, which I adore).  Since this is such an unsettling time for everyone, I’m choosing to focus on the brighter side of things and commit more time to one of the things I enjoy doing the most: cooking.  I hope you are all safe, well, and healthy!

This afternoon, I decided to make these mini bell pepper chicken “nachos.”  They didn’t quite have the nacho crunch or taste that I was hoping for but they were still very tasty and bursting with flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used olive)
  • 3.5 oz chicken, chopped
  • 20 mini bell peppers, halved
  • 2 oz of block aged cheddar, shredded (I used Tillamook’s medium cheddar)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat and add the chicken with the seasonings.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until browned and thoroughly cooked through.

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Cut the mini bell peppers in half, discard the stems, and fill them with the chopped chicken.  Shred the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the peppers.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add your peppers, cut side up.  Fill them with the chicken and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

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Bake for 5 minutes and broil for 1 minute.

Remove from oven and add your toppings of choice.  I added chopped tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro.  Other toppings could be avocados, jalapeños, and SCD yogurt.  The options are endless!

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Nutrition facts: 522 calories, 20.9 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 109.8 mg cholesterol, 653.8 mg sodium, 31.9 g protein, 38.6 g carbs, 7.8 g fiber, 22.1 g sugar

Deconstructed Burger Bowl

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Deconstructed burger bowls are a healthier and more unique way to enjoy the all-American staple that we all love: burgers. They’re easy to make, require little prep, and taste great as leftovers, too. Best of all, you can throw whatever ingredients in it that you want and have on hand, making it an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz lean ground beef
  • Lettuce (2 cups, chopped)
  • 1 oz of block aged cheddar, shredded
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 oz sliced pickles or dill “chips” (I love these dill chips by Grillo’s)
  • 2 slices turkey bacon or no sugar added bacon, chopped (although there are no confirmed SCD legal turkey bacon brands, I use this one)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add your beef; cooked until browned. Drain the fat, if needed (this depends on what percentage lean your beef is; I’ve found that when I use 80-90% lean ground beef that draining isn’t always necessary).

Add garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add your turkey bacon. Cook until desired crispiness. Remove from heat and chop.

Now, assemble your bowl. Start with a layer of lettuce. Add the beef, then scoop the rest of the ingredients next to each other (pickles, turkey bacon, green onions, shredded cheese, tomatoes). Finally, drizzle the BBQ sauce on top.

Nutrition facts: 438 calories, 22 g fat, 9.8 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 683 mg sodium, 35 g protein, 18.3 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 9 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

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

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These mini eggplant “pizzas” may just be the best thing I’ve made, yet, on SCD. This recipe was inspired by Nutrition by Erin.  The tender, silky texture of the baked eggplant, mixed with the melted, gooey cheese and the zesty flavor of the marinara sauce is a match made in heaven!

When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I legit made it every day for weeks and didn’t tire of it. I’m positive this will become a favorite of yours and will satisfy your pizza craving. It’s also a great alternative for those who are sensitive to nut/coconut flours or cauliflower and can’t tolerate what most consider to be traditional grain-free pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup SCD legal marinara sauce (I use this one)
  • 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 5.5 of block aged cheddar, shredded by hand (I use this one and really love the sharp, tangy flavor; I much prefer this aged white cheddar to the traditional orange cheddar because it has so much more flavor)
  • Italian seasoning to taste or chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Wash and cut eggplant into round slices about 1/2″ thin and place on parchment paper.

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Brush the tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Spoon marinara sauce on each eggplant slice.

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Sprinkle with cheese (and any other toppings you wish) + Italian seasoning or fresh basil.

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Place back in oven and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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Would you look at these beauties?! They are seriously so satisfying, relatively low in calories (Erin listed the calories in her post), and healthy. Who said eating on SCD meant that you had to be deprived of your favorite foods? With a little creativity, all your favorites can be recreated into healthier alternatives that taste just as good as their originals and make you feel good, too, without that icky, bloated feeling that most people get after eating a delicious but heavy and unhealthy meal.

I hope you enjoy these mini eggplant pizzas as much as I do!