Tag: healthy dessert recipes

14
Mar

Pi Day Pie!

A little math humor to start your day…

A glorious Pi Day, one and all!

It certainly has been glorious around here, with record highs in the 60s! I have been soaking up all that sun and dreaming of spring, with all it’s warmth and green. I am so ready for it. Perhaps that’s why Shane and I were inspired to make one of our favorite pies for Pi Day consumption: Coconut Key Lime. I whipped this bad boy together last August while we were trying to beat the head while moving our Bemidji life down to Mankato. It was one of the last things I made in our old kitchen, and it is high time we made this pie in our new one!

YUM!

YUM!

Now, I’m a lucky girl, so while I’m off at work today doing story times and planning my next big Early Out (Space Camp next Wednesday!), Shane will be home making me pie. He is a good man. Some of you who know me well might be asking why I am excited about Pi Day. True, math and I have never really seen eye-to-eye. But, while Pi may equal 3.141592653…, it also equals PIE. Pi = PIE. Now, that’s an equation I completely understand. And, more to the point, Pi = Coconut Key Lime Pie. Do I need to say more? I will anyway. It is tart, sweet, creamy, and AMAZING! The pie is also totally raw and made with completely whole foods ingredients. Go ahead. Eat a slice for breakfast. Or three. I’ve never been good at math anyway. 😉

 

23
Nov

Thankful Chocolate-Cranberry-Coconut-Oatmeal Cookies!

Everyone else be like:

Snow…

Me:

Snow!!!

I’m one of those obnoxious people who LOVES snow. Every year, November rolls around and I’m crossing my fingers for a white Thanksgiving. Last Friday, when the flurries started to fly, I was literally jumping up and down at work. Yes, I’m that person.

The first snow ushers in some of the best parts of the year: holidays with loved ones, sipping hot cocoa next to a crackling fire, fuzzy slippers, sledding, skating.

Finals.

I’m there anyway, right?

Yes, finals time is here again. Everyone rejoice. I’m elbow deep into TWO huge projects at the moment (and have two more just around the corner! Finals projects are truly gifts that keep on giving), but have managed to thoroughly enjoy myself this past week.

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

For one thing, I had my speaking engagement at the Red Lake Nation College on Monday! To say I was honored to present at the college during Native American Heritage Month is a drastic understatement. Being invited by the Red Lake Nation represented a humungous achievement for me as an author, and really made me thankful for all the amazing opportunities and people Seven Stones has brought to my life. I had a fantastic time talking about my novel with the Red Lake faculty and students, and hope to visit the Red Lake Nation College again! Miigwetch!

We had about 50 kids team up and create awesome duct tape outfits on Wednesday!

After a five hour drive back down to Mankato, I was off and running again on Wednesday with my Duct Tape Fashion Show. I’ve been working super hard on making the library’s Early Out events successful, and this one might just be my favorite yet! The kids’ creativity and imagination was AMAZING to see, and everyone had a fantastic time watching the teams strut their stuff on the runway.

Needless to say, after all the excitement of the week, I was ready for a break. This weekend was nothing short of perfect. Shane and I made ridiculous amounts of good food, and he did mountains of dishes as I worked hard at hashing out a final term paper. In between eating and homework, we managed to go on an hour-and-a-half hike around the Rasmussen Woods on Saturday, and a two-hour bike ride along the Red Jacket Trail on Sunday. Though the temperatures hovered around 19 degrees, it was sooooo great to get outside and MOVE! We got back from our bike ride–chilled, but happy–and treated ourselves to hot chocolate, a bubble bath, and these cookies.

Look at all that deliciousness! Aren’t you thankful for this recipe?! 😉

I’m dubbing these my “thankful” cookies, because I’m seriously thankful I get to shove them in my mouth by the handful. Based off my favorite cookie from my old Co-Op in Bemidji, these bad boys have a lot of good things in them, like oatmeal, craisins, chocolate chips, and coconut shreds. They’re like oatmeal raisin cookies on steroids. And that’s exactly what I need to get me through a week of final papers and holiday traveling.

Soft, chewy, satisfying, with just a hint of sweet and a ton of oompf, I hope these make you thankful, too!

Julia’s Oatmeal Cookies on Thanksgiving Steroids (aka, Thankful Cookies)

cookie

adapted from Love & Flour’s Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookie recipe

Ingredients

1 cup white whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Âź teaspoon salt

1½ cups old-fashioned oats

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup sweetened coconut

½ cup dark chocolate chips

½ cup walnut pieces

½ cup Earth Balance

ž cup Sucanat

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.
  2. Stir in the oats, cranberries, chocolate, walnuts and coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix ’em all up!
  5. Roll the dough into balls (dough will be wet and sticky) and place them on a cookie sheet, flattening the balls into fat little (or, in our case, HUGE) cookies!
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. These cookies will be slightly golden brown on the edges, but still soft in the middle. PERFECT!
  7. If you have self-control, allow the cookies to cool on a rack. If not, go ahead and eat one, but you will burn your mouth. I know from experience.

 

Suggested Pairing

A table full of your favorite people and big ol’ mug of hot chocolate!

Happy Thanksgiving!

09
Nov

Crustless Pumpkin Custard Pie!

Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie

The original pie recipe from the Fat Free Kitchen

Of all my many pumpkin loves, pie is number one. I’ve always adored pumpkin pie, but I can’t admit ever really liking the crust. Last year, I came across this recipe and my life changed forever. This pie is a creamy custard whose edges brown into sweet deliciousness–no crust required!

I adapted it slightly from the original recipe, and present it now to you: my crowning pumpkin achievement! Creamy, satisfying, and wonderfully spiced. As a bonus, my pumpkin pie is healthy enough to eat for breakfast! It is the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving while still eating clean and healthy.

Julia’s Crustless Pumpkin Custard Pie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs

1 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup Sucanat

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well.
  3. Pour into the pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be brown, and crispy, but the edges should not be over-done. To check if it is done, wiggle the pie pan back and forth. If there is any liquid in the center, put the pie back in for a few extra minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting. DEVOUR! 🙂

Suggested Pairing

Top with homemade coconut whipped cream for a delicious end to any meal!

I had such a fantastic time at the Waterville Public Library this past Wednesday, and am looking forward to visiting the Red Lake Tribal College next Monday! I am SO honored to be invited to speak about my book at the college, and can’t wait to tell all about it!

Have a wonderful week! Happy Monday!

 

21
Sep

Caramel Apple Scones

Caramel_Apple_Scones

I ate all my scones before I could get a good picture, but they looked just like these ones from oneingredientchef.com 🙂

I love the autumn. Crunchy leaves. That wonderful chill in the air. Scarves, sweaters, Halloween (my FAVORITE holiday). And the food. Oh, lordy, the food. In my opinion, it just doesn’t get better than the flavors of fall and those sweet-spiced treats you just can’t get enough of.

Like these caramel apple scones, for example.

You heard me right: caramel. apple. scones. The ooey-gooey-ness of caramel meets the sweet-tart of apple, and it’s all wrapped up in a fluffy scone. Can it get any better? YES! Because this recipe is ENTIRELY FREE OF REFINED SUGARS.

Wait, wait. A caramel sauce that’s free of refined sugars? But, how?! Surely, there must be some trick! You are right to be wary, but let me assure you that this is the real deal. Let me introduce you to my secret weapon: dates.

detoxinista.com

If you’ve never had a date before, you need to go to the store and buy a bag. Right now. In fact, you need to buy two because you will immediately want to make this caramel sauce. Dates are a sweet, succulent dried fruit that are essentially nature’s caramel. They are ooey. They are gooey. And they are the main ingredient in this homemade, no-cook caramel sauce.

Now, let’s talk about these scones. I usually dive head-first into pumpkin baking, but this year I wanted to explore the other flavors of fall as well (never fear, I’ll be posting a plethora a of pumpkin recipes before too long. Did I mention pumpkin is my favorite flavor EVER?). I adore caramel apples and look forward to them every year. However, the “caramel” you buy at the store–whether individually wrapped in plastic or in those white tubs–has a lot of questionable ingredients and is laced with scary chemicals. On the other hand, making a homemade caramel sauce is a PAIN (at least in my mind). I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I thought my caramel days were over.

Then, I met dates and my life changed forever.

*Cue romantic music*

I discovered that if you soak dates and throw them in a food processor (or blender) with some vanilla, milk, and salt it becomes INSTANT CARAMEL SAUCE. It really does taste like traditional caramel, and yes it is FANTASTIC to dip apples in. I’ve been snacking on caramel apples all week, and feel good about it because I’m essentially getting two servings of fruit instead of tons of artificial ingredients and empty calories.

My recipe tester (aka, Shane) is a notorious scone-hater, but he has been raving about my caramel apple scones. They taste like heavenly dessert, but are healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

Julia’s Caramel Apple Scones

Scones

2 small-medium apples, coarsely grated

2 cups white whole wheat flour + enough to dust work surface and hands

½ cup Sucanat

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

pinch salt, optional and to taste

½ cup coconut oil, cold

1 large egg

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce

1 cup Medjool dates (they’re the most caramelly), soaked (note: make sure your dates are pitted! You can buy most with the pits already removed)

Âź tsp sea salt, or more to taste

1 tsp lemon juice

Âź cup milk, plus more to add for texture

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp coconut oil

For the Scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Grate the apples using the coarsest blade of a box grater and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add 2 cups flour, Sucanat, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, optional salt, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the coconut oil, and with a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter in. I smoosh the butter with forks and when it’s the size of large marbles, I use my hands and knead it in. It will feel like semi-wet, cool sand. Some larger pea-sized butter clumps are okay.
  5. Add the egg, yogurt, vanilla, to the apples and whisk together
  6. Pour wet mixture over dry, and fold until just combined. That’s enough. Good job. The dough will be wet and soggy. You want that.
  7. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons flour over a clean work surface and lightly coat hands.
  8. Turn dough out onto surface and shape it into a 8-inch round, approximately. Dough is very moist, wet, sticky, and tacky, but if it’s being too stubborn or too wet to come together, sprinkle with flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get it to come together and into a round.
  9. With a large knife (coating the knife in flour helps), slice the round into 8 equal-sized wedges.
  10. Using a flat spatula or pie turner, carefully transfer wedges (aka, curse and yell as the scones stick to the work surface) to prepared baking sheet spaced at least 2-inches apart. Do not crowd because scones puff and spread while baking. Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes, or until scones are very lightly golden and cooked through. Because they’re baking in quite a hot oven, watch them closely starting after about 15 minutes to ensure the bottoms aren’t getting too browned.
  11. While the scones cool, make the sauce!

For the Sauce:

Drain water from the soaking dates. Dump all the ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend. Add more milk. Blend some more. Add more milk. Blend again. Blend until you get the creamy, delicious texture you want for your caramel sauce. Lick the spatula. Heck, lick the blender. I won’t judge. Okay, you’re done.

Slather the warm apple scones with the date caramel sauce and enter to autumnal baking heaven!

Suggested Pairing

A mug of pumpkin coffee and a winding trail through fall foliage

Happy Monday!

 

19
Aug

Celebration Coconut Banana Cream Pie!

I’m a real librarian!

There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to accurately convey how freakin’ excited I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the job! I got the job!

I can’t believe it!!!!!!!

On Monday afternoon, I got a call from the library I interviewed at on Thursday. The director had told me not to expect a decision until later this week, so when I saw the number on my phone, my heart jumped into my throat. When she offered me the Children’s Librarian position, I was so excited that I accepted before she told me how much I’d be making or the fine details of the position.

Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about that. After working for and volunteering at the BEST library in the world during my days in Brainerd, I knew that becoming a Children’s Librarian was what I wanted to do with my life. I LOVE creating programs and helping kids love reading, exploring, and learning. When I found out we were moving to Mankato, I started job searching right away, applied to what is essentially my dream job, and crossed my fingers.

I couldn’t believe my luck in finding an open Children’s Librarian job, but when they called me in for my interview, I was over the moon. A chance to actually be in the running for a professional librarian position?!

Deep breaths

I cannot express how completely and utterly grateful I am for this opportunity. I cried. Real tears (after I got off the phone, fortunately. You can ask Stefania). I will be the best Children’s Librarian I possibly can be, and work my butt off to make the library programs absolutely amazing. My heart is 110% in this job, and I cannot WAIT to begin!

In the meantime, LET’S CELEBRATE! And what better way to celebrate than with PIE?!

I love pie (you may recall my Key Lime Pie recipe). I choose pie over cake, brownies, cookies–pretty much anything besides ice cream (because, why choose between the two? Just do ala mode!).

This Banana Cream Pie recipe changed my life. It was the first time I really tried making a raw dessert, and MAN is it good. This recipe is Shane’s favorite and most requested dessert. The flavor is out of this world, and as a bonus it is made with 100% whole food ingredients. Chia seeds act as the thickener to turn the coconut milk into pudding, and are packed with so much nutrition they are know as a “super food.”

Top this delicious pie with coconut shreds or homemade coconut whipped cream. Either way, it is healthy enough to have for breakfast. Trust me. I’m a librarian. 😉

Julia’s Best Ever Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Cool, Healthy, and a Total Treat!

For the Crust

For the ingredients & directions for my Super Easy Oatmeal Crust, check out my Key Lime Pie post!

For the Filling

1 can Coconut Milk, either full fat or light
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 cup Chia Seeds
2 tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2-3 ripe Bananas

Directions

Make the crust according to directions. Set in the fridge.

In a large bowl, mash up 2-3 ripe bananas. Once they are good and creamy (a few chunks is fine), whisk the coconut milk, shredded coconut, vanilla, chia seeds and maple syrup.

Pour the banana mixture into that delicious pie crust. Lick the spoon. Heck, lick the bowl.

Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the pudding has thickened enough so it doesn’t wobble when you shake the pie tin back and forth.

Top with shredded coconut, coconut whipped cream, or more sliced banana. Whatever sounds good to you.

DEVOUR!

Suggested Pairing

A glass of bubbly to toast your awesomeness!

I’m a real librarian! I’m a real author! I guess this year has been pretty darn good, huh? 🙂

Mankato, here I come!

Happiest of Wednesdays!

11
May

Sweet Potato Brownies

Exam week is here! The end is in sight, and to celebrate I’ll be kicking off my book tour THIS SATURDAY. I’ll be signing books at Kat’s Book Nook from 1-3 p.m. If you won’t be able to make it this Saturday, check out my Events page for the rest of the book tour stops. This summer is going to be amazing!!

I think that calls for chocolate. Since my dark chocolate quinoa cupcakes were so popular last Monday (thanks to everyone who shared and posted that they tried them), I decided to share another delicious, healthy treat: sweet potato brownies.

Don’t give me that look. I know what you are thinking. Sweet potatoes + chocolate sounds weird. Let me assure you, though, that these are moist, full of chocolatey goodness, and 100% decadent without any guilt. Still don’t trust me? While I was experimenting with this recipe I found last week, I invited my skeptical friend Stefania over for dinner. When I told her what was for dessert, she gave me the same look. But after the first bite, she was a sweet potato brownie convert! Stefania RAVES about these brownies and said they were the BEST she’s ever eaten. And sweet potato brownies also have Shane’s stamp of approval. He said the only bad part of this recipe is trying not to eat the whole pan. Testify!

The sweet potato adds, well, sweetness and keeps the brownies nice and moist. It also adds potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B, iron, and calcium. The only strange ingredient you might find on the recipe is coconut flour. If you aren’t familiar with coconut flour, it is finely ground coconut meat. The flour is really absorbent, high in fiber and protein, and naturally gluten-free. I don’t usually go out on a mission to make food gluten-free, but it’s a nice added bonus (especially when you have a sister and nieces with Celiac’s)! You could try to substitute the coconut flour for regular flour, but I’m not sure what the conversion rate would be (maybe 1 cup of regular flour?). If you decide to give coconut flour a try, you won’t be sorry. It doesn’t add a coconut-y flavor (for those who don’t like coconut) and makes delicious baked goods. Be bold, experiment, and EAT LOTS OF BROWNIES!

paleomg.com

Sweet Potato Brownies

1 sweet potato

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 unrefined organic coconut oil

1/3 cup raw honey

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tablespoons coconut flour

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

  1. First thing you want to do is bake that sweet potato to get the sugars all caramelized and yummy. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, use a fork to puncture holes all around it, wrap it in aluminum foil and then throw in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  2. Once your sweet potato is soft and cooked through, peel off the skin and mash it up in a bowl. And turn your oven down to 350 degrees.
  3. Now add your wet ingredients: eggs, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla to the bowl and mix together.
  4. Then add your dry ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.
  5. Mix well to incorporate all that goodness.
  6. Pour into a prepared 8×8 glass baking dish.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife poked through the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let rest to cool a bit.
  9. DEVOUR! 🙂

Happy Monday!

04
May

Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

You want to know something weird about me? I don’t like cake. I know, it is shocking. Really, though, it’s the frosting I don’t like. When I was a small child, my mom let me eat the leftover frosting from a birthday cake she had made. She warned me not to eat too much, but I was a kid with a tube of homemade frosting. As you can imagine, I ate too much and proceeded to get fantastically ill. Ever since that day, I don’t do frosting. And since most cake I’ve tried is disappointment covered by overly sweet frosting, I just don’t do cake.

Until now. Enter, Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes. One bite, and my life changed forever. I became a cupcake girl again. These bad boys are rich, moist, and decadent–like the heavenly offspring of a brownie and a chocolate muffin. The best part is each cupcake packs as much protein as an egg and all 9 essential amino acids, thanks to the quinoa. They are also naturally gluten-free, free of refined sugars and oils, and definitely don’t taste like it!

But I can hear your skeptic thoughts with my Jedi mind powers. Quinoa? Really? She expects me to believe that quinoa is good in cupcakes? I DARE you to try this recipe and not eat the whole batch. Shane was just as skeptic when I told him of my plans. But after first licking the batter off every utensil and devouring his first cupcake WHOLE (I’m not kidding), he declared that my quinoa cupcakes were the BEST HE’S EVER EATEN.

My Dark Chocolate Quinoa cupcakes come together in a flash and are the perfect treat for, say, exam week in grad school. Yes, friends, it’s no coincidence that I made a batch for myself last night. I need some extra oomph to keep me going this week, and these cupcakes deliver on the chocolate and nutrition front.

They are so moist that they don’t need any frosting. However, if you absolutely need frosting on your cupcakes, I’m including my famous avocado fudge frosting that can be made in the same blender.

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa (measured 2/3 cup uncooked)

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup coconut oil

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups Sucanat (or any other granulated sweetener you prefer)

1 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender/food processor. Add coconut oil. Blend, then add sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Blend, then add cocoa. Blend again, then add the quinoa. BLEND, adding more milk if needed.

Pour batter into muffin tins. Lick the spatula. Depending on your self-control, this recipe can make 6-12 cupcakes.

Bake for 30 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting (if desired)!

Avocado Fudge Frosting (Optional):

2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted

½ cup cocoa powder

½ cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

Few pinches salt

Âź cup organic dark chocolate chips (optional)

Put everything except the chips in the same blender/food processor. Blend. Add the chips, if using. Blend again. Once the cupcakes are cool, slather them with frosting.

DEVOUR!!!!

Pairing Suggestion

A cup of strong organic coffee and a final exam (Exam optional. The coffee is not) 😉

Happy Monday, and May the Fourth be With You!