Zucchini Brownies

zucchinibrownies

What?! Zucchini Brownies? It doesn’t sound appetizing but I can tell you that it is very good. It’s moist, rich, super dark, not too sweet, and yes, guilt-free (gluten-free, no refined sugar, no butter or oil, nut-free, and wheat-free). My 9-year old daughter loves them. My 4-year old son won’t try anything with the word “zucchini” it in no matter how chocolatey it is. If you’re lucky, it’s a great way to get veggies in your child or husband’s diet. 🙂 Perfect for dessert or a snack.

The recipe is from cookingalamel.com but I made my own changes because I want it EXTRA DARK!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup Peet’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain Fage Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup more coconut sugar, added to the dry ingredients)
  • 2-3 zucchini squash, shredded
  • One (1) 3.5 oz. of 85% or higher dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or line an 8″x 8″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and liquid stevia together, until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold in the shredded zucchini, chocolate pieces, and nuts.
  6. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.

Chewy Chocolate Pecan Cookies

ChewyChocPecanSandiesFresh out of the oven, these Chewy Chocolate Pecan Cookies could almost pass for brownie edges. Almost. Store them in the refrigerator for about a week. You can heat them up a bit in a toaster oven later. I love dunking these in a glass of cold coconut milk!

RECIPE

  • 2 cups of blanched almond flour (lighter) or almond meal (darker)
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts (raw or roasted)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of coconut nectar or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • course salt for sprinkling on each cookie (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Add in the wet ingredients.
  4. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
  5. Place small balls of cookie dough about an inch apart on the cookie sheet. Press them down with a fork like you would for peanut butter cookies.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of salt over each cookie.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Crustless Pecan Tarts

I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest. It originates from shecookshecleans.net and I had to try it (with some minor alterations) to prepare for Thanksgiving, and because who doesn’t love pecan pie? Sure, I’ll miss the crust but these gluten-free babies are full of crunch since they’re packed with pecans. And you can also use walnuts or almonds or any favorite nut for this recipe, if you prefer. Crustless Pecan Tarts are just the right size for a sweet nutty snack or top it with a small scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream for a bite-sized dessert. Also perfect for potlucks!

RECIPE (makes 30 mini muffin-sized tarts):

  • 1-1/2 cups raw pecan pieces
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (for toasting pecans)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (for pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional: 1 tbsp rum or bourbon
  1. In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp of butter and add pecans. Toss frequently until pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from pan immediately to prevent burning the pecans, and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325˚ F.  Grease muffin pan or line a muffin pan with silicone baking cups. Distribute the chopped pecans equally into the baking cups. Set aside.
  3. Using a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (or a bain-marie), melt the 4 tbsp butter. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir in sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed.
  5. Beat in the eggs, then the agave nectar.
  6. Return the bowl over the simmering water then stir until the mixture is shiny, smooth, and warm to the touch. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in rum/bourbon and vanilla.
  8. Pour the pie filling over the pecan-filled muffin pan, distributing equally.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pie filling is set, but still soft to the touch, and the tops are lightly browned.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, at least 4 hours.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

(If you end up storing these in the refrigerator, pop them in a toaster oven for a 3-5 minutes. Still good!)

Pumpkin Spice Loaf with Cinnamon Frosting

I’ve been following FastPaleo.com since they posted a pumpkin recipe contest. This Pumpkin Spice Loaf with Cinnamon Frosting in particular caught my eye. I didn’t get a chance to make it right away until now (and the contest is over). This was one of the top five winners. It’s so moist and not too sweet. Even the frosting is not overly sweetened. They go perfectly well together. I made a few tweaks to make it a bit more guilt-free and added toasted pecans into the batter because I like hearty breads with “stuff” in it. I suppose you can also add roasted flax seeds too. (I’m going to add that next time! :)) So, yup… I definitely agree why this is a winner! (Even my 8-year old daughter liked it and she usually doesn’t touch “mommy’s diet foods.”) Perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert or something to bring to a Halloween potluck. Enjoy!

PUMPKIN SPICE LOAF

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup of pecans or walnuts (lightly toasted in the oven)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients (except the nuts) with a mixer.
  3. Once batter is smooth, then add the nuts.
  4. Pour batter into a greased bread loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool. Place the pan in the fridge and make Cinnamon Frosting (see below) while the loaf cools.
  7. Gently remove loaf from baking pan. Using a butter knife or spatula, cover entire loaf with Cinnamon Frosting. Serve and enjoy! Store extras in fridge.

CINNAMON FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine all ingredients with a mixer on high until you get the texture of fluffy frosting (approx 2-3 min).
  2. Spread frosting on cooled Pumpkin Spice Loaf.

Garlic-Fried Mixed Nuts

Checked in my pantry today and found that I have bags of various nuts (raw and roasted). Not quite enough for a recipe. So, while reminiscing about a childhood snack of garlic peanuts, I decided to pan-fry these random mixed nuts and make Garlic-Fried Mixed Nuts. (I know. How did I even come up with this fabulous name? 🙂 )

If you really like garlic, then I would suggest adding thinly sliced garlic slivers. That’s how they make it in the Philippines and it’s like eating garlic potato chips! So good! Yum-yum!

What I like about this guilt-free low-carb snack is that:

  1. They’re full of protein.
  2. They’re loaded with good fiber.
  3. They’re delicious when HOT! (Reminds me of watching baseball games at the ballpark.)
  4. They’re great the next day or the next. Just keep them in an airtight container, bring them anywhere and eat them anytime!
  5. You’ve just used up all the nuts you have sitting in your cupboards.

RECIPE

  • 2 cups of any kind of nuts you have (raw or roasted – peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecan, walnuts, macadamia, etc…)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced or crushed or thinly sliced (more if you like it really garlicky)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Pour oil in a large skillet or frying pan, over medium heat.
  2. Lightly toast garlic in the oil.
  3. Toss in nuts and lightly brown them.
  4. Remove from heat, then add salt and pepper.
  5. Serve them hot or wait for them to cool and put in an airtight container to enjoy later.

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had a couple very ripe bananas in my fruit basket so I figured it was time to bake something guilt-free. Here is a recipe for gluten-free Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins. If you’ve never baked with arrowroot powder before, then you will thank me! I love arrowroot powder. It makes cakes so moist that you forget you’re eating gluten-free.

RECIPE

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 T arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)
  • 2-3 mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup of agave nectar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans (toasted and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips (or chopped up bar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 11-12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except for the nuts and chocolate).
  3. In a blender, combine eggs, oil, bananas and nectar until smooth. Then pour into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add nuts and chocolate.
  5. Fill muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Cool for 1 hour then enjoy.

Perfect for breakfast, brunch, as a snack or dessert!

Salted Pecan Sandies

I’ve been in the mood for a nutty crunchy cookie and at the same time, my Swiss cousin sent me this: Salted Pecan Sandies from Comfy Belly. (I guess she was in the mood too!) To my surprise, I actually had all the ingredients on hand – minus the pecans, so I subbed walnuts and they worked out perfectly. These make for an easy guilt-free, gluten-free snack or dessert.

RECIPE

  • 2 cups of blanched almond flour (lighter) or almond meal (darker)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts (raw or roasted)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • course salt for sprinkling on each cookie (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 300° F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Add in the wet ingredients.
  4. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
  5. Place small balls of cookie dough about an inch apart on the cookie sheet. (They’re supposed to spread but mine didn’t so for the second batch, I pressed them down with a fork.)
  6. Sprinkle a bit of salt over each cookie, and bake for 20 minutes, or until they are turning golden brown.
  7. Cool for a few minutes then crunch away!