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.

Strawberry Vanilla Lemonade

straw_van_lemonadeMy daughter and I had a free Saturday one day while my husband and son went on a hike. I asked her what she wanted to do and she requested to have a tea party at home. Just the two of us. How sweet. She said she didn’t want to drink tea. She wanted “fancy lemonade.” My parents’ lemon tree happened to have an abundance of lemons that week so I happened to have a zillion lemons on hand. I also happened to have some strawberries in my freezer that I save for making smoothies. Together, we made a sugar-free Strawberry Vanilla Lemonade. Served in champagne flutes, my daughter definitely enjoyed her fancy lemonade on our Mommy & Daughter Tea Party.

RECIPE

  • 4-5 lemons
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of powdered Stevia extract (or other sweetener)
  • 6-8 fresh or frozen strawberries, washed, cleaned and cut in half
  • water and ice
  1. Juice the lemons and pour in a pitcher.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Fill with ice and water.
  4. Add Stevia (or other sweetener). Add more to your preferred sweetness.
  5. Add the strawberries and let them soak for an hour before serving so that the strawberry flavor enhances the lemonade.

Stormy Chocolate

stormy_hotchocA very good friend of mine shared this dairy-free, gluten-free Stormy Chocolate drink by Stormy Large. It sounded so good (and hilariously written) that when I read it on her Facebook page I had to try and see if it was true AND if I wanted to punch somebody. 🙂

RECIPE

  • 2 Tbsp Pure cacao powder
  • 1 tsp of your sweetener of choice (Stevia, Xylitol, Agave Nectar, etc.)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne
  • Coconut Milk
  1. Place two heaping tablespoons of cacao powder in a mug.
  2. Sprinkle generously with cayenne and cinnamon.
  3. Add 1/4 cup boiling water to make a hot chocolatey paste.
  4. Add sweetener and then slowly add hot coconut milk “until you want to punch somebody. It’s so freaking delicious.”

Yes, it was so deliciously creamy and rich that I forgot it was guilt-free. So perfect on a rainy morning with breakfast or a cold day out camping.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Flax Seed Bread

Another reader-inspired recipe (thanks to sisters Heidy and Sonja), they used my Flaxseed Focaccia Bread recipe and adapted it to make different types of breads (adding pesto and garlic for a more savory bread or adding bananas and cinnamon for a sweeter alternative). I played around too to make Cinnamon Vanilla Flax Seed Bread, which is a delicious treat toasted and smeared with butter when you wake up with a sweet tooth in the morning. Feel free to be creative as well and add your own twist to this amazing bread base!

RECIPE

  • 2 cups of flaxseed meal
  • 2 tbsp of almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of Stevia powder – I use Trader Joe’s brand.
  • 1/4 cup of agave nectar
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  1. Beat the eggs then throw the rest of the ingredients in with it.
  2. Let it sit for a couple minutes to thicken.
  3. Pour it onto a flat jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 350˚F for 15-20 minutes or until it springs back to the touch.
  5. Cut into sizable squares. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Morning Muffin in a Mug

This Morning Muffin was all a buzz after Dr. Oz aired it on his show last February. It’s filled with guilt-free ingredients, and surprisingly, I had all the ingredients in my pantry. I love it when this happens! It’s actually very similar to my low-carb hamburger bun I posted a while ago (gluten-free, flourless, no sugar).

So I finally got around to giving it a try and it’s actually not bad. Not very sweet (because it only uses Stevia so it’s sugar-free) but pretty darn good especially when you smear it with butter and you watch it melt on contact. Mmmm! It was quite filling. I couldn’t eat the whole thing yet I wasn’t hungry at all until I realized it was already after lunch. Talk about a power muffin! And it only takes 1 minute to cook.

RECIPE

  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1 tsp. of butter or coconut oil (Just scoop it out of the jar! No need to melt it.)
  • 1/3 tsp of Stevia (or more depending on your preference)
  • 2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • a handful of blueberries
  1. Put all the ingredients in a mug and stir it well, making sure the egg and the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Microwave the mug for 55-60 seconds.
  3. Turn it over on a plate, slice in half, and butter generously!

For a chocolate option, substitute the cinnamon for 1 tsp. of cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. Or you can check out heathereatsalmondbutter.com’s recipe. (Love her!)

Peanut Butter Cookies

Happy Day-Before-Valentine’s Day! I know these are not heart-shaped or red, but it’s another guilt-free goodie (based on glutenfreefix.com’s recipe) that you can share with your loved one that I’ve come to enjoy. Gluten-free, flourless Peanut Butter Cookies that don’t crumble like the Peanut Butter Stevia cookies I posted earlier. If you can eat agave nectar and/or coconut palm sugar, then give these a try. These are dough-y and sweeter, and are the perfect cookie dough to roll into a ball and stick a Hershey Kiss into. (Hmm… must find guilt-free Hershey Kisses.)

RECIPE

  • 1 16 oz. jar (or 2 cups) of salted natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup agave and 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Combine peanut butter (natural oils on top too), melted butter, honey and eggs.
  3. Chill batter until it is scoopable. Batter will still be sticky, but manageable.
  4. Scoop cookies and use a wet fork (dip in a glass of water) to make marks and flatten. Wet fork after each cookie.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they get a little brown around the edges and slightly darker in color. (The longer they bake, the crispier they are.)
  6. Store in the refrigerator. You can eat them straight out of the fridge or heat them up a bit in a toaster oven. Enjoy with a tall glass of almond milk.

Blueberry and Pear Pecan Crumble

This Blueberry and Pear Pecan Crumble has become an addiction. Thank goodness it’s a “guilt-free goodie” addiction. I’ve already made this three times! I love it so much. I can’t seem to go to sleep unless I have one for dessert. It’s another winner based on glutenfreefix.com’s recipe, and so easy to make. My favorite part is the nutty, crumbly topping. Mmmmm!

For this recipe, you can use any kind of fresh fruit. I’ve used different kinds of berries (blueberry, raspberries, strawberries), apricots, peaches, but my favorite is using Bosc pears. I just love the crisp taste of a good pear.

RECIPE

  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or a combination of berries)
  • 1 tsp of arrowroot powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp of coconut palm sugar (optional – or Stevia or Splenda equivalent)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature (or microwave it for about 10 sec.)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal, firmly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat your oven to 325˚F.
  2. Mix your fruit with arrowroot powder, sweetener and lemon juice.
  3. Divide your fruit among your ramekins (about 6) or pour into a casserole dish or pie plate.
  4. Make your topping: Combine the butter, agave, almond flour, salt, cinnamon and pecans with a fork. (You might need to microwave it for a few seconds to get it to mix well.)
  5. Use your fingers to “crumble” the topping onto each dessert. (It will be sticky)
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Serve warm as is, or topped with freshly whipped cream, or with a scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream.
  8. Refrigerate any leftovers. To re-heat, place in a toaster oven for 5-10 minutes or until the topping gets toasty. Watch out that you don’t burn the top.