Dessert

Mint Chip Fudge Brownies

Happy Valentines’ Day to all!

If you’re looking for decadent chocolate you’ve come to the right place!  If you were ever a fan of mint chip fudge or ice cream, these will be right up your alley.  The brownie layer on the bottom is chocolatey and dense, and the mint chip icing on the top hardens into a silky sweet fudge layer.  You’re going to love them!

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Ingredients:

For the brownies:

3/4 cup canola oil

just under 1 cup light brown sugar

just under 1 cup white cane sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon peppermint flavor (I use the one from Simply Organic made from sunflower oil and peppermint oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

a sprinkle of sea salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the icing:

1 stick butter

4 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/8 cup water

3 teaspoons peppermint flavor

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9×13 glass pan

Beat the canola oil, brown sugar, and white sugar together on a low setting

Beat in the eggs on a low setting

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla on a low setting

Beat everything together on a higher setting and then stir in the chips

Move into your pan and bake for around 25 minutes (start checking them around 20 minutes so you don’t overcook them)

After you have removed them from the oven and let them cool, you can make & add the icing:

Let the butter get to room temperate, and then beat it into a light consistency

Slowly beat in the powdered sugar

Beat in the water

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla extract

Stir in the chips

Spread overtop of the brownies

Optional but suggested: Move the brownies into the refrigerator to solidify into a fudge-like consistency /// Then before eating, either remove them for a few minutes if you do not like to eat them cold, or enjoy right out of the fridge!

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Breakfast · Snacks

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Granola

Here I go with the cinnamon again!

This granola base is unbelievably easy to throw together, and is very customizable.  From this base feel free to add whatever mix-ins you love like dried fruit or nuts.

The brown sugar and the cinnamon bake into little sweet clusters, which I love.  However, if your preference is to make some larger clusters with the oats, I would substitute some of the brown sugar for either honey or maple syrup as a stronger binder.

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons saigon cinnamon

a couple sprinkles of sea salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 heaping teaspoon vanilla extract

any additional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Mix together oats, sugar, cinnamon, & salt in a large bowl

Mix oil & vanilla (as well as a liquid sweetener if you’re replacing some of the sugar with that) into a smaller bowl, then mix into the dry ingredients

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet, & bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from over, stir, then bake for an additional 10 minutes

Remove from the oven, and continue to stir every few minutes until it has cooled completely

Toss in your optional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.), and transfer into an airtight container.

Optional – Sift granola through a mesh strainer to remove excess sugar that did not adhere

Enjoy!

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Breakfast · Snacks

Cinnamon Blueberry Oats

People who know me know that I have a severe obsession with cinnamon, especially the sweet saigon cinnamon.  I add it to absolutely everything.  Partially because I find it adds so much sweetness to an otherwise sugar-free meal, and partially because it has so many amazing health benefits.  It’s anti-inflammatory, helps to balance blood sugar, and contains a surprising amount of calcium just to name a few.

This is one of my quick go-to breakfasts when I’m in the mood for something sweet.  I love using the frozen blueberries and watching the purple color melt all through the oats!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quick oats

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons saigon cinnamon

handful of frozen blueberries

Directions:

Cook the oats (for speed I just use the microwave)

Stir in the chia seeds while still piping hot

Stir in the cinnamon

Mix in the blueberries & enjoy

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Dinner · Lunch

Tomato Basil Asparagus Pasta

Being part Italian, I cannot stress my absolute obsession with pasta!

There are so many ways to dress it up, make it healthy, and keep it simple.

Here’s one of my favorite quick dinners.  I went with Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Supergrain Pasta (though of course you should use your personal favorite pasta!)

This recipe makes 1 large serving.

Ingredients:

5-6 large asparagus stalks

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 servings of your favorite pasta

1 cup tomato basil pasta sauce

black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste

optional topping – a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Cut off the ends of the asparagus, then place the stalks into a gallon-sized plastic bag

Pour the olive oil into the bag and make sure it covers all of the asparagus

Place the asparagus on a baking sheets and cook in the oven for about 12-14 minutes

Cook and drain the pasta, then mix in the pasta sauce to keep it from sticking

Remove the asparagus from the oven, chop into small pieces, and mix that into the pasta

Add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste, and then sprinkle on some parmesan if you wish!

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Dinner · Lunch · Snacks

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

I seriously could eat fall flavors year round!

You only need 7 ingredients for this simple soup, but the flavors really pack a big punch.  It’s chock full of vitamin a, fiber, potassium, and healthy fat.  It’s also incredibly filling, and very low calorie.  Added bonuses: It’s vegan, & dairy/gluten-free!

The sweet potato taste combined with both the cinnamon and the pepper, cumin, and olive oil result in a nice “sweet + savory” combination.  It’s a thicker consistency, which makes it feel quite hearty.

This recipe makes 1 very large bowl, or two side bowls.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

3 cups baby carrots

3 cups vegetable broth

2 heaping teaspoons olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon (sweet saigon cinnamon preferably)

a sprinkle of cumin

a sprinkle of black pepper

(optional: larger quantities of the above spices, added to taste at the end)

Directions:

Thoroughly cook both the sweet potato and carrots until very soft.  (When I’m in a hurry I cook them all in the microwave, though roasting them in the oven or steaming them on the stovetop would be equally effective!)

In a large bowl, use a potato-masher to mash the cooked carrots and sweet potato together until they are as pureed as possible.

After it has cooled, transfer the puree into a blender (or your preferred blending appliance) and puree until totally smooth.

Add the vegetable broth into the blender and blend again until it’s evenly mixed.

Transfer the mix into a pot and heat back up on a low setting.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, pepper, and cumin.

Taste test, add in your preferred extra spices if desired, and voila!

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Breakfast · Snacks

Blueberry Peanut butter Smoothie

I sneak peanut butter into everything!

This smoothie is such a creamy sweet treat as breakfast, a snack, or dessert, & packed with tons of calcium, probiotics, vitamin c, and protein.

This recipe makes a small glass since it’s pretty filling, but if you’re starving go ahead and double everything!

Ingredients:

1 5oz container of plain greek yogurt

about 1/4 cup water

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

3 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter

optional: a dash of your favorite sweetener

Directions:

Layer all the ingredients in the order listed above and blend!  Start it on a lower setting and then slowly increase to higher and higher settings until thoroughly blended.  You may need to give it a quick stir with a spoon halfway through.  Pour into a glass, top with a few frozen blueberries (optional) and enjoy!

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Breakfast

Dairy-Free Vanilla Blueberry Muffins

Who doesn’t love blueberry muffins?!

I typically skip them most of the time in a grocery or bakery due to milk being an almost guaranteed ingredient.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my fair share of dairy (yogurt & cheese galore!), but my skin generally stays much clearer when I avoid milk, so I try to bake without it if I can.

What I love about these muffins is that they form such a dense consistency, almost like a biscuit, but are chockfull of vanilla & blueberry flavor.

Depending on how intense you are about blueberries, you may not throw in as many as I did, but I just can’t get enough of them!

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Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I use a white-whole wheat or unbleached flour for added benefits)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons of vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

about 9 oz. blueberries

optional powdered sugar for dusting

optional enjoy with a pat of blueberry jam!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375, and line the muffin tin with paper cups

Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large in a large bowl

Stir in oil, water, eggs, and vanilla extract

Taking an electric mixer, beat everything together on a low setting

Mix in the vanilla bean powder

Using a spoon, gently fold in the blueberries

Spoon the batter info muffin cups

Bake for about 15 minutes

After removing them from the oven and letting them cool, dust powdered sugar on top or add a pat of your favorite blueberry jam (optional)

Note: After the first day, I recommend refrigerating any leftovers

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