In my nutrition business, I get a lot of questions from clients about how to handle the holiday season. My answer, enjoy yourself and don’t feel restricted, but try to make healthy choices wherever possible. Today I have 10 recipes for you for a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.
Tag Archives | dessert
We love to have people over for dessert, but I often feel guilty serving them something that fits into our family’s food sensitivities. It’s hard to make something that tastes like Grandma’s cooking when it has to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and egg-free. Luckily, food is a big enough part of my life, we figure it out. I’m not okay living in a world that doesn’t allow me to have treats…regularly.
A few weeks ago, I wanted chocolate cupcakes with chocolaty, fudgy frosting. I’d always loved ganache back in the day, so I wanted to make a replica of my favorite ganache frosting using ingredients that won’t wreck me.
This frosting did not disappoint! My kids referred to our cupcakes as “magic cupcakes.” Pretty much I felt like the most awesome mom ever.
I was confident enough in these to serve them to guests, and didn’t even have to lead with a disclaimer. We baked a basic paleo-style cupcake but like all cakes, the frosting made the dish. I consider all cake a vessel for frosting. I always double the frosting on my birthday cake because… it’s my birthday.
If you don’t want to make frosting out of this chocolate goodness, you can skip the whipping part and roll it into balls to make truffles. Or you can just call it pudding and eat it with a spoon. All of the above are a perfectly acceptable way to eat this mixture that may resemble chocolate unicorn tears.
We used Lily’s chocolate chips to keep it sugar-free. These chips are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, neither of which bother me in reasonable amounts (I know this because I’ve eating unreasonable amounts and the result “cleared the room” if you know what I’m saying…).
You can use a dark chocolate or your favorite semi-sweet chocolate as well. We love Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and Nestlee Simply Delicious Chocolate Chips. Both are made with minimal ingredients and dairy-free.
If you’ve ever made ganache, you know how easy it is. Just add hot milk (coconut milk in this case) to chocolate…
Once it’s melted, whisk it together…
Let it set up in the fridge…
And whip it. Whip it good! (I’m so sorry. I had to. And do you see my finger mark in the frosting? No apologies here)…
So easy and yummy!! We actually had to add a bit more coconut milk as we were whipping to get our perfect texture. If you need to add more coconut milk, do it 1 Tbsp at a time until it seems perfect to you.
So if you’re planning a birthday party, a BBQ to have friends over for dinner or if you just want something that goes well with a spoon, you can make this frosting and be proud!
A few months ago, I taught a health class to a group of ladies. I talked about how to give up sugar and they asked what I do for a treat. They were shocked when I admitted I eat squares of 100% chocolate. It’s true! I love it! While it’s a bit of an aquired taste, it’s totally doable. I generally suggest people start with something like 80% and work their way up, but it’s possible to transition.
I have to admit though, I get bored of my 100% chocolate. I occasionally want something with more flavor and texture that feels like a treat. That’s why I came up with these candies. They are so delicious! They taste sweet from the addition of orange, cinnamon and vanilla; but have no sugar. Plus adding nuts gives them a few different textures in each bite.
I genuinely feel like I’m eating an indulgent treat with these, but they have nothing in them I wouldn’t add to a breakfast smoothie!
If you aren’t up to the 100% yet, feel free to make these using a little bit sweeter chocolate. Again, I wouldn’t go lower than 80%. I really recommend trying these as written though.
Also, if you’re doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox these are totally approved!! If you’re curious about trying the 21 Day Sugar Detox, check out this post I wrote about my experience here.
We’re those people who would rather take a vacation to Disneyland than anywhere else. Sure I’d like to spend a week at a beach house someday, but at the expense of a Disneyland vacation?? It’s not going to happen.
We have a lot of Disneyland traditions. We have to ride Pirates of the Caribbean every day we’re there, we always ride Big Thunder at night during the fireworks, and we get one treat a day. I’m all about balance so that treat can range from a gluten-free, vegan treat, to a sugar-filled cookie.
One of our favorite treats is a Dole Whip from the Tiki Room. This may be the only treat we can all agree on in Disneyland. And while they’re full of sugar and probably several ingredients I can’t pronounce, they are gluten, dairy and egg free!! That makes me happy since it makes the indulgence less rough on my body.
If you haven’t had a Dole Whip, it’s a pineapple ice cream served soft-serve style. That’s it. It’s simple but so tasty!! You even have the option of a “Dole Whip Float” which includes putting the pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice. Also amazing!
That said, when we come back to the real world and actually care about what we eat, we still want the delicious Dole Whip. After several experiments, we’ve come up with the perfect recipe!
Depending on your food sensitivities, you can make these totally vegan or with dairy. We prefer to use a full-fat, low-sugar, grass-fed yogurt because it’s so thick, but feel free to use coconut, almond or cashew yogurt instead. We like Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt because it’s super low in sugar, extra creamy and adds the perfect vanilla flavor. Sadly, I can’t eat dairy so I use So Delicious Coconut yogurt when I plan to eat one.
We’ve experimented with freezing these as popsicles, scooping the mixture into bowls, and pouring it into freezer pop molds. My kids prefer the freezer pops, as do I to cut down on the mess. But any way you make them , they are delicious!
Whenever we use freezer molds, we put them upright in glasses or jars to freeze them. That keeps the liquid level as it freezes. Ones they’re frozen, it’s fine to stack them on their sides in the freezer.
Now if we could just figure out a way to bring our favorite rides into our home, we’d be set between vacations!!
When I was a kid, I was basically a professional at making no-bake cookies. This was kind of awesome because my mom (who is a great cook) could not make them. Since she loved them so much, I got to make them a lot. My BFF and I still reminisce about how we used to come home from school and make no-bake cookies in my mauve and mint Formica-clad kitchen. Awe the 90’s.
Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m still a big fan of no-bake cookies. There are few better treats in my opinion. The problem is, the butter and milk are a problem for me. I cannot do dairy unless I want to spend the next week covered in rashes and acne. Since I don’t think it’s fair to have acne and gray hair, I try to avoid dairy (and I don’t really like scratching all day).
But being the amazingly caring wife I am, I told my husband I’d make him ANYTHING he wanted for his birthday dessert. His answer: no bake cookies. I looked at him for a moment like he’d just kicked my childhood puppy. How could he do this to me??? I couldn’t even lick the pan! I decided to put my wants aside and make him his treat… sort of.
Yes, I made him a batch of standard no-bake cookies full of butter, milk and sugar. They were fabulous, of course, but I knew my self control would get the better of me. I got out a smaller saucepan and made some dairy-free no-bake cookies at the same time. The success had me almost in tears. I licked the pan, I ate the cookies and I was even able to keep them all to myself because they all wanted Daddy’s cookies. It was pretty awesome.
Since I was making my own batch and since sugar doesn’t exactly make me feel awesome either, I used Lakanto sugar substitute (monk-fruit/erythritol combination). You could use plain cane sugar instead, but I was very satisfied with the substitute.
The thing I really love about these cookies is that they are stable at room temperature. So often when I make a “substitute” it has to be kept in the fridge or freezer or it will just turn into a puddle. These stored fine at room temperature in a glass container. Not that they were around long…
This recipe is gluten-free and vegan so it’s versatile enough to take to events or share with friends. Now my husband can ask for no-bake cookies anytime and I can still be an awesome wife without sulking.
A few weeks ago we had a “chocolate night” for a women’s organization I belong to. It was a crazy day and I didn’t have much time to make anything. I needed something I could throw together in five minutes.
I thought about calling it in and bringing store-bought cookies, but since I’d talked the the same group a month before about nutrition, I thought that would be a little hypocritical. So I made these little beauties.
You guys. These are so good! I’m embarrassed they’re so easy! Everyone loved them and I felt like I stayed true to who I am!
When I made these for the ladies, I used 69% Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I’ve also made them with 100% chocolate (my favorite way, but I get I’m crazy), and Lily’s chocolate chips (stevia-sweetened chocolate chips). All three are fabulous. It just depends on how much sugar you want in these.
I used almonds for the nut because we have a ton, but you can use any nut or a combination. My favorite is pecans.
For the dried fruit, I used dried cherries because, well, cherries and chocolate. Best. Combination. Ever. If you go to Trader Joe’s, you can get unsweetened, dried cherries. This makes me happier than it probably should. If I couldn’t find unsweetened dried fruit, I’d use raisins. Cranberries or strawberries would also be fabulous!
These stay good for a long time so I love to make a batch and have one after dinner each night. They’re also great if I’m fighting with my kids and want to lock myself in the pantry and eat a bag of Oreos. Then I remember I don’t buy Oreos but I’m locked in the pantry ready to eat my emotions and I need something. These are perfect for that.
I’m super lazy and don’t like to take the time to melt my chocolate over a double boiler. I know that’s the correct way to ensure your chocolate hardens shiny and beautiful, but if I’m the one eating them, I don’t so much care so I use the microwave. If I want to be fancy, I use a double-boiler. I rarely want to be fancy.
After the chocolate is melted, it’s just a matter of adding in the other ingredients, mixing them together and spooning the mixture out onto parchment paper. Then you have to wait about an hour for them to set. But at least you have a delicious bowl to lick out. Not that I would do that…
I also sprinkle these with a little sea salt which is totally optional but totally awesome.
So if you have these three ingredients and 5 minutes, you’ve got yourself the perfect treat!
Today I have an awesome recipe for you! We made the most creamy, rich, perfectly sweet frozen fudge pops last week. Before I get to that, here’s the story behind the need for such a delicious treat.
My poor, sweet 10-year-old son has braces. I’m super impressed with all the advancements society has made as far as convenience goes in the last 20 years, but I’m sad to report, braces are exactly the same. Metal death traps that steal childhood innocence.
My son has been so brave these last 7 months with his braces, but this last wire change was particularly rough. Two days after his appointment, he sat at the kitchen counter crying. “I just want an apple! Everything hurts! I’m tired of protein smoothies!” I felt so bad for this kid. I asked him if he wanted to make some fudge pops and nodded his tear-streaked face. Poor dude.
These were sooooooooooo easy to make. I thought about sneakng in some pureed veggies or collagen powder but I just wanted to give my son a pure treat. Luckily, I’m completely okay with all the ingredients in these. So okay with them, that I let both kids have one for breakfast the next morning.
I just threw all 5 ingredients into my blender and blended it until it was smooth. You could seriously just drink it that way. It was so delicious!
I got these cute molds on Zulily one morning when I was sprawled on the floor with my phone recovering from a HIIT workout. Since I only got 4, we used paper cups for the rest of the batter. The cups were about double the size of the molds (these molds are tiny), so without the molds this is enough to fill about 8 small paper cups. This will vary based on the size of your molds.
With the paper cups, I covered them with plastic wrap first, cut little holes in the wrap and stuck in the wooden sticks.
These took about 10 hours to freeze. It was longer than I would have liked, but TOTALLY worth it. The kids feel like they’re getting an awesome treat (and they are) and I don’t have the feel bad about all the junk in store-bought fudge pops. AND… the whole batch cost about $2.00 to make. That’s way cheaper than it would cost to get the all-natural fudge pops at the grocery store.
And I had two very satisfied kiddos. Eating fudge pops on a Friday off of school in pajamas. Childhood rocks!
How do we survive the holidays without health crashes and sugar comas. What if you don’t want to abstain from Christmas cookies, fudge, hot chocolate and peppermint kisses (a must-have). So if you want to abstain from treats, I have tips for you. But if you want to indulge a bit, I have tips for […]
When I was a kid, my mom would make brownie pudding cake on cold, wet days. It was so comforting topped with a big scoop of whipped cream that melted into the gooey chocolate. It really doesn’t get more comforting than that. One bowl of that and every problem would disappear. It was basically unicorn tears topped with whipped unicorn tears. Tears of joy that is. There’s no room for sadness here. Best. Thing. Ever.
A few weeks ago we got one of those miserable spring snow storms. Snow in winter is expected, but snow when I’ve spent the last week in skirts and flip flops? Not cool. I needed some warm gooey comfort. But I didn’t want the next day sugar/gluten hangover I get. So I set out to make a grain-free, low sugar version. I was so pleased with the results, the unicorns and I cried together.
This brownie pudding cake is super rich and dark. If you don’t like it that dark, up the sugar and down the cocoa powder. But I can’t image finding comfort from chocolate that isn’t dark chocolate. That’s just me though…
The reason this is so good is that it’s a moist rich cake with a gooey, smooth inside. I topped it with whipped coconut cream that melted into the warm cake just like the version from my childhood. It was so nostalgic I felt like putting on my rainbow bright leg warmers.
This cake comes together in three layers that all come together to make a gooey bowl of joy.
The cake layer:
The topping layer:
The boiling water which makes a crispy top and a gooey middle:
Excited doesn’t really cover how I feel about this recipe. I made it on a Sunday and literally dreamed about it the night before. Yes, I am that big of a loser and yes, it did live up to my dream.
I used to make a pumpkin dump cake that made my heart happy. It was creamy and warm on the bottom with a crunchy, sweet top. I LOVED it! The problem was, it was loaded with both white and brown sugar and was topped with a cake mix…. which you had to add even more sugar to. I thought about cheating and just making the darn thing (Yes, it would have been worth it), but before I sold my soul I decided to try to make a healthier version.
I’m SO glad I did. The pumpkin layer is warm, creamy, sweet and bursting with fall flavors. The topping contrasts nicely with the creamy base and the flavors work perfectly together. This is a perfect dessert for a cold night. Though since this dessert is so good I almost cried, I’ll probably make it for my birthday… in April.
So if you believe all men (and women) are entitled to the pursuit of happiness, make this… now. No really. Go do it.
A few tips first (sorry for the false alarm. Hopefully you aren’t running to grab your slow cooker).
Make sure you grease your slow cooker. If you don’t, instead of talking about how much you love me, you’ll be cursing me to the depths of Hades. Grease that sucker!
Yes, this has a lot of ingredients, but it truly is a dump cake. Two bowls and a slow cooker. That’s it. You don’t even have to beat the pumpkin layer in stages. I really did just throw everything in a bowl and beat it.
Make sure you distribute the topping evenly when you sprinkle it over the pumpkin. This is basically going to cook up like a cake layer, so you want it as even as you can get it. Though since it is a dump cake, you really can’t ruin it. This just makes it better.
The same goes for the butter. This provides a lot of the liquid for the cake layer, so you’ll want it even. But again, you can’t ruin this. The moisture from the pumpkin and the steaming affect of the slow cooker will get any spots you miss.
As far as the pecans go, they are totally optional. If you hate pecans or they kill you if you eat them, you should leave them out. I love the flavor of pecans with pumpkin and fall spices so I left them in. You can even substitute them with another nut if you like. Not peanuts though. I like peanuts as much as the next squirrel, but that just sounds wrong.
Lastly, this is a dish that is amazing on its own, but is even better topped with something cold and creamy. While ice cream would be amazing, we decided to go with something a little healthier and use coconut cream. Don’t worry. If you can hold a hand mixer, you can make coconut cream. Click here for instructions from The Pioneer Woman. We sweeten ours with honey.
Okay. Now you are armed with what you need so go and make it. Now. It’s not a false alarm this time…