Orange Fudge Bites (No-Bake/Sugar Free/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Need a healthy dessert to bring to a holiday party? These Orange Fudge Bites will be a hit! My Mom is famous for her “Modeen Fudge Brownies” that include a lot of sugar and cream cheese. She makes them for all holiday and birthday parties and they certainly are delicious. I wanted to come up with a healthier type of fudge recipe that didn’t have a ton of ingredients. This recipe is simple and only requires a blender so there is very little clean up. It also contains cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut butter, as well as whey protein, which are all nutritionally beneficial. I used xylitol as a sweetener in this recipe. It is very comparable to sugar. It has about the same sweetness but very few calories or carbs. Xylitol is naturally occurring in the fiber of many fruit and vegetables such as berries, oats, and mushrooms. Xylitol has been shown to help stop the production of tooth-decaying acid. This means bacteria cannot create acid in your mouth throughout the day and cause cavities. Another sugar substitution for this recipe would be stevia, which is another natural sweetener. Remember, these are a healthy alternative to a regular dessert but they are still a treat and should be enjoyed in moderation. Enjoy!

 

Fudge

 

Orange Fudge Bites (No-Bake/Sugar Free/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 scoop Grassfed Whey Protein (Vanilla or Chocolate)
  • 4 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp Xylitol
  • Juice of 1 Medium Orange
  • Sea Salt (sprinkle on top)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you get a thick, pudding-like consistency.
  2. Grab an empty ice tray and spoon the fudge batter into the tray filling each cube to the top.
  3. Place in freezer for 2 hours or overnight.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 squares Calories: 132 Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 6g

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)

Hi Everyone!

I have been fortunate enough to get a number of giant zucchinis from a friend’s garden, which has lead to a lot of zucchini recipes. I previously made a delicious zoodles and meatballs recipe here.  This time I decided to make a light zucchini bread and added peaches since I had some I needed to use. It came out fantastic! I hope that anyone that has an abundance of zucchini is getting some use out of these recipes for healthy ways to use it all. I love zucchini bread but it often contains a lot of sugar. Even if it is a healthier option such as raw honey or pure maple syrup, it still all breaks down to sugar and can lead to cravings later on. If you are struggling with sugar cravings or find yourself wanting carbohydrate heavy foods often try taking sugar completely out of your diet. In this recipe I used Stevia, which is actually an herb often called sweet leaf. I only had to use 1 tsp for the entire recipe. You can eat a serving and then be satisfied rather than wanting to eat the whole loaf! I also made mini muffins out of this too, you just cut the cook time in half. Enjoy!

Be well,

Amanda

zucchini bread

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp stevia, powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and fruit and mix well. Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Make sure the coconut flour mixes in and break up all those little chunks that form.
  3. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or use a non stick silicone pan. Clean up is super easy and the bread never sticks.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I made a small loaf and some mini muffins out of mine. Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes.
Notes
⅛th of loaf PN Rx: 1 fat, ½ carb

Grain Free Breakfast Cereal!

Protein is the best fuel you can put into your body first thing in the morning! Without enough protein in the morning, most people find they have a harder time “getting going”, crave more sugar and carbs, and have a harder time focusing throughout the day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a hot breakfast cereal in the morning, so I came up with this high protein hot breakfast cereal that leaves me full of high quality protein and fiber, keeping me full for hours! Other sources of protein in the morning could include:

  • Scrambled or hardboiled eggs (I make them in advance each week for an easy breakfast or snack!)
  • Smoothie with  whey protein powder (click here for one of my favorite smoothie recipes!)
  • Oatmeal mixed with whey protein powder
  • Plain Greek Yogurt with raw honey and/or fresh fruit
  • Kefir, a cultured, creamy yogurt like product with amazing probiotic contents
  • Organic cottage cheese with fresh berries
Grain Free Breakfast Cereal!
 
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Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • ½ ripe banana
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 scoops (apx. 15 grams) whey protein powder (optional if you are looking to boost protein)
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • pinch ea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 packet organic stevia (optional if you like more sweetness)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Fresh/frozen berries and cinnamon for topping
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender until just barely combined. Do not over blend- the consistency of the batter should be thick but not dry (add more almond milk if too dry, and more almond milk if too thick). Heat up a pan with 2 tsp. coconut oil. Pour batter into pan and scramble like eggs for about 3-4 minutes, or until batter appears well cooked throughout. Transfer unto bowl and top with fresh or frozen berries, coconut flakes, cinnamon, or any other of your favorite oatmeal/breakfast cereal topping! Enjoy!
  2. PN RX: 2 fats, 2 proteins, 1 fruit per serving

Baked White Wine Sea Bass

seabass

 

I often find myself making the same types of meals all of the time because it is easy, but it’s fun to switch it up every couple of weeks. I bought Wild Caught Sea Bass at BJ’s a few weeks ago and finally decided to cook it. I had never eaten sea bass before so I wasn’t exactly sure how to prepare it but I looked around online and combined a few different recipes. I think it came out really good and was a nice way to change things up. The sea bass can be replaced with any white fish you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods! I paired mine with some wild rice and brussel sprouts.Enjoy this simple and easy recipe!

 

Baked White Wine Sea Bass
 
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Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10-12oz Wild Caught Sea Bass
  • ⅓ cup White Wine
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Fresh Cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place fish in glass baking dish. Cover with white wine, garlic, salt and pepper. OPTIONAL: Let marinate in fridge for 25 minutes.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and bake for another 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet.
  4. When fish is done cooking cover with fresh cilantro.
Notes
PN Rx:
3oz serving= 1 protein

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs

Does anyone have zucchini or summer squash overflowing in their garden? This recipe is a great way to use a lot of it! To julienne the squash or zucchini use a julienne peeler. I also included a really basic sauce recipe because I did not have any tomato sauce but I did have tomato paste so I made my own. It actually came out amazing! It had a lot of flavor and was really easy. I definitely recommend making it if you have a few minutes while the meatballs are cooking.  I had this for lunch for about 3 days and did not get sick of it. It is absolutely delicious, enjoy!

 

meatball

 

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
 
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Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 2lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Zucchini:
  • 3 zucchini's, julienned
  • sea salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Easy Sauce:
  • 2 6oz cans organic tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. First add all of your sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add all spices, flour, and the egg in a large bowl and mix. Once all ingredients are mixed add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until all spices are worked in.
  3. Form into meatballs and place inside crock pot. You can also bake this in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes each side.
  4. If cooking in a crock pot, cover meatballs in ⅔ of the sauce. Save the rest of the sauce to add at meal times. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Julienne your zucchini/squash and place in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. This is when a lot of the water comes out of the veggies. This allows them to stay more firm like noodles when you top them with the meatballs.
  6. Put zucchini/squash in large container with peppers and store in fridge. Top with meatballs and 2-3 tbsp sauce when serving.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

 

 

pork

 

Summer is in full swing, which means lots of BBQs, family parties, friendly get togethers and the 4th of July! All of these events have many things in common, but the one that stands out the most to me is food. It can be very easy to let your healthy eating habits dwindle during the warmer summer months but if you make small conscious decisions on a daily basis you can avoid excessive damage to your body and continue working toward long term health. One way you can continue your healthy eating habits through the summer is to find healthy condiments or make your own. Ana and I recently talked about healthy condiments on Better Connecticut.

Pulled Pork is a very popular summer food and one of my favorites! BBQ sauce is one of the primary ingredients in pulled pork and often has sugar and high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredients, which is not something you want to include regularly in your diet. Bone Suckin BBQ sauce is a great brand that does not contain any inflammatory ingredients. They use honey to sweeten the sauce and that’s all! You can find it at Stop and Shop, Big Y, Whole Foods and most other health food stores. Not to mention it also tastes amazing. Try it out in this simple BBQ Pull Pork recipe and let us know how you like it!

Enjoy!

Amanda

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
 
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Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Ingredients
  • 3-4lb Pork Shoulder
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½-1 jar Bone Suckin BBQ Sauce (depends on amount of pork)
  • ⅓ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Raw Honey
  • *Add 1 tsp Cayenne pepper for a spicier pulled pork
Instructions
  1. Place pork shoulder in crock pot.
  2. Mix all other ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Pour on top of pork shoulder.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add more BBQ sauce to taste.

 

 

 

Decadent Chocolate Protein Pudding (High Fiber/Protein)

pudding

 

It can be hard to find a healthy dessert that leaves you feeling satisfied without spiking your blood sugar and sending you on an emotional roller coaster. I often find myself avoiding desserts all together because of how much they affect my mood, appetite, recovery from workouts, and sleep. I was thrilled when I discovered psyllium husk fiber. You can add it to a recipe to thicken the mixture. It makes the mixture gel and comes out like real pudding. It also adds a high quality fiber that helps keep you full and slows how quickly your body digests sugar. You can find the psyllium husk fiber at any health food store.

Most importantly, when eating desserts whether they are healthy or not, it is essential to listen to your body. Pay attention and enjoy the food you are eating and also notice if you are full or not. If so then put the fork/spoon down. You can always save it for another day. This will help keep your body in a balance and avoid overeating and cravings.

Enjoy!

Amanda

 

 

Decadent Chocolate Protein Pudding (High Fiber/Protein)
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop Whey Protein
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Psyllium Husk Fiber
  • ½ tsp Stevia
Instructions
  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add all ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and begin to gel. Remove pan from heat and put mixture in a glass bowl. Place in fridge for 30min to an hour.
  3. Top with fruit, almond butter, cacao nibs and/or unsweetened coconut flakes.

PN News Segment on Better Connecticut: Healthy Summer Condiments

Hello everyone!

It’s finally summer and the weather is beautiful! This means a lot of fun weekends spent outdoors and a lot of cookouts! If you have been eating the Practical Nutrition way throughout the year, focusing on eating foods in their most natural form in a balanced state throughout the day, then you may feel that common summer condiments cannot be included in your daily diet. This is true for many of the common brands found at the grocery store that contain inflammatory ingredients such as vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup, however, you can look out for good ingredients and even make your own at home with 5 ingredients or less! Ana and I discussed healthy summer condiments on Better Connecticut. Watch the 5 minute segment to learn more about what ingredients to avoid and healthy alternatives you can make yourself at home. And don’t forget to scroll down for 3 marinade/dressing recipes with 3-5 ingredients each!

WFSB 3 Connecticut

 

Take Away Points Video:

  • When reading a nutrition label for condiments, dressings, and marinades avoid the following: vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar/cane sugar, artificial colors/flavors/additives. These ingredients all contribute to inflammation, sugar cravings, weight gain, headaches, and fatigue.
  • When trying to find a healthy option for condiments/dressings/marinades look for the following beneficial ingredients: olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, organic honey, pure maple syrup, stevia, lemon juice, balsamic/apple cider vinegar, and herbs.

 

Maple Pepper Marinade
 
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Recipe type: Marinade
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add your favorite protein: chicken, fish, or beef. This recipe has been tested on all types of chicken, fish and beef and everything tastes great! Get creative and add more ingredients if you want or keep it simple and use this easy marinade to flavor your meals all summer long!

 
Homemade Creamy Ranch Dressing
 
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Recipe type: Dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1½ Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Dill
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Store in glass air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week .

 
Homemade Balsamic Dressing
 
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Ingredients
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasonings
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until mixture has emulsified.
  2. Store in a glass, air tight container on the counter or in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

Gluten Free Bread Recipe

photo-6

 

Every once and a while I like to make some fresh baked gluten free bread to top with avocado and an over easy egg. I avoid eating more processed bread with gluten because of the inflammatory response that gluten creates in your body. Not to mention the fact that gluten is extremely addictive so I try to keep it out of my diet as much as possible. This gluten free bread recipe not only tastes delicious but is a great substitution for those times when you want bread. You can slice up the entire loaf then place in freezer safe bags to save for later. Try this recipe and you won’t want to eat heavily processed bread again!

 

Gluten Free Bread Recipe
 
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Recipe type: Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Millet Flour
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ½ cup Potato Starch
  • ¼ cup Almond Flour
  • ¼ cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
  • ¼ cup Skim Milk Powder
  • 3 TBSL Sesame Seeds or Quinoa Flakes
  • 2 tsp rapid dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (115 degrees F)
  • 1 TBSL Xanthum Gym
  • 1 TBSL Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Instructions
  1. I use a silicone bread pan that the bread does not stick to but if using a metal pan grease and line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine warm water with yeast and honey in a small glass bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine millet flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, almond meal, tapioca starch, milk powder, xanthan gum, and salt and mix.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar, oil, and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix well.
  5. Now add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients slowly in small portions mixing well between until all ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour batter into a bread pan, top with sesame seeds or quinoa flakes and let rise in a warm place while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Once preheated, bake bread for 35-40 minutes.
  8. Remove bread and let cool for 10-15 minutes. I like to slice the entire loaf up and then put in freezer safe baggies to save for later.

 

 

Green Tea Ice Cubes!

green tea cubes

Green Tea Ice Cubes…Can’t Wait Until They’re Frozen!

Tea is a something I don’t drink enough of! It’s full of flavor, antioxidants, and offers the body a mellow but effective boost of energy that won’t leave your head on the desk a few hours later like coffee often times does.  I have decided that this summer I’m determined to always have a batch of iced tea in the fridge to use as a base of my smoothies or to enjoy instead of coffee. While I can’t always find 100% organic tea, I do look for brands that use minimal pesticides, “natural”/artificial flavorings, and have integrity in the way their tea is grown and packaged. Here are some brands of tea that Practical Nutrition likes:

  • Yogi (love the inspirational quotes on the tea bags!)
  • Numi
  • Choice
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Rishi
  • Any organic, fair traded brand of tea you can find

When it gets warmer out I love having different flavors of ice cubes to throw in my smoothies or glasses of water to keep me hydrated without the boredom of plain water all the time. Also, I find when I use a green tea ice cube in my smoothies, I get an extra burst of energy from the antioxidants and caffeine in the tea. Making these nutrient dense, tasty ice cubes is super easy and can incorporate a new panel of flavors into your every day beverages!

Here’s what you do to make the iced tea ice cubes:

1. Brew a strong batch of iced tea (I use 1 bag per 4 ounces, and then when it cools I add 4 more ounces of cold water per tea bag). While still hot, add your sweetener of choice (optional). I use 1 tsp. of honey per bag of tea. Other options for sweetness include stevia, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

To ensure the best flavor of your tea, here’s a guide for how long to steep different kinds of tea: 

  • Plain Green Tea : 1 minute
  • Flavored Green Tea: 2 minutes
  • White Tea: 4-5 minutes
  • Oolong Tea: 4-7 minutes
  • Herbal Tea: 5-6 minutes
  • Black Tea: 2-3 minutes

2. Pour the iced tea into ice cube trays and enjoy in a variety of ways: 

  • Use in smoothies to give you extra energy in the morning or before a workout
  • Put in seltzer water with some stevia for added sweetness
  • Put in a glass of water or sparkling water with some fresh berries to make a refreshing beverage
  • Enjoy them by themselves as a treat an alternative to ice cream

Enjoy the blessings of summer, take care of you, and have fun…

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

The PN Team :)