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Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)

lemon cookies

Are you looking for a healthy holiday treat to share with family and friends that isn’t packed with sugar? I recently made these AMAZING lemon cookies. I grew up eating the lemon squares made from the box that were absolutely¬†delicious so I have always had a soft spot for lemon desserts. I decided to attempt a lemon cookie using almond flour, eggs, and lemon juice/zest and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I brought these cookies as a dessert on Christmas Eve and my entire family loved them. Not to mention they are super simple and easy to make. These will definitely be a holiday staple! Enjoy!

 

Lemon Cookies (Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free/Soy Free)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • 2 large Organic Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined. It will make a thick cookie dough-type batter.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and separate batter into 12 cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer.
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 130 Fat: 11g Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 5g

 

Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)

It’s that time of year! EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored and packed with sugar, which is sad because pumpkin is delicious. That is why I have been recreating my favorite fall pumpkin recipes and this soup is one of them.

I love pumpkin for many reasons:

  • Packed with fiber and complex carbs but not too many so it helps fill you up without spiking your blood sugar
  • Contains Vitamin A and antioxidants in its beautiful orange color as well as B Vitamins
  • It can be savory OR sweet! This is my favorite thing about pumpkin. You can bake it in the oven with butter, salt and pepper or blend it in a soup with coconut milk and cinnamon. It can cure any craving!

This soup makes 10 cups! You can make the whole batch and freeze half or share with friends and family ūüôā

Enjoy,

Amanda

 

Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 3lb Cubed Sugar Pumpkin
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 4 Organic Carrots, Chopped
  • 1 Organic Apple, Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 4 cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 can Light Coconut Milk (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pumpkin on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil on it. Chop up onion, garlic, carrots, and apple and place around pumpkin. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, heat up a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in coconut oil and all spices. Stir 1 minute.
  3. Add in chicken broth, maple syrup and vegetables. Mix and bring to a boil then reduce to low.
  4. In batches, pour the soup mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour smooth soup mixture back into the large sauce pan on low. Add in the can of coconut milk and mix until all incorporated.
  6. Your soup is now ready!
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 131 Fat: 6 Carbohydrates: 21 Protein: 2

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)
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
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.
Serving size: 2 squares Calories: 132 Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 6g

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
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 2lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 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
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/2 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 2/3 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.

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
Recipe Type: Marinade
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 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
Recipe Type: Dressing
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 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
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 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.

 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocados are one staple item I try to always have in my kitchen. Not only can they brighten up any meal with their delicious flavor but they also provide the same vitamins and minerals that a dark leafy green,like spinach or kale has. To top it off, 1 avocado contains 10-15g of fiber depending on the size. That is a little over 1/3 of our daily needs for fiber! Using something like an avocado to make a healthy dessert was very fun and is a great food to share with friends. Enjoy!

 

Avocado Chocolate pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 Spotted Banana
  • 4 TBLS Pure Maple Syrup or Raw Honey
  • 1/2 cup Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 1/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • Coconut Flakes and Raspberries to garnish
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Add more almond milk if mixture stays too thick.
  3. Can serve right away and top with coconut flakes and fruit or put in air tight tupperware in fridge. This pudding tastes great the next day!

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese

philly

 

I love recreating some of my favorite foods into healthier versions that provide nutrition but still satisfy a craving. Sometimes even just one meal of processed food and refined carbohydrates can throw you off the wagon and cause a host of sugar cravings, mood swings, headaches, and complete loss of motivation and energy just to name a few. When you are craving something that isn’t going to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and even take away many nutrients during the process of digestion try to make a healthier version. This way you can still enjoy your food but you leave all the nasty side effects of cheat meals behind. I love philly steak and cheese sandwiches and sometimes I want bread but I know how it will make me feel. I picked up some gluten free buns from Trader Joe’s along with some organic shaved steak and raw cheese to make this delicious and satisfying meal. The gluten free buns are still a concentrated source of carbohydrates and more processed than fruits and vegetables so I try to make them a treat but overall this is a great substitution.

 

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Gluten Free Rolls
  • 1lb Organic Shaved Steak
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 8oz Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Raw Cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add in Worcestershire, hot sauce and garlic powder and mix.
  2. Add in shaved steak and cook until no longer pink but try not to overcook.
  3. Heat up gluten free rolls and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 4oz of shaved steak to each roll with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Place 1oz of cheese on top and heat in oven until melted.
  5. We cut ours in half then put 2oz on each half and a little cheese on top.

Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Whole Chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

chicken

 

Before I made this recipe I had never actually cooked a whole chicken before. I always just got chicken breasts or thighs. It was fun making the entire chicken and it came out so moist! It was¬†delicious as leftovers on salads and mixed into stir fries. Don’t let the fact that it is unfamiliar scare you. This recipe is very simple and was easy to prepare thanks to my slow cooker. Enjoy!

 

Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Whole Chicken
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1 whole Organic Free Range Chicken (4-5lb)
  • For the rub:
  • 4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • For the slow cooker:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pealed and mashed
  • 2 lemons, quartered
Instructions
  1. Chop up vegetables and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse chicken then dry with a paper towel. Combine rub ingredients and rub garlic cloves all over chicken then rub with spices.
  3. Place lemons and garlic cloves inside chicken and place in slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 7 hours. If less than 5 pound chicken will take about 6 hours.
  5. Place in a glass baking dish and broil on high for 4-5 minutes to get a crispy skin.
Notes
You can add some chopped up sweet potatoes in the slow cooker with the chicken for some healthy carbs.

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

spicy wings

 

I opened a wonderful email from my older sister the other day with this recipe inside. She said that these wings were to die for and that I had to make them. She was right! This recipe is a great substitution for fried hot wings. It is the perfect amount of sweet from the honey and spicy from the chipotle peppers. I made this the other night and they were gone in a day and a half! They are amazing. These would be great to bring to a party or family gathering. Enjoy!

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 3lb Organic Chicken Drumsticks
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Raw Honey
  • 1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger or 1tsp Dried Ginger
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in adobo minced, plus 1 Tbsp of sauce
  • 1 tbsp Potato Starch
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the chicken. Don’t go crazy with the salt, the sauce makes up for it.
  2. Place chicken in glass baking dish.
  3. While oven is preheating, combine all remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until it begins to thicken (about 15 minutes). If it does not thicken you can take 1 tbsp of Potato Starch and mix with 2 tbsp cold water then add to sauce and it will thicken right up.
  4. Toss the chicken in the sauce. You can let these marinate over night or cook right away.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes then flip and bake for another 25 minutes.
Notes
I had about 1/2-1 cup of sauce left over. You can add this to the chicken as it cooks or save it and make burgers out of it. I also marinated salmon in it and it came out very good! Get creative!

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Purification/Cleanse Friendly)

pudding

I began another 21 day purification journey this past Tuesday, which means tasty, new cleanse-friendly recipes! Most of our recipes on the blog are cleanse-friendly but it can be tricky to make a dessert that doesn’t have any offending ingredients and still tastes like a treat. I have ¬†seen a lot of chia seed pudding recipes online and decided to make a super simple version and see how it tastes. It came out really good! This recipe not only has just five ingredients but it also contains chia seeds, which have many health benefits.

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds are most commonly known as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber but have many other health benefits.

A one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber, which helps us stay fuller longer, avoid food cravings, and slows the absorption of of sugar into the blood
  • 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and heart health
  • 18% of the recommended daily intake for Calcium and 27% of the daily intake for Phosphorus, which helps to maintain healthy bones
  • 30% of the recommended daily intake for Manganese, which is important for bones and allows our body to properly use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin
  • 4.4 grams of protein

You can add chia seeds to any food since they don’t have any flavor. My favorite way to incorporate them into my diet is in smoothies. Add one tablespoon to your meal and you will be set!

 

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Purification/Cleanse Friendly)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Amanda
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Raw Honey
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a glass dish and mix until everything is incorporated. Cover so that the dish is air tight.
  2. Place in fridge for 3 hours and stir every hour or store in fridge over night.
Serving size: 1/2 recipe Calories: 156 Fat: 7.5 Carbohydrates: 15.5 Protein: 7