healthy dessert

Monkey Salad

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Have you ever heard of Monkey Salad before? It’s a cute name for a fun fruit-and-nut salad that contains bananas.


We just saw the Curious George movie recently, so I have bananas on my mind. :-)


This makes a great snack or dessert when your sweet tooth is strong. Kids really love it too! The best part is that you can customize it to suit whatever you have on hand or individual allergies.


Swap out the nuts, change the fruits, experiment with different nut or seed butters … it’s all good (and delicious!).


Monkey Salad


1 banana, sliced
½ cup of berries or sliced apple
¼ cup cashews, pecans, walnuts or almonds
1 tbsp almond or other nut butter
(optional) 2 tbsp coconut flakes
(optional) Sprinkling of sea salt
(optional) Drizzle of honey


Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!


In good health,
Tara



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Choco-Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl

Are you ready for a new summer dessert staple?! Smoothie bowls are what my kids refer to as "ice cream"…seriously! And this one I'm sharing today happens to be a favorite around here in the Allen household.


The trick is to use plenty of frozen produce and adjust the liquid as you go to get the right consistency. Get creative with toppings! Berries, coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips, nuts and seeds all work well. 


Yes, it contains cauliflower, and yes, it’s yummy. 

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Choco-Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl 

Makes 2 servings 



Ingredients: 


1 frozen banana, sliced 
1 cup frozen cauliflower 
1 cup frozen berries of your choice 
⅓ cup canned coconut milk (shake it up first!) 
⅓ cup coconut water as needed (or regular water) 
¼ cup raw cacao powder 
1 tbsp nut butter of your choice 
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt (optional) 


Directions: 


1. Pour a little bit of the water in the bottom of your high-speed blender, then add banana, cauliflower, berries, coconut milk, cacao powder, nut butter, and salt in the blender. Add the rest of the water. 

2. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. This will be thick. Add more water if necessary. 

3. Place in two bowls and eat immediately with a big smile on your face. 


Talk soon,
Tara

P.S. Are you on instagram? Me too! I'm @tara_allen_health over there. I'd love to hang out with you in between our weekly emails. 

Dark Chocolate Love Bites

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It’s Valentine’s Day week and it’s not too late to make something that requires minimal time + ingredients but looks super fancy…and tastes even better! ;-)

DARK CHOCOLATE LOVE BITES

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 oz. dark, organic chocolate

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1/4 cup slivered almond

Directions:

  1. Fill one large pot with water and place a smaller pot inside. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Make sure no water can get into smaller pot.

  2. Add dark chocolate to smaller pot and stir continuously until melted. It burns fast…don’t take your eyes off of it to help with your daughter’s math homework.

  3. Spread a large piece of wax paper across your counter. Place a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the wax paper so it forms a circle. Repeat until all chocolate is used up.

  4. Immediately place 4-5 pomegranate seeds in the center of each chocolate and then surround with slivered almonds.

  5. Let chocolate cool for 1 hour before peeling off the wax paper. Arrange on a nice plate or place in mason jar.

    Make sure you tag me on social when you share these beauties! ;-) Enjoy!

    In good health,

    Tara

Coconut Macaroons

It’s the week before Christmas and the New Years celebrations are kicking off in 2 weeks. Some of us are all cookie-baked out. Is this you?! Do you need something different? This macaroon recipe has just 4 ingredients! You must try. :-)

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Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:

·      2 large egg whites

·      ¼ cup honey

·      ¼ teaspoon sea salt

·      2½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes


Directions:

1. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks with a hand blender.

2. Gently whisk in honey and salt.  Fold in coconut flakes.

3. Place bowl in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

4. When ready to bake, Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Fill a melon baller with batter (firmly packed)

6. Release batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until macaroons are golden brown.

7.  Cool for at least an hour.  Serve and enjoy!

In good health and holiday cheer,

Tara

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Pistachio-Apple Bars

These Pistachio-Apple bars are amazing!


Magnolia and Jagger’s schools don’t allow nuts due to children’s allergies, so we rely a lot on nuts at home. These bars are the perfect after-school snack or dessert!

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Pistachio-Apple Bars with Chia Seeds (Servings 14)


Ingredients:


• 1/3 cup cashew butter 

• 1/3 cup honey 

• 1 tablespoon olive oil 

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

• 1/2 teaspoon salt 

• 1 1/4 cups puffed rice

• 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 

• 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apple 

• 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries 

• 1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted pistachios

• 1 teaspoon black chia seeds


Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. In a microwave safe bowl, mix cashew butter, honey, olive oil, vanilla, and salt. 

3. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute. 

4. In a separate bowl, combine puffed rice, oats, apple, cranberries, and pistachios. 

5. Pour cashew mixture over puffed rice mixture, and toss gently to combine. 

6. Press into an 11 x 7-inch, greased glass baking dish. 

7. Sprinkle the top with chia seeds, pressing down lightly to stick them to the mixture.

8. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool, slice, and enjoy!


How do these sound to you?

In good health,

Tara

P.S. You can totally reduce the honey to make these even healthier. I’ve made them with about 1/2 the amount for a lower glycemic version (because...PCOS) and they were delicious!

Cherry Coconut Chia Pudding

Good morning!

If you're like me and you sometimes wait until last minute to decide on a dessert to make or serve to your family or for a special occasion, I've gotcha covered with this SUPER EASY, no-bake option.

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Cherry Coconut Chia Pudding
(Serves 3)


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries, chopped (plus extra for topping)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2-3 T coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp stevia (or substitute with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup)

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl the night before you're having company over.
  2. Leave overnight in the fridge.
  3. The next day, spoon into 3 of your prettiest bowls and garnish with more cherries and/or coconut flakes.

Voila!  Enjoy.

If you try this one, please drop a comment below and let me know what you think!

In good health,

Tara

Maple Sea Salt Fudge

Hey there,

Ready for the holidays yet?  Me neither!

If you are new to my site, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to join my free newsletter list. My newsletter is where I share SO MANY more of my healthified recipes and wellness tips to get you healthy, fit, and strong! It’s a one-stop shop. ;-)

And while you’re at it, you might as well join my private facebook group, Lean In with Tara Allen Health, too! Inside you’ll find weekly challenges to optimize your body and mind, more recipes, and fun fitness Fridays.

Alrighty, so what if you had one more, quick & easy, healthy, NO BAKE dessert recipe in your arsenal to have at your fingertips for the remainder of the parties and gatherings?  

I love to have some desserts in the freezer - especially this time of year!  This helps cut back on the last-minute prep stress and means that if someone stops by last minute or we're running out and want the kids to be able to partake in dessert too, we have some options on hand.

This Maple Sea Salt Fudge is sooooooo satisfying!  It's delicious and festive, plus it's full of protein and healthy fats to help keep you from devouring the cookie platters you just worked so hard to create.  :-)

<< These are gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and paleo>>

Don't they LOOK amazing too?!

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Maple Sea Salt Fudge

Ingredients:

1 cup almond butter

1/2 cup cashew butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted then cooled to room temp.)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp sea salt (optional: extra for garnish)

 

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together nut butters, maple syrup, and coconut oil.

2. Mix in vanilla and sea salt.

3. Line a cake pan (8X8 works well) with parchment paper.

4. Spread mixture evenly into cake pan.  

5. Optional: Garnish with sea salt.

6. Place in freezer for 1-2 hours.

7. Cut into squares (using a warm knife). Place remaining squares back into the freezer to store.

 

Let me know if you try these! 

 

In holiday cheer and good health,

Tara

Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies

Hey you,

It wouldn't be a holiday season without using our favorite cookie cutters or making a complete flour-y mess of the kitchen floor with the kiddos, would it? ;-)

These Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies will hit the spot!  They are doughy / soft and just a bit sweet...nothing that will send you into that sugar craving downward spiral.  Bring them along to your next holiday party or cookie exchange....and double the batch to keep some extras at home!

<<These are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and soy free.>>

In Joy and Health,

Tara

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Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

2.5 cups almond flour

¼ cup honey

1 large egg

1.5 T coconut oil

½ tsp pure almond extract

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

coconut flour (for rolling out and dusting)

 

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    Mix all ingredients in a food processor, mixer, or by hand.

3.    Flatten dough to about 1/3 – ½ inch thickness.  Cover and allow to cool in fridge for 30 minutes.

4.    Place dough between wax paper, sprinkle with coconut flour, and roll out with a rolling pin.

5.    Dust again with coconut flour before using cookie cutters.

6.    Collect “scraps” and repeat steps 4 & 5 until all dough is used.

7.    Place cookies on a baking sheet greased with coconut oil or lined with parchment paper.

8.    Decorate as desired or leave cookies plain.

9.    Bake 7-10 minutes (until edges start to turn golden-brown).

Almond Coconut Bliss Balls

Hellooooooooooooooo!

It's December 3rd.  Yup.  Go check, I'll wait.

:-)

Well, sometimes you need a break from the fancy-schmancy cookies and pies that turn your kitchen upside down and your floors into a flour skating rink.

I feel ya.

Try these Almond Coconut Bliss Balls!

These are a delicious snack or dessert and require NO BAKING!  They come together quickly, so they work wonders when you're in a pinch and need to bring something sweet to your office potluck, your next holiday party, or just to have something on hand for out-of-towners.

<<<These are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, grain-free, no refined sugar, vegan>>>

Enjoy!

In good health,

Tara

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Almond Coconut Bliss Balls

 

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)

½ cup almond flour

2 T honey

2T coconut oil

1 tsp pure almond extract

½ tsp cinnamon

 

Directions:

1.    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.    Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden.

3.    Roll into balls (approximately 1 T each).

4.    Place in freezer on a wax paper covered plate for at least 1 hour.

5.    Keep in container in freezer or refrigerator and serve cold (will melt if left out too long).

Crustless Pumpkin Pie... and a Thanksgiving Travel Workout

Thankful and Grateful...


I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for signing up for being part of my community here on the inter-webs.  I look forward to creating even more recipes, workouts, videos, and all-things-womens-health moving forward….so that I can share it all with you!

If you're hosting on Thanksgiving this year, or maybe just want to bring along a dessert that you know you'll enjoy, this Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe will hit the spot!  Best of all, it's gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and contains no refined sugar.  If you or any of your friends or family are avoiding these categories of food for health reasons, you'll be the hit of the party for serving (or bringing) a dessert that they can have.  :-)
 

Check out my Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe here.
 

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Are you traveling this holiday season?

Did you catch my video that includes a quick & easy full-body workout? It's perfect for hotel rooms or extended family's bathrooms…whichever!  ;-)

You can watch that right here.

Cheers to a peaceful, laughter-filled holiday!

In health and gratitude,
Tara

Oatmeal Bites

 

Full disclosure here...

Sometimes it gets quite tedious to feed Jagger (the baby) anything liquid-y and messy like oatmeal.  Often, his time in the highchair eating breakfast is when I like to chat about what we're doing for the day, eat my own breakfast, and/or load the dishwasher while no one is trying to crawl inside.

I decided it was about time to create another recipe that got in some healthy, breakfast ingredients in convenient, finger-food bites.

Alas, these oatmeal bites were born.

Jagger-dude polishes these off within minutes and Magnolia feels like she's getting dessert for breakfast.  I don't correct her - these could absolutely be used for a dessert at well!  

I've since experimented by adding and subbing lots of other mix-ins, and let me tell you, these bad boys are pretty versatile!  Feel free to get creative and let me know how they come out for you.

Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of quick oats (we use gluten free)
  • 1 cup pureed carrot (pumpkin or sweet potato work well too)
  • 2 large & ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 medium & ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T crushed walnuts (optional)
  • 2 T raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 large carrot, grated - save half for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. In a blender, mix the wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
  4. Spread batter in a greased, 8X8 cake pan.  (Any baking pan with an edge will be fine, just keep a close eye and adjust cooking times).
  5. Add grated carrot garnish to tops, if using.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and batter no longer jiggles.  
  7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares (or triangles or dinosaurs…whatever will make your kiddo smile).

Enjoy!

 

In good health,

Tara

 

Watermelon "Cookies"

I've been on a watermelon kick lately, because…Summer.  Our latest creation involved the baby, the toddler, some fun cookie cutters, and MOST DEFINITELY a couple of baths afterwards.  ;-)

Check it out:

Puffed Rice Treats

Puffed Rice Treats

Puffed Rice Treats

We set out on a mission to create something new for this weekend.  With out-of-state friends coming for a visit (and one with a peanut and tree nut allergy), we decided to venture away from our usual desserts which often have nut flour or nut butter in the mix somewhere.

After seeing the packaged version of this dessert on the store shelves, I decided I would try my hand at my own version.  Puffed brown rice with no other ingredients could work as the base and sunflower seed butter would help add flavor.  Honey seemed like the perfect option to sweeten and hold it all together.

My first trial-run came out great.  So, obviously, I switched it up the real deal.  (why?!?!)  Actually, I tried to cut corners and didn't freeze them long enough before cutting and they ended up being very crumbly - but still delicious!

These are a bit sweet for me, so I plan to make them again with a lot less honey as a better (and healthier) snack option.  They may get a bit crumbly again without as much honey sticking it all together, but I don't mind the granola consistency.

***Note: Make sure to get sunflower seed butter that's not made on shared equipment in a warehouse that also makes nut butters if you're cooking for someone with food allergies.  I'm sure you all know that already!  :-/  Luckily we looked over the package together first. Although they seemed to be a hit with most, our friend with the allergy was not able to try these.  What a silly mistake!  Ugh.  Live and learn.  ;-)

Puffed Rice Treats all mixed and ready to be compacted down a bit more and frozen for a little before cutting into squares.

Puffed Rice Treats all mixed and ready to be compacted down a bit more and frozen for a little before cutting into squares.

Puffed Rice Treats

(gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free)

 

Serves 16

 

Ingredients:

 

4 cups puffed brown rice

½ cup sunflower seed butter

½ cup raw honey

 

 

Directions:

 

1.    Pour puffed rice into a large mixing bowl.

2.    In a saucepan on the stove, bring sunflower seed butter and honey to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat.

3.    Pour sunflower seed/honey into bowl with puffed rice and stir well to combine.

4.    Spoon mixture into a pan (8x8 cake pan works well) on top of parchment paper.

5.    Using a spatula (or spoon), press down hard to compact mixture.

6.    Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.

7.    Remove and cut into 16 squares.  J

 

Do you plan on making these?  They come together in about 5 minutes.  Then just freeze for a bit and cut up into squares and you look like you've been working hard all day in the kitchen!

Let me know how yours come out.

 

In good health,

Tara

Banana Bread ---> grain-free, dairy-free

It's Spring break, Easter, and Passover all this week!  You may need a good dessert that doubles as breakfast and snacks for the kids this week.  It should hold up well in the freezer, be delicious, taste like a treat, and be nourishing to you, your kids, and your guests.  Am-I-right?!?!  

This Banana Bread was born out of the need to use up my mushy bananas.  I already have a freezer stash to use for smoothies and to make 'nice cream', so I wanted to make bread.  For us, it needed to be gluten-free, dairy-free, no refined sugars, full of healthy fat, protein, and fiber.  I'm fueling my busy & active body along with my family's.  And, with the things my toddler says on the regular, let me tell you, her brain is very happy with the kinds of fuel it's been getting!  ;-)  

Example from today:

Magnolia to Jagger:  "Jagger, please stop jumping in your crib.  We worked very hard for that bed and I wouldn't want to have to buy a new one and put it together again."

So, I'm sure your kiddos are just as hilarious - especially when they're getting in that good nutrition!  Leave me a comment and tell me what funny things they've said recently.  

And, make this bread immediately (if there are no egg or nut allergies in the house).  It's a good one to have on hand for a busy & special week like this one.

Banana Bread

(gluten-free, dairy-free)

 

Ingredients:

 

4 large eggs

4 bananas (ripe or overripe)

½ cup almond butter (sub: peanut butter)

4 T coconut oil, melted (plus extra to grease pan)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/5 cup hazelnut flour (sub: almond flour)

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp sea salt

 

 

Directions:

 

1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    Combine all wet ingredients in a blender.

3.    Add dry ingredients to blender and mix well.

4.    Grease an 8X8 cake pan (ok to use loaf pan, but cooking times will vary).

5.    Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).  Top of bread should be golden-brown and center should be set.

6.    Allow to cool before slicing and serving. 

Red Velvet LOVE Brownies

February is in full swing as we are approaching the middle of the month already.  How?!?  With the famous groundhog forecasting 6 more weeks of Winter, I suppose we should've been expecting the blizzard we were met with today on Long Island.

Snow and all, February is a time for love, heart-shaped everything, shades of pink and red, heart health, and lots and lots of…chocolate!!

So, what if you're on a roll with upgrading your health so far in 2017, but still looking for something that looks and tastes like an indulgence?  What if you or a family member have some food allergies / sensitivities that prevent you from being able to eat most of the store-bought or homemade recipes out there?  I hope this Red Velvet Love Brownie recipe fills that void for you!

These bad boys are gluten-free, dairy-free, high in protein and fiber, and contain healthy fats plus a full serving of veggies.  They're chocolate-y, yet low glycemic…how's that for showing your heart some love this month?!

Black beans in brownies?!?! &nbsp;Yup! &nbsp;They work great for texture, color, and add lots of nutrition! &nbsp;

Black beans in brownies?!?!  Yup!  They work great for texture, color, and add lots of nutrition!  

Beets bring the "red velvet" hint of color while adding a bit of subtle sweetness.

Beets bring the "red velvet" hint of color while adding a bit of subtle sweetness.

Brownie batter all mixed up.

Brownie batter all mixed up.

Red Velvet Love Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-oz) can of black beans, rinsed (BPA-free can)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup beets (sliced and cooked - either roast in oven or buy a jar)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened / dairy-free / gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in food processor, high-speed blender (keep scraping sides down), or with a mixer.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into well-greased muffin tin or line with paper liners.  This makes adorable, round brownies with slightly crispy edges that are like getting the highly sought-after corner piece each time.  ;-)
  6. For the look pictured up top (with the heart in the middle), cut a beet slice into the heart shape and press onto top.  Other ideas for toppings include: chocolate chips, hemp seeds, walnuts, or anything else your creative mind comes up with.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes - until edges start to pull away from muffin tin and become slightly crispy.
  8. Share with your favorite people!
Little hands couldn't wait for me to finish the photo shoot. &nbsp;;-)

Little hands couldn't wait for me to finish the photo shoot.  ;-)

Red Velvet Love Brownies with various toppings.&nbsp;Pictured (starting top left and going clock-wise): Walnuts, chocolate chip and hemp seeds, heart-shaped beet, chocolate chip.

Red Velvet Love Brownies with various toppings. Pictured (starting top left and going clock-wise): Walnuts, chocolate chip and hemp seeds, heart-shaped beet, chocolate chip.

Alright guys…will you dare to try these?  It is definitely "different" to bake with black beans, but they taste so chocolate-y and are healthycome on now!  Brownies for lunch, anyone?

In good health,

Tara

Cake Smash Success! (Jagger Turns ONE)

Well how did THAT happen?  365 days and boom...Jagger-dude is 1 year old.  

He is the most perfect compliment to our crazy family.  His smiles and laughs make strangers smile and laugh everywhere we go.  He loves to be silly and mobile and hi big sister - well, he's a BIG fan of hers.

Some of you already know that our babies came with a little (lot of) help from science.  They were IVF miracles.  They also each survived a terrible pregnancy disease I had both times called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  All this just to say, we are so. incredibly. BLESSED!

I believe we can find reason in everything we experience.  "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." (One of my favorite quotes since I was a kid - from Nietzsche).  Our experiences have brought me to where I am today…I value my family and our health above all else.  I know what it's like to long for each of these.

Well, hello there! &nbsp;(Jagger-dude - a few months old)

Well, hello there!  (Jagger-dude - a few months old)

To my sweet Jagger Jack, Happy 1st birthday!  We knew we loved you long before you joined us Earth-side.  You've been such a bright star in our lives over the past year.  I have loved every minute of our 365 days together - watching you grow, play, and learn.  I can't wait for more todays and tomorrows with you!

Babywearing has saved me this year! &nbsp;Having free hands to chase after big sis is always a good idea.

Babywearing has saved me this year!  Having free hands to chase after big sis is always a good idea.

Now on to parties and cake smashes.  Here's what I learned:

  1. January birthday parties in NY need snow dates as a back-up plan.
  2. Using blueberries to color the icing actually makes purple icing, not blue.  Jagger is a very secure little dude, he doesn't mind purple….but, it didn't quite fit into the "Winter One-derland" theme that we were going for.  ;-)
  3. Sometimes the "cake smash" turns out to be more of a cake fondle.  And that's cool!  He enjoyed it, and that's all I was hoping for.
We may have had to reschedule Jagger's party, but at least we got an unexpected day to play in the fluffy white stuff!

We may have had to reschedule Jagger's party, but at least we got an unexpected day to play in the fluffy white stuff!

I started feeling pretty nostalgic as I made this recipe - the same one I created originally for Magnolia's first birthday.  I was a newbie to healthy baking, at that time, and ended up making about 7-10 versions of this one before it was "right".  That was wayyy back in 2014.  ;-)  I've come a long way!  Now I have TWO adorable reasons to keep me on top of my healthy baking (and cooking) game.

Magnolia enjoying her smash cupcake 2+ years ago at her 1st birthday party. &nbsp;It's incredibly bittersweet to see how much she's grown in body and mind and how fast our memories are piling up as the months fly by.

Magnolia enjoying her smash cupcake 2+ years ago at her 1st birthday party.  It's incredibly bittersweet to see how much she's grown in body and mind and how fast our memories are piling up as the months fly by.

This was also the start of the muffin magic.  What the heck is that muffin magic, you ask?  Well, it's figuring out that muffins can be made of all the healthy stuff you want your kiddos and your whole family to eat!  We're talking veggies, fruit, protein, healthy fats, and fiber.  I don't hide anything in there as I believe it's in the kiddos' best interest to know they are eating veggies and all the good stuff to give them the best foundation of health that you can.  So grab the little ones and let them help measure and mix and get very familiar with these healthy ingredients!

*Note: This recipe is for muffins.  Add the icing and voila - you have cupcakes!

Pumpkin Batter all mixed and ready for the muffin pan.

Pumpkin Batter all mixed and ready for the muffin pan.

"Happy birthday to you…"   

"Happy birthday to you…"

 

 

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots (optional)
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend together all wet ingredients in a blender.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly pour wet ingredients from blender into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Fill greased muffin pan (or muffins liners) 2/3 full.
  6. Bake 30 minutes.

*Makes 12 muffins.

"Is the goal to shove as much of this in my mouth as possible, mama? &nbsp;'Cause that I can do!"   

"Is the goal to shove as much of this in my mouth as possible, mama?  'Cause that I can do!"

 

I switched up the kind of icing I made this time, as I wanted a nice shade of blue to go with our "Winter One-derland" theme.  Hmm.  That didn't work out, but it was a very pretty purple color. Haha.  And it was tasty!

Blueberry Coconut Cream Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T coconut oil (not melted)
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Place can of coconut milk upside down in fridge overnight.
  2. Carefully open can and scoop out the hardened coconut cream.  This is what you will be using for the icing.  Save the watery part to use in other recipes.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a blender (you will need to keep scraping down the sides and blending several times).
  4. If you make in advance, it's ok to refrigerate icing, just be sure to give it a good blend/whipping before you use as it will harden a bit.

 

Jagger seems as surprised as we are that he's ONE already!

Jagger seems as surprised as we are that he's ONE already!

Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies

Baby it's cold outside!  And, with the holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and uber-sweet festivities practically upon us, we need a new cookie recipe!!!  

For me, baking Christmas cookies with my mom is an annual tradition and one we haven't missed for even one year.  We follow my Grandmother's recipe and I feel bittersweet knowing although I never had the chance to meet her, that we are now 4 generations of girls/women (plus Jagger and sometimes my husband) being connected every year while we follow the instructions on this well-loved piece of paper that is stained, falling apart, and very hard to read.  But, it was hers!  There are just some things that don't need upgrading.

However, with shortening, loads of butter, mounds of sugar, bleached / refined flour, and artificial food dye, I just can't let that go over with my very young toddler.  We'll reevaluate as she gets older (this motherhood thing is a constant moving target), but as for now, she eats only foods that *cause* health.  As for baby Jagger, well, he won't be eating (or missing out) on any of these cookies this year.

So, what's a sensitive-daughter-and-granddaughter slash health-conscious-mama slash Christmas-tradition-lover to do?  Come up with a new recipe that's just as fun to make, tastes like a treat, and adds some extra fuel to our day!  It's almost-Winter and absolutely cold & flu season - let's stack the deck….ok?  ;-)

These cookies are easy to make and work well with your favorite cookie cutters.  Feel free to decorate them as you choose.  

What they have: protein & fiber.

What they don't have: refined sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, flour/grains, artificial anything, trans fats.

The dough is chilled and ready to be rolled out and made into festive shapes!

The dough is chilled and ready to be rolled out and made into festive shapes!

Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies….ready for the oven! &nbsp;

Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookies….ready for the oven!  

HOLIDAY SPICED SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut flour (for dusting cookie cutters and rolling out)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a food processor, mixer, or with (clean!) hands.
  3. Flatten dough to about 1/3 - 1/2 inch thickness.  Cover and allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Place dough between wax paper, sprinkle with coconut flour, and roll out with rolling pin. 
  5. Dust again with coconut flour before using cookie cutters.
  6. Collect "scraps" and repeat steps 4 & 5 until all dough is used.
  7. Place cookies on a baking sheet greased with coconut oil.
  8. Decorate as desired or leave cookies plain.
  9. Bake 7-10 minutes (until edges start to turn golden-brown).  Thin cookies will cook faster - keep your eye on them.

They were a big hit and I didn't get any pictures on the finished product.  I'll take that as a good sign instead of an oversight.  ;-)

Please leave me a comment or an email if you make these cookies.  I'd love to hear about your holiday celebrations!

Peace, Joy, and Health,

Tara

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

It's the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and most folks are either traveling to be closer with friends and family or hunkering down to get their meal prep on.  It's also day 3 of my GREAT and GRATEFUL week here at Tara Allen Health.  I'm grateful to have spent previous years helping patients in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day.  There's nothing quite like seeing how important you are in someone's day than when you are caring for them on a holiday while they're missing out on their own traditions back home.  Therefore, as I enjoy a day off with my family tomorrow (well, limited work - I am an entrepreneur!), I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, and ALL service professionals that will be working hard tomorrow to keep this country running as safely and healthfully as possible.  I'm grateful for all experiences that have lead me to where I'm at currently - as a wife and mama to an infant and toddler, and a business owner that gets to CHANGE lives in the best way on a daily basis with a schedule flexible enough to allow me to "mom" when i need to "mom".  GRATEFUL!

Now to share something GREAT in celebration...

A little birdie told me you may be in a pinch for a last-minute Thanksgiving dessert recipe.  This pumpkin pie comes together quickly and is something you can feed your guests, young and old, and feel good about!  It takes about 5 minutes to prep, so throw it in the oven while you relax, chase your kiddos, or figure out how the heck to carve that turkey.  ;-)

Cheers to a peaceful, smiley, laughter-filled Thanksgiving to you all!

In health and gratitude,

Tara

CRUSTLESS PUMPKIN PIE

 

 

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

 

 

Ingredients:

 

15 ounces pumpkin puree (1 can)

1 cup coconut milk (full fat)

3 eggs

¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup (ok to sub with 1 T stevia for an even lower glycemic index)

¼ cup crushed walnuts or pecans

2 T chia seeds

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coconut oil (to grease pan)

 

 

Directions:

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    Grease baking pan with coconut oil.

3.    Mix all ingredients in blender, except crushed nuts.

4.    Pour mixture into pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.

5.    Top with crushed pecans / walnuts and allow to cool.

6.    Serve yourself a slice before it gets eaten all up.  ;-)

Banana Sushi Shenanigans

Do you ever plan to make something really elaborate to bring to a party only to realize you have 5 minutes left to pull something together?  Please tell me it's not just me!

This weekend I was busy working hard and momming harder until nearly the time we had to leave.  That's ok!  This is where creativity shows up at just the right time.  I saw my banana hammock and knew I wanted to make something that looked and tasted fancier than it really was.  ;-)  Enter… Banana Sushi! 

P.S.  It truly took only 5 minutes to make.  Then I dropped it everywhere.  Batch #2 took another 5 minutes.  So if you're clumsy like me, allot 5 minutes (batch 1) + 5 minutes (batch 2) + 3 minutes (clean-up) = 13 minutes…still totally doable, right?! 

Side note:  This "chocolate" works for just about any chocolate-y recipe you want.  Feel free to add peanut butter too if you're feeling extra indulgent.  Just please, please, please - for the love of nut butter - make sure your peanut butter has nothing but peanuts listed in the ingredients.  Sugar, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup have NO business being in YOUR peanut butter.  

Enjoy!

 

Banana Sushi

Ingredients:

 

Bananas

Cacao powder

Coconut oil

Honey

Hemp seeds

 

*Note: no measurements are listed because I just played around with the ingredients until I got the consistency and taste I wanted.   For me, I didn't want it to be too sweet, so I didn't use too much honey.  

 

Directions:

 

1. Cut banana in 1/4 inch slices.

2. In one bowl, mix coconut oil, cacao powder, and honey in a bowl.

3. Pour hemp seeds in a seperate bowl.

4. Dip bananas in chocolate mix until coated and then spoon hemp seeds on half of them.

5. Place coated bananas on wax paper.

6. Freeze for at least an hour before devouring.  ;-)

Banana Sushi waiting for their dip in the freezer

Banana Sushi waiting for their dip in the freezer