These bars make a fun and healthi-er gift. They are very easy to make – all you have to do is melt chocolate and stir in cereal. They can be made vegan and/or gluten-free if you check the ingredients on the chocolate and cereal. If these need to be made gluten-free, be extra careful to check the cereal as some rice cereal is sweetened with malt syrup, which is made from barley, a gluten-containing grain.
These 2-ingredient candy bars are very easy to make and can be made vegan and gluten-free. They make a great edible gift!
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup crisped brown rice cereal
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly until melted. Alternatively, heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 seconds increments, stir, and repeat until melted.
Gently stir in cereal and mix until all of the cereal is coated.
Pour the cereal mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a square in an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Place the parchment paper and bars on a cutting board. Cut the square in half and then cut into smaller bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
There are many options for ingredients that you may use, but if you’d like to know the exact brands used in these photos, see below.
I used Barbara’s Organic Brown Rice Crisps cereal, which was labelled vegan and gluten free (“Verified to contain less than 20 ppm gluten”) at the time I bought it. It contained 1g sugar per 1 cup serving and was sweetened with organic fruit juice concentrate (pear or apple).
For the chocolate, I used Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate Chips, 55% Cacao, Semi-Sweet. It was “allergen-friendly,” vegan, and gluten-free.
Grilling fruit caramelizes it for a crisp and sweet outside and a warm and tender inside. It also brings out the natural sweetness, so no added sugar is required! Try it as an appetizer, a side dish, or a dessert with your next barbecue.
This lower-sugar and vegan version of bananas foster maintains the most satisfying part of the dessert – warm bananas over a creamy and frozen dessert. To make it more authentic, you could use more oil and sugar to make more sauce. A mixture of sugar and molasses could be used in place of brown sugar. Banana liqueur would also be a nice touch – add when you add the rum.
Most recipes call for 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar for the bananas, not to mention the sugar in the ice cream. This recipe has only 1 tablespoon of added sugar total, or 12.5-25% of the sugar of a typical recipe (again, not including the sugar in the ice cream).
If possible, use over-ripe bananas for the “ice cream” and under-ripe bananas to cook.
This recipe is a lower sugar and vegan version of a delicious dessert. Frozen bananas can be kept in your freezer to make this quick recipe anytime.
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other cooking oil)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other milk alternative)
Slice 2 bananas and place in a single layer on a plate. Freeze overnight or until almost frozen solid.
Slice remaining bananas in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Melt coconut oil and sugar in a small nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add bananas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bananas are caramelized and tender. Add rum and let simmer, or flambe by carefully lighting with a long-reach lighter or tilting towards a gas stove flame.
In a small blender, blend frozen bananas with soy milk, starting with 1/4 cup, adding more soy milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is well blended and smooth.
Divide frozen banana mixture into two bowls and top with warm banana mixture and serve.
This is an updated post from last year. There are a few new recipes that were too good not to include this year, so they are shown below with their photo next to the recipe name. It’s now 25 recipes + 6 bonus recipes to share during the big game. For those with special needs or tastes, many recipes are:
These cookies are just enough to satisfy a craving for something sweet, without any refined flours, little added sugar (less than 1/2 teaspoon per cookie if you use unsweetened chocolate), and are vegan/dairy-free if you use vegan chocolate. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they are also gluten-free. If you are low on chocolate, you can replace half of it with chopped nuts (that’s what I did in these pictures).
These low sugar cookies have a nice almond and coconut flavor and are not overly sweet. If vegan chocolate is used, they are vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and considered paleo.
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (softened but not melted)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 drops liquid stevia (or 2 more tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar, and omit almond milk)
2 tablespoons almond milk or coconut beverage
1/4 cup dark chocolate chip (or dark chocolate bar, chopped)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and stevia. Stir until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball, and flatten to about 3/4 inch on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown on the edges. Let cool for two minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
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This recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthier dessert blog. It is very easy to make, and quick because there is no baking involved. It tastes like a rich chocolate cream pie, but is made with a vegetable (pumpkin) instead of cream, making this recipe lower in saturated fat, higher in beneficial nutrients, and can also be made vegan/dairy-free! This recipe can be made gluten-free if you skip the pie crust, making it into more of a mousse, or making your own pie crust with a nut base. I found that the mixture has a stronger pumpkin taste at first, but tastes more just like a chocolate pie after chilling for one day.
If you’re highly motivated, you can make this pie with fresh, homemade pumpkin puree. If not, use canned. You may find that certain brands, especially organic brands, have a different taste from the canned pumpkin with which you are more familiar. That is because canned pumpkin can be made with different blends of pumpkin and other squash. This may be off-putting, but again, this pie seems to lose the strong pumpkin flavor after one day.
You may find pumpkin in an aseptic carton (brand name Tetra Pak) rather than a can. Please note that these cartons are not recyclable in all areas, so check here to find out if these shelf-stable cartons can be recycled where you live.
It tastes like a rich chocolate cream pie, but is made with a vegetable (pumpkin) instead of cream! This makes the pie much lower in saturated fat and higher in nutrients, and also can be made vegan
1 cup dark chocolate chips (look for dairy-free/vegan if making for a crowd with vegans or milk allergies)
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 can (not pumpkin pie mix))
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
16 drops liquid stevia (or replace with a little extra sugar to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 store-bought pie crust
Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring, repeating until just melted.
Place pumpkin, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt in food processor and puree. Add melted chocolate and puree until very smooth. You can taste the mixture at this point and add a little more sugar if necessary.
Pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust and use a spatula to smooth it out. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4-6 hours. This pie seems to taste more like a chocolate cream pie and has less pumpkin flavor after being refrigerated for one day, which you may consider a good thing! Serve chilled.
Shown in a whole grain pie crust, which you may be lucky enough to find at your grocery store!
Thanksgiving dinner is a special meal, and the thought of healthy dishes at this meal probably offends some people. So, here are some tasty somewhat traditional recipes that just happen to be healthy, but don’t tell anyone!
Ways to Use Leftovers
If you’re cooking pumpkin or any other kind of winter squash, save the seeds! Clean and dry them, then try one of the two recipes below.
If you have ham at Thanksgiving or other holidays, you can make a hearty soup out of the ham once most of the meat is eaten.
Leftover veggies? Chop them up and use them in an omelet, or an omelet muffin!
You can also toss leftover veggies into cauliflower fried “rice.”
This unbelievably simple ice cream alternative mostly consists of one ingredient – bananas! You can also add a little vanilla extract for even better flavor. It tastes best when whipped up fresh because it will be smooth, creamy, and light. Feel free to add other flavors as desired – peanut butter, chocolate, etc.
Make your own no-sugar-added, vegan, dairy-free "ice cream" with just bananas and vanilla extract.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or to taste)
Peel the bananas and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Freeze on a plate or cookie sheet in a single layer for at least 1 hour. You can also use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Allow banana slices to thaw a bit, about 15 minutes at room temperature. Puree in a food processor with vanilla extract, pulsing a few times to start, for several minutes, until smooth and whipped. Serve immediately as "soft serve" or freeze and scoop it out later.
It’s like applesauce, but with pears! No added sugar necessary, especially if you use ripe to overly ripe pears. The ground ginger gives this recipe a little kick. You can mash/puree the pears using a variety of tools, including a whisk, potato masher, blender, food processor, or immersion blender. I used a whisk to make the chunky sauce pictured.
Today, March 11, 2015, is Registered Dietitian Day!
Happy RD Day to all the hardworking dietitians out there!
FYI, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. Trust the credentialed experts!
This “cake” will be a pleasant surprise at a party! It requires 3 basic ingredients – watermelon, coconut milk, and vanilla! Decorate it as you wish with fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and/or toasted coconut flakes.
This stunning no-sugar-added "cake" is made from 3 ingredients - watermelon, coconut milk, and vanilla! It can be decorated with fresh fruit and toasted nuts or coconut.
1 large seedless watermelon (refrigerated)
2 cans full-fat coconut milk or cream (without guar gum as an ingredient, refrigerated for 24 hours)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or contents of 1 vanilla pod)
1 cup sliced almonds (toaster)
1-2 cup berries, such as strawberries and blueberries
For best results, place a glass or metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Carefully open the cans of coconut milk and spoon out the thick layer of cream that has separated from the liquid at the top of the can. Place into chilled mixing bowl. Discard the liquid, or save for another recipe such as a smoothie.
Beat the cream on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for 2-4 minutes, or until it becomes light and fluffy and soft peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until just mixed. Set aside. If it becomes too thin to frost the "cake," refrigerate to stiffen the frosting. If it becomes to stiff from refrigeration, beat with the mixer for a few seconds.
Cut the ends off the watermelon, then place it on one of the flat ends. Use a large knife to cut vertically around the melon to remove the rind, creating a cylindrical form. As desired, shape the watermelon so it resembles a round cake, cutting off part of the tapered ends if desired.
If not frosting the watermelon right away, keep it in the refrigerator until ready. Once ready, pat try the outside of the melon with a towel. Cover with frosting, then decorate with desired toppings.
Confession: The pictured cake was made using coconut milk with guar gum, so the frosting wasn’t as stiff as it should have been. However, if you also make this mistake, it will still turn out pretty well!