Creamy Avocado Hummus

If you like hummus and like avocado, try this avocado hummus! I love pomegranate seeds especially garnishing with that beautiful color! I first tried it at a local burger joint and had to try it for myself! Feel free to play with the seasonings and lemon (if you prefer more or less).  My kids love hummus and it’s super nutritious!  If you’re kids don’t like to eat beans, let them try it as a spread.  Hummus on crackers or toast, even paired with chicken or veggies for dipping.  I also love this dip with endives!

Ingredients:

1-15oz no salt added garbanzo beans and reserve liquid

3 tablespoons tahini

lemon, juiced

1 large clove garlic

2 small avocados (or 1 large)

1/3 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine lemon and tahini in food processor.
  2. Add beans, then avocado and cumin.
  3. Slowly add in about 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved liquid until appropriate consistency is achieved.  Blend well until creamy.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Chocolate ‘Peanut Butter’ Cupcakes

When I was younger, my favorite Halloween candy was peanut butter cups (anyone else with me?!).  Even on Easter, I would get so excited to have one of those peanut butter filled chocolate eggs.  That sweet combination of peanut butter and chocolate…amazing but I wanted to come up with an easy eggless option that included a moist cake instead of the solid chocolate and of course less sugar!  After some experimenting, I finally created this vegan chocolate cupcake with an ooey gooey naturally sweetened peanut butter center!  The cake is super moist and gluten-free!

Ingredients:

Cake

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup coconut or canola oil

1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1 cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk

1 teaspoon vinegar

Filling

1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with liners lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, vanilla, vinegar and milk.
  4. Add liquid to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour into muffin liners and sprinkle with chocolate chips (2-3 chips per muffin is perfect). Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, whisk together the filling ingredients.  If the peanut butter is a little hard, microwave for 10-15 seconds until soft and easy to whisk.
  7. Once muffins are done, allow to cool completely.
  8. Carefully slice in half and spread peanut butter honey mixture.

 

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin muffins (or pumpkin anything) are a favorite in my house. These muffins are Gluten-free, and I replaced some of the fat for greek yogurt which boosts the protein!  Pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene which the body converts into a form of Vitamin A.  It’s also rich in fiber and other nutrients such as potassium. Austin inspired me to create these pumpkin muffins with a cream cheese center that isn’t super sweet like a frosting!  I recently went to a local deli and saw these “pumpkin cream cheese yogurt muffins” and being a dietitian, I knew that these were loaded with sugar! But to someone who doesn’t know what goes into those store-bought muffins may think they are super healthy because they’re made with yogurt!  Well….I have news for you, they are laden in sugar and super high in calories! Some of those muffins have upwards of 30 grams of sugar for 1 muffin! Yikes!  Ok, I digress.  Now back to these muffins that I baked from scratch and so excited to share this recipe because I only used 1/3 cup of brown sugar for the muffin batter and 2 teaspoon of agave natural sweetener for the cream cheese filling. Each muffin contains about 6 grams of sugar. Yummmmm, if you love pumpkin and cream cheese, try these!

Ingredients:

1 cup of oat flour

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/3 cup greek yogurt (low fat or whole milk)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 eggs, whisked

1 cup canned pumpkin (look for a can with a BPA-free liner)

2 tablespoons milk or dairy alternative

Filling:

6 oz low fat cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons agave

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a muffin tin with liners, spray lightly with cooking spray
  2. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt, oil, eggs, milk, pumpkin and sugar.  Whisk well.
  4. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine (do not overmix or you will end up with tough muffins).
  5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with agave and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/3 full. Then add about one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. 
  7. Then top with more pumpkin batter and seal in the cream cheese with it.
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

No Bake Granola Bars with Cranberries, Almonds & Chocolate

I love granola bars.  They are an essential item in my kitchen and truth be told, I used to spend a lot of $ on buying packaged bars.  I’ve experimented with many variations of granola bars and this is my favorite no-bake recipe!  These keep really well in the freezer and actually taste even more satisfying frozen (they do not freeze rock solid, similar to my peanut butter energy ball recipe!).  My boys loves these but I take out the mix-ins for my 18 month old.  All heart-healthy, natural ingredients: Flaxseed, oats, applesauce, honey and nut butter.  Once you make the base of the recipe, the mix-ins are endless.  Try unsweetened coconut, raisins, chopped walnuts, etc.  I also have a version that you can bake and includes egg, so if you prefer no nuts (or even for allergy reasons), check that recipe out.  It’s on my instagram page @cookingfortots but I’ll post on my blog later so stay tuned!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup natural almond or peanut butter (if you have your nut butter in the fridge, microwave it for about 15 seconds before using it here)

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix-ins: 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried

Directions:

  1. Combine applesauce, vanilla, honey and nut butter in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flaxseed, oats, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the honey mixture to the oats and stir well! Coating all of the oats.
  4. Now fold in your mix-ins.
  5. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and pour in the mixture.
  6. Important! Press firmly down on the mixture to create a long rectangular shape about 1/2″ thick.
  7. Place in the freezer for quicker binding or the fridge for about 2 hours.
  8. Note: If in the fridge, some pieces may fall off as these do not bind super well but I do recommend freezing them as they hold together even better.

Easy Gluten-Free Vegetable Lo-Mein

When Ethan was around 18 months old, I would make him vegetable lo-mein all the time! He just loved noodles and it became my  go-to dish that I would make at least twice per week and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.  Made the perfect lunch for our outings to the Gymboree or playground.  He just loved it which of course made me happy to see he was chowing down on all of these nutrient-rich vegetables!

NOW come about 2 1/2 years later and I’ve started making the same dish using Banza chickpea pasta spaghetti! Have you ever tried this pasta?  If you haven’t, you must.  For one, it has 2x the protein and 4x the fiber of traditional white pasta!  No laundry list of ingredients with chickpeas being the primary ingredient next to tapioca, pea protein and xanthin gum (and all-natural, non-GMO fiber).  HELLO!!!! Kind of amazing right?  I feel so much better about my kids getting even more fiber and protein by eating this pasta versus another.  Give my vegetable lo-mein recipe a try.  Even my husband loved this one using Banza spaghetti!!

Ingredients:

1-8 oz box Banza chickpea spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

2 cups julienne cut or chopped vegetables like carrots, zucchini, red peppers, bok choy, mushrooms and/or broccoli

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger

3 green onions, finely sliced

Sauce:

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, add all sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  5. Once vegetables are heated through, add the sauce and allow it to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the Banza chickpea spaghetti and green onions.
  7. Mix well, coating the noodles.
  8. Transfer to a plate a serve or try these noodles cold!

 

 

 

Cranberry Banana Oat Muffins

If you’ve been following my posts, then you know that I love baking muffins, especially with banana.  Truthfully, I take a weekly, if not twice weekly, trip to my local fruit stand to buy a bunch of bananas in hopes that there will be leftover for baking on the weekend!  I love to bake with super ripe bananas…and I mean the black, even slightly mushy ones.  Those produce the most amazing naturally sweet flavor in baking any banana baked good and worked perfectly for these muffins.

Another ingredient that I enjoy baking with is cranberries.  Not only are these tiny gems packed with nutrition, but they provide a burst of flavor to any dish you put them in, especially in baking.  In this case, I used dried cranberries which already have some sugar added to them.  By nature, cranberries are low in sugar and high in acid so they are usually sweetened with added sugars for palatability. Since I did not add any sugar to this recipe, I’ve included the cranberries as dried for that sweet/tart flavor that is just incredible in these banana muffins!

My kids and husband loved these muffins.  Let’s just say I baked one dozen yesterday and have only 2 left!  Those 2 will make the perfect snack for Austin and I during our trip to the playground this morning.

*Oh and here is a tip to making these gluten-free!  Simply replace the whole wheat flour with all-purpose gluten-free flour!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup quick or rolled oats

1/4 cup finely ground flaxseed

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

3 large banana (or 4 small), very ripe and mashed well

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.  
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg white, then add the oil, vanilla extract and applesauce.
  5. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. 
  7. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Veggie Pancakes

My kids love pancakes! I mean who doesn’t? I love trying new recipes and flavors in pancake form. Easy to hold for little hands and these veggie pancakes are a great way to include vegetables in your little one’s diet any time of day! Tzatiki Or a savory yogurt sauce is a perfect dip and you can easily make your own using plain yogurt, a dash of ground cumin, lemon juice and chopped dill! I made these gluten free but you can totally use whole wheat flour for a boost of fiber.

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (whole wheat flour also works for those not following a GF diet).

-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

-1 egg

-2 tablespoons milk

-3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

-1/3 cup zucchini finely shredded

-1/4 cup onion, finely shredded

-1/3 cup chopped kale

Directions:

1) Combine veggies in a bowl and squeeze out excess liquid using paper towels or a cheesecloth.

2) In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and Parmesan cheese.

3) In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk, carrots, zucchini, and onions.

4) Add egg/veggie mixture into dry ingredients and whisk to combine.

5) Using a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Pour the batter by tablespoons into the pan, making Silver dollar sized pancake rounds.

6) Cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

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