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I am a big fan of adding extra fruit or vegetables into recipes…they can contribute a lot of nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and are generally low in fat and calories. And also, I think they are delicious. But you still need to be careful with what you add to your fruits and veggies. Yes, french fries are made from potatoes but when you deep fry them you can no longer call them healthy. Zucchini bread is also great in theory, you can hide some veggies in a delicious mixture of sugar and all purpose flour, but the sugar and refined flour part really isn’t so good for you. But no worries, you can definitely make it healthier by replacing refined flour with whole grains or nut flour and using less sugar, and maybe using something like fruit to help sweeten it a healthier way.

So last weekend I wanted to try making a healthy gluten free zucchini bread as a treat to share for after yoga, but didn’t want to have to worry about slicing it up and plates etc… so I decided to make it in cookie form, and it worked out really well. Everyone seemed to really like them and I hope you do too! I will definitely be making these again…maybe next time I will try and make them in mini muffin form 🙂

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread Cookies

Ingredients
1 Medium Banana, Mashed
1 Cup Shredded Zucchini
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Cup Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Honey
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and cover and reduce to a simmer for about 15 min or until quinoa is cooked. Add almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir. Add egg, mashed banana, zucchini, vanilla, honey and mash together with a spoon until uniform. Add quinoa after it is done cooking and is mostly cooled; stir in. Drop by spoonfuls down onto a parchment paper lined baking tray. Batter won’t be as thick as usual cookie dough and consistency will be more like thick muffin batter. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cookies become slightly brown on edges and cooked through.

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While it is December, it is still fairly warm in South Florida. However, last week our air conditioner was broken and we could only turn it completely off or let it blow frigid air constantly. So there were a few mornings I woke up to 58 degree weather in our apartment…. brrrrr. It did put me in the Christmas spirit though and also made me crave warm hearty meals. So I decided to try making a vegetarian chili. Even though there is no meat in my chili, it was very filling. A good dose of protein and fiber is provided from the beans and the quinoa which helps slow digestion and make you feel full longer. Bell pepper, zucchini, onion and tomatoes are also added for a healthy dose of vegetables and lots of flavor. And of course I had to top my bowl with shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat of course), because cheese is delicious and also supplies much needed calcium and protein 🙂

Ingredients

3 Cups of Water

3/4 Cup Quinoa (uncooked)

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp Minced Garlic

1 Large Zucchini – Chopped (About 2 – 2 1/3 cup)

1/2 Large Red Onion – Chopped

1 Green Bell Pepper – Chopped

1 Red Bell Pepper – Chopped

1 Jalapeno – Diced

1 6 oz can of Tomato Paste – no salt added

1 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes – no salt added

1 15 oz can of Reduced Sodium Black Beans – Rinsed and Drained

1 16 oz can of Reduced Sodium Kidney Beans – Rinsed and Drained

1/2 tsp Chipotle Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tablespoon Honey

Cheddar Cheese and Avocado for Topping

Directions

Bring 2 cups of water to a bowl in a large saucepan (at least 3.5 quarts with a tight fitting lid). Add quinoa, turn down to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook for ~15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a large saute pan on medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until onions are slightly translucent. Add zucchini, bell peppers and jalapeno. Cook until tender and then turn down to low. After the quinoa is done cooking, turn heat up to medium and add beans, tomato paste and tomatoes to quinoa. Mix well and allow to cook a few minutes until beans and tomatoes are warmed. Turn burner down to low once warmed. Remove cooked veggies from heat and add to quinoa mixture. Add 1 cup of water and chipotle powder, cumin, black pepper and honey to chili mixture. Stir until chili is uniform. Scoop into bowls and top with cheddar cheese and avocado if desired.

Hearty Veggie Chili with Cheese

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The holidays are upon us and during this time I know many people (including myself) bake cookies. I wanted to make a healthier cookie that incorporated whole grains and less butter and sugar than traditional cookie recipes. I chose buckwheat cereal because it is a whole grain and I happened to have some on hand. This recipe could also be easily made with oats instead of buckwheat cereal, just make sure that if you are gluten free you purchase gluten free oats (not all oats are gluten free). I also used less sugar than other cookie recipes I came across and used only 1/2 cup of butter (most oatmeal cookie recipes had a whole cup!). I did add a 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce to account for the decrease in butter. Even with my alterations, it still looked and tasted like a delicious cookie 🙂

Buckwheat (or Oatmeal) cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup Craisins
3 cups Buckwheat cereal (or Oatmeal)
1.5 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together except for choc chips and craisins. Add wet ingredients and mix together until uniform. Add choc chips and craisins. Stir together. Roll into 1 inch balls and put on cookie sheet. Bake for about ten minutes. Makes approximately 60 cookies.
Happy Holidays!!!!
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