Guilt-free Whole Wheat Banana Farro Bread

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with farro. It’s a whole grain with a nutty flavor similar to brown rice, but larger and has a more substantial bite. It is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E. I’ll post some farro-centric recipes in the near future, but I thought I’d start with a banana bread that is free of oils and uses primarily fruits to sweeten the batter. The addition of oats with the farro gives this bread a great, satisfying texture.

banana-breadRECIPE: Guilt-free Whole Wheat Banana Farro Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats (2 TBSP reserved)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked farrow
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk (almond, goat, skim or coconut)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl combine banana, applesauce, syrup, egg, milk and vanilla until well mixed. In a separate bowl, add flour, oats, farro, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined, being careful to not overmix. Pour batter into pan, sprinkle the top with oats and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Wrap leftover bread tightly to keep from drying out. Enjoy!

Guilt-free Key Lime Pie with Coconut Graham Cracker Crust

This recipe is another request from my dear friend Lois. Luckily my sister had recently made a healthy version of a key lime pie, so this one wasn’t much work at all – just a few tweaks from her original because I’m not a huge fan of citrus desserts. And I also think she made hers with a ginger snap crust; all I had were graham crackers in my cupboard. This pie is made primarily from non-fat greek yogurt, so it has tons of protein. Plus, the crust is also completely butter-free…so eat up!

RECIPE: Key Lime Pie with Coconut Graham Cracker Crust

pie-crustCRUST: Do this ahead of time.
Put 10 graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until the crackers have turned into crumbs. Slowly drizzle 5 TBSP melted coconut oil into the crumbs. Press into the bottom of a glass pie dish. You can also make with gluten free graham crackers, if you prefer. Pre-bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Put in the freezer for an hour when it comes out of the oven so the crust will be nice, crisp and cold when you pour the filling in.

pie-uncookedFILLING: Stir these ingredients together.

  • 1 cup of nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 can of nonfat sweetened condensed milk (this is just as delicious as the full-fat version, but simply made from skim milk instead)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (depending on how lime-y you like it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

TOPPING: Stir these ingredients together right before serving.

  • 1 1/2 cups of nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 TBSP confectioners sugar
  • zest of a lime (reserve 1/2 tsp for garnish)

DIRECTIONS: When the pie crust is baked and chilled, pour the filling into the crust and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes – it will still be jiggly. Chill pie for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, make the topping and spread an even layer over the pie. Garnish with the reserved lime zest and a slice of lime, if desired. Enjoy!whole-pie

Perfect(ly healthy) Chocolate Sauce

I don’t really like to bake, but I really love dessert. And by dessert, I mean chocolate. If there was a way to eat a huge piece of chocolate cake everyday and stay healthy, I’d do it in a heartbeat. So until someone figures that out, I’ve created something to tide us over. It’s simple, healthy, made from clean, whole ingredients. And you don’t have to feel the slightest bit guilty about eating it.

Chocolate sauce is the answer. It’s the perfect way to have your cake and eat it, too. Especially if you’re like me and don’t want to make a whole dessert during the week that you feel obligated to finish just so it won’t go to waste. We are a family of two here at my house, and I work from home. So you do the math on who might consume most of those calories.

Now, back to chocolate sauce. This is the key to making every dessert just a little better. Put it on ice cream, cheesecake, or brownies. Use it as a dip for strawberries, cookies, pound cake, or churros. Even drizzle it over a grilled banana and garnish it with a handful of your favorite nuts. I mean, the possibilities are endless. So tonight by adding a spoonful of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of sliced almonds, I turned this teeny little dairy free ice cream sandwich* into a decadent dessert to die for.


RECIPE: Perfect(ly healthy) Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP raw honey
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2-3 TBSP almond milk

Combine the coconut oil and raw honey in a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds until it’s melted together. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Once combined, stir in the greek yogurt. Slowly add almond milk to thin out the mixture to the perfect consistency. Because you’re using cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate solids, adding liquid will not cause the sauce to seize up. It’s very easy and completely forgiving. Adjust the amount of cocoa and sweetness to your liking. This recipe makes approximately one cup of sauce. Enjoy!

sandwich-box* The SO DELICIOUS brand of ice cream sandwiches make the perfect size small dessert. They can be found in the natural food freezer section of your grocery store.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

chickpeas_processorSeemingly one of the most widely spread Facebook recipes I’ve seen, these cookie bites are pretty good when you’re craving melty, homemade chocolatey chip cookies. They are wheat free, gluten free, dairy free and pack a nice punch of protein and fiber. In my opinion, they’re only good when they’re warm, so I recommend making the batter and keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge, only baking the amount you want to eat each time. Plus, it’s a good way to not over indulge.

RECIPE: Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

  • batter1 can chic peas (drained, rinsed and patted dry)
  • 2/3 cup almond butter (or any kind of natural nut butter you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt, optional
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to scoop350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor. Blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, drop cookie dough on baking sheet. You don’t need to leave a lot of room between the cookies as they don’t spread out or rise up much at all. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before eating.

Cocoa Swirl Cheesecake Bars in the Raw

Detoxinista has be to one of my favorite food bloggers for healthy eating. I came across this recipe of hers last year when I was hunting for a new healthy dessert idea. Wow, this is a gem – especially since I’m a huge fan of hiding vegetables in dishes whenever I can. Not to mention this taught me a completely new concept and way of looking at zucchini. I don’t typically seek out eating ‘raw,’ other than the obvious salad, but I swear this dessert will change your mind, too.

I’ve made this probably a thousand times (yes, it’s that good) and because it’s stored in the freezer, that means you can cut it into little squares and have one or two whenever you’re craving something sweet. This version is slightly adapted because I added more of the veggie component so I could splurge a little more on the amount of swirl.  😉

NOTE: this recipe contains RAW (untoasted) nuts which can be purchased at any grocery store in the bulk nut or produce section on one of those little displays.

RECIPE: Chocolate Crust

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a mini-food processor, process the pecans until they are crumbly. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients, and process until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides if necessary. Then transfer the crust to a square 6″ Tupperware, lined with plastic-wrap or parchment, and press down evenly. Place the crust in the freezer to set for at least 10 minutes, while you make the cheesecake filling.

RECIPE: Cheesecake filling

  • 1 cup RAW cashews, soaked for at least an hour (there are pale, unroasted cashews)
  • 1 cup zucchini, peeled to remove the green and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until silky smooth – be patient, it will happen. Pour the filling over the chocolate crust and smooth the top, using a spatula:

RECIPE: Chocolate Swirl
NOTE: I double this because it’s my favorite part and makes the dessert taste so much richer, so the picture isn’t as chocolatey as my version turns out. This is why I modified the recipe to include more zucchini.

  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, softened

Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Then drizzle over the cheesecake mixture. Take a knife and drag through the drizzle. Like I said, mine isn’t hugely marbled because the chocolate almost covers the entire top.

Once your cheesecake bars are “swirled” to your liking, place them in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours. When they are firm, pull out the frozen cheesecake ‘block’ using the wrap or parchment ‘handles’ and place on a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve chilled. Be sure to store these in the freezer– they will melt quickly at room temperature!


NOTE: If I’m serving this to guests, I usually trim off the edges (and eat them myself) so I can cut perfect squares.
**Recipe and images by Detoxinista.

Chocolate Pudding in the Raw

I love super-healthy desserts that trick everyone into thinking they are falling off the food wagon. And the best part is admitting that it’s so good for them, it’s actually okay to have a (small) second helping.  This one has so few ingredients, that it’s hard to believe how good it is. Plus, it’s a simple, comfort food that reminds me of childhood.

avocadosSo, who doesn’t love chocolate pudding, right? Yum. But usually it’s made with egg yolks, milk, heavy cream, lots of sugar and it has to be cooked carefully over low heat to prevent scorching and starting all over again. Or you can make it out of the little square box, but that’s a big no-no in my book. Not this recipe. In fact it’s dairy-free, vegan, full of raw ingredients and no cooking necessary! Well, what is it made from? Avocados. But no one will ever know, unless you tell them ahead of time and they’ll swear they do. They’re lying.

avo_cocoa_foodprocessorRECIPE: Chocolate Pudding in the Raw

  • 2 completely ripe avocados
  • 6-8 TBSP dark cocoa powder (if you don’t have dark, regular will work fine)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or pure maple syrup if you don’t have agave)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 can coconut milk (use everything but the liquid on the very bottom; if using light, only use 1/2 can or it will be too watery)

coconutmilkDIRECTIONS: Scoop out avocado into a food processor. Add cocoa powder, agave & vanilla. Blend until smooth. You’ll have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times until it becomes the consistency of a super thick pudding and no green avocado flecks remain. Taste for sweetness and add more agave, if you like. I’m not a huge fan of super-sweet desserts, so the agave measurement might be a little less than some people prefer. Also, the ripeness of the avocados can affect the measurements. But taste, taste, taste as you go! That’s the only way to be sure.

In a separate bowl, add the coconut milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Combine (by hand – not with your hands – using a spoon) the chocolate mixture with the coconut milk to lighten up the texture. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve in small bowls and garnish with a mint leaf, if you have it.

chocolate_puddingThis pudding is packed full of omega 3, healthy fats, anti-oxidants, and potassium! So enjoy!

Perfect Protein Parfait

For those of you who know a little french, please forgive me for the redundancy of the title. I couldn’t think of a better way to describe assembling your own yogurt treat rather than buying those pre-sweetened, fruit-on-the-bottom, boring single-serve cups. I know they are convenient and I certainly grab them on occasion, but if you have the time – and definitely on a leisurely weekend morning – give this a try. It’s also a perfect afternoon snack if you need a little boost of energy from the protein (over 30 grams to be exact!)

proteinparfait1The base of this recipe is plain greek yogurt  – make sure it’s the thick, greek variety, otherwise you’re missing out on the maximum amount of protein. I suppose you could use vanilla, but I’m a purist when it comes to this parfait. It’s also a super versatile dish, so make it yours or give everyone in your family the option to build their own by changing up the fruit. It’s kind of like picking out their flavor of yogurt off the shelf – only better.

  proteinparfait2RECIPE: Protein Parfait

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fruit (or fruits) of choice; in bite-size pieces
  • pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • granola (homemade, all natural, or gluten-free)
  • sliced almonds

Layer half of the yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, half the fruit, a liberal sprinkle of granola and almonds. Repeat. Or you can throw it all in a bowl together if you’re eating it at your desk, which is how mine is most often consumed. Today, I had an extremely ripe peach and some local blueberries, so it was extra delicious. Enjoy!


Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Compote

Nonfat greek yogurt is a WOW food, in my opinion. There aren’t many ways you can get 24 grams of protein in one cup of anything, especially without any fat involved. It can be used for sweet and savory dishes, or just eaten plain in place of sour cream. There are literally thousands of things you can do with greek yogurt, but none may be quite as good as this dessert. Usually cheesecake is a super rich, dense and highly addictive dessert that can be close to 700 calories and 30 grams of fat per slice. This recipe is approximately a third of that, is loaded with protein and uses no butter whatsoever.

RECIPE: Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Compote

Put 10 graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until the crackers have turned into crumbs. Slowly drizzle 5 TBSP melted coconut oil into the crumbs, followed by 1 TBSP water. Press into the bottom of a greased or non-stick spring form pan (or regular pie dish if that’s what you have). You can also make with gluten free graham crackers, if you prefer. No need to pre-bake; this crust will be nice and crisp.

2 cups of nonfat greek yogurt
1 block softened light or greek cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup of raw sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut sugar (your choice)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 TBSP corn starch or arrowroot

Put all filling ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. It might need to stir the mixture a couple times with a spoon to get perfectly smooth, depending on the power of your blender. I’ve found if you put the eggs in the bottom, it works better. Pour mixture into the pan on top of the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. NOTE: Put the springform on top of a sheet pan to bake, just in case. The center will still look slightly jiggly right in the middle when you pull it out of the oven.  It will firm up as it cools. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with a couple spoonfuls of compote. Makes 8 slices. Enjoy!


RECIPE: Fresh Blueberry Compote
1  1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 TBSP honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp lemon zest
small pinch of salt

Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan at a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up blueberries slightly toward the end. Taste the compote and adjust sweetness according to your taste and the state of the blueberries. Cool completely before drizzling over the cheesecake.

Sorry about the photo. We had friends over for dinner tonight and it was so yummy that we had scarfed down nearly the entire cheesecake before I  remembered to take a picture. Luckily one of us was a very slow eater, so I took a quick shot of her last two bites.


Frozen Pineapple Slushy

I just made a batch of these for a Saturday night 1

Take one can of unsweetened pineapple and add it to the blender. Fill up the blender with ice and whiz the heck out of it until the ice is so fine that it’s the consistency of a slushy you’d get at a convenience store on a hot day. You won’t believe how incredibly delicious it is – and it doesn’t have any preservatives or weird colors that have numbers assigned to them.

This recipe happened by accident one day when I opened a can of pineapple for something and then changed my mind. I’m sure you can use fresh pineapple too, but you’ll need to add a little water and agave nectar to the the appropriate sweetness and consistency. You can also add fruits to change the color and flavor. Strawberries are a good addition. A handful of fresh mint in the blender will give you a more grown-up version and your slushy will have pretty little green flecks all throughout.

Also a great base for a nice adult cocktail, if you know what I mean.pineapple_slushy

One 20oz can + all the ice = three 12-oz glasses, or two pints.

Enjoy…but be careful of the brain freeze!

Mochi Churros y Chocolate

If you’ve never had a churro, you’re missing out. This cinnamon sugar-coated deep fried ‘donut’ is usually sold by street vendors and eaten for breakfast in Spain and Latin America. Here in the states, they are eaten more often as a snack or dessert and typically found at county fairs and…Costco. Wow, they sure are delicious – but have absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. A gluttonous delight of deep fried white flour rolled in sugar and dipped in hot chocolate.mochi_coconutoil

This one was a challenge to make healthy. But I thought maybe Mochi had some potential to transform this dessert. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from cooked whole grain brown rice that is pounded into paste and molded into a shape. Don’t let the words ‘rice cake’ turn you off. It’s not the dry, crusty wheel of nothingness that people choke down when they’re dieting. Mochi, when baked, comes out of the oven brown and crispy on the outside and chewy in the center.

Mochi Churros is one of those recipes that I thought was a great original idea. Nope. It had been done and was blasted all over the internet. Since this is more of an assembly process than a recipe, there isn’t a whole lot of variance in approach. But the chocolate sauce is an original recipe and can be used for just about anything. In fact, I have a hard time not just eating it with a spoon. All-in-all, this traditional treat is now void of all of its unhealthy qualities and is now packed full of whole-grains and flavor, is sweetened with natural, low-glycemic sugars and there’s even protein and anti-oxidants in the dipping sauce. Plus, it’s gluten and dairy-free. Enjoy!

RECIPE: Mochi Churros

  • 1 pkg of Mochi (can be found at any health food store in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 TB coconut oil (melted)
  • coconut sugar (or raw sugar or maple sugar – whatever granulated sugar you like)
  • cinnamon

Mix equal parts sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Cut the mochi in strips about the size of your pinky and bake at 425 for 10-12 min until they puff. When they come out of the oven, brush or toss in a little melted coconut oil so the sugar and cinnamon mixture will stick when you toss it in a in a paper bag or storage container with a lid.


Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP raw honey
  • 2 TBSP dark cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP almond milk

Combine the coconut oil and raw honey in a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds until it’s melted together. Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Once combined, stir in the greek yogurt. Slowly add almond milk to thin out the mixture to the perfect consistency. Because you’re using cocoa powder instead of melting chocolate solids, adding liquid will not cause the sauce to seize up. It’s very easy and completely forgiving. Adjust the amount of cocoa and sweetness to your liking. This recipe makes approximately 1/2 cup of sauce. Enjoy!


It might take a few times to decide how well-done or chewy you like the mochi, and how sweet or tart you like the chocolate sauce.