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!

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce

I saw this idea in Bon Appetite last time I traveled to Santa Fe. Roasting a whole cauliflower? Brilliant. Immediately I thought of it as the new “bloomin’ onion” because lord knows that dish will kill us in a heartbeat. This, conceptually, is the same. It has the same wow factor on the table and is great for sharing. Plus it has a dipping sauce to make it complete. The only problem with the Bon Appetite version for me, is the amount of fat in the cheese accompaniment because it uses four cheeses plus heavy whipping cream. So I wrote a new recipe to give it some health value. This is important because when you eat this once, you’ll want to make it all week long. In fact, I’ve considered just throwing another cauliflower in the pot while the brine is still hot because the other one was gone in five minutes flat. It also makes a great side dish when quartered and drizzled with the sauce.

brineRECIPE: Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed

readyforovenPreheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.

Using 2 slotted spoons, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking dish, draining well. Roast, rotating halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
RECIPE: Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce
  • 8 ounces lowfat cottage cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add cheese to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt to your liking and a generous amount of cracked black pepper. NOTE: you can do this in a blender, but it may require a splash or two of water to get it going.) NOTE: If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, you can swap it out with Feta or Greek cream cheese.

Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with sauce for dipping. Enjoy!cauliflower

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.

Smoky Tomato Salsa

Salsa is just about the best condiment on the planet – way better than ketchup. It’s fresh, healthy, versatile and can be made a thousand ways. I’ve found the best, most consistent result comes from a combination of sweet, fresh grape tomatoes and organic diced tomatoes. When tomatoes are in season, you can use more fresh. But having the combo allows you to make this all year long. This recipe is my favorite, and I can eat it by the gallon. So, if I were you, I’d double this to have more for later!

RECIPE: Smoky Tomato Salsa

  • 2 containers fresh grape tomatoes
  • 2 cans organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 chipotle pepper (smoked jalapenos canned in adobo sauce)
  • 1-2 jalapenos, deseeded (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 4 scallions
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1 small lime (use 1/2 to start)
  • handful of fresh cilantro (start small; add more as needed)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • salt to taste

red_salsaAdd both kinds of tomatoes to a large food processor. Rough chop the ingredients and add to tomatoes. Pulse until ingredients are they are well blended. You’ll notice that the tomatoes begin to release their water in this fresh, uncooked salsa recipe, so now add the tomato paste – it helps thicken some of that liquid and add a richness to the salsa. If you wish, strain (without squeezing) the excess water before serving. (This is just what happens with really fresh salsa.) Taste and adjust levels of cumin, salt, lime and chipotle pepper. You can add more of any of the ingredients until it’s as spicy and flavorful as you want it. Enjoy!

: You can do the same thing with all fresh yellow tomatoes, leaving out the chipotle peppers and diced tomatoes to retain the bright yellow color. Also, use a sweet yellow onion for this variation.

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.

Mini Zucchini Parmesan Tarts

I’ve been thinking about a new series on the blog dedicated to reviewing some of those funny, flash-in-the-pan, social media recipe crazes that show up repeatedly in Facebook news feeds everywhere. When I see something at least five times from unrelated people, I consider it a fad worth trying. I’ve given many of them a whirl – some are secret little gems; others are complete and total flops.

Just a little note about this category of recipes: they are jam-packed with modifications and might have a slightly different name. Long story short, all of these have been inspired by Facebook in one way or another. Here’s the first in the series.


Zucchini is extremely versatile and can be use a thousand different ways – because it really doesn’t taste like anything. It relies heavily on cooking technique, marinades, dips, and accompaniments to demonstrate its value. But it has a ton when you figure out what to do with it. I saw this idea blast the internet a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. Plus, I really love cheese – especially parmesan because it has tons of flavor so you can eat less and feel just as satisfied. More bang for the buck, if you will. This recipe is great for a snack, a side dish or even for breakfast when you need a punch of veggies and some protein. Here goes…

RECIPE: Mini Zucchini Parmesan Tarts

  • grated_zucchini2 small or 1 large zucchini (grated; I use the food processor with the grating attachment), but you can do it with a box grater)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (no green can!)
  • 1/4 freshly chopped chives (or scallions, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil – whatever fresh herb you have, but I prefer the mild onion flavor from chives)
  • good pinch of salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 or 2 eggs, beaten (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt (to serve on the side)

filled_zucchini cupsDIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and toss to combine with (clean) hands. Generously spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray and fill each well with zucchini mixture, pressing it down with your fingers. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until edges and bottom are a deep crispy brown and ingredients are set. Serve warm or room temperature with a dollop of nonfat greek yogurt for extra protein – and because it’s delicious.

NOTE: if making these for breakfast, use 2 eggs. I think they set better with two, although I like the taste better with one because it’s more cheesy. But that’s just me. Experiment and decide for yourself.plated_zucchini Enjoy!

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!