February 29, 2016

PB2 Flourless Chocolate Brownies {gluten free, low refined sugar}

Good morning!

Here's something to brighten up your Monday... flourless, low refined sugar chocolate brownies made with PB2! Personally, they brightened up my whole weekend. ;-)


These are very easy and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. Never heard of PB2? Well, I'm about to change your life. Here's a post I did on it a couple of years ago.

(Not pictured: egg, chocolate chips, salt, vanilla)

These brownies are super moist, surprisingly cakey, and very rich and chocolatey just like a "regular" brownie. You really wouldn't know they're flourless. I have a couple of other healthy brownie options like these gluten free chocolate avocado brownies and these vegan chocolate raspberry brownies. Which is your favorite?

PB2 Flourless Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Skinnytaste
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1 bar • Points +: 4 pts • Smart Points: 6
Calories: 131 • Fat: 5 g • Protein: 6 g • Carb: 26 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 20 g
Sodium: 217 mg • Cholesterol: 20 g

Ingredients
cooking spray
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup PB2
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk or dark chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a nonstick 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Beat the egg and egg white in a small bowl with a whisk.
3. In a large bowl combine the PB2, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and mix well with a spatula. Add the egg and egg whites and stir. Add water, honey, vanilla and stir with a spatula until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Set aside to cool, then cut into 12 bars cutting 3 rows x 4 rows. Store in an airtight container or share.


Enjoy!

February 25, 2016

5 Minute No Mayo, Gourmet Tuna Salad

You know that person who has tuna salad at work and stinks up the whole office?

Hey guess what? That can be you! Ok, just stick with me. Yes, tuna smells fishy. But I like to use Bumblebee Solid White Albacore because it's the more premium cuts and not that weird, red, cat food-like kind. When you mix the premium tuna with other foods, like fresh veggies and avocado, I really don't think it smells. And let me tell you, my nose KNOWS when something smells. It's a curse. ;-)

Tuna is one of the best power foods you can eat. One can is about 140 calories and 30g of lean protein. Plus, when you mix in healthy foods like avocado, tomatoes, onion, or Greek yogurt, you up the healthy factor even more. Anything with mayo is generally a no-no in my book. It is one of those zero nutrient foods. A ton of fat and calories for a tiny portion.


Here's the tuna salad I threw together with what I had in my fridge the other day. It was so delish! It was fresh, light, and very satisfying and with the creamy avocado I really didn't miss the mayo. Oftentimes I'll mix it with Greek yogurt and mustard, which is how Greg prefers his. He'll also make a tuna melt by topping his tuna sandwich with cheese a placing it under the broiler.

You can also make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge to eat later; perfect for a make ahead lunch.

I'm telling you, once you try it, you'll be a tuna convert too! And no one will even notice. Just make sure you brush your teeth after lunch. :-)

5 Minute No Mayo, Gourmet Tuna Salad
Makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients

1 6oz can of white albacore tuna (I like Kirkland and Bumblebee brands)
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil

Directions
Mash together all ingredients and eat plain or on a sandwich.

February 22, 2016

Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken

I've been engaged for two months and we are almost done with the wedding planning! The last big thing is finding a DJ. Everything else is little or done! It's such a relief. I'm so not a wedding planner and I didn't dream about my wedding from the age of 5. I didn't even know where to start, but I am one of those to-do list types who wants to check all the items off ASAP.


This is us on Sunset Beach in Cabo San Lucas right after the proposal. Without me even hinting, Greg proposed exactly where I wanted him to. :-)

Now that wedding planning has wound down a bit and it's actually staying lighter in the evenings, I've been able to get back to my cooking and picture taking. I'm always trying to reinvent new chicken and turkey recipes because they can get old pretty fast. (Greg definitely agrees).

If you're a fan of tangy sauces, you will LOVE this recipe. It's got fresh zesty lime juice, but it's balanced out with cream and butter and I really just wanted to lick the pan.


Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken
Makes 4 chicken breasts
Adapted from Sally

Ingredients
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (I used 1.5 because Greg and I love lime)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (You could definitely add more. I hardly noticed any spice with 1/2 tsp.)
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter, cubed

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper while heating a large oven-safe skillet* on medium high heat with the olive oil.
3. Add the chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning halfway. The chicken should be browned on both sides evenly and mostly cooked through, but not completely. Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly.
4. Remove skillet from heat and add broth, lime juice, onion, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Return to heat. Cook and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil and let reduce for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. (I steamed some asparagus during this point to go on the side). Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the cream and butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
5. Add the chicken to the sauce and place skillet in pre-heated oven. Bake until chicken is completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
6. Serve chicken with sauce spooned over the top. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated.

*I don't have an oven-safe skillet, so I transferred my chicken and sauce to a baking dish before popping in the oven. For a one dish meal, an oven-safe skillet would be easiest.

I hope you enjoy!

Jessica

February 7, 2016

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Oat Pancakes {gluten free, sugar free}

Saturday mornings are my favorite. I'm always in such a good mood. I get to sleep in, actually take my time drinking coffee, leisurely read the news and the best part... make a yummy breakfast.

We picked up a bunch of blueberries at Costco, so blueberry pancakes were the logical choice yesterday morning.



These are a deviation on my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Instead of pumpkin, I added more Greek yogurt and obviously subbed out the chocolate chips with blueberries. These pack a protein punch and keep you full for hours. They also have no added sugar. I topped mine with pure maple syrup, which is a natural sugar, but you could use a blueberry compote, jam, nut butter, or whatever you prefer.


The blueberries burst while cooking and so they added to the moistness of the pancakes. Even though these are made completely of oats, they are still fluffy and flavorful. In fact, I like them better because they don't weigh you down with all of that flour that sticks to your tummy like glue.


Blueberry Greek Yogurt Oat Pancakes {gluten free, sugar free}

Makes 6-8 medium pancakes/2-3 servings

Wet ingredients

3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or sub whatever milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla highly encouraged, but you can use regular)

Dry ingredients
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup oat flour (blended oats, be sure to measure 1/2 cup after it's blended)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup blueberries (depending on how fruity you want them)

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until very well combined.
2. A whisk works well for breaking up the yogurt clumps.
3. In another bowl (very important to separate wet and dry ingredients for this recipe), toss together all of the dry ingredients except blueberries and stir until well combined.
4. To make oat flour, place regular old fashioned oats or quick oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble flour. Make sure they aren't chunky and really resemble a flour. Measure after blending and not before.
5. Combine wet and dry and stir until just combined. Over-mixing the batter yields denser pancakes.
6. Grease a griddle or large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray (I use a coconut oil based spray) and heat the griddle to medium-low heat.
7. Place about 3-4 tablespoons (the smaller, the better these work out) on the griddle or skillet. Allow to cook about 2-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and the center is "poofy" (completely cooked through)
8. Place on a plate, cover with maple syrup or peanut butter (or whatever toppings you like on your pancakes) and enjoy immediately.
9. To keep the pancakes warm while the others are cooking, you can place them separately on a large cooling rack (stacking makes them soggy) in a 200-degree oven UNCOVERED for up to 20 minutes - after that they start to dry out.

Enjoy!

Jessica

February 1, 2016

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (no flour or butter)

Good morning...

I had a pretty crazy night last night! If you happened to see national weather on the news last night or this morning, you may have seen that Southern California had insane gale force winds! We had gusts up to 60 mph where I live. It caused our power to go out and I had to get ready by candlelight this morning. There are fallen trees all over San Diego and even snow towards the mountains. But let's start Monday off on a more positive note: Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies! :-)

I am a sucker for anything with peanut butter and chocolate. I think that's my favorite food group. But with peanut butter already having a high calorie content, I try to eat it in moderation. I created this recipe the other day to have a healthified peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I could eat a few of without feeling guilty.


They were all I could've hoped for. Chewy, peanut buttery, rich and chocolatey. With no flour, butter, or oil! Perfect for any of you gluten free readers out there.



And Greg loved them because he's a big fan of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, so they were just a variation on those. And don't worry, you don't even notice the missing flour or butter.

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (no flour or butter)

Makes 20 cookies at 147 calories each with 4.4 grams of protein (not bad!)

Ingredients
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (not natural; I used Skippy)*
2/3 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if desired)**
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In small bowl mix together the oats and baking soda; set aside.
3. In a large bowl beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in dry ingredients with a spatula, then gently fold in chocolate chips.
4. Roll cookies into 2 inch dough balls and place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart, then BARELY flatten the top of the cookie with your hand. Or just use a cookie scoop and flatten a bit.
5. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. The cookies may look a little underdone, but they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes 16-20 cookies. Adapted from here.

*Natural peanut butter is much more runny in consistency and will likely result in a very flat cookie that spreads. If you try it, let me know.
**Quick oats may be too thin to give the cookies much shape. If you use them, you may need to add more oats.


Enjoy!

Jessica
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