Perfect Quick-fix Smoothies! – UPDATED!

UPDATE: FUNNY STORY… A reader made the Peppermint smoothie, and the dear followed my recipe exactly. Through her, I realized I accidentally said to include 1/2 TABLESPOON of peppermint extract, when I meant to say 1/2 (or even 1/3 will do!) TEASPOON of the stuff. Needless to say, her sinus is now clear. 😀

Also, as an FYI–these smoothies are servings for 2 or more. (I usually limit my consumption to 8 oz.).

Thank you readers, friends, and supporters for catching my glitches and offering suggestions! It is so very appreciated!

-Tiff

Hey All!

It has been way too long since I have posted (don’t worry–I have about fifty NEW recipes, but have been swamped as of late!)

Yoga is calling my name, so I don’t have time to tell you about the amazing Raspberry tart bars I created (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free…and heavenly). I’ll get to those tomorrow!
I do want to leave you with something, however, so I have decided to share some of my favorite smoothie recipes with you! Smoothies are perfect meals on the go. In addition, they make great healthy-alternative dessert substitutes (Mint chip? Pumpkin pie? Sign me up!)

Because I try to stay away from dairy (it’s dairy’s fault for being mean!) these smoothies are all vegan. Of course, you could add greek yogurt or something additional for packed protein (but that also means packed calories. I feel better when I have lean, filling smoothies!)

The first is my favorite Banana-Nut-Butter Protein Smoothie I drink this when I need something to hold me over for a long time. It is packed with protein, and tastes as good as a milkshake (or better?)! Image
Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, ripe if possible
  • 1/2 c. almond milk, coconut milk, or other (unsweetened) milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp. almond (or your favorite) nut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 organic date (seed removed)
  • 1 cup ice

Directions: Blend together all ingredients  and enjoy!

Nutritionists recommend detoxing the system of toxins, and smoothies can be a great way to do this. On mornings when I am feeling adventurous (and on mornings when I’m wanting to detox) I like to make this version of Green Lemonade: Image

  • 1 organic green apple, core removed
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed orange
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 cup organic kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup organic spinach
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4-inch cube of raw ginger root (I use ginger because of the detoxifying properties)

Directions: Mix and enjoy! *If you’re new to the smoothie business, the green will totally freak you out. Never fear! If I can do it, you can do it! (And seriously, it’s actually pretty good!)

For the days when you’ve got extra carrots left over in the fridge, give this one a try! It’s my favorite simple smoothie, and it packs a big nutritional punch! ImageCarrot-Mango Dream:

  • 1 1/2 cup baby carrots or 4-5 large, organic carrots
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/2 orange, chopped
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg

Directions: Mix and devour!

…what about dessert?

When you want pumpkin pie but you need to fit into a dress for an auction this Saturday (I speak from experience!) this treat is a great substitute that will surely satisfy any sweet tooth! Not to mention, the pumpkin packs a ton of fiber and vitamins! Pumpkin Pie in a GlassImage

  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1 banana, chopped and frozen for at least an hour
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin (organic, of course!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, to taste

Directions: Chop and freeze the banana (this alleviates your need for ice, plus, frozen bananas give smoothies more creamy textures!) Then, blend all ingredients!

Another favorite dessert substitute is my Mint-Chip Smoothie (I promise, it’s better than ice-cream and totally guilt-free!): Image

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c. almond, coconut (or your favorite) milk
  • 1/3 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1/4 avocado (trust me!)
  • 1 tsp. organic honey
  • 1 tbsp. cocao nibs
  • 1 cup ice

Directions: Mix and enjoy!

Gluten Free, Healthier Version of Boston Cream Pie (Cupcakes!) (P.S. GO USA)

Tiffs Tips Boston

Like all of you, the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing chaos has struck a chord with me.

I am so thankful it is over—and I felt that this recipe would be an appropriate way to celebrate the FBI’s capture, while honoring the innocent victims and their families.

Sure, it isn’t the healthiest thing I’ve ever made, but sometimes life calls for a little bit of sugar.

This healthier version of Boston’s most famous dessert is dedicated to the people who were (and who are) affected by the marathon bombings, and to the people everywhere who pray for the condition of this country and this world.

The way I cope with grief is to pray, to run, and then to bake (in that order), and nothing seemed more fitting to bake than Boston’s most famous dessert.Boston Tiffs Tips

Tiffs Tips boston cream pie 2

Ingredients:
Cake:

  • 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Cake Mix and the ingredients it calls for (3 eggs, veggie oil, and good ol’ H2O)

Better-Than-Store-bought Vanilla Pudding:

  • 1/3 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk (or substitute for a Rice or Soy milk; I did not try this with Almond or Coconut milk, but if you do please post results!)
  • 3 large organic egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted grass fed butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extractGluten Free Cake Mix
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamonPaleo, Rich Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or Enjoy Life dairy free chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extractDirections:
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Prepare the gluten free yellow cake mix according to the instructions. Spray and lightly flour cupcake tins, and pour cake batter evenly into tins (about 3/4 full, like you would for a cupcake). Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • While cupcakes are baking, prepare the pudding center:
    1. In heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, eggs and sugar. Boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the pudding for about five minutes, until it firms some.
    2. Remove from heat; then, once mixture has cooled, add the butter, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
      Beat well until the butter melts. Set aside.
  • Clean your kitchen (mine is always a MESS mid-baking). Once the cupcakes are finished baking, take them out of the oven and place each cupcake on a wire rack to cool
  • While cupcakes are cooling, make the Paleo, Rich, Creamy Chocolate Frosting.
    1. Mix dark chocolate chips, coconut oil, and vanilla extract over low heat for 5-10 minutes or until chocolate chips are dissolved.
    2. Place the mixture in a refrigerator-safe bowl and let harden in the fridge for about 25 minutes, until cool but not hard.
    3. Using a handheld blender, mix frosting until it is light and frothy.
    4. While frosting is hardening, cut cupcakes in half width wise. Spread a layer of pudding on cupcakes and sandwich in between cupcakes.
    5. Top cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
    6. Serve to friends while watching the Red Sox play, eat, and then go for a run!
  • Show support, send prayers, and eat Boston Cream Pie. Oh, and one more thing before I post the recipe: God Bless America.
    Boston Cream Cupcakes Tiffs Tips

Better-Than-Anything (Gluten-Free, Vegan, & Paleo) Chocolate-Banana-Almond Milkshake

image

This shake is a perfect cure for even the most insatiable sweet tooth—and yet, it won’t derail your healthy eating efforts! Almond butter is lower in fat than peanut butter but contains a high amount of protein. (Side note: almond butter is approved on the Paleo diet while peanut butter is not—because peanuts are technically legumes, not nuts!) In addition, the ground flax sneaks in a good bit of fiber! This thick shake makes a perfect meal, and if you share with a friend—it makes an amazing dessert! This is mom-approved because of the nutritional benefits and kid-approved because, well, it’s delicious!

Ingredients:
1 ½-2 ripe organic bananas, sliced, chopped into 1-2 inch. Pieces and frozen (this makes the shake thicker because the consistency of blended frozen bananas is similar to ice cream)
2 cups almond milk (or coconut milk) (preferably unsweetened)
2 tbsp. almond butter (either make your own with almonds in a food processor, or go with all organic, unsweetened, no sodium almond butter)
2 tbsp. dairy free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life) melted
1 tbsp. ground flax (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1 tbsp. honey (organic)
½ tsp. organic, gluten-free vanilla extract
Optional: 3-4 chopped, pitted dates for additional sweetness

Directions:
1. Peel, chop and freeze bananas for at least an hour.
2. Melt the dairy free chocolate chips in the microwave until it becomes a liquid—about fifteen seconds.
3. Combine all ingredients into a Blendtec or blender.
4. Enjoy!

Unbelievably Chewy, Thick, Tasty, Gluten-Free Brownies (Sandra Lee Style)

Alright, so before I post this let me clarify: I very rarely cook or bake from a box, but one day awhile ago, while preparing food for a homeless shelter I volunteer at, I decided that making 8 batches of brownies from scratch was just not going to happen. I was crunched for time, but did not want to let the shelter down…so I pulled a Sandra Lee and decide to semi-home make some brownies. (I Tiff-ified them, if you will!)

The results were glorious—and much healthier than the typical box-brownie (or even brownie-from-scratch) recipe. There is no oil, butter, milk or cream in these brownies. Instead, I used bananas. (Chocolate + bananas = a chewy, moist delight that literally melts in your mouth.)Image

Of course, one must eat these in moderation! These aren’t as healthy as, say, raw vegetables…but they serve their purpose!
Ingredients:
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix (do not include butter as the Betty Crocker directions say; bananas account for the moisture, which was butter’s purpose)
1 large banana or 2 medium bananas
1 egg and 1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract (organic, gluten free)

Directions:
1. In a food processer, blender, or with a potato masher, mash bananas to form a puree (small chunks are okay; they carry flavor!).
2. Whisk the egg and egg white and vanilla extract into the banana mixture.
3. Mix the wet mixture with the brownie powder from the box.
4. Once mixed, pour into a prepared pan (any ‘standard’ size will do; I used a 9×9 to make the brownies extra thick)
5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
6. Enjoy! These brownies are delicious warm with vegan ice cream, or cold (bananas taste delightful cold).

Side note: the brownies were such a hit that many people said these were the “best they had ever tasted!”

Uh-mazing Chocolate Chip Cookies (PALEO, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Heart-Healthy….and Delicious!)

UH-MAZING Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo-friendly, Gluten-Free, Low GI, Heart-Healthy, All Natural, Vegetarian & Vegan)

The story behind the cookies goes a little something like this: my charming boyfriend is doing the Paleo thing. As a whole, he is quite healthy—but as per the Paleo diet, he is trying to stay away from wheat (and refined carbohydrates like pastas, breads, oatmeal, quinoa, etc.). In general, I do not eat many of these items (except quinoa), and bake mostly with Gluten-free flours (a variety), but the Paleo regune requires a little more effort than the Gluten-free regime.

Luckily, I know enough about nutrition in the kitchen to know what I can substitute, what flabors work, and well, sometimes I get lucky! The following recipe is Boyfriend-Approved, Kid-Approved, and Mom-Approved. These cookies are perfectly satisfying (and even more wonderful when warm)!

Note: these cookies do not taste Paleo. They taste real and hearty; they are fluffy—and yes, even moist.

ImageTiff's Tips: Tasty Cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic, unrefined coconut flour
  • ¾ c. virgin, organic, unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • 2 Omega 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. organic Vanilla Extract
    2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (these are Paleo friendly, Dairy-free, and Gluten free)
  • ½ c. almonds
  • 2 tbsp. honey (optional; some include this as a “moderated” item that Paleo diet followers can eat)
  • ½ c. chopped dates (optional; this is considered an item to be had in moderation by Paleo diet followers)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all ‘wet’ ingredients (coconut oil—make sure it is warm or in liquid form, pure maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract), and honey—if you are using it.
  3. In a small bowl, use a Potato Masher to mash 2 bananas (the riper the better!)
  4. Fold bananas into wet ingredients.
  5. Add coconut flour to ingredients; stir until thoroughly mixed. (Note: coconut flour is a very dry flour. If you notice the dough is too dry, you can add another mashed banan, coconut oil, or pure maple syrup to create consistency).
  6. Once dough is mixed (see picture for a good ‘reference’), add in ½ c. chopped almonds and Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and chopped dates (if you choose).
  7. Form into cookie shapes (the dough does not change shape much in the oven, so make the cookies as flat or as thick as you want them to be! I prefer chewy cookies!)
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are firm to the touch.
  9. Enjoy!

Deceptively Healthy Dessert

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Behold: Frozen banana drizzled with warm Better N’Peanut Butter, organic Agave nector and sprinkled with nuts…

This tasty treat is roughly 160 calories, low in sodium, and the only sugar comes from Agave and the banana. Can you say YUM!?

The secret is in the Better N’Peanut Butter – an all natural miracle product that is less than half the calories of regular Peanut Butter. You can find this at Trader Joe’s (or Trader Darwin’s–depending on where you live)!

Enjoy nourishing your body AND tastebuds!