Tag Archives: Dessert

go outside!!

This weekend was perfect. After days of being in the house, classrooms, and laboratories, the weekend just screams go outside! On Saturday, my friend Erin drove to Davis to visit me from San Jose. We went to middle school together in Austin and I hadn’t seen her in years! She happens to be doing an accounting internship in San Jose for the summer, so hopefully I will get to see her a few more times before she leaves. The fact that you can go years without seeing someone and then have it be like no time has passed at all speaks volumes about true friendships. While we are both very different than we were in high school, we still meshed well and were able to connect in new ways. We saw Ted that night, and it was actually way better than I thought it would be. I usually avoid comedies that look…. you know… dumb, but it was cute and funny. A slight over-reliance on racist jokes, but pretty good.

Erin and I, overlooking Lake Berryessa

meet the newest addition to our house, Kathleen :)

Northern California is so beautiful. I am in love. The vineyards, the farms, the bay, the ocean, the people. I think I may want to cozy in here. :)

On Sunday, my friend Aaron and I drove up to Marin to visit Zoe. Before she got off work, we went to the Marin County farmers market. It is the best market I have ever been to. I am so sad and sorry I didnt take photos! I bought…

  • a pound of pasture raised goat meat
  • pastured sheep yogurt
  • maple whiskey jerky
  • an entire pastured roasted chicken
  • an entire pastured raw chicken
  • organic goat cheese

That roasted chicken came in handy for the 5 hour hike we took afterwords!

It was three hours, and perhaps 6 miles, up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais.

We were very hungry and slightly exhausted once we got to the top, but the views made it all better. Long hikes like these require the best company. I realized how much more fun it was being able to talk during the hike than the many times I have hiked alone in New Zealand or Tibet.

beautiful Zoe and Aaron, who wore a weighted vest…. 

We treated ourselves to burgers, Cobb salads, french fries, and honey lavender ice cream. Third day in a row (between two cities) that I have had honey lavender ice cream. Obsessed.

Honey Lavender from Scoop in Fairfax

Honey Lavender in my bed ;), from Davis Creamery

But until I figure out how to make my own honey lavender ice cream, you will have to settle for this friggin amazing chocolate pudding recipe. Seriously, this was so delicious that I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I had meant for it to be two desserts, but that didn’t happen. I worked out hard that day, damnit! Not that it really matters, since it is sugar free and dairy free and paleo approved.

Aztec Chocolate Pudding

Recipes: Serves 1-2

  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 dropper stevia, to taste
  • big pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (chipotle is good too if you like it!)

Directions – Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until nice and cold.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge. 

it seriously tastes exactly like chocolate pudding.

Benefits:

Avocado * contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. Also contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, zinc, and iron. Their greatest asset is their monounsaturated fat content, which is linked to lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, weight loss, and even alleviating depression.

Bananas * a good source of natural sugars, fiber, and potassium, which is key for electrolyte balance. A great source of carbs for paleo followers!

Cocoa * a dense source of antioxidants. Cocoa is also a great source of pre-biotics to feed the healthy flora living in your digestive tract!

what you thought you couldn’t have… paleo ice cream!!

I know I keep making paleo recipes and most people aren’t paleo, but I just can’t stop! I am not full blown paleo, but I have always eaten fairly low amounts of grains. Lately, I have just taken it up a notch by reducing grains a bit more and eating less cheese and sour cream. I still eat whole grains when I am craving them, exercising heavily, or taking huge scary tests, but I am enjoying the way eating increasingly paleo makes me feel. I feel more light on my feet and like my engine is running cleaner. I don’t think I will ever be 100% any one thing though. At the moment, I feel like life is just too short to say absolutely no to anything! Plus, dairy products make my world go round. I love Greek yogurt. I need ice cream. However, I cannnn cut down on my dairy ice cream consumption a bit with this recent invention. The one thing about paleo I figured I would never get over was the inability to eat ice cream.

Problem solved.

Vanilla Bean Paleo Ice Cream

This recipe is sugar and dairy free! The ice cream is dreamy creamy, and yet still light at around 100 calories per half cup. But who eats half a cup of ice cream at a time? Seriously. No one.

Recipe: Makes ~8 cups

  • 1 can organic, full fat coconut milk
  • 5 bananas
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions – Pour the coconut milk into a freezer safe container. Freeze the coconut milk. Peel the bananas and place them in a plastic  ziplock. Freeze the bananas. Run hot water over the frozen coconut milk container so that a block of coconut milk pops out. Place the bananas and coconut milk block into a blender with the other ingredients. Blend. To store, place in a freezer safe container and freeze.

Note: If you don’t have a vitamix, you will likely have to wait until the coconut milk is slightly thawed for it to blend. You may also need to do smaller batches since Vitamixes are huge. I bought mine for 150$ off on overstock dot com!

Another note: You can add a couple drops of liquid stevia if you dont think it tastes sweet enough, but I found it to be quite sweet with just the bananas and vanilla.

Benefits:

Coconut milk * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism and are LESS likely to be stored as fat!

Bananas * A good source of natural sugars, fiber, and potassium, which is key for electrolyte balance.

ATTACKKK!!!

PS: My next post is going to be a NuNaturals Stevia GIVEAWAY!

Get excited!!

a remedy for the hard days

Health is such a fickle thing. You can feel strong and so good for so long that you start to think that you will never get sick again. That you are just above getting sick. Then, midterms come around, you stay out late a couple times, you work out because you miss it, and BAM – you transform into a walking zombie. My symptoms include…
 an aversion to vegetables
 ice cream dependence
 pain with deep inhalation
 an old man’s weeze
 a sore throat upon waking that only lasts an hour
 constantly tired
 crabby pattys.
My cure?

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Bread

this photo does not do the bread justice, I waited until there was only one slice left to photograph it… ;) 

This bread is undeniably delicious and perfect for breakfast, a snack, or even as a warm dessert with a scoop of  vanilla ice cream. It isn’t too sweet to have in the morning, but you can reduce the flour and increase the sugar if you want it to be extremely sweet and dessert-like.

Wet ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar or NuNaturals Baking Blend
  • 1 tbsp molasses
Dry ingredients
  • 1  1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cups wheat bran (you can just use more flour or ground flax, the purpose is increased fiber)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips (depends on your taste, I wanted less)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup walnuts (depends on your taste, I wanted tons)
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the wet ingredients and mix well. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the choco chips and walnuts) and mix well. Pour the wet over the dry and mix well with a spatula. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and it passes the knife test.

Benefits:

Flax * high in B vitamins, magnesium, and f-f-f-fiber! It has more omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants than any grain!

Whole wheat flour * when you choose white flour over whole wheat flour, you are losing over half of the B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.

Wheat bran * contains TONS of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous and antioxidants! 1 cup has 25 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein!

Bananas * High in potassium which helps the body eliminate excess salt and water (good for bloating)! Also help prevent muscular cramps and improve blood circulation. Bananas are high in zinc, which is key for healthy hair. They have also been linked to the prevention of stomach ulcers because they protect the stomach mucous layer. They are high in vitamins C and A, and phosphorus (which helps improve memory).

Cinnamon * High in antioxidants. Also aids in controlling blood sugar levels. Why does blood sugar matter? Spikes in blood sugar are bad for your health because they cause your body to increase insulin production. Insulin, among many other things, tells your body to store fat. Therefore, eating a sugary/high-in-simple-carbohydrate meal = blood sugar spike = insulin spike = store fat. Even worse, years of insulin spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes.

Walnuts * contain the healthy monounsaturated fats!

Caramelized sweet potato ice cream with toasted marshmallow swirl

I have been on a ridiculous ice cream kick lately. I literally just can’t get enough – I like to think that all the calcium is seeping into my bones and I am now indestructible. To put it metaphorically, ice cream is to me what creatine is to high school football players. Only any weight it may incur ain’t water ;)

To get my fixes, I have been frequenting Davis Creamery. Last time I went in, the semi-stoned, smocked dude smirked and said “Maybe we should just make you a frequent flyer card.”

You do that. Seriously. I was shocked and beyond ecstatic to find that they had a new flavor – sweet potato and marshmallow. I giddily asked for a sample, shoved the wooden stick into my mouth, and then…. my heart sank. It sucked. The sweet potato flavor was lack luster and the marshmallows were raw and there was a lack of depth of flavor in general. I knew I could make it better.

To bring out the best in the sweet potato, the key is to caramelize it first in the oven. Do not disrespect the potato by boiling it. Plus, you wont lose any water soluble nutrients!

And toast the marshmallows, obvs.

caramelized sweet potato ice cream with toasted marshmallow swirl

Recipe: Makes ~2  1-cup servings

1 cup caramelized sweet potato

1 cup organic whole milk, vanilla yogurt (I used Strauss)

6 large marshmallows

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 capfuls vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

optional: mini marshmallows for topping, scoop of marshmallow fluff, brown sugar and/or stevia to taste

Directions – Place the metal container of the ice cream maker in the freezer; let it freeze overnight. Bake a sweet potato at 400 degrees until the sugars begin to seep out, about an hour. Refrigerate overnight.The next day, broil the marshmallows on a pan in the oven until browned. Let them cool completely (they will deflate).  Combine the sweet potato with the yogurt, sugar, spices and salt and mix well. Turn on the ice cream maker and pour in the mixture once it is ALREADY SPINNING. It will take about 20 minutes to harden. Midway through, give it a taste test to see if it is sweet to your liking. Just a minute or two before you want to serve the ice cream, add the marshmallows and let them get combined by the ice cream maker. For an additional marshmallow swirl, you can turn off the ice cream maker and use a fork to swirl in marshmallow fluff. Top with toated mini marshmallows and enjoy!

Can be stored tightly sealed in the freezer.

Perrfect. 

What surprised me about this recipe was that although I used whole milk yogurt, it had a similar calorie content  to non-fat frozen yogurt. I realized that the fro-yo has way more sugar in place of the fat. And health wise, fat is >>>> sugar. Plus, the fat gives it an amazing creamy texture that froyo just don’t got.

Benefits:

Sweet potato * high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, and B6! The antioxidants in sweet potatoes work to eliminate free radicals (which damage the body) and are anti-inflammatory, so they can help alleviate symptoms of many conditions.

Whole yogurt * loaded with calcium, a bit of protein, and beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion of the lactose and help promote regularity! Plus, the fats in milk products are short chain, which tend to be immediately utilized by the body for energy rather than fat storage.

Light and quick… whole grain pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Twice now I have asked readers to divulge what recipes they would like me to post. While I have fulfilled many of the requests, there has been one that has been haunting me. More than any other baked good, dessert, entree, drink, or snack, you people have been wanting… cinnamon rolls.

you would never, ever in a billion years think these were healthy

At first, I didn’t know what to do with that request. How can I make a juicy, sugar-laden cinnamon roll fit into my healthy living blog?

Well. Apparently, one can make a cinnamon roll whole grain, sneak in some flax, shove in some veggies, decrease the sugar and butter (although there ain’t nothin wrong with butter), and still have it taste a m a z i n g . Furthermore, to indulge in my laziness, I used zero yeast and didn’t have to wait around for the dough to rise. Or whatever?

These were so good that I brought a couple over to my neighbors (who were born during the Mesolithic era) as an apology for Nina barking at night a couple weeks ago.

So good that my room mates swarmed them as soon as they came out of the oven.

So good that I shamelessly sequestered two from the pan and am hoarding them in my freezer for… later…

Whole grain pumpkin cinnamon rolls

very low sugar and fat and all whole grain!

Recipe: Makes ~16 cinnamon rolls

Dough

  • 1  + 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 2 tablespoons NuNaturals stevia baking blend (or sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk (mine had gone bad so I used 1/4 cup half and half and 1/2 cup almond milk)

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup NuNaturals baking blend stevia (or sugar)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or more baking blend)
  • 1/4 tsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash salt
Directions - 
For the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to form a pasty mixture. Using your hands is helpful. Set aside.
For the dough, combine all of the ingredients except the milk  in a large bowl and mix well. Add the milk and mix until a soft dough forms.
Lay down a sheet of wax paper and cover with a decent layer of flour. Scoop half of the dough onto the paper and roll out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick and in the shape of a piece of paper. Spread half of the filling over the dough. For mini buns, roll the dough hot dog style. For full sized cinnamon rolls, roll it the other direction (so that the roll is thicker, not longer). Slice the roll as thick as you want the cinnamon rolls to be. 
Repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. ENJOY!!!!!!!

Benefits:

Flax seeds * are loaded with omega 3′s (specifically alpha linolenic acid) which can reduce inflammation! Omega 3s are also used to prevent blood clots and increase cell plasticity (which can help diabetics). Daily flax consumption can lower cholesterol levels and also provides a healthy dose of fiber in every tablespoon!

Whole wheat flour * The outer bran layer in whole grains is where the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are, which is why you should ditch the white.

Pumpkin * An impressive source of vitamins A and C and iron, manganese, and riboflavin! Also is high in fiber ;)

Cinnamon * The coolest thing about cinnamon is its ability to control blood sugar. Meaning, within reason, that if you use a fair amount of cinnamon in a dish that has sugar or another fast digesting carbohydrate, it will help prevent the blood glucose spike that you would normally get. Why does blood sugar matter? Spikes in blood sugar are bad for your health because they cause your body to increase insulin production. Insulin, among many other things, tells your body to store fat. Therefore, eating a sugary/high-in-simple-carbohydrate meal = blood sugar spike = insulin spike = store fat.

perfect.

I baked my first cake (and I accidently made it gluten free).

Life has this weird ability to speed up slow down simultaneously. I finished summer school on Friday after taking my Genetics final, but I don’t really have a break before school starts (in just a week and a half!) because sorority pre-recruitment has begun. It still creeps me out that I joined a sorority, but as false and cliche as it sounds – it really is different here. Essentially all of the girls are intelligent, hilarious, down to earth, and each bring something unique to the table. I mean, just look at these quality texts!:

get yer geek on at a frat party – why not?

obsessive use of emojis <3

There isn’t much drama (at least not that I’m aware of – which I guess isn’t saying much) and there aren’t any condescending rules or mandatory obligations. I see it as a nice little social safety net. After my experience at UCSB, I definitely can use a little backup support… I missed the first week of pre-recruitment due to summer school and my internship, so today was my first full day. Full day meaning 10am to 5pm.  The goings-on are all under wraps, but I can tell you that the days most hilarious task was bleaching rocks. Apparently the rocks that line our gardens have to be a pristine and sparkly white to wow the potential new members –  bahaha! Fine with me though, seeing as the alternative was crafting, which I am bizarrely incapable of.

Also – I started a new paying job a few weeks ago! I am the sample girl at Nugget and Food 4 Less, two local grocery chains owned by the same company. So far I have sampled organic, ready-made salads by Earthbound farms and a probiotic drink called Yakult! All nerded out:

would you like to try a blueberry quinoa salad with organic greens? 

or how about some probiotics?

In regards to the title of this post, last week was my friend Thibault’s birthday. He was throwing a potluck style BBQ and I had no idea what to bring. I had never baked a cake before, so it seemed meant to be that I bake a birthday cake to bring. I had been itching to use my stash of coconut flour and I have been on a peanut butter kick lately and thus..

[Gluten free] Coconut layer cake with coconut vanilla cream cheese frosting

was born! The secret ingredient is 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the icing. It adds such a light flavor of peanut that some people couldn’t discern its presence. A peanut butter scented coconut cream cheese frosting, if you will. It was a hit. People had no idea that it was gluten free and really seemed to enjoy it. Many people asked for seconds, and some even got thirds! Which is probably the most flattering thing to me – ever. The recipe is also very easy to make dairy free. I used this recipe to figure out the ratio of egg to coconut flour needed for a successful flourless cake. Also worth noting is that

this cake has 80 grams of fiber in it. and we all know I like fiber.

Recipe: Makes 1 double layer cake

Wet ingredients - 

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar (I used a mixture of white sugar, homemade vanilla bean sugar, and coconut sugar – but it doesn’t really matter)

10 eggs (at room temperature; DO NOT USE LESS EGGS)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/3 cup milk (you can use more coconut milk, I just didn’t want to open another can)

2 droppers full of NuNaturals liquid stevia

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Dry ingredients - 

2 cups coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut + plus 1 cup more for layering over the icing

Directions – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-9 1/2 inch cake layer pans with coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and mix vigorously (or use an electric mixer, which I don’t have). Add in the eggs one at a time and continuously mix. After all the eggs have been added, add the vanilla extract, stevia, and coconut oil and mix for another minute or two, until well combined. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients together and add alternately with the coconut milk to the sugar/butter mixture.  Beat batter for about 5 minutes, until smooth. Divide batter into the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are light brown and they pass the toothpick test. Place pans on wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake. Let them cool completely before frosting the first layer. Add a layer of sweetened shredded coconut over the top of the icing and then lay down the next layer of cake. Ice the entire cake. Sprinkle and press coconut shreds all over the cake, into the icing.

For the icing:

16 oz cream cheese, softened

2 cups sugar (I used a mix of homemade vanilla bean sugar and white sugar – you could also use a bit less sugar and add in some stevia)

1/4 cup butter

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions – Combine everything except the sugar in a bowl and whip until creamy. Gradually add in the sugar, mixing it well. Ice the cooled cake

The pictures do not do it justice! I was in a rush to get to the BBQ and obviously I had to wait until the cake was cut to take a picture of the inside. The lighting was shameful.

so good he ate the secretly-stashed slice for breakfast and lunch the next day!

the innards, filled with coconut shreds and cream cheese frosting

BENEFITS:

Coconut * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism.

Coconut flour * 1 cup contains 40 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein. It is one of the lowest carb flours you can use!

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

I’m out!

What to do with your leftover juicer pulp!

Chelsea’s boyfriend (and my temporary room mate) Tommy has been on a juice kick lately. He has been juicing everything, from normal things like carrots and apples, to failed attempts at banana and persimmon juice. He buys carrots in 5 lb bags from Costco and so I’ve had mountains of carrot pulp tempting me with their shreddedness. Part of why I don’t make more carrot-y recipes is because finely grating them and then squeezing out excess moisture is such a pain! The juice pulp is work free – y perfecto para mi. 

(Sugar free!) Rum Raisin Carrot Cookies

they are delicious, and don’t taste as healthy as they are ;)

Recipe: Makes 6 cookies

1 cup carrot pulp (or grated carrot)

2 tbsp butter

2 eggs

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp pecans, chopped

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

dash salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp NuNaturals baking blend stevia (or sugar)

1 tbsp brown sugar (or more stevia to make them sugar free)

1 tbsp ground flax

optional:  1 tsp rum

Directions – Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

BENEFITS:

Carrots * a prime source of vitamin A and antioxidants

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Cinnamon * The coolest thing about cinnamon is its ability to control blood sugar. Meaning, within reason, that if you use a fair amount of cinnamon in a dish that has sugar or another fast digesting carbohydrate, it will prevent the blood glucose spike that you would normally get. Why does blood sugar matter? Spikes in blood sugar are bad for your health because they cause your body to increase insulin production. Insulin, among many other things, tells your body to store fat. Therefore, eating a sugary/high-in-simple-carbohydrate meal = blood sugar spike = insulin spike = store fat.

And here is a simple body weight workout for when the gym is unexpectedly closed and you are all amped up to work out…

Body weight circuit workout

5 minute warm up jog

60 jumping jacks

10 pushups

20 walking lunges

40 doggy side kicks

20 jumping squats

1 minute plank

5 burpees

50 high knees

 repeat circuit 3x (except the warm up jog)

It was about 8pm when I showed up to the gym only to find that it had closed early for Labor Day weekend. Instead, I headed to the university’s old track. It was dark outside and the track wasn’t lit up, but I had enough light from the nearby parking structure to not kill myself doing the circuit. After I finished, I wasn’t tired and my favorite 120 minute electro/dance song came on so0o0o I danced alone – under the stars – on the track – for a solid 14 minutes. I worked up a sweat equivalent to the circuit! So after you finish the circuit, you MUST

dance as hard as you can for 15 minutes

warm down jog home