Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Piece of Cake Donuts: Only 2 Ingredients

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Happy Saturday! What’s a better way to celebrate the weekend than with freshly baked donuts? It went from summer weather (I ran in shorts and a t-shirt on Monday) to winter creeping in (I may have broken out the scarf and gloves later this week). These Two Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Donuts are surprisingly easy! You just need a donut pan, canned pumpkin and a boxed cake mix. I chose a spiced cake mix to complement the pumpkin spice theme, but you can use any cake mix. Although these donuts may be comparable in carbs and sugar, the fat content is reduced by baking them and using pumpkin to bind the dry ingredients together. They’re best hot out of the oven and with a cup of coffee! At least in my opinion, these donuts are a piece of cake — pun intended.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Poppin’ These Protein-Packed Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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This is my second batch of Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins and they keep getting better. I’ve grabbed two before my first Soul Survivor spin class (it was 60 min) and thank God I did. For being kind of bite-size, they fill you up as a snack or a meal. This morning I had two fresh out of the oven along with some Siggi’s vanilla skyr yogurt. I like the crunch of the pecans and the chewiness from the raisins. The mashed banana and pumpkin make these muffins pretty dense, but in a good way. Pro tip — aka how I enjoy them — serve warm with a cup of cinnamon coffee. Happy weekend!

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Edible (& Kinda Healthy) Cookie Dough

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The first time I tried Chickpea Cookie Dough, I was like ehhh. The next few times I tried this, I made some changes like less peanut butter, swapping brown sugar for other sweeteners (gotta be more like Toll House, right?) and a bit more vanilla. The changes made me want to grab a spoon immediately; it’s a keeper. I personally think that it’s even better chilledddd. Serve it up on apple wedges, graham crackers or just eat it with a spoon. I personally like the good ol’ chocolate chip version, but play around with it to get your perfect edible cookie dough.

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

To Brownie or Not to Brownie?

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I didn’t want to call these brownies because I don’t think of these as a true brownies without chocolate chips, so I settled on bars. Plus, are brownies ever really healthy? Maybe, maybe not. (Deep, pondering life thoughts by Annie to be continued . . . .) Whatever I call them — Dark Chocolate Coconut Raspberry Bars — can be a dessert or double up for a snack. Made grain-free using cocoa powder and plant-based chocolate powder as the base, these bars came out darkly dense made tart with raspberries.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, Snack, Vegetarian

Cheering for Mango Chia Bowls

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Before mangos disappear forever (or at least until next summer), it’s time to try Mango Chia Pudding. Mango season may have passed, but this is such a refreshing breakfast, snack or dessert. Pick a super ripe and juicy mango and you won’t even think to add any extra sugar or sweetener. The cinnamon pairs nicely and bridges the gap between holding-on-to-summer and oh-wow-it’s-already-fall.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Healthy Frappuccino: Pumpkin Spice Edition

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I just finished a hot and muggy run today and was debating spending money at Starbucks, but also craving my coffee smoothie. But it’s September now, so I can’t just have any coffee smoothie, but the fall version. I have some pumpkin spice protein powder, so I coupled that with cold brew pumpkin spice coffee and a bit of pumpkin pie spice. (Let’s see how many more times I can say “pumpkin pie spice” in one sentence.) They’re all blended together into the perfect Starbucks copycat Healthy Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, Smoothie, Snack, Vegetarian

You Won’t Even Know There’s Cauliflower in This Smoothie

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Don’t hate it until you try it: Raspberry Açai Cauliflower Smoothie. I’m a sucker for trying new food items, especially when I see these unsweetened açai purée packets continually pop up on multiple nutritionist recommended grocery lists. Açai (“ah-sigh-EE” but don’t even ask me to correctly pronounce this; I still butcher the name) is chuck full of nutrients and antioxidants due to its deep purple color — similar to blueberries and blackberries. Look for unsweetened packets in the freezer section making them easy to store and easy to have on hand. You can find them at Trader Joe’s for $4.49 or Whole Foods for $6.99 (at least that’s what it’s going for in Boston proper aka Beacon Hill). Since the purée packets are unsweetened, I added banana and frozen pineapple for some natural sugar. Frozen cauliflower adds nutrients and texture, and you can’t even tell there’s cauliflower in this thing.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Everything-You-Needed-in-Life Avo Toast

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This Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend is EVERYTHING! Literally though. It’s salty, savory and just plain fun. And it’s $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, which totally justifies buying it versus making it (but you can obviously still make it — check out Gimme Some Oven‘s version). I love this Everything Bagel Avocado Toast. I’ve honestly had this three days in a row. Maybe four . . . but who’s counting?

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Late Summer Peach Muffins with a Pseudo-Streusel

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Happy meal prep! Class is about to start up again after a two week hiatus. Having 9 am to 9 pm class on Mondays is going to be a wee bit rough, so obviously I need some new muffins in my life. I concocted a batch of Almond Peach Protein Muffins since I love fresh, ripe, juicy peaches with almond extract in the summer. Topped with a little brown sugar and chopped almonds, the muffins aren’t overly sweet and hit the spot with just a hint of summer as we move to the fall.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Meal Prep, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Holy Cow Homemade English Muffins

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This was quite fun! I haven’t truly made bread from scratch before, but I’ve made beer bread or ones using a bread machine. I chose to make Whole Wheat English Muffins post finals and as a study break before my next one. Making bread dough from scratch is actually cathartic even if it’s a bit of a waiting game. I got to properly knead dough to add air to it to make it light and fluffy, while also stretching out the gluten strands to give it its texture, and also “punch” it down to remove the extra air after it rises. The key is to stretch out the dough and not to pound it. (Check out The Kitchn‘s guide for exactly how to properly knead dough.) I saw a recipe for homemade English muffins in Real Simple this winter, but I’ve had a big store-bought batch hanging out in my freezer. Even though these are technically dairy-free, they’re still fluffy and just like English muffins are their signature time in the skillet. I also didn’t have cornmeal for the bottom, but never fear! Just be a bit more weary when cooking the bottom since the cornmeal doesn’t act as a buffer.

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