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, 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, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, Snack, Vegetarian

Power Piña Colada Protein Muffins

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Snack time! Who knew muffins could be healthy and filling without leaving you sluggish? I always like doing Tone It Up’s daily workouts and following their weekly schedule and have done so on and off for the last three years. However, I think I do a fairly good job of eating healthy, so I’ve never tried their meal plan. I had a deal with my friend, Steph, that she’d send over the meal plan in exchange for the handful of Beach Babe videos I have. I’d say it was a fair trade. After making Tuna Sushi Bowls, I tried my hand at some meal prep and made  Piña Colada Protein Muffins. I’ve had the equivalent of two muffins as a breakfast or three minis as a snack and I must say — I was surprisingly satisfied. You miss that post-carb/sugar crash. Packed with protein powder and using banana and pineapple as natural sweeteners, these muffins are a great way to grab breakfast or snacks on the go!

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"How To" Guides, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Poppin’ Popcorn

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Popcorn ready in under 5 min? Um, yes please. Where do I sign up? I was sick of buying bagged popcorn, but I do have a serious addiction to Skinny Pop. I can easily eat at least half a bag per sitting. I wanted the Skinny Pop taste with less of the binge and less of the cost. I picked up a big bag of popcorn kernels at Whole Foods for the same price as a Skinny Pop bag and the kernels lasted me a couple months. Granted, I’ve tailored this recipe to a single serving to prevent me from eating the whole thing, but this can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, whatever. Everything is done on the stove, which requires a bit of “tossing/shaking,” coordination, but NBD. You’ll love this Easy Stovetop Popcorn; your tastebuds (and wallet) will thank me.

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