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3 Smoothie Recipes for Spring | Get Healthy With Valentina

3 Smoothie Recipes for Spring | Get Healthy With Valentina

We know that fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins and minerals, yet we don't seem to eat enough of them. Celebrate these food groups now that spring is here. There is a great variety available, as well as several ways to prepare, cook, and serve them. This month, I've included three smoothie recipes, as well as one recipe for vegan pasta sauce.

This Healthy Candy Cane Will Blow Your Mind

This Healthy Candy Cane Will Blow Your Mind

You'll only need two ingredients for this healthy candy cane: bananas and strawberries. Slice them up into coins and arrange them carefully into a cane-like shape. Make sure that the slices are roughly the same width so that everything is proportionate. When you're arranging the curve of the healthy candy cane, it's best to leave one full strawberry intact. Just slice off the stem and angle the strawberry between two banana slices. This is all you need to make one of the simplest and cutest desserts on the planet. Although bananas and strawberries work best for the classic candy cane colour combination, feel free to experiment with other fruits and berries. This healthy candy cane is refined sugar-free and bursting with fibre, potassium, and antioxidants.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas : Sweet and Savoury

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas : Sweet and Savoury

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I decided to try something slightly different than usual — I made something savoury. But worry not, friends with sweet tooth syndrome.  You have the option to transform these crunchy roasted chickpeas into something sweet!This is a much healthier alternative to potato chips. The crunchy roasted chickpeas will for sure satisfy your cravings for something with a bit more bite. They require only two ingredients, in addition to whichever spices you prefer! They're super easy and better yet, they're sky-high in fiber and protein. These crunchy roasted chickpeas are the perfect snack for those on a plant-based diet.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - The perfect healthy snack. It can be made sweet or salty. Toss those potato chips and eat these instead! // The PumpUp Blog

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - Savoury Version

  • 300g can of chickpeas (drained)
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (feel free to omit if you can’t handle spicy food!)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas - Sweet Version

  • 300g can of chickpeas (drained)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas, place onto a parchment-lined cookie tray and dry with a paper towel.
  3. Bake the chickpeas in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and toss them in the oil and spices, coating them evenly.
  5. Place the tray back into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.
  6. Let them cool a bit before enjoying.

 

This recipe for crunchy roasted chickpeas was created by PumpUp member mariajumps. Keep her pumped on the PumpUp app here!

Easy Fish Tacos with Mango Cucumber and Tomato Coriander Salsa

Easy Fish Tacos with Mango Cucumber and Tomato Coriander Salsa

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I can’t believe that in two weeks, September will be here. I definitely haven’t seen the time fly by! It feels like it’s only just been a couple of days that I closed my textbooks for the final time and submitted my last paper…Now, a couple of weeks from now, so many of you will be going back to school. To be honest, I might be one of the only few people out there that actually misses being in school. I loved every aspect of being in university; the excitement of picking out new notebooks, agendas, pens, post-its, buying those oh-so expensive textbooks, getting my schedule and finding all the classrooms. And let’s not forget all those fun nights and weekends out with friends, discovering new things, and also cramming sessions the night before a big exam. Yummy, healthy, easy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

Instead of dreading that first week back, I thought I’d share with you a delicious recipe that is excellent to make for a back to school event or one of those last get-togethers before everyone moves back to campus.

This is a 3 ½ step meal that is so much fun to prepare, either on your own, or as a team with a bunch of friends: who doesn’t like a good old kitchen party?

I’m sharing with you my favourite & easy fish tacos along with two delicious salsas and stuffing ideas!

Mango Cucumber Salsa

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

  • 1 cup of frozen mango chunks, or two fresh mangoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small to half of a large cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely minced
  • ¼ of a red onion, finely minced
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything up in a nice serving dish and let sit for an hour (if you can) before serving it so that the flavours are all released.

Tomato and Coriander Salsa

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

  • 1 large tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of olive oil

Mix everything up in a nice serving dish and let sit for an hour (if you can) before serving it so that the flavours are all released. If you’re not a fan of coriander, you can always use parsley

Easy Fish Tacos

  • 1 to 2 fillets of white fish (Cod, Turbot, Tilapia, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun spice, or chili powder, cayenne, etc.
  • ½ tsp. to 1 tbsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of brown sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

Mix all your spices in a small dish, and then sprinkle them over a clean plate. Pat your fish fillets in the spices, coat both sides and pat the spices in.

On a hot pan, add in your fillets and cook each side for about 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Once cooked, flake the pieces with a fork to let it cool down.

Now the fun part: assembling your fish tacos!

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

When we made them, we filled our easy fish tacos with the salsas, as well as some yogurt dip (plain yogurt with two garlic cloves crushed in it), hummus, and braised Brussel sprouts (chop Brussel sprouts and pan fry in a tiny bit of butter and garlic) instead of cabbage.

We also served it with a side of bean, rice and corn salad, for which the recipe will be on my main blog this Sunday!

These easy fish tacos are part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Savour this un-'beet'able gluten free apple and beet salad

Savour this un-'beet'able gluten free apple and beet salad

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I can’t believe spring is finally here, and here to stay! I’ve been waiting a long time for this, mostly because it means that my birthday is just around the corner (I'm smirking right now). Anyways! This month’s recipe is a pretty colorful one, which is bound to get you excited about everything! Not only is it flashy, but it adds a punch to your lunches or dinners! You can say it’s a pretty ‘upbeet’ recipe! Haha! Did you get that pun?! Yes, well if you did, you’ve guessed it, I’m using beets (beetroot) as a main vegetable in this recipe! Yeah, you know that gnarly thing that you’re not sure what to do with it, other than dye everything you own, accidentally of course, hot fuchsia. Other than making your obvious borscht (Ukrainian soup that is beet based), I thought of giving you a recipe that showcases this amazingly delicious and somewhat versatile root veg!

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Sorry, now that I have this out of my system (AREN'T THEY CUTE), I can actually start the recipe!

Ingredients | Gluten Free Apple Beet Salad

  • 2 cups of diced boiled beets (traditional red ones are excellent, but feel free to gran the heirloom ones, they come in yellow!)
  • 2-3 sticks of celery, finely minced
  • green apple, finely chopped (you can take the peel off, but I like keeping it for a punch of colour)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar (regular, or white)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 green onions, finely sliced
  • crumbled feta or goat’s cheese

Beet apple gluten free salad

Before you do anything else, other than turn some music on to dance to while you’re making this, you’re going to want to prep your beets. Usually, beets are sold in bags, much like potatoes, and they need some scrubbing before you use them as well. With a vegetable brush, or a clean (unused) toothbrush that you can use for other vegetables, gently scrub the beets in water. This will dislodge any dirt or unwanted things off the beets before you boil them.

Next, place your beets in a large pot of water (enough water to cover them), and boil them until a fork goes through easily. You will possibly need to add water to the pot while they are boiling, and if the smell bothers you, you can always change up the water throughout. It took me about 1h to boil 6 medium beets.

Now, once they are ready, you want to plunge them in/rinse them in very cold water. This will stop them from cooking more (basically, blanch them). Be careful not to damage the skin. Once they are cool enough to handle, grab a paper towel, or clean dishcloth, and gently rub them. The skin will pretty much slide off on it’s own! No need for peeling.

Gluten free apple beet salad by Zoe Desborough for the PumpUp Blog

There you go, fool-proof way of boiling beets for any other of your needs. You can always bake them  (wrap them in foil and plop them in the oven), but that will alter their taste slightly.

Now chop them up in bite size pieces.

To make the salad, in a big serving dish, mix in your 2 cups of chopped beets, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow the package for cooking instructions, but I usually go with a 1 cup quinoa and 1 ¾ cup water ratio… same for my brown rice). Add in your chopped celery, apples, and feta/goat cheese. Follow with your green onions and vinaigrette ingredients (balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice). Season with some salt and pepper to taste and there you have it!

This vegan apple beet salad is excellent as a side, or as a main itself, and will definitely make your taste buds dance with joy.

I will be attempting to make a purple hummus (beet based of course) in the next few weeks on my personal blog, so keep an eye out!

This vegan apple beet salad recipe is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

3 Ingredient Gluten Free Breakfast Biscuits

3 Ingredient Gluten Free Breakfast Biscuits

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A few weeks ago I was really craving something sweet. I knew that I could quell my craving with some fruit. Though I managed to transcend my craving that night, I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be tempted to reach for something sweet in the morning. I was inspired to bake 3 Ingredient Gluten Free Breakfast Biscuits: a simple and quick recipe so that I could wake up and satisfy my cravings with a healthy breakfast made of wholesome ingredients. Gluten Free Breakfast Biscuits

  • 2 cups of self rising flour (I used whole grain self rising flour)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (solid)
  • ¾ cup coconut milk or milk of your choice. Coconut milk from the can works as well.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Add self-rising flour in a mixing bowl then add the coconut oil. With a fork, mix everything together until it resembles crumbs. Add the coconut milk and mix until it is fully combined as a dough.
  3. Put the dough on a cutting board sprinkled with flour. Roll it out flat till it's 1/2 inch thick, then use a tall glass or a biscuit cut the dough into circles
  4. Place biscuits on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 10 mins or until golden on top.

You can eat them right away or save them for breakfast and serve them with  peanut butter and fruits. They are not too sweet: you can eat them with coffee or you drizzle some honey and nuts on top of them.

Hope you like it!

These gluten free breakfast biscuits were created by Anna M (eatforyourpeace). Follow her on PumpUp @annaaa_, on Instagram @annaaamsl, and check out her blog. Let us know what you think of Anna’s 3 ingredient gluten free breakfast biscuits in the comments below!

3- ingredient gluten free breakfast biscuits made with 2 cups of a gluten free self-rising flour mix, 1/4 cup solid coconut oil, and 3/4 of the milk of your choice

4 Ingredient Salted Caramel Tahini Cubes

4 Ingredient Salted Caramel Tahini Cubes

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I'm a firm believer that you can healthi-fy ANY kind of food, you just gotta get creative to come up with a "fake" but WAY better version of it. So this time it's salted caramel candy's turn. I transformed it  into something our bodies would actually be grateful for! They used to be a childhood favorite of mine, and let me tell you: this healthy version is even better than the real thing! They're sweet, salty, fudgy, they melt in your mouth and all you need are four ingredients and a food processor/blender! Literally glory in a cube!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt (to sprinkle at the end)
Directions: You simply mix everything together with a food processor until smooth. Then pour the mixture on a pan, and place in freezer for an hour or until hardened. Once they're done, get them out and with a sharp knife cut into cubes: you gotta be quick because they will melt if you wait too long. That's it, they're ready to be enjoyed!

4 ingredient salted caramel tahini cubes from the PumpUp Blog

This 4 ingredient salted caramel tahini cube recipe is by PumpUp member mariajumps. Keep her pumped on the PumpUp app here!

The only banana berry smoothie bowl you need in your life

The only banana berry smoothie bowl you need in your life

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Craving something sweet, filling, and good for you? This Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl is free of fat and processed sugars and I know you will absolutely LOVE it!! It is so delicious and easy to make…this recipe will take you under ten minutes and you only need a few ingredients! What you will need for the base:

  • 2 medium frozen bananas
  • 1 medium ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups of frozen mixed berries

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Place your frozen bananas in a food processor or a high speed blender until you achieve a creamy, ice cream consistency:

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Next, add your frozen berries and blend until it is smooth throughout:

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IMG_2654Pour your base into a big bowl and top it with fresh fruit of your choice! I also added some hemp seeds and crushed almonds for a little crunch! Enjoy your guilt free, delectable Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl!!

This banana berry smoothie bowl recipe was written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

Try this double smoothie recipe for Easter, because you're worth it

Try this double smoothie recipe for Easter, because you're worth it

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Sure, the air is filled with pollen and brimming with allergens during the thick of spring. Retreat back indoors and make this refreshingly tasty double smoothie recipe for a post-workout treat. These smoothie recipes use fruits that impart just the right amount of natural sweetness. The amount of milk you add can be adjusted to your liking, just in case you don't like your smoothie to be as viscous as the slime that they pour on celebrities during the Kid's Choice awards. If you're looking for a new smoothie recipe for Easter, look no further. PumpUp member metisse made two smoothie recipes that won't fail you now or ever. Ingredients (blue smoothie)

  • Almond milk, to taste
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 banana
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Ingredients (yellow smoothie)

  • 1 banana
  • 2 kiwis
  • Choice of milk, to taste
  • 1 pear

Have any wonderful smoothie recipes for Easter? Tag them with #smoothie in the PumpUp app to share them with the community! We'd love to know what your favourite smoothie combinations are in the comments below. Happy juicing!

smoothie recipe for Easter

2-ingredient vegan chocolate (we know, it's a real thing)

2-ingredient vegan chocolate (we know, it's a real thing)

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As Easter looms over your head, promises of chocolate and Cadbury mini-eggs float around you like snowflakes endlessly drifting down from the pale white sky.  If you're going to inevitably indulge, know that there are alternatives! Here's a 2-ingredient vegan chocolate recipe that isn't an assault on your taste buds. You can make it again (and again) without too much of a hassle on your part. You can make it for others or keep it as a tiny and tasty little secret to yourself and your tastebuds. Incorporate it into your favourite recipes that call for dark chocolate to impart a much bolder flavour. While it may not turn out to be the mini-eggs you dream and dream about, this 2-ingredient vegan chocolate recipe by PumpUp member @heybeau makes it possible for you satisfy your chocolate craving again and again.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder

Optional

  • Maple syrup or agave nectar, to taste
  • Chocolate protein powder

Mix coconut oil and cacao powder together and add sweetener and/or the protein powder if desired. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and enjoy! Keep mixture cool for as long as it exists in your household. If you wish to increase the portion size of the recipe, do so by mixing the coconut oil and cacao powder in a 1:1 ratio.

2-ingredient vegan chocolate

Triple-Layered Vegan and Gluten free Berry Banana Bread

Triple-Layered Vegan and Gluten free Berry Banana Bread

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A couple days ago I got the chance to go to the “Strawberry Festival” that’s held here in Costa Rica each year to help our local berry growers and farmers from a zone that was damaged by an earthquake back in 2009. Now, strawberries are my favorite fruit so you can guess I came back home with around 3kg of strawberries, and not only that, but also 1kg of blackberries. Naturally I had to find a way to use up all of that fruit, so I came up with a fantastic layered banana bread recipe for you guys! I’m bringing all of my favorites for this: oats, bananas and berries. And of course: it can be modified to fit everyone’s dietary needs; I got you on that one!

How to make triple-layered gluten free berry banana bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (oat or almond)
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups applesauce (or two eggs)
  • 4-5 big strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries (or blueberries)

vegan gluten free triple layered banana bread

Mix all ingredients together except for the strawberries and blackberries until well combined. You can use a food processor or do it by hand. Separate the mixture into three equal parts; these will be the base for your layers.

First layer: It’s done! You don’t have to add anything else, so go ahead and pour it into your loaf pan.

Second layer: Mash your strawberries until a purée is formed and mix in with the banana bread base. You can use your food processor for all of this to make it WAY easier. Once the mixture gets pink, pour it into your loaf pan. Your middle layer’s all done!

Third layer: Again, mash your blackberries or blueberries until puréed and mix in with the base until it gets purple, pour into your loaf pan. Done!

Now you can decorate with more berries, or simply place it in the oven (at 370°F) for around 40-50 minutes, keep checking on it. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean. Once you get it out of the oven, hide it from your friends and family because we all know you don’t want to share this beauty, do you? (Just kidding, sharing is caring). Enjoy!

This triple-layered berry gluten free berry banana bread is a recipe by PumpUp member mariajumps. Keep her pumped on the PumpUp app here!

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The 4 easiest healthy snacks on earth : get healthy with Valentina!

The 4 easiest healthy snacks on earth : get healthy with Valentina!

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  • Creamy cucumber slices
  • Peanut butter and dates
  • Dark chocolate mandarin oranges
  • Dark chocolate banana slices

Hola Amigos!

It's finally spring!  I think that spring is nature’s way of saying, "Don’t give up and keep marching to your dreams!"   My favorite thing about March is probably knowing that spring and summer are just around the corner. Though I love many things about winter, running in cold weather isn't one of them. Thanks to spring, racing season is starting back up again. The days will be longer, there'll be more sun, and most importantly, there'll be more time for running. 

Because this month's theme is to #MarchToYourDream, it's important to stay true to yourself and follow your heart as you pursue your ambitions. As long as you keep doing that, tomorrow's hopes and dreams will never die. Your heart will guide you to accomplish many things and give you the courage to overcome challenges and obstacles. Whatever's in store for your future, never let anybody stand in your way. March to your dreams with the easiest healthy snacks on earth!

Creamy Cucumber Slices

easiest healthy snacks on earth

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, feta or cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Place the sliced cucumber onto a serving dish- Add 1 tablespoon of cheese to each slice. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Dates

easiest healthy snacks peanut butter dates

Ingredients

  • Whole pitted dates
  • Peanut butter

Directions

Open one date with your fingers or a knife. Use fingers to open out date creating some kind of a “pocket” for your stuffing. Scoop a generous teaspoon of peanut butter inside the date. Close the date. Enjoy!

Dark chocolate mandarin oranges 

easiest healthy snack dark chocolate mandarin orange

Ingredients

  • 5 mandarin oranges
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set side. Peel the mandarin oranges. Melt the chocolate chips. Dip each slice halfway into the melted chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and repeat until all slices are evenly coated and sprinkled with salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!

Dark chocolate banana slices

dark chocolate banana lollipops

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • 2-3 tablespoons of dark chocolate; melted
  • preferred toppings (I used chia seeds and pistachios)

Directions

First peel your banana, place on a baking sheet, and evenly spread on dark chocolate, covering just the top half of your banana. Then sprinkle on toppings and press them lightly into the melted dark chocolate to ensure they will stick. Using a sharp knife, evenly slice the banana. Transfer the banana a Tupperware. Place the banana into the freezer and freeze for about an hour. Enjoy!

With Love,

Valentina

This post is part of a series of monthly posts by Valentina M. Follow her on Instagram @thehealthymexican9 and on PumpUp @thehealthymexican.

Ferrero Rocher Energy Balls

Ferrero Rocher Energy Balls

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If you don't like Ferrero chocolates you're probably lying to yourself.  So guess what: I came up with a recipe that will satisfy your chocolate cravings and is, better yet, filled with fibre, protein AND healthy fat. My 'Ferrero Rocher' energy balls will surely will keep you full and energized until your next meal!
These babies are raw, vegan, paleo, gluten-free and nutrient dense, so you can allow yourself to indulge without guilt! You can have them as your post-workout snack, or just whenever you feel like having a treat... Or you can eat them as a topping for your banana icecream, like I did! Either way, you'll absolutely LOVE them.
 Ferrero Rocher Energy Balls

Directions

For the filling
  • 1 cup dried dates, soaked
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (I used peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a food processor combine all ingredients until nicely blended, consistency should be soft and sticky.
Grab your mixture and start shaping it into balls in the size of your choice, I recommend making the diameter of the balls a little over an inch. Once you're done shaping them, set aside.
For the chocolate coating
  • Melted coconut oil
  • Cacao powder
  • Desiccated coconut (optional)
Eyeball all of the ingredients taking into consideration the amount you'll need to coat the balls and your desired chocolate taste.
Mix the coconut oil, cacao powder and desiccated coconut together.
Dip the ferrero rocher energy balls into the chocolate goodness, get them out and place them in a plate covered with parchment paper before putting them in the freezer. You can dip them as many times as you desire to make the coating thicker, place them back in the freezer for a minute or until the coating has set before dipping again.
Once your happy with the thickness of the chocolate coating the ferrero rocher energy balls are ready to be enjoyed!
This is a post by PumpUp member mariajumps. Keep her pumped on the PumpUp app here!

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Pancakes

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Can Pancake Day be all day, everyday? (In short, yes)

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

In honor of Pancake Day, I’m sharing with you my foolproof pancake recipe so that you too can make delicious and healthy pancakes! This recipe is great, and very easy to double the batch so that you can make a ton of them then store them in the freezer for those lazy mornings, or the mornings that you’re running late!

I had someone tell me the other day that if I was eating healthy, I shouldn’t actually eat pancakes because they aren’t “clean”. Well I’ve got a secret that I’d like to share. What that person said is a big fat lie and I’ll tell you why. Eating clean doesn’t imply that you have to cut out anything and everything. It just means that you should limit or reduce your intake of processed foods and focus on healthier alternatives.

I work out for my mental health just as much as my physical health, so I can feel great about my body, no matter what shape or size it is. I eat very healthily, with my weekly treats (nachos on Thursday pub nights, and a few glasses of wine with my girlfriend). Otherwise, I eat all my veggies and fruits, and limit my intake of fish and chicken for ethical and personal reasons. Making pancakes from gluten free flour, coconut oil, soy milk and a bit of sugar doesn’t mean I don’t eat “clean” or that it’s a “cheat meal”. It only means that I love myself enough to to treat myself with foods that make me happy and that are good for me.

Your fitness journey should be a personal thing, and the goals you set yourself should be your own. Personal behaviour modification only takes place when you yourself actually want to make a change for yourself and not for someone else’s sake (sorry, I’m a Psychology major). If you love yourself enough to change your behaviours for healthier ones, make sure that the decisions you take are for your own good and not someone else’s happiness.

In honor of self-love and acceptance, I challenge you to make yourself a batch of these pancakes and caramelized apples this weekend, and tell yourself “I’m worth it”. Don’t feel guilty; feel happy and free to be eating something so delicious!

First off, really simple pancakes! You can easily double this recipe to make more pancakes and freeze them for when you want something a little sweeter throughout the week.

Ingredients: Gluten-Free Pancakes

  • 1 cup buttermilk (milk and 1 tbsp of lemon juice works perfectly well)
  • 1 cup of gluten free flour (rice flour works just as well)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of plain yogurt
  • squirt of vanilla extract (if your yogurt is flavored, you can omit it)

Whisk all your ingredients together, but not too much so your pancakes don’t get tough, but enough so that most of the lumps are gone.

In a hot pan with a dab of coconut oil, cook your pancakes like you would any pancakes. If it’s your first time, your first pancake will be a flop, so don’t worry too much. Cook it until it starts bubbling and the edges are cooked, and then flip it over for another minute or two, until the inside is cooked. Gluten free and egg free pancakes don’t rise as much as “regular” pancakes, so expect them to be more like crêpes.

Now, for that extra bit of love, you’re going to want to top these bad boys with caramelized apples.

Ingredients :  Caramelized Apples 

  • 2 apples, thinly sliced (you can remove the peel if you want)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

You can use the same pan as the pancakes to make the apples once the pancakes are done. Melt your brown sugar and butter together for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in your apples and caramelize them over high heat for about 5 minutes. Just watch out that you don’t get butter splatter on you, since that stuff burns.

There you have it! Serve your loved one pancakes topped with caramelized apples, a sprinkle of shredded unsweetened coconut, some fresh fruits and maple syrup, along with a nice coffee or latte!

Protein-Packed Cookie Dough Dip

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Protein-packed Cookie Dough Dip

This is part of a series of recipes from PumpUp member @carolinewaters35. Follow her blog, the G-free RD, here

This protein-rich recipe is really easy to make and tastes amazing. You do need a food processor, but trust me: food processors are worth investing in as they make it easy to prepare tons of healthy recipes! 

The protein in this recipes comes from the greek yogurt-like product called Elli Quark. It’s lower calorie and higher protein than greek yogurt and its technically a cheese, but its amazing and tastes exactly like greek yogurt! If this product is hard to find, you can just sub in regular vanilla greek yogurt. The other source of protein comes from the chickpeas. These give it a cookie dough-esque flavor as well as a smooth finish with TONS of good quality, plant-based protein. Flax also supplies essential omega-3s, a good source of essential fatty acids that help keep your brain stay strong and healthy! Oats are an amazing source of complex carbs, whole grains, and fiber to help keep you full. I used gluten free oats since I have a gluten intolerance, however normal oats work fine too! Next time you’re craving cookie dough, whip up this healthy alternative instead! Perfect for dipping graham crackers and fresh fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • ¼ cup flax
  • ¼ cup gluten free oats
  • 1 container vanilla Elli Quark (can be found online, at the Fresh Market, or Whole Foods)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • dash of cinnamon to your liking
  • 1 TBSP raw cacao powder (optional)
  • ⅛ cup sweetener of choice (I used truvia)
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil, liquid
  • 2 TBSP PB2 powder (or ¼ cup nut butter of choice…I just didn’t have any on hand…shocker I know!)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients except chocolate chips into a food processor and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Add in chocolate chips and stir to mix well.
  3. Dip away! Graham crackers, apple slices, pita bread, pretzels, bananas, strawberries, whatever floats your boat! Or use as a topping on oatmeal, muffins, toast, etc.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with BBQ Coconut Bacon

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Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with BBQ Coconut Bacon

This is part of a series of recipes from PumpUp member @carolinewaters35. Follow her blog, the G-Free RD, here. 

I never ate brussels sprouts growing up. I used to hate them! But now, trying different recipes and flavors, I have come to ADORE brussels sprouts. This recipe is so simple, and tastes amazingly decadent, without the fat from bacon, yet without skimping on any flavor! You can totally use bacon or pancetta in this recipe, but I kept it simple and tried a vegan version with BBQ flavored coconut bacon (which is AMAZING). This recipe is low fat, gluten free, vegan, and full of flavor, nutrients, vitamins, and fiber! You’ll want to try this ASAP!

Ingredients: 
  • 2 TBSP EV Olive Oil
  • 1 large bag of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 TBSP Earth balance vegetable oil butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ cup BBQ Coconut Bacon (Phoney Baloney’s brand)
  • 1 TBSP balsamic glaze (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
Directions:
  1. Wash brussels carefully.
  2. Chop off ends of each brussels sprout and discard.
  3. Slice brussels in half, and place all brussels in a large frying pan with the olive oil.
  4. Keep the brussels pieces that flake off, as they will fry into perfect crispy bites.
  5. Sprinkle brussels with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  6. Start heat on medium heat and add butter.
  7. Stir brussels until butter is melted and all is mixed.
  8. Leave on medium heat and let cook for 5-8 minutes with lid on.
  9. Check brussels and stir throughout.
  10. Add coconut bacon, mix throughout, and cook under lid for 5 more minutes or until brussels are browned but not burnt.
  11. Let brussels cool once done cooking, and add to serving dish.
  12. Drizzle balsamic glaze as desired on top of dish.
  13. Enjoy!
  14. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Try a new veggie this year! Brussels sprouts taste incredible when made in a flavorful way. :)
-Caroline Waters

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5-Minute Apple and Red Pepper Bruschetta

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a good end of semester, and that you weren’t  really stuck doing things until the very last minute…unlike me. I  did EVERYTHING last minute, including this post. I always feel so guilty during this time of year because I never end up doing everything I set out to do, mostly because school deadlines get in the way. But rest assured, all is finished, and I now get to focus on the important things, like making DIY gifts for family and friends!

The recipe this month is an amazing appetizer that will wow all of your guests at any dinner party or event you need to bring a little something to. I swear, every time I make this bruschetta, it disappears within 30 seconds. It truly is that good! And the best thing about it is that it takes 5 minutes to make and there are no tomatoes involved!

I found this lovely recipe in Vegetarian Appetizers; simply delicious recipes for easy entertaining by Paulette Mitchell. My mom gave me this book last year and it’s definitely one of my go-to books for pretty much any appetizer ideas. I thought I’d mention it here, I’ll be posting holiday-inspired recipes throughout the week next week on my blog, so keep an eye open if you’re in need of some ideas for dinner party things to make!

You will need

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped finely (you can peel it if you want, but I like the little crunch)
  • Half of a red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped ( the recipe calls for 2 tbsp, but I go for the taste)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. of honey
  • Brie cheese. Any type will do, but leave it at room temperature while you prep your bruschetta
  • Baguette; gluten free bread chopped into bite size pieces works just as well, as do rice crackers!

Super simple, takes about 5 minutes tops. Chop and mince your apple, bell pepper, red onion and cilantro, and put in a bowl. Stir together the cider vinegar, olive oil and honey, and pour it onto the chopped ingredients. Toss to coat.

This is great as is, but better with the next steps. You can prep it in advance (keeps for 2 days in the fridge) and to have it ready for whatever the occasion.

Next step is the fun step. Slice your baguette into little rounds, plop them on a baking sheet, top with a spoonful of the apple and pepper bruschetta. Slice your Brie cheese…not too thick but not too thin… Top the bruschetta with the Brie, then place the baking sheet under the broiler for about a minute. Make sure you check them often so you don’t accidentally burn them.

There you have it! Simple, delicious, and most definitely healthy. I will be attempting to make this bruschetta with mangoes next week, because we all know that mangoes and cilantro go so well together!

I wish you all happy holidays, lots of rest, and lots of happy times with your loved ones!

Ps: I will be more active on my PumpUp account in the next few weeks I swear; I’ve just been too busy!

 

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Truffles

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These vegan gluten-free chocolate cake truffles will knock your socks off

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member @ayaalamode. Check out The Healthy Appetite blog for more of her tasty creations!

The holidays are just around the corner and let’s face it: temptation is everywhere. Despite the routine gym visits, it’s really hard to say no to that slice of cake your roommate saved for you from yesterday’s office party. Or that limited edition coffee flavor that you’ll have to wait another year for (and therefore should drink as much of it now as possible). And wait, are there still leftovers in the fridge from Thanksgiving?

No doubt, the end of the year is a time for the 3 Fs: Family, Friends, and Food (4 if you count the word you shout out when trying to fit into your favorite skinnies the morning after your friend’s holiday party). But why not? ‘Tis the season, after all. And now you can also be Free of guilt with these vegan and gluten free Chocolate Cake Truffles! Perfect to make with loved ones (don’t tell me rolling cake into melting chocolate and studding them with toppings is not fun) and you won’t feel bad about eating more than one either (or two, or three … )

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Truffles
Makes ~28 cake balls

Cake Ingredients:
Dry:

1 cup gluten-free flour of choice

1/2 cup tapioca or glutinous rice flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup unrefined raw cane sugar or 45 drops of Stevia extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Wet:
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil (or any other neutral tasting oil)
Coating:
175 grams of semi-sweet or dark chocolate (I used a mixture of semi-sweet with 85% dark chocolate)
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Measure out the dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure to mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add the vinegar, oil, and milk, mixing after each. When everything is combined, pour the batter into a 11” x 7” (28 x 18 cm) baking pan/dish and bake for approximately 35 minutes (the top should spring back but the center should be moist).

Take out of the oven and let cool in the pan until the pan is warm enough to handle with bare hands. Release the cake into a bowl and crumble apart with your hands. Form about 28 uniform balls (if the cake is too dry, mix 1 tbsp of non-dairy milk at a time).
Place them on a plate and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

10 minutes before taking the plate out, melt the chocolate. You can use the bain-marie/double boiler method or microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, making sure to stir after each round.
Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper, then prepare your toppings. Nuts, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, dried/candied fruit are all good options.

Take the balls out and immerse each one in chocolate, only doing a few at a time. Once the ball is evenly coated, fish it out with a fork and let the excess drip off. Place onto the parchment paper. You can either decorate as you go along or do it after you’ve dipped everything in chocolate. The key is to do it before the chocolate cools and hardens.

After everything is decorated and to your liking, place the tray in the fridge and let cool until the outer shell hardens. Enjoy!

Follow @ayaalamode on PumpUp and visit The Healthy Appetite Blog for more healthy recipes. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus

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This is the ultimate fall hummus

Hello PumpUp readers! My name is Davida and I blog over at The Healthy Maven where I post healthy and nutritious recipes, fitness tips and how I am attempting to lead an active and balanced lifestyle. I am super excited to be partnering with PumpUp to provide you guys with delicious recipes hand-picked for the PumpUp community. I am inspired by the amazing transformation stories I have come across through PumpUp and I hope that in return I can motivate you to get a little bit healthier in the kitchen, starting with this Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus.
I’m convinced that butternut squash is the ultimate vegetable. Not only is it packed full of nutrition and deliciousness, but attempting to cut through one is basically a workout. I’m pretty sure that means that you can eat unlimited amounts since cooking it requires you to break a sweat. At least that’s what I told myself when I did a number on this healthy butternut squash hummus.

Let’s just say that this hummus is so good that you’re going to come out of fall with ripped arms thanks to all of the squash you will be cutting. It’s creamy with a hint of sweetness and a kick from the Mediterranean flavours. Make it for your next dinner party or to snack on throughout the week. Dip in whole-grain crackers or chopped veggies. No matter where or how you eat it, I promise you’ll love it!

Bon Appétit!

-The Healthy Maven

For the full recipe check out The Healthy Maven

Rice Cakes are nice cakes: Quick and easy snack

Rice cakes are nice cakes! Here’s a quick and easy snack from PumpUp’s o_its_jo18! It’s a chocolate chip rice cake topped with maple almond butter, a bit of honey, and goji berries. What are your favourite healthy snacks?