Viewing entries tagged
healthy desserts

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.

Healthy Apple Cookies with No Refined Sugar

Healthy Apple Cookies with No Refined Sugar

Here's the thing about cookies. Although they're the perfect dessert to share with others, it's hard to resist eating just one cookie when you make them for yourself. With simple pantry ingredients and less refined sugar, cookies can still be moist, delicious, and reasonably good for you. Feel free to eat more than one — you earned it!

4 Kid-Friendly Fall Desserts That Are Healthy, Too - Get Healthy With Valentina

4 Kid-Friendly Fall Desserts That Are Healthy, Too - Get Healthy With Valentina

After a long, hot and hopefully smashing summer season, the time has finally come to get our fitness schedule back in order! I read the other day that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness MonthAll of us can use this as a reminder show people how they can take steps toward a solution.  If you know a younger person, don't forget that you're a role model for them. Help them to stay on track by reminding them to balance their meals with physical activity.  Prepare these recipes for a child that you know and show him or her that healthier food can be delicious, too. 

26 healthy recipes for BBQ season | The ultimate guide to healthy summer potlucks

26 healthy recipes for BBQ season | The ultimate guide to healthy summer potlucks

Healthy-recipes-for-BBQ-season.jpg

Brace yourselves: barbecue season is upon us. This summer, be prepared to light up your grill like nobody else. We put together a handy guide to help you find the best healthy recipes for BBQ season. No more scrolling (and scrolling) through Pinterest, Tumblr, and Food Gawker. No more scrambling for potluck ideas on a whim. Our ultimate guide has you covered, regardless of what tickles your fancy. Marvellous Mains The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season - Marvelous Mains // PumpUp Blog Favorites

Best Burgers The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season - Best Burgers // PumpUp Blog Favorites

Not-so-sad Salads The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season - Not so sad Salads // PumpUp Blog Favorites

Scrumptious Sides The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season - Scrumptious Sides // PumpUp Blog Favorites

Grilled Desserts The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season - Grilled Desserts // PumpUp Blog Favorites

These healthy recipes for BBQ season can't be beat. This is our ultimate guide of tried and true creations that are celebrated and beloved by wellness aficionados all over the globe.

Marvellous Mains

Seafood Skewers
Grilled Salmon Kebabs
Grilled salmon kebabs from skinnytaste // PumpUp Blog Favorites - the best healthy recipes for summer bbq season
Boost your BBQ with heart-healthy omega-3s! Carefully fold thin slices of lemon between each salmon piece to infuse your kebabs with a juicy, citrusy flavor. Get the recipe.

Grilled Pork Blueberry Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Blueberry Grilled Pork Tenderloin // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season
We know what you're thinking, but it's not so weird: if you maple bacon is great, why shouldn't blueberry pork tenderloin be? This combination simply 'blue' our minds. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, and damn delicious. Get the recipe.

Grilled Chicken Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

Grilled honey balsamic chicken from the Recipe Critic // Best recipes for BBQ season - PumpUp Blog Favorites

See the sheen on that glaze? It means something wonderful. This grilled chicken recipe uses honey, rather than the straight-up brown sugar that most recipes call for. There's tons of lycopene in this glaze thanks to the ketchup, but be sure to use a homemade version if possible (here's our favorite sugar free recipe).  The chicken will be tender and juicy, never bland. Get the recipe.

Grilled Beef Brazilian Grilled Flank Steak

Brazilian Flank Steak from My Mans Belly // The best healthy recipes for BBQ season - PumpUp Blog Favorites
Nobody wants their steak to taste like leather. Visions of tough and flavourless steak will no longer haunt your sleep thanks to this bold, lean, and juicy recipe. The key is to marinate the flank steak overnight, then to flash grill the meat on high, allowing it to sit quietly in its own juices before serving. Get the recipe.

Grilled veggies Fuss-free Cauliflower Steaks

Fuss free cauliflower steaks // The best healthy summer BBQ season recipes from the PumpUp Blog

These are the answer to your vegetarian barbeque dreams. Cauliflower is thick and hearty enough to withstand a bit of grilling and roasting with pantry staples: salt, pepper, olive oil, and chili pepper. Get the recipe.

Grilled veggies Grilled Graffiti Eggplant
Grilled Eggplant from A Family Feast // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best summer recipes for BBQ season
Eggplants will quell your deepest vegetarian desires. Grilled eggplant is warm, garlicky, full of fiber, and vitamin B1. A smattering of freshly grated Parmesan cheese will make this dish an instant crowd pleaser. Get the recipe.

Healthy Burgers

Best Sweet Potato Burger

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger 
10 ingredient sweet potato black bean burger from the Minimalist Baker // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy burgers for summer BBQ season
Did you make a little noise as soon as you scrolled down and saw this picture? Because that's what we did when we stumbled upon the Minimalist Baker's latest and greatest creation. This is a burger with a big capital “B”. It’s a mixture of a dizzying array of flavours: sweet, savoury, spiced, and smoky. Get the recipe.

 

Best Mushroom Burger
Black rice & Mushroom Burgers with Cucumber Garlic Yogurt
Black rice and mushroom burgers from the Gouda Life // PumpUp Blog favorites - The best healthy burger recipes for BBQ season
It's different from a plain old slab of portobello mushroom. Nutty and earthy flavours make this burger a fibre-filled and protein-packed winner. It’s a fancy without any fluff. Get the recipe.

 

Best Shrimp Burger
Shrimp Burger with Wakame Slaw
Shrimp burger with wakame slaw from the Kitchy Kitchen // Best healthy burger recipes for summer BBQ season - PumpUp Blog Favorites
Filled with spunky herbs and summery flavours that taste anything but fishy, this shrimp burger will transform summertime sadness into pure and unadulterated joy. Get the recipe.

 

Best all-around veggie burger
The ultimate veggie burger
The ultimate veggie burger from the Awesome Green // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy burger recipes for BBQ season
True to it’s name, the ultimate veggie burger doesn’t disappoint. Roasted beets and sweet potatoes dance with quinoa to create a bold, yummy (and darn-good-for-you) burger. Get the recipe.

 

Best chicken burger
Paleo Jalapeno Chicken Burgers
Paleo Jalapeno Chicken Burgers from Once a Month Meals // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy burger recipes for BBQ season
This chicken burger is anything but bland. Jalapeño and red pepper flakes kick the heat up a little more than a notch. You can freeze these burgers ahead of time and play with the recipe by subbing the chicken for ground turkey. Get the recipe.

 

Best green burger
California fusion walnut burgers
California Fusion Walnut Burger // The best healthy summer BBQ burger recipes - PumpUp Blog Favorites
Being green has never been so easy. Edamame and walnut make surprising and delicious burger partners in crime. Full of healthy fat and protein, you’ll want to make these easy burgers long past the 4th of July. Get the recipe.

Not-so-sad salads 

Best chopped salad
Healthy chicken chopped salad
Chicken chopped salad from Ambitious Kitchen // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best summer salad recipes for BBQ season
There isn’t anything wrong with sharing this delicious and filling salad, but it’s okay to hog it all to yourself for dinner too. Toss together chickpeas, cooked chicken breast, and any vegetables in your kitchen and you have a sensational salad in your midst. Get the recipe.

 

Best bean salad

Easy-peasy Mixed Bean Salad

Mixed bean salad // Healthy allergy-friendly BBQ season recipes from the PumpUp Blog
You won’t be-leaf how delicious leafless salads can be. If you’re in a bind for your next barbecue, this fresh, crunchy, and healthy bean salad will be the talk of the party. Whip it up in an instant and thank us later. Get the recipe.

 

Best rainbow salad
Rad rainbow pad thai salad
Rad rainbow pad thai salad by Oh She Glows // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy salad recipes for BBQ season
Eat the rainbow quite literally. There really isn’t anything on the Earth quite like this rad rainbow pad thai salad. Filled with veggies and seeds and topped with a punchy dressing, this salad is the answer as to where somewhere over the rainbow is. Get the recipe.

 

Best dressing
Deb’s Kale salad with apple, cranberries, and pecans
Deb's Kale Salad with Apple and Cranberries c/o Cookie + Kate // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy salads for BBQ season
We're more than in love with the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. The dressing for this kale salad is one that you’ll want to make again and again. Crunchy apples and sweet cranberries help to offset the bitterness of the kale. Get the recipe.

 

Best slaw
Broccoli Slaw
Broccoli Slaw from the Healthy Maven // Life altering healthy BBQ recipes
If you’ve never made the Smitten Kitchen’s broccoli slaw, drop everything right now, pick up a leafy head of broccoli, and get chopping. This slaw is life-altering. Make it lighter with 0% fat greek yogurt instead of mayo. Get the recipe.

 

Best pasta salad
Sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad with kale and artichokes
Gluten Free Sun dried tomato pesto pasta from the Healthy Maven // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season
Sweat over the weather, and not over your pasta salad. This recipe from PumpUp blogger The Healthy Maven will dispel any misgivings and preconceptions that you have about bringing pasta to an allergy-sensitive barbecue, because these noodles are delicious and made entirely of gluten-free whole grains. Get the recipe.

Scrumptious Sides

Best Skewers Alton Brown's Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Alton Brown's Grilled Brussels Sprouts  // PumpUp Blog favorites - The best healthy grilled desserts from summer BBQ season
Brussels sprouts get an unfairly bad rap. When roasted or grilled, they taste more like chips rather than bitter spheres of fury. So make skewers out of sprouts. We promise they'll deliver. For this recipe, you'll essentially need one ingredient (the brussels sprouts) plus a few items in your pantry. Get the recipe.

 

Best Baked Potatoes
Paleo Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Paleo stuffed sweet potatoes from Civilized Caveman Cooking // PumpUp Blog Favorites  - The best healthy sides for summer BBQ season
Stuff your face with all things good for you. These paleo sweet potato pockets are loaded with a mix of sweet and savory: cranberries, bell peppers, apples, spinach, red onion, and bacon. If you're not a meat eater, feel free to omit the pork and opt for the substitute of your choice. Get the recipe.

 

Best chip and dip combo
Avocado hummus with crispy sea salt pita chips
Avocado hummus with whole wheat pita chips from Savor Home // Best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season from the PumpUp blog
Hello, avocado. We love you more than words can describe. If the tangy taste of guacamole gives you grief, cleanse your palette with this creamy and healthy avocado hummus instead. Toast up some whole wheat pita wedges in the oven, and you'll be able to dig deep into the smooth green sea of avocado abundance. Get the recipe.

 

Best Bite-Sized Snacks
Curry Grilled Zucchini Roll Ups
Curry grilled zucchini roll-ups from Edible Perspective // PumpUp Blog Favorites - best healthy recipes for summer BBQ season
Like pinwheel sandwiches, but better. Little as these zucchini roll ups may be, they are fierce with flavour. Colourful spices adorn these adorable vegetable treats with a smokiness that is quickly offset by subtle, creamy goat cheese.  Get the recipe.

Grilled Desserts

Grilled Pineapple
Grilled pineapple from Wine and Glue  // PumpUp Blog favorites:  best healthy grilled desserts
Once you go grilled fruit, you never go back. It will change you. Most grilled pineapple recipes call for a bit of brown sugar and butter, but that's not good for you. Take a pineapple, hack it up, and grill it over medium before drizzling it with a bit of cinnamon and honey. It's that simple. Get the recipe.

 

Grilled watermelon
Grilled Watermelon from My Recipes // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The best grilled healthy desserts
Yeah, we went there. Watermelons aren't only for drinking, after all. Grilling your watermelon is an out-of-body experience. If you can believe it, grilled watermelon tastes even sweeter. With a touch of balsamic and a bit of fresh basil and crumbed blue cheese, you won't be able to rest until you definitively cross grilled watermelon off of your priority list. Get the recipe.

 

Grilled peaches
Grilled peaches from the Framed Table // PumpUp Blog Favorites - The Best Grilled Healthy Desserts
You've committed to healthy eating. Practice what you peach without compromising on flavour. Gorgeous grilled peaches don't need an elaborate preparation ritual to be nutritious and delicious. Rosemary, oil, and balsamic: that's all you need. Get the recipe.

 

Grilled bananas
Grilled bananas from Nadia Lim // PumpUp Blog favorites : best grilled healthy desserts
Can that happen? Really? If there is a will, and a grill, there is a way. Halved bananas drizzled with a bit of maple syrup and cinnamon will caramelize nicely under the intense flame of the grill. It'll bubble and burst until a tasty banana baby is born right before your eyes. Get the recipe.

4 healthy treats that will teach you a lot about self-love

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Learn to love yourself with these 4 healthy, sweet and savory treats - Get Healthy with Valentina

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

  • Quinoa Egg muffins
  • Quinoa-cacao truffles
  • Raw strawberry pie
  • Double layer protein pudding

Ah, romance. Just what everyone needs…right? February is undeniably a month of love: a month when we’re encouraged to express it to others by giving gifts such as candy and flowers. If you’re loath to the idea of February in general (it’s cold, it’s slushy, it’s wet, it’s not quite spring yet, and maybe you feel a bit lonely), I feel you.  But this month has plenty other good qualities that are worth highlighting. Love should also flow inwards, not just outwards. 

The purpose of life is to live, so start living, and start falling in love with you. You are the only person you know you can receive love from, whenever you need it. You are the only person who can give yourself permission to see the beauty of the world. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions. All what really matters is how you feel. Give yourself a chance to learn more about yourself and love yourself no matter what. You are the only person who decides how to nourish your body. The best part about choosing wholesome food is that you know that you’re eating something good for your health, and that by default means that you’re doing something great for yourself.  

So having all that said… Here are some recipe ideas so you can try to find Self-Love through Food! Don’t forget to give you the opportunity to fall in love with your soul and your body!

Quinoa Egg Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 + 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 3 tbsp. ground flax seeds or chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. onion (garlic) powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 handfuls spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place cupcake liners into a 12 muffin tin and spray generously with cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites for 30 seconds. Add flax/chia seeds, feta cheese, onion (garlic) powder, salt, pepper and whisk to combine. Add quinoa, spinach, bell pepper and mix. Fill each muffin with egg mixture 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the egg muffins from the muffin tin and slide onto a platter. Serve hot and enjoy!

Quinoa Cacao Truffles

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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 ½ cup puffed quinoa

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients (except the puffed quinoa) in a big bowl until well-combined. Mix in the puffed quinoa. Spoon into small muffin lines. Refrigerate until set.

Raw strawberry pie

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup (packed) pitted dates
  • ¼ tsp (scant) sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Filling

  • 3 cups fresh strawberries (measured whole if small, or cut in half if large; these are for filling, you will need extra for garnishing if desired)
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3-4 tbsp raw agave
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Couple pinches sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (stir in after pureeing)

Directions

Lightly oil a pie plate with coconut oil. Prepare the crust: Place all the crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse briefly until crumbly and the mixture will hold together when pressed with your fingers. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate, pressing it evenly into the pan.  Prepare the filling: Place all the filling ingredients, except the lemon zest (and starting with 3 tablespoons of the agave nectar), in a high-powered blender .Puree for a minute or so at medium-high speed until completely smooth and no texture of the cashews remains. Taste, and add the remaining tablespoon of agave, if needed, to sweeten, and puree again.

2-layer protein pudding

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Layer 1: Chia pudding with raspberries

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1 ½ cup of almond milk
  • 1 cup of quark
  • ½. cup of raspberries.

Directions

Mix together chia seeds and milk the night before, or one-two hours before you eat it. Mix the quark and berries with the chia pudding when the mixture has gotten a jelly like consistency. Done!

Layer 2: Casein Pudding

Ingredients

  • Milk
  • Casein protein powder with chocolate flavour

Directions

Mix together casein powder with an optional amount of milk into a loose paste. Place batter in a glass and let it stand in the refrigerator until it has gotten a pudding consistency. It is best if it can be refrigerated over the night.  The next morning put the chia mix on top of the casein pudding.  Enjoy!

With Love,

Valentina

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!

Healthy low carb winter fruit salad

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Winter Fruit Salad

Hello everyone! If you are following me on PumpUp (@racheell), you must know that a couple of weeks ago I shared a delicious chicken, corn, and avocado salad on the PumpUp Blog . This time around, I’m here to share a winter recipe with you! 

I spent a lot of time trying recipes, asking others for their opinions, and though I found many promising ones, I still wasn’t sure if any recipe was the one. My epiphany came when I was munching on ready-to-eat dried fruits as my afternoon snack. I wanted to prepare something imbued with Christmas flavours (and obviously, Christmas spirit), so I started to mix all of my favorite winter ingredients until I discovered the one that I’m sharing with you today.

This is a pretty simple snack but I absolutely love it! You can also prepare a big portion of it to serve it during a big winter celebration. It tastes just like the holidays.

Ingredients:

  • 600g good-quality ready-to-eat dried fruits (such as prunes, pears, apricots, figs, cranberries)
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 slice of cinnamon
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • A pinch of ginger powder (optional)
  • mascarpone or Greek yogurt, to serve (optional)

Preparation

  • Tip the fruits and 700ml of cold water into a large saucepan.
  • Add the honey and cinnamon and wait until it starts to boil. Stir well, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until it’s slightly syrupy.
  • Then you have to take the pan off the heat and stir in the tea bag. You have to leave it there to infuse for 10 minutes.
  • After those 10 minutes, you have to remove the tea bag and the slice of cinnamon. After doing that, you have to put the fruits and the liquid into a non-metallic bowl and add the lemon juice (if you want) and the pinch of ginger powder.
  • Once you add the last few ingredients, you can add the mascarpone or the greek yoghurt towards one side of the bowl, without mixing it with the fruits. This enhances the combination and flavours of all the ingredients.

One thing that I like to do with this recipe is to prepare a lot and keep it in the fridge, so when I’m craving for something sweet, I just have to take it out, put some of it in a bowl and then in the microwave and voila! After one day, it tastes even better because all the ingredients are completely mixed!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I’ll see you next year with a new recipe!

Be happy,

Rachel

Check out Rachel’s blog here

Healthy Christmas Desserts

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

Cold weather makes me mad  (well, not really mad) but suffice it to say, I am not a fan of cold weather. Nevertheless, I am keenly aware of how happy this time of year makes me.  I am a Christmas maniac. Seriously, I am. I love Christmas. I am 23 years old, I do not have any children, I hate the cold, and yet, I am downright excited for this time of year. I am one of those people who constantly annoy others by reminding them how many days are left until Christmas. I believe it is the little things and the traditions about this season that keep me excited. 

People sometimes think that my winter wardrobe only consists of red and green. What’s more, I am unable to control my emotions every time I see my Christmas tree lit up for the first time.  I believe that, while I unpack mistletoe and tangled Christmas lights, I also unpack the feelings of years gone by. There also isn’t anything more heart-breaking that the day after Christmas.

I will not make a list about the things I love about Christmas because there are too many things, but one of my favourite parts of the year are the food and drinks we enjoy.  I search for healthy alternatives this year to continue  my journey toward a healthier life and chose the ones I liked the most. Enjoy these 4 healthy Christmas treats!

'Raw' Christmas Snowball Bites

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw pecans

  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 1/2 cup coconut (dried, shredded, and unsweetened)

  • 2 tablespoons raw honey

  • (For rolling) 1/4 cup coconut (dried, shredded, and unsweetened)

Directions: Process the pecans in a food processor to break up into little pieces. Empty these little pieces into a small mixing bowl to mix in later. Process the macadamia nuts, cashews, and coconut in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. Add in the honey and process until the mixture starts to form a sticky ball of dough. Transfer this mixture to the small mixing bowl with the chopped pecans. Incorporate the pecans in the dough mixture. Scoop rounded spoonfuls (either with a cookie scoop or with a spoon and then roll into balls in your hands) and roll each ball in the coconut. Quickly chill them for more immediate consumption in the freezer, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve. Serve and enjoy!

Healthy Eggnog


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Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions
Blend all ingredients together for a few minutes. Pour mixture into a pot (don’t let it boil). Simmer for about 15 min. Then chill mixture in fridge overnight. Serve and enjoy!

Almond Protein Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of vanilla or unflavored whey
  • 2 tbsps (15g each) cashew nut butter or almond butter
  • 1 tbsp Sweet Freedom, agave, or honey
  • 1/8 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp orange extract (optional)

Directions

Get a bowl out and chuck all the above ingredients in there. (Feel free to also add any walnuts, chocolate chips, or if you want your cookies to be even higher in protein, add a couple of tbsps of protein crispies.)  Mix everything together until you get a soft cookie dough you can roll into balls with your hands.  Place on a cookie tray and flatten each ball using your fingers, a fork, or a cookie stamp like I did. Bake at 170 C (320 F) for 6-10 minutes or until they’re cooked through but not rock hard.

Grinch Treats

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Ingredients

  • Strawberry
  • Grape
  • Banana slice
  • Lemon juice
  • Toothpicks

Directions

Slice the banana and add a little bit of lemon juice to the slices to coat them and keep them from turning brown. Cut the top off the strawberry. On the toothpick, stack a green grape, a banana slice, and a strawberry (put it top side down on the banana slice).Push another toothpick down through the tip of the strawberry through the banana slice and into the grape leaving ¼” of the toothpick at the top. Add a mini slice of banana on the top (I saw this recipe with a small marshmallow on the top but I am not a fan of marshmallow so I put a mini banana silces on the top) boil.  Serve and Enjoy!

With Love,

Valentina

 

Raw coconut oatmeal chocolate cookies

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'Raw' Chocolate Coconut Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Oat flour (ground oats).
  • 6 medjool dates (I used dried).
  • 2 tablespoon Almond milk (add more if needed).
  • Desiccated coconut/Unsweetened cocoa powder/Cinammon powder.

1. If baking cookies, preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Place oat flour and dates in a food processor and press until dates break apart, then add in the almond milk and keep pressing until a dough starts to form. If you think it’s too dry, add more almond milk.
3. Take the dough out and place in a bowl. Divide the dough in three parts of equal or similar size. Place other two ‘dough balls’ in two separate bowls. There should be three bowls of dough in total. 
4. Put  as much (or as little) of the desiccated coconut, cocoa powder and cinnamon in the dough. Mix well.
5. Once everything is mixed, grab some of the dough and form a ball (whatever size you’d like!) with your hands, and shape them into a cookie (if using cookie sheet) or go ahead and press down the ball into the silicone mold to shape them.
6. If you’re up for a raw cookie, they’re ready to be eaten! BUT, if you feel like baking them place the cookies in your cookie sheet/silicone mold and get them in the oven for around seven minutes (if you want them chewy), or leave a little longer for a harder cookie.
7. Get them out and enjoy!

This is a recipe by PumpUp member @mariajumps. Follow PumpUp on Tumblr for more healthy food recipes!

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. 

Peppermint Black Bean Brownies

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Hello PumpUp readers! I’m back for another monthly blog post. It’s been super fun getting to know the PumpUp community and reading and watching your inspiring stories. I’m so happy that The Healthy Maven and PumpUp are able to collaborate!

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I would share a healthy Christmas recipe with you. I know how tough it can be to enjoy the holidays while also trying to live a healthy and active lifestyle. All the holiday decadence and drinks are not exactly conducive to meeting your health goals.

That’s why I’ve devised a plan of action. Bring your own healthy treats! BYOHT if you will. What’s my go-to healthy treat? My Peppermint Black Bean Brownie recipe! It’s always a crowd-pleaser, is high in protein and has no refined sugars or flour. Best part is that no one will know they’re eating beans! I’ve tricked many people into eating these brownies and not one has guessed the secret ingredient.

So for the next holiday party you’re attending or hosting try making these Peppermint Black Bean Brownies. I’d love to know if any of your friends or family can figure out there’s beans hidden in them!

Happy Holidays!

-The Healthy Maven 

Check out the full recipe on The Healthy Maven and follow Davida on PumpUp @thehealthymaven

Healthy Holiday Cookies

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You’ll love our healthy holiday cookie swap

Post your healthy holiday desserts all December long! PumpUp member @kieferjasmin starts us off with some simple and scrumptious coconut macaroons and sand tarts! Tag your pictures and write the recipe in the caption with #CookieSwap and #SpreadPositivity!
Coconut Macaroons 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • honey or stevia to sweeten
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350 F.
Whisk egg whites into stiff peaks.
Mix the coconut flakes with the egg whites.
Next, add cinnamon and as much sweetener as you want and shape macaroons with a spoon onto a baking sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the top of the macaroons turns golden brown like the picture shows.
Sand Tarts (in a slightly different shape)
  • 60g coconut oil
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 130g coconut flour
  • 150g greek yogurt
  • A few drops vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • Almond milk 
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350 F.
Melt the coconut oil first, then combine with all the other ingredients.
Use as much almond milk as you need to make the dough a good consistency, not too sticky and not too liquid, so it’s easy to roll out.
Use a cookie cutter afterwards or just create a typical sand tart shape. Again place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Of course that time can vary from oven to oven, so keep an eye on cookies while they bake. When the sand tarts are ready to take out, add some dark chocolate if you want to or enjoy them as they are.

This is a post by PumpUp member @kieferjasmin. Follow her on YouTube: Jasmin Kiefer and on Instagram @jasmin1693.