No-Bake Banana Cranberry Protein Bites

20180207_102046If you have been a regular follower of this website you probably already noticed some changes to my content as of late. Since the inception of this blog, I have made some rather drastic lifestyle changes, which has undoubtably impacted my ability to bring a continuous influx of content. Previously I would make all kinds of desserts because my family would eat them and nothing would ever go to waste. Over the past year and a half, I have been focused on eating healthier, exercising, and avoiding all the sweets I used to indulge in. Although I still prepare sweets for special occasions, I have found it difficult to prepare desserts that I know will go to waste. I am trying to find outlets to take the items I would prepare so I can continue bringing familiar content and making sure nothing goes to waste, but in the meantime I will be focusing on content that is still sweet but may be a bit healthier than your liking.

20180207_102125With that said, I recently developed this plant-based protein bite to satisfy my sweet tooth and fuel my active lifestyle. As many of you well know, I have Crohn’s, which is a digestive disease. Although I tested negative for lactose intolerance, I have noticed that I feel better when I avoid using too many dairy products. For athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or anyone like myself that has digestive issues and food sensitivities, you will come to love the power of plant-based protein. Researchers have found that plant-based protein appears to be a more tolerable source of protein, and causes fewer incidences of negative effects on the gut. In a study that followed athletes that do not tolerate dairy very well, plant-based protein caused less bloating and gastrointestinal problems than whey protein.

In addition to the digestive benefits of plant-based protein, it also offers variability to your nutritional regimen. This is especially important if you are a big meat-eater like myself! So if you ever become serious about considering the use of plant-based proteins, just be sure to always first analyze any product for its amino acid profile. This profile will ensure it is a complete protein!

20180207_102108Of course you can always make your own plant-based protein products. A great place to start would be these moist and delicious protein bites. They will satisfy your hunger, sweet tooth, energy, and nutritional needs. The balance of high-quality proteins, carbs, and fats, as well as blood sugar balancing ingredients make these bites so healthy. I love to have them as a quick breakfast or a post workout snack. Although I prefer to make them into bites, they can also be cut into small bars or fun shapes like triangles. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month or in the freezer for up to three months.

No-Bake Banana Cranberry Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bananas; mashed
  • ½ cup Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup Raw Coconut Nectar
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Old-Fashioned Oats; whole
  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • ½ cup Kasha
  • ¾ cup Dried Cranberries
  • ½ cup Shredded Coconut
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor, place the bananas, peanut butter, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Pulse until mixture is well-combined and creamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place the oat flour, oats, buckwheat flour, Kasha, dried cranberries, coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until just combined.
  3. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the large bowl. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to mix ingredients until they are combined together thoroughly.
  4. Line a 9-x-9 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over two of the sides so that the bars can easily be lifted from the pan once set. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. You can use a rubber spatula to smooth out the surface.
  5. Place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. This will allow the bars to firm up and hold their shape when cut. Once chilled, you can cut into squares, bars, triangles, or bites/nuggets.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: GINA HUDSON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

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Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

20180201_145246Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.

The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.

20180201_145134Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping

Formula:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
  2. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ERIN MACDONALD & TIFFANI BACHUS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins

20171128_144623Mornings are not my friend. In fact, I don’t think there has ever been a day in my life where I have been a morning person. Since I am most definitely a night owl, it only makes sense that I do not want to spend time in the kitchen making breakfast.

20171128_144819To avoid skipping breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, I whip up these amazing muffins on meal prep day. Then I have a quick and easy on-the-go treat that contains all the vital nutrients the body needs. On days that I do not have to be somewhere in the A.M., I will make a larger breakfast and enjoy these muffins as a post-workout snack.

20171128_144837I know it is easy for the brain to be fooled by the word “muffin” that these little gems are not healthy, but do not compare processed, overly sweet bakery muffins to these. Each of these muffins only contains 149 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Oat flour stands in for traditional wheat flour, making each muffin gluten-free and lower carb. There is no refined sugar added for sweetness, only raw, organic honey, which keeps the sugar content very low (only 10 grams). They are even vegetarian friendly! I like to make a large batch and store in the freezer, that way they do not spoil and you can pull one out as needed and warm it up quickly in the microwave. Quick, easy, satisfying, and made with flavors of the season. Enjoy!

 

Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts; raw & unsalted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 5 tbsp. Raw Unfiltered Honey
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple; peeled, cored, & diced
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate Seeds

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the walnuts and whisk again. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk, honey and yogurt. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in apple and pomegranate seeds. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy.
  3. Fill each muffin cup liner three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HEATHER BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

20171113_142923Muffins are a tasty treat with so many flavor possibilities that almost anyone can find at least one type to enjoy. Muffins are also a great convenience food, especially for those looking for a healthy snack or quick on-the-go breakfast. Unfortunately, they tend to get a bad reputation, all thanks to the hordes of mass-produced, processed impostors sold in stores. When you make your own at home, however, you can enjoy all the tasty goodness with real, wholesome ingredients you should be eating, like mashed fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts, and healthy oils.

20171113_143004I initially developed these peanut butter banana protein muffins to make one of my favorite breakfast options, peanut butter banana toast, more portable for busy mornings. When I have to get my hubby to work or my oldest daughter to school and no one feels like getting out of bed, these become a breakfast savior. I just pull them from the refrigerator or freezer, heat them up in the microwave for 15 seconds, and before you know it breakfast is served and out the door we go. For mornings that I have time to make breakfast, these become a great snack. If you are health conscious, these muffins are a delicious, flourless pre- or post-workout snack, due to the high protein content (peanut butter & Greek yogurt) and healthy carbs (oat flour) needed to fuel, repair, and rebuild the body. These muffins can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days. You can freeze any that you have not used within that time period for up to 3 months.

20171113_142937I know some of you may still be skeptical. How can enjoying a delicious, sweet little muffin for breakfast or a snack be healthy? Well if you are still not convinced maybe the following example will help you understand a little better. Let’s pretend you normally have two slices of whole-wheat peanut butter banana toast for breakfast (I usually only have one but many typically have two slices). Two slices of whole-wheat bread, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, one banana, and two teaspoons of honey will easily add up to almost 500 calories. One of these flourless muffins has less than 150 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams of Protein, 2 grams of Fiber, 20 grams of carbs, and only 7 grams of sugar. I know it sounds too good to be true but it really is a healthier and super easy option. For those who are not concerned if they are healthy, I guarantee you will enjoy them just like you would any other sugar laden muffin!

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour (process 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats in a food processor until fine)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs; divided
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Greek Yogurt; divided
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Bananas; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. To prepare batter, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and oil. Stir in the ½ cup of yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Mash 2 ½ bananas and fold into the mixture until just combined and no white streaks of banana remain. The mixture will still appear lumpy.
  4. To prepare the filling, mash the remaining ½ banana in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 egg, 2 tbsp. yogurt, and peanut butter until well combined.
  5. Fill one-third of each muffin liner with batter. Dollop 1 tsp. of filling into each liner. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the liners to cover the filling. Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. Let muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HEATHER BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

20170521_161331Summer is just around the corner and that means longer, hotter days and kids running around the house 24/7 (if you are a parent). Although summer is supposed to be a more relaxed time of year it can actually be more hectic, especially if you are an adult with school age children. With the summer schedule already (or about to be) in full gear, it is good to have versatile recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and light on the palate.

20170521_161513Muffins are my preferred versatile recipe item, mainly because they were the first thing I learned to bake on my own as a kid. They are quick and easy to prepare, leave minimal clean-up, and have a seemingly infinite amount of flavor combinations so you never get bored. Today, I elected to work with the flavors of Italy, hence the name Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins. A combination of classic Italian ingredients (lemon, ricotta, and olive oil) creates a tart and satisfying muffin. The combination of ricotta cheese and olive oil make this muffin insanely moist, like a mini lemon pound cake. For striking lemon flavor, lemon zest and juice was not enough. To get lemon flavor that shines through everything else, I added lemon extract with the zest and juice. If you don’t like a heavy lemon flavor you can always omit the extract. Lastly, each muffin is finished with a heavy sprinkle of turbinado sugar to lend a crunchy textural contrast.

20170521_161429I highly recommend giving these muffins a try, especially this summer. They are great fresh out of the oven, at room temperature, or reheated. If you want to keep some on hand for quick snacks they can be frozen for longer storage and reheated in the microwave or simply left out to thaw on the counter to room temperature. If you elect to keep them at room temperature right after baking, make sure you store them in an airtight container and do not hold for more than 3 days (although they will likely never last that long). Enjoy these muffins at breakfast with coffee, grab one out the door before work/school, enjoy one as a sweet afternoon snack with tea, or fulfill a late night sweet craving. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

 

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 7.9 ounces All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup part-skim Ricotta Cheese
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • 1 large Egg; lightly beaten
  • Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw); for topping

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or fill tray with muffin-cup liners and coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, water, oil, zest, juice, lemon extract, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter in each muffin cup. Bake 15-16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Muffin)

NutritionLabel

 

Weight Watchers: 7 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Banana Snack Cake

20170329_192032Recently I had a few blackened bananas on the verge of needing disposal before they rotted completely. I usually turn to making banana bread when this happens but I felt like trying something new. I hadn’t made a cake in awhile so I thought this would be a good fit for some bananas that would otherwise go to waste. Although technically cake, it is more specifically a loaf cake. Loaf cakes hold up well when sliced compared to regular cake, which makes this banana snack cake perfect for packing in lunches or eating a slice on the go for breakfast.

20170329_191744Whether you enjoy this cake for dessert, a snack, or a stand in for breakfast it is a light and healthier option that even kids can enjoy. Packed with potassium-rich bananas, olive oil, low-fat Greek yogurt, and only 1/3 cup of added sugar, you can rest assured this cake will taste indulgent without breaking your healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus this cake is really easy to prepare…even if you have some little kitchen helpers like myself! Enjoy!

Easy Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 whole)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve (approximately 8 servings).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JUDITH MCINTIRE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017