Skinny Cranberry Macadamia Butter Cookies

20180616_125839When you think of the terms skinny and cookie, you don’t typically associate them together. For those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, however, it is imperative to find recipes that do just that. In a constant battle to avoid unhealthy foods yet allow the occasional sweet treat, sometimes we have to get creative. These cookies are a product of that creativity.

20180616_125954Inspired by a classic, the old-fashioned peanut butter cookie, these treats replace peanuts with a Hawaiian favorite, macadamias. To make these cookies not only unique but also healthy, I began by completely eliminating butter from the recipe. That’s right, no butter, no oil. The base of the dough is actually created by pureeing the macadamias into a nut butter, similar to the role peanut butter plays in a peanut butter cookie. The natural oil from the macadamias is enough to hold the dough together and keep it moist, allowing butter to be left out of the equation entirely. So don’t be fooled into thinking I forgot to add it to the ingredient list just because the title has the word “butter” in it (and yes…this conversation has happened before).

20180616_130407Although removing butter from the recipe will drastically cut the calorie and fat content of the cookies, it doesn’t necessarily make them healthy. To boost the nutrition content of the cookies, I elected to swap out all-purpose flour and replace it with white whole-wheat flour. Lastly, I added some dried cranberries to provide a boost of antioxidant power and chewy texture. The bits of cranberries not only provide a nutritional boost to each cookie, but a tartness that really complements the sweet and subtle flavor of the macadamias. These cookies are thick, satisfying, taste fantastic, and they’re far more nutritionally balanced than a traditional cookie (74 calories, 2 g. fat, 1 g. protein, 1 g. fiber per serving). If you love peanut butter cookies and want to taste a more exotic take on the original, give these delightful little bundles a try!

20180616_130112*NOTE: This recipe should yield approximately 30 cookies. Each serving consists of 1 cookie.

 

Skinny Cranberry Macadamia Butter Cookies

 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Macadamia Nuts
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 ¼ cups White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place macadamias in a food processor and pulse until smooth, approximately 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. DO NOT move on to step three until the texture is smooth like creamy peanut butter, otherwise the dough will be dry and crumbly.
  3. Combine macadamia butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl). Beat with a stand (or hand) mixer on medium speed until combined. Add vanilla and egg and beat well.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in cranberries. Chill dough for 10 minutes.
  5. Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Place remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Lightly roll the top of each cookie ball in the sugar and place, sugar side up, on the prepared baking sheet, leaving an inch between each cookie. Gently press down on the top of each dough ball to flatten.
  6. Bake cookies, 1 sheet pan at a time, for 9 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pan and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookies & enjoy.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Cherry Breakfast Muffins

20180605_111234When morning hits, do you rush to the kitchen for something to eat or are you just rushing to get out the door? I admit there was a time I would always be rushing to get out the door, never leaving myself any time to eat an adequate breakfast. Although I’m still always rushing, thanks to the snooze button, I now always make sure I never leave without a bite to eat.

The importance of breakfast is highly overlooked, and those who skip it happen to be the ones who need it the most. If you’re always waking up groggy and sluggish, a boost of balanced nutrition first thing in the morning will get your engine going and help you be more productive throughout the day. Additionally, those who opt for breakfast tend to make healthier food choices and eat less overall throughout the day, leading to a healthier weight and life.

20180605_110128Despite knowing all the benefits of breakfast, it happens to be the one meal most people still feel okay skipping. This is largely due to the fact that people do not feel like waking up and cooking a meal. If this describes how you feel, please don’t think there aren’t any options. These cherry breakfast muffins are a perfect example of the many ways you can enjoy a healthy bite to eat without making a mess in the kitchen before the sun rises. Breakfast muffins, overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, pre-made, frozen breakfast sandwiches and burritos are all healthy, easy options for breakfast in a hurry, without having to turn to processed, pricey, and typically unhealthy meal replacement shakes.

What I personally love about these cherry muffins is they provide balanced, natural nutrition that’s easy to eat on the go or pack away as a snack. Healthy ingredients like wheat germ, whole-wheat flour, olive oil, and dried cherries allow each muffin to provide a healthy dose of protein (5 g.) and fiber (3 g.), while remaining relatively low in calories (202) and fat (1 g.) than a typical coffee shop muffin. Without losing the great taste of their full fat cousins, these muffins provide enough protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied.

20180605_115939For those who happen to be a gym rat or fitness enthusiast, you have the option of doing what I do and spiking this recipe with a scoop of protein powder. The addition boosts each muffin to 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and enough essential nutrients to adequately power a more active lifestyle. If you do elect to utilize this method, keep in mind that the nutritional content of each serving will solely depend on the brand you use. The powder I use is a certified organic, plant-based blend (no whey or soy) that is free from questionable chemicals and unnatural ingredients. It contains 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 1 billion CFU of probiotics per serving.

Whether you choose to nutritionally enhance these muffins with your own protein powder or leave them as is, you can expect them to take about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, with approximately 10 minutes of hands on time. This recipe will yield 12 muffins, with each serving consisting of 1 muffin. You may store these muffins in an airtight container for 3 days, in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for 3 months. If you elect to give these muffins a try, I promise they will never disappoint as a delicious, quick and easy breakfast, snack, or dessert!

 

Cherry Breakfast Muffins

 

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Dried Cherries
  • ½ cup Toasted Wheat Germ
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1 cup fat-free Milk
  • ¼ cup light Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Egg

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, cherries, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and allspice. Stir with a whisk until combined, then make a well in the center of the mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, oil, and egg together. Pour the milk mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are just moistened.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove muffins from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

 

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

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Walnut Fudge Brownies

20180520_030512When a chocolate craving screams out for your attention, nothing is easier or more comforting than a brownie. Even if the craving hits at night, just a quick raid of the pantry will likely provide all the ingredients needed to create the perfect pan. Without a doubt, brownies are my go to sweet when I need a delicious treat but don’t have the energy or time to make something more elaborate.

20180520_110531Whether made as a post-dinner treat or after school snack, brownies are highly customizable to satisfy any and all tastes. They can be void of add-ins to keep them simply fudgy or they can be filled and topped with a multitude of different flavor and texture profiles to suit any occasion or craving. Even though there’s much fun to be had creatively with brownies, I elected to stick to a classic, the fudgy walnut. One, if not THE most popular brownie variation, this recipe takes the intense richness even further with high-quality cocoa, melted chocolate, and chocolate chips.

20180520_030629If you decide to give these fudgy treats studded with crunchy walnuts a try, they will take you about 15 minutes to prep and about 30 minutes in the oven. Once cooked, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, you have the option of cutting the brownies into a traditional size or into smaller, bite-size portions. A traditional size will yield you approximately 9 large brownies while the bite-size portions will yield approximately 20 servings. The bite-size portions are perfect for those needing to serve a large crowd or those who live a healthy lifestyle and want to indulge without growing a bulge. If you elect to cut the brownies into small portions, each serving will contain approximately 186 calories, 4 g. saturated fat, 4 g. protein, 24 g. carbs, 3 grams fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 1 mg iron, 74 mg sodium, and 23 mg calcium. I used white whole-wheat flour to make these healthier for my lifestyle, however you can substitute all-purpose flour if you do not mind a change in the above nutrition facts. No matter how, why, or when you choose to enjoy these brownies, I know you will not be disappointed by this revived and healthier take on a classic!

20180520_110737

Walnut Fudge Brownies

 

Ingredients:

  • 3.4 ounces White Whole-Wheat Flour (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips; divided
  • 1/3 cup Fat-Free Milk
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Chopped Walnuts; divided
  • Cooking Spray

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine ½ cup of the chocolate chips and milk. Microwave the mixture on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and eggs.
  4. Add the milk mixture, remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips, and ½ cup of walnuts to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of walnuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

 

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

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Almond Butter Snack Bars

20180511_185312Time. There never seems to be enough of it, and if you’re always on the move or always busy, it’s a guarantee you’ll be looking for something quick to snack on. Don’t settle for unhealthy processed food or overpriced snack bars when you can quickly make your own moist, healthy, and delicious ones at home for less.

20180511_185130It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginning cook or well advanced in the kitchen, these bars are quick and simple to make. Invest a short amount of time preparing them each week and you’ll be rewarded with a week’s worth of healthy snacks, on-the-go breakfasts, or dessert bars at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for processed, pre-made fare. They are only $1.15 per serving if you bake them in a 9×9 inch baking pan, which will yield approximately 16 bars. If you try to compare the quality to anything in the stores, I guarantee you’ll be paying at least $3-5 per serving, making these bars extremely budget-friendly!

20180511_185024If you do elect to give this recipe a go, be sure to store the bars in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for one month or up to three months in the freezer. Simply leave a bar out at room temperature for a few minutes to warm up before you devour it or give a quick zap in the microwave if you’re short on time. At 9 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, these bars will satisfy your hunger, give you energy to keep up with your busy lifestyle, and ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs. Each bar contains high-quality protein, carbs, and fats, as well as blood-sugar balancing ingredients to keep you in tip top shape. So find some time to unwind and have fun preparing a delicious and good for you treat!

 

Almond Butter Snack Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw Agave Nectar
  • 2/3 cup Almond Butter
  • 2 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Old-Fashioned Oats; whole
  • 1 ¾ cups soaked & dehydrated Buckwheat Groats or Kasha
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt

 

Preparation:

  1. Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving excess hang out two of the ends so the bars can easily be lifted from the pan.
  2. Place the agave, almond butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir mixture rapidly until well-combined and creamy.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, oats, buckwheat/kasha, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until just combined.
  4. Pour the almond butter mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Mix together until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using your hands (make sure they are super clean or use gloves), press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out and ensure the entire pan has an even surface.
  6. Cover and place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour to allow the bars to firm up and hold their shape for cutting. Bars can be left at room temperature up to 3 days but are best kept in the refrigerator (1 month) or freezer (3 months). If freezing, be sure to cut bars before storing in freezer.

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

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

20180309_182917Although we are well into the second week of March, I want to rewind for a moment to last month. February is traditionally dedicated to heart health and love and in honor of that theme I created this delicious, sweet treat that is healthier for your heart. I initially served these to my family for Valentine’s Day but have recently made them again as a high protein treat for post workouts. No matter if you add protein powder or just want a healthier treat, these cupcakes are perfect for serving yourself and your loved ones long after the 14th of February.

20180309_182958To make these cupcakes “skinny”, I replaced the traditional use of butter with mashed banana. To sneak in some whole-grains, I swapped whole-wheat flour for the typically used all-purpose. Before baking, each cupcake received a natural pop of red color from a few raspberries placed on top of the batter. This recipe makeover results in a delicious 88 calorie cupcake with no saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. A sweet treat to share without any of the guilt!

20180309_182110Note: If you want to make these into protein cupcakes, add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder. This will result in each cupcake containing approximately 91 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber, depending on the brand of powder. This recipe will produce approximately 24 cupcakes.

20180309_182724

Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Mashed Banana (about 1 Medium)
  • ½ cup Warm Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Raspberries (about 72)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 regular size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray each paper liner with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and protein powder (if using). In a different bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup ¾ full. Drop 3 raspberries in the batter of each cup. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JESSIE SHAFER
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

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

 

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