Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos. I feel like summer just started, yet here we are, about to officially welcome fall. Time seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye because the past several weeks have been busier than usual for me. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter returned to school (first grade) and my youngest daughter started her first year of school (pre-K). Next up was the return of Hellenic Dance practice for my oldest and then we had family come to visit. Directly after that we spent several days bracing for a hurricane that thankfully avoided us almost entirely. The kids were off school for a few days so once they went back and schedules resumed normal operation, I quickly began work on building new workout routines/meal plans for my fitness groups, which happened to include coming up with this delicious, healthy cookie recipe.

Since my gears are still currently in the process of switching from summer to fall, I wasn’t quite ready to nose dive into everything fall flavored. I wanted to make something that used the warm spices of fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but did not make apple and pumpkin the star of the show. I had a jar of organic pureed carrots that I wanted to use up before it expired so that became my starting point. This quickly led me to a craving for carrot cake, but I certainly had no ambition to make a cake with everything going on. The kids were begging for cookies so I thought, why not try making a carrot cake cookie.

To keep things plant-based and gluten-free, I started with a base of mashed bananas and oats. Rich and sweet, ripe bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like potassium. Bananas also lend a creamy texture while binding the dough together, thus avoiding the need for eggs. To add more moisture and nutrients to the dough, I used a jar of organic pureed carrots. Although you could certainly use finely shredded carrots, I prefer to use pureed. Not only does it save a step during prep and clean-up, but it also blends more smoothly into the cookie batter, which improves the texture of the final product while preventing kids and/or husbands from detecting its presence. The best part is it doesn’t even take much of the orange root veggies to add a significant nutrition boost. The relatively small amount of pureed carrots provides numerous antioxidants and nutrients, with soaring amounts of beneficial beta carotene and vitamin A.

Therefore, if you love sweets and need a clean cookie that will fit into your meal plan/macros, this recipe is for you. When consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about eating!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

(Yield: 12 Cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 4 oz. Jar Organic Pureed Carrots
  • 3 tbsp. Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oats, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
  3. Wet fingers and scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands. Form into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with hand. Continue with remaining batter.
  4. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Extras can be frozen in freezer bags until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Cookie

Calories: 91, Protein: 2 g.,

Total Fat: 2 g., Sat. Fat: 0.5 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 3 mg.,

Sugars: 3 g., Carbs: 15 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. VALPONE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

20190326_114118Imagine for a moment that you’re passing through your kitchen and you notice a bunch of bananas becoming overly ripe. What do you do? Do you try to eat as many as you can before they go bad? Do you whip up some banana bread? Do you slice them up and freeze for smoothies? Or would you just simply toss them out? As you can see, there are many options for salvaging bananas, so hopefully your answer was not to just toss them out. I personally love bread and muffins, and if it was still fall or winter I would have made some. However, since we have officially hit spring, I thought it was time for a new way to prevent banana waste that would compliment the warming temperatures. So I did a little research, ran a few tests, & viola, these frozen banana pops were born.

IMG_20190322_170845_932As a foodie that’s doing my best to stay fit, I’m always on the hunt for foods I can give a cleaner, more nutritious makeover to. After a recent visit to the amusement park, I was reminded of my previous love for frozen, chocolate-covered bananas. Instead of giving up on these sweet treats altogether, I thought I’d try to make them healthier. With that said, bananas on their own are a rather healthy snack option. Containing both potassium and manganese, they pack a mineral punch. Potassium is an important nutrient because it helps keep your blood pressure regulated, while manganese is needed for the body to produce collagen. A protein found in skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissue, collagen is most known for improving the health of our skin, hair, and nails. Beyond keeping us youthful, collagen can also help relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, and boost muscle mass.

20190326_114259With all the benefits a regular banana provides for the body, it honestly doesn’t take much to clean up a frozen banana pop. Therefore, I started my process by stripping the banana back down to its roots, before adding toppings that contain more nutritional value than chocolate alone. Dark chocolate, chopped nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut all add nutritional value while making the banana feel more decadent. I also refrained from submerging the entire banana in melted chocolate and opted for sprinkles of chopped dark chocolate instead. To make the toppings adhere to the banana while providing a bit of protein and sweetness, I mixed a blend of unsweetened almond milk, all-natural peanut butter, and pure maple syrup. Once assembled, my version is only 169 calories a pop and are without all the harmful processed ingredients you’d find in store-bought frozen bananas.

20190326_114221So the next time you need to keep hunger at bay without ruining your diet, give these nutty and chocolaty frozen banana pops a try. They will satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling any of the guilt!

 

Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

(Yield: 8 Servings)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Bananas; peeled & cut in half crosswise
  • 5 tbsp. Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Natural Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • ¼ cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • 8 Wooden Pop Sticks

 

Preparation:

  1. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Pour toppings (coconut, dark chocolate, chopped nuts) onto a large plate. Set aside.
  2. Gently push a wooden stick into the cut end of each banana. Place on prepared sheet tray & set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine almond milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup until smooth. Holding one banana pop over the bowl, spoon peanut butter mixture over the banana, making sure to cover all sides. Allow excess to drip back into the bowl.
  4. Over the plate of toppings, hold the covered banana and evenly sprinkle with shredded coconut, dark chocolate, and nuts. Lay the completed banana pop on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bananas.
  5. Cover prepared bananas and freeze until firm, or at least 4 hours. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag or container and store for up to 2 months.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Banana Pop

Calories: 169 Calories, Protein: 4 g.,

Total Fat: 9 g., Sat. Fat: 3 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 11 mg.,

Sugars: 12 g., Carbs: 21 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: C. LYONS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

 

 

Skinny Apricot Granola

20190215_160551In order to succeed at anything in life, you need to make a plan. Staying fit and healthy is certainly no exception to this rule. I admit, it can seem overwhelming to achieve, but one way to keep yourself on track is by prepping clean, nutritious meals & snacks in advance. This ensures you’ll always have healthy food on hand. Sure, if you’re not used to meal-prepping, it’s easy to believe the process is too laborious and costly, but in reality it doesn’t have to be. I have saved so much money in the past year while simultaneously improving my health, and it’s all thanks to meal prep.

20190215_160926One of my favorite items to prep is this skinny apricot granola. Although it’s one of the first foods I ever prepped when I began my fitness journey, I still make it to this very day. Why??? Well it’s just that GOOD! Granola and I are clearly going to be BFF’s for life, because its super simple to prep and has countless options so I never get bored eating the same thing all week. Just by keeping this granola on hand, I’m always equipped with a quick and healthy snack, dessert, or even breakfast.

You may wonder why I find this so important. It’s just granola after all, but it really is a big deal for me because it has prevented one of the biggest issues I had in the past…skipping meals. Most people think if they eat less they will weigh less, but that wasn’t the case.  I skipped meals, I didn’t snack, and I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I either didn’t have the time or I was too fatigued to cook. This in turn led to years of obesity, as the metabolism slows when you chronically skip meals. Now that I prep items like this granola, I no longer feel sluggish all day because it prevents me from skipping breakfast on days I’m strapped for time. It prevents me from turning to unhealthy snacks and desserts when cravings strike.

20190215_160756If the old me sounds like you…if you tend to skip meals a lot or snack on unhealthy items, try making a batch of this delicious granola. Simply sprinkle on your favorite yogurt for a quick and easy snack, layer between yogurt and heaps of fresh fruit for a quick dessert parfait, or just enjoy it straight up with milk or a milk alternative for breakfast. The possibilities are endless. I hope you give them a chance or come up with variations of your own!

 

Skinny Apricot Granola

*Makes 10 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 2 cups Sliced Unsalted Almonds
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Oil; melted
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes; toasted
  • 2 cups Dried Apricots (unsweetened & sulfite-free); cut into ¼ in. cubes

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add oats, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Toss to coat well.
  3. Spread granola out on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, toss well, and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Place cooked oat mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add coconut and apricots. Toss together until combined. Transfer to storage containers.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: About 1/3 cup Granola

Calories: 292 Calories, Protein: 8 g.,

Total Fat: 9 g., Sat. Fat: 3 g.,

Fiber: 7 g., Sodium: 7 mg.,

Sugars: 10 g., Carbs: 46 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. SYMINGTON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

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