Low-Sugar Chocolate Oat Cookies

Hi guys! Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

I’ve been spending lots of time with friends and keeping super busy when I’m not! Lots of beach time as well, because, well I think I’m turning into a mermaid.

And now… I have a fun recipe to share with you! It has a pretty funny story behind it.

First of all, I don’t know who to credit for the original recipe for this, because I got it from my Nana, who got it from someone. However, I did tweak it a little bit and make my own version of it because I love doing that!

Last month I went to visit my Nana and Pawpaw. When I go see them, my Nana ALWAYS has some sort of sweet treat made for me. Ever since I can remember, she’s always had fresh cookies, brownies, or some sort of yummy treat waiting because she knows my love for sweets! Well this time, since she knows that I’m trying to maintain a healthy diet and enjoy finding new healthy recipes, she made me some healthy cookies similar to no-bakes (my FAV)!! How thoughtful is that?! Ugh she is the sweetest.

But when she told me about the cookies she made me, she said “Bethany, I made you these cookies because they’re healthier than regular ones and I know you’re eating healthy… but THEY ARE AWFUL!” Hahaha. So of course, when I tried them I loved them, and they were certainly not awful. *Disclaimer: we ended up making real no-bake cookies that weekend because we just needed the real thing too! Balance, right?* I just thought it was so funny that she thought they were so gross. She’s too modest – everything she makes tastes like heaven in your mouth.

That being said, these do not taste quite like no bake cookies. HOWEVER! They are not a bad alternative if you are counting calories or avoiding sugar! I honestly did enjoy them, and will definitely make them again. One of the main changes I made is adding a small amount of NATURAL sugar. When you look at most cookie recipes, there’s a minimum of a whole cup of sugar, so this still keeps them minimal sugar!

I’m not hating on normal cookies, but moderation is key! Sometimes ya just need a healthy alternative, especially with summer right around the corner!

Here is the recipe, including my changes I made:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats (I prefer old fashioned over quick)
1/3 cup peanut butter (I use natural!)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
*If you still need more sweetness, you can add stevia.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let the batter stand for 20-30 minutes. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

I hope you guys have a lovely week! You are amazing. Thanks for reading!

XO beth

Zoodles 3 Ways

Hi guys! I hope you’re having the best day! I posted a couple of zoodle pics on instagram and got lots of questions about the recipes, so I decided to share a few of my faves!

Zoodles have become one of my current obsessions. I got a spiralizer last year and used it here and there, but lately I have been using it a ton. It’s so fun! Zoodles – zucchini noodles – are the perfect way to sneak some extra veggies into a meal without compromising a lot of flavor! And it saves a ton of calories!

So, I rounded up my three current, go-to zoodle recipes for you guys. They are easy, delicious, and light dishes that are perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner!

Sidenote – I have also gotten questions about the spiralizer I use, so I snuck in a couple pictures of it! Got it from Amazon 🙂

Zoodles with Tofu

There are several different ways to prepare tofu, but so far I think my favorite is just tossing them in some cornstarch (helps make them crispy) and cooking them in a cast iron skillet. I seasoned them with pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Season how you want though! Once you make the zoodles, just toss them in a bit of olive oil and sautee them briefly, until warm. Once the tofu is done, top zoodles with it and add sauce if you would like. You could add tomato sauce or soy saue; I’ve tried both and they add nice flavor!

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Spaghetti Zoodles

This one is probably the easiest of them all. Simply make the zoodles the same way as you did in the previous recipe. To make the spaghetti sauce, brown your meat (I use ground turkey but obviously you can use beef if you prefer!). Once meat is fully browned, add tomato sauce, a little garlic, and Italian seasonings. For added flavor, chop up an onion and cook it with the meat. Stir until thoroughly meat and sauce are mixed and simmer for about five minutes. Top zoodles with the spaghetti sauce and enjoy! (Top with parmesan if you like cheese)

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Pesto Chicken Zoodles

This is one of my all time favorites. Once you spiralize your zoodles, sautee them in a skillet with about a tablespoon of pesto; a little goes a long way! Two tablespoons if necessary. Remove from skillet and set aside. Dice up chicken breast into small pieces and cook in olive oil on the hot skillet. Season with garlic, onion powder, and pepper. While your chicken cooks, dice up a Roma tomato. After chicken is done, top your pesto zoodles with the chicken and tomato. I left it at that, BUT I think this dish would be great with some Feta cheese and olives on top as well!

I hope you guys enjoy! What are your favorite zoodle recipes?! Please share if there are any I need in my life!! Thanks for reading.

XO beth

Resolution-Friendly Snacks

Hi babes! I hope this post finds you well! I’m so glad it’s Thursday; this week has been super busy, and this weekend is going to be even busier but in a good way! I am regretfully really behind on Grey’s AND Scandal right now (I know I’m ashamed), and I feel like my Thursday would be significantly better if I could actually watch tonight’s episodes. Ugh. First world problems?

ANYWAYS. Let’s talk about healthy snacks! I’ve seen so many people post about their healthy resolutions for the year, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite snacks that are yummy and nutritious without going overkill in calories!

First is baked apples. GAME. CHANGER.

I have allllllways been an apple a day kinda gal. Like since high school I have eaten apples all the time. Sometimes more than one a day – and let me tell ya, I don’t think it’s true that they keep the doctor away haha. But they are great snacks!

Somehow, I have never really thought to bake them, I’ve always just sliced them up and eaten them with peanut butter or almond butter. One night my dear friend Nora mentioned something about baked apples for dessert and I immediately thought, “okay I need that in my life.”

So here we are, a few weeks later, and I have baked many an apple since. Thanks Nora 🙂 It’s such a great cure for those nights when your PMS is screaming at you to eat all the dessert in the world but you don’t want to cheat on your meal plan so you bake an apple, melt some PB, and if you really wanna get crazy with it, serve them warm with Halo Top ice cream. Thank me later.

Recipe:
1 apple (if single serving – more depending on # of people)
cooking spray
stevia (1 packet usually does it)
cinnamon (to taste)

Slice up your apple (my current apple of choice is the Fuji; they’re big so even one is shareable! this recipe is husband approved). Spray a baking dish, glass is best, and line your apples on it. Sprinkle your apple slices with cinnamon and Stevia. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Next up we have rice cakes. Which sounds really boring. However, if you top it with the right things, it’s actually amazing. My toppings of choice for rice cakes are peanut butter (or almond butter or PB2) for a sweet one and avocado for a savory!

Now, if you’re on a strict meal plan and don’t want as many calories, then consider just using PB2 on this one. These rice cake snacks are healthy, but they are high in unsaturated fats – the good fats! but still fats, which means calories. So if you have the room in your plan, these make a great post-workout snack!

Tip: buy the UNsalted unflavored rice cakes 🙂

For the sweet one, I just spread nut butter of choice on the rice cake, throw on a few slices of banana for extra nutrients, and about a teaspoon of chia seeds. If you want extra sweetness, drizzle with honey!

For the savory one, simply slice and mash up about half of an avocado, spread it on the rice cake, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of pink himalayan salt (I get mine from Trader Joe’s, it’s lasted a while) and pepper. If you’re into spicy foods, add some red pepper flakes! I’m not brave enough for that, but if you are I admire it about you.

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That’s all for now! Hope you make it to Friday in no time! You are beautiful. Thanks for reading!

XO Beth

No-Bake Energy Balls

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Happy Tuesday y’all. Hope your Monday was short and your week is off to a great start!

I go through phases with food, where I get addicted to something and eat it nonstop for a month or two. So that’s where I’m at right now with these energy balls. Holy YUM. Except this one isn’t just a phase, because I will probably be eating these for the rest of my life. They’re that good.

They make a great pre- or post-workout snack, because the peanut butter provides you with energy and protein, while the fiber and chia seeds keep you fuller longer! They’re easy to make, and it’s great to grab out of the fridge on the way out the door. Plus they just taste like dessert. I’m a big dessert person, so since I’m trying to tone up my beach bod, these are a great dessert substitute.

Here’s the recipe (yields about 13-15 energy balls):

1 cup oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds *can substitute with flaxseed
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips *can use regular choc. chips if desired; may also use raisins instead. add 1/3 cup if you want extra sweetness.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour (if you’re impatient like me, stick ’em in the freezer!). Remove from fridge, have a couple sample bites if you want, and then roll into balls. Place in a sealable container and store in the fridge!

Hope you guys enjoy – let me know what you think! Have a great week.

XO beth

 

The Smoothie of the Summer

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Have you ever found a new food you love, and you suddenly can’t get enough of it? Well, that’s this smoothie for me. So good I gotta share with y’all. I’m not gonna lie, even though I was SO pumped to get my new blender (a few months ago), when it came down to it, I rarely make smoothies because I get lazy. But THIS smoothie… this smoothie is worth it. And it doesn’t even take that long to make! (most smoothies don’t… I don’t really know why I get lazy when it comes to this lol). It’s only a few ingredients, and they’re things you typically have lying around the kitchen anyway. So there, you have no excuse not to try it!

Back in college, my froomie bestie Haley and I lived about 2 minutes from Sonic (AND chick fila. Still wondering how I didn’t gain a million pounds in college). During the summer when they had half price milkshakes, we would make up any excuse possible to go get one. Like, every night. [bear with me, this story is relevant]. My favorite milkshake from there – and trust me I tried almost all – was the chocolate PB banana. Holy yum.

THAT’S WHAT THIS SMOOTHIE TASTES LIKE. And it’s like 1/25th of the calories!! Holla holla. I mean the texture, consistency, and taste are all perfect. That is all.

1 frozen banana
1 cup milk (I use fat free/skim and it tastes fine; use what you like)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
2-3 teaspoons cocoa powder
honey or stevia to taste (I use 1 stevia packet + 1 squirt of honey!)

Blend until it reaches the right consistency (usually 30-ish seconds); enjoy!

Try it and please let me know what you think if you do! Happy weekend loves.

XO beth

Shrimp n Grits 

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A few weeks back, I made shrimp and grits for dinner. I got a ton of recipe requests when I posted a pic of it, so here it is! It’s super easy and even more yummy! Not to mention shrimp is super lean and very low fat 🙂

I looked at several recipes on Pinterest and eventually just took a little from each one and winged it on my own (I tend to do that a lot; sometimes it ends well, sometimes not). Though it’s versatile and easy to tweak, here’s what I did:

1 lb peeled and deveined, ready to eat  shrimp  *depending how many people you’re feeding — I got mine in the frozen section at the grocery store, just sit it in cool water for five minutes to thaw it! So easy.

1 cup instant grits *I chose this kind to save time; you can use stone ground.

3 tablespoons of butter

2 cups of cheddar cheese *I found that this is SO yummy with smoked gouda!! Experiment with different cheeses!

4-6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 tsp lemon juice (optional! the first time I made it, I used zero lemon juice and it was still just as good!)

2 tbsp chopped parsley *I just used the dry parsley I had in my spice cabinet to save time

scallions (aka green onions)

minced garlic (about a clove, but up to you as well)

First, if you bought frozen shrimp, put it in a bowl of cool water to thaw. While it’s thawing, get your grits going on the stovetop. The package will have instructions for that.

Fry up your bacon but save the grease when it’s done!

Chop your scallions, bacon, garlic if needed, and parsley while the grits cook. Once the grits are almost done cooking, add the cheese and butter. Stir until it’s well mixed. Remove from heat when done. Once shrimp is thawed and the tails are off, dry them off. Add them to the skillet you cooked the bacon in, and cook them for a few minutes (about until they turn pink) then add the scallions, bacon, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Saute it all together for a few more minutes, then remove it from heat.

Serve grits in a bowl, then scoop the shrimp mixture on top of them. Sprinkle on more parsley and bacon if you want, and enjoy!

So easy, so quick, and SO GOOD. Happy weekend friends, thanks for reading!

XO beth

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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Happy Friday! I hope you’ve all had a good week!

I started off my Friday with a delicious new recipe that is so good I’m gonna share it with you guys. It’s one of those recipes I found and then put my own twist on it, so just bear with me. I absolutely love sweets, but we all know we have to eat them in moderation. So lately I’ve tried to put a healthy twist on certain recipes that aren’t as healthy as I’d like. It’s also so simple you probably have ALL of these things in your pantry right now!

This recipe was perfect for that. Jon and I were watching the debate last night, and I realized I had 3 bananas that were almost too ripe to eat, so I hopped on Pinterest to find something to use them in, with something we could have for breakfast in mind. I found this Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin recipe that sounded amazing so I went with that! I found it here, and I loved her blog, I’ll definitely be back.

At the last minute, I decided I wanted to do a bread version, rather than muffins (don’t ask why, I have no idea). So the only thing I did different for that was pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake it for about 40-45 minutes instead of 20.

Here’s the original recipe:

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 2 cups flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 3 tablespoons sour cream
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  8. 2 or 3 ripe bananas – I always use 3 bananas
  9. 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together until moistened.
  2. Pour into greased muffin baking tray or use muffin paper liners.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Recipe makes 12 muffins.

Here are my changes:
-Replaced flour with whole wheat flour
-Used nonfat sour cream
-Used 1/4 cup regular butter, other 1/4 low fat butter (from olive oil)
-Like I said, for muffins keep it the same baking time but for bread bake it twice as long, or just until it looks baked all the way through the center!

These won’t make a huge difference, but they will help cut down on fat and calories in this recipe! And the best part is they don’t alter the flavor – it’s still yummy!! Enjoy it with a big glass of milk or coffee and you’re set. Jon and I both had a piece for breakfast and both loved it!

Have a great day, and remember you are so loved!

XO beth