Tag Archives: healthy

Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies

I’ve had this post in my drafts for at least a month now, just waiting to be shared. I haven’t been happy with the photos, and haven’t found myself just sitting down to write in quite some time. But here I am now, sitting to write, on my second (or third?) cup of coffee , and getting over the fact that I don’t love the photos so that I can finally share this recipe that I love so much with you.

Let me tell you about how these little cookies came to be.

Greg and I are not big dessert eaters (well, he isn’t – I love dessert but don’t make it, otherwise I’d eat it all) but we are big snack eaters. I always like to have healthy snacks on hand for times when we just want something before the next meal, or, for times like right now, when I’m just not ready for breakfast yet but my coffee is starting to get to me (just ate one of these cookies). I usually go with some sort of homemade granola bar or something similar (lately, I have been on a healthy banana bread kick). 

Right around this time last year, I made these no-bake almond + peanut butter energy bites. We were consuming those for a long time, but then I started switching it up to more of a baked granola bar because we need something that will hold up for long periods of time without being refrigerated. The energy bites are so good, but they do tend to get crumbly when not refrigerated. 

A few months ago, I was making Sally’s berry vanilla cashew snack bars and was mixing the wet ingredients for that recipe. The combo is: honey, vanilla extract, almond meal, salt and almond butter (I also added some almond extract because I love it). After I mixed that together, I got a spoon, tried a little bit, and thought it tasted like cookies. And it was healthy! I was in love with that combo of ingredients. I sat with those thoughts for a few weeks, did some experimenting and came up with the recipe you see today. I combined those wet ingredients with oats, walnuts, dried fruit and chocolate. So while I am calling these cookies, they are really like granola bars, in a cookie shape, because why not? They are healthy enough to be a wholesome snack, yet in my opinion, delicious enough to be a healthy dessert if that is what you’re looking for. 

Let me break the recipe down a bit:

The oats, walnuts and almond flour: I know that using all three of these is a little high maintenance, but I really like the flavor and texture that using all three brings. We keep the oats and walnuts a little more coarse while the almond meal is more fine and soft, providing great contrast of texture throughout the cookies.

The almond butter: I list almond butter in the ingredient list but I have made this recipe using plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter, sunflower seed butter and a combination! I feel confident that any type of nut butter would work with this recipe, just keeping in mind the changes in taste. 

The dried blueberry + chocolate: This flavor combo was inspired by my childhood obsession with chocolate covered blueberries. I still love the combo, but haven’t had one of those (suspiciously purple) chocolate covered blueberries in years! I have also made these cookies with the following combos: dried cranberry + chocolate, dried cranberry + dried blueberry + dried apricot, plain dried cranberry. They are all good, and I feel confident that so many other combinations would be good, too. Experiment a little, find what you like.

If you are looking for a wholesome, homemade snack, I hope that you will give these a try. I love these little snack cookies and I hope that you get to make them and love them, too!

1-2

2-2

3-2

4-2

5-2

7-2

8-2

9-2

10-2

13-2

Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup walnuts
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1 cup almond meal
  5. 2 tablespoons almond butter*
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  10. 1/3 cup chocolate**
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the oats to a food processor and process until coarsely ground. You don't want them to be fine, or whole, but somewhere in between. Add the walnuts and pulse several times, just to lightly chop the walnuts. You want some texture to remain. Add oat mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the chocolate to the food processor and process until broken into little bits. Add the blueberries and pulse several times, to break them up a bit.*** Add chocolate mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the honey, almond meal, almond butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Mixture will be thick - that's okay. Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until very well combined and no dry bits remain. Add the chocolate + blueberry mixture and stir well. I usually go in with my hands and almost "smash" the ingredients together, ensuring that the chocolate + blueberries get fully incorporated into the cookie dough.****
  5. If time allows, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.*****
  6. Using a spoon, scoop out some dough, and using your hands, roll it into a tight ball. Place on a baking sheet and gently flatten the top of the cookie just a bit. The cookies will not change shape in the oven - whatever shape they go in, is how they will come out. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are rolled out and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When cookies are done, they will still be soft but will smell amazing and will be golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. * Use any nut butter that you desire. I have used plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter and sunflower seed butter.
  2. ** Use any type of chocolate that you like. Milk, dark, chips or a bar, I think so much could work here.
  3. *** You don't necessarily have to do this, I just like the add-ins to be small in size. You could also just chop your chocolate if you don't have a food processor.
  4. **** Once everything is mixed together, if dough is too dry, add some additional honey, if dough is too wet, add some whole rolled oats. Dough will be just right when you can form the cookies easily with your hands.
  5. ***** Refrigerating the dough is not necessary, but if time allows, will help the dough to stay together better.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
15-2

Almond + Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile. I’m back today with a little recipe that has become a recent love of mine. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but special anyway. Almond + peanut butter energy bites. Let’s talk about ’em.

I have been making + loving these little energy bites for months and it has just now occurred to me to share them with you. Last week while I was rolling a batch out, I thought, I should share these on the blog. I know that there are many, many “energy bite” recipes out there and that this one isn’t anything revolutionary, but after many experiments in different flavor/ingredient combos, this is the one that I have come to know and love and it makes me happy to share it with you today.

Here is why I love these:

1) I haven’t had to buy granola bars in the store. And that makes me so happy. Since I have been eating these, granola bars from the grocery store just won’t do the trick. 2) They satisfy a sweet tooth craving. I have had a major sweets craving lately. Like, I never want to pass up dessert. And guess what, these satisfy that craving perfectly. 3) Not only do they healthfully satisfy my sweets cravings, they are filling. Whenever I am feeling drained in the afternoon and lunch is long past and dinner is far away, these save me. They fill me up until dinner and give me the evening energy that I need. Love it. 4) I know every ingredient. No mystery ingredients here. Also – every ingredient is one that I keep on hand and every ingredient is one that is good for me. Can’t get much better than that!

If you are looking for something to replace store bought granola bars, or looking for a snack that is super healthy + filling, please make these energy bites. This little snack has brought me much happiness and I know that it can do the same for you!

11-2

10-2

9-2

12-2

15-2

13-2

14-2

*Recipe inspired and adapted from How Sweet Eats — click link to view her recipe.

Almond + Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup peanut butter
  2. 2/3 cup honey
  3. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  4. 2 cups rolled oats
  5. 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  6. 1/2 cup ground flax
  7. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. Extra almonds or peanuts, finely crushed, for rolling, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter and honey. Microwave for 15 seconds, then stir well to combine. Add the almond extract and lightly stir. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sliced almonds, ground flax, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture to the dry oat mixture and stir well to combine all ingredients. Mixture should be wet + slightly sticky. If it seems overly sticky and won't roll into balls, add more oats.
  4. Using your hands, form the mixture into balls, rolling each ball in crushed almonds or peanuts, if desired.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. For best results, store in the refrigerator and serve cold. They can be stored/eaten at room temperature, although they will be much softer. I highly prefer them right out of the fridge.
  2. This recipe yields 15-20 energy bites, depending on the size you make them.
  3. I prefer to roll the bites in crushed almonds over crushed peanuts - just a personal preference. Use a food processor to finely crush the nuts.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
5-2

Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie

Hey guys! Has it really been over a month since I last posted? Sorry for the silence, but it has been one heck of a month! So many things to do, and I guess blogging has fallen to the end of the priority list. To be honest, I still have some busyness coming up, so I can’t promise how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully I can get things together and start sharing more frequently soon!

But for today, I’m sharing with you something that I have been making consistently, almost everyday, even through the busy times. Blueberry, peanut butter, banana power smoothie.* I have even hauled my blender across the state twice, on a train, to continue making this smoothie. Truly my current obsession.

This smoothie is as tasty as it is healthy. I call it a “power smoothie” because of all the goodness in it. Let’s go over that:

Coconut water: Full of potassium and very hydrating.
Almond milk: I use vanilla, unsweetened. Besides adding a delicious vanilla flavor, it’s high in calcium and vitamins B and E.
Banana: More potassium! and so much more!
Blueberries: Antioxidants!
Peanut butter: Protein!
Chia seeds: Full of nutrients, antioxidants, protein, fiber and more. Eat chia seeds!
Spinach: Full of all the good stuff – nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

And that’s it. All real, whole foods that bring so many good things, and when combined, become a creamy, tasty treat! 

I’ve been making this for breakfast daily. I honestly never thought that just a smoothie would be enough for me for breakfast, but this one is. It keeps me full and I know that it’s probably the healthiest meal of my day – a great start. 

While each and every ingredient included in this smoothie is important to make it just what it is, if I had to stress one to absolutely not leave out, it would be the chia seeds. If blended long enough (I blend my smoothies a long time!), the chia seeds make the smoothie super thick and creamy, and it almost reminds me of ice cream. I like this smoothie so much more since starting to add chia seeds and it’s all because of that creamy, dreamy texture. A smoothie that reminds me of ice cream – can’t pass it up. 

3-2

4-2

6-2

1-2

7-2

Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut water
  2. 1/4 cup almond milk
  3. 1 banana
  4. 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  5. 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  6. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  7. Large handful spinach
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend, until completely smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Inspired by a smoothie sold at the Cedars House Cafe!

10-2

Everyday Oven Fries

Dreaming Foodie readers, let me introduce you to one of my all-time favorite side dishes. One that Greg and I consume multiple times, every single week. One that we never get sick of and that is always as good as the last time. Healthy, oven-baked french fries. Fries that you can feel good about eating all the time!

This recipe has been years in the making. I have been trying for so long to get the right recipe for homemade fries, made in the oven, and this is it. This will be it for me, forever and ever. For a basic, everyday oven fry recipe, this one wins for me in texture, taste and technique. These fries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They taste salty and peppery and have a gentle kick from a touch of paprika. They are simple to make, with just a handful of ingredients and a bit of preparation. You need to try these fries – you will love them!

First let’s talk texture. These fries get their crispiness from a quick boil before they are baked. I simply cut up the potatoes, place them in a large pot with water, bring it to a boil and boil for just 5 minutes. This exact method evolved from many other methods I’ve tried over the years. This is the one that works for me and that I’ll continue to do. It’s easy and takes very little time. The 5-minute boil is imperative to this exact recipe. I made many fries in the past that I did not boil and they have not come out as well or nearly as crispy. The boiling changes everything.

The taste of these fries is incredible. I took everything I like about different fries and put them into one. They are salty (who doesn’t love salty fries?), they are peppery, a tiny bit garlic-y and onion-y (from garlic powder and onion powder), a tiny bit spicy (from paprika) and herb-y (from parsley). This is a combination that I just love – nothing fancy or exotic, just yummy basic fries, made with ingredients that are always stocked in my pantry. 

The technique is simple. Cut potatoes, boil, drain + rinse, brush with olive oil + sprinkle with seasoning, bake 40-45 minutes. It’s that easy. I show in two photos below how I cut my potatoes. I used to cut oven fries thin, but found out that thin fries will break with the boiling step. For this recipe, the fries need to be sliced thick, like very large steak fries. They need to be able to withstand the boiling. From start to finish, the fries will shrink, so if you think they look large once they are cut, don’t worry, you won’t think that once you are eating a crispy, delicious fry! 

A few more notes on this recipe – for Greg and I, I usually use 3-4 medium to large russet potatoes. That makes a ton of fries – two full baking sheets, so for lighter eaters, I would plan for 1 medium-large potato per person. They do make good leftovers, and are awesome reheated in the oven. The seasoning amounts I provide will be good for 3-4 medium-large potatoes. If you’re feeding a crowd, double or triple the amounts as needed!

1-2

2-2

4-2

5-2

12-2

11-2

6-2

10-2

7-2

Everyday Oven Fries
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 medium potatoes (I like russet)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  7. 1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley
  8. 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together all spices. Set aside.
  4. Rinse potatoes. Cut into very thick slices. I usually get 10-12 slices, or fries, per potato.
  5. Place sliced potatoes into large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil. Boil exactly 5 minutes.
  6. Drain and rinse with cold water. Let potatoes cool slightly, just to the point that you can easily handle them.
  7. Arrange evenly on baking sheets, so that no potatoes are touching.
  8. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with spice mix.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes in oven, or until crispy and golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. 3-4 medium to large potatoes with make two full baking sheets of fries. As part of a meal, I would plan for 1 large potato per person.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
18-2

New Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Greg and I pulled out the grill for the third time this year this past weekend. We’re on a roll.

I remember when we first got our grill, and the very first times we attempted using it. I say attempted, because that’s really what it was. Neither of us had worked a charcoal grill before without other adults (our parents). The first couple of times we grilled, we used way too much or not enough charcoal and lighter fluid, disagreed on whether to keep the lid on or off while it heated up, and once, after several hours of trying to get the thing to work, we completely gave up. Well, we’ve come a long way in less than a year since having our grill, and I’m proud to say I think we now have it down. With nice weather here, we’ve been pulling the grill out on Saturdays after I work. It’s no longer a task that takes hours of planning and preparation, rather, it’s now a way for us to unwind – a way to spend a relaxing evening. And we’ve been doing just that.

We recently had a conversation about veggie burgers that is very similar to the grill story. At one point, we were scared and intimidated to make them. And admittedly, that wasn’t too long ago. Looking back, the beginnings of our veggie burger making were rough, just like the beginnings of our grilling. There was much preparation and planning put into making a veggie burger, and unfortunately, a lot of failed attempts. I wouldn’t say that we are now experts or even close, but we’ve come a long way. This Thanksgiving burger (one of my all-time favorites) is definitely a testament to that. And now, today’s burger.

I shared with you a sweet potato + black bean burger on May 1, 2013, almost exactly one year ago. I think it’s more than a coincidence that making this burger and getting the post together for another sweet potato black bean burger happened, without thinking about it, exactly one year later. It has given me a chance to see how far I’ve come. To see how I’ve improved in one year. My photos, my recipes, my blog. A part of me wants to delete the first sweet potato black bean burger post. The photos are hard to look at, there are things I’d change about the recipe and post. But luckily there is a little something telling me not to. I think I’d regret it. I’m proud of today’s recipe and post, but I need to remember, one year ago I was proud of that post. Makes me wonder how I’ll feel one year from today.

S0 yes, today, a new and improved sweet potato black bean burger. And it is darn good. A burger with a simple list of ingredients, wonderful texture and addicting taste. We made the burgers big, grilled them, and served them on brioche rolls topped with Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato and gouda cheese, and I suggest you do the same. Serve the burgers with some homemade fries (more on those next week) and a crunchy pickle. Too good to be true, really.

These burgers really hold up well. That is definitely a thing to feel good about when it comes to veggie burgers. They stayed together on the grill, so I feel confident that they’d do wonderfully baked in the oven or fried in some olive oil on the stove, as well. They also stay together when eating them – even better. I don’t know how much more I can say about these other than please try them! And if you do, let me know! Tell me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment on this post.

Cheers to making improvements, slowly but surely, and to gosh darn good sweet potato black bean burgers!

1-2

2-2

3-2

4-2

5-2

9-2

10-2

8-2

11-2

15-2

18-2

19-2

20-2

New Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 large sweet potatoes
  2. 3 garlic cloves
  3. Olive oil
  4. 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  5. Vegetable broth or water, to cook rice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin
  7. 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  8. 1/2 cup walnuts
  9. Large handful fresh cilantro
  10. 1 tablespoon ground flax
  11. 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  12. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  13. Serving suggestion: hearty buns, Dijon mustard, gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Peel, wash and dice the sweet potatoes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, along with three cloves of peeled garlic, and drizzle with olive oil, just to coat. Roast sweet potatoes and garlic in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. While sweet potatoes are roasting, cook one cup of dry brown rice according to package instructions. I use vegetable broth to cook mine.
  4. Once sweet potatoes are roasted and rice is done cooking and slightly cooled, place the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic in a food processor along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cumin. Process for about 30 seconds, or until sweet potatoes become mostly smooth.
  5. Add the rice to processor and pulse several time to incorporate. You may need to use a spoon to move the rice along.
  6. Add the black beans, walnuts and fresh cilantro to the processor and process for another 30 seconds or so to incorporate well.
  7. Add the burger mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the flax, panko and rolled oats. Alternatively, you can use all panko (1 cup) or all oats, rather than a mixture of the two - just as long as there is 1 cup total. Stir the flax, panko breadcrumbs and oats into the burger mixture.
  8. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  9. When ready to cook, form mixture into patties. The number of patties you get will depend on the size you make them. We made them fairly large and got seven patties.
  10. We grilled our burgers on a charcoal grill, but I feel confident these will bake well in the oven or fried in olive oil on the stove due to their sturdy texture.
  11. I suggest serving them on hearty, slightly toasted buns with Dijon mustard, melted smoked gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato.
  12. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Instead of using 1/2 cup panko and 1/2 cup oats, you could use 1 full cup of panko and no oats or 1 full cup oats and no panko.
  2. I mixed the flax, panko and oats into the burger mixture in a large mixing bowl because my food processor was too full to process anything else.
  3. Refrigerating the mixture before cooking will help the burgers stay together.
  4. I did not bake or fry these, but I feel confident that both would work if you follow the instructions. The burgers are very hearty and sturdy, so I feel that would stay together no matter what the cooking method.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/