Pecan Pie Cookie Bites

Vegan Pecan Pie Cookie BitesMy husband wanted either Pecan Pie or Pecan Cookies, but all the recipes I found had a lot of oil (even coconut oil in large quantities isn’t healthy), so I came up with these Pecan Pie Cookies. They came out better than I expected. The gooey sweet inside covered with crunchy pecans is rich and decadent. They’re easy to make and don’t require any cooking.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup medjool pitted dates (about 10)
  • ½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon (three powerful shakes)
  • 2 level tablespoons unsweetened, creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (I used raw, but toasted would be good too). You’ll probably only use ¼ cup but it’s good to have extra, just in case

Tear the dates in half, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and almond butter to a medium-sized mixer until it all clumps together in a large ball. Use a level tablespoon to scoop out each cookie, and roll it in your hands to make a round cookie. Do this with each cookie. It makes 8-9 cookies. (I ate some of the batter while I was making the cookies so, if you can resist eating any of the batter until they’re done, you might even get 10 cookies!)

Lastly, place the pecans in a very small bowl. Dip each cookie, gently into the chopped pecans so that it covers it completely. Put on a plate and place in the freezer. It should be firm and ready to eat in an hour. I prefer these frozen, instead of refrigerated, because they aren’t firm enough and taste too much like sticky dough if they aren’t cold enough. I keep these in the freezer, uncovered, and let one sit out 30 seconds, to unthaw a bit, before eating. These are really rich so one is plenty!

Makes 8-9 cookies         Serving size: 1 cookie

Calories 130 (based on 8 cookies)       Carbohydrates 19 grams each

 

Rich & Creamy Dairy-Free Potato Soup

soup

This rich, flavorful vegetable soup has no oil or dairy. The bite-sized pieces of carrot and potatoes goes nicely with the creamy, “cheesy” soup.

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup creamy almond butter
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (this is dairy-free & tastes like cheese)

In a medium-sized pot, place potatoes, carrot, onion and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Pour ½ of cooked vegetables with stock in a large blender or mixer and mix until creamy. Add remaining ingredients, but leave out the vegetable that weren’t blended, and mix again until smooth. Add the creamy soup back into the pot with the chunky vegetables, and mix gently with a spoon. To serve, add two ladles of soup and top with extra salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.

4 food ingredients that cause cravings

broccoli beef

Have you noticed that some foods make you want more and more, even though you know you’ve eaten plenty? Potato chips, cookies, popcorn and chocolate are some snacks that just stoke the appetite. Here’s a list of four food ingredients that will make you hungrier, even if you’re full, so limit these items:

  1. Animal meat. Yes, eating animal meat will make you hungrier, that’s why you can eat a whole rack of ribs at one sitting.
  2. Flour. Anything that has flour will encourage you to eat more. Common items that contain flour are pasta, bread and desserts.
  3. Sugar. This one is a no-brainer. It’s tough to eat just one brownie or one serving of ice cream, which is typically a mere ½ cup.
  4. Salt. If you add salt to anything, nuts, chips, pretzels…you’re going to want more.

Have you noticed what these ingredients have in common? Several of them are usually added together. If you have ribs, they are typically coated in a sauce that contains sugar and salt. Kung Pao chicken is fried in a batter that contains flour, sugar and salt. Pasta is made with flour and salt. If you add a red pasta sauce, it contains sugar (to offset the bitterness of the tomatoes). Then top off the pasta with some sausage, and you’ve got a tasty dish you’ll want a full plate of.

To rid yourself of cravings, try to limit animal meat, salt, and foods that contain sugar and flour. You can get your protein from grains, nut and seeds which will fill you up and reduce overeating. I make zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Instead of sugary snacks, I eat fruit; blend up a fruit smoothie with coconut milk (no juice); or I make one of my whole-food desserts from one of my two cookbooks: The High-Five Diet, or Slimming Dairy-Free Desserts and Smoothies.

I do add salt to all of my meals, but I only use a fraction of what the recipe calls for. I add a few shakes of salt on top of the entrée after I plate my food so that small amount of salt still brings out the flavors of the meal.

Liquid Truvia review

Truvia Nectar

Truvia is a zero calorie, zero-carb, more-natural sweetener, so it’s preferable to artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Equal. Truvia contains stevia, and if you’ve tried other sweeteners made with stevia, you will find that they have a sweet, but also an unpleasant, bitter taste.

Plain stevia tastes like a fake sweetener, which most people find off-putting. The Truvia mini “sugar” packets taste a lot more like real sugar without any awful aftertaste so I was anxious to try their new liquid stevia since it’s lower calorie, and has fewer carbohydrates than honey or maple syrup. The company claims it’s very sweet so much less is needed, but when I added the liquid Truvia to various homemade desserts, and even oatmeal, I found that a little bit does NOT go a long way. If anything, I may have to add even more of the liquid Truvia to get the amount of sweetness I want. The other downside is that a small bottle is quite expensive. The taste of liquid Truvia is equivalent to a mild honey, so it doesn’t add much flavor.

As much as I love the dry Truvia “sugar,” it makes me crave sweets even more, so I no longer buy it. As for the liquid Truvia, it actually made my desserts less desirable. I’m going to stick to honey and maple syrup for my desserts since these two are less processed than Truvia, and my treats come out exactly as I expected: delicious!

P.S. Check out my NEW healthy desserts cookbook: Slimming Dairy Free Desserts & Smoothies at www.thehighfivediet.com

 

Vegan Halo Top ice cream review

Halo top stacked

The low calorie ice cream company, Halo Top, who, until recently, only had dairy pints, finally came out with vegan ice cream flavors. I’ve wanted a lower-calorie vegan ice cream, because the dairy-free options out there are really high calorie, and it’s so hard to stop at one-half a cup, when it tastes like real ice cream.

Halo Top Vegan Ice Cream

I bought two flavors: Chocolate Covered Banana and Peanut Butter Cup. The banana flavored vegan ice cream tastes like fluffy under-ripe bananas…it’s so gross. Maybe they forgot to add the chocolate because I didn’t see or taste any, and I love chocolate. My husband, who loves anything with bananas didn’t like it either. I give the banana flavor an “F” for failure.

With a clean spoon, I dug through Halo Top’s vegan Peanut Butter Cup ice cream to find the chocolate, since traditional peanut butter cups have sweetened peanut butter surrounded by thick, rich dark chocolate, but there was no chocolate to be found. What was weird is that it had thick clumps of peanut butter strings that have a caramel-peanut flavor, which was odd, but not awful. To describe this ice cream, it tastes like cold, fluffy, watered-down peanut butter with taffy-like peanut-flavored clumps. Halo Top’s Peanut Butter Cup is not a bad flavor, I’d give it a B-. I tried to doctor it up by adding coco powder and crunchy coconut flakes, which was an improvement, but what it needs is dark chocolate syrup.

I contacted Halo Top on Facebook and told them there wasn’t chocolate in either flavor, and they wrote back that the omission of the chocolate was an error, and the explanation for the error was as follows: “When it comes to making small-batch ice cream, it can sometimes be more of an art than a science.” That response just seems ridiculous, and makes me believe they have quality-control issues. Halo Top said they would mail me two coupons to get two new pints, which is really nice, but then, I wonder if the new ones will be missing an important ingredient too. How can anyone forget chocolate?!

There’s other really delicious vegan ice creams out there that are consistently good, but they are high in calories. My favorite is “So Delicious” Mint and Chip. I dare you to stop at a half a cup, because that’s one serving!

P.S. Check out my newest cookbook: Slimming Dairy-Free Desserts & Smoothies. Go to http://www.realdiethelp.com and go to the video section to take a peek inside. They are all low-calorie, gluten-free, and most are vegan.

 

Exercises to tone & tighten the arms

In this video, I show how to do push-ups properly so you don’t injure yourself. Push-ups tone the triceps, the dreaded area that hangs down and flaps around when you wave. Push-ups strengthen the core and the chest, so it’s an excellent exercise we should all do. I’ve also included a few other chest exercises, if you can’t do any type of push-up. At the end of the video, I go over how to lose fat from the arms, so watch it through to the end.

Chocolate Hummus review

berries and walnutsHave you heard of chocolate hummus? People are making this healthy alternative chocolate spread at home with coco powder blended with a sweetener (honey, agave, sugar….) and garbanzo beans. There are variations depending on the recipe, some adding more ingredients (and calories and fat), but I followed one on the lower calorie side (so I could eat it) with honey. I thought this dessert sounded odd and interesting, so I whipped up a batch.

The flavor was wonderful, chocolatey and sweet, but the texture was terrible! A spread should be creamy, not grainy. No matter how many times I mixed it in the food processor, or in my blender, it didn’t make the texture any more desirable. I even topped it with raspberries, blueberries, chopped walnuts, and toasted coconut flakes, which was extra tasty, but the texture of the beans just ruins this dessert.

There is a company called Delighted By that makes chocolate-mint hummus, and a few other flavors, that are supposed to be delicious. They must have some commercialized process that breaks down the beans better. They also add sugar and coconut oil, so I’m sure that helps make it more like a creamy dessert. I haven’t found these in any stores, but here’s the link to the website: https://delightedbyhummus.com/collections/all

If you try this brand, let me know what flavor you tested, and what you think. If it shows up at my local market, I’m tempted to buy a tub.

Protein Myths Debunked

This YouTube video goes over what foods are high in protein, what foods we are told are high in protein that are not, what sources of protein to eat, why protein is recommended to burn fat, and the maximum amount of protein to eat per meal.

Most people consume more protein than they need so don’t stress about getting enough protein as long as you eat sufficient calories, and a variety of healthy, whole foods daily.

Want more information about nutrition, check out my book, at http://www.thehighfivediet.com

No Sugar Acai Sorbet Recipe

This healthy acai sorbet that takes 5 minutes or less is refreshing, delicious, has a rich berry flavor, and is only 185 calories. Have this as breakfast or a mid-day snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen seedless red grapes
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter, creamy, unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons Acai powder, level
  • 1/4 cup cold filtered water
  • 1/4 cup collagen protein powder

Place ingredients in the order above in a small food processor and mix until somewhat smooth. I prefer it somewhat chunky though, because it’s colder and more fun to eat.  Pour it into a chilled small bowl and eat with a small spoon.

For more recipes, check out my dairy-free cookbooks at http://www.thehighfivediet.com

 

Workout fanatic, but still fat?

boot campI know people that workout twice a day, every day, which is fine, if that workout is a walk. The problem is when every workout is super intense and/or for an extended period of time. One woman I know does Crossfit, which is high-energy, fast-paced weight-lifting. Then she’ll do another hour-long workout, like a kickboxing class. And she’s not skinny. She has that belly roll that she just can’t get rid of. I told her she shouldn’t do back-to-back training; her boxing coach even told her so, but she loves exercising and she’s stubborn (she doesn’t like listening or taking other people’s advise even if it’s from reliable sources).

Working out to extremes doesn’t always mean a little waist. Per Tamir of NY T.S. Fitness, excessive exercise will “…increase stress hormones in the body which makes it harder to lose fat…” (1).  Weight training three to four days a week is perfectly fine, any more than that, is unnessessary. Thirty minutes of high-intensity cardio, three times a week is just right. You can do cardio an hour every day, just make sure some days are easy-to-do cardiovascular exercises, while the other cardio workouts make you sweat like crazy, and are so miserable you countdown the minutes until it’s over.

  1. Source: Makensie, Macelia. “9 Mistakes You’re Making on Your Weightloss Journey.” Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. 11, Aug 2017. Received 23, Oct. 2017. Retrieved from:  http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/9-mistakes-youre-making-weight-loss-journey/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFP_Newsletter_Main_20171023&os_ehash=55@sfmc:34164020
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