Paleo Cookie Dough Truffles

Last year, I had a coworker and friend who needed a pick-me-up following a stressful exam. She wanted something sweet, but was making changes to lose weight and stay healthy. She told me she loved cookie dough more than anything, so I found a recipe for Paleo Cookie Dough Truffles. They’re made without any raw egg, so they’re safer to eat! (I shouldn’t really talk because the “danger” of salmonella has never stopped me from eating raw cookie dough).

These are no-bake, easy treats. You can barely taste the change in ingredients. Whether your New Year’s Resolutions have started early or you have dietary restrictions, these treats are delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate, melted

A note about the ingredients: For people who stick to the paleo diet hard-core, you’ll need a dairy-free dark chocolate. This is also true for anyone with allergies. I highly recommend the Enjoy Life brand. It’s made allergen-free and doesn’t taste any different from regular chocolate. I used dark chocolate Ghirardelli chips.

Instructions:

1) Mix together the almond flour and sea salt.

2) Whisk the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together.

3) Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Honestly I usually skip Step 2 and just directly mixed in the wet ingredients.

4) Roll into 1″ balls. Place on a lined baking sheet.

5) Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.

6) Melt 1 1/4 cup chocolate. Dip the truffles into the chocolate and place back on the baking sheet. Freeze again.

For melting chocolate, you can use a double-boiler method. I just got a microwave-proof bowl, poured the chocolate in, and melted it in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Mix after each 30 second interval in the microwave.

Final Thoughts: I think the key to enjoying these is keeping them frozen. Almond flour has a very different texture, so freezing them kept the truffles held together enough to avoid a dramatic difference between a normal truffle and these paleo substitutes.

Easter “Garden” Cups

Easter is a time for brunches and family dinners, but it’s also a time for candy and sweets straight from the Easter bunny! When you’re going to see your friends or family for a party or dinner, you should always bring something with you. Here’s a sweet treat you can bring for dessert without too much frantic effort. Plus they’re adorable! Happy Easter! Enjoy these cute Easter dirt cups.

Ingredients:

“CARROTS”

  • Fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • Bag of orange candy melts (from Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics)

PUDDING CUPS

  • Crushed Oreos
  • 1 large box chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk

Instructions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

2. Melt the bag of candy melts, except for about 15 discs.

I used the microwave to melt the chocolate discs. I put it in a small glass bowl for 1 minute. Then repeat in 30 second intervals, stirring each time.

3. Grab the strawberries by the stem. Dip both sides in chocolate, then place on the parchment paper. Repeat with all the strawberries.

4. Put the strawberries in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

5. Take a sandwich bag and cut the tip of it off. Melt the rest of the discs. Pour the melted chocolate into the sandwich bag. Close the bag and twist it. Drizzle over the strawberries. Let sit.

6. Make the chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the box.

I made the pudding first so it could sit in the fridge while I worked on everything else.

7. Put some crushed Oreos on the bottom of some clear cups. Pour pudding over top of them.

8. Top with more crushed Oreos. Press a strawberry into the center.

9. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve/bring them to the party!

Final Thoughts: Mine turned out a little differently. I didn’t drizzle the strawberries with more chocolate, and I didn’t put Oreos on the bottom of the cup. These were a hit at the Easter party at work! And they are so incredibly adorable. A big group of them together is like a little garden!

Study Snacks: Chocolate PB Banana Bites

Sugar has always been my vice. For me, losing weight depended primarily on cutting back on chocolate, candy, and other sweets. Trying to quit sugar usually results in cravings for sweets. To combat the cravings, I started buying packages of frozen Dole chocolate dipped bananas. Each package contains 3 slices of frozen banana covered in dark chocolate.

Eventually, I realized it was a little silly that I was paying for chocolate dipped bananas that I could make myself. You may not require a recipe, but I figured I could at least share the directions from this recipe just in case. (There’s no shame. We’ve all been there.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanut or nut butter (I used organic no-stir PB)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate – I used dark chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

1. Slice the bananas and arrange half of the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

I had to slice off some of the brown parts, but you should only need a butter knife to slice them.

 

2. Spread the peanut/nut butter on one half of the slices.

3. Top with the other half of banana slices and freeze for at least one hour.

 

4. Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then repeat in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

5. Remove bites from the freezer and dip them into melted chocolate. Work quickly so they don’t thaw and get mushy. Using two forks, dip a bite in chocolate and roll it so it’s covered in chocolate. Let the excess drip off before putting it back on the baking sheet.

6. Freeze at least 3 hours. Store in the freezer.

 

Final Thoughts: I’m not 100% that these are particularly healthy, but they are tasty! I would avoid snacking on too many at once, but 2 or 3 can really help with cravings. I turn to them instead of candy or ice cream in the office or at home.

Study Snack: Chickpea Cookie Dough

I listen to several of Dr. Ryan Gray’s podcasts. While driving down from Flagstaff the other day, I used the 2 hour trip to catch up on some episodes. For one episode, he brought on a guest #carolinecooksclean. Caroline is MSY2; her Instagram focuses on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle while she works in the medical field.

This is a struggle for me. My diet habits are often the first to take a hit when I’m tired or stressed. It falls lower on my priorities (and then of course I stress about gaining weight or getting unhealthy). The anxiety from a poor diet likely stems from my weight loss journey. I have lost between 40 to 50 lbs. For the most part I maintain this weight, but the idea of ballooning up to my previous weight can still frighten me.

Naturally, the answer is not to work out to the point of exhaustion or illness. I don’t starve myself. I don’t ignore my hunger or my body’s needs. I make adjustments to my diet. I make the time to grocery shop and prepare my meals.

One of my problems starts when I get home. Even after dinner I have a tendency to crave sweet snacks, whether I’m studying or watching Netflix. So far I’ve found plain yogurt and granola with chocolate chips helps satisfy the urge to stuff my face with Ben & Jerry’s. Lately I’ve been looking for other sweet snacks.

I stumbled upon chickpea “cookie dough” on Lauren Conrad’s website. The idea is that instead of eating cookie dough, blended chickpeas serve as a faux-dough. I figured I’d give it a try! I used this recipe from Buzzfeed’s Tasty. I wanted a recipe that included similar ingredients to regular cookie dough.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (liquid reserved) and rinsed
  • ¼ cup (60 g) peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) chickpea water
  • ½ cup (85 g) chocolate chips

Instructions:

1) Drain the chickpeas without getting rid of all the liquid from the can.

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2) Spread the drained chickpeas onto a towel and pat dry.

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3) Remove the outer shells from the chickpeas.

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This part was tedious, but I felt it was worth it for the proper consistency.

4) Place the chickpeas, peanut butter, vanilla, honey, and salt into a food processor.

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5) Mix halfway. Add the chickpea water. Process until smooth.

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By “process” I mean use the food processor to mix the ingredients.

6) Add chocolate chips to the mixed dough. Stir but not with the food processor!

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Final Thoughts: Adding salt may not have been the best idea with canned chickpeas. The consistency was surprisingly close to the real thing, but I missed the mark on flavor. I do like the idea of this treat so I think I’ll play with other recipes in the future. Anyone have any good recommendations?