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Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream (Vegan, Dairy-Free)

You can't go wrong with this Pumpkin Gingerbread recipe, and when you include the spiced buttercream frosting, it's simply amazing! Another cool reason to try this dessert are the impressive ingredients it contains. 

Here are 5 of the stand-out ingredients:

#1: Pumpkin

Let's start with the pumpkin. It's packed with the antioxidant, beta-carotene, which is critical for eye health. If you've ever seen white spots after a light shined directly into your eyes or a camera flash went off, you're more than likely low in beta-carotene.  

#2: Coconut

There are different types fats and 65% of the fat found in coconut is medium-chain fatty acids, which is metabolized differently than other fats and what makes coconut so special and beneficial. Medium chain fatty acids are absorbed and shuttled directly to the liver, where they are oxidized (burned) for energy. Medium-chain fatty acids help lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. 

An addition benefit of coconut is due to a type of medium-chain fatty acids found in a coconut--Lauric acid, which appears to have antiviral and antifungal properties, and support immune function. 

#3: Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a good fiber source and is studied for its numerous health benefits, including helping stabilize blood glucose levels. Cinnamon may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s active against Candida albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infections and thrush, and Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.

#4: Chia

Chia seeds contain fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc, among many other nutrients. I especially love how they help with hydration due to their ability to absorb up to 9-10 times their weight in water!  

#5: Walnuts

Walnuts contain a lot of healthy fat. They're high in monounsaturated fat and contain a plant-based form of omega-3 fats, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil (or canola), softened

¼ cup blackstrap molasses

Chia egg (1 Tbsp chia + 3 Tbsp water)

1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1¼ tsp baking soda

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (OR 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg,  ½ tsp ginger)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp ground cloves

½ cup toasted chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a regular sized loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly oil on top.

Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Combine the following ingredients (pumpkin, maple syrup, sugar, coconut oil, molasses, chia egg) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir well. Stir in the toasted nuts.

Pour the batter into the pan, smooth out with wet spoon, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

While it is baking, make your spiced buttercream frosting (see below). Serves eight 1-inch slices. 

Spiced Buttercream Frosting

Buttery, sweet, fluffy, spicy…and vegan to boot! The perfect Fall-spiced frosting.

Ingredients:

½ cup Earth Balance Butter Stick, softened

1¾ cup icing sugar (aka: confectioner’s sugar)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (yes, a full tablespoon!)

1 Tbsp almond milk (as needed to thin out to desired consistency)

Directions: Whip the butter with a mixer until smooth. Now add half of the icing sugar and blend well, stopping to scrape the side of bowl as needed. Now add in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and almond milk (if needed). Mix well. Add in the remaining icing sugar and blend for several minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once the Gingerbread has fully cooled, spread on the icing using a wet spatula.

 

Recipe and Image courtesy of Angela at oh she glows 

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Slow Cooker Quinoa Energy Bar Recipe

Energy bars from a crockpot? Get out! Yes, it's true, and they're really easy to make. I love this bar recipe because it contains a great balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. They also have a lot fiber and are fairly low in sugar, making them a perfect snack or breakfast. My kids really like them too, and I feel good about feeding the bars to them. 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Almond butter

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped*

1/3 cup dried apples, roughly chopped (I used dried mango because I didn't have dried apples) 

2 Tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

1. Spray a 5 Quart slow cooker with cooking spray and cut a piece of parchment to just fit in the bottom of it. I just traced my slow cooker on a large piece of parchment, cut it out and stuck it in. Spray the parchment with cooking spray, and press it down to adhere it to the slow cooker. **

2. In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine the almond butter and maple syrup and melt until the almond butter is creamy, about 30 seconds.

3. Whisk together the almond butter and maple syrup. Then, whisk in the almond milk, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until the milk is well incorporated with the almond butter.

4. Whisk in the eggs until well combined, then stir in all remaining ingredients thoroughly.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared slow cooker and cook on LOW heat until the top of the bars just appear set, about 3 ½-4 hours.

6. Run a knife around the outside of the bars and remove the bowl from the slow cooker. Place into the refrigerate to cool completely.

7. Once cool, cut into bars and DEVOUR! 

Serves 8 bars. Store the bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator. 

Notes:

*if you can't find toasted almonds, just dry toast them in a 400 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

**Don't skip this step. It makes the bars to much easier to get out of the crockpot.

Recipe courtesy of the lovely Taylor at FoodfaithFitness.com

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