How to Make Nut Butter: Three Ways

How to Make Nut Butter: Three Ways

Catching yourself dropping a ton of money on expensive flavored nut butters? It’s easy and budget friendly to make homemade nut butters! Learn how to make nut butter three ways, with these recipes for vanilla almond sun butter, spicy cinnamon peanut butter, and coconut-macadamia butter.

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Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut cherry muesli is super easy and budget friendly to make! Made with oats tossed with dried cherries, shredded coconut, almonds, and cashews with oats. Enjoy it by itself with milk, or mixed with yogurt and topped with berries and honey for easy overnight oats. Packed with fiber for a filling breakfast!

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Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola

This dark chocolate, coconut and almond granola is the BEST granola for snacking! Or, enjoy it with milk or yogurt for a satisfying breakfast. Made with mashed bananas and maple syrup, it’s lower in sugar but still plenty sweet. With chunks of dark chocolate, roughly chopped almonds, quinoa and big clusters, it’s got tons of crunch too!

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Flourless Peanut Butter Coconut Cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Coconut Cake

This gluten free flourless peanut butter coconut cake couldn't be easier! It's perfectly moist and sweetened with pure maple syrup! Super easy to make and not to sweet, so it's perfect for snacking or dessert! You could also make this with almond butter or cashew butter! 

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Coconut Almond Macaroons, Three Ways

Easter is less than a week away so I’m excited to be partnering with one of my favorite brands, Bob’s Red Mill, for a sweet treat that’s perfect for sharing this Sunday!

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Easter. It all started off great because, you know, being a kid...candy…what could go wrong? Oh, only MY MOST TRAUMATIC CHILDHOOD MEMORY. Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, and considering I did wear big purple glasses through elementary school, you know I had many traumatic memories.

The Great Easter Outfit Fail of 1991 began when my grandpa and his lady friend came to visit for the holiday and decided to gift me a new Easter outfit. By early 90s nostalgia standards, it was glorious. Matching floral print pants and shirt, but instead of normal pants, it was a pair of long stretchy shorts with a thick floral ruffle at the end, and instead of a normal shirt, it was a crop top, off the shoulder three-quarter sleeve top with, obviously, more floral ruffle on the sleeves. Being a gift, I was forced to wear it. Although in my parent’s defense, I had zero sense of style and there’s a strong possibility I thought I looked fabulous.

It was until I arrived at our neighborhood clubhouse for their annual Easter egg hunt and saw my friends, in their cute and very normal Easter dresses I realized I looked like a huge dork. The other clue was when they burst into laughter at the sight of me. My memories after that are pretty fuzzy, probably buried in my subconscious, but I’m pretty sure there were tears involved. And I know there’s at least one picture of me holding my Easter basket with a huge pout, which is probably floating somewhere around the internet in meme form.

Now that I know how to dress myself as an adult (#winning!), I haven’t had any outfit related disasters. But being born on April 4th and getting married on March 31st, Easter always has a way of interfering with birthday or anniversary celebrations. And when it comes to birthday/anniversary vs. Easter, Jesus wins.

Hopefully I don’t sound like too much of a Debbie Downer on Easter, because we really do have wonderful celebrations every year at my mother-in-law’s house. We still get Easter baskets because we are 30 going on 9. Except mine is always full of dark chocolate and cooking gadgets, as it should be. That Easter bunny knows me well! Then we all sit down to a delicious Southern meal, followed by a dessert we are way too stuffed to eat more than a few bites of!

I made these Easter macaroons for that exact reason. After a day of candy and Easter ham and biscuits, no one is in the mood for a heavy dessert, but Easter without a cute spring inspired dessert would be a crime! These pastel macaroons will look so pretty as part of your Easter spread, and they have just a hint of sweet that’s perfect after a heavy meal. The whole batch has only ¼ cup sugar, relying on the natural sweetness of coconut.

So here’s a macaroon question for you all. Why are there two very different types of cookies, both called macaroons? There’s the pure shredded coconut cookies then those very pretty and dainty filled macaroon cookies (which always disappoint me because they look much better than they taste). These obviously are a take on the former.

I made these with a mixture of shredded coconut and Bob’s Red Mill almond flour to make them a bit lighter and more cookie-like. Bob’s Red Mill almond flour is my favorite brand of my favorite gluten free flour to bake with. It’s made with blanched, whole almonds so there’s no dark bits of skin then extra finely milled so it’s super soft. You can use it for lighter baked goods like cakes, pancakes and biscuits and it won’t have that grainy consistency you get with other almond flours/meals. Plus, being made with almonds, it's a rich source of vitamin E, manganese and monounsaturated fats. Grab a coupon for Bob's Red Mill here so you can try it yourself!

Feel free to experiment with different types of zest and freeze dried fruit to create a rainbow of colors. I think it would be cute to make a batch of all pastel macaroons with freeze dried blueberries, strawberries and mango! Just be careful not to let them overbrown or they’ll lose that pretty color – keep a close eye on them in the oven and you may want to check on them a few minutes before the end of baking.

Coconut Almond Macaroons, Three Ways

Makes about 40

Ingredients

Lemon Macaroons:

  • Zest of 2 lemons

Chocolate:

  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Strawberry:

  • 2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with a little coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix coconut, almond flour and sugar. Add eggs and stir to combine. Divide dough evenly between four bowls.
  3. To make the lemon macaroons, stir in the lemon zest.
  4. To make the chocolate macaroons, stir in the dark chocolate, cocoa powder and almond milk. Add a little more almond milk if needed to combine.
  5. To make strawberry macaroons, place freeze fried fruit in a plastic bag. Crush with something heavy (I used a meat mallet) until it's a flour consistency. Add to dough with almond milk, adding more almond milk if needed.
  6. Scoop tablespoon sized dollops of dough evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes, checking a few minutes before it's supposed to be done to make sure it's not browning too much. Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Store covered at room temperature a few days, then transfer to the refrigerator.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Triple Chocolate Banana Ice Cream with Vegan Shell Topping

Make this triple chocolate dairy free banana ice cream topped with an easy two ingredient vegan shell topping! 

I should probably go ahead and give you my address cause you're gonna want to send me flowers for this one.

Surely, at this point you've heard of (and hopefully have tried) one ingredient banana ice cream, or banana nice cream as it's so often called. No dairy. No sugar. No ice cream maker. Just a frozen banana a food processor. Whip it up until it forms a cool, creamy mass. Being the ice cream snob that I am, I held off on trying it for years - well after it made the rounds on pinterest. Until finally I tried it and life was never the same. Err ok, it was the same but with lots more banana ice cream.

Sometimes though, you want something just a little more decadent and that's where this triple chocolate banana ice cream comes in. Blended in with the ice cream is a scoop of chocolate peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter + Co), cocoa powder and a little coconut cream for extra yumminess. The kicker is this easy vegan chocolate magic shell, made with the magic of dark chocolate and coconut oil. I got the idea from my pal Alex at Delish Knowledge. You'll be seeing a lot more of her around these parts as we're working together along with Anne from fANNEtastic Food to launch an online wellness program.

Do y'all remember Magic Shell, the chocolate syrup that hardens when drizzled on ice cream to make a crunchy, chocolatey shell? Do they still make it? (<--- Just googled it. They do. Phew). It's pretty much the worlds greatest ice cream topping with crumbled up double stuff oreos in a distant second. When I was a kid, my favorite treat was a scoop of Breyer's vanilla ice cream (always Breyers. I was an ice cream snob even back then) in a glass of milk with a hefty drizzle of magic shell. You swirl it with a spoon right after pouring the magic shell in and it make these swirls of hardened chocolate. Pure heaven. The best was when you got a spoonful of melty ice cream with some of the chocolatey swirls that had settled on the bottom. Heaven.

...And now I'm dreaming of creating an epic version of it with macadamia nut milk, coconut ice cream and this homemade magic shell. Since my brain is going to be fixated on that, I should probably go ahead and sign off with the recipe, because how do you form words when that's on your mind?

Triple Chocolate Dairy Free Banana Ice Cream

1 large or 2 small servings

Regular peanut butter works too if you don't have chocolate on hand. This makes extra magic shell, which you can store in the fridge. You'll have to remelt before each use by heating it in the microwave about 60 seconds, stopping halfway to stir.

Ingredients

Ice Cream:

  • 1 frozen banana

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon chocolate peanut butter

  • 1 tablespoon coconut cream (taken from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk)

  • Coconut whipped cream, optional, for serving

  • Shredded coconut, optional for serving

  • Vegan magic shell, optional, for serving

Vegan Magic Shell:

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. First, make the shell topping. Microwave chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl about 30 seconds. Stir and put back in the microwave 20-30 seconds more. Stir until chocolate is melted and combined.

  2. Next, place banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter and coconut cream in a food processor. Blend, scraping down sides as needed, until a creamy mass of 'ice cream' forms.

  3. Scoop ice cream in a bowl or cup. Garnish with whipped cream, shredded coconut (if using) and magic shell.

More banana-chocolate love children:

One Ingredient Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

One Ingredient Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola

Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola

Roasted Bananas with Salted Coconut Cream, Dark Chocolate and Pistachios

Roasted Bananas with Salted Coconut Cream, Dark Chocolate and Pistachios

Good Mood Food: Coconut Steel Cut Oatmeal With Almonds and Dark Chocolate

Start your day on the right side of the bed with a bowl of coconut steel cut oatmeal with almonds and dark chocolate. Packed with healthy, mood boosting carbohydrates, this meal is the start to a great day! 

When I was in high school, the Atkins diet was all the rage. My friends did it. My parents did it. And because I was under their roof, I did it. Or, at least dinner was low carb. The rest of my diet consisted of frappucinos, chocolate chip cookies from the school cafeteria and turkey sandwiches on white bread. Still, the low carb mentality was firmly engrained in my mind and I thought all these foods were "bad." Not because they were packed with sugar, heavily processed or unhumane, but because they were high in carbs.

The anti-carb mindset might still be in the back of my mind if it wasn't for one day at the mall with a friend of mine. She was in the initial phase of Atkins when you're supposed to eat less than 20 grams of carbs in a day. FYI, the minimum amount of carbs recommended per day is 100-150 grams and the RDA comes out to between 225-325 for someone eating 2,000 calories/day. So yeah, not a whole lot.

After making plans to go shopping, she asked me to pick her up because she felt so horrible she didn't feel comfortable driving. She was so exhausted, we had to stop between each store to sit. When we stopped for lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant (in hindsight, that kind of evil and selfish. I swear this was my friend) she could only order plain chicken with a garlic sauce on the side. She almost cried at the lack of options. My friend was and still is outgoing and hilarious, one of the biggest personalities I've ever met. To give you an idea, the last time we hung out, she convinced our James Franco look-alike server she was a 47-year-old pediatric neurosurgeon and that I once dated Sisqo. Like I said, big personality. On Atkins, she was a shell of her usual self - depressed, quiet, lethargic and generally unwell.

At the end of the day, I came home with some cute new clothes and an unshakeable belief that carbs are a need.

When it comes to brain health, carbohydrate containing foods probably have the biggest impact. As my friend's example clearly demonstrates, your brain needs carbs. Glucose, the breakdown product of carbs, is usually the only source of fuel the brain can use. The wrong type of carbs however, is one of the least healthy foods for the brain. Too many added sugars and refined grains cause chronic inflammation in the brain, affect stress hormones, and cause fluctuations in blood sugar that affect mood and energy levels. High blood sugar levels, even if not at diabetic levels, can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the brain which contributes to depression, anxiety and even dementia.

When it comes to carbs and brain health, quality trumps quantity in terms of importance. The highest quality carbs boost serotonin (aka happy hormone) levels without causing them to crash. Quality carbs are a source of sustainable energy. Anyone who has had a rough night of sleep or forgot their morning cup of coffee knows how low energy can affect mood.

The highest quality carbs? Fresh fruit, beans and lentils, vegetables (including starchy veg), and intact grains.

Oats are one of my favorite grains. I love a fiber and carbohydrate rich breakfast to energize my day. Compared to other grains, oats are an especially rich source of beta-glucan, a special type of fiber that helps lower cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy. Oats also contain lignans and phenols, two phytochemicals with heart healthy benefits.

I always appreciate the ease and portability of overnight oats. Plus, they're a great make-ahead breakfast, because we know every minute of sleep is precious! Steel cut oats are fantastic, although convenient they are not. Who has 30 spare minutes in the morning? Not I! When I found quick cook steel cut oats at Trader Joe's, I knew I hit the jackpot. Soak these overnight in coconut milk (or the milk of your choice) and they'll "cook" in the fridge. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, feel free to sub regular rolled oats.

Coconut Steel Cut Oats With Almonds and Dark Chocolate

Serves 4

I used coconut milk from the carton, not canned. But if you want a richer coconut flavor, swap some of the cartoned coconut milk for canned. To make it more chocolatey and sneak in extra antioxidants, stir in a couple tablespoons of dark cocoa powder.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick cook steel cut oats or rolled oats
  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • Honey or pure maple syrup for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large lidded container, mix oats, coconut milk and sea salt. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, warm the oats on the stove or in the microwave for a minute or two, or enjoy cold. Top with coconut, almonds and dark chocolate. Drizzle with a teaspoon of honey to sweeten.

Start your day with these oatmeal recipes: 

Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Granola with Almonds and Coconut
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Granola with Almonds and Coconut
Vegan Multigrain Breakfast Bake with Blueberries
Vegan Multigrain Breakfast Bake with Blueberries
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears

Crispy Kale, Black Rice and Coconut Salad

Crispy kale, black rice and coconut salad is a healthy, fiber packed lunch, perfect for topping with seared tofu or roasted salmon. 

Did you happen to catch that article circulating facebook claiming kale is a "silent killer"? I know. Insert eye-rolling emoji.

When I saw it posted on my feed, I immediately dismissed it because, well, duh. Kale is kale. A few days later, I saw the rebuttal, which of course I clicked on. Gotta love a good science takedown! Basically, the research behind the whole 'kale is toxic' claim is flimsy at best, but more accurately, nonexistent. Read it yourself. How such horrific science was spun in a fairly reputable media source will definitely make you look at nutrition headlines differently.

Rest assured, kale is perfectly nutritious, and while theoretically, any food can be dangerous if consumed in excessive quantities, that's pretty low on my list of concerns. So go ahead, throw some kale leaves in your smoothie, saute it, whip up a big ole' kale salad. You'll be eating one of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and you may even feel happier for it! Thats right, because kale is a Good Mood Food!

Kale certainly has a cultish following among the health conscious and food lovers in general. It can be a bit much, but I must say, the reputation is deserved. Kale tops the charts when it comes to nutrient density. As one of the most nutrient dense foods, kale is rich is brain boosting nutrients!

MAGNESIUM // A deficiency in magnesium has been linked to anxiety, depression, ADHD and fatigue. Unfortunately, almost 70% of Americans don't eat enough magnesium. Magnesiums role in psychiatric conditions isn't well understood, partly because magnesium has so many complex roles in the brain - regulating neuronal function, optimizing thyroid function (an underactive thyroid can cause depression), reducing inflammation, as a precursor to neurotransmitters...I could go on. Or you could go eat some kale, which contains a hefty dose of magnesium and is one of the greens lowest in oxalates, a compound in many green leafy vegetables that can interfere with magnesium absorption.

CALCIUM // Calcium does more than build healthy bones! Calcium plays many roles in the regulation of neurotransmitters and the electrical impulses in our brain. There are many plant based sources of calcium, including leafy greens. A serving contains 9% your daily needs.

VITAMIN A & VITAMIN K // Two of those fabulous fat soluble vitamins we were missing out by following the low fat craze of the 90s. Vitamin A plays a role in creating the enzymes that make neurotransmitters while vitamin K makes fats called sphingolipids that make the structure of our brain. A serving of kale contains 200% daily needs of vitamin A and a whopping 600%+ daily needs for vitamin K.

I'm a huge fan of eating kale in salad form. The sturdy kale leaves won't wilt so you can whip up a kale salad that will last all week, dressed and all. To tenderize the leaves so I don't spend my entire lunch break chewing, I massage the dressing in. It can get a little messy and as much as I love to play with food, it's one task I'm happy to skip.

When I first tried this salad from Super Natural Everyday I fell in love, not just with the salad itself, but the ingenious method for softening kale leaves by roasting them with a flavorful dressing. Straight out of the oven, some of the kale leaves are nicely wilted while others get crispy. Basically, it's a kale chip salad. I know! And although you lose the crispiness with leftovers, it's still pretty fantastic.

To boost the brain power, I served this with salmon roasted in sesame oil, soy sauce and spritzed with a little lemon juice, but feel free to make it vegan with baked cubes of tofu or even extra hemp hearts, which are high in protein. You could also swap the black rice for more readily available brown rice, or other whole grains like farro, quinoa, or bulgur.

Crispy Kale, Black Rice and Coconut Salad

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Couple pinches cayenne
  • 2 10-ounce bags of chopped kale or two bunches, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with black rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 50-60 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, sesame, soy sauce, garlic and cayenne.
  3. Spread chopped kale evenly across two large baking sheets. Toss with coconut. Drizzle with about 3/4ths of the dressing. Place in the oven and bake 12-18 minutes until the coconut is golden and the leaves are slightly crispy around the edges. You may need to swap the pans positions in the oven (from upper to lower rack and visa versa) halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove kale from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add black rice, remaining dressing and toss to combine. Serve warm. Leftovers can be enjoyed cool or reheated slightly.

Cashew Coconut Recovery Milk

With the perfect ratio of carbs to protein, this cashew coconut recovery milk is the perfect way to refuel after a workout. 

Let me get this out of the way. I am no elite athlete.

As a child, I rode horses and took gymnastics, both of which I loved. There was also that one season I "played" soccer, but I mostly just ran in the general direction of the ball so it looked like I knew what was going on. In high school, I ran track and cross country, which I enjoyed, but after moving to a new school my junior year where they had one of the best cross country teams in the nation, I was basically intimidated off the team.

Since then, I've learned that I do best moving my body in ways that I enjoy rather than forcing myself onto the elliptical or treadmill. For the past three years, it's been lighter exercises, like yoga. But over the past few months, inspired by my more athletic clients and my active dietitian blogger friends, I've started to enjoy how it feels to push my body to it's max. Whether it's Pure Barre (which sounds wussy, but holy moly does it get your muscles to shake!) or running, it's always a happy surprise when I realize what my body can do.

As I've started to push myself athletically, and as I've started working with more active clients, I've had to think more about fueling for my workouts. Although it's clearly important for everyone to eat nutritious foods, when you're active, there's a lot of other little things to consider, like pre and post-workout snacks, ensuring adequate glycogen (fuel) stores and getting enough protein without going overboard.

There's probably no area of nutrition where there's worse, less reliable information online than sports nutrition. Start googling and you're likely to takeaway a long list of supplements and serious case of confusion.

That's why I was so excited when Whitney of Sweet Cayenne and Christina of The Fueled Athlete sent me a copy of their new ebook, The Fueled Athlete. Already a fan of their blogs, I knew it would be great, but after reading it, I was seriously blown away by how they were able to make such complex nutrition science so readable and to the point.

The range of topics covered by the book is impressive. You'll learn how to distribute macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein) during easy, moderate and heavy training, and do it in a way so you're not actually counting fat, carbs and protein (yay for no counting!). It also tackles the important topics of pre and post-workout nutrition, hydration and science-backed supplements. Plus, there's 14 delicious, whole food recipes designed for athletes (or anyone who loves tasty food!). I can't wait to try the Mediterranean stuffed peppers and the Asian soba noodle salad!

All the information is really easy to understand, no matter your level of background knowledge. And it's written so it's useful for both athletes and people who are just active!

For $15, you can purchase it below. Full disclosure - it's an affiliate link, meaning I am paid a small portion of the profits if you decide to purchase, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work I do here on Avocado, and the products I love, like this book!

The Fueled Athlete

Now, on to this recipe. Have you heard that chocolate milk is the best way to refuel after a workout? Researchers (funded by the dairy industry, obviously), found out that chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein to replenish glycogen stores and build muscle after a workout. True, but do you really want to get your carbs from added sugar and protein from conventional dairy? I knew there had to be a better way.

So, I started playing around with recipes and I came up with this cashew-coconut milk, which has the exact same 4:1 ratio! Not only that, but coconut water, a rich source of electrolytes like potassium, sodium and magnesium, helps rehydrate. If you want to squeeze in some extra protein, feel free to add a scoop of protein powder to the mix.

Cashew Coconut Recovery Milk

Serves 4

You could also use almonds or any other nut you like, but I love that you don't have to strain cashews. Just give it a good shake!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours

  • 5 cups coconut water

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons honey

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until pureed and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. I store individual servings in mason jars and give it a good shake before serving.

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Homemade Nut Butter, Three Ways

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Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

Everything but the kitchen sink cookies are loaded with crunchy almonds, dark chocolate, toasted coconut and oats! Gluten free, vegan and made with whole grains! Plus, you can make them in a food processor, so you don’t have to dirty a ton of bowls!

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Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Popsicles

Roasted strawberry and coconut popsicles are a cool, creamy and tart treat for summer! Just barely sweetened with honey. 

Is it just me, or has this summer not felt at all like summer to you too? I mean, I can see the calendar hanging on my wall and it clearly says July, but I still don't believe it. Maybe it’s because I haven't spent every weekend at a wedding or wedding related event as I have every other summer since college. Or maybe it’s because I’ve already returned from our big summer vacation. Or maybe it's the fact that's it's rained every single day. For a month. Yup, that's definitely our problem.

Even though we're barely halfway through summer, I keep thinking as if it's fall. I've prepared more soups and chilis this month than salads. At last weekends farmer's market, I passed up eggplant for Brussels sprouts. For the fourth, my husband kept begging me to make pecan pie! Apparently, it's Thanksgiving.

Clearly, I need to do something to bring back that summer feeling!

After seeing this recipe on Joy the Baker, I had to make it immediately.  I mean, what food brings back more childhood summer memories than a popsicle? I was always partial to the frozen lemonade popsicles we made at home. My budding young dietitian taste buds were too discerning for those icky, plastic wrapped ice freezes. Could anyone eat one without gouging open the inside of their cheek, or was it just me?

But these popsicles, oh boy!  They are summer in a delicious frozen little package.  Toasted coconut enhances the flavor of rich, full fat coconut milk. It smells kinda like sunscreen, in a good way.  Mmm, and the roasted strawberries!  Roasting them concentrates their…strawberriness?? No worries if you don't own popsicle molds. Just use the same trick I did has a child and freeze it in a ziplock bag with a spoon!

 Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Popsicles

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • Juice of 1 lime, divided

  • 1 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the upper 1/3rd of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast for about 3-5 minutes until golden. You may want to give it a good stir halfway so it doesn’t burn on one side.

  2. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet and toss with the coconut oil. Roast until soft and juicy looking, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Add chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of honey and juice of half the lime. Blend until pureed.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and vanilla extract. Stir the toasted coconut into the milk.

  4. Divide the strawberry into the popsicle molds, filling halfway. Freeze for one hour until firm. Remove from freezer and top with coconut milk mixture and add popsicle stick. Place back in the freezer and chill overnight or 6 hours.

  5. Before eating, run briefly under hot water to loosen the mold. Make 60 more to last you till fall.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
banana sweetened chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

These cookies are one of the nutritious treats we frequently enjoy at our house. I was surprised to find something that was gluten-free, flourless, butterless, eggless and made with no added sugars could be so good. Friends and family frequently request these cookies at tailgates, potlucks and other events. I highly suggest you keep these ingredients on hand to whip up a batch whenever your sweet tooth hits!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Serves: 30

Run almonds through the food processor if you can't find any almond meal. I purchase mine in bulk from our local health food store. Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 cups mashed banana (from about 3 large)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed slightly, or olive oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Put the oven rack in the top third.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the oats, almond meal, coconut, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Fold in the chocolate.
  6. Drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with canola oil.
  7. Bake about 14 minutes.
  8. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire cooling rack.