Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

If you are freaked out by the title of this recipe, you are not alone. The thought of having chickpeas or any kind of beans in my cookies was repulsive to me, until I tried these babies.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

These Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies are gluten free, grain-less, chock-full of protein, fiber, antioxidants AND they are so tasty, you won’t miss your Mrs. Fields for a second.

Now the main ingredient of these cookies is in fact chickpeas, but I promise you, they are completely unnoticeable. Chickpeas are actually almost tasteless and are super good for you, so why not just try it out? That’s what I did and I was pleasantly surprised.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

The next ingredient is walnut butter, but you can use any nut butter of your choice. I sometimes get sick of everything being peanut butter tasting, so I used this Crazy Go Nuts Oatmeal Cookie Walnut Butter and it really helped give the cookies that classic cookie taste.

Instead of sugar this recipe uses maple syrup, which has more nutritional benefits than regular sugar and is less refined. It provides manganese, zinc and can even help your immune system. The flour is replaced by coconut flour, which you only need a small amount of because it is so incredibly absorbent.

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup walnut butter (or peanut or almond butter)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into medium bowl and add chocolate chips. Spoon cookies onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Yields about 18 cookies.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

These cookies are best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk and your favorite rom-com. Dunking is recommended. Or bring them to work for a post-lunch chocolate fix that won’t leave you feeling yucky ūüôā

Whatever you do with them, just let people taste them before telling them what’s in it. Because in the case of chickpeas in baked goods, tasting is believing.

Advertisements

6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

Eating healthy when you’re on-the-go can be quite challenging. And I am the queen of on-the-go, so I know the struggle is real.

Little tid-bit of info about my life – I work full time in marketing during the day and 2-3 nights a week I teach dance and rehearse at a local studio. That means a lot of my dinners are packed to-go or just need to be super quick.

healthy food swaps for quick meals

Over the years I’ve found some products that are easy AND healthy. The worst feeling is walking into a dance class with an overfull belly of McDonalds because you didn’t have time to make something healthy.

Below is a list of my top 6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

1.¬†Instead of 45- minute white rice…

Microwave brown rice/grain packet

One of my biggest pet peeves is how freakin’ long it takes to cook rice. Luckily, I found Seeds of Change rice packets. These guys are a life saver. And I love that they are incorporating other grains like quinoa and red rice.

seeds of change rice

2.¬†Instead of chicken nuggets…

Frozen sausage

As you found out in my last post, I love frozen sausage. They’re just so easy to pluck out of the freezer, microwave and BAM, you’ve got your protein in less than 3 minutes. Combine Roasted Garlic Al Fresco chicken sausage with some brown rice and vegetables and you’ve got a whole meal in less than 10 minutes. Just make sure the sausage you pick is nitrate free. Processed meats are OK in moderation, just make sure they are all natural or organic. I also love these Kayem artisan sausages!

kayem artisan sausage

3.¬†Instead of Easy Mac…

Whole grain mac & cheese box

You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re about to reach for the cereal…but wait! You have a box of mac & cheese! AND it’s whole grain?? WHaaaat?¬†Combine one of these whole grain mac and cheese boxes with some frozen vegetables and you’re as good as gold. This Hodgson Mill Ultragrain Mac & Cheese is made with quinoa! So cool.

hodson mill mac and cheese

4.¬†Instead of canned vegetables…

Frozen vegetables

Quick, easy and there when you need them.¬†With the same nutrition as the fresh version, you can’t go wrong. I especially like some of the Trader Joe’s frozen vegetables that have some tasty sauces or spices on them.

trader joe's vegetable melange

5.¬†Instead of Lean Cuisine…

Smart Made frozen meals

I do not recommend frozen meals on the reg. However, if you’re in a pinch, these Smart Made meals are actually not horrible for you and are truly¬†tasty. My expectations were pretty low since frozen meals like this usually make me gag and then die of sodium poisoning. But, to my surprise it was pretty darn good. The idea is that they have swapped in healthier ingredients like brownie rice, whole grain pasta, turkey instead of beef, etc. I’ve had the Turkey Sausage & Roasted Veg Lasagna and the Roasted Turkey & Vegeteables¬†meals, both of which made me feel great after and I could just reach into the freezer and grab it on my way out the door. Perfection.

smart made meals

6.¬†Instead of Ramen…

Hearty soups

This is definitely my last-ditch effort at a meal. But when all I can do is grab a can from the cabinet, I want to make sure that it contains something at least semi-healthy. Lately I’ve been loving these Campbell’s Well Yes soups. They are made with relatively¬†healthy ingredients are surprisingly tasty. Sweet Potato Corn Chowder is my fave. But my all-time favorite soup/meal is from my man Wolfgang Puck. His soups are amazing and made with hearty organic ingredients. The butternut squash is my wintertime weakness.

campbell's well yes sweet potato corn chowder soup

What do you eat when you’re on the go?

Sweet Potato Chicken Casserole

Do you love cheese?! Do you love warm, ooey gooey comfort food? If so, then this casserole is for you. This dish resulted from my craving for something warm and hearty. Right now life is pretty cold, everywhere I go. So when hot showers and hot cocoa just don’t¬†cut it anymore, I turn to comfort¬†food.

sweet potato chicken casserole

Oftentimes comfort food leaves you feeling heavy and sleepy, so I wanted to make something that would leave me feeling energized and ready to go. Instead of using pasta or rice as the base, I chose to use sweet potato, which offers lots of great nutritional benefits like fiber, vitamic C, potassium and B vitamins.

sweet potatoes

This dish is gluten free, full is healthy veggies and could be easily made vegan by omitting the chicken sausage and subbing the butter and cheese with alternatives like Earth Balance or Daiya Cheese.

img_0581

Speaking of chicken sausage, let’s talk about it for a second. It’s one of my favorite go-to’s when I’m in a pinch for a quick, healthy meal. I love to stock up on Trader Joe’s or Al Fresco¬†chicken sausage and freeze it. Then I’ll microwave it for an easy protein solution. Just make sure your chicken sausage is all natural and nitrate free. You don’t want any of those nasty chemicals in your beautiful casserole. I’ll be talking more about chicken sausage¬†in my next post,¬†6 Healthy Food Swaps For Quick Dinners. So stay tuned for that!

img_0585

Sweet Potato Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 4¬†mushrooms
  • 2 chicken sausages

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and dice sweet potato, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, slice mushrooms, broccoli and chicken sausage into bite size pieces. In a medium pot melt butter and mix in flour, salt and pepper. Add in half and half and then melt in half of the cheddar cheese. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and chicken sausage and mix in cheese mixture until everything is fully coated. Pour into baking dish, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

img_0587

This dish kinda reminds me of mac & cheese, minus the mac. It gives you that same comforting feeling, but without the guilt!¬†¬†I don’t know about you, but for me, mac and cheese is always great going down, but pretty uncomfortable after.

Sweet Potato Chicken Casserole

The last thing I want to say about this recipe is that it’s so friggin’ easy. If you’re like me and have a husband who thinks he’s the only one that can cook a good meal, bring this out when you want to beat him at his own game. Super easy, but impressively delicious. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite comfort food?

5 Stretches You Haven’t Tried Yet

Happy Tuesday! How is your week going so far? Today we are talking about stretching!

IMG_3381.jpg

I want to talk about stretching, not just¬†for performance, but also for general well-being. Everybody knows that stretching is important for injury prevention and flexibility, but it can also be key to feeling balanced. Read on to find out why! (if you’re impatient scroll to #5)

Below is a list of some of my favorite stretches that are geared to challenge your normal and make you push a bit further.

5 Stretches You Haven’t Tried Yet

1.Foot Stretch – Point

This stretch will be most enjoyed by the dancers and yogis looking to work on their point and foot flexibility.

HOW TO: Start on your knees and bring your right leg in front of you. Gently roll over your point. Use your left hand as support and use your right hand to firmly press against your heel, leading your heel forward and pressing your arch further. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch to #2 below. Repeat 4x on each foot.

IMG_3457.jpg

2. Foot Stretch РBall

This is part 2 to #1 above. Simply flip your foot so that you are stretching the flex position of your foot on the ball. Again press your heel forward with your hand. Alternate between this and #1, 4x on each foot.

IMG_3451.jpg

3. Split Stretch РReach Back

This stretch will be enjoyed by anyone looking to increase their flexibility in their split. Only attempt if you already have your split, meaning you do not have to support yourself on either side and your thighs are completely touching the ground. This stretch can be very intense for your hips, so make sure to stretch before attempting.

HOW TO: Once you are fully in your split, reach back with your right hand. At the same time lift your back left leg up to meet your hand. Hold for 30 seconds. Do #4 below and then switch to the other side.

IMG_3418.jpg

4. Split Stretch РFlex & Lift

This stretch is again only for those who want to further stretch their split, this time the front foot. Only attempt if you are fully down in your split already. This stretch can be very intense for your calves and hamstrings, so make sure to stretch them before attempting.

HOW TO: Once you are in your split, flex your right front foot and grab and lift with your right hand. Hold for 30 seconds.

IMG_3414.jpg

5. Stretch. Every. D@m#. Day. 

My 5th and final stretch tip is not a specific stretch, rather a challenge to incorporate stretching into your life every day.

Throughout the day stress builds up in your body and causes muscles to contract, making you feel tense and generally uneasy. All this tension can lead to negative affects on your mind and body. Bah! We do not want that. Especially when the solution is so easy.

Stretching loosens muscles, increases blood flow and releases endorphins (love those guys!), all of which helps you to relax and feel balanced.

Even if it’s just a quick toe touch and a shoulder stretch, try to fit stretching into your daily routine to reap the (easy and free) benefits! Why not?! Dancer or not, stretching is good for everyone.

 

Plank & Split Exercise

There’s something refreshing about being upside down. All day long we live our lives right side up, so when the opportunity arrises to get those legs in the air,¬†it can be a really nice change of perspective. Plus being able to support yourself with your arms is a great core workout in itself.

planks and splits exercise

This exercise combo is something I use in my Jumps & Turns classes to get the kids to practice their splits and at the same¬†work on core and arm strength. But it’s not just a dance exercise, it can be good for anyone who wants to work on their flexibility and core strength. You can modify the number of commandos and push-ups based on your ability.

planks and splits exercise

I would definitely recommend some dynamic stretching before attempting this combination, especially for your legs muscles and hips flexors. Dynamic stretching is active stretching, meaning muscles are repeatedly put through the range of motion. For example, bending over and touching your right toe, but lifting the right toe 8x while you’re in the stretch. This helps the blood flow to your muscles, warms your muscles and is proven to help increase performance compared to static stretching (no movement during stretch).

planks and splits exercise

Plank & Split Exercise

  • Start standing with your back to a wall
  • Walk your hands down your legs to touch (or reach for) the floor
  • Walk hands out to high plank and hold for 16 counts
  • 4 commandos (left arm down, right arm down, left arm up, right arm up)
  • Walk hands back to legs
  • Extend right leg up wall and hold stretch for 16 counts
  • Walk back out to plank (bring leg down as you go) and hold for 16 counts
  • 8 push-ups
  • Walk hands back to legs
  • Extend left leg up wall and hold stretch for 16 counts
  • REPEAT

planks and splits exercise

You leg may not look like this, and that’s OK! Hey, it might look even better, and that’s awesome! The goal is to try to get your hips as close to the wall as you can. The wall and your hands pushing on the ground give you the right leverage to really deepen that split and push your flexibility (safely of course).

And you might even find some new perspective while you’re down there. Just don’t look at your face if you’re looking into a mirror like I am…upside down face can be quite frightening.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

It’s National Peanut Butter Day! How could I not celebrate one of my all-time favorite foods? My favorite thing about peanut butter is the power it has to keep me full. I can wake up after a long night of teaching with sore muscles and a hangry belly and I know the only thing that can make me feel better is my good ‘ol whole wheat toast and peanut butter. The simplest complete protein on earth.

Long story short, we’re in love and there’s nothing that can tear us apart.

Except the other day I found this guy.
walnut butter

In Home Goods of all places! Just sitting on the shelf, in the clearance isle, all by its lonesome.

Oh. my. g@d.

Walnut butter is the new peanut butter.

Except it’s definitely not. (But you should totally try it).

In honor of my beloved peanut butter I’m sharing a quick healthy dessert recipe adapted from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie¬†.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 applesauce cup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together applesauce, peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda, flour, sugar and chocolate chips. Spread into 8×8 greased baking pan. Bake for 15-18¬†minutes. The bars will be very gooey when they come out! Let cool completely before serving.

chocolate chip peanut butter bars

These bars are so incredibly ooey-gooey that you will think you have majorly messed up the recipe when they come out. But it’s OK! Just wait. They will set eventually, but will still be super gooey.

My preferred method to eat these is heated up (via microwave for about 20 seconds) with a nice dollop of vanilla frozen yogurt on top.

What’s your favorite kind of nut butter?

5 Things To Make You Feel Healthier Right Now

You know what helps me get excited to get healthy? New cool sh$t. If I have a brand new 800 strap florescent pink sports bra waiting for me in my gym bag, I’m a thousand times more excited to hit the gym. New sneakers? Forget it, I’m a bouncing ball of joy on my way to the treadmill.

So ¬†I’ve compiled a list of the new, cool stuff I’ve been sporting that¬†is helping me feel or be healthier right now.

5 Things To Make You Feel Healthier Right Now

#5 PiperWai Natural Deodorant

img_88142

This stuff is the answer to my deodorant prayers. When I started learning about the negative affects of chemicals in conventional deodorants I went on a rampage trying to find a natural deodorant that worked and didn’t feel sticky and weird. One night I was watching Shark Tank and these women came on claiming that it was the next best thing and I immediately ordered one. Hold. the. phone. It worked! At first it was a little weird because you have to rub it on with your finger, but you get over it. The price is a bit high at $12 per container, but it’s worth knowing I’m not lathering¬†terrible chemicals on such a sensitive area of my body.

#4 Corkcicle Water Bottle

img_8813

Everyone knows that drinking more water is better for your health, but sometimes it’s hard to remember to do it. For me, if I have a super cute water bottle staring me in the face, I will drink from it just out of pure attraction. Plus, this bottle keeps the water ice cold so it’s refreshing even if it’s been sitting at my desk for 8 hours.

#3 The Leaf

50859433_Alt01.jpg

This is like a FitBit, but is actually attractive to look at. The Leaf is also created specifically for women and not only tracks your activity and sleep, but also tracks your stress level and fertility. So cool! You can wear it as a bracelet, necklace or just clip it to your pants. It can also vibrate you awake if you so please.

#2 Nike AirMax FlyKnit Sneakers

FullSizeRender.jpg

Cute on cute on cute. ‘Nuff said.

#1 UpTrak Standing Desk

img_8809

This standing desk has rocked my world over the past few weeks. I used to get really bad hip pain from sitting so long at my job. Now I can raise it when I want and lower it when I get tired. I thought I would stand all day long, but you actually have to slowly ease into it¬†since sadly my body is not used to standing for long periods of time. But I’ll get there!

It’s funny how just a few items can make a big different in how healthy you feel or how motivated you are to get healthy. It just goes to show that shopping for new stuff is not all bad! Plus it’s good cardio ūüôā

What things make you feel healthy?

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

The New Year¬†is upon us and that means we all start to take a deep look at our lives and see what we can¬†do better. I’m the first to admit that my pants start to feel pretty snug around the holidays and I may eat a few more (like 10) chocolates per day than usual.

Getting back to healthy eating can be hard, so I like to ease into it with nothing other than cookies.

IMG_8804.JPG
Enter a caption

These Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies are vegan, gluten free, easy and help you use the inevitable rotting banana that has been sitting on the counter for 3 days and is really starting to stress you out.

IMG_0398.JPG

Now don’t let the word “vegan” deter you!¬†Some people see the word vegan and start running for the hills…or¬†to the nearest donut shop. I see vegan and I think “hey, that’s probably some pretty clean eats right there and will probably make me feel good.”And it usually does, so give vegan a chance.

IMG_0401.JPG

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 super ripe banana
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash banana in a large bowl and add vanilla. Chop coconut flakes and add to banana mixture. Add chocolate chips and walnuts and mix well.Form mixture into cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Form mixture into cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Flip cookies and bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool before eating so that they firm and set.

IMG_0411.JPG

These cookies are a perfect post-lunch snack when you’re reaching for something sweet. Swap the day-old office cake for these cookies for an extra energy punch to get you through the afternoon.

They are jam packed with healthy oils and¬†antioxidants so you can feel good about your afternoon snack, instead of shameful and sad (we’ve all been there). Enjoy!

Fall Favorites

For many many reasons Fall is my favorite season; the pumpkin-spice-everything, the leaves, the crisp air and the cozy clothes.

img_6853

It helps that I live in an area where Fall is celebrated everywhere you look from early September all the way to Christmas, with festivals every weekend, corn mazes to get lost in and scarecrows lurking around every corner.

This year we were actually going to skip the Fall festivities since we have a very busy October with weddings and our honeymoon, but one Saturday morning we were pulled out of bed by Shawn’s niece and nephew and whisked over to Applecrest – the¬†Disneyword of Fall and one of my favorite places.

img_8342

And obviously we had to bring Theo. This guy loves apples more than life itself.

So we did the hayride thing and the apple picking thing and the donut thing and then promptly went home to do the watch-a-movie-and-pretend-you’re-not-napping thing. Crowds¬†+ donuts + wrangling an apple monster/dog can be tiring.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-50-13-pm

With the plethora of apples taking up space on our counter I knew it was time to get baking. Recipe coming to the blog later this week!

Another one of my favorite things about Fall is that it’s the start of a new dance season.¬†That means new classes, new students and of course new music! So here is my Fall playlist complete with songs to dance to, songs to run to and even some songs to cry to if the mood strikes you.

Time to grab your pumpkin spice latte and pump the jams. And before the season passes, get on your flannel and get yourself to Applecrest to bask in all of its Fall glory.