Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Flourless)

Halloween is just two days away and I have been going pumpkin crazy! October is the start of my most favorite part of the year; "The Holidays!" And with Halloween being the first on the list, I always like to whip up delicious Fall treats :) In this case, Pumpkin Pie Bars! Not only gluten-free and grain-free but FLOURLESS. Yep. Read on folks, read on.

These festive bars are also super simple to make! No flour are in these bad boys - not even coconut, almond or any other gluten-free flour you would use. They are solely made with pure pumpkin puree, almond butter, a couple eggs, spices and sweetened with either honey or agave nectar. Easy peasy.

The important thing is to make sure these bars cool completely and set before cutting them into squares. If you eat them like this, they will taste sort of like a crustless pumpkin pie in bar form. Oooey Gooey and taste so delicious topped with vanilla ice cream. If you want more of a "bar" consistency, similar to a brownie, freeze them overnight or for a few hours. The will taste like a decadent pumpkin brownie (if that makes any sense). I have tried both versions, and it's a toss up which I like better (however my husband liked them frozen the best!). As an FYI - all the photos you see are the bars out of the oven (not frozen). We ate them this way one night topped with vanilla ice cream and was amazing. We stored them overnight in the freezer and the following day ate them too quickly to photograph again! Oh well....I guess you will have to see for yourself :)

Enjoy and Happy Halloween XO

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (no sugar or other ingredients added)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup agave nectar (or honey)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (no corn syrup)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 packets of truvia or stevia (optional, if you like things sweeter)
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8″ x 8″ pan generously with coconut oil. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and blend with an electric blender (I just used a simple electric hand blender). Next stir in your chocolate chips. Alternatively, you can omit the chocolate chips and add walnuts and raisins (or cranberries), if you want to make more of a breakfast bar.

Pour batter into the greased baking dish and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are super golden and the middle is firm. Allow to cool completely and then cut into squares.

Serve with vanilla ice cream on top and eat with a fork, or freeze for a few hours (or overnight) and eat like a brownie/delicious bar! Hope you enjoy this new healthy recipe! No tricks, only treats ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti (Gluten-free, grain-free)

Pasta, pasta, pasta! I am currently having an obsession. An obsession due to the incredible kelp noodles that have changed my life. I can't get enough of them. My first "pasta" recipe with these incredible fat-free, gluten-free, low calorie and carb noodles was the Pesto Noodles With Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula. I continued to make that recipe almost every week....getting my pasta fix on! I am happy to report that I have a new (and equally delicious) pasta dish, Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti.

A healthy version of the classic pasta dish, which is simple to make but packed with flavor! And who doesn't love shrimp scampi over pasta? Tons of garlic and parsley with just the right amount of lemon and topped with fresh parm (or vegan parm depending on your diet restriction). This will be your new go-to #winning dinner recipe that everyone will enjoy.

It's so amazing to finally be able to eat my favorite childhood pasta dishes that I could no longer stomach (pun intended) and never feel like I'm missing out. So help yourself to seconds or even thirds! This guilt-free dinner will satisfy your pasta craving and keep you full and happy (and healthy!) each time.

1 package of kelp noodles
1 medium (fat) zucchini
1/2 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons of butter, whipped butter or palm shortening (if vegan)
2 1/2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
1/4 cup of seafood stock
4 garlic cloves, minced
The juice of one lemon
The zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Vegan Pesto or regular pesto (optional)
Fresh parmigiano or vegan parm (optional)

Start by soaking your kelp noodles in a bowl of cool water (for about 10 minutes). While your noodles are soaking, make your zucchini noodles with your spiral noodler (adding the zucchini noodles is optional. The dish will come out just as great if you omitted and just stuck to kelp. I just like to combine the two for some added color and texture). Drain the kelp noodles and put aside in a medium sized bowl. Put your zucchini noodles also aside in a separate bowl.

Next, season your shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, add your olive oil and butter to a deep 12-inch sauté pan. Once the butter is melted, add your minced garlic and let cook for 1 minute while stirring occasionally. Now add the shrimp and the 1/4 cup of seafood stock. Sauté the shrimp until pink on both sides (about 5 minutes), making sure to flip the shrimp half way through. Once the shrimp have cooked, remove them from the pan put keep them covered and warm in a separate dish. Make sure to keep the sauce in the hot pan.

Next, add your zucchini noodles and sauté for about 30 seconds. Then add your kelp noodles. Toss everything together well, distributing the sauce evenly. If you feel like there isn't enough liquid because it evaporated with the heat, you can add another tablespoon (or so) of olive oil and/or butter. This is also where I like to add a tablespoon of pesto. This is optional, but I like adding a little bit of that basil goodness to shrimp scampi. Be sure to mix the sauce with the noodles well as it takes some time to distribute throughout the kelp noodles. Lastly, add the shrimp to pan along with the lemon, lemon zest and fresh parsley. Toss to combine and serve with fresh parmigiano cheese overtop and some additional chopped parsley. Viola! Enjoy this too-good-to-be-true "pasta" dinner.