Healthy Holiday Cookie Roundup

Holiday Cookies

Office party cookie exchange? Kids’ gingerbread decorating party? In-laws holiday dinner? Chances are you’re going to be making a batch of cookies at least once this season. Instead of dusting off The Joy of Baking Cookbook for a dated chocolate chip cookie recipe, why don’t you try one of these festive and healthy recipes?

We’ve pulled from our favorite bloggers and recipe creators for our top 15 healthy holiday cookie roundup.

Short on time? Here’s 5 easy, no bake options: 

  1. No Bake Pecan Snowballs (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): With only 7 whole food ingredients and 2 steps, these festive cookies make the top of our list.
  2. Dark Chocolate Truffles (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Roll these superfood packed bites into matcha powder and pulverised dehydrated raspberries for red and green truffles that no one will know are healthy.
  3. Gingerbread Bites (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Easy almond gingerbread bites were our holiday cookie feature last year. Check ’em out.
  4. Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Homemade chocolate made with just a few simple ingredients and topped with any toppings you like would make a great dinner party dessert or host gift.
  5. Raw Double Chocolate Macaroons (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Shredded coconut sweetened with dates and dipped in homemade chocolate. Need we say more? (You could easily, skip the chocolate coating to save time and ingredients).

Looking for a healthy takes on holiday classics? Here you go:

  1.  Gingerbread Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): Using almond flour and maple syrup, these are a healthier alternative to the holiday classic (especially with this coconut sugar frosting).
  2. Sugar Cookies with Naturally Colored Frosting (Vegan): Subbing coconut oil for butter and dehydrated raspberries to make red frosting, make this recipe is a winner.
  3. Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): Take the extra step to sub the filling with this 5 minute chia jam and you’ll wow all your friends.
  4. Magic Bars (Vegan, Paleo): A cookie exchange favorite with squeaky clean ingredients…these are a must.
  5. Peppermint Fudge (Vegan, Paleo): 4 ingredient peppermint fudge made with coconut butter. Check out the recipes link to easy DIY coconut butter.

Feel like trying something new? Check out these creative recipes:

  1. Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free): This recipe has us drooling by adding eggnog to the batter. And with only 1/4 cup sugar for the entire recipe, we can’t wait to try.
  2. Secret Ingredient Blondies (Vegan, Gluten Free): These are so good, we promise you’ll never notice the healthy secret ingredient.
  3. Peppermint Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free): We couldn’t resist throwing in these peppermint black bean brownies too!
  4. Pistachio Crusted Chewy Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free): One of the prettiest and healthy recipes we could find!
  5. Cranberry Chocolate Chia Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): With an ingredient list that you could eat for breakfast, these holiday cookies are a great healthy alternative.

Mix-N-Match Stuffed Roasted Squash

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Are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cook?

Us too.

That’s why we love this mix-n-match guide for making stuffed winter squash.

A hearty and healthy meal you can adapt to whatever you have on hand.

Here’s how it works:

Base Ingredients

  • 1 squash (acorn, kabocha, butternut, delicata)
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of filling per squash (depending on size)

Filling

  • 1/2 – 1 cup protein – sausage, chicken, pork, tempeh, tofu or beans
  • 1/2 – 1 cup vegetables – onions, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, greens
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cooked grains – quinoa, rice, farro
  • Herbs and/or spices
  • Optional: nuts/seeds – walnuts, almonds
  • Optional: shredded cheese for topping
  1. Preheat: Oven to 375
  2. Prep the squash: Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds
  3. Bake Squash: Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and add about 1/4 inch water. Cover the dish with foil and bake until a knife easily slices through (anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes)
  4. Prep filling: While the squash is roasting, prepare any filling ingredients (cook meats or veggies fully) Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with spices and herbs.
  5. Stuff the squash halves: Rub inside of cooked squash with a little olive oil and pack with stuffing ingredients. Top with shredded cheese if using.
  6. Bake again: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until tops are crispy and/or cheese is melted.

Here are some ways you could mix-n-match:

  1. Sausage + mushrooms + onions + kale + farro + sage + walnuts
  2. Chicken + bell peppers + black beans + chili powder + pepper jack cheese
  3. Turkey + onions + thyme + dried cranberries + parmesan cheese
  4. Tofu + mushrooms + spinach + garlic + scallions

Not sold on the mix-n-match idea? Here are 5 recipes to get you inspired:

  1. Sausage Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
  2. Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Acorn Squash
  3. Beef, Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Butternut Squash  (paleo)
  4. Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa (vegetarian)
  5. Wild Rice stuffed Butternut squash (vegan / vegetarian) *pictured above

This post was inspired by the Kitchn’s How to Make Stuffed Roasted Squash

Salted Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Banana Ice Cream

Ice cream lovers, listen up! If you haven’t tried banana “nice cream” yet, get ready because your dessert world is about to be rocked.

By simply freezing bananas in small slices and blending, you get a rich, creamy and sweet mock “ice cream” made from only bananas. One try and you’ll be impressed with how similar the sweetness and texture are to real ice cream.

All you need is ripe bananas that you chop into small pieces and freeze and a powerful blender or food processor.

Try out our recipe for salted banana peanut butter with chocolate sauce or experiment with adding your own flavors. (Like mint, chocolate chips, strawberry or cocoa powder)

If you’re looking for a cold treat to quench your sweet tooth craving this summer, this healthy alternative will be your new favorite.

Salted Banana Peanut Butter with Chocolate Sauce (serves 2)

3 Ripe bananas frozen in very thin slices
2 Tbs. Organic unsalted peanut butter (no additives)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 Tbs. coconut oil
2oz. quality dark chocolate (70% or higher) Or 2 Tbs. Cocoa powder

Instructions
  1. Blend frozen banana slices and peanut butter in a blender or a food processor on lowest setting until creamy, adding salt to taste (if not blending well, wait a couple minutes to let them defrost a little and they will blend better. I like to leave a few chunks too. You could also add a Tbs. of non dairy milk.)
  2. In a double boiler (or carefully with a small pot or in micorwave) slowly melt coconut oil and chocolate
  3. Scoop ice cream into serving bowls and pour chocolate sauce on top
  4. Top with chopped nuts, extra chocolate, shredded coconut or toppings of choice

Fresh Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Homemade fresh rolls are an excellent no-cook recipe for summer nights. They’re easy enough to make during the week, but impressive enough to serve for a dinner party. Add a hearty sauce and pre-cooked protein to make them a meal, or leave simple for a healthy appetizer.

We love this mix-n-match recipe for being adaptable and veggie-packed. The only prep is chopping the vegetables. Ideally, they would all be julienned into matchsticks like the pros. Or you could do like us, and just cut vegetables into small-ish strips and call it good.

Ready? Here’s what you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS
1. Rice paper wrappers
2. Sauce (see recipe below)
3. Filling Ingredients (mix-n-match from below)

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare all filling ingredients (if adding noodles, make sure they’re cool)
2. Make dressing
3. Fill a shallow pan or cookie sheet with warm water
4. Place one rice paper sheet in pan and let “cook” for about 20-30 seconds
5. Remove from pan, let drip dry and fill with ingredients of choice.
6. Spoon sauce inside and roll like a burrito. Set aside and repeat.
Note: you can make these in advance for dinner guests or let everyone make their own for a fun dinner party idea or hands on meal with the kids.

3-4 Vegetables, julienned
Carrots
Cucumber
Bell Pepper
Cabbage
Butter lettuce or romaine

1-2 Fruits, chopped small
Avocado
Mango

1-2 Herbs, minced
Mint
Cilantro
Parsley

1 Protein
Cooked, shredded chicken
Sliced, Tofu or tempeh
Cooked shrimp

Other Additions
Mung Bean Sprouts
Rice Noodles or soba noodles

Dipping sauce Recipe
3/4 cup nut butter (almond, peanut or cashew)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup reduced sodium tamari (you could also sub coconut aminos or soy sauce)
2 Tbs. Honey
1/2 Tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic

Blend all ingredients until creamy.

We hope you enjoy this healthy summer recipe!

(Image courtesy of Alanna Taylor Tobin | The Bojon Gourmet)

10 One Pot Meals for Easy Dinners

One Pot Meals

The idea of cooking dinner can be daunting.

We get it.

But often it’s not actually COOKING dinner…it’s the clean up.

Enter the one-pot-meal phenomenon.  There have been entire cookbooks, blogs and recipes created to make the clean up process a whole lot quicker.

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite one-pot-meal recipes to share with you. From hearty meats to vegetable stews to light fish meals, there is something for everyone. The one thing these recipes all have in common….quick clean up.

Take some time a bookmark a couple of your favorite and add them to your meal plan. Then, enjoy a healthy homemade dinner…without the clean up.

BCSF’s No-Dish-Fish – Check out our very own recipe for cooking fish in parchment paper. All you do is wrap your veggies and fish in the paper and bake. Not only does this recipe require only ONE pan, but ZERO clean up.

Vegetable Coconut Curry – Use a Dutch oven or large pot to saute then simmer all the ingredients for this vegetable based curry. Serve with pre cooked lentils or brown rice for a low-fuss dinner.

Greek Lemon Chicken + Rice  – This recipe has you use a pan to cook the rice in the oven (brilliant!). Then you turn up the heat, add the chicken and bake. If it sounds weird, don’t worry – the recipe comes with a quick video that will make you want to run into the kitchen to make this ASAP.

Vegan Pasta with Vegetables and Red Sauce – This recipe adds the pasta, tomato sauce, spices and water to the same pot to cook. Trust us, it works! Then, all you do is add some sauteed veggies (okay, so you used two dishes. BUT no need to deal with a strainer!) and you’re ready to eat.

Martha Stewart’s Black Beans and Sausage – Although this recipe takes a little longer to cook, the ingredients and directions couldn’t be more simple: saute and serve. One pot cooking at it’s finest.

Sheet Pan Fajitas –  Toss all ingredients on a sheet pan and bake. Mexican food in under 30 minutes = happiness.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa – Speaking of Mexican food, try this flavorful spin on quinoa by cooking your vegetables, spices and grains in the same pan. While the dish is still warm, mix with hearty greens (like kale) to complete the easy, healthy meal.

Baked Salmon with Cabbage and Kale – To be honest, there are approximately 5 dishes used in this recipe: a knife, cutting board, bowl, whisk and pan. Regardless, we were impressed by the idea of putting greens and salmon on the same sheet pan to bake.

Steak and Balsamic Vegetables – All you need for a fancy steak dinner is one pan, chopped vegetables, quality steak and your broiler. You can toss all ingredients on the pan to make this a true one-dish recipe.

Shakshuka – A traditional dish of baked eggs in tomato sauce, this one skillet recipe is perfect for when the fridge is empty or needs a clean out. Try adding leafy greens or other vegetables to the sauce for an easy breakfast-for-dinner meal.

One Pan Roasted Vegetables and Chicken

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We’re big fans of healthy food.

However, long lists of ingredients, dirty dishes and complicated directions…not so much.

That’s why we share recipes that not only have the nutrition tick of approval, but are also low fuss.

(Check out our No-Dish-Fish  or Egg Muffins for more simple recipe ideas)

You might have heard of  “one pot meals”, but have you ever heard of “one pan meals”?

All you do is put all your ingredients (meats and vegetables) on the same pan to roast in the oven.

Brilliant!

Here’s an easy one pan balsamic roasted vegetables and chicken dish to add to your weeknight rotation. It’s easy to make and best of all, quick to clean up.

Ingredients
2 pounds organic chicken thighs and or drumsticks
4 Cups washed and bite size chopped mixed vegetables (onions, carrots, broccoli, potatoes)
3-4 Cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spread chopped vegetables and garlic onto bottom of 2 large baking dishes (there should be space between the pieces. Too close together and veggies will steam instead of roast and get mushy)
Toss with olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper
Rub chicken with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Lay chicken on top of vegetables and bake for approx. 1 hour or until chicken is fully cooked
(If vegetables need more time, remove chicken and bake longer)
Garnish with parsley

Serve with a side salad and dinner is ready. This would make great leftovers for a brown bag lunch the next day. If you’re vegetarian, check out this roasted tofu and vegetables dish.

(Image via babble.com)

20 Minute Cauliflower Lentil Tacos

Healthy, 20 minute tacos?

Yes, you heard us right.

Lentil Tacos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This taco filling made from lentils and cauliflower makes for a hearty, vegetable meal that satisfies when you’re craving tacos (and who doesn’t crave a good taco dinner every once in a while?).

Served in a fresh corn tortilla and garnished with your favorite taco toppings, you’ll have a tasty, healthy alternative to greasy restaurant tacos.

To make this recipe come together in under 20, you can use either pre-cooked lentils (we love the ones from Trader Joes) or your own cooked lentils. For a spicy finishing touch, try mixing 1 teaspoon of the liquid from chipotle peppers canned in adobo with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.

Try these tacos for your next meatless Monday meal, busy weeknight dinner or lazy Saturday lunch. Either way, they’re sure to please!

Ingredients
(makes about 3 cups of filling or about 6 servings)
1 head cauliflower
2 cups pre-cooked lentils
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
Salt to taste

Organic corn tortillas

Optional Toppings:
Avocado
Cilantro
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Tomato
Salsa
Lime

Directions
1. Prepare the cauliflower by grating with a cheese grater or pulsing in a food processor to break up into small pieces (should be the consistency of like bigger rice)
2. Heat a large skillet and saute diced  onion with a little oil or broth until clear
4. Add cauliflower, garlic and spices and continue to saute until cauliflower is done (about 5 more minutes)
5. Add cooked lentils and saute until all ingredients are warmed and mixed
6. To serve, spoon into corn tortilla and garnish with toppings of choice

*image via cookieandkate, recipe modified from Kate’s Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos

What Your Trainer Eats: Favorite Weeknight Dinners

We know that at the end of the day, dinner is the easiest meal to reach for quick and easy fixes….ahem we’re looking at you frozen pizza.

Like you, our trainers have busy schedules with early mornings and late nights. So when it comes to getting no-fuss, healthy meals into their bodies – these guys are pro’s.

We asked our trainers to share their go-to meals for busy weeknights, favorite healthy restaurants and what they reach for when they have a sweet tooth.

(For more trainer inspiration, check out your trainers favorite healthy breakfasts)

Tracy
Favorite weeknight dinner: Lemony Pan Fried chickpeas and chard with a sunny side egg on top of it. I cut up some avocado on the side and steam some broccoli to go with it too. It’s fast, healthy, easy and delicious.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: Nopalito since you can get a meal that is somewhat healthy. I love the Chicken Consomme with vegetables, and fresh avocado cut up in it.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: A square of dark chocolate dipped into a spoonful of peanut butter. It’s a homemade reese’s peanut butter cup without any work!

Tyler
Favorite weeknight dinner: Black bean burgers on a whole wheat bun and avocado…super yummy and healthy. Or a salad with power greens, feta, walnuts, cranberries and avocado with a lemon dressing.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: Pacific catch. They have great fish and shrimp tacos, healthy salad bowls and lots of fresh seafood.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: Homemade chocolate chip cookies or strawberry shortcake!

Lee
Favorite weeknight dinner: As a vegan, my go-to meal is baked tofu with a big side salad with teriyaki dressing.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: Eatsa. They make the best quinoa bowls and are fast and cheap. My favorite is the burrito bowl.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: Cliff bars! They’re sweet and sustaining.

Katy
Favorite weeknight dinner: Anything I can make in advance and reheat is a winner for me when it comes to busy days or weeks. My favorite make ahead recipe is Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja.  It’s 15 minutes of hands-on work and you let it cook while you’re out all day working, training with BCSF, running errands, or spending time with loved ones.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: I love all things seafood!  Pacific Catch is a regular staple for when fellow trainer Tyler and I grab dinner to catch up with each other!  I like the salmon sandwich (no aioli) either with salad or sweet potato fries.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: Frozen yogurt topped with strawberries and/or dark chocolate nibs. For something a little lighter, I like fresh berries with Light Cool Whip on top.

Rebecca
Favorite weeknight dinner: Throwing together a salad with whatever is in the fridge (usually feta, baby arugula, kale and spinach, avocado and tomatoes from the garden) and grilling up some chicken to slice up and put on top.  It’s quick, generally doesn’t involve a trip to the store and fairly balanced.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: I love big salads filled with lots of goodies so Blue Barn is my favorite go-to healthy lunch or dinner.  I normally get the beets and green (no dressing) which is filled with beets, seasonal berries (antioxidants rich), goat cheese, nuts (protein, yay!) and caramelized onions.  It’s delicious, filling and clean.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: I love sweets so I’d have to say either a homemade chocolate oatmeal chip cookie or fro-yo from Loving Cup

Valerie
Favorite weeknight dinner:  Grilled salmon and asparagus. Or homemade Mac and “Cheese” made with cauliflower and carrots for the “cheese sauce” – the kids love it.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: Judahlicious on Judah. They have the best smoothies and acai bowls.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: Trader Joe’s “just dried mango” or (if I am feeling really naughty) a slice of my husband’s famous banana bread.

Molly
Favorite weeknight dinner: Anything I can make in a slow cooker. I throw all my ingredients in after my morning classes, and come home to a warm meal after my evening classes. Right now, I am making my Paleo Pumpkin Chili all the time.
Favorite spot for a healthy bite out: Takeout from Burma Super Star.  I love their fermented tea leaf salad.
Favorite after dinner sweet fix: Dark chocolate. I also have tea almost every night which helps with a sweet craving. Licorice, peppermint and herbal chai are my favorite.

Mason Jar Burrito Bowls

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Our last blog post talked all about tips on how to stay healthy despite a busy schedule.

One of the main tools we discussed was setting aside a couple hours on the weekends to prep some healthy meals for the upcoming week.

Today, we want to share a recipe to help get you inspired: Mason Jar Burrito Bowls.

Mason jar salads are the easiest ways to prepare lot’s of food in a quick amount of time. The airtight seal keeps all the ingredients fresh, so that you can make enough to last the whole week.

With these burrito inspired, flavorful and hearty salads, you’ll never have an excuse for take-out lunch again.

Salad Ingredients
Chopped bell pepper
Cooked and cooled quinoa or riced cauliflower
Baked, cooled and cut sweet potato
Baked, cooled and cut organic chicken breast or black beans
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced avocado
Chopped romaine lettuce

Dressing Ingredients
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
pinch salt

Equipment Needed
4-5 large, wide mouth mason jars

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and dressing
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing to the bottom of the jar
  3. Then layer in ingredients in the order listed above, starting with crunchy vegetables, followed by grains and proteins, then soft vegetables and lettuce on top
  4. Seal with lid and store in fridge for up to 1 week

Feel free to substitute different vegetables, proteins or greens. You could also take a look at some of these ideas for other flavor combinations.

These salads are also perfect to pack for work, school lunches or travel days.

Make 5-6 with your favorite ingredients and flavors and you’ll be set for a week of healthy, satisfying lunches.

(Photo + Recipe Credit: Momo Wellness)

12 Healthy Ideas For Breakfast

With school back in session and those lazy summer mornings coming to an end, we want to give you our best ideas for easy and quick breakfasts.

Breakfast can be the hardest meal to make healthy choices as we’re usually looking for something quick and easy. Here are 12 creative ideas to get you inspired to try something a little different.

We made sure each of these breakfasts are:

  • Balanced in macronutrients (containing protein, fat and carbohydrates)
  • Whole foods based (no processed ingredients or packaged foods)
  • Quick and simple for busy weekday mornings

1. Mini Green Frittatas . (Make ahead, perfect for busy weeks)

2. Savory Oatmeal. (For mornings when you want a savory meal)

3. Protein Smoothie. (Here’s how to make a macronutrient balanced smoothie.)

4. Chia Seed Pudding. (Quick, simple, nutritious)

5. Almond Butter + Quick Chia Jam  + Ezekiel Bread Toast. (Think PB&J with a healthy twist for adults)

6. Baked Eggs in Avocado. (Low carbohydrate, filling and easy)

7. Sausage + Vegetable Hash. (For when you’re burnt out on eggs)

8. Shakshuka .(For when the pantry is bare)

9. Banana Oat Blender Pancakes. (Pancakes without the clean up mess!)

10. Smoked Salmon + Avocado + Ezekiel Bread Toast. ( Quick, balanced and high in Omega 3 fatty acids)

11. Breakfast Salad (a healthy, travel friendly breakfast)

12. Leftover Soup (While some dinner leftovers aren’t usually appealing in the morning, try a simple chicken or lentil soup for dinner and have the leftovers for breakfast!)

What are your favorite weekday morning breakfast? What do you do to prepare healthy meals for busy mornings? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments below, we’d love to hear!