A Nutritious and Delicious Snack

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This post is dedicated to healthy snacks, particularly one of my favorite snacks that is perfect for an energy boost in between meals. When it comes to healthy snacks, it can be difficult to know what snacks are the best choices, and since we are busy people in an age where there are countless things to do at all times, it’s not always easy to have the right foods on hand at the right times. There are always those days when we are rushing from one thing to the next and hunger always seems to strike at such an inconvenient time. But when you are far from a warm kitchen and a hot meal, what is one to do? Eat a bunch of processed snacks that only make you feel hungrier because of their nutrition-less and empty, air-like quality? This is always a problem since most snacks just don’t have that dense, satisfying quality that we really crave. Also, they don’t supply any energy, and only deplete it, leaving you feeling drained and tired.

While snacks come in so many different varieties, here is one of my favorite go-to snacks that is filling and energy-packed. Dates. These caramel-like, bite-sized treats are a perfect snack for those times when you need a quick remedy for your empty stomach. They really are nature’s candy with a soft texture that melts in your mouth and tastes like a mix between brown sugar and caramel. Not only are they delicious, but they just so happen to be super good for you. :)

First of all, these sweet, caramel-like fruits are full of fiber and antioxidants, and keep you fully satisfied and energized. Packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals, dates have been found to help everything from digestive disorders and anemia to aiding muscle development. This fruit has been prized for its many health benefits for centuries, and it offers a light, energizing quality that makes it a complete and delicious treat. They also supply a nice burst of energy due to their natural sugar content that will power your brain for hours–instead of leading to the all-too-common sugar crash that is cause by processed, sugary snacks.

While there are many varieties of dates, any type of date is a delicious and filling snack that is rich with nutrients and a sweet, caramel-like flavor. Although, when dates are rolled in coconut flakes, they become even better. Date-coconut rolls supply an added boost of nutrition due to the healthy fats and protein from the coconut. They taste like delicious caramel rolls dusted with powered sugar, yet they are simply made from whole, unprocessed fruit. They also couldn’t be easier to make with just 2 ingredients: dates and coconut! Just whip up a bunch of pitted medjool dates in a food processor, then roll them in coconut. Super simple and super satisfying. It’s also easy to order the ingredients online or simply order pre-made date coconut rolls. Check out nuts.com for some of my faves. This online shop is a great resource for finding healthy snacks like fresh dates and coconut. They also have a varietiy of dried fruits and nuts etc., and of course, the best gooey dates! Check out this link for a list of healthy snacks that you can find in their shop.

Crispy Salt & Pepper Potato Wedges

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Crispy and buttery on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside–the equation for a perfect potato wedge. These potato fries are transformed from whole potatoes into buttery and soft fleshed potato wedges with a crisp outer skin infused with seasonings. They are soft on the inside, yet crispy on the outside, and are coated with a buttery-herb mixture that is infused with garlic and seasoned with pepper and pink salt. Just one bite into the savory potato wedges and their herb-infused crispy outside and soft inside will win over your tastebuds! They’re so flavorful that they are even good without ketchup. As a bonus, they are free of dairy, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives–they’re simply made from the potato in its natural form and drizzled with oil and spices as the natural taste of the potatoes is better preserved by being baked in the oven instead of fried.

With a little bit of prep, crispy salt & pepper potato wedges can be created simply and quickly. There is an easy method for turning them into delicious and crispy wedges–all it requires is a little washing, slicing, and coating the potatoes with oil and the seasoning mixture. In order to coat each surface of the crispy potato wedges with savory flavor,  it is helpful to whisk the seasonings together into a powder ahead of time in order to easily coat the potatoes for maximum flavor.

 

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Crispy Salt & Pepper Potato Wedges
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Ingredients
  1. 4 pounds of gold potatoes
  2. 2 tbsp. oil
  3. 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
powder
  1. 1/4 tsp. unrefined salt
  2. generous sprinkles of cracked pepper or about 1/4 tsp. of fine pepper
  3. 1 tsp. parsley
  4. 1 tsp. oregano
  5. 1 tbsp. organic sugar
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice potatoes into wedges. Place them into a mixing bowl and set aside. Assemble powder ingredients by mixing them in a cup, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the potatoes with the oil, vinegar, and the powder then mix everything together. Line the potatoes on two trays with parchment paper, and bake them for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft on the inside and crispy on the edges. Sprinkle with additional seasonings, S&P, and enjoy!
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

White Alfredo Pizza (V & Gluten Free)

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This white Alfredo pizza is soft and crispy with a layer of savory garlic Alfredo sauce that is a delicious complement to the juicy bites of corn and sliced onions. The flavorful sauce is so creamy and satisfying that it completely makes up for any lack of cheese or meat. You can use a pre-made regular or GF crust for a quick and simple pizza recipe, but homemade crust is always delicious too. While there are endless topping options for pizza, white alfredo pizza is a refreshing twist on the traditional pizza with red sauce.

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White Alfredo Pizza
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White Sauce
  1. 4 cups frozen or fresh white corn
  2. 1/2 cup leftover cooking water
  3. 1/4 tsp. unrefined salt
  4. 3 cloves minced garlic
  5. 1 tbsp. butter or oil of choice
  6. 1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  7. Prepared pizza crust*
  8. Toppings: 1/4 tsp. basil and parsley, 1/2 cup corn, 5 basil leaves, 1/4 cup diced red onion, S & P, and optional sliced artichoke hearts
Instructions
  1. Start by making your pizza crust or baking the prepared crust for 9 minutes. Next, steam or boil corn, then add cooked corn to a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of cooking water and salt. Blend on low and increase to high until mixture is very smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse or blend until the ingredients are mixed but not over-blended.
  2. Spread the sauce onto the crust and add the toppings. Bake the pizza for an additional 5 minutes or until the pizza is crispy on the edges and the toppings are warmed. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. *pizza crust cooking times will vary, but cooking it for about 3/4 through the cooking time before adding toppings will help the crust become cook without over-cooking the toppings.
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Cake

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Looking for a quick and delicious holiday treat? This iced peppermint brownie cake is the recipe for you! It’s chocolatey, fudge-like, yet crisp on the outside. The dense and rich brownie cake is topped with a layer of melted chocolate and drizzled with cooling, peppermint icing. It is the perfect contrast of flavors with rich and decadent melted chocolate and just a touch of cool mint flavor.

It’s also a great treat for anyone with food allergies, celiac disease etc. as it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. How could one pass up the opportunity to make such an easy, delicious, and cruelty free chocolate-peppermint brownie cake? Merry Christmas!

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Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
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Wet
  1. 8 tbsp. earth balance buttery spread, melted
  2. 1 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  3. 4 tbsp. water or vanilla almond milk
Dry
  1. 1 cup GF all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp. salt
  3. 1 cup organic sugar
  4. 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  5. 1 tsp. baking soda
Melted Chocolate layer
  1. 1 cup chocolate chips
Icing
  1. 4 cups powdered sugar
  2. 2 tbsp. almond milk or enough to make preferred icing consistency
  3. 1 tsp. mint extract (or amount to taste)
  4. Sprinkle of unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. Combine 8 TBSP of melted earth balance, sugar, and cocoa powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl until just incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour into a round baking pan lined with parchment paper then bake for around 20 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit (176 C) Check if it is finished by inserting a toothpick that should come out clean. While brownie cake is baking, assemble the mint frosting ingredients in a small mixing bowl until it it has reached desired mint flavor; set aside. When the brownie cake is finished, remove from the oven and top with chocolate chips. Let the chips melt, then spread to create a chocolate layer. Let cool for 15 minutes then drizzle with the icing. Top with optional crushed peppermint. Enjoy!
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Golden Apple Crisp

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Initially I planned to post this recipe when the trees were brimming with juicy apples during the peak of apple season, but life happens and a giant pile of school work can get in the way of the recipe editing/posting schedule–but better late then never, I bring you a most delicious, golden, crumbly, and sweet apple crisp. In this nutritious yet sweet and buttery apple crisp, layers of juicy apple slices are baked to soft perfection and coated in a warm maple-butter sauce that is topped with a brown sugar and cinnamon crumble. It is sweet, buttery, slightly salty, and warming–perfect for the cold days of winter.

The recipe prep only takes a bit of apple slicing and an assembling of the topping ingredients. Bake it in the oven and enjoy the aroma as the kitchen begins to smell like everything wonderful about autumn–maple syrup, cinnamon, baked apples. It tastes as divine as its fragrant, warming aroma, and is a delicious holiday dessert.

 

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Golden Apple Crisp
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Ingredients
  1. 8 peeled and sliced apples
  2. 1 TBSP. cinnamon
  3. 1 and 1/2 cups of brown sugar
  4. 1 cup GF all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  6. 1/4 tsp. pink salt
  7. 1 TBSP. maple syrup + 1/2 TBSP. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Slice apples and add to a deep baking dish. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside. Melt oil and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Top the sliced apples with this crumble mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble becomes golden and apples are tender.
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Fiesta Pepper Corn Soup

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Vibrant fresh peppers are folded inside a creamy and savory corn sauce with a hint of buttery garlic flavor in this colorful cream soup that is based off of the creamy corn alfredo soup that was posted earlier. It is smooth and savory with the perfect creamy consistency for incorporating colorful slices of sweet peppers for a pop of flavor and crunch. The crisp peppers along with the alfredo-like soup base creates an amazing combination that is a must try! For a touch of spice, feel free to add some spicy peppers to the mix as well as fresh salsa and cilantro. This vibrant assortment of flavors and textures makes for a zesty and creamy soup.

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This fiesta pepper corn soup is abundant with savory, sweet, and rich flavors from the fresh ingredients and provides plenty of vitamins and minerals that aid in nutrient absorption. It’s fast, easy, and tasty while also being a vibrant feast for the senses!

Fiesta Pepper Corn Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups frozen or fresh white corn
  2. 1/2 cup of leftover hot cooking water
  3. 1/4 tsp. unrefined salt
  4. 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  5. 3 cloves minced garlic
  6. 1-2 tbsp. butter or oil of choice
  7. 1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  8. Additional toppings: 1 cup sliced sweet peppers, 1/4 cup shredded fresh cilantro, optional: 1/3 hot pepper,
Instructions
  1. Steam or boil corn until cooked through. Add to blender or food processor along with salt and some cooking water and blend on high until smooth. Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the peppers and blend until mixed through. Add the sliced peppers and a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/
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Dill & Chive Potatoes

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Roasted potatoes are definitely delicious–especially mini potatoes, which are so creamy and tender. This particular recipe for mini roasted potatoes is based on the traditional Swedish potato recipe that prepares fresh simple potatoes with a sprinkle of fresh herbs such as dill, minced garlic, salt & pepper, and a drizzle oil. This preserves the rich and savory flavor from the fresh potatoes alone. These dill & chive potatoes are roasted along with garlic, chives, and shallots until the potatoes have reached a creamy softness; it’s a simple recipe that requires a bit of prep before and then letting them absorb the spices and roast in the oven until tender. Simply wash and slice the potatoes how you would like and then coat them with seasonings. These are tasty little tubers, especially when dipped in this garlic butter or whipped guacamole.

In addition to being super buttery and delicious, potatoes are high in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and B-6. They’re also a great way to get in trace minerals like zinc, phosphorus, and folate. Basically, potatoes are full of nutritious elements that the body craves. It’s a good thing they are such a satisfying complex carbohydrate. So start eating and growing potatoes! They’re a great source of food that many ancient civilizations have thrived on for years. 

Now moving on to the recipe!

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Garlic & Chive Potato Fries
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Ingredients
  1. 1.5 LBS potatoes
  2. 3 cloves chopped garlic
  3. 1/4 cup diced chives
  4. 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  5. 6 sprigs of fresh dill or 1 tbsp. dried dill
  6. 2 tbsp. oil
seasoning
  1. 1 tbsp. unrefined sugar
  2. 1/4 tsp. unrefined salt
  3. 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  4. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Method #1
  2. Wash and chop the potatoes lengthwise then cut the halves until they are strips or wedges. Set the chopped potatoes in a large bowl of ice water to soak for about 30 minutes. Next add the seasoning ingredients to a cup and whisk with a fork. Drain the ice bowl and transfer potatoes to a steamer or pot of boiling water and steam/boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer back to the bowl and add the powder, oil, garlic, and chives. Mix around and add oil to evenly coat the potatoes. Transfer onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper so that potatoes are layered evenly. Bake for 20 minutes (or until crispy) at 375 degrees. Sprinkle with additional salt & pepper and extra herbs and oil.
  3. Method #2
  4. Wash and chop the potatoes lengthwise, then cut the halves. Transfer sliced potatoes to a large bowl. Add the seasonings, oil, garlic, and herbs, then evenly coat the potatoes. Transfer potatoes onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven heated to 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with additional salt & pepper and extra herbs and oil.
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Creamy Corn Alfredo Soup

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There is no replacement for a bowl of steaming and comforting soup when the weather starts to cool off–especially soups with a creamy base instead of a liquid broth. The creamy base makes for an extra warming and satisfying bowl of goodness that gets its creaminess from puréed sweet corn, which turned out to be wonderfully smooth and buttery. It is amazing how corn can be transformed into an alfredo-sauce type of consistency with just a spin of the blender or food processor.

This corn alfredo soup also happens to be an extremely easy recipe to make with one main ingredient and a few spices and toppings of choice. There are also several variations of this soup that can be made by adding different ingredients or by using it as a sauce for quinoa, pasta, and rice etc. Stay tuned for future recipes based off of this one. It’s so good you’ll want to incorporate it into every recipe!

Besides being incredibly delicious and easy to make, it is also extremely healthy! Corn in its natural state is a nutritious and complete food that contains vitamins B3 and B6, as well as phosphorous, niacin, pantothenic acid manganese, and phytonutrients. These are vital for digestive and cardiovascular health–corn is an overall great food for maintaining good health. Add in extra medicinal herbs like garlic, ginger, and cilantro and it becomes an even more nutritious and delicious soup.

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Creamy Corn Alfredo Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups frozen or fresh white corn
  2. 1/2 cup leftover cooking water
  3. 1/4 tsp. unrefined salt
  4. 3 cloves minced garlic
  5. 1 tbsp. butter or oil of choice
  6. 1 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  7. Optional toppings: extra corn, chives, and chili powder
Instructions
  1. Boil or steam the corn for around ten minutes or until just cooked. Add the corn, hot water, and salt to a food processor or blender and blend on low, then increase the speed up to high until the corn becomes very smooth. Now add the minced garlic to the blender and blend on low. Pour and serve with additional toppings and a dollop of dairy-free butter and a splash of lime juice.
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Zucchini Spaghetti with Tomato Cream Sauce

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A perfect fresh pasta dish for summer, this zucchini spaghetti with tomato cream sauce is gluten-free, and raw vegan yet full of flavor and savory spices & herbs. It is light on digestion and will leave you feeling energetic. Vibrant tomatoes, fresh homegrown herbs, and zucchini make all the difference when it comes to the quality of flavor and texture. This raw spaghetti is so fresh it’s packed with living nutrients and is high in vitamins and minerals, which makes it much more nutritionally dense than regular pastas. You can even incorporate these ingredients into regular noodles for a closer match to a true pasta dish paired with this flavorful, fresh sauce.

Zucchini noodles are way too fun to make and to eat, and are filled with minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, folate, manganese, and copper–the list of nutrients goes on and on. Some of the main health benefits of zucchini are its anti-cancer, anti-inflammitory, and anti-microbial properties as well as being able to greatly improve bone health. It’s amazing how one long green veggie(or fruit/squash?) can do so much for health. Nature knows how to take care of you. (Also, zucchini squash is a super simple plant to grow in a garden or even on the side of a house!)

In order to actually make these fun noodles, you can slice them with a veggie peeler but the best tools for this job are this and this. It’s a life-changing tool ;)

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Spaghetti with Tomato Cream Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 spiralized large zucchini, ends cut off
Sauce
  1. 2 cups cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes
  2. 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  3. 1/2 cup sliced nectarines or mangoes
  4. 1 to 2 cloves of minced garlic
  5. 3 tbsp. sesame seeds or hemp seeds
  6. 6 fresh basil leaves or around 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  7. Optional salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, wash and chop zucchini then spiralize it into noodles. Set aside and prepare the sauce ingredients. Chop the tomatoes and add them to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend along with the lime juice and sliced fruit. Blend on medium to high until smooth. Now add the rest of the sauce ingredients into the blender and blend on low until seasonings are just incorporated into the sauce. Pour over noodles and let them absorb the moisture from the sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/

Golden Garlic Butter

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This garlic butter is like liquid gold, or melted garlic gold that is flavored with garlic & herbs and seasoned with salt & pepper. These aromatic herbs and mild spices infuse into the softened garlic for an wonderfully fragrant and delicious pot of gold.

It’s so delicious you will want to put it on everything. Slather it, dip it, and drizzle it on bread, pasta, rice, veggies–any excuse to drench everything in garlic butter, right? It’s so delicious yet incredibly simple to make in a matter of minutes with just a few main ingredients plus herbs & spices. 

This savory golden garlic butter also happens to be dairy-free; it is simply a blend of plant oils that contain healthy fats such as omega-3 and 6. It’s a delicious cruelty-free and allergen-free substitute to garlic butter!

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Golden Garlic Butter
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Ingredients
  1. 4 TBSP. Earth Balance buttery spread or Smart Balance
  2. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  4. black pepper to taste
  5. 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
  6. 2 tsp. dried parsley
  7. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 1 tsp. dried basil
Instructions
  1. Start by melting the butter in a pan along with minced garlic and melt over low heat until butter is creamy and garlic is translucent, about three minutes. Take pan off of heat and add herbs, salt, pepper, and additional oil. Let it absorb the flavors and enjoy!
Simple Sweets & Treats http://simplesweetsandtreats.com/
For an oil-free version with similar flavors, try Whipped Guacamole for a super creamy and delicious dip, spread, or sauce!