No Sugar, Sugar Cookies!

Now that my kids are getting older they really enjoy helping me cook and bake. As soon as I start I have two chairs already pulled up next to me so they can watch what I am doing. As my almost 3 year old says I’m only going to look, not touch. Ya, I train them well 🙂

This time though I let them get a little hands on, although at their still young ages of 3 and 4, they mostly wanted to do the tasting. I decided to make roll out sugar cookies and shape them into menorahs and dreidels for Chanukah. The kids had fun watching me roll theplay doughand they got to add the sprinkles! And of course, taste the yummy cookies.

This recipe is made with whole wheat flour, honey, and coconut oil. I really love coconut oil so I suggest you get your hands on some. It has a great flavor, is heat resistant, and is easier to metabolize than any other saturated fat or oil. I also use butter extract which I do not use often, but in times like this gives that buttery flavor without the additional calories. If you do not have any, they will still turn out great.

These cookies melt in your mouth and are perfectly sweet that it’s such a shocker that there is no sugar in them.

No Sugar, Sugar Cookies
1/4 cup softened coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter extract, could use up to 1/2 tsp
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
In a bowl whisk together the coconut oil and honey. Once smooth add in the egg and extracts and whisk again. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a spoon. 
Spray a baking sheet with oil spray.
Flour your workplace. Take half of the dough and roll out to desired thickness, being sure it is well floured and won’t stick. Cut out your shapes till all the dough is done and put on sprinkles if you’d like, press them in so they stay in place or mix them directly into the dough. Place cookies carefully on the baking sheet. Put the pan into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes till firm*. About 5-10 minutes. 
Preheat your oven to 350F. Place tray into the oven and bake about 7 minutes. They will keep cooking as they sit out of the oven. 
* I have tried to place the dough in the freezer or fridge before rolling and shaping them, but the coconut oil gets very hard and makes it impossible to roll out the dough. Therefore it is best to do this after they are shaped.


The Healthiest Jelly Doughnuts (Fat free/Sugar free/Whole wheat)

I am super excited to share this recipe with you. The Jewish holiday of Chanukah starts this week! Most of the Jewish holidays are surrounded with food and Chanukah recipes are specifically high in fat. Indulging in one jelly doughnut is fine, but that is if you can only stick to having just one. And even so, only one deep fried doughnut will most probably leave you feeling sick. Oh, and there are 8 days of Chanukah- I highly doubt you can go all 8 days and only have ONE doughnut! At least, I can’t.

Obviously, I have been working on a healthy version and I cannot believe how good they came out. The only thing missing is the heavy fried in oil taste. And personally I don’t miss that at all. These are soft and light and still have that perfect jelly filling and powdered sugar coating.

The powdered sugar is optional, as that will be adding sugar to this recipe, but it really is so little that I am fine having them with it.
You can make these any size you’d like, but I used a doughnut hole pan. It looks like this.
They are the perfect size and you can have more than one without any guilt.
And so I present, drum roll please…….The Healthiest Jelly Doughnut recipe out there!

Healthiest Jelly Doughnuts
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain 0% yogurt
1 TB honey
a few drops of liquid stevia (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
Filling of choice: I used natural strawberry jam
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray doughnut hole pan with oil.
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the yogurt, honey, vanilla, and egg. Stir till there is no more dry flour. Do not over mix. Use a tablespoon to pour the mixture into the pan.
Bake 8-12 minutes or when top is firm. Be sure you do not over bake. Tops should not be dark.
Let cool and carefully remove from pan. I used a spoon to help scoop them out.

To Fill: In a cup mix 1/4-1/2 cup of strawberry jam so it is smoother. Use a piping bag or a (clean) medicine syringe to fill them.

Place some powdered sugar in a bag. Spray the doughnuts with some oil spray (optional) and place them in the bag one or two at a time. Shake till coated in the sugar.

My batch made 17 mini jelly doughnuts.

Before baking
Take a bite!

I have more healthy Chanukah recipes to share with you so please come back!

Great Snack Idea

A while ago I did a post on different snack options. One of my favorite is apple slices and peanut butter. But I do not always feel safe with peanut butter around. I have a hard time stopping at one tablespoon. That is why I love this option as a dip for the apple slices. It cuts out some of the fat and adds some protein while still keeping that peanut butter flavor. My kids really enjoy this as a snack and I think you will too!

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
2 Tb greek yogurt
1 tsp peanut butter or any nut butter you like
1 tsp honey
optional, but very good- a dash of cinnamon

Stir together and serve with a sliced apple.

You can make a larger serving of the dip if you’d like by doubling the yogurt and adding a bit more peanut butter, but I do not think you need that much more honey. Either way it will still be lower in calories and fat and taste delish.

Have a great day!

Super Easy Garlic Chicken

This chicken dish is so easy to put together. You literally throw on a few ingredients and the results are amazing! It’s something everyone in my house loves and our guests are always asking for seconds.

Garlic Chicken
One whole chicken cut up or any bone-in chicken pieces you’d like
2 heads of garlic*
3-5 TB apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Place your chicken into a baking pan. You can remove the skin or keep it on. Either way they come out great.
Break apart the garlic so each clove is separate. I remove the skin, but you can keep the skin on as well if you’d like. Place the garlic all around the chicken as well as under the skin (if skin is on).
Sprinkle paprika to cover the chicken. Then sprinkle on some pepper.
Drizzle the vinegar over the dish. Use your hands to mix and be sure each piece of chicken and garlic is covered.
Cover and bake in the oven about 1.5 hours or until the garlic is soft. You can uncover in the middle to baste the chicken in the sauce. Uncover for the last 5-10 minutes to brown the chicken.
*If you don’t have time to peel garlic you can do a shortcut version by sprinkling on garlic granules over the chicken. This still tastes really good, but if you have time- try it with the cloves

Surprisingly, this chicken ends up very juicy. When placed in the oven there is very little liquid, but as it cooks that changes.
If you have a smaller amount of chicken only use 3 TB of vinegar. You can use a little more if you have a larger serving.

The garlic is great as is with the chicken or can be used as a spread on some bread.
The sauce also goes perfect over some brown rice.

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Thanks for reading!

Fit Friday #8

How to Stick to a Workout Plan and Love it- Part 4
To See Part 1 CLICK HERE
To See Part 2 CLICK HERE
To See Part 3 CLICK HERE
This is the perfect timing for me to write this post. The other day I slacked off on my clean eating and gave into some of those cravings for unhealthy foods. I was really upset about it. 
Usually when you fall off the bandwagon it is really really hard to get back on. I have had several weeks where I would do great and then one day not do well. It would lead me to totally fall off for another few days till I finally got back into it. It’s such a shame since then I would need to work even harder since I gave myself too much time off my healthy lifestyle. I hated the sore muscles yet again. If you keep at it, the soreness goes away and your body adjusts, but too much time off will lead to yet another beginning that is tough.
So, what did I do the next day after waking up and feeling upset that I didn’t work out and ate unhealthy? The exact thing I had a hard time doing before- got back on! I started my morning with some green tea and lots of water, exercised and ate really well. 
Just because you have one bad day doesn’t mean it should control the rest of the week. And also, we are allowed to have thosebad days. Those times where we give in to our cravings or just take it easy. Those days can help relax and rejuvenate you for the rest of the week where you will be eating well and working out hard. 
As you see, I have struggled with this and I am talking to myself here when I say-
One day off is fine and it happens to everyone. Just pick yourself back up and keep going. You have worked this hard, don’t let one bad day ruin that for you. 
Believe in yourself and don’t let anything pull you down.

Healthy Meatballs and Spaghetti

I’m sure you have been anxiously waiting to hear what today’s recipe will be. And since I am super nice I didn’t make you wait long. Honestly, it’s so good I felt bad not sharing it with you yesterday.
I have never liked meatballs and spaghetti, ever. I don’t know what I didn’t like about it, but I just didn’t. That is, until I made this recipe.

What makes this recipe healthy?
1- Homemade tomato sauce means you control what goes in it. No need for nasty fillers and preservatives in the store bought versions.
2- Instead of 100% ground meat. This recipe uses 50% meat and 50% turkey. Ground turkey is much healthier and you can’t even tell it’s there.
3- Instead of breadcrumbs I use oat flour. Oat flour is just oats that have been blended till it forms a flour consistency. The oat flour also give it a perfectly smooth and soft texture.
4- Use my zucchini spaghetti instead of wheat spaghetti for a lower carb/calorie version. You can also do some wheat pasta and some of the zucchini to bulk it up.

Healthy Meatballs and Spaghetti
Adapted from canyoustayfordinner
For the sauce:
1 Tb olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
6 oz or 3/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tb dried oregano
1 Tb honey (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper

Meatball mixture:
1/2 lb ground meat
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup oat flour
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper

Heat oil in large pot. Add in onion and saute till soft. Then add in garlic and cook a little longer till fragrant. Add in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Stir till combined. Bring to a boil.

For the meatballs, mix together the ground meat and ground turkey. Don’t over mix, just enough till mostly together. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix again. Let it sit to firm up a bit.

You can now form them into any size you want. Here I made them into 14 large meatballs.
Place them into the boiling sauce and make sure each one is covered in the sauce.
Cover and let cook for 45 minutes on low heat.
Check on it once or twice during the cooking and give it a gentle stir.

Serve over whole wheat spaghetti, zucchini noodles, or even brown rice.

This sauce is incredible!
And I must tell you- my husband was very unhappy when I told him to leave some sauce on the plate for the picture below. Oh, and as I was taking the picture he was eating the rest of my zucchini spaghetti.

Important note: First of all you will be so surprised at how filling this is even when using the zucchini noodles. Second- Double this recipe! My only regret is that I only made one batch. It is that good. And it also freezes well.


Tip Tuesday #10- Low Carb/Low Cal “Spaghetti”

Everyone loves pasta. Problem is, most of us eat way more than we are supposed to. So to be a bit healthier, a great option is the whole wheat pasta. My family doesn’t know the difference and enjoys it just as much as the regular kind. The whole wheat version does add some fiber, but it can still be high in calories and of course, carbs which many of us try to limit. I especially like to limit my carbs towards the end of the day.

Spaghetti squash can be a good alternative. I have a hard time finding that where I live though. There is also shirataki noodles, which I have tried before- but the smell just got to me.
So, I found the perfect option for low carb and low calorie spaghetti. Move over wheat pasta and meetzucchini noodles!

Remember how I told you about my julienne peeler obsession? Check it out HERE
Well I now make perfect zucchini noodles that even my husband prefers over the whole wheat noodles!
No need to portion control here, you won’t gain weight from eating vegetables- promise!

Low Carb/Low Cal “Spaghetti”
1 or 2 medium sized zucchini. This serves one person so just use more zucchini’s to serve more.

Peel each zucchini to remove the outer skin. Then using your julienne peeler, peel the zucchini till only the core is left. You can discard the core or use it in another recipe.
Lay the zucchini strips on a towel. Cover and roll around to get out as much water as you can. Don’t be too rough or you will break them.
Heat a pan and spray with a bit of oil. Place all the zucchini into the pan and cook on medium to low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir every so often so it cooks evenly. Towards the end I like to cover the zucchini to help steam them a bit to cook all the way through.
They should become soft like noodles. Do not overcook or they will be mushy and lose their shape. You want it to have a bit of a bite, similar to al dente pasta.
That’s it!

Julienne Zucchini
Roll in towel to remove some water
Dry and ready to be cooked
Close up!
In the pan
Almost done
Cover to steam and cook through
Time to serve!

Now all you have to do is top with whatever you’d like. You can also saute some onions, garlic and spices before adding the zucchini for more flavor.

Want to know how I like to use this spaghetti? Well, check back tomorrow for a delicious recipe that will go perfectly with these noodles.

Yummy and guilt free

Tasty Turkey Chili

I keep making this recipe and always plan to take a picture to post on the blog, but each time it gets gobbled up before I get a chance! This time the chili was off limits till I took a picture. That means I get to give you the recipe, woohoo!

This chili is so quick to put together, but tastes like you slaved over your stove for hours. You can eat a bowl of it on its own or serve with cornbread. The other day I had some with homemade sweet potato chips. My husband also likes to have it in a pita pocket. You can also dip in some pita or corn chips. Any way it is served, it will be fantastic.
Feel free to use any meat of choice. I like to use ground turkey, but ground meat or chicken or even a combo of the two work great.

Tasty Turkey Chili
500 grams ground turkey
1/2 Tb olive oil
1 can black beans
1 can white beans
1/2 can corn or 3/4 cups frozen corn
1 large can of crushed tomatoes 
1 Tb paprika
1 1/2 tsp each of cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder
1/4 tsp each of allspice, unsweetened cocoa powder, and chili powder
1-2 tsp salt
shake of pepper
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add in ground turkey. Use a spoon to break up the turkey into smaller pieces. Once cooked 90% through add in the paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir till turkey is coated in spices. Saute a bit longer till fragrant. 
Drain and rinse the canned beans and corn. Add to the turkey mixture and mix. Then add in the whole can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Stir and then add in the allspice, cocoa powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and cook on a low flame for about 30 minutes. 
If the chili seems too thick for you, add another 1/2 cup of water.

You can add more chili powder. I don’t as I do not like spicy foods and want it mild for the kids to eat.
Feel free to top with slices avocado and cilantro for garnish.


Good For You Granola

When I first made this I knew my search for the perfect granola recipe was over. Every recipe I came across had a hefty amount of sugar and oil. Isn’t granola supposed to be healthy!? Well, this one is!

This granola has some healthy fat from the nuts and seeds as well as a bit of sweetness from the honey.
This crunchy granola goes great over some yogurt for breakfast or just grab a handful for a snack on the go. My kids really enjoy this with milk. It is a much healthier cereal option than the other junk filled cereals out there.
It is super quick to put together and you will have enough to last a while, which is always great.

Healthy, Good For You Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tb ground flax seed
1 Tb cinnamon

Mix all dry together, then in separate bowl mix:
2 Tb water
1 Tb vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup honey

Pour wet into dry and mix till fully coated. Spread in a thin layer on baking sheet lined with baking paper that has been sprayed with oil. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes, remove and stir then bake for another 15-20 minutes. Be sure it does not get too brown or it will taste burnt. It will also get crunchier as it sits once out of the oven.
After it is done, you can add up to 1 cup of dried fruit of choice. I added about 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries.

Optional: Drizzle another tablespoon or two of honey over the already baked granola and stir. 

Once cool, store in the freezer as this will keep it crunchy and it will last for a longer time.

There are so many variations you can do here. I love pumpkin seeds so I used more of those than the coconut and sunflower seeds, but feel free to add as much or as little of any ingredient you want.
To make pumpkin flavored granola: Use pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce, chopped pecans in place of some or all of the almonds, and maple syrup in place of the honey. You can also add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Friday Favorites #3

I have to admit- if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am one of those people who gets late night chocolate cravings. Yup-shocker! Well I found a tea that can cure that craving, for me at least. I came across the Yogi tea Cocoa Spice version and knew it was a must try. I actually liked it! It has the chocolate flavor with a cinnamon kick to it and is perfect mixed with a splash of milk and a bit of sweetener if you want. It naturally has a sweet taste so you really don’t need to add anything to it. When I was sick with a cold I literally drank 5 cups in a row of this stuff!

You can find out more about this tea Here.

*I have not been in contact with this company. These opinions are my own.