Homemade Twix Bars
For the shortbread crust:
1/3 cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp pure maple
1/3 cup coconut oil, solid
For the caramel layer:
1/2 cup creamy almond butter
1/3 cup pure maple
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
For the chocolate layer:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 Tbsp pure maple
*optional - 1/4 tsp flacky sea salt
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8" square pan with coconut oil. I recommend lining the dish with parchment paper as well, if your dish doesn't have a removable bottom.
Step 2: For the Shortbread Layer: add coconut flour to a bowl. Add the maple, and stir until fully combined and the texture is a crumble. Next, add the room temperature coconut oil and mix until a large dough ball forms, pressing out any clumps of coconut oil. I used my hands at the end to bring the dough fully together.
Step 3: Press the dough into your prepared pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
Step 4: For the Caramel Layer: combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until melted. Pour over the crust layer and let cool in the fridge. It's important to wait until it's set, before topping with chocolate layer.
Step 5: For the Chocolate Layer: whisk together all of the ingredients and pour over the cooled caramel layer. Smooth evenly and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Place in freezer to harden for 1 hour. Remove, and slice into 1-inch slices, or squares.
Keep stored in the freezer or fridge in an airtight storage container.
"Okay, next week I'm going to start eating healthy..."
"On Monday I'll start my new gym routine..."
"I swear this is my last night drinking, no more after this one..."
"No I literally have no food in the house-- I'll just order pizza tonight and start tomorrow morning..."
Sound familiar Sis?
Yes, well...as much as I LOVE Summertime, it's back-to-school already and with that often means habits similar to New Years. We're wanting to get back into routine; back to healthy eating and maybe meal prepping for school or work; back to exercise routines, and so on. But if you're not going back to those healthy habits, maybe you're someone looking to start them.
Believe me girl, I've been there! I haven't always been the holistic health enthusiast that I am today.
When I quit dance at the age of 16, I was eager to find a new means of exercise but gyms and "working out" were foreign to me.
Fast forward to 2019 and I absolutely LOVE my healthy and fit lifestyle! I eat, workout, and live in a way that is maintainable and enjoyable. My routine, eating habits, and day-to-day activities have become a healthy habit that I genuinely enjoy and practice without even thinking.
Here are some random, fun, and often overlooked simple tips to get you on your way to a sustainable and realistic healthy lifestyle this Fall! YOU GOT THIS GIRL!
Six Top Tips to Tackle Fall 2019
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Sweet Potato and Kidney Bean Burgers
1 can "no salt added" kidney beans
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water (chia egg)
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 tsp each of: smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin
salt & pepper, to taste (+ chilli powder if you like heat!)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2: Make your chia egg in a small bowl and set aside until gel-like.
Step 3: Add all ingredients to a food processor, except chia egg.
Step 4: Once chia egg has thickened, add that into the food processor and blitz until a smooth batter forms.
Step 5: Make about 1/2 cup-sized patties, and place onto prepared baking sheets.
Step 6: Bake until crispy and golden on both sides. (15 minutes per side depending on your oven)
Step 7: While the patties are baking, prepare a big green salad filled with fresh veggies and your fave toppings to go along with your burgers!
Rhubarb has a special place in my heart. Growing up, my Grandma made Rhubarb pies every Summer. I didn't always like it, but once I learned that the combo of its sweet + tart flavors go so well, I'm hooked and it may just be my favorite kind of pie!
This recipe is a healthy take on Rhubarb Crumble, and it's super easy! The rhubarb is cooked until sticky and sweet, while the top crumble is a sweet, creamy oat crisp. Skipping on the butter, sugar, and wheat flour, this healthy rhubarb crumble recipe can be enjoyed guilt free, and doesn't leave you feeling heavy or bloated afterwards.
It's sweetened with just pure maple syrup. This doesn't compromise on taste or texture, it taste like the real deal -- the ultimate Summer dessert, if i do say so myself.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF RHUBARB
Rhubarb is similar to celery in that it's a stalk, and the texture can be string-y. Rhubarb is high in antioxidants, which is great for heart health. It's also a great source of Vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and increases the absorption of iron. It acts as and stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system.
Healthy Rhubarb Crumble
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 15-20 mins
For the rhubarb filling:
400 g (14 oz) rhubarb, washed and cut into 2 cm pieces
1 lemon, juiced
pinch of ground ginger
4 Tbsp pure maple
For the crumble topping:
1 1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup gluten-free whole oats
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step Two: Chop the rhubarb into 2 cm pieces and place in a medium saucepan with the maple, ginger, and lemon juice. Cook on low until the rhubarb softens, about 5-10 minutes.
Step Three: Crumble Ingredients - In a small bowl, combine: ground almonds, whole oats, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. Rub the coconut oil into the mixture with your hands until it resembles a breadcrumb-like texture.
Step Four: Once the rhubarb mixture is ready, transfer to a small casserole / baking dish (oven proof). Top with the crumble mixture.
Step Five: Cook for 15-20 minutes, or tunic the top is golden brown. Allow to fully cool before serving!
Vegan Baked Zucchini + Summer Squash Fritters
3 medium zucchini, grated
1 Tbsp ground flax
3 Tbsp warm water
1/3 cup radish, diced
(or yellow onion if you tolerate onions)
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut or avocado oil. (Don't use olive oil as it becomes toxic to the body when heated at high temperatures.)
Step 2: Line a large bowl with a nut milk bag, fill it as you grate the zucchini and summer squash. Sprinkle the now grated veggies with sea salt, toss, and set aside.
Step 3: In a small bowl, mix together the flax and warm water (creating a flax egg), and set aside to thicken.
Step 4: Squeeze grated veggies, to drain out all excess water. Now combine all ingredients and mix to incorporate.
Step 5: Dough will be sticky, but form into a patty and spread out onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway.
Serve hot or cold on a salad, with side dishes, by itself, etc. So yummy and fresh tasting -- these were a family favorite the first time I made them!
I'm fortunate to have grown up living very close to one set of my grandparents. Every Thursday night my family would go to my grandparents house for dinner. And on days that we got out from school early, or had a snow day, or holiday. . . basically any day that we would be out of school during regular hours (until my sister and I were old enough to stay home alone), we would go hang out at our grandparents house until one of our parents could pick us up.
I really liked those odd days because it meant we could have lunch made by Grandma and I literally ALWAYS wanted her to make me:
"Egg salad on toasted cinnamon swirl bread - please and thanks!!"
Okay it wasn't always on *cinnamon swirl bread* (I know, so random), but it was the best when it was! I'm telling you, there was something about the way my Grandma would make the egg salad that stood out. I never let my Dad make egg salad because it just did not taste right. Do you know what I mean? Meanwhile my sister would ask for something totally different than me -- my Grandmother was a saint.
Now that you understand how much I truly love egg salad, you'll appreciate why I wanted to share my healthy version with you! There's nothing wrong with a little mayonnaise, especially all the trendy ones lately that are made with better oils like avocado oil. . .but sometimes I feel like it over powers a recipe. So, I've taken it out completely and added straight up avocado as my healthy fat source + this is what will "bind" everything together! Oh, and my secret ingredient is...................curry powder. Yep, don't skip it!
Please enjoy this recipe, and if you like it, let me know - I love any feedback.
Healthy Egg Salad
Gluten-Free, Mayo-Free, Paleo
4 eggs, boiled
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp dried dillweed
sea salt + black pepper, to taste
Step One: Place your eggs in a medium saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are fully submerged.
Step Two: Turn on heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and cover. Set a timer between 8-10 minutes - this will depend on whether you like soft or hard boiled eggs. Longer time = more hard boiled style.
Step Three: Next, drain the eggs and allow to cool in an ice bath or cold running water. Peel your eggs once cooled.
Step Four: In a small storage container, add all of your ingredients. Use a fork and knife to chop up the egg and avocado, while making sure to mix in your spices evenly.
Step Five: Serve on a salad, as a sandwich, alongside veggie sticks and crackers, etc. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days - for most freshness!
This is my infamous recipe to a lazy-girls-guide-to Black Bean Brownies! Literally you only need 3 ingredients, and one is water! Yeah, crazy right?!
3-Ingredient GF Black Bean Brownies
1 can 15 oz. organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 box gluten-free brownie mix
1 cup filtered water
Step One: Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Open the black beans and pour into a strainer. Rinse very well, until the water running off is clear and no longer brown!
Step Two: In a blender, or food processor, combine beans and water. Blend until combined and looks like a blackish/brown "milk" or "soup". Basically you don't want any whole beans left!
Step Three: Add in your brownie mix, and stir until combined. I usually make my brownies into muffin tins so that they're already portioned out, but feel free to use a 9x13 baking dish. Pour batter into preferred dish.
Step Four: Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan (or the center of muffin) comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack.
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My favorite part about this recipe is that you're getting some protein too!
Creamy Spring Farro Salad with Pesto, Asparagus & Peas
Yields: 4 servings | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins
1 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Farro
3 1/2 cups water
4 Tbsp pesto
(make your my own, I used a vegan one from WholeFoods)
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped and divided
1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided
1/2 tsp + 1/4 sea salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1" pieces, ends discarded
1 cup peas, frozen or fresh
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh scallions or chives, finely chopped
Step 1: Rinse the farro (especially if you soaked it beforehand) under running water. In a medium saucepan add the farro and the water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-minutes, covered. Stir occasionally. It will begin to thicken and become creamy.
Step 2: Once the farro is cooked, stir in your pesto, 2 Tbsp of parsley, 1/2 the lemon juice and zest, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 black pepper. Stir well. Taste for seasoning. Set aside to keep warm.
Step 3: For the veggies, fill a medium saute pan with about 1/8" of water. Bring to a low boil, until you see bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low, and toss in the asparagus and peas. Cover, and set timer for 4 minutes. The veggies will steam and become tender / al dente.
Step 4: Drain veggies immediately, to stop cooking. Sprinkle veggies with remaining 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice. Give it a good stir. Taste for seasoning.
Step 5: To plate, serve the veggies on top of the farro, garnish with rest of parsley, chives or scallions. Serve warm or chilled.
Warm, creamy, perfect Spring-flavors! Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze in airtight container.
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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.
As part of my Mother's Day gift this year, I made this DIY scrub and was thoroughly impressed with how easy it was. How had I never made my own before!?
This is funny too, I gave it to my mum before actual Mother's Day, because I happened to be seeing her before and I was too excited to hold onto it. After about a week I had texted her how she was liking the scrub / if she had tried it out yet and her response was pretty funny. . .
Me: Have you tried the scrub yet?
Mum: Yes, but it should come with a *warning* sign!
Me: Haha what, why?!
Mum: It was great until it got to the floor of the shower - it's sooo slippery!
Me: Haha omg! I didn't even think of that - it's the coconut oil :)
Soooo here's your WARNING sign --> USE CAUTION when scrubbing in the shower!
. . .
Ever since I found a new found love of spray tanning in the Winter, I've been really into scrubs and exfoliations. Every few weeks, my skin loves a good exfoliation (and at the end of a spray tan's life span). I use two simple ingredients that can be found in almost any kitchen: coconut oil and sugar! Packed with vitamin E and saturated fats that are amazing at repairing your skin and keeping the moisture in, you can use this combination on your face and your body!
DIY Rose + Sugar Exfoliating Body Scrub
5 Tbsp organic sugar
5 Tbsp coconut oil
- dried rose petals
- your favorite essential oils
(I used lavender for it's relaxing and calming affect!)
Step One: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Step Two: Softly apply to skin in circular motions to exfoliate and moisturize.
Step Three: Rinse with warm water and enjoy that fresh moisturized feeling!
. . .
If you have scrub leftover, or if you're gifting to someone, store in a sealed glass container for future use.
If you're interested in the essential oils that I use, check out the Dr Axe store for his Ancient Nutrition aromatherapy products. I use their oils as well as diffuser, and it's a brand that I trust (because not all store-bought oils are GOOD quality). For a discount on your first purchase, use code: GIGIIKENT for 20% off!
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins
1 1/2 Bob's Redmill GF All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled to warm
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg, room temp
1 scoop Ancient Nutrition Vanilla Multi Collagen
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
Step One: Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners, or paper liners (but be sure to spray with cooking spray to ensure muffins do not stick if using paper liners).
Step Two: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
Step Three: In a separate bowl, add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses, egg, collagen, applesauce, and almond milk. Whisk together until smooth and well-combined.
Step Four: Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into muffin liners, filling about 3/4 of the way full.
Step Five: Bake muffins for 18 - 22 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.
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To make vegan, replace the egg with a flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water, mix and let sit about 10 mins).
Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.
For a discount on my favorite Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen, head to store.draxe.com and use code: 'GIGIIKENT' for 20% off your first purchase!