Avocado Coconut Vegan Brownies

This is what happens when you have a large quantity of avocados, a little bit of coconut milk and are craving brownies. I’d always been aware that avocados can be used in baking but I was always hesitant, especially as a recent avocado convert. However, I have to say you can’t taste the avocados at all in these and they help load these brownies with healthy fats and much more fiber than traditional brownies. Please note these are not super sweet brownies at all, if you want them sweet I’d suggest doubling the amount of sugar.

Recipe: Makes 12 Brownies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pureed avocado

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canned coconut milk

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 8-inch square pan and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine avocado and coconut oil together until smooth. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and coconut milk until well combined.

3. Spread batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4. Cool brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. The brownies will stay fresh for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

 Nutrition:

Per brownie or 1/12th of recipe

Calories: 130 kcal

Protein: 1 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: 7 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

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Tomato and Artichoke Chicken

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So this is one of the best things I’ve ever made, hands down. It’s simple and unbelievably good. I was truly was surprised how how well these flavors go together,  If you are craving some Italian food and are trying to loose weight, this low carb, high protein dish is for you! In terms of taste, this dish is basically a cross of chicken parm, and chicken piccatta , so what more could you ask for? Like most of my recipes, this recipe can be suitable for someone looking to loose or gain weight. Just add or remove the appropriate side dish, if your looking to loose weigh this dish is great with some steamed zucchinis and garlic, this will keep the carbs and calories low. If gaining weight is your goal add a bowl of pasta and you have yourself one hearty meal.

 

Recipe: Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:

15oz. can diced tomatoes, drained or a 12 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I prefer with basil)

2 Tbsp olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2Tbsp lemon jice

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lb. total)

14oz. can artichoke hearts

1 cup shredded mozzarella  or Cheddar (Both go well )

Parsley for Garnish

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. Drain the diced tomatoes if you opt for the diced. If using crushed just add to a medium bowl and combine the with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir well and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

2. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to carefully pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Don’t pound with too much force or the breasts may split. Start at the thickest part of the breast and work your way out toward the edges. Once pounded, slice each chicken breast into two portions and season each side with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Drain the can of artichoke hearts and chop them into smaller pieces to your liking . Place about a handful of the artichoke pieces in the bottom of a casserole dish and  lay the chicken pieces over top. Cover your chicken with the remaining artichoke pieces and pour the tomato mixture the chicken.

4. Bake the chicken for approximately 30 minutes. After 30 minutes sprinkle one cup of mozzarella or cheddar cheese over top. Switch oven’s setting from bake to broil and broil the dish (on the middle rack) for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Garnish with Italian parley.

Nutrition:

Per 4 0z

Calories: 190 kcal

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 8.6 grams

Easy Peanut Butter Honey Granola Bars

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3 Ingredients. Way tastier and healthier than Chewy Bars.

This is a quick and delicious recipe can be used to kill your midday craving or as a quick pre-workout meal. These bars are an easy way to boost your fiber intake with the oats and peanut butter. You also get some healthy mono-saturated/saturated fats from the peanut butter, and vitamins and minerals from the honey. I really believe in the health properties of RAW honey. For more information on the health benefits of raw honey check out this article: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-honey/

 

 

That being said for this recipe you do have to heat the honey into its liquid if is not already in liquid form. The boiling point of honey is between 105-120 degrees F meaning it boils under relativity low heat, therefore its best to use a double boiler type method to heat the honey to preserve its anti-bacterial/fungal properties, see directions below. Feel free to add whatever other add ins to this recipe that you like, chocolate chips, cocoa, dried fruit, nuts, etc. You can also makes these protein bars by adding 1-2 scoops of protein powder!

 

Recipe: Makes approx 10 Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup of rolled oats

1 cup of quick oats
1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter* (unsalted)
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional but suggested )
Cookie sheet and parchment paper
** Feel free to use any other nut butter (or sunflower seed butter for nut-free) to replace the peanut butter.

** Also feel free to add whatever other extras you you desire

** To make protein bars add two scoops of your favorite protein powder and 2 tablespoons of milk or milk subsitute.

Directions:

1.  Line a standard cook sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the some water to  a boil. Using a small metal mixing bowl add your honey and place the bowl into the boiling water. This is known as creating a double boiler. A more gentle way to heat certain foods.

2. While the honey heats up, place the oats and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

3. Once your honey is liquefied remove from the double boiler add in the peanut butter and salt. Pour the warm mixture over the oats, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the mixture well, coating the oats evenly. As the mixture cools, it will become sticky and difficult to mix, so move quickly.

 

4. Transfer the mixture to the lined cookie sheet, and press HARD to pack it into the pan. They should be about 1/2 inch thick deep. Pressing firmly will ensure that the bars stick together after you refrigerate them, this is crucial. Place the pan in the fridge (or freezer depending on how patient you are) to cool, then use a chef’s large knife to cut the bars.

Nutrition:

Per bar

Calories: 117 cal

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 4 grams

Fiber: 2

 

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Low Calorie and Low Carb Bacon and Veggie Egg Muffins

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Use a high quality source of bacon. Look for pasture raised pork. You’ll eat less but its worth it.

Most people eat eggs for breakfast. Eggs are cheap, delicious, nutritious, but not always the most convenient. Egg muffins are the egg lovers solution, to quick eggy goodness on the go. There are a 100 different flavor combinations hist just one!

Recipe: Makes 24 Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

1 Dozen Cage Free Eggs
1 Package of bacon, diced into small pieces (preferably nitrate free, and from natural/organic pork)
1 Red Pepper, cubed
1 Green Pepper, cubed
1 Large onion sweet onion, coarsely chopped

4 Plum Tomatoes cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

*** You’ll also need a muffin tin.

Directions:

1.In a large skillet add your cubed bacon and allow it to crisp up until it is completely crispy. Remove the bacon, pat it down with a paper towel to remove excess fat and put it aside. Next, drain almost all the fat in the pan from the bacon except about 1 tablespoon. Then add the onion and peppers sauteing over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 5- 8 minutes. Pre heat your oven to 350 Degree.

2.In a separate bowl whisk together your dozen eggs, adding salt and pepper.

3. Add the onion and pepper mixture. Lastly, add your plum tomatoes to the egg mixture.

4.Grease your muffin tin, or use non stick cooking spray to make sure the muffins come out the tin with ease. Next, carefully ladle about 1/3 a cup of the egg, bacon, and veggie mixture into the well greased muffin tin. Cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Nutrition:

Per muffin

Calories: 110cal

Protein: 10 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fat: 7 grams

 

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The Fastest Bolognese Sauce

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Bolognese is one of my favorite dishes , and arguably one of the best sauces of any cuisine.I have been making Bolognese since I was a teenager, working on perfecting a recipe. There are a few things required for a good sauce, fresh tomatoes, alot of garlic, grass fed beef, and Parmesan cheese (ideally an old rind..yes an old rind). This recipe combines all those things with a whole lot less calories than your typically meat sauce.

Recipe: Makes 8, 4ounce Servings or about 4, 8 ounce Servings (depending on caloric and macronutrient needs)

 

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large onion, coarsely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
4-6 Plum Tomatoes cubed
2lb Pound ground Grass Fed Beef ***

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes  ( I prefer Muir Glen fire roasted **)

1/2 Tablespoon of thyme

2 Tablespoons of Italian seasoning

1 Small bunch of fresh basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crushed Red Peppers to taste

Parmesan Cheese to taste

Basil or Italian Parsley to Garnish

 

*** You can buy either lean ground beef like 90/10 or you can buy 80/20 and simply drain the fat. This accomplishes two things: one, you can save money by buying cheaper meat, two you get roughly the same caloric and fat amounts as 90/10 after draining your 80/20. If you want to know more about how cooking ground beef of different fat contents changes the calorie and fat content, check out this chart below.

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As you can see, blotting or draining 80% lean beef, yields the same caloric and fat content as 90% lean beef that has just been pan broiled. Save, yourself some money and just drain the fattier beef.

Directions:

 

1.In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When hot (throw some water in the pan, if it pops its ready) add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 5- 8 minutes.

2.In a separate pan saute your beef. You don’t need to add oil because the beef has enough fat on its own, and you will be draining the fat. When the beef is nice and browned, take your top and drain the fat from the beef. Add the onion and garlic mixture to the beef and return to low heat.

3. Next add all your herbs and spices, then add the fresh tomatoes and let the mixture cook on low to medium heat for approximately 5-8 minutes softening the tomatoes.

4. Add the canned tomatoes. Add approximately 1 cup of water and turn the heat all the way down. Lastly, add your grated cheese or Parmesan rind and little sauce simmer for 1-2 hours.

5. Garnish with fresh Italian parsley and serve with zucchini pasta or regular pasta . (Again, depending on your goals and preferences)

 

Nutrition:

Per 115g/ 4 Ounce Serving

Calories: 250cal

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 25 grams

Fat: 6 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

 

 

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How to make your own weight Gainer

Most of my recipes are aimed at being healthy and delicious, while being lower in calories. This is mainly because the majority of my clients are focused on fat loss and loosing weight. However,  I decided that I need to show some love to the “hard gainers” and my clients looking to increase their weight.

There are already 100’s of different weight gainer supplements on the market. They are typically a mixture of protein, cheap forms of simple carbohydrates like maltodexttrin or dextrose, and potentially some sort of fat component but that is largely dependent on the brand. The amount of calories per serving varies, but can be anywhere from 750-1500 calories! Assuming you only took one serving per day, 750-1000 calories a day is alot of calories to consume from such a nutrient poor and nutritional devoid product.

Instead, you can save your money, taste buds, and healthy simply by making your own. If you add one of these to your current food intake, I can almost garuntee those “hardgainers” out there will gain weight.

 

Recipe: Makes 1 Weight  Gainer Shake (Can be divided into two servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 Frozen Bananas

1/2 Cup of Oat Powder** See Below

2 Cups of Whole Milk ( you can us lower fat milk, or a milk substitute, but whole milk has significantly more calories than your other options)

2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter (or your nut butter of choice)

1 Tablespoon of Cocoa (optional)

2 Scoops of Protein Powder (your favorite brand will work)

Directions:

1. Assemble all your ingredients.

2. To make oat powder simply take 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal and add it to a blender or food processor. When it reaches a fine almost fine flour like consistency its ready. You can do this in large quantities also to prepare for future use. 

3. Blend together in blender. Add the peanut butter last, to avoid it getting stuck to the blender. Enjoy ! I would highly recommend drinking this as soon as possible, as the longer you let it set, the more it will become like cement in consistency.  

 

Nutrition:

Per 1 serving

Calories: 1183 cal

Protein: 91 grams

Carbs: 110 grams

Fat: 40 grams

Fiber: 7 grams

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Cacciatore Loaded with Vegetables (Extremely Low Calorie and Low Carb)

Chicken Cacciatore is a dish I long fantasized about making, but for whatever reason I never get around to making very often. However, this Italian braised chicken dish is an easy nutritious meal for anyone regardless of fitness goal. You can easily boost the caloric content by using chicken thighs or legs, or make it a bit lighter by using breasts. This dish pairs well with pasta, but if your looking to loose body fat, and pasta is too high in calories, simply eating this dish with a little salad would be a nice accompaniment. The addition of kale, carrots, and mushrooms help elevate this meal’s nutritional profile, rich in fiber, phytonutrients, as well as protein! This dish is extremely low in carbohydrates and calories in general, so it makes a great option for those looking for a delicious meal with limited caloric intake.

Recipe: Makes 9 4ounce Servings or or about 4 8 ounce Servings (depending on caloric and macronutrient needs)

Ingredients:

2.5 Tablespoons of butter (you could use olive oil, but I personally prefer the taste of butter in this recipe, and the butter is better for high heat cooking)

3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs (trimmed and cleaned)

2 large yellow onions

4-5 cloves of garlic

1 head of kale (the variety doesn’t matter I use curly kale mainly)

2 large carrots

8 ounces of mushrooms (Button work , shiitake work, basically use your imagination, the earthier the better in my opinion.)

1 8 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup of chicken stock (If you really want to enhance the favors of this recipe you can use wine instead of chicken stock, or a mixture of half chicken stock /half wine.)

1/4 cup of capers

2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning

1/2 tablepsoon of thyme

1/2 tablepsoon of sage

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crushed Red Peppers to taste

Parmesan Cheese to taste

 

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Heat butter in a large cast iron pan or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken thighs in hot butter until browned, approximately 3 minutes per side. Next, transfer chicken thighs and their accumulated juices into a bowl.

3. Using the same pot or cast iron pan mix onions and mushrooms together ; add sherry. Cook and stir until onions and mushrooms are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add kale, carrots, capers, garlic, rosemary, Italian seasoning, thyme, sage,  salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes if your into the spiciness. Cook and stir until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix crushed tomatoes and chicken stock (or wine) into vegetable mixture.

4. Arrange chicken on top of vegetable mixture; pour in any accumulated juices left in the bowl. Season again with salt and black pepper. Cover pot or cast iron pan in aluminum foil place in oven, or for about 1 hour 30 minutes. If using a meat thermometer, poultry should always read at least 165 degrees F.

5. Garnish with fresh Italian parsley and serve with pasta, or with a simple salad. (Again, depending on your goals and preferences)

Nutrition:

Per 115g/ 4 Ounce Serving

Calories: 188cal

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 7 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

 

 

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