Gluten-Free SunButter Protein Cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies? I definitely love my fair share of cookies, but I don’t love my fair share of sugar. I heard of this 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies and figured I’d give them a try, but I needed to make my own modifications to healthify. (Can we just pretend “healthify” is a word?) I looked at my available ingredients and considered the strict elimination diet I’m currently following. Here is what I ended up making… and they are pretty delicious if I don’t say so myself! I hope you also like them.

gluten-free sunbutter and protein cookies (Espinosa Kitchen)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare flax-egg if using.
  3. Grease baking sheets with coconut oil.
  4. Mix ingredients together.
  5. Spoon onto cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes.

Optional: add Enjoy Life chocolate pieces if desired.

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Strawberries and Coconut Cream

After working with a dietitian, I am starting to see the benefit of the bed-time snack. As Dietitian Cassie points out, eating a bedtime snack can balance your blood sugar levels while you sleep, helping you sleep better as well as supporting your metabolism. She advocates for only eating a fat with a carbohydrate and staying away from protein before bed.

Being on this elimination diet has me pretty particular about what I can eat, but I am thrilled to say that this is so delicious! When I discovered coconut cream, I swear the clouds parted and the sun shined through.

Strawberries and Coconut Cream (Espinosa Kitchen)

Strawberries and Coconut Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Coconut Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (try other extracts too, such as lemon!)
  • Handful of fresh strawberries, sliced (or other berries)

Directions:

  1. Mix coconut cream with vanilla extract.
  2. Top with strawberries.

NOTE: Coconut cream and coconut milk are not the same thing. I like Trader Joe’s for the minimal cost of about $1.50/$1.70 or so a can. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can buy Native Forest brand on Amazon; however, the cans are smaller. If neither of these are a good fit for you, you can make your own using coconut milk; this again will be less than what you get at Trader Joe’s.

Once you start eating coconut cream, you’ll begin to wonder how you lived without it!

July 4th Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Better late than never. I have never been a super color-coordinated-special-occasion-party-planning-guru, but these were fun to make… and they look pretty cool.

July 4th Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

July 4th Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • 1 package strawberries, cored and halved
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
  • 16-20 Wooden skwers

Directions:

  1. Wash all fruit, cut, and skewer.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

I saw this recipe pinned to Pinterest recently and since I always have these ingredients in the house, I figured this would be a great snack after completing my weekly grocery shopping. I’m looking forward to prepping my snacks for the week today, doing some laundry, and adding to my blog. I already hit up the gym this morning – dancing my heart out to Sh’Bam. Carlos is out playing Broomball on the lake – he is definitely an outdoorsy winter person. I am not. I also want to point out that I use Fage Greek yogurt over Chobani because I think it is creamier. I also find Fage at least $1 cheaper at Target than at our local grocery store.

Another option with this recipe is to add a little cream cheese and use cinnamon pita chips or something similar for a dip. Also delicious. With this, I added extra chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

Recipe Modified from: The Suburban Girl Gone Country

Ingredients:

  • 1 small container or 6-8 oz. from a larger container of Fage or Chobani plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon natural nut butter (I used almond butter, but peanut butter is also a good option.)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, pure maple syrup or agave nectar (I used honey.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted wheat germ (I think this is my favorite part! It adds an amazing texture.)
  • 1 Tablespoon chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Mix yogurt, nut butter, honey, extract and wheat germ together. Top with chocolate chips.
  2. To spice it up, try butterscotch chips, raisins, pecans, or walnuts.

Healthier Carmelitas

Yikes. Perhaps I have been too forgiving lately with cooking, but I tried a carmelita recipe that was so heavy in butter and caramel, that I seriously considered throwing the whole thing away before even finishing the recipe and trying it. Perhaps I was a little cruel to the blogger who posted it.

– OR –

Perhaps my healthy eating habits have seriously changed the way I look at food.

Either way, I realized I needed to improve my baking skills. I can easily look at a recipe for dinner and modify to my liking, but when it comes to baking, I find it a bit more difficult. My new goal is to improve the “sweet” recipes that I rarely have the courage/desire to make [anymore]. Really, my biggest beef with desserts is that I could either have a meal or I could have a small snack. It’s a no brainer that I would choose the meal.

To accomplish this task of making a healthier version of carmelitas (which I had no luck finding in a Google search), I combined 2 recipes that I thought would compliment each other. Version 1: Rachel Ray’s Chocolate Carmelita Bars and Version 2: Kath Eats Real Food’s Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars.

Healthy Carmelitas (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Healthier Carmelitas: These are so, so good. And with  only half the butter than the original recipe! Must try! (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Healthier Carmelitas (Chocolate-Oatmeal-Caramel Bars)

Ingredients

  • 25 caramels, unwrapped
  • 3.5 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned), uncooked
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 additional Tablespoons evaporated milk (or skim milk)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use empty butter wrapper to grease 9×13” pan
  3. Melt caramels and evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until melted.
  4. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and mix.
  5. Combine egg, milk, and melted butter in a separate bowl. When mixed, combine with dry ingredients.
  6. Press ½ mixture into baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and add chocolate chips. Top with melted caramel. Finally, add remaining oat mixture. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
  8. Cool for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Refrigerate for additional coolness. (Yes, I said that.)

Husband reviews:  Carlos says about the original “Butter. That’s all I taste.” Mines, he says, “So much better! You put in caramel and chocolate, you may as well taste it!” The original recipe called for 12 tablespoons butter. I reduced it to 6 Tablespoons.

Candy Cane Snowballs

Along with the Oreo Truffles, we tried these cookies as well. My husband isn’t a huge fan of peppermint, but these were fantastic! Again, cookies and sweets with a lot of sugar and butter is good in moderation. Plan to share these 🙂

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Candy Cane Snowballs

Click the link above to view the recipe.

Ingredients: powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, milk, and crushed candy canes.

Note that candy canes are tough to find aside from the holidays. Hard peppermint candies also work for this recipe, but are a bit harder to crush. We used a thick pint glass to crush in a large plastic bowl.

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Truffles

Part of eating healthy, is allowing yourself to indulge once in a while. For New Year’s, we made these delicious Chocolate-Covered Oreo Truffles. They were very easy and very delicious. My friend Heidi actually makes these as well and I didn’t put it together until I started making them. She makes hers with white chocolate (which I really don’t like), so that may be why I over-looked it. Either way, get ready to WOW people with how pretty these look!

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Truffles (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreos
  • 1 8 oz. package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz. (2 packages) Baker’s Semi-Sweet baking chocolate

Directions:

  1. Chop whole Oreos (including cream filling) in the food processor until finely crumbled, set aside 3 tablespoons.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs with cream cheese in a large bowl.
  3. Form mixture into 1-inch balls and place onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. Place the rolled balls in the freezer for at least 15 minutes to chill.
  5. Unwrap the chocolate and in a small/medium glass bowl, melt in the microwave according to package directions.
  6. Using a toothpick to stab the semi-frozen ball, coat in chocolate and return to the lined cookie sheet. If needed, us a fork or a corn cob handle to help pull the toothpick out.
  7. Sprinkle some of the remaining crumbs on top of the (still wet) truffles. (Another option here is to sprinkle with hot cocoa mix for a lighter color.)
  8. Refrigerate for one hour.