Vegan Lefse

I am not Norwegian, but my husband is. When I was first introduced to this traditional flatbread I thought it was delicious. Then I learned how it was made. Lots and lots of cream and butter. Yikes! You would think by now, in all these years that I have been married, that I would have tried a healthier version. But nope. I asked around and no one could tell me any other way to make lefse other than using a lot of butter or cream or instant potato flakes.

Finally, I decided I would play around in the kitchen and see what happens if I try to make lefse myself. Without cream and butter, and with actual potatoes, not flakes.

Lefse had long been a family tradtion in Norway, with families gathering around to make this together. It was more about the togetherness than it was about the lefse. However, that has been changing, as more Norwegians are purchasing, rather than making it from scratch. Even in the Midwest, where the Norwegian community is quite strong, store-bought lefse is more popular. At a Scandinavian store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, generally $80,000 worth of lefse is sold annually.

Since I am all about family and traditions, what I love about this recipe is that super simple to make. Everyone can get back in the kitchen together and have a batch (or 2 or 3) of lefse ready in no time at all.

I use cooled mashed potatoes, so I find it easier to make the potatoes the day before, that way when you are ready to make the lefse, the potatoes are ready and waiting for you.

2 cups mashed potatoes, cooled

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1 tbsp tapioca starch

1 tbsp brown rice flour (plus more for rolling)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

  1. In a bowl, mix together of the ingredients except the potatoes.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture into the bowl of mashed potatoes, mixing it well each time, until fully combined.
  3. Pull out about 2 tbsp sized portions of the dough and press out on a floured surface until thin (about as thin as a tortilla).
  4. Carefully, with a large metal spatula, transfer the flattened lefse onto a hot griddle and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Transfer the cooked lefse to a plate covered with a towel to keep the warm while working on the rest.

Cinnamon Cookies

Chewy, cinnamon-y, sweet – these cookies are a real treat when you are looking for a healthier cookie option.

Is it really possible to make something this good and have it also be gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free, oil-free, and egg-free? Yep!

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup natural creamy almond butter (cashew butter is good, too!)

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well to thoroughly combine. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Using your hands, roll about 1 tbsp of dough at a time into balls. Place balls on baking sheet about an inch apart because they will melt and spread a bit during baking.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling completely.

 

 

No Bake Snack Bar

You know what I love about dates? It is a natural plant-based way to sweeten a recipe without refined processed sugar, but beyond that it is packed with so many nutritional qualities that I try to use dates as often as I can.

Dates are loaded with fiber so you can say bye-bye to constipation if you include dates into your diet. They also promote heart health, reduce blood pressure, improve respiratory health, and even alleviate anemia. Eat something sweet, and promote health in your body. Pretty easy, right?!

That’s why I love these snack bars for my kids. What kid doesn’t love a snack bar? They are easy to pack in lunch boxes, easy to grab from the pantry for a quick bite to eat, and they are super simple to make. Having these on hand means you will feel good about what your kids snack on. If you only have quality nutritious food as options, they will only be able to choose nutritious food. Eliminate the processed foods and replace it with easy to prepare foods, like these. Your kids will thank you for it, I promise. 🙂

2 cups dates, pitted

3/4 cups cashews

1/4 natural almond butter (cashew butter or peanut butter work well, too)

1/2 cup coconut flakes

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture starts to clump into a ball. The dates will be smooth but you’ll have bits of nuts.
  2. Press the mixture into an 8×8 square dish lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the bars, and cut into bars using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Vegan & Grain Free Mini Pumpkin Pie

This has got to be the easiest pumpkin pie you will ever make. I love that they are mini-sized and perfectly portioned. I really like making these as a healthy snack option for my kids. And since it contains only wholesome natural ingredients, an afternoon snack that tastes like dessert is actually doing the body some good.

When you take into account that pumpkin is loaded with fiber so therefore makes you feel full longer, a personal pie is plenty to satisfy you without triggering your craving for more sweets, the fiber (and satiation) also triggers weight loss. The vitamin A that is in abundance in pumpkins works to promote healthy vision. Beta-carotene, present in this delicious fruit, has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, including skin cancer. Your skin will thank you for the benefits of the nutrients in pumpkins, because pumpkins promote healthy skin and reduced signs of aging, and no one wants wrinkles!

Here is one of my favorite benefits of pumpkins…they have more potassium than bananas, so they are an excellent choice for an after workout snack. That extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy and sweaty workout which will keep muscles functioning at their best. And, of course, all that vitamin C in pumpkins works wonders for keeping your immune system in tip top shape.

So, a sweet snack, that feels like dessert, yet is a powerful boost to your overall health in so many ways? Uh, yeah! I think I will have a mini pumpkin pie, thank you very much!

Crust

1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp water

Filling

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. I prefer using silicone muffin pan because it makes it much easier to pop out the little pies when they are done, so I recommend that. I also still grease the silicone muffin molds. No one wants a pumpkin pie crumble. 🙂
  2. Mix the crust ingredients in a small bowl. It’ll seem crumbly but once you press it into the muffin molds it’ll hold together. Press in into the bottom and up the sides to the top of the muffin molds.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all the filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Fill the pie crusts with the filling.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Then chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Snickerdoodles

These aren’t just any snickerdoodle cookie, these are a gluten-free healthier version of the cinnamon-y sweet cookie! They’re perfect for cozying up with a warm mug of tea, a blanket, and a good book.

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

3 tbsp pumpkin pie puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In another bowl, mix the coconut oil, pumpkin puree, syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until a ball of dough forms. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to make the dough easier to work with.
  5. In a shallow bowl stir together the cinnamon and palm sugar.
  6. Form dough balls, slightly smaller than golf ball size. Roll them into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, and with the bottom of a flat drinking glass, press slightly to flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake cookies for 10-13 minutes. They’ll be soft on the inside and firm on the outside. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet when done.

Pumpkin Cake

You can have your cake and eat it, too! Especially when it is pumpkin cake! Anything with pumpkin is delicious, right?! Especially in the fall.

I have made this with maple syrup to sweeten it and also with unsweetened applesauce to reduce the sugar load. Both are equally delicious, but the syrup version is a tad sweeter.

This moist and spongy cake is great for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

1 3/4 cup oat flour (you can purchase oat flour, or grind your own oats in a food processor for a more hearty texture which is my personal preference for this recipe)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 tbsp aquafaba or chia egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup OR unsweetened applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

Healthier “Twix” Bars

This one is always one of my kids’ favorite treats at Halloween.

With the middle layer being dates, it it really sweet without buckets of sugar. The bottom layer is stuck together with a bit of brown rice syrup (or honey). Sweet, but not too sweet. And for the top layer, the darker the chocolate the better. The darker it is the less sugar there is. I tend not to make this recipe very often. Usually just at Halloween. I make a small amount, cut the bars small, then ration them out. I also know I would much prefer to splurge on giant spoonfuls of peanut butter, (but I’ll resist that urge, too 🙂 )  so I personally have an easy time resisting going back for seconds and thirds. My kids know my rule…1 per day. I wish I had their willpower! They do that so easily!

 

Bottom Layer

1 1/4 cup brown rice crisp cereal

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey – syrup is not sticky enough so syrup doesn’t work)

2 tbsp sugar free natural peanut butter (or almond butter)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Middle “Caramel” Layer

1 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates

1 tbsp sugar free natural peanut butter

1 tbsp almond milk

Chocolate Top Layer

1/2 cup melted dark chocolate

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Add the vanilla axtract. Pour mixture over brown rice cereal in a medium bowl. Press into parchment lined pan. Place in freezer while you make the middle layer.
  3. Place the pitted dates, peanut butter and milk in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread evenly over the bottom layer and place the pan back in the freezer to set. About 10-15 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate and spread evenly over the top of both layers and place back in the freezer for only 3-5 minutes. Then remove and place in the refrigerator. These can be stored in the fridge or freezer.

Peanut Butter Cup

In my opinion, there is no tastier sweet treat combination than peanut butter and chocolate.

Use quality ingredients and you can enjoy a tasty sweet treat on occasion, too.

I used natural peanut butter with no added sugar, salt, or oil and I used dark chocolate for the outer chocolate coating. I never use less than 77% chocolate. The darker the better, as it is full of antioxidants.

 

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 bars dark chocolate

  1. In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, flour, and maple syrup until smooth and creamy.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  3. In a silicone candy mold, drizzle about 1.5 tsp amount of chocolate into each mold (this will depend on the size of the mold you use, you want to fill it about 1/2 to 3/4). Then spoon in a bit of peanut butter and gently press it down so the chocolate encases the peanut butter. If you need a bit more to completely cover it you can drizzle a little more chocolate on top. There is no exact science, just get the PB covered in chocolate. 🙂
  4. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
  5. Try not to eat them all in one day. 😉

Blueberry Muffins

Perfectly delicious.

Breakfast, dessert, or snack, these are delightfully sweet without the sugar crash that follows with traditional muffin recipes.

The phytonutrients in blueberries have been shown to protect against cognitive diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease), protect against macular degeneration, and lower cancer risk by boosting production of cancer fighting immune cells.

Wild blueberries are best because they are smaller, but not completely necessary. Fresh blueberries are fine. If they are real large you can cut them in half. Frozen blueberries can be used but you might want to up the baking time a few minutes so your muffins aren’t soggy.

2/3 cup oat milk (cashew milk or almond milk work, too)

1 tbsp ground chia seeds

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized)

2 cups oat flour (or any gluten free blend you like)

2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup berries

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prep a muffin tin with liners, or use a silicone muffin pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, chia seeds, and apple cider vinegar together.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients, and the milk/chia/acv mixture. Stir well. Incorporate the berries using a rubber spatula so you don’t bust open the berries.
  4. Fill muffin cup 3/4 full and bake for 22-25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean).
  5. Let muffins cool, then carefully remove them from the muffin pan.