game, set, matcha coconut lime energy bites (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free, paleo)

As we’re learning, life in high school is busy…especially when you throw in sports. It usually makes for a long day and a late arrival home.

To brighten up my daughter’s long day and making snacking on the run easier, I whipped up these matcha coconut lime energy bites – a nod to her chosen sport this season and because matcha naturally boosts energy. It also helps with mental alertness, has antioxidant powers (hello bright green powder!), boosts the immune system and cardiovascular health and can fight infections – which gives it an A+ in my books.

 

 

This was my first time trying matcha after hearing of it several years ago on Kathy Patalsky’s blog, Healthy Happy Life. Yep, even thought I’m a tea drinker, it took me this long to try it since it’s more expensive than the tea I normally buy, but happily, I found that a little goes a looong way. And I’m excited to experiment and see what this does for my own energy.

If you’ve never tried matcha, it tastes like green tea because it is, um, green tea, but carries greater health benefits. If you want to learn more about its history, how it’s grown and it’s properties, click here.

Making these game, set, matcha energy bites is as easy as 1-2-3. Just thoroughly mix the ingredients in a food processor, form into bite-sized balls and coat in unsweetened shredded coconut since the batter is very sticky. You could coat them in matcha powder as I did here, but that amount of undiluted matcha powder carries a bitter overtone. So unless you don’t mind a little bitter with you no-added-sugar sweet, I’d stick with the unsweetened coconut.

Speaking of sweet…as with most of my recipes, these energy bites do not have any energy-sapping, immune suppressing added sugar! They also work for gluten-free and paleo diets since they are free from grains.

 

Print
Game, Set, Matcha Coconut Lime Energy Bites
Prep Time
15 mins
 

These coconut lime energy bites carry the subtle flavor of green tea and are perfect for hectic days when you're on the go and need a natural boost of energy.

Course: Snack
Servings: 9 energy bites
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 3 T fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus more for coating)
  • 2 pinches salt
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates, then put all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the cashews have mostly been chopped into very fine pieces. Since the mixture is very sticky, keep your hands slightly wet with water to form the bite-size balls. Place additional coconut in a plastic bag, drop in each energy bite one at a time and shake to coat. For best results, refrigerate for at least one hour before eating.

    Can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES

It's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them as they tend to stay juicer than when the pits are removed. Make sure you are using 100% PURE stevia - read the ingredients closely! - as most stevia powders have added sweeteners and/or artificial ingredients.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Since this was my first time trying matcha, I purchased a small amount from Whole Foods. But you can find it cheaper here and in a larger quantity
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

weeknight tacos with tres taco “meat” (vegan, soy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

Sure it’s not Tuesday, but tacos are too good to have only one day a week dedicated to them, right?! Last week, I was pretty excited about having them for lunch leftovers two days in a row and love this new tres taco meat I whipped up featuring walnuts, chickpeas and lentils. It’s a tres-fecta of plant-based protein.

In keeping with weeknights, which typically are busy for many of us, this recipe is simple and requires quick heating or none at all in case you prepare the ingredients ahead of time.

Let me walk you through this recipe with that busy schedule in mind…

  • The night before, put the walnuts and water in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge.
  • Also, go ahead and cook those lentils (and while they’re cooking, you can tidy up from dinner, put away some laundry, help your kids with homework, read to them or just put up your feet for a well-deserved rest)
  • If you plan on serving guacamole, you’ll want to mix up it up just before you serve it.
  • The morning of…chop up some lettuce, tomatoes and any other fresh topping that won’t spoil and store in separate airtight bags or containers. Have your salsa chilling in the fridge too and set out your spices for the tres taco “meat.”
  • Dinnertime prep…prepare the tres taco meat according to the directions. If you want the taco meat warmed, add it to a saucepan with a some salsa and gently warm it over medium-high heat which takes less than 5 minutes. If your children are old enough, they can help set out the toppings while you do this!
  • If you’re making the guac…pull out the bowl with some the prepared ingredients, add the lime juice and then the avocado and mash away.

There you go. Dinner reading in one, two, tres!

 

Before we get to the recipe, I have a little something extra for you… 

How would you like my favorite go-to guacamole recipe, and top three guac-tips which include cutting the fat but not the flavor, how to make it easier to prep on busy weeknights PLUS the secret ingredient I like to pair it with delivered right to your inbox? You would! Super! Just click this link to receive your FREE printable guacamole recipe + tip sheet.

 

 

 

Print
weeknight tacos with tres taco "meat"
Prep Time
6 hr
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
7 hr
 

This plant-protein packed taco "meat." featuring lentils, chickpeas and walnuts is simple to prepare and even with a little extra prep step. The lentils and chickpeas also keep it budget friendly. When combined with crisp organic taco shells and a few simple topping, weeknight dinners come together in one, two, tres!

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 tacos
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Tres Taco Meat
  • 3/4 cups walnuts, soaked 6 hours or overnight
  • 1/3 cup uncooked lentils
  • 2/3 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp chiii powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup salsa or 1 medium tomato
For the toppings (suggested ingredients)
  • lettuce, chopped fine
  • tomatoes, diced fine
  • sugar free salsa*
  • jalapeno peppers
  • guacamole
Instructions
  1. Put the walnuts in a bowl with enough water to cover them completely and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours to overnight.

  2. Either the night before or at least 1 one before you want to make your taco meat, cook the lentils according to package directions.

  3. In the meantime, prepare the other taco toppings. I recommend making the guacamole just before you're ready to eat it to minimize the oxidation.

  4. When you're ready to make the taco meat, drain the walnuts and rinse, then add to a food processor along with the remaining taco meat ingredients. If you want to warm the taco meat, add to a medium saucepan along with some salsa and heat over medium-high for about 5 minutes.

  5. Assemble and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I usually buy Tostitos or Old El Paso salsa, but you can buy any kind that is free of sugar (read the ingredients to be sure!)

*I love Jeff's Natural's jalapeno peppers because they're free of some of the additives and dyes typically found in most prepared jalapeno pepper brands.

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I usually buy my taco shells at Trader Joe’s because they are organic which you can get online here!
  • I love Jeff’s Natural’s jalepeno peppers which are free from the usual additives and dyes found on store shelves. I find mine at Whole Foods Market, but you also can get them here.

 

snack to school week: trail mix

(Subscribe to my newsletter here so you don’t miss a Snack to School Week – or any – recipe!)

Today my children started back to school; it’s a day I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. Not just because we’re (okay, I’m) ready to get back on a more structured schedule, but because I’ve been dreaming up recipes and planning posts to share for “Snack to School Week” here on Wildberry Press! Yipee!

Before we jump into today’s recipe, a little disclaimer…while I hope these recipes will please those little palettes – and your too! – I won’t use the label “kid friendly.” I’ve been down that road enough times to know there is always at least one child who refuses to eat “kid friendly” foods. I don’t know about you, but that has always left me feeling a) I was scammed by the recipe creators or b) my child isn’t normal. Neither of which is true; it’s just life. 😉 Instead, I’m sharing recipes that are generally crowd pleasers and have been given the thumbs up by most of my brood.

Like this trail mix.

Though it’s tempting to buy pre-made trail mixes in the stores, I have yet to find one that doesn’t contain an unnecessary amount of added sugar, preservatives and/or food dyes. So for the longest time, I’ve made up my own mixes.

Back when my children were little and I hadn’t curbed my sugar intake LOL I used to make this version all the time and I had to share it because of the secret I discovered in getting them to eat all the trail mix and not just picking out the chocolate chips.

Want to know what it is?

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and pop it in a warm oven like 200 degrees F) for at least 15-20 minutes.

 

Then simply stir until all the pieces are coated in chocolate, pour onto a jelly roll pan and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. And voila! Trail mix with chocolate that can’t be picked out.

The other thing I love about this recipe is the ability to customize it to different tastes and control the sugar content (or eliminate all together if you’ve cut back on sugar like me).

To keep it vegan, look for dairy-free chocolate chips. If you’re sending this to nut-free school, check if seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower, are allowed instead or eliminate them all together.

 

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links)

  • Buying nuts in bulk is cheapest. I get mine at BJs, but you also can find them here
  • I buy Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels (also at BJ’s), which you can find here.
  • I get my chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s, but here is another kind of dairy-free chocolate chip if you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s
  • I prefer using apple juice sweetened cranberries which I find in the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here
  • I also get my raw pumpkin seeds in the Whole Foods bulk section, but they also can be purchased here.

 

Get all the Snack to School Week recipes and other plant-based inspiration delivered right to your inbox, by subscribing to my newsletter here.

 

Print
Trail Mix
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Easily cutomizable and free of the excessive added sugars, preservatives and/or food dyes commonly found in store-bought trail mixes. 

Course: Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • almonds
  • mini pretzels
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • dairy free chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Place in a warm oven (around 200 degrees F) for 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate chips are soft and melty. Pour the mixture onto a jelly roll pan and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the chocolate has firmed up. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes
  • Using apple juice sweetened cranberries lowers the added sugar content
  • Try different combinations of nuts and seeds and dried fruits. 

5-ingredient key lime pie bites (vegan, sugar free)

One of the most frutrating things about changing your diet is relearning how to cook. The substitutes for the ingredients you used to rely on (sugar, white flour, eggs, dairy, meat etc.), don’t behave in the same way. In the first three months that I spent eating a plant-based diet, I was brought almost to tears several times because the kitchen suddenly felt like a foreign place.

Which makes the victory all the (sugar-free) sweeter when I hit on the right mix of ingredients the first time I make up a recipe. And judging by how quickly these little bites disappeared with our small group from church, I’d say these were a BIG hit.

If you have Lime Vitality Essential oil, I’d use that to give them a limey kick, but freshly squeezed lime juice will work too. They can be served naked or with a coconut coating. 

Last thing before I share the recipe…on Monday, I’m doing a clean eating challenge with a “Big Game” theme. It features a six day meal plan (including this recipe) of foods you might find at a “Big Game” party, but with a healthier twist. Comment if you’d like in on the challenge which I run through a private Facebook group (or you can request to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1359914420746043/)


Key Lime Pie Bites 
1⁄2 cup cashews
1 c date paste
3 drops of lime vitality essential oil or 1-2 tsp of lime juice
3⁄4 c large flake, unsweetened coconut
Shredded coconut (optional)

Put all ingredients except the shredded coconut in a blender or food processor and blend until the mixture is very smooth. Roll into bite-sized balls. If desired, roll in shredded coconut. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.

crockpot carrot cake oatmeal (vegan, sugar free)

This week I’m running a 6-day clean eating crockpot challenge through a private Facebook group.

The recipes for apple cinnamon and banana bread oatmeal in the meal plan got me thinking about what other kinds of desserts could be transformed into a healthy breakfast.

Carrot cake immediately came to mind.

Naturally sweetened only with fruit and containing hints of cinnamon and ginger make this oatmeal a tasty way to start the morning. And because it’s made in a crockpot, it’s already warm when you wake up.

If you are interested in learning about upcoming clean eating challenges, please leave a comment and I will contact you. 

Crockpot Carrot Cake Oatmeal
3 cups oat berries/groats
3.5 cups water
2.5 cups nondairy milk
2 large carrots, finely grated
3 large Medjool dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
raisins

1. Put all ingredients (except for the raisins if you prefer to add them upon serving) into the crockpot and stir.
2. Turn crockpot on low and allowed to cook for 6 to 8 hours.
3. Spoon into bowls and garnish with raisins and pour on additional non-dairy milk if desired.
4. Makes about six servings and stores well in the refrigerator for several days.

Recipe Notes
I prefer using whole oat berries (or groats) as they take a longer time for your body to break down. Which means they’re not easily been converted into simple carbohydrates. 

Although you could add the raisins directly into the crockpot, I prefer to add them upon serving. 

curried quinoa salad + cookbook giveaway

First up…tomorrow will be the last day you can enter the giveaway for the Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook. Click this link to see the original post. Please share it with other plant-based eaters too…or maybe people you’re hoping to win over.

And as promised, another recipe for you.

This one is inspired by a recipe I found at Whole Foods Market. I substituted in quinoa for the couscous the recipe originally called for plus made a few little tweaks. Quinoa in a complete plant protein so this substitution bumps up the nutrition profile of this salad.

It’s extremely easy to put together (except for maybe shredding the carrots if you do so by hand) and can be eaten as a side, main meal and brought to share at a pot luck. I find that quinoa doesn’t do too well after several days in the fridge, so be sure to eat this within one to two days of making it.

Remember too, that I post several times a day over on my FB like page…nutrition and fitness tips, motivation and more! I would love to see you over there too…be sure to leave a comment and say hello.

Curried Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 T curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c. raisins
1 c. uncooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
2 carrots, shredded
½ onion, minced
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted

Instructions

Add curry powder and salt to water and cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool and fluff with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

quinoa tabouli (vegan, gluten free, low carb, sugar free)

quinoa tabouliI love trying foods from other cultures which have a solid amount of veggies in their diets.

Ever since I tried tabouli, a middle eastern salad that usually features bulgar, I was a fan. However, my enthusiasm for it waivered ever since I began cutting back on wheat products several years go. I also swapped out the oil for hummus for an interesting twist on the dressing.

Thankfully, I discovered that quinoa is a perfect substitute and packs a superfood, plant protein punch into this refreshing salad. The key to great quinoa is thoroughly rinsing off the bitter saponin and using a ratio of water to quinoa that is just shy of 2:1.

If you give this a try, I would love your feedback.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the quinoa tabouli recipe

quinoa tabouli

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

    For the Ingredients

    • 4 T hummus
    • 2 T lemon juice
    • ½ tsp salt
    • dashes freshly ground pepper

    For the Salad

    • ¾ c. uncooked white quinoa
    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 1 pack cherry tomatoes, sliced
    • ½ onion, finely diced
    • 1/4 -1.2 cup fresh parsley, minced
    • optional: pine nuts

    Instructions

    For the Dressing:

    Combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup, jar or bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Add water if necessary to thin. Pour over tabouli and gently stir until thoroughly mixed.

    For the Salad:

    Thoroughly rinse quinoa. Best way is to cover with water in a bowl or pot, agitate with you hands, pour into a sieve and repeat 2-3 times with fresh water.

    Add quinoa to a pot with 1.5 cups of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

    Cool and fluff with a fork. When cool add cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and pine nuts, if using.

    Pour dressing over tabouli and gently stir until thoroughly mixed.

    This salad is best eaten fresh, but will keep in the fridge for one day if properly stored.

    Powered by Recipage

     

    6-ingredient Cauliflower soup (vegan,anti candida, gluten free, paleo) 

    cauliflower soupToday is Day 4 of the full Sugar Detox Challenge. I’m also adding the twist of following the anti-candida diet which you can learn more about here.

    One of the keys to succeeding with any diet change, is preparation. Mental and physical.

    So much of what and how we eat is tied up in our emotions, our memories and our culture that breaking from your traditional diet can be tough. I’ve found the best way to mentally prepare for a diet changhttps://shebloomflourish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1024&action=edite is praying about it and leaning on God to get me through. But I also put that faith in action by researching recipes and articles…you could say it’s “thought for food.

    To prepare physically, there are several practical steps to take to increase success:

    • Remove the foods that are a source of temptation: This is key if you really struggle with giving into cravings. If it’s not in your cupboards or fridge, it’s not very likely that you’ll run to the store to feed the temptation.
    • Meal planning: Although I always recommend planning meals -including snacks – because it saves time, mental stress and money, this step is especially important when you are following a new diet and dealing with foods that may be unfamiliar to you.
    • Meal prep:This is meal planning’s often overlooked partner and an area I still need to grow in. Meal prepping, especially for snacks that require more than grabbing a handful of something, helps avoid the pitfall of reaching for whatever is most convenient, but not diet-friendly.

    Four days into the anti-candida diet and I’m grateful for taking these steps. The hardest part so far is not reaching for my usual standbys of raisins or carrots and hummus. All healthy, but the higher sugar and carb count counts them out for the strictest part of the anti-candida diet.

    Now on to the cauliflower soup…

    As part of my meal prepping, I made a HUGE pot of this over the weekend, which takes care of my lunches for this week and most of next.

    It’s simple to make but packed with flavor and other goodness that eating cauliflower, onions, garlic and curry bring.

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the cauliflower soup recipe

    cauliflower soup

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

    Serves: 6-8

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 heads of cauliflower, chopped
    • 2 onions, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ tsp curry powder
    • 1 ½ tsp salt
    • dashes of freshly ground pepper

    Instructions

    Saute onions and garlic in a little water in a large stockpot until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Add cauliflower and seasonings and add more water until it’s not quite covering the cauliflower.

    Bring to a boil, then simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 35-40 minutes.

    Cool slightly and add to a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. You will probably have to do this several times, so make sure you have an extra pot on hand to transfer the blended soup into.

    Recipe Notes

    *Eliminate pepper if following the anti-candida diet

    *Freezes well.

    Powered by Recipage

     

     

     

    throw back thursday go to snack // ants on a log

    ants on a log
    ants on a log = celery + peanut butter + raisins

    Grow up in North America and peanut butter is almost synonymous with childhood. Except, perhaps, if you are severely allergic to it.

    Perhaps it is not surprising then that one of the snack I fondly remember my mum making for us as children is the classically simple, “Ants on a Log.” The genius of combining these three ingredients harkens back to the 1950s (I couldn’t help looking up its history) and I am forever grateful.

    Picture 003
    my two youngest at the beach in 2013 (because it’s fun to look back at the little years)

    As I shared here, my husband looked forward to coaching little league from the time our children were babies. Me? I looked forward to the day they were p.b. + celery ready so I could make them this snack.

    And whether it’s because of its name or portability, it’s also one of my favorite foods to pack for a picnic.

    017_15A
    My two oldest when they were little circa summer 2006. Though they weren’t eating ants on a log here, we were enjoying a picnic in Stratford, ON

    I recommend using organic celery since conventional celery is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and spreading it with all natural, no sugar added peanut butter (the raisins add a natural sweetness).

    So tell me, what is your favorite snack from childhood? Do you still eat it today? What are your favorite plant-based foods to pack on a picnic?

    100_0732

     

    peanut butter banana milkshake (vegan, no added sugar)

    pbmilkshakes Shakes and smoothies are such a “thing” these days.

    (Almost) every time I see a shake or smoothie recipe posted on my favorite food blogs or on the pages of a magazine, I think, “I should try that.”

    Yet, I rarely make it past this shake.100_2516It tastes rich and unwholesome but really is made from a few simple good-for-you ingredients with no dairy or sugar in sight and was inspired by this recipe over at Healthy. Happy. Life.

    Enough said. With summer is in full swing and school starting in less that one month for us, I’m keeping this post short and sweet…

    Print
    peanut butter banana milkshake (dairy free, no added sugar)

    Smooth and creamy, this shake is a perfect combination of salty and sweet.

    Course: Beverage, Breakfast, Snack
    Servings: 1
    Ingredients
    • 1 banana, pre-sliced & frozen
    • 3 tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • dashes cinnamon
    • 1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened, dairy-free milk
    Instructions
    1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, starting with ½ cup of almond milk. Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed to produce a thick but pourable shake.


    Recipe Notes

    I love using unsweetened almond milk for this, but suspect it would be yummy with unsweetened coconut milk too! For a peanut free version, try walnuts. To keep the recipe raw, use a raw nut butter.