No Bake Cashew Raspberry Energy Bites – Serves 6+

Summer may be winding down, but the temperatures are still rising, especially in Texas.  Bikini season is still going and that means healthy eats!  However, if you’re like me, bikini season is all day, every day.  These flavor rich bites are a fantastic addition to your morning routine if you’re looking for a workout boost, post-workout snack, or mid-day snack for extra energy.  Not only are the bites easy to make but they are packed with ‘good for you’ nutrients and mouthgasmic worthy.  If you like berries and nuts – this creation is definitely for you.

Now let’s talk shop.  These bites contain: chia seeds, coconut flakes, cashews, raspberries, dates, protein powder, a banana, and some water.  Basically these bites are a mouthful of antioxidants and protein with natural sweet flavorings.  Next time you’re opting for store bought energy balls, snacks, or protein bars with ingredients that are unpronounceable or contain numbers, try these, you’ll know exactly what you are eating.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews (soaked/drained)
  • 1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 medium banana (fresh)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 large medjool dates (pits removed)
  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Vega Protein Powder (this protein powder can be found just about anywhere – Target, Amazon, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Costco, and GNC)

Methodology:

  1. Toss cashews and water into a blender and pulse/blend until soft.
  2. Add coconut flakes, banana, and dates to the nut mixture then pulse/blend until the mixture is homogeneous.
  3. Remove cashew mixture from the blender.  Fold in the raspberries and chia seeds utilizing a fork.  Use the fork to mash up some of the berries so that they are not whole.
  4. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Use a tablespoon to create scoops to drop on the parchment paper.  Aim to make each portion half the size of the tablespoon utilized.
  6. Freeze for 4-5 hours then remove from the freezer and store in a parchment paper lined airtight tupperware container.
  7. Now you’ve got energy bites whenever you want!
  8. Time to get energized.

xxx – Sarah

Nutty Chocolate Drops – Serves 10

This has quickly become my favorite go to when I have a sweet tooth…  It’s free of the major food inflammatory agents aka gluten, peanuts, eggs, and dairy.  Another winning bullet point is that it’s free of white refined sugar and its sweetness is derived from dates.

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Medjool dates are a great fruit to add sweetness to a dish without reaching for processed sugar or its alternatives.  Unlike other fruits, its nutrient content lacks vitamins A and C.  However they are a great source of energy due to their carbohydrate/sugar content, potassium (dates beat bananas in this department), and soluble fiber.  Therefore if you’re making a smoothie pre-or post-workout be sure to add a date or two!  Now, this may be a bit TMI but if you’re constipated be sure to add some dates into your life!  The dates work as a great solidifying agent to give your bowels a push.

Let’s get down to business.  If you are craving the sweets instantaneously, the good news is that this tastes phenomenal without being cooked and is safe for consumption.  However, if you can wait a few minutes – pop these drops into the oven for 5-10 minutes!  Also, good news, if you’re not a chocolate person that’s okay because these drops taste amazing without it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil; melted
  • 1 cup cashews; soaked and strained (try to soak for 10-15 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter; crunchy or creamy (unsalted and aim for crunchy for some texture)
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal; dried
  • 3-4 medjool dates; remove the pits
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL but highly recommended: 1/3 cup milk or dark chocolate mini chips
  • To taste: sea salt (I added about 1-2 pinches)

Methodology:

  1. Utilizing a food processor, combine all ingredients BUT the chocolate chips.  Pulse until blended then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and stir well until the mixture appears uniform.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper, create small drops/balls using a tablespoon and/or your hands to mold.  Set each drop/ball about a ‘thumb’ of distance between each other.
  4. If you want to eat right away – do so.
  5. If you want to wait and cook em – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 5-10 minutes until golden then set aside to cool.
  6. If you want to wait and have em cold – place in the refrigerator and nibble when ready.
  7. It’s time for some dates in your life.

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xxx – Sarah

 

Cashew Beef Lettuce Wraps – Serves 4

I’m all about the tortillas… Especially if they are fresh but when watching caloric intake, and trying to get ready for the holidays, the key is to swap appropriately.  I was in the mood for beef and tortillas but I decided to turn that craving into lettuce wraps and boy am I glad – these are packed with quite a powerful punch!  Sidebar – the dish is both gluten and dairy-free!

Beef is a great source of protein, zinc, and iron which play a role in our energy levels and maintenance of our body.  Its nutrients are readily absorbed since it is a ‘high biological value’ source aka from an animal rather than through a pill or powder.  Quick solutions are not always the best, in other words, put down the pills for a change.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound, ground beef (I prefer to use 90% lean/10% fat)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp roasted or regular garlic, minced
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp Sriracha sauce or salsa (I am a huge fan of the La Costena brand)
  • To taste/recommended spices: curry powder, paprika, sea salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes (I used all of them – one or two shakes of each spice)

Methodology

  1. In a large saucepan combine the red pepper, cilantro, onions, cashews, garlic, and apple, and toss under medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and mix into the ingredients.  Allow to cook for 10 minutes then reduce to medium or low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Set up a plate or several plates with 2-3 lettuce wraps open-faced for the beef to be topped on.
  4. Optional:  Add sliced avocado on top for an additional oomph.
  5. Serve with your favorite Vino or iced beverage.
  6. Happy munchin’ y’all!

 

xxx – Sarah

Cashew Pesto – Serves 12

Whatcha know about pesto?  Well if you’re anything like me you know pine nuts are a staple in it…  Now again, if you’re anything like me, you know you want a lower cost ingredient.  This is an awesome twist to one of my favorite meal additions that is packed with powerful flavor.

Now instead, of pine nuts, opt for cashews.  Even raw, these nuts are packed with buttery flavor and are super chewy thus giving your mouth a mini workout.  Cashews are a great source of unsaturated fat which basically means they help to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and instead help increase the good cholesterol (HDL).  Cashews also have other nutrients such as micronutrients and vitamins.  If you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin/warfarin use discretion since these nuts are a great source of vitamin-K.

This recipe is officially a staple in my meals as of recent.  Not only does it taste good warmed up with a meal but it also tastes good cold served with crudités and or crackers.  Therefore make pesto for your family and friends during Thursday Night Football (TNF) – it is a crowd pleasure that shocks your taste buds!  So far, I have made this with shrimp, steak, and chicken as a garnish topping or I have mixed it into my vegetables for extra flavor.  My taste testers prefer the pesto warm and so I shall say that is the majority consensus currently.

pesto = heaven

pesto = green, edible version of heaven

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked overnight or for a least 1-2 hours prior to making the recipe)
  • Handful or 1/2 cup basil (preferably fresh)
  • Handful or 1/2 cup parsley (preferably fresh)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • To taste: black pepper and sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Remove cashew nuts from the refrigerator, drain from water, and add to a blender.
  2. Add the basil, parsley, lemon, lemon zest, cloves, and oil to the blender.
  3. Blend on low and increase the speed until the mixture is uniform but retain some texture.
  4. Taste and then add spices (salt and pepper) as desirable.
  5. Serve cold or serve hot as a garnish as shown above…  The recipe for the shrimp and vegetable side are to come – stay tuned.
  6. Happy chow down!

xxx – Sarah