Sweet and Crunchy Whole Apple Crumble

An apple a day…we’ve all heard the saying encouraging us to eat an apple everyday to stay healthy, avoid trips to the doctor, etc. Check out this terrific article with current research and info proving that old adage that apples are truly one of the world’s healthiest foods! Apples are remarkable little nutritional powerhouses – providing lots of fiber (including soluble fiber proven to decrease levels of “bad” cholesterol), buffer blood sugar spikes and aid in weight loss by sustaining feelings of fullness; along with several antioxidants likes Vitamins C and E (source).
Apples are also a good source of the flavonoid querticin. Quercitin is interesting because research has shown that topical application of quercetin provides protection against free radical damage and provides skin soothing benefits, especially when combined with silicones and lipid ingredients (for example in a good antioxidant serum, source). Consuming quercetin is thought to provide similar protection, and research is ongoing to determine the extent to which bioflavonoids can help fight the signs of aging. Read more about Quercitin, the nutrients apples provide; and the world’s healthiest (type) of apple here. In the meantime, we should all try to eat more apples and other fresh fruits.

I try to vary the types of apples our family eats. Hubs likes to dip apple slices into unsweetened almond butter, and My mom likes to sprinkle her slices with sea salt. The baby is found of homemade applesauce (thank you, NutriBullet!). But sometimes, especially as the weather here is turning toward fall, I find myself craving the warm, soothing comfort of sweet baked apples spiked with cinnamon, ginger and cloves and topped with crunchy, crumbly yumminess.
This recipe satisfies those cravings without sacrificing health and nutrition by incorporating apple in various formats including whole organic apples I found from a local vendor. It’s a perfect Thanksgiving or holiday dessert recipe because it’s quick and easy to throw together while you manage other cooking and all the craziness that holidays bring. I think your family will enjoy this recipe as much as mine did!

• 8-10 small apples, preferably organic and/or locally grown, washed and chopped
• 1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
• ½ cup Whole pitted dates, chopped
• ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. Sea salt
• pinch each Ground Allspice, Ground cloves, and Ground ginger

• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened apple sauce
(Consider making your own fresh apple juice for highest nutrient profile. Read more here.)
• 1.5 Tbsp. Tapioca starch
• ½ cup Maple Syrup
• 1 cup Gluten-free Rolled Oats (substitute ½ cup each Coconut and almond flours for Grain-free/Paleo version)
• ½ cup Coconut Sugar
• ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
• ½ cup Chopped walnuts
• ½ cup Chopped almonds
• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened apple sauce
• ¼ cup Coconut Oil, melted

• Measuring spoons + cups
• Glass measuring cup
• Small mixing bowl
• Nonstick coconut oil spray
• 8 X 8” Baking dish
• Aluminum foil

1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) and spray the inside of an 8 X 8” or 9 X 9″ baking dish with nonstick coconut oil spray.
2. Place chopped apples in bottom of prepared baking dish then sprinkle with vinegar. Toss lightly to combine. Add the dates and spices to apple mixture. Then stir well to combine and set aside.
3. In a glass measuring cup, stir together apple juice, apple sauce, and maple syrup. Then mix tapioca starch into syrup mixture and using a wire whisk or fork to beat mixture well until no visible lumps of starch remain. Pour apple juice mixture over chopped apple mixture and toss well to combine.
4. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
5. While apple mixture cooks, combine next 6 ingredients (rolled oats – chopped walnuts) in a small mixing bowl. Stir to combine. (BTW, you probably want to use a larger bowl than I did here. I made a mess!)
6. Create a small well in the center of oat/nut mixture then pour in the melted coconut oil. Stir well to combine. Mixture should resemble very course crumbs.
7. After baking for 45 minutes, carefully remove apple mixture. Then increase oven temperature to 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius).
8. While oven temp increases, carefully remove aluminum foil (be sure to open the side away from you first to allow steam to escape). Then sprinkle oat crumble topping evenly over apple filling and return to oven. Bake uncovered 15-20 more minutes at 400° Fahrenheit or until lightly browned on top.
Serving Suggestions and Notes: You’ll want to keep a close eye on this during the second baking time to avoid burning the oats and nuts. In my oven, it took about 18 minutes at 400° to brown the crust without burning any of the nuts.
I recommend allowing the crumble to cool slightly before serving. This is especially yummy topped with coconut (or dairy-based if you must) ice cream and a few more chopped almonds or walnuts and perhaps drizzled with a little local raw honey if you’re seeking an especially decadent dessert (vegan should stick with a little more maple syrup)!

Whole Apple Crumble #Glutenfree and #Dairyfree and #Delicious

Whole Apple Crumble #Glutenfree and #Dairyfree and #Delicious

Final note, this same crumble topping works perfectly for this Sweet Potato Soufflé which is delicious if you’re looking for another phenomenal holiday recipe sure to win raves from friends and family alike!
Wisdom for the Day:
“May the Lord bless their land with crops, the best gift the sun can give, the best produce of each month, the finest fruits from the oldest mountains, the best from the ancient hills, and the most plentiful crops of the earth.” ~Deuteronomy 33:14-16 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.

KG’s Healthier Coconut Macaroons

Delicate Pink Coconut Macaroons - The Perfect Afternoon Delight!

Delicate Pink Coconut Macaroons – The Perfect Afternoon Delight!

Hubs and I were born and raised in Florida – home to crazy alligators, blood-thirsty mosquitoes, and almost unbearable humidity. Of course, Florida does have a few things going for it (beautiful beaches, rivers and fresh-water springs; world-renown theme parks and attractions; and the best university in the USA – the University of FloridaGo Gators!).

Florida is also home to Publix Grocery Stores. Publix is so wonderful the chain had expanded to other nearby southern states including a few (but not nearly enough) stores in North Carolina where we live now. Growing up, I took Publix for granted. I figured all grocery stores were the same. Now I realize that Publix is unique among grocery chains. And I miss Publix’s wide selection, excellent generics, polite employees, and (I really miss) their phenomenal baked goods.
Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.22.45 PM
Hubs and I have chosen an appropriately Florida-centric colors+theme for our daughter’s first birthday party – pink and green alligators in the Swamp. Planning her party has me feeling especially nostalgic about the Publix bakery. I wish we could just walk in and grab one of their amazing birthday cakes (oh my goodness their buttercream frosting is everything!).  As it stands, I’ll be baking her cake and the party cupcakes myself (I love to bake but it will be more stressful due to family we’ll be entertaining that week and given the other menu items I’ll also have to prepare). I also regret that I can no longer just run down to nearest local grocer and grab a couple dozen amazing Publix fresh-baked cookies for her party. My favorite Publix baked goods are their cookies, especially their coconut macaroons. These cookies are like  a decadent slice of Florida in a super-sweet, extremely moist and huge cookie. Crispy underneath and chewy in the center, packed with intensely satisfying coconut-ty flavor and a kiss of almond, Publix macaroons may, in fact, be my favorite cookie of all time.

A Plate Full of Delicious (If not Very Healthful) Publix Macaroons

A Plate Full of Delicious (If not Very Healthful) Publix Macaroons

I’ve eaten many (many) Publix macaroons over the years. But I haven’t enjoyed one for several years now. Not only because their are so few Publix stores in our area, but because I’m keenly aware that those cookies are on the unhealthier side – full of refined sugars (and possibly even sweetened condensed milk). According to the nutritional and allergen info provided by Publix (here), their macaroons contain a whole laundry list of allergens – dairy, soy, wheat/gluten and tree nuts (as well as egg whites which along with coconut is the foundation of any macaroon recipe).

My recipe also contains egg whites but none of the other unpleasant, allergenic stuff. They’re whipped up pretty quickly. And this recipe makes a lot, nearly twice as many macaroons as most of the recipes I found online (most recipes you’ll find make about 18 cookies) so I was able to make half plain and half with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. Most importantly, everyone in our house loves them! My chocoholic mother even said she prefers the macaroons without chocolate chips. I like them both ways and predict your family will as well.

I had 2 brands of unsweetened shredded coconut, so I used both.

• 4 Cups shredded unsweetened coconut
• 1 cup coconut sugar
• 1/4 cup local honey (preferably raw) or additional ½ cup coconut sugar
• ¼ tsp. Pure Stevia Extract (optional)
• ½ tsp. baking soda
• 2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
• 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. cream of tarter
• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• ½ tsp. almond extract (scant, this is strong stuff, so don’t overdo it)
• 1 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate mini chips (optional but yummy)

• Small and large mixing bowls
• Measuring cups + spoons
• Hand mixer or stand-up mixer
• 2 Large baking sheets
• Parchment paper or 2 sil-pat sheets
• Silicone spatula or “spoonula”
• 1 oz. Cookie scoop

Pretty in Pink Macaroons A Test Run Before the Big Party

Pretty in Pink Macaroons
A Test Run Before the Big Party

1. Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit (149° Celsius), and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Then set prepped pans aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together coconut, baking soda, tapioca starch, Stevia (if using) and sugar.
3. Put egg whites and salt into a separate very clean non-reactive bowl (ceramic works well). Be sure to save those healthful yolks for later use.
4. Using a hand mixer or stand-up mixer. Beat egg whites on HIGH setting until foamy. Then add vanilla and almond extracts.
5. Continue beating egg whites on HIGH until they reach soft peaks. Then add food coloring if desired. Beat on HIGH for another minute or 2 longer until egg whites reach firm peaks stage.
6. Using silicone spatula, carefully fold egg whites into coconut mixture. Take your time and fold in slowly (you want to avoid deflating the egg whites).
7. If using chocolate chips, add now using same silicone spatula. Gently stir until well combined.
8. Using a 1 oz. cookie scoop, scoop batter onto prepared cookie sheets about 1” apart.
9. Bake for 25-30 min in preheated (300° F, 149° C) oven.
10. Allow cookies to cool about 10-15 minutes before removing from baking sheets. And allow to (if you’re self-restraint allows).
~Makes about 32 macaroons
NOTES: I like to store baked and cooled macaroons in the refrigerator in a Tupperware or other airtight container. They’ll keep that way for about a week, but I anticipate that they’ll be eaten long before the week is up! And, stay tuned for more posts related to our party prep as we get closer to her birthday in October.

Wisdom for the Day:
Go back to your homes, and prepare a feast. Bring out the best food and drink you have, and welcome all to your table, especially those who have nothing. This day is special. It is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve over your past mistakes. Let the Eternal’s own joy be your protection! ~Nehemiah 8:10 (The Voice)
Read more here.

Beauty Resource of the Day:
These days, I am all about anti-aging. Sadly, I had some very aging-advancing habits in my younger, more foolish days including (but not limited to): years of visiting tanning salons, spending hours baking in the bright Florida sun and (worst of all) smoking. Now that I’m 40, those bad behaviors are catching up to me and seem to show on my skin. The following video from very beautiful Angie of Hot & Flashy describes her top 5 recommended habits for anti-aging along with product suggestions to help you easily make those tricky-to-adopt lifestyle changes. Angie is a role model for aging beautifully. Enjoy!

#Paleo Perfect Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Bars

Mmmmm. Cookies!

Mmmmm. Cookies!

For the past few weeks, I’ve found myself really craving sweets – specifically chocolate chip cookies. I believe (that is, I’m telling myself) it’s because I’m burning more calories. I spend several hours each day chasing our daughter through the house. And lemme tell you, crawling around after her is the ultimate functional workout! Here she is causing havoc on the dog’s bed.

SMH! How can you scold that little face?

SMH! How can you scold that little face?

But I digress, the point is I’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies. Since we’re not actively doing #WHOLE30, cookies are (currently) an acceptable indulgence. But not wanting to throw away all the progress we’ve made since transitioning to a more #WHOLE30 Lifestyle, I set out to create a #paleo-correct version without grains or dairy.

I’ve successfully made grain-free gluten-free cookies before and found that unsweetened applesauce was a great addition to the recipe, providing moistness without extra fat or sugars. So, I had it in my mind to use applesauce in this recipe if possible. But I’ve never made cookies with nut flour or tapioca starch (which are considered #paleo-correct baking options). I worried these tricky ingredients may result in a tougher or overly dense cookie, so I consulted the all-knowing Internet for guidance. As I researched paleo-correct chocolate chip cookies, I encountered several chocolate chip + pumpkin recipes, so I figured I might substitute applesauce for the pumpkin. But I found that the pumpkin versions looked pretty yummy too!
IMG_4218So I tried this recipe both ways. I admit that I prefer the applesauce version. But if you’re into pumpkin + chocolate chips, go for it! If you do go with pumpkin, make sure you’re not accidentally purchase (or use) canned pumpkin pie mix which has additional (not very healthy) ingredients. You want pure pumpkin. And you may want to add some pumpkin pie spice (say 1/4 tsp.) to the dry ingredients before you sift, just to really enhance that warm pumpkin-y flavor. With either version, you may also consider adding 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts along with the chocolate chips for a truly decadent (and I might add, deeply satisfying) chocolate chip cookie experience.

The recipe below produced the best cookie I’ve had in years. Hubs even said these were as good as and nearly identical in texture to “The Chewy” from Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. High praise from Hubs since Chewies are his all-time fav cookies! I hope you and your family enjoy these little treats as much as we are enjoying them.
• ½ cup paleo-correct almond butter I like this one from Maranatha brand)
• 1/3 cup organic no-sugar-added applesauce or canned pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 1 cup coconut sugar
• 1/4 tsp. pure stevia extract, e.g. this one from Sweetleaf
• 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 3/4 cup almond or coconut flour (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour)
• 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
• 1 tsp. baking soda (not baking powder)
• 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
• 1 – 1.5 cups dairy-free chocolate chips (I like these Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Mini Morsels)

• Measuring cups + spoons
• Large + small mixing bowls
• Sifter
• 13 X 9″ baking pan
• Nonstick spray or coconut oil (if using aluminum foil to line baking pan)
• Aluminum foil or parchment paper
• Electric hand or stand-up mixer
• Silicone spatula

1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius). Line a 13″ X 9″ baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If you use aluminum foil, spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick spray or wipe it down with coconut oil to prevent cookies from sticking.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well (mixture will still be lumpy). I use a fork for this initial combining.
3. Then using an electric hand or stand-up mixer, beat wet mixture on MEDIUM setting for a couple minutes to thoroughly combine and produce a smooth batter without lumps. Set mixture aside.
4. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients (protein powder, almond flour, sugar, baking soda and salt). This step can be completed quickly by using food processor to sift. It’s quicker and less messy than traditional sifters. Plus, Alton Brown recommends it as seen in this discussion here.
3. Add sifted dry ingredients to wet mixture in 2 separate additions, again using electric hand mixer or stand-up mixer on MEDIUM setting to blend mixtures together. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula after each addition.
4. When batter is smooth with no visible lumps, stir in chocolate chips by hand.
5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and using the same spatula, spread mixture evenly in the pan.
6. Bake cookie bars in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cookies comes out clean. In my oven, the cookies required 19 minutes bake time. But times will vary based on your oven.


For best results allow cookies to cool at least 30 minutes in the pan before cutting or removing. Enjoy with a cold glass of almond milk.

Wisdom for the Day:
On this mountain the Lord of Armies will prepare for all people a feast with the best foods, a banquet with aged wines, with the best foods and the finest wines.
~Isaiah 25:6 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.

Stupid Easy Paleo Cran-Berry Sauce #WHOLE30 #Vegan #Raw

Stupid Easy Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

Stupid Easy Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

Today’s recipe continues our series of recipes based on a the HealthGrove study identifying the top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. In case you’ve missed any of the previous recipes from the series, you can find links for each at the bottom of this page, so be sure to check those out. In order to avoid missing any future posts and recipes, be sure to subscribe to Daily Beauty Wisdom. It’s quick and easy, and  you’re guaranteed to never miss a new DBW post. Simply enter your email address in the “subscribe here” box to sign up. A few minutes later, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Click the “confirmation” button in the email, and you’re done. Easy as that.

And now, the news, er I mean, the recipe. Today’s recipe is an easy, quick-to-prepare sauce that can be used to jazz up desserts or meats. It makes a lovely sweet and tangy counterpoint when served as a dipping sauce for well-seasoned grilled poultry or pork. And it’s my preferred accompaniment for my Paleo Brownies available here. This sauce features the fantastic and beautifying ingredient – cranberry juice (food #27 from the HealthGrove list). In case you hadn’t noticed, cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving anymore. Cranberry juice, in particular, is everywhere! And for good reason, not only is is this sweet+tart juice healthy (with impressive levels of Vitamin C and potassium in every cup), it plays really nicely with other fruits. Apparently all the juice makers are onto this fact as well because there’s a seemingly endless variety of cranberry juice combos available on the juice aisles of every grocery and health food store, as noted here by the indescribably fabulous Brian Regan:

This recipe works equally well with both frozen pitted cherries or frozen (or fresh) blueberries. Just be sure the berries you select have ZERO added sugar. Both berries provide tons of beautifying nutrients. Dark, tart cherries are a great source of Vitamin C, a key antioxidant (read more about the skin beautifying effects of antioxidants like Vitamin C here) and tummy-filling fiber. While blueberries are a bona fide superfood! They also provide Vitamin C, more than a 1/3 of your daily Vitamin K requirements per serving along with several forms of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are a group of good-for-you nutrients that include current beauty buzz-worthy antioxidants like quercitin, ferric acid and resveratol among others (Source1 and Source2).
• 5 dates, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight (see comment below)+++
• 12 oz. (about 2.5 cups) frozen unsweetened pitted cherries or unsweetened frozen blueberries, defrosted
• 1 cup pure (unsweetened) cranberry juice
• 1.5 Tbsp. chia seeds
• pinch iodized sea salt
• pinch ground allspice
• pinch pure Stevia extract, optional (do not use if doing #WHOLE30, see comment below)+++
• 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice (optional)

+++When doing #WHOLE30, it’s very important you get into the habit of checking the ingredient lists of any foods you plan to eat or use when cooking. Many dried fruits (including certain brands of dates) are processed with sulfites which are also not permitted for consumption during #WHOLE30, so be sure to check the dates before you purchase/use them. Stevia and sweeteners of all kinds are also not permitted when doing #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here and other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own #WHOLE30 journey or whenever you have questions or need some support.

• Measuring cups + spoons
• Powerful blender or food processor (I used the Nutribullet Pro 900)
• A large spoon or spoonula
• Mason jar or other preferred storage receptacle with lid

1. Drain dates and discard soaking liquid.
2. Place dates and all other ingredients into canister of blender or food processor. Place lid on canister and process on HIGH until sauce is very smooth and no chunks or pieces of ingredients are visible.
3. Remove lid and test for seasonings. Adjust to taste. You may want to add 1 Tbsp. or 2 of lemon juice (as noted below) if serving sauce with a savory dish. If you do adjust the seasonings, replace the lid and blend the sauce again briefly.
4. Then carefully (this will stain) pour sauce into a jar or bottle with a lid and cover. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe Notes:
• This recipe makes about 2.5 cups of sauce.
• Sauce will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
• I recommend adding 1-2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice if you plan on using this as a sauce or dip for savory dishes.
• As mentioned above, this sauce is my preferred accompaniment for my Paleo Brownies seen below:

Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce #WHOLE30 #Paleo #Vegan #Raw Also pictured: DBW Paleo Brownie #Paleo #Vegan

Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce #WHOLE30 #Paleo #Vegan #Raw Also pictured: DBW Paleo Brownie #Paleo #Vegan

Wisdom for the Day:
I spend a lot of time and blog space here at DBW discussing things that will be tasty and pleasing to the tongue, but I don’t often acknowledge the power of the tongue. Words are powerful! The following Proverb reminds us that the things we say have the power to bring life or death.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words. ~Proverbs 18:21 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.

Beauty Resource for the Day:
Ever hear dermatologists and other skin experts say you should reapply sunscreen every few hours, but think “okay but how the heck am I supposed to do that when I’ve already put my makeup on?” Well, Angie from Hot & Flashy has an answer, and a video tutorial, for that very question! Check it out as she enlightens us on the best ways to protect ourselves from the sun while maintaining previously applied cosmetics:

Check Out These Great Recipes from the (HealthGrove) Top 30 Foods for Beauty Series:
Presto Peachy Lime Vinaigrette #WHOLE30-compliant #Vegan #Paleo #Raw
Split Second Strawberry Vinaigrette #WHOLE30 Compliant (#raw, #paleo & #vegan)
Fix-It-And-Forget-It: Simply Beautiful Southern Greens Crockpot #WHOLE30 Compliant
Quick & Easy Paleo Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing #WHOLE30 Compliant
Chicken Tri-Almandine Casserole
WHOLE30 Stuffed Zucchini 2 Ways
Easy Cheezy Chicken & Broccoli Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons

Because Everybody’s Got One – The Daily Beauty Wisdom Paleo Brownie Recipe #Paleo #Vegan #JERF

Veganized Paleo Brownies Healthy Fudgy Deliciousness

Veganized Paleo Brownies
Healthy Fudgy Deliciousness

My family loves brownies. Loves. In fact “love” is probably not a strong enough word to describe Hubs’ deep and profound devotion. I think he even prefers brownies to cookies, which to me is downright un-American. But like a good little wife, I try to accommodate his preferences, at least occasionally. I haven’t done much baking since we did our first #WHOLE30 in April of this year (2016) because (as I’ve noted on a few occasions), we’ve been pretty successful at maintaining the #WHOLE30 lifestyle, even through some tempting and challenging situations.

But Hubs, in his wisdom, anticipated similar if not greater temptations arising when we were invited to a couple 4th of July potluck parties recently. So he suggested I create a paleo-correct brownie recipe we could bring along to those parties, “so I won’t be ‘forced’ to eat a bunch of unhealthy desserts.” Note his use of the word “forced,” as though one is obligated to eat 2 or 3 desserts at every party one attends. I tried to make the argument that he could actually attend the parties without indulging in any desserts, but that argument fell flat. And since we’re not currently doing #WHOLE30 (which would certainly preclude the consumption of even paleo-correct brownies), and because he’s such a wonderful husband, I figured baking a couple pans of brownies was the least I could do. And I set out in search of a paleo-correct brownie recipe I could live with.

Turns out there are many, many Paleo brownie recipes out there in Internet land! My recipe that follows is sort of a mash-up of several I found including this one from Civilized Caveman Cooking and this similar version from Paleo Grubs. The common ingredients are almond butter and cocoa powder (obv.), either honey or maple syrup, an egg or eggs, vanilla and leavening agents.


Because I find plain brownies to be a bit boring, I decided to mix it up a little and use 2 types of nut/seed butters.

Instead of using almond butter alone, I decided to try combining 2 butters as the brownie base. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate tahini into my recipes because #1 it tastes yummy (and is a great dupe for peanut butter which I still kinda miss). #2 It’s a single-ingredient food – containing nothing but sesame seeds. I’m a big believer in reading labels and ingredients lists. My stance is, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. And #3, sesame seeds have some really healthful nutrients like copper, magnesium and a surprising amount of calcium. I’ve been reading lots of articles (like this one and this one) lately urging me to eat more tahini and figured this was a great opportunity. I also elected not to melt the chocolate chips but rather to just stir a few into the mixture prior to baking. The resulting brownies have a nice textural balance somewhere between cakey and fudgey (denser and fudgier if veganized). And I’m relieved to report that you can’t really taste the banana at all (I was worried about that).

• 1 cup paleo-correct (unsweetened) almond butter
• 1 cup unsweetened Tahini (unhulled is best if you can find it)
• 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
• 1 very ripe banana, mashed
• 1 cup local honey or pure maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
• 1/2 cup pure dark cocoa powder (I like this one from Navitas Naturals)
• 1/2 tsp. iodized sea salt
• 1 tsp. baking soda (NOT baking powder)
• 3 large whole eggs, lightly beaten (or vegan egg substitute as noted below)
• 1/2 cup Cacao Nibs or Enjoy Life chocolate chips
• nonstick coconut oil spray (I used Pam Nonstick Coconut Oil Spray)


Daily Beauty Wisdom Vegan+Paleo Brownies Fudgy Chocolatey Awesomeness!

• Measuring cups + spoons
• Large + small mixing bowls
• 9 X 13″ baking dish or pan
• Electric hand or stand-up mixer
• Silicone spatula
1. Preheat oven to 340° (Fahrenheit, or 171° Celsius), and spray 9 X 13″ baking pan/dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Alternatively, you could oil the inside of the pan using a paper towel (coconut oil works best for this). If using egg substitute, prepare now and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine nut butters, vanilla and mashed banana. Stir until well-combined and mostly smooth. There will still be some lumps, and that’s okay. I used a sturdy fork to combine this part of the ingredients.
3. Fold in honey or syrup and beaten eggs (or egg substitute) and stir to combine.
4. In separate smaller mixing bowl, sift together cocoa powder, salt and baking soda until thoroughly blended with no lumps remaining.
5. Using a spatula, GENTLY fold cocoa mixture into wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.
6. Next using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer set on low, blend ingredients together for about 3 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl using the spatula.
7. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan/dish, and spread mixture out evenly in the dish or pan. Then place in preheated oven.
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes if you used eggs and for 40-45 if you used an egg substitute. I recommend testing for doneness using a toothpick or thin knife after shortest baking time (i.e., 35 min for egg recipe and 40 min for veganized recipe). Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting.

• My beef with brownies is that I find them to be too plain (versus cake which has icing/frosting and cookies which tend to have nuts and chips and other goodies mixed in). So I prefer serving these brownies with a sauce of some kind. And for that, I highly recommend this quick and delicious Stupid Easy Paleo Cran-cherry sauce (available here). It also makes for a much prettier (and more impressive) presentation when plated.

Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce #WHOLE30 #Paleo #Vegan #Raw Also pictured: DBW Paleo Brownie #Paleo #Vegan

Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce #Vegan #Paleo; DBW Paleo Brownie (with eggs) #Paleo #Primal #JERF #WHOLE30 #Grainfree #Dairyfree

• This recipe could easily be #vegan-zed by substituting ground flax or chia seeds for the 3 eggs as follows: Grind about 3 Tbsp. flax or chia seeds to produce 3 Tbsp. meal (you may end up with some extra meal left over). Then combine 3 Tbsp. ground flax or chia seed meal + 9 Tbsp. water. Allow mixture to sit (preferably in the refrigerator) for about 15 minutes before using in recipe. Click to read more here.

Whole Chia Seed & Coffee Grinder

Whole Chia Seed & Coffee Grinder

Combine 3 Tbsp. Ground Chia or Flax Seeds with 9 Tbsp. Water.

Combine 3 Tbsp. Ground Chia or Flax Seeds with 9 Tbsp. Water.

You could also use one of the egg replacement mixes available. Bob’s Red Mill makes one as does Ener-G but there are several others. I veganized the 2nd batch I baked of these brownies (using chia seed meal + water for egg substitute). I found the vegnized brownies were denser and fudgier than the brownies made with eggs (which were more cake-like in consistency). I actually preferred the veganized version. But take note, the veganized version did require extra baking time and may have a different texture.

Wisdom for the Day:
“My children, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” ~Proverbs 24:13-14 (English Standard Version) Read more here.

Beauty Resource for the Day:
In my never-ending quest to find and consume the best foods for beauty and anti-aging, I stumbled upon this slideshow from a few years back depicting the top foods to combat aging. There’ve been some controversies surrounding Dr. Oz since then (re product endorsements) but, his educational resources, like this one, have always been grounded in science and evidence-based research. Spoiler – you can check off #7 on the list after you prepare and eat a few of these #cleaneating brownies. Top ’em with my Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce, and you can check off #3 as well. What a delicious way to combat aging! Foods to Fight Aging from Dr. Oz.com

WHOLE30 Day #9 – You Say It’s Your Birthday

Happy and WHOLE(30) Birthday to Me!

Happy WHOLE(30) Birthday to Me! Let’s Celebrate with These Simply Delicious Date Treats!!!

… Well, it’s my birthday too. And as much as I’d like to dive in mouth-first to a great big birthday cake with 3″ of thick sugary buttercream frosting, I’m staying strong. Also, I’m pretty sure that the authors of WHOLE30 would not have a lot of sympathy for me and my birthday cravings. Still, I feel the need for a little treat to celebrate my special day. So I concocted this simple little treat using the following 3 (program approved) ingredients:

3 Simple Ingredients

3 Simple Ingredients

1. All natural almond butter (no sugar added)
2. Whole pitted dates, unsulphured+++
3. Unsweetened shredded coconut

The result tastes a bit like a coconut almond cookie or candy. It’s very sweet and very satisfying. You really only need one or two (at most) of these treats to really feel as though you’ve just enjoyed a delicious dessert. Good thing too, because according to WHOLE30 program rules, these kind of sweets should (for the most part) be avoided during the program. I reasoned that these little treats were acceptable this once because 1.) I used all approved ingredients (hopefully, see note below regarding dried fruit). 2.) I was not trying to recreate any specific naughty traditional dessert (e.g. these are NOT paleo pecan pie bars); and 3.) the healthy fat helps to blunt the impact of the sugar in the dates; and 4.) lastly because this type of small indulgence is important for me to remain motivated and enthusiastic about staying the WHOLE30 course.

If you’re interested in recreating my birthday treats, be forewarned, it can get a bit messy. But the results are deliciously worth it! So here’s the process:
1. Stir almond butter so it’s smooth and has a consistent texture.
2. Spoon several Tbsp. of almond butter into a plastic sandwich bag. Try to keep the butter closer to one bottom corner of the bag.
3. Refrigerate the almond butter baggie for at least an hour (this makes it easier to work with).
4. Place about 10 dates on a plate. TIP: Take out a few more than you expect to make. Invariably, a couple of the dates will be smushed and unusable for this recipe.
5. Snip one end of the plastic bag and roll the almond butter portion of the bag into as narrow a cone-like shape as possible.
6. Pipe the almond butter into each date, smoothing out any that leaks out.
7. Gently roll each date in coconut flakes and store in refrigerator.  Enjoy!

These delicious little treats are the perfect way to celebrate health with someone you love!

These delicious little treats are the perfect way to celebrate health with someone you love!

Thought for the Day:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
~Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Read more here.

+++ After posting this recipe, I read about approved and unapproved additives during WHOLE30 as I continued to educate myself on the program. I encourage anyone considering WHOLE30 to begin reading and researching the program rules and to familiarize yourself with the wealth of free info and tools available at the WHOLE30 website. Anyway, the dates I used in this recipe (e.g. Sunsweet brand) do not include sulfites on the ingredients list nor do the manufacturers indicate sulphites included during processing (even on the Sunsweet website because I looked). But neither the bag nor the website states the product is sulphite-free which is a pretty big selling point among dried fruits, so I’m left to wonder. Sulfites are definitely off limits during WHOLE30 so when in doubt, choose a brand that clearly states “unsulphured” or “sulphite-free.”

WHOLE30 Day#3 – The Struggle Is Real & the Search for Substitutes

The revised pop is the one on top :)

The revised pop is the one on top 🙂

Day #3 of our WHOLE30 process, and I’m feeling some ambivalence – sort of frustrated but still motivated to move forward. After yesterday’s foiled attempt to conceal my illegal coffee creamer consumption, I’ve decided to view this as a process and am no longer expecting perfection from myself. Not sure if that’s a cop-out or a wise perspective to adopt moving forward. Nevertheless, I’ve chosen to keep the coffee creamer for now, with all its artificial ingredients with the goal of giving up the creamer by the end of our WHOLE30 process.

I have decided instead to focus on finding a healthy and natural substitute for my beloved sugar-free tropical (artificially) flavored popsicles which are full of unpronounceable chemicals and dangerous food dyes. I recognize that according to the authors of It Starts with Food, would not recommend frequent consumption of fruit juice. However, to my mind, swapping out acesulfame potassium, locust bean gum, red and yellow dyes for pure unsweetened, unadulterated fruit juice seems a step in the right direction. Here’s what I did:

WHOLE30-ISH Juice Pops:

•2 cups unsweetened organic pineapple juice
•1 cup pure cranberry juice (check to ensure no added sugar or additives)
•2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Stir all liquids to combine and pour into a storage bottle (you will have extra liquid).
2. Lightly spray popsicle molds with coconut oil spray to prevent sticking and ensure easier removal.
3. Pour liquid into molds and insert sticks. Then simply pop the molds into the freezer for several hours or over night.
4. When frozen, allow the molds to sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before removing. Then place popsicles in freezer bag.

This recipe makes roughly 24 popsicles at about 17 calories per pop.

Wisdom of the Day:
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
~Proverbs 16:24 (NASB)
Read more here.

Recommended Resource for the Day:
Imperfectly Paleo

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Bars

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Bars

The finished cookie bar (yummy)

This recipe evolved out of my 2016 New Year’s resolution to decrease our consumption of processed grains, flour and sugar. But just because I’m trying to eat healthier carbs does NOT mean I’m willing to stop eating cookies! I strongly recommend you check out the brilliant recipe blog Chocolate Covered Katie . Katie’s recipes are fun and delicious. Her Sugar Free Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie inspired this recipe.

1/2 pitted dates
2/3 cup dried plums

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (about 3 cups), drained and rinsed very well
6 oz. unsweetened coconut flakes (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup liquid egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (preferably organic)
4 tsp. Stevia in the Raw (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup good quality miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (at least 70% chocolate)

1. Begin by placing dates and dried plums in a bowl and covering with filtered water. Soak for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9X13″ pan with nonstick spray (I like nonstick coconut oil spray)
3. Drain water from dried fruits but reserve at least 2 Tbsp. of soaking liquid. Drain garbanzo beans and rinse very well.
4. Place soaked fruits, beans, applesauce, egg whites and 2 Tbsp. soaking liquid in food processor. Pulse on low speed until roughly smooth and combined.
5. Add the next 4 ingredients and process again on low until very smooth.
6. Scoop the mixture into prepared pan then sprinkle the chocolate chips over top the mixture. Gentle stir to spread the ships throughout the batter. Spread the
batter evening throughout pan and place in middle of preheated oven.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are browned and middle is set. Allow to cool before cutting.

(per bar, 1/20 recipe)
Calories: 136 calories
Fat: 5 grams fat
Fiber: 3.7 grams fiber
Digestible Carbs: 17.6 grams
Sodium: 263 mg. sodium
Protein: 4.24 grams protein

(Recipe Total)
Calories: 2719
Fat: 100.8 grams
Fiber: 73.4 grams
Digestible Carbs: 351.5 grams
Sodium: 5,261.8 mg
Protein: 84.7 grams

Wishing you and your family a beautifully wise 2016!

Wishing you and your family a beautifully wise 2016!

Hi I'm Karen.

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