This recipe proves that there’s a healthy way to have chocolate for breakfast

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Photos: Botanica

Thanks to unicorn everything, breakfast is starting to regain a little bit of its childhood magic—you know, back when cereals in wildly artificial colors were the only thing that could get you out of bed in the morning. (Other than a new episode of Saved By The Bell, that is.)

But let’s get real: As fun as it is to mix elaborate pastel spreads for your toast, it’s not always possible to make an Insta-worthy breakfast when you’re rushing to work.

Los Angeles-based chefs Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer have figured out a simpler, yet still healthy, way to bring some of those fourth-grade vibes into your busy weekday mornings: cacao coconut granola. The mineral- and antioxidant-rich concoction is currently on the menu at their new Silver Lake restaurant and market, Botanica, which just debuted (along with its own companion culinary e-zine).

“Packed with cacao powder and nibs, and sweetened only with honey, it’s an excellent energy booster.”

“We love this granola because it’s an awesome, wholesome excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast,” says Sperling. It’s also super-energizing (without any accompanying sugar crash), thanks to the fact that the only sweetener in it is honey. Just ask the chef: “We’ve been sustaining ourselves throughout the insanity of our restaurant opening with handfuls of it nearly every hour, on the hour.”

The duo likens their creation to grown-up Cocoa Puffs, so it makes sense that they’d dish it up it in an elevated way, too. “At Botanica, we serve the granola with house-made cashew-date milk, organic cow’s milk, or sheep’s-milk yogurt…

Good-for-you chocolate chip recipes for National Chocolate Chip Day

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day (There’s also a National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on Aug. 4, if you’re keeping track of such things), so we figured that was as good a reason as any to spotlight a few of the healthier chocolate cookie choices on shelves.

Not surprisingly, that’s much easier said than done.

It’s pretty much impossible to find a truly healthy cookie on store shelves – real cookies – not protein bars flavored or shaped like cookies. We’re not saying they’re not out there; they’re not in the many New Orleans grocery stores that we visited.

Plenty are marketed-as-better-for-you chocolate chip cookies, however, but each has its drawbacks:

The seemingly diabetes-friendly Murray’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are still essentially just white flour and artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium and sucralose) – and cookie-for-cookie, they’re about the same calories and carbs as a Chips Ahoy cookie, which has 160 calories and 22g carbs for three cookies.

Vegan chocolate chip cookies may look promising, like those by the Alternative Baking Company, but feature white flour, sugar and a host of other not-exactly-nutritious-yet-still-vegan ingredients, such as potato starch, salt and an oil blend. And the stats for each are staggering: 460 calories and 34 grams of sugar in a single cookie.

Another vegan cookie showing up more often on stores shelves is Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie with “baked nutrition” (whatever that means). Labeled as non-GMO with no dairy, no soy and no egg, each vegan cookie crams in 360 calories and 28 grams of added sugar. With more than a day’s worth of sugar, these aren’t much better than the Alternative Baking Company.

I was hopeful when I saw Munk Pack’s Gluten-Free Protein Cookie (available online), as it has more protein (9 grams) than sugar (8 grams). Problem is, each cookie is two servings – which translates to 16 grams of sugar (and 380 calories) for a single cookie. But of the brands and stats I’ve seen so far, this is among the better of the options. They’re individually packaged, too, which helps with portion control.

Build a better (for you) mac and cheese

A step-by-step guide to build a better mac and cheese, plus 3 nutritious pre-packaged options and 3 good-for-you recipes

I’ve run across two store-bought chocolate chip cookies that are a little better in terms of carbs, calories and sugar: Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies, both at natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods Market.

Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with a blend of refined and whole grain spelt flour (spelt is a gluten-containing grain that can be easier for some people to digest, compared to traditional wheat), with no sugar added. Sweetened with maltitol, each crispy cookie has just 60 calories, 0 sugar, and 5.5 grams of net carbs.

Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies are more like cookie dough than baked cookies – and you’ve got to like coconut. Gluten free and vegan, these grain-free “cookies” are made with coconut, agave, chocolate chips, almond flour, and coconut oil. Each cookie bite has 100 calories, 8 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar. Our informal group of taste testers agreed that they could do the trick to satisfy a hankering for a chocolate chip cookie.

5 ways to build a better, healthier Eggs Benedict

Five easy ways to build a better-for-you Eggs Benedict, plus a recipe for the delicious and nutritious Smoked Salmon Benedict from The Ruby Slipper.

We couldn’t find just what we were looking for on shelves, so we tested out a batch of recipes, and narrowed it down to the three below so we could build a better chocolate chip cookie ourselves.

All are made with little or no added sugar and fiber-rich whole grains, flours or legumes; all three are gluten-free, and one is vegan….

4 Plant-Based Gluten-Free Recipes for a Springtime Meatless Monday

Sorghum pesto salad
Image care of Blissful Basil

We’re positively giddy over all of the delicious spring produce at our farmers markets right now, and we’re having so much fun trying to find new and exciting ways to serve it up. These meatless recipes don’t just feature spectacular spring veggies like peas, spring onion, and asparagus, but they’re also gluten-free, so you can share them with all of your family and friends, no matter their dietary choices and restrictions – and especially on Meatless Monday.

Sorghum is a great alternative to bulgur wheat that’s gluten-free and high in fiber. In this recipe from Blissful Basil, it forms the base for a yummy salad made with an omega-rich hempseed pesto. Arugula adds a peppery bite to the pesto – and the salad – while sweet currants bring a welcome note of sweetness.

Minted Spring Green Peas Paté

image via Shutterstock

This vegan pâté

Missing Breakfast is Not Good For You! Here Are 10 Best Breakfast Foods and Quick Recipes For a Good Morning

Delicious food

Chances are, you have heard someone tell you not to skip breakfast. This is usually followed with, “it’s the most important meal of the day!” But when you slept through your alarm and you need to wash your hair, finding five minutes to get dressed beats finding five minutes to grab something to eat. Sure, you will hear your stomach growling before you get to work or class, but it’s no big deal, right? You can just eat a big lunch and you’ll be fine. Well it turns out that isn’t the case. In fact, skipping breakfast can lead to more than hunger. According to one study, men who skip breakfast increase their risk of heart attack by nearly 30% [1]. And women who skipped their first meal of the day put themselves at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about 54%.

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But even if you know how important breakfast is, we live in a fast-paced world. Often times, there just doesn’t seem to be any room to make a meal when you first wake up. And going through a drive through or getting one of those suspicious breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks usually leaves you with more guilt than nutrition. So you go without. This seems like a smart move. After all, if you eat nothing, it’s better than eating something fattening or sugary probably. Well, that’s a myth, too!

Why you need to eat breakfast.

You’ll gain weight if you skip breakfast.

Though it can be tempting to skip breakfast due to a lack of time, appetite or options, skipping breakfast can actually lead to weight gain, not loss. This seems completely unfair, I know. But skipping breakfast makes your body freak out and crave sugary and fatty foods to compensate for the lack of nutrients. Therefore, when you do eat, you’re probably not going for that salad covered in vegetables. Because your hunger level is so high, you’ll be more likely to eat a lot, and none of it will be especially healthy. Before you know it, this habit of skipping breakfast and having an unhealthy lunch results in a shopping trip for bigger pants.

You’ll be “hangry.”

Hangry: A bad mood caused by hunger.

We’ve all been there. When you’re hungry, you get frustrated. When you don’t eat, your energy levels dwindle, causing everything to seem like more of a chore. In summary, EAT.

One study found that men who ate breakfast had a more positive mood than those who skipped. When you skip the most important meal of the day, your blood sugar drops suddenly which can lead to irritability, fatigue and even headaches. And if you’re sitting at school or work with a headache and an empty stomach, it doesn’t take long before you hate the world. Eating regularly helps to support a good attitude. So do yourself, and those around you a favor and don’t skip breakfast [2].

You put your heart at risk by skipping breakfast.

Skipping breakfast may not feel like a big deal. After all, you ate dinner. But when you sleep, your body goes into fasting mode. Therefore, when you wake up, you need to reset your metabolism and hormones by ingesting healthy food. Prolonged fasting, like that done during sleep, leads to increased blood pressure and cholesterol. This decreases the concentration of HDL-cholesterol. What do all these medical terms mean? It means you’re setting yourself up for heart disease….

Fiesta! 18 Recipes For Your Cinco De Mayo Feast

Who doesn’t love Cinco de Mayo? It’s a day dedicated to all our favorite Mexican foods: guac, tacos, enchiladas, salsa, flan, margaritas, and more. Whether you prefer the classic dishes or want to try something new, everything you need for your south-of-the-border spread is on this list.

This recipe is really three stand-alone dishes in one: an easy grilled chicken recipe you’ll put on repeat all summer long; a creamy and spicy yet cooling green sauce; and foolproof quinoa. The toppings are up to you – fresh corn, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, or whatever your heart desires. GET THE RECIPE

Unlike most salsas, which are raw, the vegetables in this recipe are roasted — intensifying the flavor of the tomatoes, mellowing the onions and garlic, and adding a light touch of smokiness. Warning: It’s highly addictive. GET THE RECIPE

My whole family loves these chicken enchiladas. They take a bit of time to make — but the good news is that you can make the sauce and filling ahead of time, and then assemble and bake the enchiladas later for a quick weeknight meal. GET THE RECIPE

While traditional guacamole is made with raw onions, this updated version is made with roasted garlic, which has just as much flavor and none of the unpleasant aftertaste. Always a crowd-pleaser! GET THE RECIPE

These are my kids’ all-time favorite tacos — they’re healthier than traditional beef tacos, and just as good, if not better. GET THE RECIPE

Skip the Velveeta: from-scratch queso is so much better! This version — made from fresh jalapeños, Cheddar and Pepper Jack — is rich, creamy and dangerously addictive. GET THE RECIPE

These fajitas are easy to make. All the prep is done ahead of time, so all…

Vegetarian Tacos (Two Ways)

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, these vegetarian tacos are the perfect recipe to help keep you fueled as you dance the night away! As farmers, markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) are kicking back into full swing it is the perfect time to start incorporating all of the gorgeous vegetables coming from the farm to our table.

If you want it even healthier, try serving the filling in wrapped collard greens; it is still delicious and just perfect for a healthy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (184 g) tri-color, white, or red quinoa
  • Pico de Gallo mix
    • 2 avocados
    • 2 on the vine tomatoes
    • ½ white onion
    • 1 jalapeno
    • ½ cup fresh cut cilantro
    • 1 juice of a lime
    • Pinch of salt and pepper for taste
  • Cilantro Lime Crema:
    • 1 cup of Siggis plain yogurt
    • 1 juice of a lime
    • ½ cup of fresh cut cilantro
    • Pinch of salt and pepper for taste
  • Wrap
    • Corn tortilla
    • Collard greens

Directions:

Quinoa:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove quinoa from the stove, place in a bowl and set to the side 

Pico de Gallo Mix:

  1. Dice avocado, onion, tomato and jalapeno (I used a dicer to create even size throughout) and add to bowl once each item has been diced
  2. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture
  3. Add cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper for taste
  4. Toss mixture
  5. Place in fridge for a half hour

Cilantro Lime Crema:

  1. In a blender add yogurt, lime juice and cilantro – blend until a smooth consistency is smooth
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, blend for 30 seconds
  3. Pour into a jar or sealable container that easy to pour or drizzle

Wrap: (if opting for corn tortilla)

  1. Set your stove top to medium heat and drizzle olive oil in your pan
  2. Place tortilla’s one at a time based on pan size for 30 seconds on each side to create a warm and crispy tortilla

Assembly:

  1. Using a spoon scoop one spoonful of quinoa onto each shell
  2. Add one two scoops of Pico de Gallo mix
  3. Drizzle or pour the desired cilantro lime crema mix inside or over your tacos
  4. If desired squeeze fresh lime and top with extra cilantro

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 – 25 mins

Corn Tortilla
Serving Size: 4 people (3 tacos per person)
Calories: 350 per serving

Collard Greens
Serving Size: 4 people (3 tacos per person)
Calories: 200

 

9 Spring Salads You’ll Want to Dive Into (Really)

Now that spring is in full swing, eating salad is so much more fun thanks to the plethora of fresh, bright produce. From Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing to French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese, these crazy-good recipes will satisfy all your spring salad cravings.

This recipe was inspired by the popular Thai Crunch Salad served at California Pizza Kitchen. It’s made with crisp Napa cabbage, crunchy vegetables and edamame but it’s the creamy peanut dressing that makes it so good; I guarantee you’ll want to put it on everything! GET THE RECIPE

Fragrant spices, bright colors, sweet and savory flavors — this Moroccan salad is a feast for the senses. It’s an exotic twist on the classic carrot-raisin salad, yet you won’t need any hard-to-find ingredients to make it. The magic is made with spices you already have in your spice cabinet. GET THE RECIPE

Fresh berries make an elegant addition to this salad of baby spinach, pecans and goat cheese. The fruity and tart raspberry vinaigrette enhances the flavor…

6 Healthy Recipes For When You Barely Have Time to Cook

I enjoy eating steak every so often as long as there is twice as much veg on my plate as meat. This recipe gets that ratio right, a modest amount of super flavorful steak with a skillet full of everything I want to be eating this time of year: asparagus, scallions, and peas.

Alex Lau

At the end of my long days in the Bon Appétit test kitchen, I typically pull together dinner for my wife and me (i.e., cook all over again). What I usually crave at the end of a day spent trying virtually every dish made in the Test Kitchen, is fresh salad. Yet I can’t expect my wife to high-five me for putting some lettuce on a plate. The mix of textures and flavors in this fattoush hits the sweet spot between not-too-much work and very-friggin-delicious.

I love making…

Just One Bite of this Vegan Chocolate Caramel Bar Will Make You Feel Divine

Vegan Chocolate Caramel Bar
Image via Minimalist Baker

Golden gooey caramel is encased in rich layers of dark chocolate, combining to create the perfect dessert. With only five ingredients, this dairy-free vegan chocolate caramel bar couldn’t be any easier to make!

This chocolate recipe uses our vegan caramel sauce for its sweet and chewy center. The key ingredient in vegan caramel is Medjool dates. Medjool dates are not only naturally sweet but also have the perfect gooey texture for making caramel.

Chocolate Caramel Bar Nutrition

Medjool dates are also an ingredient you won’t feel guilty about eating. Medjool dates are an excellent source of many minerals and vitamins. Particularly, they are rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin A, and zinc. Dates are also a great source of fiber which will help sustain you and prevent blood sugar levels from rising.

The dark chocolate in this recipe is also healthy, especially…

Vegan Zucchini Chocolate Cake

What you’ll need:

Cake:

  • 280g shredded zucchini
    150g coconut oil
    260g spelt whole wheat flour
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp baking powdrer
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp unsweetended cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

Chocolate topping:

  • 150 g dark vegan chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 200 g coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  2. Wash, peel and shred zucchini
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the cake
  4. Line the baking form with parchement paper
  5. Evenly spread the cake mixture in the baking form
  6. Let it bake for 20-30 minutes (Tip: Use a toothpick & insert it into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to be taken out oft he oven)
  7. Let the chocolate melt over low heat, then add the coconut milk and oil and stir together until well combined
  8. When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool down completely – then evenly spread the chocolate topping, leave it to set and cut the cake into squares.
  9. Enjoy! ?

Jessica Sepel’s Guilt-Free Hot Cross Bun Recipe

hot cross bun, healthy recipes, Jessica Sepel, wellness, Easter

We don’t know about you, but we can’t go without a hot cross bun (or five) when Easter rolls around. But this year, instead of turning to bakeries, grocery stores and supermarkets for your fix, why not whip up a batch of Jessica Sepel’s healthy-ish hot cross buns? They’re made with almond meal, coconut flour and a few other good-for-you ingredients like cinnamon and dark chocolate, so you can indulge guilt-free. Serve them with coconut butter, or if you’re a true chocoholic, with an organic chocolate hazelnut spread.

Easter is a season filled with yummy family meals and treats! In fact, the holiday is practically dedicated to baskets filled with chocolatey, sugary indulgences. If you are health conscious, there’s no need to deprive yourself during this time. Enjoy these divine hot cross buns instead. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free with a hint of spice and zesty citrus. Plus, they’ve got the most amazing dark chocolate finishing touch—enjoy! says Jessica Sepel.

Healthy Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Makes: 8

Ingredients:
2…

The Perfect Paleo Waffle

When Saturday and Sunday roll around, I love waking up and making waffles; they are my favorite weekend treat. Having little bite-sized pieces makes my sense of creativity feel endless- from dipping it in dark chocolate to adding a variety of fruit to my new favorite or sprinkling any type of nut spread. My current obsession is any nut butter from Wild Friends. If you have not heard of Wild Friends, I suggest checking them out my favorites are Chocolate Almond Butter, Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter.

These are the only flavors I have tried and I LOVE them all so much, I simply cannot choose between them. If you have not had Wild Friends, I suggest trying them and letting us know which flavor is YOUR favorite. If you have, can you give us suggestions as to which flavor we should try next?!

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup coconut or nut milk
  • 1 cup gluten free flour (substitutes; almond or brown rice)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • Pinch of salt for taste

Toppings:

  • Wild Friends Chocolate Almond Butter
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat the waffle iron
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and milk or choice
  • Add in flour and pinch of salt. Combine until smooth, once smooth add in the coconut oil
  • Whisk egg whites for roughly one minute
  • Combine egg whites and batter until smooth
  • Add maple syrup, mix well
  • Scoop desired amount onto a preheated and greased waffle iron
  • Cook until golden

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 – 15 mins
Total Time: 20 – 25 mins
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 320

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