Nourishing Chocolate Turtles

Chocolate, caramel, nutty chewiness-ahh, the pure joy of a chocolate turtle!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m thinking all things chocolate-including my nourishing chocolate turtles!

healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat

Now, I can’t take all of the credit. This past Christmas, my aunt made something very similar and I was amazed! Essentially refined sugar free, these turtles contain whole pecan halves, pureed dates, and dark chocolate to make the perfect after-dinner sweet-fix.

livebetterwithkatdetter.com

Healthier Desserts and Intuitive Eating?
These little dessert bites are refined sugar free and loaded with fiber and antioxidants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something with a little more sugar on occasion, too! With intuitive eating, you use gentle nutrition to guide your food choices based on what makes your body FEEL its best. Personally, I feel my best when I eat whole foods and low amounts of refined sugars, but I definitely enjoy a double dark chocolate fudge brownie from time to time. 🙂 Read all about intuitive eating here. It is 100% okay to choose a “healthier” choice for dessert…it all boils down to your relationship with food and your reasoning for food choices. 

Why Dates:
Dates are a great way to naturally sweeten your baked goods, energy bites, oatmeal, or just to treat your sweet tooth.

While these babies are perfect to satisfy a sweet craving, they are also very nutritious. Dates are good sources of fiber and antioxidants, making them great for digestion and fighting against chronic diseases. I recommend buying the medjool dates because they have a better texture and flavor than other pre-packaged pitted dates. PSA: Aldi has GREAT prices on medjool dates 🙂 

On to the recipe!

healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat

Healthier Chocolate Turtles

  • Servings: 18-20 turtles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
18 Medjool dates (soak in warm water for 30 minutes)
warm water to thin (use as needed, about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves (~50 pecan half pieces)
3 ounces dark chocolate (or any other chocolate you like)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Soak dates in warm water for at least 30 minutes. This will help soften the dates making them easier to puree.
  2. Remove the pit from the dates. Add pitted dates to high powered blender or food processor.
  3. Add warm water (as needed, using a little at a time), cinnamon and vanilla. Puree dates until smooth yet sticky consistency. *you want the puree to be thick so you can spoon on top of pecan halves. Set aside.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    Puree dates, pecan halves, dark chocolate
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place clusters of pecans down (2 or 3 pecan halves per turtle).
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the date mixture on top of the pecan clusters. Once dates are on top of pecans, freeze for at least 30 minutes.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    2-3 pecan halves clustered with 1 tablespoon date puree on top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes
  6. While dates are freezing, melt chocolate. In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and coconut oil. Melt in microwave at 30 second intervals (stirring in between to prevent burning) until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    Top with melted dark chocolate or any other chocolate you prefer
  7. Remove pecans + dates from freezer. Spoon/drizzle dark chocolate ontop of each cluster. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

*Note: these turtles store well in the freezer! Make a batch and freeze for later day when you want a sweet treat!

What a perfect way to treat your Valentine (or Galentine)! No matter what dessert you choose to celebrate with, take time to enjoy this special time with your loved ones.

Join the “Mindful Nutrition” fam!  Subscribe here! 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
IG: @mindful.eating.dietitian

Peanut Butter Granola (Refined Sugar Free + Gluten Free +Vegan)

Do you love granola?? I do! It’s one of my favorite foods to have at breakfast in a smoothie or yogurt parfait. And what’s better?? It’s so easy and affordable to make.

If one of your goals is to make more foods from scratch, meal prep/plan, or just cook more at home, this peanut butter granola recipe NEEDS to be on your list. I know I have shared lots of granola recipes on here, but trust me. This one is the best yet!

IMG-5679

Lots of store bought granola’s can be high in fat and sugar. This recipe uses 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to help bind the ingredients to make a good, chunky granola (they’re my fave!). Other fat sources are found in natural peanut butter–a heart healthy fat to keep your hormones happy and your body fueled for the day. Instead of traditional granulated sugar, I use maple syrup and monk fruit sweetener. The maple syrup also adds a binding agent to the granola ensuring we get those chunks we want!

Why Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Have you ever heard of monk fruit? Since the Keto Diet emerged, monk fruit sweetener has been “on trend” because research shows it does not spike blood sugar like table sugar, making it a good alternative sweetener for those with diabetes, PCOS, or other chronic diseases. According to Michigan State University, monk fruit sweetener is derived from a southeast Asian fruit called “luo han gu” and is chemically processed (usually combined with eryitritol) to form a calorie free sugar alternative. Like stevia, monk fruit sweetener is a lot sweeter than regular cane sugar, so you can use less in a recipe (although most packaging companies state monk fruit has a 1:1 ratio with table sugar).

**Disclaimer: While I do like using naturally derived sweeteners (like maple syrup, honey, stevia, sugar alcohols, monk fruit, etc) because I can use less in a recipe compared to table sugar, I also believe that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle when not used in excess. I would not recommend someone use any of these alternatives in excess but to focus more on whole, natural, plant based foods.

Now onto the recipe! 
This peanut butter granola recipe is comparable to my favorite store bought brand, but I like making granola from scratch because it’s economical, easy, and minimal ingredients.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you do not have monk fruit sweetener, no fear! Use 1/3-1/2 cup of maple syrup (instead of 1/4 cup) to give the granola the sweetness + binding factor for the chunky granola
  • Feel free to use any oil you have on hand–I like using coconut or avocado oil (high smoke point to decrease production of free radicals).
  • To make granola chunky: Pack the granola into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on parchment paper lined sheet pan. If the granola is not packing well, you may need to add more maple syrup or coconut oil. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes, take out of oven and allow to cool completely. This is a crucial step to make the granola chunks.
  • Additional add ins: Once granola is cooled, you may add any toppings you like! Some ideas:
    • dark chocolate chips
    • raisins (or any dried fruit)
    • chia seeds
    • nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc)
    •  freeze dried fruit (like strawberries or apples)
  • To make a complete & balanced meal, add granola to protein smoothie bowls, Greek yogurt parfaits, or protein oats.

IMG-5681

Peanut Butter Granola

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (or 1/3-1/2 cup of not using monk  fruit)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add oats. Set aside.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, add cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, peanut butter, monk fruit, and maple syrup. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until smooth–OR heat over stove top.
4. Pour peanut butter mixture over oats and coat well.
5. Pour granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. For chunks, press granola into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.
6. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Allow granola to cool completely (1 hour).
8. Break granola into chunks and store in air tight container.
9. Enjoy!

 

What is your favorite flavor of granola? Let me know in the comments section! As always, tag me on IG @balanced.nutrition.dietitian if you try!

Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @balanced.nutrition.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

 

Sources:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/sweetener-stevia-monk-fruit-sweeteners

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Happy Holiday Season!

This is my favorite time of the year for many reasons…cooler weather, colorful leaves, fun outdoor activities, holiday baking, festive flavors…

This recipe is no exception! Combining two things I love the most: pumpkin and dark chocolate! Pumpkin is still in full swing in the Detter household, and today I’m sharing my Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Tahini Cookie recipe.

Essentially, this recipe is like my original Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe except I substitute pumpkin puree in place of smashed banana. Pumpkin puree and banana can be used in recipes to swap out oil. Banana adds an extra sweetness to the cookie while pumpkin gives the cookie a little more flavor–which is perfect for this time of the year!

Nutrition Benefits?
Dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant, tahini is a heart healthy fat, oatmeal and almond flour adds extra vitamins + minerals + fiber, and pumpkin is rich in beta carotene (an antioxidant) making these cookies a wholesome + nourishing treat for the whole family to enjoy. Make as your Thanksgiving dessert or keep around the house during this holiday season! See full video tutorial below.

 

 

FULL Printable Recipe Below

IMG_5463

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Tahini Cookies

  • Servings: 22 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup (pure)
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a mixing bowl, add oat flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, add egg (or sub flax egg if vegan), maple syrup, tahini, and pumpkin puree. Mix well.
4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, scoop cookie dough onto cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
8. Enjoy!

Baking is one of my all time favorite ways to get in the holiday spirit. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments section or on social media!

Be sure to tag me on social media in all of your creations using #livebetterwithkatdetter or @live.better.with.katdetter.

If you’d like to receive my FREE Monthly Wellness Newsletters, subscribe here! 

*What is this Monthly Newsletter? Every month is different, but they are all nutrition based and wellness oriented including in season foods, past relevant blog posts, fun food finds, and spiritual insight. 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
IG: @live.better.with.katdetter

 

Vegan Raspberry Tart

Who else love the fresh flavors of raspberry + lemon? You know I do!

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Tart
Vegan Raspberry Lemon Tart

 

This is a dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free raspberry tart that is really simple to make with minimal ingredients that your whole family will enjoy.

I’ve tried several “vegan cheesecake” type of desserts before, and I have to say…the cashew base is definitely my favorite. I’ve tried full fat coconut cream and coconut milk, but the cashew base is the creamiest.

Vegan Raspberry Tart.png

Tag me in your creations!

 

 

Vegan Raspberry Tart

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

*Note: for best results, soak raw cashews in water for at least 4 hours.

**Note: keep coconut milk room temperature and only use the separated cream, not liquid

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup English Walnuts
  • 10 Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon

Directions: 

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Grease sides of pan with coconut oil.
    IMG-4666
  2. In a high powered blender, add English walnuts, dates and lemon and blend until crumbly crust texture. Add more/less lemon juice as needed to help incorporate ingredients.
  3. Press crust mixture onto lined spring form pan. Set in freezer while the filling is mixed.
    IMG-4667

IMG-4668

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of raw cashews, soaked *
  • 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk **
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 fresh lemon

Directions:

  1. In a high powered blender, add soaked cashews, maple syrup, coconut milk, salt, coconut oil and lemon. Blend until very smooth.
  2. Bring crust out of freezer and add filling on top.
  3. Put tart back in refrigerator for 4 hours, or until the tart is set and firm.

Topping ingredients:

  • 3 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Directions: 

  1. Add raspberries and maple syrup to a saucepan and bring to a boil, continuously stirring to not burn.
    IMG-4674

IMG-4673

  • Allow to cool slightly. Pour over tart. Put in freezer for ~5-10 minutes.
    IMG-4677
  • Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

All photos were captured by the fabulous Courtney Haas with Courtney Haas Photography. 

Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @balanced.nutrition.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

 

Triple Berry Cobbler (Refined Sugar & Flour FREE)

It’s berry season! Which means strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are typically on sale at the grocery store every.single.week and this makes me very happy!

IMG-3782

In the hot summer months, I have the luxury of owning blueberry bushes–so I can stock up on a bunch for the year! However, around this time every year, my frozen blueberry stash depletes…and I have to buy frozen or fresh at the grocery store. Luckily for me they’ve been on sale lately!

Berries are rich in antioxidants which battle the “free radicals” in the body to fight off the development of inflammation + chronic disease. Berries are also a good source of polyphenols (a naturally occurring chemical found in plants)–more specifically anthocyanins (blue/purple pigmentation in plants), micro nutrients and fiber. Studies have shown that these components are associated with improved cardiovascular health with “improved LDL oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism”. 1

There are endless ways to enjoy berries!

  • Fruit Salad
  • Homemade Fruit Salsa served with Cinnamon Pita Chips
  • Mixed Berry Smoothie
  • Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfait
  • Berries to top off an Ice Cream Sundae for dessert
  • Mixed Greens Salad + Berries
  • Berry Muffins
  • Berry Pancakes/Waffles (adding berries to the batter)
  • Banana-Berry Oatmeal 
  • Add on top of cereal
  • Eat on its own!

While berries are very enjoyable on their own, I love adding them to baked goods! Below you will find my refined sugar FREE Triple Berry Cobbler using only 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup in the whole.entire.thing to sweeten it up! Use whatever berry combination you like–I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. This will be the PERFECT patriotic dessert for Independence Day coming up!

  • Other Berry Options:
    • Raspberries
    • Acai Berries
    • Boysenberry
    • Elderberry
    • Black Raspberry
    • Mulberry

 

Triple Berry Cobbler

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3.5 cups Berries of choice (I used strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons PURE Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons Flax Seed, ground
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash and chop strawberries. Rinse blueberries and blackberries. Add berries to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add cornstarch, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract and lemon juice to berries. Stir to combine well.
  4. Add berry filling to a greased baking dish. Set aside.
  5. In a high powered blender, add in all the crumble topping ingredients and blend until “crumbly” texture.
  6. Sprinkle crumble topping on top of berry filling. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until berries are bubbly.
  7. Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes to allow juices to thicken.
  8. Serve as is, with some vanilla ice cream, or whipped topping!

 

What are your favorite ways to enjoy berries?? Let me know!

 

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

References:
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068482/

“Un-Cheese” Dip (Without the Cheese!)

Cheese is one of my favorite things (next to chocolate), and I probably eat some form of cheese most days of the week…cheddar, feta, mozzarella, bleu…I love them all!

One thing my husband and I love to do is order queso at a Mexican restaurant…I have no self control! We don’t do this very often, but when we do, I eat too much and usually feel bloated, wishing I had enjoyed it in moderation versus licking the bowl…

While I am not vegan, I do enjoy switching out animal based foods with plant based foods wherever I can! This recipe uses raw cashews, nutritional yeast, peppers, and tahini to create a similar alternative to dairy cheese dip.

IMG-3953

What’s Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a vegetarian dietary supplement rich in vitamin B-12 with a faint cheesy flavor–similar to Parmesan. It is a single-cell organism grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to make the yeast inactive (meaning it has no leavening properties).  According to the USDA Nutrition Database, 1/4 cup serving contains 60 calories, 8 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals including iron, niacin, vitamin B 12, and other B vitamins. Nutritional yeast is one of the few plant-based sources containing vitamin B 12 without fortification.

IMG-3948.JPG

What I love about this dip?

A typical serving of traditional queso at a restaurant is 2 tablespoons with 60 calories, 4 grams of fat (mostly saturated fat), 3 grams of protein and no fiber.

Traditional Queso Nutrition Facts (according to MyFitnessPal)

Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Calories 60
Total Fat 4 g
Sodium 200 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2 g
   Fiber 0 g
   Sugar 2 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A: 2%   Calcium: 8%

IMG-3954

My “Un-Cheese” Vegan Cheese Dip has just 64 calories per 1/2 cup serving with 3 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated, heart healthy fats), 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber. What a nutritional win!

  “Un-Cheese” Nutrition Facts (Tracked in MyFitnessPal)

Servings: 8 servings Serving Size: ½ cup
Calories 64
Total Fat 3 g
Sodium 149 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8 g
    Fiber 1 g
    Sugar 2 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A: 9%   Vitamin C: 20%   Calcium: 3%   Iron: 5%

 

You can eat over twice the amount of traditional queso when swapping to “Un-Cheese” dip with less saturated fat, sodium and more fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron. It’s a nutritional win!

You can get the full PRINTABLE recipe below. Make sure you tag me @livebetterwithkatdetter in you creations!

 

Un-Cheese Dip

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1-4 ounce jar of pimentos
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs tahini
  • 1 can (15 ounce) of Rotel (I use mild because my palate is weak) 🙂
  • 2 cups of water, divided

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews in 1/2 cup of water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. After cashews have been soaked, add them to a high powered blender with pimentos, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, cornstarch, lemon juice, tahini, Rotal, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add mixture to a sauce pan and simmer for ~10 minutes until un-cheese gets bubbly and thick.
  5. Serve with fresh veggies or your favorite dipping chip! Would also be good on salads and tacos.
  6. Enjoy!

 

I hope you love this dip as much as I do! While enjoying “the real stuff” is good every now and then, finding healthier, more nutrient dense options THAT TASTE GOOD is the way to go.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

 

References:
  1. Ndb.nal.usda.gov. (2019). Food Composition Databases Show Foods — LARGE FLAKE NUTRITIONAL YEAST, UPC: 039978025463. [online] Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45360902 [Accessed 6 Jun. 2019].
  2. Myfitnesspal.com. (2019). Calorie Chart, Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food | MyFitnessPal | MyFitnessPal.com. [online] Available at: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/mexican-cheese-dip-441450166 [Accessed 6 Jun.
  3. Myfitnesspal.com. (2019). Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal | MyFitnessPal.com. [online] Available at: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/view/67379228593837 [Accessed 6 Jun. 2019].