Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk

Creamy, lightly sweet, and so satisfying—homemade almond milk is very tasty! It is kind of a luxury because it is a little expensive and, obviously, more time consuming than just grabbing it off the grocery store shelf! However, it really is decadent…almost like a dessert!!!

My favorite flavor combo is a whole vanilla bean, combined with two Medjool dates, cinnamon, and a dash of sea salt. The secret to a really intense vanilla flavor is blending the entire vanilla bean. You just chop it up and toss the whole bean into the blender. But, if you don’t happen to have a vanilla bean on hand, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract will work just fine.

The only sugar here is from the Medjool dates, so this is a sugar-free recipe!

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Homemade Almond Milk
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak the almonds in water overnight (about 8 to 10 hours). For a quick-soak method, soak the almonds in boiled water for 1 hour. Rinse and drain well.
  2. Place drained almonds into a blender along with the filtered water, pitted dates, and chopped vanilla bean.
  3. Blend on the highest speed for 1 minute.
  4. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk. This process can take a few minutes!
  5. Rinse out blender and pour the milk back in. Whisk in the cinnamon and sea salt.
  6. Using a funnel, pour into a large glass jar and secure lid. Store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Shake the jar before drinking, as the mixture separates when sitting.
Recipe Notes

If your dates or vanilla bean are dry/stiff, soak in very hot water for 30 minutes before using. Drain well. You can use another sweetener of your choice, like sugar-free maple syrup, instead of the pitted dates.

You can use the almond pulp left over after straining through the nut milk bag for all kinds of things like oatmeal, hummus, homemade granola, smoothies, cookie or muffin batter, crackers, or you can even dehydrate it and then blend it up to make almond meal. You can also freeze it.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan-Date Topping

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan-Date Topping

This sweet potato casserole with pecans is a must for a healthy Thanksgiving table! With no sweeteners and a cinnamon pecan-date topping, you might end up eating the leftovers for breakfast! This sweet potato casserole is naturally sweetened and sure to become a Thanksgiving tradition.

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan-Date Topping
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Diet Level 6: Clean Eating
fueled for GOD 40 Day Challenge
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Pecan-Date Topping
Diet Level 6: Clean Eating
fueled for GOD 40 Day Challenge
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Pecan-Date Topping
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Instructions
  1. Stir together all sweet potato casserole ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all pecan-date topping ingredients, until well combined and coated.
  3. Spray 9x9" pan with cooking spray. Spoon sweet potato casserole into pan and spread topping evenly over surface.
  4. Bake at 350º F for 30 minutes.
Recipe Notes

 

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites

Recipes like this can double as breakfast, a snack or even a quick dessert! These “bites” are super easy to make, are packed with protein and lots of ingredients you can feel great about putting into your body!

The recipe not only calls for pumpkin spices and some pumpkin puree, but also toasted pumpkin seeds!  If you don’t have any on hand, you’re welcome to substitute in any other nuts or seeds.  But the “pepitas” really add an extra crunch and flavor to these bites.  They are the perfect mixture of sweet and slightly salty.

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Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Servings
1-Inch Balls
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Servings
1-Inch Balls
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia (or flax) seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and combined.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, coconut flakes and pepitas until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once the mixture is cool (and easier to work with), use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape it into your desired size of energy balls (about 1-inch in diameter). Alternatively, you can line a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool, and then cut into bars.
Recipe Notes

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Storing them in the refrigerator especially helps the energy bites hold their shape.)

If you feel like adding a little extra sweetness, these would also be great with some Lily's, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips tossed in.  See the CHALLENGED APPROVED FOODS PAGE for purchase recommendations.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

It’s PUMPKIN TIME! This cheesecake is sugar-free and no-bake and all pumpkin!  Moreover, it’s even healthy with all the dates and nuts included in this recipe!!!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake
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Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Hours
Servings
6" Cake
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
White Layer Ingredients:
Pumpkin Layer Ingredients:
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Hours
Servings
6" Cake
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
White Layer Ingredients:
Pumpkin Layer Ingredients:
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Instructions
  1. Place all crust ingredients into a food processor and process into a sticky crumble. Transfer into a 6″ spring form pan and shape into a crust {either by flattening it entirely to the bottom, or pushing it up the sides a little for a taller crust effect}. Set aside.
  2. Place all white layer ingredients into a high-speed blender and process until mixture is smooth. Scoop out about ¾ cup of this mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin layer ingredients to the blender to the remaining mixture and blend until mixture is smooth and uniform.
  4. Pour pumpkin cheesecake mixture into the crust in the spring form pan. Smooth out the mixture a little using a spatula. Pour white layer ingredients (that were set aside earlier) on top of the pumpkin layer, being careful not to mix the two layers in the process {it helps to freeze the pumpkin layer for about 20 minutes first to help it firm up, which makes adding the white layer without having the two layers mix up a lot easier}. Gently smooth out the surface.
  5. Freeze the cheesecake for 4-5 hours {or overnight} to set, and then transfer and store in the fridge until ready to serve. You can also have it straight out of the freezer as a pumpkin ice-cream cake, but when you have it out of the fridge it has the consistency, texture, and flavor of a real cheesecake.
Date Sweetened Cookies

Date Sweetened Cookies

This is a great Diet Level 4 cookie recipe, although it also fits nicely into DL’s 1, 2, 3, and 6 (NOT DL 5, due to the inclusion of oats, so not grain-free). They are crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside cookies. You can make these as chunky or smooth as you want, depending on how long you let the blender or food processor machine go. These cookies are made with raisins, but you could also substitute Lily’s chocolate chips (see image below), which are made with Stevia and you would still be in the “sugar-free” diet-level realm! You can find them at HEB with all the other baking chocolate chips.

Lilys Baking Chips No Sugar Added

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Date Sweetened Cookies
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place dates and vanilla in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Add almonds until smooth, another minute or so.
  3. Add in the oats, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and oil, and process for another few minutes. You might need to stop periodically to scrape the sides in order to get the mixture to blend evenly. Add in the banana for 10 seconds.
  4. Stir in the raisins.
  5. Shape dough with a spoon into 20 cookies on 2 lightly greased cookie sheets and flatten slightly with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown.
  7. Place on a cooling rack and store uneaten cookies in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

 

Date Syrup

Date Syrup

To make this recipe, simply incorporate two ingredients (water and dates) in a blender. Using soft medjool dates (you can find them in the produce section of your grocer) is the best way to make this syrup. Be sure to puree until it’s totally silky smooth.

Some fun variations to spice up this sauce are adding applesauce or cinnamon.

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Date Syrup
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Prep Time 5 Minutes
Servings
Batch
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Servings
Batch
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Blend both ingredients together in a blender until completely smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge.
Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are healthy and full of chocolate goodness!  In fact, I’ve heard they might even be more delicious than a real cupcake. They are full of clean ingredients and so easy to whip up!

Love the little white cupcake holders in the picture? You can purchase them on Amazon. HERE is the link!

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Chocolate Cupcakes
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Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Mini Muffins
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Mini Muffins
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in your blender. Blend on high for about 2 minutes to form a nice batter.
  3. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. (Check after 15 minutes. The tops should be firmer to the touch, puffed up similar to a soufflé. They may need 18 minutes.)
  5. Let cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes

You can store in an airtight container for up to three days. If you opted to bake six larger cupcakes, increase cooking time to 20–25 minutes.

Coconut Date Bites

Coconut Date Bites

Instead of reaching for typical candy and cookies filled with refined sugars, preservatives and saturated fats, have a coconut date bite! They can be made in 10 minutes, require no cooking or baking, and your family and friends will love them because they taste just like cookie dough! This is a great, fun recipe to make with kids too!

When you consume raw unprocessed foods that are not cooked above 104° F, your body metabolizes them much more efficiently, allowing your body to focus energy on other parts of your system, other than digestion. These gluten-free, raw, vegan bite-sized treats provide healthy fats, natural sugars, and macro-nutrients that will satisfy your sweet tooth, give you a little burst of energy, and keep you away from the candy dishes!

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Coconut Date Bites
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Category Desserts, Snacks
Diet Level 1: Sugar Free
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Category Desserts, Snacks
Diet Level 1: Sugar Free
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Combine almonds, cashews, and coconut in a food processor or high powered blender.
  2. Pulse or blend until ingredients break down into small pieces but not into butter.
  3. Add dates and 1 Tbsp of water for moisture. Blend until a thick dough is formed.
  4. Remove the dough from your blender and stir in cacao nibs.
  5. With a measuring spoon, divide the dough into 10 balls, at 1 tablespoon each.
  6. Place in mini cupcake liners and store in a container in the freezer. Cool for 20 minutes before consuming.
Recipe Notes

A word about cacao nibs. Be careful when purchasing. As always, READ THOSE INGREDIENT LISTS!! For example, at HEB there are two brands that look the same at first glance. However, if you notice, there is one little word inserted in the name..."sweet"...  If you read the ingredient list of the "sweet" version, they have added "certified organic cane juice" so it is NOT your best choice. The other one is totally unsweetened. So, although they BOTH say "natural" and "organic," if you don't look carefully, you could make a wrong choice!

Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Nibs (CHOOSE THIS ONE!)

Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Sweet Nibs

Pecan Coconut Balls

Pecan Coconut Balls

This Pecan Coconut Balls recipe is great for an on the go snack! They’re very healthy, delicious and easy to make!  Coconut has many health benefits and even aids in weight loss and helps to stimulate the metabolism!

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Pecan Coconut Balls
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Category Desserts, Snacks
Diet Level 1: Sugar Free
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Category Desserts, Snacks
Diet Level 1: Sugar Free
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Process pecans in food processor until ground.
  2. Add dates and process until mixture is sticky.
  3. Add hemp seeds and coconut. Process until blended.
  4. Roll into balls and refrigerate until firm, approximately one hour.
Recipe Notes

You can find quality Medjool dates at Costco and Trader Joe's. Also, HEB has this brand in the produce section: Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates.

As far as the Vanilla Paste, I use this brand from HEB only because it does not contain alcohol: Taylor & Colledge Organic Vanilla Bean Paste. You can find it in the spice isle.

Apple Crisp, No Bake

Apple Crisp, No Bake

This No Bake Apple Crisp recipe is gluten-free, healthy and easy to make! Eat it cold or warm it up.

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Apple Crisp, No Bake
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place 2 apples, raisins, 1 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Toss remaining chopped apples with lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour apple raisin puree over apples and mix well.
  3. Spoon mixture into a medium sized baking dish and set aside.
  4. Pulse walnuts, dates, 1 tsp. cinnamon and sea salt in a food processor until coarsely ground. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Sprinkle mixture over apples and press down lightly with your hands.
  6. Serve immediately or let sit for a few hours for the flavor to marinate.
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