Too Good to Be True | A Gluten Free, No Sugar AND Decadent Dessert!

glutenfree, dairyfree, nutfree chocolate muffins or coffee cake with added antioxidants

Believe me when I say, you can eat healthy, gluten free desserts without any added sugar and still enjoy a dish of decadence! Say sayonara to feeling deprived when you’re watching your weight or cleaning up your diet!

If it sounds too good to be true, we thought so, too, until we discovered Chef Danielle Shine’s Vegan Sweet & Healthy Chocolate (Eggplant) Muffins. After adding a little Sprout and Rosebud sparkle, we must say, of all our veggified recipes, this one takes the cake!

The rich flavor of the cacao mixed with the hint of coffee is a mouth-watering combo, and provides an antioxidant, free-radical fighting  along with the … eggplant! Stay with us; it’s delicious, and you don’t even taste it. It even impressed the very picky meat-and-potatoes-minded dinner guests!

The sweetness of the pitted dates (aka no sugar!) and the maca come together, and you’ve got yourself quite a sweet treat to boost your mood and your body.

PS. These also freeze beautifully, and can be used for on-the-go breakfasts & snacks!

Too Good to Be True Cake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium eggplant, or 1/2 cup steamed eggplant, once squeezed
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate – 70% or higher is best; we used 88%
  • 2 tbsp ghee, olive oil, coconut oil or a blend of all three
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground coffee
  • 8-10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
    Note: you can make this recipe vegan by omitting eggs and relying on oil instead of butter or ghee. For Paleo, sub your gluten-free flour with almond flour. If steering clear of nightshades, omit the eggplant, keep the eggs, and you’ve still got yourself a rich antioxidant infused dessert!

Directions

  1. Chop eggplant into large chunks and steam.
  2. Pre-heat oven 400F.
  3. Once eggplant is mushy, peel off the skin, if desired, and squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can.
    It will be a mess! If you have kids, now’s the time to get their help because it’s a lot of fun, and also kind of gross. 🙂
  4. Place lump of eggplant in food processor with dates, eggs, cacao, ground coffee, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Break up the bar of dark chocolate into chunks (lessens melting time) and on medium-low heat, melt along with the oil or butter until liquid, stirring constantly to prevent burning or sticking.
  6. Pour into food processor. 
  7. Add gluten free flour to processor, and blend until well combined, scraping down the sides when needed.
  8. Pour mixture into pre-greased baking tin.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until an inserted fork comes out almost clean.
    (Sometimes, with gluten free baking, the goods will get dry if baked fully, like traditional baked goods. Either way, if the texture is not perfectly to your liking, slice some fruit on it, drizzle tahini or frost with an icing of your choice, and neither you, nor your guests, will be able to tell! 🙂 
  10. Remove from oven, leave to cool for a few minutes, then flip onto a wire cooling rack until ready to serve.
  11. Serve & enjoy! 

As always, we love hearing how you take these recipes and further customize and create ones that are yours! Share your creations with us on social media or leave us a comment below!

Cheers to decadent gluten-free goodness!

Roadside Assistance: Healthy Snacks for Weekend Warriors

On the road, adventure, puerto rico, charleston, plane ride, travel buddies

‘Tis the season for spring breaks, weekend getaways & music festivals, and you know what that means? Road Trips!

But, for all their allure and adventure, they can also throw a wrench in our healthy habits. How easy it is to fall off the wagon when we are tempted to grab Fritos and Coca-Cola for “lunch” at the BP when stopping for gas, or chugging a Red Bull to stay alert for the five hour drive ahead.

We know we really should be making better choices, like walking away from the pre-packaged honey bun beckoning us in all its cellophaned glory, but we are ramped up  from the anticipation of reaching our final destination, and we just want to get there already! We have adopted the vacation mindset and a spirit of urgency and indulgence! Besides, could there really be healthier choices lurking just off the interstate?

Indeed, you hungry traveler, there are!

Here are some secrets to help keep you on track no matter where the road takes you:

Plan Ahead
If you know you’ll be hungry before you’ll need a pit stop, pack healthy snacks & drinks from home. If your adventure includes lots of sightseeing or rushing from party to party, bring enough to last for the trip, if space allows.

Here’s an example: On a recent trip to Charleston (5 1/2 hours), I brought along two liters of water, baby carrots, a small tub of hummus and a medium-sixed (reusable) plastic container full of chopped romaine
lettuce leaves and leftover fresh basil rolls & sushi from dinner the night before. It was not only easy to eat in the car, but it kept me from binging on french fries or potato chips when I finally did stop. Since I had the water, I didn’t need to buy anything on the road either and could much more easily walk past the soda fridge or my old childhood favorite, the make-your-own-concoction fountain drink machine! (What is it about those whacky flavors that just spelled F-U-N!? …ah, memories. <sigh>)

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Another easy-peasy hint along these lines: Fill snack size ziplock bags or a small container with your usual go-to’s, like veggie or apple slices, pretzels, hummus or nut butter, trail mix, lean meats or smoked fish, or whatever your heart desires. You can even make some lettuce wraps or sandwiches!

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Yummy Bubby Trail Mix
Mmm Mmm! G-doubleO-D good!

Scout out the healthy(ish) options in Convenience Stores
Worst case scenario, you (your kids, your S.O., your travel mates, your dog) have eaten all your finely prepared snacks, and popping into a grocery store to refuel with carrot sticks and hummus just isn’t a viable option. Don’t fret! In most gas stations, sunflower seeds and a variety of nuts are easily found, and some stop-n-go’s even have apples and bananas at the checkout. If the fresh fruit looks a little iffy, try to find some dried apricots or other trail mix with dried fruit, if you’re hankering for some sweet with your salty. As always, check the ingredient list for any additives or unrecognizable ingredients (i.e. sugar additives or you can’t pronounce them) before buying.

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Roadside Snacks!

For even better luck with a wider array of choices, try to choose a gas station in a more populated/commercialized area, particularly a Pilot if you can find one. Added bonus with Pilot: they are usually well-lit, the bathrooms are clean, and the gas competitively priced!

Steer Clear of Sugar and Soft Drinks
Ah, yes, sugar. Candy and sweets, though appealing and a throwback to our childhood jaunts in the family station wagon (Circus Peanuts, anyone?), will mess with your blood sugar, leaving you drowsy and craving more sugar later in your trip – both of which are quite inconvenient for the traveler on a mission to her final destination! Instead, count on your seeds and nuts to keep your blood sugar stable with their protein/fat content, and rely more heavily on water than on sugary, caffeine-laden colas to keep your thirst at bay. If you’re craving the carbonation, get a bottle of club soda. For those who travel with your own Stevia, put a few drops (or one of the individual packets) into the bottle, and you’ve just made your own all natural, refreshing soda without any of the guilt or garbage!

Let’s be honest, though, sometimes, we just need a jolt, and when the energy slump really hits you, particularly if you’re driving through the night, you really do have to have a pick-me-up. Pick up a coffee or hot tea with the least amount of additives.

Wherever your travels take you, Ramble On, Rosebuds, and enjoy your adventures!