Things are winding down here today in the Farm to Fit kitchen, and as I sat down to write, my mind couldn’t help but wander to my after-work plans.  That’s when I suddenly got a craving for chocolate peanut butter pie. I was Google-ing recipes when Erik, our sous chef walked up behind me and exclaimed “Uhhhh..PIE?! that doesn’t look Farm to FIT related!” I quickly tried to explain that it DID have to do with work, because they were HEALTHY recipes, and that I was researching them for a blog piece – but his grin told me that he didn’t believe me, and he had stopped listening.

It’s true, we are Farm to FIT – dedicated to and promoters of healthy eating and living.  But where in the definition of ‘healthy’ is ‘NOT ALLOWED’?  Maybe I use a loose definition of ‘healthy’, but even medical science agrees that there are health benefits in the indulgence and enjoyment of sweets (or whatever your ‘guilty pleasure’ is). The key is moderation, and we all know it.  Chocolate peanut butter pie every afternoon?  Sure – but I’m not about to call that healthy.  A big ole’ hot fudge ice cream sundae once a summer?  Totally good for the soul.

Another point in favor of dessert tonight:  Make the healthy version.  WAH-LA! not-so-guilty anymore, are you?  

Clean No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Clean No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients

Crust:
    • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
    • 1 cup cashews
    • 2 tbsp agave, honey or maple syrup
    • 3 – 4 tbsp almond, rice or soy milk
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp salt
Filling:
  • 1 cup organic peanut butter, unsalted (if using salted omit salt)
  • 3 medium bananas, ripe (yellow)
  • 3 tbsp almond, rice or soy milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, mini or regular (optional)

Directions

  1. To make the crust, add Crust Ingredients to a food processor and process until a ball of dough forms, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl. Start with a few tablespoons of almond milk and add more if necessary to bring to a desired consistency. Be careful not to over process the crust into a nut butter. Transfer the dough to a 9″ pie dish and flatten on the bottom and sides with your hands to make a pie shell. You can make a pretty rim using the fork.
  2. Give food processor a rinse, wipe with a towel and add Filling Ingredients. Process until smooth, pausing and scraping the sides of the bowl. Pour filling into the prepared crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (optional), cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours or until frozen. Thaw on a counter for about 30 minutes before slicing and serve.

Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (10g)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g) (See nutrition link below for substitutions)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave (or honey, but not for strict vegans.) (75g)
  • pinch uncut stevia OR 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g) (See nutrition link for substitution notes)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.)
  • optional: more chips, for presentation

Instructions

Black Bean Brownies Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! Makes 9-12 brownies.

Carrot Cake Paleo Balls

Carrot Cake Paleo Balls

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 5-6 dates, pitted
  • 1/3 unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 2-4 Tbsp coconut milk or coconut oil, melted

Instructions

  1. Put almonds in Vitamix or food processor. Blend until a fine flour. Remove.
  2. Put dates and coconut in Vitamix and blend until a smooth paste in formed.
  3. Return nuts, add carrots and spices, and mix well.
  4. Add coconut milk or oil and blend until desired consistentcy is reached.
  5. Form into balls.
  6. Store in refrigerator.

Gooey Apple Pecan Bars

Apple Pecan Bars

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:
18 dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 Gala apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all the crust ingredients in a food processor until they are finely chopped and well combined. Transfer the mixture to an 8×8-inch baking pan and press so that it is evenly distributed. Chill the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the apple topping.
  2. Place a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the whole pecans, and toast until aromatic, about 8 minutes. Roughly chop the pecans, then set aside.
  3. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut oil followed by the sliced apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and pinch of salt.
  4. Cook just until the apples become flexible, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow the apples to cool enough so you can handle them.
  5. Arrange the apple slices on top of the refrigerated crust, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over the apples, then drizzle with the reduced apple liquid. Refrigerate the bars until they become firm, about 8 hours. Cut into 12 bars, then serve.

Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake Mousse

Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake Mousse

INGREDIENTS

1 cup low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk of choice
1 tbs sugar-free instant butterscotch (or vanilla) dry pudding mix
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-6 packets stevia, or to taste (or sweetener of choice to taste)

Optional toppings:
gingersnaps
light whip cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place everything in a blender, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled — at least one hour. Top with light whip cream and/or crushed gingersnap cookies if desired!

Chocolate Pudding with Graham Cracker Pieces

Chocolate Pudding with Graham Crackers

Ingredients 

1 low-fat chocolate pudding cup

1 graham cracker square

Directions 

Crush graham cracker square and sprinkle over chocolate pudding. Enjoy!