Breakfast / Entree

Grain-free Chickpea Brownies & Sweet Potato, Avocado & Zucchini Pasta

Hello friends!  I’ve been post-less for a while due to a busy work/study schedule but I’m finally working my way back to the blog!  In the meantime, I’ve been making some changes to my diet over the past few months, with my overall goal being to eat a more “clean” diet, which for me means avoiding processed foods and eating as much natural and fresh produce as possible.  I’ve also been incorporating more HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) into my exercise routine and cutting back on my cardio.  Lastly, I’ve been working on making sleeping a priority so that I get at least 7 hours of sleep every night and preferably 8.  Which means that on mornings where I got up at 4 am, I tried to be winding down around 8 – its not the most convenient arrangement but getting good sleep is so important!  I’m happy to report that the changes have been great!  Though I’ve been busier than ever in my professional life, I’ve actually never felt physically better!  I have been waking up every morning feeling energized and excited for each day (to the point where R is probably close to banning me from singing Blurred Lines and dancing around the apartment before 7 am… or maybe anytime of day…)  I hope you have used the summer to make some positive changes in your life too!  Have you found new things that you enjoy?  What’s working for ya?

Because I am no longer studying (took the GA Bar Exam last Tuesday woohoo!), I am looking forward to spending more time with friends, family and of course my hubs!  On Monday night, I had a few girlfriends over to watch the finale of The Bachelorette and to enjoy some healthy grub.  Ever since I made the chickpea blondies from Ambitious Kitchen, chickpeas have been ALL UP IN my baked goods – the brownies I made last night were no exception!  I assembled this meal after work in 30 minutes or less and it was healthy, filling, and I think pretty dang tasty too – the lack of leftovers would corroborate this claim 🙂 Remember that healthy meals don’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive and if you use naturally flavorful ingredients then you don’t need all the extra processed stuff that keeps you from feeling and looking your best!

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Zucchini Pasta (serves 4)image

  • 4 medium zucchinis with ends cut off
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • olive oil, salt & garlic powder to taste

Directions

Use a vegetable peeler to thinly slice zucchini into long strips.  Steam zucchini for several minutes until soft (but not mushy) and then place in strainer to drain.  Poke holes in your sweet potatoes and then cook them in the microwave, flipping them over halfway through.  Cooking times may vary, I normally do 5-6 total minutes per sweet potato.  Once potatoes have slightly cooled, slice the flesh into small chunks.  Slice the avocado into cubes.  Assemble noodles, sweet potato and avocado in a large bowl.  Add your oil, salt & garlic powder to taste.  I did not measure the oil, but probably used about 1/4 cup.

Grain-free, Vegan Chickpea Brownies

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    Brownie boat!

    Brownie boat!

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 cup pure cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 dark chocolate chips or carob chips (I used carob)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender (or large bowl if using an immersion blender) and blend until a smooth batter forms.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spray a mini muffin tin and bake for 14 – 17 minutes.  (Mine takes 15 – 16 but I like them a bit doughy).  Allow to cool enough that you can get them out of the pan.  They may crumble a bit if they are not completely cool but that’s ok because they still taste yummy and who doesn’t want a warm brownie?!

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