Apricot Oatmeal Bars #Tresomega #OrganicsForLife

Disclosure: This post is part of the Tresomega Nutrition Blogger Recipe Challenge. I received complimentary products to use in this post. All opinions are my own.

Another recipe for Tresomega, and another dish I’ll be re-making this holiday. The food sign-up list for the family Christmas Eve got emailed out – and I snatched up the cookies slot PDQ. Mostly because my freezer is already chock full of cookies (#ChristmasCookieWeek kicks off on Monday!)

But, the family also has two celiacs so I’ll be making up a tray of gluten-free cookies too – and these will be added to the plate for sure. These are a great (and easy!) gluten free treat and the flavor can be easily switched up by using a different flavor of preserves. I think raspberry would be perfect for the holidays!

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ApricotOatmealBars1

Apricot Oatmeal Bars
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 18 bars

3/4 cup Tresomega Virgin Coconut Oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with baking parchment.

Mix together the coconut oil, brown sugar, oats, flour, salt and baking powder. Press half of the mixture into the pan.

Spread the preserves over the mixture in the pan and then crumble the remaining mixture over, pressing down lightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown. Let cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

When chilled, lift the bars out of the pan using the edges of the parchment. Slice and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Chicken Piccata with Zoodles

Every once in a while, we end up with a really healthy week of dinner plans. I don’t usually do it consciously – it seems that after a week of celebrating or heavy eating, I naturally go for something lighter. And, really healthy meals are always a bit of a gamble around here. Something drowning in cheese and butter? Sure to be a hit. Something naturally gluten free and heavy on the veggies? Maybe – or maybe not.

Luckily, this was a huge hit. Zoodles as a side dish were great and the chicken was super easy but super flavorful. I was really impressed on how quickly this meal came together – and how satisfying it  was.

ChickenPicattaZoodles

Chicken Piccata with Zoodles
(adapted slightly from Primal Palate)
Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsps.. olive oil
1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 Tbsp. butter
2 zucchini, ends cut off and spiralized

Whisk together the almond flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and add chicken, one at a time, turning until thoroughly coated.

Cut half of the lemon into slices and juice the other half.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Add garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth and lemon slices and cook several minutes, until the lemon gets soft. Add the capers, lemon juice and white wine and cook until it’s thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in butter until well combined. Pour into a bowl and cover with foil.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the skillet. When shimmering, add zucchini noodles and cook a few minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re al dente. Sprinkle cooked noodles with salt.

Serve the noodles topped with a chicken breast topped with the sauce.

Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

It’s super cliché, but we’re totally on holiday detox around here. I love indulging in all the holiday goodies, but by December 26th I just wanted a big salad. Does that officially make me old?

Either way, I’ve been mixing in some healthier meals during this last week. This has been one of those meals. These pork chops were pretty much everything I want in a dinner lately – quick, easy and super flavorful. Mark walked in the door from work and I handed off the baby for a diaper change. By the time he’d ditched his work clothes, changed the baby and made it back downstairs, I was plating them. Win all around!

AlmondCrustedPork

Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
(from On My Way to Skinny)
Serves 2

2 pork chops, trimmed of fat and pounded to 1/4″ thickness
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. almond meal
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil to shimmering. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge in almond meal. Fry for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, whisk in the half and half, Dijon mustard, almond meal and oregano. Bring a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sauce over pork chops.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

This week has felt kind of crazy.

I’m used to working from home three days a week. This week, I was in the office every day to help with some training. When you add up the one hour commute each way and the lunch hour I usually use to do housework, nine of my usual “doing stuff” hours have been chewed up. That’s like an extra day! Quite obviously, quick and easy has been the go-to for food this week.

I mixed these bars up over the weekend and they’ve been a great go-to for breakfast or a post-gym snack. Loaded with nuts and seeds, they’re quite filling – and since they’re no-bake, they only take about five minutes to prepare.

These can easily be made vegan – just use vegan chocolate chips – and gluten-free – just make sure you’re using gluten-free oats.

NoBakeGranolaBars

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
(slightly adapted from 86 Lemons)
Makes an 8×8 pan worth

1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1/8 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. agave nectar
3/4 c. natural peanut butter

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax meal, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and chocolate chips. Stir agave nectar in until evenly distributed. Stir in peanut butter until well combined throughout.

Press mixture into prepared pan. Freeze for 1 hour, then remove from pan and cut into bars. Store in freezer until ready to eat.

Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

As someone who doesn’t have food allergies, I always struggle a little when I have to cook for someone who does. It’s not because I can’t do it – it’s because I always want to make something that everyone will like. This cake is beautiful, perfect for Thanksgiving – and gluten free.

This is rich and chocolatey, which makes it an awesome dessert even for those who aren’t on a gluten-free diet and the apples and hazelnuts make it perfect for the season. It’s a little more involved than a normal cake, but it’s not very hard and totally worth the extra effort!

Apple Hazelnut Chocolate Cake
(from BakeBakeBake)

1 to 2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c. hazelnuts, chopped
8.8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 c. heavy whipping cream
3 eggs, separated
4 t. cornstarch
3 T. honey
Powdered sugar and cinnamon, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Prepare an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. Use nonstick spray or softened butter to great the bottom and sides of the springform pan.

Peel, corn, and slice the apples into ½-inch pieces and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour the heavy cream over the chopped chocolate and let cool for about a minute. Mix thoroughly to make a smooth ganache. Using a rubber spatula, slowly mix in the egg yolks and cornstarch, until thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should be smooth and slightly thick.

In a separate bowl, add the honey to the egg whites, and whip to soft peaks.

Using a whisk, add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whipped egg whites in two batches, taking care to avoid over-mixing. White streaks of egg white should still be visible in the chocolate.

Deposit the batter into the greased springform pan. Top with the chopped apples and hazelnuts, then dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar and ground cinnamon.

Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet, or sheet pan, and bake immediately for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the springform pan for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

I’m a chronic cookie dough eater. It drives my husband nuts because he’s convinced I’m going to die from eating raw eggs. I was so excited when I ran across this recipe because it meant I could eat all the cookie dough I wanted without him nagging.

The hardest part of making this has been having it sit in the fridge all day without devouring it.

It’s also great because it’s gluten free. Mark’s cousin and uncle are both celiacs so when we go to family parties I like to bring dishes they’ll be able to enjoy too. We’ll be serving this with Nilla Wafers for the non-celiacs and gluten-free animal crackers for the celiacs.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
(from Food.com)

1 c. butter
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 c. semisweet mini chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla and set aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for 1 minute. Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

If there’s one thing I’m making a lot of this holiday season (other than cookies, of course), it’s dip. Both families do their holidays pot-luck style and dips are a great thing for the buffet table.

This dip I brought to my family Christmas party last weekend as a lighter dessert option. We served it with apple slices, melon, banana and strawberries.  It went over really well – some people even ate it without the fruit!

You could easily lighten up this dip by using fat free cream cheese and fat free cool whip and make it quite diet-friendly. It’s also a great option if you want (or need) to make something gluten free.

Chocolate Fruit Dip
(from Taste of Home)

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. whipped topping
Assorted fruit for dipping

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in cocoa and vanilla. Beat in whipped topping until smooth. Serve with fruit.