Healthy Holiday Recipe Round up

I had originally intended to do this blog post as a round up of Christmas cookies/treats made healthy, but then I decided to change it up a bit and do one appetizer, one side dish, and one dessert; balance it out a bit! 

As someone who is allergic to a few foods, I understand how difficult it can be sometimes during the holidays having to attend different get togethers or social events and not knowing if there is anything there that you can eat! So, instead of focusing on just desserts, I wanted to have three different options in which you could make, potentially making all three to enjoy, bring, or cook for your own guests AND all are gluten free, dairy free and paleo! 

Also, for each of these recipes, I added in collagen, from my favorite brand of choice Vital Proteins! Last week I wrote a blog post all about ways to stay healthy during the winter months, my go to products from Vital Proteins and why as well as how to incorporate them all into your routine! Click here to read about it! I also shared many of the recipes on my blog, such as smoothies, banana breads, protein bars, and even a no bake brownie recipe. 

For this round up of recipes I decided to make:

1. A Winter Vegetable Melody with a Collagen Balsamic Mustard Glaze (side dish)
2. Homemade Rosemary Almond Flour Crackers with a Lemon Rosemary Collagen Hummus (app)
3. Collagen Sugar Cookies

I wanted to incorporate Marine Collagen into each one of the recipes because of the health benefits that it has to offer and the significant improvements that it has made on my own health! Not only does it add in extra protein, without changing the taste to any of the dishes but these are some of the other benefits: 

  1. Support gut health (helped improve my leaky gut symptoms, SIBO, improve digestion)
  2. Stronger nails
  3. Brighter skin (made my skin even toned and clear)
  4. Support hair growth / stronger hair

Since adding Marine Collagen into my routine every day whether it is in my smoothies, energy bites, coffee, and really just about anywhere; my gut health has improved so much! I now feel that I am able to tolerate more foods than I could before since heaving leaky gut and SIBO and my hair grows so much faster! The biggest one for me has been and always will be gut health since that always controlled my life, but since taking the Marine Collagen, I feel that now I am the one in control. It is really simple to add it in any recipe or your routine and you won't even taste it! If there is one thing that I can't live without as part of my routine, this would be it!

The first recipe, the winter vegetable melody are all of my favorite vegetables; sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, fennel, and parsnips roasted with nutmeg, cinnamon and sea salt until crispy and then I poured a sweet and tangy collagen mustard balsamic glaze over them as soon as they came out of the oven! It makes a really easy and simple side dish; all you have to do is cut up the vegetables, roast them and the glaze takes only takes about 5 minutes to mix up! Plus, it makes a great salad dressing too! 

RECIPE 1: Winter Vegetable Melody w/ a Balsamic Glaze


What you need:
1 medium sweet potato
2 small beets
2 cups butternut squash
2 parsnips
1 fennel (a bulb) 
few dashes of EACH: cinnamon AND nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
olive oil 

Collegen Balsamic Mustard Glaze:
Makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinaigrette
half of a lemon (juice)
3 tbsp. mustard (I used dijon)
1 tbsp. honey
pinch of sea salt
1 scoop Vital Proteins Marine Collagen

What you need to do:

For the vegetable melody:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

2. Cut all of the vegetables into cubes, somewhat evenly. 

3. Add to a large mixing bowl with cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil or enough to lightly coat the vegetables. (If you use too much they will come out soggy)

4. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked all the way through. 

While the vegetables are roasting, make the glaze. 

1. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients above! Taste test and adjust! 

Once the vegetables are finished, pour the glaze over the vegetables while they are still warm. Serve immediately. 

*If you have leftover glaze, store in the fridge for up to a week (can use as a salad dressing etc)

For the second recipe, I love making my own crackers and dip! This recipe is simple too and just requires a few ingredients and it is really healthy! Sometimes I fill up so much on the appetizers that I don't even really like and then I can barely eat the main meal, but this appetizer is packed with protein not only from the chickpeas but the collagen too! It makes the perfect snack! I make these crackers a lot during the week and dip them in just about anything and the hummus also can be great with veggies, on toast, etc! 

                                                                  RECIPE TWO:

What you need: 
Makes about 15 crackers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes (including the dip) 


For the Rosemary "Cheesy" Almond Flour Crackers
1 cup almond flour
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
3 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

What you need to do: 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a medium sized bowl, add all of the above ingredients and mix well until a dough is formed. 

3. Flatten out on the parchment paper. You may need to add a little olive oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to you. 

4. Using a sharp knife cut length wise and width wise, somewhat evenly! Sprinkle with more nutritional yeast and fresh rosemary! 

5. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. About half way through, around the 12 minute mark, gently flip the crackers. 

Store in fridge for up to 1 week in a sealed bag or container. 


What you need: 

1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
2 tbsp. tahini
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 scoops Vital Proteins Marine Collagen
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
sea salt & pepper to taste

What you need to do: 

1. Add all of the above ingredients into your food processor and combine together until desired consistency is reached

Taste test and adjust to preference. 

Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. 


For the last recipe, I decided to make Collagen Sugar Cookies! Sugar cookies always remind me of the holidays, so I decided to go for these instead of a basic chocolate chip one! They are really soft and chewy in the center with slight crunchy outside edges. They aren't typical in the sense that they are extremely flat and crunchy, but I love them! They taste really light, airy, and like little clouds! I added the Marine Collagen into the mix so you can reap all the benefits while eating these cookies, they just have a few ingredients and take less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish! I also threw in two bonus recipes at the bottom that I've made previously with the collagen too, if sugar cookies aren't your thing, but these are really good!! 

I based these cookies off a few recipes while browsing through some of my favorite blogs because I always think that it is so hard to find a really really good sugar cookie recipe! I adapted this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen


What you need: 
Makes about 12 cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes 

1.5 cups almond flour
1 scoop Vital Proteins Marine Collagen
4 tbsp. coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. honey
1 egg or flax egg
pinch of sea salt
2 pinches of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Coconut sugar, for dusting when finished! 

What you need to do: 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the coconut oil (after it has been melted & cooled), the egg, coconut sugar, vanilla, and honey. 

3. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. 

4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.

5. Roll into balls and line up evenly on the baking sheet. Flatten gently. 

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

7. Once they are finished, sprinkle with coconut sugar. 

Store in fridge for up to two weeks or freezer for longer! 

Note, the Marine Collagen is optional for the recipe, you do not have to use it, but it just adds in extra health benefits! 

Here are also two bonus healthy dessert recipes that use the Marine Collagen as well: 

No Bake Spicy Cinnamon Brownies

Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Spicy Cinnamon Brownies (no bake)

A quick healthy fudge like brownie alternative that is no bake, super dense, a little sweet with a surprising spicy kick at the end! 


With the holidays right around the corner, we are all looking for some recipes to make; whether they are healthy, indulgent, simple, dessert ones, main dishes or whatever they are; we always need something and usually last minute! That is how it goes for me at least and when that is the case, it then needs to be easy to make, only require a few ingredients, and obviously taste good! I feel that I am always "stuck" making the dessert recipes with my family because they probably know they are going to have some type of healthy spin on them yet still taste like the real I decided to make these super fudge-y / dense brownies that are a little sweet with a major spicy kick at the end....and you don't have to bake them! Which is ideal when there are what feels like 100 things going on in the kitchen during the holidays! 

...of course I added in some collagen in the recipe and I used Vital Proteins Marine Collagen. I use this every single day whether it is in my smoothies, energy bites, soups, coffees, salad dressings or waters. Just about anything you can think of, you can sneak this in there! I think if you search "collagen" on my blog over 7 or so recipes will pop up using this! Like this, Golden Mylk smoothie, or this sweet potato salad, and even this dark chocolate avocado pudding!  I use it to strengthen my digestive system, my nails, hair and feel that it was truly helped in repairing / improving my leaky gut and my severe digestive issues! The great thing, is that it is tasteless, so it will not change a thing in the recipe or in any recipe that you use it in! 

Back to these brownies. They are so chocolatey. Sweet. Fudge-y and perfect for the holidays or just when you need something! They almost remind me of a Mexican Hot Chocolate, but in a raw brownie form! They are easy too. You need any type of nuts as the base; I prefer almonds/walnuts, cacao powder, cinnamon, almond butter, dates, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cacao nibs and the collagen! I am sure that you have most of these ingredients on hand! Then you blend it all up, roll it out and done! Raw brownies, done in less than 10 minutes. 


Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes (unless you place in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to harder before cutting)

What you need:

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 creamy almond butter
2 scoops collagen (optional, but added benefits!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup cacao powder (or sub chocolate protein powder!)
3 dates, chopped & pitted
1 tbsp vanilla
small handful of cacao nibs, for topping

What you need to do: 

1. In your food processor blend together the walnuts and the almonds until finely ground. I left mine a little chunky. 

2. Add in the dry ingredients (cacao powder, sea salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, collagen, nutmeg). Give it a quick pulse

3. Add in the dates, vanilla, and the almond butter and blend together until fully combined and a dough is formed. 

4. In a square pan (brownie pan or a bread baking loaf) that is lined with parchment paper, add the mix and press firmly until the dough is even. Sprinkle with cacao nibs or toppings of choice. 

5. Cut into squares OR place in freezer to harder for a few minutes to make it slightly easier. 

Store in an air tight container in freezer for longer or in fridge for up to 2 weeks. 


The collagen is optional, but you will get added benefits from using it! 

Adjust the measurement of cayenne pepper to your liking! You won't taste it right away, but it will be more of an after taste, so start small! 

You can sub almond butter or sunflower seed butter or completely leave this out all together and use about 1 cup of dates to hold everything together. 

To make them completely nut free, sub the nuts with seeds! 

Maple Cranberry Brussels Sprout Spinach Stuffed Acorn Rings

A sweet & savory side dish perfect for the holidays!


With the holidays coming around the corner there is always such a frenzy as to what you are going to eat, bring to a party or simply what the actual plan is. Usually, it always seems to sneak up last minute and you need something somewhat quick, simple, looks, and tastes delicious that can feed enough people too! This is why I love these acorn stuff rings; I filled them with brussels sprouts, spinach, pistachios, cranberries, and Sir Kensington's Spicy Brown Mustard with just a few other seasonings and they came out perfect! They were a combination of sweet and savory and pretty simple to make. I tend to make these a lot around the holidays because for leftovers, I eat them for breakfast with a fried egg or for whomever is staying with us that week. 

To make this recipe even simpler I used the spicy brown mustard as my main sauce instead of making my own! I love the Sir Kensington's Spicy Brown Mustard because of the ingredients; it only has mustard seeds, Vermont maple syrup, sea salt, and a little bit of cane sugar, yet only contains 1 gram of sugar per serving! So it isn't over powerfully sweet! I also love their dijon mustard and made these amazing salmon burgers with it, see the recipe here. You can find most of their products at Whole Foods, they are all NON-GMO and made with such clean ingredients. I have a few other recipes with their products on my blog too, just give it a search (a creamy cold pasta salad, or tuna tacos with a mustard vinaigrette!)

The great thing about these acorn stuffed rings is you can really fill them with anything, serve them as a side or make them a little more hearty by adding in quinoa, lentils, or even ground turkey. The only thing that I suggest doing is before baking the acorn squash rings is brushing them with a little olive oil and a touch of maple syrup with just caramelize them adding to their sweetness and of course add in the spicy brown mustard to your stuffing mix to give them an even tangy savory sweet taste! 

They make a really pretty presentation and are so good! You'll love them! 


What you need:
Yields 6-8 acorn squash rings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes  
Total time: 50 minutes

2 medium size acorn squash
1/4 heaping cup of Sir Kensington's Spicy Brown Mustard
1/4 cup pistachios (or any nut/seed of choice)
1/4 cup cranberries
2 cups spinach
1.5 quarts brussels sprouts
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional) 
10 sprigs of thyme

What you need to do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a backing sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

2. Carefully cut the acorn squash into rings. I tried to cut them as evenly as possible, but it might be difficult and found that at the end it didn't matter, they still all cooked evenly through. 

3. Place the acorn rings on the baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and cook for 15 minutes on one side. Flip, then continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Check, if they need more time, continue to cook until golden brown in color and soft. It will most likely be a total of 30 minutes. 

4. While the acorn rings are cooking: Prepare the stuffing. In your cast iron pan or large skillet; on medium heat; add the chopped brussels sprouts with about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook until tender and they start to brown. After about 10 minutes, add the spicy brown mustard, sea salt, pepper, and any other spices of choice. Mix and continue to cook for another 5-8 minutes. 

5. In the same pan, add the nuts/seeds, cranberries, and the spinach. Cook until the spinach becomes soft; just a few minutes. 

Now, the acorn squash rings should be done. Take them out and begin to stuff them with the mixing above. Each ring will fit about 2 heaping spoonfuls. I then placed mine back in the oven for about 5 minutes, but that isn't necessary. 

6. Drizzle with maple syrup and fresh thyme leaves. 

Serve immediately. To re-heat simply put back in the oven under broiler for a few minutes or at 400 degrees until warm (10 minutes)


Tahini Almond Butter Beet Bars

Honestly, with the amount of beets that I consume each week it is kind of hard to imagine that I used to despise them, BUT I don't think I gave them a fair chance, cooked them correctly, nor truly looked into how amazing they are for your body, especially if you are an athlete or just work out a fair amount! Once I started dipping them into cashew cheese (trust me), adding them into tacos, or making these crispy roasted beet chips a few times a week or even these mint chocolate coconut beet bites, I've been addicted. Over this past summer I ate my weight in beets because they were so abundant at the farmers market, so I decided to make another recipe to share with you all using beets, but this time, I am using beet powder, from Love Beets! This is actually, the same beet powder that I used to make the mint chocolate coconut beet bites

I wanted to make a snack recipe for many reasons; snacks are a huge part of my meal prepping each week because I always need something healthy/substantial or on the go while I am in between yoga classes, taking workout classes myself or something to hold me over until my next meal. Also, Fall can be a transition month for many of us, we might be traveling more, the holiday stress, starting school, working more, or simply adjusting to a new workout routine as we head into the colder months and in that case you might need to adapt your eating schedule to fit those needs; i.e be prepared with more nutritious and filling snacks! 

So, what is so great about beets?! 


For starters, this powder from Love Beets is made from 100% beets and has zero grams of added sugar! Just 1 tablespoon is equal to 3 beets! I actually love adding this powder into my chocolate smoothies, sprinkling it on top of salad, or even adding it into my pesto; the taste isn’t over powering and it is so versatile! Love Beets has a section on their website with all the benefits of beets that you can check out here, but one of the things that I love about beets is that they can help increase exercise and stamina performance! So, they can help with improving blood and oxygen flow to your tired, overworked, or just sore muscles; this is because they are rich in nitrates! This is exactly what you want when you are working out - relax blood vessels and let blood flow more freely to your working muscles! Therefore, you can exercise longer or simply more efficiently!! They also are high in iron which is great for anyone who might suffer from fatigue; i.e. anyone that might be hitting the gym hard, training for a long race, teaching many fitness classes, or just walks all over the city for their workout! This powder makes it so easy to add it into your everyday routine; few scoops into your smoothies, energy bites, or these bars and your good to go! 

These bars are also loaded with almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts (great for fiber, magnesium, selenium, healthy fats), tahini, almond butter chia seeds, oats, and of course Love Beets that adds just a touch of sweetness to the bars. I didn't add any sweetener to the bar because as you know I don't have the biggest sweet tooth, but feel free to add (see directions below!) These have been great before a workout without weighing me down, especially before yoga when you need juuuust a little something before class yet not too much or you've just made the worst decision OR it makes a perfect little snack after to hold you over on your ride home until you can make yourself breakfast or lunch! They are salty, a little sweet, crunchy, and each bite is filled with nuts, coconut and cocoa nibs! They are perfect, to me!  

Prep time: 10 minutes
Freezer time: 1-2 hours to settle, or overnight! 


What you need:

3/4 cup gluten free oats
4 tbsp. chia seeds
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 1/2 cups of almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts*
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 1/2 tbsp. Love Beets Powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
few pinches of sea salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup almond butter (crunchy or creamy works, less oily the better) 
3 tbsp. sweetener of choice IF needed; maple syrup, honey etc. (see notes) 
Dark chocolate for topping. 

What you need to do:

1. In your food processor blend together the shredded coconut for 10 minutes. Almost as if you were going to make coconut butter! While that is blending...

2. In a large mixing bowl add: the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao nibs, sea salt, Love Beets powder. Mix. 

3. Add the coconut to the large mixing bowl and give it a good mix. 

4. To the same mixing bowl, add the tahini, almond butter, and sweetener of choice if using. Mix until well combined. *At this point I actually found it easier to add everything back into the food processor, including the nuts, to combine with a few pulses. If you do this, do not over pulse or mix as it will become too liquid-y. 

5. In a lined 8x8 pan with parchment paper (paper overflowing the sides) add the mix! Press down firmly and let it set in the freezer for 1 hour or so, or over night! 

6. Melt your favorite chocolate, I used 100% dark chocolate and drizzle over before cutting into squares. You can also melt the chocolate and drizzle it before you place the mix into the freezer. I did it after. 


1. I kept mine in the freezer even after cutting as I found that it kept the shape better. If you are taking these to work, school, or traveling they will be fine! They will be on the softer side and will start to melt a bit, but not fall apart. If you are worried about this, and can't keep them on the colder side for longer, I would add 4-5 dates in the blender with all of the ingredients and they will hold their shape and each bite will still be low in sugar, just do not use the liquid sweetener! 

2. Any nut butter will work! I would stick with something that isn't oily as the bars will melt faster. 

3. For the nut mixture, I just added in handfuls of each until it totaled 1.5 cups. You can also use any nuts you would like or seeds too! You can easily make these bars nut free, but using all seeds and sunflower seed butter! 

4. For the sweetener. I would stick with using dates to keep bind them together a bit more. If you are using a liquid sweetener, I would then adjust the nut butter and tahini ratio because they will be a bit too soft. I would suggest 1/2 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup tahini (or vice versa) then sweetener or choice. If you are using dates, keep the ratio the same as in directions. 


Zucchini Pizza Boats

A healthy spin on your typical pizza base, made with just a fresh ingredients, but the options are endless to please everyone's taste!

You guys are going to love these zucchini pizza boats! I seriously could not wait to take a bite of them while they were cooking in the oven because it smelled exactly like a pizza was cooking in there with all the spices, fillings, and the sauce that I was using...which I will get to in a bit! They also can go on the grill too, which will give them a nice charred taste! If you are going to do that, I would suggest sautéing whatever you are filling the zucchini with first in a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil first on the stove, then filling the zucchini, and then grilling them on the grill, just to ensure that everything is evenly cooked.

Obviously by now you know that I am obsessed with zucchini especially in the summer because, one the vegetable is so fresh and abundant, two I am constantly making zoodles or zucchini chips on the grill since it is so easy and a huge time savor when I am in a rush, and three I love hiding them in things like my paleo chocolate zucchini bread...but this time, I needed to change it up! For some reason, I am always craving grilled pizzas in the summer, but sometimes I don't want to eat all of the bread that goes along with it, just because it's so hot out and I'll admit, that I am a little lazy when it comes to making my own pizza dough, even though the crispy crust is my favorite part! So, that is where the dilemma always comes into play. I wanted pizza but also something really light at the same time. So, that is how these zucchini pizza boats were created! Plus, they are ready in half the time, easier, filled with veggies, and you can create as many different ones as you want in each of the zucchini "boat."

All you have to do is cut the zucchini in half length wise, carefully scoop out the seeds in the middle to create a boat, add the sauce and then your fillers! I made a few different ones and I think my favorite was the tomato basil! I listed a few different combinations below, but feel free to get creative and come up with your own combinations. If you make any different ones, let me know in the comments!

Main Meals/Side Dishes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes (less time if you do not cook the fillers!) 


Serves 3-5*
*Depending, each person can have their own pizza boat, or multiple

4 large zucchini
1/2 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
Olive oil
Sea salt + pepper

Filler Ideas (the ones that are pictured above)

Margherita Pizza
tomato sauce, sliced cherry tomatoes, mozzarella (optional), basil leaves, sea salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil.

Veggie Pizza:
tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, mixed greens, red peppers, sea salt, pepper, oregano, sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Onions & Peppers:
tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, diced onions, diced red bell peppers, meat (such as sausage, optional)

Greek Style Pizza:
tomato sauce, sliced cherry tomatoes, olives, diced onions, feta cheese.



1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. If you are planning to saute the onions, peppers, or any of the fillers, do this now. You can saute each separately in olive oil over medium heat until tender.

2. Wash, dry, and cut each zucchini in half long-ways. Next, carefully, with a spoon, scoop out the center, where the seeds are. Do not scoop the spoon too deep and break through the skin of the zucchini. You want to create a space to put your desired fillings in.

3. Place the zucchini on the lined baking sheet and lightly brush each zucchini half with olive oil (bottom and inside). 

4. Fill each zucchini with about 1-2 tbsp. of tomato sauce and your desired fillings.

5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The zucchini boat will be tender. Finish off with sea salt, black pepper, and fresh basil leaves.

Serve immediately. To re-heat, place in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until warm or under the broiler for a few minutes.