Super Bowl GAME DAY EATS

With the Super Bowl being just a few days away I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite game day snacks and quick eats that you can serve as appetizers or mains on Sunday; whether you are into the game, the halftime show or just there for the food...

All of the recipes are simple to make, healthy, AND will leave you feeling satisfied all night. The recipes range from homemade nacho chips, chicken fingers, healthy mac and "cheese," vegetarian coconut curry, breaded cauliflower bites (add some hot sauce on them and you have buffalo wings), crispy sweet potato skins and of course a few desserts. 

1. Sweet Potato Skins with a Curry Lemon Tahini Sauce

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I also have Salmon Burgers, Quinoa Lentil Bites, Cauliflower Falafels, as well as a lemon hummus dip on my blog too! If you make anything this weekend or another time; I want to see so tag me! #balancewithb 

Hope you all have a good weekend and GO PATS! 

Maca Cacao Bites

A slightly crunchy nutrient dense bite sized treat with hints of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla make them the perfect healthy and addicted snack! 

I have a variety of bite sized ball recipes on my blog and I usually just make them for taste, throwing whatever is in reach that I love into the food processor praying to the bliss ball God that they turn out OK. These, on the other hand a purpose. Don't get me wrong, I love adding copious amounts of nut butter and coconut butter to my bites; but this time I wanted every ingredient that I added into the food processor to have a nutritional benefit and serve a purpose for my body and mood. 

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, I have been feeling super overwhelmed with working two jobs full time, 24-7, transitioning out of one and moving into something else. No complaints, I couldn't be more excited, yet anxious, and want to hide in my bed / never come out from underneath my covers kind of moments, but more to come on that later. It is crazy to experience both super highs and super lows within just a few days and even a matter of minutes. The more overwhelmed I have been feeling, the more I tend to turn to superfoods to look for help to properly fuel my body. Hence, why I made these little snacks over the weekend.

Maca powder, besides cacao powder and turmeric, is one of the top three things I can not live without in terms of superfoods. I've noticed that the more I have incorporated it into my diet on a daily basis, a few times a day, especially during the time of the month, I am pretty symptom free- no cramps or body pain, and I have more energy overall. Just by adding a few tsp. here and there into my  smoothies, oats, chia puddings, every single morning seems to have really helped in balancing out my hormones.  Here is what I love about it, besides the taste = caramel! 

Increases energy and stamina
Can help balance your mood (anxiety, depression, mood swings, stress)
Help relieve menstrual pain (cramps, body pain) 
Balance hormones

Let's talk cacao powder. It is such a win win situation, where you can have this deep rich chocolate taste/fix with no sugar AND so many health benefits. I love Philosophie Cacao Magic, because it doubles as my protein blend. It has 10 grams of protein and no added sugar and is filled with hemp protein, chia seeds, maca powder, vanilla, cacao nibs etc.  The ingredients are clean, makes me feel good from the inside out and gives me such a burst of energy. Cacao powder is said to boost your mood/anti-depressent, yay happiness!, high in antioxidants, the fiber in cacao helps aid in digestion, and full of iron and magnesium. Raw cacao powder is my go to usually after a tough workout or when I am feeling in a bit of a funk, the kind where you just can't snap out it, not matter what. I usually add a few tbsp. into my smoothies and it gives me that natural burst of energy that I am looking for or sees to enhance my mood almost immediately. Maybe it is the comforting aspect of the dark rich chocolate, but it does the trick!

Collagen powder is something new that I have been incorporating into my routine for the last 6 months and I have noticed a huge difference not only digestion, my skin, but in how strong and healthy my hair has become. I swear it grows inches over night. As someone who suffers from SIBO and leaky gut, I truly believe that the collagen peptides I have been using on a daily basis has helped heal my stomach and brought relief to many of my digestive systems. It also contains a good amount of protein in each scoop (up to 18g!). You can see other recipes where I have used the collagen peptides such as here, Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding, No Bake PB bars, and my Maca Almond Butter Banana Bread
 

I'll bore you with one more! I normally add chia seeds, but have recently started to use ground flaxseeds because I have noticed that my body has an easier time digesting them. Flax is very high in both soluble and insoluble fiber which help improve digestive health and help gut inflammation ....so in other words help get things moving and keep your bloating down! 

So, all of these thoughts when through my head as I tried to think of a nutrient dense snack and of course I wanted it to taste super satisfying. I didn't add in any extra sugar, because there isn't any need to. These are rich in chocolate and the maca gives them a hint of caramel. I tend to stay away from adding extra sugar into my snacks such as dates, honey, or maple syrup because I prefer to "sweeten" them up with things like cinnamon, vanilla, and almond milk! 

Ingredients:
Makes about 12


1 cup cashews
1 cup sprouted almonds or walnuts
2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp hemp seeds
5 tbsp. cacao (*I used Philosophie Cacao Magic Superfood protein blend)
1 tbsp. maca powder
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
few dashes of pink sea salt
4 tbsp. of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

See notes about sweetener options!

Directions:

1. Add the cashews and the almonds to your food processor and pulse until you almost reach a flour consistency. I prefer a little crunch, so I do not grind the nuts up completely. 

2. Add the remaining ingredients, besides the vanilla almond milk and pulse.

3. Add the vanilla almond milk and pulse until a dough forms. If the dough is not sticking together, add 1 tbsp. of vanilla almond milk at a time or place in the fridge to firm up the dough before you roll into balls. *If you add too much almond milk the dough will be too sticky. 4 tbsp, should be the perfect amount. 

4. Roll the batter into balls and then roll them into shredded coconut flakes, cacao powder, and hemp seeds!

Notes:

1. If you aren't using the Philosophie cacao magic (which doubles as cacao powder and protein) add the same tbsp. amount of your favorite chocolate protein powder into the mix OR you can nix the protein powder all together and just add about 4-5 heaping tbsp. of cacao powder

2. If you want the bites to be sweet, add either dates, maple syrup or honey to the mixture after you have added all of the dry ingredients. 
1) Dates: start with 5-6 chopped dates. Add to dry mixture, pulse until combined, then add the almond milk and vanilla
2. Maple syrup and honey: start with 1 tbsp, mix, taste, then decide if you need more. If you are using a liquid sweetener you may need less almond milk. 

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

 

 

I adapted the recipe from adapted from Jessie over at Fairing-Well

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini fritters, pancakes, latkes, whatever you want to call them- you need to swap your zoodle spiralizer and whip out the grater for a weeknight dinner, snack, or appetizer upgrade!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had more time than usual to think of new recipes to experiment with for the week. I always make my “go-to” dinners, but I need to change things up in the kitchen. Anyone else tend to eat the same thing day after day? My motivation post a long day at work, working out, and then commuting home is pretty much non-existing. If something isn’t already prepared or requires minimal brainpower, I will either spoon enough nut butter with yogurt to call it a day or mash avocado on toast.

Since zucchini is the main vegetable that I constantly buy, love, and have an abundance of, I knew this would be the easiest veggie to change up since it doesn’t require any change in my usual run to the market.

While searching different websites for ideas, I kept coming across different types of fritters – carrots, sweet potatoes, chickpeas etc – I knew I wanted to try making zucchini ones.

My mom and I headed straight to the kitchen and decided to get to work.  We experimented with two small zucchini and a simple batter of egg, flour, onions, salt and pepper.  I mixed up the flour and herbs while she chopped up the onions, which we later realized that we added too many onions. We were basically eating an onion fritter! We also forgot to add the egg, which we took out of the fridge, but had no IDEA where it went rolling off.  Hopefully, it’s not something we will find months later…

Anyways, after realizing the mistakes we made with the first batch, I knew exactly what needed to change. We didn't allow the zucchini to release enough of the water, which resulted in a somewhat soggy middle section of the fritter. Zucchini has so much water. I am surprised every single time I cook zucchini as to how much water is released. Also, we should have flatted the zucchini fritter with the back of the spatula after dropping the mixture in the skillet. They needed less chopped onion and a more even balance of spices and herbs. 

Once I was back in my own kitchen, I made the changes and they came out perfect! I decided to use almond flour and added a scant amount of curry powder- it made such a difference! The curry powder definitely balanced out the other flavors and gave the fritters a little kick! Allowing the grated zucchini to release the excess moisture will make a difference in the crispy mushy ratio, but if you are short on time and want these ready in less than 30 minutes- they will still come out tasty! I would suggest keeping the fritters on the skillet for a few extra minutes.

If you are opposed to lightly frying the fritters you can certainly bake them in the oven until they have become golden brown.

They make such a great snack, appetizer, or addition to your usual scrambled eggs in the morning!

Appetizer/Main Meal/Side
Yields: 12
Prep time: 1 hour [depending]
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

6 small organic zucchini
3 cloves of garlic, minced & chopped
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
3 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. curry
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
¾ cup almond flour or coconut flour (or any flour your prefer)
1 tsp. baking powder
Olive oil or coconut oil for frying

Optional add ins:
Chopped parsley or cilantro
Scallions
Lemon zest
 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Slice off the ends of the of the zucchini and grate them on the large holes of a grater.

Place the grated zucchini in a large strainer. {I placed the strainer over a large bowl and placed it in the sink} Add 2 tsp. of salt and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  The longer you let the zucchini sit the more moisture will drain out. This will ensure a crispy fitter versus one that is very soggy.  After 30 minutes or an hour wring out the zucchini or pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel. 

**While the zucchini is releasing the moisture in the strainer you can continue on with the recipe.

Over medium high heat add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil to a sauce- pan.  Once the oil becomes warm, add the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic for 4-5 minutes. 

In the same pan, add the chopped onions and continue to sauté for another 8-10 minutes or until the onions have become to caramelize or brown. Set aside.

In a large bowl add the almond four, salt, pepper, curry powder, baking powder & mix. Next, add the onions, garlic, and the strained zucchini.  Mix together.

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the bowl and mix until well combined.

In a non-stick skillet heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat.

Scoop a spoonful (1/4th size ish) and drop the mixture onto the skillet. I used a small skillet here and was able to fit 3.  You don’t want to overcrowd the skillet, as it will be difficult to flip the fritter.  

Flatten the zucchini mixture slightly with the back of the spatula.

Cook the fritters over medium –high heat roughly 4 minutes on each side.  The edges will become golden and crispy. After 4 minutes, flip the fitters and wait until the edges have become browned (4 minutes). You can repeat this process once more if you would like.  You may need to add more olive oil in between batches.

Place the finished fritters on the baking sheet that was covered with parchment paper. Once all the fritters have been fried and moved to the baking sheet, put pan in the oven. 

The amount you continue to bake them in the oven depends on how crispy you like them.  I left the fritters in the oven for 15 minutes. This step is also optional but I think that allowing the zucchini fritters to bake in the oven allows the them to finish setting, develop crisper edges, and release any extra moisture.

Serve warm. To reheat the zucchini fritters you can simply place them on a baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes.

Topping ideas:
Poached or runny egg
Yogurt or a sour cream
Sliced avocado

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Crispy, crunchy, salty, and smoky are definitely flavors that I look for when I need a snack. I have become more much of a savory salty snack person versus reaching for something sweet or chocolatey. After seeing Sue, make zucchini chips, I knew I had to make these! (PS. You'll seriously fall in love with her account @feedyourglow if you haven't already discovered it!)

You already know my love affair with zucchini noodles and zucchini in general so I am actually surprised I haven't made the veggie into a chip for the ultimate salty snack. I was way overdo after realizing how addicting these are!

With a little prep work in the beginning these chips are so easy to make, super satisfying, and yet still healthy! The hardest part was waiting for them to finish crisping while they baked in the oven.

I chose to season the zucchini slices with sea salt, ground pepper, and Spanish smoked paprika. The peppers that are used for this type of paprika are smoke-dried over an oak burning fire for several weeks, resulting in a smoky deep woodsy taste. If your not into this, regular paprika will work just as well but I love the smokiness and intensity of the Spanish smoked paprika.

These chips are perfect on their own, sprinkled with a little nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste or dipped in your favorite hummus, salsa, or tahini.

Appetizer / Snack
Prep time: 30 mins - 1 hour (depending)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 60+ zucchini chips

Ingredients:

3 small organic sized zucchinis or 1 large
Sea salt
Spanish smoked paprika
Ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Wash and thoroughly dry the zucchini.

Cut each zucchini into very thin slices. I cut the slices into a thickness similar to the size of a quarter. A mandolin comes in handy at this point if you have one but it is not necessary. The mandolin will only ensure that each slice comes out perfectly uniform.

Lay the zucchini slices on a paper towel for a total of 30 minutes. On the side facing up, sprinkle with sea salt. After 15 minutes, flip the slices and sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt again. This will help draw out the water so not only will they cook faster but they will be crispy! [side note: the salt with come off as you pat dry the zucchini, so don't worry about the amount of salt that you use!]

After 30 minutes, pat the slices with paper towel. More moisture will release. The longer you let the slices sit the more liquid will be released.

Transport the zucchini slices on the baking sheet and drizzle 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil over the slices. You don't want to overdo the oil or the chips will come out soggy.

Next, season with sea salt, ground pepper, and the paprika. I used a generous amount of paprika and ground pepper. For the sea salt I used roughly 1 tsp.  Adjust to your taste. You can always add more salt when they are finished. 

Cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the slices and re-season if you like. I added more paprika and ground pepper.

Cook again for 10-15 minutes. The second cooking part will greatly depend upon the thinness/thickness of the chips.  Mine were different sizes resulting in about half the chips becoming crispy after another 8 minutes. I removed those from the sheet and continued to cook the rest for another 5-10 minutes.

Once they are finished and crispy sprinkle with sea salt if you prefer! Serve warm and enjoy!