No-Bake Chocolaty Protein Goji Berry Granola Bites

There are so many things I love about this No-bake Chocolaty Protein Goji Berry Granola Bite recipe! You know all those seeds you can use in the Life Changing Cracker recipe and the Overnight Oats recipe we shared? Here’s another snack option you can make with them with a totally different taste! These power-punched bites are loaded with protein, natural fats, and anti-oxidants.  Here are some highlights that make it so good for you:

Cacao: Touted as being even better for you than dark chocolate, cacao nibs and cacao powder found in this recipe are full of flavonoids and antioxidants that fight off free-radical damage which can cause DNA damage, premature aging and even cancers. Think of antioxidants as firefighters putting out a blaze — a blaze of inflammation in your body. And cacao is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. The best part is it will make this snack taste “chocolaty” to you and will fire up all those pleasure sensors in the brain and lower your cortisol levels (aka: destress). In addition, one ounce of cacao nibs has 9 grams of fiber! Fiber helps to control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This fiber can also help lower blood cholesterol. Last, but not least, cacao has magnesium and potassium. A one ounce serving of cacao nibs has 64 milligrams of magnesium making it one of the best dietary sources of it. Magnesium aids in protein synthesis within the body, helps muscle and nerves function properly (great if you are experiencing fibromaylgia symptoms), plus helps manage blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

Flax: Flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, but low in carbs, so it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA (another type of omega-3) fats found in flax may also help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown flax can help with weight loss and it will help to make healthy hair and clear skin. You’ll also get all the benefits of lowering blood cholesterol and managing blood glucose levels. Flax is also high in antioxidants, so just like cacao, flax will help to fight off free-radical damage which can cause DNA damage, premature agin, and even cancers. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. And finally, the lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. Evidently, it can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans have estrogenic properties.

Goji Berries: Goji berries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and are also low in calories. They are also a good source of iron and vitamin A. One serving of about four ounces of goji berries even provides nearly 10 percent of the suggested amount of dietary protein. Goji berries have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of 3,290, showing that they contain much larger concentrations of antioxidants than most other fruits. They also raise blood sugars slowly — important for women with PCOS trying to manage insulin responses. Some studies also point to goji berries helping to lower arthritis symptoms. And these berries aren’t for everyone either — anyone who uses blood thinners or takes diabetic medication may have a negative reaction eating goji berries, according to WebMD. When in doubt, ask your doctor first. According to Paul Gross in his report, The Top 20 Superfruits, a quarter cup of goji berries contains 11 essential vitamins and 22 trace minerals, including 24 percent of our RDI of potassium, 18 percent of our RDI of zinc and a whopping 100 percent of our RDI of iron, copper and riboflavin. They also contain 8 polysaccharides, a primary source of dietary fiber. (Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/044316_goji_berries_superfoods_antioxidants.html#ixzz48q0wxCQ7)

No bake Chocolaty Goji Berry Granola Bites

Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of manganese (74%), phosphorus (57%), magnesium (48%), copper (48%), zinc (23%), protein (20%), and iron (16%). They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.  Also promising, recent animal studies have shown pumpkin seeds to improve insulin regulation. (Learn more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82 )

Walnuts: Cannot say enough good things about Walnuts! The anti-inflammatory nutrients in walnuts are amazing! They are full of omega-3 fats (113%), copper (53%), manganese (51%), molybdenum (20%), and biotin (19%). They also have anti-cancer treating benefits as well as the ability to help lower the bad cholesterol. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, “The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Instead of having most of its vitamin E present in the alpha-tocopherol form, walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Particularly in studies on the cardiovascular health of men, this gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems.” (Learn more: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99 )

If you want to add even more protein punch, you can include any protein powder you’ve been using. Although, a short word on protein powders and PCOS… the thing that’s problematic for us cysters with these powders is that most contain dairy and sugar or terrible sugar substitutes (sorbitol, mannitol, aspartame etc.) that mess with our insulin sensitivity. Read your label carefully! There is a lot of natural protein in this recipe already — you could probably skip the protein powder if you don’t have any on hand, or if you are concerned about it affecting your hormones.

No-Bake Protein Goji Berry Granola Bites - Option 1

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbitesNo bake ChocolatyGoji Berry Bites

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 cup rolled or quick oats (gluten free)
• 1/2 cup pecan pieces, chopped
• 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
• 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup flax seeds
• 1/4 cup cacao nibs
• 2 Tbsp of cacao powder
• 2 Tbsp of protein powder (optional* – see note above about which one you choose if you have PCOS)
• 1/2 cup of goji berries (*see note above if you are on blood thinners or on diabetic medicine)
• 1/4 tsp of Pink Himalayan Salt, finely ground
• 2/3 cup of almond butter
• 1/2 – 2/3 cup Honey

OTHER TOOLS YOU MIGHT NEED:

9″ x 13″ pan with lid to cover or saran wrap
Large mixing bowl
Silicone spatula
Non-stick spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. (Quick oats, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder, protein powder, salt, and goji berries. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.
  2. Drizzle honey evenly over the top of your dry ingredients.
  3. Add almond butter and incorporate into ingredients until all ingredients are fully combined.
  4. Take a 9″ x 13″ pan and spray with a non-stick spray. Spread your mixed ingredients into the base of the pan, pressing down firmly.
  5. Cover your 9″x 13″ pan with saran wrap or a plastic fitted lid and place into your refrigerator and chill overnight.
  6. In the morning, cut unto 2″ x 2″ squares and snack on as needed. Keep your bars in fridge for up to a week.

Tip: If you don’t need a larger batch, take half of what was made and place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for later use.

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This recipe is Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Corn-free, and Refined Sugar-Free

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BREAKFAST: Gluten-free Waffles

Gluten-free Waffles

My guys love waffles. I enjoy them too, but I don’t like making them for a large crew, because they are painfully slow to crank out. I stand there for about 40 minutes slowly feeding child after child. Pancakes are more my speed for feeding a hungry crew fast. So waffles are an exercise in patience for me.

But, today, for some strange reason, they just sounded better than pancakes. I was determined to feed my hungry crew some gluten-free waffles. I adapted a recipe I found online by Gina Matsoukas.  First off, when I followed the recipe I had found (I was doubling it), it would stick to my waffle iron, even though it seemed fully cooked through. My solution was to add some tapioca flour and that seemed to help it release. I also felt like it needed something more and added some raisens for a little bit of sweetness in every bite. You could also use carob chips or blueberries to mix in — whatever you fancy!

Gluten free waffles

Kids had one each and there was enough to feed all seven of us a 6″-7″ size waffle. I served peaches with it and my littlest gobbled hers up and the crumbs her big brother (age 6) had left. Definitely a kid-friendly recipe.  As a Mama with PCOS, I would go lightly with the toppings as maple syrup can create an insulin response.

Tip: If you don’t have as large of a family to feed, make the whole batch and throw the extras in the freezer for a quick breakfast on another day!

Gluten-free Waffles

  • Servings: 7-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups almond flour
• 4 TBSP coconut flour
• 1 1/2 tsp of finely ground pink Himalayan sea salt
• 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
• 4 small to medium sweet potatoes, cooked, skin removed
• 4 eggs
• 3 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 TBSP pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp of canola oil or avocado oil
• 2/3 cup of almond milk
• 1 tsp of tapioca flour
• 3/4 cups of raisins (other mix-in ideas: blueberries, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, or carob chips)

OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED:
• Waffle Iron
• A non-stick spray
• Spoon (to scoop out sweet potato from skins)
• Mixing bowls (one for dry and one for wet ingredients)
• Whisk (for wet ingredients)
• Spatula (to scrap the bowl and scoop onto the waffle iron gluten-free waffle batter)
• Cookie sheet (for cooking your sweet potatoes on)
• Parchment paper (for cooking your sweet potatoes on)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Place 4 small to medium sized sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Poke the sweet potatoes with a knife towards the center about 5-7 times in various spots throughout each sweet potato. Bake for about 40 min or until soft in the center. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Take a spoon and scoop out all cooked sweet potato and place into your blender. Once you’ve emptied all the sweet potatoes from their outer skin, blend until a smooth puree. Set aside.
3. When sweet potatoes are finished cooking, plug in your waffle iron to preheat while you mix the ingredients.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Whisk together all the other (wet) ingredients in a medium bowl.
6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Fold in your pureed sweet potatoes into your bowl of mixed ingredients. Combine until fully incorporated.
7. Open up your waffle iron and spray upper and lower sections with a non-stick spray. Add a small scoop of gluten-free waffle batter to the center and spread. It should only cover about 1/2 of the bottom. When you press down, it will expand to make a larger waffle.
8. Set your timer for about 7 minutes.
9. When timer goes off, take a fork and gently pry around edges all the way around until it lifts out of the waffle mold.
10. Top with your choice of fruit and/or maple syrup. Enjoy!

 

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and lactose-free.

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LUNCH | DINNER: Gluten-free bread-less “breaded” Chicken Strips & Sweet-Potato Fries

My Kindergartner has been a trouper coming off of gluten, sugar, dairy, and corn. I didn’t realize how much he relied on foods that had a higher insulin response until I changed what we ate. So I made tonight’s dinner with my littles in mind. As I stared at my chicken thawing out on the counter I wondered, “What should I do with this chicken tonight?” And then I thought, something “breaded” but not breaded as a treat for the kids.

Tip: When I make almond milk, I take the left over almond bits and dry them on a sheet rack on a piece of parchment paper for several days. When the almond bits are good and dry, I run them thru my Cuisanart to make “flour” out of my almonds and then I store it in an airtight container for such an occasion as this. I share all that, not to burden you with more tasks, but to help you realize how when you make almond milk, you can also use the bits that are not utilized in almond milk for other things — like this great lunch or dinner! If you are short on time, a package of almond flour works perfectly fine, too!

Gluten-Free Chicken Strips

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I like to cut the chicken into strips when it is still slightly frozen in the center. It holds it shape and you just slice right thru it easy peasy. Try and cut your chicken fingers into equally-sized strips so they will cook uniformly. The sweet potato fries were from the freezer section at our grocery store and took about the same time it took to cook the chicken strips. If you don’t want your chicken strips a yellow-tinge, just skip the tumeric in your coating mix. I added it, because I like to sneak in beneficial herbs, spices (and even some iodine with the kelp) where possible. Every little bit helps as you change your life for the better, one bite at a time.

— Erin

PS: Here’s my son’s seal of approval …

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Gluten Free Breaded-but-without-bread Chicken Strips

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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Gluten-Free Chicken Strips

INGREDIENTS:
Coating Mix:
• 2 c almond flour
• 1 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
• 1 TBSP garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 TBSP kelp granules
• 1 tsp thyme
• 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 TBSP ground flax
• 2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley


 

Note: If you want to make this dairy-free, just skip the parmesan cheese and add a 1/2 cup of almond flour.


 

Main Ingredient:
• 7 pcs Chicken breasts, skinless (frozen)

Egg Bath:
• 2 Eggs

Other kitchen tools:
• Bowl for egg bath
• Larger bowl for coating mix
• Cookie sheet
• Parchment baking paper
• Tongs

DIRECTIONS:
1. You’ll want to cut your chicken into strips when it is thawed on the outside and still slightly frozen (not rock solid but partly thawed) in the center. It will cut easily and clean thru. Try and keep pieces uniform in size so that they cook at equal rates.

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2. Take 2 eggs and whip them in a bowl and set aside.

3. In another larger bowl, combine all the ingredients for the coating mix and combine well with a whisk until everything looks incorporated.

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4. Finally, take your cooking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

6. Create an assembly line order, left to right, with your chicken strips near your egg bath. Your coating mix next to the egg bath. And finally, your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper next to the coating mix.

7. Using a set on tongs, pick up several strips of cut raw chicken and put them into the egg bath. One-by-one, coat each piece of raw chicken with raw egg and transfer into the coating mix. Coat entire strip of chicken and using the tongs, transfer the coated chicken to the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue process, leaving space between each chicken finger until cookie sheet is full.
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8. Place in heated oven and set timer for 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked.

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9. Remove from heat and serve with your choice of sides (like sweet potato fries).

 

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, and corn-free.

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