Healthy Cookie Dough Bites

Warning: The following recipe is absolutely, 100%, seriously addicting. I got this recipe from a friend who raved about it on her Instagram (she doesn’t have a blog or anything to link to, but you can search #lifeonlomarecipes. She has this one and many of her other delicious creations there). 

When I first saw her post this, my initial thought was “Yeah, right. How could this possibly be good?” Then she kept making it over and over. Then other people started saying they had made it and that it was truly that good. 

I couldn’t figure it out. Healthy cookie dough bites? Really? How could these ingredients even work together? (You’ll see what I mean.) Anyway, I finally gave in and tried it out. I had all the ingredients I needed in my pantry so I set to it. 

You. Guys. I kid you not, these are amazing. Seriously. They are just as addicting as I was told and they taste EXACTLY LIKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH!!!! I’m glad they are full of healthy ingredients, because I was nabbing bites every time I walked by the fridge. I even had a few friends try them to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. 

My advice: Make these. Make them now and make them often. Keep some in your house and give some as gifts (the holidays are coming up soon!). You won’t regret it.

Now, without further ado, here is the recipe:

1 can (15oz) of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup peanut butter

2T honey

1 ½ t vanilla

Pinch of salt

Mini chocolate chips

Regular chocolate chips (optional)

What’s that you say? That’s it? That’s all that’s in this recipe? Yes. That’s it. These seemingly unrelated ingredients will come together to make perfect harmony. Trust me.

In a food processor, mix up your chickpeas until smooth. My food processor is really small, so I only used it for the chickpeas. If you have a bigger food processor, you could probably just put all the ingredients in there and save yourself a dish.

 

Once the chickpeas are all smooth, pour them into a bowl with the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.

 

Add the mini chocolate chips and mix well.

 

Scoop out the “cookie dough” and form into 1” balls (or whatever size you want, actually). I was bad and didn’t really measure my ingredients very well. The end result was fine, but my “dough” was a little wetter than it was supposed to be so I couldn’t really roll it quite right. It was still fine, but next time it would be better to measure a bit more accurately.

 

Once your balls are all formed, freeze for about 10-30 minutes. Melt some chocolate and coat the balls in the chocolate. Freeze or refrigerate until set.

 

This last part is optional. I did it on half of mine. The other half, I just dipped the bottom half into chocolate. They are both amazing, but I actually preferred the ones that were only partially dipped. 

These babies are full of fiber and protein. The little sugar from the chocolate chips is fine. Also, you could probably swap them out for cocoa nibs and be even healthier if you wanted. You could probably also substitute the peanut butter for any sort of nut or seed butter you like. You could add oatmeal or even switch out the extract. I feel like these could be customized in a ton of different ways.

 

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100 (ish) Calorie Snacks

I’ve always loved snacks. There have been days when I have eaten no real meals and just snacked all day. It’s possible that may have contributed a bit to how I got to the point that I’m now on Nutrisystem, but who knows?

On this plan, you get two snacks during the day. The first is a protein snack, like yogurt, in the morning.

The second snack of the day contains a power fuel (protein) and a smart carb. This is my favorite snack because, hello, a girl needs her carbs! 

Anyway, here are some of my favorite low calorie, carb friendly  snacks:

Half a pear, from a can in water or juice (not syrup): 22 calories; 1/2 cup non-fat cottage cheese: 81 calories. Total: 103 calories

You can swap out the fruit here too. This is really good with any fruit but my favorites are pears, peaches, and pineapple.

2 ounces deli ham: 74 calories; 1 cup cubed cantaloupe: 54 calories. Total: 128

One of my favorite food combos is prosciutto and melon. The prosciutto isn’t really Nutrisystem-approved (not to mention it’s on the pricey side), but a good deli ham is a perfectly acceptable substitute. This was a really yummy snack.

Strawberries: 22 calories for 10 berries; 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 33 calories. Total: 55 calories.

Plain Greek yogurt isn’t very good by itself and the flavored stuff is high in sugar, so this is the best compromise. It helps if you have a cute snack-buddy to eat with you 😊


1 medium nectarine: 62 calories; 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt: 33 calories. Total: 95 calories.

You may have gathered, this is the same method as the cottage cheese. You can pair this with any fruit you like, keeping in mind different fruits have different calorie counts.


Finally, hummus and veggies. The veggies are free and a 1/4 cup serving of hummus is 109 calories. You can buy it (check the nutritional content) or make it. I have a really yummy recipe riighhhht here. <— Keep in mind this post was back at the beginning of this blog, when I had a bit of a different goal. I like to think my posts are better now! :0)

Cheesy Popcorn Two Ways (Christmas Movie series)

Love. Romance. Amore. All standard fare in most, if not all, holiday movies. (Click that link to check out my Unofficial Holiday Movie Guide, the inspiration for this series of posts!)

Like real life, this love can come in many forms from family to friendship to romantic love. Over my extensive Christmas movie watching experience, I have pin-pointed three most common love themes in these movies:

  1. The Hate-to-Love love: A very common plot device, these movies begin with the two main characters loathing each other. Fighting and bickering from the get-go. Sometimes they are competing for the same end-goal (Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Window Wonderland), sometimes it’s a personality conflict (Let it Snow, Mistle-tones, Matchmaker Santa, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Charming Christmas). No matter, they will be forced to work side-by-side and eventually each will let his/her guard down and they will see that there is more than meets the eye. And love will blossom.
  2. Parent-Teacher love: This isn’t quite as common, but does come up. Usually a single parent and precocious child, who is also an outsider, catch the attention of a caring teacher. The parent and the teacher work together to help the child overcome a problem (Cookie Cutter Christmas) or the teacher helps the child bring back the belief in Christmas (Northpole). The magic of it all brings the two adults together to live happily (and merrily) ever after.
  3. Fake love: Ah, the pretend boyfriend turned soulmate plot line. From the beginning of the scheme, you as a watcher from the outside knows that this whole thing will unravel. The plan is never fully fleshed out, which makes it prime for a comedy of errors. It usually stems from a girl, who has what her parents consider a dead-end job, wanting to impress her family. Likely because she has perfect siblings and she is the black sheep (Holiday in Handcuffs). Sometimes it’s because one person (or both) are so far happily single but their parent’s just really want to see them settle down already, so they pretend for family dinners to keep the ‘rents off their backs (Hitched for the Holidays). This isn’t a new plot device either, the 1945 Barbara Stanwyck classic Christmas in Connecticut had Ms. Stanwyck pretending to be married to keep up the appearance of domestic bliss. Technically in this one, Barbara Stanwyck doesn’t fall in love with her fake beau, but rather someone else, but while she is pretend-married so hilarity still ensues.

These movies are total fluff. It doesn’t make me love them any less, but yes, they are total popcorn movies. Which is why this is the perfect thing to munch on while enjoying these cheesy flicks.

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite holiday snacks. I know you can get all kinds of popcorn all year long, but around the holidays, those tins start showing up in stores. You know the ones? With the divider inside separating the butter, caramel, and cheesy popcorn? I never buy them, but one always ends up in the breakroom at my work and it is very hard for me to resist the third that contains the cheesy popcorn. It always makes a mess, but it is oh, so good.

Of course the easiest way to make popcorn at home is in the microwave, but I heard those are really bad for you. Like, full of chemicals bad. Luckily, making popcorn at home not using the microwave is actually really easy. 

All you need is some popcorn kernels, cooking oil, and any toppings you want. Today I made cheesy popcorn because, why not? (Get it? Cheesy movies… Cheesy popcorn?)

In a pot over medium high heat, add about two tablespoons cooking oil. I used canola, but use what you have. Add one popcorn kernel and put the lid on. Wait a few minutes and when the kernel pops, you are ready to add the rest.

Add 1/3 cup of kernels to pot and cover. The popcorn will start to pop. As it goes, shake the pot a bit to get all the kernels.   

After most of the kernels are popped, turn off the heat and let it finish. It only takes a few minutes.

  
  

At this point you can eat it or top it however you want. Since I was making two kinds of cheese popcorn, I divided the batch in two.

 

For the Rosemary Parmesan popcorn, I added a sprig of rosemary to the pot with half the popcorn and put the lid on. Let this sit for s few minutes to infuse the Rosemary flavor.
   

For the cheddar popcorn, I just bought one of those boxes of Kraft mac n cheese (or “roni cheese” as my two-year-old calls it). They are only about a dollar each and the cheese packet is the perfect popcorn topping. 

  

Put the popcorn in a plastic bag and add about a tablespoon of melted butter and however much cheese powder you want. I used half a packet, but more would have been great too.

For the Parmesan popcorn, discard the Rosemary sprig and put the popcorn in a separate bag. Add the butter, a couple shakes of garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese. Use the stuff in the green container that you shake on speghetti. 

  

Shake your bags and run the popcorn all around to get it coated in your topping.    

Turn on a Christmas rom-com and snack away!