Healthyish Turtle Brownies

Jeff and I both love sweets, and we were craving something sweet after dinner last night, so I made these turtle brownies. My mom runs a bakery and makes the best turtle brownies with caramel and pecans on top, and I wanted something similar to those, but a little healthier.

When I was little, my grandmother used to go to Weight Watchers meetings and I would go with her sometimes. I remembered one of the ladies at the meeting saying that she made brownies with a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin to make them lower in calories, so I decided to try these using pureed pumpkin as a base. The only thing in these that is not Paleo is the syrup toppings, and that’s just because I used that I had in the fridge, which was Hershey’s ice cream syrup.

These turned out very fudgy. The pumpkin keeps them moist and the pecans and chocolate chips give them a good crunch. I like these best served cold, and suggest refrigerating them overnight before serving, but Jeff dove into them when they were warm last night and said they were good that way, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Caramel syrup (for topping)
  • Chocolate syrup (for topping)

Instructions:

  • Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until combined well. The mixture will be thick.
  • Spread mixture into a sprayed 8×8 inch baking dish (or a 9-inch pie plate, like I used here).
  • Top with chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrup over the top.
  • These can be eaten warm, but they are best served cold. I recommend refrigerating overnight before serving.

 

Five on Friday – What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you’re like me, you have a fridge full of food leftover from yesterday’s feast. Today, I’m sharing five quick and easy ideas for serving up those leftovers!

  1. The Leftover Sandwich – Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where someone eats Ross’s leftover Thanksgiving sandwich and he loses his mind over it? It had a “moist maker,” after all! I can totally relate, because I love a leftover sandwich. I found a recipe that recreates Ross’s sandwich, but I keep my leftover sandwich pretty simple. Toast some bread and layer on leftover turkey, spread on a couple scoops of dressing, then add lettuce, some red onion, and a little cranberry sauce. The toasted bread and lettuce give it a nice crunch to contrast the soft turkey and dressing.
  2. Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich – I’ve been making this copycat recipe from Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, AL, for years. This week, we actually got to stop at Bates on our way to the beach and try the original. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve eaten there, but it was just like I remembered it (although, Jeff says my copycat recipe is actually better than theirs, but he’s a little biased).
  3. Thanksgiving in a Blanket – I found this video on Facebook this week and can’t wait to try it. I’ll roll anything in a crescent roll if given the opportunity, so leftover Thanksgiving food in a crescent sounds perfect.
  4. Thanksgiving Egg Rolls – Because the only way to make Thanksgiving food any better is to roll it all up together and fry it. Whoever made up this recipe has to be from Alabama. I’m actually wondering why I never thought of this…
  5. Turkey and Stuffing Muffins– So, we don’t do “stuffing” at my house. We have dressing instead, but I think you could use dressing in this recipe, too. These muffins would make a great snack or lunch.

I hope you enjoy these leftover recipes! What do you do with your leftovers? Let me know in the comments!

Baked Chicken Breasts with Zucchini Noodles in Spinach and Walnut Pesto

I made zucchini noodles today and now I am wondering why it took me so long to try them. They were amazing! I could replace spaghetti with zucchini noodles forever and not miss it one bit. Also, they were incredibly easy and cooked super fast. This meal came together so quickly that I barely felt like I had cooked, but it was really tasty and Jeff gave it his stamp of approval. That’s always a win. Check out the recipes below:

Simply the Best Baked Chicken

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this, but you could absolutely use bone-in chicken. You’d just need to adjust your cooking time. Usually bone-in chicken tends to take a little longer to cook. Just make sure that the juices are running clear when you puncture the chicken to be sure it is done.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp avacado oil

Salt

Pepper

In a skillet, heat the avacado oil over medium high heat until warm. Make sure to swirl it around to coat the entire skillet. 

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in the skillet seasoned side down. Season the other side with salt and pepper. 

Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until browned. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. 

Transfer to a 400 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. 

Browning the chicken in the skillet first makes such a huge difference in how flavorful this chicken is! Having that crispy, browned crust makes it so savory!

Spinach and Walnut Pesto

1 1/2 cups finely packed spinach

1/2 cup fresh basil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. 

Put It All Together

Spiralize 3-4 large zucchini using a vegetable spirializer like this one. Sauté the noodles on medium high heat in avacado oil with a little salt and pepper for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add two tablespoons of pesto to the noodles and toss until coated.

Serve with sliced chicken breasts and toasted walnuts for garnish.