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With the Christmas holiday approaching, sweet treats are inescapable, pestering us from every shop window, party tray, and restaurant. Even if you locked yourself in your home, your soclal media feeds can be counted on to showcase friends gorging on Peppermint Mochas and Cranberry Bliss Bars at their local Starbucks (providing them with well over 100% of their daily value of saturated fat in one go, but I digress...)

That said, just because something is chocolatey, gooey, and divinely delicious doesn't necessarily mean that it's evil. Instead of bringing over a fruitcake or pecan pie to your next family gathering or soiree, why not whip up something a little more health-conscious? With these recipes for Paleo Macaroons and Blondies, no one will even notice the difference. 

Paleo, otherwise known as the "caveman diet," is an approach to eating as nature originally attended- free of grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. Paleo has been widely adopted not only by athletes, but by the millions living with autoimmune disorders, inflammatory diseases and allergies. I've been eating "clean" for quite a long time (no processed foods), and I decided to take it one step further and adopt the Paleo lifestyle two months ago to support my bodybuilding goals and healing from endometriosis. So far, I've noticed that my energy levels have skyrocketed and I don't fatigue so easily at the gym. 

Paleo Blondies (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Blondies ready for the oven.

Blondies ready for the oven.

Ingredients:
4 large ripened bananas
2/3 cup of tahini
2/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff!) 
1/3 cup of almond butter
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 175 celsius. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix all of the ingredients except for the dark chocolate in a food processor, until smooth.
3. Pour batter into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the finely chopped dark chocolate on the top. 
4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Set to cool for 1 hour and cut into small squares.

Makes approx. 25 small squares
 



 


Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons (Paleo, Grain-Free)

Ingredients:
3 cups shredded coconut 
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut cream
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 160 celsius. 
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for the egg white.
3. Beat the egg white with an electric mixer, until peaks form.
4. Fold the egg white into the rest of ingredients and mix well. 
5. Scoop out small balls of dough with a spoon or your hand and pack them together until firm.
6. Place the dough balls onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes. 
7. Cool for an hour on a wire rack.
8. Optional- dip the bottoms of each ball into melted hot chocolate. 

Makes approximately 18 macaroons 

*Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons recipe adapted from Against All Grain.*

Enjoy, and if you're interested in learning more about Paleo, leave a note below or email me and I'll include more information about it on the blog!
 

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