Goat Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates

Goat Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates

Any bacon lovers out there? Yes, please! If you are looking for a crowd pleaser for a nice night in or for a dinner party then you will love these Goat Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates. Not only does this dish satisfy both the savory and sweet tooth in all of us, but these are incredibly easy to make. The blend of honey, cinnamon, goat cheese, dates and bacon is so fabulous you will be hard pressed to only have one.

I made these for Christmas this past year, and my husband has been requesting them frequently ever since. I will typically make them during the weekend for a nice night in, and then we will save some to snack on for the next few days. Not only do they taste great, but they smell fabulous as they bake.

Dates are an excellent source of nutrients with a high concentration of antioxidants, which have been found to aid in healthy bowel movements, improve brain function, prevent infections, and reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. For the bacon, you want to be mindful to choose a brand that does not have added sugar or nitrates. I use Nature’s Rancher brand which is Whole 30 approved, Paleo and Keto friendly, gluten free and uses pork that is raised without antibiotics or growth stimulants. For this recipe I use the whole package, but you can scale down the serving size and use the remaining bacon to eat alongside some eggs throughout the week as well.

I play with the fillings when I make these. I have used almond butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese, but I have to say my favorite is by far the goat cheese. I sprinkle cinnamon, honey and maple syrup depending on what we are feeling. Simply making them plane with just a date wrapped in bacon is all good too. Whatever your preference will work great. You really can’t go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon in my book.

Goat Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates
Makes 24

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices of bacon (uncooked)
  • 24 dates
  • 4 oz of goat cheese (I use Vermont Creamery)
  • Optional toppings: cinnamon, honey or maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Slice the dates open gently so they lay open. Be sure not to cut them completely in half, things will get messy.
  • Gently take about 1/2-1 tsp of the goat cheese and stuff the dates
  • Sprinkle any of the additional toppings listed above if you choose. I will usually do 8 with each different topping.
  • Cut the bacon strips in half so you have 24 slices of bacon.
  • Wrap each date with the bacon, and use a toothpick to secure each date
  • Arrange the dates on the baking sheet and transfer into the oven.
  • Bake for about 16 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked and crisped to your preference.
  • Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Bites

Blueberry Lemon Bites

Berries and lemon are the perfect combination in my book (other than peanut butter and chocolate of course). This recipe offers a nice blend of sweetness from the berries and citrus from the lemons, in addition to a nice crunchy texture from the freeze dried fruit. What’s even better is that blueberries provide some antioxidants, and lemons offer a good dose of vitamin C. These Blueberry Lemon Bites are gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo friendly.

This is another variation of my Key Lime Pie Bites and Lemon Bites, which are all refreshing and clean for a worry free grab and go snack. My husband will enjoy these for his breakfast as a swap for his typical bowl of cereal. I can promise you that my food processor never saw the light of day until this past holiday season. I would say it sat unused for a solid 7 years, but now it is routinely out and cranking out the goods these days.

I am not a huge snacker during the week, but during the weekends when I am home and more likely to indulge I want to make sure I have clean options that are guilt free yet satisfying. This recipe is another toss everything in, fold in the blueberries and roll them out into balls for a hassle free recipe.

I don’t know what it is, but I always count myself successful when I seem to streamline a recipe. I work full time during the week and often times on the weekends, so I keep certain recipes on rotation to simplify my life, you know what I mean? I have come to realize not everything needs to be a Pinterest perfect dish, but this simple snack will be sure to satisfy and impress. I hope you enjoy it!

Blueberry Lemon Bites
Makes 8 Bites

Ingredients:

  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened freeze dried blueberries

Directions:

  • Add dates, lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, cashews, and coconut into a food processor and turn it on until a ball of dough forms
  • Fold in the blueberries
  • Scoop out generous spoonfuls of the mixture and form into 8 balls
  • Optional: roll the bites into any leftover shredded coconut

Enjoy friends!

Kale Chicken Caesar Salad

Kale Chicken Caesar Salad

If you are a lover of Caesar salads then you have to dig into to this recipe. This salad has the perfect blend of protein, healthy fats and fibrous greens to satisfy any pallet. People often overlook Caesar salads, but with the right flavors they can be quite dynamic. You can dig into this for lunch or for dinner. This salad is gluten free, Keto friendly, and it can be Paleo if you ditch the cheese.

I love crafting salads. For the longest time I truly believed salads were something that always tasted better if someone else made them. Then I started to get into the stride of learning different flavor and texture combinations. I often make my own dressings, but hands down Primal Kitchen makes the best store bought varieties that are clean and simple. In this recipe their Caesar dressing brings the dish to life.

Before I start preparing anything for the salad I make a package of Simple Mills’ Artisan Bread mix, which will later serve as my croutons. While the bread is cooking I start to build the salad. I used a mix here of organic baby kale, romaine and mixed greens. Then, I tossed the pine nuts into a pan over medium heat and let them toast while frequently moving them around to prevent burning. Once the pine nuts are done I add them to greens.

Next, I take the prosciutto and lay the slices on a piece of parchment paper and let them crisp in the oven while the bread is baking. I keep an eye on the prosciutto while the pieces crisp for about 10 minutes and then remove them from the oven. After the prosciutto is cooled I will then cut the pieces into little bits and then add them to the salad. Often times I will shred some raw organic cheddar cheese and toss it in as well. When the bread is done I cut the slices into cubes, toss them with olive oil and Italian seasoning and add them back into the oven until the they are crisp.

On week nights I often grab a rotisserie chicken to make dinner prep simple. Grabbing a chicken from Whole Foods is my go-to. Here I shredded the breast meat and each serving got 4-6 oz, and then my kids ate the rest for their dinners. Its a win-win for everyone at the table.

Kale Chicken Caesar Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix
  • 4 cups of baby kale or your choice of salad greens
  • 8-12 oz of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons of Primal Kitchen Caesar dressing
  • 6 oz of Prosciutto (I used Applegate Naturals)
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 lemon
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of shredded raw organic cheddar cheese (I use Organic Valley brand)

Directions:

  • Prepare the Simple Mills bread mix per the directions for a loaf and bake for the allotted time
  • Place the Prosciutto slices on a piece of parchment paper, add it to the oven during the last 10 minutes of the bread’s cooking time and bake until they are nice and crisp
  • Meanwhile, toss the pine nuts in a pan over medium heat while stirring frequently until they are nicely toasted then remove from the heat
  • When the Prosciutto is nice and crisp remove it from the oven and cut into little pieces
  • When the bread is done cut half of the loaf into slices and then into cubes. Place the cubes on a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle on the avocado oil and Italian seasoning and mix until the croutons are evenly coated. Place the croutons into the oven for another 8-10 minutes until golden brown and toasted
  • Add the kale, chicken, pine nuts, 1/2 cup of croutons, prosciutto, and cheese (if you choose to add it) into a bowl. Top the salad with the juice of half a lemon and Caesar dressing, and toss it all together until evenly coated.

Enjoy!

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

I believe eating healthy is all about balance, and I can never resist a soft baked chocolate chip cookie. These cookies are gluten-free, paleo friendly, and super moist with soft baked magic in every bite! The best part, you can make these in 15 minutes beginning to end.

These Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies are a perfect gluten-free and Paleo friendly dessert. All of the ingredients are simple and clean, so you can enjoy them with peace of mind. Everyone in my house has a bit of a sweet tooth, so I always try to keep these up my sleeve for a little treat. I will usually double the batch and then freeze them for up to 3 months, but I have to be honest they don’t last that long. When we want them I’ll simply take them out of the freezer and let them sit while we eat dinner and I’ll serve them alongside ice cream. Another twist is if you let them cool completely you can make your own ice cream sandwiches by scooping ice cream in-between two cookies and gently pressing down. I will store them in an air tight container separated by parchment paper and eat those as is whenever.

I love that these cookies use coconut oil as it has so many great benefits. When you are shopping for coconut oil you want to look for “virgin coconut oil” as it is least refined and has a nutty/sweet flavor versus “refined coconut oil” which goes through a bleaching and deodorizing process.

When shopping for chocolate chips you want to be mindful of the ingredients inside of those as well. Paleo friendly brands include Thrive Market, Hu, and Enjoy Life. If you are not strict Paleo then any brand you favor and tolerate will work just fine.

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 1 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. compliant chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together the coconut oil and egg
  • Add the coconut sugar, honey and vanilla into the mixer
  • Add in the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt and mix until well combined
  • Fold in the chocolate chips
  • Scoop out a generous tablespoon of the dough and place onto a nonstick cookie sheet and repeat until 12 cookies are formed
  • Gently press down the cookies with a fork or spoon to lightly flatten to 1/2 inch thick
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until golden brown
  • Let the cookies cool completely before storing. While they are cooling I will lightly sprinkle sea salt on top to get more of a sweet and salty vibe.

Enjoy!