Category Archives: Gluten Free

No- Bake Protein Bar Base Recipe

LJ Protein Bar Base (3)

My nutrition client LJ posted this recipe from the Power Hungry blog on our Team Facebook page and I loved the simplicity of it.  With 5 ingredients (all of which you can pronounce) these bars go together in a snap.

I whipped-up a quick batch and these protein bars have been a savior for me the last few days since I have been crazy busy and have been eating on the run a lot.  An added bonus is the fact that these are really filling.

The only modification I made to the recipe was to use 1 cup of almond milk versus the 1 1/3 cups the recipe called for.  Years ago I learned to always add less liquid initially to a recipe than it calls for because you can always add more if necessary and you can’t UNadd liquid once you have too much.

Ingredient-wise I used Trader Joe’s gluten-free old fashioned oats, unsweetened almond milk, Crazy Richard’s Crunchy PB, Kirkland vanilla, and PlantFusion protein powder in Cookies and Cream.

LJ Protein Bar Base (2)

The add-ins you could include in these bars are endless:

  • Powdered PB
  • Cocoa powder
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chocolate chips
  • Carob chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • A layer of low sugar jelly (PB & J bars)
  • Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon

Here are the nutrition facts for the bars as I made them (It made 8 bars):

LJ Protein Bar Base Nutrition Facts

P.S.  If you are interested in giving Crazy Richards a try use the coupon code FITQUESTMOM for 10% off.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Energy Bars, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Shredding pork with mixer pulled pork kalua pork

This is seriously the easiest shredded pork recipe I have ever made.  When Fall comes around my crockpot / slow-cooker gets dusted off and is responsible for a lot of my meal prep.

I saw a recipe for Kalua Pork and Cabbage in the Taste of Home magazine I randomly started getting (I didn’t subscribe) and was really excited to try it because it looked so easy.

As usual I made some modifications to suit my taste.  The original recipe called for salting the pork prior to putting it into the slow cooker.  I did that and it was WAY too salty (I used about 1/2 of the recommended salt).  Needless to say, this step is totally unnecessary and I will omit it all together next time since bacon is salty enough on its own.

The original recipe also called for pork shoulder / butt and all I had on hand was pork sirloin roasts from Costco (They come in a 4-pack; see image below from 2 Wired 2 Tired).


The pork turned out really well and is definitely something I will be making again.


2 Costco Pork Sirloin Roasts (6-8 pounds total)

1 package bacon

crockpot kalua pork recipe bacon


Line the bottom of the crockpot / slow cooker with 4-5 pieces of bacon.

Place the 2 pork sirloin (or shoulder/butt) roasts on top of the bacon and cover the roasts with the remaining bacon.

Turn the crockpot / slow cooker on to low for 8-10 hours.

Shred the pork with either 2 forks OR a handheld mixer (only takes 10 seconds…be careful not to overdo it with the mixer or it will become mush).

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Filed under Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Paleo, Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe

healthy pumpkin smoothie recipe vegan

I am going to “white girl” it up here with a healthy Pumpkin Spice smoothie/shake recipe.  Who doesn’t love a little (or a lot) of pumpkin in the Fall?  This recipe also works really well with persimmons or you could use sweet potato or kabocha…you get the idea…it’s versatile.

This recipe could easily serve 2 people, but I’m a little piggy and keep it all to myself.  If you want to share it with someone else, just divide the macro counts below by two.


  • 1 scoop PlantFusion protein (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 Tbs pumpkin pie spice (you can use less, but I LOVE it)
  • 2/3 cup organic canned pumpkin
  • 2-3 tsp fresh ginger (I like a lot)
  • 2 Tbs Sugar Free Italian Sweet Cream Coffeemate (my smoothie secret)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2-3 big handfuls of ice (I use a lot)

Add all of the above ingredients to your high speed blender and blend away.

healthy pumpkin smoothie recipe vegan macros iifym

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Filed under Dessert, Frozen Treats, Gluten Free, Recipes, Smoothie / Shake

PB CUP / FUDGE RECIPE – Healthy Halloween Candy

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pumpkin PB 4

I teamed-up with in an attempt to make Halloween less scary for your waistline. has been working hard on their Healthy Snack Page and I am happy to help spread the word.

Of course when you think of you think of nuts.  One of the world’s best flavor combos in my opinion is PB and C.  Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate (other than my very own daughter…what???).

I set off on a quest to make a healthier peanut butter cup / peanut butter fudge and the results taste amazing if I do say so myself.  My son offered to eat all of them (such a kind boy).  What’s even more awesome is how quickly these come together.

It’s up to you whether or not you add chocolate.  These cups / fudge taste great either way.


40g dark chocolate

2Tbs (28g) raw cacao butter

1/4c (64g) peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1/4c (24g) peanut butter powder

1/2 dropperful Liquid Sweetleaf Stevia (English Toffee flavor is my favorite)


If using the chocolate, place 4 grams of chocolate into each of the 10 candy molds (I used THIS one).  Microwave in 15 second increments to melt (you have to be REALLY careful not to burn the chocolate in the microwave).  Once sufficiently melted, spread the chocolate and place the mold into the freezer.

In a double boiler melt the cacao butter, chocolate, and peanut butter powder stirring constantly with a whisk.

Once melted, remove the molds from the freezer and divide the peanut butter mixture evenly between the 10 candy molds.

Place the candies in the fridge to set-up.  Store uneaten candies (if there are any) in the fridge or freezer.

Nutrition Information:

Per Candy (Chocolate & PB) – 82 cal / 2.7C / 3P / 6.8F

Per Candy (Just PB Mixture) – 75 cal / 1.8C / 2.8P / 6.3F

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pumpkin PB 5

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holiday, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipe Redux, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

My Favorite Gluten-Free Lower Carb Waffle Recipe

Balanced Grettie Lower Carb Gluten Free Waffle with Syrup BITE

This is my go-to waffle recipe.  It has taken me a while to perfect, but I know it’s good when the rest of my family actually likes them and tries to steal bites when I make one for myself.  Let’s face it, I like a lot of foods that the general public probably wouldn’t be into…this is a recipe the general public will be into.

I like this recipe as either a HUGE Belgian waffle or pancakes.  The only difference between making these into waffles or pancakes will be the batter consistency (aka how much water you add).  Waffle batter tends to be thicker and pancake batter thinner (it is basically personal preference).

I like to eat the whole recipe myself, but you can easily split it in half or eat as much as your macros allow.  I also like to top my waffle with strawberries, but again that is personal preference.

If you don’t want to use syrup you can add a little stevia to the batter.

Balanced Grettie Lower Carb Waffle Ingredients


40 grams Krusteaz gluten -free buttermilk pancake mix

1 Tbs coconut flour (pack it into the Tbs vs. the scoop and scrape method)

2 Tbs Fufu (Plantain Flour)

6 Tbs organic egg whites

Water (amount varies)


Preheat your waffle maker or a pan on medium heat if making pancakes.

Place the pancake mix, coconut flour, and fufu flour into a mixing bowl.  Add the egg whites and a little water to start (2-3Tbs).  Mix.

The coconut flour will absorb a lot of water, so add water a little at a time until it reaches the right consistency.  It seems like the amount of water I use is different every time, so play around with it.  You can also add some more egg whites if you have more protein macros to use-up.  I have used as little as 4Tbs and as much as 8Tbs with great results.

Spray coconut oil onto the waffle maker or pan.

Cook as you would any regular waffle or pancake.

Here is the macro breakdown for the recipe as written:

Balanced Grettie Lower Carb Waffle Macros IIFYM


Balanced Grettie Lower Carb Gluten Free Waffle with Syrup

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Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Breakfast, Cake, Dessert, Family Recipe Make-Over, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipe Redux, Recipes

Low Cal Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie

This recipe couldn’t get any easier.  I have been eating this for dessert lately and can’t believe how good it is for how few calories there are.  Is it the exact same as regular pudding taste-wise?…No, but it is pretty darn good.


  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2Tbs. cocoa powder (I like THIS one by Valrhona)
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • Sweetleaf Stevia to taste (THIS one is my favorite)

Possible add-ins:

  • Chia seeds (I use 15g)
  • PB Powder
  • Organic Flavors like mint, almond, butterscotch, cherry

Place the almond milk, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, and stevia in the blender alond with 4 drops of organic flavor (if using).  Blend until nice and creamy.  If adding chia seeds, pour them into the blender with the pudding and pulse very quickly (you want to mix them in, but not blend them).

When I make the pudding with the chia seeds I like to pour the mixture into a container and put it in the fridge to allow the chia seeds time to expand.

Thanks it!

Here are the macros for the pudding:

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie NO CHIA

Here are the macros for the pudding WITH 15g of chia seeds:

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie WITH CHIA


Filed under Dessert, Dip, Gluten Free, Paleo, Pudding / Mousse, Recipes, Vegan

Roasted Japanese Eggplant

Roasted Japanese Eggplant Balanced Grettie Collage

Eggplant used to intimidate me.  I was always told that if you didn’t prepare it right the eggplant would turn out bitter, so I think I avoided making it myself and just stuck to ordering it when I went out to eat.

This year I decided to plant Japanese eggplant in my garden, so I guess that meant I would have to learn how to work with it.  I have one Japanese eggplant plant in my garden and it has just gone nuts.  I pick at least 10 eggplant on a weekly basis!

When I had my first eggplant harvest I did a quick search for recipes and found THIS one on the Real Healthy Recipes blog.

I simplified the recipe by leaving out the lemon since I like to prepare a ton at a time and want to be able to use it throughout the week for different purposes (not every meal lends itself to lemon).  I also use about 1/2 that amount of oil and found that I only need to roast them for about 18-22 minutes (maybe my eggplant are small?).  The first time I made this recipe I roasted the eggplant for the full 40 minutes and found them too be a little too mushy for my taste.

Scoring the eggplant as she suggests really allows the garlic flavor to get in there and they turn out so pretty.

Head on over to the Real Healthy Recipes blog to find out the method for preparing this yummy eggplant dish.  Click HERE for the printable recipe.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables

How I Prep Chicken & Grilled Veggies

I am a big-time food prepper.  In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it has to be easy and for me that means keeping healthy food in the fridge ready to go.  It’s easy to grab some carbs to round out a meal, so having some protein and veggies ready is key.

For years now I have been prepping mass quantities of chicken breasts every few weeks.  I’d rather do a WHOLE BUNCH every once in a while than every few days.  BBQ in bulk I say.

This is the method that works for me and I thought it might be of interest to you.  My Greek marinade recipe is so simple and not a perfect science in that it is a little bit different every time…I don’t do any precise measurements when I make it.  Growing-up my parents made a Greek Lemon Oregano Chicken and that is what this is based on.

With regards to counting macros, I know some people would count the lemon and the olive oil, but I take a somewhat laid-back approach to that and don’t include that in my daily macros because let’s be honest, most of the olive oil cooks off on the BBQ and just makes it so it doesn’t stick to the grill.  Now, if my chicken had a sauce poured over it after it had been prepared and was served to me that way, I would most definitely count that in my daily macros.

For the “cup” measurements I just use those that are written on the side of my Vitamix.  Today I doubled the recipe since I was making 15 chicken breasts as well as 2 bunches of grilled asparagus.

Balanced Grettie Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade Collage

Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic olive oil (I buy mine at Costco)
  • 1 head of garlic, break apart the cloves and peel them
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs whole pepper corns
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano


Place all ingredients EXCEPT for the dried oregano into the Vitamix and blend until smooth.  Add the dried oregano and blend briefly so you preserve the leaves and don’t pulverize them (just personal preference).


When it comes to prepping the chicken, the best trick I have discovered is to pound it.  By pounding the chicken and making it all the same thickness, you end-up with evenly cooked chicken and chicken that BBQs a heck of a lot faster!  It is super moist vs. having uneven dry spots like so often happens with THICK chicken breasts  (as long as you don;t overcook it!).

I allow the chicken to marinade for 4-8 hours…with this amount of lemon overnight would be TOO much (learned that the hard way)!  Make sure you reserve some of the marinade for your veggies.  This works awesome with asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

I like to place a flat black trash bag on my counter in order to avoid chicken juice flying everywhere (and it makes the clean-up a snap).  I also pound the chicken inside a produce bag from the grocery store for the same reason.  As for how the rest of the prep goes…I’ll tell it in pictures.

Balanced Grettie Chicken Prep pounded

Balanced Grettie Lemon oregano Greek Chicken prep pounding method Balanced Grettie Marinating Asparagus in a bag

Chicken Asparagus Prep 2

Once my chicken is BBQ’d and has cooled, I put about 4 breasts in the fridge and I vacuum pack bags of 4 and put them in the freezer.  When I am running out of prepped chicken in the fridge I pull out a bag from the freezer and defrost it in cold water (MUCH better result than defrosting in the microwave…I’m not a huge microwave fan).

Do any of you have food prep tricks you’d like to share?



Filed under Gluten Free, IIFYM and Macros, Main Dish, Nutrition, Paleo, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt

High Protein Taco Trick

High Protein Taco Trick

I thought I’d share a quick trick with you that will help you get more protein in your diet.

The one glaring consistency I see among my clients is that prior to working with me they drastically under-eat protein.  Most of my clients struggle at first to find ways to add protein to their diets and this is one solution I use frequently in my own meals.

Egg whites are an amazing source of protein and they make an appearance on my table daily in one form or another.

To make the high protein taco base, I spray some olive oil (a tiny bit) into a pan, add in my measured egg whites (I used 1/3c per taco today), season with salt, top with a corn tortilla (I like the Don Pancho corn tortillas…only 10g carbs per tortilla), top with a cover and cook until no longer liquid, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

I love this method because it keeps the egg and tortilla together vs. trying to add scrambled egg whites to a taco which just ends-up getting messy and falling apart.

Today I had three tacos for lunch.  The egg whites and corn tortilla usually form the base of my taco because it is filling and nutritious…the toppings change and vary between:

  • grilled chicken
  • pulled pork (my husband makes the most amazing pulled pork!)
  • shrimp*
  • white fish
  • salmon
  • steak

*I have been buying shrimp pre-cooked from Costco and pre-portioning it into 3oz. bags to keep in the freezer for quick meals

You can pretty much guarantee that I will usually add:

  • Good Foods guacamole (the singles from Costco are a favorite)
  • Tapatillo
  • shredded cabbage (for further bulk)

What are your favorite tricks for getting your daily protein in???


Filed under Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Protein, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes

MASALA SPICE COOKIES – Gluten Free & Paleo & Recipe Contest FOR YOU!

Masala Spice Cookies Paleo Gluten Free (12)

My life has taken some crazy turns in the last month.  My family and I are currently preparing for a move out of state.  Having spent my entire life as a Californian, I am excited for the adventure that awaits while also nervous, giddy, and BUSY!  Needless to say, I haven’t been giving Veggie Grettie much attention lately.  Did I mention that my son also broke his wrist…craziness I tell ya!!!

In the midst of the broken wrist debacle,  the folks over at Grandma’s Molasses called and provided me with some much needed cooking inspiration and a wonderful distraction to the endless lists of tasks still to be done.  I needed some time in the kitchen (my therapy) and here was my excuse.  The task I was given was to come-up with a cookie recipe using molasses that wasn’t your standard ginger snap (Put your thinking caps on because YOU will have an opportunity to enter their recipe contest!!!…see below for details).

When it comes to sugar, molasses is one of the all-stars.  I am not saying it is OK to go out and over-consume any sugar, but when it comes to molasses it actually does have some redeeming qualities.  One hundred grams of molasses contains 50% of the RDA for calcium, 95% of the RDA for iron, and 38% of the RDA for magnesium.  I dare you to find another sugar with the same nutrition profile.

When I think of molasses I think of spice and as I pondered spice my mind wandered to Indian flavors which led me to the flavor profile of this cookie.  Garam Masala and curry came to mind.  Mix that with molasses, honey, and ginger and you have one heck of a cookie on your hands; crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, not too sweet, and packed with flavor.

I wanted to have the cookies be very thin, use a cookie cutter, and have the cookies keep their shape… a difficult feat when baking gluten-free and paleo.  I came upon this method on Primal Palate and had a good hunch it would work…it is brilliant.  Basically you spread the dough on parchment cookie that is on a cookie sheet, bake it for 5-7 minutes, allow it to cool quickly, and then roll it out, use cookies cutters, and repeat until you have used up all of the dough.  This method worked so well and for the first time I was able to use cookie cutters for gluten-free cookies and have them keep their shape.  Again, revolutionary!

Masala Spice Cookies Method

INGREDIENTS – Makes 2 dozen 2 1/4″ square cookies

1 cup blanched almond flour, packed
1 Tbs Garam Masala
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp finely shredded fresh ginger
2 Tbs. ghee ( I make my own), room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs Grandma’s Molasses
2 1/2 Tbs. orange honey
1 egg, room temperature



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (I used convection bake).

Pack the almond flour when measuring it and then place it in a bowl.  Use a fork remove the lumps from the almond flour.  Add in the Garam Masala, curry powder, and fresh ginger making sure to distribute the spices well.

Add the ghee and mix well with the fork until small lumps are throughout the crumbly dough.

Add the vanilla, molasses, and honey and stir well.

Lastly, add the egg and stir well until a batter forms.

Pour the batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet carefully spreading it into a thin rectangle.  Bake for 8 minutes rotating the cookie sheet half-way through.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow it to cool to the point where you can safely touch the batter.  Make a ball with the batter and roll it out between two sheets on parchment paper until it is 1/8″ thick.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookie shapes of your choosing (I used a 2 1/4″ square cookie cutter).  Roll the excess dough into a ball and repeat the process until you have used-up all the cookie dough.

Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (rotate 1/2 way through).  Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Allow the cookies to cool and enjoy!


For a printable version of this recipe CLICK HERE.

….Masala Spice Cookies Paleo Gluten Free (14)

1.    On Dec. 3rd, Grandma’s Molasses will launch a Facebook recipe submission contest and will showcase 12 featured blogger recipes over 12 days and celebrate recipe sharing in general, so check out their Facebook Page for details.

2.    The Cookie Exchange Recipe Submission Contest will begin on Dec. 3rd and is open to the public

3.    Entrants are required to submit an original cookie recipe that includes the use of Grandma’s Molasses

4.    One lucky winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card and the original recipe will be featured alongside the 12 featured recipes created by our esteemed bloggers


*** I was compensated for this post, however the opinions and content of the post belong solely to me…It is so fun when a company gives you creative control and lets you run with it!

To learn more about molasses click HERE.


Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays, Paleo, Recipes