July 26 2015

Not Just Another Pretty Face, by Hallie Salko, SFTL contributing writer

So, it seems like every week, another celebrity comes out with another cookbook.  When Lauren Conrad recently announced her latest cooking venture, I started wondering about all these celebrity chefs – sure they can act, or do reality TV or whatever, but what does their food taste like?  I decided to find out.

This week, I explored healthy celebrity snack recipes.  I looked for snacks that were full of fiber (like flax), protein (like chick peas), healthy fats (like almond butter) and other healthy and yummy additions like dark chocolate.  Here are three that I absolutely loved along with my own “twist” on them.

1.  Lauren Conrad’s Healthy Protein Cookie Dough (courtesy of laurenconrad.com)

This isn’t really cookie dough.  It’s basically chick peas and peanut butter combined.  I know how that sounds, and yet…somehow, it actually tastes like cookie dough


1 15-oz. can of chickpeas
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips or sweet cacoa nibs

Combine chickpeas, peanut butter, agave, maple, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Transfer your “dough” into a mixing bowl and stir in chocolate ships by hand.
Chill in the fridge or freezer until cold. Note: This treat tastes much better chilled than at room temperature.

My twist: freeze your “dough.”  It tastes like cookie dough ice cream.


Gwyneth Paltrow’s Bummer Bars (from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen)


1 ½ cups quinoa flakes

¼ cup ground flaxseeds

A pinch of fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup good-quality maple syrup

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

½ cup chopped prunes or apricots

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a brownie pan (we use a 9 x 11-inch dish that’s 2 inches high) with parchment paper or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and pour the mixture into the brownie pan, or evenly divide it among the muffin cups. Pack the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Bake for ½ hour, or until the bars have firmed up and are golden brown. Let cool before removing from the pan or muffin cups. If you used a brownie pan, use the parchment to lift the bar out of the pan, and cut into rectangles. Serve right away or store in an airtight container.

My twists:  I substituted pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg and ginger.  I also substituted honey for brown rice syrup.  I put the mixture into individual cupcake liners to make individual “bars”.


3. Crystal Reed’s Sweet Apple Sammie (courtesy of seventeen.com)


1 apple cored and cut into 4 round slices

2 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter

cinnamon to taste

2 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips


Spread 1 apple slice with 1 tbsp nut butter

Sprinkle with cinnamon

Top with 1 tbsp chocolate chips

Place another apple slice on top


My twists:  I used both a green and a red apple.  I warmed my almond butter for 10 seconds in the microwave so it would spread better.  I also let the finished apple sammie sit in the fridge over night in a sealed plastic bag.  The apple didn’t turn brown, and the cinnamon flavor really soaked in.


So, the next time a celebrity invites you over for dinner, you should definitely go!  At least in the case of these three, it appears they actually do know a thing or two about cooking.

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