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Know Your Ingredients, Know Your Costs

Tag: healthy dessert

$1.50 and 10 Minute Gluten Free Mug Cake

$1.50 and 10 Minute Gluten Free Mug Cake

Today’s the day to have some cake. Why? You deserve it. You’re awesome. How do I know that? You’re reading this post! Also, this “cake” is gluten-free and is only sweetened with fruit (with options for vegan and whole wheat substitutes in the Tips Section!). Kinda hard to call it cake based on the ingredients, but it sure tastes like one! With the knowledge that you’re only $1.50 and 10 minutes away, every day is a day for cake.

$0.75 and 50 Minute Chocolate Cake

$0.75 and 50 Minute Chocolate Cake

A world without chocolate cake is not a world I want to live in. However, it’s no secret that a couple slices of chocolate cake aren’t the definition of healthy eating. Thankfully there’s a healthy way to work in chocolate cake to celebrate special occasions or a successful Tuesday! Especially when this chocolate cake is refined sugar free, gluten-free, and contains no processed ingredients while only taking about 50 minutes to create (cooling time included)! Party on!

$0.50 and 40 Minute Granola

$0.50 and 40 Minute Granola

Granola is one of my favorite foods not only to make but also to share. This is my go-to granola recipe that contains only pure ingredients with no added processed sugar for the cost of $0.50 a serving. Make sure to scroll down and check out both the Chocolate Peppermint and Vanilla Honey versions!

Ingredients (~10 Servings):


  • 3/4 cup rolled oats or quick oats (can replace 1:1 with unsweetened coconut to make gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup of raw nuts/seeds, roughly chopped (I prefer 1/3 cup of pecans, almonds, and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 TBSP of whole flaxseed
  • 3 TBSP of hot water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Peppermint Chocolate Granola:

  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP of maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Vanilla Honey:

  • 2 TBSP raw local honey
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Cutting board
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baking Tray
  • Small bowl
  • Two medium mixing bowls
  • Silicon or wooden spoon
  • Spatula


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F.
  2. Line baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Make a flax egg by combining whole flax seeds with hot water in small bowl. Set aside for ~5 minutes so it will become soupy.
  4. Roughly chop nuts, add them to a medium-sized bowl, and mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients.
  5. Adding the flavoring:
    • Vanilla Honey Granola: Mix honey, vanilla, and flax egg in the other medium bowl then combine them with the dry ingredients.
    • Peppermint Chocolate Granola: Mix cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, peppermint, and vanilla extract in the other medium bowl until combined into a smooth mixture (same as for the $5 and 30 Minute Cardamom Raisin Squares recipe!). Mix flax egg and chocolate peppermint into the dry ingredients.
  6. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and flatten with the back of the spoon.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, flip granola using the spatula, then bake for 15 more minutes.
  8. Let rest on the counter for 15 minutes to allow the clusters to solidify and enjoy!
  9. Store in a sealed container (plastic bag, mason jar, etc.). The granola will store in the pantry for at least a month.

Total time = 40 Minutes (10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to cook)

 Chocolate Granola Bowl


Ingredients: You also have the option to double or remove the flax eggs all together. If you double the flax seeds, your granola will have many more large clusters and it will have a stronger flax seed taste (think less sweet). If you remove the flax seeds, your granola will have fewer clusters and still taste incredible!

Step 1 – You may be thinking I’ll just crank the oven temperature up to 400F and cut my baking time in half… Not so fast! You don’t want to bake your granola at too high a temperature because the maple syrup will burn. I’ve seen recipes that range from 300F to 350F, so I picked the sweet spot right in the middle and it has worked out great.

Step 3 – Check out my $0.50 and 70 Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread post for more on flax eggs!

Step 4 – Don’t those ingredients just look delicious! Note the size of the nuts, roughly chopping them helps large clusters form!


Step 5 – For the Chocolate Peppermint Granola: The maple syrup/coconut oil/cocoa powder mixture should be smooth before you add it to the dry ingredients. Cold maple syrup and/or coconut oil can lead to clumps. If needed, you can put the mixture in the microwave. And if still not smooth after using the microwave, add 1/2 TBSP more of maple syrup. A smooth chocolate peppermint mixture will coat the dry ingredients evenly, while a clumpier mixture will result in small chocolate peppermint clumps throughout. If this happens, embrace it! Your granola will still be incredibly delicious because you’re using great ingredients!

Step 7 – Using a spatula to flip the granola allows you to keep your precious granola clusters intact!

Step 8 – You can leave the granola directly on the parchment paper and baking tray to cool.

Good luck waiting 15 minutes before you try any of it. I burn my tongue on pretty much every batch. However the more you let cool on the counter, the more clusters your granola will have.

Cost per Peppermint Chocolate Granola:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats ~ $0.25
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes ~ $0.50
  • 1 cup of raw nuts/seed ~ $2
  • 1 TBSP of whole flaxseed ~ $0.10
  • 3 TBSP of hot water – negligible
  • 1/8 tsp salt ~ negligible
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder ~$0.25
  • 2 TBSP of maple syrup ~ $0.50
  • 2 TBSP of coconut oil ~ $0.50
  • 1 tsp of peppermint extract ~$0.50
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract ~ $0.25

Total Cost per batch ~ $5

Cost per serving (~10 servings) ~ $0.50


Granola is a cost and health issue for me.

  1. How is granola so flipping expensive? It’s basic pantry ingredients (nuts, seeds, oats, etc.) with a little sugar, baked in the oven for a half an hour. Yet it’s impossible to find a bag for less than $10! I cannot figure out what ingredients or cooking technique justifies the cost!
  2. Most granola I find appears to look healthy from the outside of the bag – I mean it’s got nuts and seeds and whole grains, how could it not be. But then you look at the ingredients. Number one, usually oats. That’s fine. Number two, brown sugar. Uh oh. Number three, brown rice syrup. Ahhhhh, make it stop! So much for granola being the healthy choice.

That’s why I put this recipe together. Granola should be as good for you as it tastes and shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to enjoy!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Peppermint Chocolate Granola:

Chocolate Peppermint Granola 1

Vanilla Honey Granola:

Coconut Almond Granola


$0.50 and 70 Minute Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread

$0.50 and 70 Minute Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than with this $0.50 and 70 Minute Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread made with no added sugar. Bananas and apples are plenty sweet on their own so any extra unhealthy processed sugar is just unnecessary. Plus, there is a cup of nuts packed up inside. It doesn’t get any better than that. Start off your new year right by indulging in this healthy treat!

$5 And 30 Minute Cardamom Raisin Squares

$5 And 30 Minute Cardamom Raisin Squares

Haven’t heard of cardamom? After one bite of this delicious, no-bake, gluten & refined sugar free, and healthy (did I mention delicious?!) dessert, your spice cabinet won’t be seen without it. And for $5 for an entire loaf pan, neither will your fridge.

$6 and 30 Minute Avocado Key Lime Pie

$6 and 30 Minute Avocado Key Lime Pie

Want to eat pie all day? Now you can! Thanks to this guilt-free avocado key lime pie. All you need is $6, 6 ingredients, and 30 minutes to prepare a treat you won’t soon forget!

Ingredients (Makes 4.5″ x 8.5″ loaf pan, ~10 Servings):


  • 1/2 cups of walnuts
  • 1/2 cups of almond
  • 2 Medjool pitted dates
  • 1/8 tsp of salt (if nuts are salted, no salt needed)


  • 8 oz of ripe avocado (~ 2 small avocados or 1 large avocado)
  • 3 TBSP of lime juice (~1-2 limes)
  • Zest of one lime (can be substituted for more lime juice)
  • 2 TBSP of honey
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Topping (Optional):

  • Sliced almonds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Flax seeds
  • Anything you want


  • Loaf Pan (~ 4.5″ by 8.5″ – any sized pan will do, just increase the ingredients!)
  • Food Processor


  1. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper (see the picture in Tip 1 below).
  2. Add walnuts, almonds, dates, and salt (if necessary) into the food processor. Pulse until they combine to form small clumps (~1 min). Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Spoon out nut-date mixture into loaf pan. Press down with the back of the spoon until the mixture is even and flat. Don’t forget the corners!
  4. Rinse the food processor.
  5. Add avocados, lime juice, lime zest, honey, and salt into the food processor. Pulse until smooth (~1 min). Scrape down the sides as needed.
  6. Pour avocado-lime-honey mixture into loaf pan on top of nut-date mixture. Smooth into corners using the back of a spoon.
  7. Decorate with almonds, coconuts, or whatever else you’re feeling!
  8. Put in freezer for 2 hours for avocado-lime-honey filling to harden.
  9. Remove from freezer, pull on edges of the parchment paper to remove pie from pan and then cut up into the size of your choice.
  10. Enjoy!

Total time = 30 Minutes (5 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to make)


Step 1 – This is what I mean by “line the loaf pan.” Cut two pieces of parchment paper to size and layer the larger piece on top of the smaller piece. This will lead to easier removal from the pan. See picture below:


Step 3 – I recommend leaving a spoonful or two of the date-nut mixture in the food processor. When spreading out the nut-date mixture there are always low spots. It’s easier to spoon in what you saved than to try to spread the mixture around once it’s already compressed in the pan. When you’re done with this step it should look something like this:


Step 5 – Everyone’s taste buds are different. Some people are all about the lime citrus kick while others are into the sweetness of the honey-avocado mixture. Taste at this step and adjust ingredients accordingly to create your perfect avocado key lime pie.

Step 9 – If the pie doesn’t immediately un-stick from the pan when you pull up on the parchment paper, use a knife to separate the corners from the pan and then pull up on the parchment paper again. For slicing the pie, I recommend using a long serrated knife or a bench knife.

Step 10 – I recommend eating before the pie warms up to room temperature (~30 minutes). It’s still great at room temperature, however the avocado filling can become a little runny.


  • 1/2 cups of walnuts ~ $1.00
  • 1/2 cups of almond ~ $1.00
  • 2 Medjool pitted dates ~ $0.75
  • 8 oz of ripe avocado (~ 2 small avocados or 1 large avocado) ~ $2
  • 3 TBSP of lime juice (~1-2 limes) ~ $0.50
  • 2 TBSP of honey – $0.50
  • Toppings (sliced almonds, shredded coconut, etc) ~ $0.25
  • 1/2 tsp of salt – negligible

Total Cost per 4.5″ x 8.5″ loaf pan ~ $6


Bye-bye store-bought pies, you just created a healthy dessert that tastes amazing, is low in sugar and high in healthy fats. Win-win-win. When making food like this, you should be having dessert with every meal!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!


Nicks Avocado Pie Horizontal