That Time of Year Again…

Even though it’s only the beginning of September, stores everywhere seem to be putting out Halloween decorations. Not only that, but the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice is among us. I’m not complaining!

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Thanks to Whole Foods, I was able to pick up some Pumpkin Spice tea from The Republic of Tea. It. is. delicious! Easily will kick that Pumpkin Spice Latte to the curb. Add a little bit of coconut or soy milk, and you’re in business.

Not only does it taste  better, but it’s also better for you. Guilt Free! 🙂

With tea like this, you can keep sipping and keep brewing without any artificial sweeteners or flavoring. The base of the Pumpkin Spice is black tea, which has a small amount of caffeine, but also is full of antioxidants.

Even though the black tea has caffeine in it, I find that it doesn’t give me those “coffee jitters” that haunt some people.

I am a huge fan of The Republic of Tea, so stay tuned for more flavors!

If you want to check them out follow this link! –> The Republic of Tea

Happy Sipping 🙂

Mocha Lovers Snack Bar

Hi there! Happy Friday! Nothing beats celebrating a Friday with coffee and chocolate, eh?

Sometimes the best creations come about with experimentation. These Mocha Snack bars may look very similar to the brownie bars, but don’t be fooled! These are for the coffee-lovers. If you’re not a coffee-lover, then you soon may be. A delicious mix of coffee and chocolate is super satisfying and has no yucky preservatives or weird artificial colors.

Super quick and super easy to make, these bars will be fabulous for on the go.

Made with nourishing dates, almonds, pecans, fine espresso, cocoa, chocolate chips, these bars are simply delicious!

I would usually make it with cacao powder (for it retains more nutrients than cocoa powder) but alas, I have run out ): . So coco powder will do just fine for now.

*To make vegan: use dairy-free chocolate

*These do contain caffeine if using caffeinated coffee.

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So let’s just get to the recipe ! 🙂

Mocha Lovers Snack Bar

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans (can substitute for walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp Illy espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp coco powder (or cacao)
  • 1 pinch of ground vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

For chocolate topping

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut oil

For the Mocha Lovers Snack Bar: Coat snack bar tray with coconut oil. If you do not have a snack bar tray, you can use a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Soak dates in water for about 5-10 minutes. While soaking, grind almonds and pecans in blender until fine. Pat dry the dates and grind in blender with almonds and pecans. You may have to use a rubber spatula to scrap sides. Until just about mixed, add the espresso powder, coco powder, and vanilla. Grind and manually mix until fully incorporated. Manually mix in chocolate chips

For the chocolate topping: Warm coconut oil and chocolate chips over low-medium heat in a saucepan. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Once melted, carefully drizzle over snack bars.

Put snack bars in freezer to set.

Enjoy! 🙂

*Note: the chocolate covering is great to use on anything chocolate covered. It even makes a great “magic shell” for ice cream!

Healthy Brownie Bars

Hi There!

I apologize for being away for awhile. But here’s a new recipe! It’s adapted from Leite’s Culinaria . If you’ve ever had Larabars, then you will love this! They’re easily customizable, healthy, and perfect for on the go.

With only a few simple ingredients, you’ll be able to whip these up in no time.

They contain dates, almonds, walnuts, cacao powder (or coco powder), and your favorite chocolate chips.

I love dates for their sweetness and health benefits! They had nutrition while keeping this treat sweet! The almonds and walnuts add healthy fats and nutrients. Try your best to get raw nuts, and even better if they’re sprouted! I use cacao powder for this recipe because of the increased nutritional value and personal taste over coco powder. If you only have coco powder, that will work just fine. 🙂

This can easily be made into a dairy-free recipe depending on which chocolate chips you choose to use.

If you so choose, you can add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor, although I don’t think it is necessary.

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Healthy Brownie Bars

  • 1 cup packed dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 3 heaping Tbsp of cacao powder
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Soak dates in water for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Meanwhile, process almonds and walnuts in a food processor, blender, or magic bullet. Drain water and add dates. You may have to manually mix ingredients in blender to make sure everything is fully mixed. Add the cacao powder, mix. Transfer into a bowl and mix in desired amount of chocolate chips. Add pinch of salt if desired.

If you do not have a granola bar pan, put parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Organize brownie bar mixture into desired size and shape. Put into freezer to set for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy 🙂

Coffee Time!

Once you’ve had truly good coffee, anything less than is just hard to swallow.

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So far, my favorite is the Illy brand dark roast. This coffee is so good you will forevermore say no to coffee creamer and dreaded cookie flavored sugar “shots.” This coffee and bold, bare, and beautiful.

Coffee itself has also been shown to contain a good amount of antioxidants and the caffeine has the potential to raise metabolism and (maybe) protect the brain. These studies are still ongoing, but the important thing is that these potential benefits are not outweighed by dumping artificial ingredients into your morning brew.

Sorry to say, but a lot of these flavored creamers and sugar “shots” that coffee chains use contain a high amount of artificial ingredients, and usually a huge dose of sugar. A good dose of sugar without any buffers like fiber can spike your blood  sugar, later leaving to an even bigger crash and spiking your insulin ( fat storing hormone). Mix that with artificial ingredients and that leaves another problem. Most artificial ingredients our bodies don’t know how to process. So they are either excreted or stored in our fat cells. It also leaves the possibility of aggravating the body if you have an intolerance or your body doesn’t know how to process that substance.

Don’t be afraid to try something new! Good coffee can help you ditch those added sugars and artificial ingredients.

Illy offers an array of roasts and grinds so you can find your favorite!

Enjoy 🙂

Amazing Avocado Toast

Recently I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Avocado toast is is a great breakfast. It’s filling, yummy, and healthy!

Made with whole grain toast (gluten-free if needed). avocado, poached egg, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and a little Udo’s oil.

The avocado makes it creamy and packs a punch of healthy omega’s and vitamins. The egg is a complete protein! What’s great about eggs, is that even though they have a high count of dietary cholesterol, they have been shown to not directly contribute to blood plasma cholesterol. So it’s ok to have more than one egg!

Pumpkin seeds are always a favorite. I love the flavor and they are a good contribution for skin health!

Hemp seeds are another good source of omega’s. The tiny seeds don’t have much flavor so it’s easy to add to meals.

Udo’s oil is an oil made from a variety of seeds. It’s an awesome source of omega 3, 6, and 9’s. A great contributor as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. 🙂

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Amazing Avocado Toast

  • 1 piece of whole grain toast ( gluten-free or sprouted if you choose)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • drizzle of Udo’s Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

To poach egg, warm a 12-inch non-stick skillet with about an inch of water. Bring to a simmer. Add apple cider vinegar. With a spatula swirl water in clockwise direction creating a small whirlpool. Crack egg in separate bowl. Carefully drop egg into middle of whirlpool. Turn off heat, put lid on skillet, and poach for 5 minutes. Remove with spatula.

Put bread in toaster. Slice avocado into desired pieces. Arrange avocado on toast. Add egg, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and Udo’s oil. Salt and Pepper to taste.

* To save avocado spritz lemon juice onto the flesh and put in a ziplock baggie. Put in refrigerator.

Enjoy 🙂

Healthy “Butter” Popcorn

Grocery stores are now stocked with plenty of healthy popcorns popped with coconut oil, kale, chia, what have you.. Most of them are healthy and quite tasty! But also pretty expensive… Well, popcorn doesn’t have to be expensive to be healthy! Its super easy to make your own, and make it however you’d like. You just have to be equipped with the right tools.

This popcorn I made with coconut oil, Udo’s oil, nutritional yeast, and a little salt and pepper.

This popcorn is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free ! The Udo’s oil gives it a nice buttery taste and the nutritional yeast gives it a yummy cheesy taste. (think cheesy as in Smart-Food popcorn, not American cheese).

Popcorn itself is an awesome snack for its low-calorie, high fiber, and a whole-grain! Being so healthy by itself, lends a great opportunity to make it “super-healthy” with what you top it with.

Udo’s oil is full of healthy omega-3, 6, and 9’s ! Awesome fats that are good for your skin, full of anti-inflammatory properties, as well as great antioxidants.

Nutritional yeast is popular especially with vegans, for it gives a nice “cheesy” flavor to things. Whats awesome out this food is that it is a complete protein! Its a good source of fiber, as well as B-vitamins. Sometimes it is fortified with B-12 which is important for those who live a dairy and meat-free life.

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So here’s the recipe:

DIY Healthy Popcorn

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 tbsp Udo’s Oil
  • 3 shakes of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Put coconut oil and kernels into a sauce pan and cover. Turn to medium heat. Shake pan every few minutes to prevent popcorn from burning.

Pop until popcorn “pops” are 1 to 2 seconds apart. Then remove from heat.

Dress with Udo’s oil, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

You can adjust the ratios to fit your tastebuds.

Enjoy 🙂

*DO NOT pop with Udo’s oil. Udo’s oil is not heat stable and is only to be used for dressing purposes.

Kale and Beet Soup

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So, as my first recipe post, I’d like to share with you one of my favorites! This is my Kale and Beet Soup. So, what makes this healthy and heartwarming? Well, let me give you a little insight to why this is so nourishing. In this recipe we have:

  • Kale~ a recently “found superfood” is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. These powerhouse vitamins help promote new cell growth and have a hand at anti-aging ( yay! ). It is also loaded with Calcium and Magnesium great for those who don’t drink a lot of milk. Kale is highly Alkaline which is important, especially to those who regularly consume the “Standard American Diet” of heavy processed foods.
  • Carrots~ contain a wonderful amount of beta-carotene (Vitamin A!) Carrots also contain Silica (a trace mineral) that is known to strengthen the body’s connective tissues and vital for healthy skin.
  • Beets~ the deep purple juices of the beet root are wonderful at helping widen blood vessels and lower blood pressure. The Nitrates in the beet are to thank for this!
  • Tomatoes~ containing a lovely amount of the carotenoid, lycopene. Along with a good amount of Vitamin C
  • Turmeric~ the curcumin that makes this spice yellow has been found to be helpful in reducing the amount of plaque that builds up in the brain. It has also been shown to reduce the amount of inflammation inside the body, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Garlic~ Another protector of the gastrointestinal tract. Garlic has been shown to have a mild effect of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Garlic has also been shown to have properties for fighting off infections.
  • Pink Himalayan Salt~ Pretty in pink, this salt contains 84 different minerals. What is great is that most brands, this includes Iodine. Iodine is important in the function of the thyroid, which can directly influence the metabolism and immunity.

( *Found in Dr.Libby Weaver’s book “Beauty From the Inside Out” and “The World of Healing Plants” by Dr. Andrew Weil.)

So, to make this delicious soup, you start with:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 small or 1 medium beet
  • 1/3 cup of favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 dash of garlic powder
  • 1 dash of turmeric
  • 1 pinch of Pink Himalayan salt

First, set oven to 400 F and cut up carrots and beet into 1 inch pieces. Place in oven for about 20 minutes or until soft.

Then in a sauce pan, put in vegetable stock with kale and bring to a simmer around medium heat. Place top on pan to wilt the kale. Once it is wilted, add the beet and carrot along with the tomato sauce. Add spices and salt to taste.

This soup can be adjusted to fit your needs! I added a little Parmesan cheese on top, but that can easily be omitted if you are following a diary-free or vegan diet. Lentils or chicken can be added for some additional protein to the soup. But this soup is easy and tasty! So very comforting, especially after a long day!