Fabulous Vanilla Fig Bars

Happy Monday!

Another snack bar creation, nothing short of delicious. 🙂 A yummy mix of only 4 ingredients: figs, cashews, vanilla, and a few dates come together in a yummy and unique flavor.

The figs are full of fiber and contain some calcium.  In addition, they bring an excellent flavor to the bar.

Cashews are a fairly mild nut, so they add a creamy and soft note to this snack.

Then the ground vanilla is responsible for the wonderful flavor of these bars. Ground vanilla is stronger than vanilla extract. If you choose to use vanilla extract, I suggest doubling the amount and then  to taste.

IMG_20150817_081804

Fabulous Vanilla Fig Bars

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil for pan preparation
  • 3/4 cup dried figs
  • 1/4 cup dried dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (more to taste)

Soak figs and dates in water for about 5 to 10 minutes. Prepare granola bar pan with coconut oil. If you do not have a granola bar pan, a cookie sheet and parchment paper will work.  Put cashews and ground vanilla into blender and grind until finely chopped. Drain figs and dates, pat dry. Add to vanilla and cashew mixture in blender. Blend until paste forms. You may have to use a spoon or spatula to wipe the sides.

Remove mixture from blender and arrange on granola bar pan or parchment paper. Put into freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes to set.

Enjoy 🙂

Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars

Granola bars are perfect for solving that on-the-go hunger. These Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars are super easy to make and are a lot less expensive than buying granola bars. AND they’re also nutritious!

What’s great is that they’re super customizable. I used Peanut Butter Co’s White Chocolate Wonder peanut butter for the first batch, and Whole Food’s freshly ground peanut butter for the second batch. Both are super tasty!

These granola bars are only comprised of a few ingredients. Dates, pumpkin seeds, almonds, oats, nut butter, and your choice of honey or maple syrup for sweetener.

Dates act as the base for the granola bar. Once you grind them into a paste, it’ll act as a binder for all the other ingredients.  Nutritionally, they’re a great source of carbohydrates, iron and dietary fiber.

Almonds. I always try to eat my nuts raw! And even better, sprouted. A friend of mine worked on a study that found it’s possible that nuts can lose a good portion of their vital nutrients when they are roasted or cooked in some way! Don’t get me wrong, they’re still healthy for you either way, but you can unlock most of their nutritious power when they’re raw or sprouted. Almonds  are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and protein. They’re also a good source of “healthy fats.”

Pumpkin seeds are some of my favorite seeds! Tasty, a great source of zinc, magnesium, healthy fats. These little green seeds pack a nutritious punch.

Nut butter is taking the world of nutrition by storm. Every day you have a new nut butter, whether it’s a twist on the original peanut butter, to then creating a variety of almond butter, pecan, cashew, hazelnut butter. Then you have your butters. They’re all tasty and have a different array of nutrients. I personally like raw almond butter ( Trader Joe’s ! ) and different varieties of peanut butter.  One of the most important things when picking out a nut butter, is to make sure that there are no partially-hydrogenated oils. These are trans fats. Trans fats lower your HDL (good cholesterol) and raise your LDL (bad cholesterol). Make sure you check your ingredient list! The peanut butters used in these bars are partially-hydrogenated oil-free. Peanut butter is a yummy source of protein and “healthy fats!”

Oats are a wonderful source of fiber. If you are gluten-free, make sure you get the gluten-free option! By nature oats do not contain gluten, but are often processed in factories that are contaminated with gluten, so you can’t know for sure unless it is certified gluten-free.

Honey and maple syrup are great sweeteners! Honey contains natural antibacterial properties. Maple syrup has shown to have a lower impact on your blood sugar than table sugar.

So, why not give this recipe a try!

IMG_20150724_081624

Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars

  • 1 cup dried dates
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter ( more to taste depending on the taste of the nut butter)
  • 1 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (optional depending on if your nut butter is sweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp ground vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

*Optional: toast oats in oven at 350F for 10 minutes.

Grind dates into a paste with a food processor or blender. Mix in nut butter. Sprinkle vanilla and cinnamon evenly over mixture. Mix. Add oats. Add honey or maple syrup for desired sweetness. Mix in pumpkin seeds and almonds.

Press into 8×8 pan. I used the William Sonoma Snack Pan to make uniform bars.

Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy 🙂

Super-Green Swiss Chard Salad

High quantity, high quality, and absolutely nourishing!

Packed with antioxidants, this salad is a good way to pack in your greens. Leafy greens such as swiss chard are awesome because they are so low in calorie and high in antioxidants. You can truly eat as much as you want! I also added some beet greens as well. More often than not, people toss the green and just use the beet. But the beet greens are absolutely edible!

Along with the greens, I added some raw beet. It adds a great taste, crunch and color! Along with adding taste to the salad, it’s full of betalains (a great antioxidant). Betalains may help protect against certain oxidative stressors in the body (anti-aging).

I always love carrots in my salad, great for vitamin A and C!

Avocado adds great taste and texture, along with some healthy fats to give your skin and hair a healthy glow!

Pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch as well as some nourishing zinc and a little protein.

I topped off the salad with a mixture of balsamic vinaigrette, Udo’s oil, and a little bit of apple cider vinegar. As well as some salt and pepper.

( I love Udo’s Oil because it is such a great mixture of healthy omega-3,6, and 9;s! )

* As a side note, check out the ANDI Guide –> ANDI Guide

Its a pretty straight forward guide that “rates” produce based on its nutrient density.

IMG_20150721_123620

Super-Green Swiss Chard Salad

  • 3 1-foot long swiss chard leaves
  • 3 beet-green stems (with leaves)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 small beet
  • 1/4 avocado

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp Udo’s Oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette reduction (balsamic vinaigrette would work too)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Chop the swiss chard leaves into bite sized pieces. Break the leaves off of the beet-green stems. Add to bowl. Chop carrot into 1/4 inch slices. Julianne the beet, or slice into small slivers. Slice avocado into 1/4 inch pieces. Add carrot, beet, and avocado into bowl. Add dressing. Cut with fork and knife until all components are well incorporated. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy! 🙂

Dr. Libby’s Lemon Balls

I thought I’d share with you one of my new favorite recipes today.

These Lemon Balls are a great breakfast or snack, perfect for those on the go. They’re nutritious and take only minutes to make!

The base contains cashews, which are a good source of magnesium and healthy fats. They give this treat a creamy texture! The figs add a sweetness as well as fiber and antioxidants. The lemon is an awesome source of vitamin C. The honey and coconut oil have antibacterial properties that are beneficial for the immune system. This snack is not only tasty, but gives your body a nourishing boost!

I used raw honey due to it’s viscosity and taste. If you would like to further customize this recipe, consider adding chia seeds or lime juice. To make vegan replace honey with maple syrup.

*note: DO NOT give honey to those less than 1 year of age.

IMG_20150716_085440

Lemon Balls

  • 2/3 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 3 dried figs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut + extra to coat
  • pinch of salt

Roughly chop figs and add to a blender or food processor. Add the cashews, lemon zest and juice, honey, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and salt. Pulse until well blended. You may have to scrape down the sides occasionally.

Remove from blender or food processor and rolls into balls. Roll in desiccated coconut. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until set.

Enjoy ! 🙂

Recipe adapted from Dr.Libby’s Sweet Food Story cookbook.

Power-Up Pumpkin and Goji Oatmeal

I love breakfast! Being one of the most important meals of the day, there is no excuse to skimp. This oatmeal is tasty and can be made fairly quickly for those without a lot of morning time.

Tasty and nourishing is what is key.

I made mine with a blend of gluten-free rolled oats and steel cut oat groats. Full of nourishing fiber to keep you fuller longer!.

Sweetened with a tad maple syrup, full of antioxidants compared to regular sugar and is a low-glycemic sweetener ! Mixed with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk to give a little extra flavor.

I spiced it up with cinnamon, which is good for the metabolism, and tasty nutmeg. Topped with pumpkin seeds which are full of nourishing zinc (great for the skin!), and goji berries-teeming with antioxidants, and a few hemp seeds, which are an awesome source of omega-3’s.

IMG_20150715_093305

Pumpkin and Goji Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oat groats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (plus more for cooling the oatmeal)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds

Mix rolled oats and steel cut oat groats together. Add vanilla almond milk. Microwave for 3 minutes. Make sure to watch to microwave to make sure the oatmeal doesn’t over flow.

Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until combined. Add extra almond milk until desired consistency.

Slice banana into small “banana coins” and add to oatmeal. Add pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and hemp seeds.

Enjoy!

Homemade Cinnamon Maple Granola

Nothing beats homemade granola! Not only is it super easy to make, it is super customizable. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what is going into it! ( can’t always say the same for the store bought brands. )

So why would this granola make a tasty and healthy snack?

Well, the oats are already packed with fiber (they’re 100% whole grain!) , I added pumpkin seeds which contain nourishing zinc. Walnuts are full of omega-3’s. Figs, which are full of fiber and also contain calcium. Dates, for their sweetness and their surprising source of iron.

Coconut oil has the wonderful vitamins A and C, along with calcium and iron. I sweetened the granola with Madava Farm’s Crown Maple Syrup. Crown Maple Syrup is truly something special, along with its wonderful taste, its simply bursting with vitamins and minerals compared to other sweeteners. Maple syrup is full of antioxidants and is a low-glycemic sweetener! ( check it out! https://www.crownmaple.com/about-crown-maple/maple-nutrition )

As far as spices go, I added cinnamon which is wonderful for the metabolism. nutmeg , and a hint of allspice.

So, here’s the recipe!

IMG_20150715_084339

Cinnamon Maple Granola

  • 2 1/2 cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 4 dried figs
  • 3 dried dates
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 dash of allspice

Set oven to 250F. Dice figs and dates.

in a large bowl, mix rolled oats and coconut oil until fully covered. Add maple syrup. Then add pumpkin seeds, dates, walnuts, and figs. Then mix in the maple syrup. Add the ground vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Only a very small amount of allspice is needed, for it is a very strong spice.

Once everything is coated, spread evenly onto a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Stir. Then bake for another 20 minutes.

IMG_20150715_093006

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.

IMG_20150714_094855

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.