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 🙂

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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 🙂

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.

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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! 🙂

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.

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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!

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.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Since it’s been so rainy and stormy these past few days, I decided to brighten things up with some tasty oatmeal raisin cookies! So I adapted this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from the “Essentials of Healthful Cooking” cookbook by Williams-Sonoma, but I did make a few of my own additions and substitutions. I will bold the substitutions when I post the recipe below.

I personally love oatmeal raisin cookies, and they hold some healthy properties as well! Oats are known for their fiber and are hold a higher amount of protein than other grains. They are also a good source of riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin E. I added pumpkin seeds as well as walnuts to some of my cookies for an extra crunch and flavor! Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that fuel a healthy heart and a healthy brain. I added pumpkin seeds simply because I love the taste! But they do offer some of the additional nutrients of vitamin E and zinc.

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So, here’s the recipe!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups of quick cooking rolled oats ( I used gluten-free )
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  •  2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (at room temp.)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (sprouted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set the oven racks in the upper 1/3 of the oven and the lower 1/3 of the oven. Set the oven to 325F ( when swapping maple syrup for brown sugar, you usually lower the oven temperature by about 25 F).

In a bowl, mix the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt until well incorporated. In a separate bowl mix butter and coconut oil until well blended. Then mix in maple syrup and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Then incorporate the egg white, apple butter, vanilla. Then mix your dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Right before a sticky dough forms, mix in the raisins, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.

On parchment paper, drop dough about the size of a tablespoon, 2 inches apart. If you would like flatter cookies, gently press down on each drop of dough.

Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees, switch positions between the racks, and bake for an additional 7 minutes.

There you have it! Enjoy your cookies. 🙂

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*Recipe adapted from Essentials of Healthful Cooking by Williams-Sonoma

Creamy Vegan Ice Cream

Hi Everyone!

With it being summertime, I wanted to share with you a dairy-free creamy creation that is sure to top any almond milk or coconut milk “ice cream” you may have. Sometimes it’s hard to find a yummy dairy free substitute for ice cream without the grocery list of fillers and artificial additives. Well, I have a solution that is only 5 ingredients. AND it is super creamy.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream.

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It’s made with avocado, coconut, cacao, cacao nibs, and a hint of maple syrup.  I know avocado might sound a little weird, but with the cacao powder you can’t even taste it!

So, not only is this ice cream healthy, filler-free, and dairy-free, it’s a super tasty and guilt-free snack!

Avocado~ A great source of biotin (hello pretty hair and nails!) as well as monounsaturated fats that help keep skin moisturized. Even though avocados are higher in fat, they’re a “good” fat that can help slow the release of glucose into your system, therefore requiring less insulin ( a fat storage hormone).

Cacao~ talk about antioxidants! A pure form of chocolate and a healthy choice too! Cacao is also a good source of Magnesium, known as the “mineral of beauty” in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Coconut~ Coconut itself has been in debate lately about it’s saturated fat content. There have been studies that show that the saturated fat particular to coconuts is digested more like a carbohydrate than saturated fat that is found in some animal-based food products. Besides that, coconut’s are still full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and Lauric Acid! (What’s pretty cool about Lauric acid is that is has been shown to have strong antibacterial properties, some studies even show that it is stronger than Benzoyl Peroxide! ( one ingredient typically found in face washes)

Maple Syrup~ One of my favorite sweeteners. Not only does it have a range of minerals and antioxidants, it also contains oligosaccharides ( promote healthy gut bacteria!) But, what is really awesome about maple syrup is how it has been shown to act differently in the body as opposed to regular table sugar. Maple syrup contains natural phenols which in some studies has shown to help regulate blood sugar. ( say no to that blood sugar spike ! )  (:

So, here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Manna ( or flesh of 1 young coconut)
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/8 Cup Cacao Nibs ( or more as you please)

Warm the coconut manna just until it has turned to liquid. Then add the avocado, coconut manna, cacao powder and maple syrup to a blender. Blend for about 1 minute, scrap the sides, then blend for about 1 minute. Scoop into bowl, add the cacao nibs, and then freeze for about 1 hour. Feel free to add your own variations such as nuts, vanilla, or fruit!

Enjoy! (:

( Background on ingredients from Dr. Libby’s “Beauty From the Inside Out” and “Sweet Food Story”)