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.

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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 🙂

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!

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!

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!

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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.

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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.

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”)