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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

Welcome to my latest obsession…

You may think I’m crazy for putting beets into chocolate and making a pudding, but don’t knock it until you try it. I do have a love for beets in general but a friend of mine turned me on to the combination of chocolate and beets and it really is a match made in heaven! This recipe would be perfect for curbing a sweet tooth but I actually think this is the PERFECT pre workout snack. 

Beet pudding before a workout? Really?

Really. 

Beets are high in nitrates and this creates a chain reaction where the body converts the nitrates in into nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a compound that enhances blood flow throughout the body and helps lower blood pressure. Many body builders take nitric oxide or pre workouts supplements that have nitric oxide for enhancing their workouts. The increase in blood flow yields better lifts for weight training and better blood flow for cardiovascular events. 

In addition to the increase in blood flow there is a nice balance of carbohydrates from the beets, energy boost from the cacao/chocolate, and vitamin C from the raspberries that give your body the proper balance for a killer workout. You could also eat this after a workout with some protein powder mixed for a complete post workout snack. I have been eating this for breakfast all week with some chopped almonds or hazelnuts on top and it is RIGHTEOUS! I feel so clean after I eat this and ready to take the day on.

Here is a link to a post I did about the health benefits of beets in pre and post workout nutrition.

Chocolate Raspberry Beet Pudding

Serves 4

Vegan - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Steamed Beets (about 3-4 large beets or 5-6 small beets)
  • 1 Cup Raw Cacao Powder (or High quality Cocoa powder or Carob Powder)
  • 1/2 Cup Non Dairy Milk (Almond, Rice, Coconut etc)
  • 3 Cups Frozen Raspberries (Cherries would be amazing!)
  • 25-30 drops of Liquid Stevia or sweetener of choice to taste (Recommended Brand - Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Steam beets in a steamer over simmering water for 10-15 minutes or until a knife is easily pierced through the skin. Allow to cool.
  2. Once the beets are cooled rub the skins off with your hands. ( I suggest wearing gloves and doing this over the sink to prevent staining on your skin)
  3. Slice the beets into small pieces and place in the work bowl of a blender.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  5. Taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.

Notes

  1. If seeds bother you, heat the raspberries in a pan until softened with 2 TBL water and then mash with a fork. Strain the raspberries into the blender through a sieve to remove any seeds, pushing the solids with a spatula.
  2. Carob would be a great substitute for chocolate if you have any issues with caffeine or histamines that are in raw cacao/chocolate

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

pepermint patties

 I have my mind on my candy and candy on my mind. 

It’s that time of year….the time when most stores you walk into are filled with candy, candy, and more candy. Halloween is the precursor for the upcoming holiday season….the season of eating. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, and I like to indulge, but I like to control the ingredients and keep the junk out of my mouth and away from my hips. You feel me?

I wanted to start with one of my families favorites the refreshing, sweet and sinful peppermint patty. 

Feel the chill and float away on a rich bed of chocolate and creamy mint without any of the guilt…isn’t life grand? 

Oh and don’t worry if you don’t have a chocolate mold I have instructions for making these without one. If you feel so inclined here is a link to buy the one I use its only $9 and it really makes your candies and chocolates look very professional. 

Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

Yields 20

Vegan - Sugar Free - Paleo - Soy Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (shredded will work too)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract (see notes)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Stevia Packets (recommended brand Sweet Leaf)
  • 2 Tbl Maple Syrup (divided in half)
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (or any sea salt)
  • 4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate (high quality please and thank you)
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor add the coconut flakes, coconut oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts, stevia, 1 tbl maple syrup, salt, and blend until the mixture is smooth. Taste for sweetness and mint intensity. Feel free to add more of both depending on your palette.
  2. Place the coconut mixture in the fridge to firm up while preparing the chocolate for at least 20 minutes. The mixture should be firm while soft enough to scoop with a spoon. If the mixture if made ahead of time allow it to sit out on the counter before using.
  3. Chop up the chocolate and place in a double boiler. (if you don't have a double boiler place a bowl thats big enough to sit on the top of a saucepan without the bowl touching the water with simmering water underneath)
  4. Add the oil to the chocolate and stir until it is completely melted.
  5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

If using a mold

  1. Pour the chocolate into the mold and swirl around over a bowl or something large enough to catch the excess.
  2. Using a flat edge spatula or a bench scraper or even the back of a butter knife scrape the excess chocolate off of the mold.
  3. Place the chocolate in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the chocolate and scoop the coconut mixture into the molds filling almost to the top of the molds.
  5. Return the mold into the freezer to firm up for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the mold from the freezer and pour the remaining chocolate over the pieces and scrape off the excess so there is no visible coconut.
  7. Return to the freezer to firm up for an addition 15 minutes.
  8. Pop the pieces out of the mold and keep them stored in the fridge.

If you don't have a mold

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture (it should be firm enough to hold a shape) leaving 1/2'' in between.
  3. Place in the freezer to firm up for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the freezer and pour the chocolate over each coconut mound making sure to cover every inch.
  5. Return the chocolates back to the freezer to firm up for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Keep the chocolates in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

  1. Peppermint extracts can vary in intensity so I advise to start with 2 tsp of extract then taste the mixture. You can always add more but if you add to much the batch can be ruined so add 1/2 tsp at a time to increase the mint flavor.

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Carrot Ginger Puree...Sweet Spicy Simplicity

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and that means one thing…fall is us upon. While I am sad to see summer go, I am quickly reminded that with fall comes a beautiful harvest of creamy squashes, pumpkins and root vegetables… oh my!

Although I like to make inventive and unique recipes, most of the time I crave simple honest food. 

Enter this crazy easy and delicious Carrot Ginger Puree. 

 All that is necessary for this recipe is to steam carrots and blend them with some ginger, broth of choice (chicken, vegetable, dashi), olive oil, and blend it up. Garnish with cilantro and blamo you have yourself a side dish that could be used for a dinner party or a solo night in front of the tv with a big spoon ;)

I suggest making a ginger paste when you do your food prep to save time on weeknight cooking and because chopping ginger can be a drag. I like to make a large batch of this because I use ginger a lot, but make as much as you and your family will use for a week. 

  • Simply take 3-4 large pieces of ginger peel and chop into chunks. 
  • Add the chopped ginger to a food processor and cover half way with a light oil.
  • Pulse the ginger, scraping the sides down every so often with a spatula, until the mixture becomes a paste with no large chunks. 
  • Store in an airtight container and use when needed. It should last about a week or so in the fridge. 

Carrot Ginger Puree

Serves 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Organic Peeled Carrots
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Finely Chopped Ginger
  • 1/2 -1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (see notes)
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Bragg's Aminos or to taste
  • or
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste

Optional

  • 1 Tbl Chopped Cilantro for Garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut peeled carrots into 1/2'' pieces.
  2. Place into the basket of a steamer set over simmering water and steam for 5-8 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Transfer the carrots to a blend and add the finely chopped ginger, olive oil and 1/2 cup of broth.
  4. Start to blend. If the mixture is too thick add more broth a few tablespoons at a time and blend.
  5. When the consistency is to your liking taste for seasoning.

Notes

  1. For a creamier puree replace the chicken broth with coconut milk and omit the olive oil.
  2. For the ginger: I like to chop up a bunch of ginger and process in a food processor with some oil to cover the ginger half way and blend until it becomes a fine paste. This way you don't have to chop ginger every time you need it.

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Decadence in Disguise....Chocolate Mousse Brownie Bars with Beets!

I have this odd craving lately and it’s not chocolate or ice cream or cake…its for beets. I can’t stop eating them, juicing them, and now I have started putting them in my desserts! Whaaaaa??? Yeah you heard me right, but hey when somethings good why not run with it? 

Less is more you say? 

BALDERDASH! 

This is America….More is More!

So stick with my kids because I’m putting beets in my ultra rich and chocolate  mousse bars with a pecan coconut crust and guess what?

Your going to fall madly in love with beets just like I have.

Have a non beet lover in the group? Have them try this mousse bar and don’t tell them what the magic ingredient is. Shhhh I won’t tell if you won’t.

Now go get some beets steaming so you can make a puree. The rest of this recipe is made in a blender and the crust comes together in minutes in a food processor so this recipe is easy breezy. Yep this baby is a no bake, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain free dream that tastes so decadent you will forget that it’s actually good for you. 

No Bake Chocolate Beet Mousse Bars

Serves 8

Vegan - No Bake - Grain Free - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Beet Puree (see notes)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1 Cup soaked cashews (or nut/seed of choice)
  • 2 oz Finely Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 25 Pitted Medjool Dates Softened in Warm Water
  • 2-4TBL Coconut Milk as needed
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Medjool dates
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Unsweetend Shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 1 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x4 standard bread pan (I use a square corner pan for clean corners bought at a restaurant supply store) with parchment paper. One piece should run the long way and another piece should run the other way and the paper should hang over the edges like a sling so the bars can be removed easily.
  2. Grease the parchment paper with coconut oil or light oil.
  3. Add the ingredients of the crust (dates, salt, cacao powder, pecans and coconut) and pulse until the pieces are broken up and the crust stays together when pressed between your fingertips. If its not coming together add a few more dates until it sticks together.
  4. Pour the crust into the bottom of the pan and press it firmly with the bottom of a greased flat bottomed glass or a greased spatula to form a flat surface.
  5. Place the crust in the fridge to set up while you assemble the rest of the bars.
  6. Cover the dates being used for the mousse bars in some hot water and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl add the coconut oil and the chopped unsweetened chocolate and microwave for 15 seconds at a time stirring in between until fully melted. (You can also do this on your stove in a double boiler). If there are still some small pieces of chocolate visible try stirring for a few seconds to see if they will melt so you don't overheat the chocolate in the microwave.
  8. Drain the dates and add them to a blender along with the pureed beets, salt, raw cacao powder, melted chocolate/oil mixture and blend until smooth.
  9. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. 
  10. Now add the cashews and blend until smooth.
  11. If the mixture is too thick start adding coconut milk 1 TBL at a time until the mixture can run smoothly in the blender but is still very thick.
  12. Taste for sweetness. If you like it sweeter feel free to add some maple syrup or sweetener of choice to your taste.
  13. Pour the mixture over the crust and use a spatula to smooth it out. Tap the bottom of the pan flattly on the counter to flatten the mixture out.
  14. Place in the fridge to firm up at least 3 hours.
  15. Remove from the pan and slice the loaf in 4 long equal pieces lengthwise and then slice across to cut the 4 pieces in half to make 8 long skinny rectangular bars.
  16. Serve with a scoop of coconut cream.

For the Beet Puree

  1. Steam 4 beets until fork tender. Remove skin after steaming with gloves and cut up the beets into small pieces. Add the beets to a blender along with 1-2 TBL of the cooking water and blend until you have a smooth puree. Measure out 1/2 cup puree for this recipe.
  2. This recipe can be doubled to make a full cake using a 9'' spring form pan or a 9x9 baking pan.

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Sneaky Vegetable Juice Granita

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Sneaky Vegetable Juice Granita

Carrot granita words

Summer has officially ended and that makes me sad :(

But I wont accept that yet so I will hold on to the season for one more day by making frozen desserts.

You can’t tell me what to do! I can eat what I want!

So what am I eating today in my rebellion of the seasonal change? 

Its a tropical granita with a vegetable hidden inside. 

So whats the sneaky ingredient….

wait for it….

Carrots!

Total shocker with that electric orange color right?

This ones pretty simple, I just mixed freshly juiced organic carrots, pineapple, ginger, lime and sweetened it with maple syrup for this light, refreshing, and super nutritious Granita/ shaved ice dessert.

Oh and here’s a sweet bonus  the pineapple and ginger aid in digestion so this is perfect after a heavy meal or if you are having a little tummy trouble.

Don’t worry if you do not have a juicer, simply buy some high quality unsweetened carrot and pineapple juice and use a blender to puree some ginger into the juices and strain after. Voila! (I have more detailed notes in the recipe below.)

So hang on to summer for one more day with me and float away with this blissful frozen sneaky vegetable granita. 

Carrot Pineapple Ginger Granita

Serves 4

 vegan - gluten free - grain free - refined sugar free 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Peeled Organic Carrots (or 2 cups unsweetend Carrot juice)
  • 3 Cups Pineapple Chunks (or 2 cups unsweetened Pineapple Juice)
  • 1 - 3''x 1'' piece of ginger ( see notes if you don't have a juicer)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Organic Maple Syrup or Yacon Syrup or sweetener of choice

Instructions

  1. Using a juicer, juice the carrots, pineapple and ginger (if using bottled juices simply combine them all in a bowl with a lid).
  2. Squeeze the lime into the juices and stir in the maple syrup and sea salt.
  3. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup or sweetener of your choice to taste. (You are looking for it to be very sweet with bright flavors because the flavors dull once frozen)
  4. Pour the juice into a 9 x 13 baking dish and freeze it for a good two or three hours.
  5. Remove and gently scrape the slushy juice with a fork (it will be more frozen on the sides so mix those into the center)
  6. Return it back into the freezer for another hour or two, scrape again and repeat until the entire mix is frozen and scraped into ice pieces (usually takes about three rounds).
  7. If you have an ice cream maker place the juice mixture in the fridge for one hour to chill then churn according to your manufactures instructions.
  8. Spoon into bowls and eat!

Notes

  1. If you don't have a juicer finely chop up the ginger and add to a blender with 1/2 of the juice and puree until blended completely. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to avoid and ginger chunks add to the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe as written.
  2. I like to top my granita with fresh lime juice and layer with coconut cream if I'm in need of something a bit more decadent.

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Homemade Spicy Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

I cringe at the price and ingredients of granola and meal replacement bars at the supermarket….

$2-$4 (sometimes even more) for a bar that has weird sugar syrups, refined oils, soy lecithin, and/or a myriad of other undesirable additives?

YEAH RIGHT!

You can make your own bars at home and control the oils,  sweeteners and all of the ingredients for only a fraction of the cost. 

Check out my spicy chocolate coconut granola bars!

Oooohhhh Ahhhhhhh

These puppies are super easy to make and pack up very nicely in your gym bag or purse for some quick fuel on the go. Feel free to sub your favorite nuts and seeds and change the sweetener to your preference (coconut sugar, honey etc). I used garam masala and curry powder but if that’s a little too out there for your taste or you are making these for kids feel free to leave it out. 

Homemade Chocolate Spiced Granola Bars

Yields 12

Vegan - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free - Soy Free

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Raw Pecans (or nut of choice)
  • 1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Raw Cashews (or nut of choice)
  • 1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (or seed of choice)
  • 1 Cup Raw Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Soaked and Sprouted Gluten Free Oats (or equal amount of seeds or nuts) * see notes
  • 2 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala (optional. I used Frontier brand)
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder (optional. I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbl Coconut Oil 
  • 2/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (or coconut syrup, or honey)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with the oil you are using for the granola bars and line with parchment paper.
  3. On a sheet pan place all of the nuts, seeds, and oats (if using) and toast on the middle rack for 8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. (If you prefer a raw bar skip this step)
  4. Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the shredded coconut on top and return the sheet pan to the oven for 2-3 more minutes or until the coconut is lightly browned.
  5. Transfer the oat/nut/coconut mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
  6. Reduce the oven temp to 325F
  7. In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup and oil.
  8. Over medium high heat bring to a boil and then add the salt, spices, and cacao powder.
  9. Stir as soon as you add the spices and as soon as the mixture starts to bubble remove from the heat.
  10. Pour the syrup over the oat/nut mixture in the large bowl and stir until evenly coated.
  11. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly with a piece of parchment paper over your hands or greased or wet hands.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes.
  13. Let cool for 1-2 hours in the pan on the counter.
  14. Once fully cooled remove from the pan and turn out onto a cutting board.
  15. Cut into bars.
  16. The size is up to you but I cut mine into 12 bars by cutting the whole tray down the middle length wise and then splitting those 2 pieces into 6 equal portions in the shape of granola bars.

Notes

  1. If you would like to make a raw bar simply omit toasting the nut and seeds. Combine the syrup mixture and stir into the nuts. Follow the rest of the recipe as is except dehydrate the bars in a warm oven (on the lowest setting) overnight or in a dehydrator for 12 hours or until dry and crispy. Allow to set up on the counter for one hour before slicing. Do not consume raw oats they contain phytic acid that requires them to be soaked first. Soak them overnight and then dehydrate in a low oven or dehydrator overnight to "sprout" them.

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Raw Nutella Power Pudding

Life can be hard. 

Pudding can make life better. 

Nutella Chocolate Pudding can make life waaaaay better. 

Why is this pudding so special? Because this is a raw/vegan nutritional powerhouse pudding posing as a decadent dessert. The base of this is chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and hazelnuts soaked in your choice of dairy free milk (coconut milk makes this incredibly rich and decadent while almond milk makes a lighter pudding so choose accordingly).

So we have Omega 3’s, fiber, & protein disguised as dessert! Pretty awesome combo if you ask me.

The chia/flax hazelnuts needs about an hour to soak up and bloom but you can assemble those ingredients the night before and blend it up the next day.

Crazy easy, super delicious, and deceivingly healthy.

Does it get any better? 

Nutella Chia Flax Power Pudding

Serves 2

Vegan - Raw - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbl Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbl Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 Cup Hazelnuts (skins removed if possible but not necessary see notes)
  • 1 Cup (+ 1/2 Cup Reserved) Coconut Milk or Dairy Free Milk of Choice
  • 3 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Essence or Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Instant Espresso Powder (optional)

Optional Toppings

  • Cacao Nibs
  • Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Shaved Dark Chocolate
  • Scoop of Coconut Cream
  • Goji Berries
  • Shredded Coconut

Instructions

  1. Soak the chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and hazelnuts in one cup of dairy free milk for at least one hour but 4-6 hours will soften the hazelnuts so they blend easier.
  2. Use a spatula to scoop the bloomed chia/flax/hazelnut mixture into a high power blender. (It will be very sticky and will be formed to the size of the container)
  3. Add the salt, cacoa, maple syrup, espresso powder (if using) and 1/4 cup of reserved milk and blend until smooth.
  4. If the pudding is too thick add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if you like.
  6. The pudding is ready to eat but it can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes

  1. If you want the smoothest possible pudding you will want to use skinless Hazelnuts. The skins can be removed by a few methods: If you do not follow a raw diet you can roast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes in a 350 oven or roast slow in a warm oven for 12 hours or in a dehydrator following manufactures directions and then place in between two kitchen towels and rub them vigorously. The skins should come right off. If you soak the hazelnuts overnight and then rub in between two towels the skins should come off easily as well.

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

Beet juice words

There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/

Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.

Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:

Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to: 

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

FD& C Red #40: 

  • A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
  • It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
  • It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.

Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane. 

So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?

BEETS!!!!

Natures Candy
Natures Candy

So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?

  • Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy. 
  • Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side. 
  • It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.  

 Great article on the scientific benefits of beet juice and energy output

Other health benefits from Beet Juice:

• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. 

• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system. 

• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.

• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.

You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!

Bonus Add ons:

  • Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
  • Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein. 

Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink

Yields 3

Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  1. 3 Organic Peeled Beets
  2. 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
  3. 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
  4. 1 Small Coin of Ginger
  5. Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
  2. One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.

Notes

  1. Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
  2. Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
  3. Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

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Raw Vegan Pub Cheese!!!

When I was growing up Friday nights in my house were great. My mom would let us put our feet up on the table and recline back like old men, we would eat pub cheese, and my mom would crack a rolling rock while we listened to tunes on the radio. Life was simple. Good cheese, family, and music was all we needed. 

Unfortunately dairy is no longer a friend of some members of my family (nor is the gluten in beer anymore) so we have had to make some changes. 

I have made a raw vegan version of the famous pub cheese to fill the void and luckily there are some great Gluten Free beers hitting the market to recreate the magic. 

Here is a list of the top 10 Gluten Free Beers from Gourmet Magazine

I made this with soaked raw almonds and macadamia nuts. The great thing about soaking your nuts before eating them is that it removes a lot of the lectins (protein binding carbohydrates that are found in plants and animals). Lectins can be harmful for digestion because of their binding qualities that can attach to the intestinal lining and cause a lot of problems such as reduced nutrient, mineral, and protein absorption, as well as leptin resistance (a pre diabetic condition linked to obesity). This is important information for people with gluten allergies who are probably dealing with or have dealt with some kind of intestinal damage like leaky gut :/

Read more about lectins and how to reduce them in your diet here

Not to fear because soaking nuts greatly diminishes the lectins levels so this recipe is free from gluten, grains, and dairy as well as gut friendly :) 

First off rinse and then soak your nuts overnight in filtered water.

Drain the nuts and rinse off any additional residue and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. 

Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. 

Transfer to a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth and place over a bowl to drain overnight. ( I know there is a lot of waiting here but the prep is stupid easy so it all works out in the end)

Turn out the cheese and eat up! 

Raw Vegan Pub Cheese

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Soy Free - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts 
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 3 Tbl chopped Parsley (measure after chopping)
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Chives (measure after chopping)

Instructions

  1. Rinse off the nuts and place in a bowl.
  2. Cover with water and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the nuts and place in a blender along with all of the remaining ingredients minus the chives.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Fold in the chives and transfer the cheese to a sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl to drain.
  6. Fold the cheesecloth over the top and place in the fridge to drain overnight.
  7. Turn out the cheese and serve!

Notes

  1. The flavors need time to mellow in this recipe so if you taste it right out of the blender don't be surprised if the garlic and lemon come on strong. Feel free to play around with the amount of garlic to suite your preference. If you don't like a raw onion favor feel free to leave the chives out but they really lend a good bite to the cheese.

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

canteloupe gazpacho ariel

Excuse my absence this week, I’ve been a bit busy and hot. Sooooo hot. There has been a heat wave all over the country so I know I’m not alone melting away here. 

When its this hot out I crave light refreshing food that does not require the use of the stove. 

This was my lunch yesterday…

Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho….ahhhhhhh 

I used a Tuscan cantaloupe because they have a sweeter flavor and more delicate flesh but whatever melon you have is just fine. Honeydew could actually be a very interesting substitute especially if you add half of an avocado.

This soup is raw, vegan, gluten-free and very cleansing. This makes one very large bowl but with a sprinkle of chopped nuts I think it’s the perfect light summer lunch or snack. If you are really hungry perhaps some brown rice or quinoa to soak up the soup would be a perfect addition. 

 

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Natural Remedies for Bloating and Water Retention

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Natural Remedies for Bloating and Water Retention

bloat post

This may not be the most appetizing of subjects but I thought it was time for me to dive into the health and wellness portion of avoiding gluten and other allergen foods. One of the biggest complaints from people with food allergies is bloating and digestive health. Here are some of the natural remedies my family and I have come to live by for preventing and helping a stomach “situation” .

Natural Food and Supplements for Bloating and Water Retention:

  • Bitters – Teaspoon of Angostura bitters or digestive bitters can ease indigestion and acid reflux. 
  • Peppermint Oil and Caraway oil - Adding some to water can ease indigestion. 
  • Activated charcoal capsules – Take following a meal to help with bloating and gas.
  • HCL with Pepsin – These are the enzymes from papaya which helps with digestion if taken with a meal 
  • Papaya (fresh, or in chewable tablets) – Help in digestion when taken with or after a meal. 
  • Digestive Enzymes- Best if taken before a meal. Invest in a high quality enzyme with no fillers!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Drink 1 tbl diluted in 8 oz of water to reduce bloating. Best if before a meal but can be taken anytime. High quality vinegar only please. I prefer Braggs.
  • Turmeric – Has fabulous anti-inflammatory properties. Can be taken in pill form, used as a spice in cooking, or stirred into drinks (scroll down for recipe). 
  • Pineapple – The enzyme Bromelein helps break down protein (Do you think it is any coincidence that Chinese restaurants serve pineapple at the end of meals?) Bromelein works synergisytcally with turmeric so I buy the tables that contain both.
  • Potassium Rich Foods – Bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, tomatoes, nuts and asparagus (asparagine amino acid that acts as a diuretic) can all help with fluid retention. 
  • Fennel – Try chewing on some seeds or infusing in hot water for a tea to aid in indigestion. 
  • Tea – Ginger, Fennel, Chamomile, bitter orange all help relieve gas and bloating. Don’t have any on hand? Add 3 coins of peeled ginger or fennel seeds to a pot of water, bring to a boil and blamo….ginger or fennel tea.)
  • Parsley – Is a natural diuretic so try chewing on some or adding it to your meals to aid in digestion.

 Tips to Prevent Bloating and Water Retention:

***Make an appointment with your doctor if you have chronic bloating. I am not a doctor so do not ignore habitual health issues. 

Now lets Detox the delicious way! 

Beat the Bloat Ginger-Mint Lemonade

Serves 4

Helps with water retention, alkaline balance, and elimination of uric acid.

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  1. 4 cups water divided in half
  2. 2'' knob of ginger
  3. 1 English Cucumber
  4. Juice of 3 lemons
  5. 20 Mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Blend half of the water along with all of the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Add in the remaining water, taste for sweetness.
  4. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge covered, but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. You can add more water or sweetener to your taste.

Turmeric Tummy Warmer

Serves 4

Aids to flush out the lymphatic system and reduce swelling

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water divided
  • 2 in knob of ginger
  • 2 tsp tumeric powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • juice of 4 lemons

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. Add as much or as little heat as you like. If you don't have cayenne pepper you can blend a 1/2'' piece of your favorite pepper just make sure you are familiar with the heat of the pepper you are using so you don't blow your head off. I prefer Serrano or Fresno peppers in this blend. If you can find turmeric (use a 2'' knob) in its root form and have a juicer I would recommend juicing both the ginger and turmeric, but powdered turmeric is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

Adapted from Linda Wagner

The Green Monster Detox Drink

Serves 4

A strong diuretic that aids in Kidney cleansing and liver detoxification

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of filtered water divided
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 grapefruit

Instructions

  1. Blend 2 cups of water with all of the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Taste for sweetness and dilute with more water if you like.
  4. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. Do not be alarmed if you are peeing a lot after drinking the green monster. This is a very strong diuretic so only have one small glass at a time to gauge your reaction.

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You put the lime in the coconut and cover it in chocolate!

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You put the lime in the coconut and cover it in chocolate!

On my last post I made a raw pistachio date crust for my Strawberry Banana Frozen Cheesecake, and I am still obsessing over the crust! I love this crust so much I made it again, except this time I made a Banana Coconut Lime filling and covered it with homemade sugar-free dark chocolate, sea salt, and lime zest.

Yeah these are pretty rockin, oh and they are also raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, Paleo, and stupid easy to make. 

Ready?

Pulse 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios along with 4 pitted medjool dates along with a big pinch of sea salt and the zest of 1 lime in a food processor. When the mixture is sticky, coarsely ground and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers you are ready to go. 

Line a bread pan with a piece of parchment paper fashioned as a sling so the sides hang over the edge for easy removal later. I also grease the pan and paper with coconut oil for extra insurance. 

Now pack the crust into the bottom of the pan making it as flat as possible. If the crust it sticking to your fingers simply wet your fingertips when touching crust. 

Place in the fridge while you assemble the filling. 

In a blender combine 3 ripe bananas, 3/4 cup coconut cream (if you can’t find coconut cream leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scoop the cream that is chilled on the top leaving any water in the can), the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt. Blend until a smooth mixture is achieved , add liquid stevia or sweetener of choice to taste and then pour into the crust. I like to zest additional lime on top before freezing.

Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours but overnight is best. 

Take the pan out of the freezer and use a knife to separate the sides from the pan. Pull the whole thing out using your parchment paper sling and place on a cutting board.

Cut into 1’‘ squares (this recipe will yield 18 squares).

Place the cut squares on a rack with a sheet pan underneath lined with foil or parchment paper. Make sure that the squares are not touching and have at least 1’‘ (2.5cm) distance from each other.  Return the squares to the freezer to firm up while you make the chocolate. 

Over a double boiler (or a sauce pan with a bowl over the top with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water) add 4 tbl melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbl raw cacao powder and heat gently over medium low heat whisking constantly. When fully combined add 1 1/2 tbl sweetener of choice and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract off of the heat and stir to combine. 

Remove the ice cream bites from the freezer and generously pour the chocolate over each bite so it drips over the sides. The chocolate is going to firm up almost instantly so move fast. If you need more chocolate remove the rack and spoon off the dripped chocolate on the lined sheet pan (this is why we put down foil or parchment paper). 

After the chocolate immediately zest some lime over the top and sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt. I used a Himalayan Pink Salt but the choice is yours. 

These are ready to eat! Like anything frozen I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes out on the counter to soften lightly before eating it. The colder something is the less flavor it has so by letting it defrost just a touch you will have a creamier texture and more flavor! 

Chocolate Covered Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream Bites

Yields 18

Vegan - Raw - Sugar Free - Paleo - Gluten Free 

Crust

  • 1/2 cup Raw Shelled Pistachios
  • 4 Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • Zest of 1 lime

Filing

  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Cream (if you can't find place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge the night before and scrape the cream off the top)
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Maple syrup, wild honey, yacon syrup, or sweetener of choice to taste 

Chocolate Coating

  • 4 Tbl Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl High Quality Dark Cocoa Powder
  •  1 1/2 Tbl of Maple syrup or wild honey or yacon powder or syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Powder or Essence

Garnish

  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Coarse Finishing Salt (I used Himalayan Pink Salt)

Instructions

  1. Pulse 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios along with 4 pitted medjool dates along with a big pinch of sea salt and the zest of 1 lime in a food processor. When the mixture is sticky, coarsely ground and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers you are ready to go.
  2. Line a bread pan with a piece of parchment paper fashioned as a sling so the sides hang over the edge for easy removal later. I also grease the pan and paper with coconut oil for extra insurance.
  3. Now pack the crust into the bottom of the pan making it as flat as possible. If the crust it sticking to your fingers simply wet your fingertips when touching crust.
  4. Place in the fridge while you assemble the filling.
  5. In a blender combine 3 ripe bananas, 3/4 cup coconut cream (if you can't find coconut cream leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scoop the cream that is chilled on the top leaving any water in the can), the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
  6. Blend until a smooth mixture is achieved, add sweetener of choice to taste mix and then pour into the crust.
  7. Zest additional lime on top of the filling before freezing.
  8. Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
  9. Take the pan out of the freezer and use a knife to separate the sides from the pan. Pull the whole thing out using your parchment paper sling and place on a cutting board.
  10. Cut into 1'' squares (this recipe will yield 18 squares).
  11. Place the cut squares onto a rack with a sheet pan underneath lined with foil or parchment paper. Make sure that the squares are not touching and have at least 1'' (2.5cm) distance from each other.
  12. Return the squares to the freezer to firm up while you make the chocolate.
  13. Over a double boiler (or a sauce pan with a bowl over the top with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water) add 4 tbl melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbl raw cacao powder and heat gently over medium low heat whisking constantly. When fully combined add 1 tbl sweetener of choice and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract off of the heat and stir to combine. 
  14. Remove the ice cream bites from the freezer and generously pour the chocolate over each bite so it drips over the sides. The chocolate is going to firm up almost instantly so move fast. If you need more chocolate remove the rack and spoon off the dripped chocolate on the lined sheet pan (this is why we put down foil or parchment paper).
  15. Right after the chocolate is drizzled zest some lime over the top and sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt.
  16. These are ready to eat! Like anything frozen I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes to soften lightly before eating it.

Notes

  1. Double the recipe and use a 9'' greased Spring-form pan or a greased and parchment lined 9x9 square pan for a full sized cake.

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

Its Summer time baby so now is the time for no bake healthy recipes and oh man do I have the recipe for you…

I am so obsessed with this crust so stay tuned because tomorrow I am going to do another no bake recipe with it but I digress…

This recipe is for two 5’‘ pie tart shells but if you double the recipe you can use a 9’‘ springform pan for a full size cheesecake. 

Prep for this recipe by soaking 1/2 cup raw macadamias or cashews (or 1 cup for a full size cheesecake) in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.

Also place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step).

Start by placing 1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios and 4 medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with 1/4 tsp fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime. (again double this if making a full version) 

Pulse the mixture until it is coarsely ground and becomes sticky. 

The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved. 

Grease the tart shells or pan you are using. 

Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack to make it as flat as possible. A flat bottomed greased glass is the perfect tool for this. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice. 

Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients. 

Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can. We just need the cream for this so feel free to drink the water  or save it for a smoothie. 

Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with 2 Tbl of the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 10-15 drops liquid stevia or 1 tbl of maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice. 

Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best. You can add the pistachios later if you want. 

Top with sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving. I like to let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes (30 minutes for a full size pie) before serving so it has a creamier texture. 

Strawberry-Lime-Banana Frozen Cheesecake with Pistachio Date Crust

Serves 2

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw Macadamia or Cashews (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Cream (or place one can coconut milk in fridge overnight and scoop cream off top)
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 tbl maple syrup, wild honey, yacon syrup or sweetener of choice to taste 

Crust

  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 4 Large Medjool Dates (pits removed)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Prep for this recipe by soaking the raw macadamias/ cashews in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.
  2. Place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use.
  3. (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step)
  4. Start by placing the raw shelled pistachios and medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with the fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime.
  5. Pulse the date-nut mixture until coarsely ground and it becomes sticky.
  6. The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Grease the tart shells.
  8. Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack it to make it as flat as possible. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice.
  9. Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients.
  10. Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape 2 tbl of the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can.
  11. Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana.
  12. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 1 tbl of maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste. 
  13. Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best.
  14. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving.
  15. Allow to sit on the counter for 15 minutes (for small tarts) 30 minutes (for full size pie) before serving to defrost.

Notes

  1. For a full size cheesecake double this recipe and use a 9'' springform, grease lightly with oil, and line the sides with parchment paper.

3 Comments

My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

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My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

Tea Pop Mise

I have a new obsession that I need to share with you….its called the Tea Pop. 

A tea pop consists of a really strong concentrate of your favorite tea, a big glass of ice, soda water, and your sweetener of choice. Crisp, refreshing, amazing!

I didn’t come up with this idea so I have to give credit to the new tea place in the Boston area called Davids Teas. They are like Teavanna except they are more like a tea bar but with the coolness turned up a notch. They have endless flavors combinations that make crazy delicious tea pops, natural sweeteners like pure stevia leaves in their teas, you can buy any of their teas by the ounce (or online) and the prices are not outrageous.  For the tea pop it would be best to use a fun flavored loose leaf tea but it can also be done with regular tea bags. 

Heres the skinny

  • For one tea pop use 4X the amount of tea you would normally use for an 8oz cup. So if its loose leaf around 4tsp and if its bags use 4 bags.
  • Steep in just enough water to cover the tea. You want it strong because you will be diluting with soda water. 
  • Allow to steep for the allotted time for the specific tea you are using. 
  • Fill a glass with ice and pour the tea concentrate over the ice. 
  • Add sweetener of choice (liquid stevia, honey, raw agave etc)
  • Top off with soda water and a cool bendy straw. 
  • Drink the deliciousness and revel in the tea pop euphoria. 

Seriously this is the best summer drink ever. Plus if you are feeling frisky you can add some booze. I mean vodka goes with everything right? ;)   Check out this fair trade vodka made from quinoa...who knew drinking could be so healthy? j/k

Check out my friends new tea line New England Tea Co for some of the rarest Chinese teas and insanely creative flavor combinations. 

Pop Pop!


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Snack Attack!!! Fat Free Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

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Snack Attack!!! Fat Free Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

I have an addiction to all things crunchy…nuts, fries, chips. I could survive solely on snack food if I didn’t have a nutritional conscious, but sadly, that is not the case. 

I know I shouldn’t be eating pre packaged fried foods with refined oils, cheap ingredients, and un identifiable additives…so I had to figure out a way to get my crunchy snack food fix the healthy way.

Enter the baked apple chip. 

apple cooked tray

Oooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 

Simple, pure, crunchy, apple goodness. 

Oh and did I mention they are stupid easy to make? I’ll walk you through it. 

Start by placing the bottom of an apple directly on top of the blade portion of a mandolin and slice as thin as possible ( you can use a knife if you don’t have a mandolin).

Place the apples in a ziploc bag and toss with lemon juice to prevent browning and add 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp coconut or raw sugar (the sugar is optional and feel free to let your imagination run wild with the spice portion: curry, nutmeg, garam masala etc)

Toss to coat the apples.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the apple slices in one layer.

Bake at 225F for one hour. Flip. Then bake for an additional hour.

Turn off the oven and leave the chips to cool with the oven door shut. They will crisp up as they cool so leave them alone until they snap when you gently push on one. 

Store in an airtight container if you don’t slam the whole tray cookie monster style like I did…whoops.  

Baked Apple Chips

Vegan - Gluten Free - Paleo - Nut Free - Refined Sugar Free - Fat Free

Ingredients

  • 2 Crisp Apples (Fujis, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady)
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1 Tbl Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Raw or Coconut Sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 225F and line two sheet trays with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the apples horizontally across the core on a mandolin (or with knife) as thin as you can.
  3. Toss the apples in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  4. Toss the apples, cinnamon, and sugar in a ziploc bag until well coated or you can also sprinkle by hand.
  5. Lay the apples in a single layer on the lined sheet pans.
  6. Bake for one hour.
  7. Flip the apples.
  8. Bake for an additional hour.
  9. Turn the oven off and allow the chips to cool with the oven door shut or until they are very crisp and snap when pushed on lightly with your finger.

Notes

  1. If these are left long enough to cool they will stay crispy stored in an airtight bag or container for a few days. This same process can be used with bosc pears.

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3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free

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3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free

Popsicle

I believe most problems can be solved, or at least greatly diminished, by food frozen desserts. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles…..I could survive solely on those items and die a happy girl. But dammit why does all the ice cream and frozen goodies in stores and shops have to have all of these gross ingredients added like xantham gum, corn syrup, and artificial food colorings???? 

No need to fret my dear, I can solve this problem with three ingredients and few hours in the chill chest. 

All you need is a blender, some awesome popsicle molds, non dairy milk, and some frozen fruit of your choice. Wait, you don’t have cyclone shaped popsicle molds?

No problem son!

Simply fill some small paper cups and place lollipop sticks or leftover popsicle sticks in halfway through the freezing process (about 1 1/2 hours in) and voila!

I will say though that these crazy fun silicone molds make the whole experience that much better so just pull the trigger already and buy some because you know you will be making these all summer.

Oh and don’t be surprised if after trying these you have the sudden urge  to jump through the sprinkler with all your clothes on….do it I highly endorse that decision :)

3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles

Yields 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Refined Sugar Free - Paleo - Raw

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup Non Dairy Milk ( Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Rice)
  2. 1 cup frozen fruit of choice (raspberries, strawberries, mangoes etc)
  3. Stevia, Maple Syrup, or Sweetener of choice to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender add all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Add sweetener of choice to taste. If the fruit has seeds strain the mixture through a sieve.
  2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 3 hours or until the pops release from the molds in tact.

Notes

  1. If you don't have popsicle molds use kiddie size paper cups. Fill the cups 3/4 way full and freeze for 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture is frozen enough to hold a lollipop or popsicle stick in the center. Freeze for an additional 2 hours and when ready to eat simply peel the paper cup away from the pop.

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

Remember Chia pets? Those hilarious glass animals that grew grass hair when watered?

Well you know those same seeds inside those toys, chia seeds, are actually edible, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and high in protein.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Almond Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbl Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or frozen fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 tbl maple syrup, yacon,  lacuma powder or sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)

Instructions:

In a container that has a lid, stir together the 6 oz of non-dairy milk and the chia seeds, and allow to bloom in the fridge covered overnight or on the counter for at least 2 hours.

Place the bloomed chia seeds (they should be doubled in size and look gelatinous) and milk into a blender along with the blueberries, stevia or sweetener, and 2 Tbl coconut milk.

Blend until a smooth and thick pudding is achieved.

Eat immediately or store in the fridge covered until ready to eat.

 

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

photo-31
Ahhhhh chocolate….it really could solve most of the world problems. But whats a girl to do if she is trying to get all of those empty caloric white sugars out of her life? Make my own chocolate silly and now you can too!

These are not as hard as you might think as long as you have a silicone chocolate mold, and luckily for you they are sold on amazon for about $10. 

So enough chat, lets turn that nostalgic PB&J sandwich on its head and put it into bon bon form. Giddy up.

Paleo/Vegan Sunflower Butter & Jelly Filled Chocolate Bon Bons

Paleo- Gluten Free -Vegan

Makes 16 bon bons

  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate (use high quality like Ghiradelhi)
  • 1 TBL coconut syrup/ honey/ agave
  • 1/2 TBL Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower butter/Almond Butter/ or any nut butter you like (brought to room temp)
  • 8 tsp raspberry no sugar added jam/jelly (I use Whole Foods 356 brand sweetened with apple juice)
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Silicone candy mold

Chop the chocolate into pieces and place 3/4 of it in a small glass bowl and microwave for 15 seconds at a time. Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until smooth. The chocolate should register 87 to 89 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Pour the chocolate into a flexible chocolate mold and swirl it around above a sheet pan until every corner of the mold have been covered. Using a bench scraper or a flat bottomed spatula scrape the mold so that all the chocolate is leveled off and pour it off onto a sheet pan. Scrape the excess chocolate back into the bowl to use again.

Place the mold on a sheet pan to keep it level and place the leveled chocolates into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes checking after 10 minutes to see if the chocolate has set up. It should be somewhat firm to the touch and not leave a fingerprint when touched but do not leave it in for too long or else the chocolate with break when you open it.

Remove the molds from the fridge and spoon 1/2 tablespoon of nut-butter into the center of each mold. Then place 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of the nut-butter.

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Place in the fridge to set up for 5 minutes.

Pour the remaining chocolate over the top of the filled chocolates and swirl around so it is completely covered. Gently scrape off the excess with your bench scraper or spatula so that the top is completely leveled with the mold. (If your chocolate has cooled too much place it back in the microwave for 5 second intervals stirring in between to get it back to a pourable mixture)

Sprinkle each bon bon with a small sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Place back on the sheet pan and into the refrigerator to set up for at least 15 minutes and up to 20 depending how thick your chocolate is. Test one to see if it comes out and if it cracks place it back in the fridge to set up longer.

Gently pop them out and place onto a plate and keep in the fridge until ready to eat

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Spice up your V-Day dinner tonight with the exotic spice blend Dukkah

Happy Valentines Day you gorgeous babes!

I know I should be posting some recipe about chocolate or something pink and cute…. but I like to break with convention and do something different. If you are staying in and cooking for your sweetie (or yourself) why not bring some Egyptian spice into the mix and whip up some Dukkah.

This is an amazing aromatic and warm spice blend that is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. There are countless ways to make this (think Garam Masala in India and how it is different in every household)

Basics of Dukkah

Nuts (macadamia, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc)

Sesame Seeds ( I have made one without and subbed sunflower seeds and it’s still great)

Coriander

Cumin

Some optional Add ins:

Dried herbs

Dried fruit peel

Dried hot peppers

Sugar

Spices

Here is my blend and I am addicted to sprinkling it on top medium boiled eggs right now. I also dip apples in it and sprinkle it on top of yogurt. This is the aphrodisiac of spices my friends.

Dukkah

Gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo,

Makes one heaping cup

- 30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnuts (unsalted) – 30 grams (1/4 cup) shelled pistachios (unsalted) – 4 tablespoons sesame seeds – 3 tablespoons coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

- 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel – 1 teaspoon salt

Toast the hazelnuts and pistachios in a dry skillet, or place on a sheet pan and roast on 350F for 8 minutes or until fragrant. In a skillet over medium heat toast the seeds and berries (from sesame to black pepper) in the skillet for 2-3 minutes or  until fragrant shaking the pan frequently so they don’t burn. Let cool completely. Add the salt and the lemon peel to the mixture and set aside.

First place the hazelnuts and pistachios (or larger nuts) in a spice grinder and pulse a few times to get the mixture started. Pour the nuts out onto a plate with the other spices and mix up with your hands or a spoon. In small batches add all the ingredients, and grind to a coarse powder in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pour mixture into a jar and  close tightly. Keep in a cool dry place.

Serving suggestions:

Sprinkle on top of roasted veggies, chicken, cheese, eggs, even fruit would be killer!

 

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Happy Tuesday to all my gorgeous gluten-free readers!!! In case you live under a rock Thursday is Valentines Day. I have mixed feelings about the holiday in general, but the one part that I do approve of is the unabashed excuse to eat chocolate! Now for all you love birds out there that have a date I strongly encourage you to make something from the heart rather than buy a premade box of terrible unhealthy chocolates (especially if your valentine has a food allergy or diet requirement). And if you are riding solo, like me ;) go ahead and make a batch for yourself. Aint nothin wrong with that and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Always remember just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean anyone should go without so this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and freaking delicious! Did I mention its way easy too? Ok just checking. Lets make some magic!!!!

 

Vegan/Paleo Banana Chocolate Truffles

Raw-Vegan-Gluten Free-Paleo

Makes about 12 truffles

 

  • 5 oz Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • 3.75 oz (just short of 1/2 cup) coconut cream (If using regular coconut milk chill for a few hours and scrape the cream off the top of the can. DO NOT USE LIGHT COCONUT MILK)
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • three finger pinch of sea salt

 

Place the banana in the work bowl of your food processor (if you have the small work bowl attachment that would be even better or mash finely with the back of a fork). Puree the banana with short pulses until it is a smooth paste. Add the finely chopped chocolate on top of the banana.

 

Heat the coconut cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow to heat until steam starts to form on top of the milk making sure to not allow it to come to a boil.

 

Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and banana mixture. Allow to sit for one minute. Then cover and pulse the food processor until a fine smooth mixture.

 

Cover with a saran wrap so that it touches the surface. Refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop and roll, about 1 hour. Do not wait too long because if the mixture becomes too cold it will be difficult to work with so start checking after one hour. 

 

Pour the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl or a plate with high sides. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and use a small candy scoop or a large melon baller to form small balls from the ganache. Roll them in your hands one at a time to form a round ball. Place the formed balls into the bowl with the cocoa powder 5 at a time and shimmy the bowl or plate back and forth lightly so the truffles roll around and become covered by a thin later of the cocoa powder. You could also roll them in finely ground coconut.

Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

 

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