Chocolate Chip Cookie Dip!

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Some exciting things have been cooking up for me around town and I hope to share them with you all soon, but let’s just say it’s something deliciously healthy. I love being able to teach people about wellness and innovation and what better way than through food, right? And speaking of food, I know many of us will no doubt be munching on a lot of food this weekend (myself included), so I wanted to create a healthy Super Bowl worthy dessert you can share with your friends and family (even the other teams fans).

FullSizeRender (98)So even though my team won’t be playing in the big game, I’ve made a tasty treat that’s sure to be a “touchdown” with your crowd (yup, I love dumb jokes). So if you missed the Blab, here’s a simple recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

  • 1/2c soaked cashews (paleo use almonds)
  • 1/2c coconut butter
  • 1/3c coconut milk
  • 8 medjool dates *
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/4t baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3-4T chocolate chips (or more!)

*if you don’t have dates, feel free to substitute with the sweetener of your choosing!

Directions:

I like to think all of my recipes are fairly simple and this is now exception. Place your cashew and coconut butter in a food processor and begin to blend. Slowly add in all of your other ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and process until smooth a creamy.

Be sure to taste the “batter” before adding the chocolate chips. If you need a little more sweetness feel free to add a little maple syrup, honey or stevia. When you’ve reached your desired consistency and sweetness, let it cool, and add your chocolate chips!

FullSizeRender (100)This dip is perfect for dipping fruit and if you’re feeling really crazy, you could dip graham crackers, cookies, or rice crispies (of course, don’t blame me if you have a sugar crash…).

Have a happy and healthy Super Bowl Sunday!

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Don’t have some of these ingredients, try this recipe and just add chocolate chips!

 

The Greatest Brownies

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FullSizeRender (94)gluten free is about you and taking control of your health. Some people may find the idea of a gluten free lifestyle to be difficult, but allow yourself some time to adjust. Begin by surrounding yourself with the people that will support you in your health journey. On this journey to better health, understand that going gluten free is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle and any change will take a little adjustment.

Fortunately, we’re in the day and age of Pinterest and Google and for whatever question you may have, the answer is only an internet search away! What contains gluten and what does not will become common knowledge for you, and you’ll discover recipes that you’ll love. It’s important to discover your favorite gluten free goodies so that you’re better able to resist temptation. The most tempting treats for me were always brownies!  I have several recipes for brownies but my latest recipe, is by far the greatest; enjoy!

FullSizeRender (96)The Greatest Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4c Sunflower Seed Butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2T coconut butter; or mashed avocado
  • 3T coconut oil, liquid
  • 2T applesauce
  • 1/3c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2c cocoa powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4t nutmeg
  • *optional: 2T chocolate chips; stevia

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly grease with coconut oil. Place all of your wet ingredients into a blender. Blend together. [You may need to stop intermittently to scrape down the sides].

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Now add the contents of the blender to the mixing bowl and stir your ingredients all together (including optional ingredients). The batter will be really thick and probably sticky (that’s nutbutters for you!). Spread the gooey, delicious batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Let the pan cool completely before removing the “brownie loaf”.  Cut and enjoy the greatest brownies ever! [putting the brownies in the fridge for an hour or two before cutting the brownies helps; and they only get better!]FullSizeRender (95)

Cranberry Walnut Bars with Maple Cream Frosting

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I’ve always had a healthy mindset about myself, and anyone who knows me can attest that I’m generally a clean-eating, active individual. But even as a little girl, I’ve always been a sucker for sweet treats — or what is now known as America’s number one villain, sugar.

But giving up sugar entirely and going cold turkey can be a difficult challenge for most people. And yes, I believe a healthy diet can include sugar.

Hold the phone, did I just say that?! Yes, I said a healthy diet can include sugar. We could certainly become militant and try to wipe the world of sugar but I think the more important thing to do is to keep a healthy attitude and mindset in regards to food.  And I believe we can (and should) make the effort to consume less sugar in our daily lives.

To help you in your effort to re-calibrate your sweet tooth, here’s a delicious treat that’s sweetened entirely with fruit! Try these Cranberry Walnut Bars with Maple Cream Frosting, a naturally sweet dessert you can enjoy on your wellness journey!

IMG_0269Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe plantain
  • 1/4c coconut oil
  • 2T non-dairy milk
  • 2T applesauce
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1/2t applecider vinegar
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4c arrowroot starch
  • 1/4c coconut flour
  • 1/2c tiger nut flour (brown rice, oat and sorghum flour are also good substitutes)
  • 1/4c (+ 1T) crushed walnuts
  • 1/4c (+ 1T) dried cranberries
  • optional* – cinnamon, nutmeg, and other Fall spices

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2c coconut butter
  • 1/2t maple extract
  • 3T maple syrup (substitute non-dairy milk)
  • 2-4T non-dairy milk

FullSizeRender (91)Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or lightly grease with coconut oil.

In a blender, puree the very ripe plantain with the other wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (except the walnuts and cranberries). Now pour your puree into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. Mix in the 1/4 cup of walnuts and cranberries (or don’t, your choice).

FullSizeRender (93)Pour the batter into your 8X8 pan and place in the oven. Let bake for 45min. Let the bars cool.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, use a small bowl and stir together all of the frosting ingredients. Spread the frosting across the bars and sprinkle remaining tablespoons of walnuts and cranberries on top (bonus, sprinkle with cinnamon, too!). Slice and enjoy!

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Buckwheat Cornbread

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It seems a lot of people are dabbling with the idea of going gluten free, and I fully support that! The reasons for giving up gluten vary from person to person. Some people exhibit a physical reaction to gluten like gas, bloating , diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and more. Still others exhibit lesser known symptoms including depression, respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue, joint and muscle pains to name only a few. There are over 250 symptoms associated with gluten ranging from bowel issues to mental health. So whatever your reason, giving up gluten doesn’t mean you have to give up all the things you love.

I can’t tell you the number of times I tell someone, “I don’t eat gluten”, to which he or she usually responds with, “aww, that sucks”.  But believe me, it doesn’t!  Thankfully there are plenty of flour substitutes that make it possible to enjoy your favorite foods and baked goods. I still enjoy all of the things I did before like muffins, cookies, pancakes, pizza and my favorite chili and Corn Bread!

If you’re a Corn Bread fan, like myself, than here’s a gluten free Buckwheat Corn Bread recipe for you! And (bonus fun fact), did you know buckwheat isn’t actually a grain? No ma’am (or sir), buckwheat is actually a fruit related to the rhubarb or sorrel… and now you know… on with the recipe!

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Buckwheat Cornbread 

  • 1c Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2c Sorghum Flour
  • 1/2c Buckwheat Flour
  • 1c non-dairy milk (plus 1T apple cider vinegar)
  • 2c organic corn (divided)
  • 1c applesauce
  • 2T baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1t cumin, garlic powder, or whatever seasonings you’d like
  • 1t coconut oil (optional)
  • *stevia to sweeten, 2 packs or 1/16 organic uncut stevia

*maple syrup or honey could also work.

FullSizeRender (86)Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line with parchment or lightly grease a 9X9″ baking pan (though I’m sure an 8×8″ would work as well).

In a blender, blend together one cup of corn with the non-dairy milk and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients. Pour contents of blender in the large mixing bowl. Begin to mix. Next, add applesauce, coconut oil, remaining corn and stevia.

Pour batter into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-28 minutes. When finished, remove from oven (carefully!) and let cool before slicing!

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This cornbread is moist and “cake-like” which I prefer to most dry and crumbly cornbreads I’ve had. Cornbread is one of my favorite things on the planet, especially paired with a very veggie chili or a hot soup. No matter the weather, blazing heat or freezing cold, cornbread and chili always makes me happy!

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Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies

After a most epic win by my Seahawks, or should I say loss by the Vikings? I want to celebrate with my  favorite All-American dessert, Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. The only problem is, I haven’t exactly had any scouts knocking on the door to sell me their not-so-healthy delights. [Probably a good thing]. So I thought I would put my own healthy spin on the classic Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies! 

Now I made these cookies once before… with crickets… and they were ah-mazing! You know, once you got over that whole “eating bugs” thing. But with this recipe, you can still enjoy these wonderfully minty sensations without wondering if that crunch you heard was indeed a thorax (it wasn’t). These Thin Mint Cookies are bug free, gluten free, vegan, and no refined sugar. In other words, healthy just got delicious. On with the recipe!

Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies

FullSizeRender (59)Ingredients:

  • 1/3c hemp flour (cricket flour works, too!)
  • 2/3c almond flour + 1T
  • 1/4c raw cacao powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4t baking soda
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 2T coconut butter
  • 1/4t uncut organic stevia
  • 1t peppermint oil
  • your favorite chocolate bar; melted* (for dipping the cookies in)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Put all of your ingredients in a food processor and process. When the batter is smooth and well combined, spread between two sheets of parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 8-10 minutes.

IMG_7701Remove the cookies from the refrigerator but be very careful because the cookies will be fragile. Remove the parchment paper and carefully cut the “batter” into whatever cookie shapes you wish. I went with the classic Girl Scout Thin Mint look… round. [PS- if you stopped right here, the chocolatey bites are still super yummy!].

IMG_7703When you’ve finished cutting your cookies, spread them across a parchment lined baking sheet. Again being very careful. Bake cookies for 4 minutes. When finished baking, remove the cookies from the oven to cool. When cookies have cooled, place them back inside the freezer for at least an hour.

IMG_7707When the hour has passed, begin to dip the cookies in your favorite melted chocolate bar. I used about a half a cup of chocolate. When the cookies have a nice chocolate coating, place them back in the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden.

FullSizeRender (62)Alright, the long wait is over! The cookies are finished and you should enjoy to your heart’s content!

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Don’t be Cheap, Fast, Fake or Easy! Here’s why…

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Sure you might have plenty of food on the table, but are you still wanting more? If you feel like you’ve just devoured your lunch and you’re still hungry for more, there’s a chance that what you ate was not real food…
Grocery stores and even some restaurants nowadays are selling these pseudo-foods, or processed and genetically modified products, that have been cleverly disguised as food. Had any good microwave meals lately? Picked up a sub or burger at the nearest fast food joint? Sorry, don’t believe the “salad” options are much better. “But it tastes so good”, right? Well of course it does, the processed products are designed to taste a particular way and designed to leave you wanting more.
So why should you care? Because these foods are linked to chronic diseases like cancers, diabetes, autism and obesity. (Did you know over half the population in the U.S. is expected to be obese by the year 2030). Did you know it’s an entirely possible to be overweight and underfed? That’s right, if the foods you eat are not nourishing your body, they’re doing more harm than good.
“But good food is expensive”. Well it may appear that way at first because many of the cheaper foods (i.e. corn, soy, sugar, etc.) are subsidized by the government. That means we as citizens are paying not only for the production, marketing and advertising of these crops, but also for the skyrocketing costs associated with the abuse of these products including diabetes, heart disease, and obesisty. The current U.S. healthcare bill is over 3.2 trillion  dollars!
In the end, we’re actually paying more for these cheap, “franken-foods”. However, we can do something to stop this and it’s so simple. Ready for this? Just  eat real food, and here are three simple tips to help you become a more conscious consumer:FullSizeRender (82)
“Don’t be cheap, fast, easy or fake” – avoid the dollar menus and other “cheap food” options. If the restaurant is claiming “fast food”, turn around. If your three course meal comes out of the microwave in just a matter of minutes, throw it away. You are what you eat, so again, don’t be cheap, fast, easy or fake.

IMG_9888Live more organically-  Organic is the preferred way to shop but if you’d rather shop for conventional produce, then be sure to keep in mind the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”. You can also try shopping at your local farmers market and (bonus!) meet the people who produce your food. In other words, “shake the hand of the hand that feeds your food”.

FullSizeRender (82)Every dollar spent is a vote cast- You can be an advocate for and support healthy eating. The products you deem worthy to spend your hard earned dollars on are the same products suppliers will work to create to meet the demand. When customers begin to demand real foods, companies are going to have to work to fill that need! And don’t be afraid to be an advocate in your community and in your children’s schools demanding real food and real nutrition education.

FullSizeRender (81)After all that, just remember, enjoy real food. Don’t diet. Just eat an abundance of good foods.

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Homemade Bailey’s… done right!

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Florida is finally experiencing the cold! (Granted, I think anything below 70 is freezing). But with that said, it is actually 55°F out, which means… we’re serving up our drinks HOT!  Which is why I came up with my own dairy free, low-sugar, homemade, fantastic Baileys!! A perfect addition to my coffee.

Baileys2Back in the day, I was a big fan of the traditional Bailey’s drink, but nowadays I avoid dairy completely, so this was a fun sip down memory lane.

Some people avoid dairy because it causes symptoms like bowel issues, eczema, acne, wheezing, etc. I avoid it because of the acidity in the dairy was actually leaching calcium from my teeth and bones! At the age of 22 I had osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) and I started getting “natural” dark spots on my teeth that had to be cleaned regularly… the whole acne thing might have been an embarrassing issue, too… but now that I’m living a dairy free life, my skin has cleared, my teeth are back to pearly white and the osteopenia is gone!

Granted, this is my personal experience and there are certainly critics, but these are three reasons to consider going dairy free yourself:

  1. Dairy doesn’t contribute to bone health – Long term studies have suggested that dairy does not help with bone density but may actually increase fractures by as much as 50%. Other studies have revealed that the countries consuming the most dairy may actually have higher rates of osteoporosis.
  2. Dairy may increase cancer risk – Some research has shown an association between lactose (found in milk) and ovarian and breast cancer. And for you men, dairy consumption is linked to an increase in prostate cancer by as much as 50 percent!
  3. You’re not a cow – Milk is used to feed a little baby calf, so it can grow to be a not-so-little 1,000 pound cow in the course of a year… just something to consider…

But again, that’s my view, so do what’s right for you! If you’re worried about calcium, there are plenty of great sources including almonds, beans and just about any leafy green veggie! Now on to this fabulous dairy-free Bailey’s recipe!

Baileys1Bailey’s Done Right!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 c strong coffee (I used Barnies White Christmas)
  • 2/3c Irish Whiskey
  • 3T maple syrup
  • Stevia to sweeten; 1/16 uncut organic or 3 packets regular stevia
  • *cinnamon, nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

On the stove top, pour the contents of both cans of coconut milk and bring to a light boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. The coconut milks will have reduced a bit. Stir in your coffee, sweeteners and optional spices.

Time for the best part, add in the Whiskey. Don’t boil or it will burn of the alcohol! Now taste and see what you think! Feel free to add more maple or stevia if you’d prefer a sweeter drink.

I prefer to add my Bailey’s to a hot cup of coffee and enjoy with a delightful dessert. To some, it is dessert and best served over ice! However you drink it, drink up!