Protein Packed Pumpkin Cookies

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Love these delicious and nutritious snack bites. The original recipe where I got my inspiration is from The Preppy Paleo.

They are great for anytime (except in the evening because they are energy packed.) We pack them for school lunches, hikes, morning add ons, day time snacks, gifts for new moms, etc. Most people who don’t want a sugary overly sweet cookie appreciate this alternative.

They are easy to whip up and take very little time to bake. Often I am able to bake them in the morning and send them in Jaiden’s lunch box.

2 eggs (1 will work)
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)
2 Tbsp coconut nectar
1/3 c whole husk psyllium
1/2 c shredded coconut
1/2 c Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips
1/3 c chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
(try adding a dash of cardamon if you want a little taste of chai 🙂 )

Preheat oven to 325 for convection bake or 350 for regular baking.

Mix together the first 4 ingredients and then add the baking soda & spices. Mix until you have an even consistency and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Use a Silpat lined baking sheet or grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.

Drop by rounded tablespoons and gently pat down with a fork to slightly flatten each cookie.

Bake for 9 minutes (or test to find the level of chewy that you prefer!) Just be mindful not to over bake.

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Cilantro, some people love it and some say…leave it!

photo(3)Here’s why I love it:
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an annual plant with a similar but more delicate appearance than parsley.   I enjoy cooking with cilantro because all parts of the plant are edible so you don’t need to worry about picking off the leaves and discarding the stems, which can be time consuming. Just wash it add it to whatever you are making.  I do tend to discard the longer stems if its easy.

Cilantro has a cultivation history that dates back to at least 1500 B.C., as Sanskrit writings from that time indicate.  Isn’t that amazing?   Vitamin K is one of cilantro’s major contributors to your health.  Vitamin K supports the coagulation of blood in a healthy way and Vitamin K is also known to have anti-inflammatory powers that help those suffering from arthritis & other joint pain.

In my opinion, the most enticing benefit to incorporating cilantro into as many meals as possible is its ability to be a natural chelator.  It can potentially help to remove, or chelate, heavy metals from the bloodstream. These heavy metals can wreak havoc on your body in many ways so learning how to gently detox from these metals is something that your mind & body can greatly benefit from.  Cilantro is a rather inexpensive way to embark on this detoxifying journey.

If awareness is the key, then we need clarity to become more aware.  Therefore, if detoxing heavy metals from our bodies & brains can bring about more clarity and peel some of the toxic layers off – than I say, “Bring on the cilantro and the let the awareness shine through!”

To learn more about cilantro chelation, click here.

If you just want to read an awesome article on cilantro & liver health by one of my favorite teachers, Andrea Nakayama of http://www.Replenishpdx.com then click here.

I participated in a blood-sugar detox with Andrea.  She had teamed up with knowledgeable and awesome chef, Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs.  Her website is http://www.dietdessertndogs.com

Ricki provided us with an array of delicious recipes that we were able to enjoy during our detox and after.  During that course I was introduced to Ricki’s amazing website and talents.   This website features healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and allergy-friendly recipes.  Here is a link to her recipe for Serendipitous Black Bean Spread.

I usually enjoy this spread with cucumbers and carrots for either lunch or a snack.  Also, great idea to take hiking and it is easy travel food.  Enjoy!

Magnificent Raw Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

photo(1)It’s really a mind-blowing dessert!

This is simply delicious, refreshing and extremely satiating.  I have been making this recipe for years after being gifted the cookbook, I am Grateful.  I used to make it and pour it in small ramekins, lately I have been pouring the mousse in a larger ceramic dish and bringing it to small gatherings.

If you are looking for a sweet treat that is also full of healthy fats and nutrients – this recipe will answer your chocolate desires.

Here is a link to the Chocolate Mousse recipe as posted on The Recipe Renovator website.  There are some great recipes listed on that site – enjoy looking through and trying out something new.  See my renovations to the recipe asterisked below.

You will notice a few unusual ingredients listed in the mousse recipe, such as Irish Moss.  I bought a bag from Mountain Rose Herbs. The bag of Irish Moss that I purchased has moss that is already cut into small pieces.  It has lasted me for a quite a while since a little Irish Moss goes a long way.  It is very important to soak it for 12 to 24 hours for ideal results.
 
The other items can be purchased at your local health food store.
 
*Note: I have not tried the powdered Irish Moss yet – but a friend of mine did and she says it works even better.
 
**Instead of the coconut oil that is listed in the recipe I use coconut butter (you can warm the jar in some hot water if it is to hard to scoop out, then add as is)  I find this to make the consistency a bit creamier and it is what the original recipe calls for.  I also use Pacific Brand Hemp Milk (original flavor) instead of the almond milk.
 
***For the mint flavoring I add 2-3 drops of Young Living Peppermint essential oil at the very end of blending.  Personally, I love the combination of chocolate and mint.  This is completely optional and it is no big deal if you omit it.  Be sure to use a peppermint extract or  essential oil that notes on the bottle that it is safe for dietary consumption.  Please keep in mind that many essential oils brands are not meant for dietary consumption.
 
****I use maple syrup in place of agave nectar.  If you want to learn some interesting facts about agave nectar’s sad truth, click here.
 
It’s worth knowing that agave nectar is not the healthy alternative sweetener that many of us thought it was.
 
Enjoy this decadent dessert and let me know if you try making it.  Cheers to sweet and delicious desserts that are sans white refined sugar or flour products!

Kale – Packed with Power!

kaleMost likely you have heard about kale being a shining star amongst veggies. It’s true and that is because kale is a powerhouse of packed nutrients. Kale is rich in Vitamin K, A, C, B6, folate, fiber, manganese, copper, tryptophan, calcium, potassium, lutein (high in chlorophyll – which reduces inflammation.) Click here to check out how kale can be supportive in achieving healthy looking & feeling skin.

This article is also useful in learning more about skin care and kale’s influence on healthy & glowing skin.

There are several kale salad recipes out there but this one is my favorite and it was created by a dear friend of mine, Tacy. I have played with it and made some substitutions, you are encouraged to do the same!

 Anytime Kale Salad

3 cups finely sliced raw kale
1 cup shredded raw beets
1 tsp. sea salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ lb. goat feta cheese (optional)

Dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tamari
1 heaping Tblsp kalamata olive spread (tapenade)

Thoroughly wash raw kale, cut out the center stem, break into chunks and put through a salad spinner. Next, slice the kale into thin strips and place in a large bowl.
Peel raw beets, cut into chunks and shred in a food processor. Place in bowl with kale.
Sprinkle salt over the kale and beets. Using hands, tenderly wedge the salt in for one minute. This has a “pickling” effect, and takes some of the bitter taste out of the kale.
Add walnuts.

Mix together ingredients for dressing. Place salad and dressing in refrigerator until ready to eat. Before serving, add feta cheese and dressing, to taste. Yum!

 The picture shows kale & beets from our garden (thanks to my husband and amazing gardener, Dave.) In my book, it doesn’t get any better 🙂

 ***Note: double this recipe if you are taking to a friend’s house, it goes quickly.

Nutrient Rich Granola Bites

granolaThe journey of health and wellness as a Holistic Health Coach is consistently opening new doors & opportunities. The latest nutritional information & research is often popping up in my inbox and I often experiment with new concepts and decide if the most current philosophy resonates with my truth and my individual & family needs. I do feel that it is crucial to eliminate as much processed food from my family’s diet as possible. So many products (even the “healthy” versions) are filled with sugar substitutes and other fillers that make for a longer shelf life.

So, when I find a recipe like the one I stumbled upon from The Tasty Alternative, I stick with it and make it work for my family by eliminating the allergens and adding other nutrient dense substitutes.

Here is the original recipe: The Tasty Alternative Hemp Seed Granola Bites

  • I substituted almond butter for the cashew butter because Jaiden is allergic to cashews.
  • I also did the same with switching out pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds.
  • One batch I added some unsweetened shredded coconut flakes and added dried cherries – YUM!

Enjoy with a glass of Pacific brand hemp milk. I prefer the original flavor because it does not include the additive carrageenan. To find out more about carrageenan and why you want to avoid it, please click here.

***note the Native Forest brand coconut milk has a BPA-free lining in their cans***

High Vibes Smoothie

untitledI have been playing around with a variety of different nutrient dense combinations and usually I whip up a different one everyday. I have been taught by my amazing teacher, Andrea Nakayama of www.Replenishpdx.com the importance of combining fat, fiber and protein with each meal and snack that we eat. This a crucial nutritious component for balancing blood sugar & energy levels. It also effects our mood when we are balanced in the aforementioned. Think about the brain gut connection. The gut is the 2nd brain.

Let’s commit to treating the body and brain soundly and keep it balanced with: nourishing food, contemplative practices (meditation, prayer, journaling) appropriate exercise, adequate sleep, plenty of laughter, quality time with friends and family to feel the connectedness we yearn for and seek your true purpose through service.

Ingredients (organic is strongly suggested):

1/4 cup handful of almonds
2 T of ground chia seeds and/or hemp seeds
2 kale leaves – deveined (some people may like spinach)
1/2 granny smith apple cored and roughly chopped
1 T hemp powder protein
1/4 tsp. blue-green algae or spirulina
¾-1 c of hemp milk (or milk of your choice)
handful frozen blueberries or a tsp of maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Soak the almonds overnight in a small bowl. In the morning, rinse and drain the almonds. Another option is to peel/remove the almond skins (this helps with digestibility of the almonds). First add the almonds and/or chia or hemp seeds next add the powders and milk. Finally add kale, apple, blueberries. Blend with zest, because you are going to feel great after you drink this nutrient rich combination. Serves 1

For added healthy fat, you can add 1/2 avocado or a Tablespoon of coconut butter.

Note: I just got the Magic Bullet as a Mother’s Day gift from my thoughtful mama and I Iove it. It is easy to pack up and take on the road so you can stay nourished even while traveling. It is super powerful and easy to clean.

Alternative Valentine’s Day Sweeties

heart postSince my daughter, Jaiden, has many food allergies and food sensitivities I am always inventing new versions of treats and recipes.

I avoid artificial food colorings and flavorings, refined sugar and most of the crazy additives that are in processed foods. I am continuously on a mission to strengthen her immune system and since she’s even allergic to sunflower seeds, I know candy and regular sweets are not in her best interest.

However, she is a kid and she does like sweet treats. She asked me to “step it up” this Valentine’s and she wanted to give a treat to her classmates along with her signed cards. She stuffed each classmate’s card with a cowrie shell then taped a wrapped pink “rice crispy heart” to the Valentine’s card. I think they are great and yes, they have forms of sugar in them (not white refined) but they are vegan, non-gmo and gluten free. They are made from processed foods but at least they are made from more conscious & mostly organic sources. We juiced a beet and used the juice as a natural food coloring – the color was beautiful and Jaiden was pleased!

Pink Rice Crispy Hearts

3 T Earth Balance (or butter)
10 oz vegan marshmallows (we cut them up in smaller pieces)
4 cups crispy brown rice cereal (we used organic and gluten free)
1-2 T beet juice
1-2 tsp. coconut oil for coating pan


1. In large saucepan melt Earth Balance over low heat. Add marshmallows and beet juice. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add Crispy Brown Rice cereal and stir until well coated.
3. Using spatula or parchment paper evenly press mixture into 11x 7&1/2 x 2-inch pan coated with coconut oil. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares or use a heart shaped cookie cutter. Best if served the same day.

Nosara Tahini Dressing

mixed-greens-lettuce-background-thumb23422042This dressing can make any dish taste delicious! I tend to cook very simply and use condiments at the end of cooking instead of during the cooking process. I usually lightly steam veggies, eat some veggies raw, or incorporate a cooking style called Nabe (similar to parboiling). I can add some healthy oils at the end to prevent the oils from going rancid and it keeps the flavor without it being “cooked” out.

Mostly I am trying to keep the nutrients intact and accessible (especially by soaking my grains, legumes and various nuts & seeds.)
Some people may argue that foods need to be fried, sauteed or grilled and loaded with salt, pepper & butter to have any flavor. In my humble opinion, I simply disagree.

Once you prepare this dressing and start adding it to your simply prepared meals, you will probably agree that it doesn’t take much to make simple transform into delicious.

Lately, this is my favorite lunchtime combo:
cooked quinoa
salad greens
avocado
cucumber
shredded carrots and/or red cabbage
chickpeas
small scoop of cultured veggies

Mix and match – add whatever you like, maybe nuts and seeds or other forms of protein. The options are endless.
I prefer it to eat my food out of a bowl, so I just layer the above ingredients and then top with the following dressing:

Nosara Tahini Dressing
1/2 cup cold pressed organic olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. tamari or raw coconut aminos (for a soy free version)
1 tsp. turmeric* and/or cayenne
water to thin out to desired consistency (use very little)
Mix it all in a jar that you can store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

* turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available. If you can get it fresh, you are blessed.
It’s inexpensive, mild and benefits every system in the body. Adding some to your diet is one if the best things you can do for your health.

The jar of dressing can last a couple of days in the refrigerator. You will be pleased with your concoction and happy that your dressing is preservative free. Beware – it can be addictive!

Chia Seeds

What more can you ask for when you have… Chia Seeds?

Chia is, appropriately, the Mayan word for strength – so you can see where we are going…

Did you know these ancient seeds are more noteworthy than the sprouts that grow on the porous clay figurines called Chia Pets. Their “claim to fame” has adopted a new status.

They deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories.

They have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap their nutritional benefits. The health benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, strengthens peristaltic action, contains about 20% protein and much much more!

I have been enjoying this recipe for breakfast and when I’m done I feel energized and nourished.

Here is a simple Chia Seed Pudding recipe to kick start your day:

1 cup milk, any kind you like (I like unsweetened or original hemp milk)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (more or less to taste)*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Wisk together all ingredients in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until it reaches your desired thickness, stirring occasionally. (I usually chill mine overnight but about 2 hours will do.)

*Instead of maple syrup, you can use any sweetener you like in this recipe, stevia, honey, brown rice syrup, etc. Here is a guideline on how sweet 1 packet of stevia is: the amount of stevia in 1 packet measures 1/2 teaspoon, which is about as sweet as 2 to 3 teaspoons of regular sugar.

I think this is a nutritious topping to any hot cereal. You can get creative and add fruit, nuts or anything you think may be delicious. Notice how you feel after and share the love with others.

Bliss Balls

Bliss Balls – My favorite to-go snack!
They are packed with nutritional goodness and are quite filling. They are extremely versatile, so mix and match as your taste buds desire. These are a great conduit for adding more powered/ground herbs into your diet. The most nutritional value is gained from these gems from buying organic ingredients and if they are not organic then be sure they are pesticide free.

Bliss Balls

1 cup Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc (any 1 or combo)
1 cup Sunflower seeds or hemp seeds
¾ cup oats or granola
2 cups raisins, dates, prunes, (any combo)
½ c tahini
3 Tblsps. coconut oil or oil of your choice
3-6 Tblsps molasses, honey or brown rice syrup
½ c coconut
a little flour of your choice

try adding 2 Tblsps total of ground spices:
any combo of: fennel, anise, cloves and black pepper. (supports digestion.)

Optional: add spirulina or any other green powder to the mix without altering the flavor.

To Make:

  • grind the nuts, oats and raisins or their substitute in a food processor, grinder or blender
  • pour all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir until well mixed
  • Stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over mixture
  • Mix well with your hands until the mixture gets sticky
  • Add more molasses or tahini if you need more wet ingredients to stick it all together
  • Get some flour on your hands and roll into balls
  • Roll balls in a bowl of coconut and ENJOY!