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Coconut Whipped Cream

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Simple to make and with a deliciously rich flavor -- once you taste coconut whip you'll never go back. Coconut whip cream has slightly fewer calories than full fat cream, but with the added anti-inflammatory benefits of coconut. Not too mention this dairy-free swap is much better for digestion and adds a unique flavor twist to an otherwise expected dish.

Tips for success:

- I have had the best luck with the brand Native Forest. WholeFood brand is ok too (Image Below) 

- While overnight chilling brings the best results, if you are short on time you could use the freezer for 30 minutes 

- Experiment with added flavors! I love almond or cardamom extract or added orange zest 

INGREDIENTS 

2 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk, chilled overnight 

2 Tbs of honey or maple syrup

1 Tsp of vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Begin by opening your chilled coconut milk cans and scooping out just the solid coconut cream layer that has solidified at the top of the can into a mixing bowl. Pour the leftover liquid into a container and save for another use (I add it to smoothies!)

Now add the maple syrup or honey, and the vanilla into your mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and beat on high for ten minutes (until the whipped cream is fluffy and you can make peaks.)

**I have done this by hand with a whisk -- its possible, but be prepared to call for back up. It takes much longer than normal whipped cream. 

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No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

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No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

FEATURED ON OLD SCHOOL Given my busy training schedule I often find myself with clients (or driving like a maniac) during meal time. Although I really try hard to avoid processed food, my number one slip-up is protein bars.  I've searched high and low for a bar that has it all: made from real foods, low in sugar, high in nutrients, offers anabolic support (for muscle repair and regrowth), and gives me plenty of energy to hit those hills (again!). While I've come close to finding it, there is always something standing in the way of the perfect bar - usually sugar or processed soy. So I decided to hit the kitchen and see what I could come up with.  The final product was so delicious that it's now a regular on my weekly menu.  The bar (and how I eat it) continues to take many forms.  Try it warmed up and served with almond milk, or for a pre or post workout treat.

Note: Once you get used to the concept of making a protein bar, you can easily modify to accommodate your pantry supplies, creativity and specific energy needs. Some of my other favorite combinations have been:

Dried pineapple and crispy quinoa

Cacao and goji berries (best served raw)

Pecans and cranberries

Nut and seeds galore! (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.)

HOMEMADE POWER BARS

Tools:

  • Food processor
  • Baking dish
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole rolled oats
  • ½ cup good quality protein powder (rice, pea, or hemp is the most easily digestible.)
  • ¾ cups chopped walnuts (or almonds, or pecans)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (brown or white)
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbs flax or chia seeds (best with a combination of the two!)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup coconut oil (olive oil or safflower oil can be substituted)
  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 5 Dried apricots
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 325.

Begin by placing the flax and/or chia seeds in a small bowl with 4 Tbs. water. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all your dry ingredients: oats, walnuts, poppy and sesame seeds, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a food processor, blend all the wet ingredients: banana, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, dates, apricots, lemon juice and zest.

By this time, the flax/ chia/ water will have become gelatinous.  This will be used to bind the bars.  Add them to the food processor at the last minute and pulse to combine.

Now add your wet ingredients to the dry. Using a big spoon, mix well.

Place parchment paper along the bottom of a baking pan.  Add the ingredients, evenly distribute and press down your bars.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Let the bars cool then slice them into squares about the size of a deck of cards.

Enjoy them easily for a quick breakfast on their own, warmed and served with almond milk over the top, or as a healthy pre-workout snack. They will store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

The Skinny: Why go to the trouble of making your own protein bars? Because anything you make in your own kitchen, will give you control over important things like oil, fat and sugar content.  Many of the bars on the market these days contain high sugar (immunosuppressant & blood sugar destabilizing), processed soy (harmful to the thyroid), whey protein (hard for most to digest), and preservatives. Plus, these bars are a great breakfast-to-go , which will help steer you clear of sweet rolls and sugary cereals.

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Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

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Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

There's no better way to fight the cold weather than to start your day off with a warm bowl of oatmeal! Try this seasonal version with persimmons, pumpkin seeds and anti-inflammatory turmeric. TURMERIC SLOW COOKED OATS

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water (or a mix of water and milk)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: Pour the water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then stir in the oats and the salt and stir.

Return the water to a rolling boil (this should only take a few seconds, then reduce heat to low.

Let the oats simmer for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until the oats are very tender and the oatmeal is as creamy as you like it (longer cooking will make thicker oatmeal). Once cooked, stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Remember your oats are a vessel for superfoods! Limit your bowl of oats to 1-1.5 cups and then boost the dish with lots of goodness like: ground flax or chia seeds, hemp hearts, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruit.

** Protein boost! Add 1 egg directly into the oats in the last 5 minutes of cooking. This will add 6 grams of protein to your breakfast and give it a custard like texture. **

Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 week: The oats are ready to eat immediately. You can also let the oats cool and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The oats will thicken in the fridge; stir a little milk or water into them when reheating to loosen.

The Skinny: In a world of Paleo & Atkin lovers, oatmeal has gotten a bad rap. I blame this on the "over-sugerfication" of our breakfast cereals. At it's heart, cereals are hearty whole grain that offers fiber, protein and vitamins B & iron. To reclaim your oatmeal you need to think outside the box. Breakfast cereals can be made with any whole grain (think quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.), and should be seen as a vessel for superfoods (not sugar). Load your oatmeal with as many superfoods as you can: Think flax or chia seeds; hemp hearts; raw nuts and seeds; anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric or ginger; eggs for protein; coconut or MCT oil for good fats; etc., etc, etc...

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Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

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Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

I usually drag my feet/ never get around to adding the recipes that you all ask for.But 'tis the season for sharing (and for baking!) So if we treat, make it a wholesome treat!

To me the perfect muffin has the following components: 1) Packed with secret super-foods 2) Minimal and natural sugar 3) High in protein 4) Contains fresh fruit 5) An interesting texture

I put this little combination together while doing the unspeakable: mixing and matching baking recipes. And guess what? It was a major win! It's super flavorful, has unexpected crunch and enough protein that you can actually eat it for breakfast without feeling guilty. Not to mention it filled my house with an incredible holiday scent.

Please be brave to substitute ingredients within their types (but not their amounts.) That means if I suggest amaranth (and you say "what the heck is amaranth?"), but have another similar grain like millet or rye flakes, then go for it! If I suggest pumpkin seeds (because they are packed with Vitamin A and Zinc for immunity), but you'd rather have a seasonal hazelnut, be my guest!

Being brave in our cooking allows us to take ownership with what we do, and learn to fall in love with healthy food. My ultimate goal for you this winter is to remove the struggle from your relationship with health and replace it instead with enjoyment. Hense, healthy holiday muffins.

Enjoy!

Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

Ingredients 3/4 cup dried amaranth or millet or rye flakes 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Wholesome Chow High Protein Baking/ Pancake mix because of its high protein content + it's gluten-free. But I'd also suggest the Thomas Keller GF flour mix) 1/2 cup additional gluten-free flour (coconut flour, spelt, rye) If you are not GF, feel free to add whole-wheat pastry flour 2 tsp cream of tartar (optional) 3/4 tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated preferred) 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1 cup of grated firm pear (aprox 1-2) 3/4 cup natural cane sugar (tubinado), honey or maple syrup (you can also can sub loosely packed dates) 6 Tbs coconut oil 1 cup yogurt, Kefir or coconut milk OR *gasp*, coconut milk eggnog (serious yum / slightly less healthy due to sugar content) 2 large eggs beaten 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

*Notes: 1) Chose the firmest pears you can and save the grating until the last possible moment to keep them from going brown. 2) I highly suggest the naughty addition of vegan eggnog, but be sure to minimize your sugar to 1/2> cup if you do. 3) This recipe makes approximately 12 standard muffins

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside - Raw amaranth, flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg

Add sugar to a large bowl then melt coconut oil. Spoon tablespoons into the sugar and mix well. Then whisk in milk of choice, beaten eggs and vanilla. Lastly, grate 1 cup of fresh pear and then fold in gently. Be careful not to over mix.

Meanwhile, lightly toast your pumpkin seeds using the same coconut oil pan. Toast for 1-2 mins shaking often.

Mix in 1/2 the toasted pumpkin seeds to your mix. Reserve the 2nd half as a topper for each muffin.

Oil your muffin tin with coconut oil and fill the cups almost the top. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining pumpkin seeds.

Put the muffins into the oven and immediately turn temperature down to 375. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until golden brown and feel firm to the touch. Or use the handy tooth pick trick: poke it in the middle, if it comes out clean it is ready. We all know that one, right?

When the muffins are ready, pull them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. They will keep for 2 days if you store them in an airtight container or they freeze beautifully!

I like to serve these muffins with my immunity Rose Hip Jam so that I boost my health and lower my guilt, because I want to enjoy every fruit of my labor.

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In case you're wondering about my flour choice, here is a great high protein mix!

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Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

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Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

This smoothie is begging to be enjoyed in the sunshine! Treat yourself to some pampering over the weekend! INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups almond milk 1/4 cup goji berries 2 tbsp cacao powder or nibs 2 tbsp raw hemp seeds 1 tsp chia seeds (ground or whole) 1 heaping cup strawberries 1 date, or a few drops stevia for sweetness

DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients in your blender or food processor. Enjoy~!

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Mint Melon Cooler

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Mint Melon Cooler

It's a boiling 70 degrees here in San Francisco and feeling a lot like summer has arrived early. This rare hot spell is a great reminder of what is to come. Stay hydrated and feeling fit with light, refreshing meals. Here is a smoothie that will help you stay cool and get you ready for summer. Natural electrolytes help keep you hydrated while you're out playing in the sunshine. Serve with tiny umbrella (or sip while under a larger one). INGREDIENTS 2 kale leaves

1 small cucumber

3 celery stalks

1/4 avocado

1 whole lemon, peeled

1 cup fresh (or frozen) honeydew melon

10 fresh mint leaves

1 cup coconut water

DIRECTIONS

Blend it up and enjoy!

THE SKINNY

Smoothies are a great way to get your daily calories in check. They generally have about 300-400 calories, and with a good protein powder you'll stay full through lunch time. Plus they are jam-packed with super fresh nutrients and tons of natural fiber. 2- 3 smoothies a week will improve your digestion and immune and keep your weight in check.

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Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

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Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

Ginger, A Powerful Superfood: The Benefits of Ginger Tea Fresh ginger root has many properties that qualify it as a “superfood”. Here are just a few benefits of fresh, raw ginger root:

  • Eases Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Anti inflammatory effects on arthritis
  • Induces Ovarian Cancer Cell Death
  • Reduces Pain
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Helps Carry Wastes Out of the Body (Detox)
  • Alleviates Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness

Ginger tea has been studied for its healthy benefits on digestion and improving gastrointestinal ailments in a wide number of individuals. It has also been shown to alleviate gas and constipation. Using peppermint tea and ginger root tea together after a meal may help ease digestion, which results in better nutrients being absorbed and utilized. Also, with better digestion comes easy and healthy weight loss. This is one reason why I love adding ginger to my green smoothies.

Ginger tea has shown some promise in aiding apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells, resulting in less cancer cells overall. Although not a sole treatment, it has been documented that the cancer cell death is indeed initiated by properties called gingerols in ginger root. I also believe that the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger are also helpful, as chronic inflammation has been shown to be connected to cancer (inflammation can occur through eating excessive grains, sugars and not enough anti-inflammatory foods).

Being a powerful anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to be helpful in those with arthritis. Pain in the joints, bones and head may also be relieved through ginger tea. A ginger root tea made with a cinnamon stick and a little stevia may give it an extra anti-inflammatory boost. One of the leading cause of aging is inflammation from diet and lifestyle, as well as general metabolism, so the best thing that one can do is increase anti-inflammatory rich foods and herbs, such as ginger root.

Finally, weight loss can be helped by drinking ginger tea, as inflammation can often suppress hormones that help control hunger and metabolize fat. Ginger root tea, being rather spicy, may also elicit the removal of wastes through causing you to sweat. Spicy foods have also been shown to increase fat burning potential, but it is unclear whether ginger does this the same way peppers do (gingerols are a relative of capsacian).

How to Make Ginger Tea

For two strong cups:

2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger (peeled) 1 cup hot, almost boiling, water 1 cup room temperature water Almond milk, coconut milk and stevia, to taste (optional)

Pour hot water over the fresh ginger and let steep for 30 minutes. For a strong infusion, steep overnight, covered on the counter.

Strain the ginger and add the additional 1 cup of water. Add coconut or almond milk and stevia, if you desire.

For extra anti-inflammatory and blood sugar benefits, steep tea with 1-2 cinnamon sticks, chopped into 1/2″ pieces.

Serves 1-2.

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Immune Boosting Rose Hip Jam

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Immune Boosting Rose Hip Jam

Rose hips are the fruits of a rose-bush and they contain huge amounts of vitamin C, tannins, pectines, and carotene.  This means they are radically immune booting and can be used as a nutritional therapy when you feel a cold coming on. Rose hips are also known to protect the cells during radiation,  and provide a rich antioxidant for the skin. Each tablespoon of the jam contains about 60 mg of vitamin C (which is 2/3 of the daily RDA recommendation.) Simply by soaking your dried Rose Hips, they we turn into a jam like consistency. Then, with a little boost of anti-inflammatory ginger and honey for sweetness you get a delicious and therapeutic treat.

I like to drizzle rose hip jam on my morning oatmeal, add it to berry smoothies, or eat it on a seedy toast.

*Rose hips can be found in a well stocked health food store.

Ingredients 1/4 cup of dried rose hips 1 inch of water above rose hips 1 tsp fresh grated ginger, minced 2 tsp of local honey or stevia * Flax or chia seeds to thicken if needed

DIRECTIONS Add your rose hips to a small jar and cover in water by an extra inch.  Close the jar tightly and let them sit on the counter for 2 hours (or if you leave it overnight, keep it in the fridge.)  When you open them you will find the rose hips have absorbed the water and turned into a jam like consistency.

You are welcome to stop here and use your rose hips as is for a slightly bitter fruit compote.

Or for a smoother jam with an extra depth of flavor, add them to your food processor with ginger and honey and blend until smooth. Sweeten to your taste. You can store the jam in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Strawberry Almond Protein Dream Smoothie

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Strawberry Almond Protein Dream Smoothie

This recipe is low in sugar and high in good fats making it an excellent way to start the morning! Want to turn it into a valentine treat for your sweetie? Add 1 Tbs maca powder (for sexual prowess), 1 tsp of some goji berries and 1 tsp of cacao nibs!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup frozen organic strawberries 2 dates 1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight 1/2 cup filtered water

DIRECTIONS

Blend and enjoy!

The Skinny

When blending up your morning smoothies its best to choose berries over other fruits like bananas and mangoes. This is because berries naturally have less sugar (low glycemic) and will not spike your insulin levels too much.  This is particularly important concept when addressing weight loss. Think: low sugar, high protein!

*Recipe adapted from Well & Good NY

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

I have a new love in my life and his name is chocolate.  It's crazy, I know, but for years I hated chocolate. I thought it too rich, too sweet and would pick around the chocolate chunks of my cookies. Can you believe that?! Then something happened. Maybe I was struck by lightning, maybe my hormonal needs have changed as I approach, ehem 30, or maybe I just wised up. Either way this new found love has me smitten, and like any destructive relationship I am forced to find a healthier way to indulge. Enter power cookie.

I can have a chocolate cookie if its packed with fiber, protein and omega 3's right? YES! So I did.

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies Adapted from My New Roots

Yield: 12 cookies

INGREDENTS

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature

1/3 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup agave (or maple syrup, honey)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

cayenne pepper, for sprinkling (optional)

Recipe subs: If you don’t have coconut oil or chia seeds, you can try butter and eggs, respectively, instead (although you should really just invest in those delicious ingredients!).

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Place beans, coconut oil, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add maple syrup and chia mixture and pulse to incorporate. Remove blade from the food processor and fold in the chocolate and cherries.

Use a tablespoon to measure cookie batter onto lined baking sheet. Use about 1.5 tablespoons of batter per cookie for 12 medium cookies. Nudge the batter into the approximate shape you want with your fingers, including flattening the top of cookies slightly, as they will barely spread when baking. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cayenne, if desired.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops of the cookies start to look slightly dry and the edges start to look taut and almost crisp. Cook for less time if you want a fudgier consistency. Cool before eating. Store in the fridge.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 16 evenly distributed dollops of batter. Bake for around 10 minutes (the cookies should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Place the saved black beans on top. Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve with fresh almond milk.

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

Now that we are in the holiday season, sugar cravings are high.  Instead of breaking out the Christmas cookies early, use up the last of your Thanksgiving pie ingredients with this magically creamy pumpkin ice cream.  This delicious, guilt free, holiday dessert is vegan and very low in sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

2 Frozen bananas (break into pieces before freezing.)

3 TBS Pumpkin Puree

Few splashes of Vanilla Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Or Cow Milk. (just enough to create a creamy consistency)

1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon & 1/4tsp Ground Clove (or substitute both cinnamon and clove with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie mix. )

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1 Tsp honey or maple syrup

2 Tsp. toasted pecans to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the frozen bananas to a food processor or heavy duty blender.

Pulse a few times to break them up, then add the milk and blend until smooth (you may need more or less depending on the consistency your looking for.)

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend slowly until it is mixed.

Dish up into ice cream bowls and serve immediately!

The Skinny

Having less sugar in you diet will improve your immune system, control your food cravings and promote healthy skin. Did you know that just one teaspoon of sugar, inhibits your immune system for 12 hrs?! If your someone who craves sweets, find creative ways around the habit.  When those cravings kick in, satiate the body with good fats instead.  Pumpkin "ice cream", apples with cinnamon, or 1 Tbs of almond butter are all good choices....

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

For both kids and adults Halloween is the gateway into the holiday eating season. It marks the beginning of the many celebrations to come, and with it our hard earned health and weight loss goes out the window.  Many of our holiday festivities are centered around eating which is arguable the best and worst of traditions.  Halloween in particular, sabotages our weight because of the high amounts of sugar we consume.  And as much as I love a tiny witch knocking on my door, I can't help but feel that I am working against my own values when I stock their buckets (and my own pantry) with sweets. Now I don't want to be the house on the block known for giving out weird kale treats (or do I..?), but I do think there are healthier options for our trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas to help you and your neighbors be a little less sugar crazed.

    • If you have kids of your own, try to keep the focus on the spirit of Halloween. Play dress up and make creative costumes, carve pumpkins, decorate your house and yard, play games, build a haunted house, tell ghost stories, and have parties with friends.
    • Don't over buy trick-or-treat candy! Running out is okay, I promise.  Every house on the block (including your own) will have more candy then they know what to do with. And that extra Halloween candy that is enticingly left out on the counter, will undoubtedly sabotage your health plans.
    • Give toys: false teeth, temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, plastic spiders and rats, Halloween pencils and erasers, hair clips, and bracelets.
    • Offer healthier treats: instant coco mix, graham cracker cookies, 100% juice boxes, fruit leather, air-popped popcorn packs, box raisins, natural fruit snacks, and trail mix.
    • If you do buy candy opt for the smaller versions: Hershey's kisses, tootsie rolls, etc.
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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

It's my birthday month (yes, all month), and that means I've had more then my normal quotient of indulgences. It also means that my sweet-tooth has been awakened and is demanding my attention. In order to appease the sweet-tooth gods and keep my eating habits under wraps, I have been reaching for fresh fruit in the evenings.  This week my CSA came with a double dose of plums and pears, and I have been dreaming up creative ways to enjoy them. This brings me to my point and case: Poached Plums (or Pears!) This is so easy to make and could be enjoyed at the end of a busy day, or brought out at a dinner party to impress your friends. I choose both.

Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

INGREDIENTS 3 TBS Honey 1 Tsp Lemon Zest 3 cups of water 4 Plums

Greek Yogurt (or coconut ice cream) Toasted Pistachios (or your favorite toasted nut)

DIRECTIONS Bring water and honey to a boil and whisk until mixed. Add the lemon zest and plums and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer plums for 10 minutes and then remove from water.

Let them rest for 5 minuets and enjoy over yogurt with toasted nuts.

The Skinny

Why choose fruit over chocolate bars? Fruit offers you a sweet taste and a whole lot of added benefits.

Fiber- Fruit is full of fiber (especially if you eat the skins) which helps with digestion, eases constipation and helps you stay full longer. Fiber also helps to slow the rate in which the sugar is metabolized, making those blood sugar spikes less extreme.

Vitamins- Fruit is packed with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Plums in particular have high levels of vitamin A and potassium good for vision and strong bones.

Fats- Fruit contains almost zero fat and help to lower cholesterol levels.  They greatly reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Sugars- Fruits do contain naturally occurring fructose, but it is much less sugar than you'd get if consuming sweets. Also, fructose being natural is always the better choice over high fructose corn syrup.

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Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

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Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

My C.S.A box runneth over with citrus right now and I have been doing my best to use them in their entirety.  This week that seemed to manifest in a lot of dessert.  Given that this is a rarity around here, I embraced my new found love of baking and did my best to turn beautiful recipes into healthy, whole-grain treats. I was inspired by a blood orange tart I saw months ago on Lottie + Doof.  It was beautiful and rustic, and made with a butter-heavy crust that would not fly in my house (or belly.)  But with some help from My New Roots,  I made her poppy seed crust, that I had luck with last summer and the combination was fantastic! The rustic, poppy seed crust was a beautiful match to the naturally sweet citrus topping and all of it was dairy, wheat and (almost) sugar free (shhhh.)

I fed my treat to the in-house skeptic, who is morally opposed to all recipes altered for health, and his words exactly: "Oh my god, so moist and delicious! Seconds, please."

I fed the treat to the in-house skeptic, he who shudders at the thought of any indulgent treat turned healthy. His response: "Oh my god, so moist and delicious!"

I highly reccomend making this beautiful galette for a special occasion. A weekend dinner. Or, for breakfast. Tomorrow.

Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

Inspired by 

Lottie + Doof

 & 

My New Roots

Serves 6 

Filling:

4- 5 oranges of variety and color. At least one blood orange for your top layer.

Peeled and white parts removed.

Crust:

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup rye flour (Rye flour is wheat free and LOW in gluten. Not to be confused with gluten free!)

1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1/3 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, very cold (plus extra to greece pan with.)

scant 1/4 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, very cold

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

¼ cup ice water

DIRECTIONS

Begin by making your crust. Add the oats to a food processor and pulse until ground into a flour like consistancy. Then add the rye flour, poppy seeds, and sea salt and pulse everything to combine.  Add cold coconut oil and Earth Balance and again pulse until the mix has a grainy consistency. Add maple syrup and pulse, then slowly dribble in the water one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together (you may not need to use all the water ). Do not over process.

Take the dough and lightly form it into a ball. (The trick to good dough is to touch it as little as possible.) Wrap in plastic and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is sitting, get to work with the labor intensive part of peeling the oranges.  Be sure to clean all the bitter white rind off and then slices the oranges into 1" thick disks. Then with a  thin strainer over a bowl, carefully press the oranges to remove some of the juice. This is a fragile process, so do your best to extract the moisture without breaking the shape of the orange.

*You will be left with a bowl of fresh orange juice. I suppose you could save the juice into a citrus honey sauce to drizzle over the top. Or, you could slurp it up like I did. Fresh and delicious.

When the dough is firm, cover a surface with some of the rye flour and roll the dough out into a circular shape.  Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet and arange the orange slices in a colorful pattern with blood oranges on top.  Fold the edges just over the fuit and leave the center exposed.  Take the whole cookie sheet and place into the freezer for at least an hour, if not over night.  With will help the orange juice harden and keep the crust from getting soggy.

When you are ready to bake, turn the oven on to 350 and put the pan straight from the freezer into the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges of the crust start to brown.

Serve warm and with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Enjoy fully and without regret.

The Skinny

Why opt for wheat free, you may ask? Even without a gluten allergy your body could find wheat hard to digest.  Wheat is one of those products that have been taken apart, reconfigured and used in over abundance in packaged food (along side its siblings corn and soy.)  Read almost any label on the shelf and find wheat in some form or another.  When the body ingests something at such great volumes it often forms allergies to these foods.  Additionally, the way in which we consume wheat, in it's de-constructed form, is hard for the body to recognize and process as it would the food in it's natural form.  When they body can not process something, it either disrupts digestion and food allergies form in response (hence the explosion of gluten intolerance), or it stores it as fat.

Rye flour is wheat free, and has very low gluten in it.  Yet is NOT GLUTEN FREE! Someone with celiac disease should not consider this safe.  However for the rest of us, just trying to eat as clean and whole foods as possible, rye flour is a is a great option!

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C.S.A Endeavor #2: Rustic Plum Galette

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C.S.A Endeavor #2: Rustic Plum Galette

I am not a baker. First, because I do not condone desserts lingering around, threatening to sabatoge my afternoon snack. Secondly because I'm not a structured cook- I am bored with exact measurements and perfect timing.  With that said, when I do reach for dessert it is usually something with warm fruit and a crumbly crust. So I will take this CSA challenge as an opportunity to transform my very tart, CSA-box plums, into a rustic, whole grain galette. I took inspiration from a beautiful cookbook by Alice Waters, In The Green Kitchen.  In this book she makes simple apple galette ("a thin, free form, open-face tart"), which I used as a map for making my own version.  I replaced her white flour for whole-wheat and I added blanched/ ground almonds for a more wholesome crust. I replaced sugar for a minimal honey, and of course apples for plums. Rather then ice cream, I served the galette with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of ground almonds and honey.

Before we begin, some plum knowladge: Plums are part of the peach, nectarine and almond family.  They are a great source of Vitamin C (immune support), Vitamin B1 (aka Thiamine, which helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy),  Vitamin B2 (aka Riboflavin, which supports red blood cell production and body growth), and vitamin B6 (that helps the immune system create antibodies.) And, of course plums are a good source of dietary fiber.

Rustic Plum Galette

INGREDIENTS

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup blanched and ground almonds

6 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter (1 stick)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of ice-cold water

4-6medium plums

1/2 a lemon

3 Tbs honey

1 egg white, beaten (optional)

7 oz Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS

Measure the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Cut the hard/cold butterinto small cubes and using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mix little by little, until it has the consistency of oatmeal. Dribble the ice water into the mix and toss with a fork.  Keep adding water only until the dough just begins to clump and hold together when you squeeze a handful.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and flatten into a disk.  Let the dough rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, prepare the plums. Depending on your taste, removing the skins will    make the plums less tart.  My CSA plums were very tart, so I chose to take the skins off by blanching them in hot water for 30 seconds.  If you do this be sure to cut and X on the plum to keep them from exploding.  If you prefer a tart dessert, or if you are working with sweet fruit, simply wash and slice the plums.  Once the skins are removed slice the plums and put into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Toss and let marinate.

When you are ready to make your galette, preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you will see I had to make do substitute for a pie dish, but a flat galette is much prettier.) Remove the dough from refrigerator and on a surface dusted with whole-wheat flour, roll into a rough circle. Transfer to the parchment paper pan, lightly dust the center with ground almonds, drizzled honey and a sprinkle of wholewheat flour.  This will help keep your crust from getting soggy once the fruit is added. Bake the pre-fruit crust for 10 minutes to set the dough and again, help the crust keep up against the juicy fruit.

Remove the crust from the oven and lay your plum mixture (omitting the liquid) into a pattern working from the center out, to about 1 1/2" from the crust edge. Fold the edges over the plum mixture.  If you like you can brush the edge with beaten egg whites to give it a shine.

Bake in the lower part of the oven for another 30-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and slightly caramelized. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a scoop of yogurt, a sprinkle of ground almonds and a drizzle of honey.

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The "Good Girl Scout" Cookie

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The "Good Girl Scout" Cookie

These little balls of goodness were first introduced to me by a colleague at Bauman Collage.  On our final day of class she brought them in as gift and I reacted like a feign.  First a nibble, then a whole ball, then counting out my coco balls to be sure I had enough, followed my months of freezing/ rationing the rest.  You get the picture. You see, these totally raw, vegan balls struck a nostalgic cord from my girl-scout days past. They remind me of a Samoa cookie- but with all the right stuff. Make them, share them, freeze them and enjoy them without even a drop of girl scout induced guilt.

The Good Girl Scout INGREDIENTS coconut oil coconut flakes

equal parts dried dates dried Turkish apricots (not the bright orange ones) coconut butter

DIRECTIONS 1. Remove pits from the dates and cut dried fruit into rough pieces to make it easier for the food processor. 2. Mix dates, apricots and coconut butter then blend in a food processor in batches until evenly mixed and it looks darker and wet from the oils in the coconut butter. 3. Roll into small balls. Depending on the stickiness of your batch you may need to pack them together more than roll. Sometime batches are crumblier than others. 4. Store in the fridge for a couple hours to solidify. 5. Melt coconut oil and pour into a small dish like a measuring cup. Pour coconut flakes into another slightly larger small bowl. 6. Dip each date ball into the coconut oil then roll it in the coconut flakes. 7. I place them on wax paper as a go to allow the coconut oil time to solidify then store in the fridge again to harden.

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Pre-workout energy boosters

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Pre-workout energy boosters

Wondering what to eat before and after you workout? The mantra is: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Try to eat carbohydrates before, and protein after a workout to help maximize your efforts. 

Carbohydrates, stored in your body as glycogen, are the main source of muscle energy, and will help you train stronger and longer.  Amino acid-rich protein, when eaten 30 minutes after exercise (your "anabolic window"), will help repair and build muscles.
You're probably familiar with sports bars and protein shakes, but for today, let's look at a more nutritious, whole- foods approach:
PRE-WORKOUT
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-glycemic carbohydrate, meaning that it releases energy slowly to the muscles.
Tip: Make a large batch the day before and reheat. We like ours with coconut milk, chia seeds, and cardamum.
Bananas and Almond butter: An update on a childhood favorite, almond butters often have less additives and hydrogenated oils then its popular cousin peanut butter, and are rich in the good, essential fatty acids. Bananas are the perfect compliment, a carbohydrate-rich fruit high in potassium to prevent muscle cramping.   Tip: We like almond butter on a brown rice cracker with bananas sliced on top.
 
POST-WORKOUT
Kiefer: a high-protein dairy drink full of good bacteria to help your body digest and build strong immune function.
Tip: Go for plain varieties and sweeten it yourself. Try 1 cup of plain Kiefer, a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 Tbs of ground flax seeds.
Hardboiled Eggs:  Eggs are the unsung heros of the balanced eater, as just one egg has six grams of protein.
Tip: Cook a half-dozen eggs at the start of the week, and have them on stand-by for a quick snack. For energy rich eggs, try 1-2 chopped hardboiled eggs with a handful of arugula, dash of flax-oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Building  strength and loosing weight shouldn't stop after boot-camp is over. Let your food be your ally. Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery!
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