Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shake

Happy *almost* Valentine’s Day!

I love all the chocolate-covered goodies this time of year, but this February I pledged to eat refined sugar-free, so I am developing creative ways to make typical Valentine treats healthier!

Today I am sharing my chocolate-covered strawberry shake recipe! ❤

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Here’s what you’ll need for 1 serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 frozen, organic strawberries
  • 1/4 frozen, organic raspberries
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 serving Protein Powder (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon maca powder
  • Raw cacao nibs and fresh raspberries for topping

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, whirl them around, and pour your shake into a tall glass. Add a cute paper straw and top with cacao nibs and fresh raspberries.

I especially recommend organic strawberries since inorganic strawberries are essentially “pesticide sponges” and are listed in the “Dirty Dozen,” or the worst foods to eat if they are not organic.

This recipe makes one serving, so double the ingredients and share with a loved one! Spread the love during this season of love–one strawberry shake at a time. ❤

Espresso Hot Chocolate

Espresso Hot Chocolate…I know what you are thinking. Isn’t that simply mocha? Well, sort of. You see, mocha is typically a shot of espresso with milk and chocolate sauce. This recipe is a much healthier version, boasting dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and low-sugar credentials (although you could never tell since it certainly tastes delicious!).

I have been hooked on coffee (more recently venturing out to try espresso) ever since I sought out sipping caffeine as a natural headache treatment. I love the fragrant, unmistakeable aroma and the pleasant, earthy flavor.

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My recipe combines two of my favorite flavors: coffee and chocolate.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (Omit for plain hot chocolate)
  • Marshmallows (optional; adding this will increase the sugar content)

I love Dandies natural marshmallows or SmashMallow espresso bean-flavored ones as toppings!

Pour all ingredients into a blender, and blend until combined. Then pour this mixture into a mug and either heat on the stove (over medium heat) until warm or microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Snuggle up by the fire and sip for the most relaxing winter treat!

Fun Foodie Fact: One cup of almond milk contains half our daily Vitamin E needs. Vitamin E moisturizes the skin, which is immensely helpful during these cold and dry winter months! {Source: Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP, Author of Eat Pretty}

 

DIY: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin spice lattes: the fall fixation and the autumn obsession (e.g. this drink even has its own Wikipedia page).

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This week marks the beginning of a new month and a transition into fall. I love the feeling of wearing a cozy sweater, leggings, boots, and scarf while cupping a warm drink in my hand! For many people, this go-to drink is a PSL (pumpkin spice latte), typically from Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong–I love Starbucks! And although I love the taste of pumpkin and fall spices, I don’t love the high amounts of sugar and chemicals contained in each one of these drinks, so I decided to whip up my own at home instead!

My homemade pumpkin spice latte took less than 5 minutes and is full of fresh, natural, and healthy ingredients!

For your homemade pumpkin spice latte, you will need….

  • Freshly brewed coffee (I made a large cup of coffee in my Keurig at home using Trader Joe’s pre-ground pumpkin spice coffee made with only spices and coffee!)
  • Sweetener of your choice (optional; I used one packet of organic stevia)
  • Almond milk (my favorite is vanilla-flavored from Califia Farms)
  • Pumpkin pie spice

Brew your coffee. Now add all of the following in a blender: a splash of almond milk (probably 2 tablespoons–or more depending on which kind you use), the cup of freshly brewed coffee, sweetener, pumpkin pie spice (I recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon and increasing in that increment to add more spice flavor if needed), and organic pumpkin puree (1 tablespoon). Blend everything together until it forms a frothy liquid. Pour it all into your favorite mug. Mine is my “K” initial mug from Anthropologie! Top off with some more pumpkin spice, snuggle up with a good book, and happily sip your healthified PSL! 🙂

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Why Coffee Really Is The Best

I’ve developed the habit of sipping coffee every morning with my breakfast because 1) Who doesn’t love that amazing flavor?! and 2) I love the energy and headache relief that comes from coffee’s natural caffeine.  But Cornell University’s nutritional science researchers have recently added to my list of reasons to drink coffee.  On top of tasting good and helping me feel good, coffee is good for you and your eyes! According to Cornell University’s article “A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal damage away” and based on their study featured in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, raw coffee contains 1 percent caffeine but  7-9 percent chlorogenic acid, which has been found to prevent retinal damage.  So for a yummy taste, an energy boost, and healthy eyes, start sipping java in the A.M.! Thank you, Cornell researchers, for bolstering coffee’s benefit list! And thank you, coffee, for helping me get up in the mornings.

With all this talk about coffee, here is how I love to drink it in the morning:  I always start off with a cup of piping hot joe (Java Babe brand all the way), a splash of almond milk (currently loving Califia Farms) , and a sprinkle of stevia (more on why I love stevia another day!).

Here, pictured below, are some of the most beautiful lattes I’ve ever enjoyed!

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With coffee this pretty, how can I resist? {Almond milk latte with a ❤ from Hugo’s, LA}

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I am seriously impressed by the latte artist at Malibu Farm that created such an adorable monkey simply out of almond milk!

Super Good Superfood Smoothie

This smoothie recipe is incredible! I’m not kidding…You have to try this!  That’s why call it my “Super Good Superfood Smoothie” 🙂 Not only does it have great taste, but also great health benefits!

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Here’s what you’ll need….

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cinnamon (to taste)

Blend and enjoy!

Fun Foodie Facts:

Maca supports adrenal health because it contains four different alkaloids that help the endocrine system. This promotes a decrease in stress and an increase in energy.

Cacao is rich in antioxidants, which decrease the number of free radicals in the body (harmful chemicals).

Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, so they help you feel fuller for longer.

Refreshing & Rehydrating Grapefruit Mint Juice

During the summer, I love having something fruity and refreshing to sip on hot days!  This grapefruit mint juice perfectly fits the bill.  Using fresh organic mint grown in my very own backyard garden, I whipped this up in a matter of minutes!FullSizeRender (56) copy

What you’ll need…

  • 1 grapefruit, juiced
  • 12 mint leaves, broken apart
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon organic agave nectar (or sweetener of choice–maple syrup or honey would probably also work)
  • water and ice

Combine 1 part water, 1 part juice, and 1 part ice in a pitcher until you’ve used all the grapefruit juice.  Add in the broken mint leaves and sweetener.  You may need more or less sweetener than how much I added depending on how bitter or sweet your grapefruit is. Mine was pretty bitter, so it needed a little bit more. (about 1 teaspoon agave).  You can also try mixing in raspberries or any other fruit you think would make a nice addition to this drink.  Let the pitcher sit in the fridge until the drink is cold.

Pour in glasses, add cute straws, and enjoy with your friends and family!

Fun Foodie Fact:  Grapefruit is one of the best fruits for rehydrating because it is composed of 91% water and full of electrolytes!

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Tropical Acai Smoothie Bowl

This morning my friend and I whipped up some delicious acai smoothie bowls for brunch!  They were so good I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with all of you!  This recipe is super simple and tastes fantastic, but it is even sweeter when shared with a good friend.  As I said on my Instagram account, “Battling Lyme Disease (or anything in life) is so much easier when you have a support system to help you along the way!”

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What you’ll need to make 2 large bowls…

  • 2 organic, unsweetened acai packs
  • 2 small bananas (or 1 large), frozen
  • 1 cup frozen mango pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple pieces
  • pomegranate juice (just enough to blend)
  • Toppings: fresh organic pomegranate seeds, blueberries, blackberries, and unsweetened coconut shreds

*Add protein powder, nut butter, coconut butter, avocado, or seeds (chia, flax, hemp) for added protein and healthy fats in your smoothie!  They also serve as a great thickener which will allow you to add less fruit!

Fun Fruity Fact: Pomegranate seeds contain antioxidants, which decrease/prevent oxidation caused by free radicals.  They help mend and avoid damage to the cells.

5 C’s Smoothie

I love starting each morning with a yummy smoothie packed with protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to kickstart my day!  This recipe is definitely one of my favorites.

5 C’s Smoothie

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  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or substitute another version)
  • 1/4 cup frozen, organic cherries
  • 1/4 cup frozen, organic raspberries (or strawberries)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (1/2 serving)
  • 3 shakes cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  •  1 tsp each cacao powder and nibs (add more cacao powder if omitting the chocolate protein powder)

Blend!

Fun Foodie Fact: Eating cherries reduces the buildup of uric acid, which causes inflammation and swelling, especially in arthritis patients.

Healthy St. Patty’s Shamrock Shake

As a kid, one of my favorite St. Patrick’s day traditions was getting a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s with my family every year.  It was always such a fun after-school treat!  However, there are 73 grams of sugar in a 12 ounce Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s and lots of unhealthy chemicals!!  That is why I decided to make my own healthy version so I can still continue my favorite St. Patrick’s day tradition while avoiding all the junk!

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Here is what you’ll need!

  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
  • Handful of mint leaves (I used 14 individual leaves)
  • Ice (I used 4 large ice cubes)
  • 1/3 cup avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 medjool date
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Simply blend and enjoy 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share with you this yummy peach smoothie with, of course, a chia seed heart!

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Here’s what you’ll need….

  1. 1 cup almond milk
  2. 1/3 cup frozen organic peach slices
  3. 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. chia seeds

Blend.  Then place a heart-shaped cookie cutter over the smoothie and pour the chia seeds into the cookie cutter.  Voila!  Enjoy 🙂

Fun Foodie Fact: A serving of chia seeds has about 20% of the recommended daily value for calcium and is also a great source of protein!