MAGIC Super Food almond butter cups

So, who loves chocolate? Who loves almond butter? And who loooves them together? 

Thought so. Me too.

I wanted to lighten the mood a bit since the last two post were a little on the heavy side. If you haven't read them you can find them here and here. Real stuff gets talked about. 

You know I'm all for real talk. I love super vulnerable conversations where life gets dissected through powerful discussion but I also love light and fluffy and funny and well, food. And I love sharing foods I love with you. 

And part of balance is knowing when to add in more of the opposite. Too heavy? Lighten the load. Too funny, throw in a bit of serious, real talk. Someone once told me that I tend to error on the side of serious more often then not and the truth is, I have a wicked and witty sense of humor. Balance.

Life is all about finding B  A   L  A  N  C  E

Anyways. 

So we both love chocolate and we both love almond butter and we especially love them together. 

I thought I had a really good feeling about you. 

This little treat is good. So good in fact that I suggest you make extra and keep them in the freezer. However, even though they are chalked full of superfood goodness, two will feed your soul, all of them at once will probably induce a wicked episode of self-loathing and cyclical negative talk. And we've all come too far to go back down that crazy road again, right? I don't recommend it. Moderation is key. 

Honestly, that's my biggest problem with healthy treats. I can convince myself that since they are 'healthy' I can have more then I probably should. I'm like, "oh but they are chalked full of healthy antioxidants like camu camu and goji berries and adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Maca. Oh and plant-based proteins and pre and probiotics."

See, the mind can trick us into a lot if we aren't careful. 

But I do think you will love these. And they are actually good for you. In moderation. 

Balance. 

There are only four ingredients, one being Shakeology Superfood. If you read this post you saw that I introduced you to this new and amazing staple in my day. And if you know me, I'm a huge believer in getting your nutrition through real foods so I've always been a bit weary of shakes/meal replacement and in all honesty, I would never back something if I didn't truly believe in it. I'm WAY too honest of a person. As in I can barely even tell a little white lie without a neon sign blinking over my head shouting I'M SO NOT TELLING THE TRUTH RIGHT NOW!  

With that being said, adding this to my daily routine has been a huge game changer. And here is what I've noticed over the last six weeks. Coincidence?  Maybe. Probably not however. It's probably real magic. 

I've been drinking a smoothie every day for just over a month now and this is what I've observed. I am not a doctor and I am not, in any way, shape or form, claiming that this is why these things have changed. Other then being more consistent with my workouts, Shakeology is the only thing that I've changed.  


+ Better sleep. I don't wake up multiple times throughout the night like I usually do. No more night sweats either thank God. I was going through up to three shirts a night which was making me super stoked for menopause!! (Insert sarcastic tone here). 

+ Less sugar cravings. I've always had a huge sweet tooth. Once when I was a kid a family friend took my older brother and I to the candy store and told us we could each get a pound. Little did she know that my older brother was basically boy genius and proceeded to find the lightest treats he could to fill his bad. Naturally I, like with every thing else he did, followed suit. 

Those days are long gone because I don't eat refined sugar anymore but even natural sugar starts to add up over time and was zapping the energy right out of me. If I'm craving something sweet I eat one of these babes below or make my blueberry chocolate superfood {milk}shake. I'll share that soon. 

+ (THIS IS THE BIGGEST ONE!) My Skin is GLOWING! I've had multiple people tell me that I have this new glow. That I'm radiating happiness and a shiny, smooth complexion.  And I ain't mad about that compliment! Fo sure! This has to do with a lot of inner work I've been doing but I know that it also has to do with what I'm putting in my body.  

My adult acne is virtually gone. Except with the mild breakout right before my period, it's just up and went away. And I aint mad about that either.  I have been struggling with some serious adult acne for the past two years. Like really bad, puberty kind of acne. 

It started right after my marriage ended which is kind of the last thing you want to deal with when you are already dealing with a million other things. Stress. Life changes. Emotions. Er, LOTS of emotions. Change in diet (going from strictly vegan to eating meat again). All of these could have contributed to the acne but within the last 6 weeks, my skin has seriously never looked better. Check it out! Disregard the age spots and swim goggle eye circles and just focus on the beautiful, acne-free skin. Despite the distressed look on my face, I'm pretty happy that after all this time, my skin is finally free and clear of something I already went through when I was a young adolescent. 

+ More energy. So much energy. I haven't had this much energy in I don't even know how long. I've mentioned this before but I have something called Hoshimoto's which is an autoimmune disorder where your body basically attacks your thyroid tissue like it's a foreign object. It can send me into crazy fits of exhaustion and fatigue. I call them my Hashi 'flare ups' but the truth is, they knock me on my behind. I have to take naps *gasp, during the day and I'm not, nor have I ever been, a napper. For the last six weeks I've been virtually nap-free. Even when I had bronchitis. #winning 

+ Its given me the ability to read minds and fly. Okay, I'm kidding on this one. Or am I? Mwahahaha!

So, as I've said, coincidence, maybe but I'm thinking that Shakeology is the cats meow (and we all know how much I love cats) and I've just landed on a gold mine full of a magical elixir of health and wellness. It gives me the same feeling as if I were to walk into a room full of kittens and puppies. I just want to jump up and down clapping my hands while letting out little shrills of happy cheer.  #myideaofheaven. I think I just may be a lifer. If you need any more evidence that Shakeology IS the cat's meow read these.

So without further ado. 

I'd like to introduce you to...


What's you'll need:

1 scoop Chocolate or Vegan Chocolate Shakeology (I use vegan)
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup organic coconut butter
1/4 cup raw almond butter (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
 


How to make:

Serving size: roughly 12 (that depends on your pouring ability)

1. In a sauce pan, melt coconut oil and coconut butter on medium heat. Watch carefully because the coconut butter will burn if you just let it sit so stir, stir, stir. Once melted, turn off heat and allow to cool. Not all the way until it's hard but so it's temperate. The Shakeology is loaded with raw super foods that you don't want to heat up too much so don't add it while melting the coconut oil and butter. 

2. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.  I have one that has smaller cup sizes. I think they are about 1 inch in diameter. Pour a small amount of your Shakeology coconut butter/oil mixture into the bottom of each liner and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden. There should be about half of the mixture left once all the cups are filled. 

3. Remove hardened mixture from fridge and scoop a small amount of almond butter into the center of each cup. Small amount as in about 1/2 tsp. Place back in fridge to harden. About 10 minutes. 

4. Fill each cup up using the remainder of the Shakeology coconut butter/oil mixture and place back in fridge to harden the rest of the way. 

5. Enjoy!

Keep these guys in the fridge as they will melt at room temperature. 

Interested in Shakeology? Email me with any questions. I'm serious, this stuff is like liquid GOLD. It sparkles in the sunlight just like Edward from Twilight and I know just how much you love him. 

 

Lots of love and magic to you, 



whipped honey-garlic tahini dressing

I'm pretty sure this recipe came out of desperation. I have a deep love for any kind of dressing that is plain not good for you: Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, rich and creamy burger sauces, you name it and I want to smother, not lightly coat, everything in the stuff. It's one of the reasons I can't eat pizza (even the gluten-free kind) very often because I'm a dipper and usually it's more like, "I'll have a slice of pizza with my dip, thank you! However, because I believe everything should be done in moderation, I reserve my dip and pizza for special occasions.  And I know it's okay to have some every now and then but one little tablespoon (the recommended serving) well, that's a tease for someone like me. 

However, desperate times call for me getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, which is fine by me because I love cooking and making healthier alternative to those 'naughty' old time favorites. And a girl needs her dip! 

So one day I was desperate for something creamy for my kale salad and I had a pretty barren cupboard but I did have tahini, garlic, honey, lemon and salt. "Alrighty," I thought. "I need my dip." And thus, this came into creation. 

Just a word to the wise though, if you aren't too keen on a super garlicy flavor OR you have a hot date in the same day that you decide to eat this dressing/dip, maybe go a little lighter on the garlic. So now you've been warned. 

whipped honey-garlic tahini dressing {dip}

Ingredients:

1 cup tahini
1 tsp honey
1-2 cloves garlic (roasted or not)
1/2 a lemon
pink sea salt
water to thin 

How to Make:

1. Blend all ingredients until well combined. It may thicken up a bit. This is why I add water. Add about 1/2 cup of water and continue to blend on high. This is where you get the whipped affect and it becomes super creamy. Continue adding a little water until it is smooth and creamy. 

2. Serve and Enjoy. 

Yep, it's really that easy!



Christmas Traditions + Rosemary Bacon, Apple and Hazelnut Mince Mini Pies with Date Caramel Sauce

 

As I gear up to spend this Christmas away from my family back in Seattle, I've been feeling a little homesick and nostalgic which always results in me cooking...a lot. Cooking reminds me of my family, my mom, sister-in-laws and I love spending time in the kitchen, surrounded by the ones we love, cooking up a feast that we will all share as we drink and laugh and snuggle into to the warmth that is family. I'm one of those lucky ones that loves spending time with my family, not only just during the holidays but any opportunity I get. But during the holidays, well, let me just tell you that my family are a little nutty for Christmas. 

Being so far away from them leaves me thinking about those little family Christmas traditions that I long for and adore. Like how my mom always places this driftwood Christmas decoration I made in preschool in her kitchen window. It's been there, every single Christmas for thirty-three years. Or how my brothers and I would eagerly wake every morning to open the next window of our Chocolate Christmas advent calendar and snack on my mom's homemade Christmas toffee. Every year we knew it was the start of the Christmas season when my mom made the first batch of Christmas toffee. It's the only time of year we will allow her to make it. My brother's and I are very strict about this. Don't be tryin' to make us any Christmas toffee in October, Ma!  And, she knows better. Oh does she know better. And now her toffee is known all around town. Everyone waits all year for Teri's Terrific Toffee. 

And my favorite memories, how I would turn off all the lights in the living room and dance around the Christmas tree listening to the Carpenter's Christmas album as the lights twinkled in the background. It's memories like these that make Christmas so special. These memories fill me with so much joy and happiness. If I am lucky enough to have kids one day, I hope I can pass some of these down to them and make many more that they will remember well into their adult years.

As I cook and reminisce on Christmas pasts, I'm filled with so much gratitude for having a family that cherishes tradition. I think tradition is the foundation of family. As much as I wish I could be with my family this Christmas, I won't be. However, you better believe I'll be dancing around my tiny tree listening to the soft haunting voice of Karen Carpenter. Some habits die hard. 

Rosemary Bacon, Apple and Hazelnut Mince Mini Pies with Caramel-Date Sauce. 

When I was younger, maybe around the seventh grade or so, we were required to research a part of our lineage and write a report on our findings. With my dad being born in England, and knowing very little about that side of my family, I decided to look deeper and do my report on our English roots. 

Part of this report was to create a traditional and culturally relevant dish and share it with the class in a potluck.  I knew enough to know that British cuisine isn't exactly looked upon as something to be desired when trying to decided what to make for dinner so when the time came to decide on what to make I called my grandmother and asked her a bit about some traditional foods and we decided on Mincemeat Pie. The name alone lacks something to be desired but when it was all said and done and my grandmother and I had completed the little decadent treats, they weren't half bad. 

These little treats are a mix of savory and sweet, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. A little word of warning though, if you love super traditional pie crust and haven't ventured into the world of gluten-free eating, keep an open mind. 

Ingredients

Pie Filling
1/2 lbs. black forest bacon (I get mine at Whole Foods)
1 apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup goji berries
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Pie Crust
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp chia seeds (mix with 2 tbsp cold water)
6-8 tbsp cold water

Date Caramel Sauce
8 dates (soaked in water or at least 10-15 minutes)
2 tbsp coconut butter
2 tbsp cold water
 

how to make

Makes 12-16

Make the pie crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the chia seeds in a small bowl with 2 tbsp of water and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add oats and salt. Blend until the oats have broken down into flour.
  4. Add in the chia mixture, buckwheat flour and olive oil and pulse in until combined.
  5. Drizzle in the remaining water a tablespoon at a time while pulsing the mixture until a dough forms (you might not need all of the water). Roll the pastry out on a piece of baking paper until it's only a few mm thick. Using a small glass, cut out circles and form to the bottle of greased (butter or vegetable shortening) muffin tin. Bake for 12 minutes until dry. Leave to cool.

For the rosemary bacon, apple and hazelnut filling: 

  1. In a sauté pan or cast iron skillet, cook bacon. As bacon cooks, chop up rosemary and add to pan towards the end. The rosemary is to give a hint of flavor. 
  2. Remove bacon and set aside. Add chopped apple, pear and fig to bacon pan and cook until tender. Add in goji berries, honey and spices and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Chop bacon and add to pan along with the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. 

For the caramel-date sauce:

  1. Pit the soaked dates and place into a blender with the coconut butter, boiling water, salt and vanilla extract. Blend until completely smooth.

To assemble:

  1.  Add 1-2 tbsp of apple mixture to each pie cup and top with a dollop of the caramel date sauce. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon to finish. 
  2. Enjoy!



Curry Chicken 'Ramen' Soup with Roasted Honey-Miso Delicata Squash

I woke this morning to the sound of torrential rain pouring out of the sky and hitting the hard, draught-ridden, clay-like ground outside. As I lay in my cozy bed, covers pulled up tight around my body, it took me a moment to recognize what the sounds was. Coming from the Pacific Northwest you spent about nine months deep in the trenches of a wet and soggy reality but since moving south, that once familiar and comforting sound has become a thing of the past. 

A smile broke across my face as I realized what this meant. First and foremost, San Diego was getting a good dose of some much needed rain. Coming off the tail end of one of the worsts draughts in history this barren city needs weeks worth of rain to even begin to scratch the surface and fill the now almost empty lakes, rivers and streams. However, this also meant something special to me; a lazy day doing one of the things I love most; cooking warm comforting foods. 

I knew when I moved here that this time of year could be a little challenging for me. Growing up in Seattle and with my short four years in Oregon, I always waited patiently for the beginning of the impending seasonal change that is just following my brother's birthday (August 22nd) and right before my own (September 6th). It's subtle but it's always there and it's a race between my mom and I to see who can call the other first and shout into the phone, "fall is in the air!" It's just our special thing.

So, I love this time of year. The smell of decomposing leaves wafts through the air as earth begins to ready itself for a long winter's sleep while bounties are waiting patiently to be harvested and preserved for later use. 

It's during this time the morning and night air turns crisp and cool yet the days still linger with the hope of one more warm day. And then theres the moment when we happily tuck away our shorts and tanks for our Hunter Boots, chunky sweaters and puffy Northface vest. Anyone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest understands the significance of these days. As much as we complain about the weather, these are secretly the days we lived for. 

Don't get me wrong, living south comes with its own beauty, I just love a good rainy day. Its kind of like the comfort of going home to your parents house and curling up in your mom's arms. It's peaceful, its familiar, it soothe your soul. 

After lying in bed a little longer then normal, I finally peeled back the covers, jumping up to grab a sweater before the bite of the crisp morning could nibble at my skin. This is quite the contrast from the previous months when I found myself regularly stripping down to my bare skin, desperate to escape the heat.

I opened the blinds and peeked out the window to meet the early morning dark and grey sky and I knew exactly what I wanted to do, get cozy and make soup. 

While living in the countryside of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I was met with some of the rainiest days I've every seen. We'd have days upon days where all it did was rain and you'd find yourself wondering if you'd ever see the light of the sun again. This soup, sans the chicken at the time, became a regular. It is the perfect combination of comfort and heat. Now that I eat meat again the chicken thighs add a depth I had not yet experienced. It kind of reminds me of my youth, when I'd eat Top Ramen for days, but with more sophistication. 

The greatest thing about this mock version of ramen is it's so versatile and you can add or eliminate almost anything. It really is the perfect soup on a day like this. 

And days like these really are the perfect days. 

I hope you enjoy. 

Curry Chicken 'Ramen' with Roasted Honey-Miso Delicata Squash

Ingredients:
1/2 pound chicken thighs
2 quarts beef broth (or you can use veggie or mushroom)
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 table spoons rice vinegar
3 table spoons coconut aminos OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 small bok choy
1 carton shitake mushrooms lightly chopped
1 medium onion diced
3 large carrots, julienne
1 medium jalapeño, thinly sliced
1 package rice noodles or if you can eat gluten, ramen noodles
1 large delicate squash or 3-4 small ones. (Recipe below)
Green onion for garnish
Cilantro for garnish
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

How to make:

1. In your soup pot, add one tablespoon coconut oil and heat up. Add in chicken thighs, turmeric, cayenne and smoked paprika. Cook until each side is a deep brown, about 4-5 minutes, then remove and set aside. They don't need to be cooked all the way through because you will add them to the soup to continue to cook. 

2. On med-high heat the rest of the coconut oil in soup pot and add in your onions. Cook for about five minutes then add in mushrooms and continue cooking. 

2. Add rice vinegar, liquid aminos, bok choy, carrots and jalapeño and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes, turning heat to medium. 

3. Add in coconut milk and beef broth.

4. Shred chicken by using two forks and gently pulling each thigh apart. Add chicken to pot. 

5. Cover with lid and turn to simmer, allowing to cook for about 10 more minutes. 

6. Add in whatever kind of noodles you like and cook until noodles are tender. 

7. Portion out a serving and garnish with delicate squash, cilantro, green onion or whatever else you may like. 

8. Enjoy!

Roasted Honey-Miso Delicata Squash

Ingredients:

1 large delicate squash or 3-4 small
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp white miso
1/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste

How to Make:

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash down the middle and remove seeds by scooping out. 

2. Cut in 1 inch slices or cubes (however you prefer)

3. In a roasting pan add squash, coconut oil, honey, miso and salt/pepper and mix. Place in over (once heated). After a few minutes stir squash to combine all the ingredients. 

4. Cook for 25 minutes. This is also dependent on your oven. You want your squash to be soft and tender. 

5. Enjoy!

 

I just like to tell the rules to f&#k off sometimes + a recipe

When I thought about what I wanted to share on this blog, one of the things I promised myself was that I would always write about and post things that make me happy. As important as it is in the blogging world to "niche" yourself, I find that as a person with a million passions and hobbies, that is near impossible. 

I struggled for a long time trying to only write about one thing. To become a master of this one particular message. However, something felt off. What happened when I did this was I felt too limited, to confined by rules that the call to write just, stopped. One of the very things I love most in life started to feel like a chore. 

Over the last several months as I was suck in a crummy state of massive writers block because of the limitations I had created, I felt like a part of me had gone missing. Writing and sharing has been such an integral part of me coming into a deeper understanding of myself and of the world, that when I tried to stay confined to the box I had put myself in, I was met with a whole lot of nothing. 

I decided to say fuck the rules, I'm doing this my way.

Moving forward I gave myself only one rule, share what you feel called to share. 

Sometimes I write about a lesson I've learned throughout my journey like my previous post. Other times it may be a project I've finished, a recipe I created or a local favorite I've discovered. But most importantly, I vow to always post what feels genuine and true. I vow to never should on myself when it comes to writing and sharing. 

And as much as I write because my soul NEEDS to, I have to be honest, I write because it is my hope that something I share inspires others to dig deep and push past their own self-imposed limitations and live life to the fullest. Call me selfish, call me a dreamer, call me what you will, but I really want you to live an awesome and fulfilled life because the world needs more people living from that place 

I want to see more smiles on faces of strangers and I want to hear more giggles from grown women and men frolicking in the ocean. I want to see others engaging in REAL conversation instead of people glued to their phones. I want to see that sparkle in your eye because you are living from the most genuine and authentic place possible, your heart. 

So I'm going to ask you this; what would truly fulfill you? What does you heart want that you aren't allowing into you life? 

Now start doing more of that. No more excuses. 


One of the things that deeply fulfills me is food. As someone who struggled with my relationship with food and my body for years, finding freedom in the kitchen and a newfound playful relationship with what I cook and eat has been one of the most healing and fulfilling things I've ever done. Releasing all labels and listening to what my body needs has allowed me to love myself in a way I never thought possible. When you are so consumed with what you put in your body and how your vessel looks, you have very little time to enjoy your life. Now I listen to what my body needs. I follow my cravings, energy level, moods and eat according to that. 

Yes, there are things I can't eat because of allergies like potatoes and gluten and there are those things I choose not to eat often like dairy and refined sugar it makes me feel tired and lethargic. However, it's out of love and respect for my vessel and no longer vanity that I don't eat these things. 

Every time I play in the kitchen I feel like the best version of myself. I blare music, lately it's been the Duke Ellington Pandora station, sip on wine (if its dinner time of course...okay, sometimes in the middle of the day too) and barely notice the hours slip by because I'm lost in my creation. And that is really what it's all about. Loving the things you do day in and day out that you get lost in time and space. 

 I know I needn't remind you of this but....LIFE. IS. SHORT.

Life is so very short my darling. 

So what are you waiting for? Tomorrow will come and go and your todo list will still be there. Your responsibilities will stare back at you like a rabid pup ready to strike no matter how  hard you try to run from them. However, they will be easier to embrace if you start balancing your life out with more fun, more play, more of the stuff you really love to do. 

So my friend, if you aren't already, start living today. Say f&#k off to the rules and just do what makes your heart fulfilled and happy. And stop staying things like, "oh yeah, it's easy for you to say that, you don't have x, y or z." We all have our own stuff. Believe me, there are days where I feel like hiding away in my introverted cave scared to take any sort of leap. But I know I have to. I have to keep moving forward because there is a whole world of adventure and freedom to be discovered. Because I know that with each new day and each decision I make, it will lead me closer to or further away from a reality I could be living. 

No matter how perfect someone's life looks from the outside, we all have our stuff and we all get to choose how we live with it. Do we find grace and humor in even the struggle or, do we limit ourselves because it all feels too hard?

We all have the choice to create more space in our lives for the good stuff and worry less about the stuff we have created rules around. Sure, we can't avoid things like paying our bills, going to the doctor, and working, etc but as that age old quote goes:

"Life is too short to miss out on beautiful things like double cheeseburgers." - Channing Tatum

Or something like that...


PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY TRUFFLEs

Ingredients for truffles:
2 cups strawberries
2 cup raw coconut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter

Ingredients for chocolate:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

How to assemble:

1. In a food processor, combine strawberries and coconut butter. Mix until smooth and creamy. Because of the water content of strawberries, if you don't add in enough coconut butter the mixture will be too grainy. You want it super smooth and creamy. 

2. Once strawberries and coconut butter are combined, mix in peanut butter by pulsing several times. I like it when there are bits of peanut butter chunks when it hardens. If you don't, just keep mixing longer until it's well combined. 

3. Pour mixture into a freezer safe bowl and set in the freezer to harden for about 10-15 minutes. 

4. Using a melon scoop, dropping each ball on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and set in refrigerator to stay hard while you make the chocolate dipping sauce. 

Chocolate Sauce

1. In a double broiler melt your chocolate and coconut oil. Turn heat to low or off once completely melted. 

2. Take only a few of the truffles out of the fridge at a time and one-by-one, dip them in the chocolate sauce and place back on parchment paper in fridge to harden up. 

3. Once all truffles are dipped, ENJOY!