CREAMY OAT MILK

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Nut, seed and grain milks are wildly popular and can be found in all health food stores, supermarkets and even some convenience stores. Some are excellent with few, unprocessed ingredients, but many are watered down and made shelf stable and more palatable with preservatives, gums and sugar.

In the U.S., brands like Califia Farms, New Barn, Elmhurst, and Malk are leading the way in providing preservative free, chemical free nut, seed and grain milks. However, internationally, these brands aren't necessarily accessible physically and price wise. 

One of my new favorite alt milks to make because it's SO easy and incredibly cheap is oat milk. My oat milk is creamy, ever so slightly sweet, spiced and perfect for adding to smoothies, drinking straight up, making chia pudding with, and baking with. 

Creamy Oat Milk

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together 2-3 minutes in a high speed blender. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve. Enjoy!

How do you like to use your oat milk?

CINNAMON CASHEW BUTTER WITH OLIVE OIL AND SEA SALT

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I'm a sucker for nut butters - peanut, almond, cashew, pistachio, hazelnut...I love them all. They're fabulous sources of healthy fat, protein and even fiber that can quickly boost snacks into meals. But nut butters tend to be expensive and often filled with unwanted ingredients like hydrogenated oils, sugar, and preservatives. 

To keep costs down and control the ingredients in my nut butters, I love to make them at home. This vegan cinnamon cashew butter is SO easy to make, naturally sweet, but with a unique twist from the olive oil. It is the perfect topper for overnight oats, chia pudding or good old fashioned toast. It's also great in smoothies, baked goods and even blended with water for a super quick cashew milk. 

Cinnamon Cashew Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

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  • 2.5 cups raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

In a food processor, add the cashews and pulse into a coarse powder. Add cinnamon, honey and sea salt and process on low. While the machine is on, slowly add the olive oil. Continue processing, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Process until completely smooth and silky for the best consistency. 

 

LEMON BLACK SESAME GRANOLA WITH HOMEMADE COCO YOGURT

The combo of rich coconut yogurt with crunchy, sweet granola works so perfectly together that it's become one of my favorite pairings. Probiotic rich coconut yogurt is tangy, naturally sweet and lusciously thick. If you are sensitive to dairy or are trying a dairy-free lifestyle, cocoyo is an awesome way to get your yogurt fix without the additives that are often in other vegan yogurts.

I used The Minimalist Baker's simple recipe which came out perfectly. For the granola, this special recipe is a fun twist on lemon poppyseed cake (which I love). It's bright, crunchy and lightly sweet, all in all the perfect yogurt, smoothie or fruit topper.

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Lemon Black Sesame Granola

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped with some pieces left whole
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 F. In a bowl, mix the oil and maple. In another bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and top with the maple/oil mixture. Mix until every single piece is coated. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Lay the granola onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet, packing it into a thin, flat layer. 

Cook the granola until it is golden brown and crunchy (about 40 minutes depending on your oven). For chunky granola, let the granola cool in the oven without breaking it apart. Only break into pieces once granola is completely cooled for those clusters we all love. 

STRESS LOWERING CHOCOLATE REISHI SMOOTHIE

Reishi mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and have been examined in countless medical studies. They are considered adaptogenic herbs as they help the body deal with stress by targeting cortisol and reducing inflammation. Reishi mushrooms are immune-modulating, protecting DNA and preventing cell mutations while guarding healthy cells. You can find reishi in capsule, extract and powder forms and they can be added to food, tonics, smoothies and desserts. 

Companies like Four Sigmatic make super accessible, everyday products incorporating reishi and other adaptogenic mushrooms like adaptogenic coffee, hot chocolate, and matcha powder.

I put together this reishi chocolate smoothie for an easy way to incorporate this incredibly powerful herb into your routine.

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Adaptogenic Reishi Chocolate Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cashew or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon reishi spores powder
  • 1 serving chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • 1 scoop Vital Proteins collagen peptides (optional)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup ice

Directions:

Blend on high 2-3 minutes until smooth.

MATCHA BENEFITS + A COCONUT CINNAMON MATCHA LATTE

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Ever think about switching out your morning coffee? Matcha has 3 times the caffeine as normal green tea, but provides a gentle boost without jitters due to its catechins (antioxidants). These bind to caffeine molecules, allowing for a slower, more steady release of caffeine into the bloodstream. Epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG), the most powerful antioxidant in matcha and other green teas, helps reduce oxidative stress and cell damage in the body. Studies have shown that matcha may also help with stabilizing blood sugar levels and lowering triglycerides. Next time you want some caffeine, think about this beautiful, bright green tea. 

Coconut Cinnamon Matcha Latte

  • 1 teaspoon good quality matcha
  • 3/4 cup almost boiling water
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, heated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Mix matcha with 1 tablespoon of the water to create a paste. Once clumps are gone, add remaining water and mix. Top with coconut milk and cinnamon. 

SUMAC CHIA JAM

I love jam, but don't love the added corn syrup, sugar, and preservatives that it usually has. Thanks to The Kitchn, there's an easy, healthy way to make delicious jam. Check out my version of their chia jam below.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sumac
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine the cherries, strawberries, sumac and red pepper flakes in a pot with 2 tablespoons water.
  2. Over medium heat, let the fruit boil and break down. Once softened, smash the fruit to your liking. 
  3. Add the lemon juice and honey, stirring until well combined.
  4. Once syrup-y and relatively thickened, remove from heat.
  5. Add chia seeds and let thicken (about 5-10 minutes).
  6. Let cool and store in glass container in the fridge.

ANTI INFLAMMATORY FOODS + AN INFLAMMATION FIGHTING TURMERIC SMOOTHIE

"Inflammation" and "anti-inflammatory" are huge buzzwords. What do they really mean though?

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Inflammation is the process by which your immune system becomes activated in response to a foreign invader. An acute inflammatory response is crucial to our health and can save our lives in dire situations. Inflammation, however, sometimes persists and can become what we know as chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation, in recent years, has been linked to numerous life-threatening diseases including heart disease, diabetes, alzheimer's, and cancer.

Certain foods have actually been shown to prevent and fight inflammation, reducing your disease risk overall. Foods that are deemed anti-inflammatory are those deep in color and bursting with antioxidants and polyphenols. Some of these include:

Dark leafy greens and other bright/deep colored vegetables; berries; nuts and seeds; pasture raised eggs, meat and poultry; fatty omega-3 rich fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies; beta-carotene rich foods like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots; healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats like avocado, coconut butter, coconut milk, olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, algae oil, and coconut oil; and spices, herbs and powders like cacao powder, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, and cilantro to name a few. 

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet on a regular basis is a brilliant way to potentially protect yourself against disease, increase energy, lose weight, stabilize your blood sugar and get glowing, dewy skin.

One of my favorite ways to get a quick, anti-inflammatory dose is by adding turmeric into smoothies and dishes. Thanks to curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, turmeric is very high in antioxidants. It's so powerful that growing evidence shows that curcumin in turmeric may block the progression of Alzheimers disease in mice.

For a simple, fun way to incorporate turmeric into your morning routine, try making this blood sugar stabilizing, fruit-free turmeric smoothie!

Inflammation Fighting Turmeric Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch black pepper (for absorption of curcumin in turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1 cup pre-roasted butternut squash (or 3/4 cup canned)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder like Vital Proteins Collagen Whey
  • Ice

If you need a touch of extra sweetness, 1/2 banana would be perfect here.

Directions:

Add liquid first and ice last. Blend on high 2-3 minutes until perfectly smooth. Top with your favorite granola or nothing at all. <3

BUTTERNUT TAHINI TRUFFLES

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I love a good truffle. When done right, they're moist, high in good fats and shouldn't be overly sweet. I'm totally in the holiday spirit and definitely still on the pumpkin (well in this case, butternut squash) train. 

I designed these truffles for clients of mine as a way to feed dessert cravings without a huge blood sugar spike. These holiday truffles are gluten free, grain free, completely vegan and free of processed sugars. They're so easy to make and I must say, THEY LEGIT TASTE LIKE DONUT HOLES. Enjoy, my loves.

Ingredients:

Truffles

  • 2/3 cup butternut squash puree (can sub with pumpkin puree)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup very dark chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Instructions:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix the squash, tahini, melted coconut oil, coconut flour, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla powder, allspice, and sea salt until well combined. 
  • Roll the truffle dough into balls
  • In a double broiler (or a heat proof bowl placed on top of simmering water on the stove), melt the chocolate, remaining coconut oil and coconut sugar and combine.
  • Decorate the truffles by dipping them in chocolate, drizzling with chocolate, or rolling in coconut sugar+cinnamon. 
  • Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Store in freezer for 2 weeks or fridge for 2-3 days. 

Happy truffling!

CHERRY POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE

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Who doesn't love pomegranate? It's sweet. It's refreshing. It's fun to eat. And its loaded with health promoting nutrients. Pomegranates boast inflammation fighting flavanols which can help prevent and treat arthritis and polyphenols which can improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and reducing plaque in the carotid arteries. They even stimulate probiotic bacteria in your gut. 

It's one of my favorite fruits because it even looks festive and is so strongly associated with the holiday season. So naturally, I created this special holiday pomegranate smoothie. I hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • 1 cup steamed and then frozen zucchini slices
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 serving organic protein powder

Directions:

Add liquid to blender first and frozen ingredients last. Blend on high for 2 minutes until smooth and voila. Happy Holidays! <3