Energizing Chocolate-Peanut Butter Candy – Sugarfree!

Following a sugarfree diet, and desperately missing some sweets?

This recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter layer bars is 100% sugarfree, naturally sweetened with stevia and will stop your sugar craving in a minute.

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These little candy-bites are so nutritious they can even be eaten for breakfast!

Ingredients like Chia seeds, Walnuts, and Coconut add crunchy texture along with protein and healthy fats, making the energy you get from these yummy treats lasting and balanced.

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A sweet treat that will leave you feeling satiated and guilt-free. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Stevia chocolate (I use this dark chocolate bar–it’s dairy-free)
  • 1 tsp. Chia Seeds (organic–‘n add more if you like, folks!)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped raw nut of your choice (I like using Walnuts for crunch and omega threes)
  • 2Tbs. + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Organic Peanut Butter, or Almond Butter
  • 1/4 cup Raw Shredded Coconut
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste (I used Stevia, but honey and maple syrup are lovely)
  • Salt, for sprinkling

Optional: 1Tbs. Maca powder

Directions:

  1. Gently melt chocolate and 2Tbs. coconut oil in a pan over low heat.
  2. Pour melted chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and add chia seeds, chopped nuts, and shredded coconut. Mix well.
  3. Place 2/3 of chocolate mixture into a thin layer of a wax-paper lined pan (mini-breadpans can work great, although I use chocolate molds). Place in freezer.
  4. Meanwhile, melt remaining coconut oil and mix with nut butter. Salt nut butter if unsalted.  Add maca if using. Sweeten to taste.
  5. Remove chilled chocolate from freezer (takes no more than ten minutes) and spread nut butter mixture over solidified chocolate layer. Place in freezer again for five minutes to set.
  6. Top with remaining 1/3 chocolate mixture, sprinkle a pinch salt over (trust me!), chill in freezer and devour!

These bites are full of sweet, salty, rich goodness and pack a lot of energy. Complete with protein and healthy fats, this decadent treat won’t have you crashing–just try not to eat it all   in one swoop (not that that’s happened to anyone I know…).

Enjoy!

Italian Vinaigrette – Detox Friendly!

Growing up, my family’s favorite vinaigrette was this powdered mix. Now I’ve found a way to replicate its simplicity and delicious Italian flavor, and make it detox friendly!

That’s right–no sugar, no GMO or non-organic ingredients, and darn tasty! Perfect poured over my Easy Satisfying Salad:

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Since everyone seems to love this sweet and savory Italian vinaigrette that I’ve been pouring all over everything lately, as per request, here is how to whip it up!

(But first, a moment for nostalgia…)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons organic fresh lemon juice (a culinary tip: one lemon equals about two tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 5 Tablespoons cold-pressed Olive Oil or Avocado Oil, or blend of the two
  • 1 teaspoon Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (this brand is a good start)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, or
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic italian seasoning herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink or real salt
  • 4-5 drops Stevia or 1 teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients in a bowl or blender and whisk away!

Notes:

If you’d like even more of a nutritious punch, substitute 1 medium clove of garlic, minced, and half a teaspoon of minced fresh red onion for the onion powder.

If you like to keep it quick and easy, use the powder and this dressing takes only a moment to create!

Try it on a Quinoa “pasta” Salad (recipe to follow):

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The salad pictured at top has: Fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, diced avocado, raw sunflower seeds and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for B-Vitamins, and a lil’ extra boost of energy! All organic, always.

Creamy Tahini Dressing and Easy Satisfying Salad

I’m a big fan of tahini-based salad dressings.

There’s something perfectly delicious about creamy tahini, bright lemon, and fresh herbs.

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However, all the canola oil and traditional soy sauce (which contains preservatives, added salt, gluten, and is fermented) end up giving you a bottle of useless, fatty, gluten-y calories AND throw your chances of enjoying a properly-combined salad right out the kitchen window.

With no luck until now, I have been trying to create the perfect tahini0-dressing–a.k.a. pure deliciousness.

And it just so happens, my generous and talented mother has figured it out before me.

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A simplified recipe for easy digestion and maximum goodness.       

May I present to you, My Mama’s

Creamy Tahini Dressing:

Serves Two; Makes One Large Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 heaping Tbs. Tahini (Raw is always best nutritionally!)
  • 2 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce (start slow if you like a less-pungent dressing)
  • 2 small cloves Garlic, or 1 tsp. dehydrated Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbs. Minced Chives, or Green Onion Tops
  • 1 Tbs. Minced Parsley
  • 1 Tbs. Sesame Seeds (raw)
  • Water, to thin
  • Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste

Optional, and highly recommended: 

  • 1/2 Tbs. Toasted (or raw) Sesame Oil
  • Cayenne (I always use Golden Cayenne)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whip tahini, vinegar, and lemon juice together with a fork, until it becomes whiter in color and thick. parsley3
  2. Whip in Bragg’s Amino’s (your sauce should be very thick).
  3. Add water, no more than 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency for your dressing.
  4. Add Chives, Parsley, Salt, and Sesame Oil, Cayenne, and Sesame Seeds if using.

This dressing is packed with flavor, and disperses well throughout a salad. The sesame oil is great for achieving that classic flavor you’re probably used to, but makes this dressing no longer “Oil-free”.

For your body, it is easiest to digest veggies with one type of fat (keep this in mind when adding hemp hearts, seeds, nuts, avocados, or cheese to your salads). You’ll find you have more energy when your body can digest the foods you eat in simplicity.

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Easy, Satisfying Salad:

  • Mixed baby Kale and Spinach, or Julienne Kale, or favorite leafy green
  • 1/2-1 Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 Golden or Red Beet, grated
  • Sprouts
  • Thin sliced Red Onion
  • 3 Tbs. Raw Hemp Hearts
  • +Any fresh veggies you like!

Pour some Creamy Tahini Dressing over the top and sprinkle with some Hemp Hearts.  

Remember to buy Organic and non-GMO foods as often as you can afford. And even better, get your roots, lettuces and herbs seeded in your garden (inside or out) for this season’s garden, so you can have fresh veggies in your salads all season long!

A BIG thanks to the best cook I know…. My Mama.

Notes:

I’ve made a couple nutrient-maximizing, cleansing, and allergy-friendly suggestions to her recipe, like raw tahini, and Bragg’s aminos (no preservatives, added salt, or gluten, not fermented, non-GMO). But this dressing is great with the traditional ingredients as well.

Enjoy!

Birch Tree Sweetened Breath Mints!

These mints are sugarfree and sweetened with Birchwood Xylitol–a natual sugar alcohol extracted from the bark of the Birch tree!

Chemical-free, natural, sugar-free, and fresh; I’ve been totally hooked on ’em lately.

image (54)In February, I resolved to cut out aspartame and other toxic sugar-free sweeteners of my diet for good.

While it is easy to identify artificial sweeteners in something like soda, it’s important to remember that unhealthy fake sweeteners are in things we consume every day, including common Toothpastes, Floss, Chewing Gums and Breath Mints. 

The folks with Ice Chips  have created a delicious alternative to sucralose and aspartame-sweetened mints, and have made tons of new flavors including cranberry, immunity, and ginger (I carry the ginger one around for stomach upset).

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So far, the peppermint is my absolute favorite. Not only does it taste like a candy cane, but the non-GMO birchwood xylitol kills bacteria that causes bad-breath while the peppermint oil leaves lasting freshness!

Watch out when you bring these out in a crowd–they’re so delicious it can be hard to stop!

Hope you enjoy!

Things to Know About “Stevia-sweetened” Chocolate, and Erythritol

Finding a delicious, dairy-free, sugar-free, chocolate bar that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners can be tough!

That’s why I’m so happy to share the best options I’ve found for a sugarfree sweet-tooth fix:

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But first:

What You Should Know About “Stevia-Sweetened” Products:

Most “stevia-sweetened” products available on the market right now are actually primarily sweetened with Erythritol, a sugar-alcohol, which does not spike blood sugar. This Erythritol is most often produced using GMO-Corn–full of pesticides, insecticides, and mutated genes–which should absolutely be avoided, 100%, by anyone following a conscious, cleansing diet.

However, non-GMO versions of this sweetener are much safer and healthier than the alternativesHere is and interesting article on Erythritol, what it is, and how it’s made.

Coco Polo (pictured above) has taken the steps to use Non-GMO Erythritol to sweeten their chocolate, in addition to Stevia. What’s also great is that they’ve left out the hard-to-digest and highly-addictive dairy in their dark chocolate bars (unlike Lily’s, the only other stevia/erythritol-sweetened brand I’ve found and tested so far).

Did I mention these options are delicious!?

My favorite options presently for sugarfree chocolate are:

1.  Homemade! (Coconut Oil, Stevia, Cacao, Vanilla, Sea Salt. Mix ‘n pop in your freezer for some yummy homemade chocolate!)

2.  Rox Chox (Raw, and sweetened with non-GMO Birch-tree Xylitol)

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3.  Coco Polo’s Dark Chocolate or Almond Bar

4.  Lily’s Dark or Almond Chocolate Bar

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*As with any indulgence, I do not recommend consuming products sweetened with Erythritol on a regular basis–just as a special treat!

Enjoy!

Raw Snacks: Lightweight, Energizing Hiking-Food

Raw foods are my favorite snacks to bring with me on days I have a lot to do, as well as long days hiking.

So, I’m always looking to try new brands and products to find the most delicious and most inspiring raw snacks out there.

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Today, when I stopped by Sunshine Foods in St. Helena today to pick up a Coco Polo stevia chocolate bar for a candy bar recipe (delicious, exciting!), I picked up these yummy new raw crackers to bring hiking.

They’re the best tasting raw crackers I’ve tried so far. I love the sunflower seed/spirulina combo for the chlorophyll, sustaining healthy fats, and protein. Inspiring!

I also grabbed a bag of Pachamama Raw Kale Chips.

cheeepsAnother lightweight, high-energy hiking snack! Really, though, I just needed a crunchy snack and vegetables at the same time. Solutions!

I still love the Quite Cheezy Kale Chips by Kaia Foods more (copycat recipe coming soon), but these were tangy and delicious–so much so I might’ve eaten the whole bag…

It’s important to stay hydrated when you eat dehydrated foods, so I try to make it interesting.

My New Favorite Hydrating Beverage:

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Bragg’s Sweet Stevia Apple Cider Vinegar Drink. Nutritious, balancing, and energizing.

Did I mention it’s a brilliant immune-boost, too?

Today I made my own by filling up the old bottle with about 2 Tablespoons of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, and just enough Stevia to make it sweet. I filled the bottle to the top with ice cold water and kept it in the fridge until I left the house. Ice cold, refreshing, and so. good. 

And this afternoon, I made and enjoyed this:

image (46)Raw Cacao Mousse with Maca–Low-Glycemic, High-Protein, Vegan, Energizing, Anti-Oxidizing,  and unfairly delicious.

The perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

This Raw Cacao Mousse is amazing as a dessert (impresses any guest), and still healthy and sustaining enough to be eaten for breakfast!

Recipe coming soon.

Sunny hiking to you, and Enjoy!

Light, Fresh, Simple Costa Rican Scramble

A beautifully simple and deliciously light, sustaining breakfast.

herbeggThese eggs feature minced cilantro, mint, and parsley, but are great with any fresh herbs you like!

Real eggs: Check this website for information on what kind of eggs you’re buying–it’s up to you, but I try to choose the most humane eggs I can find, meaning free range, organic, antibiotic-free, veggie-fed, and no beak clipping. When I’m lucky, like today, I get fresh eggs from a friend!

Why This Combo is Great for Your Body:

Eggs (read this article to buff up on your egg-pronioa), an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats, also happen to be slightly high in sulfur. This is only an issue when it comes to digestion (sulfur, found in foods like broccoli, cabbage and onions, can cause bloating–the last thing you need to start your day with).

However…

Herbs like Mint, Cilanto, Parsley, even Basil, Thyme, and Oregano, are not only high in valuable minerals and chlorophyll, but help aid in digestion and combat bloating (and are great for heartburn, too). These tasty little plants will freshen your breath all day, fill your body with disease-fighting nutrients, and boost the glow of your skin!

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon each: minced Cilantro, Mint, and Green Onion (bottoms) (and/or parsley, basil or any other preferred fresh herb)

real Eggs, whisked together in a bowl

1/2 teaspoon Avocado Oil (or other high-heat oil, or broth, for oil-free)

Himalayan Pink Salt (or other, whole-mineral salt) to taste

Optional:

1/2 clove minced Garlic

Directions:

  • Heat a small skillet and add oil until hot in skillet at medium temp.
  • Add whisked eggs to hot pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  • Add fresh all minced herbs and scramble to preferred doneness.

Serving Suggestions:

With 1 tablespoon vegan mayo, 1/4 sliced avocado, and several ripe, sliced, small tomatoes.

A substantial and lasting breakfast that feels as light as the herbs it features.

So. Good. 

I’m fully addicted.

Enjoy!

Perfect Texture Gluten-free Noodles

This is my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta; it holds its al dente texture well into its days of becoming leftovers, and even holds up in homemade soups!

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Other kinds of gluten-free noodles either fall apart shortly after cooking, overcook quickly, or are filled with corn, potato, or other unnecessary starches that can pack on the pounds.

With this brand of brown rice pasta, you get excellent texture, most similar to traditional noodles, while avoiding the high sugar (created in your body from simple starches) and hard-to-digest and inflammatory properties of glutenous noodles.

I enjoy the option with added rice bran, because of the exta nutrition, fiber, and chewiness.

Cover in your favorite pesto sauce, or toss with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, basil, lemon, garlic and olive oil for a quick, simple and delicious summer dish.

Enjoy!

Healthiest Fried Zucchini

Sometimes, you just get a craving for some fried food…

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This version of deep-fried zucchini (my favorite french-fry substitute) is gluten-free and fried in Avocado Oil, so you can feel good about eating it!

There have been two giant zucchini in my kitchen just begging to be used in a dish.

My intentions were for soup, or curry. But, after a night out, I needed something rich–not light.

Thus, deep-fried zucchini.

Fortunately, I had a bottle of avocado oil I needed to crack open, and plenty of hungry friends to help mitigate my deep-fried binge.

Avocado oil is an extremely stable oil, and can be heated to high temperatures without producing carcinogens or other disease-causing toxins–making this your best choice when you just have to indulge in a deep-fried treat.

Ingredients:

For the Zucchini:

1 Large Zucchini

1-1/2 c. Tapioca Flour (same as tapioca starch)

1/4 c. Organic Corn Starch

Salt, Pepper, Cayenne pepper to taste

3 Eggs

Avocado or Coconut Oil

Optional:

1 oz. shredded or grated Cheese (goat or sheep is always a better choice!)

For the Spicy-Aioli Dipping Sauce:

1/4 c. Vegan Mayo Alternative (I like this brand)

1 tsp. Hot sauce (I went for the splurge and used Sriracha)

2 med. Cloves Garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large wok or skillet, pour in about 2 inches of Avocado oil, and turn the heat to med. high.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for aioli. Set aside.
  3. Chop the zucchini in half. Slice into medallions about 3/4in. thick.
  4. In a paper bag, place 1/2 c. Tapioca starch, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Toss medallions into bag and gently shake until all surfaces of zucchini are lightly coated.
  6. Whisk three eggs together in a pie pan.
  7. In a second shallow dish add the remaining tapioca flour, corn starch, and a pinch of salt and pepper. This will be your coating.
  8. Check to see that your avocado oil is hot. You can test this by dropping a bit of flour into the oil–if it sizzles loudly and quickly it’s hot enough. If not, you may need to turn up the heat on the burner.
  9. Dump a few pieces of zucchini into the pan with the whisked eggs and make sure the pieces are covered with egg on all sides.
  10. Move zucchini to dish with the coating mixture and toss to cover thoroughly in flour.
  11. Gently shake off any excess–but not too much, this is the most delicious part!
  12. Toss into hot oil and watch closely. The zucchini should fry very quickly, and you want the squash to retain some of its firmness. It’s about one minute or less, usually.
  13. Remove finished zucchini from oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towels, paper bags, or even newspaper.
  14. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and a little bit of cheese on top and repeat the process with more zucchini.

Wait for them to cool and dip in the spicy aioli.

So. Good.

Mmmmmm…. Clear-conscience comfort food!