Tagged recipes

RECIPE: Homemade Coconut Milk (or Coconut Creamer) – Easy, Fast, GREAT for Dairy-Free Travelers!

This summer, I have been doing quite a bit of traveling. Starting off in beautiful Italy and then making my way to Latin America, I currently find myself in the middle of a legit jungle – monkeys howling and all – in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.

Just hanging out off my balcony in Positano, Italy. Totally casual.

This tropical rainforest is amazing and refreshing, but also makes me miss a few small foodie preferences that have been a part of my daily routine for years.

Especially through the most recent experience living off-grid in an isolated, glorified tree house (thankfully with pretty impressive internet to benefit my online clients and me), I learned how to do without a number of American luxuries. These include everything from transportation (no car), no paved roads, no 24-hour convenience stores (or any stores within two miles), and no access to anything from supplements to electronics to mail being reliably being delivered…

Cuddly kittens and warm weather make everything better.

It also includes not being able to find carton-style coconut milk – never mind coconut creamer for coffee. And if you didn’t know, Costa Rica is known for its amazing coffee.

Needless to say, I’m not a milk drinker and never really have been. Anytime I’ve needed a “milk” for something, I’ve opted for the almond or coconut substitution. (If you have my book The Grocery Store Tour Guide, you’re probably familiar with this suggestion.)

Considering the fact that mango, banana, papaya, AND coconut trees are everywhere in this tropical part of the world, I was somewhat surprised that I couldn’t find any carton coconut (or almond) milk near the home I am currently living in. There is one market down the mountain (over 2 miles away and a 90-minute steady walk thanks to the incline) that has one small almond milk carton option, which was unsurprisingly overpriced… and expired by six months.

Luckily, there is also a decently stocked chain supermercado in the nearest town that is accessible by a 20-minute bus ride (in addition to the nearly three mile walk to the bus stop) where I did find a higher quality carton of pure organic coconut cream… but still no sign of a reasonably priced carton coconut OR almond milk.

Did I mention I’m in the [captivating, relaxing, sometimes boring, always magical, yet very remote] jungle?

Here is what I did manage to find in the local market: canned coconut cream (and canned coconut milk).

And the good news for my fellow dairy-free, non-leche drinking people out there? To make homemade Coconut Milk (a comparable version to Silk or Almond Breeze brands that you can use for shakes, cereal, or to simply drink as is) AND/OR Coconut Creamer for coffee or tea, all you need is a can or carton of coconut cream (a second option could be canned coconut milk), water, and a pour-able container to keep it in.

That’s it.

Fun fact: if you read the ingredients on a carton of the aforementioned popular American brands of coconut milk, you will see that they are mainly filtered water and coconut cream (with some added preservatives and vitamins)… which is exactly what’s happening here!

Of course I tend to get a little fancy and doctor things up, so I added a little bit of vanilla extract and a few stevia drops (which I obviously brought with me from the States) to make it taste just like slightly sweetened, cartoned vanilla coconut milk.

Whisking in a small amount of natural thickener such as xantham gum, guar gum, or gellan gum (if you can access it where you are) will lend a slightly thicker consistency that mimics store-bought Coconut Creamer even more – but the thinner, milkier version that results from this recipe suits my needs just fine. :)

And cost wise? One can of coconut cream cost me about 1500 colones (around $3 USD) and is enough for TWO to THREE GALLONS of drinkable coconut milk or creamer. One HALF gallon of Silk brand coconut milk typically costs $3-5 USD anywhere in the world that I’ve been, so this recipe is a very budget-friendly one that is well worth trying no matter where you are!

To prepare, you can whisk everything together or blend it in a blender. Then just pour into your chosen container like this perfect one I found on Amazon. It’s important to remember to keep it refrigerated and shake it up well before using each time since it does slightly separate (adding the thickening gum does help keep it more consistently smooth).

I mainly use this as a “creamer” for my coffee, but it would also make a great milk replacement for any of your milky needs.

Here’s the crazy simple recipe :) Enjoy!

Homemade Coconut Milk or Coffee Creamer

  • 14 C. coconut cream (ingredients should be only 100% coconut cream, if possible) OR 12 C. canned coconut milk (full fat, not “light”)  – shake cans well before opening
  • Slightly less than a 12 gallon of chilled, filtered water
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  • Optional (for vanilla flavor): 12 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional (for sweetness): Stevia drops to taste OR 1 Tbsp. cane sugar liquified in a small amount of warm water OR 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • Optional (for chocolate flavored): 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Optional (for coffee flavored): 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules liquified in a small amount of hot water
  • Optional (for thickness): 12 tsp. guar gum, xanthan gum, or gellan gum

Directions

  1. Put coconut cream or milk, chilled water, sea salt, and your optional ingredients of choice in a blender and blend on low until all incorporated, about 1-2 minutes (you can also whisk very well in a large bowl).
  2. Carefully pour into your milk jug or container.
  3. Refrigerate (shaking well before each use) and enjoy as a milk or creamer! It should be good for about two weeks, though mine never lasts that long. Yum!

*If it doesn’t turn out “milky” enough for you, simply add more coconut cream by the teaspoon (or coconut milk by the tablespoon) until your desired flavor and consistency is reached. To make it thicker and creamier, add in more thickening gum by the one-eighth of a teaspoon and blend well after each addition.

*You can freeze your remaining coconut cream/milk in a separate container for future use.

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RECIPE: How to Make the BEST Banana Pancakes – Vegan / Easy / Single-Serving / Gluten Free

This is one of my GO-TO recipes for the easiest, most delicious, minimal-ingredient Banana Pancakes ever…

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I have this almost every morning with my “moon egg” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this video: https://youtu.be/pNkGUw9HPNE).

These Banana Pancakes are not only moist and delicious, but also happen to be vegan, gluten free, and sugar free (for you fans of the “free’s” out there) while being very fiber- and nutrient-rich. Not to mention, crazy flavorful!

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE, FULL RECIPE IS BELOW:

 
SINGLE-SERVING BANANA PANCAKES

Ingredients:

A Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (about 2 tsp.)

½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk to start (have more on hand to get batter consistency)

A small splash of Pure Vanilla Extract (about ½ tsp.)

4-5 drops of Liquid Stevia (to taste)

½ of One Large, Ripe Banana (make sure it is spotty with brown and NOT green or all yellow)

1 Tbsp. Chia or Flaxseeds (or one packet of this Flax Chia Blend by Carrington Farms)

½ cup Quick Cooking Oats, pulsed in a blender or food processor to be semi-ground

½ tsp. Baking Powder

Generous sprinkle of Ground Cinnamon

A pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Get out a 2-cup Liquid measuring cup, like this one I use in the video and a mini-spatula or fork. Put all of the liquid ingredients in the measuring cup (measuring as you go), stir, and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Take half of the banana and break it apart with your fingers as you add to the liquid ingredients. Then take a fork and mash/mix it in until larger chunks are gone.
  • Add in all dry ingredients, mixing well. Add more almond milk (typically ¼ to of a cup) until it is more of a moderate batter consistency – not too thin, but not thick. Allow the batter to thicken by letting it sit ~5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat stove top to medium heat (I typically go to level 4). Once pan is heated, spray pan with coconut oil spray. Give batter a quick stir and pour in about ¼ cup per pancake.
  • Set a timer for 3 minutes, then flip. Pancakes should be a light golden brown. Let other side cook another 3 minutes.
  • This makes 4-6 pancakes depending on your size. I like to pour a little maple syrup on the side and dip them, but you can also stack ’em up pretty and pour maple syrup on top! Feel free to slice up the other half of your banana to top them off, too!
  • ENJOY (I know you will… they’re amazing) :)

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Find more recipes and smart food-shopping tips in my Grocery Store Tour Guide!

 

The BEST Tapioca Pudding with Mangoes – sweet, amazing, gluten/dairy free dessert! (RECIPE)

Does this look nostalgic to anyone?

k2-_66aae989-09e8-45c4-8d64-0b5773c3dd42.v1I may be in the minority here, but I never had tapioca pudding as a kid. I never even knew what tapioca was and remember wondering if it was just a different name for rice (since rice pudding was actually familiar). I was never a fan of milk or milky things growing up, either, so I never made an effort to try it. Regardless, it was easy to see many a lunch box contained these little sugar-packed and highly processed snacks.

Fast forward twenty-or-so years and tapioca entered my life again. I’ve used tapioca starch as a thickener in recipes for a while and noticed it within the ingredients to many packaged foods, but was still yet to make my own version of this renowned dessert known as Tapioca Pudding.

I don’t know what took me so long… because it is absolutely amazing.

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Though I don’t exactly have anything to compare it to – my prime taste tester did happen to love those school-time snacks back in the day. And I am happy to report he said this isn’t even comparable since it’s the best tapioca pudding he’s ever had (and, possibly, the best pudding dessert he’s ever had). Yet another win!

So, what is tapioca anyway? Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root (which is becoming more commonly found in grocery stores these days – probably next to the potatoes or yucca).  Similar to other starches, it can be processed into sticks, powder/flour, flakes, or fun little pudding-worthy pearls. The pearls are commonly used in Asian desserts where they lend a chewy, satisfying texture to whatever it may be. Oh, and for those wondering, it is indeed gluten free and vegan.

Fun fact: Have you ever had Boba tea? Those boba are actually giant tapioca pearls.

Personally, I absolutely love the texture of tapioca pudding – even more than rice pudding. It’s like eating spoonfuls of simultaneously creamy and chewy surprises with every bite. Plus, by adding sweet, buttery mango, this dairy-free version is also both rich but light at the same time. It can be eaten hot or cold, making it perfect as a summer or holiday dessert.

It’s easy to make, doesn’t dirty many dishes, and has a handful of quality ingredients that are easy to find and much better for you compared to the original kid’s snack.

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Just looking at these pictures reminds me I need to make this again, like tonight. It’s that delicious and that easy to put together. Did I mention that it tastes even better after a couple of days in the fridge?

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I really, really hope you try this recipe. You will be so glad you did (and will impress anyone who tries it!)


THE BEST TAPIOCA PUDDING with mangoes

Ingredients

½ cup tapioca pearls

½ of a 14 oz. can of Coconut Milk (~200ml)

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp stevia-for-baking or xylitol (or sugar of choice)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

½ cup + ½ cup water

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

~2 cups chopped mangoes (frozen or fresh)

Optional, for thickness: 1 egg, separated (yolk and white)

Directions (with photos below)

  • Place coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, salt, ½ cup of water, tapioca pearls, and egg yolk (if using) in a medium saucepan. Mix to incorporate ingredients and let sit on stove top – no heat or cooking yet – for 20 minutes.
  • Turn burner to medium-high heat to bring pudding mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once it boils, turn burner down to low heat and allow to simmer for about ten minutes or so, until it thickens and the tapioca pearls become translucent. Add more water from the remaining ½ cup if it gets too thick.
  • Add mangoes and cook until mixture begins to simmer again, about 3-5 minutes.
  • If using egg, whip egg white in a small bowl (or the measuring cup) with the sugar/sweetener. Temper this mixture into the saucepan by folding 1-2 tbsp of the hot pudding mixture into the egg white/sugar mixture. Do this at least three times before pouring the egg white/sugar bowl mixture into the saucepan. Then allow pudding to cook another 2-3 minutes in saucepan.
  • If not using egg, simply mix the sugar into pudding on stove and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour into a serving bowl and add vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well.
  • You can serve this warm from the oven or cover it and refrigerate up to 5 days for a cool dessert. It’s really delicious both ways (and thickens even more as it sits). It’s really presentable when served with cinnamon sticks (as shown in pics).
  • Enjoy! :)

 

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Classic Sweet Potato Casserole with a twist (RECIPE) – Dairy free, Vegan, Delicious!

Did you know that the delicious and sugary Thanksgiving dish we know and love – the sweet potato casserole with browned marshmallows on top – was created by the marshmallow lobby in the early 1900’s? (You can learn a little more here.)

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I know, that may slightly tear away some magic from this classic dish. But the fact is, so many popularized, American foods that aren’t actually nutritious or beneficial – such as marshmallows – have simply become what they are due to smart advertising. Instead of getting too into the psychology and economics involved in the food industry (and further crapping on anyone’s marshmallow-loving parade), let’s just learn a little bit about marshmallows and where they came from.

Originating in ancient Egypt, marshmallows were a honey-sweetened candy made using the sap from the marshmallow root plant. It was soft and chewy, and used medicinally for ailments like sore throats.

Fast forward a few hundred years to the 19th century, and the labor-intensive methods of extracting marshmallow root sap made manufacturers come up with new processes (and involve new ingredients) which brought us to how we know the marshmallow today – as a light, fluffy, campfire treat which also tops the holiday sweet potato casserole.

Today’s version of the confection no longer contains the source ingredient of it’s name – marshmallow root – but instead, it is made up of a stabilizing protein such as gelatin (or agar, in Vegan versions) and sucrose (often with high fructose corn syrup).

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That said, there is nothing wrong with incorporating the better quality versions of marshmallows when making this crowd-pleasing dish once or twice a year. I use Dandies mini marshmallows, which contain no corn syrup, no gelatin, and no genetically modified ingredients. And, yes, they taste EXACTLY like your classic, name brand marshmallows – if not better.

As for the secret ingredient that gives this casserole a twist? Well, that would be mango juice of course.

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Most “classic” recipes call for heavy cream, which is meant to contribute creamy richness. It doesn’t really alter the flavor, but it does bring in a LOT of unnecessary fat and calories. You won’t find heavy cream or ANY dairy within this recipe, which has been a hit at many-a-holiday-dinner time and time again.

A Helpful Hint: If you choose go to back to your traditional sweet potato casserole recipe after trying this one (dare I say, doubtful?) try substituting canned coconut milk for your heavy cream. Though it will not lessen the overall calories or fat content, it will maintain the same creamy consistency and add a complimentary touch of flavor. All while being more plant-based friendly and allergen free.

If you just want to make a great sweet potato mash, you can stop before step 4 below and enjoy as is. It is just as delicious (and plenty sweet) without the marshmallow topping!

Sometimes the deliciousness can't wait for a photo opp, as shown here.
Sometimes the deliciousness can’t wait for a photo opp, as proven by the devoured portion above.

CLASSIC SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE RECIPE (with a twist)

  • 3 lbs Sweet Potatoes (about 4 large or 5 medium spuds)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mango juice/nectar *I’m sure pineapple or orange juice would work, too… but try to find mango!
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped
  • Half a bag (5 oz.) of quality marshmallows *I use homemade, locally made, or Dandies mini-marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes in the sink and pat dry. Pierce the tops of the potatoes with a fork, 2-3 times, before placing (holes up) on the baking sheet. Put in the oven for about 45-55 minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork tender and syrup begins to ooze out from the holes. Remove from oven and let cool until they aren’t too hot to be handled (usually 15-20 minutes).
  3. Lower the oven to 375 degrees F. Grab your 8×8 glass baking dish (metal is fine too, I’m sure – and 9×9 would also work). Peel the potatoes, putting the yummy orange flesh straight into the baking dish. Mash well with a potato masher or large fork. Add the vanilla extract, mango juice, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Mash and mix together until all incorporated.
  4. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to even out top of the mash. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly all over the surface. Then do the same with the marshmallows.
  5. Place on center rack in oven and bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until marshmallows begin to turn golden brown. Remove, let cool slightly, and enjoy!

*You can also make the dish ahead of time. Simply cover the mash in the baking dish after step 3 and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove from fridge for about 20 minutes to take the chill off and preheat the oven. Then add pecans and marshmallows, and bake as instructed above!

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Impromptu dinner paparazzi – starring the BEST sweet potato casserole!

Sweet Potato Soup: Easy, satiating, and delicious! (RECIPE)

‘Tis the season for warm and inviting soups.

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If you’re looking for a flavorful and easy meal – or a nutrient-rich accompaniment to any meal – this rich and creamy sweet potato soup is sure to do the trick. With the sweetness from roasted sweet potatoes and a surprising little kick thanks to fresh ginger root, this takes very minimal prep time and will make you a batch big enough to last a week.

Okay, in my house it’s more like a few days, but you get the idea.

It’s also whole food and plant-based (vegan), Paleo (if you indulge in the tubers), and gluten-free for those with sensitivities. Sugar-free, Low-sodium, blah blah benefits, benefits, benefits, free this, free that… Basically, unless you’re not into nightshades or onions or garlic, this recipe is perfect parts of magic for everyone.

Soups are so satisfying. It is the perfect meal if you’re craving something savory and filling, but aren’t a fan of feeling weighed down after eating. Plus, soups like this are incredibly inexpensive to put together. If you’re a single college student or a part of a monster household, it’s a lot of bang for your buck – financially and nutritionally.

There is virtually no fat in this recipe, it’s high fiber, and drowning in beneficial nutrients to make your mind and body all kinds of happy. You can eat it alone, aside a sandwich, aside a salad, with sprouts on top, as a different kind of salad dressing, tossed with other veggies or pasta, or drink it warm out of a mug. Ver-soup-tility, for the win!

Enough talk. Recipe time!

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SUPER SWEET POTATO SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Half a large sweet (yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half (optional, but recommended! Use 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon otherwise)
  • 1 carton (4 cups) low-sodium, organic vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Additional water, if needed

Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub potatoes and poke holes on top of each with a fork. Place on a tin-foiled cookie sheet or baking dish and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until knife tender and syrup begins bubbling through fork holes.

While the potatoes are in the oven, heat a large saute pan on the stove at about medium to medium-high heat.  Warm & melt coconut oil. Add in onion, celery, carrots, and ginger, and stir to mix and coat in oil. Add some salt & pepper.

Once onions are translucent and carrots and celery soften, add in garlic and saute a couple of more minutes (don’t let garlic get burned or too dark, it will result in a bitter taste). Add in about one cup of the vegetable or chicken stock and the cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer. Add a little bit more salt & pepper.

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By this time, the ‘taters should be done in the oven. Take them out and let them cool a bit. Carefully cut a slit through the skin to help them cool down faster. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin and chop roughly.

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Add the potatoes to the saute pan and pour in the rest of the vegetable or chicken stock. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for about 5-6 minutes. If you have a potato masher, you can also gently mash them up in the saute pan. Add a little bit of salt & pepper.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and transfer the almost-soup from the saute pan into a high speed blender or food processor, and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add water until consistency you like is reached.

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If you’re not eating it right away, pour the soup into containers and let cool before refrigerating. Otherwise, pour the now smooth-n-creamy soup back into the sauce pan and let simmer a couple of minutes before serving. Hint: It’s great with broccoli sprouts and/or sliced almonds on top.

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ENJOY!

The BEST and Easiest Banana Pancake Recipe (using Manzano or “Apple” Bananas)

These amazing, healthy, easy-to-make pancakes were tweaked to perfection after about a week of making them daily… for dinner… because sometimes, week long pancakes-for-dinner-kicks just happen. And when they do, you just have to go with it.

Thank goodness I hopped on this nightly breakfast train, because by the end of the week I can hands-down say that I perfected this simple little recipe that I am now super excited to share!

It all started off with a little trip to one of the local Asian markets, where I always make sure to pick up at least one random fruit or veggie that I wouldn’t necessarily find in a typical grocery store.

Enter: These little guys…

Not my photo, but totally my little Asian banana find.
Not my photo, but totally my little Asian banana find.

When I got them from the store, they weren’t as yellow as the photo above (with some black spots and edges). As one who is well versed on the ideal ripeness of regular bananas, they seemed ready to enjoy! But, as I soon found out, these bananas were nothing like regular bananas (except appearing like a mini-version). They were not even close to ripe and actually closer to tasting like a starchy, rough, unpalatable banana fraud.

I then did some research and realized that these particular bananas are ripe when the peel is about black – similar to plantains. So, a week or so later, I tried another one. And I finally understood what others had said about these lil’ nanaz tasting like an apple and banana had a baby with a hint of strawberry. That is pretty much exactly what they taste like – and it’s amazing.

So, lessons to learn here:

  • Baby-looking bananas need to be black (or nearly black) to be the most palatable.
  • They are also “starchier” with more bite than regular bananas, even at their ripest.
  • They taste like an apple and banana had a baby, and that baby only eats strawberries.
  • Most importantly, they’re dang tasty and add the perfect non-mushy-yet-banana-licious texture and flavor to the world of banana pancakes.

Back story over, onto what matters: the recipe!

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The BEST and Easiest Banana Pancake Recipe

(using Manzano or “Apple” Bananas)

Ingredients:

4 manzano bananas (ripe and black), mashed – about 150g *You can use 2 regular bananas equaling the same amount, but this may result in less dense/mushier pancakes
1 egg (or flax substitute using a 1:3 Tbsp. ratio of ground flaxseeds to water) *if using regular bananas and flax substitute, do not add water and use 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds only
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
Scant 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. quinoa flour
1/2 scoop Rawfusion Protein Powder in Vanilla (or your favorite plant-based protein powder; using whey will change pancake consistency)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp (small splash) apple cider vinegar
Good pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Mix mashed bananas, egg/flax egg, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and cinnamon together.
  2. Add dry ingredients and apple cider vinegar, and whisk or mix until all incorporated.
  3. Grease skillet lightly at medium/slightly before medium heat (level 5 or 250 degrees).
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup or so of batter into pan and spread out eventually.
  5. Let cook 2-3 minutes until edges look dry and top just begins bubbling, flip and cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Stack up and enjoy! (Makes four 5-inch pancakes, or one serving)

These can also be frozen after cooled, and reheated in a toaster oven! Practical AND tasty!

Homemade, Healthy, EASY Doggy Treats! (RECIPE)

Meet Athena…

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She was less than 3 months old in the photos above, but recently came upon her **drum roll**  1st birthday! As much as I’d love to say this adorable furry creature is mine, she is the four-legged baby of one of my awesome local clients… but that doesn’t mean her birthday goes without a celebratory gift.

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Being the impulsive baker that I am, I took this opportunity to whip up some birthday treats (my first attempt at baking for the canine kind) that ended up turning out pretty amazing according to Athena’s reaction, shared here via her Mommy’s review:

Email Subject: Four out of four paws rating

“I put the A and W on a plate for her and she snatched up the A before I could get a pic! She took it in to the dining room, ate it in a flash, then went back for the W. After it was gone, she went back looking for more. But she’ll have to wait!

Thank you so much. That was extremely thoughtful of you. She LOVED them. Usually she sniffs a new treat a few times and mouths it a bit before eating it. Not yours. She ate them right up. She could tell right away they were awesome.”

 

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Nothing like having your culinary prowess validated by multiple species! WIN.

With a review like that and actually remembering the recipe due to it being so crazy simple, I definitely thought it was worth sharing with the vast population of doggy lovers out there. So, here you go!

Healthy, EASY PB-Sweet Potato Doggy Treats!

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar of Sweet Potato baby food (ingredients should only be sweet potato + water)
  • 1 Tbsp Black Strap Molasses (or honey)
  • ¼ tsp salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 heaping Tbsp smooth Peanut Butter
  • Chicken Stock or Broth (or just water works!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the above ingredients (except for the chicken stock/water) in a bowl until it’s all incorporated well.
  3. Add in chicken stock/water to get the desired consistency (it should be a somewhat “dry” dough that you can roll out… you honestly may not even need any extra liquid).
  4. Sprinkle a bit of flour on a flat surface and flop the dough over from the bowl.
  5. Roll it out to be about 1/2 inch thick, and use cool cookie cutters like these (or your free-hand shaping skills like I did!) to form the cookie shapes.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on edges and a bit stiff.
  7. Take out and let cool on a cookie rack, or you can just turn the oven off and let them cool in there! (They will harden up a bit as they cool, getting that doggy biscuit kind of feel; so don’t worry if they seem soft when they are freshly done baking.)

Then again, I’m sure your doggy won’t mind one bit!

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Enjoy, Canine Friends!

P.S. If you try out this recipe, share it on Instagram or Facebook and use hashtag #TrueHealthTrifecta so I can see how yours turned out! ;)

Are Fatty Foods Addictive? Do you eat ice cream? Must watch! (VIDEO)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, blog, recipe, other fun-filled reads… BUT, this.

THIS.

Why am I choosing to share this video out of the hundreds of other videos, studies, essays, and research I’ve come across proving the message that is being put across? It’s pretty simple, really.

  1. It’s short enough to get and keep your attention for the whole thing.
  2. It’s JAM-PACKED with legit, clinical studies and information proving the point.
  3. It relates to a common struggle MANY OF YOU have expressed, and are unsure why.
  4. It’s quickly impactful, incredibly relevant, clear & concise…

Basically, it’s just good.

If you watch one 5-minute video this week, or this year… It better be this one. I’ll admit, that may even be including my own videos for you guys! There is a lot explained in this short video that can be a huge eye-opener to many people (which, in turn, will help you MAKE and STICK to your healthy choices):

 

What do you think? Does any of thing ring true to you? If you’ve gotten my Nutritional Cheat Sheet, you will see my notes regarding single foods that are both high in fat and carbohydrates (think ice cream, fried anything – especially sweets, most anything sugary and processed, even peanut butter, to name a few).

Hint: As you know by watching the above video, you want to steer clear of such apparent deliciousness!

Let me know what you think about this beneficial lil’ video of education in the comments below; will this effect your food choices from here on out? Have you experienced any of the side-effects mentioned when it comes to dopamine or satisfaction? Discuss!

P.S. Lots of great updates coming soon including my first exclusive e-book, members-only recipe book, instructional videos, and more! Make sure to sign up to our mailing list for updates and don’t forget to browse around the place! :)

EASY, Go-To Protein Shake Recipes!

Common Question: How do I USE protein powder?

Depending on the type of protein powder (for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the two more common comparisons: whey and plant-based), there is little difference when it comes to actual preparation and ways to enjoy.

Compared to whey, plant-based protein (like my favorite: RawFusion), tends to act more like a ‘flour’ when mixed or baked into different things. It is a bit thicker, slightly harder to blend, and can even be made into a pudding quite easily (similar to casein protein for anyone familiar with Casein Fluff). Whey, however (especially whey isolate), tends to become more gummy and liquid-like and would not suffice in a pudding-type treat. Due to this, it does blend into liquids or other foods, like yogurt, much faster and easier.

So in the case of consistency, plant-based proteins = thicker like flour; whey proteins = easier to blend into liquid. Regardless, both are great for blended smoothies. And since most clients I have worked with are in need of a convenient way to use protein powder as opposed to becoming the next Master-of-Creative-Culinary-Uses-For-Protein (guilty, as proven by the video at the bottom of this post), I will share a couple of my favorite go-to protein smoothie ideas that are easy, delicious, and nutritionally-sound.

These are great any time of day: breakfast, an hour or so before your workout, after your workout, or literally any time. Sure, there are certain benefits timing-wise if you want to get more detailed with the science of nutrient absorption versus activity and a whole slew of other metabolic factors, but what ultimately matters is simply getting into the routine of having additional protein and feeding your body favorable nutrients in general. Trust me. Do not over-complicate things, especially with new routines. Focus on the grand scheme rather than minute details. Have your shake or smoothie where it fits best for you and your schedule.

Remember: it is best to start with small and simple habits!

Protein Mocha Frappuccino

  • 8-10 oz. unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder of choice (or 2 for active men) *I use RawFusion
  • 1 Tbsp. Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder *omit if you’re using Chocolate-Flavored Protein
  • 1 Handful of Ice
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds OR 2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, or any extract of choice! Coconut, Mint, Orange, Banana.. tons of fun flavors out there! Be creative!

Blend in blender and enjoy!

Fruity Protein Smoothie

  • 8-10 oz. unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder of choice (or 2 for active men) *I use RawFusion Vanilla
  • A big handful of raw spinach
  • 1 Cup Frozen Berries
  • 1 Tbsp. Nut Butter, Coconut Butter, Chia Seeds OR 2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, or any extract of choice! Coconut, Orange, Banana… get creative!

 Blend in blender, sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and enjoy!

*For those seeking a trusty, inexpensive little blender, I always suggest this Hamilton Beach Single Serving Blender with Travel Lid. It is easy to find (sold at Wal-Mart or Amazon.com for $12-14), blends your shake smoothly, lasts FOREVER (I’ve had mine for over 6 years, plus check out these reviews), and is great to keep at work and/or at home.

The great thing about smoothies is that you CAN very easily adjust and get creative according to your taste! Make it a Veggie Smoothie by adding in some cucumbers, celery, spinachMake it an Apple Pie Smoothie by using vanilla protein, cinnamon, a chopped apple (or even organic apple sauce), and some walnutsMake a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie by using pumpkin puree, vanilla protein, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and some pecans… Don’t be scared to try new things! You’ll be surprised at some of the deliciousness you come up with.

For those who ARE open to becoming more creative with protein powder, try mixing it into some organic Greek Yogurt, or mixing it into cooked and cooled down oatmeal, or even making it into a pudding like I mentioned and using it as a dip or sweet cream sauce like I did in this recipe.

Want to get really fancy?

Check out this video recipe for Protein Marshmallows!

Coming soon: Recipes for both my easy, homemade chocolate bars and simple, sprouted grain “graham” crackers to use with the Protein Marshmallows for the delicious S’mores-From-Scratch as shown here…

Smores

Like I said, the possibilities really are endless! :)

Slow-Cooker Thanksgiving Chili

I know we are already well-beyond our tryptophan comas, but I still had to share this delicious and EASY recipe with everyone since it got such rave reviews from the members at the Anytime Fitness where I train and lend a helping hand.

Rather than re-typing it out on here, I attached it in the same handout format that I originally made. This way, you can just click on and print to size (either in a new window, or right click and hit “print”). Easy, breezy.

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below! And, of course, Happy-Deliciously-Belated-Thanksgiving!

Super easy, super delicious, super festive ANY time of year!
Super easy, super delicious, super festive ANY time of year!