Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Bread!

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Bread has been (and always will be) my favorite food group! Growing up, it wasn’t at all uncommon for me to eat pieces of white bread, straight out of the bag. I loved hitting up bakeries, eating pastries and getting bread & butter, before dinner.

Since going gluten (and dairy)-free, I’ve had to learn to change things a bit, because let’s be honest, most gluten-free bread isn’t that good. I have found a favorite gf bread (Thuro Bread). It’s sourdough (awesome, right?!) and made with minimal ingredients.

While I do love eating bread, I definitely do notice my body appreciating when I don’t consume as many grains, and so grain-free bread was something I had been on the lookout for. The unfortunate thing? Most grain-free/paleo recipes use eggs, and my body doesn’t like eggs either.

After a LOT of trial and error, I’m super excited to announce that I made a homemade grain-free, dairy-free, EGG-free bread, and damn, does it taste good (at least, in my opinion)! The cool thing, also, is that it’s filling (in the right way), and filled with lots of fiber, too!

Ingredients

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  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • 1/2 cup flaxseed

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

  • 1/2 cup psyllium husk

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP melted coconut oil

  • 2 TBSP honey

  • 2.5 cups water

  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lining a bread pan (8.5" L x 4.5" W x 4.75" H) with parchment paper

  2. Mix all dry ingredients together, then adding in wet and stirring until fully-combined

  3. Scoop into lined bread pan (mixture should be moist, but not runny)

  4. Bake for one hour, and maaaaybe five minutes. Toothpick-check after the hour is up.

  5. Let cool, and enjoy! The leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or cut and freeze to enjoy whenever!

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This bread has a slight sweet taste, and is perfect for sandwiches, avocado toast, slathering nut butter on top, or honestly, just eating warmed up, by itself! I’m so interested to know what you think, so please let me know, if you try it!

xoxo,

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Honey-Infused, Margajito (Mint-Infused Margarita)!

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I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but around here (my house), I’m kind of a margarita-making genius! Whenever we have friends/family over, I love to experiment with healthier, homemade margarita recipes, and ironically, they turn out EVERY TIME! As I consider adding “Margarita-Maker” to my resume, I figured I’d share another one of my favorites with you all - the “Margajito”, a mint margarita!

As many of you know, I’ve quickly fallen in love with Imperfect Produce: “ugly” produce, delivered to your doorstep, each week, that’s about 30% cheaper than what you’d find in the grocery store. I get the organic, medium-size box, and each week, I have the opportunity to customize my order, depending on what’s in season and available. Last week, I got some delicious, fresh mint and had been DYING to use it, in a tasty beverage!

Aside from the mint, I’ve been slightly-obsessed with infusions (after my friend Sarah got me hooked on rhubarb-infused vodka, last summer). It’s such a fun way to add an additional splash to a beverage! I was wanting to create a cocktail with no added syrups, or artificial sweeteners (since I’ve stopped consuming them in order to assist in the healing of my digestive system), and started to think about a tequila-infusion!

Beekeeper’s Naturals is one of my favorite brands of honey. “B.Powered” combines ALL the superfoods of the hive to fuel your mind and body! The healing blend includes: immune-supportive propolis, brain-nourishing and skin-beautifying royal jelly, energizing bee pollen, and their signature raw enzymatic honey. After catching up with an old friend, who now works for them, I felt inspired to create a honey-infused tequila!

After I had the tequila prepared, and the mint ready, I was excited to create a tasty beverage!

I believe in taking care of you body, as much as you can, but also taking the time to enjoy. Alcoholic beverages fall under the “enjoyment” category, but I also am very cautious of the types of alcoholic beverages I consume; there’s a ton of sugar and other crap in so much of it! Yuck! The beverages I create, at home, are as healthy as I can get them, and this one was no different.

For sparkling water, I decided to use the Mountain Valley spring water. Their water is sodium-free, with a naturally-balanced pH, and rich blend of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Delicious!


Homemade “Margajito”

You’ll need:

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  • 1 shot honey-infused tequila

  • 1 shot lime juice

  • handful mint leaves

  • 3/4 cup sparkling water

  • three ice cubes

  • shaker

  • additional tsp of honey, if preferred

Directions:

  1. Add handful mint leaves to bottom of shaker, along with tequila, lime juice and ice cubes.

  2. Shake, baby, shake!

  3. Pour into glass, adding ice cubes and mint leaves, from shaker

  4. Pour sparkling water to top off glass

  5. Taste-test, and add additional honey and lime, to taste

**To make honey-infused tequila: Add 2-3 TBSP honey to 3/4 cup alcohol (tequila or vodka), and infuse for at least 24 hours.


Remember, you’re in control of what goes into your body. Cocktails can be a delicious summer staple, but they don’t have to ruin your routine. Just drink in moderation, and enjoy them with good-for-you-ingredients!

xoxo,

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Why You Should Be Eating More Chocolate!

How many of you experience SERIOUS chocolate cravings?! Maybe your period has just arrived, and there’s nothing you are dreaming of more than biting into a gooey, chocolate chip cookie?! Girl, I hear you.

Have you ever wondered why you’re craving that chocolate, in the first place? Or what your body is really asking for?!

Chocolate isn’t bad for you, and in fact, when you’re eating quality-stuff, it’s pretty damn healthy (as well as tasty)! Today, I’m dishing all on chocolate.

Cacao VS. Cocoa: The Differences

Have you ever wondered why some people say “cacao” while others say “cocoa”? Isn’t chocolate chocolate? While both start off the same, the processing they go through (and how they end up) is very different.

Cacao beans come from cacao trees. You can eat the bean raw, which in its purest form, is very bitter.

Cacao

Raw (or minimally-processed) cacao beans are superfoods. Some benefits include:

  • Antioxidant effects. Cacao beans are packed with phenolic phytochemicals and flavonoids, which protect your cells against damage from free radicals.

  • Boosts your mood and cognitive performance. Epicatechin, the main flavonoid in cacao, improves various aspects of cognition, preserve cognitive abilities during aging, and even puts you in a better mood.

  • Lowers blood pressure. Flavanols have been shown to lower blood sugar and increase blood vessel flexibility.

  • Protects your heart. Flavanols and procyanidins, from cacao, increased antioxidant capacity in the blood plasma and reduced platelet reactivity, resulting in a healthier heart.

  • Regulates insulin levels. Epicatechin, a flavanol in cacao, activates key proteins and help regulate glucose production, even among diabetics.

*Flavanols are naturally-occurring compounds found in a number of commonly enjoyed foods

Cacao beans are also rich in nutrients, like magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Types of cacao

Cacao beans are dried, fermented and heated (at low temperatures). The heating helps separate the fatty part, of the bean, from the rest. Let’s discuss what different cacao options are out there:

  • Cacao butter: Made of the fattiest part of the cacao bean. It is white, and has a very rich texture. Being very similar to white chocolate, cacao butter is excellent for baking, as well as for DIY skincare. I love to add a couple pieces of cacao butter to my homemade lattes, for added thickness/creaminess.

  • Cacao nibs: Nibs are chopped up cacao beans. They resemble chocolate chips, but are much more bitter and strong than your typical chocolate chip! They’re a great way to get all of the benefits and antioxidants of the cacao bean! I like to add some on top of smoothies, or in my homemade, chocolate avocado pudding!

  • Cacao powder: The powder is made after all of the fatty parts are removed. Cacao powder is great for homemade hot chocolate, baking, and even dry shampoo (if you have brown hair)!

Cocoa

Cocoa starts off exactly the same as cacao, however, it’s heated at much higher temperatures, during processing. This gives it a bit of a sweeter flavor. Because of it's sweeter flavor, it’s much more popular in baking, than cacao.

Types of Cocoa

There are two types of cocoa powder:

  • Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder: This kind goes under an additional processing, with an alkalized chemical solution, to make the taste less acidic and more rich. More processing means less antioxidants.

  • Natural Cocoa Powder: This flavor will be more acidic than Dutch-Processed.

There is a time and place for both, cacao and cocoa. Cocoa is more readily-available (and cheaper) than cacao. The challenge is in finding good cocoa options without added ingredients like sugars, dairy products, and other “fillers”. Because cacao undergoes less heat, during processing, more antioxidants and nutrients remain, compared to cocoa.

Milk Chocolate Vs. Dark Chocolate

To most, milk chocolate tastes better, and that should come at no surprise. It’s got added dairy, sugars and other ingredients to make it that way! However, adding dairy to chocolate limits the body’s ability to absorb the phytonutrients found in chocolate. So, that means there are no health benefits to eating milk chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cacao. The more cacao, the more nutrients.

The unfortunate thing is that most chocolate out there contains some form of dairy, which means that even if you’re consuming more cacao, the dairy is blocking the antioxidants from being absorbed.

I always recommend dairy-free chocolate, when you can. Yet, most dairy-free chocolate, found at regular grocery stores, contain lots of added sugars. Pick your battles!

Best Cacao options

Instead, I have a couple of recommendations:

Photo posted by  Cosmic Cacao , and taken by  @matterpatter .

Photo posted by Cosmic Cacao, and taken by @matterpatter.

  • Eating Evolved: Their mission is that “It’s Food. Not Candy”. All of their products are certified organic, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, and vegan. No additives. Nothing unnatural.

  • Hu Kitchen: Hu mentions their “NO’s” to ingredients like dairy, gmos, emulsifiers, soy, gluten, refined sugar, cane sugar, sugar alcohols.

  • Cosmic Cacao: Local to Minnesota, Katherine’s mission is “to create a chocolate that not only tastes great, but feels great!” Each bar is made using fair trade and organic ingredients, as well as local honey, and superfoods to make you feel amazing. I’m a BIG FAN of this business!

  • Dandelion Chocolate: A super-cute spot, in the Mission District of San Fran, Dandelion sources high-quality cacao and carefully crafts small batches of chocolate, striving to bring out the individual nuances of each bean.

  • Honey Mamas: Honey Mama’s are honey-cocoa bars made from five nutrient-rich ingredients. They are direct-trade, non-GMO and organic.

The thing I love about all of these chocolate bars are the variety in which they can be used. Making a recipe that calls for chocolate chips? Break up one of these chocolate bars!

Cosmic Cacao even has a “Joint Bar”, which contains 55 mg of CBD oil. I recently found out that cacao, and turmeric (which are in the “Joint Bar”) help the body absorb the CBD more readily, giving maximum benefits! HOW COOL!!


The next time you’re craving chocolate, go ahead and have some! Chances are if you’re indulging in the good stuff, your body is going to thank you - in more ways than one!

xoxo,

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