Easy Chili

Happy New Year!

Haha, I know I’m a little late in the game as usual but here we are in 2017!

This Christmas was the first year in the last 5 years that I have just stayed home and it was so nice! It felt extra long since I didn’t travel anywhere. It’s funny how at the start of a break I always feel super ambitious and there’s all these things I’m going to do (like post this recipe) but with each day that passes I get lazier and lazier and I somehow never get the important things done (like getting my tires rotated). But now with the holidays behind us I’m easing back into the swing of things and meal-prepping all my food as usual ūüôā

I have been making this chili for a while and it’s so easy and so delicious! I know chili is nothing ground breaking but this has been a staple for me lately so I want to be sure I put it up here so I can always remember how to make it. It seriously only takes a few minutes to throw together and then lunch for a week is done.

House update: We met with the builder last week for a walk through and he expects the house will be ready for move in mid-March! What?!! That is feeling like it’s coming up super fast! That is just about 9 weeks away. It is all framed now and the next step is a roof, then insulation then sheet rock. For all I know the roof could already be done!

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I am getting so excited to really decorate. I have never decorated any place I’ve ever lived and I’ve always thought I was kind of clueless in that department but I think I could be good at it if I gave it a shot. So I’ve been collecting all sorts of images on Pinterest and I’m excited!

And how about these winter storms?! I feel like we haven’t gotten this much snow in YEARS. It seems like we are just getting hit with storm after storm but that’s a good thing I suppose. I haven’t done a super good job of getting out and playing in the snow all that much yet but I will. I’m going to take skiing lessons this year so that I can become a proficient skier. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before but last year I switched from snowboarding to skiing. I skied until I was 17 and then took up snowboarding because it was the new, cool thing to do. It was SO HARD to learn how to snowboard, especially since I never took a lesson, I just figured it out on my own. But snowboarding got to be hard on my neck. I have herniated disks in my neck so the constant looking around would just kill my neck. I thought skiing would be more of a “lifelong” sport that I could enjoy for many years to come. I only went a few times last year but I did enjoy it and it is certainly much easier than snowboarding!*

*Please note I only do green runs with the occasional blue run so I’m not implying that skiing is easy, haha!

Alright, here is that chili recipe!

chili

Easy Turkey Chili
Makes 8 2-cup servings or 16 1-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs leanest ground turkey you can find (my costco has organic!)
  • 3-4¬†cups broth, divided (Any broth will do. I’ve used vegetable and chicken)
  • 3 carrots (1lb), peeled and diced
  • 1-2 zucchini (9oz), peeled and diced
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I think this is the secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot cook the ground turkey over medium heat in about 2 cups of broth to prevent turkey from sticking to the pan. While the turkey cooks, peel and chop the carrots and zucchini (food processor is great here if you have one). Add the vegetables to the pan as soon as you are done chopping them. Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked all the way through add the pureed tomatoes, marinara sauce, kidney beans, pinto beans and spices. Add remaining broth until desired consistency is reached. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

I don’t usually calculate the nutrition facts for things but since I had the time over break I did it and as you can see this chili is an excellent source of protein!

If you made this into 8 servings (about 2 cups each serving) you would have the following per serving:

469 calories
39g carbohydrate
46g protein
12g fat

Ok I hope you’ve started watching The Bachelor! You know I have! I have my bracket going and everything. I was filling it out the other night but then Rocco threw up on it so I guess we all know how he feels about this season! (I don’t know why he threw up. He’s fine I promise)

I hope your January is off to a great start!

Laura

 

 

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

‚ÄčHappy Thanksgiving!

Just when I thought I was going to make it all fall without doing anything with pumpkin puree, BAM! I found this recipe in US Weekly of all places and had to try it. I modified it a little and I love it! 

One of the comments I hear most often from my clients is “What is something quick I can grab for breakfast?”. And I totally get it! Mornings are so rushed as it is, I don’t know anyone that has time to be scrambling eggs before work!

First though, I want to mention a quick note about how important breakfast is because I know a lot of people put off eating breakfast for as long as possible hoping this will lead to weight loss. And I know we’ve heard it a million times-breakfast is the most important meal of the day-and I’m chiming in to say…It’s true.

Why is breakfast so important? Well, let me tell you about the Sumo Wrestler Diet, aka the diet many American women are following hoping to lose weight. Sumo Wrestlers wake up and workout for hours on an empty stomach and THEN eat breakfast. This causes their metabolism to tank so they can gain more weight! And hey, does this sound familiar? It’s the dieting advice that every women has been told to do if they want to LOSE weight!

So on this one I’m going to go with a “better safe than sorry” approach and just eat something before I workout. I mean, maybe working out on an empty stomach makes us burn 10% more calories…but maybe it slows our metabolism to a slow crawl. I don’t want to take that chance. Plus I like food.

I think doing a short/easy (30 minutes or less) workout on an empty stomach is ok, but ideally we should be eating within an hour of waking up. Otherwise our body will hold on to fat because it thinks its starving. Fair enough?

Before I get to the recipe below, house update time! Our house if officially under construction! Last week they dug the hole and poured the footings. So, in 16 weeks approximately we should be moving in! 

Here is our pile of dirt so far!

    Today we took Rocco out there and showed him where his backyard would be. He was super excited. The next step will be foundation but we are supposed to be getting some big storms next week so we’ll see. I had the brilliant idea that to countdown these 16 weeks, every week I need to get rid or something or clean out a closet. Probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had!

Alright, here is the recipe for these breakfast bites. These are so good!!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

3 cups whole rolled oats (I go for organic gluten free ones)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning or nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup +/- mini chocolate chips (could also use raisins, craisins, nuts or something else if you don’t want chocolate for breakfast)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×9 pan.
Place oats in a food processor and process until they resemble a course flour.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.
Add the ground oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixing bown and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and then pour into the prepared 9×9 pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Alright, that’s it! And now tomorrow is Black Friday! Or I guess Black Friday starts today. What are you shopping for?

Choc Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + GF) + 5K

cookie 1

YEEEESSSSSS this happened and they are SO GOOD!!! These are probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The texture is perfect. Thick like a brownie, good texture, soft but dense, gooey and most important: chocolaty!!

As I was eating one of these bars for breakfast (yes, really) I thought to myself: Does anyone really like oatmeal raisin cookies? If you do please comment and let me know! I know there was a time in the early 90’s when I pretended to like oatmeal raisin because we were told it was the healthier option but now that we don’t live under such false pretenses I don’t know anyone that chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip.

Anyway, before I get to the recipe, I ran another trail 5K last weekend! Here I am at the finish with my “trainer”.

me

This time my hubby was in town so he and Rocco came to support me which was exciting ūüôā Rocco didn’t run the race even though it was a dog friendly race. He’s fast but he gets distracted by people and dogs, plus I didn’t want him to get trampled!

Like the last race, this one was a lot of fun. It was a much bigger event so there were a lot of people. The course wasn’t as steep which meant I couldn’t go super fast on the downhill. Actually I swear there wasn’t any downhill on this course. It felt like it was uphill the entire way! I finished 9th in my age group out of 50 some ladies. I feel pretty good about that because I have never trained for speed. I’ve always trained for the Long Slow Distance and I didn’t grow up running and was certainly never on any Cross Country or Track team. I’m hoping to do at least one more this summer but we’ll see!

cookie 2
Yum Yum Yum

Alright, this recipe. I want to believe it’s healthy because there isn’t any flour in it AND there is an entire can of beans in there (I swear you can’t taste them). But there’s also 1.5 cups of chocolate chips so they kind of cancel each other out ūüėČ You can totally eat this stuff raw too! If you don’t plan on baking it just leave out the baking soda and baking powder and then you can roll it into balls and freeze or refrigerate it. I haven’t tried using the dough to make regular cookies but I’m pretty confident you could if you wanted to.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand)

Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor. Process until smooth scraping the sides down as necessary. There should be no chunks for the garbanzo beans left and the dough should be very smooth and sticky.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

If baking, line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Scrape¬†the mixture into the baking pan and smooth it out. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

That’s it for now! 2 posts in 2 weeks is pretty good for me! I’ll be back soon with a DIY laundry detergent recipe I’m super excited about!

‚̧ Laura

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Woo hoo, I have a new fun recipe for you just in time for the weekend!

I have been on a MAJOR peanut butter cookie kick because these are SO easy to make and I always have these ingredients on hand. I know I’ll be making another batch of these veeeeery soon. Like, today.

cookie 1

Before I get to the recipe I have Rocco stories!

Last weekend we went to St. George, UT for some fun in the sun and to get out of Salt Lake. Whenever we travel Rocco goes into straight up Watch Dog mode. He didn’t sleep the entire car ride down and once we arrived he was on red alert. All. night. long. He didn’t sleep a wink. He just sat upright all night long keeping watch and crying softly. Ah yes, good times with a dog in a hotel room! He also refuses to eat, drink or go to the bathroom when he is in watch dog mode. Extra good times. My poor husband probably took him outside 5 times that night trying to get him to go to the bathroom so he didn’t get any sleep either because he was in “watch the dog” mode.

The next day we were all tired but we had plans to go mountain biking so we took Rocco to Doggy Day Care for the first time ever!

Mountain biking was a blast and Rocco had a great time at Day Care. Needless to say, that night (and the next night) Rocco slept VERY well.

rocco 1

If you want to see pictures of Rocco’s second birthday party or of the two of us slow dancing to Cher, check out his Instagram account @ rocco_the_minpin

Alright, cookie time!

cookie 2

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like enjoy life brand)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (If you don’t have a silicone baking mat I highly recommend getting one!)

In a large bowl mix the sugar, egg and vanilla with a fork. Switch to a spatula and stir in the peanut butter. Once the mixture is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips.

Gently form balls of the dough using a spoon, a cookie dough scoop or your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Use the back of a fork to flatten the balls and to make the criss-cross lines.

Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan or they could break.

WHO WANTS COOKIES!?

Bye for now!

Laura

 

Superfood Snack Bites

Great news, I have yet another snack ball recipe! It’s been a while, right?!

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I’m on a big FAT kick right now. Meaning-I’m trying to eat more fat!

I grew up during the low fat craze of the 80’s & 90’s. I remember when the food pyramid told me I needed to eat 6-11 bowls of cereal every day and I was in heaven because at the time I was only eating maybe 3-4 bowls of cereal per day. So I upped my cereal intake and my bagel intake and my red vines licorice intake because, you know, it was all fat free!

I remember when those Snackwell cookies came out and they were fat free and my family and I thought we were just in heaven because, oh hallelujah, they were fat free which meant we could eat the whole box! Of course after a few boxes we also noticed they tasted like cardboard but it seemed like a reasonable price to pay for being allowed to eat unlimited cookies.

And now the experts are all like, psyyyyyyyyyche!!!! (Do you remember that old saying also from the 80’s-90’s?) It turns out fat, the right fat that is, is actually super duper healthy and we need to be eating a lot more of it.

Turns out, fat doesn’t make you fat after all.

On a side note, eating 6-11 bowls of cereal every day will for sure make you fat.

This week I’ve been watching something called The Fat Summit (www.fatsummit.com). I’ve only been able to watch a few of the videos but my takeaways so far are as follows:

  • Fat doesn’t make you fat. It actually helps you burn fat.
  • Fat we¬†eat is not the same thing as the fat on our bodies.
  • Saturated fat should not be feared. In fact, eat eggs and coconut oil, they will make you skinny!
  • If you don’t eat fat you will be irritable &¬†uptight¬†and could even commit murder (It happened in a study done with¬†monkeys fed a fat free diet).
  • Eat fat with a good mindset. If you are thinking “this is going to make me fat” the whole time you are eating something, it probably will make you fat.
  • If you don’t eat enough fat your hormones can get out of whack.
  • Fat makes your food taste good.
  • Fat makes you stay satisfied for longer and decreases sugar cravings.

And on that note, here is a delicious recipe full of all the right fats!

Superfood Snack Bites

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted & soaked
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder + extra for rolling
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or blueberries, raisins or goji berries)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips or cacoa nibs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

First, soak the dates in water for several hours or overnight. Once that’s been done you are ready to proceed. Mix the chia seeds in 2-3 tablespoons of water and set them aside while they soak up all the water.

In a food processor, blend the almonds & cashews just enough to break them up a little. Then add the shredded coconut, cacao powder & salt and pulse to combine.

Next, add the dates, cherries, chia seeds and almond extract and pulse more to blend. Then add the coconut oil and blend until you reach your desired texture.

Last, stir in the chocolate chips.

Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes to let the coconut oil harden the mixture a little. Just don’t leave it in there for too long or it will get really hard! When you are ready, form the dough into bite size balls and roll each one in cacao powder. Place on a cutting board lined with parchment paper and refrigerate. Store in the refrigerator, eat with wild abandon.

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And now of course to the really good stuff. Rocco! We got Rocco a new bed. You know, because he doesn’t have enough comfy places to sleep.

It’s called the Pet Snoozer bed and I got it on Amazon. He loves it and knew exactly how to “do it”.

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But of course he still just wants to sleep on the sofa or anywhere there’s a soft blanket!

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That’s all I have for today. Bye for now!

Laura

 

How to Make Healthy Coffee Creamer

Hello, hello!

Alright so it’s been a couple weeks but I have a good excuse…I was in Puerto Vallarta!

yelapa
Yelapa, Mexico

And it was great! I didn’t take many pictures because mostly I: read on the beach, body boarded, slept, ate, ate, ate and hit up the spa. It was truly so relaxing and just what I hoped it would be. The waves were perfect from sun up to sun down and we body boarded to our hearts content. I have never been one to go to a spa on vacation but this time I did and I LOVED IT. I actually got 2 massages in 1 week. Don’t hate me! We didn’t even rent a car so it was total bliss. I ate tons of chips and guacamole and shrimp and even this molten pot of cheese!

cheese

I don’t normally like pico de gallo, as I hate tomatoes, but I was totally feeling it on this trip!

This post is going to be random as I jump subjects. But when I got home I made this fabulous banana bread from Bakerita.com!¬†I have some sort of curse when it comes to banana bread, zucchini bread or any type of quick bread. It always turns out concave and burned yet raw at the same time. This recipe though turned out perfectly.¬† It’s sweetened only with bananas and uses coconut flour. Mmmm, I still have some in my freezer. It’s perfect for dipping in coffee!

banana bread

And so now speaking of coffee, I mentioned a while back that I was quitting stevia because I’m just a little skeptical about the stuff. If you google the subject you will learn some interesting things. But my gut feeling is: if it tastes too good to be true, it probably is, so I’ve been on a quest to cut out all stevia and replace it with sweetener that comes from real food. Not just pure sugar. That stuff still isn’t healthy.

Here is a summary of my coffee loving history.

  • 1996 (age 16): Started drinking lattes! I discovered coffee flavoring syrup and determined vanilla was the best. Of course back then sugar wasn’t bad for you, fat was! A few years down the road I switched to sugar free vanilla syrup. Gross.
  • 2002-ish: Switched to regular coffee and developed a passionate love for Vanilla Coffee Mate. Yikes.
  • 2008-ish: Upon becoming vegan I switched to the soy version of Coffee Mate. Vanilla Soy Creamer. A step in the right direction for sure since I think that stuff at least doesn’t have partially hydrogenated oil in it.
  • 2011: Switched to stevia & almond milk and other non-dairy milks.

Is this interesting? No, of course not. But the point is, I’ve tried just about everything (except drinking my coffee black, haha!!!) and I am committed to getting the perfectly sweetened cup of coffee in the morning.

Of course I could just start using honey or brown rice syrup instead of stevia but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as making my own creamer out of dates now would it?!

This creamer tastes very good, is very easy to make and it gives me the satisfaction of coming from real food. And I just want to say, I have not blown up like a balloon having made this switch. I know that was a¬†concern when I quit stevia. Like, won’t switching to actual food that contains calories make me gain weight? No. The answer is no. But the stevia people don’t want us to know that. Oh, but what I do want to say is: since I made this switch my “sugar threshold” has gone waaaaay down. It doesn’t take much of this DIY Creamer to sweeten my coffee. One thing about Stevia is, it’s about 300 times¬†sweeter than sugar. So consuming stevia will indeed make you crave more sugar.

creamer 2

DIY Coffee Creamer

  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I’m liking hemp milk or almond milk as long as it doesn’t contain carageenan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • small pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight).

Remove from refrigerator and microwave for about 2 minutes to soften the dates, this will make it easier to blend.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Store in a glass container. I love the “Weck Juice Bottles” and use them for tons of things! You can get them at Crate & Barrel or Williams Sonoma.

creamer

And last but not least here is Rocco playing in what I call “Minpin Cove”. Heaps of blankets, toys, my socks and tennis balls all over my living room.

minpin cove

Alright, I’ll be back soon with more exciting things like how to make your own kitchen & bath cleaner and laundry soap! Woooo!

Laura

Pumpkin Pecan Salad

If I had my own restaurant (which I would never want BTW) THIS salad would for sure be on my (seasonal, organic, farm to table) menu!

I didn’t go on a super crazy pumpkin kick this fall like I usually do. Unless of course you take into account the fact that I ate this salad every day for a least a month straight…

pumpkin pecan salad

This salad basically tastes like a mixture of pumpkin pie and pecan pie in salad form. I realize that makes it sound gross-but what I’m getting at is: IT’S LIKE HAVING PIE FOR DINNER. Speaking of Thanksgiving, ours was super low-key. We didn’t go anywhere or do any black Friday shopping. We got outside quite a bit and had hoped to do some Nordic skiing/touring but the weather forecast was waaaay off and we did not get any real snow. We did take Rocco for a hike on Thanksgiving day though.

adventure pin

He loves hiking and actually does well in the snow as long as we keep moving :).¬†Hiking in the cold really wears him out which I think any Min Pin owner knows is a very satisfying feeling. He isn’t crazy wild like he was a¬†year ago when he was still technically a puppy but he still has quite a lot of energy!

Alright, let’s get to this salad, shall we? It’s super simple to throw together every night as long as you have your pumpkin (in this case I used an acorn squash) cooked ahead of time.

How to cook an acorn squash

  1. Preheat oven to 365¬ļ F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise so you are slicing with the grooves. Use a large knife with a sharp end. Pierce the squash with the sharp end and slice downward. Be careful & watch those fingers!!
  3. Lightly grease the cut ends of the squash with olive oil and place face down on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes face down then, using tongs, turn squash over and bake for 30 more minutes face up.

Pumpkin Pecan Salad

  • Kale, chopped into small pieces
  • Acorn squash (or butternut or probably any squash really)
  • Pecans
  • Beyond Meat Chicken strips (or real chicken)
  • Fig Balsamic Dressing (or dressing of your choice)
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter or ghee to taste (optional but realllly good)

Of course I don’t list any quantities because it just totally depends on how big you want your salad to be!

Chop kale up, toss with a Fig Balsamic dressing and set aside. Warm chicken and squash up (if it isn’t still hot from the oven). You may want to put some butter or ghee on the squash to give it extra yumminess. I fully endorse this method.

Add warmed squash & chicken and pecans to the salad. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and salt.

Like I said, I ate this every night for a month (maybe more) and it never got old! I actually have an acorn squash on my kitchen counter that’s begging to be in this salad!

I rarely buy salad dressing from the store because it’s just so easy to make my own, not to mention cheaper and healthier. But I was at Whole Foods and this dressing caught my eye. It’s actually been nice having a pre-made dressing that I can just grab out of the fridge.

fig balsamic

Alright, I think that’s all for now! I’m trying to do 1 post a week and I have a loooong list of recipes and projects to share so I will slowly but surely get everything up here.

Have a great day!!

Laura

 

 

 

Creamy Carrot Curry Soup

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 4 months since my last post!

I had a busier than usual summer followed by a busier than usual fall and now, here we go, it’s almost time for the holidays!

I have so many new recipes, stories and photos to share so I’m just sitting here wondering where to begin…

I could show pictures of our new kitchen counter tops or pictures from our latest adventures, BUT, you know where my heart really lies: Food & Rocco!

Let’s start with this soup. On the surface it sounds really boring: carrot soup, bleh. But I promise you, this one is worth a try! I’ve been eating it for 3 weeks straight and I’m still not sick of it. It is very light and warming and just perfect for this time of year. I also love that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare (using a food processor) and then it just passively cooks the rest of the time. Perfect for those hurried Sunday evenings when you reeeeeeallly don’t want to cook your lunches for the week!

soup

And as a side note, you’ll notice there’s TOFU in this recipe! That’s right, sometime in the last 4 months I started sliding back into my veggie¬†ways. I’m not following any strict regimens these days. I’m not vegan, I’m not paleo, I’m just eating what feels good to my body. For the most part I’ve gone back to a plant based diet but I’m not shunning the odd egg or cheesecake or piece of bread slathered in butter. I’ll do a “what I’m eating now” post soon. How exciting…not!

And of course there’s Rocco! My sweet, sweet, Rocco. If you need more Rocco in your life, follow him on Instagram @Rocco_the_Minpin. I do post pictures of him regularly.

rocco fort.jpg
Here he is in his “fort”. This is a side table that happens to be placed over a heat vent. He takes all his toys (and my socks) and hangs out under there when the heat is on!

4 months ago he was still recovering from that mystery illness. We still have no idea what caused him to get so sick. We think he might have been bitten by a Black Widow spider but some people say he would have had necrotic tissue or we at least would have seen some swelling. He had absolutely no bite mark but all the symptoms were that of a Black Widow bite. Paralysis, sudden illness…it was so bad.

It actually took him 8 weeks to fully recover and regain all of his usual behaviors. And now he is so great! Maybe even better than before because now he seems to understand that we saved his life so he has a deeper level of trust for us.

Here are 2 Rocco highlights:

  1. I taught him how to “give me a hug” when I get home from work. This melts my heart. You can watch the video here:¬†https://goo.gl/photos/mpU7j6tqbGYJ4pXi6
  2. And I also taught him “snuggle time with Mom”. If I sit down and yell “Rocco, snuggle time with Mom!” he will come running from wherever he’s been and dive under the blanket.rocco snuggle.jpg

Alright, here is that soup recipe!

Creamy Carrot Curry Soup

  • 6 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons diced garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 block extra firm or firm tofu (from refrigerated section), cubed

If you have a food processor, use it as it will make this recipe very easy and fast to prepare.

Heat coconut oil in a medium size saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, curry, turmeric & salt and cook 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.

Next, add the chopped carrot, vegetable broth and coconut milk and stir. Increase heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then blend either using a regular blender or an immersion (stick) blender.

Transfer blended soup to a large bowl/corning-ware dish and add in the diced tofu.

Well it’s so good to be back and I promise I will be back soon with what I’ve been having for breakfast every single morning for the last few months!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

Deep, Dark, Rich, Delicious…Protein Brownie Bites!

brownie pan

brownie frosting

I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe. I seriously haven’t been this excited about a recipe in a long time. It’s a totally healthy energy bar¬†but it tastes like a brownie. So I didn’t know what to call them because if I call it a brownie it doesn’t sound healthy, but if I call it an energy bar it doesn’t sound tasty! Make them for yourself, you’ll see what I’m talking about!

The base is comprised of a mixture of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates which makes it a great “energy bar” to take on all your summer adventures. OR you can top it with a seemingly decadent frosting for a treat you can enjoy any time of day. Perfect for when you need that little sweet treat after dinner or in the afternoon (or breakfast or a morning snack…)!

A few words on the ingredients before I get to the recipe.

  1. Start with whole, raw, unsalted almonds and make your own almond flour if you have a food processor. This is a much less expensive way to make almond flour, plus you are guaranteed fresh almond flour this way. I’m always worried about the freshness of almond flour when I purchase it from the store because almonds can go rancid! I purchase my almonds from Costco in the baking aisle. They are raw, unsalted and inexpensive this way!rodelle
  2. Use a protein powder you like the taste of. This is not the time to use that protein powder that tastes like dirt and gives you gas that you’ve had in your pantry for the last 3 years. Seriously, throw that one out!
    1. I have used this Vital Whey Protein to make these and it works well. The flavor is very mild. I still like Vega Protein Smoothie and Vega Protein & Greens¬†and continue to use Vega on a daily basis. If you are going to use a whey protein, from what I’ve read anyway, make sure you choose one that is non-denatured and from grass fed cows like the one I listed above.
  3. Splurge on a quality cocoa powder. I ran out of my usual¬†Western Family cocoa powder and ended up buying this Rodelle Baking Cocoa from Whole Foods and WOW, it’s a serious game changer. I have also used the Ghiradelli baking cocoa and although it is excellent, it still isn’t as good as the Rodelle Cocoa.

Alright, let’s get to it!

Protein Brownie Bites

Base Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond meal (see notes above & below or use store bought)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup protein powder (chocolate or vanilla will work but I use chocolate)
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 6 dates, pitted and soaked for at least 15 minutes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup almond milk + 1-2 tablespoons if needed
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

Frosting Ingredients (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)

First, remove the pit from the dates and soak them in water for 15 minutes to several hours. Next, make your own almond meal by putting 2-3 cups of almonds in a food processor and blending until an almost flour-like consistency. Remove the almond meal from the food processor and set aside. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Alternatively, these can also be rolled into balls, in which case, use any size pan you want.

Strain the dates, discard the water and place the dates in the food processor and pulse until they are chopped small. Next, add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor and turn it on. It will take a minute or so but before long the dough will “ball up” and that means it’s done! Scrape the sides as needed and if it is too dry and isn’t balling up add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Use a spatula to press the dough into the prepared 8×8 pan, try to get it evenly flat. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the frosting.

Frosting is optional. The base makes a rich and guilt-free energy bar or treat. The frosting is delicious and coverts them into more of a brownie. The frosting melts easily so if you are planning on taking these on a hot car ride or bike ride I suggest going without frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted coconut oil, honey and unsweetened cocoa powder in a small bowl and stir until smooth. After stirring for a minute the frosting will start to thicken. At that point, it’s ready to use! Evenly spread the frosting onto the brownies and place back in the refrigerator to set up for several minutes. Once the frosting has hardened, slice into squares and enjoy!

There you go. I hope you make these and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! I’ve been keeping a batch in my freezer and when I feel like having one I heat it up in the microwave for ~ 16 seconds which is just enough time to make it warm and gooey which totally hits the spot after dinner.dough

Here is what the dough should look like when it goes in the pan-pretty dense!

They can also be rolled into balls for a treat on the go! I think making bars is easier though-especially if you are going to frost them.

ball

And last, here are a couple of sleeping Rocco pics! Have a great week!

Laura

roccorocco j

Coconut Flour Biscuits

Some 7 months ago my husband and I set out on our first Whole 30. Wow, I can’t believe it was that long ago!

While on the Whole 30 you aren’t allowed to eat any sort of baked creation that would replicate bread, cookies, pancakes etc. Well, my husband really missed having something “bread-y” for breakfast or before/after workouts so I did some research and wound up creating¬†these (I think they might technically be Paleo but honestly I don’t know what is technically Paleo) biscuits out of coconut flour, eggs, coconut sugar and coconut oil.

These aren’t your standard light & fluffy biscuits. They are heavy and dense but quite tasty and my husband really likes them. They are totally customizable-you can add blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon, herbs or whatever you heart desires!

biscuit

Since doing the Whole 30 twice, my diet has changed some. Some things stuck, some didn’t. For starters, I don’t really eat grains any more. I don’t have issues with grains (some people do) but mostly they just didn’t sound all that good after I stopped eating them. I see them as “filler”¬†carbs now. I would rather get carbs from vegetables, fruits, sweet potatoes & potatoes. You know, the good stuff. Second, I eat meat now, not tofu! I’m not a huge carnivore eating meat 4 times a day or anything but once I realized how much easier it is to get protein from meat I just never went back to eating tofu. Plus there was the whole hormone issue I was (maybe) having from eating soy. Eating out is so exciting for me now. It’s a whole new world!

I still eat loads of vegetables. Maybe even more than before because before the Whole 30 I ate quite a bit of beans & grains and now I get most of my carbs from vegetables. I will still choose dark chocolate as a treat over anything else and I still like a little wine from time to time ūüôā

Bottom line: From all the research I’ve done, it seems the healthiest diet is one that consists mainly of assorted vegetables, protein (from whatever source floats your boat), some healthy fat & some fruit. Really limit consumption of any type of baked good/pastry/candy/sugary food/food you know is not health food.

Yep. That’s it. I’m yet to find the miracle diet that promotes alcohol consumption and chocolate cake. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking though ūüėČ

Here are a couple of Rocco pics! As soon as I get more caught up on my blog I’ll post more but I don’t want to make this post too long!

rocco snoozing

 

Here he is snoozing in a blanket. This is just about the only time you can take a picture of him because he is always in motion!

rocco smug

And here he is sitting smug on my husbands lap!

I’m not good about updating my blog but I am pretty good about updating Rocco’s Instagram account. Follow him @Rocco_the_minpin!

And last, here’s the recipe for those biscuits!

Coconut Flour Biscuits

Makes about 20 biscuits. I make a huge batch and freeze half. If you don’t want two dozen just half this recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or regular ol’ white sugar)
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • options: 2 teaspoons cinnamon, blueberries, chocolate chips, herbs

Preheat oven to 400¬įF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (a must have kitchen item!). In a very large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Next, use an electric mixer to beat in the¬†eggs and vanilla. Last, add the melted coconut oil and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides as you go.

Use your hands to form the batter into “biscuit” shapes. The size is up to you! Small cookie size is nice and large ones that can be cut in half are nice too.

Bake at 400¬į for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Have a great weekend!

Laura