Tag Archives: Dairy-Free

Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups (Paleo, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Soooooo, chocolate. It really needs no introduction – am I right?! If you’re reading this post you probably love chocolate like I do…and like most people with a pulse do. Ive had to give up chocolate twice in my life: once when I was breastfeeding my little guy, who had bad reflux and was clearly allergic to something I was consuming, so I eliminated all possible culprits (thankfully it was dairy, not chocolate that he was allergic to); and once when I had to eliminate “moldy” foods due to systemic mold toxicity. It was not easy, and it was not pleasant, life without chocolate. Some of you may be thinking “you own a health and fitness studio – why are you always encouraging us to eat chocolate?”. Well, because I am a firm believer that, as the Eating Evolved slogan so cleverly puts it, chocolate is food, not candy. When it’s the right kind of chocolate that is. Here’s why:

Health Benefits of Chocolate

  • Packed with anti-oxidants and is free radical fighting
  • Can improve heart health
  • Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • May help fight cancer
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Can boost cognitive functioning
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • Contains numerous vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, etc

Isn’t that amazing? But here’s the thing: we’re not talking about the chocolate that you used to get trick-or-treating as a kid: you know, the Snickers and Butterfinger bars…those are not considered “food” and you will not see the above benefits from eating 6 candy bars a day. We’re talking about pure, dark chocolate, the darker the better. Here is what you want to look for – and avoid – when choosing a healthy chocolate:

  • 70% or higher cacao content (we typically don’t use anything lower than 85%)
  • organic or fair trade
  • minimally processed
  • no additives or soy
  • preferably no refined sugar (maple or coconut sugar preferred)

We buy Eating Evolved chocolate because it meets all of our criteria and is delicious! While we don’t use it as a meal replacement, we do eat quite a bit of it, and like knowing that we’re nurturing our bodies and our health. We also love to make treats with it from time to time, like my Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups!


Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 dark chocolate bar (we use 85%, but you could use darker or lighter, or a combination of the two!)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 1/4c coconut butter or nut butter (we like almond butter)

Directions

  1. Line mini-muffin tin with 12 mini-muffin liners. Alternatively you can buy mini muffin liners that do not need to be used in a tin, you would just place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in double boiled over low-medium heat.
  3. Spoon about a teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner. Steps 3-5 should be done rather quickly to avoid the chocolate drying and becoming less manageable (and pretty)!
  4. Spoon a dollop (a teaspoon or so) of coconut butter or nut butter on top of the chocolate.
  5. Spoon another teaspoon or so of chocolate on top of the butter. If needed, continue to add a little more chocolate to each cup to cover the butter, and until all of the chocolate is used.
  6. Freeze for 20 min.
  7. Enjoy!
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30 Healthy Snack Ideas (paleo, dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

I love to snack. Much like my 3- and 5-year-old, I get excited to open up a snack bag (even thought it’s one I packed) when we’re out for the day and it’s their (ahem, our) snack time. Japheth can literally go all day without snacking once. He will eat his 4-5 meals and be perfectly content. But me? I love having something to munch on. And as anyone who eats clean knows, it’s not always easy to be a snacker in this world. It’s not like we can grab a tin of Pringles or some cheese and crackers and go to town. And it’s quite a challenge to find good snacks at the store…don’t get me started on that subject. But, in this post, I have for you 30 – yes, 30 – snack ideas that are clean. I’m talking paleo-friendly, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, you got it. And many of these ideas are just a little twist on things you already have at home! Of course, I’ve also included a few that you can buy and stick to use when in a pinch, and not feel guilty about!

30 Healthy Snack Ideas

  1. Nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies
  2. Carrot sticks dipped in mashed avocado
  3. Ants on a log (nut butter on every pieces, topped with raisins)
  4. Ants on a stump (banana slices topped with nut butter, then topped with raisins)
  5. Homemade Trail Mix (nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes, even dark chocolate)
  6. Paleo granola
  7. Maple-glazed walnuts (add 2c walnuts and 1/3c maple syrup to pan on
    medium-high heat. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, until syrup is
    caramelized).
  8. Coconut date poppers (can also make these in bars)
  9. Dark chocolate covered nuts
  10. Nut or seed butters (make your own!)
  11. Dried Fruit (with no added sugar or sulfur)
  12. Dates stuffed with almond butter
  13. Frozen grapes
  14. Frozen bananas
  15. Dark chocolate covered frozen bananas
  16. Smoothies like this super-healthy and yet somehow delicious one!
  17. Homemade Popsicles
  18. Boiled Eggs (sprinkle with favorite seasoning)
  19. Deviled eggs (yolks mixed with avocado and stuffed into whites)
  20. BACON
  21. Bacon Avocado sandwiches (avocado between two slices of bacon)
  22. Anything wrapped in bacon
  23. This chocolate. After all, as their slogan says, chocolate is food, not candy.
  24. Beef or pork sticks
  25. Kale chips
  26. Sweet potato chips **read the ingredients and make sure it’s clean, like Jackson’s brand!
  27. Paleo-friendly macaroons
  28. Lara bars are great, just make sure to avoid the ones with peanut butter!
  29. Coconut flakes – these have a little sweetness!
  30. Beef jerky bites – we love Epic bites and bars!

So there you have it, 30 healthy snack ideas for you to stay on track with your clean-eating, but also to satisfy that snack-craving! What are your favorite healthy snacks when the craving hits?

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The Ultimate Green Smoothie (paleo, dairy-free)

Like probably millions of other Americans, our schedule is pretty hectic. Between the business, two small children, and all of the day-to-day things that come up, I need quick and easy when it comes to cooking. That’s not to say I skimp on taste, quality, or health though. No matter how hectic things get, I will move everything aside if I’m working on perfecting a recipe or experimenting with new ways to introduce delicious foods into our diet! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to perfect. Once I finally invested in a Vitamix (life changer, and every bit worth the price!), making smoothies became a piece of cake. In fact, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t hopped on the bandwagon before! Life before the Vitamix didn’t have a lot of greens in it. I mean, we’d eat greens on a regular basis, but the majority of our veggie intake came from root veggies, because they’re faster and easier to eat relative to leafy greens. One serving of a sweet potato equates about 4-6 cups of leafy greens, and when you’re always on the go there’s no time for eating that many greens for every meal, much less for eating mindfully! But then, smoothies came into my life, and I no longer lack leafy greens in my diet. We (kids included) drink a green smoothie each morning to start our day, and I usually have one or two throughout the day as well, along with the other veggies I eat.

Why Leafy Greens are Important

We probably all know by now that leafy greens are good for us. Everyone tells us to eat more leafy greens, the darker the better. But why? Here’s a refresher of some reasons that leafy greens aren’t just important, they are necessary. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, etc. contain vital nutrients that our bodies need to function and live optimally. They are a good source of:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium
  4. Folate
  5. Betaine
  6. Manganese
  7. Carotenoids
  8. Vitamin C
  9. Phytochemicals such as beta-carotine
  10. Antioxidants

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I call this The Ultimate Green Smoothie because not only does it contain a generous helping of dark leafy greens, but also other powerful foods such as nutrient-dense herbs, health-boosting gelatin, and digestion enhancing probiotics. And even with all of this healthy stuff it still tastes so good we all ask for more! **Make sure to use local organic ingredients as much as possible in order to access the nutrients fully, and to avoid ingesting chemicals.

Ingredients:

  • water or water kefir, enough to fill blender 1/3-1/2 full
  • 2 probiotic capsules
  • dark leafy greens, enough to fill blender about 2/3 full (about 1 bunch of kale or 6c spinach)
  • 1 generous handful fresh herbs (we use cilantro, basil, or parsley)
  • 1c pitted dates
  • 2c frozen fruit (we like mangoes and strawberries the best)
  • 2tsp grass-fed collagen hydrolysate

Directions:

Fill blender 1/3-1/2 full of water. If you like thick smoothies use 1/3 water; if you like runnier smoothies, use 1/2 pitcher of water. Open probiotic caps and pour powder into water. Wash greens and herbs thoroughly and pack them down into pitcher until it gets to about 3/4 full. Add dates. Next add fruit, and top with gelatin. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this Ultimate Green Smoothie as much as we do! How do you like to eat your leafy greens?

 

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2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy (Paleo, Refined Sugar-free)

Have you ever been to a sugarhouse in Vermont? If not, you should go. Why? Because first of all Vermont is beautiful. Peaceful, serene, unplugged. Everyone should spend at least a weekend in Vermont. Seriously. Maybe we’ll add that as part of our health and wellness plan for our clients. As soon as you enter the state you immediately feel your breaths become deeper, your shoulders relax back down to where they’re meant to be, your mood lightens. It’s the perfect place to de-stress, to enjoy nature, and

Maple sugar house between trees with fall foliage at the countryside at Reading, Vermont, USA

to just be. Second, sugarhouses are usually set in some beautiful majestic setting (it is Vermont afterall), often down a windy, hilly path surrounding by mountains, trees, and gorgeous clean air. Third, this is where the most delicious, pure, straight from the trees maple syrup is made. And if you’ve never tried Vermont’s maple syrup, well…you should. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and intense flavor, and you can almost taste the cool air and pure nature that only Vermont can produce.

Okay, okay, maple syrup is delicious. But it’s sugar, right? Actually, maple syrup is an unrefined natural sugar, and like honey it contains higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients than white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. It’s a wonderful alternative to refined and processed sugars, which are linked to numerous health problems. In fact, here are some benefits of maple syrup, in case you’re on the fence (I suggest getting down from the fence and going to Vermont, but hey that’s just me):

5 Benefits of Maple Syrup:

  1. Contains nutrients: zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium.
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Lower glycemic index than refined sugars
  4. Good for the skin: can lower inflammation and dryness
  5. Healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, thus helping to prevent health problems that these cause
  • Even with these health benefits, maple syrup, just like any sugar, should be consumed in moderation.

In our house, maple syrup and raw honey are the sweeteners of choice when we need to satisfy a sweet tooth. This Easter I decided to think outside the box a little, and instead of more chocolate candies, I decided to make a maple candy. It turned out delicious, and just like the candy we tried in Vermont! It’s pretty easy to make, but make sure you follow the directions as accurately as possible. We no longer use chocolate chips because even the dark chips often contain soy and/or sugar, which we try to avoid. Instead we use our eating evolved chocolate bars and chop them up into chip-sized pieces! Also, you can choose to omit the chocolate chips and you’ll still have a delicious maple candy that can be spooned into candy molds for a cute presentation!

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy

  1. In large saucepan, boil maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Use candy thermometer and continue boiling until it reaches 235 degrees F.
  2. Remove saucepan fro heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, or 175 degrees F.
  3. Once cooled, whisk rapidly until lighter in color, thick and creamy. Quickly stir in chocolate pieces (it’s okay if the chocolate is a little melty; you want to add the chocolate once it’s smooth and somewhat cool, but if you wait too long the mixture will be too hard!)
  4. Pour into candy molds or into an 8X8 pan (or something similar). Cool in refrigerator for a few minutes. Can be stored in airtight container in fridge for up to 3-4 weeks (but I promise it won’t last that long!)

I hope you enjoy this Maple-Chocolate Candy as much as we do, and at some point get to experience Vermont too! What are you’re favorite uses for maple syrup?

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Developing a Positive Relationship with Food: Making a Positive Shift

What comes to mind when you hear the word “diet”? For many, it’s a sense of dread or even disgust. Just like with any diet or lifestyle choice, Paleo has its critics. I’ve found that the most critical opinions tend to come from those who don’t really understand what Paleo is, and what it really is about. For us, it’s not a diet (and I hate associating it with the word “diet” because of the negative connotations that go along with that), and it’s not meant to be a restrictive lifestyle either. Paleo, for us, is changing our way of thinking about food, and our perspective about what food is and what we use it for. Since beginning the Paleo lifestyle, I have gone through a myriad of emotions, many that I witness our clients going through as they transition to eating healthier. It’s looking at food in appreciation, and an understanding of how it was made, what is in it, and how those things effect our bodies. Paleo is a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s not a temporary way to lose weight, or a restriction of all things fun. In fact, since going Paleo, I have had more fun than I ever have in shopping for food, creating food, and enjoying food with my family, without that insatiable need to depend on food for all social activities and emotional ups and downs. It’s been freeing in that I can focus more of my energy on experiences and relationships with people, rather than food. All that said, like anyone, I struggle at times, especially as our society is still not conducive to clean eating. Going out to eat can be challenging, as can other social events. But I have learned to navigate most situations in a way that is comfortable to me and my family, and allows me to still enjoy most things that I did before – and then some new things too! For me, once I figured out how to look at food differently, more positively, I became content with my nutrition, my lifestyle, and myself.

Negative Relationship Patterns with Food

So let’s take the word “diet” out of the equation, and even the word “Paleo” for a minute and focus on how to start shifting perspective from a negative to a positive relationship with food. Because in order to be successful in reaching any health and fitness goals, a positive relationship with food is necessary, and imperative. Here are some of the most common negative patterns with food (do any of these relate to you?):

  • Emotional/Stress Eating: whether feeling positive or negative emotions, eating based solely on emotion can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health.
  • Ignoring Hunger Cues: an inability to tell when you are hungry, and when you are satiated. Ignoring your body’s signals can lead to weight fluctuation and unhealthy weight gain or loss.
  • Food Guilt: beating yourself up about an unhealthy food choice so much that you’re unable to enjoy the food, or the experience.
  • Skipping Meals: skipping meals is just a bad idea. It can be detrimental for your mood, your sleep, your metabolic functioning and your overall health.
  • Negative Nelly: when describing your eating routine you list all the things you cannot eat. When thinking about your health/nutrition plan, the only things you can focus on are the foods that you miss and that you have eliminated, and how that impacts other aspects of your life in a negative way.
  • Restriction: you restrict yourself from food so much that you miss the point of healthy eating – to fill your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically – not to deprive yourself of all things happy!

Making a Positive Shift

If any of these things describe you, you may have some work to do before you can be successful with your health and nutrition journey. We’re striving for healthy body and healthy mind, and to do that we want to take some of the emotional stress out of your relationship with food. Here are some ways to make a positive shift in perspective when it comes to food, and how ultimately to develop a more positive relationship with food in order to be successful – and happy!

  1. Mindful Eating. This is listed first because I feel that it is the most important key to enjoying food, understanding food, and learning to eat and enjoy real, whole, organic foods. Eating mindfully can lead to better control over your weight by allowing you to tune into hunger cues. When eating mindfully, it also helps you to get more satisfaction from food, and enjoy the various flavors of real foods. Think about how you might eat a hamburger from a fast food restaurant or popcorn at a movie theatre – probably pretty fast and mindlessly, right? And you think it tastes so delicious because in those quick minutes of eating you are overwhelmed with the taste of salt and chemicals. Now imagine sitting down to eat a salad made with fresh, local organic vegetables and a bunless grassfed burger, eating slowly and tasting each subtle flavor, imagining the farm that these foods came from, healthy cows, and vegetables growing in the warm sun, and no added pesticides or chemicals. Try bringing more time and awareness to your next meal and notice the difference.
  2. Eat When You’re Hungry. It sound so simple, but we all struggle with this one. You come home from work and nosh on the first thing you see because you’re relieving stress. You have a fight with a friend or spouse and you down 6 brownies. You go to dinner with friends and you eat an inordinate amount of cheese dip, fries and maybe even some key lime pie. I’m not saying don’t eat when with friends. My point here is to bring more awareness to when you eat and why. And try to eat when you’re hungry, as much as possible. Emotional/stress eating leads to weight challenges, and negative emotional energy toward yourself and others.
  3. Imperfection. If you’re human, you will make mistakes, even when eating. And it’s ok! Just because you couldn’t resist that bread, or slice of cake, doesn’t mean your health plan is ruined, and it doesn’t make you a failure. Acknowledge your mistake, and how you want to do it differently next time, and let out go. Move forward. Be kind to yourself.
  4. Positive Penny. Let’s say goodbye to Negative Nelly – she drives me crazy. When someone asks you about your nutrition or lifestyle, start telling them about all of the amazing things you do and eat. For example, I had this amazing 6 layer paleo strawberry cake for my birthday this year! I discovered how to make the most delicious salad dressing I’ve ever eaten because of my paleo preferences, and I never feel bloated after a Thanksgiving meal! Also, I’m more active since going paleo, because all of my social engagements are no longer centered around food, but more around things like yoga classes, bowling, hiking and concerts!
  5. Enjoy the Experience. Whether cooking your own food or eating out with others, take time not just to eat mindfully, but to enjoy and be grateful for the experience of creating the food, sharing the food, and eating the food.
  6. Eat. Be okay with eating. Every meal, and multiple times a day. When you use the tools above you’ll soon realize that not only will you not gain weight or fat from eating multiple meals a day, you will actually feel better and your life and energy will improve.

Hopefully this will give you some food for thought. How have you found success and contentment when it comes to food and a healthy way of eating? What mistakes have you made, and how have you overcome your challenges?
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18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Pudding Recipe! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Mango Pudding! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

Let’s talk about avocados. You wouldn’t believe the amount of avocados we go through in our house. Seriously. We (and by “we” I mean even the kids) eat them by themselves, on top of salads, and on top of soups. We make recipes, using them in pesto, puddings, ice creams, and of course guacamole. Avocado oil is our oil of choice for most salad dressings and in much of our cooking. We love the creamy texture, the subtle flavor, and most of all how it makes us feel. Avocados provide healthy fat, which when paired with its high nutrient content (i.e. fiber, vitamins B, C, K, and E, potassium, and magnesium) makes them satiating and super-healthy.

Here are some Avocado products that we use and recommend:

18 Health Benefits of Avocados

The health benefits of avocados are numerous, and are backed by loads of scientific research. Here are 18 reasons why these little fruits are so great for us:

  1. They are very nutritious. As I mentioned, avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5 and B6, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, zinc, and more. They have a very low glycemic index and are low in saturated fat.
  2. They are high in fiber. Avocados are very high in fiber compared to most other foods, a quarter of which is soluble.
  3. They help lower cholesterol.
  4. They promote better nutrient absorption. Avocados actually increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from other plant foods.
  5. They promote eye health. Avocados are high in antioxidants that support eye health and lower the risk of eye problems such as degeneration.
  6. They promote weight loss. Avocados are often recommended when trying to lose weight, as they are high in fiber and healthy fat, thus more satiating.
  7. They are high in protein. Avocados, unlike most fruits, are high in protein and low in sugar.
  8. They promote healthy metabolic functioning. Avocados contain fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
  9. They are easy to eat. We all love foods that are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Avocados fit the bill. Just cut and scoop, and your snack is all set!
  10. They are beneficial in pregnancy. Due to their high levels of folic acids, vitamin K, and vitamin B, avocados are often recommended to women who are pregnant and post-partum.
  11. They promote healthy liver. Avocados help protect the liver in a number of ways.
  12. They are anti-inflammatory. Avocados contain vitamins K and E, which help reduce cellular inflammation.
  13. They provide dental care. Avocados contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties which have the ability to kill bad bacteria in the mouth.
  14. They promote longevity. These superfoods are associated with healthy aging due to a regenerating compound called xanthophyll.
  15. They promote bone health. Avocados are shown to help in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
  16. They heal dry skin. They help soothe chapped lips and cracked skin.
  17. They provide great skin care. Avocado oil is soothing and moisturizing for the skin. It can be used in natural homemade skin care such as body butters, face cream and lip balms. Also, the good fats can help protect the skin and prevent sun damage.
  18. They promote healthy mood and sleep.

As if that list isn’t enough, here is another reason to buy and consume avocados: a delicious and easy Avocado-Mango Pudding recipe! This is a favorite in our house. I can whip it up in under 5 minutes, and it hits the spot when craving something sweet and satiating. The light and fluffy texture makes it fun for the kids too!

Avocado-Mango Pudding Recipe

– 1 ripe organic haas avocado, peeled and pitted
– 1 10-oz bag frozen organic mango chunks
– 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
– 2 T raw local honey (or more, to taste)

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and fluffy. Eat, and enjoy!

 

 

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3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake (dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo)

3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake (dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo)

It’s winter, but in our house that doesn’t deter us from requesting – and eating – ice creams, or in this case, milkshakes. It does, however, deter us from eating them outside like we would in the summer. I mean, we’re not crazy. Winter also makes me lazy. Well, as lazy as a mom of two littles who also owns a business can be, I guess. Lazy in terms of making ice cream. During the summer I get super creative with experimenting with recipes (usually involving chocolate) and concocting all kinds of frozen goodness in the kitchen. But in the winter, I spend most of my cooking energy on warm meals (soups and stews oh my), and stick to the basics when it comes to frozen treats. That’s why I love this mango milkshake recipe. It fosters my laziness.

Health Benefits of Mangoes

Let’s talk about mangoes for a minute. They deserve a minute – maybe two. Mangoes have a number of health benefits that make them a super snack. Mangoes are packed with vitamins A, B, and C, and contain magnesium, potassium, and copper too. The antioxidants contained in mangoes can help the body fight cancer, while the vitamins and fibers help lower cholesterol and keep blood pressure in check. The probiotic fibers in mangoes aid digestive functioning, the vitamins and potassium content can help ward off heart disease, and the vitamins and carotenoids contribute to immune system health. Mangoes even promote healthy skin and hair, good eye sight, and bone health.

And they’re delicious.

3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake

Have you ever had frozen mango? Much like fresh mango, frozen mango is yummy. It’s a nice blend of creamy, sweet, and slightly tart, and makes a great addition to smoothies, FYI. We keep a huge stock of frozen fruit in our freezer at all times for our daily kale smoothies, and mango is a favorite. The kids often request frozen mango as part of their snack. So one day, probably a winter day, when I was craving ice cream, I decided to throw some frozen mango into my food processor and see what happened. And this 3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake recipe was born. You won’t believe how easy and delicious it is. You might even feel silly for spending possibly more time reading this post than actually making the milkshake. But hey, you learned some pretty cool things about mangoes!

– 10oz bag organic frozen mango chunks
– 2/3c full fat organic coconut milk
– 2T organic maple syrup  or raw honey

Put everything in food processor (or a really great blender) and process/blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if you like your shakes a little runnier, no judgment here. *TIP: store any leftover in popsicle molds for popsicles later!

 

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Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup

Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup (grain-free, dairy-free)

Ugh, the stomach bug. I dread it each year, because as anyone with children understands, the stomach bug will hit at some point each year. This year we naively thought we were in the clear, as our oldest is in her first year of preschool, and only three half-days a week, and our youngest is home with me every day. Somehow in my mind the half days made her less susceptible to the ick. We made it until February, and then it hit. One down, two, three, then all four of us were down. I was the last one to catch on; I had gotten too confident and couldn’t resist kissing my little ones even when they were sick. I paid the price. We were fortunate I guess that we didn’t all have it at the same time, but the stomach bug is simply awful regardless. On a more positive note, we all survived, despite our proclamations in the moment that death must be near. We made it through – for now – and are back to living life with gratitude!

Post-bug I am working my way through the house, disinfecting with essential oils and vinegar everywhere. Our stomachs are all still a little queasy, even days later, so we’re not quite back to eating like normal. It was time for me to make my old standby, my very simple and perfect-for-sick-recovery Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup. There really is nothing better than a warm bowl of chicken soup, made with the freshest ingredients to make a tummy swoon. Sick or not this is a family favorite and a winter staple in our house! Feel free to experiment with veggies; we tend to keep ours very simple but I imagine kale, spinach, celery, carrots, mushrooms, even peas would make delicious additions!

Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup

– 3T avocado oil or olive oil
– 3lb organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 large yellow onion, diced
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 2T coconut flour
– 2c bone broth (we used homemade chicken or beef broth)
– 1c full fat organic coconut milk
– sea salt and black pepper, to taste
– cilantro (opt)
– avocado (opt)

Heat 2T oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and make sure it covers the bottom. Cut the chicken into large cubes and toss into pot. Sautee until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken and place aside. Add 1T oil to pot and sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic and cook until fragrant. 

Whisk in coconut flour. Pour broth into mixture and stir. Add chicken now, and any other veggies that you desire. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then turn to low, maintaining simmer, for 30 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve and top with cilantro and avocado if you like that kinda thing
(definitely recommended!).

I hope you try this Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup the next time you’re feeling under the weather, or maybe just when you want an easy warm meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coconut Buttermints (paleo, refined sugar-free)

Coconut Buttermints (Paleo, refined sugar-free)

This has been a warm winter, relatively. I feel almost like I’m back in North Carolina, instead of Philadelphia. But I’m not, and where is the snow? The funny thing is, I never ever thought I’d complain about NOT having a cold winter. I used to hate snow. It’s true, as weird as that may sound. But living here has helped me overcome my fear and now I love it – even look forward to it! It’s so empowering when you can actually drive in snow (which was the fear that held me back from appreciating that beautiful white blanket). It makes you feel like you can do anything! If you’re from the south you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, it’s only January so there are still plenty of snow opportunities left, plenty of time to sip – or chug – hot chocolate, to perfect that snowman that I still haven’t figured out how to make, and to be annoyed at the endless snow shoveling required. Ahhhhh, winter.

I also love to eat yummy things in the winter. One of the flavors I love the most during winter is peppermint. It’s kinda funny when you think about it, because you would think that something with a cool flavor would be associated with hot summer days, not freezing cold days. But it is so good during the winter, right? Peppermint cocoa, mint brownies, buttermints…okay buttermints are maybe more of a year round post-steak-dinner thing, but I love them during winter especially. But I don’t love all the additives and processed stuff that buttermints are usually made with. Yuck. These Coconut Buttermints are made with real, non-processed ingredients, and healthy fat from coconut. They have just the right amount of maple syrup goodness, and they are soooo buttery (hence the name). I like to make them in little “buttons”, but they can be made into any shape you like. Try them, have fun with it!

Coconut Buttermints

-1 c coconut butter (or coconut cream concentrate)
-1/4c shredded coconut
-3T maple syrup
-1tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Combine ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spoon into icing bag (or like me into a baggie with one corner clipped to squeeze mixture through). Squeeze little mints, any shape or size you like, onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Or, if you’re short on time or just feeling lazy, simply spoon mixture into a container and cut into pieces once hardened. Place mints into fridge to harden.

We hope you enjoy these Paleo-friendly coconut buttermints as much as we do – let us know what you think!

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Coconut Date Poppers (Paleo, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Nut- and Egg-free)

 

Coconut Date Poppers (paleo, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, egg and nut-free)

My kids and I have become huge date fans. They have become a staple in our household, and we purchase them in bulk, saving a bundle! I’m always thrilled when I come across a healthy snack food that the kids enjoy for more than a day or two, and even more thrilled when its something that Japheth and I enjoy too. Anything to make life a little easier while juggling the little ones and the business is awesome. We use them as a sweetener for our smoothie and a topping for our salads. We make homemade Lara bars with them, stuff them with almond butter or coconut butter, and even eat them plain by the handful. I love that they are sweet, chewy, and even more healthy than one might think! Read more about the health benefits of dates, and a few ways that we like to snack on them here .

Did I mention I love creating new recipes? Well I do, as many of our blog followers could have guessed. And since we love dates, I am frequently experimenting with fun new ways to eat them. These little date poppers are a perfect snack. They’re chewy with a little crunch to keep them interesting. Also, I have a theory that people love any kind of food that is in the form of a little ball. Right? The coconut provides a healthy fat that not only tastes great but can fill the tummy in a pinch. And cinnamon and nutmeg…I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what a perfect match they are! These are the perfect size for snacking on the go, and are sweet enough to even be a healthy dessert for the kids. And easy. True to form, I have created another super easy recipe here, as long as you have a food processor (which you should definitely have, but I’ll save that rant for another post :)).

Coconut Date Poppers

1c packed organic dates (pitted)
1/4c coconut butter
1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut
1T honey
1/2 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp Himalayan sea salt
Handful of toasted coconut flakes (optional)

Process all ingredients except coconut flakes in food processor for about 30 seconds. Mixture will look crumbly, like this. Add coconut flakes (if using) and process for an additional 5-10 seconds or until combined. It’s ok, even preferable, if coconut flakes are still a little chunky. This is the crunch! Mixture should look crumbly, like this:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form “dough” into 1″ balls and place them on the sheet. You will need to squeeze dough in your hands a little as you make balls to make sure it sticks together well. Balls will look like this:

Makes about 20-22 balls. Place baking sheet in fridge for about 20min or until firm. Keep stored in fridge for a week, if they last that long! I hope you enjoy this fun and yummy coconut date recipe as much as we do!

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.