Unrefined Living

maintaining a healthy balance of the mind, body, and plate

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


If you don’t already know, I am a chocolate addict.  I am a dessert junkie.  A sweet tooth extremist.  I am also chocolate chip cookie fanatic.  And since the holidays, I am a baking beast.  That’s not to say that all of my baking experiments are successes.  Many are big fat sloppy fails.  That being said, I have developed quite the addiction with a certain blog, and so far I have had more successes than not with these recipes.  Part of me doesn’t want to share this info with you.  Why?  Because you too will become obsessed.  And then no one will give a hoot about the fabulous cookies I made.  Right???


Ok fine, I am not a recipe hoarder, you twisted my arm so I will share this one.  I adapted this from Monique over at Ambitious Kitchen.  If you want to experience the best cookies of your life, then I suggest you head over to her page (after you read my post of course) and check out all of her recipes.  Seriously.  No joke.  You won’t be disappointed.  And, you’re welcome.


One of the reasons that I love this recipe is because about ten or so years ago, my sister was a bi fan of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Betty Crocker (I think, maybe it was Pillsbury…anyway, I can’t remember exactly), but they came in a bag and all you had to do was add water.  If I am not mistaken, the supermarket still carries them.  Anyway, I loved them, I used to beg her to make them for me.  And well… we all know what kinds of hideous ingredients are crammed in packaged baked goods.  So the fact that this recipe has so few ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand, and you can make it as healthy as you want….well it’s a WIN WIN!


So let’s get down to bizzniss…..

What you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups oats (not instant)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 oz dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used ghiradelli 60% melting chips and chopped them up)

Preheat oven 350 F and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.   Blend oats in blender on high speed until it looks like flour (oat flour).  In a bowl whisk oat flour, baking soda, coconut (if using), and sea salt.  In a separate bowl mix melted coconut oil with egg, coconut (or brown) sugar, and vanilla until creamy.  {be sure not to add egg into coconut oil if you heated it, it may cook the egg}  Then fold in chocolate chunks.  Drop cookies onto sheet using a tablespoon and bake for 9-12 minutes.  Mine baked up perfectly in 9 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.  Let cool completely on wire baking rack.  Then….stuff your face.  Or if you aren’t greedy with your sweets like me, then I suppose you should share with loved ones 🙂



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Hot Chocolate with Super Powers


It’s a cold winter’s night.  As I sit here in my plush cozy robe cuddled by the warm snuggly fireplace, I suddenly crave something….chocolatey.  Trying to stay off dark chocolate for at least a week (good luck), I decided tonight I will make my favorite slightly healthier treat.  HOT COCOA!  And whats hotter than a tall dark and toasty drink by the fire?  A tall dark toasty cocoa drink with super powers of course!  By super powers I mean superfoods 🙂 But fear not people: this hot cocoa is very versatile, meaning you don’t need to fancy it up with the super stuff unless you happen to have some and are in the mood for something different.  It’s still cocoa under all that jazz.  So go light up  your fire place, or turn on your space heater and drink up.

What you will need:


  • 2 cups of almond milk (or sub any milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or raw honey, maple, agave, etc..)

Superfood stuff (optional):

  • 1-2 tsp maca powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla (or scraped vanilla bean)
  • 1 tsp lucuma powder
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne (for added spice)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp soaked chia seeds (if using chia then be sure to blend prior to heating)

Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat.  Be careful not to boil milk, the result will not be fun… Remove from heat and whisk in cacao and coconut sugar, along with desired ingredients.  Feel free to toss in a blender for some added foam.


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Lucuma & Blueberry Nana Ice Cream Bowl

I know what you might be thinking.  What the heck is she eating now?  Lucuma?  What’s that?  Funny you should ask, it’s a powder derived from a subtropical fruit found in Peru, Chile, and Equador.  A naturally gluten-free fruit, lucuma is known for it’s sweet flavor, and anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.  Lucuma has also been used for medicinal purposes in South America for centuries.  If you are interested in learning more check this out.


So getting back to this fabulous jar of ice cream that I devoured for breakfast…here’s what I did to end up with this awesome concoction.

Blend the following in a high speed blender until its a creamy consistency:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 4 dates
  • milk of choice (I used almond)
  • 1 Tbsp Lucuma powder
  • 1 Tbsp Maca powder
  • 1/2 scoop SpiruTein (vanilla)

Remove half of the ice cream and put in separate bowl in freezer for a few minutes.  

To the remaining nana ice cream add the following and blend until creamy:

  • 1 Tsp Acai powder (can be omitted or subbed for frozen berries)
  • handful of Blueberries (I used frozen)

Layer in a jar and separate layers with granola or chia or nuts, or anything your little hungry heart desires.  Top with frozen blueberries and bee pollen….or anything you want to make it tasty and pretty.  (Note: if you don’t have lucuma or maca, you can simply omit and still have a wonderfully tasty banana and blueberry flavored ice cream).  Happy nana ice cream creations 🙂


If you are having this as a snack or dessert, perhaps try topping this awesomeness with some homemade peanut butter chocolate sauce. Click picture below for recipe.


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Peanut Butter Chocolate Sauce

Peanut Butter and Chocolate…together….in a sauce?  Yes please!  This makes for a rich and simple topping for dessert, or in my case breakfast.  My favorite is on top of a big fat bowl (jar) of banana ice cream.  I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!  And it’s healty—er, I swear!

Heat the following ingredients either in the microwave for 30 seconds, or over medium heat until completely melted:

  • 1 Tbsp all natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil

Then add the following to heated mixture and stir until smooth and well combined:

  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or raw honey/agave)
  • optional: a drop of vanilla extract


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Chocolately Cranberry and Ginger Spiced Granola

So, you might say I have a slight infatuation with granola.  I do.  I admit it.  But, it’s so yummy and fun to make I can’t help myself.  It also gives me a valid excuse to make a smoothie or nana ice cream so I can top it with my granola.  Not that I ever needed an excuse before…


Anyway, I made this batch for the holidays and I am just now getting around to talking about it.  It’s been such a busy holiday season.  I am not even sure where the holidays went, or 2014 for that matter.  Oh, before I forget, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Ok, ok, back to baking.  If you haven’t tried making your own granola yet, then put this on your 2015 to do list.  You probably won’t buy store brands after learning how easy and tasty (and healthy) making your own can be.  Unfortunate for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s 😉


I adapted my recipe from Cookie and Kate, hope you enjoy as much as I do.  And quick side note, feel free to increase the chocolate sauce measurements…if you are a chocoholic!


 What you will need:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 molasses
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (plus 1 tbsp more for thicker sauce)
  • 1/3 maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • (Optional) carob or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon, and ginger, and mix well.  Add in molasses.

Heat coconut oil in double boiler or microwave until melted (microwave is about 30 seconds on high).  Add raw cacao (or cocoa) powder, maple syrup, and vanilla to create a chocolatey sauce.  Pour chocolate sauce into bowl with other ingredients and mix well.

Spread granola mix evenly onto baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes checking once to make sure edges aren’t burning.  The granola may need a nudge.  Then add the coconut and cranberries and bake for another 7-10 minutes, again keeping an eye on it to prevent from burning.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  If the center seems slightly wet it’s ok, it will continue to cook as it cools, and it should get crunchier.  You might also like to add some carob or chocolate chips to your granola.  Chocolate makes everything better!

Store in an air tight container (mason jars work well), and will last for a few weeks.

Enjoy granola as a yogurt topping, or add to banana ice creamsmoothies, or smoothie bowls.  You might also enjoy adding granola to a bowl of warm milk as a warm cereal alternative.  Or just eat straight from the jar!

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Pumpkin Spiced Granola

Ahhh, October!  You had me at “pumpkin spice.”  For the first time this past summer I made my own granola.  And I must admit, it was really quite amazing.  It started with a few batches of lavender flavored, then when I realized there is a world outside of lavender, I played with a chocolate version (still tweaking this one). And then this week, I hit the jackpot on the first try.  Pumpkin Spiced Granola…made with love!  How can you beat that?  I want you to know that I am surely not a granola making expert, so I researched a few different recipes before I sort of just mocked up my own.  So if you try this, and you don’t like it….I am truly sorry for you.  Seriously.  🙂
Getting down to business…here is what you will need:
  • 1.5 C rolled oats
  • 1 C buckwheat groats (or additional oats)
  • 1/3 C pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 sliced almonds
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 maple syrup (or agave or honey)
  • 1 egg white (optional)


Preheat oven 350F.  In a large bowl mix oats, buckwheat groats, seeds/nuts, cranberries, coconut sugar, sea salt, and spices.  In a smaller bowl whisk [melted] coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and syrup.  Pour mixture over dry granola ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated.  An added step (which can be omitted) is to whisk one egg white until frothy.  Pour egg white over granola and mix well.  This step will create granola “clumps’ for you hard core tree huggers who love clumpy crunchy granola (hehehe) 🙂  Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat and spread granola evenly.  Bake 25-35 minutes poking and turning granola every 10 or so minutes to prevent burning on the edges.  Remove from oven and cool fully. This will also allow it to dry up and get even crunchier!!!  And then, top your your favorite yogurt or nana icecream.  You can even throw in a handful of carob or dark chocolate chips if you so desire.  Be sure to also enjoy the lovely aroma this will create through your home!



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Healing Golden Milk

IMG_2980I’ve recently discovered a new love:  Golden Milk.  Last winter when I felt like I was getting sick I searched high and low for new home remedies (rephrase–new to me) to help boost my immune system and fight the nasty germ invaders.  And that’s when I stumbled across golden milk.  Although at that time I had no idea it was even called golden milk.  It was more recently, last month at a party, that a friend and I were talking and she mentioned that she drinks this regularly for it’s health benefits.  How did I not think to do that?  How did I not think to make this fabulously soothing drink on a more regular basis, not just when I was feeling sick?  And so this prompted me to begin my obsession with warm morning drinks.  And what better time then October to start drinking orange colored beverages?

So let’s get to the reason why this is a great drink for your body to have.  Sure the taste is smooth and creamy, pleasantly sweet and warm with a teeny tiny fiery kick….but there’s so much more to it.  Here is the condensed version:

Turmeric – a strong anti-inflammatory (helps relieve chronic inflammation); antioxidant; anti-aging; anti-fungal; anti-bacterial; boosts immune system (great for flu and cold season). Be careful, turmeric stains clothing..and fingers!!

Ginger – improves absorption and digestion; relieves nausea; anti-inflammatory (helps reduce pain and inflammation); strengthens immune system (also great during cold and flu season).

Ghee  – reduces inflammation; helps to improve digestive system; rich in Vitamins A, D, E, and K (promoting bone and brain health); contains minimal (if any) lactose, and is preservative free.

Raw Honey (local) – contains essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants; anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties; strenghtens immune system; helps relieve (in some instances eliminate) allergies; balances blood sugar; aids in digestion.

What you will need:

  • 1 inch of ginger root, grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 inch turmeric root, grated (or 1tsp ground turmeric)
  • 2 tsp Ghee*
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or your own alternative)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp raw honey

Begin to heat milk and water over medium-high heat.  In a small bowl (I used a mortar and pestle) combine the ginger, turmeric, and ghee until it becomes a paste.  Add paste to milk while heating and when it begins to lightly bubble, turn heat off and let mixture steep for about 5 minutes. (Note:  you will either want to strain it with a fine mesh strainer, or what I did was use a mesh tea ball for the paste and let that simmer in the milk, even while I drank it).  Add honey and enjoy!

*Ghee can also be substituted with coconut oil, or omitted completely.IMG_1553

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Cashew Truffles

Do you ever have a severe snack craving?  I am sure you do.  Maybe salty, maybe sweet, but you don’t want to waste your energy eating something processed or store bought and unsatisfying?   Well thats what I love so much about making these little energizing treats.  First of all, despite the title “cashew” truffles, the truth is you can make these with any nut you have on hand.  I chose cashews because I prefer their smooth sweet taste, but I’ve made these with other raw nuts and they are just as tasty!  Not to mention, you can eat a bunch and instead of guilt, feel like you are snacking with a purpose (assuming you don’t eat them all in 5 minutes).  And, its fun to experiment. So, let’s get to it….
What you will need:

  • 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 c raw cashews (also tossed in a tablespoon of mixed raw nuts because I wanted to use them up)
  • 6-7 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla protein powder (I used SpiruTein)
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder (raw unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp water  (more if too dry)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of pink himalayan sea salt (regular sea salt will do)
  • hemp seeds )option for sprinkling on top)


Combine coconut, cashews (and/or any other nuts you have), and dates in food processor or Vitamix and blend until it becomes a fine mix, a few nutty chunks are ok.  Add in protein and cacao powder and blend again. Add the water one tbsp at a time using your judgement to decide if it’s too moist or dry. Adjust as necessary.  Add the vanilla extract and sea salt.  Layer the bottom of a small bowl with shredded coconut. Make small quarter sized balls and roll into shredded coconut and set on a plate or tray. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you are in a hurry like I was, freeze for about 20 minutes then stuff your face and enjoy 🙂



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Mocha Iced Frappucinno (healthier version)


IMG_0956Have you ever had an iced frappucinno at Starbucks or any coffee shop?  Well, as tasty as it might be, it is most likely loaded with GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring and sweeteners, and antibiotic injected milk. Not to mention extremely high in calories!  Actually, incase you haven’t heard, Starbucks is a big supporter of Monsanto.  If you are a Starbucks addict, you might be interested in learning more about this issue before you make your next purchase.

Even though I have always opted for a plain old basic coffee shop cup of joe, I have enjoyed the occassional fancy high calorie drinks from time to time.  And I won’t lie, they are so good, and often leave me feeling so bad!  And although I successfully gave up coffee last year, I do still crave the flavor some days. Which is what led me to find an easy healthier version I can make at home, and it’s way cheaper!  I even think this version tastes better.  But who knows, maybe thats my healthier taste buds talking!  Anyway….if you like fancy coffee then you should try this.  I swear it’s not hard and you probably have most of the ingredients needed.  I add a frozen banana to mine to create a smooth creamy ice cream like texture, but you can omit that if you don’t love bananas like I do.  You know how I feel about ba-nana ice cream.  Enough chit chat, let’s get started!

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 c almond/coconut milk (or your choice of healthy milk)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee (I use decaf, organic when possible)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (omit if you don’t like “mocha” and just want it plain)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (can substitute with agave, pure maple, honey, stevia, etc)
  • 1/5 frozen banana (not necessary but gives ice cream-like creaminess)
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 5-7 ice cubes

Blend everything together in high speed blender until smooth.  I find that this comes out better when I heat a few tablespoons of water and mix the instant coffee/espresso first then add that to the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  Either way, the result is still delicious!  Sprinkle with cinnamon and guzzle.  Be careful of the brain freeze!


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Chocolate Cherry Smoothie



IMG_1005I am loving smoothies lately.  I used be a juicer, and I still am.  But recently my needs have changed and I crave thicker denser beverages.  Not to say this won’t change again soon, but for now I am addicted to chocolate smoothies.  Who wouldn’t be?  It’s chocolate for crying out loud!  And I love that I have the liberty of adding whatever the heck I want.  I always make sure to add veggies and protein so I can justify replacing a meal or snack with something chocolatey.  It’s a win win!!!


What you will need:

  • 6 frozen cherries
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • Handful spinach or kale
  • 1 C water/coconut water/milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • 4-5 ice cubes (optional)

Add everything to high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!