Unrefined Living

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


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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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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???

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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.

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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!

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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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Enjoy!


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Hot Chocolate with Super Powers

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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:

Essentials:

  • 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.

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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 🙂

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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!
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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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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!


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Crunchy Homemade Granola

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Guess what?  I found an easy flavorful granola recipe for you to try.  So far I’ve made it four times, and inflicted it on many friends (some family) who raved about it.  It’s a keeper.  Actually, I’ve never made granola before this.  I used to by it but having to read labels and deal with sugar content and additives is just a pain in the butt!  Not to mention if I didn’t eat it quickly it would go stale and have to get tossed in the trash.  A waste of money if you ask me.  So now I have no excuse.  If I take the time to make something, I am damn well going to eat it before it goes bad.  And so far this recipe is the best I’ve had…in my entire granola life!  Of course, like all other things in life, that too is subject to change.  But for now, I am true to this granola!

I came across this recipe while looking up something entirely different, not even sure I remember what I was searching for.  Anyway, I am glad I accidentally stumbled across it.  The original source is a recipe for Lavender flavored granola.  I happen to love eating lavender flavored anything, so for me this was a win win.  However, if you can’t stand the thought of eating something flowery, you can simply eliminate the lavender and have yourself plain ole granola, or add something you do like, if you so choose.  Again, win win!

This recipe was inspired by Healthy Nibbles & Bits.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2/3 cup cashews (raw is best, but any will do)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts or almonds (chopped/slivered)
  • 1/3 cup pepita seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey (use raw maple or agave if vegan, or any other sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried lavender (slightly less, or omit completely)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of sea salt
  • egg white *(optional – see note below)
  • carob chips (optional and to be added after granola is cooked)

Preheat oven at 325 (F), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.  Mix ingredients in a large bowl (except egg white).  If you are using the egg white, whisk in a separate bowl until frothy, then pour over granola and lightly toss. *The original recipe called for egg white to create a cluster-like effect.  I’ve done with it it and without it, both options are lovely!  Bake for 30-45 minutes. I like to check mine halfway through and move it around with a spatula so the sides don’t burn.  Keep an eye on it, you want it to get golden brown.  If you went with the lavender option you will soon have an amazing aroma throughout your kitchen. Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in airtight mason jar or container.

This recipe is so fabulous that I barely changed a thing, and luckily I had all of the ingredients on hand.  You can substitute as needed.  And if you have no idea what to do with granola, here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Top your favorite yogurt
  • Add to your overnight oats
  • Garnish your nana icecream
  • Add to fresh fruit salad
  • Enjoy as a hot cereal by adding warmed milk  (preferably almond/coconut)
  • Add carob chips and divide into small ziplock baggies to bring to work as a snack
  • Add to favorite smoothie or smoothie bowl
  • Make your own granola bars or balls

There are many more options.  I am currently experimenting with various granola flavors and will blog about it soon.  I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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Homemade Chocolate Ganache

If you are a chocolate lover (like me) and have unpredictable….well, ok maybe totally predictable….cravings and don’t want to eat the bad stuff, then you must have a few essentials on hand at all times.  Coconut oil (unrefined, preferably organic), raw cacao powder (unsweetened dutch processed will do but not as healthy), high quality dark chocolate chips (so no Hersheys!!), pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean, raw honey/pure maple/agave (agave being the least healthy of the three), and sea salt (so trash the regular table salt and ONLY ever use sea salt).

For this particular recipe, I didn’t actually use my cacao powder, just the dark chocolate chips.  However, you can use the powder, you will have to slightly modify the rest of the ingredients.

What you need:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

Melt the chips and coconut oil by either using a double boiler or microwave (30 second intervals stirring in between).  Stir well until mixture is creamy.  Then add in vanilla and sea salt.  Mix again and let sit for about 10 minutes to cool.  Try not to frost your treats (whatever they my be) until everything is cooled, otherwise you will have a drippy sloppy (yummy) mess!!!

Last time I made this I used it on zucchini muffins (notice the drippy drip!!).

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Overnight Oats

No sleeping bag required.  Just oats, milk, and yogurt.   And of whatever else your little hungry heart so desires.  The options seem endless.

Overnight oats have been one of my favorite go-to breakfast concoctions for quite some time.  I make various versions for my self and husband, and he is obsessed with it.  He actually gets offended if I don’t make it for him.  Crazy huh?  Anyway, they are super easy to make, and you can prep a day or two in advanced so you have yourself a couple of on-the-go “healthier” breakfast options.  Just think, you can skip the long line at {enter the name of your favorite breakfast place}, and have this much simpler and satisfying breakfast of champions.  You can also add any flavors you like.  Just know that the more you add, the more calories you will be consuming and possibly the less healthy it will become.  So be mindful of your choices.  You don’t need much, as the yogurt is pretty filling.

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What you will need:

  • 1/3 c nut milk (your choice)
  • 1/3 c yogurt (I choose greek 10% milkfat, organic if at all possible)
  • 1/3 c organic/gf slow cooking rolled oats (instant oats don’t work as well)

A few of my favorite options (but not necessary):photo_4-2

  • 1/2 ripe mashed banana (for me this is necessary)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (also necessary for mine)
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (this might require a few more tbsps of milk)
  • 1 tbsp of honey (or coconut sugar if vegan)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (the darker the better)
  • handful of fresh berries
  • 1 tbsp of chopped nuts
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (all natural is always best)
  • 1tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Add the first three ingredients to a clean mason jar (or something similar).  Then add in chia seeds and mashed banana, if you desire.  Then stir with a fork.  You can use a spoon but a fork is better!  Continue adding anything else you choose, and stir well.  Make any adjustments needed, such as adding more milk if it’s dry, more yogurt if it’s watery, etc.  Then put the jar in your fridge overnight, and see how the oats are beautifully “cooked” by the morning.  You can store this for up to 2 days in the fridge.  Enjoy being creative and happy eating!


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Ice Cream for Breakfast?

 

photo_2-12Why not?  That’s the best part of being a “grown up.”  I can eat dessert for breakfast and no one will tell me otherwise!

There are so many mouth watering health-foodie posts lately and I wish I could try them all.  Acai bowls are at the top of my list.  However, since I still haven’t gotten around to stock up on the necessary ingredients, I chose to go with a fruity banana blueberry ice cream jar (not bowl), which was heavily inspired by a lovely young lady I follow on Instagram (she is an ice cream for breakfast advocate!). Yay!

Bananas are one of my favorite ways to indulge on ice cream in a much “healthier” and dairy-free fashion.  (And yes I have other ice cream methods…)  Bananas are a natural sweetener and taste delicious when frozen and blended.  The taste and consistency mimic that of regular ice cream, but with a much lower glycemic index.  Bananas also contain a wonderful mix of vitamins and minerals, and have been know to help with hydration.  I’m sold!  I also added some frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries, and Ezekial Sprouted Grain cereal for the extra crunch factor.  That pretty much justified me eating it for breakfast!  Ok enough small talk, let’s get to the good stuff….

 

What you will need:photo_1-13

  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 c frozen organic blueberries
  • 3 tbsp almond/coconut milk (or more depending on thickness you desire)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional:

  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (I omitted it here, but can attest that it’s a great option!)
  • 1/4 c Ezekial Sprouted Grain Golden Flax Cereal (or granola, or similar)
  • 2-3 fresh organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate chocolate chips
  • 1tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Add frozen bananas, blueberries, and almond milk to blender and mix until smooth.  You may need to add more almond milk or less depending on how frozen your bananas are.  Add vanilla and raw cacao (or cocoa) powder and blend again.   Scoop into jar or bowl and top with your favorite toppings.  Or, layer with toppings in a glass jar.  You can also pop it back into the freezer for a few minutes to set and eat later.  I couldn’t wait.  Enjoy!

Double Trouble

Double Trouble