Unrefined Living

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


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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!


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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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Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This summer is our first summer having a garden.  I am definitely not the one who maintains it, I tend to inadvertently kill all living things that aren’t people (i.e. plants and bugs).  Anyway, our zucchinis are insanely huge.  If I didn’t know better, I would think they are fed steroids.  But I can assure you that’s not the case, they are totally organic!!!

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So what to do with a bunch of overgrown greens?  Make healthy desserts…duh!  I am addicted to zucchini bread, zucchini pasta, zucchini muffins, zucchini tots, zucchini fritters (tonight’s experiment)…..pretty much zucchini everything!  I follow a recipe for zucchini bread that I love, and will post soon.  However, this go ’round I tried something different.  I thought muffins would be easier to transport and maybe, just maybe, I will stop at one muffin as opposed to eating half-a-loaf!  I must say, these muffins are pretty darn good, and pretty darn simple.

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What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (remove excess water)*
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup nut butter (I mixed sunflower seed, almond, and peanut butters)
  • 1/3 cup sweetener such as [raw] honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar (I used honey)
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or any other nut, or omit)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix ingredients, adding the chocolate chips and walnuts last.  Line muffin pan with cupcake liners (or spray pan, but I don’t enjoy fighting to get my muffins out!)  Fill 2/3 of each liner with mixture.  I overfilled mine and got 11 muffins.  Bake for 18-25 minutes using toothpick to test when they are ready.  It really depends on your oven, I tend to under bake because I like mine moist 🙂  Cool for a few minutes and either enjoy plain, or top with homemade chocolate sauce.

I don’t usually do this, but this time I removed the excess water from the zucchini by wrapping in a clean towel and ringing it out well.*

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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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Coconut Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Hello, my name is Michelle, and I am an oatmeal addict.  My addiction started about 5 years ago after I was ‘diagnosed’ with high cholesterol (eek!).  It was the very first major change I made to my daily routine. And since then oatmeal has been my breakfast of choice, with the exception of vacation badness and some healthier experimental pancake trials.  It wasn’t until recently (thank you Instagram) that I’ve begun to venture off into the world of unknown healthier breakfast creations.   But that being said, I still love and crave oatmeal every morning.  And while my oatmeal used to consist of the basics (plain oats, cinnamon, water, fruit, and nuts), I have gotten more creative with it over the past year or so, and I have to credit Chocolate Covered Katie for most of my inspired combos.  Sometimes it takes for someone else to demonstrate that it’s ok to live on the edge, venture outside of your comfort zone.  And let me tell you….chocolate in my breakfast was definitely living on the edge!   Did I mention I am also a chocolate addict?  So you see, this is a danger zone for me.  But it’s ok, I have it under control now.  I swear…..ish….!

So getting back to the reason for this post.  Three things I love: chocolate, coconut, and oatmeal. Baked so it’s like one big cookie.  Soft and gooey on the inside, brown and crispy on the outside.  Oh my!  If you have 20 minutes to spare (perhaps on your day off) and you love these three things too, then this is a must try.  Katie calls it coconut cookie dough oatmeal.  Indeed it is.  I made a few modifications and this breakfast bake is a WIN in our house.  Thanks Katie!

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (less if you are not used to large bowls of oatmeal)Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
  • 1/2 mashed ripe banana
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 nut milk (or water, coconut water, regular milk…organic of course)
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (melted or room temp if your house is warm)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I can assure you I used more than this amount)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (and a few to sprinkle on top)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar (or natural sweetener of choice)

More options

  • 1 tsp ground flax (to mix in or sprinkle on top…or both)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds for topping
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 380 degrees.  {I use my toasted oven and bake it closer to 400 degrees, watching it to make sure it won’t burn}  Combine ingredients well using a fork (I swear it mixes better).  Pour into small glass oven-proof bowl or pan.  I like to lightly grease the bottom of my bowl with oil so it’s not a pain to clean later.  Add a few extra chips on top and bake for about 20 minutes or more depending on preference.  Turn your oven to broil for about 5 more minutes to get a crispier top layer.  Top with almonds, milk, and whatever else your little heart desires.  Enjoy!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)