Unrefined Living

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

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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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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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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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Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Pressed for time and want something sweet, healthy, and satisfying?  This smoothie is so delightful and takes minutes to make.  And chances are you have most of these ingredients already!

For this blend I like to use strawberries as my sweetener, besides being juicy and sweet, they are packed with nutritional benefits.  Strawberries are known to promote cardiovascular health, help to lower blood sugar levels, contain antioxidants, fiber (great for constipation), aid in decreasing inflammation (which can also fight against certain types of cancer), and also help to keep you hydrated.  (To list a few).   If you are a fan of strawberries, my suggestion is to freeze your fresh strawberries after cutting the stems off.  You can also chop them and freeze them.  They have a fresher flavor than store bought frozen berries because there aren’t any preservatives or additives.

What you will need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond/coconut milkphoto_3-12
  • 1 frozen banana (peeled before freezing)
  • 3 large frozen organic strawberries (or 1/4 cup sliced)
  • 1 large tablespoon all natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 tbs raw cacao powder (depending on how chocolatey you are feeling)


  • handful of fresh organic baby spinach
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • fresh/frozen berries for garnish

Add ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Garnish with raspberries or cacao nibs.  Smile and enjoy!

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Green Tea Latte (Inspired by Starbuck’s)

Have you ever tried the Green Tea Latte from Starbuck’s?  I was at one time obsessed with it.   That is, until I asked the server if I can read the contents label on their Soy Milk.  YIKES.  Holy sugar overload!  I also would cringe at the fact that they never upgraded their Soy to Almond (or anything better than Soy for that matter).  In any event, on the occasion I would treat myself to this fabulous tasting latte, I assured myself a little soy once in a while won’t kill me….

Then, something wonderful happened.  I stumbled across Matcha powder at Fairway Market and shortly thereafter, I myself had the ability to create my very own healthier version of this luxurious drink.  Who knew?  I am now obsessed with having it at home, almost daily!


What you will need:

  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1tsp coconut palm sugar (or more if you crave it sweeter and richer)
  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Coconut  milk (any nut milk will do)
  • a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg (all optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot water

Heat milk over medium-high heat until hot (do not boil).  Whisk Matcha powder in mug with 1 tbsp of hot water until its smooth and pasty.  Add coconut sugar to heated milk and pour over matcha paste.  For a true latte experience do not stir, and top with a sprinkle of matcha powder and/or cinnamon.  I personally like to stir mine together to make sure its blended well.  Another option is to use a blender to mix for a few seconds.  If you have an espresso maker or frother you can get much fancier!  Make it your own, and enjoy 🙂