Unrefined Living

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

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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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Curried Chickpeas

This week I made something I’ve been craving for a long time.  Curried chickpeas!  And it was divine!   While I am steering clear of meat again, my go to always seems to be chickpeas.  Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, iron, protein, energy, and are also known to help lower cholesterol and stabalize blood sugar. They are also really tasty and filling which helps with eating healthy and fighting cravings.

I also love, LOVE spicy, and anything curry.  Well, maybe not anything, but you get the idea… This is the photo_2-16first time I actually made curry, where it tasted like actual curry!  And it was pretty darn simple.  I made a side of quinoa and kale to go with this, and it made for really great leftovers too.  I will definitely be making this one again!

What you will need:

  • 1 cup dried garbanzo beans soaked and cooked according to instructions (or two 15 oz cans)
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced (or a tsp of ground ginger)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tbsp of (organic) canola oil, or 2 tsp ghee (can also substitute coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (brown sugar works, if that’s all you have)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (or thick sauce works also)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut cream (I used trader joe brand, but regular coconut milk in a can or carton will also work)
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint or cilantro, chopped (I used mint)

In a large skillet, heat oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and cumin over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add coconut milk, coconut sugar, tomato paste and salt.  Mix and let simmer, then add in chickpeas and stir it up.  Continue to stir until it thickens.  Enjoy on it’s own or add it to quinoa or any other healthy starch of your choice.  Garnish with mint and eat up!



Quinoa, Kale, & Sweet Potatoes

Whether you are new to quinoa or just looking for something different and [maybe*] meat-free, this is a tasty choice.  It’s actually my favorite way to eat quinoa, especially during the cooler weather.  Although I made it this week in 95 degree summer heat, still just as yummy!


So why eat quinoa?  It’s an excellent source of protein, especially if you are a non-meat-eater.  Quinoa is also high in fiber and magnesium.  It contains iron, essential amino acids, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  Additionally, quinoa takes on any flavor you desire.  I’ve used it to replace pasta, rice, oatmeal, even used it to bake with. I also tricked my niece and nephew by adding it to their  mac ‘n cheese, shhh!  It’s so light and satisfying.  Quinoa’s unique texture and nutritional benefits make it a great choice for any meal.  See quinoa for breakfast.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa (any color)
  • 1 large sweet potato/yam/sweet purple potato -cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale (any type) ribs removed
  • 1 cup walnuts (chopped or halved)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • sea salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • * Optional for meat eaters: 1 strip of crispy bacon

Sweet Potato:

Toss sweet potato pieces with a tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of sea salt.  Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on each side.  (I use a cast iron skillet and heat it on the stove for a few minutes before roasting in oven).


Toast in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Watch carefully because they burn easily.  Check after 5 minutes and if need be toast for another 2 minutes.  Again, be careful, they really do burn in seconds!!  Transfer to a bowl, drizzle and toss with olive oil, sea salt, and cayenne.


Slice into strips and sauté over medium heat with olive oil until wilted.

For dressing mix 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and shake/mix well.  Combine everything in a large bowl and toss with dressing.  For extra crunch add the crumbled bacon on top.  Enjoy 🙂