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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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!


Acai Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

I am so excited!  My frozen acai packs arrived yesterday, which means that I can finally join in on this acai madness.  I’ve been eyeing these bowl creations for some time and finally had a chance to remind myself last week to order a bunch from Amazon.  Amazon as in the shopping website, not the rainforest…although that is essentially where the acai berry originates.


So what is acai, you ask?  And why the sudden obsession?  Well, as I said, acai berries are produced in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and have been used for centuries to heal and boost energy.  The acai berry is most commonly known today as a “superfood,” meaning its loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and omega fatty acids. Regular consumption (and/or use) of acai has been said to help lower cholesterol, heal and improve the appearance of skin, aid in digestion, protect against harmful free-radicals, promote anti-aging, and reduce inflammation (just to name a few).   I always try to maintain a colorful diet since fruits and veggies that are brightly colored are our best protection against disease.  And since I’m a big fan of anything purple, this acai breakfast bowl most definitely has my support!  The only downside is the price.  But I am not making this everyday, at least not yet.  So hopefully my frozen packs will last me a while.  Hopefully…..

Ok, so getting back to the acai bowls.  I’ve been following instagrammers who create such gorgeous breakfast bowls that not only make my mouth water but also make me wonder how long it took to perfect such art!  Anyway, I did my best with what little art skills I have.  This breakfast was super filling and so cold, a perfect choice for 90 degree summer heat!  Eat up before it turns to soup.

photo-5What you will need (for 2 bowls):

  • 2 unsweetened acai frozen packs (I bought mine here)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 banana (not frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 6 frozen cherries (or strawberries)
  • 1/4 coconut milk (might need a few tbsp more)

Some optional toppings:

  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • banana slices
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • sprouted grain cereal (crunchy)
  • granola
  • carob/cacao nibs
  • chia seeds
  • flaxseed
  • goji berries
  • sliced kiwi
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (or honey)

Blend acai, frozen banana, cherries, milk, and banana until smooth.  You may need to stop and stir, then add a bit more milk depending on how dry the mix looks.  I added 2 more tablespoons to mine.  The consistency should be thick and smooth.  Spoon smoothie into two bowls and decorate with your favorite toppings.  Mix it all up and wolf it down.  Beware of the brainfreeze!  Enjoy 🙂


The after photo, with a few 70% dark chocolate chips 🙂

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Raw Macaroons (No Bake)

This is BY FAR my favorite no bake dessert, and is always a crowd pleaser.  My family absolutely loves when I make these macaroons, even my niece and nephews love them…and believe me that means something!  And the wonderful thing is you can add and subtract ingredients and tailor them to your needs.  Any time I make these I know the won’t last more than a day or so in my house!



Here’s what you’ll need:

Original recipe adapted from Averie Cooks (I don’t really change much with this one since it’s near perfect!)

  • 1.5 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c [raw] honey* (or pure maple, agave, or other if you are vegan)
  • 3/4 c raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional:  1/4 c coconut oil, melted (unrefined organic)
  • Optional:  1/4 c chia seeds

* I often use less than the amount listed and will add more until achieved desired sweetness.  To counter balance “dryness” I opt for the coconut oil.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.  It will become chunky and sticky (and super messy).  Use a tablespoon (or small ice cream scooper) to create small to medium sized balls and then freeze.  Makes about 12-15 balls depending on the size.  This chocolatey goodness can be ready in just 20 minutes.  You might find these macaroons taste like chocolate ice cream.  I challenge you to try and eat just one!  Enjoy 🙂

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Raw Date Energy Balls (no-bake)

You might be thinking….”Um, dates? Eeeewww gross!”  Well, I assure you that’s not the case.  If you like sweets and are not allergic to nuts, then you must try these.  You can omit and/or substitute most of these ingredients.  You can also stick to using one kind of nut instead of mixed like I did.  The choices are endless. Ok well maybe not endless…but you get the idea 🙂

Side note: Dates are packed with vitamins and minerals which are essential to our overall health. Dates are high in fiber which promotes digestion; they have a high iron content; are rich in potassium; are known to help lower cholesterol; are high in magnesium which is an anti-inflammatory and is known to reduce blood  pressure; are a natural source for energy; and the list goes on.  To read more about the nutritional benefits of dates click here.

Recipe adapted from: Wayfaring Teacher and slightly modified.


What you will need:

  • 1 c mixed nuts (I used raw walnuts, raw almonds, pistachios, and raw cashews)
  • 1/2 c dates, soaked in filtered water for 5 minutes
  • 1/2 c cacao powder
  • 3-4 Tbsp honey, maple, or other natural sweetener
  • 1/2 c raw almonds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut (place in a bowl to the side, might need more depending on preference)

1. Place the mixed nuts into a food processor or Vitamix (careful with the Vitamix since it doesn’t handle dates that well) and pulse until fine meal is made.
2. Drain the water from the dates and add dates to the nut mix in the blender. Pulse until nuts and dates are well combined.
3. Add the cocoa/cacao powder, syrup, salt, and vanilla.
4. After a thick paste is formed, add the almonds and pulse until  lightly crushed.
5. Place dough mix in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
6. After 10 min, remove the dough from the freezer and roll into tablespoon-sized balls. Then roll the balls in coconut and place on a plate.  Place balls in the freezer to harden.   Store the in an air tight container.  Or scarf the entire plate down and get a date-induced belly ache 🙂