Category Archives: Path to Healing

Grilled Vegetables with Miso Dressing

Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free & Dairy-Free

HB 6_24_15 B

 

Want to escape the heat of the kitchen? Bring your veggies outside and fire up the grill. Grilled vegetables can be served as the main course or as a side. Best of all you can mix it up and add some of your favorite veggies!

Pair your grilled veggies with the miso dressing recommended below and you’ll have a complete meal.

Here’s an added bonus… Dice up the leftovers (if there are any!) and add to your favorite rice for a second meal!

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:


2 Portabella Mushrooms

1 Eggplant

1 Green Pepper

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Red Pepper

1 Yellow Onion

½ Pineapple

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Prep Vegetables:

Eggplant: Trim and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. (Leaving the skin on or removing it, is a personal preference) Place slices in a 9×13 glass or stone pan, add 1 teaspoon sea salt and enough water to cover the eggplant. Place a plate on top of the eggplant to keep it immersed in the water. Soak the eggplant for 30 minutes.

Mushrooms: Wash and remove stems

Peppers and Onion: Wash, remove stems and seeds (peppers), slice lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices.

Pineapple: Slice lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices

Prepare grill: Make sure slates are clean of brushed

Method:

 

Brush all vegetables and pineapple with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on one side, salt and pepper to taste, place on grill for 2-3 minutes, turn and brush other side of vegetables and pineapple with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Continue to turn and cook vegetables and pineapple until each side is lightly grilled.

Miso Dressing:

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Chickpea Miso

1 tablespoon Coconut Liquid Aminos

3 tablespoons Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender, mix until well blended and smooth.

Drizzle over grilled vegetables and pineapple. Serve extra on the side for dipping.

ENJOY!

 

 

Nutritional Benefits:

Portobello mushrooms:

The benefits of mushrooms dates back thousands of years. Today it’s been discovered they are an excellent source of many minerals, including selenium, copper, potassium and zinc. They also provide beneficial B vitamins such as: thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.

Eggplant:

Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and a good source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium. It’s also a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, niacin and folic acid.

Bell Peppers:

Bell peppers come in a variety of colors also ranging in bitterness and sweetness. I enjoy cooking with a combination to enhance the flavors of so many foods. They are a very good source of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin K and vitamin B6. They’re also a good source of thiamine and folic acid.

Onions:

There are a variety of onions to choose from. They differ in size, color and taste. Each offers a slightly different flavor. For this recipe I chose red onions for their full, robust flavor. Onions are a good source of Vitamins C and B6, are a good source of folic acid and dietary fiber.

Pineapple:

I love pineapple and after learning how beneficial they are, I now eat pineapples on a regular basis. They are so versatile: can be used in smoothies, stir-fry, pizza… You get the idea! Many people today face digestive issues and Pineapples contain the digestive enzyme bromelain, which aides in digestion. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a good source of vitamin B6, copper, magnesium and dietary fiber.

Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans):

They are a very good source of fiber folic acid, and manganese. They are also a good source of protein and the following minerals: iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.

Chickpea Miso is fermented chickpeas. The benefits of fermented foods are numerous: they contain beneficial probiotics (good for the belly) and digestive enzymes.

Chickpea Miso is a nice alternative to soy-based miso if you are allergic to soy or simply want to avoid soy products.

Coconut Liquid Aminos:

This is an excellent alternative to soy sauce if there is an allergy to soy in your home or you are trying to avoid soy products.

Pam

 

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Nothing tastes better than fresh, homemade Pico de Gallo. This can be enjoyed as an appetizer or added to your favorite dish of tacos, enchiladas, rice… Again, the possibilities are endless!

Chef Walt says, “Yum!”

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

6 Organic Roma Tomatoes Diced

1/2 Organic Red Onion Diced

1 Organic Jalapeño Diced

Juice of 1 Organic Lime

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro

1Tsp. Coarse Salt

Adjust seasoning to taste

Method:

Add all the ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix well.

Grab your favorite Organic Tortilla chips and…

ENJOY!

 

Nutritional Benefits:

Tomatoes:

Tomatoes are a low calorie food, packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and K. They are full of anti-cancer phytochemicals such as carotene (especially lycopene).

Onions:

There are a variety of onions to choose from. They differ in size, color and taste. Each offers a slightly different flavor. For this recipe I chose red onions for their full, robust flavor. Onions are a good source of Vitamins C and B6, are a good source of folic acid and dietary fiber.

Cilantro:

Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is an herb and a spice. In Europe and Asia cilantro has a long history of use to aide in digestion, combat inflammation and help to lower cholesterol.

 

Zesty Guacamole

Zesty Guacamole

Guacamole

One of my favorite foods to eat is guacamole. It’s versatile: it can be served with chips and/or vegetables. It’s a delicious accompaniment to numerous dishes, the possibilities are endless. I’ve been perfecting this recipe for years. And I do say, this is my favorite!

My eldest son made this guacamole recently for a science experiment. His hypothesis- the rate of childhood obesity would decrease if kids had healthier options to choose from. He made the guacamole and put it next to some store-brand, not so healthy snacks and monitored the choice each child made. The results: more kids chose the guacamole!

This is a definite thumbs up from Chef Walt!

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 Organic Avocados

1 Organic Roma Tomato diced

1/2 Organic Red Onion diced

Juice from 1 Organic Lime

1/4 Cup Organic Cilantro

2 Tsp. Coarse salt

1 Organic Jalapeño Diced

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Garlic Granules

1 Tsp. Onion Granules

4-6 Drops of Favorite Hot Sauce

Adjust seasoning to taste

Method:

Seed and dice avocados in a large bowl. Mash to the consistency you prefer- I like some chunks of avocado.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Grab your favorite Organic Tortilla chips or veggies and…

ENJOY!

Nutritional Benefits:

Avocados:

Avocados are a staple in my home and they are packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium and have an assortment of vitamins such as: B-vitamins, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. One of the key benefits the avocado provides is it contains the essential fatty acids necessary for brain function, as well as growth and development. Our body can’t make essential fatty acids so it’s imperative we get these good fats by making healthy food choices!

Tomatoes:

Tomatoes are a low calorie food, packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and K. They are full of anti-cancer phytochemicals such as carotene (especially lycopene).

Onions:

There are a variety of onions to choose from. They differ in size, color and taste. Each offers a slightly different flavor. For this recipe I chose red onions for their full, robust flavor. Onions are a good source of Vitamins C and B6, are a good source of folic acid and dietary fiber.

Cilantro:

Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is an herb and a spice. In Europe and Asia cilantro has a long history of use to aide in digestion, combat inflammation and help to lower cholesterol.

Garlic:

Garlic is an excellent source of Vitamin B6, good source of Vitamin C and contains numerous minerals such as: manganese, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron and copper.

 

Bean and Guacamole Tostadas

Bean and Guacamole Tostadas

 Bean & Guac Tostada

My kids go crazy for these homemade tostadas! The only thing they can’t agree on is which beans they like better- creamy black beans or oil-free refried pinto beans. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you, each item is quite simple to make and can be prepared ahead of time to ease putting together the tostados.

This gets two thumbs up from Chef Walt!

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients to assemble the tostadas:

1 package Organic corn tortillas – 10 -12 tortillas
(I prefer sprouted corn.)

Creamy Black beans (see recipe below)

Oil-free refried Pinto beans (see recipe below)

Zesty Guacamole (get recipe here)

Pico de Gallo (get recipe here)

2 cups shredded Organic Romaine lettuce

Black olives, diced (optional)

Have some fun with this, add any other ingredients you can think of!


Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is heating up begin to make the beans, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo.

Tip: I make the guacamole and pico de gallo the night before or earlier in the day and store in the refrigerator.

Place each corn tortilla on a sheet pan (I have small pizza stones always in my oven) and bake for 7 minutes, turn and bake for another 7 minutes. You may need to do this in batches.

To Assemble the Tostadas:

Layer as follow:

Corn tortilla
Creamy black beans or Oil-free refried pinto beans.
Guacamole
Pico de Gallo
Shredded Lettuce
Black olives

Both bean recipes listed below are used in this tostada recipe. But I also make these recipes as an appetizer or to use with tacos and enchiladas. I love that these recipes are versatile!

Oil-free Refried beans:

2 cans Organic Pinto Beans

1 ½ cups Low Sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon Onion granules

1 teaspoon Garlic granules

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

½ teaspoon Black pepper

Method:

Rinse beans well and add all the ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more broth if it’s eliminated in the boiling process.

Pour beans and liquid into a food processor and mix until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Taste and add more spices as desired.

Creamy Black beans:

2 cans Organic Black Beans

1 ½ cups Low Sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon Onion granules

1 teaspoon Garlic granules

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

½ teaspoon Black pepper

Method:

Rinse beans well and add all the ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir and mash some beans every few minutes. Add more broth if it’s eliminated in the boiling process.

Taste and add more spices as desired.

ENJOY!

Nutritional Benefits:

Avocado:
Avocados are a staple in my home and they are packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium and have an assortment of vitamins such as: B-vitamins, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. One of the key benefits the avocado provides is it contains the essential fatty acids necessary for brain function, as well as growth and development. Our body can’t make essential fatty acids so it’s imperative we get these good fats by making healthy food choices!

Beans:
Beans offer the benefits of an array of vitamins and minerals, but they are mostly known as an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein.

Tomatoes:
Tomatoes are a low calorie food, packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and K. They are full of anti-cancer phytochemicals such as carotene (especially lycopene).

Onions:
There are a variety of onions to choose from. They differ in size, color and taste. Each offers a slightly different flavor. For this recipe I chose red onions for their full, robust flavor. Onions are a good source of Vitamins C and B6, are a good source of folic acid and dietary fiber.

Cilantro:
Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is an herb and a spice. In Europe and Asia cilantro has a long history of use to aide in digestion, combat inflammation and help to lower cholesterol.

 

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free & Soy-free

Quinoa with berries

 Move over Wheaties – Quinoa is THE breakfast of champions!

Want to start your day with an excellent protein-filled breakfast? Quinoa is an excellent source of protein. Topped with extra coconut milk and berries and this bowl is hearty and satisfying.

This also stores nicely in the refrigerator for a few days. I make a big batch at the beginning of the week and have an instant breakfast for a few days.

Chef Walt gives this hearty breakfast a thumbs up!

Servings: 2-4 bowls

Ingredients:

1 cup Quinoa (uncooked)

2 ½ cups coconut milk, vanilla unsweetened

2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon (more to taste)

1 Vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla) – optional

Ripe Strawberries, Blueberries and Blackberries, washed and trimmed

Method:

Combine quinoa, coconut milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla bean into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent quinoa from sticking to pot. If you used a whole vanilla bean, remove before serving.

When cooked scoop desired serving into a bowl, add more coconut milk if all the liquid has been absorbed and top with berries (or your favorite fruit.)

ENJOY!

Nutritional Benefits:

Quinoa:

Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, which makes it gluten free. Botanically it’s a relative of spinach, beets and chard.

Protein-rich it has all nine essential amino acids. Contains a high amount of fiber. Contains essential minerals: magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Coconut Milk:

Coconuts contain a significant amount of fat, but the good kind that our bodies need. Coconuts contain medium chain fatty acids which the body can absorb better. They also contain lauric acid, which in the body gets converted to a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, containing: antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is one of Mother Nature’s finest foods!

Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a great spice that’s receiving lots of attention because of the many health benefits associated with it. Numerous studies indicate cinnamon is beneficial for circulatory, digestive issues and some neurological disorders as well as helping to fight the common cold and influenza!

Maple Syrup:

Use real maple syrup, not the imitation pancake syrup, to reap nutritional benefits. Maple syrup is a very good source of the trace mineral manganese which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes used for energy production and antioxidant defenses. It’s also a good source of zinc. So while it’s a sweetener, it’s one of the most beneficial real sweeteners that I use regularly.

Blueberries:

Blueberries are awesome! Although they are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, the real claim to fame for blueberries are the flavonoids they contain. One particular flavonoid, anthocyanidins, is an exceptional antioxidant that researchers claim can protect the brain from oxidative stress and may help protect against Alzheimer’s.

Blackberries:

Blackberries contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, iron and other minerals, as well as Vitamins A & C. Yet, similar to blueberries, blackberries also contain flavonoids.

Strawberries:

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and K, fiber, and flavonoids. Flavonoids are an amazing group of plant pigments that offer a high amount of antioxidant activity. Similar to the blueberry it contains one particular flavonoid, anthocyanidins, that is an exceptional antioxidant that researchers claim can protect the brain from oxidative stress and may help protect against Alzheimer’s.

 

Vegan Lasagna with Cashew Cream

Vegan Lasagna with Cashew Cream

HB 3_18_15 Vegan Lasagna

Dairy free and soy free (Gluten free with Rice noodles)…

A twist on traditional lasagna.

There’s no need to give up some traditional dishes just because you can’t have dairy, gluten or soy! This lasagna is full of flavor and very satisfying without leaving you feeling stuffed liked traditional lasagna.

What did Chef Walt say? “Yum!”

This lasagna can be made ahead of time and it freezes and re-heats nicely! Makes a great meal for a holiday or family gathering.

Ingredients

Sauce

2 jars of Pasta sauce *see note below about pasta sauces

1 organic yellow onion diced

1 organic green pepper diced

1 organic red pepper diced

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup organic vegetable broth

Cashew cream

2 cups organic whole cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours)

1/2 cup purified water

1/4 cup organic olive oil

6 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups fresh organic spinach

Lasagna Noodles

1 box Organic brown rice noodles – I prefer Tinkyada because they use whole ingredients.

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Fill a stock pot with water to boil for noodles. Add noodles when water begins to boil, follow recommended time on the box.

In a large sauce pan add vegetable broth for sauce, add onions, peppers and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes or until onions become translucent. Add jars of pasta sauce, bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer.

While the sauce is simmering make the cashew-spinach cream. I find it easier to divide the ingredients and make two batches in the food processor to get a smoother blend.

Drain and rinse soaked cashews, put 1/2 the cashews and half the water into the food processor and blend for a few minutes, stopping to scrape the sides. Stop when the consistency is creamy. Add half of the rest of the ingredients (except spinach) and pulse a couple times to blend in spices. Now add half of the spinach and pulse until mixed in well. Scrape into a large bowl.

Repeat the process to make the 2nd batch of cashew-spinach cream.

Assemble the lasagna

Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with the pasta sauce

Add a layer of noodles

Scoop 1/2 of cashew-spinach cream over noodles

Spread 1/3 of sauce over cashew-spinach cream cheese

Repeat these steps for next layer

Finish with a layer of noodles and cover with the last of the sauce.

Cover with parchment paper then aluminum foil

Put in oven for 45 – 60 minutes.

Tip from Pam: I usually reserve some of the sauce to add on top of the lasagna after it is cooked and I serve it.

Enjoy!

Notes on Ingredients:

Lasagna noodles- You can use your favorite Lasagna noodles if you don’t have to worry about gluten, however, no matter what brand you choose, I recommend you review the ingredients and choose a pasta with whole ingredients.

Pasta sauce- I prefer Whole Foods 365 brand, the organic, classic fat free pasta sauce. There are no added oils or sugars, simply whole ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. Again, you can choose your favorite sauce, but I highly recommend you review the ingredients. Many sauces are made with lots of added sugars and oils that are not necessary!

Veggies- Feel free to add/substitute your favorite veggies!

 

Commitment and Courage: Parenting the Grieving Child

Caryn

Hello There!

As I mentioned in my post, Children grieve differently than adults, the boys and I attended therapy at New Song Center for Grieving Children. I’m pleased to have a guest post from Caryn Kondo, Clinical Director at New Song.

Caryn is a Master level Clinical Social Worker and has been working with children and families for 25 years providing support and counseling during an illness or loss. Besides her work at New Song she also offers support and counseling through Therapy with Heart.

Below she offers a set of guidelines for parents to assist in the process of helping a child grieve.

Commitment and Courage: Parenting the Grieving Child by C. Caryn Kondo MSW

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow”.  Anonymous 

Parenting the grieving child has to be one of the most difficult tasks for a mother or father. Both parenting and grieving are life events filled with heartfelt challenges. After a loved one dies, continuing to parent the children in your care can feel overwhelming. Everyone is grieving in their unique way; marked by profound needs. While you struggle with your own grief; your children need you the most and you may feel the least available to them. As you search for the courage and energy to stay committed to your children; consider the following suggestions:

Be Open and Honest: To lessen their fears, children need to know and understand the truth about what has happened to their family. Secrets or half truths can be more harmful and add to their confusion. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate and honest.

Be Connected: your child needs you to be involved in their lives. Make time to be with them; even doing simple tasks. Find small moments to have some fun; children need to experience that it is still healthy to laugh; even while grieving.

Be Expressive: allow for emotions to be expressed and explored. Cry in front of your children, you are demonstrating a healthy response. Children will often grieve through their play and behaviors. They need time and space to express themselves in play, art, sports, music, or writing.

Be Balanced in Love and Structure: children thrive with both unconditional love and structure. Keep routines and discipline consistent. This provides children with a much needed sense of security and safety.

Be an Active Listener: children need your love and support. Listen to their fears and feelings with an open heart. There is healing power in just being with a supportive listener; find space to be that person for your child. They do not always need us to fix it.

Be Patient: working through the intensity of grief takes time. The duration and cadence of grief is unique for us all. Children often move in and out of grief quickly. They may be withdrawn and sad one moment, active and playing the next.  This is their healing process.

Be Available for Support: it is nearly impossible to parent alone. Being all these things to your children is challenging. Find supports in your community, friends, and family. Reach out to others that are able to assist you. It really does take a village.

Finally, adopt the advice of the airlines. Take care of yourself first, this provides good role modeling and will give you energy to parent during this difficult time. The death of a loved one can feel like the world has shattered and shifted, we are often caught unprepared and feel ill equipped. Be kind to yourself as you discover the courage and commitment to continue each day with some grace and remembrance.

Recommended reading: Parenting the Grieving Child by Phyllis Silverman and Madelyn Kelly.

For more information about New Song please visit their website here, and for Therapy with Heart, you can visit their website here.

 

Cacao Chocolate Mousse, Coconut whipped cream

Cacao Chocolate Mousse with

Coconut Whipped Cream

Cacao mousse B

Dairy free, Soy free, Nut free and Gluten free!

This cacao mousse is so creamy and delicious, you’d never guess it’s made with avocados! It’s about as healthy as you can get while satisfying your desire for an after dinner (or anytime) dessert. A great make-ahead treat that you can serve for any holiday or special occasion.

Cacao Mousse

Ingredients:

2 Avocados (make sure they are ripe)

½ Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk

¼ Cup Cacao Powder

1/3 Cup Raw Coconut Nectar

Method:

Combine all ingredients into a food processor (or high speed blender) and mix until consistency is creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Be sure to stop and scrape the sides intermittently.

Scoop into individual desert cups, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. This mousse will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can Coconut milk (full fat, not light)

1 Tablespoon Raw Coconut Nectar

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla

Method:

  • Very important: The can of coconut milk must be refrigerated for at least 24 hours to allow the contents to separate.

Carefully remove the lid of the coconut milk after it has been refrigerated. Do not shake the can. With a spoon scoop out the thick cream into a medium mixing bowl. Save the liquid left in the can and use for smoothies!

Add remaining ingredients. With a hand mixer, or an electric one that has a whisk attachment, mix until the cream forms a stiff peak. About 2-3 minutes.

You can serve the coconut whipped cream immediately, or store in a glass container in the refrigerator, for up to a week, until you’re ready to use it.

Servings:

Cacao Mousse: 3 – 4 individual desert cups

Coconut Whipped Cream: Makes approximately 2 cups

ENJOY!

Nutritional Benefits:

Avocado:

Avocados are a staple in my home and they are packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium and have an assortment of vitamins such as: B-vitamins, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. One of the key benefits the avocado provides is it contains the essential fatty acids necessary for brain function, as well as growth and development. Our body can’t make essential fatty acids so it’s imperative we get these good fats by making healthy food choices!

Cacao Powder:

The health benefits of the cacao bean are as follows:

  • Contain magnesium which is a major mineral needed for many functions in our bodies, like muscle and nerve function.
  • Contains fiber
  • Contains Iron

Contains flavonoids, a type of anti-oxidant that promotes general health and can help you to lower your risk of several diseases.

Coconut Milk:

Coconuts contain a significant amount of fat, but the good kind that our bodies need. Coconuts contain medium chain fatty acids which the body can absorb better. They also contain lauric acid, which in the body gets converted to a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, containing: antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is one of Mother Nature’s finest foods!

Raw Coconut Nectar:

I use the brand Coconut Secret (google the brand for more info) which can be found in the raw section at Whole Foods (not sure about other grocery stores). This natural sweetener comes from the sap of the coconut palm tree. It’s naturally sweet but the benefits are numerous. It’s a low-glycemic (much lower than agave). I prefer this brand over others because it’s raw, which means it contains living enzymes that are highly beneficial to our bodies. To boot this sweetener has beneficial nutrients, 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C and some broad-spectrum B vitamins.

I hope you enjoy this yummy dessert!

Pam

 

 

Strawberry Coconut Smoothie

HB 2_25_15 Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Coconut Smoothie

This is a spin on the Blueberry Almond Coconut Smoothie. All the ingredients are the same except we swap out the berries! If your house is anything like mine- one kid loves an ingredient, another doesn’t- then you’ll definitely want to make this smoothie.

Plus it has some of the superfoods that were in this month’s giveaway!

Chef Walter gives this smoothie a thumbs up and adds…

“Now here is a really tasty smoothie! Even my daughter Samantha likes this one!”

Ingredients:
16 oz. Coconut Water
2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (or your favorite nut-free butter)
2 frozen bananas
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon Acai berry powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons Spirulina
1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein powder

Method:
Combine all ingredients in your blender.
Start off slow then set your blender on high for about 45 seconds.

Enjoy!

Makes about two (2) 16 ounce glasses

Nutritional Benefits:

Coconut Water:
Provides a good source of Potassium which is a major mineral and essential electrolyte that your body needs. It plays an important role in electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure.

Almond Butter:
Excellent source of protein and major minerals: potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Contains the essential fatty acid, omega-6. Essential fatty acids are necessary for brain function, as well as growth and development. Our body can’t make essential fatty acids so it’s imperative we get these good fats by making healthy food choices!

Strawberries:
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and K, fiber, and flavonoids. Flavonoids are an amazing group of plant pigments that offer a high amount of antioxidant activity. Similar to the blueberry it contains one particular flavonoid, anthocyanidins, that is an exceptional antioxidant that researchers claim can protect the brain from oxidative stress and may help protect against Alzheimer’s.

Bananas:
Bananas have always been a favorite of mine and they are a great base for many smoothies. They are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin B6. Bananas also contain Vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium. Bananas are also very soothing to the gastrointestinal tract and can promote regularity (woo hoo!).

Spirulina:
I love, love, love spirulina! Spirulina is a blue-green algae that provides a complete protein source, which means it contains all the essential amino acids typically found in animal protein. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Copper and Manganese.

Protein Powder:
I know a lot of folks like to use protein powders and my only word of caution is to make sure yours contains whole ingredients and not derivatives such as soy protein isolate. The body can have a difficult time breaking down man-made ingredients. I choose a protein powder that is raw, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free and made from pea and hemp protein.

Acai berry:
This is an awesome superfood but I’m listing it as optional because it is fairly expensive and not including it won’t have an effect on the taste. Acai berries contain a high level of anti-oxidants, they have been recognized as having a high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity), basically how well the antioxidants neutralize free radicals and they contain fiber to aid in digestion. They are high in essential fatty acids, omega-9 and omega-6, which help to maintain optimum levels of cholesterol. They contain B-Complex vitamins and vitamin K, and minerals such as: potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium

Coconut Oil:
I love the sweetness coconut oils adds to my smoothie, my son does not. So I pour his smoothie first then add ½ tablespoon of coconut oil into the blender, pulse it a couple times and then pour my smoothie.

Contrary to what some people might think, we need fat in our diet, especially to aide in the digestive process. But it really needs to be a healthy fat such as coconut oil. What differentiates coconut oil from many other oils is that it contains medium chain fatty acids which the body can absorb better. It also is known to have some antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.

I hope you enjoy this smoothie!

Pam

P.S. Don’t let the color fool you, that’s the spirulina (blue-green) doing it’s job, it darkens every smoothie, but the flavor stays the same. I could’ve posted a very red smoothie to give you the illusion of all the berry goodness, but that’s misleading in my book. I certainly don’t want you to make any of the recipes I send you and wonder if you did something wrong because it doesn’t look like the picture! (Psst… A lot of recipes are not the actual food, you would be amazed at how they get the pictures to look so tantalizing)

Decadent Cacao Smoothie

 HB 2_11_15 Cacao smoothis

Decadent Cacao Smoothie

Chocolate for breakfast? You bet! With Cacao powder you get to have a smoothie that is good for you and satisfies any chocolate cravings you may have.

I prefer to use almond butter, but my son likes his smoothie with peanut butter – I’ve included tips to make a nut-free version!

Throw in some kale to ensure you’re getting some greens in your diet. It might look a little on the green side, but it tastes just as good!

A few tips: make sure your non-dairy milk is refrigerated and your bananas are frozen.

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

8 oz. Hemp Milk Regular Unsweetened

8 oz. Almond Milk Regular Unsweetened Coconut Water
2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (or peanut butter)
2 frozen bananas

2 tablespoons of Cacao powder

1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
½ – 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein powder

(I prefer Sun Warrior Raw protein powder)

Optional:

Handful of kale, washed and de-stemmed.

Nut-Free Version:

Use 16 oz. of Hemp Milk (it’s nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free)

Or substitute your favorite non-dairy milk, rice or coconut.

Use Sunflower butter (or your favorite nut-free butter) in lieu of almond or peanut butter.

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until all ingredients are fully blended.

Be sure to read the labels of all your ingredients and avoid any products with added sugars! Especially the nut butters and protein powders, these tend to have hidden sugars.

ENJOY!

  • Note: I love hemp milk, but it’s more expensive than almond milk so I make it stretch by doing a 50/50 measurement.

Nutritional Benefits:

Almond Butter:

Excellent source of protein and major minerals: potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Contains the essential fatty acid, omega-6. Essential fatty acids are necessary for brain function, as well as growth and development. Our body can’t make essential fatty acids so it’s imperative we get these good fats by making healthy food choices!

Almond Milk:

Has the same nutritional health benefits as almond butter, yet does not contain the same amount of protein as whole almonds.

Bananas:

Bananas have always been a favorite of mine and they are a great base for many smoothies. They are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin B6. Bananas also contain Vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium. Bananas are also very soothing to the gastrointestinal tract and can promote regularity (woo hoo!).

Cacao Powder:

The health benefits of the cacao bean are as follows:

  • Contain magnesium which is a major mineral needed for many functions in our bodies, like muscle and nerve function.
  • Contains fiber
  • Contains Iron
  • Contains flavonoids, a type of anti-oxidant that promotes general health and can help you to lower your risk of several diseases.

 Hemp Milk:

Hemp milk provides both omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in a healthy three-to-one ratio. It’s a good source of minerals and vitamins such as: magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, Vitamins A, D, and E.

Hemp milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a very good source of protein.

Protein Powder:

I know a lot of folks like to use protein powders and my only word of caution is to make sure yours contains whole ingredients and not derivatives such as soy protein isolate. The body can have a difficult time breaking down man-made ingredients. That’s why I like Sun Warrior, it is raw, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free and made from pea and hemp protein (not isolates).

Pure Maple Syrup:

The cacao bean is a little on the bitter side so I use some maple syrup to cut the bitterness. I recommend using 100% Pure Maple Syrup (organic if you can afford it.) Even though it is a sweetener and contains mostly glucose I prefer this over other sweeteners because of these health benefits:

Maple syrup is a very good source of the trace mineral manganese which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes used for energy production and antioxidant defenses. It’s also a good source of zinc.

Even though I’ve listed this ingredient as optional, it’s so nutrient-dense I encourage you to try it!

Kale:

Kale is a vegetable that can give you the biggest bang (nutrient-wise) per portion than most other vegetables. I’m listing it as optional because if you haven’t had it before I recommend taking it slow. Try the smoothie by itself and over time add little bits of kale to get used to it. Once you get used to kale, you may even find you crave it! I do!

Nutritional benefits:

Kale is an excellent source of carotenes, a phytonutrient that protects against cancer, Vitamins C, B6 and the trace mineral manganese. It’s a very good source of fiber, and some major minerals such as: copper, iron and calcium.

I hope you enjoy this smoothie!

Pam