Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coconut Oil Fudge + Health Coach Ornament!

Greetings! And happy holidays! :)

Today I wanted to share a delicious recipe for a healthier version of a classic holiday treat!

Coconut Oil Fudge!

Instead of the usual butter, milk, and sugar-- this recipe uses coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey/agave/maple syrup.

(Makes: 16 servings)

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/2 cup cocoa powder

1. Using a spoon, blend the melted coconut oil with agave and mix well. Add vanilla extract, if desired. Stir in the cocoa. Mix until smooth.

2. Pour into an 8 x 8 " pan and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

3. Cut into 16 pieces and keep cool. Enjoy!!

*Because of the nature of the coconut oil, the fudge must be kept cool.

*Yesterday I received the most adorable xmas ornament from one of my amazing health coaching clients! It really made me stop and reflect on how much I love my job.

made. my. day.

Have an exciting and wonderful week!

Massaged Kale Salad!

Greetings health and wellness lovers!

Can you believe it's almost 2012?! I can't...

Anyways, this weekend I made a (festive?) delicious recipe from the Integrative Nutrition Healthy Holiday Guide!

Massaged Kale Salad

I made the salad to bring to a family gathering...

Honestly, I was a little hesitant to bring it, because kale is (unfortunately) not a commonly-enjoyed leafy vegetable by people outside of the foodie/nutrition/wellness circles.

But I decided to bring it anyways... and it seemed to be a hit! A family member even wanted the recipe! In addition to the Integrative Nutrition Holiday eBook, the recipe is also featured on Lemons and Loafers.

The only change I made to the recipe was substituting raisins + pomegranate seeds for the dried cranberries (because I didn't have any).

Have you ever had massaged kale salad?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Special holiday treat + Integrative Nutrition book download!

Greetings health and wellness lovers!

And happy Friday! I am so excited to share my new favorite holiday treat with you today!

When a craving for something sweet, creamy, bread-y, and chocolate-y strikes... this treat is sure to make you happy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake Bars!

But they aren't just any pumpkin chocolate chip gingerbread cake bars... they have a modern nutritional twist! Instead of using whole wheat flour, they are made with almond flour!

We all know almonds are amazing for you... but what can you tell people when they ask you "why would someone want to use almond flour?" Here's why...

Health Benefits
Almond flour, because it is simply ground almonds, offers the same health benefits as eating whole almonds. Eating nuts regularly can help your cholesterol, and a meta-analysis study published in the May 2009 issue of the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" verified previous claims that almond consumption results in lowered total cholesterol. When you have lower total cholesterol, you may reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.

Beneficial Nutrients
Almond flour contains 160 calories in 1/4 cup, and 320 calories in 1/2 cup. In contrast, whole-wheat flour has 204 calories in 1/2 cup. Almond flour is high in fat, with 1/4 cup containing 14 g of total fat, 1 g of saturated fat and no trans fat. The fat in almond flour comes mainly from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You get about 35 percent of your vitamin E requirement for the day, 20 percent of your magnesium needs and 6 percent of your daily requirement for both iron and calcium. Your body uses vitamin E for the health of your red blood cells, and magnesium for your muscle function, bone strength and energy needs. Almond flour also gives you 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber per 1/4 cup, which is about 12 percent of your fiber requirements, if you aim for consuming 25 g a day.

Source: Livestrong

These cake bars can be enjoyed by everyone, because they are free of dairy and gluten! Here's the recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake Bars

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup agave nectar
4 eggs
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

1. In a food processor, combine pumpkin, agave, and eggs and pulse until mixture is consistent and smooth.
2. Combine pumpkin mixture with almond flour, salt, baking soda, and spices in a mixing bowl. Mix on high until batter is mixed well.
3. Pour batter into a greased 10"x15" casserole dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
5. Cut into cake bars of desired size. Serve and enjoy! You can also freeze them to enjoy later!

They are heavenly over banana soft serve!

Have an amazing day! xoxoxo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Excellent News about Dark Chocolate!

Greetings foodies and nutrition lovers!

I just came across an article that made my day! And I know you will be excited about it as well! :)

"Dark Chocolate Definitely Eases Emotional Stress"

by Melissa Breyer, originally posted at

'OK, honestly? It doesn’t take a scientist to tell me that chocolate makes me feel better. But they’re saying it anyway–new evidence that dark chocolate helps ease emotional stress was just published in “Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects.” I don’t know how my gut microbiota feel about it, but it’s doing wonders for my mood.
The study found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed.The daily dose also partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances. And that’s not all…Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions. Although studies in the past have suggested that chocolate may ease emotional stress, there was little evidence until now from research in humans on exactly how chocolate might have those stress-busting effects.
In the study, scientists identified reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks. “The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers,” the scientists say. Sign me up…'
Photo Credit

Yipee! I've always known dark chocolate does wonders for stress! ;)

Have we connected via the new Facebook page?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Well hello there! :)

And happy Friday!!

Today, I am so excited to share a new recipe that I made last night! It was originally published in Bon Appetite by Katherine Burk (2002). Lately, I've been craving warm and spicy foods, which is very unusual... most likely from the chilly winter weather.

This soup did the trick! It will satisfy your cravings for warm and spicy, and... even better, it may even be enjoyed by 'standard-American-diet eating' significant others! (My boyfriend loved it!!) As I know many of you can relate... it's difficult challenging cooking for people on completely opposite ends of the 'nutrition spectrum'. This recipe is definitely a make-again!

I made slight changes to the original recipe, to reduce the sodium/BPA content from the canned beans, and doubled up on the jalepeno pepper to add an extra metabolism-boosting kick! Below is the original recipe, with my modifications in italics, which made the recipe vegan + gluten free.

Spicy Black Bean Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used large cloves.)
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño chili with seeds (I used 2 tablespoons.)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, undrained (I rinsed them.)
2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (vegetable broth to make vegan)
8 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream (didn't use)
Tortilla chips (didn't use)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, green chilies, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin. Sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans with juices and broth (rinsed). Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Puree 3 cups soup in batches in blender. Return puree to same pot. Mix in 6 tablespoons cilantro. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro.

What are your tips and/or recipes for cooking for people when one may not be into 'healthy?' I know I am not the only one who has a fast-food loving significant other. ;)

Interesting Articles + More!
7 Foods You Should Never Eat
This Week's Must-Haves: Coconut Milk Nog
Why is There Soy in My Hain Celestial Tea?
Hungary Destroys all of Monsanto Corn Fields
Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge <-- heavenly!
Recipe: Peppermint Hot Chocolate <--love this!

P.S. Have we connected via the new Facebook page?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Healthy Holiday Guide + Grocery Shopping Tips

Greetings health and wellness lovers! And happy December!

Today I have a special download for you! It is Integrative Nutrition's complimentary Healthy Holiday Guide*when you sign up to get it, you will also receive health tips and more from Integrative Nutrition!

Also, I am excited to feature an article by guest blogger Melissa, a writer for Blog Content Guild, with great tips for making grocery shopping a little easier!

"A Few Tips to Make Grocery Shopping a Little Easier"

By Melissa

Grocery shopping can be a daunting task. There’s just no getting around it either, if you want to eat healthy, you have to cook a lot of your own meals. Here are a few tried and true methods to help streamline the process a little. Make grocery shopping more manageable and less of a chore with these 3 easy tricks.

1. Meal Plan
Before you head out to shop, sit down for a second and think about what your household will need to eat for the next few days. Personally, my partner and I meal-plan for the whole week and do one big shopping trip on Sunday, and a small one on Wednesday evening to replenish produce. It is a huge time saver to plan meals that save well as leftovers too. Roasted veggies, pasta dishes, soups and the like are great things to make large batches of, so you don’t have to cook every night of the week. 

2. Organize the List
Once you’ve picked out your meals for the week, check the kitchen to see what else needs restocking. Write your list based on the layout of the grocery store where you intend to shop. Most stores start with produce, so begin your list there. Grocery stores are chaos, especially if you go at busy times, not having to turn a bulky cart around and back track saves time and frustration. Also, keep in mind that fresh foods are generally on the outer ring of the store while the isles tend to shelve canned, preserved and pre-packaged foods.

3. Eat Beforehand!
Seriously, you may have the be the model of self control, but go to the grocery store hungry and you will walk out with any number of impulse buys. Eat something, anything, before you go. Markets are poised and ready for your blood sugar crash with cute displays of junk food arranged at the end of every isle, and in that state nobody is above temptation. 

Armed with an organized grocery list and a full stomach your pantry and refrigerator shelves will easily be lined with nutritious choices!

Melissa is a writer for the Blog Content Guild and a foodie who focuses on creating healthy grocery lists, meal planning, and recipes.   

I hope you have an amazing day!     

P.S. 'Taste for Healthy' now has a Facebook page! I am so excited to connect with like-minded wellness and nutrition enthusiasts!