Espresso Energy Pops (GF)(V)

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Yes, a caffeinated snack.  I was in MoM’s Organic Market on Tuesday and I picked up a “Coffee Bar” by a company called New grounds.  It was made of the usual Lara Bar-ish ingredients but with ground coffee! I had it the next day for breakfast and fell in love.  However, like all my favorite packaged goods, it was very expensive at $2.99 for just one small bar.  I decided that I would just make my own variation based on what was already in my pantry.  Here is What I used:

  • 1/2 cup of gluten free oats
  • 1 tbsp of finely ground espresso
  • 2 tbsp of coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 8 dates
  • 3 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of almond butter

Using a heavy duty blender or food processor start with the oats and pulse until you have the consistency of a chunky flour.  Keep adding the indgredients in the order above, pulsing as you go.  When you are done you should have a thick and very delicious dough.  It is encouraged to lick spoons here.

Now you can table whopping tablespoon servings, roll them into a ball and place on a plate with parchment.  Once you’ve created your pops, place them in the fridge on parchment.  After a few hours the almond butter and coconut oil will harden and you can transfer to a Tupperware.  Store these in the fridge and they can last as long as you need them to, however they won’t.  They are so decadent.  I felt like I was having dessert for breakfast at 6:00 am with a big steaming cup of coffee.

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If you are often on the go or need an afternoon pick me up these are a great little jolt for your day. As always they are gluten free and contain no added sugars.  These are a good balance of healthy protein, fat and carbohydrate.  So if you need a light boost before a morning or afternoon workout these would be perfect.  I think they are best enjoyed with a cup (or two) of Joe.

 

 

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Sweet Potato & Kale Quiche (GF)(DF)

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Quiche is a total comfort food. There is just something decadent about it! I have shared a gluten free quiche with you before, but this one is also dairy free. You really don’t need cheese to create a flavorful quiche, and this recipe is the epitome of clean eating.

Here is what you will need:

1 large sweet potato or yam
2 cups of kale
4 eggs
2 cloves of garlic
½ onion
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
Optional: Fresh herbs (I used oregano and parsley)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Crust: Slice the potato into thin rounds. Brush your pie pan with a very thin layer of oil. Arrange the slices into the pan to make the “crust”, cutting rounds to cover any gaps that may show the bottom of the pan or the rim. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. If you have any potato left over after creating the crust you can chop and set aside. Place the crust in the oven for 15 minutes.

Filling: Sautéed garlic, onion and kale in some olive oil. If you have leftover sweet potato chunks you can throw those in as well. Set aside and let cool as you beat 4 eggs. Add the cooled vegetable to the beaten eggs. Add in any herbs you desire. I added fresh oregano and parsley from my garden!

Now all you have to do is pour the filling over the crust and cook for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are set!

Bon appetite :0)

Perfect Flourless Double Chocolate Cookies (GF)(DF)

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Every now and again I get a strong craving for baked goods. By every now and again I mean every day at 3:00 pm. I usually have some chocolate, but I have been slowly picking away at Easter candy for going on 2 months now and it’s lost it’s novelty. So I adapted my flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookies to create this delicious blend of rich ingredients. This is so easy and you most likely have all the ingredients you need sitting in your pantry. I know I do at all times.

1 cup creamy nut butter (I used peanut)
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup chocolate chips

Combine the nut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Next add in the dry ingredients and lastly the chocolate chips. Spoon tablespoon sized balls onto a parchment paper lined sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes. Definitely stay nearby and watch these cookies. They usually cook fast and differently in every oven.

These cookies are small and easy to eat so they go fast. I have never doubled the recipe but I am sure it would work fine! Let me know what you think.

Simple Chia Pudding

Being dairy free, I sometimes really miss yogurt. I can buy the coconut or almond milk yogurts, but they just do not satiate me the way a thick Greek yogurt used to. The best alternatives to me are thick smoothies and chia pudding. Today I am sharing with you my simple recipe that can be enjoyed with whatever toppings your heart desires. I have this as a breakfast or even a dessert when I am trying to behave. After the amount of candy I consumed this past weekend on Easter I would say I am trying to behave. So here is what you will need for the pudding itself. This recipe makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup, more or less to taste

Mix the above ingredients together and let them soak for at least an hour. I usually just leave them in the refrigerator overnight. You can add fruit, nuts, granola, nut butters, chocolate chips, the list goes on. Pictured I have topped my pudding with almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, banana slices and fresh mango slices.

I hope you enjoy!

Healing Chicken Soup (gf)(df)

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February has been a bitter cold month here in Virginia, and nothing warms you up like a piping hot bowl of soup. Chicken soup is a simple comfort food, so I decided to make my own version of chicken and rice with an extra healthy twist.

With winter I find my body gets aggravated. I feel run down easily and my daily activity level decreases with the season. I am no longer spending my free time outdoors walking the dog, gardening, running or soaking up the sun. With temperatures well below freezing I find myself napping, reading and watching Netflix in my downtime. Having an autoimmune disease makes the seasons effects even more apparent. When my vitamin D levels are low my gut feels the effect, which leads to psoriasis flare ups and zapped energy. Which is why it is so important for me to eat very clean this time of year. I reach for healing foods that are easy on my system over raw salads and crucifers. This recipe is packed with anti inflammatory foods that will aid in digestion and help you get through any autoimmune flare up you may be experiencing.

I made this soup in the crock pot but if you want to make in on the stove in a stock pot it will take under an hour!

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breast
2 quarts of bone broth (I used the store bought brand Pacific)
1 onion diced
1 crown of broccoli
5 carrots
5 celery stalks
1 bag of frozen peas (about 2 cups)
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 thumb sized piece of ginger root grated
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of turmeric
1 lemon juiced
1 cup of dry quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and let cook for 5-6 hours on low. Remove the cooked chicken and shred before putting back into the pot to serve.

If you cannot find Bone broth in your grocery store you can always make your own or just use regular chicken stock.

P.S.-This recipe is even better the next day!

Lent Wellness Challenge

Genevieve’s Wellness Commandments for Lent 2016

February 10th-March 24th
Move Daily: It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym, but make a point to participate in some form of exercise.
Drink half your bodyweight in water everyday
Cut out all refined carbohydrates: Pasta, bread, white rice, baked goods, waffles, pancakes, crackers, snack foods.
Say no to dairy: Try your best to cut out all dairy. If you do well on dairy, you can leave Greek yogurt and organic milks, but I challenge you to try going dairy free! No cheese.
Make vegetables the star: Focus your meals around vegetables. Adding healthy fats like avocados and lean proteins like fish and chicken.
No added sugar: Read the sugar content on all your snack bars, yogurts and other packaged foods. Keep it under 10 grams if it is natural sugar (ie:dates, dried fruit, coconut sugar). Load up on fresh fruit instead!
Have an apple a day: Eat fruit between meals to keep full.
No booze
Pick a kryptonite and say goodbye: If you have a snack food or bad habit that holds you back, say goodbye for 6 weeks. For example, if you cannot control yourself with a bag of corn chips, cut them out.
Have a treat every once in awhile: You are working hard and using a lot of willpower, so treat yourself to a small treat from time to time. Be conservative, for example, a piece of dark chocolate or a bowl of popcorn.

Chaco Pumpkin Truffle Cookies (V)(GF)

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Yummmm. I think I had about three cookies worth of batter as I licked the spatula, spoon, bowl, food processor and counter clean.

I make a lot of Vegan friendly desserts because I do not tolerate dairy well. Part of vegan baking is accepting the failures. The pumpkin pure has revived me. It adds texture and bounce that mimics eggs and butter, it is spectacular!

So in honor of fall and all things pumpkin, here is my recipe:

½ cup of pumpkin pure
½ cup of creamy peanut butter
¼ cup agave nectar
¾ cup cocoa powder (or cacao)
2 tsp cinnamon

Combine everything in a food processor or vita mix. Set in the refrigerator and allow to set for 10-15 minutes. Use this as an opportunity to clean the kitchen.

Line a baking sheet (or two) and scoop the batter into tablespoon size balls onto the parchment paper.

Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. I would keep an eye on them.

This recipe makes 18 itty bitty bite size cookies.

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Why Should You Learn About the Psoas Today?

The Psoas muscle is often left tight and shortened after a post workout stretch. My goal today is to change that. And even if you don’t have a formal exercise routine, you are going to want to listen up because chances are you have a tight Psoas too.

The Psoas, pronounced “So-Az” is located in the pelvic region. It connects your lower back to your upper thigh (femur). It is responsible to hip flexion. Running, walking, stairs, and sitting all shorten the Psoas. Anyone from an endurance runner to the most sedentary couch potato can suffer from overly tight Psoas muscles. A tight Psoas can cause lower back pain, hip pain, leg pain and IT issues. A strong and lengthened Psoas promotes good posture and allows for a strong core.

Most americans spend a lot of their day in the seated position. In this position your Psoas is shortened and weakens overtime. A muscular tightness or weakness of the Psoas can cause an overarching of the lumbar spine, unhealthy anterior pelvic tilt (think Steve Urkle) as well has hunching of the shoulders.

If you spend a lot of the day sitting at work or driving in the car, stand up and stretch regularly. Try and break up your sedentary sessions. If possible, work from a standing desk. If you are a runner you need length to create power. When the Psoas is very short, it is unable to lengthen to then contract during your stride. This lengthening and shortening is what creates power. If you do in fact have a short Psoas muscle avoid hills for a while and engage in Psoas stretches daily.

So how do you know if you have a shortened Psoas? Lay on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Draw your right knee into your chest pulling it towards you, if your left hip is lifting up off the ground your right Psoas is tight and vice versa.

If you failed the test, do not fret, there is hope! First, take my tips above about avoiding extended periods of sitting and lay off hill work while running. In addition, ditch the crunches. When we do sit ups and crunches we almost always engage our Psoas and Hip Flexors. This goes for many other abdominal exercises that are done in the supine position. Just pay attention to your body and if you feel engagement in the pelvic region, lay off temporarily.

Start with these stretches:

Supine Bridge with Pelvic Tilt: Lay on your back with your feet on the floor hip distance apart. You want your heels to be in hands reach while your hands lay by your sides. Lift your hips off the floor while tucking your pelvis. Squeeze your Glutes together and continue pushing the hips high. You want your Glutes to be contracted. You may also feel a stretch in the low back (bonus!).

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Low Crescent Lunge with Pelvic Tilt: From a kneeling position bring your right foot up between your hands to create a right angle with your right knee. Lift the chest up creating a neutral posture. Tuck the pelvis under, tilting your hip bones toward the ceiling. If your Psoas is really tight you will feel a stretch here in the front of the left leg. If you need a little more stretch you can shift some weight into the front foot while maintaining the pelvic tilt. Switch Sides!

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