Bone Broth Chicken Soup

This bone broth chicken soup will help sooth an upset stomach and fortify a healthy one. Its nourishing broth and simple ingredients is why I keep it around for whenever I need a healthy gut boost.

Of course, this is also a fantastic recipe even if you are well! I’ve made this many times for friends and family and everyone loves it. Even the picky eaters. Sometimes I will make pasta or rice on the side for folks to add as they please, but I always eat it as is. What can I say, I am a purist.

simmering bone broth chicken soup
Bone broth is easy to make, although it takes a long time to simmer the bones. I will post a how-to soon. You can also buy bone broth, it is a great staple to have on-hand if you are healing your digestion.

Recently I had a very bad case of food poisoning. Nothing would go in and everything was coming out, if you know what I mean. Thankfully I had some bone broth chicken soup on hand. After 2 days of not eating I was able to keep it down, and I started feeling better almost immediately.

Why Bone Broth?

The secret to the healing nature of this soup is the bone broth. You can make your own or buy it, just don’t use the regular canned chicken broth if you want the amazing benefits of the broth. The collagen and gelatin from the bone heals the lining of the stomach and intestine, and the protein gives the building blocks of energy that is easily digested. I use celery, carrot and onion because they are easy to digest and the flavor of the three veggies go together is absolutely satisfying. Of course, you can add some extras, like green peas if you like.

Organic carrots from farmer's market
Carrots are another staple for a gluten free yoga chick. Since they are on the dirty dozen list of foods, be sure to buy organic when you can. Avoid baby carrots. Although they are easier to deal with, baby carrots have been sprayed with chemicals to make them look so cute. Your food doesn’t need make-up!

In France they call this holy trinity of diced veggies browned in fat “Mirepoix” (pronounced “meer-pwah”). If the French like to eat it, it must be good!

Bone Broth Chicken Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked organic chicken (diced)
  • 3 organic celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 organic carrots (diced)
  • 1 brown onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, grass-fed butter, or olive oil
  • 8 cups organic chicken bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Once you have diced your veggies, preheat a large soup pot on medium heat. Add your fat and let it heat up, being careful not to let it smoke. Throw in the onion, carrots and celery and stir. I like to make sure all of the veggies have a little coating of the fat on them, so I stir it very well in the beginning.

Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and stir. Not sure how much “to taste” is? I start with a teaspoon of salt and pepper at this point. It’s easy to over-salt in the beginning, but remember salt flavor increases as you simmer your soup, and you can always add more later!

Continue to cook the veggies until the onions start to look translucent, or about 7 minutes. Add the broth carefully (it can splatter!) and bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the diced chicken and continue to cook for 45 minutes to an hour, tasting the broth periodically and adding more seasoning, if needed.

That’s it, your soup is done and you can start enjoying! It also saves well in the freezer, so you can keep it on-hand when your digestion needs a little TLC.

Bone Broth Chicken Soup served in a bowl
Nourishing | Simple | Gluten Free | Bone Broth Chicken Soup

I love seeing what you’ve made! If you make my recipe please post on social media and hashtag #glutenfreeyogachick. If you have any questions or comments please post them and join the gluten free yoga chick’s conversation!

Elixir of Life – The Tropical Tummy Soothing Smoothie

e·lix·ir (əˈliksər)
noun
  1. a magical or medicinal potion.
     elixir of life

This recipe works magic on a sensitive tummy! The Elixir of Life is really not my recipe,  I lovingly borrowed this from my guy, with a few tweaks to make it GFYC approved.  He is Puerto Rican and I love that the ingredients he uses are all local to PR.

What I really love about this recipe is the papaya.  It is chocked full of tummy-loving digestive enzymes.  The coconut water and banana support your healing with electrolytes, potassium and magnesium.  The perfect trifecta for post-yoga nourishment.

2 Servings

Ingredients*:

2 cups cold coconut water

½ medium papaya

1 frozen banana

2 tablespoons bee pollen (optional)

e·lix·ir /əˈliksər/ noun noun: elixir; plural noun: elixirs GFYC Hunting for Local Ingredients at a Local Puerto Rican Market
Hunting for fresh ingredients at local farmer’s markets is my kind of shopping spree!

*When shopping for ingredients, look for local and organic options.

Directions:

Pour coconut water into a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.  Peel and deseed the papaya.  Cut the papaya and banana into 1-2 inch chunks and add to the blender.  Secure lid onto blender and blend on high until smooth.  Pour elixir into two, 16 oz glasses and top each with 1 tablespoon of bee pollen (optional).  For optimal enjoyment, drink one and share one!

elixir of life

 

 

 

 

 

I love to hear your GFYC stories and questions, feel free to share below.

 

Turmeric Tonic

IMG_1379Lower inflammation with this infusion of Chai inspired spices and heavy use of fresh turmeric root.

I’ve been living in Puerto Rico for the last 5 weeks so I can take care of family that needed me.  While here I have taken the opportunity to learn about local Caribbean foods and farming.  I am always very passionate about using local and organic ingredients when I can.   The joy I find in connecting with the local farmers I buy my food from is just as much a part of the recipe as the ingredients themselves.

plaza mercado

Turmeric grows locally in Puerto Rico, along with a lot of other very nourishing root vegetables. It is very orange and fragrant when fresh and has long been know as a natural anti-inflammatory.  I purchased an entire pound of the beautiful, fragrant finger-like jewels from the Plaza Mercado (a local farmer’s market in San Juan).

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As a part of my gluten-free yoga chick adventures in Puerto Rico, I found an Ashtanga yoga studio within walking distance from where I am staying in San Juan.  It is a very rigorous practice of 73 positions that has been leaving me drenched in sweat and sore.  In addition to practicing Ashtanga, I am walking a mile each way to the studio and still keeping up with my regular running routine.  My hips hurt so good!  I created this very potent turmeric tonic to ease inflammation in my muscles and joints from all of this movement my body is adjusting to.

As an experiment, I prepared a batch of this super potent turmeric infusion each morning and drank it throughout the day while continuing with my yoga and running routine.  This turmeric tonic was super effective at relieving my aches and pains naturally.  This recipe uses three times more turmeric than you normally see in other turmeric tea recipes.  In my research I have not found any side effects to too much turmeric.  I have learned that pepper is key to unlocking the turmeric’s superfood power, and also adds a nice spicy flavor.

pickerimage

 

For this recipe, try to find the freshest turmeric and ginger possible.  My suggestion would be to go to a farmer’s market or natural food store where you know they are replenishing the items often.  Look for plump roots with little or no wrinkling on the outer skin.

Ingredients:

3 inches fresh turmeric root – Sliced with skin on

1 inch fresh ginger – Sliced with skin on

1 tsp cracked black peppercorn

1 cinnamon stick

3 cups filtered water

Method:

Place all ingredients in a small pot over medium high heat on a stovetop.  Once it comes to a rolling boil, decrease the heat to low, bringing the liquid to a light simmer.  Cover with a lid and continue to simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into an insulated carafe or other container.

Enjoy this super potent, yet tasty tonic plain or with your favorite milk (I like it with unsweetened coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top).  For the most medicinal benefits, sip the tea throughout the day.

I’m always interested in what you are doing.  How do you use turmeric?  What is your experience with Ashtanga yoga?  I love creating a community and would love to hear your about your adventures in wellness.  Please leave a comment or send me a message.

Have a beautiful day!

 

 

Not Your Granny’s Oatmeal Cookies: gluten free / no added sugar

Not Your Granny’s Oatmeal Cookies

(because Granny doesn’t make ’em gluten free, no added sugar and low in cholesterol, but still yummy!)

Not Your Granny's Oatmeal Cookies by Gluten Free Yoga Chick
Not Your Granny’s Oatmeal Cookies by
Gluten Free Yoga Chick

These cookies were entered into the San Diego County Fair’s baking competition.  Since there is no category for “gluten free”, I had to enter these into the “Healthy Baking” category.  To make them “healthy” (rules were they had to be low sugar), I simply took my original GF Oatmeal Cookie recipe, substituted dates and bananas for the sugar and modified the wet/dry ingredients to make the right consistency.

These cookies aren’t very pretty compared to the competition so I’m not sure if they will win a prize, but everyone in the office seemed to think they were delicious and that is better than any ribbon!

My favorite part of entering the Fair's baking competition is meeting fellow bakers and getting to see all of the edible art!
My favorite part of entering the Fair’s baking competition is meeting fellow bakers and getting to see all of the edible art!

Yield 24 cookies

Ingredients (in order of use)

3 tablespoons unsalted organic butter (or use coconut oil and make them dairy free)

1 cup chopped medjool dates (pits removed)

1 tablespoon molasses

1 whole organic egg

1 ½ tablespoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

2 medium mashed ripe bananas

1 cup all-natural crunchy peanut butter

3 cups gluten free quick oats

1 cup unsweetened raisins

⅓ cup raw cacao nibs

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With a fork, mash together dates, molasses and butter.  Once this buttery sweet mixture is mashed together, use an electric mixer to whip together.  Add egg, while mixer is on low, add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and bananas.  Slowly mix in peanut butter.  Turn off mixer.  Slowly hand stir in oats, taking care not to over mix.  Add raisins and cacao nibs and stir to combine.  Spoon one large tablespoon of dough per cookie onto cookie sheet, placing one inch apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned.  Allow to cool on a rack.

Since it is in the healthy category, does that mean I can eat cookies for breakfast?  Yes please!
Since it is in the healthy category, does that mean I can eat cookies for breakfast? Yes please!

 

Curb Your Craving for a Girl Scout Cookie with this Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

Gluten Free Yoga Chick Vegan GF Cookies
Gluten Free Yoga Chick Vegan GF Cookies

A soft, vegan, gluten free, and low glycemic cookie that satisfies?  Yes please!  The chocolate and coconut in this recipe give the cookies a Girl Scout’s Samoa cookie taste, but are softer, chewier and dare I say, better?  You be the judge!

Here I used larger chocolate chips, but the chocolate/coconut ratio wasn't quite right.  Smaller chocolate chips are better for this recipe.
Here I used larger chocolate chips, but the chocolate/coconut ratio wasn’t quite right. Smaller chocolate chips are better for this recipe.

Recipe for your mind, body and spirit:

I use a combination of sugars to get the best flavor and nutritional bang for your buck.  Stevia is a natural low glycemic sweetener with fewer calories.  Molasses has the added benefit of vitamins and minerals most modern diets are lacking, plus it adds a nice golden color to your cookie the way brown sugar would, but without the artificial colors.  Read this article to learn more about sugars and sweeteners.

1/2 cup organic white sugar

1/4 cup granulated stevia (2X strength of regular sugar).

2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut milk (or your milk of choice).  I used canned lite coconut milk for an added richness, but you could use the boxed coconut milk, almond, rice, or cashew milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons potato starch

1 tablespoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips (I recommend mini chocolate chips to get the best chocolate to cookie ratio).

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with oven safe parchment paper.

Cream together coconut oil, sugar, stevia, molasses and vanilla using an electric mixer or Kitchen Aid.  In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet sugar mix 1/3 at a time until the soft dough forms.  Be sure not to over mix.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon out dough onto the cookie sheet in tablespoon size dollups.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a beautiful golden brown.  Allow the cookies to cool on a cooling rack.  If you are like me you will eat them immediately.  In the rare event you have leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container to maintain the soft freshness.  Enjoy!

FullSizeRender

Like the recipe?  Have a suggestion for a recipe you would like me to make-over?  I love to hear from you!

Baked Tostone Pizza Bites – Discover the Healing Benefits of Plantains

Looking for a healthy and satisfying game day appetizer?  These pizza bites made from plantains can’t lose, and the resistant starch, found in green plantains, will surely be the next new champion in Superfoods!

IMG_0059

Plantains are a starchy fruit found commonly in the Caribbean.  These cousins to the banana can be used in both savory or sweet dishes, depending on their ripeness.  Green plantains are not sweet and can be thought of more like a dense potato.  I was in Puerto Rico over the holiday and I tried all sorts of local plantain dishes. Most of the time you find them fried, or even twice fried!  So here I made a healthy version by baking the smashed plantain slices instead of frying.  The texture and taste of tostones remind me of a cracker or crusty flatbread when baked, making it the perfect gluten free alternative that is healthy, Paleo and clean diet friendly, and just plain delicious.

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Recipe for your Mind, Body and Spirit:

If you practice yoga consistently you begin to notice the subtle signals your body is sending you letting you know exactly what you need to thrive.  If your have any sort of food allergy these signals  may not be so subtle!  Plantains can help you heal from digestive issues and will also provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Thank your body for sending your these signals, giving you the opportunity learn how to heal, how to flourish, and how to become aware and fully present in your body.  What we eat literally becomes who we are, and if we eat healthy and healing foods to nurture our bodies we become healthy, healed and nurtured.

Green plantains are chocked full of essential vitamins and minerals and are a resistant starch food, which is healing to your lower intestine.   Check out this clip from Dr. Oz to learn more about why you should incorporate resistant starch into your diet:

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/resistant-starch-flour

The main reason why resistant starch is so beneficial is that it feeds the friendly bacteria in your large intestine and colon, turns them into important short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate (known to help reduce inflammation) and is extremely helpful in cases of autoimmunity, IBS, colitis and allergies.

Ingredients for Pizza Bite Tostones (serves 4):

2 large green plantains

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 roma tomatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning

¼ cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Method:

Cut the ends off the plantains.  Cut a slit through the peel lengthwise.

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Microwave the prepared whole plantain for 3-5 minutes.  The peel will turn black and will be easily removed.  Be careful when peeling the hot plantain!

While the plantain is still hot, slice into 3/4 rounds.

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Flatten the rounds in tostonera, or between two cutting boards.  You can buy an inexpensive tostonera here.

IMG_0038  IMG_0034

Place smashed plantains on a greased cookie or baking sheet.

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Lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip, season the other side with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 7-8 more minutes, the edges will become a beautiful golden brown.  Remove the tostones from the oven and add a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese and red pepper flakes or Italian seasoning.  Return to the oven until cheese is completely melted, about 1-2 more minutes.

IMG_0058You can also omit the pizza toppings and use the baked tostones as a vehicle for your favorite dip.  Here I made a quick yoghurt lime dipping sauce out of yogurt, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro and garlic.

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I think these baked beauties would be perfect with a spinach or artichoke dip as well.  Want the recipe for my yogurt lime dipping sauce?  Was this recipe helpful, inspiring, difficult?  Let me know your comments below!

 

Paleo Friendly Cauliflower Rice Mediterranean Bowl

 

This Paleo friendly cauliflower rice dish is a delectable way to get more veggies into your diet!

Gluten Free Yoga Chick Cauliflower Rice

Recently I started reparative cleanse to heal my body after accidentally ingesting gluten, and to re-ignite my digestive fire to get it humming harmoniously again.   I believe we are all an advocate for our own health.  It is very frustrating to go to a restaurant and be very diligent about letting the server know you are allergic to a particular food or on a particular diet brave enough to ask about ingredients and menu options, and still come home with a terrible stomach ache, headache, or low energy  that lasts for days and sometimes weeks.   The result of insensitive or perhaps unknowledgeable restaurant staff can be devastating to someone with food allergies. For those with Celiac Disease, the damage done to the small intestine after ingesting gluten is permanent and debilitating. In my case, getting slipped the big G left me with all of the symptoms of the stomach flu, anemia, and skin issues and in need of major gut repair.

The cleanse I am on is great because you can eat as much of the approved foods as you want.  That means no need to be hungry, or drink strange juice concoctions.   What you eliminate is any inflammatory food or known allergen.  That means no grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nuts, etc.  The hardest part is eliminating my beloved coffee!  Along with this clean diet, I am taking some high-quality digestive enzymes and digestion supporting herbs prescribed by a health coach and fellow Gluten Free Goddess, Kelly Ann Greene.  Be on the look out for a guest blog with Kelly if you are interested in learning more about the cleanse!

Coffee-asana
Coffee-asana

Recipe for the Mind, Body and Spirit:

It is so important to love your food, even on a restrictive diet.  This Mediterranean bowl is cleanse friendly, filling, and a feast for the eyes.  The main attraction of this dish is the cauliflower rice.  Cooking the cauliflower quickly, as in this recipe, will eliminate the sulfur smell and taste.  Add your own herbs and spices to the rice recipe and it can be a great compliment to any main course.  You may not mistake this for real rice, but the texture, flavor, and color satisfies the mind, body and soul.  Cauliflower is high in potassium which regulates body functions, and one serving has almost as much vitamin C as a whole orange!

Ingredients: (Serves 4 people)

Cauliflower Rice:

1 head of cauliflower

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt to taste

Mediterranean Bowl:

2 cups Spinach

½ head of Romaine lettuce

½  cup pitted green olives

30-40 small or medium size pre-cooked shrimp

1 cucumber: peeled, deseeded, and chopped

1 cup purple cabbage, chopped

½  cup olive oil

½  cup apple cider vinegar

salt to taste

Method:  Cauliflower Rice

photo 1

Cut off any green leaves or brown spots from the head of cauliflower.  Chop the cauliflower head in half and remove the core, then cut the florets into uniform size florets.  In small batches, place the raw florets in a Vitamix on low speed, using the plunger to chop the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Be careful not to over chop. I use #3 on my Vitamix dial. If you are using a food processor, use the pulse feature to finely chop your cauliflower.

Gluten Free Yoga Chick Cauliflower rice Prep
Notice my settings on the Vitamix… have I told you how much I love this machine?

In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat and add garlic.  Lightly saute the garlic, being careful not to let it turn brown.  Add the rice to the skillet with the salt and saute until slightly toasted, adding the cilantro at the end to wilt into the rice.  Do not overcrowd the pan or you will end up with soggy rice!  Remove from heat and set aside.

photo 4

Method:  Mediterranean Bowl

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt to make the dressing.

Divide the lettuce and spinach in four separate serving bowls.  Layer the rice, cucumber, shrimp, olives and purple cabbage onto your beds of lettuce.  drizzle your oil and vinegar dressing over the top and enjoy!

This recipe serves 4, but it is easy to make more or less if needed.  If you don’t plan on eating all of the cauliflower rice, freeze the uncooked chopped cauliflower in serving size freezer bags.  It makes a great go-to side with any dish.

photo 5

I am on day 9 of this cleanse and with meals like this I feel like I could keep going!  I feel great and lost ½ inch off my belly already.  If you  have been feeling low energy, have had stomach issues, or just want to do a reasonable but effective fall cleanse, I recommend you try this one.  Please leave a message or a comment and let me know if you want to learn more about this cleanse, or have your own experience with a cleanse you would like to share.  Let’s help ourselves and each other love our food, love our bodies, and transform our lives!

The Best GF Lemon Bars

lemon bars
Best Recipe for Lemon Bars. Ever.

I promise you will love this recipe.  These lemon bars are really fresh tasting and have a delicate crust. They are so good no one will know they are gluten free.  In fact, I challenge you to take these bars to your next gathering, and wait until everyone tries one before you mention they are gluten free.  Let me know how your friends react when you tell them. I bet they will be surprised something that tastes so gourmet could also be gluten free!

 

Recipe for your body, mind and spirit :

Lemons are alkalizing for the body: Although lemons are acidic to begin with, they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds.  Allowing yourself a little treat is also nourishing for the soul.

lemons

Ingredients:

The Crust:

1 Package Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix*

3/4 Cup Organic unsalted butter

1 Egg Yolk

2 Tablespoons water

*Although I have my own shortbread cookie recipe, I cheated and used a cookie mix. This Bob’s Red Mill cookie mix is very high quality. Each product undergoes extensive quality control tests. During this testing phase, the gluten-free offerings are segregated from other products, and tested in special gluten-free-only ‘clean room facilities.’

I will be posting my very special Shortbread Cookie recipe in time for use during the holidays, so be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss it.  It is very easy and versatile, perfect for Christmas cookie swaps and holiday parties.

The Filling:

Liberated!
Liberated!

4 Large “liberated” eggs + 2 egg yolks

2 Cups Organic sugar

1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

2 Cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 organic lemons)

Zest of one lemon

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish with parchment paper, and grease the top of the parchment.

Prepare the cookie dough according to the package directions.  Press the dough into the baking dish evenly along the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the dish to form the crust.  Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, removing from the oven before it turns brown.  Turn the heat in the oven down to 300 degrees once the crust has been removed from the oven.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  Carefully pour the filling into the baked crust and return to the oven.

Bake until the filling is just set, approximately 30-35 minutes.  Let the bars cool on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.  Once the lemon bars have chilled, carefully lift out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a large cutting board and slice into 1 inch squares.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Let me know if you tried the recipe on your family and friends.  Did they love it?  Did they eat them all, not leaving a crumb?  Did they believe they were gluten free?  Tell me about it!

nom nom nom
nom nom nom

 

 

Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate Energy Bites

A friend and I went on a hike on the beach bluffs in So Cal and we needed a healthy treat to take along.  I threw together these delish energy bites and they were a big hit!  I even had leftovers  and took them to my team at work to give them a little fuel while facilitating the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health Teacher Training course.

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Health Benefits:

No added sugar!  Balanced mix of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates plus the added benefits of Shakeology’s superfood blend to give you tons of sustained energy.

Ingredients:

1 ½ Cup raw almonds

1 ½ cup raisins, dates, or unsweetened dried cherries

1 scoop chocolate superfood nutrition or protein powder.  (I use Shakeology)

1 tablespoon 100% unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coarse ground kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut (optional)

 

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Arrange them beautifully on a plate and serve as a treat. No need to tell anyone they are actually HEALTHY!

Method:

Add ingredients to your Vitamix in this order: almonds, dried fruit, Shakeology, cocoa powder, salt and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use a food processor if you don’t have a Vitamix.Start the machine on low speed, don’t be shy about using the plunger tool to mash the mix into the blade (don’t worry, a Vitamix will turn off before it overheats).  If the mix is too dry, add the remaining coconut oil.  When the mix is ready the fruit and chocolate will be completely integrated and the almonds will be in ground into small, pebble size pieces.  Empty the container on a clean surface. Using your palms, roll spoonfuls of the mix into bite size balls and roll into the shredded coconut.  Serve in mini muffin papers to make them a little more special.  Presentation counts, we eat with our eyes, too!

If you substitute your own chocolate protein powder for Shakeology, just be sure that the scoop isn’t too big or the mix will be too dry.  If it does turn out dry, just add more coconut oil.

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread

IMG_1112Winning a baking contest at the County Fair has always been on my bucket list, and this year it was my mission to enter a gluten free, healthy dish into a county fair cooking competition.  As a kid, I remember most of the fun in going to the county fair is walking by the food vendors and getting a whiff of some salty-sweet heavenly aroma, and feasting my eyes on treats I had never heard of but just HAD to have.  Just because I live a healthy gluten free life now, doesn’t mean I have to miss out on this great American summer food tradition.  I know my diabetic, vegan and vegetarian friends agree.

In a world where bacon is it’s own food group, I knew a recipe that is gluten free, dairy free and low in sugar would be an oddity at a County Fair cooking competition.  I believe a healthy diet can be just as satisfying to the taste buds as it is nourishing to the body, and I wasn’t going to compromise my passion for healthy food for a blue ribbon. I would much rather enter the contest and risk losing, than sell out on myself.

In the end, I did not win the blue ribbon, but I had a blast talking to people about my healthy and delicious style of food.  I shared my Salted Peanut Love Spread to the other participants and spectators, and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe!

Salted Peanut Chocolate Spread Recipe

(Inspired by the #LoveYouSticker campaign)

Ingredients:

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips

2 tablespoons honey

1 ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground kosher salt + a pinch to dust the finished product (optional)

¾ cup all natural unsalted peanut butter (I used Adams All-Natural)

dash of love

Method:

Gently warm the coconut milk in a saucepan on low to medium heat.  Watch the milk closely to avoid scalding.  Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender (I use a Vitamix). Once the milk is hot, not boiling, stir in the  honey until completely combined.  Add the hot milk mixture to the Vitamix and let sit for 30-60 seconds to start melting the chocolate.  Start the Vitamix on low and slowly turn up the speed to 5-6 and let blend for 1-2 minutes.  Add the salt and blend an additional 30 seconds.  Spoon in the peanut butter and continue to blend for about one minute, or until silky smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape out the mixture in a serving bowl or jar and allow the sauce to cool.  Sprinkle the remaining salt and a little dash of love on top before serving. Spread the Love onto fruit, breads, friends, and wherever a little love is needed.