chocolate

Chocolate For The Heart

It's no coincidence that chocolate is the treat of choice for the love holiday. Here are 3 benefits of cacao that nourish the heart:

Heart Opener

Cacao, in its raw and unprocessed form, is a food that naturally opens and connects us to our heart space. It allows us to feel deeper into our emotions and desires. This is why we share chocolate with loved ones so we can be open and connect with one another perhaps on a more meaningful level. 

High in Magnesium

Another major health property of raw cacao is that it is the highest food source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for many bodily functions. It relaxes muscles and the nervous system, aids digestion, and alkalizes the body. Raw cacao also improves sleep, hydrates, and supports bone health. Magnesium is important for heart health because it keeps calcium levels balanced.

Cacao as an Aphrodisiac

Cacao contains Theobromine, which is a natural occurring chemical that is a stimulant similar to coffee but without the caffeine. It also relaxes blood vessels, dropping blood pressure, and allowing us to relax. The Aztecs referred to cacao as food of the Gods mainly due to it containing theobromnie and using it as a healing and opening substance before making love - an aphrodisiac!


Live A Lot Superfood Chocolate is intentionally made with the highest quality fair-trade raw cacao to obtain the endless health benefits of this food. We infuse our bars with a blend of medicinal mushrooms to make them more nourishing and delicious. 

These bars are decadent on their own, but if you feel like getting creative, there are many ways to enjoy this chocolate. One of my favorite ways is simply melting it down and drizzling it over fresh fruit. 

For an extra playful experience in the bedroom with your partner, melt the chocolate down and let your imagination and playfulness flow. 

Chocolate Dipped Fresh Figs and Chocolate Drizzled Fresh Apples

Chocolate Dipped Fresh Figs and Chocolate Drizzled Fresh Apples

Melted Chocolate Drizzled on Creamy Coconut Ice Cream

Melted Chocolate Drizzled on Creamy Coconut Ice Cream

xx,

Giovanna

Chocolate Dipped Persimmon Bars

If you haven't noticed by now, dessert is one of my favorite things to make (and perhaps eat). I love creating treats that are indulgent but also provide nourishment and satisfaction. I believe that dessert is one of the best ways to connect with others and build stronger relationships. Because who doesn't love dessert? 

I had the pleasure of spending a day creating treats with my amazing friend, Julia Corbett. She has a beautiful blog where she shares inspiration and recipes for Dessert Medicine (Yes, that exists!).

This recipe was specifically created to share in Dessert Medicine. Julia and I made magic in the kitchen and then played at the park while we enjoyed these delicious bars. Hop on over to her blog to get inspired and see pictures of the process: http://www.dessertmedicine.com/blog/2015/10/30/dessert-maker-giovanna-garcia. I also share how I personally get inspired to create healthy desserts and why I created my superfood chocolate bars.

Photo by  Julia Corbett

Photo by Julia Corbett

Ingredients

4 Fuyu persimmons, chopped

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup dried figs

1/3 cup goji berries

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 Tablespoons lucuma powder

1 teaspoon he shou wu powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Sea salt, to taste

4 Superfood chocolate bars, melted

 

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

2. Place chopped persimmons in a baking dish and toss with coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, and a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 10-20 minutes, until soft. 

3. In a food processor, combine baked persimmons along with remaining ingredients (except chocolate). Process until mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers. 

4. Line a dish or baking tin with parchment paper and press mixture down to flatten into desired thickness. Place in the freezer while you melt your chocolate. Melt chocolate on a double boiler. 

5. Remove dish from freezer and cut mixture into bars. Dip each bar into melted chocolate and place on a  parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Once finished with all bars, place back in freezer until chocolate firms up. 

6. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Makes ~10 bars

 

Gluten-Free {Kale} Brownies

There's a secret (not so secret) ingredient in these brownies. Yes, kale. And super delicious! 

I took an Ayurveda workshop this weekend, where I learned about my dosha constitution and what foods were suggested to make me feel better, and what foods could cause an imbalance in my body. Surprisingly, kale was on the 'avoid' list because my body prefers sweet, warming foods. Kale is bitter and can be cooling to the body. Nothing wrong with that, just learning that my body wants warmth and grounding. It's important to listen to the cues it gives us. 

I came home from the workshop, I opened my fridge and saw this large bunch of kale sticking out at me. I wanted to find a creative way to use it that might benefit my body more, so I immediately thought of adding it to a dessert, of course. Any excuse to make dessert. I made two desserts yesterday! Nourishing, refined sugar free, and decadent desserts. Mmmm yes, please. 

I had made kale brownies before but didn't write down the recipe, per usual. This recipe was a completely new - made up by my intuition and the little baking knowledge I have. I'm not a master baker (yet), but these brownies are winners!

Enjoy. 

Ingredients

4 large kale leaves, stems removed

2 large organic eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1/2 cup spring or filtered water

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used a blend of buckwheat and brown rice flours)

3/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place first six ingredients in blender or mixer and blend until smooth. 
  3. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. 
  4. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil/organic butter. 
  5. Pour mixture into dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes. Brownies are ready when toothpick comes out clean after inserting into middle of dish.
  6. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares. You may also leave it whole and slice like a cake. Sprinkle with shredded or cacao powder to decorate. 

 

Chocolate Cherry Chia Pudding

It's a rare day when I don't create some sort of chocolate concoction to nourish myself with. I used to feel like I was 'bad' for loving chocolate and eating it so much. I thought it was unhealthy. Until I learned the sacred and super nourishing benefits of raw cacao (Read more about cacao benefits here), then raw chocolate became a really happy and positive treat for me.

There's something about chocolate paired with cherries. I mean, two of the best foods this Mother Earth has gifted us! Do you agree?

I hope you can indulge too with my latest creation. As usual, the simplest ingredients make such a decadent treat.

I created this recipe for Oh My Drifter (photographed by Micaela). Click here for the cutest video of the making of this pudding. 

Ingredients

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 cup frozen cherries

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

2-3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Let sit for 10-20 minutes to allow it to thicken. 

Enjoy every bite! 

Captures of Sweet & Savory Chocolate Brunch

We had such a wonderful time at our Chocolate Brunch Club in June. Thank you to everyone that helped and got chocolate wasted with us. 

I was a bit afraid that chocolate everything would be overwhelming, but it was such a hit!

Excited for the next Brunch Club coming up in August. Stay tuned. 

Photography by Regina Felice

 

Mole Sauce

Growing up, chicken mole was one of my favorite dishes. Sometimes my mom would buy the sauce that came in the jar - ready to serve. 

When I embarked on my health journey, I got curious about everything I was putting into my body. Reading labels and ingredient list was key for me when buying packaged products. Now, 95% of my food is fresh and does not come in a package, but there's the exception of products like raw honey, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, etc. 

I was amazed by the not-so-healthy ingredient list of the mole sauce in a jar. It was something along the lines of processed sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat), cornstarch, cocoa (processed, not the same as raw cacao), and natural flavors (GMOs). 

Mole became a special occasion dish for me (I believe in balance), until I went to holistic nutrition culinary school and learned how to make mole sauce from scratch with delicious whole ingredients. 

There are many versions of mole sauce. It originated in Mexico and was traditionally made with chili peppers, nuts, spices, and chocolate. I've made a few different recipes out there, but this one from Bauman College always seems to leave everyone wanting more. 

I'm sharing this recipe with you with hopes that you'll be as excited as I was to make and enjoy the full nourishment from homemade mole sauce. It's quite the therapeutic process and can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.

Ingredients

8 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded 

2 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded

2 Tablespoons raisins

2 Tablespoons raw almonds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or ghee

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped

A few pinches of sea salt

1-3 ounces dark chocolate, 70-80% cacao (I used my Superfood Chocolate bars), to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the seeded dry chilies on a baking sheet and toast in the over for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently. When the chilies begin to release their aroma, take them out of the oven. Make sure to not let them burn. Add the toaster chilies to a bowl with the raisins and cover with warm water. Allow to soften for 30 minutes then drain out liquid, reserving liquid for later use.
  3. Place almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and place in over (350 F) for 3-5 minutes to toast. Watch closely to make sure seeds don't burn. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. In a medium pot or pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil/ghee, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Transfer vegetables to a high-speed blender along with soaked chilies, raisins, nuts and seeds. 
  5. Puree the mixture, adding a little water or vegetable stock as needed, to make a smooth sauce. 
  6. Return the sauce to the pot on low heat. When the sauce begins to simmer, stir in the chocolate and allow to melt. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed. If you want it spicier, add some of the chili soaking liquid. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a little water or vegetable stock. 

Makes about 4 cups of sauce. Recipe adapted from Bauman College Staff.

Captures of Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop

What a wonderful weekend. We were so happy to share smoothies and knowledge with everyone at the Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop on Saturday. There was some great Q & A and hopefully everyone is trying out their new recipes this week! We're grateful for Dave Ford's yoga practice, our amazing helper, Maddy Smith, the beautiful well-lit space (aMuse Art Gallery & Meeting Place) in the Mission, and everyone who brought their good energy. It was pretty cool to do yoga in an art gallery. Let us know if you'd like to see a similar event, we'd be happy to host if there's interest - contact Regina at reginafelice@apurifiedlife.com

xx

Captures of Valentine’s Day Chocolate Making Workshop

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There’s no such thing as getting your hands dirty when it comes to chocolate. But if there were, I guess you could say that’s how we spent our Valentine’s Day. At the Chocolate Making Workshop we made rose and fig truffles, chai spiced chocolate mousse, and dark chocolate bark. Everyone got to build their own dark chocolate bark with nuts, seeds, fruit, and superfood powders. There was a lot of love in the air (and in the chocolate) on Saturday! We’re grateful for everyone’s great energy and company.

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Double Layer Chocolate Slice

Chocolate Slice featured image

Another day, another guilt-free chocolate creation. I was about to make some chocolate for an afternoon boost, and couldn't decide between a simple chocolate bar or raw brownies. Then I thought, I want both in one bite. So this happened. And it was heaven. Cacao has many health benefits. It is truly a superfood, but of course, when it's in its pure unrefined state and not when consumed in excess or with loads of refined sugar and dairy.

Pure unrefined (raw) cacao properties:

  • Rich in magnesium - essential nutrients for vitality
  • High in antioxidants - cancer and heart disease prevention
  • High in iron - provides oxygen to cells
  • High in chromium - balances blood sugar
  • Theobromine - lowers blood pressure, boosts energy
  • Dopamine - Neurotransmitter that boosts pleasure
  • Serotonin - Neurotransmitter that balances mood and fights stress
  • Tryptophan - an amino acid that is the most commonly deficient

So there you have it. Raw chocolate is simply good for you in right amounts. I'm going to be celebrating the weekend with this creation. I hope you do too.

Chocolate slice

Ingredients

Bottom layer:

20 medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Pinch of celtic sea salt

Top layer:

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup raw cacao paste (or caca powder)

2 Tablespoons coconut nectar or raw honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

Bottom layer:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined and mixture holds together when pressed with fingers.
  2. Line a small dish with parchment paper and press mixture down to form layer. Make sure to use a dish where you will cover all the surface, I used a 5 x 7 dish.
  3. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the top layer.

Top layer:

  1. Mix melted coconut oil and cacao paste (melt ahead) or cacao powder.
  2. Place in a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour over bottom layer and place back in the refrigerator until set, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Cut into slices to serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 12 slices