food

Brunch Club: Farewell Winter Harvest

APL_BrunchClub_Jan17_6

Change isn’t always easy, but all we can do is embrace it and CELEBRATE it. At Brunch Club we’ll be saying farewell to the winter harvest before welcoming the bright vegetables of spring. Come enjoy a three-course meal and learn about the importance of eating for the seasons. All ingredients are organic, local, vegetarian friendly, and free of gluten and refined sugars. You’ll take home new recipes and connect with some awesome people. Check out photos from January Brunch Club to see what you’re in for.

There’s also an optional yoga practice before brunch (10am). Francesca Gobeille will be starting us off with a gentle, all-levels yoga practice to ease in the day. Visit Francesca's website to learn more about her teaching practice.

Hope this menu makes you ‘MMMMMmmmmmm’ as much as us!

FIRST COURSE

Green Winter Smoothie

A balanced blend of seasonal fruits and vegetables with an added superfood bonus of spirulina, seeds, and raw honey.

Kombucha by House Kombucha

Lavender lemonade House Kombucha.

Grindstone Bakery Gluten-Free Bread with Homemade Almond Butter

Served with sides of fresh bananas and ground cinnamon.

SECOND COURSE

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Scramble (Vegan Option Available)

Organic eggs and vegetables cooked in coconut oil and seasoned with warming spices. Topped with herbs and served with avocado.

Grapefruit pancakes with coconut whipped cream

Coconut flour pancakes with fresh grapefruit zest and cinnamon. Topped with coconut whipped cream, pure maple syrup, and sliced kumquats.

THIRD COURSE

Apple pie breakfast bars

Raw dates, apples, coconut, almonds, cinnamon and sea salt.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?! Get your tickets on Feastly. See you on 2/22 .

APL_BrunchClub_Feb22
APL_BrunchClub_Feb22

Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower butter featured image

A few months ago I discovered that I am sensitive to nuts. I know, I felt like my life was over, especially since I was the almond butter queen. I had it every single day and more than once. Perhaps why the sensitivity flared. I used to often get bloated and gassy after eating nuts but never thought anything of it since it wasn't every time or I just wasn't aware enough to make that connection. It wasn't until I did a thorough elimination diet/detox (similar to my 3-Day Detox Plan) that I realized that indeed nuts where causing stomach bloating and inflammation. So although they're packed with nutrients and have great health benefits, my body does not agree with them anymore. And that's okay because there are so many other foods that I can get those nutrients and snack fix from. It's just a matter of getting creative, there are always alternatives.

So I discovered this delicious and creamy sunflower seed butter. If you already purchase sunflower seed butter, do yourself a favor and make your own at home. It is so much better than the store-bought kind and doesn't contain refined sugars and other unnecessary additives. Always read your labels.

IngredientsSunflower butter

4 cups raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place sunflower seeds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 6-10 minutes, until slightly golden. Check at 6 and 8 minutes. It's important to keep an eye on them because they burn easily.
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes and place in food processor. Process for about 7-10 minutes. The seeds will release their oils and go from a flour, to a crumbly, to a creamier consistency. Be patient, it takes time. At this point, with the processor still running, add remaining ingredients and process until it reaches desired creaminess.
  4. Transfer to jar and keep at room temperature or refrigerated for up 2-3 weeks.

Makes ~ 2 cups

Let me know how yours turns out! Share below or tag me in your picture #apurifiedlife

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate

IMG_4995

These chocolates are the perfect treat to have at home to avoid the white stuff (refined sugar). They're delicious and ridiculously easy to make. The chocolate base is 3 ingredients, that's it! Then you can add your flavorings and toppings of choice. If you like very dark chocolate, omit the sweetener and just use spices to sweeten. My favorite are turmeric and maca powders.

IngredientsIMG_0190

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2-1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or raw honey

Optional Flavorings and Toppings

Vanilla extract

Turmeric

Cinnamon

Ginger

Maca powder

Mesquite powder

Sea salt

Cacao nibs

Raw nuts and seeds

Shredded coconut

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. If adding flavorings, add them now.
  2. Place mixture in chocolate molds or in a small dish lined with parchment paper. Top with desired toppings and place in freezer until firm (about 20 minutes).
  3. Remove from mold or dish. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Serves 4

 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

IMG_7706

Have you ever read the ingredient list of your store-bought tomato sauce? You'd be surprised to find that it's most likely loaded with added sugar, preservatives, and excess sodium. I got in the habit of reading labels years ago. It's amazing to find what is in products that are even labeled "all-natural," "organic," "sugar-free," etc. Point is, why spend money on these products that are not good for our health when they're so easy and more flavorful to make at home? Preparing your own sauces, dressings, and dips is fun and provides lots of health benefits.

There are many types of tomato sauces out there. This is my go-to base recipe. It's so simple, yet full of flavor. You can add different herbs and spices to make it your desired flavor (i.e. roasted garlic, chiles, etc.). Use sauce on vegetables, grains, chicken, or fish.

 

IMG_7702Ingredients

8 Roma tomatoes

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon red chili flakes (less or more to taste, I like mine spicy)

1/4 red onion (optional, gives it more spice)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

small handful of fresh basil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place tomatoes on a glass baking dish or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, until tender and skin has cracked.
  3. Let tomatoes cool for a bit and once manageable, take skin off and discard.
  4. Place tomatoes and remaining ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust if needed.

Makes ~2 cups

 

 

 

 

 

Green Superfood Granola

IMG_6972

This granola is one of my favorite treats. It is grain-free, gluten-free, low in natural sweetener, high in healthy fats, and packed with energy boosting ingredients. It won't give you that sugar crash other granolas and cereals may give you due to their high amounts of refined sugars and oils. I sweetened this green granola with coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index and won't spike your blood sugar. So what makes it green? Spirulina powder (Click the link to see the brand I buy). Spirulina is a nutrient-dense superfood that has great health benefits and is a great supplement to a healthy diet. Spirulina has a strong and overpowering taste, but just a little bit provides great nutrition. The taste can be masked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (add it to your smoothies and you won't even know it's there). Check out my Superfood Ice Popsicle recipe for another nourishing spirulina treat.

Aside from spirulina powder, I also used maca root powder and mesquite powder in this recipe. These are two other 'superfoods' that contain lots of health supporting nutrients even if using small amounts. Both maca and mesquite powders have a nutty, sweet taste to them. I often use them in recipes to add sweetness without having to add an actual sweetener.

This green granola has the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness to take care of that sweet craving, but also provides a nutrition punch. I crave it all the time but only let myself make it every so often because it's so addicting. Even though it's addicting, it's still good for you compared to store bought granolas. You can enjoy it sprinkled on yogurt, chia pudding, or in a smoothie. Eat it dry as an afternoon snack, or pair it with almond or coconut milk to make a delicious healthy cereal.

 

IMG_6965

 

Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons spirulina powder (I used 2 tsps)

2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)*

1 Tablespoon mesquite powder (optional)*

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar (I used 1/2 Tbsp)

pinch of sea salt

*maca and mesquite powders are optional, but since they add sweetness to the recipe, you might want to increase the coconut sugar a bit if you omit them.

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a sealed container.

Makes ~3 cups

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Almond Milk [Video]

IMG_7025

Almond milk is a delicious and healthy alternative to cow's milk. It's fresh, light, and dairy-fee, which supports those with lactose intolerant or dairy sensitivity. Making your own at home is both fun and more nutritious because it doesn't contain additives, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives that the store-bought almond milk does.

Almond milk is low in calories, and high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Making it at home is very simple and often money saving. In 10 minutes, you will have fresh almond milk to add to your oats, smoothies, sauces, or simply drink as is.

Plain almond milk has a great rich flavor, but you can use a natural sweetener to give it additional sweetness and flavor. I love mine plain.

 

You will need

Blender

Nut milk bag or cheese cloth

Large bowl or pitcher

 

Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight in filtered water and drained)

5 cups filtered water

Flavoring options

1/2-1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 pitted dates

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

 

Procedure 

  1. Soak almonds overnight in filtered water. Soaking overnight makes them more digestible and increases nutritional value. If you forget to soak them overnight or don't have much time, soaking them for at least an hour is good enough.
  2. Drain almonds and rinse well.
  3. Add almonds and water to blender and blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Place nut milk bag or cheesecloth in bowl and pour mixture through it. Gently squeeze to strain until all liquid is extracted from solids. Enjoy!
Homemade almond milk

Coconut Buckwheat Pancakes

IMG_7005

IMG_6990 I've been experimenting with pancakes lately. It's my new weekend thing. Of course they are always gluten and dairy free, so I like to get creative with different ingredients and flavors. They're not always a success, but this one I had to share. Simple ingredients and simply delicious.

Ingredients

Serves 1 

1/2 large banana

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 egg

2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon coconut oil (for cooking)

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together
  2. Heat coconut oil on pan over medium heat
  3. Pour batter into pan and cook for a few minutes on each side (covered).
  4. Stack and top with toppings of your choice. I topped mine with organic raw honey and raw cacao nibs.

IMG_8137

Spicy Avocado Soup

Spicy-avocado-soup_v2

I've been playing with my new Vitamix way too much. It's been weeks of soups, puddings, and smoothies. I have made variations of avocado soup before, but this one is my favorite so far. This is a perfect summer soup, creamy and refreshing. It's very easy to make and you don't need any fancy equipment. Any type of blender will do.

Ingredients

2 avocados

2 garlic cloves

2 green onions

1 cucumber, peeled

1 teaspoon tamari (can omit)

3/4 cup water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of sea salt

pinch of black pepper

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor to your liking. Serve and garnish with cayenne pepper or fresh herbs.

Serves 4

What is Clean Eating?

What is clean eating

You've probably already seen or heard the term 'clean eating' or 'eating clean.' But what does it mean? What is so great about it? I'd like to clarify what it means for those of you who are wondering and what it's benefits are. Clean eating is not a specific diet, it's a lifestyle choice.

First of all, there are many different definitions of clean eating, depending on what meal regimen one follows and recommends (paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc). For example, a vegan might say that a clean eating regimen is one that omits all animal products, someone that only eats a raw food diet might say that clean eating is an all raw-food diet, and so forth. I don't believe that one is better than the other, it is just a matter of finding what works for you.

My definition of  'clean eating' is to eliminate all refined and processed foods from your diet. Foods like white sugar, white rice, bleached flour, white flour, and enriched flour all are foods that have been refined in some way. When refined, their nutrients are removed resulting in ingredients that only provide empty calories (calories with no nutritional value) with a blood sugar spike.

A clean eating regimen consists of whole, unrefined foods in their most natural state. These foods are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Pasture-raised eggs and poultry
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Full-fat dairy products

Be sure to read labels when buying things in a package. Just because the box says "whole grain" or " natural" doesn't mean they really are. Read ingredients closely and choose grains that don't have additives. You'd be surprised what's in that box of "whole grain" cereal you love so much, not a whole lot of nutrition. Chicken that is labeled "all natural" is interesting to me. Shouldn't chicken be natural? Sadly it's almost always not the case; instead they are fed antibiotics and hormones. Labels are misleading and most of the time not true.

Talk to the butcher at the grocery store, ask questions, and read the ingredient list. Try buying products that have 5 or less ingredients. And make sure they are ingredients that you can pronounce and that are unrefined. Visit my post on reading labels for more information.

Benefits of a clean eating lifestyle:

  • Weight loss/fat loss
  • Increased energy
  • Better skin and hair
  • Better health
  • Increased mental focus
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood
  • Decreased cravings and sugar addiction

As you can see, eating clean is a great thing. It seems to have become more and more popular these days, when in reality, it has been around for a long time and just now people are starting to realize how important it is to make this lifestyle choice in order to be healthy and happy.

How to transition to a clean eating life:

  • Eat whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats,  and whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water each day
  • Eat 5-6 times a day to reduce cravings and keep blood sugar regulated - include protein in every meal
  • Avoid all processed and unrefined foods (sugar, candy, pastries, white flour, white rice, bread, cereals, packaged goods, etc.)
  • Avoid beverages that are packed with sugar (soda, juice, Gatorade, energy drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks)
  • Avoid trans fats

Clean eating is the lifestyle choice I made and what I preach every single day. I have never been happier and felt more comfortable in my skin. If you are just transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle, take it slow and make small changes every day. It takes time, but don't give up. Know that your body will love you for it and you won't regret the health benefits from it.

Trust the process.