healthy snack

Berry Breakfast Bars

Don't be fooled by the title of this recipe. These bars can be eaten for breakfast, as well as any time of day or occasion. I wrote this recipe a while ago and had not posted it, so I thought it would be fitting to share it for 4th of July weekend since it's colorful and festive. 

I sampled these bars out at several events the past month, and people went crazy for them. So simple, yet so flavorful. I'm all about making food easy to prepare while really emphasizing on taste and eye appeal. Luckily, with living organic whole foods, there's not much work to do because it's so pretty and packed with deliciousness. 

Ingredients

2 cups medjool dates, pitted
½ cup gluten-free oats
½ cup raw sunflower seeds or nut/seed of choice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup mixed fresh berries, chopped

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor, except fresh berries. Process until ingredients are well combined and mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers.
  2. Transfer to a parchment lined dish such as a pyrex or cake tin. Press mixture down into pan to flatten out. Here you can decide what thickness of bars you want. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  3. While bottom layer is setting, place mixed berries in food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop them up. You may leave a few whole ones out for decoration. Spread over date mixture and slice into bars.

I hope you are inspired to make this recipe for your celebrations this weekend. Please share your pretty creations with me on social media with #apurifiedlife, I love seeing them.

Recipe was created for Oh My Drifter blog and photographed by the talented Micaela Hoo.  

Happy 4th of July!

x,

Giovanna

Matcha Mint Acai Bowl

MatchaAcaiBowl Featured Image

I'm sure you've all seen the beautiful acai bowls popping up at your local shops. I think it's great that we have easier access to these superfoods such as acai and matcha now, which do not originate in our country but are packed with incredible nutrients that support longevity and overall wellbeing. Did you know that both of these foods are two of the top foods highest in antioxidants? Antioxidants are essential vitamins that help our bodies kill off and prevent free radicals, which form in result to cell damage due to acidity in the body from high levels of stress (physical/emotional/mental), highly refined sugars and processed food intake, smoking and alcohol, and environmental toxins. An excessive amount of free radicals in the body leads to disease, illness, and aging at early stages. As an added bonus, antioxidants support beauty and skin health.

That said, let's get some antioxidants in you!

In my opinion, the best part of having access to these wonderful foods is that we can recreate our own goodies with even higher nutrient value and unrefined ingredients at home.

Below I'm sharing one of the many acai bowls I've created. I intentionally added the matcha to this one, not only for it's antioxidant content, but for a nourishing afternoon energy boost that won't spike blood sugar.

MatchaAcaiBowl
MatchaAcaiBowl

Ingredients

1 frozen acai pack (I use Sambazon)

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1 yellow peach, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup spring or filtered water - just enough to help blend but not too much so it doesn't thin out

2 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice)

1 Tablespoon raw honey (or 1-2 medjool dates)

2 teaspoons Encha Matcha Culinary Grade - Amazing quality!

Generous handful of fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to move things around a few times. It's meant to be a thick sorbet-like consistency.
  2. Top with toppings of choice. I topped mine with some homemade gluten-free granola and fresh blueberries.

Serves 1-2

I hope you enjoy this recipe and share with me what variation you come up with!

xx,

Giovanna

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges + Avocado Superfood Dip

Spiced sweet potatoes featured image

There's something about sweet potatoes. Don't you love them? I do! Sweet potatoes are the healthy alternative to regular potatoes because they actually pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and help balance blood sugar. The words 'yams' and 'sweet potatoes' are often interchangeable. They are actually two different vegetables, but are both great options.

Staying clear of all whites is always best (white breads, flours, sugars, etc.), but there is an exception... Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white-light yellow inside and have a purple skin. These are actually the most nutrient dense of all sweet potatoes. So enjoy your sweet potatoes/yams, especially the Japanese ones!

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I used yam & Japanese sweet potato)

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in an oven safe dish.
  3. Combine coconut oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes. Mix to coat well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Turn broiler on towards the end if you want them crispy.
  5. Serve with avocado superfood dip (recipe below).
Spiced sweet potatoes

Avocado Superfood Dip

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons raw tahini

1 teaspoon spirulina (I use HealthForce brand)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup water, or to desired consistency

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Share your creations and recipes below or on social media with #apurifiedlife

Herb & Seed Crackers

Seed crackers featured image

I used to be a huge fan of Mary’s Gone Crackers, until I came to realize that I could easily make my own with a blend of seeds of my choice. Delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, soy-free, and so simple to make. What more do you need? These herb seed crackers are the perfect make ahead snack to have for the week (although they might not last longer than 2 days). Enjoy them with a spread of avocado, hummus, nut butter, or pair them with a salad for a quick lunch.

Seed crackersIngredients

1 cup ground flax seeds/flax meal

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of black pepper, optional

2 cups water

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and combine well. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, until thickened but still pliable.
  3. Divide mixture into two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly into a thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip over and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until browned. Let cool and break into pieces. You may also score them before putting in the oven if you want perfect shaped crackers.
  4. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Note: You can use any fresh herb or blend that you like. My favorite is rosemary. 

What herb will you add to your crackers? Be creative and share with me what you come up with.

Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream

Choc coconut ice cream feature image

It's not summer yet, but I'm already craving (and testing) all the amazing treats I want to create on those sunny days to come. My first test was this delicious and ridiculously simple chocolate-coconut ice cream. I always thought of ice cream as something that was impossible to make at home. Even using an ice cream maker seemed like a lot of work for me, and I never felt the need to try to make it at home since ice cream is not usually my go-to treat. Then I visited Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco and had their chocolate vegan ice cream and life was different. That ice cream is always worth the 30 minute wait. Since trying Bi-Rite Creamery, I knew I had to come up with my own healthy version to avoid indulging again. And that I did.

I still don't have an ice cream maker, but that is not necessary for this recipe. Making vegan ice cream turned out to be very easy. All I used was a blender and a glass container to freeze the ice cream in. The best part is that I only used 4 ingredients and the ice cream is gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. It couldn't be better if you ask me. It's a perfect guilt-free treat or snack for adults and kids.

Please try this recipe and share below how yours turned out. Feel free to substitute pistachios with any type of nut.

Choc coconut ice cream

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk (make sure to use full-fat, otherwise, ice cream won't be creamy)

3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut nectar or raw honey

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour in glass container or dish and place in freezer for 6-8 hours, until completely firm.
  3. Serve scoops using ice cream scooper (or eat straight from container, which I may or may not have done)

Enjoy!

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

 

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

balsamic brussels featured image

I don't know about you, but I LOVE brussels sprouts. They are currently in season and I just can't get enough of them. There are various healthy ways to cook brussels sprouts. You can roast, sauté, steam, or shred them and use in a salad. I like to roast them and play around with different seasonings.

Balsamic-glazed has been my go-to lately because it's such a simple ingredient that gives them so much flavor. Throw these tasty brussels sprouts on a salad, on a bed of lentils or grains, have with chicken or fish, or have them as a snack.

Ingredientsbalsamic brussels sprouts

1 pound brussels sprouts

1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Remove outer layer of leaves from brussels sprouts and cut in half. Rinse and drain. Place in a baking dish and drizzle with melted coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes until tender, check at 10 minutes and give them a stir. Serve.

Serves 2-3

Chia Pudding [Video]

APLChiaPudding

If you know me, you know I love my chia pudding. It's a very easy and tasty energy boost. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, omega-3, calcium, protein, and antioxidants. Chia pudding is a great snack and breakfast option. It only takes 15-20 minutes to prepare and can also be made the night before.

Visit my post on 12 Reasons to Love Chia Seeds to learn more about the great health benefits of chia seeds.

Ingredients

Basic Recipe

3 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice (recipe for almond milk here)

A few pinches of ground cinnamon

Additional Ingredients for Chocolate Flavor

1/2 Tablespoon raw cacao powder

1/2 Tablespoon coconut sugar, raw honey, or grade B maple syrup

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk for about 30 seconds. Let sit for 15-20 minutes until it reaches desired consistency. Add desired toppings or enjoy as is.

Serves 1