natural sweetener

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

 

Plum & Coconut-Maca Popsicles

Plum & coconut popsicles featured image

There is lots of plum and coconut going on in my house these days. It's stone fruit season here in California and plums are just too good to pass up at the farmers market every week. This is a very simple recipe and perfect for an afternoon craving on a hot day. You can substitute any stone fruit for plums. Peaches would also taste amazing.

Besides the great taste and vitamin benefits of plums, an added health benefit to this recipe is the maca powder. Maca is an adaptogenic root full of super powers. Adaptogenic means that it works to balance any system that is unstable/unbalanced in the body (nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, musculature). It also provides energy, enhances stamina and libido, increases endurance and strength, boosts mood, and balances hormones (aids with PMS). It has a nutty and delicious flavor. Make sure to purchase a raw and organic maca powder to get the full benefits and added chemicals.

Ingredients

Plum Layer:

3 fresh plums

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract to taste)

Pinch of sea salt

Coconut-Maca Layer:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk (homemade or Native Forest Classic Coconut Milk - BPA free and organic)

1-2 Tablespoons coconut nectar, raw honey, or pure maple syrup (to taste)

1 Tablespoon raw maca powder

Pinch of sea salt

Plum & coconut popsicles

Procedure:

  1. Make plum layer: blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes for it to begin setting before you pour the next layer.
  2. Make coconut-maca layer: Blend all ingredients until smooth. Once plum layer has nearly set, pour coconut mixture over it to fill molds. Place in freezer for another 15 minutes.
  3. Insert popsicle sticks and return to freezer until fully frozen. To take out popsicles, run molds under cold water for about 10 seconds. Enjoy!

Makes 6 popsicles

For another delicious plum recipe, check out my previous treat: coconut-lavender pie with plum sauce.

Tell me, what's your favorite stone fruit?

Coconut-Lavender Pie with Plum Sauce (Raw & Vegan)

coconut lavender pie feature

This has to be the best raw dessert I've ever made. My sister has attested to it as well. She gets spoiled by me once a year. Actually, most days, but on her birthday she gets to request any dessert she wants. This year, she left it up to me, so I let the summer flavors guide me.

Enter this insanely good Coconut-Lavender Pie with Plum Sauce.

I know you'll love this one also. Every bite is perfect.

Ingredients

Crust

1/4 cup raw hemp seeds

2 1/2 cups fresh medjool dates

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Coconut-Lavender Filling

4 cups fresh coconut meat or thick coconut cream (To get coconut cream, place canned coconut milk in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Use the thick layer that separates at top.)

1 cup coconut milk

4 Tablespoons raw honey or grade B maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons fresh lavender

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla powder)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of sea salt, to taste

Plum Sauce

2 fresh plums + a few extra to garnish

1 teaspoon raw honey

Note: I used an 11-inch springform pan. You might want to cut the recipe in half if you're using a smaller pan, or you can leave it and have thicker layers. 

coconut lavender pie

Procedure

Crust

  1. Place hemp seeds in food processor and process until ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated and mixture holds together when pressed with fingers.
  2. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of a springform pan (I used an 11-inch size pan). You might want to line it with parchment paper so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  3. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare filling.

Coconut-Lavender Filling

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust if needed.
  2. Pour over crust and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, until it has set completely. Store in freezer.

Plum Sauce

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. I chose to leave the skins of the plums on, but you may take them off if you don't want pieces of skin left.

Serve

  1. To serve, remove pie from freezer and let sit out 20-30 minutes before serving for it to thaw out and be the perfect consistency.
  2. Decorate with sliced plums and drizzle with plum sauce.

coconut lavender pie 3

Enjoy and savor every bite!

Xo

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

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This pudding is absolutely delicious. Better than any chocolate pudding I've ever had, it's hands down the favorite treat I make. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, friends that I've shared it with love it as well. The best part about this pudding is that it's refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and it is packed with health benefits that you don't normally get from any other dessert.

What makes it good for you?

  • Avocado: Anti-inflammatory, supports the skin, promotes heart health, balances blood sugar, supports cardiovascular health, anti-cancer
  • Coconut: Nourishes the skin, reduces inflammation, fuels brain, balances blood sugar, supports immune system
  • Cacao: Enhances mood and stamina, fights depression
  • Maca: Supports hormones, increases stamina, increases energy, and enhances oxygen in the blood. Adaptogenic root - enhances any necessary area in the body such as the endocrine system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and musculatore.
  • Cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne: Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-clotting, anti-cancer, regulates blood sugar, supports immunity

You can't go wrong with this pudding.

chocolate pudding

Ingredients

1/2 avocado

1/2 cup fresh coconut milk

3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 medjool date, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon maca (optional)

1 teaspoon mesquite (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon stevia

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

pinch of cayenne

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If not using a high-speed blender, you may need to stop and move things around with a spatula to help blend.
  2. Optional: Place in refrigerator for 20 mins to serve chilled.
  3. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Have you made chocolate pudding before? Or a variation of this? 

 

 

 

 

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

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The best things come when you least expect them. I wasn't even thinking or craving chocolate, but these sweet things snook up on me as I was standing in front of my pantry in search for something to do. These raw chocolate macaroons pack a punch of vitamins and minerals and are gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. They're a quick little treat to boost mood and energy. Honestly addicting.

Enjoy!

chocolate macaroons 1

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup melted coconut oil (measure after you have melted it)

3 Tablespoons coconut nectar (I use Coconut Secret)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Tightly pack mixture into a Tablespoon measuring spoon and gently drop it over a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the batch.
  2. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Let sit for a few minutes out of the freezer before serving, but don't leave out for too long or they will melt.

Makes ~20

These would be better if dehydrated with a dehydrator, but I don't own one. I encourage you to use it if you do.

Tell me, how do you relieve stress? What methods do you use to keep your focus? 

 

Coconut and Cinnamon Granola

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I've been on a granola kick lately. It's my current go-to treat, except it's not filled with crap and it keeps my blood sugar stable. It's also gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Of course you can add nuts if you'd like, but I omit them since I am sensitive to them. Coconut & Cinnamon Granola

This recipe in particular is one of my favorites. Coconut and cinnamon make a great combination and are both anti-inflammatory. I personally leave out the sweetener and it tastes just as delicious. Try it out with and without sweetener and let me know what you think. Enjoy this granola for breakfast with non-dairy milk, as a snack, or for dessert.

Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes (not shredded)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tablespoon natural sweetener (coconut nectar, raw honey, grade B maple syrup), optional

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, optional

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to coat evenly.
  3. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes and store in air-tight container.

Makes ~4 cups

Spicy Chai

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I recently learned that the word 'chai' means 'tea' in India and other parts of the world. I realized how little I knew about the beverage and what it did for me so I did some research. Here's a brief description: Chai is a drink that contains black tea, a combination of spices, milk, and a sweetener. The spices vary depending on the region, but they all make up a warming and nourishing beverage. Chai is great for digestive health, supports the immune system, and boosts mood. It is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory (if made with dairy-free milk).

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I've been making this chai on a weekly basis lately and I'm excited to share the recipe with you. This is a bit different from a chai latte since it doesn't contain steamed milk, but it's still just as delicious and has way less sugar than the concentrates that we find at stores and coffee shops. Enjoy it hot or cold.

Ingredients

4 cups water

1-inch piece of ginger root, sliced

2 cinnamon sticks

6 cardamom pods

5 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 Tablespoons loose leaf black tea (or 3 tea bags)

½ cup milk, unsweetened (almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk)

½ Tablespoon coconut sugar

Procedure

  1. Grind spices cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and fennel seeds in spice grinder or mortar and pestle (make your own with a bowl and a rock or back of a spoon).

  2. Place water, all spices, and ginger root in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add tea and let steep for 5-6 minutes. Remove tea.

  3. Add milk and sweetener and mix. Strain and serve.

Makes ~4 cups