Chocolate always first…

…Well, almost always!

I was listeining to KTU this morning..well every morning, but that’s besides the point… and Carolina (whom I LOVE… PS if reading, Cubby, I love you too!!) was talking about eating some dessert before feasting into Thanksgiving dinner.  She was talking about in a joking way, but to me I took it serious, because there was some seriousness to her entertaining on air about how we all do sometimes over eat on Thanksgiving.  If we eat something sweet first, it may take away some of the craving for food later on, is along the lines of what she said.  I automatically texted in saying that she was semi- correct!  Because, she was!!

I won’t go as far as to say “go ahead, eat all the pies and cakes you see on the dessert table, but I will say, if some dark chocolate catches your eye- go for that!  Dark chocolate has waistline benefits- as it will not add to weight gain, and can even help with weight loss! Now, this is NOT the new go to fad diet, nor will it actually make you lose your goal weight of say 5-10 pounds.  But it can help stop you from over eating.

Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber, which will help you feel fuller longer.  Having a bite of a good quality, high percentage, dark chocolate  before hitting the table for dinner will help you stop over eating because you will feel fuller faster with a smaller amount of food because of the fiber in the piece of chocolate.  It also helps reduce stress, which many people face during the holidays.  Eating a small piece of the dark chocolate will help reduce the stress and help those who do happen to stress eat not eat as much as they may have.

Other benefits of dark chocolate include anti inflammatory properties, due to the flavanols found cocoa.  It can help repair cellular damage and prevent future cellular damge to those who suffer from inflammatory diseases. The flavanols can also help lower blood pressure.  It can also boost blood circulation to the brain to help you stay more focused as well as leave you with healthier, smoother skin.

If these aren’t reasons enough, it is also DELISH!!  But remember- look for the ORGANIC DARK chocolate, that is at least 70% dark.

Here are two of my favorite dark chocolates… I would love to hear about your favorites!!

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My favorite, and 10% of proceeds help endangered wildlife.

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Another go-to if I see it.  SO tasy and satisfying.

And remember to always eat for your body, it will thank you.

Have a very happy and thankful Thanksgiving!!  Cheers to the holiday season!

Rainy Day Apple Sauce

IMG_9474My little family went apple picking with friends this past weekend and stocked up on some yummy apples! Now that my baby is old enough to try different solids, along with spices, I decided to try making homemade apple sauce,  that way my husband and I could enjoy it too!
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Most recipes for apple sauce require sugar.  I do not use regular sugar, and I would never give my 7.5 month old sugar either, however I did use coconut sugar which, in moderation, has of a lot of benefits for the body, and will not harm my little one the way regular sugar will.  With it being the lowest on the Glycemic index at 35 (sugar is in the 60’s and honey is at 55), it means that it is metabolized more slowly and is easier in the system.  It is high in potassium, magnesium, zinc, and most importantly iron which many babies need supplemented. Coconut sugar also keeps the blood sugar levels steady rather than spiked and crash later like regular cane sugar and even brown sugar.   So it adds sweetness and it is good for us… Doesn’t get better than that!

Ingredients-

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8 Apples peeled, cored, and sliced

11/2 cups water

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1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions-

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Put everything in pot and cover.

 Let boil over medium heat for 10-20 minutes (gas and electric cook things differently).  When they are soft enough to mash, they are ready.  Mash with potato masher or fork.  Or, if you’ re like me, you can use your ninja/vitamix/food processor and blend until desired consistency.

IMG_9493Now that apples are in season, it is the perfect time to stock up on some home made applesauce! It is sweet and healthy and perfect for this time of year.

Rainy Day Banana Muffins

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What to do on the second rainy day in a row with a baby who sleeps a lot of the day away?  Bake!!  Anyone who knows me knows I am not much of a baker.  I like the idea of it, but when it comes to the actual combining of the ingredients, I am not a fan of how precise everything has to be!  But out of boredom and the right ingredients, I found myself mixing some things up and making some tasty treats!  Sweet enough for Dessert and healthy enough for breakfast.  What more can you ask for? How about they are dairy free if using dairy free coconut or almond yogurts (SO Delicious brand is a good one), egg free, and can be gluten free depending on flour used!

Ingredients-

2 Bananas- smashed

1/4 cup organic coconut oil

2 Tbsp Almond milk

6 Tbsp organic applesauce

1 cup Vanilla Greek yogurt

1/2 cup Coconut palm sugar

2 cups flour of choice

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon (I used a little bit more for extra flavor)

*Add ins- chocolate chips, walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all wet ingredients in one bowl and all dry ingredients in another bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together until completely blended.

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Wet and dry ingredients together
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Everything mixed together thoroughly

In muffin tin, either greased or lined with muffin holders, pour batter 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top and baked all the way through.

Enjoy!

Rainy day baking was a success! And remember your body always thanks you when you give it what it craves.

Steak Fajitas any time of the week

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I love Mexican foods and drinks, and with Cinco de Mayo this past week, I could not have picked a better time to experiment in the kitchen to make something other than the taco seasoning I always seem to fall back to.

I was actually in the mood for fajitas the other night, steak fajitas, so that was what we had with a little help from google and my spice rack, the seasoning came out perfect and this will be another recipe taped to my spice cabinet!

It takes less than 5 minutes to mix together and you have enough for a steak, chicken, or whatever you choose to spice up for this time around and the next time!

Ingredients-

1/4 cup Chili Powder

2 Tablespoons Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons Paprika

1 Tablespoon Onion powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic powder

1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper (I added a little more just because I like things spicy)

1 Tablespoon Cumin powder

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Mix altogether and store in an airtight container or jar

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Rub  the seasoning on the steak and cook the way you desire- we grilled ours for ten minutes.  While meat is cooking, sauté onions and peppers with a little EVOO until soft. Mix meat with veggies and scoop some onto a fajita wrap and enjoy.

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You can top with salsa, plain greek yogurt (alternative to sour cream), and/or  homemade guacamole.

Enjoy~

Making your own seasonings is beneficial to the body.  You are consuming no additives and less sodium and for that your body will thank you!

Holy Guacamole!

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With yesterday being Cinco de Mayo, I decided to make my go-to Guacamole recipe to include with our dinner and to snack on while dinner was cooking.  Guacamole is a favorite snack of mine, which could have to do with it being made out of avocados- MY FAVORITE!

It is so simple to make, and tastes great, and a perfect plus- it can be added to many different meals, or just be made to have as a snack, or a dip to bring to any summertime BBQ or picnic.

Ingredients-

2 Clove Garlic- minced

2 Avocados- scooped out, but save pits

Half onion- diced

1 Tomato- deseeded and diced

1 Jalapeño pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

*1 teaspoon cumin powder

*1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 lemon

* Optional- Personal preference for spicy foods

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Mash avocado and garlic in bowl.

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Add onion, tomato, and jalapeño pepper. Mix until all combined.

Add salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne. Squeeze lemon juice on top and mix together.

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Add pits from avocados to help keep from guacamole from browning, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve!  Enjoy~

When you make your own foods you will know exactly what you are putting in your body.  It is so easy and simple to make this that you will never need to buy the store bought, sodium filled, made with ingredients you can not pronounce ever again!

Out of hiding with a new topping for my favorite fish!

I am sorry for the long hiatus!  Ten weeks seems like a very long time not to blog, or at least to this blogger! The reason why I have been away for so long is due to the newest love of my life, Wyatt Hudson- born on February 18, 2015.

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But..

It is time to get back to the kitchen trying out new things because I miss my own cooking and with the warmer weather here, it’s time to start whipping up some new summer dishes!

Because I do have a newborn, I do not have as much time to experiment in the kitchen, so I have been adjusting my schedule and coming up with easy to make meals that are done in 20 minutes.  When my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner the other night, I wanted fish- Salmon to be exact!  It is my favorite fish, and now that I am not pregnant anymore, I have been eating it whenever I crave it.

My husband decided to BBQ his chicken which gave me an idea of how I wanted to marinate my Salmon, BBQ flavored.  When I opened my refrigerator, I noticed the pineapple we had, so I decided to spice things up a bit and crush up the pineapple, mix it with the BBQ sauce and brush it onto my fish.  Bake on 400 degrees for 20 minutes, and a delicious dish is ready to serve!

I can not believe I have not done this sooner!  Every bit was refreshing and delish, I will be making it again, and as the summer is quickly approaching I will have to try making it with seasonal fruits I pick up at the Peekskill Farmer’s Market.

Recipe-

1 1/4 pound  Salmon

2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce

2-3 cut cubes fresh pineapple

Preheat over to 400
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Crush pineapple.

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Add BBQ sauce and mix together.

Spread on fish.  Bake in the over for 20 minutes and enjoy!

**Baking time can change depending on size of fish

**Sides can include baked Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli.

Salmon is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids that can help improve cardiovascular health and fight depression.  Salmon is also a great option for those who need to add more Vitamin D to their bodies as well as protect the eyes.

Knowing the benefits of the foods you consume will help your body stay healthier later on.  It will also keep you out of the doctor’s office for longer periods of time, and for that your body will thank you!

Superbowl Brownie Bites!

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As everyone knows, I have had a sweet tooth for the last nine months.  My best friend sent me a link last weekend of healthy brownie bites, and me being the health crazed person I am read the ingredients, health-ified it even more and made them for myself and husband for this week.  OMG- They were delish.

The sweet potato adds a sweetness to it so you do not need as much sugar as you would in normal brownies, and it makes it healthier so you do not have to feel guilty when you eat more than one!

The original recipe can be found here.

My recipe-

  • 1 large sweet potato- I do not recommend microwaving- steam or bake it.  It does take a little bit longer, but it is better for you, and will add to the flavor!
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee- Freshly brewed
  • 1/3 cup mini peanut butter chips to give it a chocolate peanut butter taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil- melted
  • 4 tablespoons of applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar – Brown sugar can be just as bad as white sugar, and coconut sugar can actually keep blood sugar levels stable rather than spike it up which causes you to crash later on
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour- Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350-

Bake Sweet potato until soft.  Scoop out one cup of flesh and put to the side

Pour hot coffee over the peanut butter chips and stir until completely melted in a small bowlIMG_6337

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In a large bowl- combine the  sweet potato, coconut oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Stir to combine. Then add the chocolate coffee mixture to the sweet potato mixture and mix well.

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In a another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Add mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir just to combine.

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Using mini cupcake tin, fill 3/4 and bake for 8 minutes.

I added chocolate chips (Enjoy Life- which are allergy friendly) and peanut butter chips on top before baking to add some flavor!

(I changed the recipe to make it Healthy Living with Alix approved, but the directions have stayed the same from the recipe above)

Enjoy!

This is a perfect dessert for the Super Bowl, or any other winter get together.  Or just a yummy, healthy treat to enjoy during the cold winter months!