Royal Coco-cacao Smoothie Bowl

Did you know that purple is one of the colors of representing royalty? What better way to start your day than to treat yourself like the queen or king you are! This beautiful bowl, with toppings like coconut and cacao, will leave you feeling full and energized. Ready to eat? Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1-2

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Ingredients

4 large strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)

2 tbsp hemp seeds

2 tbsp cacao nibs

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

Blend all ingredients, except shredded coconut and cacao nibs, until desired texture is achieved. Top with shredded coconut and cacao nibs or other favorites.

Chocolate & Banana Nice Cream 🍨

My guilty pleasure recently has been Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough” our early morning client mentioned. “I think I need to break up with it though. I love the flavor but I don’t like how it makes me feel afterwards.”

We get it. Sometimes the foods we love taste good on the tongue and then hit us a bit later with a painful stomachache or bloating. Since we are on Team Ice Cream, we have learned to find, and make, better options.

It may be late summer, but it’s never too late for ice cream, in our humble opinion. What’s even better is when the ice cream loves you back – and for clients with lactose-intolerance or dairy protein sensitivity, or those who just want a healthier option, this is a recipe for you.

Oh, and for those of you who remember Smucker’s Magic Shell – you can have your own chocolate syrup that transforms into a crispy topping. Ready, set, let’s make!

Ingredients

1.5 bananas (ripe bananas are sweeter)

1/4 cup cashews

1/2 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

3/4 ounce of chocolate (a few squares, depending on the brand)

Dash of sea salt

Instructions

Peel the ripe bananas and stick them in a bag and into the freezer. It will take about 12 hours for it to fully freeze, so this will either have to be planned in advance or keep a nice stock of peeled bananas for when the craving strikes. Stick chocolate pieces in a double boiler to melt down. When the bananas are frozen, put them into the blender along with cashews, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth, crystalline consistency. Transfer to a bowl and carefully pour melted chocolate on top. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt and enjoy this decadent dessert!

Chocolate Maca Smoothie

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Caffeine and chocolate fiends, unite! This smoothie is the perfect wake-me-up for summer. Here’s the recipe we made today along with ideas for modifications:

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1 pint blackberries (or blueberries)
3 tbsp cacao nibs
5 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 cups swiss chard leaves
2 cups non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)
2 cups water
1 cup coffee
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)

This recipe is meant to be healthy and full of veg! If it’s not sweet enough for you, consider adding your favorite form of sweetness (e.g. more fruit, stevia, dates, etc). Looking for more greens-based smoothies that are lower in sugar? Check out the Green Smoothie Challenge eBook! It has recipes, grocery lists, along with tips and tricks for making smoothies part of your life.

Instructions
You know what to do here – load all ingredients into the high-speed blender, cover, and blend to desired consistency. Enjoy!

Recipe: Amaranth for Breakfast

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Move over, porridge! We have a higher-protein option that also provides minerals such as iron, manganese and phosphorus. This delicious seed, not a grain, is called amaranth and there’s a rather sordid history which explains why we haven’t heard much about it until recent times. Marry it with chocolate and your taste buds will have a party!

Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup amaranth
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup almonds (or choice of nuts; macadamia pairs well here too)
2 squares dark chocolate (we like 85% and 90% cacao versions)
2 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp cacao powder (optional)

Instructions

Bring water and amaranth to boil, cover, and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Amaranth is done when liquid has been absorbed. Carefully transfer into your breakfast bowl and add nuts, dark chocolate, coconut, cacao nibs and cacao powder. We often add maca or ashwagandha powder and a drizzle of honey in the case of the latter (as it is aptly called in Sanskrit “the smell of a horse”). Enjoy this power-packed breakfast!

The Mother’s Day Hangover

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Image source: found on Pinterest and Facebook, artist/origin unknown

Despite what Facebook and Instagram would have you believe, Mother’s Day is not all balloons, flowers, cards, love and chocolates. For many, the hangover following this holiday is in full effect. Around Mother’s Day, there can be difficult conversations and experiences that are often not acknowledged.

This graphic is the perfect illustration for some of the feelings experienced by those who didn’t have the societally-normalized Mother’s Day.

Starting from the top left – mothers who have lost children. How difficult this day is for those who lost a child or children. Perhaps it was a child they never met alive, one who was miscarried or stillborn. Or a child who died after spending a few years on earth. It can be very challenging to celebrate your special day when the child who made you a mother is no longer here….or never came to be.

Those who have lost their mothers have Mother’s Day as a reminder of how much they may miss them. It’s not an easy day celebrating the memory of your mother without being able to hug or talk to her anymore.

Have a strained relationship with your mother? A mother’s day Facebook feed of people who call their moms their best friends could be difficult to see when you and your mother have historically butted heads or not seen eye-to-eye. You may wish it were different and that you too could fully celebrate your relationship with your mother. Vice versa, maybe you’re a mom who has not been able to fully connect with your own son or daughter in a way you had always hoped. This day can be a reminder of that disappointment.

It’s not a popular decision but there are women (and men) who chose not to have children. Incomprehensible though it may be to some in society, it’s still a valid, though often not validated, choice. These people, women in particular – who choose not to have kids- have their own battles. Their decisions are questioned by others, especially around Mother’s Day.

On the other side of that same coin are women who are desperate to have children. They’ve been through painful egg retrievals, suffered the side effects of Clomid and other fertility drugs, IVF, and at the very sign of their cycle starting, realize their efforts were all in vain. They grieve the glimmer of the dream they temporarily had, hoping that this time, the pregnancy would stick. They feel betrayed by their bodies and wonder ‘why me?’. They find it difficult see babies or pregnant women in public, and to celebrate others’ baby showers, though they do.

Beyond the above illustration, there are mothers who didn’t necessarily want to become mothers, or who had a very different idea of what raising children would be like. Their sense of fulfillment is lacking and they feel that there is no one to whom it would be safe to vocalize these feelings.

Though the causes may differ, what all these women have in common is their pain around mothers and motherhood.

As with any other hangover, there are things that help it along, like water and easy-to-digest food or taking a nap. For the mother’s day hangover, perhaps treat yourself to some quiet, recuperative time. Indulge in a face mask and hair treatment. Take a nice warm bath. Be gentle with yourself about your feelings; acknowledge them without judgment. Talk with a confidante about your frustrations as a mom, with your mom, or with attempting to become a mother.

Sometimes the best way to get out of a sad mood is to help another. Imagine the sorrow of the divorced mother whose ex-husband kept the children with him and their new step-mom during the Mother’s Day holiday. Maybe suggest a walk or bike ride together in a beautiful park. Support a friend who you know struggles with her complicated relationship with her mother….or one whose mother has died.

Whether you were or weren’t treated with a bouquet of roses or breakfast in bed, your joy or pain is valid, your story is important and it matters.

Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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For a moment it seemed like we were putting TOO much chocolate into this recipe. Then we realized how ridiculous of a thought that was – there’s almost never too much chocolate :D. This amazing zucchini bread will tame any chocolate craving with its brownie-like texture. Bonus: it’s gluten-free!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut or date sugar
1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
3.5oz dark chocolate bar, chopped
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 organic eggs
1.5 medium zucchini, chopped
3 small apples, chopped
2 tbsp melted coconut oil or organic butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease loaf pan. In a large bowl add almond meal, flour, sugar, cacoa/cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, baking soda & baking powder, and salt. Combine & mix well. Melt coconut oil or butter. Boil apples in water, enough to cover bottom of the pot) and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Once cooled, put apples into high-speed blender with chopped zucchini and blend. Discard cooking water.

In a smaller bowl, add eggs and beat with whisk. Add apples and zucchini, coconut oil or butter, and vanilla extract. Combine ingredients by mixing and then fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Store bread in air-tight container in fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze bread if desired.

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Recipe: Spiced Vanilla Chia Pudding

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Oh boy – this is a filling, satisfying treat without tons of calories. What’s more, it’s made with a variety of items that may be found in your pantry or fridge. Get your sweet tooth filled without tons of sugar and experience the health benefits of fiber, omega-3s, blood sugar stabilization, and CHOCOLATE.

Ingredients
2 cups homemade almond milk
6 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 heaping tablespoons whole cacao beans or 1/4 cup cacao powder for a smoother finish
1/4 cup fruit (i.e. raspberry, strawberry, and kiwi work well)

Instructions
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate overnight, or until set. Garnish with cinnamon, fruit, cacao beans, and a drizzle of honey if desired.

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Recipe: Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies

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When celebrities get together, the press loves to dub them with a cute and catchy portmanteau; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ‘Brangelina’ being one of the most well-known. Well they need to move over because chocolate and avocado or ‘Choco-cado’ have once again proven themselves a yummy pairing, deserving of the spotlight. We’ve already seen them come together for a delectable pudding and we’re starting to think these two are suited for a long-term, possibly exclusive, relationship.

Do you know what this means? In less than 15 minutes, this recipe makes it possible to fully enjoy some dark, rich cacao along with some creamy, (healthy) fatty avocado in a fudgy cookie form. It doesn’t even have flour!

“Incroyable!” say the French readers. “Ausgezeichnet!” say the Germans. And you? Well, you may have your mouth too full of cookies to exclaim anything. That’s okay, we can all envision the look of bliss crossing your face.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Prep time: < 5 minutes
Baking time: about 8-10 minutes
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark cacao or cocoa powder (we used Nativas Naturals cacao powder)
  • 2/3 cup ripened avocado flesh, mashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut sugar, depending on your desired sweetness
  • 2/3 of bar dark chocolate, cut into small chunks (we used a chocolate bar with 88% cocoa content)
  • 1 egg (or 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 2.5 tbsp water mixed together as vegan egg-less option)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°. With a hand mixer/food processor/vivacious Vitamix blend avocado and coconut sugar, then egg. Add cacao powder and baking soda to mix and then stir in dark chocolate chunks. Try not to salivate over the bowl. Use coconut oil to grease baking pan; dollop cookie dough mix on pan and flatten with spoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then cool them down; unlike most cookies, these taste better after 30 minutes or so in the fridge. Makes 10-12 cookies.

P.S. Not gonna lie, we made these babies into ice cream (dairy-free) sandwiches. More on that later 🙂

Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

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It can take awhile to wrap one’s head around the idea that chocolate and avocado could taste good together. To be honest, we even had doubts. One bite changed everything.

This is a fantastic treat for quite a few reasons:

  1. Full of healthy fats
  2. Low sugar
  3. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan
  4. Kid-friendly (as in, they won’t know anything green was used in the production of this dessert)

Make this recipe because it’s healthy, or make it because it’s amazingly delicious – you’ll win either way!

Ingredients:

2 avocados, ripe and pitted
1/2 cup of unsweetened chocolate powder
1/2 cup of coconut milk (or other non-dairy alternative)
5 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon

Instructions:

Cut avocado and remove the pit before scooping flesh into a blender. Add the cocoa powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve chilled, about 20 minutes.

Top with fresh raspberries, shredded coconut, and/or cashews.

For The Love Of Chocolate

Milk chocolate bars and all their fancy nut and fruit versions used to be just delightful. As I learned that dark chocolate was better for health, I made the mistake of jumping from the low percentages up to 80%…and that was a bitter mistake I didn’t repeat again. I used a version of the ‘step-down’ method, which was ‘stepping-up’ the percentages of cacao in my chocolates slowly.
Then, in a lecture with one of my teachers, the amazing David Wolfe, raw foods enthusiast, I learned way more than I ever knew before about this…could it be true?….health food. Chocolate IS a health food, but only as you get close to the very source, the cacao bean.
Do you want a treat that will provide you with vitamins, minerals, and even FIBER? Holy crap (literally), it is way better tasting than the ‘fiber alternatives’ (think Metamucil).

Or, you could go crazy and get the 10 pound bag I do every year.

But I would say that THIS option will provide you with enough as you get comfortable with trying more cacao in your foods during the next few months:

So how do you use it? Some quick ways are in oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, baking, and trail mix are all good places to start.