Food Photo’s Friday

Just a disclaimer…none of these pictures are going to be well taken. They were just some quick snaps before running out the door or before anyone could catch me taking a picture of my food.  But it is basically everything I ate today!

So I started the day off with the breakfast of champions…BUDWEISER!! Didn’t I tell you guys? It’s part of the cleanse…..

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Tea was my best freakin friend today at work. And I know…it’s not homemade almond milk, but I figured since I’m trying to eschew nuts I would just avoid dealing with them altogether so I don’t get tempted.

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This stuff is seriously good. With some almond milk and stevia it smelled like a chocolate brownie.

2013-07-26 20.32.14I know…this is SERIOUSLY not pretty. The green guck is an avocado, lime with a big tomato and salt and pepper. The tomato was obviously bigger than the avocado and could not hold up its end of the guacamole.

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These are the tomatoes I’ve been noshing on. (Yea…I ate a whole container yesterday…don’t judge!)

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For dinner I had some leftover vegetables that needed to be cooked so I dry roasted some onions and green beans in the oven with salt, pepper and garlic…

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…and did the same with these brussels sprouts…might have forgotten about them though…The other bowl is some whipped avocado. I used it to mask the burnt-ness. :/

20130722_214107I would normally be having this deliciousness for dessert…which is just frozen bananas with some sunflower seed butter and chopped almonds and chocolate chips on top. All that burned dinner really made me crave something sweet. 😦

20130722_214110I mean, just look at it…

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LOOK AT IT!!!

So luscious and creamy…

This cleanse is not making me crazy I swear!

Happy Friday!

Ten Day Cleanse

I recently decided to amp up my diet and eliminate fruit, nuts and chocolate (I KNOW!!! but raw cacao powder is allowed) from my diet for 10 days.  I don’t eat meat, and I don’t eat much wheat, processed food, junk food or sugar – unless it’s in the form of a dark chocolate bar, fruits or wine. Or unless I have too much wine — in that case its no holds barred! (Pizza and ranch, anyone?)

I’m not perfect, but eating a cleaner diet helped me become more in tune with my body and I felt like it was time to go to a new level. Plus it’s pool season — a cleanse can’t possibly hurt!

So what on earth WILL I be eating?!

grocery  Well, my grocery trips will look just like this…minus the fun stuff (chocolate and apples!!)

And I will be embracing leafy greens, vegetables, and more vegetables!

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I know its only day two, but so far I’ve had really satisfying meals. I’ve also been having green juice every morning so that has also helped in keeping hunger at bay. When the only options are vegetables, you have no other choice but to get creative.

For example, last night for dinner I had a hearty romaine salad with hearts of palm, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and diced onion, spritzed with some lime juice, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of tahini to add a rich, fatty texture. I had a side of garlicky baked broccoli – which by the way is more delicious than potato chips! And for dessert I baked a sweet potato, then put the flesh in the blender with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a pinch of salt and had a warm sweet potato pudding.

You gotta have dessert. It keeps the world in harmony.

Today’s meals weren’t as exciting. I was out and about today so I didn’t get a chance to get fancy.

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2 pm: Kale, cucumber, romaine, a carrot and lime juice, sweetened with stevia

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5 pm: 2 lbs of grape tomatoes (I know..2 lbs?! At least it wasn’t a 2lb Chipotle burrito I suppose..). Small bag of baby carrots

8 pm: Chocolate pudding (avocado, raw cacao powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, sea salt, stevia and ice) and hot chocolate (water, raw cacao powder, almond milk, stevia and a sprinkle of sea salt). Yes, your right. I totally found a way around my own diet. Hehe. But cacao powder is allowed because there is no sugar in it! (THANK HEAVENS)

Feel free to join me on this crazy diet adventure. It’s only 10 days…you can do anything for 10 days!

I use that phrase for any amount of time.“4 years? You can do anything for 4 years!” It keeps me sane 🙂

Have you ever embarked on  a detox diet or cleanse? What was your experience like and did you have people to support you?

Monday Funday

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(Source: Pinterest)

Let’s be honest – Monday is probably the least popular day of the week. You can just feel the nation just dragging themselves out of bed and back to work, school, or just the same ol routine that is they feel is sucking life away.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve always loved Mondays – they’re a fresh start! A new week to start a new habit, diet, workout, lifestyle, routine, etc. and basically be a new you. The old me was SO last week!

If we’re still not on the same wavelength, I hope you will at least find some of these articles entertaining enough to get you through the week…
You can start your week with a whole new world of possibilities…

And maybe this video will give you a little kick start to doing some of what was on that list

Inspiration

(Source: Pinterest)

Or you could just be a rebel without a cause

Bookmark this site as a great pick me up throughout the week 😉

Meet the “gangster gardener” – an inspirational video. Anyone can make a difference!

I loove DIY projects – they get your wheels spinning and you feel so accomplished afterwards! These are a few super simple ones you can try!

And if none if this lifted your spirits at all, this healthy fudgy recipe is bound to !

Gotta give props to Linda Wagner’s blog for this Monday post. Visit her awesome site!

Monday Inspiration :)

(Source: Pinterest)

Food Photo Friday

A few pics from my 4th of July..

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Some awesome cuban corn in the making

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Wine, cilantro and queso blanco.

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Beer and meat…I don’t eat either!

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Bunny food and guac…that’s more like it.

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Not gonna lie though…I pulled the bacon off a few of those jalapeno poppers and had a few of those bad boys. Sometimes you gotta live dangerously.

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To the 4th and to the weekend!

Gluten Free, Vegan Cookie Dough

It took me a while to get on the “make your own almond milk” bandwagon. I mean, lets face it, nuts are expensive…especially almonds! Then the whole process of blending and straining and storing it. I’ll admit, I was deterred. But once I made it myself, I never went back!

However, I was left with all that expensive pulp and I hate wasting things (my coworkers make sure to always use the duplex option — to print front and back, when printing). I felt bad throwing out the pulp, even if it was to my moms compost bin. There had to be something I could do with it! Luckily, this brilliant woman, The Detoxinista, had the same idea in mind and paved the way for all of us economical nut milk makers!

The answer? Cookie dough bites!

Hell yea! Milk and cookie dough? Thats a win-win in my book.

It is so easy too! You can kill two birds with one stone. Today I had the oven heating up while I was blending and straining. As I was straining the milk, I put the pulp in a glass baking dish, so as soon as the milking (lol) was done, I just popped that in the oven and BAM!

Disclaimer: After reading this recipe, you will officially have no reason to EVER throw out your almond milk pulp again!

Cookie Dough Bites

1 cup nut milk pulp

2 tbsp nut or seed butter

2 tsp coconut oil

capful of vanilla extract

2 pinches Himalayan sea salt

2 tbsp sweetener of your choice (stevia, maple syrup, raw honey, raw coconut crystals…etc)

Directions:

1. Dry your pulp.  I put mine in the oven at 300 for an 30 minutes. It was barely damp when I took it out.

2. Mix in remaining ingredients. I used my hand to knead everything, and also tasted as I went. Add more of any ingredient if needed.

3. Shape how you like, this dough was very similar to actual cookie dough! If you are patient enough, you could freeze and then eat. But who is patient enough for food in this day and age? 🙂

This picture shows my snickerdoodle flavor, but I made a chocolate chip batch as well.

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They are incredibly tasty and surprisingly light! Some variations I plan to make in the future are peanut butter, chocolate dipped, coconut crusted with chocolate (like a samoa)…the possibilities are endless.

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My ghetto phone pictures don’t do them justice. Make these now!

cookiedoughbite3Eat me!

And I figured I would end this nutty post with a happy 4th of July from my nutty nutsack friend, the squirrel! (found him eating breakfast upside down today).

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🙂

Coconut Pudding

Okay so we all know I love chocolate…but theres something I have to admit…

I’M COO COO FOR COCONUTS!!

There I said it!

I love coconuts — young thai coconuts, dried coconuts, shredded coconut, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut ice cream… I even love the word coconut. I might name my firstborn coconut.

Just kidding about the last part, I’m not that coo coo…

So you can imagine when young thai coconuts are on sale what my shopping cart looks like (“Uh, ma’am do you need a hand to your car?”). I’ve bought 20 coconuts in one go before…don’t judge. They were on sale!

What’s funnier is when I get home and my mom has bought just as many as I have. We are so related.

Well what do you do when you drink all the water and have the rest of the coconut left?

Make coconut pudding of course!

Coconut Pudding

Meat of 1-2 (or in my case 10-20…) young thai coconuts

3 tablespoons chia seeds

Capful of vanilla extract

Himalayan pink sea salt to taste

10 drops of liquid stevia, add more to taste

Directions:

1. Blend!

2. Eat!!IMAG4402

Cookies n Cream-y

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The only reason I added the chia seeds was to give it a cookies and cream effect. I used to love Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar, so this satisfied my nostalgia of enjoying one. They are not necessary, so feel free to omit them! This is a very basic recipe. You could definitely dress this up and experiment with different flavors (I was thinking key lime pie for the next one?).

Then the next day I blended up some frozen berries and topped it with this coconut pudding to make a coconut berry parfait.

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I thought this looked cool. Swirrlyyy

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Enjoy!

Lily’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar

Hey! I’m still here!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with school winding down, finals and then work, work, work! One thing I’ve learned amidst a busy lifestyle is – amidst chaos, eat chocolate.

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Haha well, that’s what helps me, anyways..

But in all seriousness, you have to make time for yourself. You should never be to busy to sit, take a breather, and savor the moment.

But back to the deliciousness – hands down one of THE BEST chocolate bars I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate!

Taste: A+++

This bar is sweetened with stevia (and for those of you who don’t know me – I’m a huge stevia advocate! I’ll save the deets for another post but it’s my sweetener of choice). I was so surprised at the sweet richness of this bar. The stevia was a great complement to the coconut, which on its own has a slight sweetness. It had a velvety texture and was quick to melt in your hands (that was my excuse for eating it so fast…I didn’t want to get my hands messy 😉 ). It is 55% cocoa, so it is not too dark.

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CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE

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CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE

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CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE dwindling down to the last few bites.. 😦

Presentation: A

Fun designs, nice small chocolate blocks for portioning (aka making me feel like I’m having more chocolate!).

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Price: Seriously who cares how much it is when a bar is this delicious? 😉

But for those of you who want to know, it the bar normally runs around $3.99-$4.99 for 3 oz. , but I got mine on sale for $2.99 at Giant!

I think this would be a great chocolate bar for anyone who is trying to transition away from milk chocolate or the mainstream brands because it is simply so enjoyable! They also have different flavors such as Rice, Almond and Original. I’m hoping they come out with more!

Lily’s, you have a customer for life. My heart and stomach is yours! I encourage you to try this product!!

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100% indulgence is right.

Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate

Word of the day: clutch. According to Urban Dictionary, there are several definitions of clutch, but I am using it as defined: Exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

as in “Trader Joes is clutch when it comes to unique, affordable chocolate!”

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Taste: B+

This chocolate was definitely easy to eat. It was light, but with a chalky texture. It actually reminded me of sand, but in a melt in your mouth sorta way! Sounds unappealing for chocolate, but it wasn’t bad at all. The only thing that threw me off was the pepper. I don’t think I could have this as a dessert because after each bite I had to have a baby carrot to cleanse my palate…and get rid of the spicy, scratchy feeling at the back of my throat! Don’t be taken aback, it’s definitely worth a try!

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What I loved most about this chocolate is that is only has four ingredients: organic cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar, organic cracked pepper and kosher salt.

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The simpler, the better!

Presentation: A

I liked how it was pocket sized and travel friendly (I know…chocolate IS travel friendly, but girl jeans have small pockets and this one fit in mine okay?).

Price: A

This chocolate circle was $1.49 at Trader Joe’s for 2.6oz. Most of their 3 oz bars are $1.99, so that works out to be around .66 cents an ounce, and this worked out to be about .57 cents an ounce. I’d say that’s a pretty nice difference. And its also not too much chocolate, share it with a friend…that would be clutch : )

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Talk to me: Have you tried this TJ’s Salt & Pepper Dark Chocolate? Would you?

Homemade Creamy NOT Milk

Sorry dairy industry, the word is out: milk is just not that good for you.

This article highlights many of the reasons why milk is not as health generating as you may think. Simply put, the protein molecule (casein) in cows milk is 300 times larger than that of human milk, rendering them indigestible and causing acidity and mucus buildup in the body (ever notice how young kids often get runny noses, colds and ear infections?). Even worse is this milk is then homogenized (molecules are altered so milk doesn’t separate) and pasteurized, making it even more difficult to digest!

There’s tons of information out there, but you check out this short article with my most favorite author, Natalia Rose, this article and this website for tons more info.

I know its shocking at first. I mean my generation and I have been bombarded with Got Milk ads our whole lives! But once it settles in and you really think about it, do humans give their breast milk to kittens? And vice versa: would you drink cat milk? Or dog milk? So why cow’s milk??

But hey, good news to all the cow milk weaned bebehs, there’s a delicious alternative – almond milk! I’m sure you all have seen it more prominently on store shelves, I know I have. As simple as it is, I never tried making my own until now. And it makes a huuuge difference. After comparing the homemade version to a mainstream brand like Silk or Blue Diamond, the latter tastes gummy.

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 Here is the version I made, but homemade almond milk is basically 1 part almonds to 4 parts water, blended and strained. That’s it!

Homemade Creamy NOT Milk 

1 cup almonds (if you have raw almonds, even better!)*

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (feel free to omit, I just used it because I prefer a richer, creamier, “whole milk” texture)

3 cups filtered water ( I did it for the creaminess, but add another cup if you normally like 2% 😉 )

1 medjool date, pitted

Sprinkle of sea salt

Splash of vanilla

*It is recommended to soak almonds for 4-6 hours. Almonds have enzyme inhibitors in their skin making them a bit difficult to digest. Soaking them not only releases these enzymes, but also makes them easier to digest, therefore increasing nutrient absorption!

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Random coconut-iness

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  1. Put all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend til you cant blend no mo’ !
  3. Just kidding, but really you should blend until all the ingredients are liquefied.
  4. Using a nut milk bag, paint strainer, or a fine mesh strainer (which I used), strain mixture. If you are using a fine mesh strainer it could get a bit messy…

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Yum…

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Delicious globs..

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It gets better

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 and messier..

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But then you have the final result! So pretty and SO worth the effort. Creamy, frothy, almond milk. Pairs deeelish-ously with Flourless Chocolate Cake!

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And don’t forget to make your corniest cliché “Got Milk?” face.

x

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hey strangers!

It has been so busy lately with the spring semester coming to an end. Only 3 weeks left…and 3 semesters left til graduation! It can’t come soon enough. I feel like as soon as I finish studying for one test, another one pops up. They are like little monsters…

Anyways, today I said screw it…I’m not doing anything scholarly related! (And hoped my homework did itself).

I know its so stereotypical, but I love being in the kitchen. Its just so fun experimenting! I feel like it gets my creativity going, even though painting or learning a new language involves way less calories…

But who cares. So I made a cake!

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I went all out — well sorta. Over the past few weeks I’ve been gradually phasing out grains and processed sugar. A coworker and I decided to do a green smoothie diet, for a month! I can’t say I didn’t have a few cheat days, but that makes it sustainable, right? It’s lot easier than you would think. The diet basically goes: green smoothie for breakfast, raw vegetables at every meal, emphasizing the vegetables and eliminating the processed grains, red meat, soy, refined sugar, and junk. Best part? No calorie counting! However, since I’ve always been a sweet tooth, I wanted something a little more than a green smoothie today. Don’t worry… these desserts fall within the diet!

I don’t use measuring tools and I tend to eyeball, so the measurements are approximate!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (Grain-free and no refined sugar)

For the Cake:

½ cup 100% chocolate squares*

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp raw honey + more to taste, if needed

¾ cup raw coconut nectar (you could probably use maple syrup, stevia or more raw honey to sweeten it)

3 organic, free range eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Cocoa powder (for dusting the pan)

For the Ganache:

¼ cup of coconut milk

1 tsp coconut oil

1/3 cup of 100% chocolate squares*

1 tbsp raw honey + more to taste, if needed

(*I just used 100% cacao because I wanted to be in control of how much sweetener I put in it, but feel free to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chips or bars!)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Using a double boiler, (or just boiling water and putting a glass bowl over the steam) melt chocolate squares, coconut oil and raw honey. Keep mixing until it is all melted together evenly. Take off stove and let it cool for 5-10 minutes while you prepare step 2.
  3. Mix eggs, raw coconut nectar, and vanilla. Once chocolate mixture is cooled off enough (make sure it is definitely cool enough so the eggs don’t cook in the chocolate mixture!), slowly stir in egg mixture. Beat it up until it is all incorporated. It should be a smooth, velvety texture.
  4. Line a baking pan (I actually only had a cast iron skillet on hand, so I suppose you could use whatever) with cocoa powder. Pour in mixture.
  5. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the center can be poked with a fork and comes out clean.
  6. IMAG4462When cake is finished, start making the ganache using the same method you did in step 2 (double boiler or glass bowl over boiling water).
  7. Melt chocolate, coconut oil and honey. When it is all melted, slowly add in coconut milk. Stir until it is all evenly incorporated.
  8. You may keep the cake in the pan you used to bake it in, but I transferred mine to a plate. Then pour the ganache over the cake, using a spoon or spatula to evenly spread it over.

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Although it tastes a lot better letting it chill in the fridge for an hour or two, I just had to try it immediately (it was quality control okay?).  It is sooo rich and decadent, its actually hard to overeat! I put half of the cake in the freezer so I could have something to look forward to for weeks to come.

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To all my fellow students, I encourage you to reward your efforts with this cake. To everyone else, enjoy!

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Oh, and don’t forget to smile 🙂

xo