Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthy Halloween Bark

Halloween kicks off the best time of year - the holiday season!  Regular ol' candy never makes me feel good, but I look forward to trying this healthier option without all the strange additives.  Let us know what you think if you try it!



From Kelsey:
We are ending the October series with an easy and fun Halloween treat!  Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays not only because you get loads of candy, but also because you get to come up with fun creative recipes to make. Also, you get to carve pumpkins!            

This Healthy Halloween Bark is extremely easy to make, only taking about five minutes with only contains six ingredients. This is amazing compared to other regular candies/desserts that are packed with countless ingredients.  It is perfect for those of you wanting a healthy alternative to the artificial and chemical-packed candy.  The Sunspire chocolate pieces used in this recipe look exactly like Reese’s Pieces but contain no artificial coloring or GMO’s. Their natural coloring makes them the perfect item to use when creating a dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I encountered this exceptional dessert from Food Babe’s blog. 

Hopefully this dessert will be a hit in your house so that you can stay away from the processed ones. I hope everyone has a great Halloween!!

Healthy Halloween Bark

1 cup almond butter
(can sub other nut or seed butters)
3 T. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

1½ T. maple syrup

1/4 cup Sunspire sun drops chocolate pieces


Assemble ingredients.

Combine almond butter, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and maple syrup and stir well.

Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper and place the mixture in it.

Top with the Sunspire chocolate pieces. 

Place in freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Pumpkin Series: Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread - gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan (depending on what you consider honey).  Looks delicious!  


From Kelsey:

I am so excited to share with you all one of my favorite pumpkin bread recipes. I am always interested in trying different Paleo recipes because this type of diet is fascinaing to me. I have never fully been Paleo, but I have been gluten free for a month having tried it during a previous internship I had, and I definitely benefited from it physically. I had more energy, my skin was clearer and my overall health was better. Since going gluten free, I have basically white and wheat flour from my diet. Instead, I choose flours such as almond, coconut and oat. It is fun experimenting with all the different options out there so I encourage everyone to try it!

While perusing through Facebook, I came across this amazing recipe from Megsvegucation. This recipe instantly caught my attention with the fact that it was gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and Paleo. It also states that it is mostly vegan. I knew that this was something I had to try. I made it and everyone loved it. It makes me extremely happy when I can make healthier options for my family to enjoy. The fact that it is pumpkin is an added bonus! I plan on making as many pumpkin recipes as I can this season.

Hope everyone enjoys this marvelous pumpkin bread as much as I did!

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ginger, nutmeg, etc. will also do)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
2-3 small very ripened bananas
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup almond milk
1/2 cup nuts or raisins (optional, I sprinkled some walnuts on top)


Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredient (coconut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice).

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl (pumpkin, bananas, honey, vanilla, almond milk) and mix until smooth.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.

Spray pan with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

Pour bread into bread pan and sprinkle walnuts (if desired) on top.

Cook bread 45 minutes (mine took approximately 35 minutes).



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Pumpkin Series: Pumpkin Chili

Intern Kelsey's second pumpkin post - yum, chili!   I bet this would be awesome with some homemade healthy cornbread...



From Kelsey:

This time of the year is my absolute favorite. The weather is cooling down, Halloween is in a few weeks and then it will be my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. I might be a little more excited for Thanksgiving this year due to my birthday being the day after! I cannot even remember the last time I had my birthday off.  I almost always have an exam, school or work on my birthday so I’m looking forward to relaxing and maybe traveling somewhere this year.

So, if you haven’t been able to tell from my previous post, I am pretty much obsessed with pumpkin. My obsession, however, has only led me to try pastry/dessert pumpkin items such as pies, cookies, puddings, frozen yogurt, etc. When Megan gave me the idea of doing a savory pumpkin item, I was unsure of what I would pick. She was then kind enough to send me some ideas, one of them being this AMAZING pumpkin chili from the blog Wellness Mama. As my mom would say, amazing does not even begin to describe it. The flavors are incredible and the pumpkin aroma instantly fills the house. I tweaked the recipe a little bit, adding some organic great northern beans to it. Adding beans, along with the pumpkin puree, will give you a good amount of fiber, which then means this recipe will keep you full for awhile. The only downside was that I could not eat any of my pumpkin no bake cookies I had made earlier in the day or the pumpkin bread I had also made (will be on blog next week). But it was well worth it!! And yes, I did make three pumpkin items in one day.

Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do! This dish is perfect to make during this wonderful AZ weather we have been experiencing!

Pumpkin Chili


1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef
2 onions
1 (16 ounce) can of BPA free diced tomatoes (drained)
1 (15/16 ounce) can or jar of tomato sauce
1 (15/16 ounce) can of pureed pumpkin
1 cup organic beef broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 avocado
Cheese and sour cream to top
*I also added one can of great northern beans


Assemble Ingredients.

Brown beef in a large pot.

When beef is almost completely cooked, add the onions and cook until soft.

Add the pureed pumpkin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, beans and spices.

Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through.  

Top with cheese or avocado slices.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Pumpkin Series - No Bake Pumpkin Cookies

Oh hey there, fall!  Welcome back!  It's still a wonderful 90+ degrees here in the Valley of the Sun, but we are all itching for the temperature to fall below 80 so we can whip out our boots and sweaters.  (No, seriously.  That's considered "cool" around here.)

Here's my little pumpkin with her very first pumpkin.

Even though we don't have beautiful multi-colored trees and roads lined with fallen leaves, we can still get into the autumn spirit with some healthy pumpkin recipes.  Intern Kelsey has a treat for our readers - a month full of pumpkin!  Each week we will spotlight a new, healthy pumpkin recipe from some amazing food bloggers that will help you fall-ify your palette.  Let's get cookin'...or in the case of these no-bake cookies, let's just eat!  Wouldn't these be awesome with our healthy pumpkin spice latte?



From Kelsey:

I am a huge fan of pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes, you name it and I bet I have tried it and LOVED it! I was so excited when Megan came up the idea for me to do a different pumpkin recipe for each week in October. I immediately began the search for the ultimate pumpkin recipes. Enter the No Bake Pumpkin Cookies from My Whole Life. These are absolutely delicious. Without a doubt, they are one of the best pumpkin items I have ever had. Also, they require no flour, no dairy and no baking. I did not even have to buy any of the ingredients because I had them all in the pantry. As if these cookies could not get any better, they also have tremendous amounts of nutrients in them.

Pumpkin has long been over-looked as a good source of fiber. It contains approximately three grams per one cup. Fiber can help keep you feeling fuller longer, which makes these cookies the perfect go to snack. Pumpkin can also help refuel you after a workout, since it contains more potassium than a banana! Lastly, since we are getting into cold and flu season, I thought I would mention that pumpkin has a substantial amount of Vitamin C to help prevent colds and even the flu! I hope that you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!

No Bake Pumpkin Cookies


1 cup raw pecans
1 cup raw almonds
10 medjool dates
3 TBSP pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Assemble ingredients.

Grind up almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and spices using a food processor.

Add in dates and continue to grind.  Finally, add pumpkin and mix until dough forms.

Let sit in the refrigerator for approximately one hour.  

Roll into balls and use your palm to flatten into cookies.  

Then eat!  Enjoy!