Spiced Fig Energy Bites

The best energy ball recipe hunt continues! These peppery confections blow fig newtons out of the water.
The best energy ball recipe hunt continues! These peppery confections blow fig newtons out of the water.

The best energy ball recipe hunt continues! These peppery confections blow fig newtons out of the water.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried flaked coconut
1/2 cup blanched almonds
4 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2-3/4 cup dried figs, de-stemmed
1/2-3/4 cup fresh almond butter
Hefty pinch cinnamon
Hefty pinch cardamom
Pinch sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
 (or 1 drop doTERRA black pepper oil)
1/4 cup coconut water
*Optional: 1/4 cup dark mini chocolate chips...This makes this recipes take like cookie dough yumness.
*NOTE: You can replace the almond cashew butter with any complimentary nut or seed butter. *NOTE: Omit the rolled oats to make this recipe paleo friendly

Method:

Place 1-2 drops black pepper oil in the coconut water and set aside.

Place all the ingredients (including the peppery coconut water) except for nut butter in a food processor with the “S” blade. Blend until grainy (entirely depends on what kind of consistency you prefer…you like crunchy, process less. You like them sans chunks, process longer.)

Add nut butter and process for another 15-30 seconds or until well-mixed.

Using a spoon and/or your hands, form into little balls and place into a glass tupperware container.

Allow to chill and set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Black Pepper: Black Pepper essential oil is great for your digestive system. It stimulates salivary glands and secretion of digestive juices meanwhile neutralizing gas formation in the intestinal tract. Also a great cleansing agent! Black pepper oil also increases circulation, reducing inflammation, and provides relief for arthritis and other muscle and joint discomforts. Great for athletes! See here for more.

Cardamom: This spice is an excellent source of iron and manganese, making it a rock star for blood and cellular regeneration. It also contains significant amounts of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, and can be used as an anti-spasmodic and digestive aid. Great for the belly AND the heart. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon has long been used as a medicine. It’s a good source of manganese and calcium. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to lessen unwanted blood clotting. It also has strong anti-microbial properties and help control blood sugar. The list of the powerful spice’s benefits continue, so see here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Coconut: Coconut is highly nutritious, rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Both modern and traditional medicine have recognized coconut as having antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Meanwhile coconut provides a nutritional source of quick energy, and can be used to enhance endurance and physical performance. Coconut is also soothing to the digestive tract, and aids in absorption of other nutrients within the body. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Dates: Dates are rich with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and copper. They are also high in other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help protect and nourish our cells. But they’re high in sugar, so a dab’ll do ya. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Figs: Figs are a good source of manganese, potassium, and dietary fiber. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin B6. Dried figs are an excellent sugar alternative and can be added to most recipes in place of other sweeteners. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Rolled Oats: Due to their high fiber content, oats are known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Oats also help maintain cardiovascular health since they contain antioxidant compound called avenanthramides, which help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal also contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to help immune funtion and to stabilize blood sugar. Oats are also high in manganese, selenium, and phosphorous. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Almond Apricot Nibs

A hint of apricot extract adds a dimension of sophistication to these energy bites. The search continues for my favorite energy ball recipe. This one is great because the cinnamon and almond extract give these a distinctive flavor. What's your favorite combo? Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup-ish almonds 1/2 cup-ish cashews 1/4 cup dried apricots 4 medjool dates, pitted 1/2 cup-ish coconut flakes Pinch sea salt 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. organic almond extract 3/4 cup-ish nut/seed butter

Method:

Add all the ingredients but for the nut butter to a food processor and blend until desired consistency (large grainy is probably best).

Pour into a large bowl and add the nut/seed butter and stir until well-mixed.

Using a spoon and/or your hands, form into balls and put into large glass tupperware with lid.

Allow to chill and harden in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Apricots: Apricots are rich with beta-carotene and fiber, both of which help promote heart health. They are also good sources of vitamins A and C. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What’s more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or “good fat” found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the “feel good” amino acid”). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Coconut: Coconut is highly nutritious, rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Both modern and traditional medicine have recognized coconut as having antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Meanwhile coconut provides a nutritional source of quick energy, and can be used to enhance endurance and physical performance. Coconut is also soothing to the digestive tract, and aids in absorption of other nutrients within the body. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Dates: Dates are rich with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and copper. They are also high in other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help protect and nourish our cells. But they’re high in sugar, so a dab’ll do ya. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Recover, Baby...All the Cool Kids Are Doing It.

Me in my sports bra "recovering." (But really, recovery drinks aren't supposed to taste this delish.) So, everyone I know is "training" for something. My little town of Durango, CO, is notorious for breeding super athletes. And then, there's everyone else who is just trying to catch up. Whatever category you happen to be in, recovery is crucial. And nutrition is one of the main pathways to post-workout recovery.

Below is a recipe for my personal favorite recovery drink which consists of fresh, local, raw milk (yes, it's the nectar of the gods if you can get the good stuff from pasture-fed cows from a super clean and loving facility...thank you, James Ranch!), dates, nutmeg, and cinnamon. But you could skip the spices and add raw cacao instead for an extra muscle-recovering punch!

Due to its bioavailability, whey protein is thought by many fitness and nutrition experts to be one of (if not THE) best types of protein to build lean muscle and help your existing muscle to recover after a tough workout. If you can't stomach milk, then this can be made with homemade almond or other nut/seed milk.

Happy exercising and recovering!

P.S. All of these measurements are "ish." Play around with the ratios for your fave flave. (Or "favorite flavor" if you didn't catch my drift.)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw, local (or organic) milk, or homemade almond or nut milk

1-2 pitted and/or dates (only need to soak beforehand if your blender isn't psyched on blending hard items)

1 pinch cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

1-2 drops doTerra black pepper essential oil (THIS IS THE MAGICAL INGREDIENT!)

*Optional: 1 Tbs. raw cacao powder and/or 1 Tsp. organic vanilla extract

Method:

Put all ingredients into your blender and blend to smithereens (a minute or two). Should be frothy and delicious.

Try not to chug the whole thing in 2 gulps. (I dare you...)

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits:

Black Pepper Essential Oil: Black Pepper essential oil is great for your digestive system. It stimulates salivary glands and secretion of digestive juices meanwhile neutralizing gas formation in the intestinal tract. Also a great cleansing agent! Black pepper oil also increases circulation, reducing inflammation, and provides relief for arthritis and other muscle and joint discomforts. Great for athletes! See here for more. Click here if you're interested in purchasing any doTerra essential oils.

Local Raw Milk: This is a VERY touchy subject. So I will leave it to the professionals. See here if you're interested in learning more about raw milk. Otherwise, good organic milk is a fine alternative.

Dates: Dates are rich with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and copper. They are also high in other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help protect and nourish our cells. But they're high in sugar, so a dab'll do ya. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon has long been used as a medicine. It's a good source of manganese and calcium. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to lessen unwanted blood clotting. It also has strong anti-microbial properties and help control blood sugar. The list of the powerful spice's benefits continue, so see here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg has been used in traditional medicines as an anti-fungal, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, digestive aid. It is also a good source of copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium, and B-complex vitamins including Vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin A. In small doses it's great, but don't overdo it! This powerful spice can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cacao: Organic cacao is a legit superfood. It abounds with Vitamin A, C, and E, and a plethora of B vitamins, as well as, magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulphur, iron, chromium, phosphorus, and Omega 6 fatty acids. It is also high in protein and fiber. Move over spinach! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

The Easiest Homemade Hummus Ever...

They could call this "yummus." This week I had the absolutely delightful experience of hosting a few young cyclists at my house in preparation of the USA Cycle Pro Challenge, Tour de Colorado (which started in Durango this year...boo ya!). Long story short, I needed to find a way to feed some grande appetites without hours of preparation. One of my staple recipes for such an occasion is hummus. See below for the base recipe, but keep in mind that you can add whatever you want. This recipe is the standard hummus, dressed up with a few other fresh ingredients to kick up the flavor quotient. I added chopped Greek olives, basil, pine nuts and paprika to this batch, and it was gone in minutes. Happy creating!

In other news, I totally enjoyed being "cycle Mom." Who knew how much fun it could be to have four 20-ish-year old sons. I cooked a massive spaghetti dinner, they cleaned, and we all jammed out to Notorious B.I.G. Yes, Biggie Smalls is the illest, but team Bondrager/Livestrong, the feeder team for Team Radioshack, is pretty bad ass too. Good luck this week, guys!

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed (or you can use a hefty sprinkle of garlic powder)

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans (or soak your own and cook according to package directions which I think is waaay better)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil

2 heaping tablespoons tahini

1 heaping teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons-ish olive oil

Method

Rinse garbanzos and pour into blender, reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish.

Place lemon juice (and/or essential oil), tahini, chopped garlic, and salt in blender.

Blend until creamy and well mixed. (Add a little water and/or olive oil if not blending easily.)

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans and other tasty and pretty items for an impressive flavor and presentation.

Serve with bread, crackers, crudite, or your fingers...kidding.

*Optional items to put in and/or on your hummus: paprika, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or rosemary, pine nuts...the list goes on. Just use your imagination.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits

This bean/seed combo makes a complete protein, which means that all the amino acids your body needs are present in this combination. See here for other complete protein combos to get the most out of your nutrients. Enjoy!

Garbanzo Beans: Also known as "chickpeas," these beans are particularly high in insoluble fiber, which means you have a squeaky clean colon and feel fuller for longer when eating these legumes. They are also extremely high in lots of nutrients such as manganese, folate, and tryptophan. They are a great source of plant-based protein. If you find legumes make you gassy, try pre-soaking them for easier digestion. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tahini: Sesame seeds (of which tahini is made) are jam packed with manganese and copper, and are a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon Juice: Lemons (and limes) are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon oil has many properties including anticancer, antidepressant, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant. It is refreshing and invigorating, had can be used to help lower blood pressure, improve memory, ease sore throats and anxiety, help dissolve cellulite, boost energy, calm digestive problems, cleanse the lymphatic system, and promote a sense of well-being. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.