Blueberry Chickpea Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbs. melted coconut oil
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease or line a muffin tin with liners.

In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

In a large bowl, combine egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, apple sauce, and oil.

Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir until well combined.

Fold in the blueberries and optional walnuts.

Pour about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are set and lightly browned.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

Vegan (awesome) Choco-chip Blondies

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)
*Optional: one pastured egg for a more cakey consistency
*Optional add-ins: chopped nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit
 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking parchment (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).

In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips (and optional add-ins) and process until batter is smooth.

Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.

Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack.

Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes about 16 blondies.

Salmon Cakes

These salmon cakes are a perfect entree for a wintery evening. Have them on a bed of greens or with a side of veggies! Top them with some spicy aoli or a twist of lemon, or both! Thank you,  EveryDayMaven  for your inspiration! 

These salmon cakes are a perfect entree for a wintery evening. Have them on a bed of greens or with a side of veggies! Top them with some spicy aoli or a twist of lemon, or both! Thank you, EveryDayMaven for your inspiration! 

Ingredients:

1/2-ish cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed *optional
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup packed finely chopped parsley
2 tbs. finely chopped onion
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 tbs. hot sauce
1/2 tbs. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground paprika
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large (organic, pastured) eggs
4-ish cups of cooked salmon, de-skinned and de-boned (or similar fish)
2 tbs. organic coconut oil or ghee for cooking (divided)

Method:

Place all ingredients but the fat for frying, in a food processor or stand mixer. Mix until well-combined, but still chunky. Don't overmix!

Line a baking sheet (or flat surface that will fit in your fridge) with cooking parchment.

Use your 1/3 cup to scoop the fish mixture and place each "patty" onto the parchment. 

When all the patties are scooped, place saran wrap over them and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes (or all day!).

When ready to cook, take them out of the fridge and heat up a medium/large pan over medium heat. Add your cooking fat, let it get nice and hot, and fry each patty for 4 minutes, then flip and cook about another 4 minutes until both sides are crispy and golden brown, and the inside of the patties are cooked.

*I ended up having to flatten my patties out a bit to ensure the center was cooked, but if you leave them on a slightly lower heat for longer, you probably won't need to do that.  Enjoy! 

 

Overstuffed Mushroom Caps

These stuffed mushroom caps made a wonderful app, snack, or (if you make them portobello mushrooms) entree! 

These stuffed mushroom caps made a wonderful app, snack, or (if you make them portobello mushrooms) entree! 

Ingredients:

20 small to medium sized crimini mushrooms (or 4-6 portobellos), washed and pat dry

Half a small onion, finely chopped 

1 to 2 small cloves garlic, chopped *optional

Half a cup frozen spinach, or 1 cup fresh, chopped

1 pound ground sausage

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tablespoon cooking fat (I prefer fresh lard, coconut oil, or ghee)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

One (organic, pastured) egg

Salt-and-pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°

Pull out the mushroom stems and wipe out the center of the mushroom, to create more space in the cavity.

Place the mushrooms on the parchment lined cookie sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes.

While they're cooking, sauté the onions until browned, add the sausage, when browned add the spinach.

Flip the mushrooms over after 10 minutes and drain any moisture on the cookie sheet.

When your filling mixture is nicely browned, transfer to food processor or standing mixer and add the egg, coconut flour, salt and pepper, and mix until crumbly. Do not over mix!

At the mixture to the cavity of the mushroom caps and put in the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Put any leftover filling in muffin cups and bake with the caps. Enjoy! 

Balsamic Bacon Artichoke Dip

Balsamic Bacon Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

10-ish slices thick-cut bacon
1 12-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup quality mayonnaise
3 sprigs green onion, cut into 1" hunks
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt, if necessary
Ground pepper to taste

Method:

Fry bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crispy. Dry off excess fat then roughly chop. Add to bowl of the food processor.

*Can set aside a couple pieces to chop into bacon bits and sprinkle on top!

Drain and rinse artichoke hearts and add them to the food processor.

Then add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth (or a little chunky, but well-mixed).

Taste, and add salt and more pepper, if necessary. Add your bacon bits if you saved any.

Serve warm or cold with crackers, crudité (or with a spoon!)

Green Chile Cilantro Hummus

Aye caramba! Depending on the chile you use, this can either be super spicy or just have a hint of green chile flava. There's no wrong way to eat green chile. My husband has been working 25 hours a day lately, and eats in 30 seconds bursts. When I hear him running down the stairs at 100 hundred miles an hour, I like to have a pantry full of protein packed snacks so he doesn't have to lolligag while making a lunch decision. For times like these, hummus is a great staple. I usually make about a batch per week, and the possibilities are endless. You can use just about any type of bean, throw in a little tahini, nut, or seed butter, some spices and other veggies, olive oil, salt and peppa, and tadá! You've got yourself a high- (and complete) protein snack or meal that can store for up to a few days in the fridge...but I can guarantee it won't last more than a day or two. Yum!

This batch features two of my most favorite ingredients: green chile and cilantro. In combination they bring a deeply ethnic flavor and feel to the dish, and go great with any kind of corn chip (certified GMO-free, si vous plait!). I particularly enjoy Garden of Eatin's Red Hot Blue chips because they're perfectly salted with a little kick of red chile powder. Takes me back to my New Mexican roots. Enjoy!

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 small roasted green chile, chopped OR 1 small can medium Hatch green chile (Certified Non-GMO!) 1 tbs. chopped cilantro Salt and ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons-ish olive oil .5-1 drop doTerra cilantro oil

Method

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

Place lemon juice, essential oil, tahini, chopped garlic, 1/2 the cilantro, 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. Stir in the chopped green chile.

Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans, the remaining green chile and cilantro, and drizzle with olive oil.

*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 snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Delicioso!

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!

Cilantro: Cilantro is a powerful cleansing agent which helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It's also beneficial for the digestive tract due to its production of digestive enzymes, acids, and juices. Its essential oils stimulate peristalsis, relieve gas, and aid with digestion. Cilantro also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Cilantro Oil: Cilantro is a great digestive aid and is a powerful antioxidant. It helps control free radicals and leaches heavy metals from the human body. It is also a strong antibacterial and anti fungicide agent. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

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.

Green Chile:  Aside from being one of the most delicious foods on the planet, green chile is rich in fiber, contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Meanwhile, it is packed with Vitamins A and C (essential for bone, tooth, mucosal, and eye health). See here for additional health benefits and nutritional info.

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.

Poached Salmon with Parsley Dressing

Poached salmon is a simple dish that's great for parties and delicious the next day.

This recipe was inspired by epicurious.com

In an effort to not be such a socially inept hermit, I've been hosting a monthly ladies night at my house when my husband is off traveling. I ask everyone to bring something shareable, and we sit around smoking cigars, drinking whiskey, and making plans to take over the world. Just kidding...Sort of. But it provides us with an opportunity to interact with other human beings, instead of being cooped up in our hearts and heads, which to me is invaluable as I would otherwise stay up working until 11pm, and wonder why I feel like I have no friends.

All this to say, this is a great sharable dish. And it goes with just about any other kind of starch, salad, or wine that ends up on the sharing table. Next time you're feeling reclusive, invite some friends over for a laugh and a nice meal. They might even offer to clean up your kitchen. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For Sauce: 1 cup flat leaf parsley 2 tbs. tarragon or any other fresh herb such as rosemary or oregano 1 tbs. chives 1-2 cloves fresh garlic 1 tbs. champagne  vinegar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 4 tbs. olive oil 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil Salt and pepper to taste

For Fish: 2 1/2 cups dry white wine 2 1/2 cups water 2- to 3-pound salmon fillet with skin

Method:

Sauce: In a food processor puree parsley, chives, and garlic with remaining sauce ingredients until smooth but chunky.

Season with salt and pepper.

*Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Fish: In a deep 10-inch skillet bring wine and water to a simmer.

Cut salmon into 6 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Submerge the salmon pieces, skin sides down, in simmering liquid (add hot water if necessary to just cover salmon) and poach at a bare simmer, covered, for 8 minutes, or until just cooked through.

Transfer cooked salmon with a slotted spatula to a platter to cool.

When salmon is cool enough to handle, peel off skin and if desired with a sharp knife scrape off any dark meat. Salmon may be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

*Bring salmon to cool room temperature before serving.

*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.

Benefits:

Garlic: Garlic has long been touted as a health promoting food. It is high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. Garlic is also rich with manganese and is a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, as well as selenium. This "stinky rose" also protects our blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, but its other health benefits abound. See here for nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

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.

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.

Parsley: Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, and contains notable amounts of vitamins A and C. The volatile oils contained in parsley have been shown to inhibit tumor formation. Parsley has also been shown to neutralize carcinogens. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Salmon: This is a superfish. It abounds with vitamins D, B3, and B12, and has off the chart levels of  tryptophan, protein, selenium, and omega 3 fats. Omega 3s have been proven to improve bodily inflammation, cell function and brain function. Omega 3 intake has also been associated with decreased risk cardiovascular issues such as heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

 

Massaged Kale with Chickpeas and Avo in Tahini Dressing

Connect with your food! Massage your kale to soften it, rather than dumping it in a frying pan.

This recipe was inspired MyNewRoots.org

So, I'm a pacifist at heart. But when I read about massaged kale I was a little skeptical. First fruitarians, now this? But I gave it a try and it actually turned out to be a delicious way to soften the hearty green while making its nutrients more accessible to the average stomach. You can add anything to your massaged kale, but I just happened to have some leftover chickpeas and 1/2 an avocado that was calling my name. And thus this hearty, heart-shaped salad was spawned. What kinds of yummies would you add? Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the massaged kale:

1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 drop doTerra lemon essential oil 1-2 tbs. cold-pressed olive oil Sea salt to taste

Other Yummies to Add:

1/2 can chickpeas 1/2 avocado (cut into chunks) *You can add anything else you like: fruits, veggies, cooked or sprouted grains and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Optional Tahini Dressing:

1 tbs. fresh tahini or almond butter 1 tbs. nutritional yeast 1 tbs. lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.

Roll up your sleeves and massage the kale until it softens and its hue deepens to a deeper green (2 to 3 minutes).

Add the rest of your goodies. Serve and enjoy!

*NOTE: Once you’ve massaged your kale, you can store the unused portions in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

*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.

Benefits:

Kale: Kale is a powerful green which has been proven to help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of various types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. It has powerful detoxifying properties and is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lemon and Lime: 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.

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.

Oregano Grass-fed Beef Stuffed Calamari

Don't be afraid to taste new things! This dish was a major hit at our last dinner party. Even the squeamish came back for seconds! My husband and I discovered chorizo-stuffed squid in NYC recently and realized that pasture-fed beef would be a delicious replacement for the chorizo. They're slippery little devils, so beware you don't fling a squid across the kitchen.

In any case, if you can find tube squid (the kind sans tentacles, which you can stuff), you can fill them with anything. A great replacement for cannelloni noodles if you're on the gluten/grain-free bandwagon. Please let me know what kinds of goodies you stuff them with. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

One package “tube” squid

1-2 lbs. local organic grass fed beef

½ 1b. tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

1-2 cloves chopped or pressed garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 drop oregano essential oil

Method:

Rinse squid and allow them to marinate in juice of ½ lemon and 1 drop lemon essential oil. Set aside.

Sauté onions and garlic until brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and beef. Sauté until medium cooked. Salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool.

Add 1 drop oregano essential oil and mix thoroughly.

Stuff the squid until they are almost full (the meat will expand when it cooks).

Heat pan with olive oil on medium heat. Sear the stuffed squid until brown on one side. (About 1-2 minutes)

Flip and do the same on the other.

Serve and enjoy!

*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.

Benefits:

Garlic: Garlic has long been touted as a health promoting food. It is high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. Garlic is also rich with manganese and is a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, as well as selenium. This "stinky rose" also protects our blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, but its other health benefits abound. See here for nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Grass Fed Beef: Research has shown that meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals are much better for your health than their mega-farmed counterparts. They offer more "good" fats, and fewer "bad" fats, are richer in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Plus they don't contain the added hormones and antibiotics generally found in the factory farmed variety. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Onion:  Like garlic, onions are high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. They are a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and manganese. They help protect our blood, bone, and connective tissue. See here for other health benefits and nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Dried Oregano/Oregano Essential Oil: In essential oil form, oregano is a powerful antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, anti-viral and disinfectant. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Uplifting Crangerine Smoothie

Cranberries and tangerine essential oil make this smoothie a winter-time favorite. Even when there are negative temps outside, this smoothie will make you warm and happy on the inside! It's been f-f-f-frreeeezing here lately. For mornings when I feel the need to perk up and be warm, I add tangerine essential oil to my smoothie. Tangerine essential oil is a natural digestive aid, blood purifier, and circulation enhancer. So if you're feeling sluggish, add a drop to your breakfast. You'll be amazed...and inspired to be amazing.

Ingredients: (For 2 Servings)

2 cups coconut water

1 cup frozen cranberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 drop doTerra tangerine essential oil

*Optional: 1 Scoop high-quality protein powder

Method:

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend to smithereens. Divide between two glasses. Serve and enjoy!

*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 2-serving smoothie. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting snack!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Benefits:

Blueberries: These berries should get their own cape. They are a superfood, packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, meanwhile protecting your nervous system and brain health. They're rich with manganese, and Vitamins K and C, and are also a good source of dietary fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Coconut Water: Coconut water is perfect for replenishing simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals within the body. It contains cytokinins with significant anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic properties, and is very soothing to the digestive tract. But there's so much more! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Cranberries: These berries are a pharmocopia of phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Including cranberry to one's diet has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation in the stomach, large intestine, mouth (gums), and cardiovascular system, and is thought to help prevent and reduce urinary tract infections. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Tangerine Essential Oil: DoTerra’s Tangerine Essential oil is an extremely powerful blood purifying agent, digestive aid, anti-septic, and relaxant. It can help improve blood circulation, and reduces internal inflammation. The neurological benefits abound as well. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

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.

Best Chicken Salad I Ever Ate...

This batch fed a roundup of hungry ladies at a baby shower brunch, served with buttery croissants. Yum.

...Meanwhile the meat/no meat debate continues...

Ah, the endless debate: If you are a true yogi, can you eat meat? That is for you to decide. But I will say this: the concept of "ahimsa," or unconditional love for all beings (as defined by Nischala Joy Devi in her heart-centered translation of the Yoga Sutras) must be applied to oneself too. Yes, it makes my being writhe to think of animals being abused and "dispatched" for human consumption. But if your body is in need of certain sustenance that only animal flesh can provide, and you prepare and eat it with love and gratitude in your heart, then I personally think it is ok in moderation. Granted, there are likely yogis, vegetarians, and vegans who would vehemently disagree. And that's ok.

My best advice is to listen to your own body and soul's inherent wisdom. But if you decide to go for it, try this recipe. The extra time it takes to shred the chicken meat is totally worth the effort. It's nutritious and delicious, and can be made in large enough batches to feed the masses...as long as they're not vegetarian. (In which case make any of the other recipes on this site.)

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)

*Note: 1) If you use breasts and thighs it tastes even better! 2) If you shred the chicken rather than cut it, it tastes even better-er! 3) Make sure chicken is completely cooled before mixing with other ingredients to make it taste the better-iest!

*Note: This is a GREAT way to use up leftover chicken and/or turkey meat.

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

1 cup chopped fennel (can sub celery if you don’t have/like fennel)

3 sprigs finely chopped green onion

2 cups halved seedless purple grapes

1/4 cup mayonnaise (can use homemade Paleo-nnaise if that’s your bag, baby)

½ cup Greek yogurt (can use all Greek yogurt if you don’t like mayo)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint or 3-4 Tbs. dried

Hefty dash tabasco sauce

Hefty drizzle honey (1 Tsp.-ish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well. Can be served immediately, but is even yummier if allowed to sit for a few hours or even overnight.

Can be served solo, in sandwich or wrap form. This chicken salad is heavenly on a fresh croissant, but is also tasty when served in lettuce wraps or radicchio leaves if you’re doing the grain-free thing.

Health Benefits:

Chicken: If you're looking for a good source of protein that's also low in fat try an organic chicken breast. The thighs have a richer (read: fattier) flavor, but both are great sources of tryptophan, selenium, and vitamins B3 and B6. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Fennel: In addition to its abounding phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It also has a unique licorice-like flavor and a ton of crisp crunch. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Grapes: Grapes are packed with vitamin C and manganese and contain a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and resveratrol (think red wine!). These tasty little jewels are thought to help support the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier version of "regular" yogurt that boasts high protein, healthy bacteria which support healthy gut flora, and is a good source of calcium. It's a versatile addition to your diet and can replace higher fat dairy products. See here for more about the nutritional info and health benefits of yogurt.

Pecans: Pecans protect your brain, heart, and body. They're high in vitamin E, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. They are also great sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (read: good fats), and are very low in saturated fat. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

You Say Tomato, I Say Caprese

Tomatoes, fresh mozza and basil, with a hint of truffle salt and olive oil. I could live on this combination in the summertime. Hi. My name is Celestia, and I'm a caprese-aholic. I love tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella in just about any form....From slabs of heirloom tomato with hunks-o fresh mozzarella and chopped basil, to an open-faced caprese sammy, I'm a sucker for any dish that resembles that magical combination of ingredients. It's an ultimate summertime favorite, so I had to throw this recipe in here before the chilly air takes the tomatoes away until next season. Enjoy...

Ingredients:

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thick slices

Fresh mozzarella cheese, torn or cut into pieces (to match the size of your tomato slices)

Fresh basil, julienned (Or homemade pesto)

High quality olive oil for drizzling

Pinches of salt (to taste)

*Optional: truffle salt OR truffle oil (but not both), balsamic vinegar or reduction, other types of cheese to replace the mozzarella such as goat or brie.

Method:

Arrange tomato slices on a serving plate or platter.

Carefully administer pinches of sea or truffle salt.

Arrange cheese on tomato slices.

Add julienned basil.

Drizzle with olive oil (and optional balsamic).

Keep your hands and arms away from the platter as each bite disappears.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. 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.

Mozzarella Cheese: Dairy products are not for everyone...but for those of us who can eat a bit of dairy, Mozzarella is a great source of  vitamins (such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, biotin and vitamin B6), minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus), and is high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Caprese with brie and balsamic reduction.

Local, multigrain bread with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, avocado, olive oil, and sea salt. Best summer lunch I can think of...

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad

This 5-minute salad was one of my favorites of the summer...Sweet, tart, and tangy, I'm drooling a little just thinking about it. Nectarines and tomatoes might not seem a likely pair, but oooh, they are. Sweet yet savory, tart but smooth, the ripe flesh of both of these fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit) are a sultry match, like a tango in my mouth. I had to make an instant salad to go with dinner, and ended up enjoying this way more than the main course. So I offer it humbly, and hope the results are equally as satisfying to you.

Ingredients:

2 large or 5 small/medium RIPE heirloom tomatoes (I like the smaller ones as their flavor is more concentrated)

2 RIPE nectarines

2 Tbs. julienned basil

High quality olive oil and sea salt for marinating

*NOTE: This recipe can be made with ripe peaches as well for a similar effect, but I recommend using nectarines. If using peaches, peel them for less "mouth fuzz."

*OPTIONAL: If you're craving dairy, try a few crumbles of goat cheese for a nice variation on taste and presentation.

Method:

Slice tomatoes and nectarines into a bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Toss.

Sprinkle with basil and allow to sit 5-10 minutes (if you can wait that long!)

Serve and enjoy.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarines: Nectarines are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene (read: high in cancer-fighting free radicals!), and are high in fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain healthy blood pressure. 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.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. 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.