Raw Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

We could call these "Superfood Cups" because of all the health benefits each bite provides.

This recipe was inspired by fellow yogini-foodie, Jessie Monds.

Ingredients:

(Makes about 22 treats)

Chocolate:

1 cup raw cacao powder 1/3 cup tablespoons maple syrup 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Whisk together ingredients to combine, mixture will be smooth and ribbony. If it's too thick, add more oil and/or syrup to taste .

Nut Butter Filling:

1/4 cup almond/cashew or pepita/sunflower seed  butter

Method:

Lay out 20 mini cupcake liners on a large rimmed baking sheet. Fill each liner with 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate mixture. Fill with 1/4 teaspoon of nut/seed butter mixture, flattened out slightly into a disk shape. Top with 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture then a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Store them in refrigerator until ready to 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.

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.

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.

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, both of which are important to promote a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that maple syrup can also be useful for muscle recovery and immune system support. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pepitas (Hulled Pumpkin Seeds): These babies are packed with zinc and vitamin E, but are also excellent sources of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They are also very high in protein. 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.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). 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.

Lavender Coconut Smoothie

This soothing and uplifting smoothie is a perfect way to start the day or fuel up as an afternoon snack. Even though my Ayervedic friends would chide me for drinking cold beverages in the winter, I've been having a mad love affair with smoothies in the morning. They're quick, easy, and versatile, and SO much fun to play around with. The most fun ingredients I've been experimenting with lately are essential oils.

Today's smoothie called for lavender. Known as the "Swiss Army Knife" of essential oils, lavender has a myriad of benefits from easing tension and depression to soothing digestive issues. When ingested internally, lavender essential oil can boost your immune system while promoting healthy cell-generation. Did I mention it's delicious? But don't take my word for it. Try this:

Ingredients: (For 2 Servings)

2 cups coconut water

1 large handful shredded coconut

2 cups frozen blueberries

1 drop doTerra lavender 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 purchase 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.

Lavender Essential Oil: Known as the "mother of all oils" for its sedative, mood modulating, analgesic (reduces pain), anxiolytic (reduces anxiety), and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also great for digestion, and has a calming and soothing effect. See here to learn more about doTerra essential oils.

Happy Belly Tangerine Blueberry Smoothie

Introducing the "Happy Guts Tangerine and Blueberry Smoothie." And of course my dog, Luna, stretching in the background. She knew there was a photo shoot afoot, and decided to steal the spotlight. Ham. This week we have a plethora of greens in our farm share, so I decided to use them up via smoothie. In an effort to soothe my digestion (I've been misbehaving on the diet home front), I used some kefir (massive dose of probiotics!) as the base to promote healthy gut flora, with a splash of coconut water to calm any internal digestive inflammation. Top it off with an optional sprinkle of probiotic powder and two drops of tangerine essential oil, and voilá! You have a lightly sweet, tangy smoothie to soothe your digestion and keep you sated for hours to come.

On an interesting side note, there has been a recent uprising amongst the "green juice" and "green smoothie" community, wherein some folks claim that drinking such greens-laden beverages can be hazardous to your health. Their reasoning is that most greens are high in oxolates, which wouldn't be a big deal except that in mass quantities (like every day forever) they can manifest into oxolate stones (think kidney stone...ow.). But when consumed in moderation (they are found in lots of foods including spinach, peanuts, peppercorns, etc.) are probably just fine...Not to mention that you are benefiting from the other nutrients found in said foods. So, jury is still out.

As always, do your own research. Don't embrace a food fad until you know the basics. Probably anything (with the exception of crystal meth and elevator music) in moderation is just fine for your mind, body, and soul. Just don't overdo it.

Happy smoothie-ing!

Ingredients:

1 Cup organic berry-flavored Kefir (or you can make your own, which I haven't YET tried)

1 Splash coconut water

1 Large handful organic spinach

1/2 Cup organic blueberries

1-2 Drops doTerra Tangerine Essential Oil

*Optional: Can add a little sprinkle of additional probiotic powder, but ONLY if you have a good one. I like Jarrow-Dophilus.

*Note-if you don't have kefir, add 1/2 cup yogurt, 1-2 pitted dates, and use 1 cup of coconut water instead.

Method:

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend to smithereens (1-2 minutes)

*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:

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.

Kefir: This fermented dairy beverage abounds with healthy probiotics to promote healthy gut flora, and is packed with protein, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, and D, as well as folic acid. It's also a good source of calcium, iron, and iodine. Some say that it is also easier for many to digest than regular cow's milk. It's tasty too! But be forewarned, the flavor is not for all palates. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! 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 for a full description and uses for this amazing oil, and click here if you’re interested in purchasing any doTerra essential oils.