Almond Smoothie

Crazy about your heart? Then go nuts!

Did you know that the almond nut is technically a seed of the fruit of the almond tree? A tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers just like it's cousins, the peach, cherry, and apricot trees and grows in dry and warm climates. Almonds are packed with amazing benefits for our bodies. Full of healthy fats and fiber that can aid in weight loss, help control blood sugar levels as well as lower common diabetic risks, they are rich in oxidants that support a healthy heart, reduce inflammation, and maintain healthy skin thanks to Vitamin E. Sign me up!

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Given all of these benefits, we recommend trying our favorite almond smoothie. Only 5 wholesome ingredients are needed, and a blender of course. So simple and so yummy! Make it just for yourself, or share it with an awesome little person like I am with in the photo above. Yep, that's Ava. But be aware, if you do share it with an awesome little person, you may not be able to get your straw in more than a few times - it's really that good!

Ingredients
3 cups of Whole Organic Milk (or a milk of your choice - homemade cashew milk works well!)
1/2 cup of Dry Roasted Almonds
2-3 Organic Medjool Dates
1 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Ice (optional)

Method
Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until smooth. If you are adding ice, you probably just need a handful for a nice cold almond smoothie treat.

Enjoy!

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almonds... lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.

 

Have you ever found a cookie recipe and thought "wow, those look amazing" and then you make them only to find out that, well, they are not so amazing? Well, I have and, to be blunt, it's a total bummer. After many batches and many different ingredients, I have finally found a fantastic combination that has left my family wanting to eat the whole batch in one sitting! I would say chocolate cookie success :)

I have made two batches of these so far and knew the recipe needed to be shared. If you like chocolate, almonds, and oats, then this nutritious cookie is for you. These are perfect if you are on the go, or even as a treat in your child's lunch box! Plus they can be 100% vegan and gluten-free - bonus! 

Ingredients
Makes 12-13 cookies

Dry Ingredients
1/2 Cup Organic Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Organic Oat Flour *
1/4 Cup Arrowroot Flour/ Corn Starch
1/4 Cup Finely Ground Roasted Unsalted Almonds
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2 Cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips (I used Ghiradelli - you can use non-dairy also!)

*Oat Flour - I just blend oats at high speed to make the flour.

Wet Ingredients
1/2 Cup Natural Smooth Almond Butter
1/4 Cup Honey or Pure Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Organic Virgin Coconut Oil softened (not hot)
1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Method
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl combine wet ingredients and until completely smooth. You can add the dry ingredients to this mixture but I personally like to combine them in another bowl and mix the dry ingredients before adding to the wet ingredients. Your call. Be sure to add the dry ingredients a little at time as it will be easier to combine. Once all ingredients are thoroughly combined, you will have a dough that is slightly wet/ oily which is perfectly normal.

Grab a large baking sheet (21 x 15") and line with parchment paper. You can either use a tablespoon or ice cream scooper to scoop mounds of dough onto the baking sheet (about 2 tablespoons per cookie). I didn't find these cookies to spread too much so I rolled the mounds into balls and then pressed them down on the top and shaped them slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cook directly on baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. The cookies will be delicate until cooled but I recommend trying one that is still warm with chocolate oozing out. Goes well with a cup of tea!

 

 

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries... the antioxidant king!

Blueberries. We love them and one of my favorite fruits. Sweet, succulent, high in nutrients, and locally in season right now. Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense out of all the berries and are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant rich foods are super important as they are proved to protect our bodies from the damage of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures, our DNA, and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Add fiber, vitamin C AND K to the list (and others not listed), and you have one super berry. Yay for these bursts of goodness! 

Given the copious amount of blueberries we recently brought home, I woke up this morning thinking of having a go at muffins. What's the worse that could happen given my challenging baking abilities?! Some people are naturally good at baking; Me? I am naturally good at cooking. That's the reality and I am okay with it. For some reason I find baking so challenging, yet, I keep trying. Sucker for punishment?! Perhaps. The great news is that I am having fun and learning along the way. I aspire to become the one in the family that makes a mean super healthy cookie, for my daughter's sake at least, or in this case, a tasty blueberry muffin. Ha! 

I am happy to report that these blueberry muffins turned out amazing. Ava loved them and they were a huge hit with my husband, who loves blueberry muffins. Apparently blueberry muffins are his favorite (I had no idea!). Like I said, always learning new things.

Here's to the love of blueberries!

Ingredients
Makes 12 standard size muffins

5 tbsp Butter , softened
1/2 cup Honey
1 Large Egg
3/4 cup Creme Fraiche (Bellwether Farms)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (or all-purpose if preferred)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Fresh Blueberries 

Method
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a bowl whisk softened butter and honey until light and fluffy. Add egg, whisk. Add creme fraiche and lemon zest and whisk until all wet ingredients are mixed well. In another bowl, combine, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients and then slowly add to the wet ingredients. You want to add it slowly to prevent clumping. You can use a sifter if you have one and slowly sift dry ingredients into the batter, mixing until all combined. The batter will be quite thick which is what you want. Gently fold in the blueberries. Once completed you can fill your muffin tray by filling each cup to about 3/4 full. It should be the perfect amount of batter for the 12 cups. Some muffins may be slightly larger than others but that's only if you are a non-baker like me ;)

Bake for 25 minutes, the tops will become golden (Be sure to test the center of the muffins to make sure they come out clean - blueberry ok). Let cool slightly. I say slightly as I recommend the first taste be warm - break open and enjoy with your favorite butter. Yum.