Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls

Recipe created by my amazing foodie friend Lanina, check out her instagram @colorfulsuperfoodie for more health supportive recipes!

Alright y’all raise your hand if you love protein bars? Bars are the perfect snack to take on the go for quick energy that sticks with you. The sad truth is that almost all popular bars on the market are really just a concoction of processed, non-health supportive ingredients. For example soy and whey protein isolate- the amount of processing in a lab it takes to turn milk into powdered whey protein isolate (and same for soy and other powders) is awful. Also, these are isolated ingredients meaning the vitamins and minerals needed to utilize the protein in the body are stripped away, causing vitamin and mineral stores in the body to be used instead- not good.

Then we have the flavoring ingredients. Anything from rice syrup to invert cane sugar. Again these are very processed and foreign to the body. Additionally companies will add ”natural flavoring” which in and of itself discloses nothing about the ingredients used. Thousands of chemicals can hide behind those words. I’d also like to point out that most bars have multiple sources of sweeteners and flavorings and often its the first ingredient- meaning its the main ingredient and full of sugar.

Lastly we have the preservatives and binding ingredients that really do our bodies no favor and could even cause undesirable symptoms like bloating. Carrageenan and insoluble fibers are some examples.

The last downside is bars are extremely expensive when you consider $2 + per bar!

I share all this with a solution! Making your own energy/protein bars are extremely easy and so yummy! My friend Lanina who developed this recipe is a pro at this so definitely check out her instagram @colorfulsuperfoodie!

These easy Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls contain only pure, natural ingredients.

Here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c cashew butter (store-bought or homemade), room temp
  • 1/2 c coconut butter (store-bought or homemade), melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 T organic pure, maple syrup
  • 6 scoops or collagen
  • 1c almond flour**
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/3 c chocolate chips or 1 chocolate bar chopped into chunks***

Directions:

  • In one bowl combine the pumpkin puree, cashew butter, melted coconut butter, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine the collagen, almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt. Mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well to get a thick-stick texture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Roll into about 15 balls. Store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.

NOTES:

*I prefer the Perfect Supplements collagen. Its sourced from grass-fed pasture raised cows and tested for heavy metals. Most collagen powders have toxic amounts of the heavy metal lead! You can check it out here. Use code ABBY10 for 10% off!
**The USDA requires almonds to be pasteurized. Sadly most companies use chemicals to pasteurize. To find steam pasteurized almonds its always worth giving the company a call or buying organic. I’ve found it difficult to find organic almond flour so I purchase it in bulk from Natural Grocers which only sells steam pasteurized almonds in their bulk department and most of the store.

***I love the pascha 100% dark chocolate chips. They have sweetened chocolate too if that’s too dark! Pascha tests for heavy metals- lead and cadmium can be super high in chocolate. So far I’ve been able to find these at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.

I hope you enjoyed this post and can make this recipe soon! For more health supportive tips and recipes check out my instagram and Facebook (username @abigaileholistic), join my virtual cooking club on Facebook, or check out my health coaching practice!

In health,

Abigail

Holistic Health Coach, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products which I make a small commission off of. These are products that I have thoroughly researched and use myself therefore I want to share!

Superfood Hot Cacao

Supercharge your hot cocoa game! This is the perfect treat that offers nutritional benefits as well! Lets take a look at the ingredients and the nutrition they have to offer!

RAW CACAO: Did you know, cacao has 40x the antioxidant potential as blueberries? Antioxidants are crucial to keeping our cells from oxidizing and developing chronic illnesses! Cocoa that is dutch processed unfortunately destroys nearly all of the antioxidants as well as other nutrients. This is one reason why I prefer raw organic cacao as opposed to cocoa. Raw cacao also is a great source or magnesium and non-heme iron! Craving chocolate may actually be a sign that the body is lacking magnesium. Lastly, raw cacao has natural compounds for a healthy pick me up similar to caffeine. The difference is cacao provides a more steady surge of energy without the crash versus coffee for example that has a quick effect and then one may crash. When choosing a cacao powder its important to do some research as many products can be high in the heavy metal lead. I prefer the brand Navitas.

COLLAGEN: Collagen is high in amino acids that support tissues of the body and wound healing. It may support the gut, hair, skin, nails, inflammatory joint issues, and recovery from injuries and wounds. Collagen is often another source of lead so again do your research before purchasing a product. The brand of collagen that I trust is Perfect Supplements use code ABBY10 for 10% off! Perfect supplements tests all their supplements for lead and other contaminants and you can see the reports online. 🙂

REISHI MUSHROOM POWDER: Reishi mushrooms have been studied for lots of health properties including immunomodulating, liver supportive, heart and blood pressure supportive, anti-inflammation, and adaptogenic (supports handling stress). Fermented powdered forms of this amazing mushroom as well as other mushrooms that each have their own unique benefits can be found at health food stores and can be easily added to drinks like hot cacao, coffee, and smoothies!

SUPERFOOD HOT CACAO

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2-2 T raw cacao powder
  • 1 scoop of unflavored collagen powder use code ABBY10 for 10% off.
  • 1/2 tsp organic pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp organic pure maple syrup or to taste
  • 8 oz. unflavored coconut milk, or any nondairy milk or raw pasture-raised milk
  • reishi mushroom powder, optional, check label for serving size


Instructions:

Steam the milk with a steam wand or warm on the stove over low heat. 
Add 1/4 of the milk to a mug then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well to dissolve the cacao then add the rest of the milk and stir again. 
Enjoy! 

NOTES
to make this cold instead of hot, blend everything in a blender

RESOURCES:

https://begoodorganics.com/cacao-5-little-known-benefits-of-this-amazonian-superfood/

https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/herbal-and-medicinal-mushrooms.html?mc_cid=d55a28c91b&mc_eid=8080e1839d

I hope you enjoyed this post! For more recipes and health tips follow me on social media @abigaileholistic!

Healthy wishes to you!

Abigail, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition

Nutritional Health Coach and Chef, Abigail E. Holistic

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which Abigail E. Holistic earns a small commission from. Please be assured that any referrals are only made with optimal health in mind.

Coconut Oil for Living Longer and Healthier

Did you know, coconut has seemingly about a million different uses for health and beauty? Ok maybe not millions but it sure has so many! Psst I even included a recipe below!

What are the long term health benefits of coconut oil?

SATURATED FAT FOR THE BRAIN AND HEART- To start coconut oil is a healthy source of saturated fat that our brains and hearts need (saturated fat is the #1 source of fuel for these major organs). You probably know this but we can’t live without a heart or brain and when the health of these organs are compromised major issues occur, so this is important! Since coconut oil contains saturated fat, it lends a wonderful texture to many recipes, especially baked goods, while adding health benefits. Since I personally avoid dairy, I find myself swapping coconut oil for butter a lot.

ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIMICROBIAL-Secondly, coconut oil contains lauric acid which is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial. Yup, you heard me. Amazing right? For this reason coconut oil is even used for deodorant and mouthwash! Coconut oil may support a healthy gut by managing the bad bacteria and helping indirectly and directly with nutrient absorption. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble- meaning a fat must be present to be absorbed.

MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES (MCTs)- Coconut oil is an amazing source of MCTs- about 62-65% coconut is MCTs. Cool huh? Here’s why that’s very cool: since MCTs are shorter chains of fatty acids, they are easily broken down and quickly utilized. MCTs actually go straight to the liver where then thermogenesis occurs (basically your body starts making heat and breaking down fat to do so instead of carbs). Therefore, MCTs support healthy metabolism. MCTs are also widely used to help support the brain, healthy weight management, heart health, mood, energy, digestion, and nutrient absorption. You can read more about MCTs here on Dr. Axe’s website.

Coconut oil, like I mentioned already, is mostly comprised of saturated fatty acids and therefore is solid at room temperature. However, it melts very easily and has a high smoke point. This means that it is safe for baking and cooking and will not turn to a trans fat! Wahoo!

Where to buy coconut oil-The cheapest option without compromising quality that I have found is the tub of Kirkland brand organic virgin coconut oil at Costco but you can find coconut oil at almost any grocery store. Just make sure it ISN’T REFINED.

PRACTICAL USES AND HACKS FOR EVERY DAY

  • Use coconut oil in place of mouthwash to get rid of bacteria and support oral health- swish around about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes(the heat of your mouth will melt it so don’t worry about melting). Then spit in the trash to avoid clogging drains over time.
  • Use coconut oil to grease pans for baking- Take a little chunk of coconut oil and use your fingers to rub it all around. (Personally I prefer to only bake in glass if I can help it.)
  • Make popcorn! Melt coconut oil and stir into organic popcorn/sprouted popcorn with plenty of himalayan sea salt, and maybe even some nutritional yeast OR pretzels and chocolate chips
  • Use for cooking and roasting. If you are using the oil to roast, you’ll need to melt the oil first. I am lazy and just throw some oil onto the pan and stick it in the oven while it’s preheating, then pull out the pan and toss whatever I am roasting with the melted oil. Be careful if you use this method as the pan is hot. The safer method is to just melt the coconut oil over low heat on the stovetop and then toss with whatever you are roasting.
  • Measure coconut oil with a scale– skip the measuring cup which is such a pain to clean! Measure coconut oil like you would a liquid- so 8oz= 1c.; 6 oz.=3/4 c; 4 oz=1/2 c; 2 oz=1/4 c; 1 oz=2T; 0.5oz=1T.
  • All your favorite sweet recipes! Use coconut oil for frostings, pies, quick breads (like muffins and banana bread), cookies, brownies, cakes, and more! I like adding coconut oil to homemade protein bars for the mouthfeel.
  • Use in place of butter on toast or use to make your own homemade dairy free butter. Disclaimer, I have not made this recipe yet but I love this site and their recipes! I plan to make this dairy free butter recipe soon!
  • Make bulletproof coffee or hot chocolate- the fat when blended with hot water/hot coffee froths and gives the mouthfeel of a latte. For bulletproof coffee, add the coffee, any spices (like cinnamon), any sweetener, and other ingredients (maybe collagen or cacao powder) and 1-2T of coconut oil to a blender and blend to emulsify. For hot chocolate follow the same method but use hot water, some coconut cream, cacao powder, sea salt, and maple syrup with 1-2T of coconut oil. YUM!
  • Make fudge sauce/magic shell– (recipe below) and drizzle on desserts such as fruit and ice cream!

HOMEMADE PALEO FUDGE SAUCE/CHOCOLATE SHELL

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 2T organic raw cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • maple syrup or honey to taste (optional)*

Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the melted coconut oil, cacao powder, sweetener if using, and sea salt to a bowl and mix with a spoon.

Enjoy over ice cream, smoothies, pancakes, crepes, waffles, fruit, etc. Store any leftovers in a glass container at room temperature. Reheat in a pan when you are ready to use.

NOTES: I prefer not to sweeten this because I especially love to use this chocolate drizzle over ice cream which is already very sweet-so the bitter chocolate compliments it well!

I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂 If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my instagram and facebook pages. (Username @abigaileholistic).There you can find more free recipes and health tips! I also have a virtual cooking club on facebook where I post weekly recipes and demo different kitchen techniques and recipes unique to the group! You can join by visiting clicking the “virtual cook club” tab here on the menu bar of my website (chefabbalina.com). Lastly, check out my free ebook I created for a veggie challenge at chefabbalina.com under the “veggie challenge ebook” tab. It’s complete with a 5 day meal plan, shopping list, and recipes + tips for eating more veggies!

Healthy wishes to you all!

🌻 Abigail

VEGGIE CHALLENGE!

Hi friends! I am really excited to offer this challenge with an excellent giveaway to you! Receive 5 days worth of recipes and also everyone who completes the challenge will be entered to win a lifetime membership to my cooking club and a virtual 90minute health coaching session! (Over $160 value!) Options for EXTRA giveaway entries below.

Here’s the deets:

  • For 5 days I challenge you to eat at least 7 servings of vegetables/day and see how it affects your energy! That’s just 7 cups of raw veggies or 3.5 cups of cooked veggies. Easy enough right? 

📒I’ve even created a meal template complete with a shopping list and recipes which you’ll receive when you sign up! 

➡️Here’s how to get signed up and entered for the giveaway. 

1. Sign up here on my website chefabbalina.com by tapping the “veggie challenge” tab at the top

2. Receive my email with everything you need.

3. Eat your veggies and keep track of  them + energy daily. (Template provided)

4. Submit your veggie intake to me by 4/25 (also in signup email). And BOOM be entered into the giveaway!! Winner will be drawn 4/26!

✨Get some extra giveaway entries:

-Follow me on social media @abigaileholistic on facebook, instagram)

-For every friend you share the challenge with on instagram/FB or if you share my veggie challenge posts to your insta or facebook story, I will give you an extra entry- just tag your friend on my posts and tag me in your story shares 

-Pictures will get you an extra entry (tag me @abigaileholistic) and use #abigaileholistic! 

– A testimonial will get you another entry (there is a spot in the form you’ll submit at the end of the week) *(you must complete the challenge to be eligible for the giveaway).

Challenge starts Monday, April 19th….sign up open now!!

Healthy wishes! Can’t wait to do this with you!! 

🌸Abigail 

Sneak peek of some of the recipes included in the veggie challenge guide ebook:

APRIL FOOLS CHOCOLATE CHERRY MOUSSE

Happy April Fools Day! I was thinking and thinking what recipe I wanted to share with you all to celebrate today and this one crossed my mind! You see, this mousse has a secret ingredient to which it owes its creaminess to-avocado! You would never guess!..So this recipe is a great one for sneaking some extra veggies and nutrition into a picky eater’s mouth!

I often make this as a healthy dessert but honestly I have also enjoyed it at breakfast and as a snack too. You could even add some protein powder or collagen powder to the mix for some more nutrition and protein.

This mousse is nutritious for lots of reasons. For one, avocados are a great source of healthy fats as well as glutathione peroxidase (an enzyme that ultimately helps the liver with detoxification). Then there’s the cacao powder which is a super antioxidant (40x the amount of blueberries, just make sure its raw or fermented). Cacao also contains magnesium and potassium (important electrolytes) amongst many other nutrients! We’ve also got flaxseed which is an optional ingredient but I recommend, especially for us women during the first and second weeks of our cycle (our period and the week after). Flaxseed contains phytoestrogens that support the hormones during these weeks but it is also just a GREAT source of fiber to help with regularity any old day. 🙂 Speaking of fiber, cherries and avocados are full of fiber as well. And the deep dark red pigment of cherries is an indicator of all the powerful antioxidants they contain. Antioxidants are CRITICAL, I repeat critical for keeping our cells healthy and avoiding chronic disease!

Enjoy and I hope you can fool (and bless) someone today with this recipe!

Healthy wishes friends,

Abigail

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CHOCOLATE CHERRY AVOCADO MOUSSE

Ingredients

  • 12 frozen sweet cherries or flathead cherries, pitted*
  • 2 T almond butter
  • ¼ of a ripe avocado
  • 2 T cacao powder
  • 1T flaxseed meal, optional 
  • ¼ c coconut or other non dairy milk (more as needed to blend)
  • 1-2 dates (softened in hot water or date paste) or real maple syrup to taste
  • Chocolate chips and/or cacao nibs, and more cherries to top it off!

Preparation

In a blender add the frozen cherries, almond butter, avocado, cacao powder, flaxseed, 1/4 c of plant milk, and optional sweetener.

Blend adding milk as you need. Dress it up however you like and dig into that goodness! 

NOTES:

*feel free to use frozen strawberries or other fruit in place of the cherries

Liver & Gut Detox Supportive Smoothie

Detox…this is a hot term right now and in my opinion used far too loosely. SO I would like to first break this down…WHAT IS DETOX?

Well detoxing is they body’s way of protecting itself by removing toxins. We have four detoxification pathways-

  1. skin (sweating)
  2. urine
  3. stool (pooping)
  4. lungs (exhaling)

Detoxing also involves the liver. The liver has two stages of detox to eliminate toxins and both are important! Here’s why: stage one is responsible for making toxins water soluble so they can be easily excreted. Yes toxins are fat soluble. This is one reason why eating conventional and stressed out animal protein is so so detrimental to health- but that’s another topic I won’t go into at the moment. In this process of making toxins water soluble, they are actually made extremely more toxic. Therefore, if stage one of liver detox is working well but stage two is not, these now even more toxic toxins are going to hang out longer and be reabsorbed into the body.

WE NEED NUTRIENTS AND PRACTICES TO SUPPORT ALL ASPECTS OF DETOX.

Here are some specific nutrients to support liver detox:

  • sulfurous foods, ex: eggs, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, asparagus, brussel sprouts
  • amino acids: grass fed meat, pasture raised/organic chicken, wild-caught fish, eggs
  • b vitamins- green leafy veggies, animal protein, and other fruits and veggies
  • vitamin C- strawberries, citrus, peppers
  • glutathione- this is an antioxidant made in the body. You can eat foods that support the making and utilization of glutathione like avocados (contain glutathione peroxidase), 1-3 brazil nuts (selenium), sulfurous veggies, plenty of foods high in vitamin C and E to recycle glutathione
  • limonene containing foods- lemon, lime, and orange peel
  • caraway and dill seeds
  • turmeric
  • betaine (beets)
  • antioxidants to help offset the toxic load of phase one liver detox- dark colored berries and other fruits and veggies deep in color
  • cholesterol- a major component of bile- animal protein and pasture raised eggs
  • vitamin A- deep green vegetables and sea vegetables, yams, carrots, and other orange veggies
  • clean water (filtered with minerals added back in)- to help flush out toxins
  • plenty of fiber- soluble and insoluble
  • more but this is a great start 🙂

Smoothies are often overrated in my opinion due to the high sugar content. I love this recipe because it is low sugar and high in detox supportive nutrients! I hope you enjoy and learn something!

ACAI- viewed as a superfood for its high amount of antioxidants

STRAWBERRIES- high in vitamin C and other antioxidants/vitamins as well as fiber.

LEMON- adds sweetness without sugar. The zest is high in limonene very supportive of phase one of liver detox.

CINNAMON- adds flavor. This is a carminative herb helping to prevent gas and bloating and supporting digestion of food. It is also though to support blood sugar as well as boost brain activity. Additionally cinnamon has antimicrobial properties which supports healthy colon bacteria. 1 All of these benefits of cinnamon indirectly take stress off the liver so it can do its job!

GINGER- also adds flavor. Like cinnamon ginger is carminative and antimicrobial. Ginger also contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. 2

CHLORELLA & SPIRULINA- these are two types of seaweed highly valued for their potential to excort heavy metals and other toxins (like mycotoxins) from the body. Additionally the rich dark color is evidence of quality beta carotene (an active form of vitamin A)

COLLAGEN- High in gut supportive amino acids glutamine, proline, and glycine. These amino acids support wound healing and also glutamine is the main amino acid present in the gut. Vitamin C works in conjunction with these nutrients to optimize absorption and utilization. Additionally having amino acids readily available support phase 2 of liver detox. Additionally, protein helps us make digestive enzymes to break down food.

FLAXSEED- high in fiber and also phytoestrogens. This seed’s phytoestrogenic activity is supportive of the first phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle (days 1-14). The high fiber content helps bind up toxins and move them out through feces.

SUNBUTTER- sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E which helps us recycle glutathione

DETOX SUPPORTIVE SMOOTHIE

print this recipe

Ingredients:

  • (1) 3.5 oz packet of frozen organic acai (no sugar added)- I like the Sambazon brand
  • 5 ish frozen strawberries or handful of other berries of choice
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon powder
  • 1/4-1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
  • pinch of organic clove powder, optional
  • 2 tsp- 1 T chlorella or spirulina
  • 2 scoops of collagen (I like Vital Proteins)
  • coconut milk to blend (or any plant milk) or yogurt
  • flaxseed, optional
  • sunbutter or other nut butter to top, optional
  • paleo granola, optional

In a blender combine acai, berries, zest and juice of lemon, cinnamon, ginger, cloves if using, chlorella or spirulina, collagen, milk, and flax seed if using. Blend until smooth adding more milk as needed.

Top with nut or seed butter plus other fun toppings like paleo granola, flaked coconut, chia seeds, hemp hearts, etc as you wish.

Healthy wishes!

Abigail

References: 1 , 2

Dairy-Free Butter Chicken

Basically indian flavors are just my favorite! I love the subtle heat mixed with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, and cumin for example. India definitely has it figured out with spice blends that are both delicious and nourishing to the body as well. When I lived in Austin, Texas, I made friends with someone who was born and raised in India. He taught me all about the Indian culture and food. One of the recipes he shared was butter chicken. At the time I was plant-based so I had to modify the recipe of course to omit the butter, chicken, and cream.

Now I have made many different versions. One with sprouted chickpeas and a cashew cream sauce to finish. One with just cauliflower and chickpeas and full-fat coconut milk to finish. And one with chicken and chickpeas and coconut milk over spaghetti squash and spinach. How ever you choose to make this, the tomato gravy is what counts!

I will pre-warn you that I just go by taste so use the measurements provided for spices as a guide and adjust to meet your own taste buds.

Let’s talk about substituting the butter and cream part of traditional butter chicken. Like I mentioned, I have substituted a cashew cream made from soaked and blended cashews and also full-fat coconut milk. Both are delicious! The spices are so prominent that you aren’t really going to taste coconut. The fat from the coconut milk really rounds out the spices so you A. don’t burn your taste buds and B. aren’t getting sharp notes of the spices. As far a substituting butter, I just add plenty of coconut oil at the end. It works great for the mouthfeel and again you aren’t going to notice a big coconut taste because of the spices.

Honey- honey is added at the end. The sweetness counter-balances the spiciness.

Lemon- lemon is also added at the end to amplify all the wonderful flavors. And I don’t know about you but I love adding fresh lemon juice to all my tomato sauces.

Okay here’s the recipe! Enjoy!

DAIRY-FREE BUTTER CHICKEN

For the sauce:

  • 24 oz strained tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • 1 white or red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 inch of ginger, minced or grated
  • 3/4-1 c full-fat coconut milk OR cashew cream (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (split for sauteeing and finishing)
  • marinated and grilled chicken (recipe below)
  • cooked or sprouted chickpeas
  • cauliflower (optional), diced
  • juice of 1/2 to one lemon
  • 2-3 T raw, local, honey
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • rice or spaghetti squash to serve

Spice blend:

  • 1 1/2 T garam masala (the one I get has black pepper, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder (I just ground up red chili flakes)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground coriander

MAKE IT!

Cook your chicken first (if using) then start the butter chicken sauce.

Make your spice blend and have it ready in a little bowl next to the stove.

Slice your onions and get the garlic and ginger root minced up. In a cast iron saucepan or heavy bottomed skillet melt 1-2T of coconut oil. Add the onion and begin to caramelize (about 15-20 minutes). Once the onions are beginning to get some color, add the garlic and ginger as well as you spice blend. Cook about 2 minutes more until fragrant and then add the tomato product plus a about 1/2-1 cup of filtered water. If you are using cauliflower, put it in at this stage to cook the cauliflower. Stir well and place a lid on top. Let it simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes or if using cauliflower until it is al dente. Then add the cooked chicken and chickpeas. Allow to cook over very low heat for about another 5-10 minutes for the flavors to meld and the chicken to heat through.
Remove the bay leaves. Add the coconut milk or cashew cream, another 2T of coconut oil, the honey, salt to your taste, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Serve over rice, quinoa, or spaghetti squash with a good helping of fresh, chopped cilantro.

CHICKEN MARINADE

  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast, organic, cubed or whole
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (I used ground red chile flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2T cashew yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan sea salt

Mix the chili powder, garam masala, coriander, yogurt, cumin, and lemon juice in a bowl. Add chicken and rub the marinade in with your fingers. Marinade ideally at least four hours or overnight. You can cube the chicken and get away with marinating for less time or you can leave the chicken whole and cube it up after it is cooked.

To cook: Allow the chicken to sit out at room temperature for about a half hour so it is not so cold. Preheat a grill or the oven to 350.

To grill: cook the chicken over low heat flipping halfway through until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees fahrenheit.

To roast: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 1/2 T of avocado or coconut oil and when it shimmers and runs easy across the pan add the chicken breasts. Tip to prevent sticking- Take the chicken and without laying it down sweep it across the pan moving away from you to coat the whole breast in oil. Proceed to lay it down in the pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken. Once the chicken is browned on one side and comes away easy from the pan flip over and place the skillet in the oven. Roast until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees farenheit.

Allow the chicken to rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Cut into cubes. Now your chicken is ready to add to the butter chicken gravy!

Cashew Cream Recipe:

  • 1c raw cashews
  • filtered water

In a mason jar soak the cashews with plenty of water for at least 10 hours. Drain the cashews. Add the cashews to a high powered blender along with 1/2 cup of filtered water. Blend scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed and adding water as needed as well.

I hope you make this wonderful recipe and enjoy! I really enjoy this recipe this time of year when the weather is cold and our bodies can use all the nourishing things for immunity. The warm spices in this recipe are great for circulation, antimicrobial action, and digestion.

Healthy wishes friends,

Abby

15 MINUTE NO-COOK PASTA SAUCE

Although summer is winding down, we are still having hot days here in Montana. Maybe you can relate to this, but when your apartment has no AC, you avoid cooking and heating up the place as much as possible! So! I have explored a new cuisine…no-cook recipes.

No-cook recipes basically use ingredients that have been cooked already (such as canned beans) or are just straight up raw. Not only are they great to avoid heating the house, but they also come together super quick!

For this recipe I drew inspiration from one of my favorite chefs Heidi Swanson. She is a cookbook author and I get recipes in my email from her! Check out her website and blog with recipes here.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

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  • 2 cups of organic cherry tomatoes
  • 3T-1/4c of vegan basil pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • 8 oz of Gluten free spaghetti (I like banza)*
  • ¼ cup Toasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup Castelvetrano olives, sliced
  • 1 cup Zucchini, spiralized or diced into small cubes
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade

MAKE IT!…

Grab all your ingredients. In a deep bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, pesto, salt, the zest of one lemon, and 1T of lemon juice. Blend with a hand blender briefly leaving chunks of tomatoes still. If you don’t have a hand blender you can pulse the sauce in a food processor or high powered blender but be sure to leave some chunks. Mix well and season with salt to your taste.

Bring a pot of water to a boil with plenty of salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. 

Meanwhile prepare the zucchini, slice the olives, and chiffonade the basil by stacking multiple leaves on top of eachother, rolling them up, and slicing lengthwise into thin strips. Tip, use a rocking motion when slicing the basil starting your slice at the tip of your knife and driving the knife down while pushing the knife forward and through the basil leaves. You should end your slice gliding through the basil with the butt end of the knife. By using the whole knife in this way you prevent bruising of the leaves and also get a clean cut all the way through…If this is making no sense youtube it;)

Drain the pasta once it is cooked and add the sauce, olives, and zucchini. Stir with tongs and top with fresh basil and the toasted sunflower seeds. Walnuts would be delicious here too. You can also add in other vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms, sprouts, or asparagus which are all delicious!

Enjoy! 

* You can make this recipe completely no-cook by subbing more zucchini for the pasta.

VEGAN PESTO

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  • 1 fresh lemon zested
  • ½ fresh lemon juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ -¾  tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ⅓ c raw walnuts
  • ⅓ c organic extra virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
  • 4c packed fresh basil leaves

In a food processor or high power blender pulse the zest and juice of the lemon, garlic, salt and pepper, walnuts, and basil to get a chunky mixture. With the food processor running begin to drizzle in the olive oil slowly until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust lemon juice and/or salt. Enjoy!

Meet my airstream friends, the Beans

Yes, their last name really is Bean, and yes they do live in their airstream full-time….Meet Nallely and Tanner Bean- some of the most wholesome people I have ever met

It all started in the little town of Georgetown, Texas at a small coffee shop where Tanner was a barista. This coffee shop became a weekly stop for me and soon we connected by nerding out over Yirgacheffe pour overs and my cassava tortilla recipe! (Recipe at the very bottom of this post!) Tanner and his wife follow a paleo diet and they, like me, would much rather make food from scratch than choke up eight or so dollars for eight grain-free tortillas, for example. Soon we were chatting all about holistic recipes and their journey to healthy eating and becoming paleo.

Tanner shared with me that he suffers from psoriasis, an auto-immune disorder that causes dry, scaly spots on the skin. For that reason, and the fact that both him and his wife worked out excessively and never saw any improvements in health or weight they decided to try out a Whole 30 diet. Most of you know this is a huge and very difficult commitment to eat completely clean for 30 days straight. You guys, they felt so good they did it for over 60 days, AND through the holidays might I add! They couldn’t believe how great they felt from nourishing their body with real food! They transitioned to a paleo diet and still eat this way on a daily basis. They have found it to be so helpful for many reasons but especially for Tanner’s psoriasis and their vitality!

Okay so back to the airstream! Fast forward several months and I end back up in Montana, and so did these two…in fact in my backyard. Over the week that they were here visiting our national park (Glacier National Park), we hammocked, we hiked, we made coffee, WE BAKED!:) They taught me about simplistic air-stream living, and we talked a lot about food, nutrition, faith, and simple aspects of life. They have been airstream living since 2017! Read their full story here. Also, their instagram is beautiful and they give updates of all their wonderful adventures throughout all the national parks they visit and airstream living hacks. Follow them @essentiallystreaming or by clicking here. It really is no easy thing to downsize to fit everything you own into an airstream; to live happily with only the bare essentials. They even have to pay attention to how much their set up weighs for insurance purposes… something I would have never even thought of! Tanner also taught me on a couple occasions how to make really delicious coffee. I was so honored to be able to bake with them and share some of my recipes and what I’ve learned about food and nutrition with them too!

Because I know you’re wondering…here’s what we made:

  • paleo marshmallows
  • paleo german chocolate cake
  • coconut butter or “manna”

Nallely made my day when she was almost in tears over the marshmallows. She hadn’t had marshmallows in over 2 1/2 years because marshmallows even at health food stores are made from cane sugar which is NOT paleo. Tanner also made me laugh sooooo hard. After overhearing me tell Nelly that we needed to bring the maple syrup up to 240 degrees fahrenheit, he pipes up and says something like “are you sure about that, I don’t think that’s possible.” You see Tanner being a pro barista (really, he’s won competitions and everything) pays very close attention to the boiling points at all elevations he visits. Well supposedly here water does not boil over 203. Of course he was proven wrong, and yes he did in fact double check me with his own thermometer!! LOL sorry Tanner…

You can head virtually experience our baking sesh here…Just be prepared for some good laughs haha 🙂

All that to say, my time with the Beans reminded me of a couple very important life things to always remember:

  1. Keep the main things the main things. I have to remind myself what these are to me EVERYDAY ALL DAY and it is a struggle, let me tell ya. What is the essence of life for you? Does everything you do tie back to those things?
  2. The world is really so small when you embrace community. Community is important to me, because it makes me and others better. The Beans wanted to bake with me because they wanted to learn from ME, but I learned so much from THEM too. That’s why I love cooking with others so much- its never a one way street. We were not created to do life alone. We can build a stronger, better world by sharing our experiences and talents with people and they with us.

Thank you Tanner and Nelly! ❤ Keep spreading the good stuff!

Cassava Tortillas

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Recipe adapted from http://blog.sweetlaurel.com/

  • ¾ c cassava flour
  • ¼ c arrowroot powder 
  • 3T coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ⅓ c cold water or more as needed 

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water as needed. Roll into balls. Place between two pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin or tortilla press to flatten into a circle. Place on a hot skillet for about 1-2 minutes per side. When tortillas are finished cooking, place inside a folded damp kitchen towel to keep warm until serving. Place any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze. 

Vegan Grain Free Tacos

I love tacos, who doesn’t right? Most taco shells are made from corn. During nutrition class, I was really sad to find out that corn is actually a grain (not a vegetable) and also that it is one of two of the most genetically modified and pesticide full crops out there. Why is this? Corn is massively overproduced because of all the food additives that can be derived from it…even citric acid! Like isn’t citric acid supposed to come from oranges or something, not necessarily. This is just one example of a food additive that is in almost everything. Unless the package says grain free, it’s likely that the citric acid is coming from corn. Tip for all you paleo people out there and others allergic to corn. But how is that even possible? Heavy heavy processing of food that the body does not know what to do with. Pesticides and additives can also inhibit normal detox of the body by the way. Luckily I discovered a grain free hard shell taco by Siete. They are made from cassava, which is a tuber that grows in the ground! Siete also makes soft tortillas from other flours like almond, chickpea, cashew, cassava, etc. You can find them at most major health focused grocery stores, I get mine at Natural Grocers.

So the vegan part. Vegan tacos come together so fast and are so delicious. I made a couple different versions recently and both were delicious! Two things were on my mind, I want some protein going into these tacos and I want something fresh and green to tone down the spice I’m about to add.

To incorporate protein I used garbanzo beans and black beans for one recipe, and then a simple homemade hummus for the other. Both were great. I found the hummus to work really well for glueing the other ingredients to the shell so less fell out. I loved the black beans and garbanzo beans whole for their texture and flavor.

For greens, I chiffonaded spinach for one recipe and used sunflower seed sprouts for the other. Ps not sure if that is actually a word but basically what you do is stack some spinach leaves on top of eachother then roll them up tight and slice them with a knife. When they unroll, you will have long strips and you will feel super fancy! You’re welcome.;)

Okay so for the seasoning, I decided to think outside of the box and use some new harissa seasoning that I picked up. I used the Frontier brand which has a nice blend of organic chiles, cumin, garlic, and even a touch of peppermint! Super yummy and not too spicy.

I hope you can enjoy these recipes and make your own version of vegan tacos! Share pictures and tag me when you do! Also, I don’t measure anything when it comes to tacos so use these recipes as a guide to unleash your own creativity! 🙂

VEGAN HARISSA TACOS 2 WAYS

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Roasted Delicata Squash and Hummus Tacos

Ingredients: 

  • Delicata squash
  • Homemade hummus or store bought
  • Harissa seasoning (I used Frontier brand)
  • Honey 
  • Sunflower seed sprouts
  • Avocado, diced
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Tahini, optional but delicious
  • Siete Grain Free hard shell taco shells
  • Avocado oil or coconut oil (melted) for the pan 
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a glass pan, lay down a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle in a couple tablespoons of avocado oil or coconut oil. Set aside. 

Wash your squash. Slice the both ends off of the delicata squash and then slice it in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds out using a spoon. Reserve to roast later or discard. Place each half on their flat side and slice into thin half moons. Place in the pan and sprinkle with harissa seasoning, plenty of salt, and pepper and about one tablespoon of honey. Toss to coat evenly with the oil then spread out so that the squash is in a single layer ideally. Roast for about 30 minutes flipping around the 20 minute mark. 

While the squash is roasting, prepare all the other ingredients: make the hummus, dice the avocado, chop the cilantro. 

TO ASSEMBLE: Spread a good layer of hummus on each side of the taco shell. Add the squash, avocado, and sunflower seed sprouts. Drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with cilantro, then squeeze plenty of fresh lime juice on top. 🙂

Enjoy! 

PS. The tahini was a goof up because I forgot it in the hummus when I made these, but to be honest it ended up being the perfect addition to these tacos! 

Triple Bean Tacos

Ingredients: 

  • Garbanzo beans, canned or cooked yourself*
  • Black beans, canned or cooked yourself*
  • Dragon tongue beans (or regular string beans) **
  • Harissa seasoning (I used Frontier brand)
  • Coconut oil or avocado oil 
  • Spinach
  • Honey 
  • Avocado, optional
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Siete Grain free hard shell tacos
  • Salt and pepper

Wash the dragon beans and snip the ends off. Chop into one inch pieces. 

In a cast iron pan heat the oil. Coconut oil will give you a more buttery mouthfeel. Once the oil is hot add the beans. Add a little water just to coat the bottom of the pan and place a lid on to steam the beans briefly. Steam for a few minutes until al dente then remove the lid. 

Add the harissa seasoning to taste, honey, salt, pepper, and both the garbanzo and black beans. Cook for about 2 minutes longer. 

Meanwhile mash the avocado with plenty of lime juice and salt. Chiffonade the spinach by stacking multiple leaves on top of eachother then rolling up. Slice lengthwise into thin strips. 

To assemble the tacos: 

Spread a good amount of smashed avocado on each side of the tortilla. Place the bean mixture inside followed by the spinach. Finish with more lime juice and enjoy! 

NOTES: 

*I love the Eden brand beans because they are organic and pressure cooked which breaks down the lectins and makes it easier for your gut to digest the beans

**Dragon tongue beans are a beautiful purple and white speckled bean variety. They are less stringy than regular beans but can be cooked the same. 

Healthy Wishes Friends!

Abby