Category: Breakfast

Paleo & Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Loaf with Toasted Coconut

Paleo & Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Loaf with Toasted Coconut

Can you believe thanksgiving is ALREADY right around the corner?! I swear one week we were hitting low 70’s in October and the next thing I knew, I’m breaking out the parka jacket and cranking the heat in my car. Instead of complaining about the cold (which I’ve already done a fair share of LOL), I’m doing my best to embrace the “colder” days with open arms. How? BAKING. Now, if you know me, I’m not much of a baker. I hate following meausurements which typically gets me in trouble anytime I try to bake and “eyeball” how much flour or baking soda to add.

However, if you catch me in RARE form, I occasionally get the itch to bake, mostly because I’m craving something sweet, warm, and healthy to have on hand for dessert. Otherwise, I can promise you, I will not be baking just for FUN 🙂  In order to make baking more enjoyable for me, it’s super essential that I always have some staple baking ingredients on hand. Bobs Red Mill has ALWAYS been one of my go-to’s. Thanks to a recent delivery I got from them, I’m now ALL stocked up and ready to take the winter by storm (no pun intended)!

If you dread going outside in the dead of winter, I recommend having a few of the following staples on hand which you can always use interchangeably!

Flours/Powders all from Bob’s Red Mill:

Coconut flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, ground flax meal, carob or cacao powder, shredded unsweetened coconut, gluten-free oats (blend in food processor to make oat flour)

Additional Baking Staples:

Refined sugar-free sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, date nectar, coconut nectar, organic vanilla bean); Coconut oil; Baking Powder; Eggs; Cinnamon; Himalayan Salt; and Almond Butter, Apple Sauce, or Mashed Banana as a thickener

Now to this recipe that I think will please EVERYONE at your thanksgiving gathering!

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Dry Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Carob powder (or can substitute with cacao powder)
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill ground Flax Seed Meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Primal Palate Gingersnap seasoning

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter (Whole Foods no salt/sugar added)
  • 1/3 cup d’vash organics date nectar (honey or maple syrup work well too!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup organic apple sauce
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup mashed banana (~ 1 medium banana)
  • 1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen cherries and defrosted them in microwave / then drained extra liquid)

Additional/Optional Toppings:

  • Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (if you like the taste of toasted coconut, I totally recommend this!)
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • Crushed Walnuts or Pecans

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Directions:

Set oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Coat a tin loaf pan with either coconut oil or parchment paper. (I used a 10 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ x 3″ metal loaf pan).

In a large bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients will with a fork. Set this aside and grab a separate bowl to mix all of your wet ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE CHERRIES) together. Blend very well. You can then combine your dry ingredients into your bowl of wet ingredients. Again, blend very well so that everything is evenly dispersed. Finally, fold the cherries (and optional chocolate chips or crushed nuts) into the batter. Mix well.

Pour batter evenly into loaf pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut (and/or optional crushed nuts). Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes (or longer if necessary). Top should be a little hard when done and you should be able to stick a fork in the center without it coming back all gooey!

Let cool for 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!!

 

This post is not paid for by Bob’s Red Mill. I received free product and that is it. I simply just love their products and would use them in baking regardless!
My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

My Morning Routine + Why I Cherish it So Much

One topic I’ve been meaning to post about for a while has been my morning routine. I know this is something I’ve talked about it in the past, whether it be on the blog or on instagram, but I definitely want to reiterate WHY I cherish my morning routine as much as I do. Mornings for me are the most important part of my day. I find that starting my morning out on the most positive note possible truly sets the tone for how the rest of my day will look. My motivation, my productivity, my happiness, my dedication and so on, all depend on how the first hour or two of my day goes. This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve witnessed it first hand for myself.

 

A few things you want to AVOID in setting the tone for your perfect morning routine are…

 

1) Not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is SO important for me. I need at least 7 hours to be a functional human. I find that if I go one or two nights with a poor sleep, my lack of fitness motivation and self-control around food cravings are the first clear signs that I’ve been deprived of sleep. I instantly procrastinate my workout (which is clearly also a sign from my body telling me that sleep would be more beneficial than working out at the moment). I also find that I lose most of the self-control I have around shoving my face with highly sweet or salty foods. If that’s the case, I crave something sweet in the morning, which in turn spikes my blood sugar levels, which then leads me to crash before lunch-time, which then continues to put me in this spiral of craving sweet or super salty “junk” food for the rest of the day. THIS is why sleep is KEY. Sleep gives me you the energy to be the BEST version of yourself.

2) Starting the morning with negative thoughts.

I’ll be honest, waking up at 5:30am when it’s still pitch black out is not always fun, but waking up in the dark AND immediately having negative thoughts about the day is not going to make things any better. To be honest, what gets me out of bed in the morning is my delicious latte that I’ve been having on repeat. Especially on a chillier, fall or winter morning, waking up to warm, delicious (caffeinated) beverage can do just the trick! Give yourself something to be excited about when waking up! Shocker: for me it’s a yummy breakfast and morning beverage!

3) Rushing.

So long as you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep (ps this may mean you need to get into bed earlier! I usually turn off the lights around 9/9:15!), I’d recommend waking up early enough to allow yourself time and enjoy the moment. Again, rushed mornings, mean stressful mornings. And starting your day out stressed is certainly not going to help you take on the day. Is that netflix episode REALLY worth an extra hour of sleep?? (ps I definitely need to take my own advice on this one. Even if I’m still going to bed early, I know that watching TV before bed is a BIG no). Also, have you ever heard of the Circadian Rhythm?? It’s the 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings (i.e. HUMANS) that are affected by things like temperature, sunrise/sunset, etc.

So now for things you CAN incorporate into your morning routine to make it that much better…

 

*Also as a disclaimer, I’m certainly not saying you NEED to incorporate all of the below in your morning routine. That’s just not always realistic, even for those who do have plenty of time in the AM! My suggestion is to just try out a few different ones every now and then and eventually you may find 1 or 2 that stick.

 

1) Oil Pulling – LOVE this ayurvedic practice.

Just started it earlier this month and truly feel and see noticeable results. You want to do this FIRST thing in the morning (before even drinking most fluids). It’s suggested coconut oil is the best for this. Use about 1 TBSP and swish around for about 5-10 minutes (or more if you can!) This is a great practice to incorporate since you can easily multi-task, such as prepping your coffee or breakfast for the day!

2) Get yourself a good skincare (and oral) routine!

Super simple, but ditching the chemical/toxic skincare products can truly leave a long-lasting impact. Why? Because we should care JUST as much about the products we put ON our skin, as the products that we consume daily. Our skin absorbs whatever you’re applying on it and can be just as unhealthy, if not more so than eating something comparably toxic. Think about it…our skin is the LARGEST organ on our body. Treat it well and you will feel so much better! A few non-toxic skincare lines I’ve been loving recently include Cocokind Skincare and Frank & Whit. PS this also includes toothpaste! I recommend Toms or Dr. Bronners!

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3) Make yourself a delicious, warm morning beverage.

I love having a warm drink in the morning (usually something slightly caffeinated) that makes getting out of bed easier and a little more exciting, especially during the colder months! I usually choose to go with a latte & 2 espresso shots, bulletproof coffee, or a bulletproof matcha latte. Matcha or other various teas are awesome as well and a great option for those who have ditched coffee! Or if you’ve quit all caffeine – turmeric or superfood lattes and elixirs make for a great, yummy, and nourishing treat!

4) Gratitude Journaling.

This takes all of 3 minutes – I promise you and makes such an impact. Simply journal a few things a day you’re grateful for. Can be ANYTHING. Grateful for good health, grateful for your yoga practice, or even your new job! Next, write a few goals. I like to include very attainable and then DREAM goals. This is all about MANIFESTING and believing you have all the power to write your own destiny.

5) Practice 10 minutes of light yoga.

This is such a great way to get the spinal fluid moving with some nice, easy back bends and twists. Twists are great for detoxifying the body and help to loosen up the spine after sleeping horizontally all night. I also find it’s a great way to kickstart the metabolism and gain a little energy for the day.

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6) Eat a nourishing breakfast full of healthy fats, protein, leafy greens (if possible), fiber, and some hearty carbs!

7) Put on music that’s light and upbeat! I LOVE doing this in the morning. It totally helps to wake me up and puts me in a great mood!

Hopefully this has given you some new ideas to help take your morning routine from a 5 to a 10! It doesn’t have to be everything, just take baby steps to find what works best for YOU! Comment below and share what your morning routine looks like! I’d love to hear!

 

Baked Butternut Squash, Apple, & Date Skillet Oatmeal

Baked Butternut Squash, Apple, & Date Skillet Oatmeal

Happy November guys!!

November is one of my FAVORITE months for multiple reasons. First of all, early November in New England has got to be the prettiest for fall foliage. Secondly, it’s my birthday month (hehe). Lastly, it’s THANKSGIVING and who doesn’t love shoving your face until you quite literally, can’t fit anything else in your stomach? …EVEN if you TRIED. Yep, November is a pretty damn GREAT month to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a tasty, fall-inspired recipe just in time for the holidays?!

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Honestly, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog. I’m really excited about this one because butternut squash and dates are my absolute favorites. This recipe is REFINED-SUGAR free yet irresistibly and naturally so sweet! Your tastebuds will be dancing for joy after devouring this one. I promise! And if you’re thanksgiving dinners are anything like mine, this will be a nice, HEALTHY dessert amongst all the sugary pumpkin and pecan pies! Or if you have a sweet tooth like I do in the morning, this makes for a perfect breakfast snack when you’re on-the-go!

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I’m really excited about a new product that I included in this recipe. I’m constantly looking for healthier, low-glycemic, and refined sugar free sweeteners. I was introduced to D’Vash Organics,  a 100% organic, California-date nectar. It’s vegan, non-GMO, and believe it or not, has 25% less sugar than honey! Honey typically is about 16 grams of sugar per TBSP, while D’Vash is 12 grams of sugar per TBSP, making it a REALLY great low-glycemic alternative similar to maple syrup, coconut sugar, and honey. I also love the unique flavor it adds. I’ve always said dates are natures candy and this sweetener NAILED it.

Use code ‘EATRUN‘ for 20% off your D’Vash Organics orders!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash (I prefer to buy it already cut at Whole Foods to IMG_7732save me cooking time)
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free Quick Oats (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 cups Cashew milk (I used the brand Pacific)
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP ghee (I prefer the madagascar vanilla bean ghee from fourth&heart)
  • 3 TBSP D’Vash Organic Date Nectar
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (just a few shakes)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup organic (no sugar added) apple sauce
  • Raw pecans

Directions:

First, you’ll want to pre-roast the butternut squash. Set your oven to 415 degrees. Coat the butternut squash in coconut oil, cinnamon, and a little bit of Himalayan salt. Place on a baking sheet (lightly coated in coconut oil as well) and bake for about 35 minutes or until squash is soft.

After you remove your squash from the oven, lower the heat down to 350 degrees. Mash 1 cup of the butternut squash together. In a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tbsp of ghee over the stove top on LOW heat. Once the ghee has melted, add in ALL ingredients including the butternut squash, the 2 cups each of oats and milk, cinnamon, date nectar, apple sauce, and egg.

Stir evenly with a whisk until it is all well blended. Feel free to add a few, light shakes of the Himalayan salt. After about 2-3 minutes, remove from heat. Option to sprinkle pecans on top. And then place in the oven and let cook for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown. Make sure to cut a small indent before removing from the oven to ensure it’s cooked fully through (shouldn’t be overly soft or mushy).

Once finished, remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Option to top with sautéed apples or blueberries, ice cream, yogurt, or even smothered in peanut butter or coconut butter!

Don’t forget to use code ‘EATRUN‘ for 20% off your D’Vash Organics orders!

XOXO,

CAL

 

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

Wow, can’t believe we’re already into October! I swear this summer flew by faster than most. Though it technically is the Fall, it still feels like Summer here in Boston…and I definitely don’t hate it! That being said, I can certainly feel my body craving the warmer, seasonal foods. It’s so important to listen to your body and give it what it needs with the change of season. Our bodies are smart and are VERY much aligned to nature and the universe. Sadly, that means I won’t be drinking my smoothies everyday (though I certainly will treat myself every now and then). Rather, I’ll be substituting it with warmer foods like oatmeal, warm chia pudding, eggs, toast, squashes, etc.! This philosophy comes from the Ayurveda practice which I’ve talked about in the past.

“Ayurvedic philosophy holds that eating warming foods in the fall and winter is vital in order to keep the body healthy and balanced. It suggests that the metabolism works harder to keep us warm in the winter, and therefore the “digestive fire” must be adequately fueled with heavier foods. Ayurveda says that cold, damp foods like salads and smoothies, which might seem delicious and perfect in the summertime, can sap the body of energy and even leave it vulnerable to illness during the fall and winter.”

This article shares with you some warm fall & winter foods to incorporate into your diet! Anyway, shifting gears slightly towards the topic of today’s blog post! This was actually inspired by my mom who has made some major shifts in her diet and adapting some of my health tips. This is not to say she was eating poorly by any means. She’s super lean, healthy, and eats a very balanced diet! However, she’s made simple swaps like using coconut oil to cook instead of olive oil because of it’s higher cook point. Below are some simple swaps you can make in your pantry and fridge. Though these swaps may seem minor, they go such a long way in your diet!


1.) Oil and Butter.

First, let’s talk about why VEGETABLE Oils are a big, fat NO…

This includes all processed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and a few others out there. These oils “contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess.” The way in which these oils are processed “involve pressing, heating, various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents.” This article from Healthline goes into even more depth on this topic.

So, what oils/butters SHOULD you cook with? See below:

  • Grass-fed Butter or Ghee (butter with all traces of dairy proteins and sugars cooked out)
  • Coconut Oil (virgin or expeller pressed)
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive oil (Extra virgin olive oil should stay unheated, but normal olive oil that isn’t extra virgin is a good cooking oil as long as you aren’t cooking at high heat. Extra virgin olive oil is still great for you; just add it after you plate your food.) – BulletProof Article (more details on smoke points and oils)

2.) Sweeteners.

Let’s chat about the difference between Refined Sugars and UnRefined Sugars. “Refined sugar is sugar that has gone through a refining process, or chemical process to remove the molasses that’s naturally found in it.” – Ambitious Kitchen

Here are some staples I always have on hand:

  • Dates
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Organic Honey
  • Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Organic Coconut Nectar
  • Organic Vanilla Bean

3.) White Flour.

Let’s start REAL basic here. Ditch anything with white flour. White flour has been stripped of literally all the important vitamins and nutrients (i.e. the parts of the wheat kernel that slow its digestion), making it extremely easy for the body to turn white flour into blood sugar.

So, that being said here are some of my favorite options I usually have on hand:

  • ANY lentil or bean based pasta. My favorites include Eat Banza Chickpea Pasta (literally can’t tasted a difference between this and the real thing). Tolerant Foods is another one of my favorites.
  • Lentils
  • Wheat Berries
  • Quinoa
  • Black Rice
  • Farro
  • Amaranth
  • Oats
  • Bulgur

Some of my favorite Flours Include:

  • almond flour
  • oat flower
  • cassava flour
  • coconut flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Rice Flour

One thing I will say is that I certainly treat myself to a really nice Italian meal every now and then where I can trust I’m getting REAL, HOMEMADE pasta, with no preservatives or chemicals. It’s about balance. Just when you’re at home and cooking, try to have the above alternatives on hand!

Start with those three tips above and keep an eye out NEXT week for 3 more healthy swaps! 🙂

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

Hi there!

First off, I want to apologize for my summer hiatus from writing. Though I have not been active on the blog, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram daily as it’s all I’ve had the capacity for! To be honest, my creative juices have been exhausted through instagram posts and cooking, yoga, and…well, my new business I started back in May. Yep, you heard it here first! I’m finally ready to share my latest endeavors, from leaving my job back in November, to starting my own food business. It’s been quite an interesting journey and until now, I haven’t felt ready to share it with you all. If I’m being completely honest, I kept a lot of what I was doing on the down-low, even to close friends and family. Why? Mostly out of the fear of failure.

Failure is a scary thing. Especially when you spontaneously take the leap of faith and leave your stable income and structured 8-5 desk job. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something. But it’s even scarier to actually take action on that and make an idea come to life. Myself and those close to me had doubts, and for good reason! I was about to enter into a world of the unknown. Who am I to declare myself an entrepreneur in the food business? I’ve had 0 experience with any of the above. So, what was the biggest motivating factor knowing that so much could go wrong with this dream? Living with Regret. The fear of living my entire life in regret vs. the fear of losing 1-2 years of my young 20’s as a Sr. HR Generalist greatly outweighed the latter. So here’s my story on the WHY, the HOW, and WHERE I am now in the midst of this crazy new chapter of my life…

The WHY.

To keep this story from becoming a short novel, I’ll try and break things down as easily as possible. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner at one of the largest information technology companies. I started as an intern there, quickly fell in love with the company, the people, and my opportunity to grow and progress as an individual. My transformation from an intern to where I was just just 10 months ago never seizes to surprise me. I worked with fearless and empowering females, who quickly became role models and mentors in my life. This company shaped me and equipped me with the interpersonal tools, business mindset, and confidence I now have today. Like most companies in the technology industry these days, we were bought out by yet another large tech company. It was at this point when my role changed and I had to take a step back to assess my future with this company. The same excitement I used to have waking up in the morning and coming into work was lost. I began to evaluate my current situation. Was having a stable desk job and salary worth my happiness? It sounds like an easy answer, but there’s more to it. There’s risk. There’s doubt. There’s fear of walking away from something that became “comfortable” to me. Where was I going to go next? What would I do? Will I be happy in yet another desk job?

It seemed as though all of this came at a right time in my life. I like to look at situations like this as a sign from the universe (as hippy-dippy as this may sound, I firmly believe it). Our company being bought out was truly the extra push I needed as part of this self-realization I was experiencing. It all seemed to come at the right time. I began to turn what was initially an extremely negative situation into something that could open up so many new possibilities for me. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time in my life to truly follow my passions, which have always been in the health and wellness world. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what I would do next. Obviously there were some important questions I had to address, the biggest being can I financially support going off and starting my own business? After some serious conversations, a lot of break-downs and crying on the phone to my mom, dad, and fiancé about how un-happy I was, and a little bit of soul searching, I had a plan (well, to some my plan was just a vision, but to me, it made sense, in it’s weird, fractured way).

The HOW.

My “plan” certainly didn’t make sense to some, but to me, it all seemed to fit together like a puzzle. My last day at my company was on November 30th, 2016. On that same day, I took off on my travels to Mallorca, Spain for my 17-day intensive 200HR yoga teacher training. Before you ask, yes, this was ALL part of the plan. Yoga teacher training somehow all aligned with where I wanted to go next. I knew I wanted to do something for MYSELF, mostly to clear my head, detach from reality for a bit, and like most who set off on this journey, I had hopes that in the midst of this training, I would realize what I was meant to do. Though I didn’t come out of the training with a clear vision on where the next 10 years would bring me (wishful thinking LOL), I did come out of this with a greater sense of self-realization, which ultimately, is what yoga is about. Union, bliss, oneness. You can read more about my yoga teacher training journey on my post, here. Before I move on, one thing that surprised me most was that on the first day of our arrival, as we went around a circle and introduced ourselves, I was extremely relieved (and pleasantly surprised) to hear that a number of us had literally just left our jobs. I thought to myself, GREAT! I’m not the only crazy one here! Not that I needed any kind of confirmation…but this certainly helped to ease my mind. We were all here for a purpose.

Okay so here’s the quick & dirty on how a few emotional phone calls with friends and family turned from an idea to a reality. You may remember a few years ago, I was temporarily living in California for work. It was there where I fell in LOVE with acai bowls. Now keep in mind, a few years ago, acai bowls were not a “thing” here in Boston. The only time prior to my experience there of indulging in an acai bowl was on a family vaca in Hawaii (go figure)! I was even more surprised by how popular acai bowls were, when I eventually made my way to San Diego. You’d get lucky finding a cafe on every corner! It was HEAVEN there. Why did I fall in love with these deliciously hearty bowls? They brought me BLISS.

I finished feeling so happy, energetic, satisfied, and full of life. You can bet I had acai bowls up until my last few days in CA. It was a sad day when I moved back to the outskirts of Boston and the only “smoothie” options were Smoothie King or Jamba Juice (no offense to either, but not exactly my idea of a nutritious smoothie). So, from that point, I started making my own acai bowls. I got my fiancé, Justin hooked. I got friends and family members hooked. Slowly but surely, I noticed health food cafes in Boston pop up and begin to serve acai bowls. However, the one thing I struggled most with at these places, was that they were loading them with unneccesary sugars. From the generic sugary granola, to already sweetened acai, to heaping spoonfuls of skippys peanut butter. This wasn’t what acai bowls were, nor were these the bowls that gave me oh so much life back in California.

I went back and forth with wanting to open my own cafe, but was then lured back into the idea of beginning with a food product first. Through a lot of brainstorming with friends and family, the acai pop came to life! This popsicle had the potential to solve a few of the problems I noticed with the food industry. For one, I wanted to created a pop that wasn’t loaded with sugar. A lot of the frozen treats you see at the stores, even Whole Foods for example, are packed with refined sugars and other unknown ingredients. I also struggle with pops that read “90 calories” on the front, yet there’s nothing nutritiously satisfying in the ingredients. In addition to the nutrition factor, I also wanted to put an alternative breakfast, snack, or dessert option out there for those who are on-the-go. These days, we are all moving so quickly, with little to no time to sit and eat proper meals. Now, I don’t think this is IDEAL, but it is reality. My goal was to put something out there that could be eaten conveniently and also satisfy your hunger through hearty, REAL, CLEAN, ingredients.

WHERE I AM NOW

Fast forward to January, 2017, BerryGood Bliss LLC became official. I had taken the first step needed to creating my own company. I wish I could say starting your own company is as easy as that first step, but I’d be lying! There is so much more to it than I even realized. Of course, I reached out to a ton of different friends, family members, and mentors to get advice from those who had maybe done something similar or who had knowledge in this area. This was absolutely a critical step for me. For anyone considering starting their own business, it’s so important to leverage your connections and reach out. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s so worth it, and for the most part, the people you contact, usually really want to help you and see you succeed. During those winter months, I gathered research, recipe tested, got my logo, found a commercial kitchen, applied for food permits from the city, applied to farmers markets, got my servsafe certificate, designed my tent layout and purchased necessary equipment, built out my website and other social media sources, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things! At the end of the day, I had to accept that things weren’t going to be perfect right off the bat and I really just had to jump into things and improve as I go.

I will say none of the above came easy. I faced a lot of obstacles, the biggest being finding a commercial kitchen in Boston and then acquiring the necessary permits. This process at times drove me absolutely crazy, heightened my anxiety and certainly led me to have a number of breakdowns. But, through some miracle, it all worked out. Through all of these challenges, I did my best to continue manifesting my own outcome through positive thinking, determination, and trying to balance out the high’s and low’s as the came. I had my very first farmers market in June and have been selling my goods locally throughout the summer at various farmers markets.

Since this has turned out to be quite lengthy (I had a feeling this would happen), I will end here and then pick up where I left off sometime in the next week or two to share how things have been going this summer, challenges faced, successes, and next steps/my plan for the fall when things come to an end with the summer markets.

I’m so excited to have finally shared this with all of you! My true hope is that you read this and leave inspired. Perhaps there’s a passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take that next step. I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that and would love to be able to connect and chat further if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s so important to support and help one another out. Feel free to email me at calli@berrygoodbliss.com or send me a DM on instagram!

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Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Hey guys!

Let’s talk all things smoothies, superfoods, and …supporting your local food friends in today’s blog post! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that this word “superfood” can be a bit overwhelming. It seems as though each month brings a new superfood that is hyped up around it’s unique nutrients and benefits. With all of these new superfoods being introduced to the wellness community, how do we decide where to spend our money and understand what OUR bodies need? Let’s be honest, these superfoods aren’t exactly “cheap”. They are after all, a SUPER food for good reason! They’re usually rare to find, extremely labor intensive, and often come from indigenous locations – therefor driving up the cost for high quality products. With that, how can we make a wallet-conscious decision on which superfoods to invest in?

Honestly, I didn’t really have the answer to this until I was introduced to Organic Living Superfoods. Before I tried their product, I would usually dabble in 1-2 superfoods, depending on what items were on sale at the time. However, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear from Organic Living Superfoods, a company local to the Boston area and super passionate about providing high quality, 100% organic superfood powders to the community. I’m all about supporting local companies that are authentic and transparent in their process of sourcing real ingredients and OLS definitely sets the bar high here!

Not only are they transparent in sourcing the best of the best ingredients, but I’m quite honestly OBSESSED with their customized superfoods blend. This solves so many of my dilemmas around which superfoods to buy and invest in. Through their website, you have the opportunity to choose 10 of the 28 different superfoods they have to offer. Not only are their options endless, but they provide thorough descriptions on where it comes from, the insane amount of nutrients it obtains, what the well-known benefits are, and so forth. I found this part to be so helpful in choosing which superfoods I felt were right for me. PS – don’t be concerned with mixing different flavors – honestly, when it’s all blended together and then mixed into a smoothie for example, you would never be able to detect a funky taste! Once you’ve decided on your superfood smoothie blend of choice, it’s then packaged in a 10oz bag and sent your way!

Here’s what I ended up going with for my superfoods of choice (PS – these benefits were taken directly from the OLS site):
A S H W A G A N D A: you be familiar with this one from my latest blog post on my superfood coffee. As a reminder, Ashwaganda can aid in lowering stress & anxiety levels, improving sex drive, mood, menopausal support, fertility, and memory support.
B A O B A B: has been known to increase energy and stamina, improve sexual function in men and women (often called “herbal viagra”), reduce hormonal dysfunction during menopause, regulate hormonal imbalance, and enhance mental ability.
B E E P O L L E N: Bee pollen contains 96 known nutrients, and they’re all highly bioavailable. Bee Pollen contains 40% high quality protein, it’s packed with live enzymes, and is the highest dietary source of rutin, which helps controls blood pressure and increase the strength and integrity of cell walls and the heart. It’s also a natural antibiotic, it increases energy levels and endurance, and is an excellent free radical scavenger.
M A T C H A: known for having preventative cancer, anti-aging, and heart disease properties, as well as being a helpful weight loss aid, detoxifier, mind enhancer, and energy booster.
S P I R U L I N A: is high in chlorophyll, plant blood which has magnesium as its central atom and gives plants their dark green color. Human blood has iron as its central atom, which aside from that, they have basically the same chemistry and can readily repair tissues, strengthen immunity, boost energy, support cellular health, cardiovascular health and eye function.
M O R I N G A: contains powerful antioxidants and inflammatory compounds. It is also a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Moringa helps with balancing cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels (hence it protects against diabetes), boosting immunity, stimulating metabolism, aiding in digestion, promoting a feeling of well-being, and assisting in weight loss. It’s also a great energy booster, anti-bacterial, it protects the liver and kidneys, provides fast recovery after grueling workouts, and it can be used as a water purifier and due to its amino acid content.
L U C U M A: It’s been a symbol of fertility for millennia. It also helps to curb cravings and appetite. Lucuma is high antioxidants, fiber and B-vitamins like beta-carotene and niacin (B3).
G I N G E R: used as a digestive aid, helps to promote healthy sweating, a form of detoxification which is often helpful during colds and flus. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds — these substances have been shown to provide relief for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis – as they can help reduce pain levels and improve mobility.

…One more thing – did I mention that you can use my discount code at check out – CALLILOVESOLS for 20% off ANY of their products!

Now that you have a pretty solid idea of why superfoods can be such a great addition to your daily diet, here are some ideas for how to incorporate these friendly ingredients in day-to-day meals! Simply click on the photo and follow the link to the instagram pic for details on ingredients. I’m happy to go into detail on measurements in a later blog post if folks are interested! Unfortunately, I have a tendency to just estimate!

Green Superfood Smoothie
Warm Coconut Superfood Chia Bowl
Green Superfood Smoothie BOWL
Green Superfood Smoothie II

Enjoy!!

Here’s the WHY and HOW behind stepping up your morning coffee routine

Here’s the WHY and HOW behind stepping up your morning coffee routine

If you’re like me and find yourself scrolling through instagram daily, you’ve probably stumbled upon some new, jazzy “buzzwords” for coffee. Gone are the days when freshly ground and brewed coffee was just enough. The coffee standards have been seriously heightened thanks to the introduction of research and knowledge behind superfoods, ghee, MCT oil, collagen, and so on. I’m no expert or dietician, but I’ve certainly done enough research in this area to understand the benefits behind adding these ingredients to your coffee. Sure, there’s the “coolness” factor added in when you make at-home coffee look as frothy and instagram-worthy as your loyal, neighborhood barista. But, believe it or not, there’s more to this coffee-game then meets the eye!

To make this as easy as possible, I’m going to breakdown my superfood coffee for ya!

1) C O F F E E

— Obviously, you need to start with a fresh, fair-trade, 100% organic coffee. I’m a bit of a coffee snob and buy the coffee beans from Whole Foods. I have a coffee bean grinder (thanks Dad for the hand me down!) that does wonders — highly recommend if you’re into coffee and want to one-up your game. I’m a sucker for the OG (original) or Hazelnut.

2) M A C A P O W D E R

— Why Maca? WOMEN listen up here – this superfood powder has amazing benefits for both men and women, however, ladies definitely see an added plus to their well-being. The most widely-known benefit of maca is it’s ability to aid in balancing hormones, therefor reducing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, depression, etc. Additionally, here’s another fun one, Maca can increase a woman’s sex drive and function – oh HEEEYYY NOW. Enhancing ones mood and energy levels, aiding in fertility, and increasing bone density are among the remaining benefits of incorporating maca powder into your diet. You can read more on the reason behind these benefits via the Global Healing site.

3) C A C A O P O W D E R

— Why Cacao? Well for one, if you’re an intense, dark-chocolate lover like myself, why would you NOT add this chocolatey goodness to your coffee?! There are so many deliciously scrumptious benefits to cacao – some of the main ones being it’s insanely high in antioxidants per serving. Similarly to maca, it also has the ability to enhance ones mood, energy levels, sex-drive, balance hormonal levels, combat heart disease, resets your metabolism, improved digestion and SO many more facts that can be found on Daily Superfood Love.

4) A S H W A G A N D H A

— Why ashwagandha? If you haven’t noticed a pattern her ladies, this superfood powder is quite similar to cacao and maca in how it can help women in so many unique areas of wellness. As I’m sure many can relate, stress in this day and age, pops up regularly. Our mind, body, and of course our sympathetic nervous system, have a natural reaction to go into “fight or flight” mode which is where the root of our anxiety and stress come from. This special superfood powder has the ability to lower these natural cortisol levels, which in turn, can have such a powerful & beneficial affect on our overall wellbeing. As you know, high levels of constant stress can be so damaging on the body and can lead to a quicker aging process. Like maca and cacao, this root powder can aid in sex drive, mood, menopausal support, fertility, and interestingly, memory support. Again, more can be found on the Global Healing site around this superfood.

5) B U L L E T P R O O F B R A I N O C T A N E

— Why add bullet proof brain octane to your diet? Some of the benefits here include, supporting cognitive function, can aid in that morning “brain fog”, is a reliable and quick source of energy production, and can help your body metabolize and burn fat. Bullet proof brain octane is a energy source that can be found in coconut oil. However, this product is unique in that the brain octane is made with only C8 MCTs, which metabolize more efficiently into ketone energy than more common oils with C10 and C12 MCTs. All of these facts and benefits can be found on their site, Bullet Proof.

6) C O L L A G E N

— Why add collagen powder to your coffee? Well for one, it gives it that glorious froth we all love in our cup of joe! But, more importantly, collagen can help increase all aspects of beauty, health, and fitness in your life! In short, collagen peptides supply amino acids which are essential in helping to build new collagen in your body. The new collagen being rebuilt in your body help to maintain healthy connective tissues (which for athletes is essential) and can decrease injury towards muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Additionally, collagen can help in increasing bone mass density, restore and enhance your nails, hair, and skin by improving the elasticity and moisture. I love the Vital Proteins marine collagen and their Beauty Collagen greens, both of which I use daily. More on the benefits of collagen can be found on their site at Vital Proteins.

7) C I N N A M O N + A L M O N D M I L K

— Last but not least, I ALWAYS add a sprinkle of cinnamon (for taste and it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels) and a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to my coffee blend.

Now that you know all of the ingredients and the benefits behind my superfood, bullet-proof, collagen coffee, all you need now is a blender of some sort. Add your usual serving size of coffee, plus add a serving size of each of the above ingredients (usually about 1 tsp or so – but the labels will direct you). Blend for about 30 seconds – 1 minute. You’ll notice the froth level went from a 0 to a 10 REAL fast. Pour and enjoy!!

Easy & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry-Oat Pancakes

Easy & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry-Oat Pancakes

Hello Friends!

For today’s blog post I wanted to share with you my latest recipe for my gluten-free banana-blueberry-oat pancakes. I don’t know about you, but I find myself struggling to re-create that perfect pancake consistency. You know what kind I’m talking about – that good old box of bisquick pancakes that we used to devour as children every Sunday. I kid you not, my dad would make these every Sunday and it was as if it was a food eating competition to see who could take down the most pancakes – me vs. golden retriever(s) vs. rest of the family. I’d say we usually peaked around 20 or so cakes, yet somehow still managed to not blow up like a balloon! I digress..

I find this recipe to be reminiscent of those pancake eating Sunday’s. I swear you wouldn’t know the difference between these and ones loaded with sugar and butter. What makes this recipe also ideal is that the prep is under 10 minutes!! I swear. So here’s the quick and dirty on the pancake recipe…

Serving Size ~ 6-8 medium size cakes

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP of ground chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/2 a large ripe banana (I used a little over a 1/2)
  • 1/4 unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 cage-free egg
  • Optional: Blueberries
  • 1 TBSP Fourth & Heart Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ghee (coconut oil or butter can be a substitute)
  • You’ll also need a food processor and non-stick pan!

Directions:


In a food processor blend the following ingredients: oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and the chia or flax seeds. Once those ingredients are well blended into powder form, transfer it to a larger bowl. Next add in your 1 egg, 1/2 ripe banana (it may help to smash this in the bowl before hand so that it’s easier to mix), and the almond milk. Mix these ingredients well so that it forms a thicker batter.

Meanwhile, begin to warm up your pan. I usually cook my pancakes on medium/low heat (~ 5-7). You can add your TBSP of ghee (I swear this is a life changer with pancakes – SO TASTY). Next using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop your batter out and form about 6-8 medium size pancakes. Then add blueberries to each pancake if you’d like. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Typically the batter will start to slowly bubble, at which point check the bottom of the cake to see that it’s a golden brown.

Optional toppings could be…

  • more fruit like blueberries, raspberries, and bananas
  • bee pollen
  • goji berries
  • cacao nibs or dairy-free chocolate chips (enjoy life is my fave brand)!
  • organic maple syrup
  • honey
  • Blueberry “sauce” (simply warm up 2 TBSP of frozen blueberries in a microwave save dish for about 30 – 45 seconds for a sauce/syrup like consistency to pour over pancakes
  • organic almond butter or peanut butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
Heavenly Nut Butter Flavor Combo’s from Jem Organics

Heavenly Nut Butter Flavor Combo’s from Jem Organics

You know a product is all that it’s made out to be, when you see every influential health & nutrition blogger post about it daily. The product I’m referring to today, is Jem Organics -handcrafted in Oregon, blending high-quality almonds from Spain into delicious and unique nut butter flavors for all to enjoy. Upon receiving the package, I opened it up to find the cutest little bite-size jars full of creamy nut butters. From Cinnamon Red Maca, to sweet & spicy Cashew Cardamom, to Superberry Maqui Camu, and their savory Cashew Curry Tahini – I was sold.

Those of you who know me well, know that I can’t keep my hands out of the almond butter jar. Obviously, these mini jars didn’t last too long in my kitchen, but they most certainly added a heightened flavor profile to each dish that was lucky enough to be drizzled by some Jem organics.

So how can you get your hands on one of these exclusively tasty jars of Jem Organics nut butter? Check out their website at Jem Raw and explore their flavor options! P.S. If you sign up, you get 25% off your first order – WOO!

Once you’re stocked up – try out some of the below recipe options for some EXTREMELY DELICIOUS and JAZZY nut butter layering.

Zoodles, Sweet Potatoes, Beets, Sauerkraut, a Fried Egg, Crispy Chickpeas, Avocado all topped with Jem Organics Cashew Curry Tahini
Coconut Yogurt topped with Caramelized Apples & Banana, Granola, Goji berries, Bee Pollen, & Jem Organics Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter

Goji Blueberry Modern Oats topped off with Jem Organics Superberry Maqui Camu Almond Butter
Chocolate Chip Coconut Pancakes layered with Jem Organics Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter

My Favorite Boston Health Finds

My Favorite Boston Health Finds

So I decided I would do a post for those who are either local to Boston or looking to book a trip to this beautiful and active city! I grew up 30 minutes outside of Boston, but rarely made the trip into the city unless I was heading to the Reggie Lewis Center for track meets or the North End for some hearty Italian food with the fam! Otherwise, I would not have ever considered myself a true Boston native.

Fast forward several years later, post my 4-years spent in Baltimore for college and my 9-month stint in Palo Alto, CA …I’ve now spent a full year and counting with my boyfriend, living in one of the neighboring Boston towns. So far I’d give this city a healthy 8 out of 10! Honestly I’d say the two biggest downfalls are the harsh winters (I’m VERY much so a summer girl) and the lack of health food joints when compared to the Manhattan’s and San Francisco’s of the world. Otherwise, I’ve seem to fallen for this city! Now, I most certainly DO NOT consider myself a Boston pro by any means, but I figured I’d go ahead and share a few of my insider tips for those who are looking to come to the Boston area for healthy food and indoor/outdoor activities!

Health Boston EATS –

Dig Inn – This is a brand new café in Boston, however, if you’re local to NYC, you’ve probably seen a few of these in passing. It’s a cafeteria style café serving seasonal and locally sourced breakfast, lunch, & dinner items. Their grain bowls are out of this world.
o Located on 557 Boylston St., Boston, MA.

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Whole Heart Provisions – Luckily for me, this vegan-style café is located just a few minutes down the road from me! They offer the most BOMB vegan “Buddha Bowls” – not to mention their “street style” Brussel sprouts & seared avocado are out of this world.
o Located on 487 Cambridge St, Allston, MA.

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Live Alive “Urban Oasis & Organic Café” – All around great vibes at this place! They offer a huge variety of nourishing, super food smoothies, as well as grain-based, customizable bowls & sandwiches – something for everyone!
o There are 3 Locations – 194 Middle St, Lowell, MA , 765 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA , and 281 Essex St, Salem, MA. {not my photo}

Mother Juice Boston – They’re your go-to for nourishing smoothies, fresh juices, acai bowls, almond butter toasts, and more!
o There are soon to be a total of 3 locations – 625 West Kendall St, Cambridge, 100 Hanover st, Boston Public Market and new location opening on 291 Newbury St, Boston! {not my photo}

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Energize Boston – Brand new location just opened up in Brighton, MA. Great atmosphere, offering customizable salad bowls, nutrient/superfood packed smoothies, juices, and acai bowls.
o Located on 618 Washington St, Brighton, MA

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FoMu – If you’re craving something sweet AND vegan – this is your place. “Ice Cream” that’s completely coconut milk based, but tastes AMAZING.
o Located on 481 Cambridge St., Allston, MA {not my photo}

Tatte Bakery – their Avocado toast on sourdough w/ a poached egg is BAE. Also love their matcha lattes. Perfect place to meet a friend for coffee, a pastry, or just to chat! Outdoor seating on Beacon St. is IDEAL too.

Pressed Juicery – Fro-Yo Style “juices” and freshly made juices. So many options to choose from! All ORGANIC and CLEAN. Their “froyo” is the best guilt-free dessert you can get your hands on in the summer.

By Chloe – You know when you’re craving something deliciously unhealthy, but healthy at the same time? Whether you’re recovering from a night out or just need to please your growling belly, By Chloe is the place for you. This trendy, fast-casual, vegan restaurant, is still fairly new to the Boston neighborhood (locations in both Seaport and Fenway), yet the buzz around these tasty eats is still going strong, and for good reason! By Chloe is a burger-joint from the 50’s meets New York late-night diner, all with a modern, clean, and crisp spin that makes you want to hang out on their swinging chairs all day long, while overhearing the roaring cheers from the neighboring Red Sox Game. As if things couldn’t get better, By Chloe has their liquor license and conveniently offers beer and wine for those who are feeling a little more wild and are looking to pregame before the big sox game. So while the boyfriend chows down on pizza and beers, you’ll pride yourself on a healthy meal to hold you over, all while getting your buzz on before the game.

**Two Locations – Fenway and Seaport

Additional Boston Juice Bars (Fresh pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, etc.) Include:

Pressed Boston – 120 Charles St, Boston, MA
CocoBeet – 100 City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
Liquiteria – 1430 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
Jugo’s – 145 Dartmouth St., Boston , MA
Juice Press – 33 Boylston, St, Chestnut Hill, MA
Pure Cold Press – 326 Harvard St., Boston, MA
Revolution Juice – 150 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA

Juice Press / Build you own Salad

Feel free to comment if you have any healthy suggestions! I love discovering new places 🙂

Easy meal prep in 1-2-3!

Easy meal prep in 1-2-3!

Hi everyone,

So today I’m going to talk to you all about meal prep! Though most Sunday mornings I wake up feeling on edge because of “all the errands I have for that day”, I’ve some how come up with a plan that has drastically cut down my meal prep time. If you’re like me and get a serious case of the Sunday scaries – let’s work on changing that first and foremost! My boyfriend and I have agreed to begin looking at Sunday differently. Rather than a day we’ve come to dread, lets turn it into just another full day of the weekend and try to enjoy it!

That starts with not dreading meal prep anymore and while we’re at it, let’s cut down on our meal prep time! For those of you who aren’t yet sold on meal prep – here’s a non-exhaustive list of all of the benefits of meal preppin!

  • End up saving time and money $$$
  • Cuts down on the anxiety you feel driving home from work (especially if you struggle with an hour long commute like myself!)
  • Obviously helps to avoid making any unhealthy choices
  • And if you’re super indecisive like myself, you avoid any question of what to eat for breakfast/lunch/and dinner that week!
  • Makes keeping track of your macro’s easier!

So now that we’ve established the obvious importance of meal prep, let me share with you what mine looks like! Keep in mind, everyone’s is different. You’ll eventually find what works for you and stick to that.

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal jars – check out some of my overnight oatmeal recipes for ideas (Baby food & Oats, Blueberry Maple Walnut Oats, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Pumpkin)!

  • Basic Ingredients Include: A batch of bananas, oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • Why? These are so quick to make, they’re easy, healthy, and last all week! Combining 1/2 cup of oats, with 1 cup of almond milk, & a sliced/mashed banana = instant satisfaction! Then feel free to get creative from there and combine it with optional ingredients such as blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, stevia, etc.!

OR Green Smoothies because they ROCK. I’ve been getting mine to-go from the cafe at my gym 🙂
IMG_4883
Lunch:

  • VERY large Salads or “Buddah Bowls” – you certainly have some options here and I tend to switch it up a lot!

  • Basic (optional) Ingredients: Frozen Veggie Burgers (Amy’s California, Dr. Praegers, and Engine 2 Diet are all my fave choices) or canned tuna, Kale or Spinach, Frozen Edamame, Frozen Corn, Avocado, a bag of Shredded carrots, Sweet Potato or Brown Rice, Lemon Tahini Dressing
    IMG_4757

  • Why? If your salad is big enough (this is key people! no whimpy salads allowed here!) than you’re golden! I start with my base of spinach or kale, then I defrost frozen edamame and corn to add to my salad, then throw in some carrots, tomatoes, and 1/4 – 1/2 an avocado, and lastly I’ll either prepare a bag of sweet potatoes in the micro for the week (I buy a bag of about 5 from wegmans which I can just throw in the micro for 8 minutes to cook – so fast and easy) OR I’ll make a batch of brown rice for the week. Lastly for the protein, I either throw a veggie burger in the toaster oven to broil for about 10 minutes or I’ll mix a can of tuna with dijon mustard, lemon, salt, shallots, and olive oil to add for my protein.
    IMG_4808
    Dinner:

  • Veggie/Carb/Protein Loaded Dinner – I really love prepping a bunch of vegetable options, along with shrimp for protein, and rice for carbs!

  • Basic Ingredients: Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Brown Rice or Banza Pasta, Frozen (cut and peeled) Shrimp, and Low Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
    IMG_4794

  • Why? Stir Fry is SUCH an easy go-to and tastes amazing. I’ll typically sauté my shrimp in olive oil & lots of cayenne pepper to give them a little kick. Then I’ll make a batch of brown rice for the week which I can easily reheat for dinner. Lastly, I’ll always make a large batch of roasted vegetables for the week. Lately, my go-to has been cauliflower roasted in curry, tumeric, and coconut oil ; brussel sprouts and asparagus in olive oil, rosemary, salt & black pepper. Throw these in the oven at 420 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
    IMG_4742
    **A quick tip for reheating: When you put all ingredients into one bowl, cover with saran wrap and heat for about 1:30-2 minutes.
Essentials you Should Always Have in your Kitchen

Essentials you Should Always Have in your Kitchen

When it comes to balancing food shopping and your budget – I totally get it. It’s a constant battle.

Whole Foods > Whole Pay Check?
Organic > Not Organic?
Quest bars > Kind Bars?
Almond Butter > Peanut Butter?

For me …I find that some weeks I give in to the Whole Food brain wash and buy every healthy, organic snack I see on the shelf. And some weeks, I go in with a tight budget and an even leaner grocery list. I find this balance works. Especially when you can stock up on the right essentials to save you at least a few grocery trips!

So when is it worth spending those extra few bucks on groceries when it could have gone to that new lulu sports bra you’ve been eyeing? Let me share with you my faves!

  • Chia Seeds: Lucky for you – Wegmans and Whole Foods carry these in their bulk food section! Otherwise, this product is quite popular and can be found at most health food stores or even online through Amazon Prime!
    chia
  • Goji Berries: Again, these berries can be quite pricey – but I swear by them! They are the perfect sweet topper or can be great for snacking! Again – these can be bought in bulk or can be found in a packaged bag. Keep an eye out for sales on both these and chia seeds!
    Red dried goji berries in wooden spoon
    Red dried goji berries in wooden spoon
  • Amazing Grass Product: I’ve been using the chocolate infusion for quite some time now. You can refer to my recipe here — you’ll see I rave about all of the nutrients you’re getting in just one scoop! This brand is a bit expensive, but when it comes to spending a few extra dollars – the health return you get from 1 scoop is completely worth it!
    AG_All_PRODUCT-GROUP
  • Almond Butter: I absolutely love almond butter – but let’s be honest, some of the brands like Justin’s can be a bit expensive! It’s great to splurge every now and then, but if you kill a jar of almond butter in a week like I do, it may be time to re-evaluate how much money is going into one jar! Stick to the bulk food section and make your own container of almond butter. Both Whole Foods and Wegmans have this option.
    Almond-butter
  • Coconut Oil: I LOVE coconut oil and I now buy it in 2 forms. I have a the big jar and I have the spray kind. I’ve been able to find the spray bottle for a much cheaper price through the brand PAM.
    coconut-oil
    Maca Powder: Again another superfood, that is on the pricier side. But here’s the good news, you only need about 2 tsps to get the nutrients you need from this green powder! So make sure you splurge on the price, but are generous with your serving size!
    Maca-powder-in-a-spoon
  • Almond Milk: Thank god for the 2.8L of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk that I buy. This large carton lasts forever and is most definitely one of my essentials, whether it be for smoothies, oatmeal, or just some coffee!
    almond milk
  • Frozen Veggie Burgers: These are an easy, quick go-to when your in need for protein! Throw them in a salad, whip one up for dinner – whatever works! I tend to switch up the brands. So far, I’ve tried Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers, Amy’s California Veggie Burgers, Vegan Boca Burgers, and the Engine 2 Diet Veggie Burgers – all of which are great choices in my opinion! But the Engine 2 really spiced up my taste buds.
    veggie-burger-1-new
  • Frozen Shrimp: Similar to the veggie burgers, these are another go to of mine. You can usually find these in bulk and they’re so quick and easy. They go perfectly in a stir-fry, with a pasta dish – you name it! Definitely worth an investment on my grocery list.
    shrimp
  • Frozen Acai Packages: I buy mine from the brand Sambazon and you can now find these in the frozen food section of most grocery stores. They are great for a filling smoothie or acai bowl and can work for any meal of the day!
    acai

Enjoy!

Crockpot Banana Oatmeal with Orange Zest

Crockpot Banana Oatmeal with Orange Zest

Recently my boyfriend purchased a crockpot…yes it took us more than 6 months of living in our apartment to buy one. Now that we have it, I don’t know WHY we decided to wait so long! Now, I thought overnight oatmeal was the BEST way to eat oatmeal. I’ve clearly been proven wrong. Slow cooker oatmeal is EASILY the best of the best. I’ve never tasted anything so creamy and thick to perfection. Not to mention, HUGE added bonus when you wake up in the morning and your apartment smells like a cinnabun.
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I’ve only made crockpot oatmeal twice, but both times seemed to surpass any and all expectations. It’s incredible how much flavor this oatmeal holds, with so little ingredients. I always take out a variety of toppings to add to it, but end up finding the oatmeal is just as delicious without any additions.
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The below ingredients/measurements serves about 6 people.

Ingredients:

-2 Cups of Oats (I used quick oats – but steel or regular work to)
-2 Cups of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
-2 Cups of Water
-1 and 1/2 banana chopped
-1/4 cup of flax seeds
-1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp of nutmeg
-2-3 tsp of cinnamon
-1-2 tsp of vanilla stevia
-1-2 tsp of orange zest

Add all ingredients and stir well once in the crockpot. Cook for 8 hours on low heat – I prefer to do this overnight so that I wake up to it! Once ready, stir oatmeal with a fork to fluff it up and serve warm. Top with mixed nuts, fruit, whatever you’d like or eat as is!

** If you have any leftovers – turn them into oatmeal cookies! Add about 1 tsp of baking powder to your mix + chocolate chips. Set oven to 370 degrees and cook for 20 mins or until lightly golden. Let cool and enjoy!

The Healing Powers of my MACA Green Smoothie

The Healing Powers of my MACA Green Smoothie

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Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit when I say that this smoothie has “healing powers”. Mind over matter, right? If you believe it, anything is possible!!

Ok ok, for real though, this smoothie is the answer to all of lifes problems. I’ve been a bit obsessed with this combo at the moment and I’m most certainly not ready to let it go just yet. You may be wondering, what IS it about this smoothie that makes it so wonderful?

Why Amazing Grass Chocolate Infusion?
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1 scoop of this and you’ve nailed almost of your most important nutrients >> 11 grams of plant-based protein, organic wheat grass, acai, goji, flax seed, maca, chorophyll, kale, digestive enzymes, & active culture probiotic blends are just a few of the amazing nutrients you’ll find in this powder!

Why Maca powder?

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Maca is a superfood derived from Peru. It’s healing powers include, but are not limited to energizing the body naturally, aiding in the endocrine system to help deal with stress, provides an incredible amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and is rich in fiber. If that didn’t sell you enough, the Peruvian warriors used the maca root to increase their strength and endurance – HECK YES!

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So what else is in this smoothie that makes it so delicious and nutritious??

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (add more or less depending on how thick you like your smoothies)
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Chocolate Infusion
  • 1 TBSP of Maca Powder
  • 1-2 Cups of Spinach or Kale
  • Cinnamon
  • Dash of Vanilla Stevia

–> Now Blend well – feel free to drink alone or top with some bee pollen, fruit, nuts – whatever your heart desires!

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Ooey Gooey Breakfast Bars

Ooey Gooey Breakfast Bars

For this week’s breakfast on-the-go, I was inspired by a variety of breakfast bar recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest and Instagram lately! I used a combination of various recipes found online to create these delicious bars!

Start by setting your oven to 350 degrees. Then take out a large baking sheet and coat it in coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Very Ripe Bananas
  • 1 TBSP of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 cups of oats
  • 2 drops of coconut stevia

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl together VERY well.
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– 1/2 – 1 Cup of mixed nuts (I prefer almonds, cashews, goji berries, raisins, walnuts, mulberries >> make a bulk batch of your own from whole foods or wegmans!)
– 1/2 cup blueberries
– 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
– Pumpkin Pie Spice
– 1-2 TBSP of chia seeds or flax seeds
– Cinnamon

Fold these mixed nuts and berries in gently as to not smooch or damage your delicious berries!
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Next, lay your mixture evenly across the baking sheet – this should be about 1/2 an inch in thickness (so be careful as to not make it too thin or too thick!). Finally, lightly coat your layer of oats in cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Toss this in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly beginning to crisp to a nice light brown! This can be served warm or cold and can be stored in a tightly closed container in the fridge for up to a week!
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I chose to pair these breakfast bars with egg-veggie muffins to keep it a well balanced meal of protein, carbs, and fats!

Enjoy this for an awesome breakfast, snack, or dessert!


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