Creamy Chocolate Mango Smoothie

This great smoothie came to be the way most of my smoothies do: I was in a week-long process of clearing out the freezer and decided to use what had been left over.  But let me tell you, this one is a winner.  I had it for dessert or a snack every single day for an entire week.

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Ingredients
serves 2

1 cup water
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup coconut cream
3-4 Tbs cocoa powder
1 serving protein powder (consult the label for how many scoops!)
1/4 Tbs vanilla extract
Optional: ice cubes, matcha, maca, spirulina, bee pollen, cinnamon, turmeric

Method

Blend until smooth and top with your favorite toppings (chopped fruit, chia seeds, hemp seeds, any of the optional ingredients above, unsweetened shredded coconut).  Serve in a glass or a bowl with a spoon, breathe, take a sip, and smile.

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I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my family do! Remember, your health is worth it!

Love,
Lucy

Chocolate Almond Butter Steel Cut Oats (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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What day is it? Snow Day Saturday! Okay, I know that saturdays are saturdays, but being snowed in makes it a lot easier to get excited about doing “nothing”.  Or in this case, creating some tasty oatmeal to warm me up on this cold morning in Harrisonburg.  As I was going to bed last night, the only thing I wanted was chocolate to fix a not-so-hot day.  So I decided to dream about the chocolate peanut butter oatmeal I would make in the morning. When I woke up, I forgot that I didn’t have any banana (one of the staples in my fast, 5 minute oatmeal) and I had much more almond butter than I did peanut butter.  So, I decided I’d spend the extra time with some steel-cut oats and try out the almond butter.  I even dipped some almond butter in my cacao to make sure the combination would be a good one! Though I was skeptical, this turned out to be a delicious breakfast–so delicious that I even surprised myself.

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One thing I love about steel cut oats is that you can really chew them.  I am a big fan of having a satisfying bite, with something crunchy or substantial to chew on (usually chia seeds, the seeds on raspberries, hemp seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds…the list goes on).  This oatmeal totally hits that requirement! It is creamy, chewy, chocolatey, comforting, and charge you up! It is super dense, and sure to keep you warm, this coming from a continually cold person.

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Chocolate Almond Butter Steel Cut Oats (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Serves 1

Ingredients
3/4 cup almond milk (or your milk of choosing)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup steel cut oats (make sure they are gluten free!)
1.5 Tbsp almond butter
3/4 Tbsp cacao
1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey (though the honey is not vegan)
1/4 tsp Salt

Method
1.  Bring the almond milk, water, and salt to a boil in a small pot.
2.  Add the oats, turn the heat on low or low-medium and cover for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
3.  Stir in the cacao, almond butter, and maple syrup and let it sit for about 5-10 more minutes, depending on how soft you want the oats.
4.  Take off the heat and enjoy!

Notes:
Garnish with some more almond butter, hemp seeds, maybe bananas if you have them.
If you are as big a fan of cinnamon as I am, you will want to add cinnamon to this recipe–
DONT!  While I find that the cinnamon adds a great dimension to chocolate, it tends to mask
the nut butter. So try to resist if you want to have that great nutty flavor.
Definitely test this out with peanut butter or any other nut butter you have!

DSC_0421I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and just remember to experiment and have fun! Go take charge of your life and do what you love (I think this is the caffeine in the cacao talking…not bad advice I guess).  Stay warm wherever you may be, and thanks for stopping by.

Love,
Lucy

Almond Milk Hump Day

Hello to all! I am breaking my hiatus…exciting, right? Since coming back from Fort Brag, it has been so hard to find the motivation to do anything raw.  Though I have done a couple easy things, like Cashew Alfredo and some mushroom/zucchini burgers.  Anyways, I recently got a huge bag of almonds, and figured, why no make some almond milk? It was one of my original goals when I came back (and I’m only accomplishing it a month late, not so terrible).  

I made a huge batch, because I had soaked the entire bag of almonds, so I was making almond milk for a few hours.  Not to worry though! This only takes 10 minutes tops to make, plus the clean up time and all, and it is very hands on and fun.  DSC_0773

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Plain Almond Milk

Ingredients: 
1 cup Almonds, soaked for at least 8 hours  
3 cups water 

Equipment:
High-speed blender (a regular one will work too)
Nut milk bag, a cheese cloth, or a paint straining bag 

Directions:
Place the water and the almonds in a high speed blender until as smooth as possible, this only needs a minute or two.  Pour the mixture into the bag or strainer over the container you want to use (or a bowl with a wide rim) and squeeze the milk out of the bag until only pulp is left inside.  Consider straining it twice if it feels grainy. 

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CHOCOLATE ALMOND MILK

Ingredients:
1 cup almonds, soaked at least 8 hours in water 
3 cups water
5-6 dates
2 Tablespoons cacao powder 

Directions:
Blend all of the ingredients in the blender then strain like before.

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This is what the almond pulp left over in the bag should look like.  You can save this and use it as almond flour! (Store it in the fridge for about a week and the freezer for a month or two.)

As I was making all of this almond milk, I looked over on the counter, and I saw the plethora of peaches that we had on the counter.  Then it came to me: Peach Almond Milk! I was thinking of variations to do to make it more exciting, and the traditional strawberry milk came to mind at first, but then I wanted to do something different, so here it is! 

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PEACH ALMOND MILK
The peach in this is subtle, so if you wanted, you could add more peach.  In addition, you could add another date or two instead of the syrup.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups Water
3 dates 
1/2 cup of soaked almonds
1/2 peach, or just a little over a half 
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup 
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Add all of the ingredients in your blender and then strain through the bag.  

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Anyways, I hope you all enjoy it, and make any adjustments you feel are necessary (I won’t take it personally, I promise).  Keep having a wonderful summer, and remember the simple joys of being alive!

Love,
Lucy