Archive for March, 2012

March 26, 2012

spinach frappe

This should really be called a banana mocha frappuccino, but I like to say spinach frapp just cause it sounds gross. Don’t get me wrong, I love my spinach. But who really wants it in their sweet blended coffee drink?

Leafy greens—fresh or frozen—turn out to be a great addition for smoothies and shakes. They add vitamins and fiber and substance to your smoothie without loading in the sugar, fat, or ice that waters down the flavor. Nor does it add any flavor of its own, so don’t worry about you frappucino tasting like a drinkable salad.

This homemade frappe has it all — sweetness from a frozen banana and vanilla soymilk, fiber from the spinach and banana, richness and antioxidants from the cocoa, a jolt of espresso, and extra protein (optional) from protein powder — without too much ice watering it down! To indulge in a mocha frappuccino for breakfast and not feel one bit of guilt? Mornings just got way sweeter.

read more »

March 24, 2012

cookie dough bites of bliss

I try my hardest not to buy processed snacks—both for the processed factor as well as the ingredient factor—because even “health food” companies and organic snacks from Whole Foods use lots of added sweeteners, fats, and refined flours. But I simply don’t have the time to bake fresh granola bars and healthy muffins every time I reach for a snack.

My lack of time for baking has led me to experiment with a quick-to-make, easy-to-eat, and sweet-tooth-satisfying treat. After a few attempts (eh ok.. maybe like 6 in the last two weeks ;) I’m proud to give you my new favorite go-to treat: bliss balls.

I can put them together in 5 minutes tops (and I’m especially slow in the kitchen so this is incredible for me), they don’t get dried out or stale since they live in the freezer, and they leave you with one (just one!) dirty bowl. But best of all… the dense, peanut buttery flavor interspersed with bittersweet chocolate bits is exactly what my sweet tooth craves. Plus I’ve always been a dough girl… who needs the oven when you can eat spoonfuls of the gooey dough?! (egg-free, Mom!)

Oh, and I almost forgot – not only is this a guiltless recipe, it’s a very nutritious one. Whole grains, a good boost of protein and fiber from the peanut flour, antioxidants from cocoa, just a bit of healthy fat, a touch of fruit, and no refined sugar to be found.

…Bliss in a ball :)

Freezer bliss balls, inspired by these

  • ¼ cup peanut flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour (gluten free options: use oat flour, coconut flour or almond meal)
  • 2 T erythritol, or other granulated sweetener of the unrefined variety (depending on your tastes you may want to add more – I don’t like mine too sweet)
  • dash n’ a half of salt
  • 1 T smart/earth balance, softened (or coconut oil)
  • 1 T unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ t vanilla extract
  • ¼ t maple extract
  • 1-2 T vanilla soy milk
  • 1 t honey (optional – I added this at the end for a bit more sweetness and to help bind the dough)
  • ¼–1/3 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips (or try mini choc chips, chopped chocolate, cocoa nibs, carob chips..)

Whisk together flours, sweetener and salt. Add butter, applesauce + extracts and combine with spatula to form thick dough. Gradually add milk til you have the right consistency. Batter should be thick and hold up well. If you add too much milk, add an extra spoonful of peanut flour. Mix in chocolate chips.

Spoon into balls/blobs, flatten, sprinkle with sea salt, & freeze for on-the-go-goodness. They’ll thaw in about 60 seconds into a sweet dough ball of bliss.

Makes 12 small cookies. (Since I made these several times to perfect them, I kept the batches small. Feel free to double or triple the recipe :)

*Update Sept 2013: I now usually triple this recipe (so that they last me more than 2 days!). I use 1 cup peanut flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour (omitting the wheat flour altogether) and about 2 T coconut sugar along with enough stevia to make it sweet. Coconut flour is very absorbent so if you use it, you may have to add another Tbsp or two of applesauce. 

read more »

March 21, 2012

A taste of Guatemala

Traveling. It’s like me and chocolate…. give me a taste and all I want is more. A measly 7 days of escape from the middle of my busy final semester of college when I’m already suffering from major senioritis was just not enough to satisfy my wanderlust.

And speaking of chocolate — in some unimaginable way I don’t think I had any chocolate (or sweets, for that matter), until Allyn and I realized the absurdity of this and subsequently devoured a brownie sundae on my last night, immediately followed by a second one.

I had actually noticed our lack of ice cream on the trip the day before I had to leave, and made clear to everyone my determination to find some good helado. Specialty helado shops were everywhere to be found, yet we always seemed too busy or too full from the meal before to stop in. And still this was the case on that day until it was about 9:30 and we were all ready for some helados… only to find every helado shop in the little lake-side village of San Pedro to be closed. NO! We ended up settling with cheap ice cream bars from a freezer in a tienda. I was not happy.

Then as we meandered back down the dirt paths of the town to our hostel, lit by the full moon and nuzzled by the warm breeze, Allyn says to me, “I know something that will make you feel better about eating your ice cream.”

“What?” (could that possibly be..?)

“I think this is the only thing that hasn’t worked out for us on this trip…”

It was true. And I felt instantly better about eating my sweet, 5-quetzal Sarita ice cream. Things could be worse.

It was a bittersweet trip all around — enjoying every moment while knowing our time is so limited. Much emphasis on the sweet though ;

We began from all different spots on the East Coast — Boston, D.C., Charleston SC and Florida — and met up for a spring break adventure, starting with a flight to Guatemala City. We wasted no time and headed straight to Antigua, a cobblestone-covered, colorful colonial city (please excuse my annoying alliteration) nestled between three volcanoes. After a couple days of wandering the streets, stuffing ourselves with street food, watching the elaborate processions held each Sunday during Lent, and hiking nearby volcán Pacaya, we smushed into the back of a pickup truck with 9 other travelers + their bags and headed up the mountains to Earth Lodge, a magical avocado farm complete with tree houses, unlimited hammocks, and incredible family-style vegetarian dinners.

read more »