Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

‘Tis the season of plaid, apple picking, and pumpkin flavored everything! All the basic bitches are out in their scarves, uggs, and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, even if it’s still warm and sunny. Personally, I never jumped on the pumpkin spice latte band wagon. If you’ve ever googled in the ingredients you might know what I am talking about. The Food Babe, one of my favorite bloggers, was one of the first people to call out the health and safety of the ingredients used to make this addicting and trendy drink. I want to share this great infographic she made that shows you really what is in that drink.  I won’t go into all of that here, but as someone who prefers to be in control of her health, this is something I feel very strongly about.

what's in a pumpkin spice latte

 

So Where Can You Get a Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Make make own version of course! And on that note, my fierce health warrior sister, you can make your own healthier versions of ANYTHING. I give you permission to experiment. Just try things out, and make shit up in the kitchen. Don’t worry about failure. If there’s one thing I can give you here (besides this recipe) it’s the power to know that you can do this too.

I used ingredients I already had in my house to come up with my own healthier version of the pumpkin spice late. I have to say I kinda like it!!!  I’m not a coffee person but this is light and creamy, with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. I’m going to keep this simple and sweet, just like this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.
  • 1/2 cup black coffee
  • *Optional* Honey or stevia to taste

Directions

  • Whisk or blend: coconut milk, cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice so the mixture is even and a little frothy
  • Heat on a stove over medium heat to a simmer.
  • Pour in 3/4 cup of black coffee
  • Add any additional sweetener you desire.
  • *Optional* To make it extra frothy use a whisk or put it back in the blender for a few seconds.

Serve or drink in your favorite Starbucks cup and body will know the difference!

P.S. Please feel free to use this recipe as a place to start, then jazz it up or modify it any way you want. Use almond milk, or real milk if that’s your jam. Throw in some pumpkin puree- I bet that would be SOOO good. Make it your own!

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

Paleo Apple Cinnamon “Oatmeal”

Paleo Apple Cinnamon “Oatmeal”

So I decided to do Whole 30 again. The last time I did it which was a few years ago I was not successful. I gave up about half way through it, not because I missed junk food, but because I was creating a shit ton of anxiety in my head over the things I “was allowed” and “not allowed” to eat. Reading every label, trying to be perfect, freaking out when there were no Whole 30 options available, and feeling like I was punishing myself. It felt more restrictive than anything and lead to my food control issues getting worse. My decision to call it quits was more about restoring my mental health than anything else. I felt out of balance and worried all the time about what I would eat. That’s totally NOT THE POINT of Whole 30.

I felt like I had let myself down by not succeeding, like I was a failure. Would the “Whole 30” police be knocking on my door any minute??? But the silver lining was this was a major lesson I had to learn about worry, control, and food anxiety. Since then I’ve been working towards balance, which is easier said than done for me. I am grateful for the lesson though, because I got to witness my thought patterns around food.

I was getting some universal nudges that it was time to jump back in and try it again. This time I’m trying to NOT sacrifice my mental health in the process. I thought I would share my Whole 30 journey here on the blog by posting recipes of what I am eating, and discussing the mental aspect of food and anxiety.

Picture it: Sunday morning, rainy, dark, and cool. I only wanted something warm and cozy. Grains being off the list I had to get creative.

I got inspired by a post on pinterest that was similar to this but had a lot more ingredients. I almost always pass up on recipe that are too involved. Occasionally it’s fun, bot on a regular day I need something fast and easy. And any time apples and cinnamon are involved it’s instant cozy town.

I hope you enjoy.

apple cinnamon breakfast bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of any nuts you have but mix raw nuts are better. For this one I used cashews, walnuts, and pecans.
  • 1/2 apple
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves (or any combination of thees)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

Directions

  • In a food processor pulse the nuts so they are chopped. The consistency is up to you. If you want it like porridge then pulse it to a fine powder. I prefer a mixed texture of some larger chunks with more fine granules.
  • Finely chop some apple slices.  I used a mandolin to get really thin slices, but you can just dice them into small chunks too.
  • Combine chopped nuts, spices (any amount, no measuring required), and apples, with almond/coconut milk in a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Top with some more apples and cinnamon to make it pretty!

That’s it! SO EASY! It’s fast and super healthy, giving you a great dose of protein in the morning.

apple cinnamon breakfast bowl

 

 

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Avocado Basil Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

Avocado Basil Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

One of my favorite summer flavors is basil. We used to grow tons of it in our backyard garden and have an abundance of basil in every meal. After harvesting several bunches we would come up with different ways to incorporate it into our meals. A standard tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad was always available, but pesto was another go-to summer recipe in my house.

I decided to alter this one a bit for the more health conscious by using zucchini noodles and avocado. The texture is slightly creamier as a result; tasting like a pesto, with the texture of an alfredo sauce. I eat avocado at almost every meal on a daily basis, finding different ways to use it has become a fun hobby! Avocado martinis anyone? Ok that might not be a good idea.

This avocado basil pesto recipe is simple and healthy! If you know me by now you know that I don’t do complicated recipes with a ton of ingredients. I believe that living a sustainable and healthy lifestyle is easier when simplified; as most things in life are. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it!!!

Cheers to a great summer!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • zucchini noodles
  • *Optional* pine nuts and parmesan cheese

Directions

  • In a food processor combine  basil, avocado, garlic (or more if you like!), olive oil, lemon juice.
  • If the pesto is too thick to blend because of the avocado try adding a teaspoon of water to thin it out.
  • Toss pesto paste with zucchini noodles.
  •  *Pine nuts generally go into pesto, but I went without them this time and it turned out fine, but if you like them add in to the food processor. Same goes for parmesan cheese.
  • I also like to add some shaved parmesan on top when it’s ready to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste

Summer Melon Salad

Summer Melon Salad

Ok this is probably the easiest summer recipe I’ve ever created. Not only is it ridiculously tasty, but it also doesn’t need any measuring. I repeat: NO MEASURING! For all you lazy chefs out there, this one is for you. My favorite way to make food is by “eyeball measurements.” I put in the amounts of the things I want and don’t worry about the rest. Of course, in baking this is a different story.

This summer melon salad is perfect for al fresco summer dining, when the days are long and lazy. It’s also great to bring to a friend’s house for dinner, because it is such a crowd pleaser. I love the combination of the different flavors of melon here, but if you only want to use one or two types of melon knock yourself out.

Summertime flavors are, in my opinion, the most fun to work with when putting together a meal. There is so much right at our fingertips, and if you’re lucky you have a local farmstead nearby where you can get tons of fresh produce there are endless ideas.

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon
  • red onion
  • cucumber
  • mint
  • feta cheese (optional)

Directions

  • Scoop watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon using a small scooping spoon. (Honestly, I don’t expect anyone reading this to have a “small scooping spoon” I just used a measuring spoon that happened to be the perfect shape, but if you don’t have one use a regular spoon, or cube the melon, it still tastes the same!)
  • Thinly slice the cucumber and red onion. Try using a mandolin slicer if you want them super thin. Chopping works too!
  • Roughly chop the mint.
  • Mix everything into a bowl just before serving. If you are planning it ahead of time wait to mix everything until the last minute because the juice from the melon can make everything a little soggy if left to sit too long.
  • Sprinkle feta cheese on top as an option. But it’s a great addition, and I HIGHLY recommend it.

 

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

Easy Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Easy Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Vegetarian split pea soup is now one of my favorites to make. I’ve never been a fan of peas, so I always avoided split pea soup. The color and texture never appealed to me anyway, let alone the fast that there were peas in it. But the weather here lately has been a little unsure if it’s supposed to feel like winter or spring. I wanted to come up with a recipe that would be warming and hearty to bring balance to the cold and windy elements outside. However, I’m also am so ready for spring foods and light bright veggies! I decided that a healthy vegetarian split pea soup had both of those qualities.

And it’s even more perfect that we’re supposed to get like a foot of snow in a few days so I’ll have a nice warm soup to get me trough the storm!

Seasonal Eating

Carrots and peas are both seasonally springtime vegetables. They are light in flavor and don’t have too much heavy flavor about them. At the same time they are both grounding and dense in texture. Am I making any sense with this light vs heavy stuff? It makes sense to me so we’ll go with it. Split pea soup it is!

I wanted to make this as easy as possible with a few basic ingredients so you don’t have to buy a ton of stuff. Aside from the produce most of these ingredients you may already have in your house.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups of dried split peas
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp tamari or low sodium Soy Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  • In a large pot sautée chopped onions, bay leaves, and garlic in some olive oil on medium heat until translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Add in the vegetable stock, water, thyme, parsley, and split peas, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the soup has thickened add in the carrots and celery and let simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Add in any water or stock if it begins to try out.
  • Once the carrots are tender add in 1 tbsp Tamari and salt & pepper to taste.

 

Enjoy!

 

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

The thing I love most about this turkey chili is how fast it is. I have to give credit to my boyfriend who created this turkey chili recipe. One night he said he was going to make a pot of turkey chili for dinner, and then like 20 minutes later it was ready. I couldn’t believe it. Normally chilis and stews take so long to prepare and then on top of that they take a lot of time to cook.  Whatever he did, it was magical.

It seems innate that in the colder months we crave warmer foods…duh. But winter can be characterized as dry and windy, which may lead us to need more moist and grounding foods like heavy stews and roasted root vegetables. The food we eat this time of year can greatly enhance our ability to adapt to the harsher climate. Not to mention, strengthen our immune system to fight off whatever is going around- and there’s always something going around!

This turkey chili has since become a staple in our house during the winter months.

Turkey Chili

It’s a Sunday night type of dinner that’s quick enough to make on a weeknight.

Turkey Chili

 

Ingredients
  • 1 lb turkey
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • *Optional toppings* Sour cream and cheese
Directions
  • Sauté 1 pound of ground turkey on medium-high heat until browned. Once browned drain any excess fluid.
  •  Then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan: 1/2 of a small onion chopped, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 green bell pepper chopped, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of red kidney beans, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp oregano, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Stir until fully mixed and simmer for 15-20 until sauce thickens.
  • Top with sour cream and cheese when ready to serve.
  • Serves 4

Turkey Chili

Enjoy!