Chocolate Peppermint Patties (Naughty or Nice)

Even better than store-bought versions. I suggest keeping these in the fridge or freezer for the best texture. The chocolate coating gets all snappy which is a wonderful contrast to the creamy middle.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

How To: 

1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, or for at least 2-3 hours. If your blender isn't great at blending things smooth, I suggest soaking overnight for the best results.

2. Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking.

3. Add the cashews, melted coconut oil, agave, milk, and peppermint extract into a high-speed blender. Blend on the highest speed until completely smooth. This can take a couple minutes.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grab mini cupcake/candy liners. Add a half tablespoon of filling into each liner. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you don't have any filling left (you should get about 22-25). Freeze, uncovered, for 20-35 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

5. After freezing, quickly pop the patties out of the cupcake liners and set each on top of their respective liner. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up even more.

6. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small pot over the lowest heat. When half of the chips have melted, remove it from the heat and stir until all the chips are melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for a few minutes before dunking the patties.

7. Remove the patties from the freezer and dunk them into the melted chocolate with a fork. Tap the side to shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment paper. Do this step as quickly as possible so the patties don't melt. Update: Some of you are having trouble with the chocolate thickening up as you do this step. If this happens, I suggest heating the chocolate again over low heat to thin it back out. The cold peppermint patties are probably causing it to thicken with time. Another option is to just drizzle the chocolate on top of the patties.

8. Return the patties to the freezer until set, for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate coating is firm. Store leftover patties in the freezer/fridge until ready to enjoy!

* To be extra festive (and a little naughty) sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate before the last step.

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Thanks to Oh She Glows for the healthy, but tasty twist, on a classic!

No-Bake Power Bars

I'm always playing around with power bar recipes. And when I'm on the go, which is often, I want to grab something that is packed with nutrition and not too sweet. These bars are my new go to afternoon snack.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds (raw)
  • ½ cup golden flax meal
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup creamy roasted almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 drops stevia
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place almonds, flax meal, shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor
  2. Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
  4. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir stevia, honey and vanilla into oil
  5. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
  6. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  7. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
  8. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously
  9. Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens
  10. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve

Makes 20 bars.

Recipe adapted from Going Against The Grain by Diane Smith.

No-Bake Sticky Blueberry Bars

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 12 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Toppings:

  • 6-8 oz blackberries
  • 6-8 oz blueberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Coconut Cream Concentrate
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. First make your crust. Add all ingredients for the crust to a food processor.
  2. Put crust ingredients in an bread pan, press down until evenly distributed.
  3. Now heat up a small saucepan under medium heat. Add your blackberries and blueberries, along with your maple syrup.Be sure to continuously stir so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.
  4. Once you have almost a runny jam, add your melted/softened coconut cream concentrate along with cinnamon and salt.
  5. When all ingredients are incorporated, pour mixture on top of crust and press flat. Put in the fridge to harden for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Cut into squares and serve

Thanks to PaleOMG for these killer bars

Virgin Watermelon Granita

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups frozen watermelon
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 tbsp vodka (optional)

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender, pour in your favorite glass, and garnish with mint leaves, lime and/or watermelon wedge. Enjoy!

Note: True granitas take a bit more work. This is the quick + easy variation and tastes just as good. If you want an adult version, try adding in 2 tbsp of your favorite vodka. Cheers!

Lemon Raspberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey

For the pancakes

  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • ½ cup almond milk + 3 tablespoons (carton, unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut oil, for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the first three ingredients: raspberries, lemon juice, and honey. Mix together and let simmer. Once raspberries have broken down, bring heat to low to let thicken slightly.
  2. Whisk together pancake ingredients: eggs, almond milk, honey and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  3. Then, while continuously whisking, add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking powder and baking soda and a pinch of salt to the large bowl. Whisk until batter is well combined.
  4. Grease a large pan and place over medium heat. Once pan is hot, use a large ladle to pour a pancakes size pancake on the pan. Then use a small spoon to scoop out a tablespoon of the raspberry jam mixture and swirl it around on the top of the pancake.
  5. Once pancake has cooked and bubbles begin to surface on the top of the pancake, flip it. The pancake should need to cook for 2-3 minutes each side.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the pancake mixture.

Yields 4-5 four-inch pancakes

Thanks to PaleOMG for this tasty brekkie.

Tom Kha Gai aka Chicken Coconut Soup Deliciousness

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 3 (2)inch pieces lemongrass, bruised to help release the flavor
  • 2-3 (1)inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 Thai chili peppers, thinly chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, thinly sliced (may substitute shrimp)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)

How To:

1. Bring all ingredients to (including chili peppers if using) to a boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour or so to really get those flavors melding.

3. Add in the mushrooms and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.

4. Add in the chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through.

5. Finish off with some cilantro and extra chili peppers (optional) and enjoy!

Thank you to Paleo Comfort Foods for this yummy Paleo winter soup.

Coconut & Cacao Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (13-14 large)  
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seed
  • 1/4 cup chia seed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut  **omit if you need to avoid nuts/coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Jay Robb egg white protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (or mini dark chocolate chips)

How To:

Add dates into processor and process until a chunky paste forms.

Add in the hemp, chia, sesame, cocoa, *coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, protein powder and salt. Process until thoroughly combined. Pulse in the cacao nibs. The dough should be sticky when pressed between your fingers. If it’s not sticky enough to shape into balls, add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time) and process until it comes together.

Shape dough into small balls (about 16) and roll the top half of each in the remaining coconut flakes.  Freeze for 20 minutes or so until firm. Store leftovers in the fridge until your next snack attack hits.

Thank you to Oh She Glows for these sweet treats!  

Golden Beet Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Fuji Apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Almonds, Slivered
  • 3 Golden Beets, boiled
  • 5 cup Spring Mix Salad Greens
  • 2 tsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar

How To:

Thoroughly scrub beets clean under cold water.

Place beets in a large pot of water, and boil until fork tender (about 45 minutes).

Remove skin from beets, then chop into bite-sized pieces.

Allow to cool before adding to the salad.

Rinse and chop the Fuji apple.

Toss spring mix greens with the apple and slivered almonds.

Add in the cooked beet chunks.

Drizzle salad with avocado oil and white balsamic vinegar, and serve.

Thank you to The Food Lovers Kitchen for this perfect summer recipe.

Farmer's Market Gazpacho

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Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped

1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

How To:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Place three-quarters of the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer contents of blender back to the bowl with the rest of the mixture. Stir. Cover. Chill. Serve.

Garnish: I love to garnish this soup with fresh chopped basil, cilantro and diced avocado.

Adapted from Whole9Life.

Beet Avocado & Arugula Salad

Prepare the beet slaw on the first day and refrigerate leftovers. Add greens, avocado, and seeds just before eating.

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Ingredients:

For the Big Batch

2 beets, peeled and grated or thinly sliced

4 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 English cucumber, seeded, thinly sliced

2 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced

For Each Serving

1 packed cup baby arugula

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 avocado, diced

3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted

How To: 

In a large bowl, toss beets, celery, cucumber, and scallions.

To serve, toss 2 cups slaw with arugula, oil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with avocado and seeds.

Thank you to Whole Living for this liver-nourishing Spring salad.

Arugula, Frisee, Red-Leaf Salad with Strawberries

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Ingredients:

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces), washed and dried

3 cups (about 1/2 small head) red-leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces

3 cups (about 1 small head) frisee, trimmed, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces

1 pint strawberries, washed, dried, hulled, and quartered

1/2 avocado sliced

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

2 Belgian endives, leaves separated, washed and dried

6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

How To:

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, red-leaf lettuce, frisee, strawberries, and walnuts, if using. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

On each of 4 individual salad plates, arrange 3 large endive leaves in a 3-pointed star with tips facing out. Then place equal mounds of salad in the center of each plate. Scatter goat cheese on top, if desired. Serve immediately.

Optional Garnish: I will change up this recipe by sprinkling either pepitas or sunflower seeds on top.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients:

½ cup coconut flour

¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup vegan shortening

¼ cup honey

4 large eggs

½ cup (about 3 ounces) dark chocolate chunks, coarsely chopped

 How To:

  • Scoop batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  • Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes
  • Cool and serve

Makes 6-8 scones.

Thank you to Elana's Pantry for this yummy treat.

Winter Vegetable Stew with Kale

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, small dice

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon thyme, chopped

3 medium boiled potatoes, peeled and quartered **

4 large carrots, 2 inch pieces

½ pound kale, sliced

2 large ribs celery, 2 inch pieces

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, grated

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

** Sub 1 can/box chickpeas for potatoes if you've avoiding starches

Garnish

2 tablespoons parsley, small dice.

How To:

1. In large dutch oven heat oil over medium heat.

2. Sauté onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme until onion begins to brown, about 12 minutes.

3. Add remaining vegetables and tomato paste, season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt, pepper and nutmeg; sauté 5 minutes.

4. Raise heat to high and add wine to deglaze pan; simmer until liquid reduces by half.

5. Reduce heat to medium; Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth; let reduce by half.

6. Reduce heat to low; simmer covered until vegetables are tender, 20- 25 minutes.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Recipe adapted from Natural Epicurian.

January's Dish: Black-eyed Pea Cakes and Collard Greens with Sweet Potato

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 Ingredients:

1/2 pound dry black-eyed peas

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 medium sweet potato or garnet yam (peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)

1 tablespoon olive oil 4 tablespoons bacon fat (divided)

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)

2 cups finely chopped collard greens

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 6 slices bacon

How To:

1. Pour the black-eyed peas into a large mixing bowl, stir in a pinch of baking soda and cover with warm water by two inches. Allow the peas to soak for 12 to 18 hours, then drain, rinse well and set the peas to boil in a large pot until soft - about 1 hour. Drain them once more, and set them aside.

2. Toss sweet potato with oil and roast at 425 F for 45 minutes, until tender. Turn once or twice.

3. While the peas boil and the potatoes roast, melt 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and fry until translucent and fragrant - 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in greens and continue cooking until tender - about 8 minutes.

4. Combine peas, collards and onions with arrowroot powder, paprika, cayenne and salt in a food processor and process until they form a uniform mash. Fold in the roasted sweet potato.

5. Take the mash by hand and form it into 6 patties about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Wrap them in bacon. 

6. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a cast-iron skillet. Fry the patties in batches, about 5 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a good sauce, gravy or mayonnaise.

Thank you to Nourished Kitchen for this delicious New Year's recipe tradition.

December's Dish: GF Coconut Chicken Soup

Ingredients:                                         coconut-chicken-DSC_29141

3 cups chicken stock
1 fresh thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into thin coins
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons agave nectar
6 ounces leftover chicken
1 cup mushrooms, rinsed, drained and sliced in half lengthwise
1 medium carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced

How To:

  1. In a pot, bring chicken stock and ginger to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes
  2. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, agave, chicken, mushrooms and carrot
  3. Just before serving, stir in lime juice and cilantro
  4. Serve

Grain-free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

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Ingredients:

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons applesauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 to 1/2 cups coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda ghee or coconut oil (for frying pancakes)

cinnamon (for sprinkling the pancakes)

How To:

Toss eggs, applesauce and honey into a food processor and pulse until slightly mixed. Add coconut flour, salt and baking soda slowly to the liquid ingredients and process until they form a firm batter that is still liquid enough to pour off a spoon.

Melt ghee or coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium to medium-low heat. Pour a heaping tablespoon of the pancake batter into the hot fat, sprinkle with cinnamon. Gently fry the pancake for a few minutes, until browned on the bottom; flip the the pancake and fry for a further one to two minutes. Continue working in batches, adding ghee or coconut oil as necessary, until your batter exhausted. Serve with honey, fruit or yogurt.

Thank you to Nourished Kitchen for this delicious recipe.

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup Coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 eggs

1 cup fresh baked pumpkin or winter squash

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips **

** You may choose to omit the chocolate chips altogether, or use raisins instead.

How To:

In a food processor, combine coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

Pulse in eggs, pumpkin, honey and oil until well combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Transfer batter to an 8x8 inch Pyrex baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.

Cool and serve.

Makes 16 squares

Thank you to Elana's Pantry for this fabulous recipe.

Farmer's Market Gazpacho Soup

Cold summer soups are simple to create, refreshing on the palate, and ensure you get a little more green in your daily meals. Add some sliced avocado on top of this Gazpacho to make a tasty snack or light lunch.

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Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped

1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

How To: 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Place three-quarters of the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer contents of blender back to the bowl with the rest of the mixture. Stir. Cover. Chill. Serve.

Thank you to the Whole9 for this delicious recipe.

July's Dish: Olympic Fuel: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

The recipe was developed by top sports nutritionists USOC's Colorado Springs headquarters. This dish is recommended after moderate-intensity training days.

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  Ingredients:

1 1/8 pounds diced chicken breast

1 1/2 ounces each:

hoisin, soy, and fish sauces

3/4 ounce minced garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

9 ounces Thai rice noodles

2 1/4 teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper

1 1/2 ounces of white vinegar

3 tablespoons each:

chopped green onion and cilantro

1/2 cup of bean sprouts

How To:

Add 1 1/2 quarts of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/8 pounds of diced chicken breast and 1 1/2 ounces each of hoisin, soy, and fish sauces, plus 3/4 ounce of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Simmer on low heat for an hour.

While cooking, soak 9 ounces of Thai rice noodles in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. 

In a small bowl, mix 2 1/4 teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper with 1 1/2 ounces of white vinegar; in another small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons each of chopped green onion and cilantro.

Blanch the noodles in a pot of boiling water and drain.

In separate bowls, top 1/2 cup of noodles with 1/2 cup of bean sprouts, 1/2 tablespoon each of the jalapeño and green onion mixtures, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Spoon 3 ounces of chicken and 6 ounces of stock over the noodles and serve. Makes six 12-ounce servings.