Pumpkin Bread w/ Choc Chips - Gluten Free/Paleo

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Nothing quite says fall like Pumpkin everything - am I right? I realize this may qualify me as “basic” but I really don’t care! I like to think of myself more as a child at heart and someone who is easily excitable, festive and loves to embrace the changing of the seasons. There is also something really comforting and cozy about baking and while I don’t do it often I find it very therapeutic when I do. In the spirit of fall something new that we are trying this year is painting pumpkins instead of the ever popular carving which we typically do. I am looking forward to less clean up and a different way of getting creative with our pumpkins - plus they will last longer in this Florida heat.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions and meals?

I adapted this Pumpkin Break recipe from Rachlmansfield and made it a little bit my own by switching up a few of the ingredients. The consistency came out great and slightly denser than other gluten-free or paleo baking recipes i’ve tried in the past which I really loved since sometimes they tend to be too mushy and fall apart.

What you need:

1/4 cup coconut oil melted (you could also sub avocado oil)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup organic pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 pasture raised eggs

1 and 3/4 cups of gluten free flour (I used a Bob’s Red Mill blend)

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

How to make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your bread pan with oil, ghee or butter of your choosing. - I used avocado oil to lightly coat.

Mix all of the wet ingredients together in a bowl and combine them evenly. Then add in the rest of the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) and mix until everything is smooth and there are no lumps.

Lastly fold in the chocolate chips and transfer to your baking tin. I added a few extra dark chocolate chips to the top for a visually prettier loaf.

Bake for 40 minutes and voila you’re done!

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As always please share and tag me on instagram @whole.health.happiness if you try any of the recipes.

Veggie Breakfast Bowls

 Veggie breakfast bowls w/ Japanese Sweet Potato

Veggie breakfast bowls w/ Japanese Sweet Potato

The newest obsession in our household these days is Japanese Sweet Potato and if you try this bowl be prepared for it to be your new favorite root vegetable too. Now that it’s “fall” in Florida i’ve been craving more roasted vegetables and root vegetables. It’s always beneficial for our bodies and our digestion to eat what’s in season. Eating seasonally and locally ensures the freshness of your vegetables/fruits while also supporting local agriculture. Obviously as the name suggests the Japanese Sweet Potato isn’t locally grown but you can always substitute with your favorite local root veggie. This is a great website to reference what’s in season in your area: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/

More on the Japanese Sweet Potato: it’s white in color with a purple skin, is a little less sweet than a regular sweet potato and a little firmer in texture. They bring that satisfaction that bread typically gives but without the refined carbohydrates and they are loaded with potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. We’ve been eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner but my favorite lately has been adding them to my breakfasts.

Pictured above is our new favorite homemade weekend brunch dish - a big ole bowl of veggies topped with eggs. We always incorporate Japanese Sweet Potatoes and then just use any and every other veggie we happen to have on hand that day. Pictured here our bowls were comprised of JSP (Japanese Sweet Potato), zucchini, onion, red pepper, baby kale and broccoli. Any combination of vegetables would be delicious in this bowl. We also tend to utilize any veggies we have that are close to going bad so that we don’t have a lot of waste.

We recently watched the documentary “Minimalism” (highly recommended) and are make a conscious effort to reduce our waste and carbon footprint where we can - even small things like not wasting food and being mindful of our waste and consumption helps. So feel free to experiment with different veggie combinations and try to incorporate those veggies from the week that you didn’t get around to eating. Anyway, I digress…back to the recipe below.

What you need:

1 large - Japanese Sweet Potato diced largely

1 head of broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 red pepper sliced

1/4 onion sliced

1 large zucchini diced

2 tbsp - Avocado Oil or other high heat cooking oil

Pasture Raised Organic Eggs

Avocado

Salt & Pepper to taste

Hot Sauce/Sriracha *optional

How to make:

Put the JSP and Broccoli into an oven safe dish with avocado oil and toss them so they are very lightly coated and so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the dish, season with salt and pepper and bake in oven on 375 for about 30 mins or until potatoes start to get slightly golden in color.

While those are baking…sautee the onion, red pepper and zucchini over medium heat with avocado oil until the veggies start to caramelize but still have some “bite” to them.

Once all veggies are done cooking combine them in a bowl, top with a fried or scrambled pasture raised egg and a side of avocado. Season as you see fit and I recommend finishing it off with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce or salsa for some acidity.

Tag me on instagram @whole.health.happiness if you try this recipe and let me know how your rendition turns out!

Chocolate Chip Paleo Banana Bread

Hello friends...it seems crazy to me that the last two posts I've done have been sweet recipes and not savory posts. I'm typically more of a savory food lover - but I've really been having fun experimenting with more baking. This recipe was inspired by the lovely whatcaiteate.com - I just added and changed up a few things to make it my own. When it comes to baking for me though I NEED to follow a recipe otherwise it usually turns out to be a disaster - so thank you Cait for the guidance here. 

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love banana bread. Depending on where you buy it or how you make it, it can be pretty sugar laden so be careful.  Luckily this recipe is so clean and has very little added sugar so you can eat it guilt free (in moderation of course). It's also incredibly moist (I know a lot of people hate that word, but i'm sorry it's just too fitting in this case). Also just to note I added a little extra dark chocolate chips to my loaf because I love me some dark chocolate. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

3 very ripe bananas

2 pasture raised organic eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 scoop vital proteins collagen peptides (optional - okay to omit if you don't have)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup walnuts

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

coconut oil or avocado oil to oil your baking pan

HOW TO MAKE:

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and oiling your pan with coconut oil liberally so that the bread won't stick.

In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas very thoroughly then add your eggs and vanilla and whisk until everything is evenly combined. Next place all of the dry ingredients in a separate bow. Then slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl - making sure to combine it all well so that there are no chunks. 

Lastly fold in your chocolate chips and walnuts. I love adding the walnuts for a little extra crunch but you can always use any other nut you prefer or omit the nuts if it's not your thing. Then place it in the center rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Check the loaf around 35 minutes by placing a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean - my oven takes a bit longer so it usually takes 40-45 minutes. Each oven is a little bit different so just watch and make your best judgement here.

Pictured below I LOVE to slather my slice of bread with some almond butter. Makes it feel rich, creamy and tastes more filling. 

 

 


2 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes!

2 ingredients, that's it?! I know...it almost sounds too good to be true. I admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard that this was actually a thing. However after testing the recipe out and then adding in my own twist I was shocked at how great these came out. Drum roll please: banana and egg. Yep, that's it!

I personally like to jazz things up a bit, so in this version I've added a few more easy quick ingredients that most of you should already have in your pantry. That being said you can absolutely just do this with just the banana and egg and it will still come out perfectly.

Okay here goes...

What you need:

1 ripe banana

2 pasture raised eggs (I use Vital Farms or Handsomebrook Farms)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

 

How to make:

Mash the banana up in a bowl until almost no chunks are left at all. Then add your two eggs and whisk it all together until it starts to look like pancake batter. Then add your vanilla, cinnamon and salt. This whole process takes about 2 minutes total.

Next, heat up some avocado or coconut oil in a pan on medium/high heat and ladle in your batter. This recipe should make about 4 pancakes. It's incredible how pancake like they look and if we are talking about taste I would say they are a  somewhere between a crepe and a pancake. DELICIOUS!

I drizzled mine with almond butter and a little bit of pure maple syrup and it was incredible! I highly recommend that combination. I am someone who usually prefers savory for breakfast over sweet but these have been hitting the spot lately. All clean ingredients, no flours, no added sugars and just pure goodness. Give them a try and let me know how yours turn out in the comments below!

 


Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is here! What is better than Butternut Squash Soup on a crisp fall day? It's creamy, nourishing, delicious and really easy to make. I recently had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed (yes I waited WAY too long to do this). In preparation and knowing that I wouldn't be able to eat solid foods for a few days I prepped a large batch of this soup and a few other things like cauliflower mash to have on hand. This was perfect because it was so creamy and filling so it really hit the spot.

What you need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2-3 cups of veggie broth or any other broth you prefer (add more if you prefer the soup thinner)
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk for added creaminess
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of allspice & nutmeg
  • S&P to taste
  • Stick blender

How to make:

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While your oven is preheating -cut your butternut squash in half and drizzle with olive oil and s&p skin side down. Bake the squash for 50min to 1 hour until the flesh is fork tender.

With about 15 minutes remaining for the roasting. In a pot over medium heat add your olive oil and cook your shallots for 2-3 minutes then add in your garlic and continue cooking another few minutes making sure not to let the garlic burn or else it becomes very bitter.

Next remove the squash from the oven and let cool for a few mins. Very carefully (since the flesh will still be hot) scoop out the squash leaving the skins behind and add it to the pot with the shallot and garlic. Cook this mixture together for a few minutes then add your liquids and bring to a boil for a about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes reduce your heat back down to medium and add in your spices.

Finally remove the pot from the heat and very carefully using a stick blender, blend the soup until creamy making sure not to splash hot soup on yourself. Using a deep pot that's not too wide will help in this process. Once you have reached your desired consistency place it in a large bowl and enjoy. I love to serve this with a piece of avocado toast. (pictured below)

Finished plated product!

        

 

 

 


Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hey guys! I know it's been a while since i've posted and that i've been a bit radio silent lately. We just moved back to our hometown and are very happy to be here but as a result i've been in a bit of a transitional phase and recipes have unfortunately taken a back seat. My hope is that now that things are settling down I plan to re-focus and share more recipes with you all. Thanks for being patient and sticking with me. I hope you still find inspiration in these recipes that I truly share and create with love.

Today I have a delicious recipe - inspired by my husband (no surprise here, he's the better cook in our house). He made these incredibly flavorful organic chicken lettuce wraps a few weeks ago and I've been dreaming of having them again ever since. So...I decided to make them again and also received a few requests via Instagram to share the recipe, so if you ask, I will do my best to deliver. I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as I do. It's also incredibly easy to make since it's a one pan dish. I would also highly recommend serving this dish as an appetizer for a dinner party. 

I plan to include more photos of the prep and cooking phases of my recipes going forward. Please let me know what else you'd like to see in the comments.

And now without further adieu on to the lettuce wraps...

What you need:

1 lb ground organic chicken

1 small can waterchestnuts drained

1 large portabella mushroom cap

2 cloves garlic minced

2 large scallions chopped

Sauce:

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds - toast for 5 mins on medium heat w/ no oil

3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

2 tbsp organic ketchup

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp sesame oil

salt & pepper to taste

*Whisk all ingredients together until combined.

How to Make:

Start by whisking all ingredients of the sauce together and set it aside. Chop your mushrooms & waterchesnuts into bite sized pieces, finely chop the scallion and mince your garlic and set aside. 

Season the ground chicken with salt & pepper and then brown it on medium high heat for a approx 6-8 minutes. Once the chicken is 85% cooked through add in your mushrooms, waterchestnuts, garlic and half of the chopped scallions. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften and the chicken is fully cooked through.  (cont. below)

  This is how the mixture will look just before the sauce is added.

This is how the mixture will look just before the sauce is added.

Turn the heat to low and add the sauce. Make sure you thoroughly coat the chicken and veggies with the sauce and cook for another 2 minutes allowing for the sauce to thicken and coat everything evenly.

Rinse and take leaves of iceberg lettuce and add the mixture to the center like you would a taco. Top with extra fresh scallion and enjoy!

 


 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Are you salivating yet? I know I am. Brace yourselves for these delicious little nuggets of dark chocolate heaven with only 4 easy and healthy ingredients.

I started to realize that there was a pretty large void in the dessert department on my page. This is for several reasons: 1. I try not to eat a lot of sugar 2. I don't have a huge sweet tooth and 3. I'm terrible at baking.  I love to cook savory dishes but admittedly baking is not my forte and I just honestly don't have the patience for it - so I tend to shy away from the sweet stuff. This recipe however requires no baking at all and is incredibly easy even for the most novice of bakers like myself.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it has very little sugar - it only has the naturally occurring sugars in the chocolate and if you use 85% dark chocolate like I do then you are still keeping your sugar intake very low. If you have a bit more of a sweet tooth than I would recommend using a dark chocolate somewhere around 70% or above - 85% is pretty dark and bitter so if your taste buds haven't adjusted yet so feel free to play around with differing levels of sweetness in your chocolate. For a first timer I would say something around 70-75% dark is the way to go.

 

What you need: *not pictured - vanilla extract & pinch of salt

  • 9 oz of dark chocolate (between 70-85% dark) I used Theo's organic chocolate fair trade here but Trader Joe's also has a great one
  • 7 Tbsp of Coconut Milk organic
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Toppings of your choosing: raw cacao nibs, raw cacao powder, coconut flakes, chopped nuts

How to make:

First very finely chop all of your dark chocolate. The finer you can get it the better because it will help melt more easily later on in the process. Once all chocolate has been chopped place it in a mixing bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl take your portioned out coconut milk and use a double boiler to heat the milk up just until so it begins to simmer. Once it's simmering remove it from the heat and pour the milk over the chocolate and cover the bowl for approx 5-7 minutes. This will allow the coconut milk to gently start to melt the chocolate on it's own. After 5-7 minutes being to stir the mixture gently adding in both the vanilla and pinch of sea salt. 

At this point place the mixture back over the double boiler to finish slowly melting the chocolate until all ingredients are combined into a smooth paste. Do not overheat or the chocolate will burn and become very bitter. Once all chunks have melted and your mixture is smooth remove from the heat and place it in the refrigerator for 2+ hours. 

Allow enough time for the chocolate to solidify so that when you take it out you can use a small scoop or large TBSP size spoon to create your truffle balls. If the mixture is still too soft just place back in the fridge until it has solidified enough for you to form the balls.

Now for the fun part...it's time to get your hands dirty! Using your scoop or spoon begin making your truffle balls - After you have formed the balls (this recipe makes approx 14-16 balls depending on how large you make them) begin rolling them in whatever toppings you prefer. Here I used three different toppings: unsweetened coconut flakes, raw cacao nibs and raw cacao powder. I would also highly recommend using finely chopped walnuts, hazelnuts (for a nutella like flavor) or extra sea salt for more of that ever popular sweet/salty combination. 

After all balls are formed, rolled and sufficiently topped place them back in the refrigerator in an air tight container for storage. Take the balls out about 5-10 minutes prior to eating for optimal texture. I really hope you all enjoy these. Please sound off in the comments and as always thank you for being a part of this space!

Another picture of the finished product because I just couldn't help myself - they are just so yummy and pretty to look at....


Zucchini Noodles w/ Pesto, Shrimp & Roasted Mushrooms

 After cooking (see zoodles before below)

After cooking (see zoodles before below)

I am SO excited to share this recipe. This was my first time making "zoodles" and they really exceeded expectations.  I have dabbled with spaghetti squash a handful of times before trying these so I was expecting a similar outcome (don't get me wrong spaghetti squash is also delicious) but this really made me feel like I was eating pasta. The texture and shape of the zucchini noodles really mocked pasta well and they really took on the flavor of the pesto. Since zucchini is a pretty bland vegetable in terms of flavor it can really take on the flavor profile of whatever it is being cooked with. In this case the pesto really stood out (which was a huge bonus for this pesto lover) 

I will absolutely without a doubt be making this dish and variations of it again soon. Another great thing about zoodles is that they cook very quickly and take very little time to prepare. This whole dish took only about 20 minutes to make from start to finish. So this is perfect if you are going for healthy and quick at the same time. AND look at how beautiful they are! (see below) :)

We've been trying to cut back on carbs and grains in our household in an effort to test out the theories of grains/starches/carbs causing brain fog and to reduce our sugar intake. I'll keep you posted with how it goes. In the meantime you can expect a few more gluten friendly recipes than usual. 

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What you need: 

a zucchini spiralizer (easy to find online)

approx 4 large zucchini's (for 2 servings)

2 TBSP cooking oil - coconut or avocado oil recommended (olive oil once cooked to add some flavor)

salt & pepper

1/2 lb. wild-caught shrimp

1 lb. organic baby portobello mushrooms

*pesto sauce (see recipe below OR how to make a version using avocado here) : you'll need 2 cups basil, 2 cups baby spinach, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts and salt & pepper to taste.

 

How to make:

First let's go over how to make the zoodles - it's easy as can be. Rinse and chop the ends off of your zucchini's and then use the spiralizer to create spiralized zucchini noodles until you have something resembling the above photo. Put these aside with a paper towel over top and press down to help absorb some of the water in the zucchini.

Next, slice and roast your mushrooms in a 350 degree oven with some olive oil, garlic and a little bit of red wine vinegar until they are slightly charred approximately 20 minutes or so. 

While the mushrooms are baking, cook your shrimp in a pan with some oil over medium heat - a few minutes a side adding a dollop of pesto at the end of cooking to lightly coat the shrimp. Lastly over medium-high heat throw your zoodles in a pan with a splash of water or stock and cook them for approx 5 minutes. You don't want the zoodles to turn to mush - they should have a good slightly al dente texture - so do a taste test if need be. Then toss the zoodles together with the shrimp and lots of extra pesto sauce and top with mushrooms. Garnish with fresh parsley or parmesan cheese if that's your thing.

 

Pesto Sauce:

Roast 1/2 cup of walnuts for about 5 minutes and set aside to cool. Bring a pot of water to a boil and quickly blanche 2 cups of basil and 2 cups of spinach for about 20 seconds. Then immediately rinse and cool them. Make sure to squeeze all of the excess water from the spinach and basil before putting into the food processor. Place walnuts, basil, spinach and approx 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (adding more olive oil for texture if needed as you go) with salt & pepper to taste - blend in a food processor until it forms a pesto like paste. Voila! You have your ready to use pesto.


Guest Post: Turkey Picadillo w/ Cauliflower Rice by Bradley Grace

Hello again!

It's nice to be back as a guest poster! Today i'm sharing a delicious and amazingly simple dish that is a staple in the Cuban kitchen and by virtue of its deliciousness should in fact be a staple in every kitchen. I first set my eyes and immediately after, taste buds, on this dish in the home of my wife (creater and curator of this fine blog) years ago when we were merely two high school aged lovers with serious crushes on each other (still do). Anayway, I digress...her mother, Lili made a delicious version of this Cuban classic and I fell head over heels in love with it and so that is what I have come to base my recipe around. The dish you ask?...Picadillo!

This dish actually originated in Spain (like most Latin culinary staples) and then as it spread throughout the Latin world it took on little nuances here and there but for the most part it's fairly similar throughout. I've eaten it in San Jose, Costa Rica where it was mostly comprised of potatoes and peppers and was served over plain white rice with avocado and tortillas (it was insanely yummy).  I've also had it homemade by a friend of mine from the Philippines who makes it the way her family did back home. This preparation was very similar to the Cuban version except in place of olives there were big chunks of boiled egg (be still my heart...). Basically any representation I've had of it was reminiscent of the last so feel free to be very creative with this dish. As long as you have the basics in order it's Picadillo with whatever else you like in it. The recipe i'm providing is a little different as it is meant for the more health conscious person so in place of ground beef i'm using ground turkey. This is not the traditionally used protein but hey, it's still freakin' yummy! If you want to make this in a more traditional fashion then use freshly ground beef (I highly recommend grass fed ground chuck) and keep everything else exactly the same and you'll be off to the races! Oh yeah almost forgot...that white fluffy looking stuff in the bowl next to the Picadillo is not rice, it's cauliflower rice and it's really delicious and gluten-free (see below for preparation). If you want real rice then go for it! The traditional Cuban Picadillo is served over Moros which is white rice cooked in black bean "juice" then mixed with black beans but that's another post...baby steps!

 

What you need:

1 lb ground turkey (avoid 99% lean, you want a little bit of fat here)

1 medium white onion 

1 cup red wine (traditionally it's white but I like the depth of flavor the red gives it...your call)

1 can crushed tomatoes (16 oz can)

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 red bell pepper diced

1 green bell pepper diced

6 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup pitted olives (or as many or few as you like)

3 TBSP capers (or as many as you like)

1/4 cup of the olive juice

salt & pepper to taste (season at the very end right before serving so as not to over salt)

 

How to make:

First things first (and this is the trick I learned from Lili, Christina's mother) take your onion and peel it and then half it. Put one half aside to dice and roughly chop the other half and place it in a food processor with the 6 garlic cloves and process it into a paste (using some olive oil here if needed). Over medium high heat, heat some olive oil (or coconut or avocado oil) in a medium pot (I use my Le Creuset but that's just because i'm fancy AF. You can use whatever high sided pot you have.) Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Remove the meat and set aside. If you're using beef, this is where you would pour off the fat. In the same pot add a little more oil and throw in the other half of that onion you diced. Cook it for about 3 minutes over medium heat and then throw in your peppers and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic and onion puree mixture and cook everything, stirring constantly for an additional 5 minutes or so. Stir in the tomato paste then add the meat back in to the pot and thoroughly mix. At this point, you can add the wine and the crushed tomatoes along with your capers, olives and olive juice.* Bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes uncover it and raise the heat a bit to allow it to reduce if needed. The consistency should be kind of like chili...Once it reached the desired consistency - season to your liking and serve. This recipe will serve 4 moderately hungry humans or 2 legends. 

*this is where you would add diced potato if you wanted to. Raisins are also very popular in traditional Cuban Picadillo but I don't use them because my wife is not a fan. I think they are a yummy addition however, so if you so desire throw about 1/4 cup of raisins in there at this point.

Cauliflower Rice:

1 head of cauliflower rinsed and broken into small florets and then pulsed into rice like pieces in a food processor

1 small shallot finely diced or 2 TBSP finely diced onion

Add all florets to a blender working in batches if necessary and pulse 3-5 times or until the cauliflower is broken down into rice sized pieces. Be careful not to purée! Get a pan nice and hot over medium high heat, add olive oil and throw in the shallot or finely chopped onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Lastly add the cauliflower and cook until the texture is similar to well cooked rice which is around 7-8 minutes (soft but not mushy). Be careful with the heat, it shouldn't start sticking to the pan. If it does, turn the heat down. Season with salt & pepper to taste (cauliflower can take a good salting) and you're done. Mix in beans, peas or almonds for added texture/flavor or leave as is and enjoy!


Cacao Cooler Smoothie

Summertime is here (very much here in humid South Florida)! What better way to cool down and nourish yourself all at once than with this delicious cacao cooler smoothie... I mean who doesn't love chocolate? Throw a healthy spin on what tastes like a chocolate milkshake and you really can't lose. 

This particular smoothie is on the sweeter side of all of the smoothies I usually make which means it is probably perfectly suited for almost everyone else's taste buds. (I am notorious for not liking things very sweet) This smoothie is also packed full of great antioxidants and plant based protein - I highly recommend this for a post workout snack.

The almond butter, protein powder and banana provide great sources of protein - perfect for pre or post workout. It's so important to always sneak greens in wherever you can and since spinach breaks down easily and doesn't have much a flavor I love to throw handfuls into smoothies to up the healthy factor. I promise you won't even detect it in there. The cacao is packed with magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and more - it's important to get raw cacao powder because it is cold pressed and not roasted like cocoa powder is which strips the cacao of a lot of its natural living enzymes and nutritional value. I urge you to look into the other amazing benefits of Cacao and you will see that it has a multitude of benefits for our bodies and diets.

Lastly - not pictured below is collagen powder that I also put into this smoothie. What the heck is collagen powder you might be asking? Well much like you've probably heard about collagen in the past it is first and foremost wonderful for the skin (for elasticity and moisture retention). It is also great for hair and nail health - it helps to support bone and joint health and for those of you working out a lot this can be hugely beneficial in keeping your body healthy and well oiled. It also supports digestion because of the amino acids present in the collagen which help to stimulate production of stomach acids which aid in nutrient retention and overall digestive health. One more important thing to note here is that it is often used as a protein powder substitute - so while I used a bit of protein powder and collagen powder in this smoothie you can omit one or just do half and half like I did. Another great pro to adding collagen powder is that it has no taste at all so you won't even notice it's in there. It also dissolves easily into almost anything and both hot and cold liquids so you can even put it in your morning coffee or tea.

I plan to add more pictures like the below image to my future posts so you can see what products I use and recommend. I know you will enjoy this smoothie so please sound off in the comments. Thanks for visiting as always!

What you need:

2 tbsp almond butter ( I love this raw one from Trader Joes - great price point and the only ingredient is raw almonds!)

2 tbsp protein powder or collagen powder or 1/2 and 1/2 (I use a vegan powder - here I used Vega with natural flavor so it doesn't add an extra flavor)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pitted date

2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 cups organic baby spinach

1/2 banana either fresh or frozen

3 frozen strawberries (or 1/3 cup berries of your choosing)

3-4 ice cubes

2 tbsp hemp hearts for the topping (other great toppings are shredded coconut, chia seeds and cacao nibs)

Throw all of the ingredients into a smoothie blender and blend for a few minutes or until everything blends evenly. Be sure to use a few ice cubes so that you get a smoothie consistency if not your smoothie will end up being too watery. 

Sip, cool down and enjoy!