Earth Day Green Smoothie

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Green smoothies really have become so mainstream and a staple for many people, myself included.  They are really the best way to get fruits and veggies in your system — today on Earth Day and every day!  I love how I feel after I have a green smoothie and find myself craving them when I can’t make one or find a shop that does.  This recipe is easily tweak-able to your liking but I’ll give you the basics of how I make sure my smoothie is always tasty, creamy and just cold enough to be easily digested by my body.

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These are my smoothie mainstays: fresh ginger, chia seeds, raw walnuts and cinnamon.  I love the taste of ginger and cinnamon but they’re also both super good for you and have anti-inflammatory properties, which is great.  Chia seeds and walnuts are both high in omega-3 fatty acids and have good protein.  I don’t particularly like walnuts so I sneak them into my smoothie because they’re really one of the best nuts for you!

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Ginger Cookies

Since Thanksgiving there’s been an onslaught of sweets in my life and just general overall food decadence.  I’ve been bombarded with sweet treats at work, tempted by holiday goodies at the grocery store and I find myself craving heartier, heavier meals.  It’s winter and I want all the yummy foods that come with the season.  Ginger is one of my favorite year-round flavors, especially in my morning smoothie, but ginger cookies are another story.  I love them!  These cookies are gluten and dairy free so you can indulge without the guilt!

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Jam and bread

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I was going to call this post “Life changing loaf” because that is what this bread is actually called, and it actually is life-changing!  Instead, though I’m calling it “Jam and bread” because I couldn’t help myself, I am a huge fan of The Sound of Music!!  Who else?  There’s no jam recipe, just the bread and you don’t have to top this life-changing bread with just jam, I’ve done nut butters, honey, coconut oil, pesto and I’ve had it warmed up and enjoyed it on its own.

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Kale pesto for everything

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Someone asked me the other day if I thought pesto was a condiment.  I say it is!  I put pesto on pretty much anything, which to me makes it a condiment, and the Huffington Post seems to agree.  I put pesto on sandwiches, eggs, avocado, pasta, pizza, plus you can use it as a dip for veggies or pita bread.  The options truly are endless.  Because I so enjoy pesto, I have developed my own that uses some traditional pesto flavors like pine nuts and garlic, but I omit the cheese and add the kale.  #teamkale

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Pesto’s amazing flavor comes from basil.  Basil is such a wonderful herb with a subtle sweetness and elements of anise that give it an interesting bite.  Basil is packed with vitamins K and A so it’s a terrific thing to add to your diet.  We’re just incredibly lucky someone thought of pesto!

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Raw banana bread bites

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Really ripe bananas are so sweet, they’re almost impossible to eat on their own at that point.  They are however, fantastic in smoothies and cookies, and overly ripe bananas are essential in this recipe for raw banana bread.  Your bananas should be mostly brown and very soft.  For this recipe, ripe bananas and dates are the only sweetener added, and those two natural ingredients are all the sweetness this “bread” needs!

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It would be easy to mistake this raw banana bread for traditional banana bread, but this bread has no eggs, flour or oil.  It is made mostly with nuts and seeds.  It’s extremely dense and nutritious, but after serving these to a variety of friends, I can confidently say you won’t find someone who doesn’t like this bread.

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Carrots love raisins

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I think I was in eighth grade when I had my first carrot-raisin salad.  My mom made it one night when I had a friend over for dinner.  This friend was a “picky eater.”  For some reason, a carrot-raisin salad just sounds unappealing to an eighth grader.  Even now, I don’t know if it would be what I order on a menu, but I can tell you, I crave this easy and delicious salad that is filling and full of healing nutrients like beta-carotene!  And, as my mom said years ago, “Do you like carrots?  Do you like raisins?  Well, they’re mixed together!”  This salad is almost that easy.

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Shopping in the middle

Going to the grocery store can be overwhelming. You’ve heard the tips from “the experts” who say to stay on the outside of the grocery store, not allowing yourself to be tempted by the middle aisles, which carry foods responsible for our expanding middles. I agree with those experts, but also spend hours at the store, and at home researching food products located in those middle aisles. These products are ones I trust and enjoy, both because of the way the food tastes and makes me feel, but also because I believe the brands are worthy.

First off is Theo Chocolate.  I look forward to indulging in it each day. Theo is the first organic chocolate to be made in the U.S. and as far as I can tell, it is one of the only brands of chocolate not made with soy lecithin, which is used mainly as an emulsifier but it is debatable whether this is an ingredient we should be consuming, so I try my best to avoid it.

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Theo’s products are all organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade certified and made in Seattle. It’s pricey, but worth it and whenever I see it on-sale, I stock up! My favorite is the Dark Salted Almond. Delicious, good for you (in moderation, of course), and available in a center aisle near you, I hope! I get mine at Whole Foods.

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Superfood cacao nut bars

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It has been a busy transition from Winter to Spring and now it feels like it’s nearly Summer.  Where does time go?  Since January, I started a new job, moved into a new apartment, have begun making wonderful new friends and have been eating at lots of new, great Southern restaurants.  I’m still staying true to my mostly healthy self and feel best when I eat a mainly plant-based diet with protein from non-animal sources.  These bars will fill you up, and possibly even satiate a sweet-tooth!  Never too busy for that.

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These superfood cacao nut bars are essentially nuts and seeds, bound together by the natural sweetness in raisins and dates and by the yumminess of raw cacao powder and coconut oil.  Perfection filled superfood!

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I recently treated myself — aka SPLURGED unnecessarily — on a lovely Cuisinart Food Processor.  I’m in love.  For these bars, a processor is prime to get the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to the right consistency.  However, you could use a powerful blender or get back-to-basics with a sharp knife and cutting board!

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Carrot Banana Granola Balls

I am a snacker.  I like to “graze” throughout the day, filling my belly with tasty, sweet things that also are healthy-ish.  Food gives us fuel, sure, but truthfully, I just like eating.  I like tasting something that removes me from the moment, and (hopefully) enhances it!

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The base of these yummy granola balls are carrots and bananas.  Hello, health!  Both give a great texture to the mix that almost gives these treats a cake-like consistency.

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