Raisin “Bran” Muffins (gluten & grain free)

January 22, 2015
Bran-muffins

A few years ago, I used to be a wheat-loving gal. I pretty much sustained myself on it – most mornings I would have a high fiber cereal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole wheat for lunch, pretzels for a snack, and quite often pasta for dinner.

After years of trying to figure out what was causing my laundry list of health complaints (joint & muscle aches, foggy brain, thyroid issues, fatigue, general puffiness, etc), I finally found significant relief by giving up gluten and wheat, and increasing my intake of inflammation-lowering omega 3s. Although the transition was not easy initially (what change is easy??)…now, I can’t imagine eating that way anymore!  Instead of cereal I usually start my day with a superfood smoothie with energy and mood-boosting chia seeds, I have salads or soups instead of sandwiches, and zucchini pasta in place of regular pasta.

But I will admit, there are a few things that I do miss…and I know this might sound like a weird thing to be longing for, but I used to love me a good raisin bran muffin!  And for some odd reason, this morning, I had a hankering for one!

When I realized that I had a bag of ground flax in the fridge, some organic eggs, virgin coconut oil and coconut palm sugar – I decided to see if I could whip something up that resembled my beloved bran muffin.  And guess what?  They turned out great*, I’d say better than regular bran muffins!!  And best of all – because these are made with flax – they are inflammation-lowering and high in brain and mood boosting omega 3s!

Raisin “Bran” Muffins – made with flax (free of wheat, gluten & grains)

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic eggs Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 10.36.10 AM
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (could use a combination of coconut sugar and stevia if you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons water or non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of ground flax meal
  • 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt (like Himalayan)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (you could add 2/3 cup if you like more raisins)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil.
  3. Using some of the coconut oil, lightly grease mini-muffin pan with some coconut oil (or line with muffin papers)
  4. Mix together the eggs and coconut sugar till well combined, then add in and mix together the rest of the ingredients – folding in the raisins last.
  5. Put into prepared muffin tin and put into the preheated oven.
  6. Bake for about 15 mins.
  7. Remove and allow to cool.
  8. Serve & enjoy!  These are extra yummy with a little grass fed butter on them, or a little organic raspberry jam. 

*Boy, do I love it when my kitchen experiments come out great the first time (because let me tell you – I have had more than my share of missteps – especially when it comes to baked goods)!!

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Zucchini Pizza Crust

January 6, 2015
zucchini-crust

This crust is gluten free and delicious – and easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small organic zucchini (or one and a half large ones), grated
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds (I like to use ground ones for this, but either works)
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (chickpea)
  • 1 TBS. Coconut oil (melted) – you will need a little more for the pizza stone
  • 1 tsp. good quality salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 garlic clove – pressed, or 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs – such as basil, oregano

Directions to Make the Pizza Dough:

  1. Put your pizza stone or pan into the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Crack eggs into bowl, and whisk them. Add in the chia seeds, let soak for a few mins.
  3. Now grate the zucchini.
  4. Add the zucchini and the rest of the ingredients in with the eggs, and stir to combine.
  5. Take pre-heated pizza stone out of the oven.  Coat area with coconut oil.  Spoon the dough evenly onto the stone. You can make 3 small individual pizza crusts, or one large one.
  6. Put the pizza stone into the lower third of the oven to bake for about 8 minutes.
  7. Move it up to the bottom of the upper third of the oven (not too close to the top). Cook for another 5-8 mins.
  8. It should be fairly firm and cooked through. If you put a spatula under it, it should not be soggy or bend too much.
  9. Now it is ready to add your toppings.
  10. Preheat the pizza stone in a 425 degree oven.  Add your toppings to the crusts and place them on the pre-heated stone and return it to the oven, bake until toppings melt, about 8-10 minutes.

Suggested toppings: carmelized onions, arugula, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, thinly sliced red peppers, slices green or black olives, and shredded goat or sheeps milk cheese.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte (dairy free)

November 18, 2014
latte

I love pumpkin.  In fact, I always say it doesn’t really feel like Fall until I get a taste of pumpkin.  Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE pumpkin?  Pumpkin is part of the winter squash family, which are rich in immune-boosting beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.  And are also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber – which most of us are not getting nearly enough of. Want to learn more about the myriad of health benefits of winter squash? – visit WH Foods

So considering all that – a pumpkin spice latte should be good for us, right?

Not so fast…since there is usually no actual pumpkin in most pumpkin spice lattes, plus there is also over 50 grams of sugar (that is 12 teaspoons - double what an average woman should get all day long)!  And that is not the whole story – the Food Babe recently revealed in this article – that in addition – the Starbucks version is made with a caramel coloring that could be harmful to our health, uses genetically modified ingredients, artificial flavors, and preservatives and sulfites. Yikes!

Now that we got the bad news out of the way…ready for the good news?  It is pretty easy to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home!  You just need some coffee, pumpkin puree, natural sweetener, and your favorite non-dairy milk!

You can make a small batch of this for yourself, or the full batch to feed a crowd. And to make this even easier?  Make it ahead and put it into a crock pot for a Thanksgiving treat your guests will love – a bonus – your house will smell terrific.

Not a fan of coffee?  Not to worry – this is delicious as a chai tea pumpkin latte too (I love to make decaf chai lattes for dessert in the evening)!  Just brew (decaf or regular) chai tea, and top with the pumpkin creamer (and optionally foamed non-dairy milk and cinnamon).

Ingredients:

Serves 12-14 people

  • 10 Medjol dates, soaked & pitted (or 1/3 cup of maple syrup or another natural sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Approx. 1 Tablespoon of the soaking liquid from dates
  • 1/8 tsp of high quality salt (brings out the sweetness and flavors)
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish/stirring)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 cups non-dairy milk of your choice  (I like to use a combination of 1 can of full fat coconut milk, plus 3-4 cups of homemade cashew cream/milk* – but feel free to use boxed almond mix, coconut milk – or another combination). 
  • 8 cups strong-brewed coffee (choose swiss water processed decaf if serving late at night – so your guests aren’t cursing you at 2:00am when they are wide awake).

*To make cashew milk – soak raw cashews for about 1 hour to overnight, drain, and put the cashews into a blender with filtered water. For a richer more cream-like texture – start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust from there. For milk, it usually is a 1:2 ratio cashews to water, add more if you want it thinner. Add a pinch or two of salt, taste  & adjust. Blend on high for a few minutes until very smooth. You can strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth if desired.

Directions:

  1. Soak the dates for 2 hours to overnight. (Skip this step if just using maple syrup).  Remove them from the water, and remove the pits. Roughly chop.
  2. Now make the pumpkin date paste.  Put the soaked pitted dates in food processor or blender with the 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 Tablespoon of the soaking liquid, 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and 1/8 tsp. salt. Process (drizzle in more of the water the dates soaked in as needed) until it forms a very smooth paste – the processor should run about 4 minutes. (This date paste also can be stored in refrigerator for up to 4 days and added to your non-dairy milk as needed). The date paste should be very smooth (see photo). If you do not want to make the date paste – you could replace the dates with 1/3 of a cup of maple syrup.
  3. Add the non-dairy milk(s) of your choice into the blender with the date paste, blend to combine well.  Store in a glass container in fridge for up to 4 days if not using the crock pot (I recommend making a half recipe if you are not serving a crowd).
  4. For a big group, put the coffee, cinnamon sticks, and pumpkin creamer mixture into a crock pot and put on high for 30 mins, and then reduce to low for up to 4 hours. Or you can put in a heavy bottom pot on the stove and keep it on a very low simmer.
  5. If you have a frother – like this one – put some extra non-dairy creamer (like So Delicious coconut or almond creamer) into a glass jar for frothing, and spoon out froth to top each cup.  You can also leave some cinnamon sticks out for decoration/stirring.  And sprinkle a little cinnamon (or cinnamon with a little organic sugar or coconut sugar on top).

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Creamy Broccoli Soup (deliciously dairy free)

November 15, 2014
soup

My son loves soup.  You name it, he loves it.  Chicken noodle, clam chowder, beef stew, lobster bisque, miso, lemon artichoke chicken, and even cream of broccoli soup.  Sometimes we stop at Whole Foods for a snack, and more often than not he has – you guessed it – soup!  The other day we were stopping in for a cup of soup when I saw it – broccoli cashew soup!  Wow – what a cool idea, a dairy free cream soup made with cashews. We had a little taster, and both loved it.  The lightbulbs started going off – oh the things I could make with cashew cream – cream of broccoli, clam chowder, alfredo…. I couldn’t wait to put my chef hat on, and give it a go myself. In fact, we had had broccoli with dinner the night before, and as I always do – I made extra, so I had some steamed broccoli already in the fridge.  I grabbed some cashews, chicken stock (I love this new chicken bone broth from Pacific foods), and we were off.  This is the delicious result!

Creamy Broccoli Soup:

  • 1/2 onion – chopped
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil (or you can use ghee or avocado oil)
  • 2/3 cup cashews – soaked, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock for vegan version)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • 2 tsp. 21 spice blend (Trader Joes)
  • 1 tsp. salt (taste & adjust as needed)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • Optional – Aleppo peppers or cayenne

Directions:

  1. Soak your cashews in water for 2-6 hours. Drain.
  2. Blend cashews in the vitamix with about 1/2 cup of water (if needed, add more to blend, it should look like cream).
  3. Steam your broccoli, until fork tender, but still bright green
  4. Chop 1/2 an onion
  5. Put your coconut oil into a large saucepan heated over medium.
  6. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent.
  7. Add in the chicken stock, spinach, 1 cup of the broccoli, salt, pepper and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 mins.
  8. Meanwhile – chop the other cup of broccoli to small pieces (if you do not want your soup chunky, skip this step and put all the broccoli into the pan). Reserve on the side.
  9. Using an immersion blender, puree the broccoli soup. Alternatively, you could put into a blender, or food processor).  Stir in about 1/2 cup of the cashew cream (reserve some for topping the soup).
  10. Add in the chopped broccoli, simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  11. Pour into bowls and top with more cashew cream, and optionally Aleppo peppers or cayenne.
  12. Enjoy!

Store any extra soup in the fridge for up to 3 days.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Pitaya Bowl

November 12, 2014
piyata

I am a big fan of smoothies – so much so, that I have a smoothie for breakfast most days of the week.  But sometimes, I just want to mix it up a little – and need a little something special.  Let me tell you, this Pitaya Bowl does not disappoint!!  And the best part – it is so easy to whip up!

Pitaya is another word for dragonfruit, which is the fruit of a cactus plant. A beautiful exotic fruit, dragonfruit can either be whiteish (pitaya blanca), or a deep dark fuchsia color (pitaya roja). The benefits come both from the seeds (rich in healthy fats), and the flesh of the fruit (of which the deep pink variety edges out the white as far as nutrition).

Photo credit: Fruits Benefit Health  (visit to learn more about dragonfruit).

Pitaya Bowl Ingredients:

Note: this recipe is best with a Vitamix or another powerful blender that has a tamper tool that can be used to stir while blending. It should be thick – like the consistency of sorbet.

Some Suggested Toppings (the first 3 are in the pictured recipe):

  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • gluten free granola
  • sliced banana
  • bee pollen
  • hemp hearts

Directions:

Soak cashews in water for 10 mins (up to 6 hours), drain water. Put everything into Vitamix or blender (except ice). Blend to combine well, using tamper to stir.  Add ice as desired to thicken, blend well, stirring. Spoon mixture into a bowl, add desired toppings and serve immediately.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

June 10, 2014
smoothie

One of the most interesting things about sweet potatoes, is that despite having “sweet” in their name, and tasting sweet, they are low glycemic.  Low glycemic foods gradually raise your bloodsugar. Sweet potatoes spike your bloodsugar significantly less than a regular white potato!

They are a nearly perfect food with high fiber, rich in vitamins like beta carotene (which gives it’s flesh the rich orange color), and have been shown to aid in recovery for athletes. Read 15 Superfoods for Peak Performance to learn about how sweet potatoes and other foods are good for performance and recovery.

I actually prefer yams over sweet potatoes, because they are darker in color, which means richer in vitamins and nutrients (sweet potatoes and yams are often used interchangeably and confused). So this recipe should really be called yam pie – but that does not sound as good.

Last night we had roasted sweet potatoes and I sprinkled on some cinnamon and swirled in some applesauce into them.  It was so good – it tasted like a cross between apple and pumpkin pie.   So today I decided to recreate that yumminess with a Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie smoothie!

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato/or yam (I prefer using roasted) – you could also use pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 raw cashews (ideally soak for 2-6 hours, then drain) – you could use 1-2 Tablespoons hemp hearts, or a scoop of vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder instead – this adds creaminess
  • 2-3 Tablespoons organic applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon* (or more if you prefer – I do!)
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, or raw coconut meat (supports energy & metabolism)
  • dash of pink Himalayan salt (I add this to all my smoothies – brings out the sweetness, flavors, boosts the trace minerals, supports the adrenals).
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract.
  • Ice as needed to thicken

Directions:

  1. Put the water and coconut water into the blender, add the chia seeds and let them soak for 3-5 mins.
  2. Then add in the rest of the ingredients – blend.
  3. Add ice as desired to thicken.
  4. Taste and adjust.
  5. Serve & enjoy!

Whip this up before heading to the gym, because it is chock full of superfoods for peak performance!!

* Cinnamon is a wonderful spice for supporting healthy blood sugar levels. The more common form of cinnamon sold in the United States is cassia cinnamon. Cassia has coumarin, a compound that is toxic to the liver in high doses. Although less common in the U.S., Ceylon type of cinnamon is considered “true” cinnamon, and it does not contain coumarin.  It might be a little more expensive, but I find Ceylon to be milder, a little sweeter, and more complex – definitely the best cinnamon choice!

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Superfood Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

February 4, 2014
chocloate
Categories: Recipes

Have you ever made homemade chocolate?  It is pretty easy to do, and whenever you make something yourself, you can upgrade it with superfoods.  That is what I have done with these delicious superfood chocolate & almond butter cups.  Want to know the best part?  These have coconut oil in them – which means they boost the metabolism and have an appetite suppressing quality.  And if you include the maca powder, they also help to balance hormones, and boost energy & libido!

So enjoy these with zero guilt!

Superfood Nut Butter Cups

makes 24

Chocolate layer*:

  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (I like Barleans)
  • 8 Tablespoons raw cacao (I like Sunfood brand)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Sweeten with approx. 30 drops of stevia liquid and 2-3 tsp of organic agave nectar (I like Natures Agave). Or feel free to use your own favorite combination of natural sweeteners (such as coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup). Just make sure to start with the lowest amount, taste and adjust – but just do not make it too sweet!)
  • Optional – 2 tsp maca powder (I use gelatinized, as it is better absorbed)

Almond Butter layer:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup raw or sprouted almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (you can use less if the almond butter is already salted – start with just a pinch)

*You could pour the chocolate into molds and make chocolates without the almond butter.

Directions:

  1. Melt the 1 cup of coconut oil over a very low heat on stove, remove from heat when it becomes liquid (do not let it heat up too fast or on higher than a low setting, if it smokes, you heat it too high!).
  2. In one dish or glass measuring cup – put 2/3 cup of coconut oil and the other ingredients to make your chocolate.
  3. In another dish or glass, put the 1/3 cup of coconut oil and combine all the other ingredients to make your almond butter mixture.

  4. Line a mini muffin tin with foil muffin liners (find at Michaels Stores).
  5. Coat the bottom with the chocolate.  Put them into the freezer for 5 mins to solidify.
  6. Now add a layer of the almond butter mixture on top.  Put back in freezer for 5 more minutes
  7. Repeat on the top with another layer of the chocolate.  Return to freezer for 10 minutes.
  8. They are ready to eat – enjoy!  I like to store these in the freezer (because coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so they need to be kept cold). If you want them to be room temperature stable, substitute cocoa butter for the coconut oil.

These are not only delicious, but they have an appetite suppressing quality because of the healthy fats!  So make a batch of these, and when you are craving sweets – give one of these a try – and notice if you feel less hungry and more satisfied afterwards. The healthy fat in these work their magic on your metabolism and appetite!  It is rare for someone to eat more than a couple of these in one sitting – because they are so filling and satisfying!

I recommend taking a few teaspoons of coconut oil daily for the metabolism.  These chocolate nut butter cups are a delicious way to get your coconut oil (plus raw cacao is a superfood too (read more), and so is maca (an adapatogen that helps to regulate hormones, improve energy and libido)!

This recipe is from Sara’s Perfect Metabolism eCourses/programs.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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100% Guilt-Free & Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse

November 3, 2013
Screen-Shot-2013-11-03-at-1.17.48-PM

Usually if something sounds too good to be true – it is.  Except in this case!!

This superfood version of chocolate mousse is dairy free and 100% guilt free!!  It is also rich in fiber, omega 3s, magnesium, has no sugar and whips up in minutes!  I know, hard to believe – but all true!  It is a rich and creamy delicious chocolatty delight!!  And unlike other chocolate mousses, this one will not spike your bloodsugar.  It will fill you up, and keep your hunger hormones in control and keep you satisfied for hours!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado (but not too ripe/brown)
  • 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 Tablespoons virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of alternative milk (I used cashew)
  • A splash of vanilla extract or powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of plant-based protein powder (I used Warrior Blend chocolate)
  • 1-2 pinches of Pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 2 ice cubes*
  • Approx. 12 drops of Stevia liquid (I used 365 Brand from Whole Foods)
  • Optional – top with a handful of raw cacao nibs (or shredded coconut, chopped nuts, goji berries, or whatever you choose!)

* The ice cubes are primarily to chill the mousse, you can omit if you are making it and not eating it right away. Put into the refrigerator to chill.

Note – this recipe requires a Vitamix blender that has a “tamper” – the tool that helps to process thicker recipes, stirring ingredients and removing air pockets in the blender.

Directions:

  1. Warm the coconut oil over low heat on the stove to turn to liquid (skip this step in the hot summer months when it is already liquid)
  2. Put the cashew milk into the Vitamix with the chia seeds and protein powder.  Let soak for about 3-5 minutes, or until the chia seeds are softened.
  3. Then add in the avocado flesh, vanilla, raw cacao, coconut oil, and whip it together until no lumps are visible.
  4. Add in the couple of pinches of Himalayan salt, 1/2 a frozen banana, ice cubes (if using) and stevia – taste and adjust for sweetness.  Sometimes, it is salt that you need more of, and not the sweetener!!

Put into a container in the refrigerator, or pour into a dish and enjoy.  This can make 1 large serving, or two small ones.

This is a Perfect Metabolism program recipe!

Read Cuckoo for Coconut oil to learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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The Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie!

October 13, 2013
Screen-Shot-2013-10-31-at-9.37.45-AM

To me, it is just not Fall until I get my first taste of pumpkin.  But sometimes I just crave that pumpkin taste, and I don’t have the time to bake muffins or bread.  And just say no to those pumpkin spice lattes – they have almost 50 grams of sugar!

Enter the Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie!!

This delicious smoothie literally tastes like a pumpkin pie in a glass…but unlike pumpkin pie – you will not need to lay on the couch and unbutton the pants and take a nap after eating it, this smoothie has chia seeds to provide lasting energy, and improve focus, attention, and mood – it is one of the favorites from my Perfect Metabolism program.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of coconut water* (to lower the overall sugar content, replace 1/3 cup with plain filtered water)
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond or cashew milk (or another alternative milk)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (prepared/cooked fresh, or canned – but not pie mix)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1 Tbs. almond butter (or NuttZo Peanut free)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chia seed (white if you can find it)
  • 1/2 scoop of Warrior Blend Vanilla Protein Powder
  • A very generous sprinkle of cinnamon to taste (I pretty much dump it in there!) - I like Ceylon or “true cinnamon”
  • 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract, or vanilla powder
  • Ice as needed to thicken
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (or Real Salt) – brings out sweetness and flavors
  • Optional – a few drops of stevia, a couple soaked dates, or a splash of maple syrup or raw agave to taste (sweeten sparingly as needed to taste, I find that it does not need this at all!)
  • Raw cacao nibs – stir in/top as much as desired, sprinkle extra cinnamon on top.

Directions:

  1. Put everything into the blender, blend well.
  2. Add ice as needed to thicken. Taste and adjust for sweetness, adding a few drops of Stevia or a natural sweetener if you like.  I find that it is sweet enough without adding any sweeteners!
  3. Sprinkle the cacao nibs and a little more cinnamon on the top to decorate.
  4. Serve & enjoy immediately!

Download Sara’s free Cooking with Superfoods eBook for some more delicious and nutritious recipes!

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Homemade Gluten-Free Granola

September 27, 2013
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Categories: Recipes

A bag of gluten-free granola can easily run you about 6 bucks nowadays.  But you can make it at home for much less. When you make it yourself, you can also control what you put into it, and how sweet you want it.  Plus, this is a fun one to get the kids involved in.  Here is a yummy recipe for gluten free granola!

Granola recipe:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup gluten free oats (Trader Joes carries these, or Bobs Red Mill)
  • 1 cup chopped raw unsalted nuts (I used raw cashews and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) – I think I used a little less than 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Cinnamon – I just sprinkled it on liberally, about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp Real Salt (or Himalayan)
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds (you could use regular, ground, or white chia)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons raw agave (or honey or maple syrup) – I used about 1 &1/2 Tablespoons
  • 2-3 Tablespoons palm sugar, or coconut sugar - I used 2 Tablespoons
  • Optional additions – pumpkin seeds (shells removed), finely diced apples, raisins*, dark chocolate chips*, cacao powder, raw cacao nibs, goji berries*.

*Add these items after baking.

Directions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients (except any additions that need to be added after) into a bowl, stir to combine well.
  2. Spread out evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 mins.
  3. Stir.
  4. Bake another 10-15 mins or until light golden brown.
  5. Store any leftovers in airtight glass jar (if there is any to store).

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact Sara Vance directly or a medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medication.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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