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Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (vegan)

I know. It’s taken me way too long to post the Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.  I posted this shot week’s ago and I’ve only just had the time today to get it out to you all.

I’m actually vacationing right now in Palm Springs, California. We’re here for about five days and of course, it’s 40+ degrees. We went out for a run this morning and had to stop because it was way too hot.  It didn’t help that we got up a lot later than I wanted to. My body has been naturally waking at 5am, and then 6:30am as the days go by. This morning was 6:30am and I thought, what am I going to do until James wakes up. But then, I happened to fall back asleep until 8:15am!! What!!! I hate losing precious day time.




So, by the time we shuffled out of the building, it was 35+ degrees.  But we ran and made our way to one of the gyms and did some weights.  It’s so important to integrate some form of exercise on holiday.  Sure, it is a time to enjoy life’s pleasures. But, as soon as we get off of some form of routine, we lose our commitment to our health goals.

That’s why James and I make a point to get in early morning exercises.  This could be a run, a hike, the gym, or just a good walk.  I do eat relatively healthy on holiday simply because that’s when I feel my best. It’s also the fact that I need to rejuvenate. But, I’m not exaggerating when I say that we do still indulge. For us, it’s a cocktail by the pool and some amazing red wine for dinner.




Do you see the perspective of balance that I am giving you? There’s a lot of this (exercise and healthy food) and a little bit of that (those indulgences).

Okay, so it doesn’t help that I have pictures of these epic Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars embedded in this post. Hahaha…sorry, about that. But, to be real here, these bars are very balanced. Are they 100% healthy?  Not exactly. Maple syrup is still sugar but I actually made these bars to be as low in sugar as possible without compromising the taste.

For those with peanut allergies, you could totally use almond butter.

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (Vegan)

ingredients

For the chocolate crust:
3/4 cup ground almond meal
2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
1.5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter ideally without salt (*I personally love crunchy for the texture)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
1/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (this helps to incorporate the maple syrup so it doesn’t sink but you can omit ensuring that you blend it well)

Directions:

– Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

– In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set (about 10 minutes).

– For the filling, in a bowl, stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt.

– Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

– For the top layer, combine the cacao/cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm. This should take about one hour. About 10 minutes into the freezing process, I add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

– Once ready, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars to your preference.  I dip the knife into hot water to help cut them. Otherwise, they may crack (although, I kinda like that look!)

These can be stored for about two weeks in the fridge. They can also be frozen.

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Happiness is …. Spring time!  I’m sure that you’re with me on that, right?

I am sitting in a massive craving for some sun and warmth, and mostly, REST. James and I are off to Los Angeles and Palm Springs in exactly two weeks to do just that. I’m also curious in exploring the L.A Health food scene for both research and inspiration. Even just walking through Whole Foods in the U.S is an experience all in itself since a lot of the products I see online are not available here. So, now I get to try them myself!

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Gratitude + Matcha Green Tea Truffles

I got to tell you, this past week wiped me out. I’ve been getting up at 5am as I had started my study plan for my nutrition certification.  But, then a few things happened this week that presented a bit of a set back. But, I surprised myself this week.

I was surprised that my reaction to these situations were calm and collected. No joke, a couple of years ago, my emotions would have gone off the deep end. The DEEP-END. Crying, moody, disconnected. We’ve all have had those feelings at some point. So, where did I attribute the change to?




GRATITUDE. Straight up, simple gratitude.

In the midst of the week of having those issues, I turned on the national news and saw footage of the recent attacks in Syria.  I was in shock and disbelief. The images, if you haven’t already seen, are haunting.  And, like many, I immediately felt lucky that I live in such a safe country.  I sleep in a warm bed with someone who loves me and who will protect me.  I continued to tap into that feeling for the rest of the week and when another set back happened, I immediately went to that space.

Gratitude is an amazing practice. In my {free} Weekend Stress Detox Program, we go through the importance of this practice and how you can easily incorporate it into your life.  Get the program HERE. Now, onto the recipe!




How surprised are you to see that I have another matcha recipe for you?

Hahaha, I know.  I’m matcha crazy. But, listen, here’s why.

Matcha is crazy good for you. Here are some of the many benefits:

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Grain Free Breakfast Cookies

It was an epic week for me. I hit a a big milestone. I have literally completed all of my case studies for submission for my registered holistic nutritionist certification. I’ll be submitting them this week and as long as there are no technical difficulties, I’ll be on my way.




The next big step is my exam which I hope to have done by June. Honestly, it’s been a long road. I’ve worked a pretty demanding job over the years while I’ve tried to complete this certification. I took a year off school when I transitioned to the job that I have now. I was a big set back for me at the time but I figured if it was meant to be, I’d get back to it.

And, it happened. I started waking up at 5:15am throughout the week. I ended up tapping out my cortisol levels and ended up burning myself out. And, with the right supplementation and rest, I’ve managed to pull through.

Thank you for your continued support over these past few years.  I really, REALLY, R-E-A-L-L-Y appreciate it.  Once this is over, I’ve got some big things planned for us.




The next step, after passing my exam, is to create a program which will be a much bigger and enhanced program of my Weekend Stress Detox. You can get this free e-book HERE.

Now to the Grain Free Breakfast Cookies. These are so good, friends. They are so flavourful and hearty, making it a great option for breakfast on the go.  I’ll make a bunch and free them for later!

Grain Free Breakfast Cookies

ingredients
2 cups blanched almond flour (I used meal and it worked fine)
2 Tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp orange or lemon zest
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp ground flax
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
6 Tbsp of either coconut oil, butter (unsalted), or ghee, at room temperature (not melted)
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsulphured dried cranberries
Almond milk (optional: if the batter is dry, you can add a 1/4 cup of almond milk)

directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, and coconut oil. Mix until they become a pea-like consistency. Then, slowly add in eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in the dried fruit. If the batter seems dry, just add a bit of the almond milk.

Take ¼ cup of the batter (I used a measuring cup) and dollop onto the prepared baking sheet (I used the measuring cup to flatten it out).

Bake until the cookies are golden on the outside and no longer soft on the inside, about 25 minutes.

Allow to cool. These can be stored in the fridge for a week or freeze.

My Favourite On-The-Go Snacks (mostly Paleo)

In an effort to minimize crappy, cannot-pronounce ingredients, I love to make my own snacks. And, for the most part, these are not time consuming.  What I do try to avoid is grains, refined flours, and minimal sugar, if any. Why? Because they tend to spike blood sugar which essentially will make us crave and grab for even more sugary and refined foods that do more harm than good.

I’m going to give you the snacks that I make myself and those that I grab from the store, on the go!

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Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Macaroons

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I first have the say that I often make raw chocolates and cookies similar to these. Check out these Mint Chip and Wild Orange Protein Macaroons. And, the first person stealing them out of the fridge/freezer is my man, James.

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Peppermint Coconut Butter Matcha Cups

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Have I told you lately that I love and appreciate you reading my posts and making my recipes?  And, I love your commitment to learning about and improving your health and lifestyle.  It’s ahhhh-mazing!

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Grain Free Chai Spiced Apple Muffins (Paleo)

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One of the great things about transitioning into the different seasons is the change in flavours. Besides pumpkin, root vegetables, spice, and apples take centre stage.

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Grain Free Hasselback Apples (VEGAN)

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I’ve been pretty committed about reducing my sugar intake including fruit. I know, we’re always told to eat our fruit because they ARE rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. However, if you have any blood sugar imbalances, watching your sugar intake is critical in balancing them out.

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Energizing Nutty Orange Smoothie

 

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I just took a week long trip down to Scottsdale and Santa Fe, and I gotta tell you, I was pooped!  I was trying to finish up a case study for my nutrition certification which had me up at 5am. I had some projects that I needed to get done at my day job, and, I was just trying to balance time for myself and my own health practice.  That’s also probably the reason why I came down with bronchitis a week before I left!

So, what do you reach for when your low on energy? What about when you’re trying to enhance your focus?

Let me guess…

Coffee, sugar, caffeinated soda, energy drinks…Am I right?

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