healthy halloween!

Who doesn’t love pumpkin flavored treats this time of year? Try skipping your pumpkin latte or donut and get your fix with these health supportive pumpkin-inspired recipes instead. Have them for a nutritious breakfast or energizing and healthy treat through out the day. The soup is great to make in advance and have ready for a warm and comforting weeknight dinner.

Pumpkin- Maple Granola Bars
Yields 15 bars
Created by: me

These no-bake granola bars are seriously addicting.. and lucky for us they just happened to be loaded with lots of nutritional goodness.

Wet ingredients
3 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp organic almond extract
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Dry ingredients
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed
2 Tbs. whole wheat or tapioca flour
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries or chopped figs

Procedure
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine and stir all wet ingredients for 2 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.  Slowly pour in wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
Pour mixture into 9×9 square baking dish lined with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches overlay on each side. Wrap one hand in a piece of plastic wrap and firmly press mixture into the bottom of the dish.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm.
When they are firm and ready to cut, lift each side by lifting parchment paper and turning upside down on cutting board. Cut into 15 square bars.

Tips: Make sure completely firm before cutting. Wrap individually for a fast and nutritious on-the-go breakfast or snack. Keep refrigerated.

Note: These bars are vegan, raw, and can be gluten-free by using tapioca flour instead of the whole-wheat flour.  Enjoy!

Pumped-Up Smoothie
Servings : 2
Created by: me

Don’t be turned off by the pumpkin in this smoothie- I promise it’s delicious. The banana, yogurt and pumpkin give it a rich and creamy texture, while the ground flax seed adds a natural nuttiness. It also has just the right amount of  natural sweetness.  This fall smoothie packs in almost 800 mg of potassium per serving, a large dose of essential omega 3’s, as well as fiber and protein to keep you satisfied and energized.

Ingredients
3/4 cup pumpkin, pureed and chilled
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup ice cubes
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed
1 Tbs. coconut oil
1-2 Tbs. honey, maple syrup brown rice syrup
1 medium orange, juiced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, optional

Procedure
Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. May add more ice or juice from orange to get desired consistency. Garnish with some ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin- Sweet Potato Soup
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
2 tbs olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
1 onion, diced
4 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp turmeric
½-1 teaspoon favorite curry powder (I use madras organic curry blend)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 14.5-oz. can pumpkin (or 2 heaping cups fresh, peeled and cubed)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed
6 cups vegetable broth
2-3 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine, if desired
1/2 can coconut milk, to taste
Lime zest and plain greek yogurt for garnish

Procedure
In a heavy soup pot, heat the oil or ghee over medium heat, and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until softened. Add in the chopped carrots and celery, and stir in the spices. Lower heat and gently cook for about 10 minutes, being careful not to brown the onions.
Add in the pumpkin, sweet potato and vegetable broth, and sherry; stir together. Cover and bring to a slow simmer, cooking the soup for about 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are very tender.
Remove from heat, and puree the soup with an immersion hand blender right in the pot; or puree it batches in a blender or food processor (carefully ladle the soup into a blender not more than half full, cover tightly and puree the soup until it is smooth and creamy; return the puree to soup pot).
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Return the pot to low-medium heat. Stir in the coconut milk and blend till smooth. Warm through gently for ten minutes- don’t boil it.
Serve with a sprinkle of lime zest and dollop of yogurt.

Feel free to add cooked brown rice or lentils towards the end of the warming step to make a heartier soup.

Health Benefits

Pumpkin is rich in carotenoid antioxidants- the compounds that gives the gourd its bright color. Including beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. The caretenoids are also known to aid in cancer prevention, as well as prevent wrinkles, keeping your skin looking radiant and youthful. Pumpkins are also rich in fiber, vitamin C and potassium.

So eat up!  Just be sure to receive all of the health benefits of pumpkin through natural and wholesome recipes, avoiding those that are loaded with refined sugars, flours and hydrogenated oils.

magic mineral broth

This nourishing mineral broth is easy to make and great to sip on throughout the day. The nutrient and mineral-laden ingredients help to boost immunity, alkalize the body and warm the system. This broth also helps to counter the negative effects caused by stress and has wonderful purifying properties for the whole body.

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Mineral Broth

Wash and cut into 1″ cubes
2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1 medium potato, unpeeled
2 cups celery
6 carrots
1 bunch dino kale
1 bunch parsley
1 cup cabbage
5 shiitake mushrooms (may add a few crimini mushrooms)
1 cup onion
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup whole flax or hemp seeds

Place all ingredients in large stock pot. Cover with filtered water and add the following:

4 slices fresh ginger, 1/2 inch
1/2 cup seaweed (choice of any or variety)

Bring water to a boil, lower to simmer and cover. Simmer for at least 3 hours. Strain after cooling. Store in refrigerator. Drink warm.

This also makes a delicious and nutritious base for any soup.

Health benefits of broth ingredients: Seaweed adds tremendous amount of minerals to this broth. It helps to lower blood cholesterol and aids in healthy thyroid functioning (which influences digestive and metabolic efficiency). Some types of seaweed are known to help pull radioactive elements from the blood, while all varieties of seaweed help maintain healthy hair and radiant skin. Parsley adds great anti-cancer agents due to its high content of antioxidants. Shiitake mushrooms are known to enhance the immune system and aid in longevity. Ginger is great for the digestive tract, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and supports cardiovascular health. Kale is high in calcium, iron, and Vitamin A, it also supports the nervous and digestive system. Cabbage contains many anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds, protects against colon and stomach cancer, kills bacteria and viruses, stimulates the immune system and helps purify the blood. Carrots are high in beta carotene- which is a powerful anticancer, immune-boosting, artery-protecting antioxidant that contains a large amount of protective powers. Celery aids in digestion, has a mild diuretic effect, and helps with kidney and liver function. Also known to help cure high blood pressure as well as regulate the nervous system.

… so start sipping to achieve optimal vitality and health today!

monday blues?

Has the weekend indulgences left you feeling sluggish, tired, bloated, uninspired, or just down right blah?

Here is a list of some wonderful natural herbs and foods to get you feeling rejuvenated, cleansed and clear-minded in no time.

Dandelion Root-  specifically cleanses the liver,  rich with nutrients such as vitamins a & C, minerals, and other antioxidant phytochemicals. Use as tea or in capsule form.

Turmeric-  purifies blood as well as supports heart health, liver, lungs and healthy skin.  Also supports healthy circulation and joints. To make a great detoxifying tea: steep 1/4 cup root in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1-2 tsp maple syrup and a pinch of ginger. Turmeric is also a great dry spice to help flavor any meal. Sprinkle it on top or incorporate in dressings or sauces.

Garlic- has soo many amazing medicinal health benefits! It is a natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory,  supports cardiovascular health,  and is also known to control blood pressure and cholesterol to name a few. Best used raw to take full advantage of the health benefits it contains. However, if you can’t tolerate it raw – add to dishes towards the end of cooking to preserve all of the powerful enzymes and nutrients it contains.

Milk Thistle- its main medicinal focus is cleansing and repairing the  liver. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Additionally, milk thistle lowers the ‘bad’ cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Take in supplement form or drink as tea.

Cilantro- not only does this herb add great flavor to dishes (especially Mexican and Middle-Eastern, yum!) it is a powerful detoxifying agent. The chemical compounds actually bind on to heavy metals and toxins, pulling them out of the bloodstream, tissues and organs. Cilantro also aids in boosting the immune system, helps to reduce minor swelling, and can help fight infections and nausea. Use on any meals as a garnish, add in dressings, even add a bit in smoothies.

Make sure to include any or all of these powerful foods in your diet to naturally cleanse. I guarantee you will notice a huge difference in your energy level, mental clarity and appearance.