Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Never-Get-Sick Chocolate Cake!

 Healthy cake.

Need I say more?

Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Immunity Never-Get-Sick Chocolate Cake! 

(aka.. The most moist, wonderful, not-gonna-weigh-you-down cake everrr) 

{Serves 12}

1 2/3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups pitted dates, divided
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 cup pineapple chunks in own juice, drained
1 banana
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup raw beets, shredded
3/4 cup raw carrots, shredded
1/2 cup raw zucchini, shredded
3 tbsp natural, nonalkalized cocoa powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Nut Icing
1 cup raw macademia nuts and/or raw cashews
1 cup vanilla soy, hemp or almond milk
2/3 cup dates, pitted
1/3 cup cashews
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

**We did make a few slight changes from the original recipe!
  1. The original recipe called for 3 1/2 cups dates in the actual cake, instead we used 3/4 cup dates, 1 cup brown rice syrup & 1/4 cup agave nectar.
  2. In the "Icing" we used 1/3 cup cashews when the original recipe called for hazelnuts or brazil nuts.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the flour, baking powder & baking soda in a small bowl & set aside

In blender or food processor, purée dates, syrups, pineapple, banana and applesauce until smooth.

In large bowl, mix together your beets, carrots, zucchini, cocoa powder, walnuts, water, vanilla and flour mixture. Add the blended mixture and mix until well combined.

Spread in a 9 x 13-inch nonstick baking pan or 2 round cake pans.

Bake for 1 hour or until you are able to insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and have it come out clean.


For the "icing", use a high-powered blender and combine all icing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled cake(s).


This cake reminded me of the perfect moist & fudgy brownie. You can have a huge slice of cake with no guilt & the best part, you don't get that crumby foodcoma from all the sugar and calories!

Can I get an amen!?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Veggie Detox Soup

Veggie Detox Soup {4 servings}
Inspired by: Tara's Veggie Detox Soup
What ingredients you'll want to wrastle up:
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing onions
  • 1/2 onion
  • huge handful kale
  • huge handful spinach
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt & Pepper
  • I also used a little garam masala, but not necessary. I was just feeling it. ;)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (the kind in a can)

Fill a large pot approx. 1/2 way full of water & place on the stove to boil.

In a medium-large sauce pan, drizzle with olive oil. Add in chopped onion & saute on medium heat until onions begin to turn translucent.

While onions are cooking, add chopped sweet potatoes to the boiling water & cook them until tender.

Add garlic to the pan with the onion & saute for a few more minutes. Turn to low until potatoes are tender.

Drain the sweet potatoes & add back into the large stock pot. Add veggie stock, spices, onion mixture, whole ginger, as well as all the other vegetables of your choosing. Cover with a lid and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Making sure to stir a few times throughout.

When your 15 minutes are up, stir in the coconut milk. Continue to simmer with the lid back on for 5-10 more minutes.

You could eat the soup nice & chunky as it is, but to bring out the most flavor (& my recommendation..) would be to puree 2/3-3/4 of the soup in a blender.

Usually I am all about chunky/hearty soups, but this one is simple, wholesome & extremely satisfying. Feel free to add or exchange any of the vegetables! This recipe is highly versatile, so go crazy or whip it out on one of those days where you have a lot of veggies in the fridge that you are dying to use up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I love Mondays.

Today I will.. choose to love my life. Focus on the blessings & the beauty of it, while expelling all anxieties, worries & tension. Today is my day & I choose to make the best of it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Do These Chemicals Make Me Look Fat? Obesogens: what they are and why you should care!

You feel like you're at the end of the road. You've tried every diet. You've counted as many calories as you can stand. Let's not even delve into the stories of those days when you acted like you were experiencing perpetual PMS because you were skipping meals. Don't succumb to the idea that you are forever stuck rocking that muffin top.

Yes. Diet is a huge component of achieving a healthy weight, but have you ever wondered if you were missing a part of the puzzle? & I'm not talking exercise. (That comes tomorrow.) ;)

Let's talk toxins, y'all.

Numerous studies have shown that there is a direct link between the increased usage of chemicals in the U.S. and the increase in obesity in adults. A landmark 2002 study, from the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, found just that. Increased industrial chemicals in our environments are in parallel with the ever present obesity epidemic.

So what do you call these nasty obesity contributing chemicals? Obesogens. Clever name, huh?

Obesogens act as endocrine disruptors. Basically meaning, they are chemicals that mimic hormones & mess up the physiologic function of these particular hormones,  reprogramming your metabolism & causing it to build and store fat.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

So what falls under the category of being an obesogen?
  • Pesticides
  • Preservatives in food & cosmetics- think BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • Parabens
  • HRT- Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Birth control pills
  • BPA- Bisphenol A
  • Phthalates- a plastic softener found in many brands of nail polish, shampoo & soap
These are toxins that you are exposed to on a daily basis, so it may not matter how many hours you have racked up at the gym or how diligently you have been watching your diet, you may never achieve the health goals you are seeking because these dang obesogens are getting stored in your fatty tissues! So when you finally make some progress and do lose some weight, these chemicals that have built up in your fat cells are released into the bloodstream, reeking havoc on your thyroid. They cause a decreased metabolism, possibly accompanied by fatigue, nervousness, depression, insomnia, damage to the reproductive system & possibly cancer!

This decrease in metabolic activity causes the body to hoard calories instead of burning them off, making your desired slim down even more difficult to achieve. But don't throw in the towel! Reducing your exposure to these nasty toxins is easy if you're willing to make a few little changes.

Baby steps, people.
  1. Buy organic fruits & veggies! Conventional fruits & vegetables are sprayed with all sorts of pesticides & insecticides to get them looking nice, plump & able to travel 1,500 miles to local grocery stores.. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), you could cut your pesticide exposure by a whopping 80% if you avoid the most contaminated produce options in favor of eating the cleanest options. Read up on the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen here.
  2. Choose glass instead of plastic for food storage.  BPA is a lining that is often found covering plastics, the inside of canned soups & sauces (Except Eden Organics! Yummm.), etc. Items like reusable containers & Tupperware are also lined with harmful softening agents called phthalates. These obesogens can leach from plastics into your food & eventually wreak havoc on the body. Phthalates can also be found in items such as raincoats, vinyl flooring, backpacks & PVC shower curtains.
  3. Reach for toxic-free cleaning & personal care products. This one is a doozy. Toxic-free makeup can cost a bit more than your typical department store buys. You can check out how your cleaning products stack up here & how your makeup products rank here.
  4. Step away from the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Try to cut back on your sugar intake all together & when you do use sugar go for more natural options like pure maple syrup, medjool dates, sucanat, coconut sugar, palm sugar or evaporated can juice crystals. HFCS has been linked to increased abdominal fat storage and triglycerides. Do yourself a favor and toss the stuff for good!
  5. Say no to fragrance. Items listed as containing "fragrance" are basically telling you that they are loaded with synthetic chemicals, of which can be hidden & undisclosed under the name fragrance. Don't let them fool you, choose fragrance options that are derived from essential oils or go for unscented household/beauty products. My current favorite is
Now, you don't have to go crazy trying to eliminate all of these things at once. Maybe decide to cut out a couple small things or even just one of the toxins you know you've let creep into your daily life. But don't wait.

What is one toxin you will commit to eliminating this week/month? I'd love to hear your thoughts, successes, trials, whatever! Good luck, sweet potatoes! ;)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spicy Mexican Bean Burgers

I'm a huge fan of veggie burgers. 
Or as The Donald would say,

They are so versatile, filling & packed full of nutrient dense whole foods. They leave you satiated and satisfied without a single ounce of guilt, & they are so simple. You can add pretty much any combo of veggies to mashed up beans, a little flour or oats & some spices to come up with delicious homemade burger.

Plus they are a buttload cheaper than the veggie burgers you can buy at the supermarket. And you can double the batch and freeze the burgers so you always have a quick, healthy option for when you are short & looking for a quick fix.

Spicy Veggie Burgers {6 large patties}

  • 1 can Eden Organic black beans
  • 1 medium carrot, grated or chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cooked medium to large sweet potatoes, about the size of a fist or a little larger
  • 1 cup sweetcorn, I used Trader Joe's frozen super sweetcorn
  • 2 tsp of your favorite spices. I used a mix of cumin, coriander and chilli.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Approx. 1/3 oats, more or less in order to achieve a consistency allowing you to form patties
Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees. My oven seems to cook things slower than normal, so I cranked it up to 400.

Chop up your taters into small cubes and cook until tender, or if you are short on time (or just starving) you can nuke them in the microwave until tender. 

While the potaties cook, you can prep the rest of your ingredients (minus the oats!). Add together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and roughly mash them together. 

Add in your cooked potatoes and mash the mixture until lumpy.

Add in as much or little oats needed to get the batter to a consistency that will allow you to form it into patties. It took me approximately 1/4-1/3 cup of oats.

Using your hands divide the mixture into 6 even sections and flatten them into burger shaped patties with your hands.

I would suggest baking the patties, but if you are strapped for time then cooking them in a skillet with a little oil works good too. I find that the patties turn out more firm/stick together better when baked over pan frying. Place patties onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. Flipping them over at 15 minutes.

You'll know they are done when they have a light golden brown coating on the outside of the burger.

You can eat them on a bun with whatever fixin' you want, on top of a salad (a la my lunch today), or plain like me. I found the hummus to be the perfect slightly spicy compliment to the patty. But I don't think you could really go wrong with your condiment choices. This burger shines. :)

& would you check out those nutrition stats?! =)

I paired my burger with some garlicky greens & mushrooms. Just a couple mushrooms sliced and cooked with a clove of garlic, a little pepper & a splash of liquid aminos. Adding in loads of spinach halfway thru cooking the mushrooms. Saute until greens are wilted & you're ready to dig in!

Monday, March 4, 2013

I love Mondays.

In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday this past weekend.