No-Bake Hiking Cookies!!

HIKING COOKIES! Not volleyball cookies… but hiking cookies. They obviously can be eaten where ever you want, but I was trying to force my friend into going hiking with me today so I was bribing her with these non-bake “hiking” cookies. She insisted that they could be volleyball cookies (because she wanted to play volleyball) and I insisted that no, they were hiking cookies. So now, in tribute to my stubborn-ness, these cookies will forever be known as HIKING COOKIES!!

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They are ridiculously easy to make and packed with superfoods. When I eventually went on my hike today up at Runyon Canyon, I had just one of them for my “lunch-snack” and it completely filled me up. Because it isn’t baked, the enzymes and heat sensitive vitamins contained in the ingredients of the cookies are retained and therefore accessible for your body to soak up! Part of the ingredients must be heated slightly just to maintain a correct consistency, but its only for a minute and on a very low heat. The rest of the ingredients have no heat applied to them whatsoever.

 

Because of the hemp seeds and chia seeds, these “cookies” are high in protein and omega 3 to help power you through your day. Plus, it contains maca which not only regulates your hormones, but also boosts your fertility and libido. I bring these with me to work paired with a small piece of chicken and salad and it provides the perfect amount of sustained energy. Plus, they taste spectacular which is always a plus!

This recipe makes 12-13 cookies so it will easily last you a week of bringing them to work or school. Just make them on Sunday and enjoy your little healthy treat the rest of the week!

No-Bake Hiking Cookies

makes 12-13 cookies

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Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

1/4 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup. not aunt jemimas)

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons maca powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

 

1. In a large bowl, mix the oats, cranberries, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt.

oatmeal pour

 

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2. In a pan over low heat, mix the almond butter (or peanut butter) with the maple syrup and almond milk. It might be easiest to use a fork with this because it helps break apart the almond butter and  combine the ingredients.

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3. Once the ingredients are combined, turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla extract and maca powder.

4. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and stir until combined.

5. Put a parchment paper sheet on a cookie sheet. Scoop two heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into a cookie shape. Put onto the cookie sheet and repeat until the batter is gone.

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6. Once the cookies are all done, put them into the freezer for 1-2 hours and then transfer to a sealed container and put them into the fridge. They can be eaten for up to a month as long as they are kept in the fridge! Enjoy!

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I brought my cookies along during my hike with a friend and my dog on Runyon Canyon. Such a great hike on a beautiful Saturday morning! My friend (not typically a healthy food eater) LOVED the cookies! Go take a hike and bring the hiking cookies along with you!

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Quinoa for breakfast?!?!

When I was at the Tone It Up Retreat last week, I ate a lot of quinoa. I mean a LOT of quinoa. I’ve always been a fan of quinoa because it’s a complete protein and a good grain alternative (because it’s actually a seed, not a grain). I have quite a few recipes on my blog already that use quinoa as a staple but I’ve never really used quinoa for breakfast before until this morning.

Well, actually, technically I tried it for the first time at the retreat. I was definitely skeptical when I saw “oatmeal” made of quinoa. It seemed like an odd pairing, quinoa and breakfast. But I gave it a whirl and I’m glad I did! Having quinoa for breakfast really helps fill you up and keep you satisfied throughout the day (probably because it’s high in protein). Plus, it doesn’t really taste like anything, so it’s extremely versatile and you can add whatever you want to it.

I pre-made the quinoa last night so that it wouldn’t take as long to prepare. I suggest everyone do it that way too since most people don’t have ample time in the morning to leisurely cook quinoa for breakfast.

Try it out and let me know how you like it!

**OH and by the way… along with this quinoa oatmeal dish this morning, I made a “clean” latte. And holy mother of all delicious food… it was incredible. Don’t you worry though, I’ll be posting THAT recipe soon enough!**

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram at @healthyfoodylifestyle for more recipes, fitness and health updates. And be sure to post your creation and tag me in it so that I can see how yours turned out!

So what are you waiting for… go eat some quinoa for breakfast!

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Superfoods and Strawberries Quinoa Oatmeal

serves 3

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1.5 cups almond milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

3 tablespoons cacao nibs

3 tablespoons goji berries

3 teaspoons honey

1. Pour the quinoa, almond milk and cinnamon into a pan. Raise the heat to medium high until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Let this cook for 20 minutes. If the quinoa dries up before it is cooked all the way through, just add 1/4 cup more almond milk to moisten it again.

*This step can be done the night before. Once the quinoa is cooked, just wait for it to cool off and put it into tupperware and into the fridge. When you are ready to reheat it, take out the desired amount, put it into a pot, add 1/4 cup almond milk and put it over medium low heat while you prepare the other ingredients*

2. Separate the quinoa out into three bowls. Sprinkle the strawberries, goji berries, cacao, and honey on top of each bowl. Serve hot!

Coffee: evil devil worshiper or angel of all that is wonderful?

We’ve been hearing some mixed messages lately on whether or not coffee is good for you. Plenty of people are praying to all that is holy that their addiction will some how prove beneficial to their health. But then there are also those that swear off coffee and blame it to cause a variety of diseases ranging from insomnia to stroke.

So what’s the deal? Is coffee good or is it bad?

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Unfortunately, there’s not really a straight forward answer. But let me give you some facts and you can decide for yourself…

Things that make coffee a pretty healthy drink…

1. Coffee can boost your metabolic rate by 3-11%, helping you lose weight.

-However, this diminishes the more often you drink coffee. Like anything, you can build up a tolerance and I          have yet to find a study regarding whether or not your metabolism slows down to even lower than you were before drinking coffee once you’ve stopped drinking coffee altogether.

2. Coffee contains a decent amount of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and Magnesium, Manganese and Potassium.

-And that’s just in one cup of coffee (8 oz). If you were to have about 16 oz, which is what most Americans have, you can get up to 1/4 of your daily RDAs for those vitamins and minerals.

3. Coffee may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.

-Observational studies have found that coffee drinkers have up to 65% lower risk of developing the disease.

4. A cup or two may help increase endurance during your workout making it feel easier.

– There may be up to a 5% increase in endurance during your workout following a cup of Joe.

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Why coffee should be avoided like the Plague…

1. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops.

-Lots of pesticides is not good. Its a bunch of chemicals that kills bugs. Some even cause the buggies to explode after ingesting the pesticide and those pesticides have been found to have similar effects on stomach and intestinal cells. So… you might want to avoid that.

2. Coffee is a diuretic.

-This means you pee a lot and lose water. Most people don’t even get enough water to start with so dehydrating yourself further is never a good idea.

3. Coffee depletes your body of Potassium,

-This causes muscle cramps (which hurt like a mother, especially if you’ve ever gotten a leg cramp that wakes you up in the middle of the night.. not fun), digestive upset, irregular heart beat and lack of energy.

4. Surprise, surprise… it can also cause insomnia and anxiety.

-I don’t think this one is much of a shocker, considering most of us drink it to wake ourselves up anyway. But it can also cause anxiety or increase anxiety in those who already experience it.

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My opinion

If you’re going to drink coffee, try to limit it to only a couple of times a week and drink it without any sugar. If you can get your hands on it, buy some organic coffee beans and freshly grind them yourself each morning. It tastes more fresh and it causes the beans to not go rancid. Just don’t go making a habit of getting the sugary dessert lattes from Starbucks, Coffee Bean or where ever else you go. Just read my girls article about the Pumpkin Spice Latte and maybe that will help you get over your addiction.

When I have coffee (and it’s a very rare occurrence), I get organic beans, freshly grind them in the morning, make it in a french press and I only add a little bit of organic almond milk and maybe some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices. It’s an acquired taste but once you’re used to it, it’s actually pretty tasty! Trust me, it’s worth getting used to instead of risking your health drinking sugary 300 calorie drinks everyday.

A quick side story…

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**The picture above was of a coffee I was drinking in Florence, Italy while writing in my travel journal. Those were most of the places that I visited and wrote on the back of my journal. Everyone should travel!!! But I digress..

When I was in Italy this summer studying abroad, I drank a LOT of coffee. However, I was drinking straight espresso without anything added to it so I tried to tell myself it wasn’t that bad. Through my 5 weeks of traveling and drinking espresso, I experienced 6 excruciating muscle cramps that woke me up in the middle of the night and caused me to lose a lot of sleep… which ended up with me drinking even more coffee the next day. I attributed my muscle cramps to the excessive amounts of coffee that I was drinking and the potassium that I was losing. So, If you choose to drink coffee, try to limit it to just a few cups a week of sugarless coffee.

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(Above) Me drinking my 1,115th coffee (roughly give or take) while in Nice, France.

References:

1. http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/

2. http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/07/11/6-coffee-pre-workout-benefits.aspx

3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/519356-coffee-potassium/

Fall time treats: cinnamon apple crisps

Apple pie and fall go hand in hand. Unfortunately, apple pie also goes hand in hand with love handles. Just the thought of the cinnamon-y, apple-y, crispy flavor of apple pie just makes you want to cuddle into a warm blanket by the fire with you’re very own slice while you watch the red and brown leaves fall from the trees outside. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also how you start to gain that winter weight. Now, I’m not trying to take away that sweet, delicious pleasure, but I am going to make it a little more friendly to your figure!

I bring to you, chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps! It only has 4 ingredients and it completely satisfies that apple dessert craving. Plus, it only has 78 calories per serving!!! So crunch away and enjoy your sweater wearing, leave changing, and apple picking season that is fall!

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Chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps
serves 4

ingredients
2 apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cut the top part off of the apple and carefully cut thin slices of the apple. When you’re done slicing, cut out the middle core of each apple.
3. Combine the remaining three ingredients by stirring together until it is all combined into a semi liquid form.
4. Put the apple slices on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Gently rub the cinnamon mixture onto each slice using either a knife or a cooking brush.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the apples sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. The longer they sit after cooking, the crispier they’ll get.

Enjoy your fall treats!!