Skinny Peppermint Mocha

The other day my routine was changed and I can’t believe how it caused me to experience a series of missteps.  I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say my morning was a hot mess.  I stopped to get a coffee to help me regroup.  I made sure to lock all the doors because my husband had a talk with me the night before about that.  Wouldn’t you know it, I locked my keys in the car!

15193690_1115804685205782_4856398437908955152_nWhile I waited on my hubby to come to my rescue with a spare key, I decided to try a skinny peppermint mocha. It just sounded so good to me and it did not disappoint!  I’m now hooked and ever since last week I’ve been experimenting to find an even healthier recipe to make at home.

As I sat with my skinny peppermint mocha and egg white sandwich, I decided that I was going to turn the day around!  Maybe the peppermint had a little something to do with it.  Peppermint has a calming effect on the body.  Actually there are few body, health, and mind issues that it cannot help.

Factoid: Peppermint is mentioned in Greek mythology where water nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.

All of this makes me feel even better about stumbling across my new Christmas indulgence:)  This recipe includes a skinny peppermint syrup that provides for several servings to have on hand for whenever your craving hits.  Your wallet and waistline will thank you!

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Ingredients for Skinny Chocolate Peppermint Syrup:

1 cup water
4 peppermint tea bags
1 cup sweetener (I used stevia)
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

*Once it cools off pour in a jar or bottle and store in refrigerator

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat a cup of water until it starts to a boil, then add the tea bags, cover and let steep for  5 minutes.
  2. Discard the tea bags and add the sweetener, cocoa powder and peppermint extract. Bring to a boil, and stir until everything dissolves.  Boil for a few minutes then remove from heat.

Ingredients for one Skinny Peppermint Mocha

2/3 cup dark roast coffee
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp skinny chocolate syrup
To prepare your mocha latte:

1. Brew coffee, I used the smallest cup setting on my Keurig (be sure to use a large coffee mug)
2. Heat milk until hot and pour in a blender: Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute until mixture becomes frothy and foamy
3. Add chocolate peppermint syrup to coffee
4. Gently pour in the frothy milk

Tip: If you want to make a protein peppermint mocha add in 1-2 tbsp of your favorite protein powder.💪

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Berry Picking & Blueberry Pancake Recipe

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Last month Remi and I were lucky enough to catch the last weekend to pick blueberries at a local berry farm, Blue Harvest Farms, in southern Louisiana.  It was our first time experiencing berry picking so we got all geared up for our adventure.🤗

Hats:  √

Boots:  √

Sunscreen: √

Buckets:  √

Shades for Titi Sunshine: √

We had a blast!  We chit chatted with other berry pickers, she entertained everyone around us with singing, and I seized some teaching moments on practicing mindfulness, which for her involved savoring one or two…

IMG_3063Some veteran blueberry pickers shared with us a great tips:

  1.  Look for powder-blue berries that are firm and uniform in size.
  2. When you get them home spread them-out in a single layer on some paper towels.  If possible, store them in a moisture-proof container for up to five days.
  3. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use them.

I froze half of our batch to use for smoothies or to add in to my banana protein ice-cream.  Here is the link to that recipe:

https://www.instagram.com/healthy_justice/

The rest of the berries we shared with our family and used to make blueberry pancakes.

Now that I have little ones in my life I realize how challenging it is to get them to eat nutritious food, and this is a meal they actually request.  It’s so simple and using a food processor makes it even easier!

IMG_3136Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon organic stevia
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar (I let it soak for awhile)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Place flour, oats, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

The homemade orange juice is also simple and makes breakfast even more of a delight!  

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Ingredients

1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 medium navel oranges, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup (180 ml) ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or other sweetener, to taste (optional)

Directions

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Here is a link to Blue Harvest Farms: http://blueharvestfarms.com

If you would like to find a berry farm close to you, this link might help: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states

 

Heaven Sent Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake tastes so divine that it’s got to be a heaven sent health food.  ⚠️WARNING!  Don’t let the carrots mislead you down a bunny trail that you’re eating healthy.  This classic cake is generally high in calories, fat and packed with sugar!

Never to fear if you are a carrot cake lover like myself. I’ve been determined to find a healthy recipe that still delivers that sweet divine taste. Here is how I transformed the sinful carrot cake and gave it a proper ‘health halo approved’ status.🌟

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My Secrets For A Healthier Carrot Cake

  1. Reduced fat and sugar with crushed pineapple to add moistness and sweetness.
  2. Added flavor with unsweetened coconut flakes.
  3. Replaced all purpose flour with whole-wheat flour which boosts the fiber.
  4. Cut fat in by replacing regular cream cheese with neufchâtel cream cheese in the frosting.  Enhanced the nutrition by adding protein powder and Greek yogurt.

Recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or plain whole wheat) *see TIPS for gluten free*
  • 1/2 cup and 2 TBS stevia, 1/4 cup honey *see notes if you don’t like stevia*
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice, drained 
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1/4 cup raisins *see TIPS for how to plump raisins*

Frosting:

  • 2 oz neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 16 drops of stevia (2 TBS for powder stevia)
  • 2-3 TBS almond milk (or whatever milk you have)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

PREPARATION

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×3 inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and spices; stir well with a whisk.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs, and vanilla; stir well. Add grated carrots and pineapple; mix well. Fold wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together. Fold in 1/4 cup chopped nuts. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

PREPARE FROSTING

  1. Beat ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.  Garnish with remaining chopped walnuts.

TIPS & NOTES

  • I went half quinoa flour and half whole-wheat flour. This definitely has a healthier taste so try this if you have developed a healthy palate. You could even use all quinoa flour to make it gluten free.
  • Whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.
  • If you don’t want to use stevia, 2/3 cup of sugar would be fine.
  • Soak raisins in warm water for a few minutes and drain. This plumps them up.

Enjoy this sweet indulgence!IMG_2412