Take a moment to enjoy…

This time of year can be so busy and hectic. Shopping, celebrating….visiting. It is a great time of year to reconnect with old friends, celebrate new, thank people who have helped throughout the year. Take a moment to appreciate everything you have…your health, family and friends, co-workers and associates. Be sure to share with those less fortunate. Take some time to relax…whatever that means to you!

My gift to you is the most fantastic chocolate fantasy you could possibly enjoy. And surprise, surprise – it’s healthy too! Enjoy this special indulgence…and don’t feel guilty.

– 1 cup extra virgin coconut oil
– ¼ cup organic raw almond butter
– ¼ cup almond meal
– 4 Tbsp agave nectar
– ¼ cup organic unsweetened coconut
– ¼ cup hemp seed protein
– ½ tsp liquid Stevia or 3 tsp powdered Stevia (6 packets)
– 1 Tbsp organic vanilla
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– ¾ cup raw chocolate cacao powder
– 1/3 cup goji berries

Directions
1. Spray an ice cube tray with nonstick spray and set aside or use mini cupcake tins and papers.
2. Melt coconut oil under hot water or spoon into saucepan and melt over low flame. When coconut oil turns to a liquid, pour oil into medium bowl.
3. Slowly whisk in almond butter, cinnamon, Stevia, and agave nectar one at a time.
4. Next, whisk in vanilla.
5. Then slowly stir in cacao (or carob), almond meal, coconut, and hemp seed protein one at a time, sprinkling evenly as you go.
6. Batter should run off of spoon. Spoon into ice cube tray, or cup cake papers and chill in freezer for 15 minutes.
7. Sprinkle goji berries of the top.

Secrets to a better nights sleep

The other day I noticed a woman doing laps on our block with a baby in a stroller . I checked back later and she seemed to be doing this for almost an hour. While this might seem odd to some of you, getting a baby out in the fresh air for an hour a day used to be one of the rules of parenting. The babies sleep better and seem to thrive better for the fresh air.

But it’s not just babies that need their fresh air – adults need it too. Getting out in the fresh air increases our intake of oxygen, which is essential for energy production, and also allows our skin to manufacture vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. Plus if you go for a brisk walk this improves your circulation and burns calories. A walk can be also be very relaxing, particularly if you have a nice park or river path nearby.

Sadly I’m sure most of us don’t have time for a daily 60 minute stroll outdoors, but it’s worth making the effort to get outdoors on the weekend especially now the clocks have gone back so we won’t be seeing much sunlight. You might not feel like venturing out as the days get colder but wrap up warm and stick a reward at the end (take a long walk to brunch or a favorite cafe) and you’ll find it more enjoyable!

Happy Chanukkah!

Chanukah is such a fun holiday to celebrate…especially with kid(s) in the picture. This eight-day celebration includes lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating potato latkes. The latkes, traditionally fried are done so in the tradition of the Maccabees finding oil that was supposed to burn out after one day but instead lasted for eight.

While potato latkes are common fare on Chanukah, They can be enjoyed any time of year. Here is my healthy twist. Baked, not fried, making each one less than 45 calories and 0g fat. I have also swapped out half of the Yukon gold potatoes for sweet potatoes lowering the carb count and increasing the fiber. Plus, sweet potatoes are rich in powerful antioxidants like Vitamin A and C. You can also add greek yogurt as the base to decrease fat and increase protein.

– 1/2-lb. Yukon gold potato
– 1/2-lb. sweet potato
– optional: zuccini or squash
– 1 medium, vidalia onion
– 1 large egg

– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– Pinch cayenne
– 2 tbsp whole wheat flour



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Cut up and Grate potatoes and onion and place in bowl.

3. Remove excess moisture by pressing down firmly on potato mixture with paper towel or squeezing out excess liquid

4. Stir egg into potato mixture.

5. Mix together baking powder, salt, cayenne, and flour.

6. Stir spices into potato mixture.

7. Drop latke mixture in 3tbsp measurements onto baking sheet.

8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn the pancakes over, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Latkes should be deep gold on both sides when done.