Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Butternut Squash and Apple Bake

Now that we are officially in the fall season we need to start taking advantage of all the amazing produce opportunities. The combination of apples and butternut squash works perfect together in this dish covered in maple syrup. Butternut squash is a great source of fiber, potassium, B6 and vitamin A. The color of butternut squash provides powerful carotenoids that help protect again heart disease. One cup of squash provides half of your daily dose of vitamin C which is extra important as we head into cold and flu season. The apples also provide a great boost to the immune system. Red apples contain quercetin which can help immunity especially during times of stress. 

3 apples
1 butternut squash
3 tbs real maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tbs cinnamon 
1/2 cup pecans 

1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, cover a baking sheet in parchment paper
2- Peel and core apples, chop into small pieces 
3- Peel butternut squash, cut in half and remove seeds, cut squash into small cubes
4 - Combine olive oil and maple syrup in a medium bowl
5- Add chopped apples and squash
6- Mix together and spread on baking sheet
7 - Sprinkle coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt over the top and put in oven
8- Bake for 45 minutes or until squash is tender and begins to caramelize. 

   Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Anti-Inflammatory Immunity Boosting Tea

Lisa and I both struggle with chronic back pain and I try to have turmeric every day to deal with the pain and inflammation. Turmeric is an all natural pain reliever, a natural antibiotic, and improves asthma and coughs. I started making this tea and have been enjoying it everyday with super foods added to it to boost my immune system as we head into the colder months. Lets face it everyone can use a little help in the immune system department. I have been loving the addition of essential oils to my tea and water. Lemon essential oil is great for boosting the immune system and cleansing the body. Ginger essential oil is a great anti-inflammatory and also can help with sore throats, nausea, and indigestion. Raw honey helps to boost immune function, is anti-viral and anti-fungal. 

Photo Credit: Michael Theriault

8oz boiling water
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
2 drops ginger essential oil (or 1 tsp grated or ground ginger)
1 tbs raw honey (local if possible)
2 dops lemon essential oil (or 1/2 squeezed lemon)

Put all ingredients in mug and stir to combine. 

Disclaimer - Not all essential oils can be consumed internally. Young Living essential oils are safe for internal consumption.  Click here for more information.  

      Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Quest for Perfection: find your own unique center and calm your anxious mind

If you are anxious you are living in the future. As a long time sufferer of anxiety these words really resonated with me. I could relate. Like many other people I was always living for the future because then I would feel happy, relaxed and fulfilled. In the future everything would be perfect. Even myself.

I think we all have some idea of perfection. Some of us strive for it every day. Some of us put a smile on our faces but underneath it all we are not content; not by a long shot. Those of us with anxious minds often without realizing it are always thinking about the future. Soon I will be successful...soon I will get that promotion...soon I will be in love...soon I will be more financially secure...soon I can go on that vacation I’ve been dreaming of.... soon I will be HAPPY. That last one HAPPINESS is essentially what we are striving for; a sense of happiness and peace. And once all of our ducks line up we will be enveloped in that state of mind simply loving life. Right? Well maybe not...While yes we may feel some happiness as we check of the mental goals on our current satisfaction list, we always quickly jump to the next thing on our list of creating future happiness. Is this how we are meant to live, grasping at each subsequent moment waiting to feel, waiting to let all of our troubles go and be at ease? It is great to have goals and expectations of our lives, ourselves and those around us. It is great to be advantageous and ambitious. But wouldn’t it be great if we could accomplish this and still be present in this very moment? To look around take a deep breath and let it all in...the good and the bad...to simply feel it all. Life is not perfect and the bottom line is that it will never be. And that is okay. There are ups and downs and twists and unexpected turns but thats all part of this ride we call life. Somewhere along the line in the midst of all the chaos around us with things like social media and television showing us the world’s conception of perfection many of us are drowning in our own pools of self doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice to unplug, take a deep look inside ourselves and if there is something we don’t like make an effort to change it today. Not tomorrow or sometime in the future but now. And maybe instead of changing ourselves we need to embrace ourselves. Every little part of ourselves. Imperfection is beauty. Uniqueness is an embraceable characteristic that we all have. Celebrate who you are and the more confidence you have the more people embrace that uniqueness, even ourselves.  Now is the time to start living and loving ourselves. No one is promised tomorrow so why should we live for it? To be calm, to be grounded, to be centered in this very moment, this very hour, this very day is perfection in itself. 

So, to my fellow anxious minds, take a minute to pause, to breathe, to love yourself and to feel that in this very moment you are okay.

Yours in Health & Happiness,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Crazy for Chai: Pumpkin Spice and Classic Chai

As promised continuing with the fall drink theme this Thirsty Thursday we wanted to share some hot tea drinks for those tea lovers out there. After all, as the weather begins to change and we begin to feel a slight chill in the air there is nothing like sitting down to relax with your favorite comforting cup of hot tea. Chai is a great a fall favorite with its warm spice and earthy sweet undertones. For those who love pumpkin, add in a little pumpkin spice and your taste buds will love you. We are sharing both a caffeinated and decaffeinated option so to enjoy it any time of day.  Tazo's chai pumpkin spice tea (we found at target) was our inspiration  for the Pumpkin Spice Chai tea and Numi's Rooibos chai (found at a natural food store) was our inspiration for the Classic Chai tea. 

Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea 

1 Tazo chai tea bag (pumpkin spice if possible)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbs local honey
1/4th cup (unsweetened almond milk, or whole milk)

1- Steep tea bag in 8oz of hot water for 5 minutes
2- Place tea and other ingredients in a blender and blend until combined
3- Enjoy!

Rooibos Classic Chai Tea 
 caffeine, sugar, and dairy free

1 Numi organic chai tea bag
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
2 Sweet Leaf stevia tabs ( These new tabs are a portable convenient way to sweeten naturally)

1- Steep tea bag in 8 oz of hot water for 5 minutes
2- Add in milk of choice and stevia
3-Stir and enjoy!

What fall drinks do you want to see made healthy for Thirsty Thursday? Let us know in the comments section! 

Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

When I was teaching last week I made apple crisp with both of my classes (healthy versions of course). This is the perfect fall treat when apples are in season. Any apple will do for this recipe but the harder ones will take a little longer to cook. This recipe makes the house smell amazing! Apples are a great source of soluble fiber and vitamin C. If you are not using local apples be sure to look for the organic varieties because apples are one of the top dirty dozen produce items with the highest pesticide residue. 

4 apples (local or organic) 
5 tbs grass fed butter divided (1tbs and 4tbs)
3 tbs local honey
2 tbs cinn +1 tbs
1/4th cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/4th cup almond flour

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2- In a pie pan spread 1 tbs of butter
3- Peel and cut up apples
4- Add honey, and 2 tbs cinnamon to the apples and stir until coated
5- Spread the apples in the pie dish
6- Melt 4 tbs butter and combine with coconut sugar, oats, almond flour and 1 tbs cinnamon
7- Mix ingredients together until it forms a crumble
8- Spread the mix over the apples
9 - Bake until topping is crisp and apples are bubbly around 30-45 minutes depending on apple 

10- Cool and enjoy 

    Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’m having a very hard time admitting that summer is over and fall is on its way! But it seems official when Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks bring back their pumpkin spice lattes. They may taste amazing but they are full of sugar, and fake ingredients. 

Pumpkin Coffee from Dunkin Donuts 
INGREDIENTS: Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee; Pumpkin Spice Flavored Syrup: Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Mono and Diglycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Salt.

36 grams of sugar in a medium pumpkin coffee and that is before you ask for extra sugar! It is recommended to have no more than 24g of sugar per day. In the medium pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks with 2% milk and whipped cream the sugar comes to a total of 49g. 

The good news is that you can control the ingredients that go into your pumpkin spiced latte by making it at home. Not only is this option healthier you are also going to save yourself money!

8 oz of fresh brewed hot coffee
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp grade B maple syrup or honey
2 tsp fresh pumpkin (canned is fine just make sure its not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tbs coconut oil or 2 tbs cream 

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until coffee becomes creamy! Enjoy with no guilt. 
Next week I will be making a pumpkin spiced chia tea for those who are not coffee drinkers so stay tuned!

                             Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tropical Energy Bites

Most snacks you find at the grocery store have an ingredients list a mile long and are full of words you can't pronounce. Making your own snacks for yourself and your family is a great option that does not have to be difficult or time consuming. This recipe is a great raw paleo friendly snack full of healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied that everyone will love! 
serves 10

photo credit to the talented Megan and Michael Theriault

1 cup unsulfured dried apricots (no sugar added) 
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1- place all ingredients in high powered blender or food processor
2- blend until mixture starts to stick together
3- transfer into bowl and roll into 10 round bites

4- store in refrigerator 

Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Anti-inflammatory, gut healing superfood protein smoothie

This may be the most nutrient dense smoothie that I have ever made. It is a great way to get in lots of my daily supplements by masking them with the sweet taste of blueberries and banana. Glutamine is an amino acid with no taste that helps heal the gut. The keifer provides beneficial probiotics and tumeric and wild blueberries are both anti inflammatory. The amazing grass powder is alkalizing and cleansing for the body. This is a great meal replacement or post workout smoothie. The protein powder, glutamine, Amazing Grass, and maca can all be found at a health food store or on Amazon. 

- 1 serving of protein powder (I use Tera’s Whey grass fed chocolate whey)
- 1 tbs of glutamine powder
- 1 tsp of ground turmeric
- 1 tbs Amazing Grass green powder
- 1 tbs of maca powder (great for balancing hormones and helping your body deal with stress)
start out with 1 tsp and gradually increase your dose over time. 
- 1 cup of full fat canned coconut milk or grass fed organic whole milk (if you can tolerate dairy)
- 1/2 cup whole milk or goats milk keifer (plain/no added sugar) 
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries 


1- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and completely mixed!

                                                Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                                         Lisa and Nichole

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Raw Brownies

This is my most popular and loved recipe that I came up with in an attempt to cut out added sugar from my diet. These amazing brownies taste better than the real thing. You won’t believe that these are healthy! 
Raw, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, no sugar added 
Makes 12 brownies

Photo credit: Megan and Michael Theriault

1 cup cashews
2 cups dates
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 
2 tbs coconut oil

1- Remove pits from dates
2- Combine ingredients in vitamix or food processor. 
3- Press ingredients into 8x8 glass dish 
4 -Refrigerate until hard then cut into squares, store in the fridge. 

  Yours in Health & Happiness,
                                               Lisa and Nichole