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Vegan Peanut Butter Crunch Cups for Easter? Yes Please!

Are you still scratching your head about what to bring to Easter brunch this Sunday? Our favorite “golden girl of wellness” and go-to source for all things clean eating has you covered. Indulge in this incredibly easy, delicious and dare we say vegan recipe for peanut butter crunch cups. All you need is a lot of love for dark chocolate and a little willpower to not eat all of them before Easter Sunday!

Makes: 20 peanut butter crunch cups
Ready in: 40 minutes


Ingredients:
One bag (11-12 ounces) semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter coconut butter
3/4 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crispy rice cereal
+20 mini cupcake liners

  • Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it at 100 percent power in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly and then scrape it into a large bowl. (You can also melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring the chocolate occasionally, until it is completely melted).
  • Using a small paintbrush or pastry brush, coat the bottoms and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the liners with some of the chocolate (set aside the rest for later). You want the coating to be fairly thick, so that when the liners are peeled off, the chocolate shell doesn’t crack. Place the filled liners on a plate and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to several hours.
  • While the shells chill, make the peanut butter filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter using a wooden spoon and then add the confectioners sugar and rice cereal. Mix until well combined and gooey looking (it should look like slightly melted chunky peanut butter). Allow the mixture to cool slightly; about 10-15 minutes should do it (if the mixture is too hot, it will melt the chocolate shells).
  • Remove the chocolate cups from the refrigerator. Use a teaspoon to fill each shell 3/4 full with peanut butter filling (you can use a wet finger or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top if you like). If the remaining chocolate in the bowl has hardened, re-melt it in the microwave in 5-second bursts. Spoon some chocolate over the peanut butter filling, spreading and turning the shell so the chocolate seals the cup. Return to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container) to harden. Serve chilled.

Candice Kumai is one of the country’s leading wellness journalists and the most trusted source in clean eating. She is the 5x best-selling author of Clean Green Eats, Clean Green Drinks, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy, and Cook Yourself Thin. Candice is a regular contributor to E! News, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Today Show. Candice lives to inspire a a whole new generation of wellness lovers, creative artists, fitness gurus and cooks in the kitchen. Click here for more of her recipes, wellness tips and life hacks.

Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

Are you looking for an excuse to continue eating sweets AFTER Valentine’s Day? We’ve got just the thing! What if a cookie could be so healthy, it could double as a grab-and-go breakfast? STOP. IT. Right?

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Check out this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction – Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. I often have these lying around the house for after school snacks. They’re gluten free, use no refined sugar, no butter and taste GREAT!  Use rolled gluten-free oats from Bob’s Red Mill and pulse them in the food processor so that they’ll cook up just like quick oats. A healthy substitution for the optional almonds is flax seeds.

 

Ingredients:

·       2 and 1/3 cups (190g) quick oats (not whole oats)

·       3/4 teaspoon salt

·       1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·       1 cup (250g) homemade or your favorite almond butter

·       1/4 cup (82g) pure maple syrup (or honey)

·       2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

·       1/3 cup (60g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

·       1/3 cup (33g) sliced almonds — optional

 

Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2.     Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The dough will be sticky and thick.

3.     Each cookie will be 3 Tablespoons of dough. Drop this amount onto prepared cookie sheet and slightly flatten the tops into desired thickness. The cookies will not spread in the oven.

4.     Bake for 15 minutes until edges are very slightly brown. Don’t bake any longer or the cookies will taste dry. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets completely. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 1 week.

 

Tip: Cookies can be frozen up to 3 months, then thawed overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

 

Recipe recommended by:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Recipe: The Best Green Smoothie

Hard-working muscles need vitamins and minerals for nourishment. Instead of giving in to your usual afternoon caffeine jolt or carb craving, try an energizing green smoothie. It’s great after a workout.  This fantastic smoothie from I Love Vegan has a peanut butter and banana base – it’s light, creamy and super mild!

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The Best Green Smoothie 

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

 

Ingredients:

·       1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

·       1-2 handfuls of spinach

·       2 frozen bananas

·       2-4 soft pitted dates

·       2 tbsp hemp hearts

·       1 tbsp natural peanut butter

 

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients, blend on high until perfectly smooth and frothy.

 

Superfood Smoothie Topping Ingredients (optional):

·       2 tbsp hemp seeds

·       2 tbsp chia seeds

·       2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats

·       2 tbsp slivered almonds (or pumpkin seeds)

 

Instructions:

Sprinkle on top of your smoothie.

 

Recipe recommended by:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Happy YOU Year! Week 5

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Exercise builds muscle, burns fat, lifts your mood and helps you sleep.  You can’t argue with that one!  And it’s no secret that the key to achieving your fitness goals is consistency.

Here are some of our favorite reasons to get movin’:

• It trims and sculpts your body so your clothes fit better.  Weight-bearing exercise helps your build lean muscle, and that muscle shrinks fat cells.  The more lean muscle you build, the more fat your body will be able to burn off.  Since muscle weighs more than fat, you may very well lose inches before you lose weight. 

• It boosts your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.  When you heart and lungs work in a more efficient way, you have more energy for daily life. Who doesn’t need more energy these days?

• Exercise burns calories.  In order to lose weight, the best long-term approach is to eat a reasonable diet and use exercise to work yourself into a deficit in order to shed extra lbs.  The calorie burning effect of exercise (especially if you do muscle-bearing work) lasts for hours after your workout is over.

• Exercise makes you happy.  Brisk movement induces the production of mood-boosting chemicals in your body.  The more intense the work, the more of a lift you may notice.  But, something as simple as a quick 30-minute walk can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

• Moderate exercise boosts your immune system.  Every sweat session you log helps to boost your immune system by more rapidly circulating cells that can kill both viruses and bacteria through your body.  The effect can last up to 24-hours post workout.

The Bar Method provides a foundation of strength, flexibility and good form, and it’s a great complement to many other exercise disciplines. Increase your level of fitness by adding other movement to your day. Walk to and from an easy errand. Garden. Go for a jog. Do yoga. Take the stairs. Park in the furthest parking spot. You get the idea – variety is the spice of life.  Keep your body moving, and the endorphins flowing!

Blog contributor:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Recipe: Homemade Electrolyte Drink

Many sports drinks contain important electrolytes, which is essential for proper hydration when you’re working out hard. But, they’re chock full of non-food sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, flavorings and more.

We love when you can make a better version of something at home! Here’s a few recipes where you can make your own electrolyte drinks from Everyday Roots. They’re less expensive than Gatorade, with no artificial colors!

electrolytedrinkingredients

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Lay-Low Recipe

• 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 ½ to 2 cups fresh water, depending on how strong you want the flavor
• 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
• 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey, to taste

 

Directions

Toss everything into a food blender and blend until the honey is dissolved, or just use some elbow grease and blend it by hand. Pour yourself a tall glass, drop in a few ice cubes, and enjoy.

 

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Bright ‘n Early Recipe

• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1 ½ to 2 cups of fresh water
• 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
• 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey, to taste

 

Directions

Same as above. You can halve or double the recipe as you need, and feel free to experiment with flavors. Keep in mind citrus fruits, especially orange, are a good source of electrolytes.

 

Recipes recommended by:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Happy YOU Year! Week 4

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Did you know that on any given day, by simply living and breathing, your body loses about 2.5 liters of water?  That’s just shy of 34 ounces. And that number gets higher as you factor in exercise. Many nutrition professionals recommend that a person drink half of their total body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs., you should aim to drink approximately 70 ounces per day. And even more after a workout.

It’s true that water in drinks and food account for a small amount of your daily fluid needs, but it’s best not to count caffeinated beverages and soft drinks as these usually cause you to lose fluid. Your body recognizes the molecule H2O as special and it is used throughout the body to keep it performing at its best.

When do you need more than water? Sports drinks, coconut water and the like are necessary for additional hydration during longer, more strenuous activities. A general rule of thumb is:

Use plain water for hard endurance sessions that last 60 minutes or less – or 90 minutes for a light run/ride. You can add a squirt of lemon juice or a sprig of mint to make it extra refreshing! However, opt for an electrolyte drink for a run or cycle that lasts 120 minutes or more. 

That means that after a Bar Method or cardio-focused Bar Move class, hydrating with plain water should do the trick. If your body needs more, look to healthy foods to replenish.

Some of the symptoms and consequences or poor hydration include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, stomach pains, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and more. Sometimes it’s just as subtle as a little foggy thinking, but dehydration can affect your performance at work, school and keep you from feeling your best.

Feeling tired or sluggish? Working out more in the New Year? Drink up!

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Blog contributor:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Recipe: Ginger Bok Choy Soup with Noodles

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This week’s recipe is a warming ginger bok choy soup from Naturally Ella that feels like you are eating an authentic veggie ramen from a noodle house. The big benefit is that YOU make it, so you control the ingredients. The ginger-garlic broth is just the thing if you’ve got the sniffles or just need something warm for the cold nights we’ve been having. It comes together quickly and tastes great. And, we love that it uses bok choy, which is in season now. Enjoy!

Ginger Bok Choy Soup with Noodles

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2 large bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ bunch scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 head bok choy
  • 4 ounces ramen noodles
  • Salt, if desired
  • Sesame Seeds, for topping
  • Red Pepper Flakes, for topping

Instructions:

  1. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Trim the ends off the scallions and chop through the light green stem. Save the dark green tops for topping. Add the scallions to the pot with the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic and ginger is fragrant.
  2. Measure in the vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. While broth is simmering, cut the end off the head of bok choy. Cut off the stems and then cut the stems into thin strips. Roll the leaves together and also cut into strips.
  4. Add the stems to the broth and cook for 5 minutes or until stems are starting to be tender. Follow with the leaves and cook for another 5 minutes more. Finally, stir in the ramen and simmer the soup until the noodles and bok choy are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
  5. Divide soup into two bowls and top with chopped scallion greens, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.

 

Recipe recommended by:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Happy YOU Year! Week 3

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As we head into Week 3 of the New Year, it’s helpful to think not just about changes to your workout and eating habits, but also to other areas of your life that will make an impact. Here are some things to consider on as you work towards a healthier YOU:

Log some Z’s. If you have small children or a major Bravo Real Housewives addiction, this may seem unattainable. But a recent study showed that people who got enough sleep on a regular basis, like 7-9 hours per night, lost more weight and made better food choices than their night-owl counterparts.

Get a handle on stress. On-going, long-term stress promotes your body’s production of cortisol. Excess cortisol raises blood sugar levels and, if not burned off via exercise, can result in extra weight. Staying up past your bedtime on a regular basis is considered a “stress event” for your body. So, if you can, record Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on your DVR and go to bed by 10:00pm!

Do things that make you happy, with people you like! Take up a new hobby, whether it’s tennis, photography, painting or playing the piano, and make time for it in your busy schedule. It will keep you smiling and feeling accomplished. And schedule time with the friends and family that support you and bring out your best. There’s nothing better for you than a good old belly laugh, and even a hard cry with someone that knows how to listen will make you feel better.

Smile. Laugh. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’re all on our own unique journey. What works for you might not work for anyone else you know. Keep moving forward and don’t let small setbacks trip you up. When something sends you backward, acknowledge it, don’t beat yourself up, and move on!

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Blog contributor:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Recipe: Buddha Bowls

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To eat simple and fuel your body in the New Year, you simply must try a Buddha Bowl! “Buddha Bowls” are also called Power Bowls or Glory Bowls…and there are probably other fancy names we haven’t seen. This blog post by Michaela Bentley from Live Well Live Green explains the “formula” for creating them. The fun thing is that you can get super creative or just work with what you’ve got in your fridge.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Greens – spinach, arugula, kale, spring greens
  • Starches – quinoa, barley, brown rice, sweet potatoes
  • Veggies – broccoli, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, beets
  • Protein – beans, lentils, tofu
  • Toppings – avocado, nuts, seeds, chili peppers
  • Dressing – hummus, oil & vinegar, peanut dressing

To get even more ideas and inspiration, check out the full post from Live Well Live Green. And, let us know what you recommend for your best Buddha bowl combo!

 

Recipe recommended by:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne

Happy YOU Year! Week 2

HYY_Week2_600pxThe Bar Method is a fantastic way to sculpt muscle, burn fat, build strength and make significant changes to your body. However, any effective exercise regimen has to be backed by sound nutrition in order to achieve a healthy body composition or optimal weight. Here are a few basic suggestions for eating well:

Ditch refined carbs. Yes, sugary treats are carbs. But we’re also talking about crackers, bread, pasta and other “white” food, not necessarily in the sugar category. These overly-processed foods cause an immediate increase in blood sugar levels. You may feel full for a bit, but without ample protein and fat, your blood sugar drops quickly, leaving you moody, foggy and worst of all, hungry again! Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet (all gluten-free, too). To round out your “smart-carb” choices, make fruit and veggies the star of your plate. The USDA recommendations are 5-a-day, but many nutrition experts suggest even more. These nutritious carbohydrates are full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber AND they provide an important source of energy for your body.

Boost your fiber intake! A diet high in fiber is associated with optimal weight, lower cholesterol and a reduced risk for heart disease. Many Americans barely eek out 10 grams per day, if that’s you, slowly increase your intake to 25-30 grams daily from whole fruit, fresh veggies, whole grains and legumes. Not sure where to start? One medium pear or apple has 4 grams and ½ cup kidney beans contain 8 grams of fiber.

Eat lean, clean protein about 3 times per day. Get a good serving at breakfast and try to include plant sources like organic tofu, legumes and nuts. If you prefer to include a little animal protein in your diet, select meat, eggs and fish from animals that have been raised in a caring and humane way (think: pasture raised, free-range and wild-caught) and without antibiotics or growth hormones. There are many kinds of protein out there, so find one that’s for you.

Kick the sugar habit. Sugar can lower your immune system for hours, making you more prone to pesky winter viruses, including the common cold and flu. Sugar is often hidden in the most innocent of foods (bread and yogurts are big ones). Make sure you read the labels of the foods you choose and try to opt for foods without added sugar or containing less than 10 grams per serving. If you can’t say no to that late afternoon sweet treat, find something to replace it such as fiber-rich apple with a few slices of organic cheddar, a handful of raw almonds or a quick walk around the block.

Drink lots of water! Water is essential for overall good health. Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces daily. Start your day on a path toward hydration by drinking 8 ounces the minute your feet hit the floor. If you tend to forget to hydrate, set a calendar reminder or use sticky notes to make it a habit.

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Blog contributor:

 

 

 

 

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo

www.facebook.com/gennis.lafayette.ne