Chocolate PB Chocolate Chip Date Balls

DSC00438DSC00391DSC00440DSC00437DSC00451DSC00439

Date balls are a staple in this household. We all have a sweet tooth but we try to stay away from cane sugar as much as possible. I’m not sure who loves these date balls more, Sofia (who is making the please mommy can I have more face in that photo^^) or Kiril who I find opening the tub sneaking them from time to time. You can make these several ways–you really can’t mess them up!

Here are my Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Date Balls:

  • 1 Package of Dates, take out the seeds if you did not purchase seedless!
  • 1 Cup of nuts (we used peanuts here, but I’ve used toasted hazelnuts before and that was yummy)
  • 1 tbsp organic natural unsweetened cacao powder (Thank you Homegoods for having the best organic and gluten free items!)
  • 1 tbsp local honey or agave nectar
  • 1-2 tbsp of organic peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup of Chocolate Chips, I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Brand, dairy, nut and soy free 🙂
  • optional: add 1/4 cup of rice cereal (a lot of these have sugar so if you see they are sweetened with agave or maple syrup those are okay!)

Directions:

  1. Place dates in a food processor, add peanuts and mix.
  2. Add cacao powder and peanut butter, blend until ingredients look dispersed throughout. Tip: If the dates get all bunched up break it up with a fork.
  3. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar and rice cereal (optional)
  4. Finally, add the chocolate chips to the mixture and blend.
  5. Take out the mixture, add to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Pour coconut flakes into a bowl and prepare plate or container with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the refrigerated mixture into mini balls and then submerse in coconut flakes.
  8. Eat right away or store in fridge.

Enjoy this healthy, gluten free energy snack with your family.

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

xo

 

Summer Ayurvedic Tips

IMG_4542IMG_4867Summer is really freaking hot. And by no means am I saying I don’t like it. In fact, after growing up in Florida and now living in Virginia — I LOVE SUMMER. When the first day of summer rolls around I’m that girl tweeting “HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER!!!”

End of August and early September starts to mark the end of the summer for the north, however, Florida and other places blaze with heat through many of the “fall” months. I wanted to share a post with you on how to stay cool during the summer, the Ayurvedic way.

How to beat the “pitta” aka firey heat outta summer

  1. Stay Hydrated!!! 
    • We lose SO MUCH water during summer. See post on water here.
    • Drink ROOM TEMPERATURE WATER. No ice. Why? Think of your digestion and metabolism as a fire. If you put cold water and ice in there you burn that fire out, therefore slowing down those digestive juices and adding to the fat in the body.
    • Add yummy cooling infusions to your water such as mint, watermelon or cucumber.
  2. Invest in a Diffuser
    • The one I use is ZAQ JellyFish (you can buy it here), shout out to Gia for this housewarming gift.
    • Then invest in an organic and safe essential oils company, I trust my oils to PureSpiritPotions – Let me know if you are interested in any of their products I know Jill as a friend! (Also, this wasn’t sponsored…!)
    • Then diffuse cooling essential oils singles or blends: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender… Pinterest actually has some great ideas for blends.
  3. Coconut Oil is for LITERALLY, everything. 
    • Lather that oily goodness all over your body all. the. time.
    • Our hair tends to get extra brittle because of the heat, and sun exposure so massage in your hair and either a, sleep over night wake up and wash your hair for a deep treatment or b, put it on your hair for 10-20 minutes before you shower and wrap a damp and hot towel around it to allow the oil to saturate the hair.
    • It’s a great makeup remover, lip balm, moisturizer, natural sun protectant (although very minimal), etc etc etc…
    • Use it for cooking! It’s amazing and one of the best oils to use with high heat cooking.
  4. Meditate, Relax, close your eyes
    • It’s so important to do stuff that cools us and allows the cells in our body to chill. Savasana (shah-VAH-sah-nah) aka Corpse pose is one of the best ones. I literally do yoga sometimes just for the Savasana. Also, there is a shirt that says that somewhere and if someone finds it please let me know because I’ve coveted it for a while 😉 lol thanks! All you have to do is literally lay there. I mean, in yoga we teach form on how to lay there with your palms up and your feet out at a certain distance etc, but you can do whatever feels most comfortable with you.
  5. Don’t Overexercise!
    • Especially during, summer. I used to be an overexerciser (yeah I made up a word). But it’s important to take it easy during summer.
  6. Eat Foods that cool you (ANTI-INFLAMMATORY) 
    • LifeSpa has an amazing grocery list here.

 

So that’s it. Hope that helps you stay cool!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you.

xo

My faux SweetGreen Salad, for less.

DSC00465

Salads are one of my staple foods. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with SWEETGREEN, an amazing Salad chain. They offer all Organic, local ingredients which makes my heart and my belly super happy. But, salads are like $10/$12 a piece. I made a similar one for SO MUCH CHEAPER. The best part? Not only is it scrumptious, it’s super healthy. And I will argue that it fills you up way more than other salads. Bonus, the hubs and kid are equally obsessed with it.

This is a moc “Harvest Bowl” by SweetGreen…they typically serve it with Chicken and Apples, but I sub tofu and double sweet potato in mine. Here I left out the tofu but feel free to add whatever you heart desires! Also, I usually make enough rice and sweet potato to last a week, so I can have this salad like 3298472894 times.

.:Jessica’s Bomb Harvest Bowl:.

Ingredients: 

  1. Package of Organic Salad Mix (This one is called Power Up with Baby Kale, Spinach and Spring Mix; SweetGreen uses massaged kale)
  2. Organic Goat Cheese (can sub whatever cheese you want)
  3. Toasted slivered almonds
  4. Sweet Potatoes (3 organic ones)- you will need olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pink salt and pepper for preparing these.
  5. Wild Rice (I use Lunberg, check it out here)
  6. Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette (I used Annie’s recently because I was on a time crunch but I’ll will post about my bomb homemade recipe soon!)
  7. Balsamic Glaze/Drizzle

Directions:

  1. Heat rice according to directions (I put mine in a rice cooker!)
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, line large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up
  3. Cut up sweet potato into cubes
  4. Place on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pink salt and pepper
  5. Cook for 20 minutes before taking out and flipping over, cooking for another 20 minutes
  6. Toast almonds if you want (this is so easy you just heat a pan and place the almonds in there until they smell aromatic, I like to stir frequently to not burn them, this usually takes about 2-3 minutes)
  7. Prepare large bowl with salad–I eat about half a package of salad so I can get tons of greens in me but use however much you want
  8. When the rice is ready, take about 1/2 cup or more and dump into bowl. (yes hot, cold mix is so good!)
  9. When the sweet potatoes are ready take 3+ tablespoons and put into bowl
  10. Add as much goat cheese as you’d like, I prefer about a tablespoon
  11. Finish with toasted almonds and dressing (don’t overdress!)
  12. Mix it up in the bowl, add pepper and pink salt to desired taste
  13. Put into your serving bowl and top with balsamic glaze
  14. Enjoy!

I hope this step by step recipe will help you meal plan throughout the week. It is so easy to make the rice, toasted almonds and sweet potatoes ahead and just throw all the other ingredients into a bowl and have a meal ready. Other ideas would be to blacken salmon and add on top for a yummy dinner (I gave up fish shortly after pregnancy so I will share ideas with you but most likely not cook them!)

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

xo

You drink, I drink, we drink.

DSC00525DSC00542

Our bodies are about 60% water. We are so freaking dehydrated, yet we don’t even know it. We often mistake dehydration for hunger. By the time we feel “thirsty” we are already very dehydrated. Our cells NEED water. You can tell when someone is hydrated, their skin is vibrant and glowing. For about 2 years now I have been waking up and drinking 1.5-2 liters of water just in the morning (Yes I peed a lot at first but then my body got used to it!)

When we sleep our body goes through a process of detoxing the junk we absorb from our air, food, skin, etc. The first thing you should do in the morning is scrape your tongue with a stainless steel tongue scraper (look our for this post soon!) THEN drink water. Even better, drink alkaline water because according to several scientific theories, disease cannot grow in an alkaline environment. Yet, most of our bodies especially here in the states are so flipping acidic–it’s crazy. From our sugar consumption (the highest it’s ever been), to the GMO’s in our food, pesticides, carbonated soda, meat…I could go on and on…

Did you know that Lemon Juice alkalizes our body?

I buy the organic cold pressed jars from Amazon, click here to check it out.

I thought it would make sense to include a chart of alkalinity, although I will save my detailed thoughts on that for another post 🙂

Check out this post from Mind Body Green 

acidic-alkaline-phchart

My challenge for you is to start taking a water bottle with you wherever you go and sip on it throughout the day. See how many times you can fill it up throughout the day.

These bottles on Amazon are stylish and stainless steel (better than plastic!), check them out here.

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

xo

Family trip to Mexico!

DSC00334

DSC00341

DSC00339

 

DSC00351

DSC00319

DSC00258DSC00309

DSC00257DSC00303

DSC00276

DSC00290

DSC00251

DSC00228

DSC00157DSC00179DSC00174

DSC00200

DSC00135

DSC00126DSC00121

DSC00138

DSC00369

DSC00314

We had a wonderful time in Mexico, staying at the Barcelo Colonial south of Cancun in Riviera Maya. It was a great family resort, however, our stay was cut short because Sofia got sick and we rushed home 😦

The resort was beautiful and the food was yummy. All of the staff on site were absolutely warm and lovely to interact with. The SPA– OMG. It was amazing. Kiril’s mom, Daniela and I had a wonderful aqua therapy and massage there. I want to live there.

Hope you enjoy the pics!

xo

 

p.s My clothes:

Black Romper: Target

Lime Green and flowers dress: Target

White and blue maxi: Lulu’s

White and green off the shoulder dress: Lord &Taylor

Goodbye, coffee.

DSC00490.JPG

I used to be a Starbucks loving, coffee guzzling, 2-3 cups a day kind of girl. Then I got pregnant. Gave up coffee cold turkey (OMG…). I wish I could say I didn’t beg Kiril to buy this mug for me at TJ Maxx–not just because it would glorify me as the #1 mom in the world–but because it is the size of a bowl. This mug is MASSIVE.

I have become a tea addict. Not just any tea, though. 2 years ago a friend informed me that tea leaves have tons of traces of pesticides and when they go into the hot water they infuse and that is just a whole lot of nasty I’m trying to avoid (same with coffee beans, peeps). So I drink Organic Black Tea (buy it here). Okay okay, black tea is still not that great for you. I hear you all going, “oh the horror, so much caffeine, why not a white or a green tea?”

Well that’s because those teas are not my lightning bolt waking me up in the morning and powering through my day of 3 jobs a toddler, a dog, a house and a husband! And still, tea has loads less caffeine compared to coffee. Check this out…

According to The Mayo Clinic:

Coffee

Type of coffee Size* Caffeine✝
Adapted from Journal of Food Science, 2010; Pediatrics, 2011; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2006; Starbucks, 2014; Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2014; Keurig, 2014

*Sizes are listed in fluid ounces (oz.) and milliliters (mL).

✝Caffeine is listed in milligrams (mg).

Brewed 8 oz. (237 mL) 95-200 mg
Brewed, decaffeinated 8 oz. (237 mL) 2-12 mg
Brewed, single-serve varieties 8 oz. (237 mL) 75-150 mg
Brewed, single-serve varieties, decaffeniated 8 oz. (237 mL) 2-4 mg
Espresso, restaurant-style 1 oz. (30 mL) 47-75 mg
Espresso, restaurant-style, decaffeinated 1 oz. (30 mL) 0-15 mg
Instant 8 oz. (237 mL) 27-173 mg
Instant, decaffeinated 8 oz. (237 mL) 2-12 mg
Specialty drink (latte or mocha) 8 oz. (237 mL) 63-175 mg

Tea

Type of tea Size* Caffeine✝
Adapted from Journal of Food Science, 2010; Pediatrics, 2011; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2008; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2006; Starbucks, 2014; Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2014

*Sizes are listed in fluid ounces (oz.) and milliliters (mL).

✝Caffeine is listed in milligrams (mg).

See full article here.

I used to think Espresso had the most caffeine but I was WRONG.  I encourage you to swap some of your coffee’s this week with an organic tea. I sweeten mine with Maple Syrup (omg, what?). I will post about the deliciousness of Maple Syrup someday…

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

xo

Meet my family!

DSC00156IMG_6201

My husband Kiril and I met at James Madison University in 2010. We adopted our dog, Finley Jack in 2012 and had our daughter Sofia in 2014. We eloped in 2016 and are excited to have our ceremony next May! We work and live in Northern Virginia.

xo

Ayurveda (wth is that?)

blue-1326154_1280

One short blog post cannot even touch the surface of the complexities that is Ayurveda (ah-yer-vey-duh). However, it will begin to, at least lay the foundation to the wonderful “life science” (ayur- life, veda- science) that this ancient healing medicine is. Ayurvedic medicine is 5,000 years old and comes from the ancient India text called the “Vedas” (Chopra Center). The roots of eastern medicine come from Ayurveda. 

According to the Chopra Institute:

“More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life. It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.” Read this article here.

Ayurveda considers the human body unique for each person and a mixture of three different doshas “energies” called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  Click here to take the quiz and determine which ones you are.

Then you determine a lifestyle based on your dominant doshas. From there, Ayurveda guides you to the foods you should eat on a seasonal basis. There are also other self love approaches that don’t deal with food but rather what we put on our body and the stress of our daily lives (both of which affect our health tremendously).

Therefore, Ayurveda is a life science, a lifestyle approach that fosters a healthy, happy life throughout your years here on planet earth.

My posts will have some recipes and disciplines stemming from Ayurveda with a mix of my own ideas, too. Feel free to take what you want.

Here’s to a happy and healthy you.

xo

EASY! Homemade Veggie Burgers

DSC00424DSC00398DSC00401DSC00404DSC00417DSC00426DSC00434

I have been wanting to post for so long about these easy black bean burgers. They are my go-to when we haven’t been to the grocery store in a while…Since we just got back from Mexico I went searching in the kitchen in my own mini version of “chopped” to see what I could come up with. Veggie Burgers it is! I change the recipe each and every time because, why not? Feel free to change it up and tag me so I can see how yours turn out!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 Can of Organic Black Beans (Sometimes I mix Kidney beans)

1 Cup of Tempura Bread Crumbs (for the mix, leave extra on the side)

Organic unrefined coconut oil for frying

1/2 Green Pepper, or jalapeno if you like it spicy!

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic

1/2 Tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp Cayenne

1/2 Lime squeezed and some zest

Pink Salt and Pepper to your desired liking

1 Egg

1/3 red onion

RECIPE:

Place all ingredients (sans coconut oil) in a food processor and blend until mixture is thick and appears solid. Place mixture in fridge for 10 minutes or so. Prepare pan with coconut oil (you will continue to add extra coconut oil as the oil leaves the pan). In a separate plate, pour tempura bread crumbs. Take mixture out of fridge and *KEY* Spray your hands with non-stick spray (I use a coconut oil one). Grab some patty and pat it into little burgers. Coat on both sides with tempura flakes and add to pan. If you want to add cheese after you flip the burger, add some. [TIP: for extra gooey melted cheese, take a few drops of water and put them in the hot pan then cover…1-2 minutes and the cheese should melt perfectly. Be careful because the oil likes to jump after the water is in there!]

Last but not least, serve with a side of grilled veggies or salad–and all of the toppings your tastebuds love! For us: Guacamole (Whole Foods makes THE best one), Sriracha, Special Sauce, mayo, etc.

Enjoy! xo

 

 

 

First post *holla*

Well, I started blogging once again. It was a hobby of mine to do this during college and now that I am a mom I often get asked about what I eat and do to stay healthy… so I thought I would attempt to document everything and write about it. Thrilling for me because I love writing and often dream of being a writer some day.

Hope you like it. Here’s to a happy and healthy you.

xo

Jess