Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars, oh em gee.

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One more mommy, pleeeeease!

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Happy Monday! We left the DC area on Friday night and drove 14 hours straight to Florida (yes, it was soooo long.) Despite the drive I love coming down here to see family! I made these pumpkin bars before we left and brought them down with us for my parents and sister to enjoy. These were so yummy and easy to make. Definitely not overly sweet, more of a breakfast bar. I recommend drizzling almond butter over yours. I adapted a recipe I found at The Ambitious Kitchen…hope you all enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup organic canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • Shredded coconut for topping
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top (my little helper is a chocolate chip thief!)
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×11 or 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare oat flour by putting oatmeal in blender or food processor and blend for a few minutes until all oats have been blended and mixture resembles flour.
  3. Measure 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and banana and maple syrup for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in mini chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool briefly before slicing into squares
  7. Top with shredded coconut and serve as is or drizzle melted almond butter on top!

TIP: These bars can be frozen and reheated in conventional toaster or microwave…!

Perfect breakfast bar for fall! Hope you enjoy!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

 

Gluten Free Sesame Peanut Noodles

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It’s FRI-YAY!! Yesterday was a very busy day! By the time dinner rolled around I was so tempted to just order something, but the more I cook the less I seem to like eating out, especially to-go food! Since we are leaving today for Florida I decided to use whatever I could find in my fridge, and voila…Sesame Peanut Noodles were created. I had sweet potato noodles already spiraled from Wegmans and I was craving a dish that was sweet, salty and a little spicy for a balanced palate.

Let me know if you guys make this at home! It was so simple and all family members said it was one of their favorites (although Sofia will eat a cookie that fell on the ground so I am not so sure her opinion counts on this issue, haha). Enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Seeds for topping
  • Spiraled Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Brown Rice Noodles
  • Broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 Tsp fresh grated ginger
  • Zest and juice from half a lime
  • Thai Basil or regular basil (1 big handful or more!)
  • Pink Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Honey
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Sriracha or Red Curry Paste to add spiciness (optional- I left this out because of Sofia)

Directions:

  1. Soak Sweet Potato noodles and rice noodles in water
  2. Boil Water with Salt for rice noodles
  3. Steam broccoli
  4. Mince Garlic, finely chop onion
  5. Boil rice noodles for 4 minutes
  6. Remove and pour cool water over to stop the cooking process
  7. In a large wok or pan, drizzle sesame oil and place garlic and onion in there stirring constantly for 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper
  8. Add fresh ginger, lime juice, zest, peanut butter, a teaspoon more of sesame oil
  9. Optional, add red curry paste or garlic chili sauce here to make spicy
  10. 2-3 minutes longer, when the mixture has become more sauce like, add the sweet potato and rice noodles
  11. Mix Sauce throughout, adding a little water if sauce is too thick
  12. Add broccoli and basil and continue to mix together
  13. Season with Cayenne, red pepper flakes, pepper
  14. Drizzle 1 tsp of honey, taste test! Add any other spices at this time for your palate!
  15. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and/or Sriracha

Bon apetit! Have a great weekend!! Follow me on Instagram: @missjessashley for instastories of our upcoming trips to Florida and Hawaii!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Peppermint Oil = Bye Bugs!

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Nobody enjoys bugs in their home. I remember growing up in Florida and when it rained the creepy crawlies would come running in. I love essential oils (I DO NOT EAT OR DRINK THEM! Also, I do not represent DoTerra or Young Living – although my friend sells Young Living so I have this oil pictured.) I actually get most of my Essential Oils from a Small Business in Baltimore called PureSpiritPotions, you can find them on Etsy!

Anyways, a few years ago I learned that bugs do not like peppermint! Natural repellants are awesome. The key is to once a month or more if necessary, place drops of peppermint oil on window sills and in the door jams. This keeps the bugs away! I like to place it right in the crevices where they like to enter the house. If you have a green thumb, growing fresh mint or peppermint also works out well!

This is one of my favorite life hacks because it is so easy and it really works. Also, because most bug repellants are made with poisons which you certainly don’t want near your pets or babies.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Creamy, Spicy Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (say that 3x fast)

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My little helper ❤

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FALL is SOUP season. This Thai Butternut squash soup is so freaking yummy. I am sharing the vegetarian version, but you can easily add shrimp or chicken to this if you want! Sofia gets so excited to cook and bake with mommy, I always find a job for her to do in every recipe- it’s such a joy to share this with her. She’s also the best taste tester! What I love about this recipe is that it can be made as spicy as you’d like depending on the amount of curry paste you add- the flavors balance so nicely and it warms your whole body from the inside. The flavors also marinate well overnight so you can enjoy the next day or freeze (OMG YES) and save for later!!

What you will need:

  • 1 Can of Organic Coconut Milk (save a little for topping soup after!)
  • 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Cups of Organic Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (this seriously makes the dish imo!)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry chili paste (or more if you’re up for it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • Pink Salt, Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Sriracha (for topping if you’d like it spicy)
  • A blender

Directions:

  1. Prepare the butternut squash (I LOVE to buy the one that’s already chopped up but in case you want to start from scratch).
    • Cut off each end of the squash
    • Peel the squash (Thank you Kiril for doing this part, it wasn’t that easy!!)
    • Cut and Cube, done! woo.
    • I found this video from The Kitchn here for additional help!
  2. Mince garlic, grate ginger, dice onion.
  3. Put tablespoon of coconut oil in large soup pot over medium heat.
  4. Place garlic and onion in pot, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent and the smell is very fragrant! Season with pink salt and pepper.
  5. Add ginger and red curry paste (careful here, you can always add more later on after you taste test!)
  6. After another 3 minutes of continuous stirring add the cubes of butternut squash.
  7. Pour veggie stock directly over (it’s okay if it doesn’t cover all of the squash)
  8. Keep an eye on it until it starts to boil.
  9. Then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, until squash is very tender.
  10. The tricky part here is to take the mixture in 2 batches, and blend in a blender. The consistency will be more like a puree.
  11. I like to pour the first blended batch into a bowl and then blend the second batch and pour both directly back into the soup pot.
  12. Once the contents are back in the pot, pour most of coconut milk in and mix together. Reserve the rest of the coconut milk for plating.
  13. Taste test and season with salt and pepper accordingly!
  14. Plate and top with Sriracha, coconut milk and cilantro!

This pairs really well with naan bread or coconut rice. Enjoy!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

 

 

Life Hack #1 – Homemade Compost!

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Who doesn’t need a good life hack every now and then? Last week, Sofia and I made Gluten Free PB Banana Cupcakes  and we had banana peels and egg shells leftover. I decided that rather than throwing them away or put them in the food disposal, they could be repurposed! A few of our plants need some extra love so I decided we could make a super easy compost in the blender and voila…happy plants!

What you will need:

  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grinds
  • Banana Peels
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together adding water as necessary.
  2. Place spoonfuls on top of the soil.
  3. Water normally.
  4. Wait a few days, and the plants should be doing a little better!

I love finding ways to repurpose things and lessen our garbage output. This is a really great way to reduce and reuse 😉

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Sick? My 3 Steps to feeling better!

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It’s that time of year again…the sniffles, head cold, sore throat, allergies, feeling crappy “season.” I used to run to the doctor whenever I thought I had a cold and always left with a script for antibiotics. YIKES. If you read my blog before, you know how I feel about antibiotics- they are an AMAZING drug but scientifically it is best to save them for the time(s) you REALLY need them (hopefully never!)

Most common colds and ailments can be cured holistically by my 3 step method! The key is to start the regimen at the FIRST sign of feeling sick (waking up with a sore throat, a case of the sniffles, etc.)

What you will need:

  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Local Honey (better if Raw!)
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s pictured above is my favorite)

My 3-Step Sickness Cure:

  1. Salt Water Gargle
    • Dissolve pink salt into warm water. GARGLE and spit out contents several times until the water mixture is gone. The salt will do a wonderful job of destroying the icky bacteria but leaves the good stuff in the back of the throat. Win, win.
  2. Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Shots, shots, shots! Take a shot of apple cider vinegar. WARNING- this is the toughest part of the 3 steps. I don’t pour an entire shot because it really is tough to take. BUT, the benefits of this outweigh the difficulty of keeping it down. You will get used to it!
  3. Spoonful of local honey with cinnamon
    • This is my favorite step to the process- pour some honey on a spoon and top with cinnamon. Both have beautiful natural antibiotic effects – try to coat the back of your throat as you suck on the spoon.

Pretty soon, you will be back feeling well in no time! I repeat this process morning and night until I am feeling better. It has worked for me for years and I swear by it!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Gluten Free PB Banana Cupcakes!

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Happy FRIDAYYYY! My friend had a birthday yesterday so I decided to whip up these babies in the kitchen. I found a recipe online from GlutenFree with LB (Check it out here) and worked off of that to create my own! I typically try to stay away from Cane Sugar, but a birthday calls for something you don’t typically have on the regular 😉

Sofia was my little helper- she loves mixing things and taste testing. This Peanut Butter Cream Cheese frosting was seriously out of this world. Hope you guys enjoy the recipe.

What you will need:

For the Cupcake:

  • ½ c. organic butter, softened, unsalted
  • 1 ½ c. organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 ¼ c. white rice flour – (I used gluten free all purpose flour)
  • ¾ c. tapioca starch
  • 1 t. xanthan gum (I had no clue what this was, a lot of GF mixes have it in already!)
  • (Or 2 c. all purpose flour for the non-GF)
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 c of mini chocolate chips
  • Cupcake Liners (I found an unbleached, eco friendly brand called “If you care”)

For the icing:

  • 4 T. cream cheese, softened, (I used half a block of organic cream cheese)
  • 4 T. organic butter, softened
  • ¼ c. organic peanut butter (I used a CUP!)
  • 6 c. powdered sugar (I used half this amount)
  • 2-3 T. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes (I used my Kitchenaid but a handheld mixer will work, too!)
  3. Add eggs and bananas. Mix until combined.
  4. Combine soda, flour, starch and gum in a separate bowl. Alternatively add flour mix and milk to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  5. Add chocolate Chips to mixture and the teaspoon of salt.
  6. Line cupcake tray with liners and spritz each one with Coconut Oil non-stick spray. Fill liners with batter to ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  8. While cupcakes are baking, prepare peanut butter frosting, I started with the butter and cream cheese, then added sugar and peanut butter and the rest of the ingredients. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting– I put the frosting into a ziploc bag and cut off one of the bottom ends to filter the frosting out so it turned out pretty 🙂
  9. Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Do the D.

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Winter is Coming! (For all my GOT fans out there) – That typically means you are encouraged to get your flu shot and often times there’s a lot of illness passing around. One of our greatest deficiencies in the US as a whole is Vitamin D “the sunshine vitamin”. It is essential for your immune system. The BEST way to get some Vitamin D is directly from Mr. Sun himself (our skin creates vitamin D in response to sunlight-how cool is that?). However, particularly in the winter when we stay indoors more, we begin to grow deficient in this element resulting in illness, ailments, and other symptoms.

Vitamin D Deficiencies look like:

  1. Inability for the body to absorb calcium
  2. Inflammation in the body
  3. Unexplained Fatigue
  4. Muscle Weakness
  5. Bone Deficiencies
  6. Weight Gain
  7. Depression/Sadness

It’s important to always speak to a Medical Professional about your health and ask about your Vitamin D levels. You can get a blood test to examine the levels of Vitamin D in your system.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

According to an article by Healthline by Rachel Nail titled, “The Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency“:

Doctors often treat vitamin D deficiencies by prescribing or recommending vitamin D supplements. The amount you should take usually depends on how low your vitamin D levels are. For example, some people may reach their vitamin D intake by taking a multivitamin. These usually have between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D with each serving. However, people who are very deficient in vitamin D may need higher levels of supplementation — about 1,000 IU per day. Ask your doctor how much vitamin D you need every day.

The ODS recommends the following dietary allowances for eating foods that contain vitamin D as well as taking supplements:

  • ages 0 to 12 months: 400 IU
  • ages 1 to 70 years (including pregnancy and lactating): 600 IU
  • ages 70 and older: 800 IU

Few unfortified foods in a person’s diet are high in vitamin D. Foods that are naturally high in vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna
  • beef
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • fish liver oils
  • mushrooms

After growing up in Florida and now living in the DC area, my vitamin D levels were running extremely low. Also, if you breastfeed for a long time you also run the result of having low vitamin D. For these reasons, I make sure to take a supplement on the days I cannot get natural yummy sunshine.

The photos above are of the supplement I take. It is organic, gluten free and comes from Mushrooms which are one of the best ways of getting Vitamin D. I have tried others but this has been my favorite so far because it has minimal “bad stuff” in there. The only thing I am not a fan of is in the capsule casing- carageenan. I will be looking for other ones and if you have any recommendations let me know. I love how easy it is to order from Amazon prime and have them here in 2 days! Also, if you do the subscriptions you can get even more discounts.

This coming winter, I recommend talking to your doctor and adding a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Gluten-Free Almond Joy Granola (Bars)

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These granola (bars) are bomb. I accidentally just ate half- woops! These are a much healthier version of the “chewy bar” or the stuff you find at the grocery store. I wish I could call them BARS but they kind of crumble together and become yummy granola pieces. Apparently, this is because I adapted a recipe online that had brown sugar and butter and opted for coconut oil and maple syrup- so I will be experimenting in the future and coming back with another recipe. But in the meantime, here you go!

What you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups of Gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup of Agave or Honey
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup – I actually think it was too sweet, next time I will add less!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup (or more, who is counting anyways) of chocolate chips
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Place almonds and oats on a rimmed baking sheet
  3. Place in oven for 9 minutes (give or take) to gently toast
  4. In the meantime, in a small saucepan add the coconut oil, maple syrup and agave or honey
  5. When it has fully combined and started to bubble, remove from heat and add salt and vanilla extract
  6. Take the oat mix out of the oven and pour the mixture in sauce pan over the oats and almonds, coating generously…add the coconut and combine evenly. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before adding the chocolate chips!
  7. Use a spatula and make sure all oats/and additions are coated in the syrupy sauce
  8. Take a 9×9 pan and place aluminum or parchment paper, spray with non stick spray (I love the coconut oil one!)
  9. Place chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan
  10. Take mixture from pan and place in pan, pressing firmly with the spatula
  11. Top with coconut and chocolate chips
  12. Refrigerate for AT LEAST 2 hours… I took mine out a little early because I was craving a taste
  13. These hold up well in the fridge or freezer. You can store at room temperature but there are no preservatives so eat within a few days

Let me know what you guys think! Sofia loved to steal all the chocolate chips as pictured above.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

 

Time to throw out your table salt.

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Salt is an amazing thing – it’s one of the most important elements in almost all living things. Not just for cooking and seasoning foods it can be used as a muscle soak, body scrub and more…

***BUT*** your everyday normal white table salt could be killing you. According to Dr. Edward Group in his article “The Health Dangers of Table Salt,” ‘Table Salt’ is a manufactured form of sodium called sodium chloride. While similar, this version of ‘salt’ is meant to taste a lot like its natural form by boiling/cooking sodium at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit! Natural Salt is alkaline (great for anti-inflammation) has over 80 naturally good for you elements that help with adrenal glands, boosting your immune system and thyroid balancing. When you cook the sodium this high you get rid of all of the good for you stuff, and THEN in MOST cases, synthetic material is added to this mixture.

According to Group’s Article:

These chemicals include everything from manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminium derivatives. It may come as a shock, but most table salt is not only unhealthy, but can sometimes be toxic.

The natural forms of important iodine is lost when we manufacture salt. Without this natural iodine, the thyroid is severely harmed, leading to growth and metabolism issues. Because of this, the chemical-based salt industry began to add synthetic forms of iodine to their products.

Other salts add things such as processed white sugar and toxic MSG (mono-sodium-glutamate). And what about the color of table salt? Salt found in the natural world is not usually white. Table salt has been colored white with bleach. And where does this salt come from? Much of it is the actual flaky residue from oil digging. That is correct. Crude oil extract is one way we produce table salt.

 

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get rid of your white table salt!!!
  2. Try not to use the table salt at restaurants (remember most of you food out has this salt in it already so try to reduce eating out as much as possible!)
  3. Try a good for you salt such as the Pink Himalayan Salt above.
    • Himalayan Salt is dried in the sun and therefore, maintains its alkalinity and the good for you elements.
    • It tastes better.
  4. TIP: Homegoods/TJ Maxx has some great finds– I love getting our pink salt from there.

 

Let me know what you guys think!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo