Monday, April 23, 2012

Hint of Chocolate Green Smoothie - GF/DF/SF

So, here's a quick fun little recipe for your enjoyment this evening.

I LOVE green smoothies. This just so happens to be my new favorite smoothie. It also has one of my new favorite foods in it.

Raw cocoa/cacao butter! I love this stuff! I especially love scraping the extra oil up after I melt it for my smoothie, and rubbing it all over my hands. P.S. I bought my cocoa butter on amazon. It was about $15 for a pound.

The smoothie is pretty simple to make. It's also quite versatile, so play with it. I decided to use cocoa butter since I'm trying to consume more fats, and can't have coconut. I had just bought the cocoa butter because I really want to try making my own lotion or body butter. Yes, this makes me a little bit hippie (we don't use the H-word in our house...all sorts of jokes generally follow - mostly my husband's doing).

Anyway, back to the recipe. Give it a try, adjusted to your tastes.

Hint of Chocolate Green Smoothie 
Gluten, dairy and sugar free

Makes 1 serving

1/2 - 1 banana
1/2 - 3/4 c almond milk or milk of your choice
a handful or two raw spinach
2 tbsp cocoa butter, melted
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 - 2 tbsp almond butter or handful of nuts
1/3 c crushed ice
a splash of vanilla
a couple drops of stevia (optional)
1 - 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder (optional, but makes the chocolate flavor more potent)

Add all ingredients except the ice to your blender. Blend on high until smooth, about a minute or two. Taste, and adjust accordingly. Add ice, and blend again.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: I have made this several times while on a sugar free diet. The only sugar I'm allowed is one serving of green banana a day. So, while I think this is good and very sweet just the way it is, you may feel the need for additional sweetener. Add away!

Long time, no see...

Hello interweb friends! Yes, I am still alive and kicking. I know I had a few of you wondering. Well, let's just say 2012 has not yet been dull. But, let's rewind, and I shall explain.
Me, hiding ;)
When last you heard from me, I was gearing up for some awesome holiday fun! It turned into a whirlwind of family, parties and food! It was great, but busy. Or so I thought...

Then the new year rolled around, and life really got interesting. As most of you know, I work at a doctor's office, as the manager. I also have a manager under me, who heads up our northern offices, while I maintain the central offices. However, she decided to take a little "vacation" called maternity leave (j/k, I know that's no vacation!!), and she abandoned me to manage all four offices full time from mid-January until mid-April. FUN! Between commuting and actually working 5-6 days a week, I was hitting 55-60 hours on a regular basis. Um, yuck. Thankfully, that is over and done with, and life is starting to go back to normal. At least, as far as work goes. I really hope I never have to work an hour of overtime again in my life. Even if it means I never make that much money again!

Also around the time I first disappeared, Luke and I started going back to church (looooong story), which has been an adjustment to say the least. It has been very emotionally draining and time consuming. But, I suppose there have also been some good things about it. But mostly I've felt the time crunch as a few precious hours of my weekend slip out of reach each Sunday.

Some very good news though - we finally made it through the pre-grad school process! Luke was accepted into three great MBA programs, and in the end we picked the one that made the most sense logistically and financially. Come August, Luke will be returning to his true blue cougar roots at BYU. The next great adventure awaits! Now we just gotta get through graduation from his undergrad program this week ;)

Luke @ BYU in 2002
So yes, life has been extremely busy! We both feel like we've been running a marathon the past few months. Thankfully they end is in sight. We've got a nice Caribbean getaway coming up, as well as a summer jam-packed with gardening, hiking and LOTS of pool time.

As well as being busy, my life has also been somewhat frustrating. Why, you ask? Well, I have been sick. A lot. And this has led to the crux of my blog absence. I'm bitter. I feel like I'm doing everything "right" and it's not working. I've been eating Paleo/grain-free for almost a year now. I'm even doing a sugar detox (more on that later). This is what I eat on a normal day:

Bacon (occasionally)
Leafy greens
Sweet potato
Other veggies
Dark chocolate (occasionally)
Herbal tea

Other than my two little indulgences (chocolate and bacon), I eat pretty damn healthy! So why am I still getting sick? On a very regular basis even? I take probiotics and vitamins. I sleep 6-8 hours a night, in complete darkness. I've even started exercising again in the last month and a half.

I'm at a loss.

So, yes, I have been a little resentful of the food going into my mouth. As a result, I've become a little less passionate about coming up with or posting about my great new, fun recipes and finds. I do have a few theories of trigger foods I can test, and I've got an appointment lined up with a specialist, to see if there actually is an MD out there who can help me. We'll see.

But I miss you guys. I miss sharing my successes, and even my failures, on the blog. I miss being excited about food. I still have my moments where I'll stumble across something that I am anxious to photograph, to post, to share with the world, because I loved it, and I have a feeling someone else out there might as well.

I've decided to stop being a downer, and get back on board, because I am still passionate about food. Plus, life is starting to get a little easier again.

Delicious food that I love!
 So, I guess I just wanted to say thanks for sticking around as my life has been so emotional and stressful (and thanks to the NEW followers for coming by!). I've got some great recipes on the way. And I am so very glad to have you all here.

- Stephanie