Healthy Dessert: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Homemade chia seed pudding made with Silk dark chocolate almond milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon, sliced banana, hemp seeds, + one fig.

Taken straight from my Instagram. For the full recipe, check out my post here.

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Cure-All Soup

This spicy tomato chickpea soup is just what the doctor ordered! It makes you feel better and get over the sniffles in a fraction of the time medicine does—I swear by it every winter. I originally posted a teaser photo of me prepping this soup over a week ago on my IG—it was so well received I thought I’d share b/c no one likes to feel like sh%t 🙂 Original recipe from Vegan Yum Yum, slightly altered by me.
Ingredients for Spicy Tomato Chickpea SoupPlaintain Chip topping

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • OPTIONAL: plantain chips, roasted/salted pumpkin seeds as toppings

Necessary Kitchen Tools

  • Large Skillet
  • Blender
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet with high sides. Add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and chili flakes and stir for another minute.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, turmeric, and the drained chickpeas. Sauté until the chickpeas begin to turn golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and the majority of the moisture has been absorbed.
  4. Transfer the mixture—all or half of it—to a blender. Add the nutritional yeast and hot water and blend until smooth (unless you prefer a bit of texture). Blend in batches if you can’t fit everything at the same time. Serve with fresh cracked black pepper.

In case you’re starting to feel that scratchy throat, get the sniffles out of nowhere, or are just paranoid that coworkers may be sharing more than their advice enjoy the health benefits of turmeric—not to mention the tastiness!—while you rest up this week. Pfft…who are we kidding? Hope this soup helps aid your hangover from last night’s festivities too.

xoxo,
Smooch_RED

Photos via my Instagram account

Dairy-free Sugar-free Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream Pops

Ingredients

  • ∞ 2 cans coconut milk (don’t skimp on flavor—opt for the full fat varieties)
  • ∞ 1lb bag of frozen strawberries
  • ∞ 4-6 dates, sliced or diced
  • ∞ 1-1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ∞ 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • + optional: lemon juice or mint leaves
  • + + blender
  • + + popsicle molds
  • Makes 10-12 cream pops, depending on size of molds

  1. Put coconut milk, strawberries, and dates in blender. Puree until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add agave nectar and vanilla extract to your desired sweetness.
  3. Pour immediately into popsicle molds. Freeze overnight.
  4. Run under warm water to loosen pop from plastic mold.
  5. Enjoy!

Photos via my Instagram account

The Answer(s) to My Workout Woes

Spring has sprung! Well, sort of. As the temperature slowly creeps towards upper 50’s here in D.C. (and elsewhere) you may find your motivation to work out dwindling, but maybe that’s just me. Spring fever normally makes me want to lounge outside with friends or walk around downtown, no sweating involved. My lack of motivation and outright dislike for going to an actual gym inspired this post. Maybe you share the same sentiment: Do you drag your feet when going to the gym? Hate working out in front of other people? Don’t like feeling watched while doing reps? Irritated by membership fees? If not, then continue attending your gym. If you share any of the above feelings with me—I have a few solutions for you.

When I want to be active, I don’t want to face all that comes with the gym. Personally, I am about to rant a bit:

  • ∞  Detest the amount of travel time it takes to get to the gym
  • ∞  Hate the possibility of having to delay your routine to wait for a machine
  • ∞  Am irritated by the membership fee (I never feel like it’s worth it)
  • ∞  Am grossed out by dudes staring as I stretch or do lunges
  • ∞  Never feel like going to the gym is convenient enough for me to consistently do it

Yet, I still want to work up a sweat, raise my heart rate, and tone my muscles as much as possible in as comfortable of a manner as possible. My solution? Working out in my living room to audio and video workouts. I’m well aware this may not work for many people, but I’ve found it to be my perfect solution. For now, anyway. I aim for a slender toned body with no bulky muscles—my high school track days are behind me. To achieve this I stick with yoga and ballet-like toning exercises. My favorites are 20-Minute Yoga Sessions from Yogadownload.com (via iTunes podcasts) and Ballet Beautiful.

The yoga podcasts offer something for everyone at any given level, and at 20-30minutes each there’s no excuse not to do it. Ballet Beautiful is a bit more of a commitment since you actually have to pay to subscribe or order the DVDs, but my oh my is it worth it! The creator, Mary Hellen Bowers, trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. She whoops your butt in shape and you feel that burn all while looking graceful. I get in my cardio by simply not owning a car and living in a city.

 Here are a few of my favorites for each:

  • Yogadownload Podcasts:
  •      ∞  Core Yoga #1: Do this 3-4/week and see results after 2-3 weeks
  •      ∞  Morning Flow #1: The perfect routine to gently wake you up in the a.m.
  •      ∞  Lunchtime Flow #1: Sometimes I sub this one for a morning routine, but great as an afternoon pick-me-up
  •      ∞  The Place in the Middle: I use this routine when I’m stressed. There are a series of spinal twists and hip openers that really aim to calm you and put your mind at ease.
  • Ballet Beautiful Sets:
  •      ∞  Bridge Series: Best not to do with boys around, this series is 5-6 targeted variations on your typical pelvic thrust. No bum muscle will go unworked.
  •      ∞  Leg Series: Targets your inner and outer thighs to achieve those long ballerina stems. Expect to feel the burn within the first 5 minutes or so 🙂

 

What are some of your signature routines or moves to achieve the body you want?

Photo via

Homemade Frozen Chocolate Truffles

As you all know, this Thursday is Valentine’s Day. To put it nicely, I detest this “holiday.” Whether you have a significant other or not, what the day has become makes me ill. Pink and red have plastered drug stores and department stores since Christmas ended. Retailers have lined their displays with overly animated cards, teddy bears that are soon forgotten, and all the while shoving lingerie and chocolate down your throat. Aside from the consumer aspect boyfriends/girlfriends act like this is the one day of the year that they have to make an effort to make their S.O. feel special—it’s an overly commercialized cop out. Aside from my rant…

Though I’m not the biggest fan of the holiday, I thought today’s post should provide you with something that can be made both this Thursday and any other day of the year you want a delectable homemade treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ∞  1 bag chocolate chips (whichever variety you prefer)
  • ∞  Sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ∞  Vanilla extract
  • ∞  Sea Salt
  • ∞  2 bananas, ripened to your liking
  • ∞  Crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if you prefer)
  • ∞  Peanut Butter & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, [if you have not tried this cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter you may be doing your taste buds an injustice]
  • ∞  Rubber ice cube tray in heart shapes—yes, I used stars, but I was making these for a birthday 😛 NOTE: Standard plastic ice cube trays will not work—they crack and break while trying to remove the completed truffle. You need the rubber kind as they provide easy truffle removal. I bought mine at TJ Maxx/Homegoods, but I’ve seen them at The Container Store and Ace Hardware, too.
  • ∞  3 small separate dishes, to mix the fillings in

  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine the bag of chocolate chips with a teaspoon of salt. It may take 5mins or so for the chocolate to start to melt (especially if you keep yours in the freezer). Stir every 2mins or so to ensure the chocolate won’t burn or cake onto the pot. Once melted, turn heat to a very low temp. This will ensure that the chocolate still stays malleable because you’ll need it again in step 5.
  2. Once the chocolate is fully melted, add a small amount to each ice cube star/heart. Make sure to add enough to cover each inside “wall” of the shape, as this will be the bottom layer of chocolate for the chocolate. Once each is semi filled, place tray in freezer for 20-30mins. This allows the chocolate to harden to a shell.
  3. As the chocolate is hardening in the freezer, make the filling(s). You can opt to make one, but I wanted to try all three for variety. Creamy Banana Filling: dice the banana as small as you can—this will make it easy when you mash it. In a small dish pour in 1-2 tsp almond milk and add banana. Mash the two with the back of a spoon until mostly creamy with a few banana chunks left. Set aside. Peanut Butter Banana Filling: again, dice the banana as small as you can. In a small dish add a generous spoonful of peanut butter, pour in 1-2 tsp almond milk, and add banana. Mash ingredients with the back of a spoon until mostly creamy with a few banana chunks left. Set aside.  Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Filling: In a small dish combine 2 generous spoonfuls of the cinnamon raisin peanut butter with 2 tsp almond milk. Mash with the back of a spoon until creamy. Add almond milk as needed. Set aside.
  4. Remove the tray from the freezer, and put a small dollop of filling in each hardened shell. I chose to do a row for each, just to keep it organized and remember which one was which. NOTE: Unlike my picture below, try to make sure that the filling is not too high over the edge of the shape. This will make it hard to enclose the truffle in the next step—they will still be yummy either way though.
  5. Top each filled shape with a bit of chocolate. This is going to be the bottom of the truffle. Once each one is covered, pop the tray in the freezer again for another 30-45mins. Once they all have hardened chocolate shells, take out and enjoy! NOTE: if you do decide to make the Cinnamon Raisin Swirl ones, you may want to take these out 15-20mins before eating to ensure that the middle isn’t rock hard.