Peppermint Mocha Chia Pudding

Wow. Peppermint, chocolate, and coffee culminate to make this perfectly decadent combination. Did we mention it’s super healthy too? Nutritious and delicious anytime of day! With no added sugar, this dessert-like treat can even be enjoyed for breakfast!

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Ingredients: (makes one meal serving or 2 smaller snack/dessert servings)

  • 2/3 cup almond or coconut milk (make your own!)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2-4 tablespoons coffee (cool/room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons cacoa powder
  • 2 small drops peppermint extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Mixture will thicken to pudding. Remove, stir again, and serve chilled. Enjoy this decadent (super healthy!) sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: who says healthy doesn’t taste good delicious?!

Beet & Basil Hummus

In the spirit of DIY’ing, we’re making a simple favorite: hummus. This colorful version is not only bright and beautiful, it’s also full of flavor, healthy goodness, and only real foods (bye bye, chemicals.) Hummus is a well-rounded staple to enjoy often for it’s plant-based protein, carbs, and fat, but this one adds beets and basil for some serious vitamins and minerals (ie: magnesium, iron, potassium, folate, flavonoids, vitamins B & K, and more.) BEET THAT!

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Ingredients: (makes one large bowl or ~5 single servings)

  • 2 medium-sized red beets (cooked to soften, I boiled mine for 20 minutes)
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup chickpeas or white beans (I used canned organic, washed)
  • 1/3 lemon (skin and all)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons pine nuts (or pistachios or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • dash of sea salt and pepper

Just blend all ingredients in Vitamix/high-powered blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with crudite and/or whole-grain crackers or chips for the perfect healthy appetizer. Also add to your salads/meals for a colorful boost of healthy flavor!

One Healthy Breakdown: if hummus and pesto had a baby, it would be this recipe 🙂

January’s Tiny Change: Do It Yourself

OHH Intro: we couldn’t be more into this month’s challenge to DIY (do it yourself!) You’ll save money, eat way healthier, spend way less time grocery shopping, and shock yourself with how good it feels (and tastes!) Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s rundown of how to become a DIY’er…

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change—it really adds up over the course of a year! You can read about all the changes here. Share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win awesome prizes!

Welcome to 2016! Most people think of January 1st as the one and only day to turn over a new leaf, but if you’ve been participating in the #12tinychanges challenge, you’ve been building healthy habits since September (go you!) And if you’re new to the challenge, welcome to the simplest, least painful habit-shifting program you’ll ever tackle, #12tinychanges challenge.

blog-images-chocolate-barkAfter the holidays, when so many of us fall off of our routines, we may be tempted to kick off the new year with some BIG promises to ourselves, but it’s really, really, really hard to stick to BIG goasl for the long haul. The population at the gym has already cut in half since January 1. Instead of being one of those, get on board this tiny change and bite off exactly what we can chew. Sound good? Let’s spend a little time in the kitchen in DIY mode making delicious items we may ordinarily buy.

Are you already asking why on earth you’d complicate your life by hand-making purchasable foods? It probably seems more convenient to just grab things off the grocery store shelf and plunk down some cash. But once you try making some of these everyday items on your own, you’ll be amazed by how easy (and delicious) it can be! Why waste precious time and energy running to the store for almond milk when you can make your own tastier version in five minutes right in your own kitchen? What about your morning smoothie? How about that $15 jar of almond butter we all know and love?

IMG_3513You might think it will be boring, time-consuming, or expensive to DIY. Guess what – it’s not! It’s actually fun, significantly cheaper, and far healthier than buying everything pre-made.

Why should you try DIY-ing something you’d normally buy?

It’s incredibly satisfying + fulfilling. Few of us have ever made our own bread, nut butters or jams. (Hello, awesome homemade PB & J!) Contemplating the processes of making these items can feel intimidating, totally understand. Until I started creating my own staples, there were so many recipes I avoided because I feared their complexity. Why should I spend time learning how to DIY something when I could just toss it into my cart and buy it instantly?

Making your own staples can actually have a ripple effect through your whole life. Confidence and capability in one area often trickle over into other areas of your life, in the kitchen and beyond. Once you’ve mastered whipping up your own almond milk or putting together mason jar salads, there’s no telling what you’ll attempt! If you think something is out of your reach or beyond your skill set, it’s extremely satisfying to finally try it, figure it out…and then work it seamlessly into your weekly routine.

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When you make it yourself, you can customize it. Have you ever bought a granola bar and thought, “Hmm, I wish this was a tad less sweet…or why does this have 20 grams of sugar and tons of chemicals in it?!” When you make your own bars or bites, you can customize them to taste exactly the way you like…without the chemicals!

Create your own trail mix exactly how you like it. Add more of the things you love while skipping the unnecessary sugar, salt, and fillers found in the packaged versions. When you DIY, you know exactly what’s going in…and you control exactly which not-so-healthy ingredients you leave out!

You can view DIY-ing through the lens of curiosity + experimentation. This tiny change is just that: tiny. You don’t have to replace every store-bought condiment or staple in your house. You don’t have to make everything you eat from scratch. You don’t have to whip up award-winning sauces or a picture perfect superfood smoothie bowl the first time you try, just take it one step at a time.

Consider how making from scratch improves the quality of the food you eat, and how much you’ll learn about your ingredients. Notice how much more you appreciate your meals when they include your homemade staples, this will lead to more mindful eating and enjoyment!

If you’re really interested in kicking up the DIY challenge a notch or two, check out my book, Whole Food Energy. It’s packed with 200 easy-to-make recipes designed specifically for busy, active people who want to stock their kitchens & pantries with healthy homemade snacks and light bites to eat on the go. It’s pretty much a DIY goldmine!

Remember to go slowly and pick one or two DIY projects a week. Once you experience a homemade latte, (best part, you don’t have to leave the house!) sweet potato fries, (better than take out!) or the best brunch around, you’ll be hooked.

Lastly, I want to give you the tools to get going. I’m giving away amazing prizes each week throughout January on Instagram. Think: signed copies of my book, superfoods from Windy City Organicsc to enhance your creations, and much more! Just tag #12tinychanges to enter and follow @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley while you’re at it!

One Healthy Breakdown: No time like the present, start gathering your ingredients and get ready to dig in!

Super Summer Salad

If you ask me, summer supper is not complete without a super summer salad. I make a big salad like this at least once a week with dinner and use the leftovers for lunch salads. This makes the perfect crisp, colorful side dish or light dinner or lunch if you add some protein, like grilled chicken, shrimp, or beans. The best part is that the possibilities are endless with a summer salad!FullSizeRender(34)Start with a bed of leafy greens and add as many veggies/mix-ins as you’d like – best to use as much local, in-season, organic produce as possible! Here’s what I used:

  • mixed greens
  • chopped basil
  • chopped scallion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 green pepper
  • chopped radish
  • organic corn
  • chopped carrots

Additional options:

  • berries
  • cucumber
  • nuts
  • beans
  • onions
  • chicken
  • fish
  • lean beef
  • tempeh
  • eggs
  • edamame
  • cheese

Use a simple, homemade dressing to keep the focus on the fresh produce. Oil and vinegar, lemon juice, or a light vinaigrette works great (mix 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pepper, and a little salt.)

One Healthy Breakdown: eat the rainbow with a super summer salad!

Berry Good Oat Bars

Introducing the berry good oat bar, star of the snack scene and best blueberry- loaded breakfast in town! Loaded with nutrients, these babies are chewy like a brownie, but much healthier, with the perfect combination of carbs, protein, and fat. Now, that’s berry, berry good!

IMG_1975In a mixer/blender, combine all of the following ingredients:

2 cups berries (blueberries or a variety of berries, fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup plain oats
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup nuts OR nut butter of choice
1 tablespoon flax
1 teaspoon honey

optional additions:
1 scoop high-quality protein powder for extra protein
1/4 cup goji berries
1 tablespoon hemp or chia seeds

Spray a large brownie pan and pour batter evenly into pan. Bake at 325-350 for about 15-20 minutes. Check with a fork, they’ll be soft, but won’t stick to fork. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and cut into individual bars. Serve cool or heated and enjoy any time of day.

IMG_1964One Healthy Breakdown: sounds like berry good plan!

Sticky Oats

Oatmeal is a traditional favorite breakfast for a reason; it provides energy, fiber, and tons of nutrients. Low on the glycemic index, oatmeal is a great way to start your day. Just be sure to opt for whole rolled or steel-cut oats (preferably organic) instead of instant oatmeal as processing strips nutrients and adds unnecessary sugar. For a super healthy, protein-packed oatmeal that’s delicious and nutritious, try sticky oats!

FullSizeRender_2Sticky oats: (makes 2 servings)

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (preferably organic)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil on stove. Add all ingredients above and stir at low heat until desired consistency (about 10 minutes.) Add your favorite oatmeal toppings (nut butter, dried fruit, etc.) and enjoy!

One Healthy Breakdown: the stickier, the better!

Candace’s Paleo Energy Bites

When I saw the recipe for these energy bites on Facebook, I knew one thing: had to have ’em. Thanks to Candace for sharing her recipe, we can all have Paleo energy bites any time we want! Enjoy these tasty little bites of nothin but superfoods and superfuel!10494815_10202279531089980_7917817642464921192_nCandace’s Paleo Energy Bites:

  • 1 cup nuts of choice (I use a mix)
  • 1 1/2 cup any unsweetened dried fruit (figs, cherries, dates, apricots, etc. or a mixture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine ingredients in food processor until uniform. Wrap whole mixture in Saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so. Remove and roll into balls or “smush” into a pan to make bars. Best stored in the fridge.

One Healthy Breakdown: thanks Candace, for these powerful Paleo bites!

Vegan “Lick the Bowl” Cupcakes

When Jackie McKay of McKay Kitchens mentioned this “to die for” cupcake/muffin creation, I knew they HAD to be shared on OHH! What’s not to love with an indulgent-tasting chocolate cupcake healthy enough to eat for breakfast?! This one’s packed with superfoods and super taste!

Jackie warns us that this vegan creation is very moist and healthy and taste like chocolate! We’ve confirmed that it’s absolutely acceptable to lick the bowl clean – enjoy!

10487382_10154373037745227_818886423355100688_nWet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped boiled beets
  • 1/2 cup local maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all wet ingredient in blender, adding warm water last and slowly, observing texture. Look for a purĂ©e to form. Fold together and pour into muffin or mini cupcake trays. Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size of tray. Check center with a fork to make sure they’re cooked through. When cooked, turn oven off and let dehydrate for another hour.

One Healthy Breakdown: From one healthy foodie to another, keep up the good work!

One Healthy Margarita

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One Healthy Margarita:

  • 1 shot of tequila of choice
  • 1 shot sparkling water (flavored or plain)
  • juice of 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed grapefruit or orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave or stevia for sweetness
  • dash of sea salt

Mix and serve over ice. Coat glass with salt and garnish with a lime slice.

One Healthy Breakdown: use this recipe to save hundreds of calories and enjoy margaritas all summer long!

Light Up the Grill, it’s BBQ Season!

It’s barbecue season, baby! In addition to soaking up the sunshine, take advantage of grilling outside. Everything just tastes better on the grill, doesn’t it? Light it up and bring on the bbq’s!

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Burgers and dogs aren’t the only things to barbecue, there are so many yummy, healthy options. Grilled veggies taste amazing and are super easy too. All you need is a grill pan. Here’s how:

Eggplant: slice into thin round pieces. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with dried herbs for more flavor. Flip periodically. Grille about 10 minutes.

Zucchini/summer squash: slice into thin round pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Use a grill pan.  Grille about 5-10 minutes each side.

Asparagus, broccoli, or brussels sprouts: cut if needed, drizzle with olive oil, and grill away. It’s that simple and SO delicious! Shake them up so that they grill evenly. These smaller veggies only take about 5-10 mins.

Lettuce or cabbage: drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Romaine works great, it’s a simple delicacy! For cabbage, cut into four wedges and grille sides evenly for about 10 minutes. Lettuce only about five minutes.

Mushrooms: drizzle mushrooms with balsamic vinegar and a little oil. Grille for about eight minutes, flipping halfway through. Place over a salad or use whole grilled portobello mushrooms in place of burgers. Talk about a healthy upgrade!

Onions and peppers: slice onions and/or peppers. Drizzle olive oil and flavor with salt and pepper. Grille in tinfoil or on a grille pan. Great as a side with fish or sausage.

Corn on the cob: Brush with olive or coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. If you like a little spice, add cayenne pepper and fresh lime juice. Grille for 15- 20 minutes total.

Garlic or scallions: Using whole bulbs, cut the root end off and brush bulb with olive oil. Grille for about 10 minutes until skin in brown. The perfect addition to flavor any dish.

One Healthy Breakdown: Grab a cold drink and light up the grill. No heavy sauces, no complicated recipes. Just fresh veggies meet grille, nothin’ better.