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Almond-Chocolate-Coconut Bark

Hey y’all!

So sorry for the delay! I’ve been having some blog issues but fear not,  I’ve got an amazing recipe to make up for it!

Today I have a recipe for Almond-Chocolate-Coconut Bark. It is absolutely amazing. This recipe requires literally 4 ingredients and takes all of 30 minutes max.  I know I have discovered my sweet tooth throughout this journey and leading a gluten-free lifestyle so sometimes it’s nice to just be able to eat something that doesn’t taste healthy, you know?

With that being said:

 

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INGREDIENTS:

– 1 cup Coconut Oil

– 2 bags of dark chocolate chips

– 2 handfuls of coconut (or more if you prefer more, it’s all up to you)

– 1/2 cup of slivered almonds

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PROCESS:

 

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– Melt the dark chocolate chips, you can use a double broiler or the microwave. I always microwave just for times sake. Be sure not to burn your chocolate

– Mix in melted coconut oil

– Add coconut and almonds- The amount is all up to you. I am not  a huge fan of almonds, not to mention allergic, so I tend to not add as much as I do coconut.

– Pour in pan lined with parchment paper

-Freeze for 15-20 minutes

– Break up into pieces and enjoy!

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I made this recipe for my best friend’s art show and it was a huge hit. The longer you freeze the mixture the better. The chocolate tends to melt a little quickly in your hands just because of the coconut oil but hopefully it wont last long enough to have a chance to melt.

I hope you guys enjoy the coconut bark!

With love,

Rae Ann

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Baking with Coconut Flour

Hey y’all!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday!

Today I have a podcast for you guys. I am going to tell you all about one of my favorite things: COCONUT FLOUR!

I hope you enjoy this information!

I’ll be following up with some recipes so that you can use your new found love for coconut flour!

You can find the podcast here!

 

With coconut flour Love,

Rae Ann

Almonds: The breakdown

Hey everyone!

Today we’re going to chat about Almonds!

I recently had a conversation with my mom about them and she was under the impression that Almonds aren’t as good for you as everyone claims. Though I found validity in a lot of her concerns, I do want to share my opinion on the benefits and misconceptions of this delicious seed!

Almonds are a fantastic snack! They provide a wonderful source of protein, fiber and a healthy dose of unsaturated fats. Eating a handful is extremely filling and it will only cost you 160 calories!  Before I developed an allergy to them, I loved to snack on almonds that were roasted in coconut oil. YUM! Because almonds are so low in fat, they are also really great for your cholesterol, promoting heart health.

Many diets these days are focused on low fat, high protein and require you to snack through out the day. Most dietary lifestyles consist of eating 3 meals and a snack in between each of those so that your metabolism never has a chance to slow down. One of the best snacks that you could choose would be a handful of almonds because they are in fact, extremely low in fat and high in protein!

It is important, however, to watch your almond intake. Just about anywhere you read about almonds will tell you not to eat more than a handful at a time. Some general portion sizes are : a handful, a shot glass full, enough to cover a sticky note or about a 1/4 measuring cup. Just in general, nothing is good in excessive quantities but almonds can be especially dangerous for a number of reasons. They are high in oxalates which can build up and lead to kidney stones, they are extremely high in fiber which can cause your gastrointestinal system to over work and become irritated and they are also known to cause allergies to themselves, which is what happened to me. I ate so many almonds that I developed an allergy to them.

Some people have a stomach that can tolerate almonds without a problem and to them I say, congratulations! For those of you that can, here are some amazing almond products that you can incorporate in your daily life!

  • Almond Milk- an excellent dairy replacement. You can buy it flavored or unflavored, sweetened or unsweetened. I love my almond milk!
  • Almond butter- Like peanut butter but 10x better for you! You can make decadent peanut butter cups but instead use Almond butter and dark chocolate.
  • Almond Oil- make your own vinaigrette for a salad!

I hope this helped give you the lowdown on Almonds. Remember, moderation is key.

With love,

Rae Ann

Dark Chocolate: It’s food, not candy.

Forget what you have heard and listen to this. 

With a few guidelines and helpful information, you can rely on chocolate to provide health benefits for your heart, your blood sugar, and your mood.

Milk, fat, and sugar might be welcomed by your tastebuds, but not your health. Watch out for milk chocolate, for it contains more milk and sugar than chocolate. Chose dark chocolate that contains over 62% cacao, less than . This label means that 62% of its ingredients is cacao; the higher the better! Most trusted brands, like Ghirardelli Intense Dark , Lindt, Green & Blacks, or my personal favorite Eating Evolved. Visit the link and browse their wide range of all natural, dairy free, no sugar added delicious products.

Good for your heart.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, compounds that act as antioxidants. Flavonoids protect cells from harmful cell damage that can lead to heart disease. These molecules—called free radicals—that are produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to sunlight or smoke. Flavonoids can also lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Can help level your blood sugar.

Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy by keeping circulation unimpaired. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Eat chocolate and get happy.

Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of happiness. Phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love, encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier. It also contains the chemical serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.

Don’t forget these benefits as well:

Along with antioxidants, dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

 Add one serving of dark chocolate to your daily routine and you can be on your way to obtaining these health benefits!

Hey Y’all!

Happy Friday! This is Rae Ann and today I am blessing you with a delicious recipe for when you’re really just craving a candy bar.

One of my biggest hobbies happens to be baking and so when I started to adapt to this lifestyle of eating better and eliminating certain substances, I had to find a way to replace them or exchange them for something else. I think a common misconception is that when you are eating healthy and when you get rid of gluten or dairy, that means that you can never have normal food again or you can’t just bake whatever you want and have it taste good. WELL, that is so far from the truth I can’t help but laugh. I bake all the time with the help of my gluten free flours and different substitutes that I told you about in my previous post, “What’s on your shopping list?” That being said, here is a recipe I feel is completely appropriate for the theme of this blog.

                                                                   Gluten and Dairy Free Almond Joys!   

Takes about 10 minutes to make- serves 6

Ingredients:       

  • 16-20 oz of dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup dry unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Raw Almonds
  • 1/2 Stevia packet (optional if you want it a little sweeter)

Directions:  

  1. Line a cupcake pan
  2. Melt the dark chocolate. I prefer to work with the microwave over a double boiler but it is your own preference. I chose to use increments of 1 minute followed by 30 seconds at a time. Don’t burn your chocolate!
  3. Place about a teaspoon of chocolate in each liner. Using a spoon, spread it around to the edges. I’m heavy handed so I always accidentally do about a tablespoon, I JUST LIKE CHOCOLATE.
  4. Place the cups in the fridge to set up.
  5. In a smaller bowl, mix together your coconut oil (melted), coconut flakes, and Stevia.
  6. Add about a tablespoon of the coconut mixture to the center of the chocolate cups. If it all possible, make it more centered and ball-ish.
  7. Place your almond on top!
  8. Add another tablespoon of chocolate on top of the coconut mixture, make sure it gets down on the sides and fills the open spaces.
  9. Let this all harden in the fridge for about 10.
  10. Enjoy!

I got this amazing recipe from an adorable mommy blog-  “Smashed Peas and Carrots” and then changed it up a bit.

All of the ingredients are so natural and not processed that it is incredibly hard to regret eating them. I just think it is so important that people learning to follow this lifestyle realize that it is not a death sentence, it isn’t a punishment that you’re going to have to deal with every day. Yes, you will have to make changes and sometimes you are just really going to want pizza and won’t be able to call Papa Johns just because you want to. BUT you can go to the local grocery store and pick up a gluten free pizza crust and get some natural ingredients to put on it. This is about adapting, exchanging and growing.

I hope you guys get to try this awesome recipe soon!

With Gluten and Dairy Free love,

Rae Ann       

* I am having some technical difficulties with the images, I’ll get them up ASAP!

What’s on your shopping list?

Hey y’all!

This is Rae Ann and today I am going to be telling y’all about some alternatives that you can use in your every day diet to help supplement those certain foods that you’ve developed an allergy to.

The whole focus of this blog is based off of almonds, coconut and dark chocolate; these are some of the staple items for people with gluten intolerances, paleo lifestyles and people just looking to trade junk for something healthy AND delicious.

Here’s a brief list of certain must haves for your pantry, here is an extended list for the paleo lifestyle:

  • Coconut Oil- this can be used for just about anything. You can use it as hair masks, skin moisturizer, sweetener for smoothies, butter alternative in baking and so much more! It’s amazing on popcorn and in chocolate chip cookies!
  • Agave Nectar- with the exception of Stevia, this is the best sugar/honey substitute I’ve found. It’s sweeter than sugar but is much healthier. It comes straight from a plant so it’s almost always all natural, typically organic and definitely vegan.
  • Coconut flour/Almond meal- some sort of flour substitute. These are both amazing alternatives. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill. This brand is carried just about anywhere which is awesome and depending on what you buy, it is probably Gluten Free.
  • Dark Chocolate- Just because you’re eating better doesn’t mean you have to give up the sweets! There are tons of recipes that can work with complicated diets and using dark chocolate makes the recipe significantly better for you. Enjoy life is the best kind of chocolate if you’ve got a finicky stomach.
  • Almonds- Though I personally cannot eat almonds, they are very good for you! A great source of protein almonds are an awesome snack and filler for when you don’t have time to stop and eat. HEB has a great “healthy living” department that offers all sorts of different types of almonds. Almond Butter is also really great. Most grocery stores offer it freshly ground.

It’s so important to stock your pantry with these alternatives to make transitioning to this lifestyle easier. I was blessed with blogs to help break down what I could and couldn’t eat so I hope this list makes your first trip to the grocery store a breeze!