Chocolate Protein Poppers

If you haven’t jumped on the protein ball bandwagon, please join me! PS- These plant-based poppers are gluten-free.

proteinpoppers1For years, I’ve loved the concept of raw and healthy snacks that you can easily whip up at home. From time to time I’ll throw together a mixture or try some of the other amazing recipes out in the google-sphere.

Today, was one of those days where I just felt like a cookie. You know what I mean?

For most of us, it’s typical around the post-lunch lull to want something like this. I often sip a hot green tea and nibble on some of my favorite Alter Eco Blackout chocolate. Today I recalled a great post on aloha.com that was recently shared on their website. That got me thinking I ought to whip up some protein balls to cure my cookie craving. I’ve been loving the chocolate Aloha plant-based protein powder in my smoothies and so it was destined to appear in this afternoon’s creation (I get a protein supply mailed to me directly from the company that comes in handy single-serve packets which means I’ve always got it on hand). alohaprotein

Here’s how you can throw together these scrumptious chocolate protein poppers!

Mix the following dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl:

Then mix in:

  • 1/3 cup of 100% pure organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Justin’s almond butter (I used maple almond which I keep refridgerated)
  • and throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips!

Stir well, but let’s be honest…I got right in there! I worked the mixture with clean hands into a well-mixed dough and got to rollin’.  I rolled roughly 10-12 balls and put them on a plate in a fridge for 20 min.proteinpoppers2

20 minutes later… Cookie fix taken care of! Even my little guy liked them! romeoproteinballYou can try this for yourself or get creative and see what you can come up with. Have a little fun and share your creation with me on Instagram by taking a photo and tagging @mindbodybespoke!

Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Lactation Cookies by Laura Lea Bryant, Chef.

Cookies4Hi friends! Holistic Chef Laura Lea Bryant comin’ atcha, but you can also think of me as MindBodyBespoke’s biggest fan! Frances is one of my dearest friends in the world, and she radiates beauty, positive energy and wisdom in everything she does. You are lucky to have made your way to her website! Today, I’m honored to share a recipe that I created with one of the MindBodyBespoke focuses in mind, helping pregnant and new mothers navigate their changing bodies and to nourish their babies, naturally.

By no means am I an expert in this field, but I know that breastfeeding and producing milk is an epic challenge for many new mamas. A healthy and steady milk supply has countless benefits for mother and child. For a baby, quality breastmilk is an irreplaceable source of nutrients, immune system building/disease prevention and it helps with digestion. For mamas, breastfeeding has been showing to diminish postpartum depression, aid in weight loss, reduce risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis and of course, allow for invaluable bonding time.

Nutrition plays a critical role in lactation and proper breastfeeding. One ingredient in particular, Brewer’s Yeast, has been showing to increase milk supply and help with post-baby blues. Brewer’s Yeast is a nutrient-rich fungus that is generally tolerated well by babies. In this recipe, Brewer’s Yeast combines with flax meal and oats, two others ingredients shown to help with lactation. The result? These amazingly delicious cookies! Don’t be fooled by the word “cookie”—these little nuggets of nutrition are healthy enough to eat for breakfast or a snack. For busy moms, grab-and-go food items are clutch, and a little chocolate never hurt! You might notice a slightly malty taste from the yeast, and I personally love it. When buying ingredients for these cookies (and always), look for the freshest and best quality you can find. It makes a difference!

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Make these cookies for yourself or someone you love who is a new mama, and hopefully they will help physically and emotionally with all of the change that takes place when beautiful new life enters the picture.

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Lactation Cookies       Yield: Approximately 16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted grassfed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cups oats
  • 2 tbsp Brewers yeast
  • 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Procedure:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Add chia, egg and vanilla and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine spelt flour, oats, yeast and sea salt. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to incorporate. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough into 1 1/2 inch balls into baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between.

Bake cookies for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

LLBLaura Lea is a Certified Holistic Chef in Nashville, TN with a recipe development and teaching business called Laura Lea Balanced. She focuses on simple, budget and family-friendly recipes that are healthier versions of classic favorites. You can visit her website at llbalanced.com !

Summer Guest Bloggers 2015

We are surrounded by so many people who are passionate about health. Many of whom have dedicated their lives to helping others reach goals and live a healthy lifestyle.  Even more, healthy living is trending big time! A trend that I believe is going to stick. It is COOL to know about healthy eating and how to exercise, and more and more people are starting to pay close attention to how their bodies (and minds!) are working and how they react to certain lifestyle choices.

Learning how to take better care of yourself will help you on your journey to feeling better and living your life in a more health focused manner.  It can be incredibly empowering to gain knowledge, put it to use, and see it work right before your eyes. You can essentially become an EXPERT— on yourself. The more you learn about how your body responds to dietary change, exercise patterns, and sleep quality for example, the better you are able to determine what your needs are and what makes you the best you can be.

With that being said, I am very excited to share some great news with you that will help you as you become more health literate and savvy on health related topics. I have recruited some fabulous people to contribute to the Mind Body Bespoke blog this summer. Over the next few months you’ll see the occasional post from yours truly as well as additional posts from some super talented, passionate, and intelligent people in health and wellness related fields. Their posts will contain helpful information and advice, recipes, and anecdotes that we can learn from.

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I do hope that you will share these posts with your friends, family and colleagues. We all have a stake in each other’s health and wellness. Together, we can nurture and support each other as we all strive to be our very best.

Cheers to a healthy and happy summer!

Oh my! Oatmeal

Please people. We must respect the oatmeal.

In my past life, oatmeal was just a bowl of mushy mush. And, I’m sorry, but mushy mush doesn’t get me excited. It wasn’t until I first swirled a glorious spoon full of peanut butter into my oatmeal during the first trimester of my pregnancy, did I then appreciate the staying power, deliciousness, and comfort for the mush.

oatmeal2You see, during the first few weeks of my pregnancy I had some of the fun waves of nausea that would occur in the morning. And while I never got sick, I definitely needing something to help keep me feeling solid and less queasy. With a good dollop of PB or almond butter mixed in my oatmeal, I was set for a few hours until my next ravenous preggers moment. You see, the thing about oatmeal is that it sticks. It stuck to my morning routine like glue. Suddenly, I was having it just about every morning and jazzing it up a few different ways. It became even more important once my son was born as he was getting me up before the sun came up and I needed what I called “my first breakfast.”  It helped me to feel ready to run the day with my needy newborn. Now, 17 months later, I’m still doing that just about every morning– and having a lot of fun with it too!

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First things first, steer clear of junky oatmeal. Yes, there are some oatmeal brands out there that are filled with unnecessary sweeteners, extra sodium, and artificial flavors…..and dare I say, GMO (genetically modified organisms). YUCK! Stick with the real thing. Good ol’ fashion, fiber-packed and energy boosting oats! They are excellent for helping with weight control, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. I really love Bob’s Red Mill, which also has a gluten-free line as well. I switch between old fashion rolled oats and quick oats. Another great option is to purchase quality oats that have been jazzed up for you but with GOOD QUALITY ingredients. I love Purely Elizabeth (her granola is to die for!) and Evoke Healthy foods. Anyway, it’s all good to me but you can certainly find your favorite!

oatmeal3Depending on the morning, I’ll either use water or almond milk as my base. To me, it tastes better when cooked on the stove top (with steel cut it is a must), but let’s be honest, on crazy or lazy mornings I will give it a microwave zap (though I’m trying to use my microwave less when I can). Also, get creative with toppings and absolutely do not limit yourself. Try a variety of fruits, nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Try a very light maple syrup drizzle (100% pure). Also, keep frozen bags of berries in your freezer. They melt perfectly into your warm steamy bowl. Here are some of yummy ways to dress up your oatmeal:

  • Peanut Butter, Banana, Raw Honey, Hemp Seeds
  • Almond Butter (Try Justin’s ), Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Maple syrup
  • Any nut butter and Jam/Jelly (I love Crofter’s organic)
  • Almond butter, Pear, and flax seeds
  • Walnuts, blueberries, raspberries

So, MindBodyBespoke readers, how are you super charging your oatmeal? Share your tips with myself and others !

Secrets to a good salad

The moment I met my husband, my life changed (because I met his mother — who is awesome). While my husband and I have a story that is oh-so-sweet (high school sweethearts), this post isn’t about that. Sorry honey!

This post is about SALAD.

Everyone who knows my mother-in-law, knows that she is a serious cook. In her immaculate kitchen, there is not a cookbook in sight. All the GLORY that comes to her table comes from years of experience, Italian heritage, and the pure love of cooking and family. There isn’t a person who has been to her home who hasn’t drooled over her masterful eggplant Parmesan, always asking for leftovers to take home ( let’s be honest, leftovers are rarely available or disappear in the middle of the night…ahem). And while her cooking is simply divine, she is also known for making a massively large salad for every dinner, and it is DELICIOUS. This is where I learned to love salad. For years, I tried my best to replicate it, and eventually I’ve recreated my own version(s) of her famous salad.  Now it has become a specialty for myself as well. Friends comment regularly how they’re loving my salad at potluck dinners! Cool! So here’s some of my tips and tricks:

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1. Don’t be a bore – EXPLORE! Stop with the same old , same old. Ok—get what you like, then explore new possibilities. You may think you don’t like something by itself, but paired with other yummies, and the amalgamation could be life changing! This applies to your greens too — forgive me wedge lovers but we’ve all moved on from iceberg ! Go after different greens, mix and match them, and see what glorious creations you can come up with! I love a good massaged raw kale salad. So here are some great combos and toppings to try out. I do limit dairy in my daily diet but I did include cheese options for those who love a good crumble in your salad:

  • pear, walnut, goat cheese
  • strawberry, slivered almonds, blue cheese
  • golden tempeh, sprouted pumpkin seeds (I like these by Go Raw)
  • Tomato, cucumber, onion, pistachio or sunflower seeds, Feta
  • Ribbon Carrots (use a peeler to create ribbons!)
  • Raw brussel sprouts (you may find these already pre-chopped in your grocery store!)
  • Thinly sliced hot peppers (perfect on a raw kale salad )
  • Salad Boosters like these by Living Intentions
  • Last but never least, AVOCADO. Which I love in and on everything.

2. Dress code is causal! I’ve gotten a lot of “what dressing is this?” and most of the time it is something I did without even thinking about it! Keeping it simple is the key. Mostly because of all the other delicious items that bring flavor to the salad. The absolute worst thing EVER is an overdressed, pundget, bitter, or sweet soaked salad. Not to mention the caloric overload that has probably incurred with the heavy handed pour. This is another reason why it is best to make your own dressing. Now don’t get me wrong there are some great quality dressings to purchase out there but for every one dressing there is probably ten more that are filled with junk. Here are my basic go to dressing combos but the same principle applies from the previous paragraph—explore the possibilities! :

  • EVOO and Balsamic
  • EVOO and Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
  • EVOO and Red wine vinegar
  • EVOO and Dijon mustard (sometimes honey)
  • EVOO and Lemon with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

3. Chop till you drop! This is truly where the magic comes in. A great salad must be THROUGHLY mixed and chopped. I swear this makes a world of a difference. If you leave it up to people, they’ll miss out if they take a bite of this and a bite of that. So before you serve a salad to anyone, chop it up! I go straight into it with a fork and knife and literally cut it up.

4. Spin it to win it! Lastly, with large tongs in my right hand (my mother-in-law got me hooked on tongs) and with my left hand on the bowl, I get to spinning. All this does is make sure the dressing and the toppings are evenly dispersed throughout the salad, ensuring that every bite is filled with the flavors and textures I’ve chosen. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE! The “spinning” means just flipping over big “grabs” of the salad with the tongs and turning the bowl as I go. It’s kind of a ritual ;0)

Hopefully this post has inspired you to create salads that are anything but boring. Leave a comment on your favorite salad combos and/or dressings!