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Easy Chocolate No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies are a favorite of mine because they require so little effort and are ready so quickly! Unlike traditional cookies, these can be made using your stovetop (or heck, even your microwave!) and you don’t have to wait for them to bake. These no bakes contain antioxidant rich cacao powder, fiber packed oats and chia seed as well as antioxidant packed cacao and goji berries. YUM.

Easy Chocolate No Bake Cookies

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Minutes
Makes ~20 Cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
2 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup (You could use up to 3 depending on how sweet you like things!)
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Cacao Powder (Navitas is my favorite!)
Pinch of Salt
1 3/4 Cup Instant Oats
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/4 Cup Dried Goji Berries (If you cant find these, consider subbing something like raisins!)

Instructions:
1. Place coconut oil, milk and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until until coconut oil is melted, about five minutes.
2. Turn off stovetop and stir in vanilla extract, cacao powder and salt to the coconut oil/maple syrup/milk mixture.
3. Add the oats and stir until well combined. Add in chia seeds, coconut flakes and goji berries.
4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, place tablespoon sized scoops of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave raised or using a piece of parchment and your palm or the back of a spoon, press down on the cookies to flatten.
5. Place in the refrigerator for ten minutes or until the mixture is cool. Transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

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What Exactly Is Holistic Skincare?

A Post By Based Esthetician, Shauna

            When I think of taking a more holistic approach to skincare, I am reminded of a passage from a book I refer back to every so often, called Holistic Anatomy by Pip Waller: “In the morning, an alarm clock made in a factory across the sea wakes me. I get up and dress in clothes made somewhere else. I eat food grown by people of many countries—packed, transported, and sold to me. Before I even leave the house in the morning I have been touched by thousands of other lives. It is impossible for a human being to be separate. We are connected to each other and to all life, to the earth we live on, as intimately as our cells are part of us.”         

I love this passage because although we live our lives under this veil of “separateness”, our fates are all deeply intertwined with one another’s. We may be our own person, but we are people who are a part of our own small communities—whether that be with our family, friends, neighbors, book clubs, etc. These small communities come together to form an even larger community, such as a city. Multiple cities come together to form a state, and so on and so forth until our entire planet Earth is but one small speck in the greater universe.

When we take a look at our skin from a holistic skincare approach, the same type of thought process applies. Our skin is an organ of the integumentary system, and while this system has multiple functions that it alone carries out, it cannot perform said functions without all the other body systems performing their particular jobs. Each system is but one part of a greater operating whole, where no one system is more important than the other. Applying this to the idea of skincare, a blemish, for example, isn’t always just the result of a clogged follicle. Depending on where the blemish is located on your face, it can indicate something else going on internally. Looking at the bigger picture is a key aspect of holistic skincare.

Our skin acts as a communicator; often times the first sign of internal imbalance will show up on our faces. It is the job of a holistic esthetician, then, to investigate what your face is communicating and get to the root cause of whatever it is that’s showing up on your skin. Sometimes that may mean outsourcing to other professionals, such as our in house nutritionist or maybe an outside acupuncturist or other professional to address what’s going on internally. 

Holistic skincare isn’t about a quick fix. It’s not about simply slathering on a band aid over a problem in the form of a topical solution. It’s about digging deeper and discovering what’s really going on to create lasting results and lasting health. It’s about becoming your own investigator and recognizing patterns. It’s about not only becoming more aware of the skin you’re in, but being able to really love your skin – even if it has blemishes, or wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation; because these are simply messages from our bodies that there’s something else going on. While I am here to help guide you on your skins journey of healing in whatever way I can, ultimately, our health is in our own hands. And what an empowering idea that is.  

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Sweet + Spicy Brussels Sprouts

I’m an olive oil/salt/pepper savory roasted veggie type of gal, but I wanted to come up with something a little different with some special “treat yo’ self” vibes as the holiday season is approaching. This recipe couldn’t be easier and the combination of salty, sweet and heat with the pecans bringing the texture is amazing. These Brussels sprouts are going to be especially welcome on the Thanksgiving table to bring a pop of green amongst the delicious but bland in color sea of traditional Thanksgiving foods!

Sweet + Spice Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: ~30 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
~1 Lb Brussels Sprouts
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Pecan Halves
2 Tsp Hot Sauce (I used Syrachacuse Syracuse Style Hot Sauce from our new brick + mortar neighbors, Syrachacuse!)
2.5 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and trim the ends of Brussels Sprouts, making sure to remove any damaged leaves. Slice in half length wise.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pecans on baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, place the baking sheet with the pecans in the oven in a middle rack for 3 minutes.

3. While the pecans cook, make the sauce for the Brussels Sprouts by combining the hot sauce, maple syrup, liquid aminos, olive oil and garlic powder.

4. Pour the sauce over the Brussels Sprouts and stir well.

5. Remove the pecans and set aside.

6. Using the same baking sheet/parchment paper, pour out Brussels Sprouts and all of the sauce onto the baking sheet (it may look like a bit of a runny mess, but that is okay)!

Look at how the sauce is soaked up by the Brussels and caramelizes! YUM.


7. Bake for 30 minutes at 425, stirring once half way through. Remove from the oven and combine with the pecans. I broke my pecans up into smaller pieces. Serve warm or room temperature!

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Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

In our house, Sunday mornings are for slow starts, good coffee and hearty breakfasts. I like to stay in comfy clothes, make something a little more special to eat and plot out the coming week. These Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes are definitely Sunday morning worthy, but they are really simple enough to make any day of the week and you could double or triple this recipe to have leftovers for easy weekday breakfasts. These pancakes are packed with calcium, vitamin A, protein and fiber. Aside from being the perfect addition to these pancakes, Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and micronutrients like vitamins C and K.

Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

Serves 2 (3 pancake servings)
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: ~8 Minutes

Ingredients:

½ Cup of Instant Oatmeal (Woodstock Organic is my favorite!)
1 Egg
2 Egg Whites
1 Ripe Banana
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Optional: 1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Blueberries

Instructions:

1. Place all ingredients besides the blueberries in a blender. Blend for roughly 30 seconds or until smooth.

2. Spray or lightly oil a nonstick pan over high heat.

3. Pour the pancake mixture into the pan into three or six equal sized portions. If you can only fit three in your pan, you will need to do a second batch!

4. Cook for four minutes. Using a spatula, lift the edge to check for doneness. If the pancake is cooked through on the bottom, flip the pancake over and continue to cook on the other side for another four minutes.

5. When pancakes are done, top with some real maple syrup, yogurt, honey, more fresh berries, nut butter, or whatever you are in the mood for! These can be made ahead, stored in the fridge and microwaved for a quick weekday breakfast, too.

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Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

It’s officially squash season! Squash is versatile, hearty and is able to be kept for quite a while if stored properly. Additionally, squash is packed with nutrients! A one cup serving of butternut squash contains about 25% RDI of fiber, is absolutely loaded with vitamin a, and also contains plenty of vitamin c, manganese and potassium!

While I eat soup all year long, something about fall makes soup seem like a requirement. I oftentimes make a batch of soup to enjoy during the week as a quick lunch or even as a snack. This butternut squash soup is creamy, dreamy and also happens to be gluten free + vegan and the addition of turmeric enhances the color and flavor of this soup.

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Sweet Onion, Diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Can Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk*
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

*The Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk is Amazing because it has less fat than regular coconut milk but more fat than “Lite” or light coconut milk which often contains added thickeners!

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the outside of your butternut squash. Dry and slice lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the stringy parts and seeds from the bottom of the squash. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat each half of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the cut side of the squash facing up and bake for ~40 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

2. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and leave it to the side to cool. While it cools, sauté the diced onion and minced garlic in a sauce pan in the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Continue to cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.

3. If the squash is able to be handled, use a metal spoon to scoop out the flesh away from the skin of the squash. Place the cooked squash in a bowl.

4. In a blender, add the squash, onion + garlic mixture, turmeric, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in two batches!

5. Return the blended mixture to the sauce pan and heat through. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with fresh herbs, chunks of roasted butternut squash, pepitas or red pepper flakes.