Sneaky Superfood Chocolate Smoothie

NOTE: I was not paid for endorsing the superfood powders mentioned, neither company has any idea who I am. I have just used this type of product for years and find it invaluable. However, the links I include below to purchase the powders are affiliate links, so I get a portion of the sales if you do buy from those links. Thank you!

As I was rushing out the door to my yoga teacher training retreat for 5 days, I wanted to share this recipe with you all and with my husband, who needs the recipe somewhere safe to use for the kids when I’m away! I have been making this smoothie for the past month or so as a sneaky way to get my kids to start the day with superfoods like kale, spinach, spirulina, chia, and wheatgrass. Let’s face it, they would reject a green smoothie first thing in the morning. So this is a sneaky superfood chocolate smoothie. You can add nut butter as indicated below to make it a peanut butter chocolate flavor, or leave it out and have more pure chocolate.

My secret ingredient is a chocolate superfood powder. You have to get one that does not taste terrible. And you would think that would be easy, but it’s not. I have tried dozens of kinds and my favorites are Amazing Grass and Garden of Life Raw chocolate superfood powders. Both have a protein shake version, but that’s not what I am using here. Neither superfood powder has any sugar in them and both can be found locally at your Sprouts or Whole Foods or Natural Grocer or online at Thrive Market (Amazing Grass, Garden of Life), Vitacost (Amazing Grass, Garden of Life), or Amazon (Amazing Grass, Garden of Life). If you need discount codes for Thrive or Vitacost, please contact me via my Facebook Page and I can send them to you!

The most unusual thing that I do with this smoothie is add oatmeal. I started doing this when my daughter began refusing pretty much anything I offered for breakfast. If you are grain-free or doing this in addition to other things eaten at breakfast and it is too filling, you can leave out the oatmeal. But it is very important that you blend the oatmeal and chia seeds into a fine powder in the blender first, before adding other ingredients. If you blend everything together, the smoothie with be thick and lumpy. I’ve forgotten that step before and my kids wouldn’t eat it. See photos below.

Sneaky Superfood Chocolate Smoothie (kid approved) | Living Consciously Blog

Sneaky Superfood Chocolate Smoothie

Step 1

1/2 cup oats (buy gluten-free oats here)

1 tsp. chia seeds (buy here)

STOP HERE AND BLEND INTO A POWDER.
It will look something like this:

Superfood Smoothie Oatmeal Chia Seeds | Living Consciously Blog

Step 2

1 cup frozen bananas (if using room temperature bananas, definitely add the optional ice, below)

2 scoops chocolate superfood powder (see above paragraph for where to buy)

3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut milk (buy here or at Whole Foods)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tbsp peanut butter, nut butter, or PB2 – optional (buy PB2 here)

1/2 cup ice – optional, will make your smoothie thicker

 

Put the rest of the ingredients from Step 2 into your blender and blend everything on high until smooth and thinned out enough to pour and drink easily. In my Vitamix this takes almost a minute on high.

If you let it sit too long, the chia seeds will absorb the moisture and the smoothie will become a “thickie”! Serve to your children or yourself immediately!

 

You might also like:

How to Juice with a Vitamix
My Green Smoothie Guidelines
Saving Money on Organic & GMO-Free Groceries

Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in a Bread Machine

We’ve had great success reducing my son’s food intolerances through naturopathy, but he is still a little sensitive to both wheat and dairy. For some reason, his body CAN process white flour much more easily than whole wheat, although I’ll always go with the gluten-free version of things, if I can. Recently, I read this article about why non-organic flour might cause more inflammation than conventionally produced wheat flour. I am not sure if those two are linked in his case, but they could be.

I make all our own bread, for the most part. I rarely buy bread. For my husband and I and my daughter, I typically make a variation of my fluffy wheat bread. But for my son, I alter the recipe a little and make low gluten bread in my bread machine to address his gluten intolerance, which is different than an allergy. At first, I was frustrated by how flat and dense the bread typically came out. Then, after a conversation with my mom about the chemistry of gluten free cooking, I revised it a little to include vanilla extract. Perfect! Now I get fluffy bread nearly every time!

The trick with this bread is actually allowing the yeast to grow a little in the machine before baking. This is a big “no-no” with bread machines, typically, but in this recipe it works! I promise!

Important for cooler temperatures/climates: I made this recipe for the first time since it got cooler here in Texas (in the 60’s, woo hoo!) and the yeast did not work as it did during the summer. I ruined an entire loaf. The yeast should be frothy and bubbly after 10 minutes.
TIP: Warming the bread machine’s inner container in the oven for a few minutes before putting the warm water and yeast inside has helped a lot in the cooler months (or when the temperature inside the house is below 72 degrees).

Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in a bread machine | Living Consciously Blog

Low Gluten Bread

First:

1 cup of water, warmed (not hot)
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. yeast (regular, not fast-rising)

Second:

1 tsp. gluten free vanilla extract (affiliate link)
1/4 cup oil (safflower, non-GMO canola – affiliate links)
1 cup pre-mixed gluten free flour (affiliate link)
2 cups organic white flour
1/2 tbsp. salt

1. Add all items listed in the “First” list to the bread machine canister. Let sit for 10 minutes or longer. Yeast should bubble up like this:

Low Gluten Bread Yeast

2. Add vanilla and then oil (shown in picture, above).

3. Add the flours and then the salt.

4. I set my machine for the White Bread setting. It should come out nice and fluffy, like this!

Fresh Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in the Machine

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I get a portion of the sales if you buy using the links to Vitacost. I always label my affiliate links and relationships. I appreciate your support of my blog – thank you!

 


Real Plans real food meal planning system: gluten-free dairy-free

Real Plans meal planning system | Living Consciously

NOTE: I received a 2 week preview of the Real Plans meal planning system so that I could try it out and let you know what I think. I was not compensated monetarily for the opportunity or asked to share my experience, I am doing so of my own accord and all opinions are my own. However, links within the post and images may be affiliate links (and are labeled as such), which means that if you purchase the plan, I will get a percentage of the sale to support my blogging efforts. Thank you in advance!

RealPlans.com meal planning system: Paleo, Vegetarian, and Traditional | Living Consciously

I finally made a pot roast!

This is a big deal for someone who spent 13 years of my adult life a vegetarian and has just now learned to cook meat. My husband remembers pot roast fondly from childhood and has wistfully mentioned it several times in our marriage. I am sad to say that there have been many failed pot roasts in my past.

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been on a Paleo-ish liver detox! The plan includes eating extremely cleanly and avoiding the following:

  • all grains (including rice, corn, quinoa, oats)
  • dairy
  • added sugar (such as refined sugar, coconut sugar, honey, molasses – I still have fruit that contains natural sugars, such as dates)

Unlike my 30 day macrobiotic cleanse, I have been able to eat meat, fish, and all fruits and vegetables. I was also instructed to add sugar-free hemp protein (affiliate link) and raw greens powder (affiliate link) into smoothies and shakes several times a day to keep me full and help my body flush out.

Since I have been using a Classic version of another meal planning system for the past 2 years, I was a little overwhelmed attempting to plan Paleo-ish meals for myself and my family. It was just in time that Emily and Antony offered to let me try their new Real Plans real food meal planning system (affiliate link). I chose the Paleo plan (affiliate link), which is gluten-free and dairy-free. To my husband’s delight, this week contained pot roast!

Emily of Holistic Squid (a holistic blog) and her husband Antony designed this system and come up with the recipes. Real food means that everything is made from scratch, no prepackaged or processed foods. But, it’s actually not difficult at all!

I was surprised at how few ingredients the recipe required. It seems like the other recipes I’d tried were so much more complicated! I bought the chuck roast at Whole Foods, it was actually on sale for 50% off and was organic grass-fed!

A cool feature of the planning system – you can adjust the recipe for different serving sizes:

Real Plans meal planning system allows you to adjust the recipe serving size | Living Consciously

I was also very happy with how the shopping list and recipes were optimized for mobile. Does anyone else cook recipes straight from their iPhone? No? Well, I do! So it was nice to have the recipe formatted without clutter for easy countertop reference.

Overall, this is a super simple meal planning system that adds a fresh dose of flexibility (meal size, weekly menu). I would highly recommend it. In addition to the Paleo version, they also have a Vegetarian Plan and a Traditional Plan. If you do join, tell Emily and Antony that I sent you! Here’s the link again: RealPlans.com (affiliate link).

Really organic rosemary kale chips from our fledgling garden

This post brought to you by Organic Choice by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s been a few weeks now since we started back on our organic gardening efforts, and I’ve killed a lot of poor, defenseless seedlings since then. I have watched my dreams of tomato and basil bruschetta curl up and blow away. Fortunately, there are two plants nearly impossible to kill: rosemary and kale.

My kale hung on through the single-digit freezing, ice, and snow of the winter — with it’s leaves still green. It looks even better now that the weather has warmed, and I couldn’t wait to eat it!

Kale in garden 2014 | Conscientious Confusion

The rosemary has done equally well in the past, but this year’s low winter temperatures left more than half of it brown and withered. I love my rosemary in the giant galvanized steel pot, so I had to find a way to revive it without any dangerious chemicals, keeping it safe and healthy to eat.

Here’s how it looked when we started:

Rosemary bush BEFORE organic fertilizer | Conscientious Confusion

The good folks at Miracle-Gro Organic Choice sent me a bag of Organic Choice potting soil and organic fertilizer, which I also noticed is sold at Target in the gardening section (in case I need more later!). I decided to give the fertilizer a try in reviving my rosemary.

My son volunteered to be my little helper. All he had to do was sprinkle the appropriate amount of fertilizer around the base of the rosemary and then water it.

Little Sir helps add organic fertilizer to our rosemary bush | Conscientious Confusion

We also added additional Miracle-Gro Organic Choice soil to the rosemary’s pot, which was low on soil.

We fertilized on March 27.

On April 11, I took this picture of the rosemary bush.

Rosemary bush AFTER organic fertilizer | Conscientious Confusion

What a difference! I was truly surprised. I realize that fertilizer helps encourage growth, but this is really neat, right?!

Since the kale and rosemary are our only fully grown plants worthy of harvesting right now, I created a Pinterest board of Garden Recipes that contained kale and rosemary. Kale chips were one of the kids’ favorites from last year’s garden, so I found a rosemary kale chip recipe that utilized rosemary-infused olive oil. Perfect!

Making Kale Rosemary Chips from our garden! | Conscientious Confusion

The chips were approved by both of my kids (3 and 4 years old)! We’ve tried the kale chips from the store in the past, but they were never fans. I think the key to getting children to grow up eating healthy, fresh foods is really to involve them in the process. They have been so excited to be participating in our gardening this year.

I haven’t given up on the rest of our garden! We have some spinach, bell pepper, lettuce, swiss chard, and strawberries that seem to be doing quite well. I am particularly hopeful about the bell peppers, and I have actually Pinned a few articles from the Miracle-Gro Learn And Grow web site that has helped me toward a successful harvest. According to this bell pepper article, last year I probably let the bell peppers get too dry. This year I have a new hose system that I am very optimistic about, and a new resolve not to get so lazy with my watering.

Stay tuned for continued progress reports! I’d love to hear about your gardening efforts, and your favorite rosemary and kale recipes in the meantime!

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Gluten free, sugar free oatmeal alternative: rice congee

One food that I’ve really enjoyed while on my macrobiotic eating plan is brown rice congee for breakfast. It’s a great gluten-free, sugar-free oatmeal alternative. I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal with chia seeds for breakfast every day, but I always sprinkled it with brown sugar. With the addition of soaked dates and apple juice to the rice congee while cooking, no refined sugar is required to make this yummy hot breakfast. It reheats really well, so you can make a larger batch and store in an airtight glass container (affiliate link) in the fridge for a faster meal the next day.

About the creamy rice cereal: you can buy creamy rice cereal already prepped (affiliate link) or you can make your own. I have not made my own, but apparently all you need to do is take brown rice and chop it very fine in your food processor. I would recommend starting with the pre-packaged kind to get an idea as to how fine to make the grains when you do venture to make your own.

About the soaked & pureed dates: I learned this from browsing vegan treat recipes! I buy organic Medjool dates (affiliate link) in the produce section of a large grocery or natural foods store. They should be stored in the refrigerator. I pop 5-6 of them into a small juice glass full of filtered water and let them soak overnight. When they become soft, it’s easier to squeeze the seeds out, if there are seeds. Then put them into a food processor and puree until smooth. With meatier dates, I sometimes have to add filtered water (not the water they soaked in, I throw that out) to help with a smoother consistency.

Gluten-free Sugar-free Oatmeal Alternative (Sweet Brown Rice Congee) | Conscientious Confusion

Sweet Brown Rice Breakfast Congee: gluten-free, sugar-free

1/3 cup unsweetened organic apple juice

1/4 cup soy milk

1/2 tbsp. soaked, pureéd dates

1/2 cup creamy brown rice cereal (buy here – affiliate link)

additional soy milk as needed

toppings, such as berries, bananas, nuts (optional)

 

Pour apple juice into small saucepan and begin to heat. Right as it begins to simmer, add soy milk and quickly stir in. When soy milk is warmed, add pureéd dates and whisk to combine. When dates have incorporated, add creamy brown rice cereal. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, adding additional soy milk when mixture becomes too thick.

Rice congee cooking

Remove from heat, top with optional toppings.

Enjoy!