Friday, February 13, 2015

Two Treats to Treat your Heart and your Sweetheart!

Homemade Chocolate

1 part raw organic cocoa powder
1 part coconut oil
1/2 part honey
1 Tbsp nut butter(increase depending on amounts of first 3 ingredients)

This is the  basic recipe- sorry it requires just "eyeballing" it.  Mix listed ingredients, then add chopped nuts (like almonds or cashews), shredded unsweetened coconut, dried cranberries or cherries (sweetened with fruit juice) as desired. Spread on wax paper or silicone mat and let set.
Be careful, it's hard to put down!

3 Ingredient Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cans coconut milk
6 ounces frozen strawberries OR 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries
1/3 cup raw honey
Using only the fat* from the canned coconut milk, blend all ingredients. Now there are several ways to freeze the ice cream base, and there are several ways to process the ice cream.

Freezing and processing options:
-Freeze ice cream base in ice cube trays. Once frozen process in a food processor until creamy.
-Pour ice cream base into a large shallow dish (like a casserole dish). Once frozen scrape the solid mass with a fork until soft enough to serve.
-Freeze ice cream base in popsicle molds.
-Use an ice cream maker.
*Canned coconut milk will separate into fat and water. Do not shake the can and you will be able to remove the fat from the can while leaving the water at the bottom. You will need 2 cups of coconut milk fat for this recipe.

8 Ways to Shake off the Winter Blues

“Shake it off, Shake it off” when sung sounds simple, but can be a challenge when it comes to getting rid of Winter blues.  With overcast skies, snowstorms, and decreased sunshine, it is fairly common to experience the “blues” during Winter months.

I find myself feeling a bit down as the excitement of the Holidays has died down, routines are routine, and we see more clouds and less sunshine. Many days I dream of lying on a warm beach somewhere, book in hand, without a little one hanging on my leg or calling my name!

Since moving to a tropical oasis for 4 months is likely not an option for most, here are 8 ways to help shake off the Winter blues.

1.      Discover a new attitude. If you have a negative attitude towards the winter season, find one or two positives of the season and celebrate. Maybe it’s no yard work or that it holds a new activity for you to try like snowshoeing. Perhaps it gives you more opportunities for family time.
2.      Find an activity or interest that excites you. Ideas could be joining an art group, joining a sports league, scheduling a weekly or monthly outing. The key is to find something that you look forward to.
3.      Exercise. Studies show that exercise stimulates production of feel good hormones, which boost mood and overall outlook. “Shake it off” with upbeat music and dance. Even on cold days I try to bundle up my little ones and play tag, or “Stop Light” around the block. This gets our blood pumping, breathing some fresh air, and soaking in some rays.
4.      Eat well. Choosing good nutrition, especially an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, provides the body with proper nutrition and prevents the abrupt rise and fall of blood sugars. This in turn affects mood.
5.      Take a time out, even if for just 5 minutes. Time that you don’t necessarily have to keep a schedule and can have some quiet time to meditate and breath. Oxygen helps to restore and regenerate the mind and body.
6.      Get a daily dose of sunshine. Simple ways are going for a walk, sit outside, or spend a few minutes in a sunny room in your home or office building.
7.      Laughter. Remember to smile. Read jokes, a book, a watch Television show, or comedian. It takes fewer muscles to smile than frown and creates fewer wrinkles!

8.      Turn off technology. Social media can influence negative thoughts and comparisons as we read of others’ successes and posts. Set limitations time you will spend viewing Social Media.