Sugar Crusted Almond Orange Cake

orange almond cake

Sugar Crusted Almond Orange Cake is a perfect conclusion to a special occasion or gathering. The orange gives it an exquisite flavor and the simple ingredients make it pair with limitless toppings. It is great with berries and cream. A chocolate sauce or herb infused glaze would be great too. Get creative! This simple dessert can be made on the fly which is perfect for an impulsive dessert or well-timed gesture.

It is hard to see in the photo, but there is the sweetest sugar glaze coating baked on the top of this almond orange cake. Delicious shavings of orange peel give this cake a bold finish. Simple decadence.

You ready for some of this goodness? Feel free to check out the King Arthur Flour recipe for an awesome photo directions for every step of the process. My recipe is almost the same, with added coconut flour with orange juice and zest.

almond orange cake

Sugar Crusted Almond Orange Cake

Ingredients:

  • butter for pan
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (coconut sugar would work well, however I can only vouch for white sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • juice of one squeezed orange or 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter (best option) or grease an 8″ springform pan, or round cake pan, and coat with about 2 tablespoons white sugar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. Add almond flour, coconut flour, orange juice and zest, baking power, and salt. Set aside. Batter will thick and pasty.
  4. With electric mixer, whip egg whites until they are form soft peaks. Turn mixer onto low setting and slowly add remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
  5. Spoon egg whites into thick batter, one dollop at a time. Gently mix until batter loosens and then scrap into prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cake is soft, but firm.
  7. Remove from oven and rest in pan for about 15 minutes.
  8. Turn cake upside down on plate and gawk at it’s golden beauty.
  9. Top with fruits, nuts, creams, sauces, flowers, herbs, fresh honey, seeds, gelato; follow your heart.

 

Muffins of Steel

prebaked steel muffins

I love these simple, omega-3 rich muffins. They taste healthy and wholesome. They are high in iron, low in sugar, and easy to make.

Power-packed & nutrient dense, these muffins are a perfect breakfast, post workout snack, or on-the-go energy blast during a busy day. Because the steel oats are soaked and the ingredients are simple, they are easy to digest and assimilate.

The recipe is quick and I highly recommend sprucing it up with your favorite toppings and spices. I like to add natural candied ginger, cardamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate, and walnuts. Zingy toppings like cranberries, orange zest, and pine nuts would be awesome too.

The basic recipe is:

  • 2 cups soaked in water (overnight) and drained steel cut, or irish oats
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 pasture raised eggs
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey or grade b maple syrup
  • Toppings- nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, coconut, seeds, berries
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine drained oats and all ingredients except toppings in a bowl until well mixed.
  3. Line muffin tray with paper cups.
  4. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter.
  5. Press toppings into batter. The muffins won’t rise much, so feel free to fill to brim.
  6. Bake for about 45 mins.

Baked Muffins

Yields 24. approx 115 calories per muffin, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 3 grams of sugar prior to toppings.

Enjoy lots of energy after eating a couple Muffins of Steel.

This recipe is reproduced from Balance for Busy Moms and was created by Lisa Bakosi.

 

Autumn Delight

whole ingredients

Hold onto your socks! This 7 ingredient dish of sparkles will delight every occasion you have coming your way. Prepare to be the most popular at the potluck or the dazzling host for a casual business get together. I use this dish to win over the hearts of my business associates and clients. I don’t recommend it for Thanksgiving if you are hosting, because it can quickly take over precious oven real estate, unless of course you prep it the day before.

One of my favorite places in the world is the produce aisle, especially at our local grocery store Andy’s. Locally renowned for it’s extensive bulk section, aisles and aisles of herbs and supplements, huge bins of produce, and lack of beer and meat, this is where I get many of my culinary downloads. Life feels so awesome and abundant around heaps of vegetables and fruits. It was while standing in the produce section at Andy’s that the clouds parted and the sun shone down on the pile of brussels stocks, huge butternuts, and the first seasonal batch of pomegranates.

I recommend queuing up an inspiring podcast or getting your favorite album on the deck while prepping. I like my ingredients fresh and cheap, so I peel and cube my butternut squash, trim my brussels, and lovingly seed my pomegranates. Translate, this dish is a little labor intensive, but lots of fun. Last time I made it, I watched an episode of Downton Abbey, so in a way, the making was relaxing.

autumn delight ingredientsYou’ll need:

Approximately 4 cups of cubed butternut squash (I like to cover a baking tray)

3-4 cups or about 1 pound of brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half

1 large onion diced

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 pomegranate

1 lemon

salt to season

Instructions:

  1. Toss in olive oil brussels, butternut squash, and onions and bake on 375. I like to bake them on separate sheets so they can each caramelize on their own, but to save time you could bake them all together on a couple of sheets.
  2. Bake until golden and crispy- 25 to 35 mins or more.
  3. Deseed pomegranate and set aside.
  4. Toss roasted vegetable in bowl and stir in 1 whole squeezed lemon.
  5. Salt to taste.
  6. Stir in pomegranates just before serving.

Enjoy!

Serves about 6-8 people as a side dish. This dish would pair well with wilted kale and toasted pumpkin seeds for a whole meal.

 

 

Cultivating Courage: 10 Tips

Cultivate Courage

 

I recently did a lot of personal exploration around my personal strengths. I have always wanted my work to exude courage and inspiration to others. My core belief is that good self care and nutrition leads to confidence and courage. 

Today what I would simply like to offer you are what I call small steps that cultivate courage. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section on what small steps of courage you regularly take or want to take.

Do you see yourself as courageous? Do you get caught in the cycle of perfection? Does your perfectionism keep you locked in a limiting habits that aren’t letting you fully live? Where would you place yourself on the courage continuum?

Conversely, if you actually thought about it, where would you say courage shows up your daily operations? I know you got all kinds of creative courage coming out of you every day, or at least up your sleeves and on the horizon.

With love,

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10 Ways to Cultivate Courage

1. Daily Meditation. Slow down, my friend. Add in 5 to 10 minutes (or more!) of meditation every day. Take a little time to calm your mind and breath and see your thoughts. Learn to sit still, learn to sit with uncomfortable thoughts, learn the art of not-doing. Mindfulness exacts right action.

2. Stop drinking, smoking, fast food, caffeine, or sugar, or whatever your non-nutritional crutch is. Start with just one item on your list. Experience your everyday life without your habit. This is not a judgy, holier-than-thou recommendation, but really a down-to-earth nudge to let go of a vice and find out what is behind it. Lighten your load and head to your preferred lifestyle destination.

3. Move your body. Everyday. Get out of your same routine and give your body a new experience. If you aren’t exercising regularly, then simple start exercising. If you are active already, try something new, like yin yoga or ballroom dance. Learn to swim. Lift weights. Try qigong. Too much of one routine or no routine will stagnate your mind-body connection.

4. Make a new friend. Gain a fresh perspective and build your community. Be strong in heart and reach out to someone who inspires you or exudes characteristics that you wish to cultivate.

5. Open your heart. Reach out to someone that has hurt or challenged you. Reestablish a new connection or recreate the relationship. Give that person a chance to change and evolve with you. Stop seeing yourself as small and unable to handle the complexities of relations. Simplify the relationship by giving what you can give and no more. Reconciliation lifts everyone up.

6. End or limit toxic and codependent relationships. Stop being in relationships that make you feel bad, small, or stuck. Take a break or create distance. Build relationships that bring you up. Regain your sense of wellbeing and confidence and readdress that relationship when you can do so from a place of love and well-being.

7. Professionally develop yourself. Learn a new skill. Pursue your passions and dreams. Educate yourself.

8. Be honest. Always. Stop doing and saying what you think other people want to hear. Develop inn fortitude and speak your truth more frequently.

9. Stop doing things you hate. Make your happiness a priority. Stop assuming that there is no other way. You are not meant to live in misery, but in light, joy, and health. Pursue and prioritize activities that make you feel strong and well.

10. Learn to see the root cause of your actions. Look at every decision you make and assess, is this coming from a place of love or fear. Learn to limit fear based decision making.

The #Mostly30

whole30 collage

I have proudly completed what I have called the #Mostly30, which is very similar to the Whole30. The difference? Not much. I cheated a couple times (like real cheats) and I ate bacon with that had trace sugar and had some store bought sriracha. Those of you who are familiar with the Whole30 know that the program requires 100% adherence and if you make any mistakes, then you are to start over.

I appreciate the Whole30. I feel great eating this way, which is essentially zero added sugar (including natural sugars like honey and maple syrup), grains, legumes, dairy, soy, corn, nitrates, additives, and more in the fine print. In this program you learn to #slaythesugardragon, which trains your body to stop wanting dessert after meals and during craving times.

My nutrition style though, is simply not this intense. I love eating grain-free paleo style and I love finding new approaches to my food that decrease cravings and increases nutrition. I do highly recommend the Whole30 to my clients, friends, and family. I love how the instructions in this program, which can easily be found on-line and in the Whole30 Book, aggressively encourage you to stop resisting and just do it. In the instructions lines like, “This is not hard. Cancer is hard. Child birth is hard. Stop complaining,” are common. I like this get over-your-excuses-already approach. On the other hand, I do not advocate feeling like a failure if you have a slip. I would never want to throw in the towel just because my bacon had sugar in it or I had a one meal blip. In fact, I love the Whole3o so much, I advocate doing #mostly30 doing it ALL.THE.TIME. or MOST of the time.

I did want to share with you some of my favorite foods that helped me stay on track. Having prepared food made all the difference.

1. Brussels Sprouts and Cashews

brussels

Ingredients:

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1/2 to 2/3 cups raw cashews

Enough olive or coconut oil to lightly coat brussels

Instructions:

You can do this dish in a pan or bake it. Either way, start with only the brussels sprouts and either sauté on medium until the sprouts are golden, or roast at 385 degrees for about 20 minutes. Before the sprouts caramelize and get crispy, toss on the cashews and continue sautéing or roasting until the nuts are lightly toasted. This dish is perfect as a side with dinner, or as a whole meal on the run.

2. Chia Mango Pudding

chia mango

Ingredients:

1 or 2 mangoes, cut up

1/2 cup chia seeds

3 cups non-dairy milk

Instructions:

Toss chia seeds and milk in a jar and shake. Shake again 5 minutes later and then again 5 minutes later. (Chia seeds will clump otherwise.) Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or more. Add mangos and enjoy! This recipe makes about 4 servings. If you want it to stay with you longer, add hemp seeds and some nut butter too, or top with unsweetened coconut. Yum!

3. Sweet Potato “toast”

sweet potato toast

Ingredients:

Sweet potatoes sliced either horizontally for vertically.

Olive oil

Instructions:

Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake in oven on 325 degrees. Turn over after about 45 minutes. Bake for another 45 or longer. In my opinion these toasts are best tasting when they are cooked until they almost burn, so that they are chewy and crispy, kinda like a good french bread. These little toasts are a lifesaver for making little sandwiches and eating with a spread on the go. Dust with sea salt. Yum!

4. “toasts” with toppings and Homemade Mayo Saucetoasts with toppings

Ideas:

bacon, lettuce, tomato, nitrate free meats, egg salad, sunflower seed pate, sprouts, cucumbers, and so easy homemade mayo:

Ingredients:

1 egg room temperature

juice of 1/2 lemon

about 1/2 cup olive oil

sea salt

Instructions:

Blend (using a food processor or blender) together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons oil until it emulsifies. Continue to slowly add olive oil while blender is on until you get a nice thick mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and you can also add a little mustard powder or dijon. From here you can add lots of flavorings to your mayo, like garlic, herbs, or spices.

This homemade mayo is a perfect base for lots of dressings too, which will satisfy your dairy-free creamy cravings. I like to make caesar dressing with a few tablespoons of this mayo, plus more garlic and fresh lemon, and about a 1/4 cup coconut milk. YUM!

Euphoric Sleep Blend

dreamy diffuser blend

 

There are lots of great oils out there that support sleep: lavender, doTERRA’s Serenity blend, vetiver, & marjoram to name a few.

Patchouli plus clary sage is simply a magical combo. Patchouli is known to quell an overly active intellect, uplift creativity, calm the body, sooth anger, and act as a sedative, amongst many other therapeutic uses. Clary sage on the other hand has been known to create both euphoria and a deeply relaxed state of being. In addition, this sweet oil is known to help you remember your dreams.

I stumbled upon this combo about a month ago, and I can not stop diffusing it. The smell makes me swoon and any nighttime insomnia is quickly subdued.

Try 5 drops of each clary sage & patchouli in your diffuser and let me know what you think!

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Affirmations & Oils

roller bottles

Hello! Today I want to share with you my love of roller bottles, doTERRA oil blends, and affirmations. Roller bottles are super inexpensive, less than a dollar each and they are perfect for oil play, gifts, and making your oils more accessible. I highly recommend that you have a stash on hand, as your oil experience will likely open up and be even more enjoyable.

I learn many of my favorite doTERRA blends and affirmations fromLiving Healthy & Happily Ever After, by Dr. Susan Lawton. I find her oil recommendations, blends, tips, and affirmations to be really helpful. I especially love the connections she makes with illnesses and the emotions that accompany them.

Recently I wrote about self-talk. Improving how we talk to ourselves and how we view our efforts is incredibly powerful and can support us in making major shifts with both our emotional and physical well-being.

Check out the book and experiment with the blends and use the affirmations. Let me know which are your favorites!

divine Goodness

xo,

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Upgrade Your Self Talk: 5 Rewarding Tips

Self Talk

Do you pay attention to the way you talk to yourself? Do you tell yourself that you need to be better often?

Do you often think that if you were just better at managing your time, your food prep, and spending habits that you would finally arrive?

I’m not going to discount the power of impactful time management, a well designed meal and shopping plan, and good old fashioned budgeting. All those things are very important, but they are what I call positive side effects of a more important issue and that is self-talk.

I love the work I do. I get to be a participant in my client’s most powerful resource: their thought process. What amazes me the most about what I am seeing and hearing, is how much we (I’m going to include myself here) expect of ourselves and how much we beat ourselves up when we perceive our shortfalls.

It is rare to meet a woman who is not actively pursuing be a better woman- she wants to look and feel her best, and she is hard on herself when she doesn’t. She wants to be awesome at all her endeavors, be it at work, with her loved ones, her home, community, and the list goes on. She wants to feel savvy, humorous, sexy and also, like she is a great mom and caretaker of her loved ones and passions.

And in this active pursuit of awesomeness, she often forgets to slow down and actually take stock on how she is truly treating herself. She wants to be so much for so many, and is so easily caught in the thought process that she hasn’t been good enough. She hasn’t done enough.

And you know what? This intense feeling and voice in our head that says we are not enough is dangerous. It drives us to believe untrue things about ourselves and disintegrates our sense of worthiness. It prevents us from taking right actions towards our dreams. This voice tells us that because we are not good enough, we are not safe to ask for what we really want. We often end up drained and discouraged.

say no

On the flip side, we have the power to be enough and to be worthy.  We can take rockin’ good care of our bodies, schedule our time like a kung-fu master, give the right amount to others and still have something left, and spend, invest, and save money in expert fashion. Our ability to succeed, to become the person of our truest desires, begins with our mindset, our self-talk. What happens in our mind creates every action we take and do not take.

I know how we operate and that we are already accomplishing so much in our lives, yet these accomplishments will never be enough if we can’t get on top of what is happening in our heads.

How do we turn around self-defeating and thoughts of lack? It is simple, but it does take daily action. Everyday we need to take time to cultivate thoughts that promote personal power. Choose to think good thoughts. Notice when you are not, and make a choice to change that.

Here are my favorite ways to take care of my brain and get in the right frame of mind.

1. Gratitude journaling: You’ve likely heard of this, and likely you will continue too. The practice of gratitude has been coined the #1 habit that leads to a happy mind. Gratitude combats depressive thoughts, and opens us up to receive even more goodness. I like to really go for it, myself. I sit down and write down 10 different things for which I am grateful. I include what action I took to bring that good thing to me. 10 things is pretty challenging and takes some time, but it is so worth it… huge mind shifts! If I am short on time, I just do 3 items and that is definitely enough to get my positive thoughts flowin’.

2. Mirror talk: Yes, I talk to myself in the mirror. It works. I look myself in the eyes and say “You are worth it! I forgive you. I love you. I know you can succeed. You are worth it!” Sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit I know, but I’m telling you it makes a huge difference. As we age, our thought habits get so ingrained. Mirror talk helps reverse our negative thoughts and reminds us to be kind to ourselves.

3. Soul Stroll: I have to give Erin Stutland huge props for this activity. Take a walk, turn on music, and chant affirmations. It will make you feel amazing. You can even buy her 30 minute downloads, where she coaches you on affirmations and mantras. I love the ones she uses and am a proud owner of the MP3s Soul Stroll Volumes 1 and 2. You can also simply take a walk with the focus to clear your mind and fill it with positivity.

4. Essential Oils: I can’t believe I made it this far without mentioning the oils! Put a few drops of oils on your wrists, back of your neck, ears, or throat and say an affirmation. “I trust my own goodness” is one of my favorites. “I am safe, I am loved, and am actively pursuing my highest good” is another.

5. Friends, coaches, mentors: Another human, especially one that loves you and is actively committed to being positive and personal growth is an incredible tool. It is often said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely and choose people who influence you in ways that support your growth and mindset.

I love sharing this important work with you. Let me know your thoughts.

Big hugs~

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Coconut Milk Sweet Potato Pie

Today’s recipe blog is a nutmeg filled sweet potato pie. It was an easy success and a huge hit at the dinner party I took it too- so full of flavor and nutrition! . This earthy pie is so easy to make- it took about an hour to create- start to finish. I have been in love with nutmeg lately, so I am always looking for a way to incorporate it. Coconut milk, eggs, and almond flour are some favorite ingredients as well.

Crust:

Mix together in a bowl: IMG_20150411_163125

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar (brown would be fine too, use less though.)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Form ingredients into a ball- it will be soft and wet and then press into a pie pan.

Bake on 350 for about 20-25 mins, make filling. Try to even dough out onto the edge to prevent burning.

 

Filling:

Blend all together in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy:IMG_20150411_164135

2 pounds cooked sweet potatoes (you could pre-bake them in oven if you think ahead, or cut them and toss into boiling water for 15 minutes. Be sure to remove the skins)

3 eggs

1 can coconut milk

6 soaked dates (toss boiling water onto them for about 10 mins)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons nutmeg (more spices like cinnamon, cardamon, or coriander would be good too)

 

IMG_20150411_170131Pour filling into crust and bake until firm on 350, about 40 minutes. I had extra filling when I did this, which I baked at the same time- perfect for a snack!

 

IMG_20150411_174147

I love to teach my clients to pre-bake sweet potatoes and keep them on hand in the fridge. They are awesome for pie, smoothies, hash, muffins, soups, and sauces so so nutritious. They are full of fat soluble vitamin A, which boosts our immune system, fertility, vision, and bone growth.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this great pie- for dessert or a snack. I think it would go great with a brunch spread!

Happy eating,

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Why

Why 2

I used to weigh about 25 to 30 pounds more than I do right now. I used to eat lots of cheese covered enchilada casserole and ice cream. Late at night. I used to be shocked when my clothes didn’t fit any more.

During the days of the extra weight, I felt trapped and stuck in a life that didn’t inspire me. I was a new mom, I worked full time, and I also experienced a lot of anger and overwhelm. My life looked nothing or felt nothing like what I once believed was possible. It seemed like every second of my time was accounted for, my partner and I fought frequently, and I felt like I had “settled” for a responsible and secure career. I was mad that my time with my young son felt so limited and unrewarding. I felt hopeless. My body felt heavy and shameful. I honestly didn’t know how to do better for myself.

I spent many years loosing and gaining that extra weight. I ran marathons, I did juice fasting, 5 am workouts, accountability buddies, etc…  but, nothing really worked for the long term. I struggled to feel happy, whole, and light again. Even though I was proud of my running, juicing, and workouts, I was also pissed and freaked out that I couldn’t seem to get back in touch with the slenderized, strong, and mentally abundant version of myself.

Do you want to know what changed things for me? I fell in love, and then bought a Vitamix. Okay, seriously though, it was the birth of my daughter that put me on a different path. I grew a new and powerful motivation, I had clear WHY which was motivated a large change the way I approached food and my body. My WHY was so clear and the pounds literally melted off. It became ridiculously easy to make these changes.

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Josefine, so happy at 18 months. Her pureness kept me moving forward everyday.

My WHY was my baby daughter’s future relationship with her body. I decided that there was one legacy that I was NOT going to leave her, and that was the legacy of a mother who hated her body. It is not okay for my daughter to think it is normal to hate your body, and I do not want to ever model that for her.

My lifestyle choices and culinary choices became so much more clear- learn nutrition, eat more vegetables, limit empty calories, and keep moving and loving my body. I stopped eating buttery waffles for breakfast and learned to love green smoothies. I limited how much rice I would eat with dinner and added more vegetables. It was so simple to eat and live this way, when I was on a mission. My body loved being treated this way. With the weight loss, I developed the positive inertia to address my other frustrations. 

Fast forward to now. The weight has stayed off, mostly, yet the resolve has changed. While my daughter inspires me everyday, I have changed. It is time to grow a new why. Weight loss and positive body image is no longer my first priority. My newest goal is about creating a lifestyle and schedule that allows for more joy and spontaneity, one that allows me to be the mom and business owner of my dreams- active, flexible, creative, and full of self esteem and energy.

As I write this and I slowly breathe in and ask myself, what is my true authentic “why?” What will push me beyond where I am at right now? Why should I get off coffee? Why should I put the effort into detoxing? Why should I share my thoughts and vulnerability? Why should I put myself out there, again and again?

As I can best say it right now, my WHY is about fully showing up in life. No more hiding behind being too busy, too old, or too inexperienced. It is time to stop giving myself the boring old message that I am not good enough. It is time to show myself more love, through food, water, exercise, and self care. It is time to be my own best friend. It is time to share my journey.

How about you? What is your why? Has it changed over the past years? How can your self-care be of service to the ones you love? Are you a good friend to yourself?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment and share.

Hugs,

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