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Chocolate Mint Oatmeal Smoothie Bowl (Ft. Charlotte's Web CBD Hemp Oil)

I've been experimenting with CBD for months, and I'm so excited to be sharing with you this delicious smoothie bowl recipe that tastes like an oatmeal mint chocolate chip cookie, and starts your morning off on a super chill note.

First things first, though, CBD is not the same thing as weed. Some of you might have just stifle a chuckle, or smirked at that statement, but I know a lot of people are confused about what, exactly, CBD oil actually is. According to Healthline, CBD Oil is “one of 104 chemical compounds” found in the marijuana plant, Cannabis Sativa. Unlike the compound Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD oil is not psychoactive. In other words, CBD oil will not get you high.

It will, however, calm your nerves and ease any physical pain you might be struggling with. As someone who personally struggles with anxiety, I was excited to try the supplement for myself when the Stanley Brothers’ Charlotte’s Web approached me to test their product. At first, I was hesitant, but after doing extensive research on the subject of CBD Oil, I decided to add one dropper of the CW Chocolate Mint CBD Hemp Oil to a smoothie. Overtime, I’ve upped my dosage to two droppers per use, and I definitely see a difference in my attitude before and after consumption.

Before diving into the recipe, please take into consideration that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. If you think you’d like to experiment with CBD, do your research and talk to your doctor to see if the supplement is right for you. And with that, let’s get into the recipe:

What You’ll Need:

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk

3 Ice Cubes (add more to thicken)

1 to 2 Droppers of CW Chocolate Mint CBD Hemp Oil

1 scoop of protein powder (I used Moon Juice’s Adaptogenic Vanilla Protein Powder)

1 scoop of Nutiva MCT Oil Powder (optional)

Directions:

1. Compile all the ingredients into a blender

2. Blend until you’ve reached optimal consistency (aka creamy)

3. Top with the works : I added DANG foods chocolate coconut chips, hemp seeds, and a dollop of Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter

4. Take a photo

5. Tag me on instagram @juliee_girl

6. Stick a spoon in it; you’re done!

 

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

I'm convinced there's nothing better than chocolate. Like, nothing. I can remember, back in preschool, one of my classmates had a huge crush on me (can't really say I blame him - I was adorable way back when) and tried his very hardest to woo me with costume jewelry. Well, long story short, I wasn't having it, and because I wasn't having it, his mom expressed to my mom that she didn't appreciate my disinterest in her son (translation: she was bitter about having to buy me little trinkets I wasn't accepting). My mother's response was simple: Buy her a Hershey's chocolate bar and she'll be his best friend. I never did get that chocolate bar…

You laugh, but that's a true story. And these days, I find any excuse I can to incorporate chocolate into meals and snacks because chocolate shouldn't always be saved for dessert. Ergo, when I learned about cacao - the purest form of chocolate you can consume, not to mention among the healthiest - I was spooning the stuff into smoothies and mixing it into bowls of oatmeal every day. Dozens of cacao combinations later and my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie Bowl was born.

See, my number one goal in life is to own a smoothie bowl franchise. I'm just kidding, it's not, but I do genuinely love mix and matching all kinds of frozen fruits, healthy fats, and non-dairy milks to create delicious treats I can devour for breakfast, lunch, even *gasp* dinner. One morning I was in the midst of pouring frozen strawberries into my Ninja cup and thought about how my the ingredients that made up my most recent go-to smoothie, when portioned out precisely right, could taste exactly like a chocolate covered strawberry. Naturally,  I had to perfect the recipe to share with all of you because, come on, who doesn't love chocolate covered strawberries? Or, better yet, who doesn't want to eat chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast with the added bonus of the bowl being loaded with good-for-you additives?

And so I became a scientist in the kitchen. Seriously, it was no small feat figuring out the perfect ratio of frozen banana pieces to strawberry chunks. Then I had to worry about overdoing the chocolate flavor. I know, I know, there's really no such thing as too much chocolate, but I was going for more of a berry-meets-cocoa flavor, rather than the equivalent of drowning the berries under a fondue fountain. With a little trial, and a lot of error, I finally found the perfect balance.

What You'll Need: 

3/4 of 1 frozen banana

1 cup of frozen strawberries

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

1 (generous) scoop of raw cacao

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk

1 scoop of Moon Juice maca powder (optional)

1/2 scoop of Nutiva's MCT Powder (optional)

1/2 scoop of Navitas Organics Superfood (optional)

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Baked Tofu Tacos

Clearly Mark and I have been going through a meatless Mexican meals phase, because I'm pretty sure we've covered most of the basics by now. Burrito, tostadas, and now tacos. Out of the three, baked tacos has been the easiest to make (though my Zucchini burrito boats and tostadas recipes can be ready in half an hour or less). My secret to throwing this (or rolling) these babies together? Mixing a bunch of leftover veggies with baked tofu.

Cooking dinner is honestly one of my favorite parts of the day, but sometimes I, like most people, get into a funk where I want to eat something homemade, without actually having to make it. Instead of giving into the tempation of takeout (because, believe me, with a husband who could eat pizza all day every day, the struggle is real), I try my best to dip into the leftovers in our fridge and get creative. And so the tofu taco was born - or, at least, experimented with in the Guerra abode.

To start, I drained my block of extra firm tofu by placing it in between a few paper towels and pressing down. This method soaks up a good amount of water from the tofu block, but if you like your tofu much drier, an alternative strategy would be to wrap your tofu block in paper towel and place something heavy on top, like a cookie sheet, and leave it for awhile. Once my tofu was drained, I sliced it into quarters, sliced those in half, then continued to dice the strips into smaller cubes.

For this recipe, I went with my gut - literally, I was just abiding by its cravings - and tossed the tofu in a finger lickin' good BBQ sauce I found on the shelves of, surprise, Trader Joe's.  Then, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit while I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and arranged my tofu on top. You want enough space in between each piece of tofu that it has room to cook and breathe, but I find it's not the end of the world if things get a little cramped. The more tofu the better, amirite?

As soon as the oven was preheated and toasty,  I baked my tofu for 15 minutes before taking it out of the oven to flip and drizzle on a little more sauce before sticking it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. This entire process is the hardest part of the recipe, and it's hardly a project. So that's a win.

While the tofu was cooling, I gathered my veggies: corn, diced yellow pepper, and spinach. You can use raw spinach if you'd like, but my sensitive tum doesn't play nice with raw anything, so I grabbed a heaping bunch by the handful and put it in a frying pan on medium heat. While my greens were wilting, I grabbed a can of black beans, rinsed and drained those, and set aside.

The assembling process is the best part because it means you're minutes from taking your very first bite. I had bought Trader Joe's Low-Fat Tortillas and when I tell you these were the best tortillas I've ever tasted, I'm not exaggerating. They're just right in chewiness, flavor, and hold up well against the weight of tofu, veggies, and if you're really feeling fancy, a dash of hot sauce here, a dollop of avocado mash there.  

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Chocolate Dipped Apricot Oats

I forgot how much I love apricots until they popped up in the produce section of Trader Joe's. For the past week or so, these juicy little guys have been my favorite to snack on in between breakfast and lunch, but I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate them in my actual meals. Sure, I could make a salad and set an apricot or two on the side for my sweet treat after a bowl of greens and veggies, but sometimes you just wake up craving fruit and since I haven't made a batch of overnight oats in awhile, I figured why not combine the two? And so the mason jar full of Chocolate Dipped Apricot Oats was born.

What's ironic about my eating habits during the summer is that I refuse to drink anything hot in the heat (except tea - I'll never not drink a cup of tea), but I'll slurp a chilled smoothie any time of year. I played around with a lot of different fruit and cacao pairings  throughout wintertime, so it's only fitting that I'd be just as curious to experiment with chocolate flavored summer fruits. Smoothies are still a huge staple in my diet right now, but I can admit when I've been overdoing it, and I've definitely been overdoing smoothies lately. Ergo, I wanted to switch it up with something just as cool and decadent, and the first thing to come to mind was overnight oats.

Now, there are three specific ingredients that I used in order to make this breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) unique. The first - and most important component to overnight oats - is The Soulfull Project's Four Grain Blend of whole oats, whole grain rye, barley, and toasted quinoa.

What I love about this brand's hot cereal options is that their bags come unsweetened. Generally speaking, I like to be in control of my sugar intake, and this brand allows me to do just that. There's only four non-gmo ingredients making up this bag of grains - and I love supporting real, whole foods that are made up of limited ingredients I can recognize and pronounce. Plus, one serving also yields a whopping six grams of fiber, so yay for foods that are good for your gut.

The second ingredient that sets this batch of overnight oats apart from most is the inclusion of Nutiva's new MCT powder. Another super star ingredient for gut health, MCT powder is easy to digest, boasts three grams of fiber, and is a fatty acid that offers your brain and body a ton of energy with the benefit of prebiotics working their magic on your digestive system, and a creaminess to it that makes for a beautifully textured meal.

And last, but certainly not least, BeeKeeper's Naturals Superfood Cacao Honey. This ingredient is optional, but adds a little something extra to the oats that your taste buds won't want to miss out on. This was my first time experimenting with BeeKeeper's cacao formula and needless to say I was not disappointed. The brand describes this superfood spread as an “alternative to nutella,” with the added bonus of being made from raw cacao that's swarming with essential vitamins and minerals. It has a very dense consistency, though, so you really only need to spoon out a tiny bit and disperse it throughout the oats as best as you can. Trust me: A little goes a long way for big flavor.

What You'll Need:

1/2 cup of oats (I used The Soulfull Project's Four Grain Blend)

3/4 cup of dairy-free milk (I used the Trader Joe's brand unsweetened almond milk)

2 tablespoons of raw cacao (I used the Trader Joe's brand)

1/2 scoop of Nutiva's MCT Powder

1 tsp of BeeKeeper's Naturals Superfood Cacao Honey (optional)

1 tsp of Wedderspoon's Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey

2 small apricots (or as many as you'd like!)

Directions:

  1. In a mason jar or sealable glass container, stir oats, dairy free milk, raw cacao, mct powder, and honey altogether.

  2. Cover your container and store in the refrigerator overnight to chill and condense.

  3. In the morning, slice two apricots in either long pieces or short cube-like chunks. Sprinkle over your overnight oats.

  4. Take a photo for Instagram.

  5. Tag me @juliee_girl

  6. Mix all ingredients together with a spoon, and enjoy!

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Recipe Review: Homemade Tostadas

Mark and I have been on a total Mexican food kick these past few weeks. If it's spicy, cheesy, and loaded with beans, we're all about it. We're also always about breakfast foods, so I decided to cook up a round (OK - two) of tostadas for dinner. The verdict? Delish.

In my experience, Mexican food is easy to throw together if you only have a few minutes to spare. Plus, the key to restaurant-quality eats isn't necessarily hours of preparation, anyway. As my father-in-law would say, what's really going to enhance your meals is cooking with confidence, and being bold with spice, and for this recipe in particular, spice is essential in the bean mixture.

I found a recipe for tostadas on Pinterest, read through to get a general idea of what the dish entailed, and just kind of rolled with whatever was in my kitchen. The first step was cooking the beans: I finely chopped up about one-fourth of a white onion, and tossed the pieces in a pan I'd sprayed with Chosen Foods Avocado Oil. Giving them a few minutes to warm up, I added in a can of black beans (I did drain and rinse the batch, but not overly so. I love the salty flavor of the liquid canned beans sit in), as well as a generous handful of spinach for some greenery. Add garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and paprika.

In another pan, I fried the eggs. I think I've finally figured out how to make fried eggs taste like perfection: Set your flame on low, sprinkle the egg with Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning on top, cover the pan with a lid, and let it sit until a thin, white film veils the yolk. Keep an eye on the yolk, though, as if you keep the flame on for too long, the middle will harden. Personally, I like my yolk runny, so I gently poke it with the spatula to see where it's at texture-wise.

In the meantime, you can heat up your tortillas. I actually added a third pan to my stove top and laid out four to brown, but you could use a regular oven, toaster oven, or if you just want them warmed, a few seconds in the microwave would work too (though, I haven't tried this, but my theory is that they might come out a little soggy).

Once everything is cooked to your liking, it's time to assemble! Lay out your tortillas, scoop the bean mixture first, lay an egg on top, sprinkle with shredded cheese, slices of avocado, and voila. We didn't have the proper mixings on-hand, but I could definitely see this meal pairing perfectly with a margherita. Raise a glass for me.

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Recipe Review: Zucchini Burrito Boats

Another Mexican dish we're loving in the Guerra house lately: burritos bowls. Normally, I'd toss some rice in the rice cooker, and when that's done, scoop some out into a ceramic bowl, and top the sticky grain with all the fixings: beans, avocado, cheese, and crushed, blue corn chips. The combo is delicious, don't get me wrong, but it's been a staple in this apartment ever since we got married just over a year ago. In other words, it was time to switch it up.

The first time Mark and I had ever eaten zucchini burrito boats was the night of our first meeting with Pastor Chuck. We knew even before that first skype session that he'd be the man to marry us (he'd married Mark's sister and her husband just two years before), but a consultation was necessary, as was the case with any "vendor."

It was a late night for us; Mark lived an hour away from my parents house, and he'd driven down after I got home from work in the city. Our meeting was at 8 p.m., and my mom had dinner on the table by 7:30 p.m. We loaded our plates with two boats each, sat at folding tables in our back room (or "family room"), and snuck bites in between conversation. They were so good but, for some reason, she never made them again.

When I saw a picture of this Tex Mex dish on Pinterest, I was inspired to whip up a few boats myself. I even dared to experiment with my own recipe, rather than following something already written up for me; I basically just went off of memory, and what my taste buds were craving - aka everything spicy, cheesy, and full of beans (like this homemade tostada recipe I'm obsessed with).

Prep work here is pretty speedy unless, like me, your eyes water as soon as a knife even begins to pierce through an onion, then you should probably factor in a few minutes for stepping out of the kitchen to let your pupils breathe. I cannot be the only one this happens to. Anyways, to prep, finely chop one quarter of a white onion, one red bell pepper, one yellow pepper, and grape tomatoes. Once all of the veggies have been rinsed, dried, and sliced, lightly coat your pan with oil (I used the Chosen Foods Avocado Oil), and warm the veggies, plus frozen corn, for about three minutes or so before adding in a can of black beans. I sprinkled on some garlic powder and paprika for taste, with just a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.

While the boat filling was cooking, I rinsed two zucchinis, and cut them in half long-ways. Taking a spoon, I scooped out the middle of the zucchini to form a deep boat and pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. When the oven was nice and toasty, I transferred my filling into each boat, and sprinkled on a coat of shredded cheese. This is an excellent recipe if you're low on time, because you could easily prepare the filling on a Sunday night, reheat it Monday, fill the boats, and pop it into the oven for just 20 minutes! My only tip is to make sure you eyeball the boats as they cook, because the cheese can harden if they stay in too long.

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