Healthy Chocolate Smoothie & A Giveaway!

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

One of my favourite ways to pack nutrition into my day, and into my son’s little body, is by making nutritional, filling, and tasty smoothies.  I love starting my day with them, or having a little pick me up in the afternoon.  My son also loves making them with me, and no matter how many times he has helped, he always jumps when the blender starts going!   Also, there’s no denying I am a chocoholic, so wherever I can sneak it in, in a healthy way, I go for it.

This is one of my favourite recent smoothie creations incorporating dark, rich cocoa with oats, dates, and refreshing almond milk.  I am a huge fan of homemade almond milk, but, like most of you, I have days where there simply aren’t enough hours to possibly make some.  When I’m looking for convenience and whipping up a quick breakfast or snack, I use Almond Fresh in my smoothies or granola.  Their milk is certified non-GMO and vegan, and I have a soft spot for the fact that they are a Canadian business.  The kind people over at Almond Fresh sent me coupons to give away to one of my readers.  I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will randomly select one person to send $20 worth of vouchers to!  If you just happened to stop by here, follow my blog and you will be entered twice!  (Yay for free stuff!).

I will announce the winner here on Friday, October 25th.

So, here is my smoothie recipe.

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

Makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon organic pure cocoa powder
  • 2 medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • cacao nibs and oats (optional) as topping

Directions:

  • Place almond milk, banana, oats, dates, cocoa powder and ice into blender and blend.
  • Pour into mason jar (everything tastes better in a mason jar, doesn’t it?) and top with cacao nibs and oats.
  • Enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

I also follow Almond Fresh on Facebook and also saw that they are giving away a huge prize – A KitchenAid prize pack valued at over $2000 + a year’s worth of Almond Fresh.  My husband bought me a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas a few years back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me and my kitchen! If you’re feeling lucky, I would totally go over and give it a shot!  Contest ends soon (November 1st).  All you need to do is choose your favourite Almond Fresh refreshing drink and share it with your friends on Facebook!   By clicking on the photo below, it will bring you directly to the contest page.

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You’re all so creative and inspiring with your recipes, I have faith in you. 🙂  Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you still have chances to win DAILY prizes, and you’re allowed to enter 5 times per day, so your chances just got better.

I’m really looking forward to my first giveaway, so let’s get chatting!  Although the vouchers are only valid in Canada – I would love to hear from all of you.  I’d like to know, what is your favourite and most used smoothie ingredient?

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

(Although this post was sponsored, all recipes, smoothie photos and opinions expressed are my own.  I pinky swear.)

Crunchy Almond Cacao Nib Cookies

You may recall I recently posted a homemade almond milk recipe.  Many of you asked what to do with all that beautiful leftover almond pulp.  Well, here is a very simple and delicious cookie recipe made with just that.  To start off, you will need to dry out the almond pulp to create a fine almond flour.  I normally freeze the almond pulp until I intend on using it.  So, remove from freezer and set your oven to the lowest temperature (mine was at 170°F).  Lay out the almond pulp onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Pop in the oven for 2 – 3 hours, or until completely dry.  Keep an eye on it in the second hour to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Place into a food processor and whiz until it is a fine flour.  Don’t whiz for too long, or you will end up with almond butter.  It sounds more complicated than it is, trust me.  Store the flour in the fridge between uses to keep it fresh.  If you don’t have homemade almond flour for this recipe, by all means, use store bought.

On to the cookies!  These cookies are really guilt free.  They are refined sugar-free, dairy free, and filled with nutritional ingredients.  They are very light and the cacao nibs offer the perfect crunchy texture.  If you are unfamiliar with cacao nibs, they are nature’s chocolate chips.   Cacao nibs are literally cacao beans that have been roasted and separated from their husks, then peeled and crumbled.  They may look sweet, but they really aren’t.  They are pure, bitter cacao.  They offer a great crunch to baked goods, or if you really want to be wild, toss them into a fresh green salad.  Cacao nibs are also very nutritional.  Did you know they have a higher antioxidant level than blueberries?  Also,   they are one of the best sources of magnesium.  Ladies, you are familiar with those chocolate cravings when PMS-ing.  Studies show magnesium deficiencies aggravate symptoms of PMS.  So, chocolate cravings may be the body’s attempt to obtain sufficient magnesium levels.  Cacao nibs offer a great, natural way to include this important mineral in your diet, and crush those chocolate cravings.  Besides, they are also great mood enhancers.

Onto the recipe…

Crunchy Almond Cacao Nib Cookies
Yields 16
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  3. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  5. 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, almonds, coconut, and cacao nibs.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet about 1-2″ apart.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or tea and store the rest of the cookies in an air tight container for up to a week.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
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