Posts in Snacks
Cashew Coco Cardamom Truffles ~ An (almost) Sugar-Free Treat

I had a beautiful conversation with Jules the other day about the purpose of, well, all this. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the superficialities of how many followers you have and how large your audiences are and all of that nonsense. Even when you ardently tell yourself that you don't care about all of that. Do ya feel me? Well, hashtag human, as my husband and I like to say whenever we catch ourselves wallowing in one of our less desirable, but very human, qualities. 

Jules really brought it back for me. She asked me to remind myself of my why. Such a simple and powerful thing to do. So I did. And I feel compelled to share it with all of you: 

I want to share health, wellness and lifestyle tools that will support you with tapping into your highest creative potential.

 It's that simple.  

Jules and I also spoke about community and the importance of listening to what our community is asking for. In my last post I already spoke about my passion for connecting with my peeps and listening & responding to all of your questions & curiosities. It brings me so much joy that many of you are actively engaging with the Cardamom and Coffee world. The other day, one of my friends asked me for advice on how she can cut down on eating too much sugar. This is an important question and very much connected to tapping into your creative peak potential. Making shifts to eating more wholesome foods over the past few years has naturally led me to minimize my sugar consumption. I found that as I made these changes I became more focused, more energized and less distracted by cravings, making it easier for me to tap into a state of creative flow.  

There are so many different elements to lowering sugar consumption (which I'm happy to delve into in more detail in a future post). But I've found that one useful tool is to create treats that still speak to your sweet-tooth, but aren't overly sweet. What I've observed over the years is that it's not necessarily the sweetness in desserts that I crave, but rather, the texture. I love things that are creamy, or crunchy, or crispy. Or a combination of these three things. If the texture is there and there's just a hint of sweetness, bam, I'm satisfied. I've also found that if my desserts contain some form of healthy fat, it's easier for my body to assimilate the sweetness, and I'm more likely to feel satisfied because my body is essentially recognizing my treat as a food. I almost always add cinnamon to my desserts; this keeps my blood-sugar levels stable and I don't get that sugar spike & crash. 

With that said, let's segue into this post's featured recipe: Cashew Coco Cardamom Truffles! These delectable little raw treats contain healthy fats (thank you cashews and coconut oil), cinnamon AND the creaminess is all there. They're very satisfying; I've found that my desserty cravings dissipate after enjoying only one or two. And they're also a lovely before bedtime snack (which is when I often crave something sweet), or as a mid-day pick-me-up (they'll boost your energy levels thanks to the coconut oil). Cashews have a natural sweetness to them, so you can make this recipe completely sugar-free, or you can add a dollop of raw honey if you want to add a little bit of extra, but healthy, sweetness. I love them either way.

Ingredients (makes approx. 10-12 truffles)
(use organic whenever possible) 

Food processor or NutriBullet 

2 cups raw cashews
3 tbsps coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean
1/4 tsp Real Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional, I always like to sneak in some of this anti-inflammatory magic)
1/4 tsp fennel powder (optional, for some extra tummy love) 
5tbsps shredded coconut (plus some extra for coating the truffles) 
Raw, unfiltered honey (optional garnish) 

Combine all ingredients except the shredded coconut in your food processor or NutriBullet. If you're using a NutriBullet, I recommend using the flat blade. Grind until everything transforms into a fine powder (this takes about 5-10 seconds). Using a knife, scrape the powder from the sides and continue to grind until you have a smooth and creamy paste (yes, you have just made homemade cashew butter!! =)) Transfer your mixture to a bowl. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent any clumps from forming. 

After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and stir in the 5 tbsps of shredded coconut. Using your hands, shape the mixture into truffle-sized balls. I use about 1 tsp worth of mixture for each truffle. Spread the remaining shredded coconut on a plate and coat the truffles in coconut (this will help with the stickiness and will allow the truffles to hold their shape). Place finished truffles in a glass container. If you want to enjoy your truffles ASAP, they'll be ready after hanging out in the freezer for 15 minutes. Otherwise, put lid on glass container and place in fridge for 1 hour or longer. When you are ready to taste your treats, you can enjoy them as is, or add a dollop of honey to them. They'll keep in your fridge for several days, if not longer, but you'll probably finish them fairly quickly ;-). 

I am grateful for all of you. Enjoy your treats!!! 

With love & creativity,

Leah
 

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author: Leah Salinas // photos by: Leah Salinas

Banana Raspberry Ice Dream

SUMMER is finally here in LA and boy, am I loving this HEAT. My creativity thrives when it is bright and hot outside. Ever since the the temperatures began soaring two weeks ago, I've felt this fresh energy and inspiration coursing through my being. That said, a few of those days have belonged to the crazy hot category, where I've felt my body going from loving the heat, to feeling slightly over-heated. Our home doesn't have air-conditioning, so I've been coming up with other creative solutions to cool down my body temperature. And naturally, some of those incorporate food and nurturing the creative vessel (aka, our beautiful bods ;-)). Enter: Banana Raspberry Ice Dream. My husband and I both love ice cream, but we've noticed that the store bought kind, even the plant-based versions, haven't really been jelling with our tummies. Since one of my joyous obsessions is creating recipes that not only nurture the body, but also the heart and the soul (which ice cream definitely does), I knew I had to come up with a tummy-friendly version. This is the result; a delightfully creamy ice cream concoction full of creativity boosting ingredients.
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Ingredients (for two small servings, or one large one)
(use organic whenever possible)

2 frozen bananas (medium-sized, sun-ripened)
1/2 small ripe avocado
1 cup frozen raspberries

1 tsp sunflower lecithin (non-GMO), this will really make your ice-cream creamy
or,
1 tbsp. organic sprouted brown rice protein powder
(I like using a vanilla flavored variety to add an extra vanilla-ey flavor) 

1/4 cup goat or coconut milk (or as needed to blend your Ice Dream)
1/2 teaspoon raw ground vanilla bean
dash cinnamon
sprinkle of Real Salt
1 acidophilus capsule (optional, for some extra tummy love) 

For the toppings: Whatever your dreamy heart desires. I love sprinkling raw cacao nibs and roasted almonds on top. Ms. Juliana Mariia Rose created a similar version of this recipe and she topped hers with spirulina powder, which is nutritious, adventurous and awesome. Have fun coming up with your own topping creations! 

Guidelines

I like chilling my bowl & spoon in the freezer before serving so that the ice-cream stays cold for longer. Combine all ingredients in a blender. If using, open up your acidophilus capsule and sprinkle powder into the blender. Blend on high. Add extra goat milk in small increments if your ingredients aren't blending, you're looking for a creamy ice-cream consistency. Transfer ice-cream into your chilled bowl and add desired toppings. Enjoy, my friends =) 

Creativity Boosters

Bananas ~ Bananas feed your brain and your spirit! Tryptophan, an amino acid found in bananas, boosts your memory and your mood. These yummy fruits are also high in potassium, which supports the process of sending more oxygen to brain, so that it can function at its peak. Potassium also helps to relax your muscles and regulate your blood pressure, which decreases tension and stress in the body.  Overall, bananas maintain stable blood sugar levels to keep you feeling happy and balanced. 

Raspberries ~ Raspberries may seem tiny, but they're mighty. They're potent brain boosters. Animal studies have shown that there's a positive correlation between the flavonoids found in raspberries and memory improvement. Anthocyanin, a colorful antioxidant found in raspberries support neurons in the brain by giving them more energy. 
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As I was writing this post I couldn't help but think back to Juliana's beautiful piece about Chocolate & Joy. I feel that ice cream too is one of those wonderful things in life that creates joy. And with joy comes creativity. Especially if the source of your joy is good for every part of of your being: the mind, the spirit & the body. Which, I assure you my friends, this ice cream recipe definitely is. So, go on, enJOY! 

With so much love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

Sources

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271157.php
http://www.foodmatters.com/article/25-powerful-reasons-to-eat-bananas
http://bembu.com/potassium-benefits
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283018.php
http://www.healthsomeness.com/raspberries-benefits/

Tummy Soothing Smoothie


I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately on our ability to transform how we're feeling at any given moment. I've always fallen into the camp of sensitive people. When I eat something a little off, or go to bed a little too late or don't create time to exercise, my body usually makes it known. I used to be down on myself about this. But over time I've learned to embrace my body's finicky-ness and have made one powerful realization: if my body responds so readily to the harmful stuff, it will respond with equal sensitivity to the nurturing, energizing and healing GOOD STUFF.

It's all about giving your bod the right tools. And these can be very very simple. The other day I sat down to work and felt a little foggy minded. Instead of trying to plough through, I went outside for a brisk 15 minute walk. By the time I came back, the fogginess was gone.

Everyone's toolbox is different. I believe that one of the joys of being a human being is discovering which tools work for you. I think of it as a little hobby; discovering which simple actions can radically transform your sense of wellbeing. And after a while, when your toolbox becomes larger, you start to feel really really powerful, because you know exactly which tools to use no matter what life offers you.

One of the stars in my toolbox is this yummy Tummy Soothing Smoothie. It's challenging for me to function at my creative peak when my tummy feels off. I'm not talking about food poisoning or a tummy bug, that's a whole other story. But I'm talking about those days when I wake up and my tummy just doesn't feel as happy as it normally does. Normally I can trace this back to eating something that didn't agree with my system, or eating too much or too late. Whatever it is, I usually turn to this smoothie to reset my digestive system. I see it as kind of a peace offering to the friendly bacteria that hangs out down there. It's super easy to digest, it'll clean you out every so gently, and it'll revitalize your beautiful gut flora. 


Ingredients (for one serving) 

1/2 organic pear
1/2 organic banana
1/2 cup spring water
1 cup goat milk
2 tbsps. goat yoghurt
1/4 avocado
2 tbsps. fresh fennel, grated
  or 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 tbsps. flax seeds
1 acidophilus & bifidus capsule (optional) 
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
a sprinkle of real salt
a splash of lemon
a dash of cayenne (optional) 
2-3 spring water ice cubes
 

Guidelines

1) Combine pear, banana, ginger, fennel and goat milk in a blender. Blend on high for about 10 seconds or until smooth. 
2) Add remaining ingredients. If you're incorporating an acidophilus & bifidus capsule (which I highly recommend), open up the capsule and pour the powdery content into your blender alongside the other ingredients.
3) Blend everything until smooth. Pour into your favorite smoothie glass, sip and enjoy. 

Over the years I've observed how much easier it is for me to function at my creative peak when my tummy is happy. A lot of research has come out recently about how our gut is our second brain. After years of observing the sensations in my body, I've definitely come to find that a happy tummy also leads to a happy mind. Try out this smoothie and see how it affects your tummy and your mood. 

happy tummy = good mood = creativity boost!! 


Wishing you all so much good health & vitality. 
 

with love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

Creamy Goat Cheese Guacamole

As a lover of all things creamy & goat cheesy, I'm surprised that I didn't come up with this combination sooner, but my beau gets credit for this one. As you may have read in some of my previous posts, we recently moved in together, which means that I've now got a co-chef in the kitchen! Bringing someone else into the mix has infused my culinary adventures with fresh inspiration. I can be a little bit of a know-it-all when I put on my chef's hat (#human), but I've noticed that when I put my bossy-pants aside, I can actually get some valuable input from my man. Which yields amazingly delicious recipes. Like this one!

On my quest for discovering foods that nourish creativity, I'm always on the look out for brain- and immune-boosting ingredients. When our brain receives the nourishment that it needs, those synapses can start firing up to generate creative thoughts. And when our immune systems are working optimally, our bodies have more energy to devote to creative endeavors. This recipe features two superstars that support both of these functions:

Avocados ~ The fats in avos keep our brain cells flexible. They are also high in monounsaturated fatty acids which help protect the nerve cells in our brains that support our information-carrying nerves.*

Habañero Peppers ~ These cute but spicy little peppers contain a high concentration of vitamin C; a powerful antioxidant and a potent immunity booster. I've also noticed that the spice in habañeros has an immediate mind-clearing effect. Even a small sliver whooshes straight to my brain and wakes me up. This is awesome for clearing up any brain fog your might be experiencing. 

Ingredients

2 large, ripe avocados
1/4 cup plain creamy goat cheese
Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, a drizzle
2 tbsps lemon juice, freshly squeezed from organic lemons
1 habeñero pepper, thinly slivered
Cilantro, to garnish
Real Salt, to taste
Cayenne, to taste

Guidelines

Combine avocados, goat cheese, lemon juice and salt in a bowl of your choice. Mash until you reach your desired consistency (I'm more of a creamy guac gal, but keeping it chunky is just as yummy). Blend in your small habañero slivers. Drizzle olive oil on top (for an extra brain boost), and garnish with cilantro & cayenne.

I love savoring this recipe with organic sprouted corn chips or thinly sliced raw yams.

Enjoy the brain-boosting and taste-bud tickling effects of this yummy guacamole!

In other news, C&C is now on Bloglovin'! You can start following us by clicking on the icon on the top left-hand corner of the blog or by clicking here: http://bit.ly/cardamombloglovin

As always, wishing you all love & creativity,

Leah

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author: Leah Steiner // photos by: Leah Steiner

Sources:

*http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/avocado-brain-function-6231.html