The Best Chocolate Chip Bars with Almond Pulp

I recently posted a video and recipe making homemade almond milk. Here’s the link. And, follow me on Instagram! 🥰

Here’s what I made with the leftover almond pulp…YUM! Healthy CAN be tasty!! I love that there was no waste after making my almond milk!! These gluten-free bars passed the adult and kiddo taste test!! This recipe is vegan and dairy-free.

Note: Because I personally used a mix of mini vegan dark chocolate chips, and melted regular semi-sweet chocolate chips on top, my version is not technically vegan because of the butter in the chocolate chips. The chocolate topping is optional but, I also found that adding a thick smear of melted chocolate helped keep these bars intact and offered a pleasant crunch/snap. Slice your bars first THEN slather or drizzle with chocolate.

Below is the ingredient list and partial recipe. Click here to view the additional notes and full recipe.

The most delicious Chocolate Chip Granola Bars made from leftover almond pulp! Or you can just use blanched almond flour if you prefer. These are full of flavor, are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and oil-free and only 8 ingredients! SO much better than store-bought!

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 50 mins

Servings: 8 bars Author: Brandi Doming

Ingredients

• 1 cup (107g) almond pulp or 1 cup (112g) blanched almond flour

• 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons( 200g) pure maple syrup, room temperature (or agave)

• 1/4 cup (32g) ground flaxseed

• 1 cup (100g) gluten-free whole rolled oats, NOT quick oats

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

• 1/2 cup (120g) mini dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

• 1/2 cup (128g) creamy roasted almond butter

• 2 teaspoons (10g) vanilla extract

Instructions

• Before following the recipe, if you are using homemade almond pulp, make sure you have squeezed out the excess moisture out really well, from preparing the almond milk. Papertowel dry it and store in the fridge overnight, as this helps to dry it out some. You do not need a dehydrator or to bake it to dry it out, but you also don’t want it too wet or to use it immediately after making your almond milk, because it could make the bars too wet.

• Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and line a 9X5 loaf pan with parchment paper hanging over the sides for easy removal later. Do you use a different size or bigger pan, otherwise the bars will be too thin and not bind well or hold their shape. They are meant to be thick bars like in the photos.

• Mix the syrup and flaxseed in a cup well with a fork and set aside for 10 minutes to gel up. Do not skip this step, as it is what acts as the “egg” and binds the bars to hold their shape.

• In a large bowl, combine the almond pulp (or almond flour), oats, cinnamon and salt and whisk well. Stir in the chocolate chips. I prefer mini because they disburse well and stay in tact better.

• After the 10 minutes is up for the syrup and flaxseed mixture, stir in the almond butter and vanilla until very smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir for a couple of minutes until very sticky and absorbed, pressing with the back of your spoon to help mix.

• Add the dough to the loaf pan and spread out evenly and flat with a rubber spatula. You can slightly dampen your fingers to help press it down around the edges, as it will be sticky.

• For dough using almond pulp, bake for 30-32 minutes until very golden brown and firm on top. For dough using almond flour, bake about 27-30 minutes until very golden brown and firm on top.

Important

• Cool 1 hour before cutting, or they will fall apart. They firm up a lot as they cool. If desired, melt some chocolate chips and drizzle the tops for added sweetness or for presentation purposes. Honestly, they are plenty delicious without it, I just did it more for looks. Slice very carefully into 8 bars. Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. They will hold their shape very well this way and it makes for an easy grab-and-go snack!

Essential oils for allergy season – natural solutions for your health concerns

30715767_1913673288667223_7120872605002760192_nThe hills are green, the trees and flowers are blooming AND my allergies can make me feel yuk! So ironic for this nature girl who LOVES to be outside yet the misery of allergies can force me inside.  Spring has sprung and so has my runny nose and water eyes! Boo!

Being new to essential oils I hadn’t yet used them for my allergies.  Most of my life I’d taken antihistamines which dry me out and make me sleepy and sudafed makes my heart race and disrupts my sleep.  So, instead of taking these medicines I would suffer through allergy season resorting to meds when my allergies would become unbearable.

Honestly, I was skeptical that essential oils would help me because my spring allergies are soooo bad!  What a surprise when I tried the TriEase Seasonal Blend Softgels.  Shortly after taking my first dose (2 softgels) my itchy eyes and sniffles were gone!  I was like, What? Did that really work that well??  So, I’ve tested it over and over and to my repeated surprise, the TriEase gels work!  This simple blend of essential oils provides these benefits:

Lemon Peel: cleansing to the body’s systems and frequently used for respiratory discomfort*
Lavender Flower: renowned for its calming and balancing effects*
Peppermint Plant: promotes clear breathing and healthy respiratory function*

Because I care about what I put in and on my body I love doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade making them safe for internal consumption.

As a bonus, TriEase SoftGels are 10% off this month! This discount is honestly what got me to try this product in the first place and I’m so glad I did!  Retail $30, this month’s Promo $27! Wholesale: $22.50, Promo: $20.25.  Click here to order at the retail price or sign up as a wholesale customer (save 25% off retail prices or email me at amelia@spirituallyfityoga.com.

Read on to learn more about which essential oils can help your allergies.  Learn how your food choices affect your allergies, and how yoga and pranayama can bring relief to constricted breathing.   Here’s to natural solutions for your annoying allergies!


ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ALLERGY RELIEF
Top Oils for Allergy Relief:

💛Lemon
💜Lavender
💙Peppermint
💚Melaleuca
(Used in any application in equal parts)

How to use:

🌿Aromatic Application

  • Diffusing these oils can be very effective. The sinuses are usually the most affected by allergic reactions. Purchase a quality essential oil diffuser, and diffuse any of the above oils, or oil blends, as much as you like!
  • Diffusing is also great because the extra moisture helps to soothe those irritated sinuses!
  • No diffuser? Place a few drops of your selected oils (such as lavender, lemon, and peppermint) into your palms. Rub together, cup your palms, and inhale.
  • The Breathe products also work fabulous to assist with congestion. Check out the breathe stick, and breathe touch roller. These products can be applied easily throughout the day and can fit in your purse or bag for on the go. 

🌿Topical Applications 

  • For topical applications, dilute with a few drops of fractionated coconut oil for longer lasting effects!
  • Apply diluted peppermint or other oils to the base of the neck and front of the throat, and the bottoms of the feet, several times per day.
  • Make a roller bottle for adults with 10 drops each oil apply frequently to chest, feet, and back of neck.
  • Nora’s Allergy Blend – I created this for daughter which she applies before school  and before bed on her wrists, throat, temples, sternum, and I rub on her upper back.  She LOVES the smell, which is key when creating blends for your kiddos 
    • One drop each of with 1/4 tsp carrier oil: Peppermint, Lavender, Lemon, Breathe, Elevation
    • To create a 10ml roller ball add 10 drops of each oil and fill to top with carrier oil

🌿Internal Applications

  • Put a few drops of each of your selected oils in an empty gel capsule and swallow. Can be taken several times a day.
  • Make an “allergy bomb” – Put a few tablespoons of water in a glass. Add 2-4 drops of each lavender, lemon, peppermint, basil, and On Guard. Hold your breath and swig!   This bomb packs a punch and it works!  Tip: Have a separate glass of water or juice as your chaser in case this allergy bomb is too intense for you.  
  • If the sinus symptoms are really severe you can use a Neti Pot for nasal irrigation with 1 drops each Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, 1/4 T fine quality salt, and 8 ounces warm water.
  • The Breathe drops are a kid-friendly, pleasant tasting natural cough drop that can also alleviate your congestion. 
  • And, of course I’m a fan of these convenient dōTERRA triease soft gels. (Right now they’re 10% off in April! Retail $30, Promo $27! Wholesale: $22.50, Promo: $20.25.) These are softgel pills pre formulated with the allergy reducing oils. These are perfect for people who don’t want to taste the strong oil taste in their mouth or don’t want to bother with making homemade pill caps.

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CHOOSE AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET TO ALLEVIATE ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

Allergies are basically our body’s reaction to irritations, and the response is an inflammatory response.  The body thinks there’s a foreign object it needs to fight off so it flushes is out with letting the flood gates out in your mucous membranes, thus the runny noses and water eyes.  When seasonal allergies kick in, your body is even more sensitive to foods which create an inflammatory response.  It can stress your immune system which is already working overtime responding to your allergies.

It can seem like bad news to decrease or eliminate dairy, sugar,  gluten, alcohol and processed foods but, for me, the relief from my allergy symptoms is totally worth it.  The bonus of creating a habit of eating whole foods is the possibility of reducing inflammation in your joints, chronic aches and pains may disappear, you might lose weight, your eyes seem clear, and clarity can replace foggy brain.

Food is medicine.  Treat yourself to a whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet.  Shift from thinking your giving something up to what you are gaining in loving your body with nutrient-rich foods.  Give it a try, especially during allergy season, and you might discover ease from a myriad of annoying symptoms and love the way you feel!

 

PRANAYAMA AND YOGA TO OPEN BREATHING PASSAGES

I often hear yoga students skip their yoga practice when experiencing severe allergies for fear of not being able to breathe or their noses running like a faucet when in downward dog.  To the contrary, yoga and pranayama can alleviate allergy symptoms by calming your central nervous systems, opening up your bronchial tubes, and clearing out your sinus passages.  Combine essential oils into your practice by taking TriEase an hour before your class.  Creating a custom roller bottle with lavender, peppermint, and lemon to roll on your wrists and breathe throughout your class can also be relief to your symptoms.

One specific breathing technique I find personally helpful is Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana.  Apply your essential oils and practice this pranayama technique for 10 minutes.  Here is a lovely video explaining this technique.

Nadi Shodhana video

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I wish you ease from your allergy irritations.  May you experience life with ease. May you experience life without suffering.  Namaste.

 

Yogamama Meels

 

Note: Thank you to Mandi Johnston for posting much of this information about essential oils for allergies on her facebook page.  To learn more about how to use essential oils request to join her facebook page Education Page – Blooming Chrysalis.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Day Eleven SFY Mindful May Challenge #pleasure – Chia pudding parfait with berries

day11-parfaitDay 11 #SFYMindfulMay #pleasure – during today’s yin yoga class I spoke about being mindful of pleasure. I love that Christiane Northrup, MD professes that “Pleasure is a vital nutrient.” Where we place our attention and awareness, we increase our experience of that object. Breathe into pleasure, notice the sensations of your experience, and give yourself permission to thoroughly savor every moment. Be mindful of experiencing pleasure in your relationships, in your work, your hobbies, in every bite you eat. Notice how pleasure increases in your life when you look for it in each moment…breath by breath.

CHIA PUDDING PARFAIT WITH BERRIES
Mix 1/2 cup of nut milk with 1/4 cup chia seeds and let sit in the refrigerator a few hours or overnight. Stir after a few hours just to remove the clumps of chia gel. Add a dollop of “yogurt” (eg coconut cream yogurt or dairy yogurt) and top with berries. Taste and feel each creamy, healthy bite. Enjoy…

Yogamama Meels

Instagram Mindful May Challenge May 4 – 24, 2015

Spiritually Fit Yoga Mindful May Challenge 2015
Spiritually Fit Yoga Mindful May Challenge 2015
It can take 21 days to make a new habit or break an old habit so in light of the popular 21 day challenges, I am hosting a Mindful May Challenge. Rather than dictating a yoga pose a day or a list of foods to eliminate, instead I’m suggesting that YOU CHOOSE what life changes or behaviors you hope to invite into your life. What would you like to change in your life to awaken to a brighter, happier, lighter YOU?

MAKE A DECLARATION
On Day One, post your first pic and make your declaration “I will practice yoga 20 minutes every day”, “I will eat whole foods every day”, “I commit to eating gluten-free every day”, “I commit to telling a joke every day.” You get the idea. Commit to one or more behaviors, declare them to the cybersphere on instagram, then continue to post your progress daily.

FEATURED PARTICIPANTS DAILY
Every day I will feature one of you by reposting your instagram photo. Just tag your posts with @SpirituallyFitYoga and #SFYMindfulMay. Support the other participants and searching on the “SFYMindfulMay hashtag to see what others are being mindful about this month.

SPREAD THE LOVE…YES,  TO YOURSELF TOO!
Support each other by liking posts and leaving supportive comments. And, be truly mindful approaching this challenge with that open-minded observer mind. No self-criticism, judgment, or guilt trips allowed! Skip a day? So what! Just notice it…let yourself learn something about yourself, and continue on your merry way!

IS THERE A PRIZE?
On the last day a participant will be randomly chosen and will receive a $25 gift card from amazon.com. Yippee!

I look forward to your instagram posts and congratulations for participating in this challenge!

Yogamama Meels

DAY 4: PREPPING FOR WEEK 2…SHOPPING AND YOGA CHECK-IN

WEEK 1 – WEANING GLUTEN, DAIRY, MEAT, CAFFEINE, SUGAR AND ALCOHOL

It’s day 4 of our detox and yoga challenge and in a few more days we will have eliminated gluten, dairy, meat, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol…whew!  I hope you’ve been able to wean off any items which you may be “addicted” to, like coffee.  I know that can be sooo tough!  I’ve been there, done that, and knock on cyber-wood, I’m staying off the caffeinated coffee! (Yes, I still enjoy an occasional cuppa decaf but, as of day 7, that’s out for me too.)

WHY DO BOTH…DETOX AND YOGA CHALLENGE?

This detox AND yoga challenge I’m suggesting is a combination of several challenges I’ve done over the years.  Some have been juice challenges, vegan challenges, and just yoga challenges.  The reason I decided to combine a detox AND yoga challenge is because last year I created my own challenge, combining dietary changes and daily yoga, for 30 days, and I found it most effective for changing habits and behavior.  The yoga revealed to me how dietary changes affected my flexibility, especially in my tightest poses such as wheel.  I discovered the effect inflammatory foods had on my joints and during my detox I became more open, less achy, and in general just found more freedom in my yoga poses.  My daily yoga became one of my measurements to gauge how foods affected my body.  In addition, the yoga/meditation plus detox also helped with my mental clarity and mood stability.  The element of increasing my body, mind and spirit awareness also contributed to my ability to focus on self-care.  The daily yoga naturally made me want to be respectful of my body, so it made it easier for me to stick to my dietary and behavioral changes.  I WANTED to eat well, get sleep, hydrate, and transform my negative to positive thoughts. Because of that experience, I became more convinced of yoga’s positive benefits in my life.

SHOPPING LIST

One of the most recent detoxes I participated in was Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Hormone Cure Detox.  My detox is very similar but, I am not doing the measurement of blood sugar, pH or suggesting dry brushing, etc.  I’m doing a bit more simplified version of that, plus I’m adding the daily yoga and meditation.  I do want to share a link to her page with a suggested list of what to and what NOT to eat for your detox.  You’ll notice she includes meat on her list.  That is a modification you can choose for this detox.  I am choosing to go  vegan plus fish (eg. salmon) and eggs.  I am personally in the mood to detox meat because I’ve eaten it recently and it’s made me feel heavy. Sometimes springtime may feel like a more suitable time to detox meat so, it may make more sense for you to keep lean meats in your diet if you’re in a cool climate right now.   This is where you get to design your detox to suit your needs and just do what feels right for you.

A POUND OF VEGETABLES A DAY…WHAT???

Yes, TRY to get in a pound of veggies every day.  Any veggies you use in your smoothies count, so since you have TWO liquid meals a day during WEEK 2, I recommend making veggie smoothies with kale, spinach, cucumber, etc.  And, soup is a liquid meal so shooting for 70% veggies in your soup will also help reach your pound of vegetables.  You’ll be surprised how full you actually are eating a pound of veggies.  You will not starve doing this detox and hopefully you won’t miss the meat, dairy, etc. too much!

MENU IDEAS

Periodically, I’ll share recipes here but, mostly I want to give you menu ideas (yes, basically, because I’m busy and am choosing to conserve my energy!) But, on our facebook group, we will share recipes there.  If you are participating in this detox and want to join our private group, go to http://facebook.com/SpirituallyFitYoga and email me so I can invite you to join our group.  Only members can see our group and our posts. 🙂

Instead of breaking down the following menu ideas into breakfast, lunch and dinner, I’m just listing ENTREES, SIDES, SNACKS and SMOOTHIES because the ENTREES can easily fall into the breakfast, lunch OR dinner category.  Okay, here you go!  Have a fabulous weekend and I’ll check in again Monday as we start “the real detox” on day 8!!

WAKE-UP
Cup of hot water and lemon

ENTREES

Experiment with adding fresh herbs, chopped nuts, seeds, or sea salt to enhance flavor and texture.

  • Steel-cut oatmeal with almond milk, topped with chopped nuts, and berries
  • 2 eggs with side of sauteed leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, or collard greens) OR with a side salad with vinaigrette
  • Avocado and steamed/baked/roasted sweet potato with brown rice or quinoa
  • Breakfast burrito with gluten-free tortilla with beans, rice, shredded carrots, cabbage, lettuce, etc. and avocado
  • Brown rice or quinoa “bowls” topped with steamed, roasted, stir-fry veggies
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Lentil-vegetable soup
  • Minestrone soup
  • Miso soup with tofu cubes
  • Vegetable curry sprinkled with peanuts or cashews
  • Grilled salmon served atop polenta, caramelized onions; sided with green beans or sauteed leafy greens
  • Fritatta (eggs, potatoes, veggies…no dairy)
  • Quiche (use a cornmeal crust to make it gluten-free, and substitute milk with almond, coconut, or hemp milk to make it dairy-free)
  • Stir-fry (broccoli, carrots, red, green, yellow peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, etc.)
  • Seaweed Wraps (use Nori, which wraps sushi rolls) with hummus, shredded carrots, cabbage, caramelized onions and red peppers)

SIDES

  • Roasted root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, etc.)
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sprouted bean trio
  • Beans
  • Polenta
  • Gluten-free bread/toast

SMOOTHIES 

Here are some smoothie blends.  Design your own recipes making sure to always include a veggie and some protein. Prepare with water, unsweetened coconut water, or your non-dairy milk of choice.  If you’re preparing your smoothie with a “milk”, that counts towards your protein. Nut butters, seeds, and avocadoes are also great protein ingredients for your liquid meal. As an option, add a dash of cinnamon, tumeric, and/or cayenne pepper to add anti-oxidants to your smoothies. 

Chia seeds – I am personally a fan of chia seeds because of their ability to add substantial protein to your diet.  I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to each smoothie.

 

  • 2 big handfuls of kale or spinach, 1/2 banana, and/or 1/2 carrot, 1/2 apple + 2 cups of liquid
  • 1 cucumber, 1/2 pineapple, slice of peeled ginger + 2 cups liquid
  • 1 apple, 1/2 banana, 1 carrot + 2 cups liquid
  • 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 apple, 1/2 banana, 1 handful of spinach or kale + 2 cups liquid
  • 1 avocado, 1/2 banana, handful of spinach or kale + 2 cups of liquid
  • 2 carrots, 1 apple, 1/2 orange, handful of spinach or kale + 2 cups of liquid
  • 1 banana, 2 tablespoons nut butter, dash of chocolate + 2 cups liquid

SNACKS

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Veggies (carrot and celery sticks)
  • Roasted seaweed

Healthy eating!!
Amelia