Month: August 2014

Easy 5-Minute Chocolate Avocado Mousse








Those words pretty much sum up this dessert and it’s awesomeness. Seriously though, this stuff is AMAZING…and family and friend approved! I’ve served it at multiple cooking demonstrations, dinner parties, and events, and it is a hit every time.

Before trying something I’ve made, people who know me will often say, “Don’t tell me what’s in it.”

After seeing recipes for caulifredo sauce, zucchini pasta, no-cheese nacho cheese, and green smoothies, I guess I can see why they’d be hesitant 🙂

More often than not, though, they take the risk…try it…and LOVE it!

The next question follows just about every time:

“Okay…what’s IN this??”

The secret ingredient in today’s recipe for chocolate mousse?


Our friends couldn’t believe avocado was in this dish. They commented how rich and delicious it was, too. When I told them there was no dairy or refined white sugar in it either, the head scratching continued.

This mousse is super easy to make (takes 5-10 minutes), and a little goes a long way. You can print the recipe below, but here is a fun video that shows you how it’s done!

Use it as a dip for sliced fruit or berries, serve it as a pudding with berries or cacao nibs sprinkled on top, or add some almond milk to it (maybe a cup?) and then pour it into Popsicle molds for a frozen chocolate treat!

Or, if you’re like me, just take a few spoonfuls straight out of the blender and indulge right away 🙂 Your secret’s safe with me!

Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Avocado Mousse (Dairy-Free)


Chocolate Avocado Mousse

You’ll never know there are avocados hidden in this decadent mousse. Top it off with some fresh berries and raw cacao nibs for additional texture, flavor and color!

  • 6 large Medjool dates (if they're not soft, soak them in water for 10-15 minutes first, then pour off the water)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  1. Put all ingredients in the order listed in a food processor and process until it reaches a smooth, mousse-like consistency.  I run mine for about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.

Top with berries, chopped nuts or seeds, shredded coconut or cacao nibs for a bigger health boost!

My Fave 4 Healthy Dining Apps & Websites

You’re on the road or out of town on a show-stopping vacation.

But you’re hungry.

You want to eat something that will give you energy, nourish you and taste good…and avoid the fast food drive-thru line at all costs.

You didn’t plan ahead. Or perhaps you focused your holiday strategies more on things to do in Nelson than things to eat in Nelson.

This is something that happens incredibly often to everyone. People will put a lot of thought into getting in and out of their vacation, the sites they want to see, the routes they take, and the private flights they may want to book. We don’t spend all that much thought on where or what to eat, whether one is at a luxurious holiday spot or on a road trip.

What do you do in this situation??

Well, speaking of being on the road…I’m actually typing up this post on my laptop as I sit in the passenger seat on my way back from a weeklong vacation to Upstate New York 🙂

Back to the question, “what to do in this situation”. Inspired by all of the delicious meals I had this past week, I wanted to share something that I think will help anyone who ever eats away from home.

Whether I’m out of town for business or vacation, I can find healthy eateries and restaurants, farmers’ markets, and even natural food markets and healthy grocery stores.

Green Goddess Foods - We went there for morning smoothies and some natural food ingredients at their market, but they also had fresh pressed juices, soups and sandwiches. Healthy & delicious!

Green Goddess Foods in Lake Placid, NY – We went there for morning smoothies and some natural food ingredients at their market, but they also had fresh pressed juices, soups and sandwiches. Healthy & delicious!

From Baltimore and DC to Asheville, Charleston, Seattle, Portland, San Diego and Lake Placid, I’ve used the tips I’m about to share with you to find healthy (& delicious!) places to eat.

For the most part, these places prioritize local, fresh, real, nourishing ingredients without harmful chemicals like pesticides and hormones.

Check out the apps and websites below to find a healthy, tasty meal…no matter where you are!


YelpLogo1What Is It? Mobile app and website that allow you to search by location, cuisine, and keyword for dining options near you. This is the #1 app I use when I travel.

How Much? Free! This just makes the app even better – but they do make up for it with their in app advertisements, which I welcome!

How Does It Work? I learned the importance of using the right search terms when writing papers in college to find the “perfect” articles for my papers, and I use the same strategy now when looking for healthy places to eat. Yelp is an app that gives you ratings for local eateries and is searchable by type.

Try using any of the following search terms along with your city of choice: “juice and smoothie bar”, “organic,” “gluten-free”, “farm to table,” “sustainable,” “vegan,” “vegetarian,” or “healthy,” and see what you find.

Happy Cow

happy cow

What Is It? Online plant-based restaurant guide available via mobile app orwebsite, providing healthy restaurant dining and health food store locations. It also provides user reviews, which are super helpful!

How Much? $2.99 for the app (well worth it!), Free website

How Does It Work? Search by country or region for vegetarian-friendly, vegan, or vegetarian-only restaurants and markets. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, you can use this tool to help you locate restaurants and cafes that serve healthier dishes, including ones that make plant-based dishes taste AMAZING.

Healthy Out


What Is It? Mobile app to help you find healthy restaurants near you and customize your search based on your eating preferences.

How Much Is It? Free!

How Does It Work? Enter your address or zip code and then set your preferences to find healthy places to eat near you that meet your personal needs. I love that it lets you set filters based on dietary preferences like Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free and Gluten Sensitive!

Eat Well Guideeat-well-guide-logo

What Is It? Free online directory for anyone in search of fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the U.S. and Canada. Thousands of listings include family farms, restaurants, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, personal chefs, B&Bs, U-pick orchards and more.

How Much? Free!

How Does It Work? Users can search by location, keyword, category or product to find good food, download customized guides, or plan a trip with the innovative mapping tool.

And, if all else fails…Google It! Use the same search terms used on Yelp. Sometimes I’ll also search for phrases like “foodie favorites,” “best healthy restaurants” or “local and sustainable dining” along with my location, and that has helped me find some gems!

Are there any apps or tools you use to make healthy choices when you’re on the road? Feel free to share them below! 🙂

A New Veggie Recipe to Try (Plus Natural Heartburn Relief!)

Bill and I love going out to new restaurants to eat, but doing that more than a couple times a month can really add up!

Sometimes, we choose to create our own meals at home for a fraction of what we would have paid at a restaurant.

Plus, we don’t have to worry about tacking on a tip to the meal or running late (which never happens… 🙂 )

Out to dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, one of our favorite restaurants, for our one-year anniversary

Out to dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, one of our favorite restaurants, for our one-year anniversary

When we were figuring out what to make for dinner the other night, we decided to try a new vegetable. It keeps the meal exciting and makes it more like a true restaurant experience.

Not only that, but the vegetable we used has some serious medicinal/healing properties that help our digestive system work better (bonus!).

As I’ve been working on healing my digestion over the past few years (it’s a process!), I’ve learned a thing or two about what foods make it work best. After years of going from doctor to doctor, surgery to surgery and pill to pill to “fix” me, I finally feel like I have some answers…and let me tell you, it has been a really empowering experience and confidence-booster!

Apparently, the combination of all of the antibiotics I took as a kid and the 10 years of daily acid reducers as an adult, along with the lifetime impact of eating lots of processed, packaged foods and what turned out to be problem foods for me (dairy and wheat) did a number on my digestive system.

I didn’t know it at the time, but they were also some of the reasons I used to get sick so often, struggled with 15-20 pounds that just wouldn’t budge, and why I had lots of bloating, gas, and other digestive frustrations. Sounds like a party, right?

I had no idea that 70-80% of my immune system was located in and around my digestive tract, mainly my intestines. By healing my digestion, I would start to heal (and energize!) my entire body. Who knew??

The main reason I’m such a fan of this lesser known veggie is because of how healing it is for the stomach and rest of the digestive system.

It’s also a potent cancer fighter.

Fennel bulbs

Funky-looking fennel bulbs!

Meet fennel.

Fennel is a plant that most of us have heard of but few of us have actually bought/prepared/eaten. It has a very mild licorice flavor and is subtly sweet.

You’ve probably walked by it at the grocery store, given it an odd look, and thought, “What the heck is that, and what do I do with it??” I’m here today to tell you!

Fennel and licorice are both known as digestive soothers, and many people (especially those with reflux/heartburn/indigestion) find that drinking fennel tea, and taking either digestive enzymes containing fennel or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets before a meal promotes improved digestion. My mom now swears by DGL tablets, and I’ve had lots of success taking them myself.

DGL tablets create a soothing coating that lines your digestive system prior to eating, which calms and soothes your digestive tract and reduces the likelihood you’ll have to deal with indigestion, gas and bloating. Pretty cool, right?

Click this link or this one to order DGL tablets and learn more about them. Talk to your doctor or to a functional medicine doctor about whether these could be a good option for you.

Now, back to the veg!

Fennel tastes delicious when roasted, so that’s how we prepared it today.

We served the roasted fennel with some local, grass-fed beef tenderloin along with broccoli that was lightly steamed and then sautéed with roasted red pepper flakes, garlic, and some sea salt and pepper. It was a very tasty meal!

There you have it. Now you no longer have an excuse to ignore fennel at the grocery store or farmer’s market...and have lots of reasons to try this super healthy, medicinal veggie!

Easy Oven-Roasted Fennel

Roasted fennel with beautiful caramelization!

Roasted fennel with beautiful caramelization!


  • 1 pound fennel, quartered lengthwise (I used 2 bulbs)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Optional: sprinkle some freshly chopped rosemary on top before roasting


  1. Preheat oven to 475F.
  2. Follow the step-by-step pictures below to prep and quarter the fennel.  Cut off the green stalks and a 1/2″ disc from the bottom of the bulb, and remove any discolored outer leaves from the bulb, so you’re just left with the white/light-green fennel bulb to quarter and roast.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the fennel quarters with your choice of oil, sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Put the fennel on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, so they’re evenly spaced out. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Flip the fennel to the other side and continue roasting until they are browned, about 10  more minutes.
  5. Place the fennel back in the bowl you tossed them with and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top of the fennel. Toss to coat evenly.
Chop off the bottom tough disc - about 1/2"

Chop off the bottom tough disc – about 1/2″

Chop off the tougher green parts. You can save them and throw them into soups as you would celery. You can save the fuzzy parts (AKA fronds) and use them as decoration like you would dill.

Chop off the green stalks. You can save them and throw them into soups as you would celery. You can save the fuzzy parts (AKA fronds) and use them as decoration like you would dill.

Chop the white bulb into quarters

Chop the white bulb into quarters

This is what the bulb looks like inside once you've quartered it

This is what the bulb looks like inside once you’ve quartered it

Give it a nice drizzle of coconut or olive oil along with some sea salt and black pepper before putting it in the oven to roast!

Give it a nice drizzle of coconut or olive oil along with some sea salt and black pepper before putting it in the oven to roast!

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