Homemade Holiday Eggnog that Will Knock Your Stockings Off

While this recipe doesn't call for kale or inflammatory-reducing spices, we figured every now and then it's good for the soul to live a little. This one's just pure, warm, creamy, full-indulgence deliciousness.

So put on those cozy socks, press play to your favorite Christmas playlist, put on a fire, and enjoy the creamy, warm and comforting flavors of eggnog with your favorite people this holiday. And if you find yourself this Christmas getting sore from whisking the eggs for eggnog (which may or may not have happened), don't fret. That's what New Years resolutions are for, right? So go ahead, treat yo'self.

Happy holidays, everyone! 

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The Best Fall Drink: (Anti-Inflammatory) Hot Pumpkin Turmeric Milk

Let’s get real for a minute. It’s fall, and although I hate to admit it, I love anything and everything pumpkin. And yes, that includes PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes for those unaware of this growing phenomenon. And yes, it’s so basic, it has an abbreviation.) Pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin granola, you name it: Get at me. I was even recently informed that Trader Joe’s is now carrying pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds. No kidding. And the sad part is, I would probably buy them.

The thing is, even I need to add a little spice (no pun intended) to my pumpkin flavored items. That’s where turmeric comes in. I didn’t get onto a turmeric until recently, but now I’m ALL ABOUT IT. Here’s why.

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Homemade And Healthy: Peanut Butter Cups

Has a more perfect duo than that of peanut butter and chocolate ever existed?  Nope. It is, simply put, perfection. I could eat Reese's peanut butter cups for every meal, if they were remotely healthy.   

Unfortunately, they're full of nasty, weird ingredients and chemicals you don't really want to ingest. And I'm pretty sure the "peanut butter" filling isn't real peanut butter at all.  Scary.  

But never fear! Because it's crazy stupid love...um, I mean, easy to make your own at home! 

While on my Food Challenge last month, I stocked up on chocolate bars on sale at Whole Foods, fully intending to devour them all in one sitting on March 1. However, now the challenge is over, my sweet tooth is in remission, and I am left with a sad collection of lonely chocolate bars in my pantry.  I couldn't just leave them there, though - that would be a waste.  Thus, this non-sweet "treat" was born to satisfy any sweet tooth.  

INGREDIENTS

-high-quality dark chocolate bars (I used Theo brand

-sugar/crap-free nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter, etc.) 

-OPTIONAL: coconut oil, maca powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, stevia

I am the Barefoot Contessa.

I am the Barefoot Contessa.

 

EQUIPMENT

-double boiler

-muffin pan

-donut-print apron - because obviously.

 

 

 

Theo Chocolate - I used both 70% and 85% dark.

DIRECTIONS:

Clean ingredients!

Clean ingredients!

1. Set up your double boiler. I do not have a "proper" double boiler, so I MacGyvered it and used two sauce pans, filling the larger with water.  The heat should be no higher than medium-low, and the water should never boil. Note: you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. To do this, set the temperature at 50% and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Chocolate burns VERY easily, so be watchful. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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2. Carefully melt the chocolate. This will take a few minutes. Stir every minute or so to make sure all pieces get melted. If you are using coconut oil (optional), add a tablespoon or two here. Coconut oil will make the chocolate a bit more pliable and more "candy-like," while keeping the chocolate solid at room temp. But it's by no means necessary.

3. Once your chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Slowly pour chocolate into muffin molds, until about half of chocolate recipe is left. Note: I didn't line my muffin tins. Again, it's not really necessary.  I am also very lazy and apparently love to do dishes.  If you're concerned or are creating these as individual cups to gift (you're such a good friend), you can use silicon liners or cupcake liners. 

4. Pop your muffin pan into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. 

5. While your chocolate is solidifying, move on to your center. Take your nut butter and melt it a bit in the microwave. Depending on how much chocolate you're using, you'll need about 1/4-1/2 cup.  Go nuts. Get it?

6. Optional step: I jazzed up my peanut butter a bit. Original ingredients were: peanuts, salt. I added a hefty pour of vanilla extract, 1 tsp. maca powder (thickened up the "batter" a touch), and a whisper of stevia. Yes, a whisper. Use your indoor voice with sweeteners. If you're anti-Stevia - it's cool, I get you - use raw honey or REAL maple syrup. Not Aunt Jemima's. Sorry, Jemima, we'll always have our memories. 

7. Remove your muffin pan from the freezer. Your chocolate should be solid now. Dollop your nut butter mixture into the center of each mold. Flatten it out a bit with your spatula or fingers, if you're not sharing.  Mmm, fingers (s/o to Kels).

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8. The other half of your chocolate should still be liquidy. If not, melt it again over the double broiler. Nbd. Pour the rest evenly over each little pillow of peanut butter. 

9. Pop your muffin pan back into the freeze for a minute or two. If you're fancy, take it back out once the chocolate is semi-frozen and hit the tops of each cup with a dash of sea salt. Major points if you use pink salt. We should be friends if you do. 

10. These only take about 10 minutes until they're rock solid. If you used liners, removal is a piece of cake. If not, slice along the edges with a thin knife. They should pop out very easily. Do not eat straight out of the freezer unless you want to break a tooth.  I'm just speaking from very-near experience.

The final product.

The final product.

These little bites are so dreamy and rich, even half of one will kill a craving, and they're totally customizable and easy! Enjoy!

Warm Dranks

I LOVE warm drinks. My warm drank options became limited, as I recently gave up coffee. During February, I'll be attending a one month yoga teacher training in Baja, where we will only be served herbal tea. So, I decided to cut the coffee habit now. It was never an addiction, but DAMN I love me a good cuppa joe to start the day. Or after an early ocean session, nothing beats a dark roast. In the meantime, I'm trying to get a little more creative with my options, and have been experimenting with teas, matte lattes, turmeric milks, and cocoas.

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The Most Basic Green Juice (for Non-Basic B*tches)

It's twelve days into the New Year...How are those New Year's diets holding up? Need a cookie?  Can't stand another salad?  Already given up on the gym?

Never fear.  We've got some sweet detox drink recipes to sip on that will make you feel glorious from the inside out.  Drink a smoothie and tell yourself that cookie tastes like garbage.  And in case you're a beverage fiend (like me), here's yet another to add to your list.

This is your ultimate Basic B*tch Green Juice.  I should totally copyright that name.  It's wicked easy to throw together and is a perfect little punch of vitamins when you're not feeling your best.  Perfect timing for the start of flu season, #justsayin.  I got a brand-new juicer for Christmas and came down with a sinus infection days later, so I've been juicing like a mad-woman and reaping the bens (benefits...I'll stop.).

Of course since I live in Hollywood, everyone is alllllll about the juice.  Juice cleanses are like, so trendy.  Now, I'm not one to give up food in the name of "Detox," but I think fresh juices have a time and a place. 

My personal tips for those new to juicing:

1) Always pair juice with REAL food.  Remember, you need protein to remove toxins from the body.  Juice cannot provide you all the nutrients your body needs in day.

2) When juicing, avoid using fibrous or especially seedy fruits and veggies (bananas, avocados, strawberries, squash, to name a few)

3) Get creative!  This is a super basic recipe.  Switch out fruits/veggies for what you have on hand.

Basic Ingredients:

-carrots

-celery

-romaine lettuce

-cucumber

-parsley

-ginger

-lemon

How pretty is real food?

How pretty is real food?

Directions:

Clean and trim all ingredients.  Don't worry about the amounts to use - just throw stuff in and juice away.  It's totally foolproof.  Save the scraps for smoothies later.

Don't like parsley?  Swap out for cilantro or mint.  In the summer, try with lime for a nice twist.  Want a sweeter juice?  Add green apple or fresh citrus (tangerines are excellent).  Drank too much last night?  Juice raw beets yo - they're great for liver detoxing. 

For an extra kick, I always add a few dashes each of turmeric and cayenne into the finished juice for more added benefits.  If you can track down fresh turmeric root, jooooce it.  Go wild and crazy, kids.

 

 

Best Post-Holiday Detox Drinks

If your holidays were anything like mine, your diet could probably use a reset button. After successfully eating my way through Italy for nine days with nothing but pizza and pasta followed by a trip through the holy land of meat and beer--Germany--my body saw very few fruits and vegetables the past few weeks.

If you're in need of a similar reset, I've included a few detox drinks/smoothies below to bring your A-game back to your mind and body after the holidays.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Rosemary

Canned pumpkin doesn't exist on Mallorca which is really putting a cramp in my fall baking style. But you work with what you got, so I got a butternut squash at the farmer's market yesterday for an attempt at fall cooking.

And people, this literally tastes like autumn in a bowl.

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Almond Pesto (GF/Vegan)

One item that has been difficult to find in Mallorca so far is good pesto. The large supermarkets have one brand (if they have it at all), and it's the kind that comes all packaged in bright colors and bubbly lettering, and you have to wonder how long it has been sitting on the shelf. Weeks, months?

So, naturally, I took it as a sign from the universe. Honey, stop buying the store-bought ones loaded with preservatives and start making the real stuff from scratch. (Don't ask me why the universe just became a Southern Belle, it just did.)

Almond pesto

Almond pesto

On Sunday I went to the farmer's market and stocked up on fresh basil. And, as it usually happens, as soon as I got home I realized that I had a ridiculous amount of basil leaves and didn't have any pine nuts. Or cheese.

But I was determined to make pesto without running out to the store again which only meant one thing: Time to get creative.

Almond pesto

Almond pesto

I had just bought a big bag of almonds, so I decided to substitute the pine nuts for almonds. And as for the cheese - well, I had a bag of nutritional yeast that I found at a small health food store in town (Halleluah, one is in walking distance to me!). I was a little wary about all the substitutions, but it not only turned out to be delicious but super healthy too.

Almonds are a great source of protein and are packed with good fat - the kind that helps with brain function and has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Holla for a super food! Pair that up with an extra dose of protein and the delicious flavor of nutritional yeast, and we're in business.

Pesto is one of those great items you can just throw into the food processor and bam - you have a delicious spread in minutes. For those on a time crunch but looking to add a little kick of flavor to your cooking, pesto is always a great option.

We have a small food processor at home which turns out to be perfect for a week's worth of pesto - great for a spread on sandwiches or on a lettuce wrap, mix in with pasta, or (my favorite) on GF veggie pizza (made with a garbanzo bean crust - recipe to come to the blog soon!).

Enjoy!

Almond Pesto (GF/Vegan)

- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tightly packed cup fresh basil
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted/non-toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tbs water
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast

1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Note: For a thicker pesto, use less water.
2. Enjoy as a spread on a sandwich or lettuce wrap, mix with your favorite pasta, or use as a substitute for tomato sauce on pizza.