5-Ingredient Cherry Chocolate Energy Bites

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5 Ingredient Cherry Chocolate Energy Bites

If you’ve been following my blog, you have probably noticed that I am a big fan of 5-ingredient that are simply prepared recipes. Why? Because why complicate things with a bajillion flavours when 5 or less ingredients produce delicious flavours?

Because why buy spend money stocking up on exotic flavours when you only need 1 pinch of it?

Because why dirty a bunch of spoons and bowls when you can just throw everything in the food processor?

I have shit to do. I’ve found recipes that allow me to can get them done AND eat healthy AND save money.

This recipe is one of those.

It tastes like a Larabar but costs like 75% less!

It stores nicely in the fridge and freezer.

It is free of most allergens and irritants - gluten, dairy, soy…

It is naturally sweetened with dried fruit.

It has healthy fats that slow down the glycemic load of the dried fruit to keep your blood sugar in check.

It is packed full of vitamins and minerals.

Kids like them. Party people like them. Road trippers like them. Hikers like them. Office workers like them. Frequent flyers like them. Hell, your dog probably likes them, too (but don’t let your dog eat chocolate!!).

Enough hype, here it is, ladies and gents!

Recipe

Makes 15 small balls.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed pitted unsweetened pitted dates (medjool, honey, palm)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries

  • 4 tbsp Made Good dark chocolate chips (soy-free and dairy-free)

  • 1/4 cup raw pecans

  • Optional: 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, break down the almonds until they are small particles but not a powder/flour.

  2. Remove 1/3 cup of this and save for later.

  3. Add the pitted dates and dried cherries to the food processor. Blend until a sticky, dough ball forms.

  4. Add in the chocolate chips, pecans, and salt to the processor and pulse that sucker! Add little bits of water to loosen the dough ball if needed.

  5. Finally, add in the 1/3 cup chopped almonds from earlier and keep pulsing until it looks like the picture below.

  6. Roll into small balls or big balls if you’re into that. Store in a container or ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer.

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6 ways to optimize training and nutrition while observing Ramadan

It is that special time of the year again for my muslim friends who observe one month of fasting in an ancient practice called Ramadan! This is where participants fast from sunrise to sunset for and the fast involves abstaining from any food or liquids, including water, gum, and supplements. Of course, there are exceptions, such as those who are pregnant or ill, but I am NOT an expert on this. In fact, I am open to learning so much more about this beautiful spiritual practice!

Anywhooo, what I can offer is some training and nutrition advice if you still want to make performance and health gains during Ramadan.
*Disclaimer: always consult a doctor if you plan on exercising while fasting.

1. Try to move training to earlier in the day just before the fast commences for the day or later in the evening just before breaking your fast at night. This way you can cluster some easily digestible carbs in the the pre-fast or break-fast meal. This type of carbohydrate is excellent for fuelling performance or supporting recovery - it refills your liver and muscle glycogen. E.g. white rice, potatoes, plantains, chestnuts, root vegetables. Avoid midday training if your schedule allows, especially in the first couple of weeks as you adjust to your new eating schedule.

2. The meal that you have far away from training should be high in unprocessed fats. E.g. nuts & seeds, coconut products, pasture raised eggs, olive oil and whole olives. Fats are a slow-burning fuel that can keep you fuller for longer. They are also very dense in energy so you don’t have to stuff yourself to the gills with the small eating window that you have. I.e. If you workout in the morning, keep your evening meals high fat.

3. For training, I think it is a great time to practice mindfulness with how your body feels each day. Some days you may feel hungrier or weaker than others, perhaps these won’t be the best days to shoot for a PR and this is totally normal! Energy fluctuations will happen day-to-day even without the additional stress of fasting.

4. Don’t skimp on the protein!! Aiming for 1g/lb bodyweight is a general rule that applies to most people working out for health and wellness.

5. Avoid processed foods. It's easy to get calories with a DQ blizzard especially when you are hungry from fasting all day but you'd be missing out on all the minerals and vitamins that you need to train hard. Huge disservice to your hard work in the gym.

6. Lastly, I think it is valuable to add in some sort of digestive enzyme or digestive aid if you have trouble breaking down the energy-dense meals you are consuming. If slow digestion is keeping you up at night or affecting your appetite, it will eventually impact your training in some way.

Of course, I could go on and on and onnnnn, but let’s keep it brief for the millennials. Also, all of these tips are subject to vary from person to person so I encourage you to form your own opinions on if they apply to you! If anyone has any specific questions along the way, shoot me an email over at hello@kerenchen.ca

Happy fasting, cuties!

PS. Please give me a like or comment below if you enjoyed this post. :)

My favourite gluten-free + dairy-free 5 ingredient cookies!

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Hey Valentines! I am currently sweating my sunscreen off in Vietnam in a coastal city called Da Nang…but I hear the snow storm is a real pain in the ass in Canada. Here’s a cookie recipe to keep you occupied while indoors. It’s also a tasty treat to help you cultivate self-love OR something to share with your lover. I love how simple this recipe is and I’ve been making it for years, ever since I first started cutting out gluten and dairy.

Now, just because it’s free of gluten and dairy doesn’t mean they are “healthy” or “nutrient-dense”. So don’t eat 20 of these and blame me if you don’t feel so good after. It does contain some sugar, but at least it’s coconut sugar. On the spectrum of nutrient density, it’s not the best but it’s by far not the worst. Plus, I think it is VITAL to enjoy treats that don’t bug your stomach or give you hives occasionally. Any sustainable, healthy lifestyle needs to have room for foods that aren’t the most nutritious, but I do think you should avoid foods that you are intolerant/allergic to as much as you can. These cookies are the perfect balance of fun and whole foods for me.

I’ve been through that yo-yo dieting bullshit where I swear off cookies for the rest of my life only to gorge on shitty oreos when they were presented to me. I have learned that adding in healthy treats frequently eliminates the idea of good vs bad food and in turn I don’t care for processed junk foods. I’ll take a couple bites and feel like I’m over it because it’s not off limits in my mind and therefore not that special. Can you relate to this? I feel like a lot of people have this mindset but don’t talk about it enough. Comment below if you have a similar experience.

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Keren’s 5 Ingredient PB Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup all natural peanut butter (you can sub for any smooth nut butter e.g. almond, cashew, etc - just no crunchy bits)

1 cup coconut sugar (you can use white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar or anything granulated - no liquids like agave, honey, syrups, etc)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp real vanilla

1 whole egg

Optional: I love sprinkling some sea salt in to break up the sweetness and of course a handful of chocolate chips. You can also add 1/3 cup of nuts, oats, bacon bits, or whatever crunchiness you want!

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix your ingredients in a big bowl evenly. I know you’re supposed to mix the wet and then add the dry ingredients, but honestly it’s a fucking free for all in my kitchen. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s evenly mixed. Use a spoon or an electronic mixer if you’re fancy.

Form little 1.5-2.5 inch balls and then flatten them into a cookie shape.

Bake on parchment lined tray with a good amount of space between the cookies (they spread quite a bit).

Bake it for 10mins in the oven or until they look golden and have expanded. Then you cut the heat and leave them in the oven with doors closed for another 2-5mins. This gives them a crunchier texture, I’m all about crunch.

Take em out and let them cool/set before devouring them!

Let me know if you give these a go! Stay warm and safe out there!

Rockin' Ranch Guacamole (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Bullshit-free)

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BBQ Season is officially HERE! Thank gosh, I was kind of getting over stews and chillis and soups...it's time for patio, friends, and sunshine. 

This recipe for guacamole is my go-to because it is pretty allergen-free so it pleases everyone at the party! You can use it as a dip with chips, veggies, endives leaves or spread it on toast for an Insta-worthy #avotoast or top your burger with it or really eat it with your hands, who am I to judge? 

For the cheesy, ranch flavour, I just sprinkled on some Rawcology Superfood Coconut Chips Toppers. These handy little flavour boosters are just small pieces of coconut chips that are dehydrated with wholesome ingredients, like activated sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, himalayan sea salt to name a few. It is free of all the crappy additives, such as GMOs, gluten, dairy, processed oils, sugar, preservatives. Plus, it's made by the sweetest Torontonian named Tara. As a fellow female entrepreneur, I am so inspired by her work ethic and bubbly personality. So when she asked me to be a Rawkstar Ambassador, it was a NO-BRAINER for me. I already purchased the products regularly and featured them in my workshop swag bags, so I was actually just flattered to be associated with the Rawcology brand. Okay I'll stop gushing. You can read my Ambassador profile/interview here and learn more about me!

 

You can also use these toppers on salads, oatmeals, sandwiches, soups...

You can also use these toppers on salads, oatmeals, sandwiches, soups...

On to the recipe!

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 tomato 

1/2 stem of green onion aka scallion aka spring onion

2 limes

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp garlic powder 

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp chipotle powder

A pinch of cayenne

Rawcology Rockin' Ranch Superfood Topper!

Salt and Pepper to taste

optional: 1 tbsp fresh cilantro

 

To-do:

Finely dice the red bell pepper, tomato, and cilantro. 

Juice your limes, remove any seeds. 

Cut your avocados lengthwise, remove the pit, and scoop out that tasty flesh. 

Mash your avocado in a bowl with a form, then add in your spices, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Mix it with a fork or throw it in the food processor for a smoother texture.

Then, add in your tomato and bell peppers.

Sprinkle on some of that Rockin' Ranch Superfood Topper and green onion before serving and watch it disappear! ;) 

 

 

Bison Taco Salad

It’s #TacoThursday (not actually a thing) because who doesn't want an extra day to celebrate tacos? I made this taco salad a while back with Trulocal's pasture-raised bison and Rawcology’s smoky cheez coconut chips. It is as simple as it gets and packs lots of heat to warm your face up on a windy spring day. 

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Meat: finely dice and sauté 1/4 red onion, 4 fresh garlic cloves, 1/2 fresh jalapeño (seeds removed) in 1 tbsp of ghee over medium heat, once you smell the onions, add in 1lb ground bison. Add in 2tsp each of garlic powder,  chipotle, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well, remove from heat when meat is cooked through. You can easily sub this out for any ground meat or sausage or tempeh or sprouted legumes of your choice. 

Salad: grab a big handful of shredded romaine lettuce, throw in some cherry tomato halves, bell pepper slices, diced avocado, red onion (I pickled mine in some apple cider vinegar, EVOO, and a drizzle of raw honey). Last but not least, I topped mine with some Rawcology smoky cheez coconut chips for that cheddar flavaaa and crunch. Top with the bison, and some cholula and cilantro if you have some!