Strawberry Rhubarb Gummies

Sweet, chewy and bursting with strawberry flavor, these gummies are a perfect treat for the warmer months. Unlike traditional gummy candies, which are mostly filled with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, food dyes and “natural flavors” (which, are usually not so natural), these gummies are actually gut healing thanks to the ingredient that helps them set: gelatin.

Maybe you’ve heard of collagen - it’s trending right now in the health world. Gelatin is similar to collagen - it’s actually made from it (and in case you didn’t know, both are made from animal parts including skin, bones and tissue, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian, these superfoods may not be for you).

The gelatinous quality of gelatin that makes it useful for gummies, desserts and more is also what makes it beneficial when we consume it. Gelatin is slower to digest, meaning it moves through the GI tract further and coats the small intestine, which helps heal the gut. It also contains protein and amino acids like glycine that strengthen the gut lining and therefore lower inflammation in the body.

Additionally, the sticky, glue-like quality of gelatin can support the formation of strong cartilage or connective tissues, which is why it and collagen are touted as beauty and youth superfoods (think younger, more supple skin and joints).

Especially if you’re dealing with gut issues like me, gelatin is an awesome food to work into your diet to support your healing efforts. And if you don’t have gut issues? Well I suggest trying out these gummies anyways because they’re mega delicious and FUN!

Strawberry Rhubarb Gummies - Emily Nachazel.JPG

Strawberry Rhubarb Gummies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint strawberries, stems removed and sliced

  • 3 stalks rhubarb, chopped

  • 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk (ideally one with no guar gum, like the one I’ve linked)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 cup gelatin (important to use a quality source of gelatin, I’ve linked the brand I mostly use!)

  • 2-3 tsp honey (optional, omit if you’re on any specific protocol like low FODMAP, SCD, etc)

Directions:

  1. Add strawberries and rhubarb to a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cook until everything has broken down (about 10-15 minutes). Let mix cool for a few minutes.

  2. Pour the fruit mixture into your high speed blender or food processor. Add in the coconut milk, vanilla and honey (if using) and blend until smooth.

  3. Let mixture cool for a few minutes, then add the gelatin to the blender and blend again until smooth. Immediately pour into a 9 x 9 inch baking dish and refrigerate until the mixture is set (30 - 45 minutes). Slice into squares or other fun shapes and enjoy immediately. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Have you USED gelatin before?

If so, what did you make? If not, are you open to trying this gut-healing superfood? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Copycat Rx Bars

My first office job was working as a Camp Registrar the summer before my second year of college. I was in charge of everything camp registration and organization for a whole bunch of day camps, but I worked in the office mostly - making sure all the campers were squared away and our documentation was in place. I actually loved this job - I felt like I was getting paid SO much (especially compared to the life guarding gig I had been working for a few years) AND I really enjoyed the stability and consistency of my days.

It was around this time that I started getting into healthy eating and more into running. I would workout pretty much every day after work, around 5PM or so. I packed my lunches (usually BIG salads or wraps with leftovers from dinner the night before) and always brought an energy bar to eat a hour before I left work to hit the gym or go for a run.

Luna bars were my favorite (Nutz Over Chocolate was my JAM!) but I switched things up and tried all the "healthy" bars out there: Nature's Valley, ZonePerfect, ZBars (the kid's Clif bar), Balance, and more.

A lot of these bars sure were tasty, but, as I learned later on in my wellness journey, all the "stuff" in them wasn't the best for my belly. I recently Googled the ingredients in one of my old favorite bars, and here's what came up:

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That's a lot of stuff! I didn't know it back then, but a lot of these ingredients (common in so many energy or protein bars) can cause tummy trouble: soy, sugar, peanuts, and vegetable oils.

A few years ago I realized that while bars were super convenient, they weren't the best for my belly. I started to be more discerning about the bars I was buying (looking at the type and number of ingredients), and even started making some of my own variations!

Today I'm sharing my current favorite homemade energy bar recipe. These bars are modeled after the recently popular Rx bars. I found Rx bars this year - I love the minimal ingredients and higher than average protein content. Like with so many things, I wanted to try my hand at making them myself, and hence these recipes were born!

These bars are tasty, simple to make, and a bit easier on your gut (and your wallet!) than most store bought bars. One of my yoga students even said she liked these bars BETTER than the real Rx bars. If that's not a compliment, I don't know what is!

Copycat Rx Bars

Copycat Rx Bars // gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegetarian

Chocolate Sea Salt Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup egg white protein powder
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp hot water (add more if needed)

Coffee Cacao Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup egg white protein powder
  • 1 cup raw almonds (you can also do 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 cup raw cashews)
  • 4 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
  • dash sea salt
  • 1 tbsp hot water (add more if needed)

Instructions:

1. Add all ingredients except water to your food processor or Vitamix blender and pulse until everything is finely chopped.

2. Add 1 tbsp hot water and pulse some more. Add the least amount of water possible - just enough to get the ingredients to start to stick together like a dough. **Note: Be careful adding too much water. I did 2 tbsp in one batch and it was way too much and my bars turned out pretty sticky. Not the end of the world, but not ideal.

3. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper. Press the dough into the pan so it's evenly distributed and there are no holes.

4. Place dish in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Remove and slice into 10-12 bars. Return to freezer until you are ready to eat!

Note: These bars call for egg white protein, as that's what Rx uses in their bars. I'm sure you could swap it for any neutral protein powder or collagen peptides.

 

If you liked these, I think you'd love my other homemade bar recipes:
Apple Pie Bites  /  Lemon Berry Bliss Bites  /  Superfood Energy Bites

 

Do you eat energy bars or protein bars? Do you have a favorite, or do you make your own?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Sweet potato pudding

I made a delicious pudding by blending the flesh of a purple sweet potato (yes, that's a thing!) with a few simple ingredients in my Vitamix. Super easy and so delicious!

Sweet potato pudding // vegan, gluten free, paleo, refined sugar free

Ingredients:

- 1 medium baked sweet potato (I used a purple sweet potato, but any variety will do!)

- 1 tbsp almond butter

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- dash sea salt

- almond milk or water as needed

Instructions:

  1. Peel sweet potato and add to your Vitamix blender or food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Add liquid as needed.
  3. Enjoy!

Apple Pie Bites!

These bites taste like apple pie, but are healthy enough to enjoy as a snack or even for breakfast. Made of nuts, dates, and dried fruit, they will give you a natural energy boost and satisfy even the strongest sweet craving.

Apple Pie Bites // vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free

Ingredients:

- 1 cup raw cashews

- 1 cup roasted and unsalted almonds

- 2/3 cup unsweetened dried apples

- 1 cup pitted medjool dates

- 2 tsp cinnamon

- dash nutmeg

- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

- generous pinch sea salt

 

Instructions:

1. Add the nuts to your food processor or Vitamix and pulse 3-5 times (so nuts are broken up but not completely pulverized). Add all other ingredients and blend well.

2. "Dough" will be sticky and should hold together when pressed between your fingers.  Roll into bite-sized balls or press into a parchment paper lined pan to make bars. Enjoy immediately or keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also store in the freezer for a longer period of time (although, they never last that long in my home!).

Note: For a lower sugar option, replace the dried apples with unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut. They won't taste like apple pie (obviously) but they are still delicious!

Homemade Almond Butter (VIDEO)

Hi there and HAPPY WEEKEND!  Today I have for you a super simple, but very delicious recipe for homemade almond butter. 

Why make your own almond butter at home?  Well, like with almond milk, you can control what's going into your almond butter!  You are in charge of how much sweetener or salt goes into the mix.  Also, you can get creative!  In the video I give a very basic recipe, but scroll down below for different flavor variations. 

Homemade Almond Butter / raw, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free

Ingredients:

-3 cups raw, unsalted almonds

-1 generous pinch sea salt

-1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Gather your ingredients: Add all ingredients to your food processor and let the machine work its magic!

2. Trust the process: Be patient! As you will see from the video (okay, you don't really see because I fast-forwarded it but you get the picture), this can take up to 15 or 20 minutes.  Every 5 minutes or so, turn off your food processor and scrape down the sides.  At first, you will have a finely ground powder similar to flour.  Then, the ground almonds will start to clump together and form a dough-like consistency (see photo below).  With time, you will get a silky smooth butter which is simply irresistible! 

Note 1: This will take less time if you do it in your Vitamix blender.  I suggest checking out Vitamix's instructions if you plan to take this route. 

Note 2: This will also take less time if you use roasted, unsalted almonds.  They release their natural oils better. 

Now, for those of you who want to kick it up a notch, here are some different flavor combinations:

- Goji Almond Butter - Add 1/2 cup of goji berries at the beginning of the process.  This makes for a sweeter nut butter!

- Cacao Coconut Almond Butter - Once your almond butter is smooth, add 2 tbsp coconut butter (or coconut oil) and 2 tbsp cacao nibs (or chocolate chips).  Process for another minute or so until everything is combined. 

- Vanilla Maple Almond Butter - Once your almond butter is smooth, add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (to taste).  Process for another minute or so until everything is combined.

 

Have you ever made your own nut butter?  If you have, what is your favorite way to flavor it?  If you haven't, would you try your hand at it after seeing this video?  Let me know in the comments below!