Holy Chocolate Balls! Jude is turning 5.

WOW. Tomorrow I will officially have a 5 year old son. Words simply can’t express how grateful I am for being graced with the honor & privilege of being Mom to this rad little dude JUDE. For reals though, being a Mom is tough stuff- no matter how ‘ready’ you think you are for the job- You are just NOT.  I had NO idea what TRUE unconditional love looked like until Jude came along. It’s like all the vomit, poop, crying, screaming, crazy & trying times really showed ME what I was made of. As a parent, you really lay it all out on the line for your little person- there is nothing else like it. Such a blessing and a reminder that LOVE ALWAYS WINS. Perhaps some things in my childhood were not the best, but being a MOM reminds me that none of that really matters because as a parent, you are just doing the best you can with what you have. SO, the next time you see a Mom struggling to get her shopping done & keep her kids wrangled in- all at the same time- how about giving some grace & offering to help her- instead of judge her? After all, we are all in this together & I know I could have never done this without  the help of a small village of friends to turn to along the way. You know who you are. Thanks ladies! xo


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Thanks to you my dearest JUDE

– your strong will and curiosity keep me on my toes

-your humor reminds me to HAVE FUN DAILY and not take life so seriously

-your kind heart and desire to help others reminds me that kindness really can change the world

-your building and DIY nature makes me want to make more things instead of buy them

-your love makes me want to be a better ME

-your unique style inspires me to stay true to mine

-your desire to live a healthy life reminds me to take my own advice

-your zest for life makes me feel SO thankful to be alive

-your desire to stop, smell & pick the flowers for me makes me proud of the little man you have become

-your lack of desire to be like everyone else refreshes me

When you LIVE OUT LOUD you force me to do the same & for that I thank you.

Happy 5th Birthday my love.

I love you more than words. You stole my heart. You are the real deal. Shine On.

Love, MOM

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Jude is having a Lego + Boxing Birthday party this year. I’m super excited to teach him & his little friends some KIDboxing (hosting the party at the kickboxing gym where I work) + we will be doing some FUN Lego games too! I will post lots of pics after his party on Sunday 🙂

Tomorrow is Jude’s big day & he requested ‘anything chocolate’ -so I whipped up some gluten & sugar free  Birthday Brownie Balls to send with him to preschool. Get the recipe below! (if you have to avoid nuts at your school then just replace the almonds with sunflower seeds & the PB with sun butter).

Birthday Brownie Balls
 
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Serves: 14 balls
Ingredients
  • ¾ C raw almonds
  • 1 tablesoon raw cacao powder
  • 12 pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoon all-natural organic peanut butter
  • Optional Superfood Add ins: goji berries, Enjoy GF choc chips, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes (unsweetened)
Instructions
  1. Place almonds in a small food process or and process for about 30 seconds or until your almonds are finely chopped like almond meal. Set aside.
  2. Next, process the pitted dates until they become like a paste.
  3. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, including the almond meal, and pulse for an additional minute.
  4. Form dough in to balls and eat! If it is having trouble sticking, add a tablespoon or 2 of honey.
  5. *You can make them into bigger sized balls & then place them in cute cupcake wrappers- fun!
  6. **Need more balls? Double the recipe!

FYI: These are such a yummy snack- not just for birthdays 🙂

Keep it real! xo Branda

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9 Best Foods for Your Skin

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  1. Almonds: loaded with Vitamin E, almonds protect your skin against sun damage.
  2. Flaxseeds: The Omega 3’s in flax help to erase fine lines and age spots.
  3. Sweet Potatoes: These taters are loaded with Vitamin C, which when consumed, act almost like collagen in its wrinkle smoothing abilities
  4. Spinach: The folate in dark, leafy greens like spinach help maintain and repair DNA, which may reduce the likelihood of cancer-cell growth
  5. Coconut Oil: Suffering from dry, itchy skin? The Omega 3 fatty acids in Coconut oil can be the best moisturizer
  6. Carrots: The Vitamin A found in carrots can boost eye health as well as clear up your skin from breakouts
  7. Green Tea: Green tea contains catechin, which has proven anti-inflammatory properties.
  8. Water: Hydrated skin keeps it looking supple and glowing
  9. Mango: The Vitamin A in mango helps repair flaky skin to a beautiful, smooth texture

Want glowing skin? Try a mix of green goodness to get the job done!

Green and Glowing Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup cleaned spinach leaves, firm packed
1 cup cleaned kale, rough chop, firm packed
1 cup green seedless grapes
1 Bartlett pear, core, stem and seeds removed
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 banana, peeled
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1⁄2 cup water
2 cups ice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in blender and process on a low speed for 15 seconds, increase to medium, then high until well blended. Going green never tasted so good!

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You + February = LOVE

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Yipppeee!!! It’s time to love ME!

It’s that time of year again. Yes, I mean FEBRUARY. The month of LOVE. I know. I know. We are supposed to be loving up our sweethearts and spending time & money on them right? I disagree! Don’t get me wrong, I love my sweetheart, but I spend a lot of time doing nice things for him & my son all year long- this is exactly why I am asking you to pull the old switcheroo & make this month about YOU! This challenge was designed to help you stop being critical of your body and learn to focus on what matters! It is time to slow down, meditate, calm your cravings, and nourish your body with superfoods. AND because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, this challenge will be packed full of brand new ‘sweet treat’ (superfood) recipes that you will LOVE! {Yes they are so good that even your sweetheart won’t be able to tell they are healthy}.

BONUS: The first 8 participants to register for the ‘Love Yourself’ challenge will be mailed a FREE SKOOP 5-day Challenge packet to try for the first 5 days of this challenge! Experience for yourself the amazing benefits + awesome powers of super foods (10 servings of veggie/fruit + probiotics + adaptogens + antioxidants) all in the convenience of one little packet! (It’s also organic, free of gluten & non GMO- c’mon you know I only recommend the best!)

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PERFECT for busy + healthy babes like YOU.

Read more & register for the challenge at the link below.

http://bodybybranda.com/love-yourself-challenge/

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Skoop: Get Your Super On!

Some of you already know that I am SUPER picky about what I put in my body. I read ingredient labels for a living and will not recommend any products with shady business practices and/or suspect ingredients. SO, basically I rarely recommend or get behind any food brands or supplements. BUT, on that rare occasion when I find something I LOVE- I must share. This is it! A seriously amazing product that I DO support!

Introducing SKOOPSkoop_Biz_BackLines

Okay, I admit it. I am a Superfood junkie, but let me tell you why! Our minds and bodies flourish under the influence of plant-based Superfoods. They’re rich in antioxidants, probiotics and adaptogenic herbs that reduce inflammation and acidic build-up, give you all-day energy and resilience, and supercharge your immune system’s ability to fight disease. Skoop is not a meal replacement, but rather a good choice ‘kick-starter’ for your day. Most Americans don’t get a full ‘packet of nutrition’ which means our bodies think we are never quite full. So we graze and graze (mostly on processed foods) which leads to weight gain. If you start your day with Skoop – you will be taking on the day by taking in something speedy and wholesome- this alone raises the health bar. Easy peasy & just my style.

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Skoop is plant based, free of gluten and GMO’s plus packed with with 41 plant-based ingredients that have been thoughtfully selected, harvested, and blended to work synergistically with each other and you!

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Have you ever wondered what THREE pounds of vegetables looks like?

Here is one version —>

Now imagine having this for breakfast. Not that appealing if you ask me. But one little scoop of Skoop has the equivalent of this and can get your day off to a great start!

Skoop can be enjoyed several ways, but my favorites are in my oatmeal & in my almond milk. SO easy.

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Skoop even comes in handy dandy packets. Perfect for traveling or when you are on the go!

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Alright! I will stop raving now, but expect to see new recipes from me that involve the use of this amazeballs product because I’m hooked! Check out more info  + get your hands on some here –> Skoop

Take the 5-Day Challenge: Try Skoop for 5 days straight. If you don’t begin to feel a difference, they’ll refund your purchase! Click here for details.

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Maple Quinoa Squash

Maple Quinoa Squash
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 delicata squash (I used delicata but you could use acorn or another type)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins or unsweetened cranberries
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt & cinnamon to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half & scoop out seeds (save the seeds for roasting!) I peeled my delicata squash (optional) and then massaged it with coconut oil as well as lightly greased the glass baking dish with coconut oil.
  3. In a bowl mix up the quinoa, red onions, raisins or cranberries, and coat with most of the the maple syrup.
  4. Scoop the mixture into the squash halves & then drizzle with a little bit more syrup + sprinkle with salt & cinnamon.

 

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Try It: Maple-Maca Ice Cream

Though this ice cream is perfect for warm weather, maca has a slight warming quality, making it a good pick for cooler days as well. You do not need a ice cream maker for this recipe, however, if you do not have access to a high powered blender (like a Vitamix, Blendtec, or even a Magic Bullet), soak the cashews and water together for 30 minutes before blending for smoother results.
INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
½ banana
¼ cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp raw maca powder
pinch sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup cacao nibs (or dark chocolate chips for a real treat)
DIRECTIONS
Blend all ingredients – except the cacao nibs/dark chocolate – in a blender until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl or  container and freeze for 30 minutes. Mix in dark chocolate chunks into the cold ice cream, then continue freezing, covered, until frozen through – about 6-8 hours. Let defrost for 5 minutes before serving to soften.
 Makes about 1 pint (4 servings).
 Note: If you have an ice cream maker, feel free to put it to use for a fluffier texture!
 
*What the heck is Maca?
Maca is a root from Peru that is packed with an array of vitamins and minerals. It is the highest altitude crop in the world growing at around 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andes. Maca has a rich malty flavor that combines well with cacao, another popular superfood. It is typically sold in a dried powder and is available at most health food stores. Maca is a complete protein providing all of the essential amino acids (the ones the body can’t produce on its own). It contains an abundance of calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, potassium and phosphorous. Maca also contains an assortment of vitamins including C, E, B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin).
The mineral-rich maca root has adaptogenic qualities, which may support the regulation of stress and repair, balance hormones, boost sex drive, and enhance strength and energy… all without being a stimulant. What’s not to love??!
Enjoy!
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