Affogato, anyone?

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I fell in love with a beautiful, creamy, bitter, amazing affogato at my favorite vegetarian restaurant this summer, while having a breakfast date with a dear friend.  I typically stay away from coffee, it gives me serious headaches (unless of course I have a headache, then it’s a miracle pain reliever – funny how that happens) that last and last.  Seriously, if I was to have two cups in a day I would soon not be able to see out of my right eye. It’s crazy!  So I have them here and there.. and by here and there, I mean once every three months or so.

A traditional affogato is a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato and a shot of super strong espresso, very Italian and wonderful. My experience up until today has always been with those two ingredients. Gelato, and espresso. So, given that I don’t drink coffee, I do not have a coffee machine, waking up with a major affo-hankering this morning proved a bit of an issue.

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My favorite coffee substitutes by far are maca (with a number of other superfoodie ingredients), and roasted chicory.  Both boast crazy great health benefits, give super amounts of energy and stimulation without a giant caffeine crash, and they aren’t acidic like coffee is! Instead of multiplying our acidity just to have a cuppa (perhaps even adding in a doughnut or something else ultra acidifying),  it’s so super easy to brew up one of these babies and glide straight on past that morning crash, wave goodbye to jittery vibrating organs, and say hello to something new! Why not, even just to try and see? My boyfriend drank a (seriously crazy in my opinion) amount of coffee up until a few months ago. He cut it out completely while we did a cleanse, and has since reintroduced it in more of a moderate way. I think that’s perfect, you like it? Drink it! Just don’t have seven cups a day and wonder why you don’t feel quite right. We are constantly bombarded with “do this” – “NO wait! Do this!!”  When really we need only do what feels right for ourselves as individuals. Piece meal what you like, toss what you don’t.

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The amazing boost in stamina, hormone balancing and adrenal support from maca is marvelous.  I always mix cacao with my maca, I love the super groovy awesome vibes that come from these beauty beans.I  just love them! Packing in the minerals, tossing in some fats to help absorption, and finishing with some really great additives like lucuma or mesquite (or both!). Not mesquite like the bark used with bar-b-ques! Nope! I’m talking the bean pod, where a plant naturally concentrates the most love and energy. Mesquite trees are incredible, super deeply rooted, so just imagine all the nutrition that is elevated into those beans! Loads! Lucuma is a fruit, I buy it dried and in powder form. Lucuma acts as a fantastic binder so it’s pure perfection when you’re taking a bunch of powdered herbs and trying to fully emulsify them in water or tea. Some serious delight comes from mixing these ingredients, I kid you not. I also added some freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla to smooth everything out with the vegan coconut ice cream but those are optional, depending on how espresso-y the mixture needs to taste.

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Affogato

1 Tsp Black Maca Powder
2-3 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
1 Tsp Mesquite Powder
1 Tsp Lucuma Powder
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
3-4 Cups Water
Freshly Grated Ginger – to taste
Coconut Ice Cream
Vanilla Bean Powder & Cinnamon

Boil the water in a small pot on the stove, once it is boiling remove from the heat. Add the maca, cacao, mesquite, lucuma, and honey, gently whisking to incorporate everything. Fill a mug or teacup 2/3 full and top with a scoop or so of coconut ice cream. Finally, sprinkle with vanilla and cinnamon and enjoy!

Ultra simple, ultra satisfying.

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Longevity Elixirs….. Lemonade style!

ImageSummer is the perfect time for refreshing lemony drinks – right? For sure!  Thirst quenching, cool, delicious.   Why not add some super awesome healing powers to that as well?

Lemon is absolutely remarkable, citrus is so uplifting and fresh – the smell of fresh lemon rind is unbeatable. Lemon aids digestion, is antiseptic as well as antimicrobial, super supportive for liver function as it stimulates saliva and bile production. This bright beautiful yellow citrus has long been used to treat colds, coughs, sore throat, flu and parasite related issues. The oils from lemon rind are great for all of the above, but in a slightly more concentrated form. Essential oils are incredibly beneficial, and lemon rind in particular has an insane amount of antioxidants. Pair that with the high vitamin C content, and you are good to go!

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I’ve mastered both the “pink lemonade” and a classic. The first, a beautiful and extremely tasty Ruby Lemonade Iced Tea.  This baby is a goji berry and green tea base, with added goji and hibiscus flowers for color and nutritional value.

Goji berries, of course are famed for their healing abilities, as well as incredible folklore surrounding their ability to sustain life far beyond our typical years. I was very happy to see goji plants last year while garden shopping with my dad. Next house I move to… will have a yard that will sustain one of those plants. That I promise myself. How lovely.. to walk outside and harvest my very own goji berries.   For now..  I am happy to buy them dried.

Hibiscus flowers have become a deep love of mine in the last few months, I found them – dried – in the bulk herb section of Community Natural Foods and have been using them in almost everything. They are amazing! They lend such a beautiful color to this tea, in addition to boosting the vitamin C content, they also supply a large amount of antioxidants and minerals.  This Ruby Lemonade Iced Tea packs a serious vitamin C punch.

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Ruby Lemonade Iced Tea

2 Goji Berry Green Tea Bags (or regular green tea would be just fine!)
4 Cups of Water
Dried Goji Berries – as many as you’d like
1/2 Organic Lemon – thinly sliced
5-7 Dried Hibiscus Flowers
Honey – to taste

I don’t own a kettle, which works well for larger batches of tea such as this. In a pot, on the stove – get the water boiling. Once it has reached a full boil, remove it from the heat. Green teas are best steeped while the water is settling down, instead of during the rolling boil. Add the tea bags, the lemon slices, the berries and the flowers. Allow the colors, aromas and flavors to swirl within the pot for a few minutes before adding the honey. It will only take a second or two for the beautiful red hibiscus to seep into the water, turning it into this ruby delight. I let the whole mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes before removing the tea bags, but  I do let the remaining ingredients soak for quite a bit longer. Taking the lemon slices out.. probably closer to 30 minutes, and leaving the berries and flowers (they’re super yummy to munch on once you reach the bottom of your glass.. and they look pretty too!). Bottle in jars, or glasses of your choice and serve chilled.

ImageThe more classic lemonade iced tea, is so super awesome.  Seriously… so so soo super awesome.

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About four months ago, I bought a massive bag of Pau d’arco which is the inner bark of a South American tree. There are lots of places to buy pau d’arco… but be careful if you choose to do so, there are plenty of people wanting to turn a profit from this powerful herb without doing the work to cultivate it properly. This results in many sources selling the bark from a different tree entirely. Make sure you are familiar with your sources! Pau d’arco is a very amazing herb for cancer (prevention as well as reduction) and viruses. Known for it’s amazing ability to reduce tumors, reduce candida, and treat very serious virus related conditions. As it is a bark, you need to make sure to boil it for at least 15 minutes to get the full nutrient value.

Incredibly Healthy Almost Classic Lemonade Iced Tea

6 Cups of Water
6 Teaspoons of Pau d’arco
1/2 Organic Lemon – sliced
Honey – to taste

Unlike the kind and gentle steep required by the green tea above, pau d’arco can be added to your pot of water before the boiling process has begun – So add the dried herb along with the water, boil for at least 15 minutes.  Discard the pau d’arco, add the lemon slices and honey. Return to the warm (but turned off!) element, allowing the oils and juice from the lemon a fair chance at steeping. I left my concoction to cool slowly on the stove for about an hour, maybe even an hour and a half.  This really allows the bitter lemon oil to escape the rind. It’s best to taste it before you bottle it, if you decide to leave the lemon in for such an extended period of time. I’m not joking about the bitterness in the oil! This lemonade is excellent luke warm or chilled – so if you just can’t wait to drink your amazing longevity enhancing, cancer fighting elixir… that’s perfectly fine!

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