My Favorite "food hack"! Plus 13 Brain Boosting, Anti-Inflammatory & Energizing Ingredients to have on hand for these Ridiculously Easy, Nourishing, Delicious & Fun Treats!

Hello There Beauty Filled Being!

Today we're gonna explore some of my newest favorite "food hacks" and a few simple recipes. Whether you have a passion for food and the kitchen is your favorite place to be or you're always  "on the go" and overwhelmed by what to eat to keep you going and feeling good this is for YOU!

These are simple and versatile ingredients to have on hand. Adding them to any dish will boost your energy, immune system & brain function. I always look for foods that are going to give me energy but not make me feel ungrounded & result in an energy crash (like too much coffee does). But trust me, I love coffee! And I'll give you a yummy recipe for that too, stay tuned!

If any of these ingredients are new to you remember to start small and add to create the best flavor profile for you! Some things will take time to adjust to taste especially if you're used to eating processed sugary foods. 

*I encourage buying local and organic as often as you can. While this is generally more expensive than GMO products (ordering online is also a good alternative) it's well worth the quality and higher nutrient content. 

THINK OF YOUR FOOD AS PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE (do check with a medical professional /nutritionist before making any major dietary adjustments or if you have adverse effects). It's when we feel our best that we are able to be our best! Eating is meant to NOURISH, REGENERATE, REENERGIZE & HEAL. It's also a communal experience so invite some friends & family over to enjoy your new creations! Have fun!


Lets's begin, shall we?!

Shopping list:

  • Cinnamon: a deliciously warming spice loaded with antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulates blood sugar. Studies also show that cinnamon may help prevent or address degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's & Parkinson's and lower risk of heart disease.
  • Turmeric: (it's all the craze!) and with good reason. Believe it or not, though it's a different spice it has many of the same health benefits (and MORE) as cinnamon just be careful with clothes and anything pourous it makes EVERYTHING YELLOW! 
  • Olive Oil: You probably already have this but if you don't please go get some! DO NOT COOK with it. It's a "low heat" oil add after cooking, use in salads, deserts & even smoothies. It's great for your stomach and helps heal chapped lips.
  • Coconut &/or Avocado oil: These are both nutrient rich "high heat" oils that you can use for cooking all kinds of yummy dishes.
  • Nutritional Yeast: You can have this on a candida diet. It's high in protein, B vitamins and trace minerals. Excellent to add to soups, salads, stir-frys, etc.
  • Raw Organic Cacao Powder: (or nibs but I find the powder is more versatile). Loads of magnesium & iron to boost energy. Looking for a mood enhancer? Cacao contains anandamide known as "the bliss" molecule...its good for your skin, brain function, digestions and more! I found a cool little article here.
  • Coconut Cream: I'm obsessed! (Look for cans with BPA FREE lining please!). What I loooove about coconut cream is EVERYTHING! Ok, ok, it's creeeaaamy and tastes deeeelicious without being overwhelming in flavor. It's a great half & half replacement because of the consistency and it won't cause inflammation like dairy does. It has healthy fats and lots of Potassium plus NO SUGAR!!! Yippee!!!
  • Almond Butter or Sunflower Seed Butter (sugar & salt free): (peanut and cashew are delicious but are higher in mold content so you may want to avoid those or alternate/reduce intake). This is all about being creative, adjusting foods to benefit your health. We will get to an awesome food hack for nut butters in just a bit. 
  • Blueberries (organic/wild): SOOOO Yummy! Frozen, fresh or both! These little blue love bombs are loaded with nutrients! Vitamins C, B complex, E and A and super rich in antioxidants that help protect your heart and minerals that boost immunity! SWEEET! and they have a low glycemic index (low in sugar, boom!)
  • Organic Coffee: Yup, I promised you COFFFEE & COFFEE you shall get! 
  • Nuts & Seeds: Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkins seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and ground flax seeds (again these are lower in mold content so preferable for anti-fungal.anti-inflammatory)
  • French vanilla Stevia: I don't like the taste of stevia so I use it very sparingly but have found that a couple of drops can enhance the flavor of something that I'd otherwise look to sugar for. I rarely eat added sugars anymore unless I'm at a restaurant or celebration and something special is being offered. I feel much better for it! In my coffee I do use maple syrup or raw honey. Stevia just doesn't cut it!

Keep in mind this is geared towards anti-inflammatory, cleansing and detoxing and supporting an gentle overhaul on our food habits, the way we think about, relate to and enjoy our food. That means being willing to make a shift!!! If you're cutting out sugars you will probably get cravings and maybe some symptoms (mild headaches and moodiness can be pretty normal, again check with a health professional), have fruit and drink lots of spring or filter water, your body will thank you! 

I strongly encourage tasting, tasting, tasting your creations as you go! This makes cooking fun and playful and getting feedback from your peeps as you go along can be a great way to share before the meals are complete!


My fave new "Food Hack" 

Super Boosted Organic Almond Butter: 

I was making a smoothie and adding all these ingredients and then I realized I should pack most of them into my almond butter and put that on everything! And I mean everything! And then I'm also only scooping this Bada*! butter into my smoothies instead of unloading package after package each time I bust out the blender.

What you'll need:

If you're keeping it in the jar you'll want a mighty strong spoon for stirring! It can get dense and messy this way. If you go with a mixing bowl, which will certainly give you more room to stir and be creative, you'll want a rubber or silicon mixing spoon/spatula.

These are the main ingredients I use. Get creative, adjust measurements to taste and have fun!

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  • a pinch or dash of sea salt
  • 3 drops stevia or 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao (nibs with give crunch, power will make this a totally fudge like treat. excellent for making vegan, paleo truffles. i'll post a recipe for this soon!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (this will help keep it creamy)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    Stir it up and enjoy!!!

Pack a jar of this to bring with you for quick energy when you're on the go or out for the day hiking. Rock a Boosted Almond Butter & Jelly samwitch. Enjoy with crackers, spread on chocolate (mmmmm), layer into parfaits (scroll for recipe), jazz up your oatmeal, heck make an ice cream samwitch with a little layer of this energy and nutrient rich goodness! Then put on your super hero cape and FLY ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE!!!   

Extra SWEET TREAT, this seasons Honey Crisp apples are so bomb with a boosted nut butter!

P.s this also makes a great gift! Fill a 4oz mason jar (these are so dang cute) and make a little ingredient label or recipe card to go with.


Two Rad Recipes!

Whipped Coconut Creme: 

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What you'll need:

  • You'll need to plan 12-24 hours ahead for this one. 
  • Electric hand mixer (yeah that's kinda old school I know, but it's fun!)
  • 1-2 cans Full Coconut Creme (not light) DON'T SHAKE! Depending on how much you want to make you may want a couple of extra cans in the fridge incase that cream doesn't separate all the way. Also, it's nice to have on hand for your coffee.
  • One large mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes before hand.

Here we go...This is so simple you won't believe it! 

  • Once you've opened the coconut cream you'll want to scoop off the heavy cream that's (hopefully) sitting at the top into your frozen mixing bowl. Add 3-5 drops of stevia (I love the French Vanilla!) or drizzle 1 teaspoon of maple syrup lightly (liquid sweeteners will blend best). Add sweetener to taste. Remember "you can add but you can't take away" (my g-ma always used to say that). 
  • Using the hand mixer pay attention and keep it moving in small circles to blend evenly then make one or two bigger to smaller circles to bring it all together. Do this by moving from from the inner circle to the edge around and back again or you can go for figure 8's! This will happen quickly (I'd say less than a minute). 
  • It will be quite obvious annnnd satisfying once you've got the fluffy whipped cream effect we're going for!
  • Enjoy immediately with fingers! Orrrrr a spoon, atop ice cream, parfaits, warm coffee drinks, hot chocolate, with berries or any treat you want to make creamy! 

DO NOT FREEZE (it'll become rock solid)! Keep in the fridge in a sealed container or you can pre-make parfaits to enjoy as desserts or breakfast treats! 


Whipped Coconut Cream, Fruit & Boosted Almond Butter Parfait

What you'll need: 

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  • Prep coconut cream & almond butter
  • 4oz mason jars with lids or other small containers if you want to break it up to store for snacking
  • orrrrr if you're enjoying immediately a few small dessert bowls or mugs
  • spoons & smiles!

Create a base layer of fresh or frozen fruit (I went with blueberries), then add the almond butter and a drop of stevia or tiny drizzle of maple syrup, next layer the coconut whipped cream! Continue on until your vessel is full and then top the whipped cream with any delicious garnish of your choosing (extra cacao nibs, cinnamon, hemp seeds, etc). ENJOY!!!!

I know I promised a coffee recipe, thats up in the next post! Hope you enjoy these treats! Please feel free to comment & share! 

Cheers to your health, feeling amazing & sharing a vibrant life! 

with LOVE! Always, 

Laura Valerie

Welcome to the Journey! Intro and a short story

Hello Dear Beautiful Soul!

I feel like we're about to take off on some cosmic carnival ride! And I get the sense that in fact we are (or at least I am!) and I hope you'll join me, as this blog has been a lifetime in the making. Quite possibly many lifetimes (if you believe in that sorta thing).

I'll be sharing all kinds of groovy stuff like yoga & mindfulness techniques to amazing foods, recipes and rituals that have helped me heal & keep me feeling good through the ups and downs of depression and anxiety and how I continue to keep myself grounded and connected. I'll be sharing about addiction & recovery, about my life, my poetry, short stories, art and THE RIDICULOUS BRILLIANCE OF BEING HUMAN! This has been a long time coming and I'm super excited to share the journey with you!!!

Please feel free to share with me about your experiences, fears, inspiration, excitement and life and let me know what you connect to most and want more of in these posts. This is a space for  inspiration and authenticity! I'm here to get real with y'all that there is hope and beauty in the pages of our stories. Keep writing, Keep reading, keep sharing & KEEP SHINING! 

*Warning! This is real life stuff so it can be intense, but we get through it.

Transition: Where I'm at now and what keeps me going...a "realtime" short story

To be completely honest, I am going through a tremendous shift in my life, it is confusing as all hell and strangely exciting at the same time. It's rife with moments of totally consuming fear and anxiety, what feels like falling down on my face in total defeat to extraordinary serendipity, absolute gratitude and what I can only know to be, Grace.

Grace, I'll get back to her. First comes a bit of madness, you know, that moment in time where you feel you may be on the brink of nothing less than insanity? Not the difference between genius and...I'm talking lose your mind crazy, my life is unbearably out of control. I shake my head, my body shudders and I remember there's close to a thousand things I can do to get through this and then...I feel a moment of complete panic. "BUT WHERE DO I BEGIN ?!?" Before the overwhelming feelings set and I'm locked into a downward spiral of fear and obsession my simple question leads to a quiet answer and a calm that settles in and "thank god!" quickly takes over. Direction; the next right action, a moment of clarity.  And there she is again, Grace, the clouds clear and my vision rights itself.

The world outside my mind comes back into focus. I welcome a tangible reality verses the momentary visceral insanity. Birds are chirping, patches of blue peak through a somewhat cloudy August afternoon sky and the roses smell magenta blooming on the street corner. A smile slowly paints my lips. Eyelids close like velvet and I lean in fairy like with silvery unseen wings; I take in their sweet perfume. Roses are like love bombs and Grace, she's a little funny like that; always waiting for you to open up and let her in. She's partly pause and alllll sigh, swaddling my soul in a creamy cashmere blanket of intuition that everything is going to be alright. She's the embodiment of remembering; no matter how life takes you by surprise that beauty purely and perfectly awaits you, if you're open to her. Grace...she's looking for you and she's a doozy. She walks hand in hand with a friend name Peace. I think they have a Love Child named Serenity. 

-Laura Valerie 

Please stay tuned for more! Next I'm sending out some of my favorite "food hacks" & recipes! Till then, SHINE ON!