Tag Archives: homemade

  1. How-to Make Healthier Hot Cocoa Mix {+ Video}

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix

    With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again that I share with you some of my favorite, simple homemade holiday gifts. This wintertime staple is a quintessential way to deal with the frosty cold weather. This homemade version is made with only a few, all-natural ingredients and the bonus to making it yourself, besides the obvious, is the free reign to add whatever you’d like to it. If you like less sweet, opt for unsweetened chocolate, looking for a little more sweetness try bitter or semisweet chocolate instead. You can add cinnamon or cayenne or any other flavors you’d like (see the bottom of the post for flavor variations). Today I am sharing my recipe for a basic hot cocoa mix with a few suggestions at the end for extra add-ins, as well as a free printable label for you to print out, customize and add to your gift.

    How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix

    There’s nothing like giving the gift of tasty treats, made with love this time of year, but especially cozy, heart-warming decadence like this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix. Rich and luxurious without being excessively sweet. Download the included printable, customizable label, throw in some mini marshmallows, this is a great recipe if you want to make your own. Package it all up in a cute jar, include a tablespoon tied with a little ribbon or string and voila, the perfect holiday gift.

    How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix

    How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix

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  2. How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee {+ Video}

    Learn How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee with this surprisingly simple process. It takes just three simple steps to the best cold brew you’ll ever have. No super special equipment needed, it’s much more affordable than your local coffee shops and you can customize the strength of your brew to your liking.

    How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee

    How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee

    It has happened slowly over the last year or so, as my body and my health has continued to shift and improve, but I have developed a pretty solid morning habit that involves a quality cup of organic coffee shortly after I rise. I have come to find that this morning routine serves many purposes for me, personally, but most importantly, I find it’s a really beautiful morning ritual, something that I greatly enjoy and always allow myself the space to honor and totally embrace, no matter where in the world I am.

    Often I am asked “is coffee good for you?” As you can probably imagine, my answer to this question is quite similar to how I respond to many other food and health related questions and that is – “it depends”.

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  3. How-to Refresh and Hydrate Your Skin with Homemade Infused Face Mists

    How-to Refresh and Hydrate Your Skin with Homemade Infused Face Mists

    How-to Refresh and Hydrate Your Skin with Homemade Infused Face Mists

    Looking fresh faced and glowy in the dead of summer is challenging. With the heat comes the drab makeup and the blah, dehydrated skin. In the sweltering dead of summer heat, nothing feels quite like a refreshing face mist. Spritzing your face with a homemade infused face mist is cooling and refreshing on a hot day, post workout or as a pick-me-up for that mid-afternoon drop off.

    Face mists make your skin less dull and more dewy, providing additional benefits from the botanicals you select for infusing. Traditionally with facial mists that are hydrosol distillations that include the essence of botanicals and endure an involved distillation process. While some store-bought versions use this method, many can also contain synthetic fragrances, alcohol, or other ingredients that can cause dryness and irritation.

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  4. How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate and the Many Benefits of Dark Chocolate

    How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate

    How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate

    This homemade dark chocolate is simple to make and very easy to customize and make it exactly the way you want it, from sweeteners to flavorful add-ins. With constant research showing the many health benefits of dark chocolate, this is one indulgence I plan to never give up. A food that is not only good for your soul, but your mind and body as well?! Yes please. In fact new research has even reported that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart 1https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm.

    Sadly, not all dark chocolate is created equally. So many of the bars at the store contain soy lecithin, a ridiculous amount of refined sugar, vegetable oils, “natural flavors”, corn syrup and other unnecessary ingredients. Conventional chocolate bars filled with lots of additives will not have the same benefits as clean dark chocolate and are likely to do more harm than good! The closer your cocoa is to its natural raw unrefined state, the higher its nutritional value.

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    References   [ + ]

    1.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm
  5. Dairy-free Ranch Dressing {Paleo}

    Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

    Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

    Ranch dressing used to be one of my favorites. There was a time in my life where my snack of choice was pretzels with two bowls for dipping. One had yellow mustard, the other, creamy ranch dressing! Ah those were the days.

    Nowadays, you know that I prefer to avoid store bought dressings, because most are just loaded with crap (the many offender being vegetable oils), so I choose to make my own. Making your own salad dressings and vinaigrettes is a very simple task, you can control the ingredients, the flavors and the quantity.

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  6. New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 4

    Whether you are starting the year off with the Whole30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, maybe you are going paleo or gluten-free for the first time or perhaps you are simply just getting back to your usual mindful-eating ways – we could all use our regular, pre-holiday routines and definitely some healthier eats. I want to make these first weeks of 2017 a breeze for all of you, this is the final week of meal plans all month. I hope it has been helpful.  All of the meals featured in the weekly meal plans, throughout this month, are gluten-free and paleo, all of the recipes are free from grains, dairy, legumes and sugar (or have very simple options to make them as such).

    New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 4

     

    Greek-Style Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

    Monday: Lettuce-Wrapped Greek Lamb Burgers (for dairy-free, just leave out the optional feta and make dairy-free tzatziki). Serve with a big  ‘ol Greek salad and some homemade dressing (skip the feta and the sweetener) and some kalamata olives.

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  7. New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 3

    Whether you are starting the year off with the Whole30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, maybe you are going paleo or gluten-free for the first time or perhaps you are simply just getting back to your usual mindful-eating ways – we could all use our regular, pre-holiday routines and definitely some healthier eats. I want to make these first weeks of 2017 a breeze for all of you, so I have meal plans set for every week this month.  All of the meals featured in the weekly meal plans, throughout this month, will be gluten-free and paleo, all of the recipes are free from grains, dairy, legumes and sugar (or have very simple options to make them as such).

    New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 3

    Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits
    Monday: Grab a rotisserie chicken or make your own roast chicken in the slow cooker and use the leftovers to whip up this Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits (can be made with chicken or turkey). Drop in your favorite veggies and leave off the grain-free, nut-free biscuits, if you prefer.

     

    Slow Roasted Citrus Fennel King Salmon with Crispy Fried Lentils

    Tuesday: A seasonally-inspired meal, this Slow Roasted Citrus Fennel King Salmon with Crispy Fried Lentils (leave off the lentils if avoiding legumes) features winter citrus and beautiful, aromatic fennel for any easy but luscious weeknight meal. Serve with your favorite green veggie on the side!

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  8. New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 2

    Whether you are starting the year off with the Whole30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, maybe you are going paleo or gluten-free for the first time or perhaps you are simply just getting back to your usual mindful-eating ways – we could all use our regular, pre-holiday routines and definitely some healthier eats. I want to make these first weeks of 2017 a breeze for all of you, so I have meal plans set for every week this month.  All of the meals featured in the weekly meal plans, throughout this month, will be gluten-free and paleo, all of the recipes are free from grains, dairy, legumes and sugar (or have very simple options to make them as such).

    New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 2

    Chicken Ruby Murray (Chicken Curry from Dishoom)
    Monday: Inspired by our recent travels to London and it’s amazing curry scene this Ruby Murray (Chicken Curry from Dishoom) is delicious over cauliflower rice if you are avoiding grains and if you want to add some green goodness to the dish, stir in baby spinach and frozen peas right at the end. My favorite.

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  9. New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 1

    Whether you are starting the year off with the Whole30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, maybe you are going paleo or gluten-free for the first time or perhaps you are simply just getting back to your usual mindful-eating ways – we could all use our regular, pre-holiday routines and definitely some healthier eats. I want to make these first weeks of 2017 a breeze for all of you, so I have meal plans set for every week this month.  All of the meals featured in the weekly meal plans, throughout this month, will be gluten-free and paleo, all of the recipes are free from grains, dairy, legumes and sugar (or have very simple options to make them as such).

    New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 1

    Instant Pot Beef Stew

    Monday: A hearty, yet easy to make meal, this Instant Pot Beef Stew is the perfect, cozy winter dish. (Don’t have a pressure cooker? Don’t worry, I include instructions for the slow cooker)

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  10. 15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    With the holiday closing in on us, I am sure many of you are doing the last minute gift scramble so prevalent in these final days before Christmas. Rather than throwing money at the wall and going with whatever it sticks to, instead of just grabbing another gift card from the big box stores, why not get creative and craft up some beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts this year?

    Drop the cottonball snowmen, leave the popsicle sticks in the popsicles and leave the salt dough for the kids. Finally put away, I repeat, put away the glitter. Spread the holiday cheer with some of my favorite sweet (but sometimes savory) and simple handmade holiday gifts.

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  11. Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar {Gluten-free, Paleo + Vegan}

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix {Paleo + Vegan}

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix {Paleo + Vegan}

    With the holiday just a week away, I am sure, if you are like me, you still have a handful of last minute gifts to take care of. I always promise myself I won’t leave anything until till the last minute, and yet here I am, one week out with a few final gifts left to get. Thankfully, I have always loved the idea of handmade gifts, the personal touch and the thoughtfulness and these gifts can be made right up until the last moments before the actual holiday. Enter my Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar!! Because cookies are always a great idea, especially when someone else does half the work for you. If you get lucky, whoever you gift this mix to, they’ll have you over for dessert, when they bake them.

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  12. Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    For those of you that follow me on social media, you likely see that I spend a fair amount of time at the Terranea Resort here in the LA area. (Full disclosure, I was selected as one of 5 influencers to be a 2016 Terranea Resort Social Media Ambassador, but my love for this place runs deep and far beyond that title.) I truly feel that Terranea is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, yet it really shouldn’t be. Terranea sits on the coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, about 15 miles from our front door in Long Beach. The 102-acre private peninsula paradise, is like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. Surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific, the coastal setting of Terranea embraces the California lifestyle and it’s Mediterranean heritage. Regardless if you are a guest at the resort the sprawling land is all open to the public, so you are free to walk the ocean-side trails, dine at the many restaurants, plan a spa day or just enjoy the views.

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  13. Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    With Halloween approaching and the rest of the holidays not far behind, sweets and treats are going to be just about everywhere, tempting us at every turn. While I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional indulgence, I still also maintain my concerns about the quality of ingredients in most treats. From loads of refined sugar to, often times if store-bought, a lengthy list of fillers, thickeners, “natural flavors”, soy products and who knows what else. There’s just no reason for it, especially when you can make your own.

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  14. How-to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

    It’s pumpkin spice season and before we dive head first into all the fall baking and making, let’s get down to the basics. Homemade pumpkin pie spice takes but 5 minutes to make and while buying a pre-made blend is just as time effective, I often find the pre-made blends aren’t made to my liking. It’s also more cost effective to make your own, especially considering you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry, already.

    How-to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

    How-to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

    Other benefits of making your own: You can also make it in smaller batches, if you prefer, to keep it fresher, keeping it’s strong flavor, for longer. You can tweak the blend to make it to your liking. Adding even more cinnamon or nutmeg if you prefer, dropping the allspice if that’s not your thing, you can fully customize this spice blend to be your own.

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  15. How-to Make French Vanilla Coffee Creamer (Dairy and Non-Dairy)

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

    Since I have begun seeing clients as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I am so grateful for my longstanding experiences with and my love for food. I am constantly asked the question “If I shouldn’t eat this, then what can I have, instead?”. I love having answers to this question.

    I firmly believe that changing diet and lifestyle has to come from a place of both education and confidence. If I meet with a new client and tell them to stop drinking several Cokes daily, but don’t explain why, I can’t really expect them to want to make this change. Why would they? They are both chemically and emotionally attached and possibly even addicted. If I can take the time to explain the effects that the high levels of sugar are doing to their insulin resistance, if I can talk through the reasons why high fructose corn syrup is terrifying and explain the affects this one drink can have on their blood sugar, digestion, mineral absorption and so on, I have a much better chance of getting them on board for the long haul.

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  16. How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

    Yesterday’s summer solstice marked the official start of summer, which means we also kicked off the season of grilling and barbecue. A good traditional barbecue sauce is key to a season of delicious backyard feasts. However, if you are like me, when you turn over most jars and bottles from the store, to investigate the ingredients, you are sorely disappointed. Most contain loads of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, various preservatives, thickeners, artificial flavors, colors and who know’s what else. Let’s be honest, they are also not all that good. We can do better!

    Making your own sauce is incredible simple, you don’t need any special ingredients and with this simple tutorial and formula, I also give you the options to customize your sauce and make it just how you like it.

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  17. How-to Make Ghee at Home

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Ghee at Home

    Ghee is a kitchen staple around here. For the longest time I was buying it, and I still do in a pinch, but as I discovered the cost efficiency and simplicity of making it at home, I have made this part of my DIY repertoire.

    For those unfamiliar, ghee is a clarified butter, of sorts, that has been cooked down for some time, removing any moisture, milk solids and impurities. What remains is a pure and delicious butter oil, that has turned a beautiful golden color, it’s taste and flavor are slightly sweet and nutty. Ghee brings an aroma, taste and flavor a lot like butter, but even better. The difference between clarified butter and ghee is ghee’s lengthier cooking process, to remove all the moisture and the milk solids are browned in the fat and then strained out, bringing the slightly nutty taste. Ghee has a longer shelf life, due to all the moisture being removed.

    Ghee is a wonderful option for those who are lactose or casein intolerant and want to enjoy the taste of butter. Ghee is also clearly a much better option than those scary hydrogenated oil-filled margarines and other highly processed vegan spreads. It does not burn, unless heated excessively, so it’s a wonderful option for stir fries, sautéing, frying, roasting, sauces, ettc. It’s also delicious as a spread, on toast, pancakes, scones, over rice and more.  It can also be used on the body, as an oil for massage, as a base for healing herbal treatments, for burns, skin rashes, etc.

    How-to Make Ghee at Home

    In India, ghee is a sacred and celebrated symbol of nourishment and healing, especially in daily rituals. It is also used in every day cooking. Ayurvedic physicians celebrate this liquid gold as being important to health and well-being, balance and vitality. If you don’t wish to make your own, ghee is usually found in the ethnic section of any big grocery store, in most Indian/South Asian stores or online.

    Always make ghee with high-quality grass-fed organic butter. Cheap butter contains a lot of water and chemicals and it tends to burn faster. Due to the reduction and straining process, always start with 25% more butter than the amount of clarified butter desired. 1 pound of butter = approximately 1 1/2 cups ghee.

    How-to Make Ghee at Home

    The Benefits of Choosing Ghee:

    Rich Butter Taste without the Lactose or Casein. Made from butter ghee has the buttery flavor, but the milk solids have been removed, so if you are lactose or casein free, enjoy without issue.

    Ghee has a high smoke point. 485ºF. You can cook and fry with ghee and it will not burn nor will it break down into free radicals, like so many other cooking oils can.

    Ghee doesn’t spoil easily. Without the presence of milk fat and water, this makes ghee shelf stable. If you desire, it can be stored at room temperature rather then refrigeration. Ghee will last a couple months in an air-tight container at room temperature. If you aren’t sure if any moisture or milk solids remain, you can certainly play it safe and store in the fridge, to maximize it’s shelf life. That’s generally what I do.

    Ghee is rich in fat soluable vitamins A D and E. If you have gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s or certain pancreatic disorders, you may have a problem absorbing vitamin A. By using ghee for cooking, and as a replacement for butter, you can increase your intake. Vitamin D can be made in the body, after exposure to sunlight, but obviously in the colder winter months is can be challenging for us to make enough. Ghee benefits the body by improving moisture and contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant whose role is to repair damaged skin, balance hormones, improve vision and help to balance cholesterol. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed with fat and stored in the gastrointestinal tract — and they are essential to maintaining a healthy metabolism and various biochemical functions in the body. (1)

    Ghee is also rich is K2 and Conjugated Linoleum Acid.  Studies show K2 is better for building bones than calcium and proper levels of K2 can help fight tooth decay, bone loss and aid in the fight against the calcification of arteries. CJA is antioxidant with anti-viral properties, when sourced from grass-fed cows. Studies indicate that it may help to reduce tumors, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and actually lower body fat.(2)

    Like coconut oil, ghee is rich is medium chain fatty acids, which are quickly absorbed directly to the liver and used as energy. This quick burn can actually lead to weight loss.

    Ghee and butter are rich in butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid great for protection against fungal infections and aids in colon health. It’s been shown to support healthy insulin levels, is an anti-inflammatory, and may be helpful for individuals suffering from IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (3)

    Ghee Reduces Inflammation. Ghee’s levels of butyrate play a role in reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body. In Ayurvedic practice, ghee benefits the body by creating a more alkaline system that overall reduces inflammation by reducing the leukotriene secretion and reducing prostaglandin in the body(4)

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  18. Honey Sweetened Orange Marmalade

    Honey Sweetened Orange Marmalade

    Honey Sweetened Orange Marmalade

    We are closing in on three years of living in Southern California and I can tell you with so much confidence that the novelty hasn’t worn off, I don’t take a single day here for granted and I feel like I am exactly where I was always destined to be. This place is truly magical. While hailing from Buffalo, I had a little bit of snow-day envy as the blizzard made it’s way across the east coast this weekend, walking outside in a t-shirt to your very own orange tree – that is certainly not lost on me. Not one bit.

    Honey Sweetened Orange Marmalade

    We got so very lucky that the house we ended up in, here in Long Beach, has a beautiful yard, complete with an abundant orange tree, grape vines, the biggest fig tree you ever did see, an avocado tree and so many other amazing fruit trees. I have been learning to get creative with everything we have been so graciously gifted from this land, but despite the constant creations I still have so many oranges that need to get eaten. So, this marmalade was created and even more excitingly this week I purchased a canning kit, to *finally* learn to preserve. It gets here in just a few days and I plan to make lots more of this marmalade to enjoy throughout the year.  In the fall I certainly plan to preserve my Fig Honey Jam and some grape jam, too.

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  19. 10 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    10 Homemade

    10 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    With the holiday closing in on us, I am sure many of you are doing the last minute gift scramble so prevalent in these final days before Christmas. Rather than throwing money at the wall and going with whatever it sticks to, instead of just grabbing another gift card from the big box stores, why not get creative and craft up some beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts this year?

    Drop the cottonball snowmen, leave the popsicle sticks in the popsicles and leave the salt dough for the kids. Finally put away, I repeat, put away the glitter. Spread the holiday cheer with some of my favorite sweet (but sometimes savory) and simple handmade holiday gifts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  20. How-to Make Essential Oil Holiday Room Sprays

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Essential Oil Holiday Room Sprays

    The various aromas of the holidays and the feelings they evoke are certainly synonymous with this time of year. The rustic evergreen of a fresh cut christmas tree; spicy, warming cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; bright, citrusy orange or the fresh, minty smell of candy canes – these can all bring the good feelings of seasonal cheer, the reminder or family and love and the promise of a season full of joy and happy memories.

    As someone very triggered and often driven by scent, I am also someone who is very sensitive to scent. I always have been. Would that make me scentsitive? heh. I find the fake, synthetic aromas to cut through the air, not in a good way, and often times they provide an instant headache. They linger and simply mask any existing odors, they can overpower a room and even more alarming, they are often loaded with so many chemicals. The more I clean up my life and the more I cut out, the more I am aware of and sensitive to where all nasty stuff is hiding. That connection of your brain to your body and that innate knowing of what to avoid, certainly becomes more heightened. The more connected and in-tune I become the more I seek for natural, clean alternatives.

    How-to Make Essential Oil Holiday Room Sprays

    These holiday inspired all-natural scents will not only provide a welcoming and cozy, seasonal setting perfect for holiday gatherings, but you’ll also be reaping the many therapeutic benefits of the essential oils, too. Purifying the air, warming your soul and uplifting your spirit, these room sprays are inexpensive to make, you can customize your scents and your blends to make your own personalized aroma and of course, they make an amazing gift.

    This formula and the various blends fill a 4oz bottle, but feel free to double or triple your recipe. As always, I provide you with printable labels to customize your gifts. I left the area where the oils are listed, blank, so you can make your own custom blends.

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  21. Real Food Halloween Treats

    Real Food Halloween Treats

    The last remnants of summer have all but disappeared, the sun is setting early, leaves are changing colors and the smell of fall is definitely in the air. Or maybe it’s the cloud of the pumpkin-spiced-everything obsession always wafting just above us. Either way, this is one of my favorite times of year. Jack O’Lantern carving, houses all throughout the neighborhood are decked out in their spooky accoutrements, and the very visceral excitement from all the kids for this year’s costume can be felt no matter where you go. Though it’s been quite sometime since I’ve thrown on a mask and taken to the streets for some good old fashioned trick or treating, I do still find myself wanting to indulge in the treats. I am only human, after all.

    I am not so extreme or excessive in my approach to eating and food to that I think that Halloween should be celebrated with raw veggies and dollar store toys, rather I try to encourage the idea of homemade, real food options wherever possible. So, I thought a list of some of my favorite Real Food Halloween Treats would be a great idea and it might inspire you to try a few homemade options this year, rather than the creepy, scary packaged stuff, loaded with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and artificial colors and flavors! Also, I am really showing my cards here and you’ll clearly spot my obsession with chocolate.

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