Monday, May 27, 2013

Ice Cream for Breakfast??


Okay, first off, I have neglected you. I'll admit it, my blog has lain dormant for far too long.
I have a hundred excuses.. yoga teacher training, first hair-cut in 8 years, two near kitchen fires, and a general apathy for anything that deals with chopping, dicing, and thought.. sorry.. no more excuses.

Would you still love me if I told you that I have delicious raw, dairy free, ice cream in store for you??
Okay.. well ice cream might be a stretch but how about delicious rich berry gelato?

I hope you aren't too disappointed.. I'm not really much an ice cream person..

This recipe was created by a favorite yoga instructor and inspirational author of Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life,  the beautiful and amazing Tiffany Cruikshank.. but she put this to-die-for recipe on her Facebook.. (a sure fire way to send followers into a tailspin in a month when they have to scroll through all sorts of things to find one long forgotten post..)

So, I'm putting it up for you! Complete with pretty pictures and pin-ability (that is the ability to pin it to Pinterest, hehe)!!

First off you'll need a few things, and I mean very few!! Yay! See you can forgive me for my
kitchen-apathy, right??

1 Avocado (sm-med)
2 cups of frozen berries (I used raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries(not many those things, they are solid when frozen! Tiffany used peaches and blueberries)
2 tbls of raw honey (you can use which ever sweetener that you desire)
a sprinkle of salt
and .5 a cup of coconut water (if you are hard up and don't have coconut water add reg. water and a bit more sweetener)!

That's it!

Blend it all up in a Vita-mix or food processor and eat it..

maybe even for breakfast.. which I may or may not have..

No judgement remember! heh



Monday, February 11, 2013

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Guilt-Free Mini Pesto Pizzas!

Vegan, Gluten Free, Pizza with my SUPA EASY quinoa crust!



Okay, so who doesn't like pizza? With my cheesy-bready-loving family it is hard to escape the
inevitable pleas for that hot box that magically shows up on your door step piping hot
and full of "awesome" who-the-F-knows-what! I mean come on... we pay for convenience in
more ways than just our wallets.. I'm guessing pizza companies who can afford to sell $5 dollar
pizzas aren't investing in your health and well being..

...So, lets make some pizza, it is quick, it is easy, and best of
all it is full of awesome yummyness that won't have you feeling like a tub of greasy lard afterwards!

So lets start out with our crust. This crust is super easy and if you have some quinoa in your
cupboard you have pretty much all you need to rock these mini-crusts out in no time!

Pretty much all you need for these delicious hearty crusts!

Pretty much you just put about
1.5 cups of cooked quinoa,
a little bit of italian seasonings,
a teaspoon of salt,
a couple tablespoons of water,
a drizzle of EVOO,
and I threw in 1/3 cup of walnuts and a sprinkling of old fashioned oats just for the halibut!

I processed these ingredients in the food processor until it made a thick sticky dough.

On a greased baking sheet I made two 6in pizza crusts and stuck them in a preheated oven (400°f)
for roughly 20 minutes. I took them out and CAREFULLY flipped them over.. Treat these babies
nice because they break pretty easily!!

From here add your toppings and put them back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

I chose to use a homemade pesto for my sauce. Another quick and easy recipe that I make that
absolutely DOES NOT use pine nuts. Those things are CRAZY expensive!!

Laura's Cheap Date Pesto:

2 cups of fresh basil
1/4 cup of walnuts or cashews
1 clove of garlic
a dash of salt
a drizzle of EVOO (add more if mixture is too think for your liking)
1.5 tbls of nutritional yeast (if you aren't going for vegan use parmesan cheese)

Process these ingredients in a food processor (if using a blender do the nuts and garlic first so you don't end up with huge chunks in your pesto).

For my pizzas I carefully spread on my pesto and threw on some zucchini, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes, and topped that with Daiya Cheese. I like Daiya cheese a lot, and I'm PICKY about cheese substitutes, I will say though a little goes a long way (a good thing too because it isn't cheap).

These pizza's are delish, and since Mr. Man is at work and babygirl is crashed out on the couch I think I'll eat them both! heh!!

..and to prove that the crusts even holds up to being handled!!

Loving you!

Laura Helms

Friday, February 1, 2013

Somedays require yoga.. and some days require yoga AND CHOCOLATE!

Okay, today hasn't been the best, by no means the worst, but I found myself
running the hamster wheel of negative, resentful, pointless thoughts.

You know the usual, self-pity mixed with some "WTF' and "Why?!".. you know what I'm talking about.. don't deny it.
Nothing really happened to set me off, I was just feeling sorry for myself.. So, break out the
balloons and hats because we're making raw chocolate bars for this pity party!

Really though, My yoga practice helped knock me off my hamster wheel, but I was left needing something else..

call it a pick-me-up, a craving, a hankering..

.... a hankering for chocolate!

Because let's face it.. there are somethings that just require a big fat Rx from Dr. Chocolate..

However, I've done pretty good keeping chocolate out of my house.. It never lasts,
and I'm left with a sad feeling that I just undid all the healthy living from the past week.
So, let's make some healthy chocolate.. that's right, I said it! You know chocolate made
from nuts, dates, avocado.

That's right.. no added sugar, no dairy, no undoing the hour
of intense core work I just busted out in my yoga practice. This recipe is fast, easy, and
will have you smiling and back in the game. A word of warning though, I made this
chocolate in a bit of a frantic get'er done kind of way.. Yeah.. It was like that. So, the
measurements are approximates, but you should be fine as long as when you pinch the mixture and  it sticks together.

Raw Mexican Chocolate Bars:


Chocolate base:
1 c. Deglet Noor Dates (check em real good for pits, I swear I always miss one or two!"
2/3 c. raw cashews
1/3 c. Walnuts
3/4 c. Coconut flakes
1/4 of an avocado
1 tbls. melted Coconut oil
2.5 tbls. Raw Cacao powder
.5 tbls. Cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (roughly about 1/8 teaspoon)

.25 c. raw cashew
.25 c. coconut flakes
.5 tsp Himalayan sea salt (totally optional, but in my world salt and chocolate are a given)

Pulse all chocolate base ingredients into a food processor until it forms a sticky dough, if it isn't coming together at another tbls of coconut oil.
Put it in a rectangular container and press down to ensure uniformity.

You can also form the mixture into 1.5in. balls and roll in the topping to get more of a truffle effect.

Pulse the topping until the cashews are chopped and sprinkle on the chocolate and press it down to create your topping layer.

Place in the fridge and cool. Eat it. Smile. It's all gonna be okay.

I promise.

Loving you,

Laura C. Helms

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burgers

So, my partner and I love those darn Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burgers.. The only issue is that they are completely packed with processed garbage, GMOs, preservatives, and other things I can't even say better yet spell!

So, what is a girl to do? I mean I already have forced my loving partner into eating kale, arugula, chia seeds, quinoa, and a host of other things he'd never even heard of. By the way, It should be said that when we first got together I used to make him these incredible, authentic, amazing Mexican dishes. Of course, they were all laden in grease and other not so good for you things. He still to this day remains steadfast that that's how I roped him in. Ladies, you get it! The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach.. Well, I got to his heart and realized on top of loving him to pieces that I want him to live a long time, and personally, I didn't want to weigh 700lbs by the time we celebrated our silver anniversary. Okay, yeah maybe I tricked him, but he totally loves all the amazing healthy food I make! (Well .. almost all... Shh!)

Awhile back a friend of his introduced him to those aforementioned bean burgers, and we've been buying them ever sense.. (against my better judgement, but hey.. I pick my battles.)
So, yesterday when we were at the grocery store he mentioned that he wanted to get a box of those burgers, I informed him that I bet I could make them for less money and without all the other garbage in them! Well, he accepted my challenge, and I found myself trying to figure out how to make this happen.  So, I scanned through the scientific text (known as the ingredients label) picked out the identifiable ingredients and set about making these things happen! This recipe yields 12 patties. Feel free to modify as you like! I decided to do mine vegan, but I'll list other vegetarian substitutes as well!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burgers:


1 (16oz) can of black beans
1 cup of cooked rice, quinoa, or a combo of both --I used a wild rice and quinoa blend
1 large carrot cut into one inch chunks
.5 red bell pepper cut into chunks
3 tablespoons raw hulled sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast - this is replacing cheese, you could use .5 cup of shredded cheese
1 tablespoon of chia mixed with 3 tablespoons of water -this is replacing an egg (you could use an egg)
.5 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon aminos/tamari/soy
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
.5 tablespoon red chili flakes

Reserve half a cup of the rice and 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds -set aside

Process first 5 ingredients in a food processor until well mixed and carrots are broken down.

(If you don't have a food processor then finely chop veggies and mash beans and continue recipe below, it will be more of a hearty burger, which isn't a bad thing! You probably will not need the extra rice or sunflower seeds.)

In a large bowl combine mixture from the food processor and the half cup of rice, sunflower seeds, chia seed mixture, and seasonings mix to incorporate. --adding these in here will bulk up your burgers

Now you have your basic base, you'll be forming patties, (think golf ball size amounts for each patty,) from this mixture, so you have some options.

You can either bake these, fry these, or both. You'll have about 12 patties, so you will be freezing the left overs unless you just eat them all (more power to you! hah!)

I chose the both option and browned them in a skillet with coconut oil and then placed them on a large baking sheet in an oven set at 350° for half an hour. I let them cool and then put them in an airtight container and stuck them in the freezer!

I'm pretty sure that these are way cheaper, taste better, and have totally identifiable ingredients!
I made the whole batch in a little over an hour (that is making all 12 patties processed, browned, and baked. Mister man LOVED them and started eating them like cookies right off the baking sheet as they cooled.. Ahemm, rude! Just kidding, I'm thrilled he loved them!

Enjoy! Let me know how they turn out!

Loving you!

Laura Helms

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hey, You! Yeah, you! Lets catch up! *2011-present*

So, lets play catch up. If you're new to my blog you might be a little confused about the timeline. The previous posts, ala before Monday, on my blog were from 2011, and then ***timewarp* it is 2013. Yes, that is quite a bit of time. If you're friends with me on Facebook than you've been up to speed with the general story of the past few years.

On Christmas day I posted a photo (shown above) to Facebook of a me in the new Women's Health Big Book of Yoga, written by Kathryn Budig. (Thanks, mama, for this radical gift! Even though the book has been out since October, this was the first time I saw it in the flesh.. err.. cellulose? oh whatever.)

I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in starting a yoga practice, furthering their understanding of the benefits and uses of yoga, and incorporating light humor and renewal into your current practice. Seriously, this book is put together phenomenally!

...BUT.. lets back up, about a year-ish into my yoga practice I started doing Kathryn Budig's classes on (another wonderful yoga resource, $18/month unlimited online yoga classes from the crem de la crem of yoga teachers). I was inspired by Kathryn's wit, humor, and her ability to make me believe "the impossible"to be totally do-able! So, I began following her on Facebook. In Late October of 2011,  she had posted to her facebook that she was looking for stories of weight loss and yoga for her new book. "Hey!" I thought, I might have something to say on this.

It will come as no surprise to many, but I am a die-hard yogi (..yogini.. whatever..), originally I started this blog as an inspirational blog to get people on to their mats, or at least considering it, and a way to track my progress of losing the baby weight. Well, it was a journey that took a lot of dedication, and most of that dedication was spent on real-life and not so much blogging or updating. To date, I have lost all the baby weight and more. So, here is the story that appeared in The Big Book of Yoga.

Continued Below..

Copied from Women's Health Big Book of Yoga by Kathryn Budig (GO BUY IT NOW!)
 -- More info on Kathryn Budig

Yay! So, I actually wrote this in 2011, so, yeah want more of an update? I continue to LOVE my yoga practice, and all the weird benefits that manifest as a result. "Such as?" you might ask. Well, yoga has changed my outlook on life, love, fitness, and eating. It is really difficult to explain how a simple "exercise" can do all that, I know.. just trust me.. It is weird.. and it happens. Not trying to get too hippie-doo-da-day, but I'm thinking it has something to do with the whole mind-body-spirit connection that happens in yoga. However, you might not get this till you get "it", so I'll spare you the rest of my praise of the GRAND POOBAH-YOGA. Just trust me, okay? Hit your mat!

Another really amazing thing that happened last Summer, I actually got to practice with my yogini-heroine, Kathryn Budig, at Yoga Pearl for her Flight of the Yogi workshop. So much fun! I totally recommend looking into practicing with this amazingly inspiring woman. She leads workshops and retreats all over the world, so for real, check her out!!

Me, Kathryn, and my totally hot amazon mama

Right now, I'm focusing on honoring a place of balance in my life, and continuing to really focus on things that are implemented as a lifestyle and not so much as a means to an end. In other words, while P90X might rip my body to hot shreds of sexiness, the chances of me being about to keep up with that program long term are likely to none. I understand now that by doing things that are easy to incorporate into my everyday life that I set more reasonable goals and in turn I am more likely to stick with these things. This doesn't mean that I don't seek the moon and stars, it just means that I enjoy the top of the trees on my way up. Get it? no? ..never mind.

So there. Are you caught up? Anything else that you would like to know? Any ideas on where you might want to see this blog go? I have some great ideas on recipes to share and totally do-able wellness. I'm not rolling in the bucks by any means, so you can totally expect all my ideas, recipes, and suggestions to be easily implemented into a super tight budget (believe me, I totally get it. I will refrain from suggesting weird cleanses or detoxes that have you buying $30 supplements! Ugh! am I right?!)

I have been doing a lot of experimenting with raw and vegan recipes (p.s. I won't claim to be either of these things.. we're still working on do-able, remember?). Recently, began a love affair with my new CuisineArt (another radical gift from my amazeballs mama!) This year I also hope to really work hard and continue working really hard on some other life goals that I have in mind. I also expect some big changes from the mundane out of work college graduate life ..(please, universe, please, please! ..Yoga teacher training? totally awesome raw treats hustler? Secretly-a-total-mess life coach? hysterically stressed grad student? )

I don't know yet, I'm totally still figuring it out! ...but I'm cool, life is totally blessed! ...TOTALLY!

Loving You,

Laura C. Helms

Monday, January 14, 2013

Healthy Parents means Healthy Kids... NOT!!

My little picky one.

Before I had my own kid I always looked down on parents who fed their children happy meals, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and other fried or processed foods. Well, let the judge be judged because even now as I type this, eating my beautiful organic vegetable soup loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein, my daughter is eating one of the few things that she'll tolerate ..a cheese sandwich. 

I know, judge away, tell me all about how your child (or future child) would NEVER even know what that looked like better yet have it as a diet staple. Well, friends ...or former friends sometimes life isn't that easy. I was blessed with an extremely picky child. I breastfed till she was 15 months, her first foods were avocados, bananas, and mangos. However, when she hit her toddler years I discovered that my little mini-me began refusing to eat the lovely things I worked so hard to raise her with. 

I'm sure it is my fault, introducing bad foods once in awhile, and blah blah, but .....I'm DONE! I'm over the judgement. So, you can just stop snarking at me.. heh okay, maybe you aren't snarking, maybe I'm the only one judging myself so harshly. Never the less, being a uber-healthy mama to my little junkster hasn't been easy. Luckily she still loves fruits, carrots, and hard-boiled eggs, but other foods that I once would have looked down my big ol snarky nose at have found their way into our home. 

So, maybe you have a picky eater, or maybe you are a picky eater  ....who tortured your mother ... guilt, guilt, guilt.. okay just kidding, it's cool.. we are who we are. Part of being "who we are" is working around people's quirks. 

So, back to the little one. Her absolute favorite is ... mac-and-cheese, so how do we ramp up the healthy meter on this otherwise dull and nutrition-less food? Well, here are some secrets I've added to my arsenal against the picky one. 

Ways to "fix" your Mac-and-Cheese:
Buy only organic or at least all natural - this step will save you from a lot of the GMO (genetically modified organisms), harmful additives, preservatives, and other ick that our barely regulated food industry allows into your processed foods.

When you are making the little cheese packet you can add some pureed (peeled) zucchini or carrots which should blend into the lovely neon orange of the cheese packet.

Add in some nutritional yeast -- 

Don't be scared!
Nutritional Yeast - Find it in Bulk or Bragg's in the Natural Foods Section

"what the heck is this?!" you may ask! 

Well, let me tell you this awesome nutty-cheesy flavored yeast is quite a super hero in my world. Just ONE tablespoon will supply you with 100% your daily B-12! Two tablespoons will serve up 9 grams of protein, it is high in fiber, and gluten free! Not to mention it tastes great on popcorn, mac-and-cheese, and any other pasta, soup, nachos, or pizza. So do not be afraid to try a little of this wonder yeast!

Ways to "fix" your typical cheese sandwich:
I actually ate a lot of just plain old mayonnaise and cheese sandwiches while growing up. ....Okay, so maybe I wasn't the most healthy eating kid either.. see it is all my fault! 

..okay.. never mind.. guilt slip up.. moving on. 

Cheese sandwich whether cold or grilled can be made to be a little healthier! 

Number one, is to always buy bread that has some "car-parts"(as my dad used to call it) in it. Bread that has nuts and seeds will fill your kids up faster than other stuff that has been bleached, refined, and stripped out of most wheat or white bread. I love Dave's Killer Bread! P.S. don't trust the "whole grain" label, my philosophy is if I can't see it, it isn't worth buying. 

Number two, I usually with take and mix up a little over a tablespoon of avocado with a little mayo. This gives my little one some nice healthy fats, omegas, and some protein. Since she won't eat it I hide it!! Using the less green part of the avocado and the mayo and she'll never know that there is some good stuff in there. 

Other ways I sneak healthy stuff into my little one's diet is through smoothies and fresh juices!
I'm lucky enough to have a nice juicer, and my little one will drink whatever comes out that spout, which means she will drink kale, spinach, carrots, and whatever else will fit down that spout, just add an apple or an orange and watch it go! 

However, one of my most prideful ways to get her to eat SUPER healthy is through the magic of a smoothie!!

Here is a recipe that my little one sings for and even helps me make!

Helper girl doesn't even know!!

I love that I can cram tons of vitamins, omegas-3s, protein, probiotics, calcium, and iron into one awesome super low sugar smoothie! Feel free to adjust till you find what you and the kiddos will like!

2 tablespoons of Flax Seed 
4 nice big sections of kale separated from stems
1.5 cups of plain yogurt (we love Nancy's in this house!)
5-6 frozen strawberries
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 frozen (or fresh) banana
a "squirt" of raw agave nectar, honey, or sweetener of choice

Grind Flax seed in the blender till well pulverized 
Add kale and blend until well chopped and mixed with the flax
Add yogurt and blend to create your super power smoothie base
Add in your frozen fruits and blend until mixed together.
(I make sure that it is red, because green tends to send my little one into a tailspin)
I would eat it just like this (a little sour), but Luna is really picky so that extra squirt of
agave seems to do the trick for her! 

This girl will drink the whole blender if I let her. The main trick is to make sure that your kale and flax are well blended before adding the other ingredients! 

So, I hope this helps you help your picky little ones eat better, or at least helps you to stop judging yourself or others. There are lots of healthy alternatives to some crappy stuff out there. Just watch the sodium and preservatives. 

Sneaking in veggies is great, but only if the kid will actually touch it, so go easy, go slow.. The more you push, the more they push back, but that doesn't mean we give up. Make the food fun by spending a few minutes arranging it into a face, or make your own Bistro Box like at Starbucks. Be creative with what they will eat. 

My own Protein Bistro Box makes eating fun!

I might not have been the most health conscious child but my mother was always very into healthy food. I grew up watching her eat healthy, and even though it took awhile by the time I was in my early twenties I was a pretty health conscious individual. So, the best way to get your kids to eat healthier is to just remain a steadfast example and role model. ....and pray it is just a phase!! 

Cheers to guilt-free proactive parenting. .....and STOP JUDGING!! ..(yeah, totally talking to myself there!)

Loving you!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Alternative Lifestyles

So, progress is a slow thing. We can see this in our society, our government, our education, and the progress we strive for individually. My own progress with getting back into shape and down to a healthy weight has been just that, a slow thing.

However in recent months I've made changes and decisions everyday to help me achieve my goals, and making those new and different steps towards my goal have actually sped up my progress. Though some days it feels that I'll always be a looming shadow of my former self, recently I've noticed progress!! It's come in a smaller number on the scale (I'm down 17lbs!! 131.6!!), fitting into a pair of pre-pregnancy pants(given they were my fat pants lol), and noticing that once again I'm having to buy a new pair of pants!

These little steps I've taken each day are paying off. In our instant-gratification obsessed world it is easy to hope for quick fixes and short cuts, but delaying gratification to obtain realistic and amazing results with time and hard work feels soo much better in the long run.

Today I'd like to talk about one of my "small steps"; Healthy Alternatives!
There are things you can do each day to reduce your intake of calories and put you on the path to success!!

Eating out:
Eating out can mean a world of pitfalls for people on a diet! Even so called "healthy alternatives" at your local fast food resturants still can mean almost half your daily allowance of calories!!

Here in Oregon one of my partner andmy favorite restaurants is Burgerville;
(sidenote: At the beginning of getting back into shape I decided to return to my former vegetarian lifestyle. This is a demonstration of how even that can have pitfalls!)

Burgerville is WONDERFUL enough to have their nutrition facts included on their website and I recommend that if you know you are going to be eating out please look at the nutrition of their food, what you find might surprise you!

I used to always get the Spicy Blackbean Anazazi Burger. I thought, okay it is a garden burger how could it not be healthy choice? Well here is the breakdown!!

The Colossal Cheeseburger: 540 Calories

Tillamook Cheeseburger: 640 Calories

Spicy Blackbean Anazazi Burger: 680 CALORIES!!!!!!!!!!

When I saw that I about fainted!! So much for eating healthy!! So instead I usually get the Rogue River Blue Cheese salad w/ basalmic (which is INCREDIBLE and filling), but if I do have some extra calories to throw around what I get now is the White Bean basil burger which has only 490 calories. Pheeww!!!

This demonstration shows how important it is to be educated on what you are eating, and seeing through the gimics.

There are small things you can do, for example:

Subway?? how about swapping out the traditional mayo & mustard for the significantly lower calorie honey mustard dressing or even better just a sprinkling of EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar.

Where ever you are never be afraid to ask for light amounts of condiments or cheese.

Another helpful tip is to leave off condiments like cheese and sour cream to your favorite Mexican food and add more salsa! Salsa with it's spicyness is low calorie, tasty, and said to help kick start the metabolism anyway!

Teriyaki eaters? How about ditching the sugary sweet teriyaki flavor and going with some low cal tamari or soy sauce with some sriracha? Another way to reduce caloric intake is to ask for less rice or yakisoba noodles and more veggies!

If you are eating pasta at home try swapping out your traditional pasta with whole grain pasta or quinoa pasta, which pack a lot more bang for your calorie-buck! Another absolutely AMAZING pasta alternative is Spaghetti squash!! this recipe is INCREDIBLE! Even my carnivorous boyfriend loves it! .. infact I think I'll make it tonight!!

Love Parmesan cheese? try nutritional yeast which has a nice cheesy flavor for more vitamins and minerals and less cholesterol and calories.

Another one of my favorite alternatives is when eating raw veggies, instead of dipping them in high calorie ranch or another dressing, try just a nice dousing of Balsamic Vinegar!

Balsamic vinegar is also a great alternative for any salad dressing!

and when eating your toast in the morning swap out your traditional butter or margerine for some cream cheese, which usually has a less amount of calories but also has some protein!! Taste great too!!

A scrabbled egg has 75 calories, but you can scramble 2 egg whites for only 50 calories, and no cholesterol!

There are MANY MANY more ways of taking that extra second to think about another healthier option. These are just to get you thinking about what you can do today to help you avoid that demon called "instant gratification" and accomplish those goals!!

One Love my peeps!!