'Tis the season for chocolate covered almonds. Who am I kidding? Chocolate and almonds never go out of season, for good reason. The combination is luscious, and good for you.
It can be hard to resist the temptation to indulge in super sweet candies and desserts when there's no healthy alternatives. There are ways to enjoy delicious, nutty chocolates without loads of sugar (carbs.)
Dark chocolate is my favorite, so it's no surprise that these dark chocolate almond clusters are a staple in my frig. And it can easily be yours too. If you love almonds and dark chocolate, give these a taste.
Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters Recipe
Yield: 15 large clusters
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Organic Pyure or preferred sweetener*
1 1/2 cups roasted almonds
Not familiar with Pyure? Its an organic sweetener consisting of erythritol and stevia leaf extract. It has 0 calories, 0g sugar and 2g Total Carbs.
Coconut palm sugar can be substituted for Pyure, to taste. It has 15 to 20 calories, 4g sugar, and 4g to 5g Total Carbs.
You'll want to keep a batch of these rich chocolate and almond clusters on hand to satisfy your urge for something chocolate and nutty. Guiltless dessert.
Holiday decorations sparkle and glow around us. Every room is filled with the fragrances of the season: pine, cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin, peppermint and more. Unless the potpourri of holiday scents wafts from bread or a dessert baking in the oven, it may do more than tickle your nose or whet the appetite.
'Tis also the season for scented candles and fragrant air fresheners. Artificial fragrances, especially when used in confined areas contaminate the air and may irritate and provoke an attack in those with chronic asthma or allergies. When exposed to certain irritants or allergens, muscles spasm and become inflamed in hypersensitive air passages, making it difficult to breathe.
Thus, asthma is the result of an over-reaction of the immune system. This time of year, an acute asthma attack may be triggered by inhaling smoke, perfume or harmful chemical fumes released into the air from scented sprays, plug-ins, candles, or fireworks. Products labeled natural or unscented may also contain and release dangerous chemicals into the air that compromise the health of your lungs, liver and cause other serious health problems as it compromises immune function.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to switch to safe alternatives. Use 100% natural beeswax candles or diffuse pure essential oils like peppermint, pine, fir, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, ginger or orange for the holidays. Battery operated LED tea lights and candles placed in lanterns add a festive glow to your holiday decorations without irritating your sinuses or lungs.
BREATHE EASY NATURAL HELPS FOR ASTHMA RELIEF
Breathing artificial scents can irritate and provoke allergic reactions and asthma in those susceptible and cause damage to the lungs and liver. Don't let holiday scents trigger an asthma attack. Learn which natural supplements and nutritious foods build natural immunities against asthmatic attacks.
Important Note: To determine if you have asthma or an allergy, consult a natural healthcare provider for vitamin and mineral deficiency testing and to recommend appropriate treatments, supplements and dosages.
Related Articles of Interest:
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living, and Ultimate H2O Solutions. She is author of the books, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success, and a longtime writer for the Farmers' Almanac.
Chances are you’re surrounded by and encouraged to indulge in sweets and other high carb foods this season. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to New Years’ Day, an influx of candy, holiday dinners, cookie exchanges, and parties fill the calendar. Gift baskets and tins arrive with fudge, divinity, rich chocolates, and gooey caramel candies. The social calendar is full and so are you. Is there any way to survive the holidays without gaining weight?
18 ways to stay active, healthy, and avoid weight gain this holiday season.
What are you doing to stay healthy, trim, and active this holiday season?
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes. She is a longtime writer for the Farmers' Almanac, and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Deborah is co-owner of the business, Ultimate H2O Solutions. To read more informative, healthy living articles visit her second blog, H20 Solutions.
Whether you're ice skating or snowboarding in the cold or sitting near a crackling fireplace, you'll enjoy a rich, cozy cup of the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted! Like a warm fire, hot cocoa warms you from the inside out, and help make cold winters bearable.
What's not to love about these wholesome ingredients? This creamy, rich blend will make a hot chocolate lover out of everyone, so double or triple the recipe. To enjoy year round, make a glass of chocolate milk instead of hot chocolate.
The Greatest Hot Chocolate Ever Recipe
Creamy, rich, chocolaty goodness
Yield: 2 cups
2 cups your choice of non-dairy milk, (almond, coconut) or dairy cream
2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder or desired sweetener, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla whey protein powder
Note: (If you use heavy cream in this recipe, or full-fat coconut milk from a can, you can use a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of protein powder.)
Heat milk in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Add hot milk and remaining ingredients to a Vitamix or blender. Affix lid and mix until smooth. Pour into mugs and let cool slightly before sipping.
Enjoy this luscious treat!
This wonderful recipe is from Deborah Tukua's book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats.
It’s National Poinsettia Day! If you haven’t already adorned your house with a lovely Poinsettia, by all means, celebrate the day by purchasing a potted Poinsettia.
Did you know?
Are Poinsettias Poisonous?
Here’s a myth that we can put to rest about this beautiful plant. Poinsettias are not toxic and thus not dangerous to have indoors near children. Although Poinsettias are ornamental, and should not be eaten, a child would have to consume more than 500 bracts in order to reach an unsafe level, according to the Poisindex. Keep out of toddlers reach to prevent ingesting.
Poinsettias are also not deadly but are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. To avoid unpleasant symptoms of drooling, or vomiting, keep the plant out of reach of pets.
Potted Poinsettia Care Tips
This beautiful potted plant makes its annual debut each December, yet it is not winter hardy. As you read, the poinsettia is a tropical plant, native to Mexico. Like most tropical species, poinsettias don’t do well in temperatures below 50°F. A little tender loving care will keep your potted Poinsettia beautiful through the holidays.
Keeping Poinsettia as a House Plant Year-Round
The Poinsettia can be treated like a houseplant and fertilized every few weeks. In March, once the leaves (bracts) have fallen, the stems should be pruned. The plant can be placed outdoors for a rest when spring temperatures permit. In June, repot in a slightly larger container.
Come September a rigorous routine of 10 hours of daylight followed by total darkness in a closet will be required each day in order for the plant to flower in time for the holidays.
Author’s Note: I successfully grew a potted poinsettia for more than two years indoors in a sunroom. I watered and fertilized the plant with water from our koi pond. After a couple of years, of growth, it had more than doubled in size. So, I gifted the poinsettia to family in Florida to transplant in their yard, where it continues to flourish. If you live as far south as Florida, you can plant your poinsettia outdoors, in your yard, in spring.
What’s your favorite color Poinsettia?
From the traditional red to shades of white, peach, pink, and yellow, there are more than 100 cultivars available including marbled, striped and spotted tones. Want something unusual? Check out these showy varieties: Ice Punch, Autumn Leaves, Tapestry, Winter Rose, and Red Glitter.
Peterstar Marble, the elegant specimen with its shrimp color, edged in pale yellow, gracing our dining table in the top photograph is a personal favorite.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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