Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Spirit animals.

Let’s just jump right into this, because I am too tired to come up with some fancy superfluous introduction. Have you ever given any thought to what a spirit animal is, or why it’s important?

I think because of subtle Native American influence throughout my life, I’ve paid more attention to it than the average person. Only until more recently did it start to make more frequent appearances, and I have to tell you — it’s more than just coming across a great meme on Instagram or talking about how Cardi B is your spirit animal because she’s a chatterbox who don’t curr about nothin’. A spirit animal is essentially Mother Nature’s driving force of what embodies you as a cultivated spiritual being, or what supports you as someone in need a spiritual fine-tuning.

Let’s use me an example. I’ve always known my spirit animal was a horse. I’ve loved them and ridden since I was very young, and I’ve always been a “horse girl”. What does a horse actually represent, though? Those of you who know me, I’m sure you know me quite well — I’m the most unintentionally transparent person alive. Apparently, so is a horse. So, the horse… the horse is known for pride, highly charged emotions, and a very driven instinct. Horses are powerful — not in that they are nature’s predators, but they are powerful in such a way where they know there’s strength in numbers and strength in endurance and perseverance. Horses, like any earthly being, are also not perfect. If given the option between fight or flight, a horse will choose flight 99% of the time. However — a horse is not defenseless. they are quick, and bold if need be.

The interesting thing about the representation of a spirit animal is that — no matter how domesticated, the instinct of an animal remains pure. Animals are born with imprints that can be subdued, but they cannot be stopped. A horse has the innate capability of horsey ways that stay with them for life. The same can be said for someone’s spirituality — you can live your life any way you choose and make any decision you want… but ultimately, one way or another, we are all drawn to the same thing, which is compassion, self-acceptance and growth. When situations come up where I know I need to take a step back, ground myself and really understand the situation, it truly does help to envision what qualities a wild horse possesses, what could apply to this situation and how I could channel that into my own perspective.

Not to get too “woo-woo” — you can interpret your spirit animal any way you choose. While mine is a horse, maybe I keep seeing a fox while out driving, walking or riding (a horse… lol..). Perhaps, for that time, I need to bring more fox-like energy into my life by way of my thoughts, my actions, or my reactions. I think we’re drawn to certain animals in certain times of our lives, and I don’t think it’s simply because nature is around us and it happens as coincidence. embrace your inner wild side!

Onto other fun things… like food! I’m not sure where you are in the world right now, but in the Mid-Atlantic US, it’s HOT. Like, stop-wearing-make-up hot. Like, could-I-really-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-today hot. Cool down with this fun delicious peppermint patty chia pudding parfait!

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 4 hours

Cook time:  n/a

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the chia pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 6-8 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil (use sparingly)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

For the parfait

  • 10 oz almond milk Greek yogurt, such as Kite Hill or Silk
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

mint leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix together almond milk, almond butter, peppermint, vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa powder, until smooth.
  2. Once mixed, add to an airtight container and stir in chia seeds thoroughly. Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Once ready to serve, mix together your yogurt ingredients – the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
  4. Here’s where you can get creative if you want – layer your pudding, and then your yogurt. Add your cacao nibs, and garnish with your mint leaves. Best served chilled – if you want to put it back in the fridge, feel free to do so for a few minutes!

Serve and enjoy 🙂

-S

The Holiday Hustle: Made Better with (Paleo) Chocolate Chip Peppermint Skillet Cookies!!

The weather has turned! This is both good and bad. I have a Jeep and I grew up in the Northeast — I am not afraid of any snowstorm, any time. There’s two sides to this situation — the first, I work too much to be inconvenienced by snow. Closed roads, inexperienced/bad drivers… not a fan. The good part — if it’s bad enough to not go into work, it means I get to cook all day… SCORE!

I’ve been doing a lot of shopping, trying to get it all out of the way early this year. If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look at my Gift Recommendations for kitchen gadgets, natural beauty products and other fun stuff — link here!

The last few weeks have been so incredibly busy… I can’t believe it’s already December. I’m not sure where last week this month this year went. Appointments, dinners, parties, working, traveling… so much going on. At a doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago, I came across the concept of a “skillet cookie”, which is basically a giant cookie pie inside of a cast iron skillet. I had big plans to incorporate pumpkin or spices during October and November, but I clearly missed that boat. So, here we are in the middle of Christmas season, and I have decided to make a Christmas skillet cookie. Cue the peppermint.

Honestly, I sort of don’t like peppermint in a lot of things, but there’s something wonderful about a sweet little bite of chocolate chip cookie with a hint of mint in it. A few drops goes a long way, this stuff is quite strong.

There’s a few ways you could do this recipe — you can use multiple mini skillets  for personal sized cookies, or you could use one big one. Don’t be alarmed if you think you don’t have enough batter for a big skillet — a thicker cookie will turn more into a pie-like thing if there’s too much batter (plus it will take a lot longer to cook!). This was even approved by my non-Paleo parents, who enjoyed a few slices after I brought it over on Saturday. My stepdad enjoyed a nice scoop of regular vanilla ice cream on it, but you can absolutely add some non-dairy ice cream for a nice treat!

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie (Paleo)

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Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 Min

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature, but still solid)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops of food-grade peppermint* essential oil
  • 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-10 in. cast-iron skillet lightly with some coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and egg until smooth. (If you aren’t using a mixer, mash coconut oil with a fork to get rid of clumps—this part is really important! Add coconut sugar, vanilla and egg; continue to mix until smooth.)
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined – you should end up with a dough that is a bit sticky. Stir in the chocolate chips, mixing evenly.
  4. Add the mixture to the skillet. Using a rubber spatula, scoop contents from the bowl and spread evenly through the skillet to ensure it bakes consistently.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the middle is just set and the edges begin to turn golden brown.** Test doneness in the middle with a toothpick to see if any batter comes out on the toothpick.
  6. Allow to cool a bit in the skillet. Optional: top with vanilla ice cream prior to serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I use Young Living’s Peppermint Vitality essential oil, which is certified for food/drink and safe for internal consumption. Do NOT consume products not intended for internal use – adhere to your product’s directions for proper use.

**If your cookie is still gooey but the edges are quite dark, you can drop the oven temp down to prevent the edges from burning until the  center has cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy!

-S