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Health cacao recipesHappy New Year!! I truly hope 2016 is a wonderful year for you- packed full of health, happiness and fulfillment. I actually gave up on making new year’s resolutions a while back, but I do have a few things that I’m intentionally going to focus on. One of them is the ongoing pursuit of stress management – meaning, deliberate time spent on meditation, and yoga. I also set goals at the beginning of each year, and go over them with my close friend Kim. She and I have done that for a few years now, and then we review at the end of the year and see how we did.  Just for fun I’ve also added some healthy cacao recipes here to help you find yummy treats that are still in line with good health.

I am writing this post from Noosa, one of my favorite beach resorts in Queensland, Australia. We had a great week in Sydney and spent New Year’s Eve there, which was a magical experience given that Dave had never seen the Sydney Harbour fireworks before.

While predominantly a family holiday, I also saw some of my patients last week. Some of them I’ve known for several years now, and we have a close friendship as well as therapeutic relationship. One of my patients was telling me about a healthy cacao mousse that she makes – not only did she go home and email me how she makes it; she also went up to the shops and bought me the ingredients I would need to make it myself. Those acts of kindness and generosity I find so endearing – what a sweetheart! She also had seen Valentina’s stuffed toy koalas that she is so attached to and also bought her a toy koala to join her koala family!

Valentina with Katie Koala, Koala Lou and “new” Koala Lou.

So here it is – the delicious, simple and guilt-free cacao mousse recipe –

1 can coconut cream
1-2 dessert spoonfuls organic raw cacao
1 teaspoon (ish) dessicated coconut

Dried cranberries (rinsed to remove any added sugar)
Maple syrup, or stevia as a sweetener
Nuts such as slivered almonds
Essential oils such as wild orange or cinnamon (just 1 drop)

Just mix it all up, add sweetener to taste, and pop it in the fridge. It will thicken somewhat once chilled. Eat is by itself or with some fresh berries, and/ or sprinkle cacao nibs on the top!

So there’s a yummy treat for you to make and enjoy. Since you have cacao powder in your house anyway, another possibility would be to make a power smoothie with it –

1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 dessert spoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 scoop (stevia sweetened) protein powder
4 fresh strawberries

Blend and enjoy!! You can use any kind of fruit really, I think either all strawberries or ½ strawberry ½ banana would be great.

I’ve been loving having green smoothies every day here, while running with my sister every day in the national park. It’s great being on vacation but feeling fitter and healthier at the end of it too!!

Because of limited internet access, and just because I’m enjoying a lot of down time and time with family, I probably won’t post again until I’m back home in San Diego. Doing nothing is what vacation is all about.

I will say, though, that having started this blog in August, just a few months ago, I’ve been so excited by how it’s been going. I have 2097 “likes” on Facebook at this very moment (crazy how that has become a marker that we gauge our progress by!), and I’ve been able to chat and connect with many people that I may not have crossed paths with otherwise. I love to write and share information, so it’s all great fun for me. I wanted to thank you for your support, and let me know how much it means to me that you’re reading, responding and engaging. Happy New Year and I look forward to being a part of your 2016.