Guilt-free Avocado Vegan Brownie Recipe

Guilt-free Vegan Avocado Brownie recipe via It's Jou Life // https://wp.me/p7RBMP-14d

It’s not common to mix vegetables into desserts, but this Guilt-free Avocado Vegan Brownie recipe calls for the green stuff and it tastes divine. The secret ingredients are avocado and coconut oil–and it’s healthy! They provide a rich texture and dose of healthy fats.

However if you want to go the extra mile, these are perfect fresh out of the oven topped with your favorite scoop of vanilla ice cream. I also enjoy packing these in a baggie and enjoying it on the road.

This is my go-to dessert for parties because it’s the healthier version for fudge-y brownies. I love telling everyone they’re not only decadent, but they’re guilt-free and vegan!

Skeptical? You gotta try it to believe it!

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Never Coast at FlyWheel Cycling Studio (Playa Vista)

Get $30 off ClassPass and Try FlyWheel via It's Jou Life blog https://wp.me/p7RBMP-12V

– Why this new FlyWheel cycling studio in Playa Vista is so FLY –

Incorporating indoor cycling into my regimen has really amped up my workout game. Not only am I increasing my endurance but spinning is joint-friendly and perfect for all ages. FlyWheel has really created a new type of workout that allows every rider, regardless of level, to bring out the best in themselves. They incorporate performance tracking technology in an immersive, interactive, and music-driven indoor cycling experience that makes it fabulous, fit, and fun! I always grab my friends to spin at FlyWheel and experience the wonders of group fitness together.

The new Playa Vista location opened up last year and is in a prime location. After a big sweat grab a green juice at the Whole Foods next door, brunch it up with a gourmet burger at Hopdoddy or a poke bowl at Da Kikokiko, a cup of joe at Starbucks, or just walk around the hip outdoor center. Tip: There’s an awesome Farmers Market happenin’ on Saturday mornings and they set up right up in front of FlyWheel!

As a loyal ClassPass member with access to FlyWheel classes, learn how to get $40 off your first month, here. More details at the end of the post.

Get $30 off ClassPass and Try FlyWheel via It's Jou Life blog https://wp.me/p7RBMP-12VGet $30 off ClassPass and Try FlyWheel via It's Jou Life blog https://wp.me/p7RBMP-12V

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Top 10 trends at the Natural Products Expo West 2017

Exploring NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST 2017

Top 10 Trends at Natural Products Expo West 2017 via It's Jou Life blog https://wp.me/p7RBMP-YO

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 37th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products expo. I was among the record-breaking 80,000 attendees perusing 3,100 exhibitors, including more than 500 first-time exhibitors, at the Anaheim Convention Center and extending into the Hilton and Marriott ballrooms. I excitedly counted down the weeks for this multi-day event packed with delectable tastings, educational seminars, and meeting innovative companies. As a healthy lifestyle and skincare enthusiast (and serious snacker), I’m always scouting out new natural products, learning about upcoming trends, and chatting with brands that have a mindful mission. As my sophomore year attending, thank goodness I came prepared with a good night’s rest, comfortable shoes, and a big appetite because I logged some serious miles and ate to my heart’s content.

trends & What I Discovered at the Natural Products Expo Continue reading

Kale Edamame Quinoa Salad // The Power Salad

Kale Edamame Quinoa Salad via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-WF

This Kale Edamame Quinoa Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing is inspired by the Super Spinach Salad that I used to shell $4 for at Trader Joes. Now that I know how to make the star ingredient, Carrot Ginger Dressing, I’m set for life. I make batches of this dressing ahead of time and always have it stocked in my fridge.

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Easy healthy granola recipe

Easy, healthy granola recipe - itsjoulife.com

This is such an easy granola recipe that’s not only delicious and healthy, but you’ll never want to waste your hard earned money on store bought granola again. Did I mention it’s also vegan, dairy-free, and egg-free? It’s made with whole grain oats, unrefined coconut oil, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Oh yea, and it’s entirely guilt-free.

I usually top granola over plain greek yogurt, eat it by the handful, or package it in mason jars and gift to friends and family during the holidays. Continue reading

DIY / lifestyle blog got a makeover!

It’s Jou Life | a DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

Join our mailing list by entering your email (top right column section) and receive an email each time we post!

Friends of Ours.

Hello, and welcome to It’s Jou Life! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, a (relatively) newly wed couple who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog—musing about natural, healthy, artisanal living, and everything in between.

We started this blog because our family and friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, what is Wayne woodworking on now, to send over our miso black cod recipe, what snacks stock our pantry, a tutorial on that cute zippered pouch, tips for marathon running, where do we worship, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s skincare regimen… you get the idea. This is our way to share life’s loves.

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Growing trends of the natural and organic products industry // Natural Products Expo West 2016

IMG_6632The US-market of natural and organic products is a $153 billion industry and showing no signs of a slow down. Mainly driven by the consistent growth of consumers demanding natural, healthy and eco-conscious products, it’s no surprise that this mega industry has a plethora of new companies emerging every year.

Last month I had the delightful opportunity to attend the 36th annual Natural Products Expo West, the the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event. It was like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. As a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, I grasped all the natural product consumer trends, channeled my inner Augustus Gloop meets Michelle Phan–indulging in food samples while swatching beauty products. It was a weekend filled with tastings, education and meeting wonderful brands. I was among 77,000 attendees perusing more than 3,000 exhibitors at the Anaheim Convention Center. I didn’t have my Fitbit on me, but I’m sure I logged some serious miles that weekend.

NewHope

Photo courtesy of NewHope.com

Below is an overview of some consumer trends surrounding the healthy lifestyle products industry.

Back to Our Roots: Quinoa, chia, acai, Kombucha, raw, sprouted, coconut oil–superfood ingredients and preparation techniques that date back to the days of pre-industrialized foods. Brands are focusing on natural, whole and nutrient-dense ingredients. The skincare industry mirrors this trend with using pure ingredients like argan and coconut oil. I met a brand, Cocokind, an organic skincare line centered around using virgin coconut oil and superfoods. Consumers are conscientious with ingredients they eat and use on their body. They are staying away from genetically modified foods, artificial colors, preservatives, parabens and products tested on animals.

The Busy Individual: The always on-the-go individual lacks time, but craves smart and nutritious fuel in-between meals. Think hand-held snacks and drinks that are convenient, delicious and healthy. I like to kick-off my morning with drinking my greens with a Suja Juice cold-pressed juice. On a side note: I’m thinking of doing a juice cleanse to reset my body. Any advice or recommendations for which juice brand to try? A new product I’ve discovered are meat and veggie bars from Wild Zora and Wilde Snacks. It’s healthier than conventional jerkies because they are free from nitrites, nitrates, MSG, not too salty, contain vegetables, use grass-fed, free-range and hormone-free meats. I’m a big snacker and sometimes crave a meaty snack high in protein and low in sodium. Read my favorite snack discovery last year here.

The Socially Conscious Shopper: The today consumers have conscious living woven into the fabric of their lives and making informed decisions by keeping the environment and mission-backed products in mind. They choose purposeful brands with ethical practices and sustainable packaging over its conventional counterparts. I met a brand, This Bar Saves Lives, that donates a life-saving food packet with every snack bar purchased. It’s the “buy one, give one” philosophy, fair trade practices and donating proceeds to non-profits that allow consumers to make an impact with each purchase.

Over the next several weeks I’ll be sharing with you my tried and true favorite products from the expo.

recipe // walnut and date cocoa energy balls

 

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls  // itsjoulife.com

Lately I find myself getting hungry between meals at work, rushing to workout classes and running errands. These healthy walnut and date cocoa balls have been a staple in my every day. It not only provides protein and energy to get me through my long days, but also hits my sweet tooth cravings–guilt-free. Best of all, it’s so easy to make.

Walnut and Date Cocoa Energy Balls

Prep: 15 minutes

Yields: Approx. 19, depending on size

Ingredients

1 cup raw walnuts (or ½ cup raw walnuts and ½ cup raw almonds)

1 cup firmly packed pitted dates (slightly softened)

2 T goji berries (optional)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Optional: dash of ground cinnamon, raw honey

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until extremely fine. Tip: If the dates were in the fridge, let it soften in room-temperature for about 15 min. Not required though. I just find it blends and have a more favorable texture if slightly softened.
  2. Taste mixture. Tip: If the mixture isn’t sweet or on the dry/crumbly side, add a few drizzles of raw honey. Process again.
  3. Shape into 1” balls. Tip: I like to use a mini ice cream scooper and then roll between my palms.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Good for about a week.

Healthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-ballsHealthy Walnut + Date Cocoa Energy Balls via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/recipe-walnut-and-date-cocoa-energy-balls

Day 8 // Outsmart Your Appetite for Sugar | Birchbox Challenge

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

I have an insane sweet tooth. I crave chocolate (most) times of the day. Recently Compartes (those retro, gorgeous packaged, eccentric flavor chocolate bars) have been infiltrating into my thoughts. (Okay, sugar has already distracted me from the message of this post).

When chocolates and cupcakes beckon me, I tend to distract myself by eating a healthy alternative, take a 15 minute walk around the block or check my Instagram feed. Most of the time the urge will subside.

My favorite snack alternatives:

Apple & Natural Peanut Butter – I love the salty + sweet flavor combination. It reminds me of the healthier alternative to candied apples. The fiber of the apple and protein of the peanut butter make the perfect pairing of a nutritious and filling snack.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Crackers & Cheese – My favorite crackers of the moment are Raincoast Crisps Rosemary Raisin (cheaper dupe is Trader Joes Raisin Rosemary Crisps) and any spreadable cheese.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Trail Mix – I either buy it from Costco or make my own. Mixed nuts, especially walnuts are high in omega-3 and almonds help lower bad cholesterol. I like to add dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

joining the Birchbox Challenge | day 1 // eat dessert for breakfast (really!)

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways.

Let’s do this!

Day 1 // A favorite motto of mine is Dessert First! What a great way to ring in the new year with a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie for breakfast. It’s a wholesome update on a favorite summer treat that makes for a slightly decadent on-the-go breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.

I made a few alterations to the recipe based on preference and what I have available. I used coconut oil (instead of cashews), vanilla soy milk (instead of almond milk) and honey (instead of maple syrup). The smoothie will be very thick (spoon-able, even!). I added an extra half-cup of ice and thinned it out with more almond/soy milk. I added more honey and soy milk accordingly to texture and taste.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

Makes 2 large smoothies or 3 smaller ones

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup fresh strawberries 1 cup ice

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cashews (I used coconut oil)

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla soy milk)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use 3/4 tsp since 1 tsp is too strong)

Directions: Add ingredients to blender. Blend until fully combined.

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast // itsjoulife.com

What is Birchbox? Read a previous post written.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers curated beauty products tailored to my preferences. For just $10 a month, I receive 4-5 hand-picked, deluxe beauty samples from the best brands—popular luxe brands I covet, to the new and niche brands I have yet to discover. I’ve been a loyal subscriber for the past few years and this is hands down the best beauty box and offers the best incentive programs.