Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dark Chocolate Super Bites

Since I was a little girl, I have been a fan of dessert.

There's been some issues though: confusing a pint of Ben & Jerry as one serving, or the ENTIRE row of Oreos as the perfect after dinner treat. My brother reminded me that I used to have cheesecake after breakfast when I was younger.

Needless to say, portion control and dessert-less nights (or sometimes mornings) are not my strong suits. If I am being honest though, I'm pretty okay with being a sugar lover. Can you really trust people who tell you they hate chocolate? What's next, babies laughing, Christmas lights, sunshine?

My sister, Lizzie, and I have been experimenting with cooking at home more, and it has been really great. I have a deeper appreciation for my food, I enjoy preparing my meals and knowing where they come from, and having an understanding of what's in what I am consuming. I also have been an even bigger fan of finding healthy dessert options. I've learned that eating healthy, fresh, satisfying food is how I want to treat and carry my body. These bodies are our one home our entire life- we've got to fill them with the good stuff. And it's definitely not all bad.

Lizzie made these delicious dark chocolate super bites a few weeks ago and they are a great once a week sweet treat.

Besides being absolutely yummy, they have multiple ingredients that are healthy and beneficial. Dark chocolate has been proven to help control blood sugar, has vitamins and minerals, and is good for your heart.

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical your brain releases when you feel like you are falling in love (the reason Lindor truffles make an adequate boyfriend).

Besides the chocolate, there's hemp seeds. Hemp seeds have omega 3's and 6's, protein, and fiber.

To keep the deliciousness, the detox bites also have super fruits like dried pineapple, cranberry, blueberry and coconut shavings, with shaved almond pieces as a garnish.

Alright, here's the recipe. The recipe is from the blog, The View from Great Island. 

Dark Chocolate Super Bites
Yield: makes approximately 2 dozen bites
What You Will Need
  • about 8 oz of dark chocolate, I used Trader Joe's 73% Super Dark chocolate bars (the higher the percentage of cacao the better)
  • assorted dried fruits, chopped nuts, and seeds
  1. Lay out a piece of parchment paper, or waxed paper, or foil.
  2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a microwave safe glass measuring cup. Microwave for 60 seconds, and then stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds, and then stir again to completely melt the chocolate. If there are still lumps, microwave for another short burst and stir again.
  3. Use a spoon to make small rounds of chocolate onto the parchment paper. Let the chocolate fall from the spoon and it will naturally form a more or less round shape. You can nudge it with your spoon if you like. Work with one at a time, and sprinkle each round of chocolate with an assortment of your healthy add-ins while the chocolate is still hot. Make them whatever size you like, but mine were about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  4. Let the chocolate set at room temperature, or put the bites in the refrigerator to speed things up.
If you plan to refrigerate the medallions it helps to put the parchment right on a baking sheet or tray so you can transfer it straight to the fridge. 
 I hope you all enjoy! Take a bite and let the phenylethylamine do it's work. What are your favorite healthy dessert options?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Break into blossom

I leave for France at the end of August and lately, I have been so hesitant to leave my family.

I spent the weekend with my mom and after hours of laughing, talking, and bonding, I thought about how not being able to get in my car and see her will be terribly difficult. I will not have my sister down the hallway. I will not have my close friends in classes. I will be leaving communication to things like Skype and Facetime. (and if you know me, you know how much I dislike this form of communication.)

It is more than just leaving my family and friends though. I could say that, but it really has to do with fear and physically stepping away from my comfort zone. Stepping away from a home I know, with streets I recognize, with friends that speak the language. I am safe here because I feel like my knowledge of my surroundings and day to day life keeps me in some weird way, invincible to harm.

I think feeling comfortable and safe is wonderful and necessary. But safety shouldn't mean that you give up looking beyond your own fence. Or traveling to places you've always thought about, meeting people of different cultures. Safety should be home. And home should be something you carry within yourself.

I have been nervous lately about stepping away from what I know and diving in to the deep end of something I know very, very little about. I don't speak French. I have never been to Europe. I have never lived alone.

I was thinking all these thoughts while sitting on my bed, organizing photos. How much I will miss making the memories frozen in 4x6's like Mom's smile and Lizzie's hugs. I'll miss the comfort of routine and the luxury of knowing what is right around the corner.

I looked up at my wall, and spotted a quote I framed from James Wright's poem, A Blessing: "Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossom."

I have had this quote framed for nine months. I haven't thought much about why I put it on my wall, besides that I thought it was pretty.

In the beginning of the poem, Wright talks about how he is traveling with a friend on a highway in Minnesota, when he spots two free-roaming Indian ponies and steps off the path and over barbed wire to greet them.

One horse with a darkness in her eyes walks over to Wright. He feels how delicate she is, noticing her beauty, and how lonely the two horses are in the field no one has ever gone to.

Life is full of things we can't prepare for. Some breathtakingly beautiful, and some really, really challenging. I think the whole point is to allow ourselves to not have to feel prepared, but feel the possibilities that only come from taking chances.

To step off paved highways, and over barbed wire, and become one with things we have labeled wild or unsafe.

I have no idea what my life will be like abroad. I don't know what the ground will look like when I land or what I will see outside the window of my temporary home.

But I will go anyway. Everything good in my life has not been planned or mapped or set in front of me. It has been within me. A deep, uncontrollable longing to do and see the things I know will eventually guide me.

 Breaking away isn't rebelling, it is a sort of freedom that grants me the right to be the girl who isn't defined by fear.

I say the words to myself slowly now, tracing the words I had framed, ""Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossom."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Life Is with Bri Tejeda

I stumbled upon the Instagram of Bri Tejeda just before Mother's Day. She wrote a post under a photo of her and he beautiful daughters that read:

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may have housed their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backwards not carries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. "// Because Mother's Day has always been a combination of love and loss for me - and tomorrow when I see my daughters, I'll hold them tight, and reaffirm to them that beyond me, they are their own people - capable, wonderful and complete in and of themselves - and in that I find comfort. //

When you find people just through social media, who whole-heartedly speak their truth, you quite literally follow them. Because they are doing something so right, so beautiful, and so authentic to our generation. 

Bri's post aren't about filters, or the right angle. Her posts are empowering, inspiring, about the sometimes messy parts of life and how they become all the more beautiful. She blogs at and it is this one-of-a-kind thing- a retreat from the pursuit of perfection. It's a safe place that celebrates and loves.

She is so encouraging, she celebrates women, mothers, and people everyday. Her daughters are stunning, vivacious spirits. And she is on the blog today, sharing what life is.

I asked if she would do a Life Is... interview for my blog and she agreed. We emailed back and forth and I just kept thinking how so many people bash social media for being too invasive, and it is totally is at times, but if it means once and a while it brings me to people that unconiditionally love, teach, and bring light to the darkness, I'll stay tuned in. 
Here's Bri's Life Is interview. You won't be disappointed. 

1. What do you think the three most important parts of living a meaningful life are?

  1. Be true to yourself. Its something I am forever working towards, and something I am trying to instill in my daughters because of the importance of it. Trusting yourself and your heart will guide you right. 
  2. Appreciation. Waking up in the morning and being aware of the gift you’ve been given, looking around - no matter the circumstances - and finding what there is to be grateful for. It can be your morning coffee, and the ability to enjoy it - it can be the roof over your head, or your kids/family members presence, and so on.. There is a lot in this life to appreciate. 
  3. Commitment. Deciding you want something and following through, no matter the struggle it might entail. Knowing what you find value in and being solid in that. This can stretch to every part of life, and its important. 
2. Who do you look up to?
My daughters. They have taught me more about life than I ever realized - They make me a better person and love me through my flaws. They are my whole heart. 
3. What are three non-essential things that get you through the day? Ex. chocolate, coffee,…
Coffee, my iPhone, and concealer.
4. What does the world need more of?
Understanding.  We all could use a little more well rounding on the things we struggle with understanding - nobody is perfect - but thats why I love some of the new series and contributors coming up on - It fills my craving for better understanding through other peoples personal narrative.

5. What is your personal mission? 
The power of perseverance and hard work. Life will always throw you curve balls - its part of the package - but is how you navigate those things, take ownership of them, allowing it to fit into a life narrative you can be proud of - that makes the difference.
6. Tell about a moment in your life that has shaped your belief system. How did you adjust your view and beliefs after?

I died momentarily when I was 13, I got bucked off a horse and dragged down a hill. It was gruesome at best, and amongst my very serious injuries - I lost my life for a short minute. I remember floating outside of myself, feeling as though I could see from an arial view - I saw my body, bloody and limp and I saw someone screaming “Brianna” - its clear as day in my mind, and it has been since I woke up in the hospital. I’ll never understand what exactly happened or why I have such a clear memory - but it changed the way I lived and understood life. When I was younger I think it made me feel invincible - as if because I survived I was no longer afraid of death - but as an adult it made me aware of the fragile nature in it all. The lives we lead are important and precious, they are meant to be treated gently because they are by nature fragile, for that reason I try not to go to bed angry, I try to remember that even when I'm frustrated I need carry a voice of love, and that at the end of the day - being self aware of the impact of actions and the importance relationship is ideal.

7. What is your favorite quote?
“Exhaust this little moment for soon it dies and be it gash or gold it will not return in this identical disguise.”

8. What would you tell your 10, 15, and 20 year old self?
“Its going to be okay.” My life has been a series of hardships and huge growth spurts. Ive learned a lot, but it didnt come easy. In some of those dark moments where I lost myself, or made poor choices - often self destructive - when I thought I wasnt going to make it, or even barely made it - the hope of surviving kept me going - but the encouragement of being able to look back now, see the experience and know that it shaped me for the better - and that i’m okay - is all I was ever really looking for. I carry that with me now because even though life feels level, there are always trials - things to learn from, and grow from - It gets easier to process but the challenges just change in their appearance.

9. Fill in the blank. Life is…

Life is incredibly rewarding when you live in a truth and light you can be proud of.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I'm still on a high from the open mic night and house show my friends and I put on a few weeks ago. Today, I want to share the poem I read during the open mic night portion of the night.
 I've been waking up lately and immediately picking out my flaws, instead of being grateful for all that I am, and focusing on what I have to offer the world instead of what I would like to change. I hope you all embrace the beautiful person (inside & out) that you are.

Image via Pinterest
Remembering (These bones)
these bones were made for me
strengthened by loss
thickened by wander
loved by nature

I’ll stop hating the thighs
that have carried me
walked me home
ran the extra

I’ll remember than my stomach
is a house for butterflies
and for food that nourishes
and not for

I’ll look at my eyes
and know that no one
sees exactly what I see
I’ll look far beyond
things that I have labeled
as flaws and imperfections

I’ll put down the measuring tape
no more numbers about
my waist, hips, bust
I’ll measure my
kindness, my hopes, my charisma
I’ll measure the
love, beauty, remarkable findings
that are my life.

I will
hug myself
love myself
be myself
without apologizing
for not being the picture that society has painted for me.
I’ll color outside those lines

The reflections in our mirrors
are the same little girls
who believed we could
the same little girls
with filter-less makeup-less faces
the same little girls
who loved ourselves because we are
all so worth loving.

Drop the labels, and the sizes, and the words we have
let become interchanged with worthy:
small, pretty, dainty, petite, sexy, girly, feminine.
Drop them and just be.

We are super women.
our pant size doesn’t need to rhyme with hero
for that to be true.

we don’t need to be saved.
we need to remember
that our shells are just shells
our souls so much more than just souls
carriers of dreams, guides to truth,

they are
the inspired, the driven, the capable.

They are waiting
for us to be fearless
for us to love
who we are
who we’ve been
and all we have left to be.

Link up with Emily this week from Ember Grey and share what you are grateful for.

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