Key Lime Pie with a twist

I was a little skeptical upon reading this recipe….raw, vegan key lime pie. Hmmm…how is that possible? But these little pies didn’t disappoint. Once you can get your head wrapped around the fact that avocado is the star ingredient replacing cream, anything is possible!

Makes 9 Personal Pies

Crust

1 cup raw nuts (almond or pecan)

5 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup dates (preferably Medjool, pitted)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

A few pinches of sea salt.

Filling

3 ripe avocados

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 pinches of sea salt

Grated zest of 1 lime

  • Make the crust: Pulse the nuts in a food processor until chunky. Add the coconut oil, dates, shredded coconut and salt and continue to pulse until the nuts and dates and form a solid ball. If you need more liquid to bind the dough, add a little more melted coconut oil.

  • Line a 12 up muffin tin with plastic wrap. Divide the crust mixture into 9 balls and press each ball into a muffin cup, pressing the dough evenly up the sides to create a tart shell. Place in freezer for 1 hour.

  • When you are ready, make the filling, Put the avocados, maple syrup, coconut oil, lime juice, pinch of salt and grated zest of lime into the food processor and blend on the highest setting until it’s smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if needed. It should be balanced between tart and sweet.

  • Remove the muffin tin from the freezer. Pull up the edges of the plastic wrap to remove the tart shells from the muffin tin. Spoon the fillings into the tart shells. Put the filled shells back in the muffin tray and place back in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

  • Remove the tarts from the freezer for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Yum!

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One Bite Sweet Treats

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

Makes about 14 bites

1 1/2 cups of oat flour

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter or almond butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond flour/meal

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. A dough will start to form. Put into a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into small bite sizel balls. Place finished balls on a plate lined with parchment paper. Store the bites in the fridge. I like to eat them at room temperature.

Note on oat flour - If you can’t buy oat flour, you can make oat flour by putting oats in a food processor and blending until a fine flour forms. Store bought oat flour is substantially finer than what you can make in your own food processor so store bought oat flour is preferred.

Fudge Bites

Makes 10 to 14 balls

3/4 cup pitted dates (I like Medjool)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons cocoa/cacao powder

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw pecans

Optional - mini chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor (apart from chocolate chips) until it starts to form a dough. Remove the dough from the blender and place in a bowl. Add the chocolate chips. Rolls into bite size balls. Place balls on parchment paper and put in the fridge. This dough also works great as a pie crust.

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First Snow...First Soup of the Season

Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall soups. I typically make this soup a couple of times a month in the fall and winter and always have some available in either the fridge or the freezer. Over the years I have played around with different spices. My new favorite take on this recipe uses coconut oil and coconut milk and gives it a somewhat Asian inspired flavor.

1 butternut squash

2 onions chopped

Coconut oil or olive oil

4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. I like to use convection bake.

  2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthways. Place the squash skin side down (i.e. so you can see the seeds) in a deep baking tray with about an inch of water. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the squash is soft. Add more water if necessary if it completely evaporates.

  3. While the squash is cooking, heat up a little olive oil in a saucepan. I like to use coconut oil but you could also opt for olive oil depending upon the flavor you want. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Cook the onions for about 5 to 10 minutes until they start to brown. Then leave to the side.

  4. Let the squash cool and then scoop out the flesh of the squash (get rid of the seeds) into the pan with the onions. Add 4 cups of broth and cook for another 15 minutes or so.

  5. For a creamy soup, I add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut milk (this replaces cream!)

  6. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup. (if using a regular blender, make sure you let the liquid cool before adding to the blender). Add more coconut milk or water if you want a thinner soup.

  7. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I like to add a little curry powder - start with half a teaspoon and add more as necessary.

Yum!

Best Granola Ever

This granola gets me out of bed in the morning! Thank you Angela Liddon for this amazing recipe (from Oh She Glows Every Day). I love serving it with almond milk or eating it with Greek yoghurt for a treat in the evenings. I even snack on it during the day. The hazelnuts are key. Sometimes I omit the cherries if I don’t have them in my pantry. I have used honey instead of brown rice syrup but the brown rice syrup creates a better consistency/texture.

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola

3/4 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 1/3 cups gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

4 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

1/4 cup almond butter

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Spread the hazelnuts over a small baking sheet and the almonds over another. Put both in the oven and roast for 12 to 14 minutes until the hazelnut skins have darkened, cracked and are almost falling off. Let the nuts cool on the sheet for another 5 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp dishcloth and rub vigorously until most of the skins fall off. The goal is to remove most of them. Chop the hazelnuts and almonds and set aside.

  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and keep the oven set to 300F (150C).

  3. In a large bowl, stir together the chopped hazelnuts, almonds, oats, shredded coconut, cherries, chia seeds and salt.

  4. In a small pot, melt the coconut oil over a low heat. Add the almond butter, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. Stir until everything is melted. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla.

  5. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir well until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir again.

  6. Spread the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheets and spread out into a thin layer no more than 1/2 inch thick. Space the granola out as much as possible so it has room to provide.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. I like to flip the granola half way through cooking to make sure it is browning evenly on both sides.

  8. Remove from oven when it is browned and let cool completely. Then break it up into clusters. Store in air tight container in fridge for 3 to 4 weeks (if it lasts this long in your house!)

End of Summer Salad

It’s hard to believe that fall is here but I am so excited! I love this time of year. I love watching the leaves change color, I love the first fire of the season (which we just had yesterday!) and I love spending weekends in my kitchen. Work for me slows down in the fall (I spend summers planning weddings in beautiful Steamboat Springs) and I love spending days in my kitchen trying out new recipes.

Last week I made a beautiful summer salad which I can’t wait to make again. It was an explosion of flavors and was simple to make. If you want to eat a hearty salad that is dairy and gluten free then this is a great option. If you can’t buy tomatillos I would recommend just leaving them out as it’s hard to find a substitute.

Garlicky Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Nectarines and Green Tomatoes by Sara Dickerman from ‘The Food Lover’s Cleanse’.

2 large nectarines, pitted and quartered

2 large (or 6 small) tomatillos, quartered

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds shelled, deveined jump shrimp

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 small red onion cut into 1/8-inch-thick-slices

1 tablespoon rice vinegear

23 fresh mint leaves

  • Heat a gas grill to medium high.

  • In a large bowl. toss the nectarines and tomatillo quarters with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until browned, softened and slightly charred, rotating frequently to cook evenly, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  • In the same bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil and the garlic. Grill the shrimp until they’re browned and slightly charred, rotating frequently to cook evenly, about 3 minutes.

  • In a large clean bowl, combine the nectarines, tomatillos, shrimp and onion. Toss in the vinegar and mint and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of oil if desired.

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Yoga Retreats in Colorado: Bring a Friend or Go it Alone?

Colorado yoga retreat leaders and yoga instructors

If you've been thinking about going on a retreat, it is the most natural response for you to want to invite a friend.  SoulSpark Journeys has found a number of our Colorado yoga teachers have experienced this in the past for a variety of reasons:

1) You want your best friend's company

2) You know he or she needs it as much as you do

3) You'd prefer not to be the only one new to the crew

4) It's always easier to have a partner in crime to navigate unfamiliar spaces

Although there are plenty of other arguments one could make about having a friend or family member with you on your spiritual journey, yoga is ultimately a place for turning inward.  So we ask you to carefully consider WHY you are called to retreat space.  Here are some good questions to start with:

1) Have you lost touch of your motivation or passion?

2) Is there a part of your past that is holding you back?

3) Is there a re-occurring theme in your life that keeps popping up that you would like to analyze?

4) Are you making big shifts moving forward in your professional or personal life?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, having someone who knows you might be very beneficial to join you on retreat! A friend or partner to call you out on your sh*t, so that you cannot hide behind your excuses or pretend any longer...

However, if your intentions for retreat do not resonate with those inquiries, try these on:

1) Is there a part of you that feels suffocated or drowned by current social groups?

2) Are you seeking a breath of fresh air when it comes to perspective, insight or conversation?

3) Are silence and introspection priorities?

4) Are you looking to find a version of yourself you may not feel comfortable exploring in your current living situation?

If YES popped up for one or most of these, you may want to consider trying a retreat by yourself.  There are incredible strangers out there waiting to be your allies.  Like minded individuals are drawn to our retreat company, and we love watching folks connect over a cup of coffee, a good cry, or an intense workout.  SoulSpark Journeys was created to help you relax, rejuvenate, and grow to your fullest potential.  

Yoga calls you to break down boundaries you have created with your mental and physical body, and our retreats are a fabulous way for you to serve your own needs.

Spend your time on a Colorado yoga retreat or destination yoga workshop with or without a friend--we are sure you will make the right decision for you to spark your soul!

Equinox Celebration in Steamboat Springs: Ultimate Rocky Mountain Getaway

Colorado yoga retreat for fall equinox

It's always fun to look back on workshops that our SoulSpark Journeys teachers have lead in the past.  This is one of our favorite from the fall equinox last year.  It was a magical time to have our yoga instructors gather with community to embrace change in season and welcome equal daylight and equal nighttime.  Destination yoga retreat leader Sal Albert has also hosted group get togethers for the Summer Solstice.  About once a century, we welcome the summer solstice on the same day of the Strawberry Full Moon. In 2016, SoulSpark Journeys celebrated with an evening of prayer, movement and fun. We focused our intentions on being ready for personal growth and GOING FOR IT! Our students shared incredible goals, like professional promotion and self love without limitations. We strive for our clients to see their inner strengths and believe in themselves. Join us for more fun workshops in the future!

colorado yoga retreat in steamboat springs

 

 

Destination: Costa Rica Yoga Retreat with SoulSpark Journeys

Colorado yoga retreats with SoulSpark Journeys

Destination Yoga Retreats are offered all over the world, so why should you choose Colorado based SoulSpark Journeys?  We humbly offer a few pointers in the hopes that this decision is easy, not stressful!

Our number one priority for our clients is to relax, have fun, and feel spoiled.  How often in your life do you take time to pamper your body, soul and mind?  Embarking on a Destination Wellness Retreat can feel a little scary sometimes--especially if you are traveling solo--but we are here to remind you to BREATHE.  We got this.  Promise.  Food, activities, accommodations, transportation, etc.  As Destination Yoga Retreat Leaders, we know exactly how to make you comfortable, so you can focus on the bigger picture.  Like, what really matters to your heart and spirit?  What causes you fear and anxiety?  What are your needs, and how can you take responsibility for your emotional health?  There is nothing that makes us happier than seeing our students grow, shift, explore, and dive into deep spiritual inquiry.  As Rumi so eloquently wrote, "Ask the hard questions for the marvelous answers to appear."

Your practice is here to challenge you.  You are being called to your mat for a reason.  No time has been wasted, yet you have not a second to lose moving forward.  The time is NOW to spark your soul! 

You may be terrified.  You may want to stop cold in the journey, and turn back to a comfortable, yet unsatisfying, setting.  But we are here to guide, nurture and inspire you into a place of blooming potential.  We are here to remind you to notice.  Look for the things you forget to see when you are in a place of fear, or caught up in so much responsibility with work and family that you stopped giving thanks.  SoulSpark Journeys destination yoga retreats will make you grateful, but more importantly, they will make you SMILE.  Like this picture above, taken at a retreat deep in the jungle of Costa Rica.  The power of pacha mama was undeniably present.  She inspired us all to glow and flourish!

Will you join us?

SoulSpark Journeys Indulge in Destination Yoga Retreats

destination yoga retreat with soulspark journeys

What is more breathtaking than a sunset on a beach?  When we asked other SoulSpark Journeys yoga instructors that question and no one could come up with a better answer, the choice was easy to book a 2018 retreat in Mexico.  

While the Rocky Mountains of Steamboat Springs are very inspiring for yoga practice, yoga retreats, and Colorado yoga workshops, there always comes a time for us western ladies to spread our wings and explore the world.  

Colorado yogis far and wide have attended our retreats at home in the Yampa Valley, and we are excited to bring our talent to Mexico next March.  This is sure to be a perfect opportunity to recharge the batteries and connect back in with our souls.  

Sign up today with your friend to reserve a spot in our spectacular SoulSpark Journeys destination yoga retreat! 

Colorado Yoga Instructors Plan Retreat in Steamboat Springs

colorado yoga retreats

We know you yogis have plenty of options for Colorado Yoga Retreats, and we are very excited that you chose to take a look at SoulSpark Journeys for your next adventure.  Colorado Yoga is a booming trend, one that we pray will only keep growing bigger and better ever year!  As Colorado Yogis ourselves, we are always looking for new ways to explore the Rocky Mountains and push ourselves to the next level.  That's why we have carefully crafted Colorado Yoga Retreats in Steamboat Springs to combine the best of luxury accommodations and good old, western, authentic Continental Divide inspiration.  Invite a friend, family member, or come solo to join SoulSpark's Colorado Yoga Teachers for an unforgettable retreat.  We select an impressive menu of local food to nourish and spark your soul.  All of the Colorado Yoga Instructors on the retreat hand make your meals with love, because we know the difference between preparing food ourselves and opting for prepackaged, processed options like some others do.  During a SoulSpark calendar year, you'll be sure to find plenty of Colorado Yoga Workshops and Colorado Yoga Classes, but the retreats combine the best of the best.  We invite Steamboat Springs locals and global visitors alike to join us. Steamboat Springs Yoga gatherings are unique in that all of our participants are invited to be the architects of their own lives.  We do not force you into participating, but rather extend our welcome to a range of options.  By partnering with healers, energy workers, physical trainers, certified nutritionists, and spiritual leaders, we encompass the entire Steamboat Springs Wellness community. 

Steamboat Springs Retreats happen annually, but do fill up quickly.  Be sure to check out our retreats page to find more about our offerings.  There is also an opportunity for you to meet your retreat instructors at Steamboat Springs Yoga Classes.  All of our Steamboat Springs Yoga Teachers have weekly classes, making their practice part of their monthly, if not daily, routine. While some Colorado Yoga Instructors can get so caught up in the profession that they rarely have time to center on their own mats, SoulSpark Journeys encourages all of our teachers to regularly come home to their own practice.  We offer opportunities for our teachers to have reduced pricing on festivals and we supplement continued education in the interest of having all of our instructors up to date on certifications.  

Join our SoulSpark Journeys family today by committing to a retreat! 

steamboat springs yoga instructors