Mayan Hot Chocolate w/Butternut Squash

A few years back, my former Corporate gig brought me to visit Rancho La Puerta. A beautiful spa and wellness retreat in Tecate, Mexico. Although a visit to this gem would be pricey on the average pocketbook, I love to have a little piece of the heavenly ranch at home once the cold air starts rolls into the north states. Their Mayan Hot Chocolate recipe does the trick. The surprise ingredient is pureed butternut squash! It adds a rich creaminess to the delicious beverage.


  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash pulp
  • 3 ½ cups milk
  • 3 ounces Ibarra brand Mexican chocolate
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions: 1. In a blender, puree the squash with 1¾ cups of the milk until perfectly smooth. 2. In a large saucepan, mix the remaining 1¾ cups of milk, chocolate, and spices. With a whisk, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted, then add the pureed squash. Do not boil. Strain through a coarse sieve to remove any trace of the squash fiber. 3. Reheat gently in a heavy saucepan. Serve in little demitasse cups, with a crisp cookie for dipping.


Loving the Foods Our Bodies’ Love

I love a good come back story.

Especially when the method is one that is healthy, forward thinking and real…by real I mean avoiding quick-fix gimmicks or compromising important aspects of life. It is even better when these stories are shared and the benefits can transfer to other people in relatable situations. If food is added into the equation (as it should, always!), you get great websites like Paleo With Love and encouraging postings like this one from Dawna Stone on MindBodyGreen.

So much of what we think, feel and do is driven or effected by the nutrients or fuel we put into our bodies. It only makes sense that food is at the center-point of any health goal. Sometimes this is easier said than done…that is where appetizing recipes can push interest into passion. This wild salmon recipe from Chef Ryan fits that bill – packed with Omega-3s, perfect for this dry season (and currently -11 degrees in Minnesota). The sweet potato mash looks hearty and filling yet light and still comforting. I’m looking forward to what will be breezing my dinner plate this evening.

It is my personal belief that every body needs or tolerates different foods in different ways – paleo, vegan, pesca-tarian, etc. – it’s about what works in your body regardless of what your classically trained yoga teacher tells you. There are just some universals like processed foods are not great, refined sugars should be limited or eliminated and vegetables are good…many bright minds debate on this topic but I feel strongly that we each have our own path (which can, of course, change with our bodies over time). Naturally the cleaner the ingredients, the better for you. Organic when possible, local is ideal, seasonally grown is superb.


Let’s All Go Have Breakfast by Teo Zirinis.

Metabolic Bowl with Green Chili Sauce

Sometimes comfort food like chicken pot pie or macaroni and cheese really hit the spot but other times I crave a dish that is clean as it is hearty. That is where the discovery of the recipe for a traditional metabolic bowl and an amazing green chili sauce from Portland’s own Prasad, a nationally-known locavore restaurant, received a warm welcome into my kitchen. This combination feeds the body, mind and soul.

Traditional Metabolic Bowl

1 cup quinoa or brown rice
1 3/4 cup organic broth (veg, chicken, your choice)
1 bunch dark leafy green (kale, chard, collard greens)
3 red beets, peeled, steamed and diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup beans (e.g. white bean, black-eye, garbanzo)
Green Chili Sauce to drizzle
sesame seeds, sliced green onion ends and salt to garnish

Cook your quinoa the same as mentioned in the above recipe or brown rice according to the package.

Steam your chopped leafy greens for about 5 minutes or until bright green.

If you have time, soak and cook your own beans. If not, make sure you rinse your canned beans well to help the digestive process.

Scrub your beets well and peel if necessary. Place in steamer for 20-30 minutes or until  easily pierced by a fork.

Slice the avocado into thin slices and sprinkle with sesame.

To serve:
Place the quinoa/rice in the center of bowl. Make a small bundle of the greens followed by the beans and beets. Place the avocado slices on top, drizzle with Green Chili Sauce and garnish with sesame, salt and green onion ends.

Green Chili Sauce (raw)

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 to 2 anaheim chilies  – start with one and add more as necessary to reach level of heat
1/4 cup + 2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 + 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Chill before serving.

Source: MindBodyGreen