Good Sips: Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer by emily penn

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My Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer was such a hit, I knew I had to keep the ball rolling. And I am never above the “basic” seasonal delights. Peppermint Mochas are the shit and while I definitely don’t want all the extra sugar and potentially weird ingredients from other creamers and syrups, I’m most definitely chasing that flavor combo.

The coffee creamers in stores are pretty sad - even the supposed “healthy” brands. They almost always have some form of undesirable sugar or thickener or preservative or SOMETHING. This is so easy to make yourself, it’s a no-brainer. And it is SO good. I’ve been known to take straight sips from the jar. No judgement, okay?

Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

Make approximately 2 cups

1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp MCT oil (or other neutral tasting oil, no vegetable oil please)
4 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water
1/2 tsp peppermint extract or 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
dash of salt


1.    Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.
2. Taste a little bit. If you like it super minty, add another 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract or drop of oil.
3. Add to all your favorite hot bevvies!

* There is A LOT of controversy about ingesting essential oils so do your research and do what feels best for you. If you do decide to ingest them, make sure you trust the quality.
* Don’t skip the oil - it helps emulsify the coconut milk so that it doesn’t separate and get hard in the fridge.
* Coconut consistencies vary wildly between brands and even within brands! Using full fat coconut milk yields a very thick creamer, but a light coconut milk will give you a more pourable consistency. You can use other non-dairy milks, but it might not be as creamy as the coconut.
* My favorite MCT oil

Mood Boosting Holiday Hot Chocolate by emily penn

I don’t know about you, but pretty much everything feels better when I have a big old mug of hot chocolate in my hands. And what makes me feel even better is when that hot chocolate is actually going to be supporting my body with real food, unprocessed sweeteners and maybe even some adaptogens (herbs that support our body’s stress response and help bring systems into balance).

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This time of year has me jonesin’ for a warm drink in my hand at all times. It also tends to increase stress levels by way of lots of social engagements, busy shopping everywhere, crowded parking lots, heightened emotions, rampant germs, etc.

I’m all about food as medicine (in case that wasn’t abundantly clear by now) so I really like my foods and beverages to be functional. And I also want them to taste damn good. And so I present you with this Mood Boosting Hot Chocolate, specifically crafted for the holiday season (because honestly, when else do you drink hot chocolate?).

Cacao has huge mood-boosting benefits - it stimulates the release of endorphins, it contains tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine, and is actually incredibly good for your brain. Dates contain magnesium, which is a mineral known to be relaxing and which is easily depleted during times of stress (and which 80% of Americans don’t get enough of). I’d recommend using milk with a little bit of fat in it (or add a teaspoon of coconut oil) since fat is essential for brain health.

This basic recipe is all you need to kick back with a relaxing hot bevvie, but you could further boost the de-stressing properties with any of the optional add-ins I’ve listed. Beside each I let you know what the main affect on mood or stress is.

Mood Boosting Holiday Hot Chocolate

serves 1

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12-16 oz your favorite non-dairy milk
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 medjool date
pinch of salt

optional (mood-boosting) add ins
ashwagandha - supports stress response, immune booster
rhodiola - supports stress response, immune booster
reishi - supports stress response, immune booster
chaga - supports stress response
vitamin D - promotes positive mood
tocos - vitamin e, antioxidants, supports skin, plus adds creaminess
collagen - supports gut health, will make your drink extra foamy!
lavender - supports relaxation
peppermint extract - supports relaxation
Rasa Koffee - blend your hot chocolate with some of this in place of milk to get extra EXTRA support from stress-busting adaptogens


  1. Add non-dairy milk, cacao powder, date, salt and any other add-ins you desire to small saucepan over medium heat. Gently warm until it’s to your preferred drinking temperature.

  2. Transfer to a blender and blend 30-60 seconds, until date is totally incorporated.

  3. Pour into your favorite mug, get cozy doing something that relaxes you and enjoy!


  • If I don’t have non-dairy milk around (which is more often than not) I use either 2-4 tbsp full fat coconut milk or 1 tbsp coconut butter + water.

  • Mountain Rose Herbs is where I get most of my herbs and superfoods.

  • These are the vitamin D drops I recommend. They’re flavorless and I love adding them to these sorts of drinks since fat helps our bodies absorb the vitamin D.

Good Medicine Everyday: Leafy Greens (with TWO Green Smoothie Recipes) by emily penn

We all inherently know greens are good for us, right? It’s been drilled into our heads since we were kids, and as it turns out - for good reason. Today we’re talking specifically about dark leafy greens - kale, collard greens, arugula, spinach and chard. Romaine counts, too. Sorry - iceberg doesn’t and never will count because it’s mostly water and contains very few actual nutrients.


Leafy greens are packed to the brim with nutrients! They’re also full of fiber, low in calories and high in phytonutrients (plant compounds that have a big impact on the health of your cells). Read on to learn more about the ridiculously amazing benefits of eating leafy greens daily (1):

  • Ever since this study came out earlier this year, I’ve been quoting it every chance I get: one, yes just ONE serving, of leafy greens per day SIGNIFICANTLY slows cognitive decline. This study showed that individuals who consumed green leafy vegetables had brains that appeared 11 years younger than their counterparts who consumed little to no green leafies. A cup of raw greens or 1/2 a cup of cooked greens daily is all it takes folks.

  • If you think bananas are the only place to get your potassium, I’ve got news for ya - leafy greens have it, too. A cup of cooked spinach contains 840 mg, plus all the other good stuff plus no impact on blood sugar. Potassium is essential for fluid regulation and getting adequate amounts will help keep you bloat-free.

  • Another surprise for you - leafy greens contain beta-carotene. Yep - that nutrient we usually associate with carrots and sweet potatoes? Greens have it too, making them great for supporting healthy skin.

  • Combat stress with leafy greens! They contain folate and magnesium - folate helps with mood regulation by participating in dopamine and serotonin production. Magnesium is one of my favorite nutrients to help with stress since it helps relax muscles and is depleted during times of stress.

  • Support your bones - dark leafies contain calcium and vitamin K, essential for strong bones.

  • Greens contain many anti-inflammatory properties thanks to their antioxidants and polyphenols. This also puts them in the cancer-fighting category.

  • The chlorophyll in greens supports the liver by helping to escort toxins out of the body. In our increasingly toxic world, this is so important.

Have I convinced you to eat your greens yet? It’s so simple, yet so many people go throughout their day without eating a single green thing. I personally make it a point to have greens at a minimum of one meal per day, though it’s usually more like two and if I make it to three I feel like a superhero. Here are some of my favorite ways to get your greens in:

  • Add frozen spinach to smoothies

  • Serve meals over a bed of raw greens - ex: burrito bowls served over greens, chicken + veggies over greens

  • Eating one big salad a day - I do this more in the summer, less in the winter

  • I often sauté onions, garlic and kale as a base for meals

  • Add greens to your eggs

  • Add greens to soups, stews and curries (they wilt into almost nothing!)

  • Use romaine leaves in place of tortillas and use collards as sandwich wraps (surprisingly delicious!)

And now, because I love you, I’m sharing not one, but my TWO favorite green smoothie recipes. One is a little sweeter and a great green smoothie for beginners and the other is less sweet and more deeply cleansing.

Basic Green Smoothie (Great for Beginners)

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1 frozen banana
Large handful frozen spinach (don’t be shy - you can’t taste it!)
1-2 tbsp almond butter (optional but yummy and makes the smoothie more filling)
1 cup non-dairy milk or water

  1. Add everything to a blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Big Green Drank

1 apple or pear, chopped
1/2 lemon, peel removed
1/2 cucumber or zucchini (optional)
Large handful frozen spinach
1 knob ginger
2 tbsp hemp, chia or flax seeds
1/2 tsp spirulina (optional)
1-2 cups water (I usually just fill to the 32 oz line on my blender - hence BIG Green Drank)

  1. Add everything to a blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.