Erin Stanczyk | eat.move.rest.

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Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Eat, Food + Nutrition, RecipesErin StanczykComment
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Love Yourself To Life!

Yesterday morning I lead yet another early bird spin class full of hard-working, sweat-dripping FlyRiders at Fly and we were definitely feeling the love! As Valentine’s Day approaches, it can be a time of overwhelming emotion for many of us--some positive, and some negative. My playlist and message in class was that whether you have someone to share this holiday with or not, there should be no shortage of self-love! 

Ultimately, you can't expect to be loved by anyone else until you learn to truly love yourself. Part of loving yourself is pushing yourself to try new things, face your fears, embrace your flaws, and accept your weaknesses. We are all perfectly imperfect!
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The other part of loving yourself is treating yourself, and what better way to do that than with a guilt-free, yet incredibly delicious dessert?! It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a little (or a lot) of chocolate! However, my Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse recipe is anything but unhealthy--in fact, it's raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and packed full of antioxidants and healthy fats!

Feel free to jam out to one of my favorite songs from yesterday's ride while you peruse, and click here to visit my Spotify channel, where you can check out more of my favorite songs & playlists to work out and rock out to!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The breakdown

Avocados actually contain more potassium than bananas and are one of the few fruits that have a high fat content, but, it's the good kind! Healthy fats are actually good for our heart and cholesterol levels, so don't fear the fat! Avocado also does wonders for hair, skin, nails--you name it--this super smooth superfood is one you don't want to go without. Check out my simple Holy Guacamole recipe here!

Bananas are full of potassium, as we well know, but did you know that when a banana is leopard-spotted it is actually ripe and ready to eat? I used to eat my bananas even when they had a some green on them, until I learned that a fully ripe banana is so much sweeter and better for you, because all of the starches have converted into sugars that your body can then use for instant fuel and energy. It also makes for a super-sweet addition to a refined-sugar-free dessert! For more on the benefits of fully ripe bananas and the lowdown on Fruit vs. Refined Sugar, visit my blog post to read up on why fruit won't make you fat!

Cacao is virtually the same as cocoa, except that it is raw, whereas, cocoa has been roasted at high temperatures. Raw foods retain all of their living and active enzymes that aid in healthy digestion and antioxidants that fight off disease-causing free-radicals in the body. Raw! Raw! Raw! For more on the benefits of cacao, check out my top 10 superfoods blog post!

Dates are the sweetest of all the fruits, and are full of natural, unrefined sugars. I love to use dates as a replacement for other less healthy sweeteners like regular table sugar and syrup. They also make a great on-the-go snack, packing a good amount of calories into a small tasty package that you can bring anywhere with you! For another delicious date recipe, check out my Rad Raw Blackberry Cheesecake recipe here!

Sea Salt is simply evaporated salt water, and is an upgrade from regular table salt because it contains trace minerals that the body needs in order to thrive. Adding just a dash to a sweet dessert can help to really round out the flavor.

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

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Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

raw, vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, oil-free

It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a little (or a lot) of chocolate, however, my Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse recipe is anything but unhealthy--in fact, it's packed full of antioxidants and healthy fats, and best of all, it is oh-so fluffy, smooth and sweet! Share it with a loved one or better yet, treat yourself without the guilt! This recipe also makes the perfect fruit dip or goes great spread on toast!

ingredients:

  • very ripe, speckled banana
  • very ripe, soft avocado
  • 2 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
  • 5-8 pitted & soaked dates (or other sweetener)
  • dash of sea salt

method:

  1. Pit dates and soak in warm water.
  2. Place peeled ripe banana in food processor or high speed blender along with avocado and blend for a minute or so, scraping the sides in between if need be.
  3. Add in cacao or cocoa powder, sea salt, and pitted dates and make sure slightly mixed in before turning food processor or blender on again.
  4. Blend for 2 minutes or so, scraping down the sides as you go. Give it a taste test and add more sweetener accordingly.
  5. Dish up, top with fruit and a sprig of mint and enjoy!

options:

  • top with cinnamon, coconut flakes, a sprig of mint, and/or fresh berries
  • use as a fruit dip
  • use agave nectar, coconut nectar, maple syrup, or stevia for sweetener in place of dates
  • spread on toast or use as a fruit dip
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Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | Valentine's Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

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Treat Yourself

This Valentine's Day, treat yourself and shower yourself with unconditional love! Release what isn't serving you and embrace what is! 

Leave a comment or drop me a message on my contact page and let me know what you want to see more of, and don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter to stay up-to-date on current blog posts, my monthly In The Raw newsletter, and exclusive bonus materials!

Designed For Your Lifestyle,

Erin

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest.

How To Be Happy For The Holidays Series: Day 5

DIY, Design + Decor, Fashion + Style, Lifestyle, RelationshipsErin StanczykComment
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5

Happy For The Holidays

Well, here we are, 10 days until Christmas (and 4 days 'til my birthday)! A very fitting occurrence happened yesterday, when I woke up to a  delightful little surprise on the front doorstep! There sat a big package with a J.Crew label on it and "Fragile" stickers on all six sides. I felt like this was a scene from 'A Christmas Story,' and I was about to unveil a long, scantily clad leg lamp. When I sliced the box open and removed all of the fluff, my eyes were blinded by a beautiful neon pink acrylic shoebox—and then I knew—my first pair of #shinyponies had arrived! When I removed the lid, unraveled the several loops of twine, and tore through the tissue paper, I was like a kid on Christmas!

The very metallic loafers that I always thought I could "see myself" in were sitting right there in my hands! To fill you in, Jen Lyons, the president and creative director at J.Crew personally selected 5 winners for her #shinyponies photo contest, and one of them was somehow me! Needless to say, her impeccable taste really hit a home run with the most perfect pair of shoes! Talk about an early birthday/Christmas surprise! I am beyond grateful, and if there's two takeaways I can share, they would be: 1) Take Risks: If you want to win the lottery, you've got to buy a ticket! and 2) Be Bold: Don't be afraid to be spontaneous, creative, clever, witty, and unapologetically you—share yourself with the world! 

*If you haven't already, check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 of the series!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5

The other reason I decided to fill you in on the free-shoes-for-a-year deal is because it oddly enough fits perfectly with Day 5 of my 7 Holiday Hang-ups + 7 Simple Solutions. In No. 5, I'm going to discuss: Spending Money // Credit Card Probs // Shopping ‘Til You Drop. Nothing solves a shopping and spending problem faster than free shoes for a year! These things don't happen that often, though, so I've got a laundry list of other quick fixes to help save your bank account this holiday season!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5
Holiday Hang-up 5

Every year you toy with the notion of what it would be like to do away with giving and getting gifts, and then Black Friday hits. The commercials on tv, the pretty storefront displays, the tiny ads scrolling on the side of your computer screen, not to mention everything is 50% off! You keep adding things to your wish list, and every time you run to the store you throw that extra something special in your cart, because you just know so-and-so will adore you for it! Before you know it, your bank account is empty and your credit cards are all maxed out.

It’s ironic how we all go around the table and talk about what it is we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving, and then hours later we’re pushing, shoving, and fighting over things that we think we still need. Many people spend the entire next year paying off credit card bills form Christmas alone. If the very thought of spending money you don’t have stresses you out, you’re going to be miserable during what should be the most joyful time of the year!

Simple Solution 5

Budget + Save

Exchanging gifts on Christmas is such a joy, from wrapping and making them look pretty, to placing them under the tree to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at while counting down the days--and, of course, that priceless look on the face of a loved one when they open that last gift that they’d been wanting all year long! I don’t know if it would feel like Christmas without opening presents! However, it might be helpful to set a budget for your spending.

This is another instance where you’ll need to have sit-down talk with your spouse, parents, siblings, or whoever else might be going crazy showering you with gifts. Dusty and I usually try to come up with some sort of budget for each other, that way we don’t expect too much, and also don’t have to stress about overspending on each other. Along with setting a budget, I also like to allocate a chunk of my savings to Christmas gifts. With every paycheck throughout the year, I add to savings, knowing in the back of my mind that a portion of it will go towards presents. This is an awesome way to keep from overspending!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5

Make Gifts + Create Experiences

I know a family that decided not to buy into the consumer shopping craze, but opted instead to create gifts and experiences for each other this year. I really loved that idea, but wasn’t quite on board with no presents at all. Dusty and I talked about spending less and making something for each other instead. The two of us both enjoy working with our hands and like to get crafty—not only is it more cost-effective to DIY, it's also so much more rewarding. On top of that, it's a great way to create something with sentimental value and lasting memories. Get creative—write a poem, perform a song, paint a picture, frame a photo you took, get on Pinterest for inspiration!

Studies show that people remember experiences, not material goods!

Reason for the Season

As I get older, the hubs and I continue to think more about the true meaning behind the holiday season, and what we’re really celebrating. Being Christians, it’s important to us to worship, pray, and prepare for our Savior’s birth! Nurturing a relationship with God, especially during the holiday season, really helps me to reflect on what it is that I really need, and what I really don't need. It's a great reminder that we are on this earth to do more than accumulate goods, but to make a positive impact on those around us! We can't take our worldly treasures with us when we leave!

Donate + Give

Dusty and I make an effort to do more than just spend our money on frivolous things, but to also allocate a certain amount to charity and the Church. Being mindful of those that are less fortunate can really help to put things into perspective, and make it easier to spend less money overall. Especially during the holidays, food banks can use extra non-perishables, and shelters need to be able to provide warm clothing to those that don't have any. Be giving of your time and resources and the greed will begin to fade away!


Holiday Hang-ups Around Our Home

*Each day I'll also be sharing some "holiday hang-ups" around our home—because if there's one thing we love to do, it's decorate for Christmas.

I decided my "joy" hang-up needed to be accompanied by some "peace" and "love" the other day, and it just so happened that I was wearing a shirt that said love! I decided to jump into the shot to complete the trio, before I created my "love" hang-up!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5

For the "love" hang-up, I took a canvas that I had previously painted in neutrals that I knew I would end up finding a way to use! Guys, I'm kind of a hoarder, because I always eventually find a use for every little thing that I save! I love to recycle, repurpose, and reuse old crafty items! So, I took the canvas and clipped a couple of sprigs of pine from my live garland hanging on the railing inside, and used a wooden heart (it was part of one of my old spelling bee trophies from grade school) and made this cute "Ode to Love" to complete my trio! May PEACE, JOY, and LOVE be with you and yours this holiday season!

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO STAY HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5
Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest. | HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES: DAY 5

Spend Less, Create More!

To sum it all up, save yourself the headache, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels by spending less money this season. Instead, opt for creative ways to express your love to friends and family! Use your hands and make, use your heart and create! The joy of the season is truly about shared memories and experiencing each other's presence!

Stay tuned for the next installation of my 7 Holiday Hang-ups + 7 Simple Solutions. In No. 6, I'll discuss: Busyness // Overworking + Overcommitting // Burnout

Designed For Your Lifestyle,

Erin 

Erin Stanczyk | Lifestyle Design | eat.move.rest.