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Thriving Recipe: Peanut Butter Energy Balls

These yummy peanut butter balls are a recipe I created for Pavel during Christmas. I was looking for a delicious treat that would also be hardy. These loaded balls were perfect! And the best part is the ingredients in this recipe are flexible. If you want it a little sweeter, increase the honey and peanut butter. If you don’t like coconut, swap it out for oats or more almonds. They are perfect for a party dessert, quick snack, or energy boost before endurance workouts. (Running, hiking, cross country skiing, biking, etc.) Enjoy! Ingredients: ½ cup ground almonds or almond flour ½ cup coconut flakes ½ cup peanut butter ½ cup ground flax seed ⅓ cup raw honey 1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Directions: Step 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puse until well blended. Cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Step 2. Remove dough from the refrigerator; roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.

Coconut Flour Pumpkin Bars

Want a fluffy and moist dessert that pops with flavor? These bars have you covered and are also loaded with nourishing ingredients. It’s hard to get tired of eating pumpkin pie but the prep is a little more time consuming. I discovered these bars when needing to make a quick dessert for friends. Thank you to for the original recipe! I modified this with a few different spices and raw honey instead of maple syrup (because that is what I had on hand.) I also cut back on the sweetener...and the bars are still very sweet. We enjoyed them with a glass of raw milk from Sunny Cove farm in Alfred, NY. What a treat! Ingredients 3/4 cup coconut flour 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 15 oz . pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups) 2 large eggs 1/2 cup raw honey 1 Tbsp. molasses butter or coconut oil , for greasing the pan Ingredients Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9"x9" baking dish well with butter or coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and stir well until no clumps remain. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin puree, eggs, honey and molasses. Add to wet ingredients and mix together. Transfer the batter to the greased baking dish, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is firm. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Thankfulness that Transcends

Thanksgiving is the holiday that launches time with family, community activities and the feasts of the holiday season. It births the festivities we love and memories we cherish. However, this year holds SO many changes and interruptions to our tradition. You may be disappointed to not have certain family with you for the holiday or to have the opportunity to travel to see them. Or perhaps you are walking through the devastation of losing a loved one. How can you continue to celebrate without them? My hope for us all is to still remember the heart of this season: thankfulness that transcends or goes beyond the limits of challenges. In 1621, the first Thanksgiving was held at harvest time with the English Pilgrims and American Indians. The pilgrims had suffered so many hardships, which included the loss of spouses and children. They did not know the dangers and devastations which lay ahead, yet they gave thanks. More than two hundred years later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”[1] This holiday was cemented into our nation's culture during the civil war. In a time of division, conflict, and death, our nation gave thanks. Thanksgiving transcends challenges. What challenges are you facing today? There are so many stresses bombarding our lives--emotional, relational, moral, financial. Our nation is experiencing division and conflict that seems to build daily. Perhaps we can empathize in some way with the bold individuals in 1621 and 1863 who chose to give thanks despite difficult challenges. [2] The act of giving thanks encourages us. This encouragement is not simply a spark of joy but emboldens us with courage to press on and overcome: Encourage- to give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit. [3] I believe that the pilgrims and Abraham Lincoln were able to exercise this thanksgiving which produced courage. Their hope was not in what they could see with their natural eye or even control with their own strength. Their hope was in God, the One who is faithful and able to bring breakthrough in all circumstances. David experienced this as well as he faced years of multiple internal and personal difficulties as the King of Israel. His repeated conclusions were: “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise?” [4] David did not simply give thanks for things in his life, but rather for God Himself whose amazing attributes never fail. David also recognized God as his source of strength. I have personally found that Jesus Christ is the one who is both worthy of our praise and the source of courage and strength in all circumstances. He comes to my rescue and I can agree with David that the acts of the Lord are mighty. My hope is that you have the courage to give thanks no matter what obstacles you are facing during this season. May this holiday find your heart filled with thanksgiving and praise to Him! [1] [2] [3] [4]

New Beginnings

This season of being newly married has brought many exciting and blessed changes. Our most recent, which I want to share with you today, is becoming homeowners and residents of the town of Almond. This has been the fulfillment of our plans, answer to our prayer, and a true dream come true! First, let’s back up to March of this year. Pavel and I were planning to house sit for friends in Howard, NY. Well, technically “yurt sit” as they built the unique Mongolian style yurt on their homestead. The plan was to take care of the yurt and property for one year while they were traveling for work. We were so excited for this cozy oasis, tucked into the hills of Howard. It was the perfect way to start off married life and save up money for a house. However, as the Corona virus developed and shut downs began, our friends reconsidered their plans. They told us sadly their need to stay after all. Pavel and I were disappointed, but I am thankful our response was full of hope. We have experienced time and time again the truth that God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. [1] We prayed and trusted, full of anticipation to see what God would do. A few weeks later our friends contacted us that they decided to continue with their plans and the opportunity opened back up for us to stay at the yurt! This time, we would only be needed for about 6 months until they returned in the fall. Settled into the yurt and married for a month, Pavel and I began the adventure of looking for options in the area to purchase. Our goal was to find something by late summer and close by mid-fall when our friends returned. We wrote a list of the things that were really important to us for a first-time home: back yard for gardening and kids to play, two bathrooms, a nice size kitchen for all my cooking, a small garage for Pavel to do tinkering and car maintenance, and a space to transform into an office for Thriving Health consultations. Our ideal location was the Almond area--close to the highway for Pavel’s Corning commute to work and close to Alfred for my nutrition business and our church family at Lighthouse. Provision came...and at the right price! We have not only been blessed with the above desires, but even more treasures in a beautiful house and property to grow our family and my business. The timing of the move came down to the wire, but everything worked out! We were able to move in last weekend on a pre-possession agreement. Today, Monday, November 9th, Pavel and I will sign the papers to make this property officially ours. We are honored to own this home and join the community of Almond, NY. Life is precious and always unfolding. Our “yurt season” was an incredible gift which I cherished every day. Now we begin our life in Almond, full of anticipation for the life, friendships, challenges and growth ahead. [1]

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Yields about 3 Dozen INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted 1 cup coconut sugar 1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses 2 organic eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups cassava flour 1 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp allspice 1 tsp Himalayan salt 1/4 cup coconut sugar (for rolling) DIRECTIONS. In a large mixing bowl add melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed just until batter comes together, about 30 seconds. In a separate mixing bowl combine cassava flour, baking soda, spices and sea salt. Give it a quick stir to mix it up. Add the dry mixture to the wet. Mix on low speed just until the batter comes together, about 30 seconds -- do not over-mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. When the dough is fully chilled, roll tablespoon balls of cookie dough in your hands. Drop cookie dough balls into 1/4 cup coconut sugar and coat the tops. Place balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Do not press them down. Bake for 8-10 minutes or just until cracks have formed. Enjoy with a glass of raw milk!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Fall is gorgeous in NY and it is time for some classic desserts! The good news is you can still enjoy the season's treats while sticking to a healthy lifestyle. I discovered this pumpkin pie recipe last week after harvesting some beautiful pumpkins from my garden. It is a pretty simple recipe, and the crust is very forgiving! It hit the spot for Pavel and I, and a friend who shared the treat! (I made a few simple modifications. For the original recipe, follow Paleo Running Momma @ Thriving Recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Pie Ingredients pie crust: 1 cup blanched almond flour 2 Tbsp coconut flour 2/3 cup arrowroot flour 1/2 cup grassfed butter 1 Tbsp Maple Sugar 1/2 tsp himalayan salt 1 egg for the filling: 1 cup can pumpkin puree 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk blended 6 Tbsp pure maple syrup 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp cinnamon Pinch salt 2 large eggs room temp 1 egg yolk room temp Instructions make the crust: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all crust ingredients EXCEPT egg to create thick crumbs, then pulse/process in the egg until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior to rolling or pressing into your pie dish. Press evenly into 9 inch pie dish using your hands. Be patient and refrigerate dough as needed to make it easier to work with.This dough will break easily since it lacks gluten, however it also repairs incredibly easily and can withstand a lot of manipulation without affecting the final product! Once pressed into the pie dish, gently pierce the dough with a fork all over so it doesn't puff up while baking. Bake pie crust in 9” pie dish in the 375 degree oven for 10 minutes until bottom is set, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before pouring in filling. make the filling: Whisk all ingredients except eggs, then whisk in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, don’t overmix. Pour filling into partially baked crust, spreading it all around to seal edges. Cover crust with aluminum foil and bake (at 375 degrees F) for 55-65 minutes or until center is nearly set (still a bit jiggly) and crust is deep golden brown. Allow to cool completely at room temperature to avoid excessive cracking of the filling. Once cooled, serve, or, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days prior to serving. Serve topped with coconut whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

Thriving Recipe: Harvest Time Stuffing

Ingredients 1/2 butter nut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil 1 lb ground goat or beef 1 cup diced yellow onion 2 cups brussel sprouts 1 cup green peppers 1 cup diced celery 4 diced apples 3 diced garlic cloves 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and cilantro) 3 large eggs Pecan crumble ingredients: 1 1/2 cups unsalted pecans 1/4 cup apples 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used parsley and cilantro) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper DIRECTIONS Bake butternut squash at 400 °F until tender but crisp. Add meat, cooking fat, salt, and garlic cloves into skillet. Cook until brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a 9”x13” baking dish. Add another tsp. of fat to the skillet. Sauté butternut squash, onions, brussel sprouts, peppers, celery and apples in the same skillet (with the juice from the meat) until tender. Add to baking dish. Mix in 3 eggs and fresh herbs. Bake at 350 °F for 20 minutes. Combine crumble in food processor. Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Spread over baking dish. Bake additional 20 minutes. Serve and feast!

Thriving Recipe: Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Your family might just not know this is cauliflower! Ingredients 1 head of cauliflower 1 tbsp butter, or coconut oil 2 garlic cloves minced Salt and Pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the florets. Heat 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Steam for 6-8 minutes. Remove the steamed cauliflower from the pot, drain the water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back in. Add the olive oil, garlic, chopped herbs and any optional ingredients. Puree cauliflower in Vitamix or food processor. Serve immediately.

Thriving Recipe: Digestive Tea

This nourishing tea is phenomenal before a large holiday meal due to it's bitter properties. Bitter foods stimulate digestion by encouraging the release of enzymes. This means your food is digested better and you feel lighter! 1 Tbsp Chamomile leaves OR Dandelion Root 2-3 pieces of Ginger (sliced) DIRECTIONS. Combine ingredients in tea ball, French press, or tea pot. Cover with boiling water. Allow tea to steep for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy the benefits of the bitter flavor!

Cassava Herb Bread

Who doesn’t enjoy freshly baked homemade bread?! As I have made lifestyle changes to optimize my health, specifically digestion and energy related needs, I have chosen to cut out most grains, including wheat bread. However, I am delighted that I can still enjoy the pleasures of baked goods through alternative ingredients. Cassava flour is one of my favorites! I made this bread to share with my guests at our gluten free, sugar free wedding reception! Paired as an appetizer with a roasted carrot soup, it was very special! Thank you to Kristina Snyder for sharing the original recipe from I made some simple modifications. The original recipe called for 1 ⅓ cup of cassava flour and 3 Tbsp. of coconut flour. I found that the coconut flour just wasn’t necessary. So, to simplify, I increased the cassava flour to 1 ½ cups and eliminated the coconut flour. Also, I added some salt and rosemary to produce a flavorful herb bread. Feel free to play around with other herbs at home--basil and oregano are always a treat in bread. Enjoy! Ingredients 1/2 cup warm water (around 100 - 110 degrees F) 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey 1 package active dry yeast 4 eggs beaten 1 1/2 cups cassava flour 1 1/3 cups arrowroot flour 1 tsp baking powder 4 tbsp butter 1 tsp Himalayan salt 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary Directions Combine the warm water and maple syrup together in a bowl and then sprinkle yeast on top. Set aside to get frothy - this should take 10-15 minutes. When it has doubled it is ready. If it does not froth, the water temp was off or the yeast is old and I advise starting over. Sift or stir together cassava flour, arrowroot flour and baking powder. Using a box grater, grate butter into the flour mixture and incorporate. Use a fork and mashed it around until crumbs form. Add beaten eggs and yeast mixture to flour mixture. Mix just until it all comes together well. Let rest for about 5 minutes. While this rests, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and transfer batter into a lined pan. Set in a warm place and let bread rise 30-45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven when done, and immediately take out the pan and allow to cool on a rack. *I did 8 loaves the week off my wedding to serve to my guests!

Sprouted Spelt Herb Bread

This delicious herb bread, made with a heritage grain, spelt, is delicious and nourishing. Making diet changes, I have eaten less husband Pavel (boyfriend at the time) decided he still needed some bread. So, we introduced this hearty grain--sprouted for optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption. AND, did you know, spelt like many other heritage grains, contains less gluten! Enjoy! Ingredients 1 cup warm water 1 Tsbp. yeast 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. honey 3 cups sprouted spelt flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 2 cloves garlic (minced) Instructions Add the water and honey to a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for ten minutes. After ten minutes, it should be foamy. If the mixture doesn't foam, discard - you need new yeast. Add olive oil, 2 cups flour, and the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading between each addition, until a smooth, springy dough forms. It should be quite smooth and not really sticky. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough attachment for this. Place the dough into a large greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or large plate. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for one hour, or until doubled in size. This is called proofing. When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and place it into a parchment-lined baking sheet for a round loaf or well greased loaf pan, tucking any untidy ends underneath. Cover with a tea towel and place the loaf into a warm place to rise again for half an hour longer. While it's rising, heat your oven to 350F. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, or until golden, and it sounds hollow when tapped. Optional: spritz with water throughout baking time to produce a heartier crust. Remove from the pan and cool for ten minutes on a rack before cutting. Store the bread in a sealed container for up to three days, or freeze for up to a month.

Building Thriving Lifestyle: Focus

Wrapping up this mini-series on rest, I am going to share with you one last tool and benefit for establishing habits of rest in your lifestyle. Focus, our final topic, allows you to accomplish so much more in life that actually equips you to be less worn out and enjoy more peace and rejuvenation. Yes, stick with me. While accomplishing more, you can experience less stress and more peace-- which results in greater rest. Focus is a dynamic concept that is defined as “a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding”[1] and “central point, or point of concentration”[2]. With this in mind, think about these two questions, “Do you feel focused?” and “What is your focus?” So often in our modern world there are so many activities in which to partake, so many places to be, people to see and tasks to be done. All the while, social media and other such things grab our attention and distract us from the task or thought at hand. This is not a focused lifestyle, but rather a scattered and sometimes chaotic one; diluted, rather than rich. Can you relate? Multi-tasking is one “weed” in our lifestyle that can disguise itself as productivity. However, studies continually confirm that it is an inefficient use of our time and even damaging to our brain and IQ[3][4]. It takes practice and discipline to focus on one thing at a time (or a few, intentionally defined things) on a daily basis, as well as the big picture of your life purpose. If you do not feel focused and you aren’t certain what your focus is, here are a couple exercises to help: Define your Focus--The Big Picture What would your preferred lifestyle look like 5, 10, and 15 years from now? Think values and purpose. How do you invest your time daily, and what are you accomplishing as a whole? Take time to write these things out. Evaluate your current lifestyle. How does it compare to your preferred? What are you doing now that is building towards that preferred lifestyle? What are the distractions that pull you in a different direction? What can you change in the next 1-3 years to redirect yourself, your time and energy toward that preferred lifestyle? Feel Focused-- The Daily Details a. Write down and evaluate the “open boxes” in your life. Responsibilities, activities, unfinished projects you are doing or planning to do. What are the things that take your attention and time throughout your day. b. Once you have identified these things, first label them “essential” (meaning you can’t change this commitment) and “non-essential” (something you can change and let go of if desired.) Then, label them “enriching” or “draining”. c. Cut things out. If anything gets labeled “non-essential” AND “draining” determine how you can let go of this responsibility. If anything is “non-essential” BUT “enriching,'' still consider if this is a season to let it go so that you can have more time and energy for other things, such as those that are BOTH essential and enriching at this time. I have found these exercises incredibly beneficial in my life! Trust me, I have struggled with being overcommitted and spread thin with my responsibilities. I didn’t feel focused and I struggled to identify my focus. However, when I took the time to identify vision AND actively cut out things that didn’t need to be in my life (temporarily or permanently), I experienced the benefits of productivity, rest, and peace. And it is certainly something I continually have to come back to, refocus and maintain. I must say, the “art of saying no,” becomes SO much easier and tactful when you have a tangible, clearly defined reason for it. I hope this series of rest has been enriching to you. I would love to hear how you’ve implemented these tips on rest or some of your own successful ideas to maintain rest in your life! If you would like to learn more about focus in the area of your purpose and long-term vision, look forward to my upcoming articles on Purpose. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Thriving Health Nutritional Therapy of Alfred, NY

Maria Boyuk, FNTP


 I am not a doctor. The information on this website should not be considered medical advice and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any conditions, physical or otherwise. Information provided on this website has not been reviewed or approved by any federal, state, or local agency or healthcare group. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent any particular individual or professional group. © 2020 Maria Boyuk Thriving Health. All rights reserved.