Sweet Potato Quinoa Power Cookies

Sweet Potato Quinoa Power Cookies

Hello all! I hope your holiday was merry and bright. Mine was lovely. Lots of friends, lots of family, lots of sweet holiday spirit. I’ve had a wonderful few days but I’m thrilled to be home again without anything pressing on the calendar for a while. What do I do with a little down time? Organize! I spent all of yesterday and part of today cleaning out our home, giving away the old to make room for the new. My entire house is clean, I’ve even organized the closets. It was such an incredible cleansing of the physical realm that I feel cleansed mentally and spiritually as well. Now I’m all ready to blaze into 2015, a few pounds lighter. 🙂

In the midst of all of this cleaning, I got hungry. Off to the kitchen I went. After giving it a good scrubbing, I scoured the fridge for goodies. I abhor letting food go to waste so I was thrilled to throw together this tasty little power ‘cookie’ with the random leftovers I discovered. My daughter and husband gobbled it up happily and asked for more… this makes it a win in my book. Although it’s packed with wholesome ingredients like sweet potato, quinoa, buckwheat and garbanzo flour, it’s also filled to the brim with yummy flavor. It’s a little dense, not quite as chewy and moist as a classic dessert cookie but the sheer volume of nutritious ingredients and tastiness makes up for that in my opinion. 😉

Sweet Potato Quinoa Power Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free AP flour (mainly garbanzo flour)
  • 2 tbsp mesquite flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cooked sweet potato, cooked quinoa, melted coconut oil, eggs, almond milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix until well combined.
  3. Place flours, mesquite powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix together.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until well combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips to batter and fold in gently with a spatula
  6. Grease cookie sheet with preferred oil and using a cookie scoop, place scoops of batter on cookie sheet leaving a few inches between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes
  8. Allow to cool before diving in. I seem to make this mistake every time. A big shout out to the roof of my mouth for taking the abuse like a champ. 😉

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No bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

No bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Happy Sunday all! Oh what an immensely luxurious weekend I’ve had. My daughter spent the last 2 days with Grandma so the hubby and I got to indulge in adult time. We watched a movie in the theater yesterday. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a movie, out of my robe, off of the couch, without a baby on my lap. We ate lunch at our favorite Pho spot in Oakland and then we just walked around the city leisurely… all day. I left my phone at home and didn’t even acknowledge it’s existence for a whole 24 hours. It was AMAZING. Being completely disconnected gave me such a lovely internal reset. I feel renewed, rejuvenated. I’m so ready to see my beautiful girl in a few hours but it’s been oh so invigorating to connect with my husband like this again. 🙂

On to my super yummy recipe- Thursday night I got to have one of my best friends over for dinner. She lives in Tahoe so I don’t see nearly enough of her. She is one of those special people that everyone adores. She’s down to earth while simultaneously frolicking among the clouds. She’s fun, she’s quirky, she’s outlandish, her heart is as vast as the grand canyon. I love her so and she loves pumpkin pie… so when she told me she was coming I knew I would recreate my raw pumpkin pie cheesecake for her. This time, I made sure to take a few photos before devouring it. 😉

Raw Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Crust ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Seeds of 1 cardamom pod – ground in a coffee grinder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Filling ingredients

  • 2 cans pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups cashews soaked in water
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee (use coconut oil to make vegan)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Process

  1. After soaking dried apricots for an hour or so place both the apricots and the water in a food processor with all other crust ingredients and process until the mixture starts to stick together
  2. Press ‘dough’ into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan to form a crust/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4754.jpg
  3. Place crust in freezer to set for 3 hours
  4. Meanwhile place all filling ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth and creamy
  5. Once crust is set pour filling onto top of crust and place back in freezer to set for at least another 6 hours./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4684.jpg
  6. Bring pie out of freezer and let defrost a bit before serving.

This pie is best served when very cold in order to keep it’s consistency cheesecake like 🙂 Sending you all love and yummy holiday treats until next time… /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4748.jpg

There’s an oil for that

There’s an oil for that

I am a firm believer in the power of essential oils. These magical little oils have the power to perk you up, stimulate circulation, ease tension, disinfect, enhance mental acuity, improve your mood, the list goes on. I have an arsenal of different ones in my home that I use nearly every day. I want to share a few of my favorites with you all and why I love them so.

Rosemary- ah rosemary. That beautiful smell- woody, herbaceous, delicious. Rosemary has many health benefits. Inhaling it can help to clear your respiratory tract, enhance memory and improve your mood. I use rosemary essential oil for all of the above, but my very favorite use for it is to get rid of the gnarly pee stink in the toilet. Since I don’t use bleach, rosemary is a miracle worker for leaving my toilet smelling sparkly clean. I just drop 3 drops in it after cleaning with distilled vinegar and baking soda- or just use it whenever you’d like to freshen it up. I also use this essential oil in my massage creams. It boosts circulation which helps to promote a healthy lymphatic flow as well as battle the dreaded cellulite. Health and beauty win!!

Tea tree- Some people aren’t fond of the smell of tea tree. I LOVE it. Tea tree is anti bacterial and anti fungal so it is fantastic for treating pimples. When I feel one coming on I dab a drop directly onto the pimple before bed and in the morning it has lessened or completely disappeared, nearly every time. I use tea tree in my homemade cleaners as well. Works like a charm. I’ve cleaned my yoga mat with it, my countertops, even my teeth. When I experience gum pain, I will floss well and apply some tea tree to the affected area. It has completely solved the problem every time.

Lavender- What is there to say that hasn’t been said about this incredible oil? Likely not much. Lavender’s sweet slightly herbaceous scent makes it one of mother nature’s greatest natural perfumes. I add it to my homemade skin products for it’s anti septic and anti inflammatory properties. Lavender essential oil is also an adaptogen, which means that it has a normalizing affect on the body. This can be seen in it’s ability to calm nervousness and help one sleep. I sniff lavender before bed and it definitely seems to help me unwind.

Grapefruit- Other than simply smelling amazing, grapefruit is also uplifting and energizing. The essential oil is high in the powerful antioxidant d-limonene. This antioxidant has anti inflammatory properties and is wonderfully nourishing for your skin. I dilute some of this essential oil in my face cream to give it a yummy smell and liven up my skin. Grapefruit is also an incredible cellulite blaster so add it to your lotion and massage away!

Eucalyptus – This is another oil that I love to use in cleaning. It gives everything a nice pine smell without leaving behind all the nasty chemicals that pine sol would. Due to it’s anti septic and anti fungal properties, I will also drop this oil into my toilet to freshen and disinfect. As I mentioned in a previous post, I use this oil in my shower to create a steam inhalant for those yucky times of the year when I’m congested. It works incredibly well!

In closing, essential oils are the proverbial poo. There are tons more to speak of, of course, but I’ll leave with these for now. 🙂 What oils do you use, dear readers and why do you love them?

XOX

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Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Hello all! December has proven to be super busy for me, as it seems to be for most. There are cookies to bake, friends and family to visit and gifts to make. All this holiday hustle and bustle has made finding time to blog a little tricky, so I decided to post a quick and easy recipe that I forgot I had been holding onto. Quick to blog about and equally quick to make. I made this delicious ‘pudding’ awhile back; I didn’t share it at the time simply because I had so many other wonderful things to share with you. I hope to continue having that problem. 🙂

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coconut milk (I tried a version with goat yogurt that I loved too)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (use any milk you’d like)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (I’ve tried and adored both)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • Chopped strawberries for topping

Process

  1. Whisk the almond milk, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract together until just combined.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. If you notice seeds have all settled at the bottom, stir once more
  4. Pour pudding in sealable container/containers
  5. Cover pudding and put in refrigerator to gel overnight.

This pudding is so so good. It’s by far the most praised and requested treat that I make for my family. Its wholesome enough to serve for breakfast and delicious enough to ‘indulge’ in after dinner. Thank you for stopping by! I’ll be back with some more love in a few days. ❤

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Sweet Potato Truffles

Sweet Potato Truffles

I love sweet potato, as you all know, but muffins were getting a little tired. Luckily, as I was driving (when many of my good ideas strike) a lightning bolt of genius hit me. Sweet potato truffles. After 10 minutes or so of daydreaming, I had the recipe completely dialed. I was so impressed with my ingenuity! As soon as I got home I checked online to see if I was as original as I thought and my bubble was quickly deflated. Already been created. Ah well. My truffle recipe came to me organically in a moment of divine inspiration. That’s good enough for me! 😀 Plus, they are super duper tasty, which in the end is all that matters anyway, isn’t it?

Sweet Potato Truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup baked sweet potato (one medium sweet potato)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 + tbsp maple syrup (I used 1 tbsp and it was just slightly sweet, perfect for me)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • *2 tbsp mesquite flour
  • *optional

Process

  1. Bake sweet potato on 400 for 35-40 minutes
  2. Add baked sweet potato sans skin along with all other ingredients to food processor.
  3. Process until all ingredients are combined and nice and smooth
  4. Roll out ‘dough’ into balls a little smaller than a golfball – my recipe made 26 truffles
  5. Place truffles on a plate and put in freezer to set for about 20 minutesIMG_4603
  6. Once they are set, dip truffles in whatever toppings you’d like. I used cacao powder, ground coconut flakes and my homemade chocolate.IMG_4598-0.JPG

These truffles were yummy, nutritious, fairly easy to make and so pretty! I needed some help with clean up so I enlisted my little elf. She’s good at cleaning chocolately bowls. ❤

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Carrot Potato soup

Carrot Potato soup

I’ve been making this hearty, nutritious, insanely delicious soup for awhile now. It’s probably my favorite soup of all time, so I make it quite a lot. It’s perfect for when you don’t feel like cooking but want the satisfaction of a home cooked meal. It’s super simple to prepare and has always impressed my dinner party guests. I picked up the recipe from a cleanse that I participated in a few years ago. The initial recipe was fairly bare bones as it was created to cleanse you. 🙂 Coconut oil, water, onions, ginger, carrots and ume plum vinegar. I loved it so much that once I was off my cleanse I started to build upon it and it became a weekly staple in my home. If you haven’t tried ume plum vinegar I would definitely recommend it. It’s got a slightly sour, slightly sweet, very salty flavor that can add such a delightful flavor profile to soups, dressings, marinades, etc. A little goes a long way with this stuff so don’t overdo it. I find I can usually omit most of the salt from the recipe if I’m using this vinegar.

Carrot Potato Soup– This fed 2 adults and a toddler for one dinner and lunch the next dayIMG_4541.JPG

Ingredients (I use organic produce 95+% of the time, sometimes it’s unnecessary, stay tuned for an article going into more depth on that.)

  • 4 cups bone broth (I use bone broth because of how nutritionally dense it is, you can substitute veggie broth or water to make this vegan)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee (you can use butter if you don’t have ghee or for a vegan option , omit and up your coconut oil by 2 tbsp)
  • 5 large carrots
  • 1 medium peeled russet potato (sweet potato would be delicious too)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 inches of peeled ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp ume plum vinegar, depending on how much salt you use
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Process

  1. Chop up all of your veggies, garlic and ginger
  2. Heat coconut oil and ghee in a large pot on medium heat
  3. Once hot, place onions in pot and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent
  4. Add the rest of your veggies including ginger and garlic, salt as desired
  5. Mix and cook all together for 5 more minutes
  6. Add the 4 cups of whatever liquid you are using and raise the heat to high
  7. Once boiling, turn down heat to low, place lid on pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Once done simmering, take off heat and add ume plum vinegar and more salt if needed and pepper as desired
  9. With a hand held immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and creamy (If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender)
  10. Transfer soup to bowls and enjoy!

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Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

Good morning lovelies! I hope your weekend was wonderful. Mine was packed to the gills with friends and family, in other words, perfect. Being busy giving and receiving love is my favorite use of time. 🙂

Yesterday was my family’s annual holiday gathering. We meet in Walnut Creek at my aunt and uncle’s beautiful home overlooking the valley; we feast, we catch up, we exchange gifts. This year was particularly precious because my daughter is the first baby we’ve had around in many years. She is finally old enough to grasp a bit of the magic that is Christmas. We watched her glittering eyes as she marveled at the tree and all of the pretty wrapped boxes underneath it. When she realized some (OK, most) were for her she could barely contain herself. It was so much fun to watch.IMG_4436.JPG

After we got our fill of baby cuteness, we moved on to dinner. My contribution to the holiday table was dessert. I planned on making my pumpkin pie cheesecake which was an already proven success but time constraints didn’t allow for a trip to the store. I decided to improvise. I looked in my pantry and fridge and realized I could easily transition to a vegan, raw chocolate cheesecake. My salivary glands began acting up immediately.

Raw Chocolate CheesecakeIMG_4473.JPG

Ingredients

Crust (I like thick crust, if you like a thinner crust, you can half this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • *1/4 cup mesquite flour
  • *1/4 cup cacao butter
    *Optional

Filling

  • 2 1/4 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted cacao butter (use coconut oil if you prefer)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup mesquite powder
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Pinch of salt

Process

  1. Using a food processor, blend all ingredients together to form a sticky dough
  2. Place dough in a 9 inch springform pan and press down to form a crust
  3. Place crust in freezer for 3 hours, give or take
  4. Once crust is about finished setting, place all filling ingredients in food processor and process for a minute or two, until filling is thick, creamy and smooth.
  5. Pour filling onto the top of the prepared crust and allow to set in freezer for another 3 hours
  6. Transfer ‘cheesecake’ to fridge an hour or two before serving to allow to defrost a bit.

*If you leave this dessert out of the fridge for too long before serving, it will start to melt and your cheesecake consistency will be off.

My family is decidedly un-vegan. I wasn’t sure that they were the right crowd to be wowed by my efforts. I was right to be skeptical. When I brought out this beautiful cake after dinner, I told them, ‘This is my chocolate cheesecake.’ At this revelation, most of my family perked up and although stuffed, began to sluggishly shuffle over to me. ‘It’s vegan and completely raw!’ I proudly proclaimed. ‘My aunt quickly whispers to me ‘Don’t tell them that! They might have actually enjoyed it.’ Despite their annoyance at this cheesecake being ‘healthy’ a few people still tried it. My aunt and uncle practically licked their plates clean and my dad actually complimented it. ‘This is really good’ he says between bites. ‘Thanks Dad. As far as desserts go, It’s super good for you too! ‘Yeah yeah, I like it despite that fact.’ he says out of the side of his mouth.

Ah… family. Can’t live with them and although I certainly can and do live without them, I’m super blessed to have them. It’s really pretty cool that a huge group of people with such different interests and personalities can all love each other so much. It’s a great exercise for me in accepting people as they are, as I’m sure they are challenged to do as well, by their crazy hippy sister, niece, daughter, granddaughter. 😉

Sending you all love and healthy chocolately kisses!

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DIY Whipped Body Butter

DIY Whipped Body Butter

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Colorful lights are twinkling, the smell of pine is all around, there is an icy chill in the air and my skin feels like an old leather boot. Nothing like a drop in temperature to dry out my already scaly skin. Unfortunately for me, nothing ages you more than dry skin, well aside from smoking and tanning booths maybe. 😉

What to do when your thirsty epidermis needs a drink? Don’t look to those store bought body creams. They are laden with chemicals that will do more harm than good. All you need to nourish your flesh is likely already in your home. Coconut oil and Shea butter are powerhouses of moisture. Coconut oils is high in saturated fat or tryglicerides. When applied topically these fats help keep skin feeling silky smooth by retaining the moisture content of the skin. Shea butter also high in fatty acids is an incredible moisturizer as well. Not to mention effective in healing eczema, stretch marks, dandruff and psoriasis. I used Shea butter throughout my pregnancy and even though stretch marks run in my family, I didn’t get one… And I stretched quite a bit . 😉 I added a few other goodies to my homemade body cream but they are completely optional. You will need some type of electric mixer to whip your oil and butter to create the fluffy finished product. An electric hand mixer will do fine or better yet, use a stand mixer if you have it. The faster the speed of the mixer, the lighter and fluffier your butter will be.

Because we are not adding any preservatives to this homemade cream, you’ll want to take a few precautions in order to extend it’s shelf life. First, you’ll want to use a clean scoop to administer the butter at each use. If you dip your fingers in it, you will likely contaminate your product with bacteria and spoilage will accelerate. Another way to keep your butter fresh longer is to keep it in a dark, relatively cool place. I keep mine in my medicine cabinet in my bathroom. Sunlight and heat will shorten shelf life as well. Also, make sure that any utensils, storage jars and surface you are using are sparky clean and dry. Water will contaminate your product quicker than anything else. Another useful tip, make super small batches. The less you make, the quicker you’ll use it and the less likely it will just sit around and possibly turn sour. Smell your homemade product before each use. If it smells funny, throw it out!

Alright, now on to the fun stuff! Here is my super quick recipe for amazingly luxurious homemade body butter,

Whipped Body Butter

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw organic Shea butter
  • *5 drops of organic rose-hip oil
  • *5 drops of essential oil. (I used ylang ylang)
    *optional

Process

  1. Combine all ingredients in a clean medium sized bowlIMG_4278.JPG
  2. Using sparkly clean mixer, whip butters and oils together for 7 minutes on highIMG_4280.JPG
  3. Using clean utensil, transfer whipped body butter to clean airtight container and store in cool dark place.

Enjoy your decadent body butter. Your skin and whoever has the privilege of caressing it thanks you!

 

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Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Hello lovelies! I have been enjoying this past week down in Southern California with my family. It’s been a luxurious few days. Lots of lounging, talking, laughing… nothing special I suppose but it’s meant the world to me to be here for the holiday. Getting to watch my mama light up as she plays with my daughter has been so darling, magical really. I’m beginning to really revel in these moments and truly appreciate how precious they are. I’m not taking a single one of them for granted. My mother has been known to be a bit of a grump. Her life growing up was rough to say the least. To be honest I’ve never seen her so happy as when she is being a grandma to my Marvel. I love it more than I can express to you. My mommy happy? It’s just the best. If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m having a wonderful week. 🙂

It’s raining today in Los Angeles. The air smells of wet concrete and dried foliage. I sit inside, writing to you all while my girl naps, the sounds of my family screaming at Sunday Football games is ringing in my ears. I feel content. I feel at home. 🙂

My Thanksgiving dinner was simply scrumptious. Perfectly roasted turkey, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, maple roasted carrots, green beans and my favorite fluffy gluten free dinner rolls. My rolls were an excellent addition to the feast. If you are gluten free and have been searching for a perfect dinner roll, today is your lucky day. I found this recipe years ago in a holiday edition of Living Without Magazine, I tweaked it ever so slightly and they have been gracing the Thanksgiving table every year since. You will love them. Everyone does… gluten eaters and non eaters alike.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey powder (or sugar)
  • 2 cups heated almond milk
  • 2 cups sweet rice flour
  • ¾ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • ½ cup gluten free AP flour (a blend of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, fava bean flour.)
  • 3 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup melted ghee
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Process:

1. Combine yeast, honey powder and warm milk in a bowl and whisk until honey powder is dissolved. Let sit until mixture is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Combine flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix with an electric beater on medium-low to break up any lumps in the potato starch.

3. Add the yeast, eggs, ghee, honey and vinegar. Mix on medium-low until combined. Then turn the beater on high and mix for 3 minutes. Batter should be very thick and smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 standard muffin pans or 1 standard and 1 mini muffin pan with melted ghee.

5. Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop batter into muffin pans, filling about ¾ full.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put aside for about 30 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.

6. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Let cool slightly and serve warm with ghee or butter.

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This recipe is not the most nutritious you’ll find on my blog, this is true. But who cares? I personally cannot be sustained on veggies and seeds alone. 😉 My life is more enjoyable when it includes some well placed indulgence. ‘Everything in moderation, even moderation.’  I thoroughly enjoyed every delicious bite of this fluffy, buttery roll. I sure hope you do too. ❤