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. 😉

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4809.jpg

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

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4689.jpg

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. ❤

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4664.jpg

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. ❤

IMG_4587.JPG

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!

IMG_4539.JPG

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!

IMG_4490.JPG