Butternut Squash and Almond Butter Bread

Butternut Squash and Almond Butter Bread

I’ve really been embracing the winter squash this fall/winter. It’s incredible how many varieties there are! My new found love of preparing food for my family has opened my eyes to the beautiful bounty of the market all year round. In the past I would have just waited impatiently for the summer, when farmers markets are ‘worthwhile’. While summer produce is still my favorite, I now find the beauty in all seasonal produce. Shopping locally and choosing fruits and veggies that are in season is one of the easiest ways you can be good to your body. When you buy locally you can be more sure that food is at it’s peak of freshness. It hasn’t been stuck in a shipping crate for weeks while going over seas and had the chance to lose flavor and vital nutrients. When food has to be shipped from around the world, it is usually picked before the peak of it’s flavor in order to survive the long trip to your local grocery store. This leaves you with old produce which will likely spoil within a few days of purchase. No good, for your health or your wallet! Plus if you buy seasonal produce, you’ll be making sure you give your body a plethora of diverse nutrients all year round!

Butternut squash has a delicious delicate nutty flavor that lends itself extremely well to soup. In fact, before experimenting with this bread, I believe soup was the only way I’d ever eaten butternut squash! I’m glad to have branched out. This butternut squash bread is moist, fluffy and delicious. I happily enjoyed a slice with ghee and honey alongside my morning tea. Heaven!

Butternut Squash and Almond Butter Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Process

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees
  2. Skin butternut squash, remove seeds and chop into chunks
  3. Toss butternut squash in olive oil and salt and spread onto baking sheet
  4. Bake for 20 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees
  7. Once cooled, mash up butternut squash in a medium bowl
  8. Add milk, egg, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and almond butter and mix well until combined
  9. In another small bowl, combine almond flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt
  10. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well
  11. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake in oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted

Enjoy!!

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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

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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Easing the pain with Raw Chocolate

Easing the pain with Raw Chocolate

I am about to bleed. I can feel it. My insides are wrenching, my energy is low and my mood… erratic at best. To make things more interesting, my little love, in all of her licking the floor, teething mania has contracted a head cold. Since she is such a generous girl, she has lovingly shared her germs with mama and now I am battling the onset of my own head cold. *Sigh* The whole world should just pause for 4 days while I sleep this off. That would be the thoughtful thing to do, world!

Since our planet just keeps on turning oblivious to my suffering, one must drudge on. My salvation today; hot ginger tea, cozy socks, cute baby cuddles and… chocolate. Oh chocolate, you gorgeous creature. How I love thee. You make dark days bright. On a day like today, I require guilt free indulgence. I’m simply unwilling to monitor myself. No no no. Today is an ‘eat chocolate until the pain goes away’ type of day. But I know that consuming refined sugar is one of the surest ways to exacerbate this little bug that I’m waging war on. Well, it’s a good thing that I happened to make some nutritious yet still oh so delectable raw chocolates last night. My subconscious is really looking out for me.

Raw Chocolates

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • Pinch of salt
    * For a little variety: a few raspberries, dried fruit, nuts, anything your heart desires

Process

  1. Melt coconut oil and cocoa butter in a double broiler (I melt mine in a glass bowl that fits nicely atop my tea kettle. Fill kettle with water and boil.)IMG_3834.JPG
  2. Add honey and almond butter to melted coconut oil/butter and mix until well combined
  3. Add cacao, mesquite and salt in a spectate bowl and mix until well combined
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined
  5. Add hemp seeds and mix one last time
  6. Pour chocolate into chocolate molds on it’s own or place a half of a raspberry, pecan, etc. in the mold first and pour chocolate on top.
  7. Place mold in fridge for 10-15 minutes and Voila! Pop those little morsels out for some superfood decadence!

This chocolate is putting a much appreciated, sweet smile on my face today. I hope it gets to improve your day too. ❤

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Second Chance Granola

Second Chance Granola

If you cook at home a lot, you are forever stuck in a revolving door of food shopping. It seems like almost as soon as I buy certain things, they’ve been eaten and we are making a trip to the store for more. Granola is one such item. My husband is obsessed so we always keep it in the house. When I purchase granola I make sure to pick the option with the lowest sugar, which at our local health food store is still about 7 grams per serving. For the most part I like to stick to the rule, don’t eat it if it has more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. I make exceptions of course because rules are meant to be broken from time to time. 😉 I know that making food at home is always the healthier option and I wanted to have control over what was going into this breakfast staple of ours, so I tried to make a batch a few months ago. Long story short, I flambéed it (not a good look or taste for granola… Charcoal and milk anyone?) My ego was so bruised that I haven’t tried again, until now. These days I’m feeling loads more comfortable in the kitchen. A few years ago I was like a baby deer with a spatula, fumbling around, tripping over myself and making a huge mess in the process. I can’t even begin to tell you all how many times I’ve burned myself. (Egg white is my best friend. More on that in another post) The moral of this sad story is, ‘If at first you burn the crap out of your hand, spill the dinner all over your shirt or over cook the granola, try try again.’ -anonymous. Thankfully, I listened to this wise poet and came back to the granola. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. Success never tasted so good!

Second Chance Granola

• 3 cups Rolled oats
• 5 tbsp Coconut butter (I used coconut butter because it contains the fiber of the coconut, use oil if you’d like)
• 1/3 cup Maple syrup
• 1 tbsp Cinnamon
• 1 inch grated ginger
• 1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
• 1/2 cup Sunflower seeds
• 1/3 cup Mulberries
• 1/4 cup Raisins
• 1/4 cup Hemp seeds
• 1/4 cup Chia seeds
• 1/2 cup Coconut flakes

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees
2. Add coconut butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and grated ginger to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, mix for a few seconds and turn off heat.
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3. In a big bowl, pour maple syrup mixture over your oats and stir until oats are evenly coated.

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4. Add pumpkin & sunflower seeds and mix again.

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4. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 30-35 mins, stirring granola a few times after the first 15 mins. (I used coconut oil to grease)

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5. Meanwhile, toast coconut flakes on low heat until they just start brown. Take off heat before they burn; they burn quickly.

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6. In a bowl, add coconut flakes, hemp and chia seeds, raisins and mulberries.
7. When oats are finished mix them together with your dried fruit and power seeds and store in an airtight container. I used mason jars.

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This recipe is another one that you can use as a jumping off point for your own experimentation. Don’t have mulberries? Use any dried fruit. Don’t like dried fruit? Use nuts instead. Incorporate flavors you love. Play! Leave your ego out of it. It really has no place in the kitchen. Humility, perseverance and love for food and the people you are serving, that’s all you need. That’s what cooking is all about. It only took me a few years and some burns to figure that out. 😉