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.

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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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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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Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Sweet Potato Muffins

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Sweet Potato Muffins

Today was a beautiful Fall day in Berkeley. The air was clean, crisp and cool, like just after the rain. Fragmented clouds littered the sky, allowing for the momentary burst of warmth before the sun would disappear again. It was the perfect day for a long trip to the park. It was also the perfect day to bake something yummy. Muffins are one my daughter’s favorite things ever and feeding them to her is one of the only ways I get her to eat her vegetables. She usually hates sweet potato… I’m convinced they must have switched babies at the hospital. 😉

Both pumpkin and sweet potato are in season right now and the smell of them baking catapults me into visceral memories of fall seasons past. Add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg; and maple syrup to sweeten it all up and you’ve got all of the best Autumn flavors in an easy going little muffin.

I whipped these up quickly this morning and after they were done baking, left them to cool while we went out and enjoyed one of the first chilly days of the season. As I walked through the door when we returned, I had completely forgotten about the treats that awaited us. My little one smelled their delicious aroma as quickly as I did. I beat her to the kitchen though… unfair advantage, my legs are longer. 😉

These muffins are not overly sweet, are reminiscent of pumpkin pie and are incredibly moist in the center. I added things like chia, cacao nibs and mesquite powder for a boost of nutrition but they are very easily omitted if you don’t have them on hand. I’ve mentioned mesquite powder’s awesomeness is in this post, if you haven’t heard of it. Next time I make these, I plan on adding some chopped pecans as well.

Pumpkin sweet potato muffin

• 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
• 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup maple syrup (1/3 cup if you like a sweeter muffin)
• 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Trader Joes Vanilla Almond Milk)
• 1 tsp organic almond extract
• 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
• 1 1/2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
• 3/4 cup oat flour (ground from rolled oats)
• 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
• 2 tbsp mesquite powder (optional)
• I tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp ground clove
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Line muffin tin with 10-12 paper liners, if you aren’t using a non stick muffin pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix together all wet ingredients, except the almond milk, with a whisk until combined.
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4. Add almond milk and chia seeds and mix again.

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5. Add dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. If you have a sifter that would be ideal but if not a fork works just fine for me. 😊

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6. Add dry ingredients, plus cacao nibs (if using) to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

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7. Pour batter into muffin liners. I personally pour my batter to the tippy top of the liner, which is why I only got 10 muffins out of the recipe. I just love that big puffy muffin top!
8. Bake muffins for 20 minutes and let cool for 5-10. If you can wait long…

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*Note the absence of a muffin top in this picture- I forgot my baking soda this time, so unfortunately they didn’t rise properly.