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Sarah Lawrence

Easy Anytime Cookies

So, here’s a confession… I don’t buy food “treats” for my family often.  And, I’ve been told by my 10 year old that he needs more than fruits and veggies some days.  So, I’m stepping up my game and getting back into the healthy treat mentality.  I thought I had successfully won my people over on the whole foods 100% of the time, but what works for me isn’t working for them.  While I’m not conceding and running out to buy Ho-Ho’s and RingDings and neon orange cheese puffs, I feel good bringing homemade, lovingly made, whole food snacks back into the picture on a more regular basis.  What’s more… I am SO incredibly proud of my son for being able to iterate his needs.  He is a gorgeous example of doing what it takes to know what his body needs.  These cookies are quick to mix together, easy to freeze and slice off what you need and totally customizable to your tastes.  Easy, Anytime... easy anytime cookies. You can thank my boy for these… try them and let me know what you think!   [caption id="attachment_673" align="alignleft" width="640"]Easy Anytime Cookies Easy Anytime Cookies[/caption]   Easy Anytime Cookies 1 1/2 cups almond meal 1 cup brown rice flour or 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup quinoa or amaranth flour ½ cup potato starch (optional, but improves texture) 1 Tbsp vanilla powder (I use Authentic Foods) ¾ cup peanut butter 3 ripe bananas (if you prefer less banana flavor use green bananas) 1 cup mini chips (Enjoy Life vegan chips are great) or nuts or raisins or other dried fruit ** add in a Tablespoon of flax meal, chia seeds or hemp seeds for some omega 3 goodness!   Combine all ingredients except chips/add in's in your mixer bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until combined.  Then add in chips or nuts/fruit and mix gently to incorporate. Tip the dough onto a clean board and shape into a log.  Slice off the number of cookies you want to bake.  Wrap the remaining dough in parchment, plastic wrap or in a zip loc bag and freeze until ready to use. Place the dough slices on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  The smaller your cookies, the less time they will need to cook. Frozen cookies will bake in about 15-18 minutes.

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Sarah Lawrence

No Bake Brownie Bites

[caption id="attachment_593" align="alignleft" width="300"]No bake brownie Bites No bake brownie Bites[/caption] It is a hot one in New England today.  Scorchers like today just don’t make me want to bake, but I’ve been itching to try a black bean brownie recipe that my friend Kerri created.  With the humidity though, not even a battalion of flying monkeys was going to make me turn on the oven!  So, a little blitzing with a batch of black beans and a few yummy raw staples and a nifty, no bake, nut free brownie bite was born.  My favorite bite was one I rolled with a few dried blueberries.  If you like an earthy flavor, go for the buckwheat.  Otherwise, try the GF oat flour for a mild canvas and a great bite of heart healthy oat fiber.  *nut free, gluten free, dairy free No Bake Brownie Bites 1 cup oat flour (choose gluten free if you need it) or 1 cup raw sprouted buckwheat flour * or a combination of both flours -- buckwheat is earthy, oat is neutral 12 medool dates, pitted, about 1 cup 1-2 droppers of liquid stevia or a few more dates to taste ¼-½ cup cacao powder 1 ½ cups black beans, unseasoned (drained and rinsed if from a can) ¼ cup water ¼ cup coconut oil Add ins of your choice – see end of recipe In your food processor, pulse the pitted dates a few times until they start to break down and get like a paste.  Add the black beans and process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you get a ball of dough.  You may need to add a bit more water or coconut oil depending on the moisture content of your beans and dates.  The consistency we’re going for is something like a stiff cookie dough or play dough. I like to line my small stone baking pan (8x6 or 8x8) with parchment paper, tip out the dough and press it firmly into the corners and then flat on the pan.  Fold the parchment over the mixture and refrigerate it so it firms up a bit more. Cut into ½ inch pieces.  Now you can get creative… you can roll the pieces into balls like truffles and swirl them around in cocoa or cacao powder, cinnamon, coconut, chopped nuts, matcha powder, powdered berries.  You can mix in dried fruit; dried blueberries and chopped dried cherries are my favorite.  You can leave the bites as squares and drizzle with chocolate sauce or spread with a thin layer of ganache.  Bottom line is that these are slightly sweet, fiber rich, heart healthy bites. *To make sprouted buckwheat flour start with raw buckwheat groats.  Soak them for about 2 hours, then rinse and drain.  Let the soaked groats sit in a sprouting bag or a glass container (lightly covered with a clean cloth) overnight.  Rinse the groats after 24 hours.  If they are sprouting, great… if not, let them sit another night.  Once the groats have nice sprout tails you can either set them on a baking sheet and let them dry before grinding them to flour or you can pop them in a dehydrator.  If you have a dehydrator, you’ll know what to do with it.  Otherwise, rinse the sprouts gently and drain them, then lay them on a baking sheet and let them dry out overnight.  You may need to stir them or flip them to help them dry evenly.  I used about 1 ½ cups of sprouted buckwheat groats to get my 1 cup of flour.  A clean coffee/spice grinder makes quick work of this job, but a food processor will work too. BONUS: My Daily Green --Red Cabbage, grapefruit and ginger Salad
  • thinly sliced red cabbage with grapefruit, pickled ginger and a splash of rice wine vinegar
  • a few handfuls of seasonal greens

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creativecalligraphy

It's all in a day...

It's been a tasty day here.  Unfortunately, my 8 year old had a rough night of tummy trouble after having some dairy products at school yesterday and so was home taking it easy.  I needed to keep things fresh, mild and mostly raw for him since his stomach was tender.  Easy to do.  Nourishing and light for the rest of us.  Hope you enjoy the 2 smoothies, soup, spring rolls and sorbet that I made today. I made this smoothie for my 8 year old and his tender tummy: Creamy Banana Coconut Smoothie (serves 1) 1 banana ½ cup coconut milk ½ cup almond milk 1 Tbsp chia seeds 1 Tbsp lucuma powder, optional Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** This one was for me and my 5 year old: Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie (serves 2) 3 bananas 1 cup almond milk 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 2 Tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 cup frozen cherries ½ soaked goji berries 3 cups raw baby spinach Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** Lunch was a mild miso soup:Miso Happy Kale Soup Miso Happy Kale Soup (Serves 4) ~ 15 minutes ~ With miso in your fridge you can have a richly flavorful, light soup in minutes.  White miso is very mild and my kids love it.  Millet miso is a bit heartier.  Choose a miso paste that you love and you can’t go wrong… 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 carrot, thinly sliced 1 cup torn kale 4 cups water 3 Tbsp miso paste Put all ingredients except the miso into a small pot and get things simmering.  Let the pot go for 10 minutes then shut off the heat and stir in the miso paste.  Make sure you stir until the paste works into the soup so no one gets a clump of salty miso.  Serve with a salad of mixed greens, thinly sliced cucumber and a splash of rice vinegar.  ************************************************** Dinner took a little time to prep tonight, but it worked out because my guys were needing a bit of cuddle time.  While the tofu marinated I had quality time with my family.  Doesn't get better than that.  One note about the tofu is that it is a bit salty because of the Braggs in the marinade, but it works with the sweet raw veggies and bite of chili and garlicky goodness in the dipping sauce.  My 8 year old chose not to use the dipping sauce because of the chilis.  I added a slice of avocado to his spring roll to cut the saltiness and give his recovering system some healthy fat. Spring Rolls with Curried Tofu (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad) ~ ready in about 1 hour and 30 minutes, including time to marinate tofu ~ Spring Rolls with Curried TofuThis is a light and tasty meal for a warm evening.  If you don’t have time to make your own curried tofu you can purchase a flavored baked tofu instead.  Using purchased tofu will save you more than an hour in the kitchen, so if you’re short on time, it’s a decent option.  Alternatively, prep the tofu a day or more in advance.  Doing this will allow you to pull out the cold tofu, put the veg into the wraps and be good to go in a matter of minutes. Curried Tofu: 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into 3 slabs and then each slab into 3 pieces 3 cloves garlic, minced 5 Tbsp Braggs 1 Tbsp sesame oil 2 Tbsp curry powder Wraps: lettuces or greens of your choice thai basil cucumber carrot avocado (optional) rice paper wrappers Dipping Sauce: 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 1 thai chili 1/2 lime, squeezed 1 medool date, pitted 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 1/4 cup braggs or tamari 1/4 cup water Let’s start by prepping the marinade for the tofu since the tofu needs to sit a while to absorb some gorgeous flavors.  In a large ziplock bag, combine 3 cloves of minced garlic, the Braggs, sesame oil and curry powder.  I use Spice Island hot curry powder which contains chilies… so our curried tofu sucks in a big kick of spicy flavor.  Use your favorite and adjust the spice level to suit your taste.   Give the bag a little squish to combine the ingredients then place your tofu slices into the bag, seal it and set it in the fridge for about an hour or up to a day.  The longer the tofu sits, the more marinade it will absorb. While the tofu is marinating, prep the dipping sauce.  The longer this mixture sits, the better the flavor becomes, so it’s a natural next step.  I like to pound the garlic, chili and date in my mortar and pestle to get a paste.  You can mince these ingredients super fine and then work them into a paste on your cutting board using the back of a large spoon if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.  Combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and let them marry while we wait for the tofu. When the tofu is done marinating take it out of the fridge.  Pull out your skillet and give it a spray or swirl of cooking oil, get that hot and place the tofu slices right on in.  This should take no more than 3 minutes per side to get a nice golden color on the tofu.  The curry powder helps things a lot as well because of the beautiful golden turmeric.  Flip the slices and let the other side crisp up.  Now remove the slices to clean paper towel so we can drain off any excess oil and let the slices cool at the same time. Once the tofu has cooled we can assemble to wraps.  This step is really quick if you have your ingredients ready.  I often let my kids assemble theirs because it’s easy and fun and kids are more likely to eat something that they’ve made themselves! I set out a 9x13 glass baking pan with about ½ inch of warm water in it.  Next to this I lay out a clean linen dish towel that I’ve wet and wrung out so it’s just damp.  Slide one rice paper wrapper into the warm water and let it soak for about 5 seconds before removing it carefully and laying it on the damp towel.  Layer some lettuce, cucumber slices and shredded carrot, then top with a slice of cooled curried tofu and a sprig of thai basil.  Bring the bottom edge up over the filling, fold in the sides like you would a burrito, then roll her up!  Move on to the next one and continue until you are out of tofu or until you’ve made as many spring rolls as you’d like.  The curried tofu makes an excellent sandwich filling and is also great diced up and tossed on salad greens.  So, if you are making only one or two spring rolls tonight, don’t worry about the leftover tofu!   Heck, invite me over and let’s have lunch! Serve with the bowl of dipping sauce, some fresh veg, and a light salad for a complete meal.  Serve them on their own for a light lunch or snack. ************************************************** Our cool and refreshing dessert. Creamy Pineapple Sorbet Creamy Pineapple Sorbet (Serves 4) 2 ripe bananas 4 cups frozen pineapple (1 lb bag from your freezer section) ¼ cup coconut milk shaved coconut for garnish, optional fresh raspberries, optional Put everything in the Vitamix, other high powered blender or your food processor and blend until smooth.  The advantage of using the vitamix is that you can use the tamper to push the fruit into the blades for a super quick blend.  I’m done with this guy in 30 seconds using the Vitamix.  If you’re using another appliance, you may need to stop and stir to get chunks of the fruit to blend.  If the mix gets too soft after blending just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before serving. Top with shaved coconut and raspberries and serve!

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creativecalligraphy

Chocolate Cherry Berry Smoothie

Ah, it's a good morning!  The leaves are bursting from the trees, the grass is greening and the air carries the heady scent of waking soil.  It's an overcast morning here in NH, a beautiful grey morning.  My morning smoothie reminds me of the rich brown mulch that so many gardeners are spreading out these days.  The color is deep purply brown and the taste is very chocolately with a cool cherry tone.  The blueberries really fade into the background, but they add great nutrition.  And the spinach, well, you won't even know it's there.  This is a great intro smoothie for anyone leery of the green smoothie.  This smoothie is also a great cloak for probiotic powder, fish oil and flax seed.  Get all your goodies in one sip without the ick factor. [caption id="attachment_344" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Chocolate CherryBerry Smoothie Poured"]Chocolate CherryBerry Smoothie Poured[/caption] Chocolate Cherry Berry Smoothie (Yields about 3 cups of smoothie ~ enough for 2 to share or 1 to savor) 1 cup frozen cherries 1 cup frozen blueberries 2 Tbsp cocoa powder or 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder* 1 cup almond milk or alternative milk of your choice or water 3 big handfuls of baby spinach, about 2 cups Additions: 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal or 1 Tbsp chia seeds, any powdered supplements you use, etc
*Cacao contains caffeine and is a stimulant so I don't use it if I am sharing my smoothie with my children.  However, if I need a little pick up in the morning, 1 Tbsp of cacao in a smoothie works just like a cup of coffee.
Put everything in your Vitamix or other blender and whiz on low speed for a few seconds until the spinach starts to work into the mix.  Use the tamper to push down the spianch as needed.  Increase speed to high and blitz the mix to a smooth and luscious smoothie! [caption id="attachment_343" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Chocolate CherryBerry Spinach Smoothie in the blender"]Chocolate CherryBerry Spinach Smoothie[/caption] If the smoothie is too thick for your liking, you can thin it out with more almond milk.  You can also thin it out if you need more servings, but I would suggest adding more berries and a bit more cocoa powder if you're going that route.  My general rule is at least one serving of fruit and one serving of veg per person being served.

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creativecalligraphy

Chai Spice Blend

I get on flavor kicks, in case you haven't noticed.  Indian spices and chai are particularly appealing to me in the winter.  I have a love affair with heat, truth be told, and I'll do just about anything to avoid being cold.  I'm not at all ashamed to tell you that I warm up my pjs with my hairdryer, believe the best gift I've ever received (besides my children) is my amazing heating blanket and I use those nifty handwarming pouches all the time.  Now you know.  The warming spices in my Chai Blend are not only tasty, but they are also comforting and helpful to those like me who enjoy warmth. The Chai Spice Blend I've shared with you before is something I pretty much have on hand all the time.  I will toss a teaspoon into a banana bread recipe just as quickly as I'll use it to punch up the flavor of carrot soup.  It makes a quick curry sauce with an added pinch of turmeric, a dash of saracha and a smash of garlic.  There's so much that this blend can do to make your day more interesting!  I figured since I use it so much that I should tell you a bit more.  May my experiences with Chai be fodder for your culinary experiments! Chai Spice Blend (Makes about ½ cup) 2 Tbsp of each of the following spices, ground:  Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon 2 tsp of each of the following, ground: Cloves, Nutmeg, Allspice, Black pepper and Vanilla Powder Mix the ingredients until combined.  Store in a tin or a spice jar.    Okay, an example for you: The last of the mango trio I bought was sitting on my counter this morning starting to look a bit sad.  It was now or never for this guy, so he hit the cutting board.  Mango aren't native to NH, of course, but it's hard for me to resist their musky orange flesh.  I buy local as much as possible, but in cases like this with mango I choose to use what's available.  The fruit is already on my grocer's shelf and needs someone to use it... so that person is sometimes me.  I know this perpetuates the problem because if I didn't buy it they might not order it, etc, etc.  I know.  But when a girl needs a mango, a girl needs a mango.  Maybe when I'm older I'll plant myself somewhere tropical and surround myself with coconuts and mangoes and I will sing every day, grow my hair wildly long again and be blissfully warm ever after.  Until then, I will buy my mangoes and not apologize for my action. Right, so the mango peeled and cubed sat in my breakfast bowl.  He was ready to go and so was I, but there's this bowl of chai spice on my counter and I'm not afraid to use it.  The kids had already stirred a bit into their yogurt and I could smell the ginger... it was a natural progression! Spiced Mango 1 ripe mango, peeled, cut off the pit and cubed 1 tsp chai spice, more or less to your liking [caption id="attachment_256" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Spiced Mango"]Spiced Mango[/caption]   How else can you use the Chai Spice Blend?  Here are some ideas to get you started:
  1. Buy a small carton of soy or coconut creamer and tip in a few Tablespoons of the spice blend.  Put the cap back on and shake.  Leave this in your fridge overnight, at least, so the spices permeate the creamer.  You can do this with any milk or milk alternative.  The longer you let the spices hang out in the liquid the more intense the flavor. Use the Chai creamer with your next cup of black tea for a spicy kick.  If you don't like gritty tea just pour your cuppa through a strainer before drinking. 
  2. Add a teaspoon or more to your favorite banana bread batter.
  3. Slice some bananas and toss with chai spice.  Give them a quick warm up in a saute pan with a little knob of Earth Balance or coconut oil, then drizzle with agave or maple syrup and enjoy warm, creamy, spiced banana. --- A splash of rum and fresh coconut curls make this dish into a real party for the over 21 crowd!
  4. Chai spiced hot cocoa is exceptional.  Add a teaspoon of the spice into your favorite mix or homeblend.  I think the dark vegan chocolate and cacao options are a stunning match for chai spices.  The combination makes me think of Mexican moles (mol-eh's, not the little critters that burrow in the ground!)
  5. Sprinkle Chai spices over yogurt and fruit for a warming morning treat.
  6. Add chai spice into a batch of garlicky lentils.  Toss in a pinch of turmeric and a hit of saracha. 
  7. Warm a bit of coconut oil and toss some raw cashews to get them coated.  Then sprinkle the nuts with 1-2 tsp of chai spices and shuffle them around so they're well dressed.  Let them dry on a baking sheet and then snack on them!
  8. Pulse equal amounts of dates and nuts in your food processor.  Add Chai Spice to suit your taste.  Roll into small balls, coat with shredded dried coconut and enjoy as a snack.
Post a comment and let me know how you're using Chai Spices... I can't wait to hear what you come up with! Share

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creativecalligraphy

Rawking another Snow Day

It's been another snowy day in NH.  Snowy days call for a little challenge to make things interesting... don't you think?  Maybe it's a bit of cabin fever that calls me to these things or maybe it's just me.  Either way, I read about a friend making a raw nutella this morning and I got a craving and had to do something about it.  Now, I had the recipe blurb from my friend and I wished I could jump right in from there but alas, no hazelnuts in my pantry!  But Nutella is chocolate-HAZELNUT spread, you say... I know.  I worried for about a split second that my experiment might not have the depth of flavor that it could have with hazelnuts.  Silly to worry.  Really silly!  This was my day for Rawking it Out! ("Rawking" is pronounced "rocking" really... very cool raw lingo... you can start using it too as you add more raw to your repertoire!) So I set out with my blender and food processor and lots of nuts and cacao powder and coconut oil and things.  My first attempt started with raw cashews, coconut creme, agave and cacao powder in the vitamix and it really resembled a mealy version of a raw revolution bar.  It was almost gummy.  I threw it into the food processor and added a few spoons of peanut butter, a couple of dates, some cocoa powder and maybe 1/2 cup of almond milk.  I wish I could give you exact measurements because what I have in a jar on my counter is nothing short of pure chocolate cream spread nirvana.  I was, however, really in a creating zone rather than a writing zone so I boobed and didn't jot down a thing!  [caption id="attachment_230" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="#1 on right, #2 on left"]A duo of chocolate nut spreads[/caption] Hence, experiment #2 which was an attempt to recreate experiment #1.  I did things a little differently to make it easier to get a creamy texture with less effort.  I also kept this one more simpler by leaving out the cocoa powder and peanut butter.  It is lighter in color but no less flavorful.  Smooth as smooth can be and creamy enough to make you pick up your pen and paper and write home to mom about it! The long and short of my tale today is that it's hard to mess up chocolate and nuts.  There is room to play here and I think you should.  You may have a texture challenge like I did with my first batch, but that was nothing that a little liquid and a lot of blending couldn't fix.  If you end up overdoing it you will have a nutrient rich chocolate sauce that would be a great fondue like dip.      Raw Chocolate Cashew Spread 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup almond milk (homemade for raw or store bought for mostly raw) 4 dates 1 Tbsp agave, maple syrup or honey (choose your favorite veg or vegan option here) 1 tsp vanilla powder (alternative is 2 tsp of vanilla extract) ½ cup raw cacao powder (I like Navitas Naturals) 1 Tbsp coconut crème or coconut oil *possible add in's for a richer chocolate flavor:  prepared peanut butter, cocoa powder, chocolate extract Put everything into a bowl and give a quick stir to combine.  Set the bowl aside for at least an hour so the cashews can absorb some of the almond milk and soften.  The longer the nuts soak the easier they will be to blend. Dump the soaked nuts et al into your Vitamix, other high octane blender or food processor and blitz until everything is creamy.  Spoon out your creation while trying not to lick the blades clean.  An hour or so of restraint will be worth your while if you can stand it because your chocolatey spread will thicken with a hair of refrigeration taking it from the realm of thick dip solidly into the land of buttery spread.  Set your kitchen timer if you must:  45 minutes to an hour or even overnight.  Then reward yourself with a heaping spoonful of creamy bliss right on its own or even better, slapped onto something salty and crunchy like a pretzel, or trump that and smear it thickly on a great piece of bread (GF bread takes to this spread like a natural!) ******************* Now, you might have thought that rawking the Vitamix and food processor several times already would have been enough for me today.  It might have been.  But my boys asked for one of their favorite desserts tonight and it is SO easy and SO good that I cleaned the Vitamix in a flash and whipped it up.  Not even 2 minutes and we were enjoying this bad boy/good boy.... whatever!  This stuff is so good that my 8 year old always says that the world should know about it... well here you go world! Raw Banana Ice Cream(makes 4 servings) 4 frozen bananas 1/2 cup almond milk 4 medool dates (optional, but truly lovely) 1 tsp vanilla powder Put everything in the Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.  Scoop out, grab your spoon and marvel in the wonder of your creation.  You won't believe how creamy and amazing this is until you make it yourself.  The thing you need to do is go out right now and buy a bunch of bananas (or two or three), get them home, peel them and break them in half before you lay them out on a baking sheet that you're going to pop in your freezer overnight.  When the banana pieces are frozen you can use them right away or pop them off the tray and into a container to store in your freezer until you're ready to make ice cream.  That's the hardest part... waiting for the bananas to freeze.  Word. (Your mind is likely spinning with ideas about flavoring this mad creamy cool concoction.  Dream away... you can add cocoa or cacao, you can add nuts (about 1/2 cup for this size batch) and flavor extracts (start with 1 tsp), and you can play with other milks.  This is the stuff that dreams are made of!) [caption id="attachment_231" align="alignright" width="300" caption="creamy banana goodness"]raw banana ice cream[/caption]

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