Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles

Great Dessert to Share with Friends or the Office.

*Gluten Free and Vegan (Coconut Cinnamon version is also refined sugar free!)

*Gluten Free and Vegan (Coconut Cinnamon version is also refined sugar free!)

The basic "cookie dough" ingredients:

o   1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

o   3 tbsp peanut butter (check to make sure there are no added sugars)

o   2 tbsp almond butter

o   4 dates, pitted and chopped

o   2 tablespoons cacao nibs

o   2 teaspoons stevia powder

o   1 tablespoon chia seeds

o   1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

o   1/2 tsp vanilla extract

o   1 & 1/2 tsp almond extract (gives it a slightly "cherry" taste)

o   1/8 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well blended.  Mixture will take on a dough consistency when finished.

Scoop out with a teaspoon and form until 1" balls.  The dough should make about 35 balls. And now you have some options for a "topping." 

Option 2: Chocolate Covered   This new recipe is a reduced sugar revision of the old recipe,  Chocolate Cherry Almond Truffles . This Valentine's Day, show someone you really love them by giving them a healthy treat to celebrate your love!

Option 2: Chocolate Covered

This new recipe is a reduced sugar revision of the old recipe, Chocolate Cherry Almond Truffles. This Valentine's Day, show someone you really love them by giving them a healthy treat to celebrate your love!

Option 1: Coconut Cinnamon Truffles  (lower in sugar)

Option 1: Coconut Cinnamon Truffles (lower in sugar)

*This is a great option for someone who needs to watch their sugars (like for diabetes or someone who is trying to lose weight). It has a delightful light coconut and cinnamon flavor!

Directions:
Mix 3 tablespoons of shredded coconut (unsweetened) with 3 teaspoons of cinnamon. Roll balls until covered in coconut and top with sprinkled cinnamon.

Nutrition Information(per one treat):

Calories: 34
Carbohydrates: 4 g
     Fiber: 1 g
     Sugar: 0.5 g
Protein: 1 g
Fat: 2 g

Option 2: Chocolate Covered


For anyone who loves chocolate, this is a great chocolate covered treat! Full of nutrition - and healthy fats from coconut oil.

Directions:
Using a double-boiler, melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life -gluten, dairy and soy free) in 1 tbsp coconut oil.  Mix together until forming a liquid consistency.  Dip cookie dough balls into chocolate mixture, until well covered. Store in refrigerator to allow the outer coat of chocolate to harden.

Nutrition Information (per one treat):
Calories: 45
Carbohydrates: 5 g
    Fiber: 1 g
    Sugar: 1.5 g
Protein: 1.2 g
Fat: 3 g

ENJOY! :) 

If anyone is searching for the Chocolate Cranberry Cashew Treats <- here is the link for the recipe and instructions. 

 

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Peanut Butter Hummus

Ingredients:

·       1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

·       4 tbsp creamy peanut butter

·       1 tbsp olive oil

·       Fresh lemon juice (squeezed from 1 lemon)

·       1/3 cup water

·       1 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. 

OR if you'd like to include children in this process:

Place the garbanzo beans in the bottom of a large non-breakable mixing bowl.  Begin mashing the beans using a potato masher.  If making the recipe with children, allow each child to take a turn mashing the beans.  Gradually add the remaining ingredients and continue to mash until the mixture is blended and smooth.

*For dipping:

·       Celery, carrot, zucchini, cucumber, red or green peppers or jicama sticks.  Can also serve with tortillas or tortilla chips.

·        

Source: "How to Teach Nutrition to Kids" by Connie Liakos Evers, MS, RD.

Kid Favorite

Carrots make great dipping sticks

Swiss Chard Pesto

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Brighten Up

With playful rainbow swiss chard

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Swiss chard is fresh and in abundance during this time of the year!

Great item to grown in the garden- easy and prolific.

I tend to turn to the same smoothie, sautes (usually over pasta) and salads, but I was ready for a new take on swiss chard. And so... the swiss chard pesto was born, a quick and easy food processed way to add greens to your pasta:

Ingredients:

· 3 cups swiss chard (tightly packed), washed and pulled off the stem

· 3 cloves garlic

· 1/2 cup walnuts

· 1/4 tsp salt

· 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

Blend ingredients in the food processor until smooth. Yields about 1 & 1/3 cup pesto.

Boil 3 cups (dry) pasta - for gluten-free, I used brown rice pasta. After cooked, mix pesto and pasta.

Optional garnishes: For some spice, try crushed red pepper flakes, and add nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese to add a little "cheese" flavor.

Summer Broccoli Slaw

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This is a great twist on a summer salad

- loaded with more cancer fighting antioxidants and dairy free! :)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews

¾ cup coconut water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

¼ cup cilantro

⅓ cup lemon juice

⅓ cup spicy mustard

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

+ 1 package of broccoli slaw

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Save time and buy a bag.

I like to use a pre-cut bag mix from Trader Joe's.

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Pour "sauce" onto broccoli slaw and stir in. Enjoy! :)

Blend the cashews, coconut water, cilantro, lemon juice, mustard, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt in a food processor.

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Stir in a can of tuna for some extra protein!

*Recipe inspired from DAMY's Raw Zucchini Pasta Alfredo.

Cashew Carrot Pate

This creamy veggie dip is so delicious, you won't even miss the dairy! :)

This creamy veggie dip is so delicious, you won't even miss the dairy! :)

Ingredients:

2-3 cloves garlic, diced

1 slice of sweet onion

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup cashews

sea salt ,to taste

1/4 C. olive oil

 

Directions:

1. In a food processor, using the "S" shaped blade, blend the garlic, onion and carrots into a fine consistency.

2. Add cashews and process with the remaining ingredients. Stop periodically and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. Blend until creamy.

3. Chill and serve.

Variation: Try using soaked almonds or sunflower seeds instead of cashews.

Replace the oil with a little water to help the ingredients blend together.

Lemon Lavender Coconut Treats

     Ingredients:

·         1 cup cashews

·         1 cup walnuts

·         1 cup dates

·         Juice of 1 & ½ lemon

·         Zest of 1 lemon

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         2 tsp dried lavender

 

Directions:

1. Blend ingredients together in food processor.

2. Roll in 1 tsp size balls and coat with unsweetened coconut flakes. 

3. Enjoy! Makes about 3 dozen treats. 

Carrot Parsnip Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

·       6 medium size carrots

·       2 large parsnips

·       3 stalks of celery

·       1 inch piece of ginger

·       2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

·       2 cups of bone broth (either beef or chicken) or vegetable stock

·       3 cups coconut milk (or almond milk)

·       2 tsp powdered ginger

·       1 tsp chili flakes

·       Salt and pepper, to taste

·       Optional: cilantro and pumpkin seeds to garnish

 

Directions:

1. Wash and cut carrots, parsnips, celery and ginger. 

2. Saute cut vegetables in the garlic infused olive oil for about 5 minutes.

3. Add powdered ginger, chili flakes, broth and milk to vegetables, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are break apart easily when put on a fork.

4. Pour cooked vegetables and liquid into blender until smooth (or use immersion blender). Be careful, these veggies are hot!

5. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with your favorite garnishes. I'm partial to the cilantro and pumpkin seeds. 

This is another great soup to make in large quantities. This recipe makes about 10 cups which is great for multiple meals or sharing with the family. It takes a little bit longer to prepare than the Rainbow Rice, since you need to wash and cut all of the vegetables and boil for about 20 minutes. But it is delicious and worth it!

 

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Simply Beautiful

Fall/Winter Soup

Quick Rainbow Rice (Turmeric Ginger Veggie Rice)

One key to making quick and easy meals is making large batches! This recipe makes over 12 cups of rice, which is great for on-the-go meals. Another time saving tip is to use pre-cut (and washed) frozen veggies. 

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Ingredients:

·       4 cups (uncooked) Basmati rice

·       3 tbsp garlic infused oil (or olive oil)

·       1 lb frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn & peas)

·       1 cup diced bell peppers (can be frozen or freshly cut)

·       1 & 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

·       1 tbsp turmeric

·       1/2 tsp chili powder

·       1/2 tsp red chili pepper

·       2 tbsp liquid aminos/Tamari or gluten free soy sauce

·       Optional: cilantro, sausage slices or pumpkin seeds 

 

Directions:

1. Cook 4 cups of rinsed Basmati rice (rinse to reduce arsenic). I like to use a rice cooker so I don't need to keep an eye on it. 

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2. While rice is cooking, pour the garlic infused oil in a saute pan and saute vegetables for about 5 minutes. 

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3. Add rice to veggies in sauce pan and mix in spices. Let simmer on low for about another 5 minutes.

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4. Dish out and add optional toppings - I enjoy the jalapeno chicken sausages from Trader Joe's. I also am a huge fan of cilantro and love this combination!

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5. Enjoy! Save extras in glass containers for storage and later enjoyment. 

Pecan Cranberry Spice Bliss Balls

This delicious recipe has just a few whole ingredients for a nutrient-dense and tasy treat! Great for holiday gifts - including to our vegan, gluten free and dairy free friends! :)

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Ingredients:

·       1 cup raw cashews

·       1 cup roasted pecans

·       1 cup dried cranberries

·       9 dried dates

·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·       1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or Pumpkin Pie Spice (from Trader Joe's)

·       + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for outside coating

Directions: 

Blend all ingredients (except cinnamon) in food processor until relatively smooth "dough" is formed.

Roll "dough" into about ½ inch balls.

Sprinkle cinnamon in bowl and roll treats to cover in cinnamon. 

Spicy and Savory Butternut Squash Soup

It's fall time... and you know what that means! It's time for all things squash and pumpkins :) I was feeling inspired by the season and played around in the kitchen to create a delicious and fun new soup. Bonus: after the squash is roasted, the soup is super quick and easy to "make" aka blend! 


Ingredients:

·       1 big (about 1.5 lb) butternut squash, roasted, peeled and cubed (for instructions on how to roast squash, view here)

·       1/4 cup olive oil

·       32 oz chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

·       1/2 cup coconut milk (canned)

·       1.5" piece of ginger *may be adjusted according to ginger preference

·       1/2 cup cilantro

·       3 tsp chili powder

·       2 tsp rosemary

·       2 tsp turmeric

Toppings (all based on eater discretion):

·       Seeds from roasted squash (or pumpkin or sunflower seeds)

·       Red pepper

·       Salt and pepper

·       More cilantro!


Instructions:

1.     Place cubed and roasted squash pieces into Vitamix (or food processor). Add remaining ingredients and BLEND!

2.     Warm on stove, add toppings and ENJOY! 

*Pictured - soup made in Vitamix. Can also use a food processor.

*Pictured - soup made in Vitamix. Can also use a food processor.

Banana Almond Smoothie

This delicious smoothie is not only packed with protein, but also fiber, vitamins and minerals from the spinach and banana.

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Ingredients:

·       2 tbsp almond butter

·       2 cups loosely packed baby spinach

·       1 banana

·       1 1/3 cup coconut milk

·       1 tsp vanilla extract

·       Sprinkle with cinnamon

 

Directions:

Mix together in blender and ENJOY! 

Vanilla Almond Joys

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Ingredients:

·       1 cup of natural almond butter

·       3/4 cup coconut palm sugar

·       1 large egg, lightly beaten

·       1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

·       Coarse sea salt

 

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.     Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3.     In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except the sea salt until well combined.

4.     Spoon tablespoons of the mixture one inch apart onto the parchment paper.

5.     Flatten the mounds with a fork.

6.     Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

7.     Bake about 10 minutes, switching the position of the pans about half way through.

8.     Transfer freshly baked cookies onto a cooling rack and let rest. 

9.     Enjoy! :)

 

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Curry Soup - with Kale and Mushrooms

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Warm Fall Soup

I couldn't decide which fall vegetable I enjoy more, so I ended up adding both the pumpkin and butternut squash into this soup! This is a delicious, creamy and vegan soup!

Although most soups I make involve just throwing vegetables together, this soup takes a few more steps, but definitely worth it.

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Curry Soup

Serves 10

Ingredients:

4 cups vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk (white part only), finely chopped
2 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups cubed butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes

1/2 cup pumpkin, pureed

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

3 cups kale

1 cup mushrooms

1/2 can coconut milk (7 oz)

yellow curry paste (see recipe below to make)

 

 

Thai Yellow Curry Paste

3 small fresh orange or yellow chilies, coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 (small) shallots, chopped
3 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1 lemongrass stalk (white part only) chopped
1 inch piece of ginger root, chopped
1/2 can of coconut milk (7 oz)


Put all ingredients in a food processor or blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.

Directions: 

1. Pour stock into large pot and bring to boil. Add 1 clove garlic, lemongrass, chilies. Simmer 5 minutes. Add carrots, butternut squash, and pumpkin and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until tender. Mash carrots and butternut squash with masher if you'd like a more creamy texture (I prefer it this way, with just a few chunks left).  Leave heating on stovetop.  


2. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or wok. Add remaining 1 clove garlic, kale, mushrooms and shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes. 

 

3.  Make Thai Yellow Curry paste (see directions below) and add to pan with sauteing vegetables to simmer together for additional 2-3 minutes.  


3. Add the sauteing vegetables (with curry paste) into soup pot. Add remaining coconut milk to soup.  Stir together and ENJOY! 

 

Optional garnishes: pumpkin seeds and basil. 

Pumpkin Banana Bread

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Ingredients:

·       1/3 cup pumpkin

·       2 brown bananas

·       2 eggs

·       1 teaspoon vanilla

·       1 tablespoon maple syrup

·       1 teaspoon baking powder

·       1 teaspoon baking soda

·       1/2 cup coconut flakes

·       1 cup almond flour

·       1/2 cup Bob's Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

·       1 teasooon cinnamon

·       1 teaspoon "Pumpkin Pie Spice" (from Trader Joe's, or use 1 teaspoon nutmeg)

 

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

2.     In a medium sized bowl, combine the pumpkin, bananas, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup.

3.     In antoher medium sized mixing bowl, baking powder, baking soda, coconut flakes, almond flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

4.     Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir until well mixed.

5.     Optional: add chocolate chip cookies for taste. 

6.     Spray a small bread pan evenly with non-stick coconut spray. Put mix into pan. 

7.     Bake for 35 minutes and enjoy. :)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients: 

·       1 cup of coconut flour

·       1/2 cup of coconut sugar

·       2 tablespoons almond flour

·       1 teaspoon cinnamon

·       1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

·       1/4 teaspoon salt

·       1/4 teaspoon baking soda

·       1/2 cup chocolate chips

·       1/4 cup coconut oil, + 2 teaspoons

·       1 cup canned pumpkin puree

·       3 eggs

·       1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.     In a medium sized bowl, combine the coconut flour, coconut sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.

3.     In another medium sized mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. 

4.     Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Stir until well mixed.

5.     Stir in chocolate chips.

6.     Bake from 12-14 minutes and enjoy! :)

Simple Summer Green Smoothie

With an abundance of fresh fruits in the summertime (especially fruits like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc), it is the perfect time to blend in to a delicious green smoothie! A great way to add an extra dose of cool is to use frozen berries!

 

Ingredients:

·       2 cups leafy greens (kale or spinach are my favorites)

·       1 cup fruit (berries, pineapple, mango, etc) 

·       1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

·       3 tbsp hemp seeds or other non-dairy protein powder (If using this smoothie as a meal, make sure to include a source of protein. Can also eat nuts or seeds or eggs alongside smoothie and not blend it in).

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together and ENJOY!

Butternut Squash Chili

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This is one of my favorite cold weather meals! This delicious butternut squash chili can easily be made vegan or vegetarian (by leaving out meat and swapping bone broth for veggie broth). Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp olive oil

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or can leave out to make vegetarian or vegan)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • ¼ cup chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 6 oz can of tomato paste

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups) OR if you’d like an “easy button” Trader Joe’s and Costco have organic pre-peeled and cubed butternut squash ready to go!

  • Fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz can)

  • Great Northern beans (14 oz can), drained & rinsed

  • Black beans (14 oz can), drained & rinsed

  • ¼ cup chia seeds

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 teaspoon  sea salt

  • 4 cups bone broth (or veggie broth)

Directions:

1. Heat 1.5 teaspoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up chunks with the side of a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Push the turkey to the edges of the pan, leaving the middle empty. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1.5 tsp of olive oil and add the onion to cook until it softens, about 3 min.

3. Add the chili powder, cumin, and coriander and stir about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the paste begins to darken in color, about 30 seconds. Then add the squash, tomatoes and 4 cups bone broth (or chicken broth), scraping the bottom of the pan to release anything stuck.

4. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat if needed, and cook until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender, about 35-40 minutes.

5. Stir the beans and chia seeds into the chili and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season with an additional ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Then taste the chili and stir in tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Spoon the chili into bowls and top each with cilantro.

*My go-to add-in’s include: avocado pieces, dairy free cheese (Daiya is my fave!) and topping or scooping out with organic corn chips!

Berry Buckwheat Porridge

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Buckwheat! Who even knew that buckwheat was a delicious food we could eat… and despite the word “wheat” in its name, is actually gluten free?! These beautiful little diamond shaped grains are nutrition superstars. They contain plentiful amounts of vitamins and minerals and nutrients like fiber, protein, iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and magnesium.

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The mornings are getting cooler and I’m finding myself craving warmer foods for breakfast. Oatmeal and chia seed pudding have become boring…. it was time to venture into some new gluten free breakfast territory. With a little online sleuthing, I found some buckwheat inspiration! My favorite kind of cooking is when I can have leftovers for days, and this was a major score that one cup of (raw, uncooked) buckwheat lasts for four breakfasts! SCORE!

Here’s the simple recipe - enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats*

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

    *Here in Sacramento, I found the buckwheat groats in the bulk section of the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop. I also hear they’re available at Whole Foods.

Add In’s/Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened hemp milk

  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries

  • 1/4 cup pecans

  • Pumpkin Spice (from Trader Joe’s) or just plain ole’ cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add the water and buckwheat groats to a pot.

  2. Add in salt, vanilla and frozen blueberries and bring to a boil.

  3. Allow groats to simmer for at least ten minutes - and check the texture of the groats. They should be squishy, but not mushy or too watery.

  4. Once the groats have cooked to a tender state with all the water absorbed, scoop out one serving and add desired toppings.

*Recipe adapted from: Simple Buckwheat Groats for Breakfast.