Deceptively Delicious Chocolate Avocado Pudding!

*That's it! Those ingredients pictured are the only ones in the pudding :) 

Ingredients:

·       3 ripe avocados

·       1 banana

·       1 cup coconut milk

·       1/2 cup pure maple syrup

·       1/3 cup cocoa powder/raw cacao nibs

·       8 dates

·       1 tsp vanilla

·       pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor and dip strawberries, eat as pudding, add whipped coconut cream and ENJOY! :) 

SO simple and so good, you can't help but smile!

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Crunchy Kale Chips

*Pictured above - kale chips before baking.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of curly kale (make sure it's not dino or lacinato kale - it won't crisp the same!)
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Wash kale thoroughly and dry thoroughly.
2. Tear kale away from stem. Each kale piece should be chip sized.
3. Place kale, salt, olive oil and lemon into a bowl and mix together with your hands, gently massaging the kale with the oil, lemon and salt
4. Lay kale pieces flat out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. Place in oven and set timer for 15 minutes and check.
5. Remove from oven and gently unstuck kale from pan if it has stuck and if needed, place in oven for another 5 minutes until kale is dry and crispy
6. Allow to cool. Can store in fridge for up to a week.

Tips:

·       Trader Joe's now carries pre-cut and washed kale pieces which speed up this process.

·       When placing kale on baking sheets, massage oil into kale so it cooks evenly.

·       Can also substitute vinegar for lemon for a salt and vinegar chip.

·       Can also substitute garlic salt, Braggs amino acids, and various flavorings for an extra flavorful treat - ENJOY!

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Cheesy Kale Chips (or Salad) with a Kick!

Have you tried any of the delicious flavored kale chips that are now being produced commercially??

They are de-licious!! Only problem is that they're $5-6 for a tiny little bag (and yes, it makes sense that if you take a pound of kale, add in cashews and other high quality ingredients - the cost is high to produce these delicious morsels of kale goodness!) but I was inspired to try and create these myself and was very pleasantly surprised at how well they came out!

I used a dehydrator this time, so more of the nutrients were kept instead of being baked away. Best part - so quick and easy to make.

I was also surprised at how delicious this kale is RAW (no dehydrating or baking necessary), but eaten it as a salad.  The amazing, flavorful dressing makes it perfectly flavorful and have served it to others who  wouldn't have dreamed of using "kale" and "yummy" in the same sentence. But she changed her mind and asked for the recipe :) 

Ingredients:

·       1/2 cup cashews

·       3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper *(can adjust according to spiciness desired)

·       1/4 cup lemon juice

·       1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

·       2 tbsp nutritional yeast

·       1 tsp chili powder *(can adjust according to spiciness desired)

·       few dashes sea salt

·       1 bunch of kale OR Trader Joe's pre-washed & cut kale

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients together (besides kale) in food processor and blend until smooth to make the cheesy flavor "dressing." 

2. Use spatula to spoon out all dressing and mix thoroughly with kale. If using Trader Joe's bagged kale, use about 1/2 the bag.  If using a "bunch" of kale, remove stems and wash thoroughly, breaking apart kale leaves in "chip" size pieces.

I was tempted to stop here and actually HAVE eaten this just as a "kale salad" with this delicious, nourishing dressing. But if your intention is to make CHIPS - then we'll have to continue to the dehydrating step...

3. Take individual kale pieces covered in dressing and lay on dehydrator shelf.  I believe my chips dehydrated over night so they were perfectly crispy and flavor concentrated. Read the settings on your dehydrator to see what temperature and settings it recommends.

4. I found the most difficult step the SHARING part - they're SO good, it's easy to eat them all in one sitting :)

ENJOY!  

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Vanilla Coconut Icing and Fruit Dip

Vanilla Coconut Icing and Fruit Dip

This simple and natural recipe is a GREAT topping as whipped cream or icing on cookies, pies, puddings, fruit and anything else you can think of! ;) 

Ingredients:

·       1 can (15 oz) full fat coconut milk

·       3 tbsp honey, agave syrup or maple syrup (or to taste)

·       1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled; at least a few hours. 
2. Open the can of coconut milk. There will be a firm, waxy layer on top.
3. Scoop out this firm layer coconut cream that has solidified at the top of the can.
4. Stop as soon as you reach the water at the bottom of the can; don't include anything but the solid cream. (You can use the water in smoothies, or just drink it straight.)
5. Place this cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl.
6. Turn your mixer or hand beaters to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Whip until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Mix in maple syrup and vanilla, if using.

Enjoy on whatever your heart desires, including muffins, such as carrot muffins!

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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

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.

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. 

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 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! :)

Chia Seed Pudding

 

Chia seeds are a wonderfully nutrient dense food - with 0 net carbohydrates (1 tbsp provides 6 grams of fiber, however!), omega 3 fatty acids, and a complete protein! 

They also contain an abundance of minerals to keep your bones strong. 6 times more calcium than milk, 64% more potassium than a banana, 32% of your daily magnesium (more than broccoli), 6 times more iron than spinach, and more niacin than corn, rice & soy!

And just for an added benefit, chia seeds have powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are incredibly important in cancer prevent! Chia seeds have double the amount antioxidants found in blueberries.

While there are an infinite amount of possibilities of ways to enjoy chia seeds, this is one of my favorite!

Ingredients:

·         4 TBSP chia seeds

·         3/4 cup coconut milk

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         1/2 banana, chopped

·         1/4 cup cocao nibs

·         1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Soak coconut seeds in coconut milk for 15-30 minutes - making sure to stir a few times. The chia seeds will begin to form a sort of "gel" that makes a perfect pudding!

Add vanilla extract and banana and top with cocao nibs and cinnamon. 

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch a great snack any time of the day!

Other variations: Include apples, berries, dried fruits, almonds, walnuts, nutmeg, etc.