Friday, January 30, 2015

PUDDING 3 WAYS: CHOCOLATE + CAROB + KEY LIME


So pudding. We love pudding in this house. I mean all caps and in italics LOVE pudding. For the longest time I tried to find a pudding recipe that maintained the texture and flavor of the traditional but with a bit of added virtue. Meaning I wanted a pudding I could eat any day, all day without an ounce of guilt. Okay maybe not all day but definitely without the guilt. At the time I couldn't find any so, in frustration [desperation?], I started experimenting.

From this came two recipes. And we love them both.

The first I created specifically for my youngest child who is allergic [hives and all] to cacao / cocoa / chocolate. I know, the horror right?! No way was I going to make pudding for the rest of us and keep it from her. Come to find out it's delicious and we all love it! It's sweetener free, using dates in place of syrup, honey, or sugar. I add coconut oil to boost the healthy fat content but this isn't necessary and can be cut if fat is a concern. Oh and for the record, this is not a low-fat treat. But "low fat" has become a bit of a swear word in some circles anyway and it is packed with healthy fats!

The second recipe is for any pure chocolate lovers [or in my 4 year-old's words "chocolate monsters"]. Adding less maple syrup and / or more cacao will place it in the realm of dark chocolate and adding more syrup and less cacao brings it closer to milk chocolate in flavor.

We like to experiment with different natural flavors: almond, hazelnut, peppermint, and coconut. Adding toasted coconut flakes as a garnish is amazing. Top either pudding with berries, whipped coconut cream [see recipe below], or toasted nuts. Add a tablespoon of seed or nut butter for a peanut butter-chocolate blend. The options are endless which means you can try something different every day!

The beauty with simple recipes using versitile ingredients is once you've made them a few times over you can really get creative. For example, the other night I whipped up a key lime version [listed below] using many of these ingredients.



[CAROB + DATE PUDDING]

2 ripe avocados
8 - 10 dates, pitted
boiling water
3 - 4 T. carob powder
1 T. unrefined / raw / extra virgin coconut oil, soft but not melted [optional]
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cinnamon

Place dates in a glass cup or jar [Ball jars work great] and add boiling water until dates are just covered. Set aside for 10 - 20 minutes so soak. Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor. Add carob powder, coconut oil, sea salt, and cinnamon. When dates are finished soaking and soft pour dates and water into the blender or food processor. Blend on high until mixture is thick and very smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate to stiffen. You can also enjoy immediately!

[CACAO + MAPLE SYRUP PUDDING]

2 ripe avocados
1/8 - 1/4 c. unrefined / raw / extra virgin coconut oil, soft but not melted [less oil makes a softer pudding, more oil makes a more fudge-like pudding after refrigeration]
1/4 - 1/3 c. maple syrup, local if available [start with the smaller amount and add to taste if needed]
3 T. raw cacao powder [or cocoa powder]
pinch sea salt
pinch of cinnamon

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao or cocoa powder, sea salt, and cinnamon. Blend on high until mixture is thick and very smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate to stiffen. You can also enjoy immediately!

Note: If you serve immediately the texture will be standard pudding-like. If you refrigerate, the texture becomes more fudge like. Both are delicious!




[KEY LIME PUDDING]

2 ripe avocados
2 - 3 T. unrefined / raw / extra virgin coconut oil, soft but not melted [less oil makes a softer pudding, more oil makes a more fudge-like pudding after refrigeration]
1/4 - 1/3 c. maple syrup, local if available [start with the smaller amount and add to taste if needed]
1/2 - 1 whole lime, juiced
pinch sea salt

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, fresh lime juice, and sea salt. Blend on high until mixture is thick and very smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate to stiffen. You can also enjoy immediately!

Note: If you serve immediately the texture will be standard pudding-like. If you refrigerate, the texture becomes more fudge like. Both are delicious!


[COCONUT WHIPPED TOPPING]

To make coconut whipped cream: place a can of regular coconut milk in the fridge to separate. To test, gently shake the can slowly. If you hear liquid, continue to refrigerate. If you don't it is ready.  When ready, carefully remove lid and scoop out just the solid coconut cream. Reserve the coconut liquid [water] for smoothies, jello, or another recipe.

Place coconut cream in a bowl and add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup [if sweet whipped topping is desired], the contents of a scraped vanilla bean or a large pinch of vanilla powder [optional], and a pinch of sea salt. Whip on high for a minute or so until soft peaks that hold their shape have formed. Place whipped cream in a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate 30 - 60 minutes to set.

Monday, January 26, 2015

THE 'ALL THINGS WINTER SQUASH' SQUASH POST



This past fall something came over me and, like a squirrel collecting acorns, I stashed winter squash everywhere. Garage, basement, upstairs bedroom, refrigerator - basically wherever I could find cool, semi-empty space. There are a few reasons I look forward to winter each year: the fires, the soups, the warm blankets and slippers, the slowing down-ness of life and movement, the holidays, and the squash.

Okay, its mostly the squash.

Over the years I've collected and created a number of disappearing squash recipes and it's been a while since I've assembled them all in one place. So, here it is. If you have squash on hand or have been eyeing it at the market or store grab it. This is your one-stop, you have it so flaunt it, here's what to do with squash post.

[BREAKFAST / BAKED]

[BABY'S] PUMPKIN PORRIDGE
BRAN MUFFINS [sub fruit puree for squash puree]
PUMPKIN APPLE BREAD
PUMPKIN RICE BRAN MUFFINS
PANCAKES OR "SNEAKY CAKES" [sub fruit puree for squash puree]
SPICED PUMPKIN WAFFLES WITH MAPLE-GINGER SYRUP

[APPETIZERS / SNACKS / SIDES]

BAKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHIPS
BUTTERNUT SQUASH HASHBROWNS
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
SPAGHETTI SQUASH BABY CAKES WITH CRISPY SAGE

[MAIN DISHES / SOUPS / SALAD]

BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA
BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC N' CHEESE
BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA SAUCE
CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN STUFFED DELICATA
PUMPKIN RISOTTO
QUESADILLAS WITH "CHEESY" BUTTERCUP SQUASH FILLING
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH
ROASTED VEGGIE-STUFFED HUBBARD SQUASH [great holiday dish!]
SIMPLE BREAKFAST [sub delicata squash or peeled and cubed winter squash for sweet potato]
SIMPLE PIZZA CRUST
SPAGHETTI [SQUASH] AND [NO MEAT] BALLS
SPAGHETTI SQUASH PAD THAI

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
END-OF-WINTER SOUP
WHITE CHILI WITH WINTER SQUASH BASE

SPRING SALAD [sub delicata or peeled and cubed winter squash for the sweet potato]
WINTER PUMPKIN MILLET SALAD

[DRINKS / SMOOTHIES]

CREME DE PUMPKIN SHAKE
PUMPKIN-GOJI SMOOTHIE [enjoy this warm for a nice winter twist]
SPICED PUMPKIN LATTE

[DESSERTS / SWEET TREATS]

BUTTERCUP CUSTARD
CREAMY PUMPKIN ICE CREAM
PUMPKIN-APPLE CRISP
PUMPKIN PUDDING
UP-SIDE-DOWN PUMPKIN PIE






Monday, January 19, 2015

PUMPKIN PUDDING

Today I'm simply going to connect you to one of our favorite treats these days. I have a pile of stored winter squashes to work through and it's hard to think of a better way to use them up [well besides hash browns, chili, and soup of course]!

[THE RECIPE]

Against All Grain Pumpkin Pudding [Dairy-Free, Egg-Free]

Note: The recipe calls for pumpkin puree however I've had great success with a variety of winter squash so simply use what you have on hand or can find at your local [winter] market. I also up the quantity of squash / pumpkin puree to 2 - 3 cups, adding an additional 1 - 2 teaspoons of gelatin to compensate. You can opt to sweeten with applesauce in lieu of maple syrup for a sweetener-free option. Make it as the recipe dictates once and then adjust as you wish!

Monday, January 12, 2015

WHITE CHILI WITH...[YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHAT'S IN IT] + CHILI-SPICED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER










Disclaimer: If you're my wonderful husband who thought, "Maybe I'll give this post a read", please stop and do us both a favor by exiting out of this blog immediately. I'd rather not spoil this soup you love with a list of ingredients. Thanks and love you!  

Phew! That was close.

I shamelessly try to trick my husband in a number of meals. Okay, most of them. If you've been a guest around our table, chances are I've whispered to you the ingredients and begged you not to say a word. My husband has so many amazing qualities and one major Achilles heal - he has this thing about squash. Essentially he hates them. All of them. Which of course simultaneously breaks my heart and encourages me to see how often I can get him to eat them without his knowing.

Recently I've been working on how to do chili without tomatoes and beef and including [a lot of] winter squash. I've been mulling over different combinations and finally landed on the one you'll find here. The true test for any recipe I post is: will the man of the house eat it?

Guess what?

He emptied his bowl.

AND said the soup was amazing - maybe his favorite.

AND I remain at large, squash secret safely withheld.

So, if you're looking to change up your chili give this recipe a try! Below I provide a variety of add-in options and note the version I use at home.

May you survive these short, cold, snowy days with a bowl of warm goodness in hand and a mischievous twinkle in your eye.

And please, please! don't tell my husband.

[WHITE CHILI WITH WINTER SQUASH BASE RECIPE]
Serves 6

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T. extra virigin, unrefined coconut oil
3 large garlic cloves [or 5 smaller ones], minced
1 lb. ground turkey [or omit for vegan/vegetarian and add more beans further in recipe]
3- 4 c. chopped vegetables of choice [peppers, carrots, daikon radish, sweet potato, corn, greens. I typically use carrots and daikon radish]
1 T. cumin-coriander blend*
1 T. dried cilantro
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 - 3 tsp. sea salt, to taste
few grinds of black pepper
1 quart bone or vegetable broth of choice [homemade lamb bone broth is my favorite]
2 - 3 c. water or vegetable broth [start with 2 cups and add more if needed]
4 c. butternut [or other winter squash] puree
4 c. cooked Northern white beans [or 2, 15-ounce cans. I like Eden brand as they are one of the few who soak their beans overnight prior to cooking and canning]

Garnish options: fresh cilantro, cheese of choice, Greek yogurt, corn chips.

Saute onion in coconut oil over medium-low heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional minute or two. Add ground turkey and cook until meat is not longer raw. Stir in cumin + coriander blend, cilantro, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Saute for a minute, stirring frequently. Pour in broth, water, chopped vegetables, and squash puree. Bring to boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add white beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly [5 minutes] and serve.

*In a dry blender, food processor, or spice grinder blend into a fine powder 1 part whole coriander seed to 2 parts whole cumin seed.


This may be my two-year old's favorite veggie these days. A good friend of mine has us hooked on her Tahini Roasted Cauliflower. This got me thinking about other flavors that might be nice. Turns out chili spice is fantastic. This is a real no-fuss, "anyone can do it" recipe. Enjoy!

[CHILI-SPICED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE]

1 large head [or 2 small heads] cauliflower
2 T. coconut oil, melted
appx. 1 tsp. chili powder
appx. 2 tsp cumin-coriander blend*
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cauliflower into medium-size chunks. Rinse and pat dry. Place cauliflower chunks on stoneware baking sheet or parchment-lined cookie pan. Toss with spices, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. If cauliflower is beginning to brown and becoming crispy along the edges and bottom, remove from oven and serve. Otherwise continue to bake for up to 15 more minutes [in 5 minute increments] or until browned and beginning to get crispy.



Monday, January 5, 2015

FLAXSEED + HONEY + SEED BUTTER SNACK BALLS




As my girls get older it seems they are starting to question everything I prefer they eat - mainly vegetables and vitamins. Vegetables aren't so easy to hide in the quantities they need but vitamins are a different story. Recently, I've been sneaking their vitamins and other superfood boosts into these simple snack balls. I pack them when we're out and about, pop one for dessert, or whenever I need a quick jolt of energy. They're so versatile you can adapt them as you please and add just about anything: dried fruit, nut or seed pieces, coconut flakes, spirulina / chlorella, carob or raw cacao powder, veggie powders, [you can fill in the blank].


[THE RECIPE]

1/2 c. freshly ground flaxseeds [or any other ground nut or seed of choice]
1/4 c. pumpkin + sunflower seed butter [or any other nut or seed butter of choice]
1/8 c. raw, unfiltered honey*


Place, in a small glass bowl, all ingredients along with any add-ins you choose and mix really well. Roll small chunks of the dough between your [clean!] hands to make bite-size balls. Place in a glass container, cover, and refrigerate. Keep refrigerated and cool when traveling.

Note: Drink plenty of water when you consume flax, psyllium, or chia seeds to help them move through your system. Honey in any form is not suitable for children younger than one year old.

*Raw, unfiltered honey is typically more firm in consistency and lighter in color. True raw honey retains all of its natural vitamins, living enzymes, and other nutritional elements. I love Sleeping Bear Farms Raw Honey as a local option as well as YS Organic Bee Farms Raw Honey. A quick search on localharvest.org can easily connect you to local honey in your area.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

TOP POSTS OF 2014



About this time last year as I waited for the calendar to flip from 2013 to 2014, I sent up a prayer asking for a year of quiet and rest. 2013 had been filled with struggle and my physical and spiritual health mirrored the toll those twelve months [years?] had taken on my body and soul. It's 30 minutes to midnight and I'm sitting here in such gratitude for the answer to a whispered prayer - the blessing and healing found within this past year.

May 2015 be one of joy and creativity, beauty and grace. Happy New Year friends.

[TOP TWELVE RECIPES OF 2014]













[TOP TWELVE  BOOKS OF 2014]

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr

Energy Medicine by Donna Eden

Emotional Intimacy by Robert Augustus Masters

Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater


Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Eat, Taste, Heal by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda, and Johnny Brannigan

Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris



Sunday, November 9, 2014

SUPER IMMUNITY JELL-O

We've been enjoying a lot of jello in our house recently. I've made jello a host of ways with a variety of layers and flavors but this is the one I land on most often. It has both form and function - is delicious and beneficial. I don't add any sweetener to mine as I prefer the sour tilt but raw honey is a wonderful way to add some sweet as well as a nutritional boost.

[THE RECIPE]

2 c. cranberries, fresh or frozen
2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 c. dried elderberries
1/4 c. dried bilberries
1/8 c. dried hawthorn berries
4, 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger or 1 - 2 tsp. dried minced ginger
4 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 - 4 T. pure gelatin
Add-in options: raw, local honey [to taste], camu powder, ginseng powder, ginko powder, goji berries, coconut milk

Optional Roasting: Roasting really add depth to the flavor of this jello. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread berries onto baking stone or parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 7 minutes [if using fresh berries] or 10 - 15 minutes if using frozen berries. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Place dried berries, ginger, and water in a medium size saucepan. Bring water to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 - 45 minutes [the more time you do the stronger the tea will be]. Remove from heat, strain out the whole berries and ginger, and set tea aside to cool slightly.

Prepare a 9 x 13 glass baking dish by rubbing it with a light coat of coconut oil. Set aside.

In a blender container, place [roasted] berries, tea, lemon juice, gelatin, and any addition add-ins you may have*.

Blend on high to very smooth. Pour mixture into prepared glass dish and place in refrigerator for 2 - 4 hours to firm.

Cut into small squares or use cookie cutters to create fun shapes. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

*If you want to make this a two layer jello, simply blend 1/2 the ingredients as noted above, pour into prepared pan and place in freezer to set quickly. Reserve out the other half. Add 1 additional tablespoon of gelatin and 8 ounces of regular coconut milk [or milk of choice] to the remaining ingredients. Blend on high to smooth. Remove the jello from the freezer and pour in creamed layer. Place in refrigerator as noted above.