Thursday, December 30, 2010

Raw Chocolate and Cheesecake

Here are the two raw desserts I made for Christmas. I wanted a contrast between rich chocolate, and light fruit. The following treats were born...

Dark Raw Chocolate Truffle Tart in a Cacao Nut Crust, topped with Coconut Whipped Cream. This is as decadent as they come! Recipe found in my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook


Mandarin Orange Cheesecake on a Pecan Ginger Crust with a Cranberry Pomegranate Compote

I love the flavor and texture combination of this cheesecake. A creamy smooth citrus cheesecake on a dense gingery crust, paired with tart cranberry and sweet pomegranate, and rounded out with the crunchy pecans. It's really light and refreshing.

Pecan Ginger Crust

1 1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup pitted, packed dates - finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor to create a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of an 8" or 12" spring form pan.

*grated finely on a microplane

Mandarin Filling

2 1/2 cups mandarin segments
1 1/2 cups cashew
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
6 drops stevia
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon packed orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 drops orange essential oil, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter

Blend all but the oil and butter until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil/butter and blend briefly to incorporate.
Pour the filling over the crust.
Chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Cranberry Pomegranate Compote

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup mandarin orange juice (or juice of regular oranges)
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder
5 drops stevia
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 drops orange essential oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seed
2 tablespoons goji berries

Blend all but the chia and gojis, in a food processor or blender, leaving a little texture, if desired.
Pulse in the chia seed just to mix it in, but avoid breaking it down.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the goji berries.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours. The chia will soak up some of the liquid, causing the compote to thicken.
Spoon over the cheesecake when you are ready to serve it.

Candied Pecans - recipe HERE in my Ice Cream in the Raw eBook (where you can also find a recipe for lucuma vanilla nuts).

I don't have a recipe to share for the Chocolate Truffle Tart as it's tucked away for a future project, but give the cheesecake a try!

What yummy treats did you make for Christmas?

Here's my Christmas tree. About a week ago I was sitting on the couch beside it, when I started hearing a "whoosh" - I looked to see that the tree was starting to fall over! I caught it on the way down - whew. Strange through, because it was tied up with fishing line... but apparently that wasn't enough.

Happy New Year! Wishing you fabulous celebrations!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Raw Chocolate Covered Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are enjoying wonderful celebrations with family and friends.

As you saw in my last post, it's been a raw chocolate factory around here lately after my long hiatus. It's so fun to be at it again, creating choccie goodness. I've been pumping out various truffles, clusters, bark, and brittle. Here's a taste if what I've been up to...

Chocolate bark with macadamia nuts, dried cherries, figgies, and almonds. 
This is so easy to make, it's just basic dark chocolate from my Just Desserts ebook with the fruits and nuts folded in, spread in a pan and broken apart.

Black and white truffles: Dark chocolate and white chocolate superfood truffles.

A peek  inside...

Freshly dipped chocolate truffles

Assorted choccie truffles: peppermint, almond, pomegranate goji berry, coconut, orange, and dark chocolate superfood.

Mulberry goji cacao crunch triangles

A reminder that my 30% off Holiday book sale is on for 2 more days, until December 28.

Have a wonderful rest of the holiday! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cacao for Christmas

The time has arrived. Yesterday afternoon I made chocolate for the first time in 3 1/2 months... and yesterday I ate chocolate for the first time in 3 1/2 months! It was so fun to play with choccie in the kitchen again. I made an assortment of goodies for Christmas gifts and to have on hand during the holidays.

I admit, I was a little nervous to see what my mental and physical reaction would be to the cacao again. Immediately upon eating some, I felt fine. A few hours later I noticed the typical increase in heart rate that comes from eating cacao. By the time I went to bed my heart rate was still elevated and I had trouble falling asleep. Ok.... so let's weigh the good with the not-so-good: My stomach and gut responded fine, my head responded fine (some people get headaches and there was a point where I was getting weekly and then daily headaches which was probably from the cacao)... but a racing heart is not such a good thing. Today, I feel foggy and jittery in mind and body. So yes, I had a reaction, but in my opinion its very neutral compared to what it could have been.

Will I continue to eat it? The answer is yes, for a while. I'll continue to monitor myself and will take complete breaks from cacao a few times of year. All I know is that I cannot go back to having cacao be such a huge part of my diet.

Check out the raw choccies, nuts/seed snacks I made last Christmas for gifts. It makes my heart sing to create these goodies!

So what yummies did I make?!

Coconut Carob Truffles - carob coconut truffle and coconut truffle dipped in choccie - these are one of my favorite newest creations.

Mini Orange Goji Moonie Pies - I made these in the summer too and posted the RECIPE.

Caramel Pecan Turtles

Macadamia Coconut Turtles

Coconut truffles

Fruit and Nut Clusters

I was part of a secret Santa gift exchange with a few other Canadian bloggers this season. Huge thanks to Jess of Dairy Free Betty for organizing the event. My gift arrived in the mail yesterday from Jolene from Everyday Foodie. Despite the fact that we haven't met or even talked before, she picked such perfect gifts for me. A package Burt's Bees goodies (which I always use), a bottle of powdered stevia which is perfect because I've been experimenting a lot with liquid stevia lately and have been wanting to  try the powder, two chocolate covered coconut bars (anyone who reads my blog knows that I love both chocolate and coconut), some grapefruit foot soak, and a magnetic list pad. Thanks again Jolene!

How do you feel when you eat cacao? Is it a big part of your diet? 

Happy Holidays everyone! Only a week until Christmas!!! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oodles of Raw Noodles

My title says it all - this post is dedicated to veggie noodles. I don't care for pasta, but I really love kelp noodles and enjoy them occasionally. Here are some recipes that I've been meaning to post for a while (meaning from the middle of summer - thats how behind I am, and a few recent ones).

I've done posts on kelp noodles before. If you'd like more raw vegan noodle recipes check out these ideas I've posted over the years:

Juliano's Cheezey Kelp Noodle
Simple Stir Live
Italian Sea Pasta
Nacho Noodles
Tomato Basil Pasta
Easy Cannelloni 
Asian Noodle Salad
Spaghetti with Sundried Tomato Sauce

I made a few great pasta dishes in the summer too. Alfredo noodles were a "must" for a friend who was visiting from out of town because they're her favorite.

Alfredo Sauce

1 1/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon himalayan salt
1 clove garlic
1 drop stevia

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Toss with zucchini or kelp noodles.

Spice It Up!

For a little variation, add chopped red bell pepper, tomato, fresh basil, chives, and parsley.

Creamy Ginger Kelp Noodles

Creamy noodles, crunchy veggies, and flavored seeds - the perfect combo for me. I like lots of textures in a dish. Dehydrating them for a while makes the noodles really soft and brings all the flavors together even more.

1 package kelp noodles
Veggies of your choice, sliced such as:
Baby bok choy
bell peppers
Chopped cashews, raw peanuts, or sunflower seeds

Creamy Miso Ginger Sauce

Here's another yummy sauce I made recently (I didn't get a pic), also for kelp noodles. It's creamy and coconutty which I love. Serve it over zucchini or kelp noodles with veggies.

1/4 cup raw sesame oil*
8 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons almond butter
3 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
3 drops stevia
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2-3" piece of ginger, peeled
1 small clove garlic
Cayenne, to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy in a blender.

*not to be confused with toasted sesame oil which has a very strong taste. The extra virgin kind has a very neutral taste.

Creamy Pad Thai Sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk*
1/2 cup almond butter
4-5 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 tablespoon white miso
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon tamari
1 drop stevia or 1/2 date
Jalapeno, red chili flakes, or Cayenne pepper, to taste

*Option 1: Blend young coconut pulp with it's water, making sure it's the consistency of thick cream. If there isn't much pulp you will need more pulp to thicken it up, or less of the water.

*Option 2: Blend 1/3 cup shredded coconut with 1 cup water in a high speed blender until smooth and then strain through a nut milk bag for a smooth milk.

*Option 3: Canned full fat coconut milk.

I made a few great pasta dishes in the summer too. Alfredo noodles were a "must" for a friend who was visiting from out of town because they're her favorite.

Pesto Noodles are always delicious! Here's a spinach basil pesto I made in the spring. Here's the original post with other recipes. In the summer I mixed it with zucchini noodles and tomato.

Spinach Basil Pesto

Packed with spinach and much lower in fat than most pestos, this is great over zucchini/kelp noodles, salad, crackers, or veggie sticks. 

2 1/2 cups packed spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
3 Tablespoons hemp seeds
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

In a food processor, blend all ingredients into a paste. 
Taste, adjust salt.

Mac N' Cheeze

If you want the creamiest, cheeziest Mac N' Cheese, here's a great recipe which is adapted from Matthew Kenney's recipe. 

Cut the zucchini into long strips with a veggie peeler, and then stack and then slice it. 

1 cup cashews
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 very small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. 
Toss with the noodles spread into a shallow dish. 
Add topping and dehydrate for 1-2 hours at 115F. 

Topping (optional):

Walnuts and a pinch of salt, chopped and spread over the noodles/sauce.

Creamy cheezey noodles, warm from the dehydrator. Mmm...

There you have it. Enjoy your noodles - raw vegan style! 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Raw Holiday Ice Cream Supreme

Today I've got two tasty dessert recipes to share, both of which have the added benefit of the medicial chaga mushroom (although it's optional). I did a post on chaga last year and included a Chaga Maple Frosty recipe in addition to mentioning some of it's benefits. I'm fortunate to live in an area where chaga grows in abundance all year around.

I made this ice cream last week, since a friend was over for dinner and I wanted to do a little something special. What to do with a few young coconuts, some ripe mushy persimmons, fresh ginger, and a bunch of soaked irish moss?! Here's what I came up with. It would also be great with a chocolate sauce, or orange segments in place in place of the persimmon jelly.

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream with Orange Ginger Crunch and Persimmon Jelly

Cinnamon Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups coconut water
1 1/2 cups young coconut pulp
1/4 cup chaga irish moss gel*
3-4 tablespoons coconut nectar or yacon syrup
8 drops stevia
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mesquite
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Blend all but the coconut oil until smooth and creamy.
Add the oil and blend to incorporate.
Chill the mixture in the fridge, about 4-6 hours, or up to over night.
Process the liquid mixture through an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.

Orange Ginger Crunch

1/2 cup coconut shreds
3 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts
3 drops orange essential oil
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 drops stevia
2 teaspoons coconut nectar
Pinch of himalayan salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Toss all ingredients together, adding the oil last.
Spread the mixture out on a plate and chill in the fridge or freezer until it firms up.
Break up the chunks.
Serve over the ice cream

Persimmon Jelly

2 ripe persimmons

Remove the pulp from the persimmons.
Finely chop.

*Irish Moss Gel

3/4 cup chaga tea, reishi tea or water
2 oz soaked irish  moss

Rinse a handful of irish moss in cold water until any bits of debris have been removed. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
Allow the moss to soak in cold water for 6-12 hours.
Chop the moss and blend it with the tea or water until it warms up and turns into a gel.
Chill the gel in the fridge for 5-7 days, or use immediately.

Fluffy Cinnamon Chaga Mousse

Here's a soft-silky-puffy-fluffy mousse with medicinal chaga which is low glycemic, and nut-free! I wish I had a picture to go with this recipe to tantalize you because it's insanely delicious. Unfortunately it all gotten eaten before I had the chance to do so. No worries if you don't have chaga tea (come on up and harvest all you want for free). You can use reishi or other medicinal tea to make your irish moss gel, or simply use water. Top with coconut flakes and cacao nibs, or whatever else you like. 

3/4 cup packed young coconut pulp
3/4 cup chaga moss gel*
5 tablespoons coconut water
5 drops stevia
3 tablespoons coconut nectar
1 tablespoon yacon syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Blend all but the coconut oil, until smooth. 
Add the oil and blend again briefly. 
Chill the mousse for a few hours in ramekins, muffin cups lined with plastic wrap, or bowls.

Chunks of freshly harvested chaga. To make tea, simply chop dried chaga (I dry mine by the fireplace) into small chunks, cutting away the black part. Boil and then simmer in water for a few hours. The chaga can be used many times, until the water doesn't turn color anymore. 

Happy Holidays everyone! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweetly Raw Crunchy Morsels

A few posts ago I mentioned posts ago, I recently pulled my dusty dehydrator out of the closet. It seems that our cold, snowy Canadian winters inspire me to spend a lot of time in the kitchie, and it's also the time of year that I use my dehydrator the most. I don't forsee using it much this winter, especially now that I've incorporated cooked food into my diet, but the other day I felt like tossing together a few easy goodies.

As my health has gotten better, my digestion has drastically improved. When I was going through the brunt of feeling ill, most foods aggravated my gut and I was often in a lot of pain. I am now able to eat nuts, seeds, buckwheat, and dried fruits again, and feel fine.

You saw the recipe for the Chili Seeds, which I also made this time last winter. A little something crunchy makes a fabulous addition to salads, squash, or noodles, so I go through periods of keep a supply on hand (if I make a large amount, I store them in the freezer). I had a hankering for some Cheezy Kale Chips - they're my favorite flavor. I don't even use a recipe when I make these. I just go by taste and consistency. Basically the coating is a cashew cheeze sauce. This time I used cashews, sunflower seeds, miso, nutritional yeast, water, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, himalayan salt, and cayenne.

Sweet crunchy nuts come to mind when I think about holiday snacks (here are all the ones I made last year). Besides serving them as part of snacky platters for guests, they're excellent as ice cream and pudding toppings. I've found that coatings stick much better to dry nuts than wet ones which is why I soak and dehydrate mine first. They don't necessarily need to dry for too long, but long enough to dry the outside, because you'll dry them for longer with the coating.

Lucuma Vanilla Nuts

2 cups soaked, dehydrated walnuts
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup cashews
4 tablespoons palm sugar
3 tablespoons lucuma powder
3 tablespoons yacon syrup or honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pinches salt

Toss all ingredients together. I like to mix them with my hands! 
Spread on teflex sheets and dehydrate at 115F for 8-10 hours or until dry. 
Periodically move them around on the sheets to allow for proper drying. 

Maple Cinnamon Pecans

5 cups soaked, dehydrated pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 drops stevia
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mesquite
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pinches salt

Follow the same directions as the vanilla nuts.

Here are a few pics of my snowy neck of the woods. My dad made this neat bird feeder from an old log. Can you see the Blue Jay in it?

I couldn't resist getting a shot of this cute chickadee.