Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time for Tarts


I couldn't help getting creative with leftover filling from the mini cheesecakes I made the other day. I swirled the mango and strawberry fillings together in a crust that I had made during my recent dehydrator blitz. Mango Berry Swirl Tart! Oh boy, was it yummy!


Crunchy Almond Pulp Crusts

1/2 cup almond pulp 
1/3 cup ground oat groats
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground yellow flax
1 medjool date, minced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted cacao butter
Pinch of salt


Mix all but the cacao butter in a food processor until smooth. 
Add the butter and zap to combine. 
Press the dough into mini tart pans with removable bottoms, lined with seran wrap (I tried it both ways and actually it was fine without the seran but if it seems a little sticky, use the wrap).
Dehydrate at 145F for 2 hours. 
Lower the temperature to 115F and continue to dehydrate for 8 hours, or until you can remove the crust from the pan. 
Set on the mesh screen and dehydrate another 4-6 more hours or until dry and crunchy.

I also made Raspberry Carob Pudding Tarts. For these I used the almond crusts done in a small/deep tart mold with a few raspberries and the carob pudding from Raw Food Carob Desserts.


I hope you've had a wonderful, sweet filled weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Springy Sweets - Raw Strawberry and Mango Cheesecakes


Yesterday I was in the kitchie blending up mini strawberry and mango cheesecakes for a healthy living event today that my friend Nancy presented. I'm always excited for people to try raw vegan goodies for the first time to see that healthy options can taste great!


Mango Cheesecake

Crust*

1 cup almonds
1/4 cup pitted, packed dates
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon water

In a food processor grind the almonds.
Chop the dates and add to the almonds with the salt. Grind again into crumbs.
Add the water and zap again until the mixture turns into a moist dough that holds together when pressed.
Press into the bottom of a spring form pan, mini pans, or small silicone muffin cups.
Set aside.

Filling

2 cups chopped mango
1 cup cashews
3 tablespoons liquid sweetener
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 drops vanilla stevia
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon melted cacao butter

Blend all but the coconut oil and butter until smooth and creamy in a blender.
Add the oil/butter and blend to incorporate.
Pour the filling over the crust.
Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm.


Strawberry Cheesecake

Crust - see above*

Filling

2 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup cashews
4 tablespoons liquid sweetener
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 drops vanilla stevia
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Follow mango filling instructions. Add any extra sweetener if needed.

Together, Nancy and I made my caesar salad, falafel veggie wraps, zucchini pasta with tomato pesto sauce, and a cold salad of cooked millet with raw veggies in a light vinaigrette to serve for lunch. 


Fresh zucchini noodles with tomato sauce. It was a scrumptious lunch!

What yummy things did you have for lunch today?!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rainy Day Raw Chocolate


Yesterday it was chilly and rainy here... the perfect day to turn my kitchen into my little chocolate factory - something I've missed for a while. In fact, I haven't made choccies in my own kitchie since before heading to Australia mid February.

I made a variety of goodies...

Fruit and Nut Clusters - as simple or exciting as desired depending on which dried fruits and nuts you want to use. I use a basic dark chocolate with goji berries, cashews, almonds, raisins, and dried jakfruit in mine. I made a second tray of these alone!

Mint Moonie Pies. Oh yeah! I love these!! It's been a while since I've had a batch of these around. 




Fruit and Nut Cups - With freeze dried strawberries, almonds, mulberries, raisins, and goji berries. In little silicone cups.


Turtle Balls - A take on my caramel pecan turtles. Chewy, crunchy, sweet, and downright decadent!


Centers prepped and ready for dipping into chocolate.

Dipped, with a mini pecan on top :)


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Mini Cheesecake. Because... why not?! I've never tried a chocolate covered cheesecake before, have you? This little gem has a blackberry inside...


... and is garnished with a freeze dried strawberry that I brought all the way back from a strawberry farm in Australia.

Peppermint Patty Cups - dark chocolate with refreshing mint cream.


So that's a taste of what's been going on in my kitchie. Have you made any yummy chocolate treats lately?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3 In One


A few posts ago I mentioned my dehydrator extravaganza which included a Crunchy Oaty Cereal recipe. A quest to find uses for the mounds of almond pulp in my freezer resulted in these three recipes with one base. Soft, dense chocolate chip cookies which double as chewy chunky granola bars, and which triple as crunchy granola - all zipped together in the food processor. What could be easier?! All the almond milk is perfect for your cereal, cookies, and chia pudding.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups lightly packed almond pulp*
1/2 cup ground oat groats
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup ground yellow flax
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
Cacao nibs

Combine all ingredients except the cacao nibs together in a food processor. 
Briefly pulse in the nibs. 
Arrange spoonfuls of dough on a teflex sheet. Dehydrate at 145F for 2 hours. Turn the temperature down to 115F and continue dehydrating for 6-10 hours depending on how soft you like the cookies on the inside. 


Almond Milk*
Soak 1 cup raw almonds in enough water to cover them plus one inch, for 12 hours. 
Drain and rinse until the water runs clear. 
Blend the almonds with 3-4 cups water until smooth. 
Strain the liquid through a nut milk bag. 
*Use the pulp in cookies, cakes, crackers...

Granola Bars


Add your favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds to the dough (in this batch I added chopped dried apricots, goji berries, hemp seeds, sprouted buckwheat, coconut, cacao nibs, walnuts, dates, and cinnamon).
Form the mixture into a square, dehydrate for a 2 hours at 145F. Lower the temperature to 115F and continue dehydrating for 6 hours.
Slice into bars, and dehydrate 2-4 hours more.


Granola


Take the granola bar mixture, add more shredded coconut and crumble onto a teflex sheet.
Dehydrate until crunchy, about 12 hours.


Dehydrated goodies make especially great gifts! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ways With Chia


One of my favorite breakfast foods is chia pudding. I appreciate the versatility of this little seed which the Aztec Warriors used to consume for long lasting energy.

I think there's something for everyone when it comes to chia. Since some people don't like the tapioca-like texture, blending it is a great option, yielding a smooth, thick and creamy pudding. If you fit into that category, check out some of my past concoctions: Chocolate chia pudding, pineapple vanilla chia puddingblueberry pudding, and cranberry pomegranate compote which is a delicious cake topping. I however, love the texture and usually opt for the simplicity of shaking chia seeds and almond milk (or raw cow milk when I can get my hands on it) together at least 30 minutes before chowing down. My favorite mix-ins are cacao nibs, goji berries, and jarrah bee pollen.


Five little tips and ideas:

1. Shake up the mixture in a jar with a tight lid for ease.
2. Continue shaking it periodically for the first 10-15 mins to prevent clumping (which is annoying). If this happens, use a fork to unclump, or blend on a low speed just to break it up.
3. If your mixture is too thick simply add more liquid. If the mixture is too thin either add more chia (if you have time to wait for them to expand), or blend it with a banana and/or nut butter.
4. Chia break for a group or kids? DIY chia bowls are fun. Make a batch of Basic Chia Pudding and set out bowls of garnishes for everyone to make their own.
5. Short on time? Shake it up before going to bed in order to give more than enough time for the seeds to swell.


Here are three quick, easy and tasty chia puddings using one simple mixture as a base. Garnishes are the fun part that makes each pudding unique. I'm all about different textures. I like crunchy with smooth. Try bananas, berries, granola, coconut flakes, dried fruit, cacao nubs, dehydrated buckwheat, nuts, the list is endless.





Basic Chia Pudding
1 cup almond milk
1-2 tablespoons chia seed
Vanilla bean and a pinch of salt (optional)

Shake 1 cup coconut milk with chia seed in a jar with a tight lid.
Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes for the chia to swell completely.
Add toppings of your choice!




Chai Chia Pudding
Infuse almond milk with an herbal chai tea bag for 8-12 hours. (I let the tea bag and milk sit in the same jar that I'll later add the seeds to).
Follow the Basic Chia Pudding recipe.
I like to garnish it with cinnamon, stevia, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs.


Chocolate Chia Tapioca

Make basic chia pudding and then stir in: cacao powder, liquid sweetener (my fave is maple syrup), and vanilla. I like to garnish it with cacao nibs and an extra drizzle of syrup.

Here are a few facts about the wonder seed. Chia is:

-Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
-A complete source of dietary protein, providing all essential amino acids.
-High in calcium, enzymes, and minerals.  
-Absorbs more than 9 times its volume in water, which means that a small amount keeps a person feeling full and satisfied for a long time. 
-Super high fiber content acts as an intestinal broom (you know what that means! wink wink;)
-Easily digested and absorbed for energy.
-Contains no taste = it takes on any flavors that are added to it. 
-Doesn't go rancid and can easily be stored. 



I hope you'll give chia a try if you haven't already. Or maybe switch it up a little if chia is already a staple in your diet.