Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cookies, Cookies & More Cookies

I don't really like cooking, in case I haven't mentioned it before.  I do it because I have to, not because I want to.  But I must say I love making cookies.  Probably because none of the kids turn their noses up at cookies and it's a sneaky way of getting healthy stuff into them without them even knowing it.  Here are my latest favorites.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal and baking soda.  Then add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips, than drop batter by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350F for 9-10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
  • Allow to cool completely 

This quick, easy and totally yummy recipe comes from Kylie Delfino of The Nourished Self .

The second one I make about twice a week is as follows:

No-Bake Paleo and Gluten-Free Cookies

1 cup finely chopped almonds
11/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Process nuts in a food processor until very finely chopped (almost ground). Set aside.

3. Combine chocolate, almond butter, olive oil and honey over low heat in a medium saucepan 2 to 3 minutes or until it has a smooth consistency and chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and nuts.

4. Drop by tablespoon or teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until they harden. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
 This recipe comes from Ingredients, Inc. 
Love them :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spelt Pancakes

Almost every Saturday and Sunday morning my kids ask me for pancakes.  Truth be told, I am so sick and tired of making them that I try to invent something new every weekend just to avoid making the same old thing.  But after a little bit of complaining (from me, not the kids) I usually cave and make them.  I don't eat them myself because I don't function well on a high carb breakfast.  If I eat carbs for breakfast I just feel like going back to bed so I stick to my trusted protein smoothie variations seven days a week.  I also have an intolerance to eggs and the recipe calls for an egg so I really wouldn't feel well if I ate them.  My husband and kids love them though so they must be good.

My six year old daughter took these pictures, by the way :) That's the size of pancake she eats!!!

Spelt Pancakes

1 3/4 cups spelt flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup vanilla rice milk (or soy or almond)
6 tsp olive oil
3 tsp maple syrup
1 egg
1/3 cup fresh blueberries, mashed banana or chocolate chips (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Blend wet ingredients in blender on a low speed until all ingredients are blended together.  Mix wet ingredients into dry.  Fold in blueberries, bananas, or chocolate chips if desired.  Poor a few tablespoons of batter into greased frying pan and flip when golden. Top with pure maple syrup and/or fresh fruit and enjoy.

P.S. I use the teaspoon to measure the olive oil because if you use the same spoon and follow with the maple syrup the syrup will not stick to the spoon.  The oil will make it slip right out.  Makes the measurement more accurate and clean up much easier :)

Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I got this recipe from a girl named Elke Kasanda  She came to do a presentation on raw food at my school one day and this is what she made.  There was only enough for each of us to try a little bite.  It was like heaven when I put it in my mouth.  How could something this healthy taste this rich and yummy?  It was like Heaven.  I had to get the recipe to make more because one bite wasn't going to cut it.  Everyone at the workshop agreed that it was decadent.  She could have made 10 batches and we still would have licked the plates at the end to get every last bite.

This recipe is so healthy I have even let my kids eat it for breakfast!  It's full of good fats to keep them full until snack time and these same healthy fats provide them with brain food.  Of course, it's more of a treat but I can assure you it's way healthier than every single one of the conventional breakfast cereals marketed as kids breakfast food.  Reese's peanut butter puffs???  C'mon!

Anyway, here it is:

Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding

8 Medjool dates pitted and soaked in filtered water for at least 30 minutes
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 medium sized avocadoes
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup filtered water

Place all ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.  Serve and enjoy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, these seriously are the best cookies I have ever had.  Everyone in my house loves them.  It is not uncommon to go through all 18 in one evening....we are a family of five, after all, and daddy is 6'3" and 220 pounds!  They make the house smell wonderful and you can be sure if someone visits they will be leaving with some to take home.  They are so simple but they must be cooked for exactly 8 minutes or the bottoms burn.  It took a few trial runs but I have it down to a science now.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/3 cup almond butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cane sugar/sucanat
1/3 cup vanilla rice milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Oil 2 baking sheets and set aside.
Wisk together first five ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets.  Leave room between the cookies because they flatten out as they cook.  Bake for exactly 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes before transferring them to a plate or they will break apart.  Makes about 18 cookies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vegan Banana Bread

When I first met my husband 5 years ago, he was a total junk addict.  I, on the other hand, am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, educated at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and very conscious of what I put into my body (and my kids' bodies) each day.  I remember the first time I made my vegan banana bread for him.  He said "um no"...meaning "not in a million years would I consider this "dessert" and please don't bother making this healthy, tasteless crap for me again."  Well, I didn't give up.  I continued to make my healthy meals and snacks because that's what I wanted to eat and that's what I wanted my daughter to eat.  Now, today, 5 years later, when he sees the bananas starting to turn brown he drops hints like "so you making banana bread anytime soon?"  I would say it is one of his top favorite "treats" that I make.  Over the years he has convinced me to add chocolate chips to it, and I do, but that is totally optional.  In order to keep it vegan, though, you need to use pure cocoa nibs or carob chips.  I should also let you know that I have made this banana bread for many people who do not necessarily eat a vegan diet, or even a healthy diet for that matter, and they all loved it.  I bring it to parties, friends houses, pot lucks and I even pack it in the kids' lunches. This recipe passes the kid test - they love it!

My recipe calls for spelt flour.  I use spelt often.  I NEVER use white flour or even whole wheat flour in any of my cooking because it is void of nutrients and can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Spelt is an "ancient grain" and is rich in fiber.  It is NOT gluten free but it is significantly higher in protein that wheat, is higher in B vitamins, and is easier to digest.  It is easily substituted for traditional white flour in most recipes.

I also use 100% organic ingredients in this recipe.  I use about 85% organic ingredients in all of my recipes and I think the key to good food is starting with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

Try this recipe.  You'll love it.  If people mock the vegan philosophy, just don't tell them...they'll never know :)

Vegan Banana Bread

2 cups spelt flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup vanilla rice milk (or soy, almond)
2 medium/large over ripe bananas

In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  In a blender, blend together all wet ingredients until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine.  Pour into oiled loaf pan.  Use coconut oil to grease the pan for best results.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for one hour before serving.