Chocolate Ganache Torte

Chocolate Ganache Torte 4

This dessert is deep, dark, and decadent! I like to make this for special occasions. Sometimes, I convince myself that a Tuesday afternoon is really a special occasion…this torte is THAT good! I love to use my homemade peanut butter in this recipe, but feel free to use any other nut butter you like. Did you know that raw cacao powder has significant antioxidants that are good for heart health? You know this recipe had to have some health benefits, right?!! You can serve this torte with strawberries or raspberries or a sorbet to cut through the richness. I think this is one of the best desserts ever! Enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache Torte

Chocolate Ganache Torte 2

Chocolate Ganache Torte 3

Crust:

1 1/2 cups raw pecans
3 tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp coconut butter

To prepare the crust, in a food processor, blend all crust ingredients until finely minced, making sure they are not over blended to a paste. The consistency should resemble a graham cracker crust. In a 9″-inch fluted tart pan, press the crust into the pan using your palms. Make sure it is firm along all the edges and the bottom. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

1/2 cup Homemade Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Date Paste
1/4 cup agave nectar (or substitute maple syrup)
4 tbsp coconut butter
1 1/2 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 to 1 cup filtered water

To prepare the filling, in a high–speed blender or food processor, combine all of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth.
If using a blender, fold mixture occasionally with a rubber spatula to avoid overheating and for optimum smoothness. This will ensure you do not wear out the blender engine. If it’s very difficult to blend, add a touch more liquid. Ultimately, the final mixture should still be quite thick, so do not add too much water — less is more. This will ensure the torte sets nicely. The amount of water you will need will depend on how thick your date paste was and what type of machine or blender you are using. Pour the chocolate filling into the tart crust. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, or in the refrigerator for about an hour to fully set. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Rouxbe)

Homemade Peanut Butter

I always call myself a ‘peanut butter SNOB‘! What does that mean exactly? Well, simply put, I refuse to eat preservative-laden peanut butter. I choose to make my own peanut butter, which is so fun! There are different varieties of peanuts and I personally like Virginia peanuts or Jungle peanuts. I have used raw peanuts, roasted, salted, and unsalted varieties – the roasted and salted have more flavor and I don’t have to add anything. If using raw peanuts, you will need to add in some sweetener and some salt, but that is entirely up to you and your taste buds. Now, you can use this peanut butter formula with ANY nut or seed – such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. How exciting! Make your own unique nut butter combinations! The key in making your own nut butter is to let it process long enough – 6 minutes is the key. I have taken step by step pictures so you can see the evolution of perfectly smooth nut butter. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Begin by placing your peanuts in the bowl of a good food processor. I like to make big batches, so I use about 6 cups of peanuts, but you can use any amount you like.

Peanuts

Step 2: Place the lid on the food processor and press start. This is what the peanuts look like after 1 minute. This is a good ‘meal’ consistency to use for crusts, etc.

Peanut Butter 1

Step 3: Continue to process the peanuts for another minute. This is what the peanuts look like after 2 minutes.

Peanut Butter 2

Step 4: Continue to process the peanuts for another minute. This is what the peanuts look like after 3 minutes. Notice the peanuts have started to break down and become a coarse paste.

Peanut Butter 3

Step 5: Continue to process for another minute. This is what the peanuts look like after 4 minutes – this is the consistency that some store-bought natural peanut butters have. It is thick and the oil separates from the peanut mixture. I hate having to mix in the oil!

Peanut Butter 4

Step 6: Continue to process for another minute. This is what the peanuts look like after 5 minutes. Now we’re getting somewhere! There is still a little bit of texture in the peanut butter, but do you notice the nice ‘sheen’ that is developing?

Peanut Butter 5

Step 7: Continue to process for a final minute. This is what peanut butter should look like – smooth and velvety with a beautiful sheen from the peanut oil. Place this in a glass jar and refrigerate. The oil will not separate. Delicious!

Peanut Butter 6

 

 

 

 

Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowl

I realized as I was making this smoothie bowl for breakfast that I have never blogged this recipe! How did that happen? What a shame. I guess when I make a simple recipe over and over I forget that it is great and needs to be shared. Smoothie bowls have been around for a long time and they are a fun twist on the traditional smoothie in a glass. Full of fiber, nutrients, and flavor – these bowls are good for the body and the taste buds! Plus they are beautiful to look at. Smoothie bowls are super simple to make. I always use whatever fruit and greens I have on hand and then add my favorite toppings. You can be as simple or elaborate as your creative mind wants to take this bowl…a breakfast bowl work of art!

Smoothie Bowl 2

Smoothie Bowl 3

Smoothie Bowl Ingredients:

2 cups frozen fruit of choice (such as blueberries, strawberries, cherries, etc.)

1-2 cups greens of choice (such as spinach, kale, collards, etc.)

2-3 Medjool dates, pitted

1-2 cups plant-based milk of choice*

dash of vanilla

dash of cinnamon, cardamom, sea salt

Toppings:

fresh fruit

nuts and seeds

coconut

cocoa nibs

granola

whatever you like!

Place all smoothie ingredients in a high-powered blender. *Add enough milk to move the ingredients – you want it a bit thicker than a regular smoothie. Think thick smoothie “soup” instead of a drink. Pour smoothie into a bowl and decorate with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!

Spicy Curry Sauce

Spicy Curry Sauce 3Do you ever find yourself with a bowl of simple vegetables and wish they were kicked up a notch? Yep, me too. Eating a plant-based diet can be exciting and flavorful with the right ingredients. Sauces, dips, chutneys, hummus, and pestos are a great addition to a nourish bowl or simple vegetables because they add a lot of flavor with minimal to no added fat. This recipe is slightly spicy and honestly addicting! It contains significant anti-inflammatory compounds from the curcumin – which is found in the cumin and turmeric along with selenium, fiber, and B12 to name a few more nutrients contained in this awesome sauce! Power sauce right here! Now, I made my sauce quite thick because I wanted to use it later as a dip, so adjust the water accordingly in this recipe. I gobbled up my nourish bowl with this sauce in no time flat! And later, I served this sauce with vegetables and loved every bite! Enjoy!

Spicy Curry Sauce 4

Spicy Curry Sauce 2

2 tablespoons tahini
1 cup cooked chickpeas (approximately 1-15 oz can)
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup water*
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

*You can increase the amount of water to achieve a thinner sauce.

To make the sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients together in a high-speed blender. Blend on low until the mixture starts to break down and then continue to increase the speed until the sauce is nice and smooth. Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust the consistency, until you reach the desired consistency. Note that the sauce will thicken slightly, once refrigerated. This sauce can be served warm from the blender, or it can be served cold. Any leftover sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Rouxbe)

Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies

Do you remember a commercial a few years back that was for a particular dark chocolate and peppermint candy bar? “Feel the sensation” was the catchy tagline and I have to admit I was totally drawn in. I LOVE the combination of dark chocolate and peppermint! The deep, dark richness of the chocolate is balanced so beautifully by the light, refreshing, cooling peppermint. Heavenly. I just had to make a holiday dessert combining these two fabulous flavors, so I tweaked my favorite black bean brownie recipe and came up with these beauties! They are full of fiber, rich, chocolatey, and have just the right amount of peppermint pop! I have served these at several parties and the response is always the same, “These taste like peppermint patties! Yum!” They really do have a delicious fudge-like texture and are quite addicting! Just FYI: peppermint oil has been found to soothe the GI tract, so all of those who suffer from IBS eat up and “feel the sensation”!

Peppermint Brownies 2

Peppermint Brownies 3

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, well rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 5 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons applesauce

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

5 drops doTerra peppermint oil

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)

organic powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan (I used coconut oil). Rinse and drain your black beans. Prepare flax eggs by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) and puree – about 3 minutes – scraping down the sides as needed. You want to get a smooth consistency. If the batter is too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. I needed to add a bit of water to my batter. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but you don’t want it runny. Fold in the chocolate chips. Evenly distribute the batter into the greased muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake for about 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Mine took about 24 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. Lightly dust with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer or wrap and freeze.

Pear Oat and Walnut Muffins

Oat Pear Walnut Muffins

Let me introduce you to this delicious fall muffin. This muffin recipe is a result of over-buying pears on my part! I love pears, but when they all ripen at the same rate I get scrambling in the kitchen to use them up before they go bad! I decided that pears, oats, and walnuts were a great combination and guess what? I was right! These muffins are moist, sweet, and have just the right texture from the oats and walnuts. These muffins are a perfect snack or quick breakfast on the go (we all need serious Christmas shopping fuel this time of year!)

Oat Pear Walnut Muffins 2

Oat Pear Walnut Muffins 3

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large pears, pureed

2 tablespoons Earth Balance spread, melted

Mix-ins:

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Puree pears in a food processor or blender. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in walnuts. Fill cups just over half full. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

Pumpkin Pie Parfait 2

You know when you come across a dessert that knocks your socks off? And all you can do is think about when you can make it again? Yep. This dessert falls into that category. The flavors of gingerbread, pumpkin, coconut, and pecans pretty much complete me. Let’s talk about how easy this pudding recipe is and how delicious it is AND all of that flavor without any fat! The flavor of pumpkin pie is spot on – I wanted to eat the whole bowl of this pudding! The textures and flavors of this parfait marry beautifully. This is a perfect holiday dessert because you can make each component beforehand and then assemble it right before you eat it. So simple and beautiful. This dessert is a definite crowd pleaser. I heart this dessert. You will heart this dessert and so will your guests. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Parfait 3

Pumpkin Pie Parfait 4

Pumpkin Pudding

2 (15-ounce) cans pure pumpkin

1 cup date paste

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Place the pumpkin, date paste, and spices in a food processor, and blend into a thick pudding. Refrigerate for at least an hour to overnight. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: FOK)

1 recipe Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Whipped Coconut Cream (double this recipe)

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Assemble the parfaits by breaking up a few cookies and layering the broken cookies, pumpkin mixture and whipped coconut cream. Repeat once or twice depending on the size of the glass. Garnish with chopped pecans. DEVOUR!

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies 2

One of the things I love about this time of year are all of the delicious baked goods! As you may know, I have a real soft spot in my culinary heart for cookies. I simply adore cookies! These cookies are some of my favorites around the holiday season. They are super moist with the perfect ginger flavor. I love the addition of the cocoa which gives it a slight chocolate edge. Ginger contains many nutrients that benefit our health – from anti-inflammatory properties to helping fight infection to alleviating nausea. I always have fresh ginger on hand to cook or bake with. Here’s a tip for storing fresh ginger: peel ginger root and store it in a freezer bag. It is really easy to grate the ginger once it is frozen. I really love the delicious gingerbread flavor of these cookies! They pair very well with a hot cup of cocoa or tea. Enjoy!

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies 3

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies 4

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour of choice
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup baby-food prunes or applesauce
1 tablespoons peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger (I used my microplane to get a fine grated ginger)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup unsulphered molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 1/4 teaspoons boiling water
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put flour, cocoa, and spices into a medium bowl and set aside. Put prunes and ginger into bowl of electric mixer and blend on medium speed until well mixed. Add coconut palm sugar; mix until combined. Add molasses; mix until combined. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with baking soda mixture.
Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and pat to a 1-inch thickness. Refrigerate until firm. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 1/2 – inch balls, then roll balls in powdered sugar. Space balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until surfaces crack slightly. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease)

 

Multigrain Pancakes

Multigrain Pancakes

Ah yes, it’s time for another pancake recipe. Now, I happen to love this staple recipe and I make this recipe when I’m in a hurry and I adore this pumpkin version, but I needed to add in this multigrain recipe which is filling and so delicious! I’ve included my favorite gluten-free high-protein flour recipe here, which is a staple in my fridge. I love to have a recipe ready flour on hand at all times so I’m ready to bake. Note: make sure to bring your flour to room temperature before baking – it really makes a difference in the finished product. These pancakes are tender and really fill you up! My boys normally eat almost a whole batch of pancakes, but only ate 3 of these because they filled them up with fiber and goodness. We love different toppings on pancakes at our house, but some of our favorites are of course the traditional Earth Balance Spread and pure maple syrup AND Black Raspberry Jam. These are a warm, delicious way to start your day! Enjoy!

Multigrain Pancakes 2

Multigrain Pancakes 3

 

Multigrain Pancakes 4

1 cup high-protein power flour blend (recipe below)

3/4 cup buckwheat flour or millet flour

1/3 cup almond flour or hazelnut meal

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon

1 3/4 cups almond milk or coconut milk

4 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat a griddle to medium/medium-high heat. Whisk together the flours, nut meal, coconut sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, honey and applesauce. Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork, just to combine. For each pancake, spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle and cook until bubbles begin to form on the surface and edges start to dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Serve warm or keep warm in an oven set on 200 degrees F.

High-Protein Power Flour Blend

MAKES 3¾ CUPS
1½ cups sorghum flour
1 cup millet flour or amaranth flour
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
½ cup arrowroot starch
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons salt
Blend well. Place in tightly sealed container and refrigerate.

(Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Gluten Free & More)