Chocolate Pudding

I have found that family dinner is ALWAYS successful if dessert is involved. Now, I am not advocating serving dessert every night, but…sometimes vegetables go down easier and quicker if my children see a yummy dessert waiting for them! Simple psychology. I love serving whole-food, plant-based desserts to my family and friends. Ok, I really love serving them to myself too!

This pudding recipe was born after several grocery store trips with my boys. They kept eyeing the little chocolate pudding cups in the refrigerator section and begged me to buy them. I knew I could make something much better tasting and better for their bodies. I was right! This chocolate pudding has become an absolute favorite at our house. I always let my boys lick the pan after I make it – they love that tradition!

This pudding is deep, dark, and chocolatey. It is really rich, so I always serve it in small portions. I like to top it with some textural elements to add crunch – shredded coconut, cocao nibs, chopped nuts…whatever you like. I have also served this pudding with berries to break up some of the richness, which is another delicious option. This simple, delicious pudding is wonderful by itself and it is fabulous in other dessert preparations. Stay tuned for more desserts that include this chocolate pudding recipe!

Ingredients
3/4 cup organic sugar of choice
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocao powder
1 tablespoon tapioca or arrowroot starch
1 can coconut milk
4 ounces Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
unsweetened shredded coconut
cocao nibs

Instructions
1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar, cocao powder, and tapioca starch in a saucepan. Whisk in half of the coconut milk to create a smooth paste. Add the remaining coconut milk and whisk to combine. Place over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
3. Strain the pudding mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Immediately set the bowl in the ice bath to cool down the pudding. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pudding surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
4. Divide the pudding among six to eight small bowls. Top with coconut and cocao nibs.

Blueberry Peach Crisp

I AM BACK! What a wonderful summer it has been. I made a conscious decision to set aside this healthy food blog for a few months and simply focus on spending time with my family. I know that it is very important to SLOW down and ENJOY the beauty of living. I try to be mindful and focus on being in the present moment FULLY. This summer I truly enjoyed travelling, savoring deliciously healthy food, lots of snuggling with my boys, standing in awe at the beauties of nature, exercising, sleeping in, and exploring new places. I highly recommend unplugging from the busyness of life.
I love being a wife and mother and cherish the time I spend with my family. Now that we are back in the “routine” of work, school, church, etc. I have recommitted myself to make our family mealtime more meaningful. This requires planning and effort on my part, however, I know how important it is to sit down together as a family at the end of the day. We come together and offer a prayer over our food and then we enjoy a healthy meal together. We talk about the comings and goings of the day, we teach table manners, and we laugh a lot! Research has proven that children benefit from eating together as a family in many ways. I will be sharing more about the logistics of making family mealtime work in future posts…
Now, on to this super yummy dessert! This past month, I have had access to the best peaches at my local farmers market. They are so sweet and juicy. I usually buy organic blueberries in bulk at Costco because we eat them everyday. I wanted to combine these fruits in a light dessert and this is what happened. Because I have an oat allergy, I struggle to find really good crisp recipes – I have thrown out so many yucky, gummy, tasteless crisps over the years! I hit success with this one!
The fruit bakes up perfectly in this recipe and the crisp topping has just the right amount of nutty, coconut flavor. I love the textural element of the coconut and pecans against the softness of the fruit – it’s SO GOOD! I have made this several times over the past months and it has never lasted more than a day. This dessert is easy to make and the perfect end to a family meal. Enjoy!
FRUIT
  • 3 cups sliced peaches, 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp  arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

CRISP

  • 1/2 cup hazelnut meal (or almond flour)
  • 1/3 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
 Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and add fruit directly to a 9×9-inch or similar size dish. Top with maple syrup, arrowroot, and lemon juice and toss to combine.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add the hazelnut meal, coconut, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Then add coconut oil and mix again until evenly distributed. Taste a little and see if it’s sweet enough to your liking. Add either more coconut sugar or a little maple syrup.
  3. Spread the crisp topping evenly over the fruit. Bake uncovered on the center oven rack for 40-45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
  4. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve as is, or with this Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days. (Adapted from Recipe Source: Minimalist Baker)

Dark Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Picnic season is here! One of my very favorite things to enjoy with my family is a relaxing, delicious picnic. A successful picnic includes finger foods that are easy to eat and not too messy. Cookies are the perfect dessert to bring on a picnic because they transport well, are easy to eat and everyone loves a good cookie!

My boys are in love with Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams  spread! If you haven’t tried this delicious stuff, you need to. Think Nutella, only no dairy and made with peanuts – I literally have to stop myself from eating spoonful after spoonful! I decided to incorporate this chocolate spread into a cookie and the result was super yummy! I actually downed EIGHT cookies right in a row…I have a bit of a cookie eating problem, but I’ve embraced it. The Dark Chocolate Dreams is SO GOOD in a cookie! And the hazelnut meal adds a delicious nuttiness to the chocolate. These cookies are being packed for a picnic…if there are any left!

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup hazelnut meal/flour

1 cup gluten-free flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken. In a medium bowl, whisk together hazelnut meal, coconut sugar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, mix together Dark Chocolate Dreams, applesauce, vanilla and flax “egg”. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough on the prepared baking sheet leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a rack and cool completely. Makes about 20 cookies.

 

Baked Chocolate Coconut Donuts

I have made these donuts several times over the past few months and they never disappoint! I actually crave these babies! I made these for a friend’s birthday gathering and she said these were the best donuts she had ever tasted…WOW! That is saying something because these are gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, baked goodness!

I LoVe using aquafaba in baked goods. As you whip this bean liquid, it takes on the consistency of egg whites and adds just the right texture in these donuts. More recipes to come using this amazing liquid…in meantime, enjoy these donuts!

Donuts

1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) + dash of cream of tartar

1/2 cup coconut milk (warmed in the microwave or on stovetop)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup cocao powder

3/4 cup hazelnut flour

1 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten-free flour blend

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease two donut pans.

To a small mixing bowl, add aquafaba + dash of cream of tartar and use a mixer to vigorously blend until soft peaks form – about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Warm coconut milk in the microwave. This way, it doesn’t harden the coconut oil. Set aside.

To a large mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil. Then add the coconut sugar, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and sea salt and whisk vigorously to combine – about 45 seconds. Then add applesauce and warmed coconut milk and whisk once more to combine.

Add baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, hazelnut flour, and gluten-free flour and whisk to combine.

Lastly, add the whipped aquafaba and gently stir/whisk in, trying to be as gentle as possible. If the batter appears too thin at this point, add 1 Tbsp each hazelnut flour or gluten-free flour at a time until it thickens up. It should be semi-thick and more scoopable than pourable.

Divide batter evenly between donut tins, filling all the way full. There should be 11-12 donuts.

Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top appears dry and fluffy. Time will vary if you sub ingredients.

Remove donuts from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Then grab the tins with a towel and tap on the counter 2 times to loosen. Then gently invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes (the longer they cool, the more they’ll firm up).

Drizzle with glaze. Then top with desired toppings, such as sprinkles, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs!

Best when fresh. Store cooled leftovers covered at room temperature up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month (best if stored unglazed). (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Minimalist Baker)

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life Brand)

Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat coconut milk. Pour coconut milk over chocolate chips and let sit for a minute. Slowly stir chocolate until a nice glaze forms. You want the consistency to be thin enough to drizzle over the donuts.

 

Apple Butter Buckwheat Cinnamon Rolls

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I have been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for awhile now. Not just any cinnamon roll – laden with dairy, gluten, tons of fat, and sugar – anyone can make those! I want a cinnamon roll that won’t make me sick after eating it. A cinnamon roll that won’t give me a glycemic overload and a headache. Is this too much to ask? The answer is a resounding NO!
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After making this incredible Apple Butter, I have been dolloping it on my hot cereal, spreading it on toast, slathering it on pancakes and waffles, but mostly just eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon! I had an idea to use this delicious apple butter in a cinnamon roll. The result? Marriage made in heaven!
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Don’t be intimidated with gluten-free flour. It is a bit tricky at first, but it really is quite simple. Buckwheat flour is one of my favorite gluten-free flours because it has a delicious, slightly nutty taste. Make sure to keep your dough slightly cool – this makes it easier to work with. I found that flouring my granite counter top worked like a charm in rolling out my dough because the granite keeps the dough cool. These cinnamon rolls are soft with delicious apple butter flavor. The warm spices envelope the palate in a most pleasing way. I had to stop myself from eating more and more of these! This recipe is a canvas for any extra fillings you would like to add. I didn’t add in any extras to my filling, but I encourage you to get creative! Nuts, dates, raisins, or chocolate chips would be super dreamy in these rolls. I hope you love these as much as my family did! (I think you will)
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Dry Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Wet Ingredients:
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
 
Filling:
1/4 cup Earth Balance spread
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
 
Frosting:
2 cups organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
coconut milk (use enough to achieve a pouring consistency)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and whisk together. Once it becomes too thick to whisk, use a wooden spoon. The dough should form a ball, but is still a bit sticky. Generously flour a work surface using tapioca flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour if it is too sticky. The trick is to add just enough flour to be able to roll out the dough but not too much otherwise the cinnamon rolls become too dense. Roll out dough using a floured rolling pin into a large rectangle. Spread with softened Earth Balance spread. Then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon or your filling of choice. Begin to roll from the long end down towards you. If your dough is sticking, try coaxing it with a large, thin spatula coated with flour. Once the dough has been rolled together, slice it with a serrated knife, and place the rolls into your oiled pans. (I sliced my large dough roll into 24 small rolls) Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Pull rolls out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour frosting over the warm rolls. (Adapted from Recipe Source: Nourishing Meals)

Apple Spice Cake with Apple Glaze

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I have been focused on all things apple as of late. I think this is a result of my apple picking excursion and pounds and pounds of apples I have been getting through! I’ve been dreaming of this cake. Apple cake. Not just a dull Apple cake, but a warm, rich, spice-filled Apple cake. I didn’t want large pieces of apple like a pie, but subtle apple, so I decided grated apple would be best. Yep, right on! This cake is dense, flavorful, and yummy. The apples are highlighted perfectly by the warm spices. This cake is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, notice that there is no added fat to weigh you down. I ate 2 pieces of this cake for breakfast and loved every last bite. This is a perfect “coffee” cake, or tea cake, or non-dairy milk cake, or juice cake, or water cake for that matter…It really doesn’t matter what you drink with this cake because it is SO GOOD just by itself! Enjoy the apple goodness my friends!

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5 flax “eggs” (5 T. flaxseed meal mixed with 3/4 cup hot water, let sit and “gel” for 5 minutes)
1½ cups applesauce
2 cups coconut sugar
3½ cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 cups grated apples (I used Macintosh variety with great results, but any tart apple will work- leave the skin on)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a bundt pan. (Mine is non-stick, so I didn’t need to grease it) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat flax “eggs”, applesauce and coconut sugar at medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Mixture will thicken as it sets. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and xanthan gum. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and mix on medium-low speed just until blended, approximately 30 seconds. Add grated apples to mixture. Blend just until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 60-75 minutes (Time will vary depending on oven and pan size). Cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then turn it out of the pan to cool completely before glazing.

Apple Glaze

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

100% pure apple juice

Measure out powdered sugar in a small bowl. Mix in vanilla. Add in apple juice a little bit at a time and stir until it reaches the right drizzling consistency. Pour over cooled cake. Slice and serve.

 

Blackberry Blueberry Peach Upside Down Cake


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I mentioned my local farmer’s market in my last post. It truly is a place for recipe inspiration. I love meandering around gazing at the beautiful produce and formulating new recipes from what I see. After I saw (and tasted) some beautiful fresh peaches, this cake had to be made! I decided to add in some blackberries and blueberries as well for color and balance and the result is just as delicious as I imagined!

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This cake is visually pretty – I love upside down cakes because I can be creative with my design. This cake is also full of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients. And the taste? The sweet peaches are balanced by the slightly tart berries wrapped in the moist, sweet cake. I had to add in a dollop of my favourite coconut ice cream to take this dessert over the top! Coconut Bliss is rightly named…it is pure bliss! I chose the Summer Berry Swirl flavour to compliment this end of summer cake. Perfection. Savor the last bit of summer my friends with this cake! Enjoy!

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1 cup non dairy milk of choice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups gluten-free flour*
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup blackberries, washed and cut in half

1/2 cup blueberries, washed

1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and cut in slices

1/2 cup raspberry jam

*add in 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to recipe, if your flour blend does not contain it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Place blackberries, blueberries, and peaches in the bottom of the lined cake pan. Stir milk and vinegar in a large measuring cup. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in applesauce, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into milk mixture. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until batter is lump-free. Pour batter over the fruit in the prepared cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan. Place a large plate over cake pan and invert the pan onto the plate. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Warm the raspberry jam in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour jam over cake and smooth it evenly over the cake.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If you have been reading my blog for a bit, then you know how much I LOVE cookies! I think it’s safe to say that I have a real cookie addiction because I have a really difficult time turning down a cookie! Chocolate chip cookies are probably at the top of my favorites list. There is something so comforting and satisfying when I bite into a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie…it completes me! This Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is a MUST to make if you haven’t tried it and these Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are to die for. I always have to make double batches for my family because they vanish so quickly…hmmm, I wonder who is eating all the cookies (yep, it’s me).

I realized that I did not have a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on here. How could that be? I clearly needed to rectify this travesty! Enter these fabulous cookies! My little boys literally fought over these cookies…I had to hide them in the freezer from them. These cookies are super soft, moist, and hearty with the amazingly yummy burst of chocolate in almost every bite. The oats add a wonderful textural element to these cookies that can’t be beat and the aquafaba gives the perfect moisture to the dough. This recipe has made it on the favorites list – I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

2 cups gluten-free oats
2 cups gluten-free flour (add in 1 teaspoon xanthan gum if not included in your flour)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup applesauce + 1/4 cup coconut oil (or 3/4 cup applesauce)
6 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from canned white beans)
1/4 cup milk of choice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, combine applesauce, coconut oil, and sugar, mix well. Add in aquafaba, vanilla and room temperature milk (make sure all ingredients are at room temperature or higher to prevent the coconut oil from hardening and clumping when they come together. If using only applesauce, this isn’t as critical, but you’ll get a better bake if ingredients are at room temperature). In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Slowly add in the flour, mixing well to combine. Add in oats, mix well. Lastly, fold in chocolate chips. (Note: I made a batch of these adding in raisins and walnuts. They were DIVINE! Get creative with your add-ins!) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on sheet about 2-inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then place on cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for longer storage.

Makes approximately 15 cookies. (Adapted from Recipe Source: The Simple Veganista)

 

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

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I am SO excited to share this recipe with you! My Mom’s birthday was last week and I wanted to make a fun dessert for her to enjoy. We were heading up to the mountains for a birthday picnic, so I knew it needed to be portable and easy to eat. I instantly thought cupcakes would work marvelously! I wanted to include chocolate in these cupcakes, but I didn’t want to make a chocolate cake…I looked at all the bananas on my counter and inspiration took shape! A banana cupcake with chocolate frosting was born!

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These cupcakes are absolutely moist, tender, and yummy utterly DELICIOUS! You will never believe that there is no added fat in these babies. Really. I was quite surprised myself! And the health benefits? Bananas are full of potassium and other vitamins, plus the cacao has heart healthy antioxidants to name a few benefits. What’s not to love? My Mom LOVED these cupcakes – YAY! And the rest of the family? Let’s just say they have requested them for their birthdays too! ENJOY!

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1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (add in 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to recipe if not included in your flour blend)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed (3 large bananas)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut vinegar
1/2 cup milk of choice
6 tablespoons aquafaba (canned white bean liquid)

Line a standard size cupcake pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash the bananas and then mix in the vanilla, coconut vinegar, milk, and aquafaba. (Note: make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature for an optimal bake). Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients,  and mix until well combined. Fill each liner about 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes, until the tops spring back to the touch and they’ve started to brown a bit. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before slathering them in frosting!

Chocolate Frosting

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1/2 cup cacao powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

dark chocolate almond milk

Place the powdered sugar and cacao powder in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined with a hand mixer. Add in the vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add in a tablespoon of dark chocolate almond milk and mix. Continue to add in a tablespoon of milk at a time and mix until you reach the desired spreading consistency.

Pan Fried Banana Split

Pan Fried Banana Split

Let me share an after dinner scenario that recently happened: my little boy started whining that he wanted dessert and I suggested that he have a piece of fruit. He insisted that fruit was NOT a dessert and I quickly replied that fruit indeed makes a fabulous dessert! So, I had to prove it to him…in the form of a quick, delicious, warm banana split! He now requests fruit for dessert after every meal – I don’t blame him. Enjoy!

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1 banana

1 tablespoon chopped pecans

1 tablespoon mini-chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk ice cream (this homemade recipe is my favorite!)

Cut a banana lengthwise and fry it facedown in 1 teaspoon Earth Balance spread for 3-5 minutes, or until golden. Arrange the banana on a plate and top with ice cream, cinnamon, pecans, chocolate chips, and a drizzle of honey. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: The Forest Feast for Kids)