Monday, April 30, 2012

Tangy Kale Slaw

It may be a surprise to you that I just don't eat cookies and cupcakes all day long. I mean, if you base my diet on my blog recipes over the last month you may be thinking I eat nothing else but cupcakes. I do love to create and make cupcakes out of some pretty great and nourishing ingredients, but friends, that is no main course. You body needs all colors of the rainbow to really succeed, and that especially includes the color green!
The truth is I have been trying to eat as many bitter greens, liver and gallbladder cleansing foods and antioxidants as I can this spring. I like to follow a more seasonal diet and try to cleanse and nourish my body with what each season brings for it to eat. And spring brings greens, herbs and eventually strawberries. Some of my most favorite foods on the planet! So, this recipe was built around the idea to have a nice tasty twist on eating the super-green-kale. Not sauted, baked into chips, or thrown in a side salad or stew. Which those are all great options to get some greens into your diet, but in this great recipe kale is the main attraction and it will have you changing your mind about eating green in the first place.  

The other great addition to this slaw is lots of fresh cilantro. Cilantro helps clean heavy metals and toxic buildup in the liver and cleanse the blood. Cilantro is one of the foods you can easily add into your diet and be getting all the benefits of any "super health food" that you could buy for loads of money at the health store. But the best part is that cilantro can be bought for merely a few dollars at almost any grocery store. Or even easier, why not try and grow some in the backyard? Cilantro is one of my all time favorite herbs, but I find it hard to grow in my climate this season. So I bought this cilantro from a grocer, but still full of crispy green goodness until I grow some of my own. 
This slaw is also egg and dairy-free, and would be vegan if you choose not to add the honey. Kale, cilantro, and carrots for sweetness with a simple tangy dressing, you have this simple recipe to remember again and again. It will inspire you to eat more green and will refresh your insides and out.
Tangy Kale Slaw Recipe 
1 bunch of lactino (dino) kale (about 4 cups de-ribbed and washed)
1 heaping cup of chopped cilantro
3-4 carrots, shredded to make about 1 heaping cup 
3-4 celery stalks, finely chopped into about 1 heaping cup
2 TB of prepared dijon mustard
2 TB organic red wine vinegar
3 TB of extra virgin olive oil (hemp, walnut and grape seed work here too)
1 TB of tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 ts - 1 TB of raw local honey (can use agave too, or omit)
3 TB of raisins or dried cherries
3 TB of raw sunflower seeds
dash of sea salt
dash of cracked black pepper

First, de-rib the kale leaves (pull off the middle vein from the outside of the leave and take the two parts of the leaf) and wash them throughly. Wash a whole bunch of kale and finely chop after rolling leaves together like you would chop basil leaves, and roll and then thinly slice, turn the other direction and then thinly slice again. This will make about 4 cups of finely shredded kale leaves. Then finely chop 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, and add that to the large bowl with the kale. Then add the chopped celery and shredded carrots, and pour in the rest of the dressing ingredients. Then, I suggest you use your hands to mix the dressing well into the kale, this will also allow the kale to soak in the moisture and loosen the leaves to be easier to chew. Then top with more sunflower seeds or raisins and serve fresh. Perfect side (or main dish) for almost any meal, especial for spring and summer. This recipe will serve 4-6 people.

I made my favorite way to eat cauliflower, and some basic baked sweet potatoes (mostly for my son), along with the fresh kale slaw for dinner. It was a pretty simple and inexpensive meal. And, I really could not have asked for anything more. If you wanted to add some more protein then add some garbanzo beans to the slaw call it a meal.
A plate-full of vegetables for dinner. Very colorful and fresh! Some cooked and some raw, a good balance for the sensitive stomach to easily digest. And, I always feel to refreshed and nourished after a meal like this. You know the kale and cilantro are working goodness into your body and there are countless ways to thank your body for accepting some great nourishment too.

God is good and He blesses us with food from the ground!

Much love as always!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy weekend, friends! Talking with some people this week it seems to have been a doozy for many. Long busy days, not a lot of sleep and too many things on the mind. Well, guess what? It's Saturday. The perfect day for catching up on some rest with an afternoon nap and maybe some cookies and milk. 

This kind of cookie recipe is a treat. Or, perhaps we shall call this cookie a 'weekend treat' because it doesn't happen so often or isn't an every day occurrence. It is a new recipe I have been trying out after craving some crunchy cookies. Yeah, you can love the ooey gooey cookie too, but sometimes you just gotta have something to crunch. Something to use your teeth on, something to dump in some creamy coconut milk. These, my friends, are just that cookie. 
They are quite crispy crunchy, but surprisingly still have a pretty nice chewy center as well. Isn't that the definition of a "perfect" chocolate chip cookie anyway? Well, I think so. They hold up perfect for the dunk, and even make you feel like you are definitely, most possibly, quite normal in the 'cookies and milk' food department. You are not strange. You are human after all.

It's a weekend treat, my friends. So, cuddle up and enjoy some snuggle time with a nice book and cookies and milk. Let yourself linger on the couch or reading chair. Don't get up too fast. Slow yourself down and rest. Take deep breaths and relax your nerves. You have no where to go. Nothing to do and look, even the sky is cooperating with a little serenading rainfall. Perfect. Saturday. Afternoon.
Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (vegan and nut-free)
2/3 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour (I grind groats to make flour in my magic bullet)
2/3 cup of freshly ground gluten-free oat flour (I grind GF oats to make flour in my magic bullet)
2/3 cup of Bob Red Mill's GF flour blend (or more fresh buckwheat flour)
1 cup of coconut palm sugar or sucanat
1 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
2 TB of ground chia seed meal
2 TB of apple butter/sauce (I used spiced too)
2 TB of non-dairy milk (I use So Delicious coconut)
1 TB of pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup of warmed liquid coconut oil
1 cup of gluten and dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life's)

Mix all the dry ingredients together first in a large mixing bowl, then add in the oil, and the rest of the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate last and mix well with a rubber spatula and let sit a few minutes to soak up the moisture. Then roll out TB sized cookie dough balls on a parchment paper pan and press down the balls on the pan before baking. Then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes depending on how crispy you want them. They stick best together if you bake for at least 12 minutes. This recipe will make about 2 1/2-3 dozen cookies depending on how large you make them. 
Now, it's time to join my son in a nice afternoon nap. Hope you find time to rest this weekend and rejuvenate your body and soul. 

Much love as always!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zekey Cookies aka Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Zekey is my sweet son. These cookies are just for him. He has had a rough ride lately with teething and he needed a little pick-me-up and something special just for him. So we made cookies today to stay busy [which is loads of fun with an 18 month old]. He likes to copy me and get his fingers in the batter. Good thing I make most of my baked goods vegan because he thinks you can just lick whatever is in the bowl. Which really is alright by me. Because it's super cute. Well, he's super cute in every thing he does, even being naughty. Which isn't very convenient for me ;)
He thinks he is a little chef and is interested in all the kitchen tools. I even caught him the other day trying to snap in the mixer whisks to the mixer so that he could mix whatever imaginary batter he had brewing in a large bowl. A boy after my own heart. But I guess I wouldn't expect much more from him considering he has watched me since birth mixing and baking in the kitchen.
So these cookies are "Zekey Cookies" with no added sweetener and lots of nutritious ingredients to help nourish his growing body. A treat with iron, protein, good fats and sweet raisins and bananas. What more could a toddler ask for?! 
They serve as a nice toddler teething treat or are a great snack on the go. They are super thick and almost resonate a protein or granola bar. They are also nut-free for me and my babe, but if you love nuts you can easily swap out the seeds for the nuts instead.  
Zekey Cookies A.K.A. Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
2 cups of gluten-free rolled oats (I used Bob Red Mill's)
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of raisins (or use a mix of dried fruit)
1 TB of chia seed meal
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour (I used fresh buckwheat)
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
1 ts. of ground ginger
2 TB of unsulphured molasses
1/3 cup of applesauce or apple butter (I use homemade)
1 cup of purred rip banana
1 ts. of pure vanilla
1/4 cup of non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious coconut)
4 TB of warmed organic coconut oil

Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make sure the banana and oil gets all mixed into the whole batter. Then press out handfuls of the batter on a cookie sheet. I like to roll the batter into small balls and then press them down on the cookie sheet. This recipe will make about 2 dozen cookies.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and let cool for another 15 before moving. Bake and then eat! Store leftovers in an airtight container or cookie jar.
These cookies were made for my toddler but are a great sugar-free cookie option for any health conscious food freak. A great treat for those trying to avoid sweets and also would be great over vegan coconut ice cream or yogurt. Or they could even be crumbled and have some coconut or hemp milk poured over them to have almost like a chunky granola cereal. Super delicious and super healthy too! Would I make anything less for those I love?! I don't think so!

Also, thanks you all for the birthday wishes and blessings. I had such a great birthday and was overwhelmed by love, gifts and treats. So thank you, thank you! Hope you all have a great week!

Much love as always!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Triple Berry Triple Layer Cake


Today starts my 28th year on earth. Yes, it is my 27th birthday- that seems so old when I say [type] it out loud. But the truth is, I believe I am young. I am. And I hope I always believe that.

Today is also 'earth day'. A day to be aware of our place of inhabitance. To be aware of our Creator's mark on every tree, plant and blade of grass. For me, today is a reminder of life and how we are called as bearers of God's image to care and sustain all that He has given us.

Today I celebrate life.
My mantra this year is to "Be Brave".

To be brave to wake up each day and thank God for all His gifts. 

To be brave and not let discouragement and pain get me down. 

To be brave and pursue emotional, spiritual, and physical healing and health with reckless abandon.

To be brave and not let bitterness, grief, and struggle win.

To not give up. To keep going. To try again tomorrow. To strive for better.

You have to be brave when you are a sensitive soul like me. Sensitive inside and out. 

Being brave means that I have to make the choice to think positive when the negative is seeping in.

To be brave I have to dust my hands of and try again when I feel like giving up.

Being brave means you have to dream big and being willing to have faith to follow those dreams. 

Being brave for me relates yes to my life as a whole, but also it is a good application to the gluten-free life too. Especially for beginners. Gluten-free friends- you have to be brave. You have to stay the course, don't give up. Don't let the people [or your own voices] around you get you down. Surround yourself with hope and good ideas for success. 

Especially ideas revolving around gluten-free cake that involves three layers and pink frosting! YUM!
 
Triple Berry Triple Layer Cake
1 1/4 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
2 TB of ground chia seed meal
1 TB. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of ground cinnamon
2/3 cup of coconut palm sugar or sucanat
2/3 cup of warmed coconut oil
1 TB of lemon zest
2 ts. of pure vanilla

*buttermilk mixture*
3/4 cup of non-dairy milk (I use So Delicious coconut milk)
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice

*date mixture*
1 cup of dates
1 cup of boiling water

1 1/2 cups of mixed fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

Grind the buckwheat flour out of buckwheat groats and then mix the rest of the dry ingredients with flour and whisk together well. Then add the wet starting with the milk mixture (put milk and lemon juice in separate bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes). Then add the date mixture (boiling water and dates soaked for 10 minutes and then blended in blender or magic bullet). Then add the warmed coconut oil and the rest of the wet stuff. Grease three 9 inch pans with coconut oil and then put about a heaping 1 cup of the batter in each pan. Spread thin over the whole pan and then press about 1/2 cup of the mixed berries over each cake and press into the batter with a rubber spatula. Then put the 3 cake pans in a preheated 350 degree oven (on the same shelf if possible because they will bake the same). Bake for 30 minutes and then pull from the oven and let cool for 1-2 hours before layering with the raspberry cream frosting. 

Raspberry Cream Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup of room temperature organic coconut oil
1/3 cup raw local honey (or agave or maple syrup could sub)
1-2 ts. of raspberry juice and puree 

Whisk all together in a small bowl with a rubber spatula. Whisk till smooth and then top the cooled cakes. Start with the first layer by placing one of the cakes on a cake plate, spread 1/3 cup of the frosting over the top of the cake. Place the second cake on top. I chose to place the barry side of the cake on the top each layer so I basically just stacked all of the cakes on top of each other. Then repeat with the second cake and place the third cake on top. I saved the prettiest cake for the top. You can either decorate the top with a little of the frosting or you can leave open without frosting because the berries are pretty as well. I used a Wilton star point size 32 to make these little stars on top of the cake.  I wanted to use raw local honey in this recipe, but you can easily use agave or maple syrup too. They all have a distinct flavor, so just be aware of how that will affect the frosting. If you are a strict vegan- stay away from honey. I personally have been in love with raw honey lately and loved it on top of this berry and lemon cake as just perfect!
I made a berry cake this year because it is one that I have been dreaming about for months. I have dabbled in experimenting, but I came back to this simple recipe with lots of sweet lovin' from the berries and the cute pink raspberry frosting. I love this cake! It's perfect and adorable in every way. 
Super moist and sweet from the dates. And the honey based frosting is the perfect touch! The cake is gluten and dairy free, but because of the honey it is not purely vegan. I am not a strict vegan and enjoy local raw honey when I can, especially in spring to combat local seasonal allergies. For me, this cake celebrates life's sweetness. And, I don't need to tell you that it is actually very healthy too :) Almost like eating pancakes or a bowl of fruity porridge. But I didn't say that. You would never know :)
And a slice of cake to celebrate a great year and another year to come. 
I love cake and this this ones just for me.  
I hope you find ways to celebrate your own life and continue to be brave with your life. 
Step outside your box, and dream big. Don't loose heart, friend. 

Much love and light to you today

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Frosting

Yes, my dear, yet another cupcake recipe. As you can tell I have been experimenting and loving it. This would be my fourth cupcake recipe in the last few weeks and I have a few more in mind to try out. You may be wondering why, well...no real reason. Except for like I said a few post ago, April is a month of many birthdays and celebrating- which brings me to thinking about cake, and of course cute cupcakes. 
Cupcakes are so cute (and addicting). I mean come on. Just look at 'em. They just make your heart smile. I don't even need to eat them to love them. But then you bite into them and your heart then melts with love and wonder at how something so sweet and delicious could really be gluten-free! Yes, my friends, it's true! 
This recipe is a simple base cupcake recipe. It is pretty similar to my last coconut cream cupcake recipe, but more simple with lots of pure vanilla flavor. It is the good ol' basic vanilla cupcake that is dense, sweet and perfect for the gluten-free soul like you and me. I have been trying to make these cupcakes with less powdered sweetener and adding dates to add some really rich sweetness. But also the dates help the cupcake batter hold together and rise in the oven, and then help the baked treats remain soft and chewy after baking. I've been loving dates so much that I almost feel like I could't go back to living (and baking) without them!

And of course I love that these cupcakes don't have to negotiate with your health. You don't have to suffer from fake food, gluten pains or a hangover sugar headache the next day. It is just pure, simple and healthy ingredients that will have you asking why not having leftovers for breakfast. 
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-option, and nut-free)
1 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour 
1 cup of Bob Red Mill's gluten-free all purpose flour blend (or sub 2/3 millet flour and 1/3 tapioca flour)
2 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 1/2 TB of ground chia seed meal
2/3 cup of coconut palm sugar (or sucanat)
1 TB of pure organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup of warmed liquid organic coconut oil

*date mixture*
2/3 cup of packed chopped dates
2/3 cup of boiling water

*buttermilk mixture*
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I like So Delicious best) (other non-dairy milks work too)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar (or fresh lemon juice works too)

First, chop your dates and let them soak in some boiling water for 10-15 minutes. When cooled a bit, then blend them in magic bullet or blender until a thick pudding like substance. Then while dates are soaking- in a separate small bowl make the buttermilk mixture by pouring the coconut milk together with the lemon juice and also let this sit for 10 minutes to culture before pouring into the batter. 

Grind fresh buckwheat groats in a magic bullet or high powered blender to make your own fresh buckwheat flour- which is the best to use in baking! Then after grinding flour mix in the rest of the dry ingredients and then pour in the date mixture, buttermilk mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well all together and let sit for a few minutes to soak in the moisture. Then use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour the batter into cupcake tin. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Use a greased muffin tin or cupcake paper cups for best results. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes before moving, and then continue to let cool for 1-2 more hours before frosting. 
Some Cupcake Notes:
- I used mostly dates to sweeten these cupcakes. If you do not want to use dates, then you can add another 2/3's or 3/4's cup of sucanat and add 1/4 cup more liquid like coconut milk or applesauce to make sure you have enough moisture without the dates. 

-If you are not as big a fan of fresh ground buckwheat flour as I or are looking for an easier option you can use Bob's Red Mill GF flour mix. This flour is a bit strong flavored if you ask me because of the garbanzo bean flour in it- but it still works good for texture. You can easily use just 1 cup of each if you are looking for a nice blend as well. If you are looking for a sub for Bob's blend, then use 2/3 cup of millet flour and 1.3 cup of tapioca flour per 1 cup.

Raspberry Vanilla Cream Frosting Recipe
4 TB of room temperature organic coconut oil
3 TB of raw local honey (or agave, or maple syrup work here too)
1 ts. of raspberry puree (or preserves could work too)

Whisk all together in a small bowl with a rubber spatula. Whisk till smooth and then top the cooled cupcakes. Top with some shaved chocolate or with chocolate chips or just fresh raspberries. I wanted to use raw local honey in this recipe, but you can easily use agave or maple syrup too. They all have a distinct flavor, so just be aware of how that will affect the frosting. If you are a strict vegan- stay away from honey. I personally have been in love with raw honey lately and loved it on top of this cupcake!
And, yes, my birthday is just a few days away. I have been dreaming up a cake now for months and now that it is getting closer I am having a hard time deciding what dream cake to go with. I guess we'll see where my heart takes me in the next few days. I love baking my own cake. It is a fun tradition that started as a child that hasn't died yet. And since going gluten-free and sharing my recipes on this blog it has become even more fun to share how eating gluten-free and celebrating your birthday doesn't have to be a drag. 

I hope you have a beautiful day! And if for some reason you are feeling low....bake some cute gluten-free cupcakes, they will cheer you up in no time, I promise!

Much love as always!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

It's always a great day to make cupcakes. And, I have to admit Martha Stewart inspired these today. Well, plus all the coconut I have stored away in my kitchen...when it comes to coconut I have all it's forms laying around. Coconut milk, shredded coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, coconut flour and the only thing I'm missing is a coconut tree in the backyard. That would be nice if I had a coconut tree in the backyard, wouldn't it? I bet it would be pretty and sustainable, too. Maybe I was born on the wrong continent?!? Hm. Or maybe I should consider moving...
Well, for now I enjoy coconut like most of us who don't have coconuts growing in the backyard. I fell in love with coconut once I discovered my food sensitivities. Which means I love it because it's creamy, gluten-free and vegan. A great substitute for dairy and contains lots of healthy fats to boost your metabolism, keep your hormones running well, and making you happy and healthy. I love it's taste texture and everything about it. I think if I was a food I would be a coconut. Maybe that's taking it too far though...hehe. 
I made these sweet cupcakes as a healthy gluten and dairy-free alternative to a sugar-filled traditional cupcake. It is sweetened with dates and coconut palm sugar. I used buckwheat flour as the main base and went without eggs as well. They are super moist and fluffy and hard to tell they are vegan and gluten-free. I only used 1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar, but if you really want a sweeter cupcake I would use closer to 1 cup. I used less because I love the taste of dates and I wanted to save some sugar for later...But the whipped frosting with either raw honey or maple syrup is really what gets your first attention. It is rich and creamy and you will be licking your lips for hours. Lots of loving in these sweet babies. Enjoy!
Coconut Cream Cupcake Recipe (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-option, and nut-free)
2 cups of freshly ground buckwheat flour 
2 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 1/2 TB of ground chia seed meal
2/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut 
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar (or sucanat)
2 ts. of pure organic vanilla extract (or use half coconut flavor extract) 
2/3 cup of warmed liquid coconut oil

*date mixture*
2/3 cup of packed chopped dates
2/3 cup of boiling water

*buttermilk mixture*
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I like So Delicious best) (other non-dairy milks work too)
1 freshly squeezed lemon (2 TB of juice)


First, chop your dates and let them soak in some boiling water for 10-15 minutes. When cooled a bit, then blend them in magic bullet or blender until a thick pudding like substance. Then while dates are soaking- in a separate small bowl make the buttermilk mixture by pouring the coconut milk together with the lemon juice and also let this sit for 10 minutes to culture before pouring into the batter. 

Grind fresh buckwheat groats in a magic bullet or high powered blender to make your own fresh buckwheat flour- which is the best! Use about 1 1/2 cups of groats to make about 2 cups of flour. Then after grinding flour mix in the rest of the dry ingredients and then pour in the date mixture, buttermilk mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well all together and let sit for a few minutes to soak in the moisture. Then use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour the batter into cupcake tin. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Use a greased muffin tin or cupcake paper cups for best results. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes before moving, and then continue to let cool for 1-2 more hours before frosting. 
Some Cupcake Notes:
- I made these cupcakes to not too overly sweet and wanted the sweetness of the dates to really stand out. So I only added 1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar, but you can easily just add 1/2 cup more if you are looking for a much sweeter cupcake. I liked how my cupcakes turned out because I am not used to eating very sweet cakes, but I could understand if you are looking for a richer treat that you may want to add a little more sugar. 

-If you are not as big a fan of fresh ground buckwheat flour as I or are looking for an easier option you can use Bob's Red Mill GF flour mix. This flour is a bit strong flavored if you ask me because of the garbanzo bean flour in it- but it still works good for texture. You can easily use just 1 cup of each if you are looking for a nice blend as well. 

-You can use sweetened coconut flakes if you want. I just choose to use unsweetened to avoid added sugar.
Coconut Cream Frosting Recipe
4 TB of room temperature organic coconut oil
3 TB of raw local honey (or agave, or maple syrup work here too)
3 TB of unsweetened shredded coconut 
1 ts. of pure vanilla extract 

Whisk all together in a small bowl with a rubber spatula. Whisk till smooth and then top the cooled cupcakes. Top with some more shredded coconut for an added touch and more coconut. I wanted to use raw local honey in this recipe, but you can easily use agave or maple syrup too. They all have a distinct flavor, so just be aware of how that will affect the frosting. If you are a strict vegan- stay away from honey. I personally have been in love with raw honey lately and loved it on top of this cupcake!
The last step is to take a picture of these sweet things, and then take a nice big bite out of one! They are super moist. I just love how the buckwheat and dates work together to make a moist, chewy and dense cupcake. It is delicious and there is no gluten or dairy people! Amazing! Who said eating gluten-free was boring?! Not me! I may like oooing and aahhhing at all the pretty cupcakes in a fancy cupcake bakery. And, I may like flipping through one of Martha Stewart's cupcake recipe books. But I only love it mostly for inspiration! I don't love all the sugar, gluten and junk added to those recipes, and I love to make a redux. A transformed healthy treat that will have your insides smiling as big as your outside.

Much love and hope for you today! 
May you find healing in happy treats such as these!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Smoky Split Pea Soup-vegan style

I admit, I've not made homemade split pea soup before this recipe. I had noticed split peas at the store and even tried some tasty soup split pea soup at my favorite local cafe. But, I personally have not tried this feat. So, the other day I saw them again at the store and I heard them calling my name. So, what do you do when you hear real food talking to you? You buy it! 
So, I bought me some dried split green peas. No arm twisting here. They were so darn cheap too. Like just over a dollar for a pound. They also contain 12 grams of protein per 1/4 cup dry and so if you use 2 1/2 cups to make some soup- well, you do the math, that's a lot of vegan protein! They also contain loads of calcium, magnesium, fiber and vitamins too. The lists of what they contain for your health is amazing. I also learned that they contain a mineral that may help you with detoxifying sulfites from your body. Sulfites are what they add to many preservatives and packaged foods. So if you are a recovering processed food addict- try split peas!
So, I got my green peas home and started doing some flipping in my cookbooks and googling. I found that the traditional split green pea soup usually contains ham or meat or at least a hefty ham bone. I really wanted my soup to be meat-free, so I decided to adventure out away from recipes and go on a whim alone. I used some of my favorite savory spices and a few unexpected others and it turned out fabulous. It was hearty, savory, and yes, even kinda smoky too.

This soup is perfect for a rainy day (well- it was snowing here yesterday!) and perfect to feel full, satisfied and nourished. Plus, did I already mention that split green peas are super cheap. You can live on real food for cheap. It can be done, friends. It may be a step in a new direction and you may feel lost as times, but let me tell you....it is worth it. So, here's my take on a heart split green pea soup. Enjoy!
Smoky Split Green Pea Soup Recipe- vegan style
1-2 TB of ghee or sauteing oil
3-4 minced fresh garlic
1 large yellow onion finely chopped
1 heaping cup of finely chopped celery
2 heaping cups of chopped carrots
2 1/2 cups of washed, rinsed and rained split green peas
8-10 cups of vegetable broth or stock
handful of finely chopped fresh kale
handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 ts. of hungarian paprika
1 ts. of curry powder or tumeric
1/2 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. of Italian dried herb blend
1/4 ts. of ground ginger
1/4 ts. of ground mustard seed
1/4 ts. of celery seed
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1 TB of wheat-free low-sodium tamari sauce
sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large 8 quart pot or dutch oven, saute the garlic, onion and carrots and celery in the oil. Cook for a few minutes and then add the washed split peas. You do not need to soak the peas. They are ready to cook after they have been washed. Then add the broth and the rest of the spices ingredients. Cook at high heat till a boil and then turn down the heat to medium low and cook at a simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Slow cooking will allow the peas to soften up and to cook down allowing them to be more digestible and the flavors to blend together perfectly. So this isn't a quick fix soup, but it is one that can be put together and left for a while to cook on the stove. You will know it is ready to eat when the peas and softened and thickened the broth and everything is soft. If your soup has thickened up too much during the cooking process, no fear- just add a few more cups of broth to thin it out. Serve with a topping of fresh herbs or your favorite GF bread, cracker or crouton. This is a very hearty and healthy soup and you will be able to serve 10-12 people or at least have leftovers for a few days.
Well, that is my take on a staple food. Peas have been around since the earliest records of civilization and can be a great way to nourish a weak stomach and soul. I know I will be making this soup a staple in my kitchen and hope to find more ways to love split green peas!

Hope you enjoy! Much love as always!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Covered Sunbutter Eggs


Happy Easter! Or as my mother always says, 
Happy Resurrection Sunday! :)

This was a last minute treat I made today. Yes, Easter is tomorrow. And, yes I know it is not really all about eggs, bunnies and candy. But, there is something about this time of year that has me dreaming about those famous peanut butter covered eggs, or even those super sweet Cadberry's. And yet it has been so many years since I have actually had one I still feel a little nostalgic about them. As a child, they were my favorite and everyone knew it. I bet many of you feel the same way. So I made these for us. Yes, us [like you and me]! I bet you may even have these five simple ingredients in your kitchen. Time to whip up some melt-in-your-mouth eggs together, don't ya think....:)
Yes, these sweet little eggs have only five ingredients, but they are some of the BEST ingredients ever. Definitely staples in my kitchen. I have been using raw local honey a lot this spring because it helps my sinuses and allergies so much. I swear by it. I have been making chocolate covered mints and peppermint pattie cookies and then I came up with this simple idea to make the beloved chocolate covered egg that we all love so much. If you are a strict vegan you can use agave or coconut nectar, but I would actually use just a bit less than the honey because it is a tad sweeter. And, the organic coconut oil is so good for your insides as well. It is antibacterial and helps heal the tissues in your digestive tract. Not to mention good for your hormones, skin, hair, and metabolism. I could go on and on. And you are gonna need some justification for these babies. Trust. Me.
Homemade Chocolate Covered Sunbutter Eggs Recipe
1/3 cup of raw local honey
1/3 cup of creamy sunflower seed butter (yes, you can use any seed or nut butter here)
1/3 cup of room temperature organic coconut oil
1 ts. of pure vanilla extract

Whip up the above ingredients and use a rubber spatula to spoon the mixture into a Wilton Icing Piping bag with a star or medium circle tip. You can use a zip lock bag here as well, but you want to be careful not to cut the tip too large. Then using your bag of creamy butter mixture you can form egg-like shapes on a parchment papered or non-stick baking sheet. You should be able to make 2 dozen eggs. 
Then put the tray into the freezer flat for 10-15 minutes until the eggs harden. They should be slightly frozen and you will be able to easily remove them from the tray to soak them in the melted chocolate next.


Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips [I use 1 cup of Enjoy Life's allergen-free chocolate chunks or chips]. You do this by pouring the chocolate into a glass bowl over a pot of bowling water. Just make sure your bowl of chocolate isn't touching the boiling water and once the chocolate is melted you can pull the bowl from the boiling water pot to make it safer while you are dunking in the eggs. You can also microwave for 30 second intervals until melted if you are looking for a quick fix. 
Then use a spoon to drop each butter egg into the melted chocolate and then use the spoon to pull it out and place it back onto the baking sheet to freeze once again. Cover all your eggs in chocolate and then put back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. You can drizzle your last bits of melted chocolate over already covered eggs too. Then your eggs are ready to eat. You can keep them in the fridge or freezer so that they do not get too soft and melted. 
These are so fabulous and super easy. No baking required and seriously a great treat for Easter. You of course do not need to form eggs for every other day of the year. This treat is so easy and even kind fun to make "homemade candy" in your own kitchen. Plus you can guarantee it is gluten and dairy free, and not to mention healthy for you!

I hope you have a blessed and happy Easter.

Much love as always!