Archive | Dessert

vegan pumpkin cranberry cookies

This past weekend, the Boyfriend and I finally got around to seeing Blackfish. It’s an amazing yet heartbreaking documentary however one that is important to see to truly understand the awful happenings at amusement parks that house captive animals. Post movie, I needed some cheering up and created these delicious, vegan pumpkin cranberry cookies to do the trick.

Pumpkin seems to be in everything lately, from latte’s to pancake’s to…M &M’s (really! Pumpkin is great to use in baking because it adds a nice cake-like texture. It, of course tastes great too.

pumpkin cranberry cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla
¼ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, add brown rice flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, nutmeg and stir. In a separate mixing bowl, mix pumpkin, coconut sugar, coconut oil, chia seeds and vanilla. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and stir in dried cranberries. Mix well.

Drop cookie dough by tablespoon onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Press cookie dough down into a cookie shape with your fingers.

Bake for 15 minutes. Move cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before eating or transferring to a container to store.

 

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chocolate chip brownie bites

It’s no secret that I love chocolate. And why wouldn’t I? Chocolate (the good kind) has many amazing benefits including:

…its delicious and satisfying taste
…it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
…it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants. Caffeine acts on dopamine and adenosine receptors in the brain, which then release their respective pleasure-producing chemicals.
…has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10%

Chocolate comes from the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree called Theobroma cacao which is used in making cacao and chocolate.

Chocolate makes people happy and that’s a good enough reason for me to like it. When you purchase chocolate, here are some things to look for to make sure you get the best quality:

The cheaper the price, the cheaper the chocolate – there’s a reason some candy bars are $0.79…they’re crap! Shell out more money and get the good stuff.

Read the label – good chocolate has cocoa solids (the actual chocolate) and cocoa butter (the creaminess of the chocolate) as top ingredients. Avoid chocolate with sugar as the first ingredient.

Avoid added ingredients – if there is added refined sugar, additional fat, artificial flavours and ingredients you don’t recognize, skip it.

Choose fair-trade – about 90% of the world’s cocoa (a key ingredient in chocolate) comes from small producers in third-world countries. Certifying fair-trade bodies ensure that farmers receive reliable wages for their work and get a social premium to invest back into their communities. Fair trade also encourages sustainable farming, so when purchasing a fair-trade products you’re also helping the environment.

Avoid milk – if there is dairy in chocolate it could prevent the antioxidants in chocolate from being absorbed and used by the body.

chocolate chip brownie bites

Chocolate Chip Brownie Bites

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
8 large Medjool dates, pitted
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients into food processor and process until well combined. Note – processing nuts for too long results in too much oil being extracted resulting in oily brownie bites. Shape into balls and refrigerate until ready to consume.

*References
Health Benefits of Chocolate by Mark Stibich
Guide to Buying Fair-Trade Chocolate by Kathryn Dorrell

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raw peach-raspberry raw crumble

Currently I’m really into crumble, they make a fast and delicious, while healthy dessert. So when the peaches in my fruit bowl were slightly beyond ripe, I made them along with some raspberries into a raw crumble.

raw peach raspberry crumble

Raw Peach-Raspberry Crumble

Topping
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup raisins
4 Medjool dates
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

In a food processor, combine pecans and coconut sugar and process until you get a coarse meal. Add raisins, dates, sea salt, rolled oats and pumpkin seeds and process until the mixture sticks slightly together

Filling
3 tbsp maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
4 peaches, thinly sliced
1 pint raspberries

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add peaches and raspberries and cover with filling mixture.

Assembly
Spoon half of the topping into the bottom of a pie dish or glass bowl. Spoon out peach and raspberry filling on top and then drizzle remaining liquid over top.  Spoon on remaining topping. Let set for 1-2 hours and serve.

A note about coconut sugar…this is my preferred sweetener for the topping. Coconut sugar is sweet while remaining low glycemic. This means that it is digested more slowly, raising blood sugar in a more regulated and gradual way and stays in the stomach longer. This helps control hunger cues, keep blood sugar balanced and stabilizes our mood.

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raw maple pear crumble

In my family, maple syrup is considered a food group. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived on a large and heavily forested property in Northern Ontario and would tap maple trees for their sap. They built a sugar shack and my cousins and I would have such a fun time playing in the snow while the sap boiled down to syrup. To this day, maple syrup remains my sweetener of choice. It’s flavour brings back really found memories and I’m always happy to support my fellow Canadian maple syrup makers.

Using maple syrup (instead of agave) and pears, I made this delicious crumble, inspired by the raw apple crumble found in Going Raw by Judita Wignall.

maple pear crumble

Raw Maple Pear Crumble

Topping
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup raisins
4 Medjool dates
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

In a food processor, combine pecans and coconut sugar and process until you get a coarse meal. Add raisins, dates, sea salt, rolled oats and pumpkin seeds and process until the mixture sticks slightly together

Filling
3 tbsp maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
2-3 pears, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add pears and cover with filling mixture.

Assembly
Spoon half of the topping into the bottom of a pie dish or glass bowl. Layer pear filling on top and then drizzle remaining liquid over top.  Spoon on remaining topping. Let set for 1-2 hours and serve.

 

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undiet + super berry fruit crumble

Many (but not too many) years ago, I stumbled upon a blog called Making Love in the Kitchen by Meghan Telpner. I became interested in healthy eating and living but didn’t know where to turn for information. When I discovered Meghan’s site, I was enamored; every day I would come home from work and read up on interesting health topics and recipes by this sweet nutritionista. It was partially Meghan’s influence that lead me to study at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and along with many others, have followed Meghan as she broke the rules and taught her audience to undiet for abundant health.

This month, Meghan stopped by my office to present a lunch and learn session where she shared her tips, advice and best of all her book, UnDiet with us. It is a bright, cheerful and easy to understand read filled with diet and lifestyle tips that promote healthy living for life not just for temporary results. The recipes are delicious and Meghan has allowed me to share her Super Berry Fruit Crumble recipe.

Super Berry Fruit Crumble
recipe from UnDiet by Meghan Telpner

Fruit Bottom
2 cups blueberries
2 cups strawberries, quartered
2 cups apple, chopped
1/2 cup raw honey (I used maple syrup)
1 tbsp arrowroot starch

Crumble Topping
2/3 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds (I used pecans)
1/2 cup raw honey (I used maple syrup)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

Preheat over to 350F (180C). Mix fruit, raw honey and arrowroot, and spread into an 11″x9″ glass baking dish. Flatten mixture with a spatula making sure it is spread evenly. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients, then crumble evenly over fruit mixture. If fruit doesn’t look completely covered, add additional flour, almonds or oats until surface is covered. Bake for 45-mins, or until light browned and bubbling.

 

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