Tag Archives: Vitacost

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (and other fruit)

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When you want to do something thoughtful and delightful for your sweetheart or for yourself any time of the year, try this super easy treat.  You can use this recipe to dip any fruit that you wish, from strawberries, mandarin oranges, to kiwi, and pineapple!

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To add a little more excitement, sprinkle on some hemp seeds, chopped pistachios, walnuts, goji berries, or a combination of them all.  You probably already have all of these ingredients in your kitchen, so get  up and whip these up in no time!

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Have fun with it!!  Dip other fruits in chocolate!  My chocolate-dipped mandarin oranges were so delicious.  By the way, I decided to dip oranges, too, because I found both the strawberries and these delicious mandarin oranges at my local Farmers Market.  If I saw a pineapple or kiwi, I would have dipped them in chocolate, too!  If you try it, please let me know how they turned out!  Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!

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This recipe was inspired by ingredients that Nutiva brand and Vitacost kindly sent to me.  At Vitacost, you can find a variety of Nutiva products, from hemp seeds, chia seeds, to hemp proteins and coconut oil.  Click here for a full list of Nutiva brand products at Vitacost.  Also, click on the ingredients links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make my Chocolate-dipped fruit.  

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Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (and other fruit)

Ingredients

2 cups strawberries, rinsed and dried (mandarin orange segments, pineapple, kiwi)

Optional Toppings:

Nutiva hemp seeds

pumpkin seeds, chopped

walnuts, chopped

pistachios, chopped

goji berries, chopped

Chocolate:

4 Tbsp Nutiva Coconut oil, melted

4 Tbsp cacao powder

1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 drops stevia liquid

Directions

1.  Rinse strawberries in water then wipe dry.  Alternatively, peel a mandarin orange and peel it so you get segments.  Chill in the refrigerator.

2.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

3.  If you choose to coat your chocolate-covered fruit with toppings, prepare your desired toppings, about ¾ cups worth.  Mix the toppings and place them onto a plate.  Set aside.

4.  Prepare the chocolate in a small bowl.  Combine all of the ingredients, whisking them together with a fork.  Sweeten to taste.  Put a large spoon in the bowl and place the plate with the toppings next to the bowl.

5.  Retrieve the fruit from the refrigerator.  You will need to move swiftly as you coat the fruit and dip or sprinkle them with toppings.  Please read the following instructions before coating and dipping the fruit.  With one hand, hold the fruit over the bowl of chocolate.  Using the spoon, pour the chocolate very quickly over the fruit, turning it to coat completely with chocolate.  Before the chocolate freezes, dip the fruit in the topping, rolling it to cover the chocolate with as much topping as you can.    As you roll it, use your empty hand to sprinkle more crunchy topping onto the chocolate.  Alternatively, just sprinkle the toppings on.

6.  Place the finished dipped fruit onto the half sheet pan and place them in the refrigerator immediately until set and ready to eat.

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“Caramel” Candy Apples

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Although caramel apples typically make an appearance in the Fall, I foresee these caramel apples being made in my kitchen all-year-round!  The “caramel” in this recipe requires little cooking and does not result in a sticky goo!  It is simply made from sweet potatoes, dates, vanilla, and almond milk!  They are a perfect clean and healthy snack or dessert that even your dentist will even approve of!

Once the apples are coated in the “caramel” and topped with chopped walnuts and cacao nibs, it will be difficult for you to hold in your smile.  These caramel apples will release the inner child in you.  They are not only nourishing, but they are so fun to make and eat!   I hope you enjoy these!

 

I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make the “Caramel” Candy Apples.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

 “Caramel” Candy Apples

Servings: 6-8

Time: 45 minutes

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients

6-8 apples

6-8 popsicle sticks

 

Caramel:

3/4 cup sweet potato, cooked

8-9 soft medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

4 Tbsp almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

 

Topping:

1 cup walnuts, chopped

½ cup cacao nibs

 

Directions

Caramel:

1. If you don’t mind using a microwave, making this is a snap. Rinse 2 sweet potatoes or one very large sweet potato (enough for 1 cup of cooked sweet potato), place on a plate with about 4 Tbsp water. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 5-6 minutes, or until fork tender. Alternatively, steam or bake the sweet potato until fork tender. Steaming on the stovetop is quicker than baking, so if you don’t have a microwave, I would recommend steaming it. Bake at 450 degrees F for 50 minutes, flipping it halfway through. Steam for 15-20 minutes on the stovetop.

Note: I prefer peeling the sweet potato after it has been cooked because it’s time-saving. When it is cooked, cut it lengthwise in the center and open it. Spoon out 3/4 cup of the tender flesh.

2. In a high-powered blender, add the almond milk, vanilla, dates, and sweet potato and blend until smooth.

3. Place the “caramel” into a medium bowl.

 

Assemble:

1. Line 2 large plates or a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2, Remove the stems from the apples. Place the apples stem-side down and push the popsicle sticks into the top of the apple (opposite of the stem-side).

3. Place the chopped walnuts and cacao nibs onto a plate and mix.

4. While holding onto a popsicle stick impaled in the apple, with one hand, use a butter knife to spread the “caramel” around the apple, about 1/18’ thick. Then sprinkle the walnut/cacao nibs onto the “caramel” while turning it.

5. Place the finished “caramel” apples onto the lined plate or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

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German Chocolate Truffle Cake

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For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been a big fan of cake.  My mother is originally from the Philippines.  There, they have meriendas, which is an afternoon snack and a time when they enjoy coffee with something sweet.  I grew up watching my mom enjoy her coffee with either a pandesol (Filipino bread roll), donut, Filipino rice cakes, and on special occasions a slice of German chocolate or Sara Lee three-layer chocolate cake.  Her favorite among them is the German chocolate cake.  So each year for her birthday, my sisters and I try to get her German chocolate cake.

I have always adored the way my mom says “chocolate” in her gentle Filipino accent, and the way she enjoys her cake makes whatever she eats look even more delicious. It’s no surprise that I inherited my love for chocolate from her.

As a tribute to my ever-supportive, hardworking, and chocolate cake-loving mother (mother of 6 daughters), I dedicate this German chocolate recipe to her.  It is not your typical German chocolate cake since this is a raw vegan truffle-cake version.  It’s smooth and decadent, but still with a nice crunch from the pecans and chewiness of the shredded coconut.

I hope she approves!

 

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I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired this cake!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make the German Chocolate Truffle Cake.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

German Chocolate Truffle Cake

Servings: 8

Time: 1 day

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, R

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted

½ tsp vanilla extract, no alcohol

¼ tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight in the refrigerator.  Rinsed and drained.

1/3 cup filtered water

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut nectar*

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp unsalted almond butter

½ shredded coconut

¼ cup raw cacao powder

 

Note: *can substitute with maple syrup

 

Garnish:

shredded coconut, as needed

chopped pecans, as needed

 

Directions:

1.  Make the crust.  Place the pecans, dates, vanilla extract, and sea salt in the food processor with the blade attachment and pulse to chop until you reach your desired texture (you will want a finer crust than a chunkier one).  Test the crust by spooning out a small amount and rolling it in your hands.  If the crust mixture holds together, your crust is perfect.  If not, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  Pour the crust mixture into a 6-7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a cake pan lined with plastic wrap) and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.

2.  If the coconut oil is solid, gently heat the oil in a small saucepan on low heat until it changes into a liquid state.

3.  Place all of the filling ingredients into the blender EXCEPT for the almond butter, shredded coconut, and cacao powder, and blend on high until very smooth (this may take a couple minutes).

4.  Divide the mixture in half by removing about 1 1/3 cup of the mixture from the blender.  Set aside.

5.  Add the cacao powder to the remaining mixture in the blender.  Blend until well combined.  Stop the blender and taste.  If you think it needs more sweetness, add about ½-1 Tbsp of coconut nectar and blend again.

6.  Pour the filling into the crust, using a silicon spatula to scrape out all of the mixture. Smoothen it out evenly with a silicon or offset spatula.  Place the pan in the freezer.  No need to wash out the blender.

7.  Add the remaining cake base to the blender and add the almond butter.  Blend well.

8.  Taste the mixture.  If you feel the filling needs a little more sweetness, add about ½-1 Tbsp of coconut nectar, and blend.

9. Pour the filling into a small bowl, add the shredded coconut, and mix well.

10.  Retrieve the pan from the freezer and pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out evenly with a silicon or offset spatula.

11. Lightly top the edges of the cake with shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

10.  Place the cake in the freezer until solid, about 4 hours or overnight.

11.  To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating.  Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.  Serve when fully defrosted.  You should get 8 slices.  Serve on its own, or the way I like it, topped with chopped peanuts!  Enjoy and store leftovers in the freezer!

 

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Sunshine Cookies

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This recipe is dedicated to my incredibly talented and sweet nephew, Kian, who has a severe peanut allergy.  Since most of my cookie recipes contain some sort of nut, I feel bad that he can’t eat all of the treats my other 14 nephews and nieces get to enjoy.  So I made this special recipe just for him.  It is a nut-free version of a peanut butter cookie!  Instead of peanuts, I use sunflower butter.  He is not allergic to coconut sugar, but if someone in your household is allergic to coconut, please substitute with vegan sugar.  I also added mini-chocolate chips because everyone in my family loves chocolate chips!

Kian has yet to try these cookies since I don’t see him often, but my other nephews and nieces have tried and they think these cookies taste just like peanut butter cookies.

Interestingly, when sunflower butter and baking soda mix, it results in a green color.  Sometimes when I’m in a rush and over-measure the baking soda, the center of the cookies turn a green color.  Don’t be alarmed, though.  I have read that it is perfectly safe.   If you reduce the amount of the baking soda by just a tad, you might not get the green result.  My 4- and 5-year old nephews made a batch last night and they were so small, they didn’t turn green in the center.  At least we didn’t notice any green!


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I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thank you for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these cookies!  Click on the ingredients links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make my Sunshine Cookies.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings.

Lastly, I want to thank Kimberley Flanary (@back_to_eden_healing on Instagram) for helping me name these special cookies!  I hope Kian, and whomever you know with nut allergies, will find a bit of sunshine in these cookies!

Enjoy!

 

Sunshine Cookies

Servings: 8

Time: 15 minutes

Diet: V, GF, SF, NF

 

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

3 Tbsp sorghum or oat flour

1/8 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional. makes cookie less crumbly)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter

2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

Other Ingredients:

3 Tbsp mini vegan chocolate chips

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk together.

3. In a medium bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.

5. Mix in the mini chocolate chips.

6. Scoop 2-Tbsp cookie balls onto a half-sheet pan lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper, and press down to flatten them ever so slightly with your hand.  You will make 8 cookies.

7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on powerful your oven is.

8. Allow the cookies to rest on the pan for about 3 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

 

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Garam Masala Cookies

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Indian cuisine is one of my favorites because of the many warming spices used in their savory dishes.  I also love that there are so many different types of Indian vegetable dishes to choose from that are delicious and satisfying.  My husband enjoys Indian food, too.  He also loves having a cookie for his after-dinner dessert.  To change things up a bit and make things a little more exciting, I decided to mix the two together. I created an Indian-spiced cookie recipe that has a lot of texture, is oil-free, and low in fat and contains no refined sugar.

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My spice of choice in this recipe is garam masala.  In Hindi, “garam” means hot and “masala” means spices.  In Indian cuisine, garam masala is a blend of ground spices.  A typical Indian garam masala mix contains cinnamon, cloves, black and white peppercorns, turmeric, black and white cumin seeds, and black, brown, and green cardamom.  As you can imagine, the spice mix is pretty intense but in a very pleasant and beautiful way.

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When you throw garam masala into an oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookie with pistachios, you get a chewy, sweet and almost savory and umami cookie.  I hope you try it and enjoy it!

 

This cookie recipe was inspired by ingredients that Vitacost.com kindly sent to me. Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make my garam masala cookies. Click here for Vitacost.com savings.

 

Garam Masala Cookies

Time: 25 minutes

Makes 16 cookies

V, GF, DF, SF, CF

 

Ingredients

Wet:

½ Tbsp flax meal

1 ½ Tbsp filtered water

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce 

1Tbsp almond butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

 

Dry:

2/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free)

2/3 cup oat flour (gluten-free)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp xanthan gum, optional*

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 tsp garam masala

¼ tsp raw pistachios, roughly chopped

1/3 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

1/3 cup golden raisins

Please note: **the cookie will be less crumbly with the xanthan gum. If you don’t want to use it, feel free to omit it.

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Set aside.

3. In a medium-large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine.

5. Fold in the pistachios, chocolate chips, and golden raisins.

6. Scoop out the cookies onto a half sheet pan, lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or by measuring out 2 Tbsp balls. Flatten the tops of the cookies with your hand or a spatula.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow them to sit on the half sheet pan for at least 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

8. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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