cacao

Healthy Chocolate Elixir

It’s the perfect season for hot chocolate! But it’s not usually a healthy choice. Have you thought about making your own from scratch and adding some herbs and spices to turn it into an elixir? Well, I’m telling you it’s definitely worth a try if you like hot chocolate and don’t enjoy it as often as you like because you want to be good. This option is brimming with health boosting herbs and spices and it tastes delicious. You don’t have to add all of the herbs listed but you can if you have them.
Starting with a good cacao powder brings in benefits that are not found in your regular cocoa. Cacao is not roasted or alkalized and therefore retains more nutrients including magnesium which helps relaxation.

The herbs and spices to consider adding are: cinnamon, turmeric, mushroom powder, maca, astragalus and ashwagandha. Adding in Brazil nuts or hemp seeds can add creaminess and essential fats, vitamins and minerals as well.

Give the recipe a try, adding in any or all of the suggested herbs and spices.

Healthy Hot Cacao Elixir

Creamy chocolatey and good for you!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender
  • sauce pan

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups plant milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/2 tsp astragalus powder
  • 1/2 tsp ashwagandha powder
  • 1 tsp mushroom powder reishi, cordycepts, lion’s mane
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp hemp seeds or Brazil nuts
  • 1/4 tsp Stevia or monk fruit to taste

Instructions

  • in a blender combine plant milk, cacao and herbs, spices, nuts or seeds you choose to use.
  • Blend until well combined and smooth.
  • Pour into a small pan and heat over medium-low until it just begins to simmer. Turn off heat, pour into mugs and add sweetener to taste.
  • Enjoy the feeling of treating yourself well with hormone balancing, blood sugar regulating, anti-inflammatory benefits as well as immune supporting deliciousness!

Notes

You may want to start slow adding just one or two at a time and building to using all the herbs at once. Pay attention to how you feel afterwards and if there are any changes to your “normal”. 
If cacao affects you adversely with the natural caffeine content, then using carob or a caffeine free chai tea or holy basil tea work well with these herbs too.
pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie Without Sugar

There is definitely a need to reduce sugar intake because the average American eats 150 pounds of it a year. But it’s often hard to find a good recipe to take the place of a traditional or family favorite. This pumpkin pie is made gluten free, without dairy, nuts, eggs, oil and refined sugar. And it tastes great!

I hope this helps those who are sensitive to the traditional ingredients and you find this a tasty alternative that everyone will enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie with Oat Crust

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
chill time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free,, nut free, pumpkin, sugar-free
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • cups gluten free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted tahini sesame seed butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk divided
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • ½ cup chopped pitted whole dates
  • ¼ cup date syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • For crust, in a food processor combine oats, 3 Tbsp. of the flaxseed meal, and the tahini. Cover and pulse until mixed.
  • With processor running, slowly add 2 to 4 Tbsp. milk until mixture starts to cling together and is slightly moistened.
  • Press onto the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pie pan.
  • For filling, combine the remaining 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal with ¼ cup water; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Add to food processor with pumpkin, ¾ cup milk, the dates, date syrup, arrowroot, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and salt. Cover and process until smooth.
  • Spread filling into crust.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes. Chill 2 to 8 hours.
green beans

Crowd Pleasing Creamy Green Beans

This Creamy Green Bean recipe can easily take the place of the beloved, but not so good for you, green bean casserole. By using a creamy cheese alternative for the cream sauce and adding in some sautéed shallots, all the flavors come together just right, your tongue will thank you. Bring this along to your holiday family gatherings and please the crowd.

 

Creamed Green Beans with Shallots

Creamy green beans better than traditional green bean casserole
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: green beans, hemp seeds, pine nuts, shallots
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe for herbed hemp-pine nut spread recipe in link below
  • 1 tsp miso
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • water
  • 1 cup shallots sliced
  • 2 pounds green beans can substitute kale or spinach

Instructions

  • Trim and slice beans lengthwise. Steam until bright green and tender.
  • Combine the hemp spread in a blender with the miso, onion powder and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend well. Add more water to reach a thin creamy consistency.
  • Sauté the shallots until lightly browned; add the beans and cream sauce, stirring to warm through and until the sauce is slightly thickened.
cranberries

Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

If you like cranberries, this is like candy on a spoon! This cranberry orange fig relish is tasty on the thanksgiving table, but it’s also nice to have on hand for a compote over banana nice cream or coconut yogurt or spooned over oatmeal or roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve even used it in a tart over sliced pears, yum!

The orange and figs in this recipe give it a nice sweetness that compliments the tart of the cranberries. This is much better than the cranberry jelly in the can and so much better for you, providing lots of vitamin C from the cranberries and oranges, which is important this time of year.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

Boost your vitamin C with this luscious cranberry relish that can be used in multiple ways.
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberries, figs, oranges
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 8 dried figs softened and chopped
  • 8 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries about 2 cups
  • 1 navel orange, rind chopped, flesh sectioned
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼- 1/3 cup coconut sugar powdered
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

Instructions

  • Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor.
  • Peel the orange and chop the rind, section the orange and add to the figs with the cranberries.
  • Add in remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
  • Pour into container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor. If the sauce is overly liquid, add a tablespoon of ground chia seeds, stir well to mix evenly and let sit to thicken.
  • Can be made one week ahead. Keeps well in fridge and/or freezer. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

This relish combines well with herbed hemp spread and as a pie filling with sliced pears. It can also be served as a canape topping or spooned over oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream.

 

salad

Two Salads For Your Thanksgiving Table

I love this time of year when squash, apples and cranberries are abundant. So I wanted to share a couple colorful salads that are great this time of year and delicious enough to adorn your Thanksgiving table.

Bringing salads into the options at Thanksgiving benefit all who partake, because the phytonutrients will actually help the body handle the richness that comes from other traditional foods. Did you know there is a spike of heart attacks on Thanksgiving Day? Bringing in phytonutrients found in these two salads may help lower that risk. Eating colorful foods improve heart health. Each color imparts a specific phytonutrient and they work together for optimal body function.

The first salad is a mixture of roasted squash and cranberries tossed with shaved Brussel sprouts and kale and topped off with a tangy sweet mustard dressing.

The second is a raw salad combining nuts, cranberries, apples and fennel marinated in a sweet orange dressing.

Thanksgiving Squash Salad

This is a harvest salad that is brightly colored and has a sweet-tangy mustard dressing that plays nicely with the sweetness of the squash.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brussel sprouts, cranberries, kale, walnuts, winter squash
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 2 delicate squash
  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the squash. Cut lengthwise in half, clean out seeds and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch moons (the squash skin is edible). Toss with a little olive oil and then lay on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  • Pour cranberries onto the sheet pan and spread out around the squash. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, check for doneness, cook a few minutes longer if needed.
  • Prepare the vinaigrette: combine the maple syrup, apple juice, vinegar, Dijon and salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix well.
  • Thinly slice the Brussel sprouts and kale, combine in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss well or massage to coat the greens.
  • When squash and berries are done cooking, toss squash, cranberries and walnuts with the shredded greens and top with more vinaigrette.

Cranberry Nut Holiday Salad

Crunchy, sweet and tangy come together in this yummy nutty salad.
Prep Time30 mins
marinating time2 hrs
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider, cranberry, fennel, pecans
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 cups apples, diced
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp each marjoram, oregano, rosemary
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 lime zest
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • In a food processor, combine the cranberries and walnuts and pulse together until chunky. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Chop the pecans and add to the bowl. Dice the apples, celery, fennel and onions nd add to the bowl.
  • combine the herbs, zest, salt, juice, syrup and oil in a small bowl and whisk together to combine. Pour half of the dressing over the nut mixture and toss well to coat.
  • Allow to marinate for at least two hours. Serve with remaining dressing if desires.

 

raw brownies

Raw Spicy Nut Brownies

Chocolate that’s good for you! These brownies hit the spot. And of course you can adjust the heat or totally leave it out if spicy chocolate is not your thing. The nuts I typically use are walnuts, but I think any nut or seed blend would work. If using seeds, almonds or brazil nuts, the liquid and dates may need to be adjusted to hold the less fatty nuts and seeds together.

Raw cacao versus Dutch chocolate has more minerals and phytonutrients, so try to get some and boost up the nutrition in the chocolate you eat. It does still have caffeine, so if you are sensitive or caffeine keeps you up at night, be sure to only eat in small amounts or completely substitute it for carob powder.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Raw Spicy Nut Brownies

Deliciously rich and satisfying, packed with protein, omegas and minerals. Chocolate that's good for you.
Prep Time20 mins
Chill time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies, chocolate, raw, walnuts
Servings: 12
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • 8X8 inch pan or springform pan

Ingredients

  • 4 cups walnuts or nut/seed mixture
  • cups dates, pitted
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp water

Ganache frosting

  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave, coconut nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter or oil melted
  • pinch sea salt
  • sprinkle with cinnamon

Instructions

  • Add the nuts or seeds you are using to a food processor and blend into a coarse meal.
  • Add the dates and pulse to break them down and combine with the nuts/seeds.
  • Add the cacao and spices and blend until its crumbly and sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl and add water, mixing together after each tablespoon. It should come together into a dough, but should not be wet.
  • Line your pan with parchment paper and press the brownie dough into it evenly, firmly pressing down.
  • Place in the refrigerator to chill while you mix the frosting.
  • In a mixing bowl add the cacao powder, salt and maple syrup
  • melt the coconut butter or oil and whisk into the cacao and sweetener, mixing until completely smooth and shiny.
  • Pour the frosting over the brownie and spread evenly. Chill for an hour.

Notes

You can try different combinations of nuts and seeds, you may just have to add more dates and water to hold it together. Walnuts and pecans have a lot of oil and that works with these amounts. But I think combining the nuts with hemp or pumpkin seeds would be nice and add different nutrients to the mix.
Another variation of this brownie is to make it with mint leaves and peppermint oil or extract. peppermint oil and extract are very potent, so start with a couple drops of oil or 1/2 teaspoon of the extract. Add fresh mint leaves, if you have some, to the nuts when you grind them in the first step.
Have fun with this recipe.
carrot ginger soup

Orange Ginger Carrot Soup (dairy free)

This lovely Orange Ginger Carrot soup is so creamy and comforting, yet dairy free and delicious. The smooth sweetness and spiciness perfectly compliment each other. Carrots from the garden or farmers market have a natural sweetness that is far better than the bagged carrots that have been sitting for awhile. Full fat canned coconut milk makes for the best texture (I like natures forest brand), but light or carton coconut milk will work, too.  I like the flavor of  fresh ginger versus powdered ginger, but again, it will work if that’s what you have on hand. The orange can be substituted with orange juice. Feel free to adjust the amount of ginger and orange to your palate. This recipe can be doubled for a larger batch and freezes well.

This soup works throughout the year; it is tasty at room temp on a hot, muggy evening or is just as satisfying served piping hot on a cold winters night. I hope you’ll give it a try. Writing about it makes me hungry. Enjoy!

Orange ginger Carrot soup

Luscious, creamy comfort in a bowl.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, dairy free, ginger, gluten free,, orange
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or 1 tsp powdered
  • 1 navel orange, peeled or 1/2 cup orange juice

Instructions

  • In a medium soup pan, heat 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and stir to combine and keep from browning, cook another minute.
  • Add the sliced carrots, ginger and vegetable broth just enough to cover the carrots. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes, until carrots are tender.
  • When carrots are tender, add the coconut milk. If using full fat, let the solid coconut cream melt. then remove from the heat.
  • Transfer half of the carrots and broth to a blender and add the peeled orange or orange juice. If your blender top has a vent hole or removable center piece, remove it and cover with a kitchen towel to allow steam to release. Blend on low, gradually increase to high for about a minute. Blend remaining soup until smooth and creamy and combine in a serving pot.
  • An immersion or stick blender can be used; however, the texture will not be quite as smooth.
  • Garnish with pumpkin seeds or gluten free croutons if you want a little crunch.
    Enjoy
Fruit

Cucumber-Pineapple-Kiwi Pops

Healthy tastes great with these cool and cleansing popsicles that hit the spot!  It’s hard to find healthy fruit popsicles. Fruit pops in stores have added sugars and artificial flavors. Ingredients you don’t want.

These cucumber fruit pops are so easy to make, there’s no excuses for not having a healthy, fun and delicious treat in your freezer. The ingredients can be tweaked to your liking.  If you’re not a fan of pineapple try mango or watermelon, if you want to ramp up the nutrition even more, add a handful of spinach or kale. Berries make a great add in but you could try sliced banana and orange wedges too.
Another easy way to have popsicles on hand is to make an extra large smoothie when you make one for breakfast or lunch, and freeze some of it to have as a popsicle later.

Who doesn’t like popsicles? They are a wonderful alternative to the sugar laden frozen desserts that temp us in the grocery isle. Go ahead and make your own healthy version.

Cucumber-Pineapple-Kiwi Pops

Cooling and cleansing pops that hit the spot when you crave something cold and sweet, but without the sugar!
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cucumber, kiwi, pineapple, popsicle
Servings: 10
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunk
  • 3 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  • In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber and pineapple, 1 kiwi, lemon juice and salt. Blend to completely purée.
  • Divide between popsicle molds or Dixie cups.
  • Divide kiwi slices among the molds.
  • Insert sticks and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
    When ready to serve, dip molds in cool water to gently remove molds or if using Dixie cups, tear the cup away from the frozen pop.

Notes

If kiwi is not a favorite fruit, try berries or slices of banana.
Lemon protein balls

Cool Lemon Protein Balls

Need a snack or quick fix that’s high in phytonutrients and good for you? Here you go! These cool lemon protein balls have everything you need for a clean snack packed with whole food nutrition.

These snack balls are made with nuts or seeds, dates, prunes or raisins, protein powder (this is the one I use) nut/seed butter, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Pretty simple, you just need a food processor to make it really easy. If you don’t have one, it takes a little more muscle, but it’s doable.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Cool Lemon Protein Balls

A whole food snack that's makes for the perfect bite.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: gluten free,, nut free option, protein, vegan
Servings: 14 balls
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, prunes, or raisins
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds (brazil, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp)
  • 1 scoop plant based vanilla protein
  • 1 Tbsp nut/seed butter (almond, cashew, sunflower)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Place the dates, prunes or raisins in the food processor and add your choice of nuts/seeds. Process by pulsing until finely ground.
  • Add remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and mix until combined.
  • Add the lemon juice only if needed to make the mixture softer and stickier so that it forms a dough.
  • Shape dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons, and place in the freezer. Taste great and cools you off when eaten right out of the freezer. Keep refrigerated or frozen to extends the shelf life.

If you do not have a food processor:

  • Lay the dates, prunes or raisins on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven, about 300 degrees, for about five minutes. This will soften them.
  • Transfer them to a bowl and using a wooden spoon, mash them into a paste. This will take a little muscle. Once you have a paste, chop the nut or seeds you choose to use very fine and stir those into the paste.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing well to evenly combine the ingredients.
  • Form into ball and refrigerat or freeze.

 

Mediterranean salad

Mediterranean Salad

This Mediterranean salad is very filling, especially if you add the chickpeas or make it alongside Walnut Falafels. I think the lemon and garlic dressing ties it all together.

This is a play on a bulgur salad I used to make. Now that I am gluten-free,  I use quinoa, oat groats or brown rice to make it. Making it all veggie by using cauliflower rice is a great tasting option as well.

The dressing is also one you could easily whisk together at the beginning of the week to have on hand for green salads throughout the week.

This recipe makes enough for 5 main dishes, or is a great one to make during your weekly prep time and then portion out for the week. It holds up well and would last covered and sealed for up to 5 days. It’s a wonderful one to portion into jars for the week and then pack in extra greens on top so that you have a salad meal ready to go. Easy grab-n-go, so you’re not tempted by the drive through.

It also makes a great summer dinner for the family. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Mediterranean Salad

Fresh vegetables and grain tied together with a garlic lemon dressing.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chickpeas, quinoa, vegetables
Servings: 5
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • mixing bowl
  • small saucepan
  • Cutting board
  • sharpened chef's knife

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa, oat groats, millet or rice
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 stalk of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed optional

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water or white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt and ground pepper

Instructions

For the dressing:

  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and let sit so flavors meld while making the salad.

For the salad:

  • Combine grain and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer according to grain directions. usually cooking quinoa for 10-15 minutes, taking off the heat and and letting it steam, covered for 5 minutes. Oat groats and rice will take longer, about 25-30 minutes, just don't cook until its mushy. You want it to be separate grains, not sticky and a little chewy.
    If using cauliflower rice, you can lightly steam it or use it raw.
  • While grain is cooking, prep the vegetables. Dice the onion, pepper and zucchini. Quarter the tomatoes. Cut the florets from the broccoli stem into small bit size pieces. Peel the remaining stem to remove the thick outer fiber and then dice the crunchy inner stem of the broccoli. Remove the leaves from the parsley stems and mince.
  • Combine vegetables and chickpeas, if using, in a mixing bowl, toss to combine.
  • When the grain is tender, drain any remaining water from the pan and add grain to the vegetables and let cool.
  • Add half the dressing and toss to completely coat the salad. Enjoy the salad at room temperature. Add more dressing before serving or pass with the salad.

Notes

I usually make this salad without the chickpeas and pile falafels on top.