Truffles

Valentine Truffles for your Heart

February is Heart Health Month during which Valentine’s Day is celebrated. Too bad Valentine’s Day does not focus on the physical health of your heart. Instead we find the opposite with the rise in blood sugar and inflammation resulting from all the chocolate and candy that is consumed. I don’t want to cancel Valentines, but rather give you a recipe for Valentine Truffles that are good for your heart. These plant based treats are sure to please. However, moderation still applies.

Valentine Truffles are made with:
  • Avocados – a good fat for the body, good source of fiber, vitamin K, C and folate
  • Raw cacao powder – rich in antioxidants and help with inflammation, a good source of iron, protein and magnesium
  • Berries – rich in antioxidants, excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and manganese

The avocado makes a lusciously smooth chocolate filling surrounded by a crispy cacao coating. To add texture stir cacao nibs or chopped nuts into the filling or sprinkle over the coating before it sets.

For another chocolate Valentine treat try these Mocha Energy Love Bites

 

Give these a try and gift your special someone a heart healthy truffle that says you care!

Valentine Truffle

A luscious cacao filling surrounded by a crispy chocolate shell.
Prep Time25 mins
Chill time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: avocado, cacao, strawberries
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup strawberries or use 1/4 cfreeze dried berry powder
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream solids from a can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 pinches stevia powder or a dropper (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter, cashew or tahini butter
  • 1/2 tsp coconut aminos or tamari substitute 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the coating

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, coconut syrup or yacon syrup
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 Cup virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp cacao butter, grated or more coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • berry powder for garnish optional

Instructions

For the filling

  • Add berries to a blender and puree.
  • To the puree, add the avocado, coconut cream and cacao powder and blend well, stopping and scraping down sides when needed.
  • Next, add in the sweeteners, nut butter and aminos or salt. Blend well.
  • Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use a small scoop or tablespoon to portion the filling into small dollops on the parchment paper.
  • Place cookie sheet in the freezer while you make the coating.

For the coating

  • Melt the coconut oil and cacao butter in a bowl in a warm oven or over boiling water. Whisk to melt evenly.
  • Add the liquid sweetener you're using along with the cacao powder and vanilla and whisk together until its shiny and smooth.

Assembly

  • Remove filling from the freezer when its firm to the touch.
  • You can dip the filling balls in the cacao coating, and place back on the parchment paper.
  • To garnish each truffle, sprinkle with a pinch of berry powder. This is optional.
  • Or you can drizzle the cacao coating over the filling, chill them to set the coating, turn them over and drizzle again to completely cover them in chocolate.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Notes

Freeze dried berry powder can be found online at nuts.com or you can crush the freeze dried berries found in packages in the grocery store, usually located by the raisins. 

 

This Rich Chocolate Silk Pie is Easy Peasy

Do you crave silky chocolate richness? Sometimes I just need a bite of chocolate to satisfy. Well this rich chocolate silk pie is quick and easy to put together and full of satisfying plant protein instead of simple carbs. You will feel the difference after eating this dessert compared to one filled will butter, cream, sugar and flour.

Once you gather your ingredients, it only takes about 15 minutes to put together. Then it chills for a couple hours to set. So it’s a perfect dessert to make a head.

The crust is a combination of nuts and oats, but you could easily substitute sunflower seeds or all oats for it to be nut free, or all nut or seeds for for it to be grain free.

The filling uses melted chocolate chips, for dairy and nut allergy choose chocolate like good life, but your favorite chocolate chips/bar can be substituted. I prefer the bitter sweet or 70+% organic cocoa bars. To control the amount of sugar usually found in chocolate chips, you can use cacao powder, coconut sugar, monk fruit or maple syrup as a substitute. The bulk of the filling is avocado and organic silken tofu. Only use organic tofu, as soy is one of the largest GMO crops. And if soy is an allergen, this can be made using only avocado.

When I serve this pie, I like to add sliced bananas and coconut whip cream just before serving to keep the bananas from browning. Another idea is adding sliced strawberries on top or as a layer over the crust before adding the chocolate filling. This would make a decadent Valentine’s Day dessert! Are you ready to make it yet? You can skip the whip cream and serve with this yummy ice cream.

Let me know what you think and send me some pics if you give it a try. I hope you enjoy it.

Rich Chocolate Silk Pie (plant based)

Quick and easy, rich and delicious!
Prep Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor
  • Pie dish

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup raw pecans sub other nuts or sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup Old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut or date sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp water

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups vegan dark chocolate chips melted
  • 1 cup avocado Fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1 box organic silken tofu (shelf stable pack) soft or firm
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1 pint strawberries (optional)
  • 2 bananas (optional)

Whip cream

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Organic cane sugar or monk fruit

Instructions

For the crust

  • Combine nuts and oats and sugar in a food processor and pulse to a coarse meal texture.
  • Add the coconut oil and pulse to incorporate.
  • Add water and pulse until mixture begins to stick together.
  • Transfer to a 8-9 in pie pan and press into the bottom with a slight edge up the side of the pan.

For the filling

  • Melt the chocolate chips, by placing in a small glass baking dish in a preheated 300 degree oven or toaster oven. Or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. *see note below to substitute.
  • wipe out any crumbs from the food processor and add the tofu and avocado. Turn on and blend until smooth.
  • Add the vanilla, salt and melted chocolate and blend again until the chocolate is evenly combined, scraping down the sides when necessary.
  • If using strawberries, wash and slice them making a layer over the crust. If using bananas, I recommend waiting until you serve to put slices on top of the pie.
  • Transfer filling to crust and smooth evenly. Chill for at least two hours.

For the whip cream

  • Chill the can of coconut milk for at least an hour.
  • Open can and scoop out the solid cream into a bowl, reserving the liquid to add to smoothies or soups.
  • To the cream add vanilla and sugar. Whisk or beat using a hand mixer.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Notes

To use cacao powder instead of chocolate chips, add 1/2 cup cacao powder and 1/3 cup of maple syrup, coconut sugar or monk fruit/erythritol blend to the tofu avocado in the food processor. This will result in a softer filling that doesn’t firm up as much as using the chips. But it’s still delicious! Be sure to taste the filling to adjust the cacao and sweetness, if needed, before pouring it into the crust.
Squash lasagna

Winter Squash Lasagna for Everyone

Lasagna is one of those foods not everyone can enjoy. Traditionally, it’s laden with multiple kinds of cheese and a rich meat sauce. But this vegan squash lasagna hits the spot with deliciousness that comes from creamy sweet winter squash and white sauce made from cauliflower that rivals traditional béchamel. This squash lasagna makes a beautiful winter entree or side dish. Enjoy layers of lasagna noodles (gf if desired), winter squash purée, creamed kale and cauliflower white sauce smothering each layer.

The cauliflower white sauce is versatile and can be used in multiple ways. So keep the recipe handy. Try it as Alfredo sauce over veggie pasta, poured over potatoes and baked for a mock scalloped potato dish, mixed with greens for a creamed green side, or thinned with more broth and eaten as a soup and top it with croutons.

You can definitely change up the layers, such as using spinach instead of the kale. Or add sautéed mushrooms and sage or even substituting the lasagna pasta for sliced celery root, zucchini or sweet potatoes.

This is a hearty side dish or filling as a entree if served with a green salad. It brings the fall and winter flavors together for a nourishing yet yummy meal. I think it’s comfort food.

Let me know if you give it a try.

Winter Squash Lasagna

A delicious way to use squash and try a new twist on pasta
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower, kale, lasagna, winter squash
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 3 lb butternut or kabocha squash
  • 1 head cauliflower 4 cups florets
  • 1 cup yellow onion cut into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup almond or oat milk
  • 1/3 cup cashews or hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp white miso Or substitute coconut aminos
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tsp thyme chopped
  • 2 tsp rosemary chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds optional

Instructions

Prepare the Squash

  • Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, until knife is easily inserted through the squash. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Scoop flesh from the squash skins and place in a bowl. Mix well the evenly mash the squash. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Prepare white sauce

  • While the squash is cooking, combine the cauliflower florets, yellow onion, garlic and water in a medium sauce pan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.
  • Transfer pot contents to a blender and add cashews or hemp seeds, 1 cup of vegetable broth, the nutritional yeast and miso. Blend on low to combine gradually increasing speed. Stop, scrape the sides of container and add 1 cup of plant milk. Blend again until smooth.
  • You may need to add more broth to thin the sauce to reach a creamy yet pourable consistency.

Prepare noodles

  • Wile the squash is cooking, add noodles to boiling salted water and cook according to package directions. Strain and cool by separating noodles around the edge of a strainer.
    You may also use oven ready pasta noodles, no boiling required.
    If substituting sliced zucchini, celery root or sweet potatoes, slice thin and slightly overlap when making layers.

Preparing kale

  • Thinly slice the red onion and sauté in large skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium heat.
  • While onion is cooking, remove the kale leaves from the stems. Layer the leaves and roll up. Thinly cut the roll crosswise making kale shreds.
  • Add the sliced kale to the onions and cook until wilted and bright green. Stir to cook evenly.
  • When kale is softened, turn off heat and add a cup of the white sauce, stir to combine.

Assemble

  • In a 9x11 baking dish, pour 1/2 cup of white sauce in the bottom and spread evenly. Over the sauce place a layer of lasagna noodles or thinly sliced vegetables, slightly overlapping each other.
  • Over the noodles, layer a 2cups of the mashed squash. Sprinkle with ground pepper and a pinch of thyme and Rosemary. Pour a cup of white sauce evenly over the squash followed by another layer of noodles.
  • Over these noodles, add 1/2 the kale and onion mixture, spread evenly. Cover with another layer of noodles.
  • Repeat with squash sprinkled with pepper and herbs and covered with white sauce, followed by noodles, remaining kale mixture, a little sauce, final layer of noodles, covered with white sauce.
  • This can be made ahead and frozen or kept refrigerated for a day before baking.
  • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until a knife can easily penetrate all a layers. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, half way through baking.
  • Serve right out of the oven.
    You can also make portions for weekly lunches or dinners. Allow to cool and then cut into portions, separate into individual containers, refrigerate or freeze.

Notes

The pasta noodles can be substituted with thinly sliced zucchini, sweet potatoes, or celery root.
Any winter squash can be used in this recipe, you need about 4 cups mashed. I’m sure canned pumpkin would also be good.
 
Hot herb cider

When the weather turns chilly…Hot Herb Cider

When the weather turns chilly, blankets, fireplaces and warm drinks are often sought out to provide comfort. I haven’t had a fire place, so I’ve relied on blankets, warm drinks and my sauna to take away the chill. Hot Herb Cider is a delicious warm addition to some of my favorite teas: ginger, rooibos, green and tulsi. Another warm drink I love to include in my fall and winter days is warm Golden Milk.

I keep teas and the golden milk spice blend on hand to have regularly, but I also like to doctor up unsweetened apple cider with cranberries, elderberries, cinnamon and herbs to make a warm herb cider that boosts the immune system and tastes wonderful. It also makes a lovely holiday drink. The benefits of the added ingredients make it desirable as a preventative measure during the cold and flu season.

Cranberries have been studied and shown to improve immune response, lower blood pressure and inflammation, and prevent certain types of cancer. They are a super source of antioxidants, vitamins B & C, minerals and fiber. Incorporating cranberries into your diet through drinks like this one or added to oatmeal, smoothies or blended with raspberries, orange and chia seeds to make a spread are ways to eat more of them and add these beneficial nutrients.

Elderberries have been used for hundreds of years to ease cold, flu and respiratory symptoms and improve immune response. They are high in potassium, calcium, vitamins A & C, and fiber. Elderberries should be cooked before using. In this recipe they are boiled in the cider. Elderberries are not readily available, but you might be able to find them at a fall farmers market or in the dried bulk herb section in health food stores. If not here’s an amazon link for dried elderberries I’ve used.

Cinnamon has been studied and shown to help lower blood sugar, cut risk of heart disease, is high in polyphenol antioxidants, and acts as a potent anti inflammatory.

Rosemary is a hardy herb that is a known source of antioxidants, iron, calcium and vitamin B-6. Traditionally it’s been used to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory and concentration, boost immune and circulatory function, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion and eye health. If you don’t grow your own herbs, you can usually find fresh herbs in the produce section of the grocery store.

Thyme is another hardy Mediterranean herb that has beneficial properties and has been used over the years to improve many symptoms. Thyme has strong antimicrobial properties that are effective against infectious bacteria. It has been studied and shown to be protective against certain cancers and is affective against the overgrowth of candida. It is also helpful for acne when used as a face wash or the oil added to face cream. Try infusing water or tea with added thyme sprigs.

Let me know if you try this cider.

Hot Herb Cider

Warming, delicious immune boosting drink.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: apple cider, cranberries, elderberries, immune, rosemary, thyme
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • pot

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsweetened apple or cherry cider
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup elderberries dried or fresh (optional)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon of ground
  • 2 sprigs rosemary fresh (1T dried)
  • 2 sprigs thyme fresh (1 tsp dried)

Instructions

  • Combine all in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain and serve warm. Reserve the berries and herbs*.
  • Store in a glass jar for up to a week.

Notes

The leftover chilled herb cider is nice when mixed with sparkling water and served over ice as a mocktail.
* The reserved berries and herbs can be blended together and mixed with a tablespoon or two of chia seeds and allowed to set and gel into a jam or spread and used in oatmeal, thumbprint cookies or baked goods.

 

 

Natural sweeteners

Substitute the sugar this holiday to stay healthy!

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar! Cookies, cakes, crisps, custard, candy, pies, puddings, fudge and frozen delights surround us and beg for our attention this time of year. If we substitute the sugar in the desserts we make, that choice can help us stay healthy.

Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, there’s always an excuse for “just one more” cookie or piece of pie. Desserts are abundant during this 5 week time frame. And oh so hard to turn down. Refined sugar is a major culprit in knocking down your body’s natural immune response. In this year of C-virus, everyone should be trying to ramp up their immune response, not sabotage it. So how can you enjoy some baked goodness during the holidays and keep your immune system working for your benefit?

Choose to use alternative sweeteners in your desserts. Substituting the refined sugar called for in recipes with sweeteners that are whole foods (dates, dried fruits) or offer some beneficial nutrients (yacon, molasses, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey) is helpful for retaining immune response. Choosing sweeteners that are sugar alcohols (xylitol or  erythritol) or plant extracts (stevia and monk fruit*) can also help to decrease sugar consumption. Making the choice to use these sweeteners over granulated sugar can improve your chances of staying healthy this holiday season.

Using whole food sweeteners

Dates and dried fruit can be softened by warming or soaking and then blended to make a paste or syrup that can be used in recipes. Mashed bananas can also be used, but will definitely affect the flavor of the recipe. When using a paste or liquid sweetener in place of granulated sugar, some adjustment is necessary with the dry ingredients. Usually adding a little more flour.

Using natural alternative sweeteners

Honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and molasses offer sweetness but also have some benefits because of the mineral and amino acid content. These sweeteners are a better choice than refined sugar but they will slow down the immune response if consumed in large quantity because they are composed of simple carbohydrates. Yacon, on the other hand, is low in simple carbs so it will not affect the immune system adversely, but it is also less sweet and more expensive. It is a great option for diabetics. Using liquid sweeteners requires adjustments to dry ingredients when baking. Coconut sugar can be substituted one to one for sugar in recipes and gives a bit of a toffee flavor.

Using sugar alcohols and plant extracts

Xylitol and erythritol have very low calorie count and do not affect blood sugar or immune response adversely. They come in granulated form and can typically substitute 1 for 1 with sugar in recipes.  I think it’s best to use in moderation and be aware that they can cause bowel irritation with high consumption. [Xylitol is poisonous for dogs, so keep pooch away from any sweets you make using xylitol.]

The stevia plant leaves can be dried and ground or placed in alcohol to make an extract. The whole leaf stevia and liquid extracts*are the best forms of stevia. Monk fruit is another sweet plant extract usually found in combination with erythritol or dextrose, but also a pure extract* and then only a small amount is necessary for recipes.

The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar a year, consuming it mostly through processed foods and sodas. Being intentional about the choices we make and choosing whole foods, water, and minimally processed foods will take the health of our nation to another level and healthcare into the reasonable range. Multiple studies show that eating more whole fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes reverse and prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer risk. But life can be sweet by choosing healthier sweeteners in your dessert making.

For a couple desserts that use the sweeteners mentioned here, take a look at caramel apple stack, pecan fingers, mocha love bites and pumpkin mousse.    

*amazon affiliate links

 

Apple snacks

Tahini Caramel Dip is Perfect for Fall Snackin’

The leaves on the trees have turned and all the sweet and tart apples are in season. What’s your favorite kind of apple? This time of year I think tahini caramel dip and apples make the perfect snack. Sweet, crunchy and satisfying.

Tahini caramel dip can also be used swirled into a brownie recipe, thinned and drizzled over banana nice cream or even added to a cup of joe or chai. Give it a try, I think you’ll agree it’s a recipe that delivers on taste without all the sugar found in traditional caramel.

 

Tahini Caramel Dip

Perfect sweet and gooey caramel
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut, dates, tahini
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (bag) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup dates pitted and soft
  • 2-4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Pour shredded coconut into a food processor, cover and turn on. Process the coconut until it starts to get creamy. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
  • When the coconut begins to come together into coconut butter, add the dates, vanilla and salt. Process again until the dates break down completely and the mixture starts looking like thick caramel.
  • Stop and scrape the sides of the container. Add 2 tablespoons of tahini and blend until completely incorporated. Stop and taste. If cloyingly sweet or not quite creamy enough, add 2 more tablespoons of the tahini.
  • Store in a sealed glass dish or jar. Can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks. Longer in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature or warm under running hot water to make it dip ready.

Notes

This dip can be thinned with water or plant milk and whisked to make a sauce or drizzle.

 

 

Pumpkin mousse shots

Pumpkin Mousse Shots Are Scary Good!

Do you need a Halloween dessert? These Pumpkin Mousse Shots are scary good! You don’t have to save this recipe for Halloween, though. The mousse is perfect poured into a crust and served as pumpkin pie, or cut into pumpkin bars or try freezing it for a pumpkin ice cream, have you ever tried that?

Did you know that pumpkins were first called “pumpions” after the French “pompon”, referencing their round shape, according to the history.com, and were first cultivated in 5500 B.C. in Central America. They were taken back to Europe by explorers of the New World and incorporated into European pastries and pies. The Pilgrims would have been familiar with pumpkins and it is probable that pumpkins made an appearance in some form at the first Thanksgiving. They were most likely cooked in layers with apples and herbs. It is surprising to me, that it wasn’t until after the Civil War that pumpkin pie reached its national acclaim. In 1929, Libby began canning pumpkins which replaced the need for roasting and straining one’s own pumpkin and that lead to pumpkin pie becoming a family tradition.

This pumpkin mousse is a no-bake recipe if you use canned pumpkin. If you roast your own pumpkin and purée it, I recommend allowing the purée to sit over a strainer lined with a coffee filter or paper towel to remove some of the moisture.

You can also make this with raw pumpkin or squash. Peel and chop the raw pumpkin and place it in a blender. Blend on high to purée for about a minute. Scrape the sides of the container and blend again until smooth. Let this purée sit over a strainer to remove some of the moisture before continuing with the recipe.

Let me know how you like this, it’s easier than baking a pumpkin pie. I think it will become a family favorite.

Pumpkin Mousse

Creamy Pumpkin flavor in every bite!
Prep Time20 mins
Chill time4 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert, mousse, pumpkin
Servings: 6
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree cooked or raw
  • 1/2 cup date paste dates packed and blended smooth with a little water
  • 1/2 cup nut or oat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar grind into a fine powder or Substitute 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice mix 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp clove
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted

Instructions

  • In a blender, combine the date paste, nut milk, vanilla and sweetener. Blend until smooth and completely combined. If you don’t have premade date paste, make that first in the blender, adding 1/2 cup packed, pitted dates and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend. Then add other ingredients.
  • Add in the pumpkin puree and spices, blend again to combine. Scrape down container sides and add the coconut oil. Blend until oil is incorporated and mixture is smooth, about 35 seconds.
  • Pour into serving dishes or into a prepared crust or tart shell and chill for 4 hours. This makes great shot glass desserts. Just portion into glasses and chill. Enjoy!

Notes

Pictured, are pumpkin mousse shots, with chocolate daggers. To make the chocolate daggers for garnish, melt 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips And spread out onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment. Roll and stick in the freezer to chill. When you unroll, the chocolate will break into shards. Garnish mousse.
Pumpkin granola w/ yogurt

Pumpkin Granola – Not Just For Breakfast!

This is the time of year pumpkin and pumpkin spice are found everywhere. This pumpkin granola hits all the marks when it comes to tasty healthy breakfast, snacking or other uses.

It’s perfect for breakfast. Most mornings, I  grab a bowl of granola and yogurt along with a cup of chai in the morning. The warming spices hit the spot on these cool fall mornings. But it’s definitely great for more than just breakfast. I will, on occasion, add granola to my lunch salad, and also keep a baggie of granola with additional dried fruit added in the car for when I find myself hungry while doing errands. I also use the granola in cookies or raw power balls and definitely on top of banana nice cream, yum!

The bulk of this pumpkin granola can be oats with nuts, seeds and dried fruit or the oats can be omitted if you don’t want the grains. Remember though that oats are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, so if you tolerate them, find gluten free organic oats to add to this recipe.

The nut and seeds can really be any combination you like. I typically add sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds and then walnuts, almonds and pecans. I like crunchy granola and adding variety increases the nutrient diversity. But you can certainly trim down the additions and stick with just seeds, or just nuts or one or two of your favorites.

Dried fruit can vary also, but with the pumpkin flavors in this granola I like dried cranberries- it just makes it all the more fall inspired.

The pumpkin binder in this granola is a combination of pumpkin purée, honey, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin spice and a little oil. You cook this for a bit and then stir it into the oats, seeds & nuts.

 

Pumpkin Granola

Fall flavors with a lot of crunch
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: almonds, oats, pecans, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts
Servings: 12
Author: Chef Kim

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil grape seed or mild olive oil
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries substitute dried fruit of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl. You can use whatever combination of nuts and seeds, more or less, or omitting the oats and adjusting them to the overall for a total of 6.5 cups.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the honey, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, molasses, water and oil. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Let simmer for five minutes. It will foam up, so keep an eye on it and stir so that it doesn’t boil over.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, spice and salt.
  • Pour this over the oat & nut mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir to coat everything well.
  • Transfer the mixture onto two sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for another 15 minutes, rotating the sheet pans on the shelves.
    The granola may be done at this point, if it’s golden brown. If not bake for an additional 15 minutes, remove and let cool. The granola crisps up as it cools.
  • When the granola has cooled, add the desired dried fruit.
    Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

 

Banana nice cream with granola

Eat Frozen Banana Nice Cream & Be Nice to Yourself!

When you need a frozen creamy dessert, blend up this frozen banana nice cream and enjoy! You’ll feel like your indulging, but there’s everything right about this dessert and nothing to be ashamed of. Frozen banana nice cream to the rescue!

You need to plan ahead so that you have frozen bananas in the freezer ready to go. The coconut milk can be substituted with almond or oat milk, but coconut is quite a bit creamier if you use the canned full fat coconut milk. Then all you need is a little vanilla and you are set!

By the way this does work with other frozen fruit and vegetables.  Try adding frozen cauliflower to bump the nutrients or even frozen spinach and add a little mint. One of my favorites besides banana Is frozen cherries. So give this recipe a try and You’ll never go back to dairy ice cream. Finish it off with a crunchy granola topping.

Coconut Banana Nice Cream

Creamy delicious and hits the spot!
Prep Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: banana, coconut milk
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender or food processor

Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen banan chunks can substitute other frozen fruit
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk substitute almond or oat
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Instructions

  • A day ahead of making this dessert, peel and freeze a bunch of bananas, breaking them into chunks.
  • When you’re ready to have dessert, place three cups of the frozen banana chunks into a blender or food processor.
  • Add the coconut milk (almond or oat) and vanilla.
  • If using a blender, start on low speed and increase up to high speed, stopping and scraping the container sides and blending again to incorporate.
  • If using a food processor, begin by pulsing the mixture to break the bananas down and then blend constantly until it becomes creamy. You may have to stop and scrape the sides.
  • If the mixture is having a hard time blending, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until a thick soft serve consistency is reached..
  • Portion out into serving bowls. Top with granola, chopped nuts, cacao powder or nibs.
  • Serve and enjoy. This is also delicious served with your favorite cake, brownie or between cookies.

 

 

Lemon-berry tart

This Lemon Berry Tart Won’t Disappoint!

With it’s refreshing lemon flavor and fresh bright berries, this plant-based lemon-berry tart won’t disappoint! Delicious, yet dairy free, refined sugar free and gluten free, so it’s practically appropriate for anyone. This beautiful tart is perfect for a special occasion, but easy enough to make as a treat for a weekday meal.

I make it with a raw crust, but if you have a favorite pastry crust, you can use it, just be sure to bake it before filling. You can also try using different milks for the filling, just keep in mind that the full fat coconut milk makes it’s really creamy.

For the berries, you can use fresh cut berries like the strawberries pictured, or any other berry or even cherries. Another variation  is spreading a layer of Berry Chia Jam on the crust, then cover with the cooked milk filling.

So go ahead and treat yourself to this refreshing lemon tart.

Lemon-Berry Tart

Delicious And creamy plant-based Lemon tart.
Prep Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almond, berries, coconut milk, lemon, oats, raw crust
Servings: 8
Author: Chef Kim

Equipment

  • blender
  • Small sauce pan
  • 8” Tart pan or springform pan

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • Pinch Salt
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp water

Lemon Cream Filling

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup oat or almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp agar agar
  • 1 cup fresh berries or 1/2 cup berry jam

Instructions

For the crust:

  • Add the oats, almond flour and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse to reach a flour texture.
  • Add the sweetener and oil and pulse to combine.
  • Add 1 Tbsp. of water and pulse, adding another only if the crust mixture does not stick together when pinched.
  • Press into the bottom of a tart pan and up the sides slightly. Place in the freezer, while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • In a small saucepan, gently warm the coconut milk and maple syrup, stir in a pinch of salt.
  • In a blender, combine the oat milk, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, cornstarch and agar agar and blend until smooth.
  • Bring coconut milk to a simmer and then add the mixture from the blender while you whisk.
  • Bring to a boil for 3 minutes, continue to whisk. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temp.
  • Remove crust from freezer and add sliced berries or spread the crust with jam.
  • When the filling has cooled, pour over the berries and crust and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  • Garnish with fresh berries on top or drizzle with thinned jam.

Notes

To make individual tarts, line cupcake tin or ramekins with parchment paper or paper liners and press crust into the paper. 
Try different berries to vary the flavor or I think cherries or a fruit coulee would also be delicious.