banana, ab & j cups

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Life is full of tough decisions.

saving or spending? buy or rent?

school or work? exercise or sleep in?

superman or batman?

healthy or indulgent? PB & J or PB & banana?

Good news is, I can help with those last 2. Because I have a treat for you that is not only healthy AND indulgent, but it also combines the 2 greatest sandwiches ever created!

I firmly believe that when it comes to nutrition and taste, one should never have to sacrifice either. The trick is simply knowing how to marry both worlds. Being healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore or depriving. It should be fun and exciting!

Enter in some of my absolutely favourite ingredients that help bridge the gap between health and taste. Natural nut butters and coconut oil.

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Both are packed full of healthy fats so they are nourishing to your body (better skin, higher metabolism, balanced hormones) but also taste rich and decadent. Almond butter is packed with fat soluble vitamins and minerals like calcium, and coconut oil has incredible antimicrobial properties. So you are doing both your body and taste buds a favour by eating them!

I’m really excited about these treats too because they combine 2 sandwiches that whenever I would eat them, make me feel like a kid again. Peanut butter and jam and peanut butter and banana. Both extremely delicious and soul-satisfying. And that’s why I always want them both! So why not combine them? I opted to use almond butter since its a more nutritious option.

These are adapted from my recipe for frozen tahini banana cups which are another awesome variation on this idea. Check them out if you haven’t yet!

Raw, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, SCD-Friendly and of course Vegan, these are an easy choice. So make them and save your brain power for debating the more important issues in life.

To be or not to be…Oh screw it, I have treats ;)

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Banana, AB & J Cups (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Feel free to use any nut butter you want, or try sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option!

Ingredients (14 mini cups)

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • ~12 or so raspberries, mashed

Instructions

Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the almond butter to it so it softens and mix well. Add your sweetener of choice and the pinch of salt and mix.

Line up your muffin cups. Put a spoonful of the almond butter and coconut oil mixture into the bottom of the cups. Put in the fridge to harden.

Once hard, remove and place one small scoop of mashed raspberries and on top, one thin slice of banana. Try and make this as flat as possible. Put another scoop of the almond butter mixture over top so it covers the banana and spreads all the way to the sides of the cups. Put back in the fridge to harden.

Store in the fridge or freezer and take out only right before you're going to eat them. I liked these ones in the fridge, but if you freeze them the banana takes on an almost ice cream-like texture which is delicious too!

I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow with a guest post! Have a great Tuesday :)

 

 

a sexy raw cake for valentine’s and my blogiversary!

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photo credit: Aih. via photopin cc

Wow this has been a truly amazing year. Not only did I move and start studying to do what I love, I started this wonderful blog 1 year ago today! It’s been an amazing journey full of late nights, struggling with my camera, experimenting in the kitchen, eating delicious food and fumbling my way through technology I don’t understand. But most importantly, it’s been full of all of YOU. To all my readers and fellow bloggers, thank you so much for reading, stopping by and for your words of encouragement. Each time I get a comment I still get excited butterflies in my stomach. I have made so many new friends I never would have gotten to meet otherwise and I am so honoured to know you all. I’m so happy you are here and I hope you will continue to read for another delicious, food filled year!

Today I bring you something delicious, both in celebration of my blogiversary and to help the rest of you celebrate Valentine’s Day!

I’ve never been one to make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean I won’t use it as an excuse to create a delicious treat in it’s honour. And so, I give you this:

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Think creamy. Think chocolatey. Think velvety and rich.

And most of all, think SEXY.

Because that’s exactly what this cake is- not only does it taste amazing and decadent but it is packed full of ingredients to keep you looking and feeling sexy on this special day.

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Cacao: this is a superfood packed full of antioxidants and minerals, which in addition to being wonderful for your health, they are vital for fertility. It is also packed full of compounds that increase your libido and just make you feel happier! Once of the ways it does this is by increasing serotonin in your brain. Make sure you get raw cacao for this though. Cocoa is not the same!

Goji berries: antioxidants galore to help keep your body in tip top shape. These also help to increase your libido and improve your stamina by increasing testosterone!

Coconut Oil: coconut oil gives you readily available energy instead of getting stored! It also contains lauric acid which gets converted to pregnenolone which helps to reduce atherosclerosis in the body- AKA it helps to improve blood flow to all your sexy regions ;)

Maca Powder: maca is widely used throughout the world as a supplement for energy, stamina, strength and libido. It is also an adaptogen meaning it will help to regulate your hormones in whatever way your body needs! Maca will help balance all your glands like pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal, thyroid pancreas as well as your ovarian and testicular glands. Hormones and feeling sexy are VERY connected!

Cashews: these nuts are rich in copper which is super important for energy production and magnesium which is crucial for helping you relax. May sound like competing interests but don’t those both sound like things we want in the bedroom? ;) The good fats in these will also reduce your heart disease risk making sure you can stay active!

Not only does it contain all of these awesome for you ingredients, but this cake is also raw, free of refined sugar, gluten and grains meaning it won’t create any unneeded bloat or lethargy after you eat it! Just enough for 2 people, this cake is perfect to share with a Valentine!

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Sexy Valentine Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Raw, Paleo)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Base

  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 4 dates
  • 1/2 tbsp cacao powder

Filling

  • 6 tbsp cashews, soaked
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp goji powder(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Chocolate Topping

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • scant 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coconut nectar

Garnish

  • goji berries
  • cacao nibs

Instructions

Add the ingredients for the base into a food processor and blend until you get a "Dough" that will stick together when pressed. Press it into the bottom of a small springform pan, or any other small container. Line it with plastic wrap first for easy removal if not using a springform.

Add all ingredients for the filling except the coconut oil to a blender and blend until smooth. Take the melted coconut oil and with the blender running, slowly pour it in. Pour the filling over top of the base and smooth it out. Move to the fridge to cool.

Mix all the ingredients for the chocolate in a small bowl. Pour over the filling of the cake and allow to harden in the fridge. Keep cake covered and chilled for at least 4 hours to allow it to firm up. Putting it in the freezer will give you a much firmer result, whereas the fridge it will still be creamy- your call!

Garnish with cacao nibs and powder and goji berries if desired and serve!

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I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesday and Raw Food Thursday!

I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day! Here’s to another year!

sugar-free carob almond butter cups

what’s the best cure for the monday blues?

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delicious desserts! how do carob almond butter cups sound?

ok well maybe they aren’t the best cure, but they certainly do help don’t they? rich sweet carob with a creamy almond butter filling. and even better- these are totally guilt-free! why is that do you ask? there is absolutely no added sugar or sweetener of any kind in these!

i used this recipe of mine for raw almond butter cups to start, but tweaked the ingredients to make it completely free of sugar and sweetener. the result was a surprisingly delicious sweet that totally fit in with the guidelines for my sugar-free challenge!

what’s the secret? naturally sweet carob stands in for the cacao, meaning that to make the “chocolate” base, all you need is carob and coconut oil! the filling uses naturally sweet almond butter with a little vanilla and my secret ingredient, nooch (or nutritional yeast if we’re speaking all proper-like) to make the filling.

despite the fact that these have no bad ingredients in them, they are also packed with loads of goodness! carob is commonly used as a chocolate substitute and it comes with loads of health benefits of it’s own!

  • it improves digestions
  • has no caffeine
  • acts as an antioxidant
  • can be used to help allergies and asthma
  • and is super rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium- great for bones!

plus, combine this with calcium-rich almond butter and these pack and huge punch of nutrition for your bones! forget those processed chocolate calcium treats (that probably don’t do too much anyway) and have one of these! your body will thank you :)

and in case you still need a reason to make these, i brought a few over to janet’s for her and rob to try out and they were very well received! thanks again you guys for a lovely evening and the delicious dinner, i’m glad you liked my small contribution!

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step aside reese’s peanut butter cups, you’re no longer needed ;)

sugar-free carob almond butter cups (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

delicious chocolatey treats that are high in calcium and are completely guilt-free. no added sugars or sweeteners, but complete deliciousness!

ingredients (8 cups)

"chocolate"

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup carob powder, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder

filling

  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder

instructions

melt the coconut oil in a bowl, remove from heat and whisk in the sifted carob powder and vanilla. continue mixing until everything is combined.

spoon about half the mixture in to the bottom of 8 muffin liners. for complete instructions on making the cups, see this post. put them in the fridge to harden while you make the filling.

mix together the filling ingredients and put into the hardened muffin liners. you want to try and spread the filling out as flat as possible so it's easier to cover with the rest of the carob.

spoon the other half of the carob mixture on top, making sure to spread out all the way to the sides of the cups. put back in the fridge to harden. store in the fridge until ready to eat, since these get quite melty at room temperature!

I'm sharing these on Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!

 

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hope these help make life just a little sweeter for you all. have a lovely week!

sweet and savoury acorn squash

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happy monday everyone! i hope you all had a good weekend. mine was fairly low key- work and studying for the most part.

i actually went for a food intolerance test and found out some pretty interesting stuff, some of it making a ton of sense, some making none at all to me. but i suppose that is the nature of the test. the biggest let down of all- chocolate! apparently i react very negatively to this most amazing and delicious food. i’m going to cut out my consumption of it for a while and see how that goes. same for the other foods on the list, most notably lemons, celery, green peppers, cabbage. walnuts, peanuts, mung beans, black beans yeast and spelt. i find it kind of ironic i find out i have a negative response to spelt just a week after posting a recipe using spelt flour and gushing about how good it is for you! oh the universe just loves having fun with us doesn’t it? don’t get me wrong- spelt is absolutely good for you, it just might not be that great for me.

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so long my dear friends spelt and chocolate. you will be sorely missed! (for the delicious recipe, check out my pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip muffins!)

anyway, this weekend was also spent gearing up for the sugar-free challenge i discussed in my last post. i stocked up on loads of veggies, coconut butter, coconut flakes, kimchi and some herbal teas. i bought a couple apples since the challenge doesn’t actually cut out all fruit until week 3, and i would be so mad at myself if i let honeycrisp season pass me by without having a couple more! i also took all the sugar-containing foods out of my pantry and moved them to my closet for storage. out of sight, out of mind!

despite the fact that i am in the "no added sugars" phase of the challenge, today i have a recipe for you that does in fact have some added sweetener. but this recipe is so delicious and so seasonally appropriate, i simply couldn’t wait to share it with you.

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sweet and savoury roasted acorn squash. don’t those words just make you feel all warm and cosy?

a long time favourite of mine, acorn squash is simply amazing when roasted. one of my favourite things my mom would make when i was growing up was simple roasted acorn squash halves with brown sugar and butter. just scoop it out and enjoy. this is a twist on that, that pumps up the health factor by using some of my favourite things- coconut oil and coconut sweeteners

coconut oil is probably one of my most favourite ingredients and is loaded with health benefits (click to read about the health benefits in my post on coconut oil in coffee). coconut sweeteners are pretty fantastic too- deliciously sweet and with a low-glycemic index so it doesn’t give you blood sugar spikes. it’s my new go-to sweetener besides stevia. it’s perfect for when you need a syrup or granulated sweetener where stevia just won’t lead to the desired outcome in the food- mostly in terms of texture.

i paired these coconut beauties with a little nutritional yeast (tons of benefits too!) and sea salt for a delicious side dish that will warm you inside and out!

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sweet and savoury roasted acorn squash (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

ingredients (4 side dishes)

  • 1 acorn squash, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

instructions

preheat oven to 375f. cut your squash and place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. combine all other ingredients in a bowl then pour over the squash slices and toss to ensure they are evenly coated.

bake for 35 min and enjoy.

i'm sharing this on allergy-free wedensdays and wellness weekends!

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have a wonderful start to your weeks! i have an exam today, wish me luck!

no-bake pumpkin mousse cake and giving thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving my lovely readers!

I know this greeting is coming early for many of you, or for many, you may not even celebrate this holiday. Whether you celebrate it or not I just wanted to let you all know, I am so supremely thankful for each and every one of YOU! You my dear readers, along with the comments you leave give me the strength and confidence to keep coming back to this space post after post, week after week to share my musings on food and life. I am so grateful you all give me these couple minutes of your day. Never change, you are all just wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better!

Instead of posting one of the recipes I teased you with in this post, I thought it would only be fitting to share my Thanksgiving dessert. It’s so delicious though, you won’t be disappointed!

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Is there anything better this time of year than pumpkin? The comforting scent and taste instantly warms your taste buds, tummy and soul and just screams to be enjoyed curled up under a blanket with some hot tea.

It’s also the quintessential Thanksgiving flavour. While I didn’t have the time to think up a revolutionary new dessert to create, I did make something amazingly tasty that I think you should all go whip up right now, no matter how much pumpkin goodness you may have consumed over the weekend.

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This pumpkin cream cake is a delicious recreation of my Raw Strawberry Cream Cake, slightly lighter in texture and more autumnal in flavour. It’s a cross between a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cheesecake with some tang from the lemon juice, warming scent from the cinnamon and creamy texture from the cashews. It’s not raw as it has pumpkin puree as well as a little maple syrup, but it’s no-bake, allowing the oven to be reserved for whatever special main dish you are cooking up. The filling uses cashews and coconut oil to achieve the cheese cake texture, but the filling still feels light thanks to the addition of pumpkin and banana. There’s also very little added sweetener since the dates in the crust and banana provide most of what’s needed. Of course, I added in a little maple syrup, just because I love it so much.

Sweet and decadent yet healthy and wholesome, this is a cake to please even the toughest of critics. We all happily dug into large slices here, despite being stuffed full of Thanksgiving dinner.

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No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Ingredients (10-12 slices)

Crust

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks (cake will firm up faster if you use frozen for this)
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin spice)
  • 10 drops stevia (or more maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Garnish

  • pecans if desired

Instructions

For the crust, pulse the pecans in a food processor until finely ground then add the dates and sea salt and process until the mixture will stick together when you press it. Press the mixture into an 8-inch spring-form pan and place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Rinse the food processor then add the soaked cashews and all other ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. With the processor running, slowly pour in the melted coconut oil until fully incorporated.

Pour the filling in top of the crust and spread smooth with a spatula. Garnish with pecans if desired. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up.

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And there you have it. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with friends, family and overeating!

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten-free FridaysWellness Weekends and Thanksgiving Menu Potluck Party and Bringing in the Holidays Potluck party!