Happy Wednesday, everybody! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is hosting our weekly blog party and there’s LOTS of delicious goodies to be found! I’m pretty excited today because not only do I have another chocolate recipe to share this week, it is a raw chocolate chip cookie recipe, perfect for this month’s WIAW theme of “sensible snacking” and my Flavor of the Week, chocolate!

Last winter I became interested in learning about raw food dieting. Not sushi kind of raw, but uncooked veggies and soaked grains kind of raw. I won’t go into a lot of detail but here’s just three easy-to-remember health benefits to a raw (or mostly raw) diet:

1) more nutrition – uncooked foods (foods heated to less than 118 degrees farenheit) retain more of their vitamins and minerals. When cooked, the nutritional value is greatly reduced and you will have to eat more food to get the nutrition your body needs (so eating raw foods can help you maintain a healthy weight, too!)

2) easier digestion – raw foods contain lots of fiber and water to help your body with elimination.  You won’t have that bloated, over-stuffed feeling after finishing a meal and no afternoon slump.

3) increased energy – since raw foods are easier to digest, your body won’t have to “shut down” while its trying to digest your food, like it might do with heavier foods like a delicious bacon cheeseburger and french fries. (Ask my husband, he’ll tell you I pretty much always crash out after eating stuff like this for lunch.)

Even if you don’t go 100% raw, you can still benefit with a chocolate green smoothie for breakfast, a colorful veggie salad for lunch, and a normal-cooked dinner with some kimchee or sauerkraut on the side (also considered raw!)

Speaking of which, here’s some of the foods I had for BL&D over the pas few days…

On Sunday morning I pulled out my juicer and made some fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice and garnished with mint and lemon thyme. Looks good, doesn’t it?  Served up in a champagne glass, it looks like an expensive cocktail!

raw foods: fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice

The colors alone will energize you!

Breakfast that followed was a not-so-raw peanut butter toast with raspberry preserves and coffee (recycled pic):

Lunch on Tuesday was a mish-mash salad of veggies and fruits, plus some pulverized flax seed crackers that tasted better crushed than in cracker-form. I sat down with my bowl, got my camera ready and look who decided to stick his furry orange head into my shot:

Sammy is not a vegetarian…he was after my goat cheese!

Dinner was kind of up in the air, I didn’t know what to cook, didn’t want sandwiches and my husband probably wouldn’t have wanted salad. After running a few simple options through my head I decided to make pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes) with cheddar cheese and mushrooms:

I can’t make ’em big without breaking them, so kiddie-sized it is!

I needed some greens with this meal, so ate a bunch of sugar snap peas:

I love raw peas in the shell, especially these fat ones!

Sugar snap peas aren’t the only raw & delicious food I had today. Remember those cookies I talked about in the beginning?  Those were made from a raw cookie recipe in Judita Wignall’s, Going Raw:

Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home, by Judita Wignall

Judita gives a lot of easy-to-follow information on raw dieting and makes it very user-friendly. There’s tons of mouth-watering photos that will inspire you to plan out your next grocery trip with veggies in mind, and maybe even try your hand at sprouting some grains! She has a ‘live and let live’ attitude that makes her book informative, not preachy, which is really great when it comes to talking about something like healthy diets. Plus, I love her gorgeous red hair!

She has several recipes that I like, including the Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ll be sharing today. I didn’t change the recipe much except the substitutions I wrote in parentheses, and the instructions are not copied verbatim but the steps are the same.

Yum! These raw cookies are delicious and nutritious!

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the book Going Raw by Judita Wignall 

1 1/2 cups cashews
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 6-7 large ones, with pits)
3 tablespons almond butter (I used 2 T peanut butter and 1 T coconut oil)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup raw chocolate chunks* (I substituted Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips–not raw and contains dairy–and added dried cherries)

*Judita has a raw chocolate recipe in her cook book that is gluten-free and dairy-free, but you can use any chocolate you prefer

Directions:

1. In a food processor grind the cashews into a flour.

2. Add the dates, almond butter (or peanut butter and coconut oil) and sea salt and process until it sticks together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chunks/chips (and optional dried cherries) with a spatula.

4. On a nonstick surface, roll out dough to 3/8″ thickness. Cut out with a small cookie cutter and freeze (not to worry, they won’t get rock solid.) Cookies will keep for 1 month in the freezer.

Raw chocolate chip cookies!

I almost forgot…look what else you can do with these raw chocolate chip cookies:

Mini ice cream sandwiches!

Check out these Mini Cake and Ice Cream Bites from last Thursday’s Recipe ReDux. They’re just as cute!

This recipe is also my first contribution to Cookbook Sundays, sponsored by Couscous & Consciousness.

CookbookSundays

Have you tried any healthy versions of classic recipes lately? What’s your favorite cookie? :)

 

Happy WIAW, everyone! Jenn at Peas and Crayons has brought us another opportunity to share some tasty bites and great recipes with everyone, so please check out her site to see what everyone’s been snacking on lately…it just might be something you’re craving!

The week went by so fast, and I somehow feel a bit more disorganized than usual. I didn’t have a game plan for today’s WIAW, particularly for this month’s theme, so instead of a new recipe I will reintroduce some of my favorite healthy snacks  inspired by other bloggers and favorite recipes.

I woke up with a crazy sweet tooth and actually considered making a batch of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast! But instead of cookies, I ended up having a piece of toast with Nutella, a blob of vanilla coconut cream, strawberries and crunchy peanut butter:

This filled me up quite a bit, but I think I would have been better off with a green shake.

Lunch was leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. It’s just a throw-together veggie soup, nothing extravagant, but it was perfect for today’s cloudy, rainy weather:

Instead of rice, I added some broken pieces of sprouted grain spaghetti.

My snack was a bit of cheesecake (it was messy so I didn’t take a photo,) coffee, and Golden Oreos. My sweet tooth was satisfied, but this snack was a big mistake because shortly after I started to feel incredibly sleepy. This always happens when I eat dairy and wheat products, which is why I can fall asleep right after eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast! My cravings overrode my common sense–never a good thing! :(

As tasty as they are, tiny snacks like these can really knock me out (zzzz….)

I had some chicken in the fridge that needed some attention so made Moroccan Chicken Tagine, a deliciously spicy and savory North African stew posted by REM Cooks. I love spices and have 20 bottles of different spices next to the stove, including two versions of Ras el Hanout that he provided the recipes for…thanks, Richard! I made my version with a mix of black eyed peas, black beans and pinto beans instead of chickpeas:

Tagine is the traditional stoneware used, but a Dutch oven works great, too!

Delicious and savory, sweet and spicy, you gotta try this recipe!

Here are some of my favorite healthy snack recipes. They’re easy to make, stores nicely in the fridge or freezer, and can be enjoyed by those on gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free diets! They taste great, and even if you’re not on a special diet, you will enjoy them just as much as a regular snack, maybe even more. :)

Fudgy Cocoa Bites made with dates, raisins, nuts, and cocoa:

Deliciously fudgy cocoa bites

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites from Gabby at  The Veggie Nook:

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites

And lastly, this Carrot Apple Ginger Cake, which is great for breakfast or with afternoon coffee or tea. It’s packed with real apples and carrots, fresh ginger, and has a lot less sugar and oil than regular cakes…and, it’s wheat-free!

Carrot apple ginger cake topped with goat cheese & a drizzle of ginger-infused agave syrup…yum!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a happy and healthy Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This being my first What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) post sponsored by Peas and Crayons, I wanted to kick it off to a good start, especially because I’ve been going off my healthy eating path and WIAW is a good incentive to get back on track. I’ve been eating  less healthy greens and eating more snacky stuff this past week and I noticed a HUGE dip in my energy level in the afternoons. Normally I’d see my husband yawning in the afternoon, but this time it was ME who felt tired, lazy and just wanted to drink coffee to help get me through. Although I still made healthy dinners and lunches, I ate less of the good and more of the bad.

I notice how much better I feel when I eat primarily veggies, even better with raw veggies (the Blood Type Diet says a diet focusing on vegetables are beneficial for A-types like me.) I try to do at least 80 percent veggies/legumes/fruits when I prepare my meals, which isn’t that difficult, but I’d like to increase the raw veggie consumption, as well.

To start off, I had a Chocolate Avocado Smoothie  for breakfast. The fruits and veggies are raw, the “seasonings” are not, but it’s a heck of a lot better than a toaster pastry!

Don't let the chocolatey goodness fool you, this shake contains vegetables!

For lunch I ate a ground-up nut mixture that contained carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and seasoning. I’m avoiding wheat products this week, so I wrapped it in lettuce leaves and had it with Gouda cheese:

My afternoon snack were these incredibly indulgent and almost raw Fudgy Espresso Bites (see delicious recipe below):

Instant espresso enhances the dark chocolate flavor of these fudgy cocoa bites.

For dinner I made veggie chicken soup, which is great when you’re trying to clear the fridge to make room for more fresh veggies! I seasoned this batch with Spike:

Veggies, pearl barley and chunks of chicken make this a hearty and flavorful soup.

Dessert was an almost raw Key Lime Avocado Pie:

Tart, light and refreshing!

And now here’s the Fudgy Cocoa Bites recipe, inspired by The Rawtarian’s incredibly delicious Raw Chocolate Cake recipe:

Fudgy Cocoa Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, soaked 2 hours or overnight in fridge
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not sure if this qualifies as raw since the alcohol is distilled?)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave sweetener (for Ginger Cocoa Bites, please see instructions below and make syrup first.)

Instructions:

After soaking all the seeds and nuts, drain thoroughly. Add to food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates,  cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Process until mixed thoroughly and date pieces are chopped fine. Slowly drizzle in agave (or open the top and pour agave in, this way there’s less syrup stuck to the bottom) and process until mixture forms a ball.

Form dough into teaspoon-sized truffle bites, press into mini muffin tins or candy molds. Dust with extra cocoa powder if desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up then remove carefully. (I’m not sure what the longest is you should store them for, but I’ve had mine in the fridge for a couple weeks and have been nibbling on them daily.)

Ginger Cocoa Bites: (I got the ginger syrup recipe from The Veggie Nook’s Lime Cornmeal Pancake recipe, but instead of maple syrup I used agave…and added a LOT of ginger! This is so delicious I keep a stash of this handy. Thank you, Gabby!) Ginger syrup –  In a small pan on the stovetop, heat the 1/4 cup agave with 1 tablespoon thinly sliced and chopped ginger. Simmer on LOW HEAT for 3 minutes to reduce the spiciness of the fresh ginger. Turn off heat and cool the syrup while you combine the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle agave syrup and ginger pieces into mixture, process until mixture forms a ball and form into truffles or press into molds.

Espresso Cocoa Bites (my favorite!): add in 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules or 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules and 1/4 teaspoon stevia with cocoa powder. Form into desired shapes, sprinkle with just a pinch of espresso or finely ground coffee granules.

Peanut Butter Cocoa Bites: add 2 tablespoons smooth or creamy “no-sugar” peanut butter before adding agave.

Gluten free, dairy free bite-sized pieces of rich chocolate flavor with an incredible fudgy texture.

Enjoy your Wednesday, and eat well!

Serve these delectable lemon-scented morsels with some chamomile tea.

I love how the internet can provide us with so many delicious ways to eat healthy. Search for a key ingredient, cuisine, or phrase like, “gramma’s blackberry jam” and you’re bound to find the one that’s just right for you. You may even come across a food blog that has some great ideas on healthy eats that are just too irresistible to pass up (hint, hint!)

Actually, that’s how I felt when I read The Veggie Nook’s latest creation this morning. I thought this would be a great recipe to try out, especially since I love lemons! I was so glad I had these ingredients on hand and started hauling out my food processor just minutes after reading her blog. I made a few changes, such as substituting some of the hemp seeds with raw sunflower seeds, adding coconut flour, used 2 figs and reduced the agave syrup, and I also added the juice of 1/2 lemon to satisfy my “sour tooth.” They’re a delicious and incredibly healthy snack, and you can find the recipe right here. Thank you, Gabby, for sharing this wonderful, spring-welcoming recipe!


Roasted cacao nibs (Left to right): with parchment, without parchment, broken, and pulverized.

My parents sent me some cacao nibs last year and only recently have I started experimenting with them. They’re very bitter and have a strong cocoa taste, but kinda smooth because of the coca butter. It is very fragrant after grinding, better than a can of Hershey’s cocoa!

Our neighbors had us over for dinner the other week and prepared an awesome Chocolate Mousse Tart. I’ve never had an avocado-based chocolate dessert before and this was better than I could have ever imagined! Since I’m sensitive to dairy and wheat, I could eat my fill of this incredible dairy-free/gluten-free concoction without feeling bloated or tired. Thank you, Elena, for sharing this amazing recipe! In my version I couldn’t form a crust so I just parfait’d it (see pic below), but Wolfie doesn’t seem to mind it one bit! ;)

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TARTS

Maple Walnut Crust

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups walnuts
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
10 very soft dates (soak in water for a few hours to make them soft)
4 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you don’t have the other)

Directions:
1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the maple syrup and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. (You can create a smoother crust by blending longer if you like, but in my experience leaving some chunks is a good idea to add contrast against the smooth chocolate pudding).
2. Get out a muffin pan. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture at a time and press into the bottom of a muffin cup. Press firmly so that the walnut mixture is compact and holds together. You should be able to fill about 8 cups with the walnut crust. Refrigerate.
3. Finely chop the dates.
4. Cut open all the avocados and scoop them out into a clean food processor. Blend. Add the other ingredients and blend to incorporate.
5. Remove walnut crusts by running a knife around the perimeter to loosen, then lift out. If the crust breaks or becomes dented, simply press it back together once it’s out the mold.
6. Spoon a large dollop of avocado mouse on top of the crust base. Garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand (fresh berries, banana, dates, pomegranate, pineapple…). Enjoy! =D

 

Wolfie wanted a taste of my parfait — no way, Jose!


I also tried a Shallot Marmalade recipe using cocoa nibs, and substituted about half the ingredients. Instead of shallots, I used sweet onions. No prunes so I used dates. And though you could use either balsamic or red wine vinegar, I think the balsamic was too overpowering, so only a little bit of marmalade and lots of rice worked for me. I served it with miso-lemon marinated chicken (marinade recipe here), brown rice musubi and greens.

Shallot Marmalade recipe became “Onion Jam,” or o-Jam.