Tag Archives: raw

  1. Our 15 Favorite Summertime Salads

    Our 15 Favorite Summer Salads

    I know we are creeping closer to summer’s end, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still have several weeks left of summertime abundance and then, of course, the magical swing season where summer and autumn meet for a brief time and the produce is extra special.  For now, I plan to continue to celebrate and indulge in all that the summer’s markets and local farms and gardens have to offer.

    Our 15 Favorite Summertime Salads:

    Read the rest of this entry »

  2. Summer Squash Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

    Summer Squash Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

    Summer Squash Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

    Summer is definitely all about the fuss-free eating, but to me, it’s also all about enjoying the abundance. With so much beautiful produce in season, there is no shortage of foods to be inspired by and get creative with.

    To me, zucchini gets all the love during the summer and admittedly, I likely eat a farm’s worth myself every year. But lest we forget about the yellow summer squash, the beautiful golden sibling to the zucchini. While the flavor is very similar, the only real major difference is their skin color, so I find the yellow squash to be as equally versatile as the zucchini and it too is a mainstay in my summer kitchen.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  3. Grain-free Basil and Mint Zucchini “Noodles”

    Grain-free Basil and Mint Zucchini "Noodles"

    Being in the blogging world over 6 years now, I have had the pleasure of meeting some very incredible people along the way. But some, they walk into your life and you know that they were placed into your path with a purpose. I met Amie Valpone last year, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a busy conference. We spoke like half-witted high school girls, catching up, giggling, sharing and connecting over our personal healing journeys. Amie has an infectious lust for life and for living that instantly resonated with me. As someone that has spent the past 10+ years dealing with various (though very minor in comparison) health struggles, I very much appreciate how Amie has chosen to use her struggles as a means to help others, through her website thehealthyapple.com, I also admire that she has used her very challenging healing journey to fuel her passion to teach others that your health and vitality lies in your hands and that you DO have the power to overcome. I feel like the word “inspiration” is hardly enough for this firecracker.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    As I go deeper into learning about nutrition and food, while in school to become a Nutritional Therapist, at times feeding my husband reminds me a lot of what my friends who are mothers, go through with their children. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is no man-child, he can take care of himself, he’ll cook when I am not around, he eats his veggies and he can grill like it’s no one’s business – clearly my hubby is > a toddler. But, the man loves his sweets. If he had it his way he would eat a doughnut or a slice of cake for breakfast every single day, he will however on the average day simply settle for toast with jelly or a bowl of cereal.  Of course, no matter what is selected this would all be accompanied by the largest cup of coffee. Ever. Sigh.

    Recently I have been working with him not to change his diet in some drastic way, I don’t need him resenting me and my schooling, but more to understand how starting his day in this manner definitely contributes to, if not exclusively causes, those mid-day crashes he was constantly struggling with and not only that, how it also leads to additional cravings and the need and urge for more sugar and carbs to be satiated. The vicious, never-ending, sugar-burning cycle.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  5. Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars

    Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars

    If you follow me on social media, on apps like Instagram or Snapchat, you may have noticed that after nearly 3 years of living in California, I am back to traveling again. The travel-bug has bit this girl and this is an itch that must be scratched. I absolutely love adventure and I live for that joy you get when discovering new places.

    The hardest thing about traveling, however, is doing so with dietary challenges. With limitations on my diet and wanting to maintain a healthy, mindful lifestyle, this can be hard while I am away from the comforts of my own kitchen. While challenging, it is also totally possible and I want to share with those of you living a life similar to mine, that with a little research and planning, your wanderlust can certainly be quenched, too! In the past, after first changing my diet, discovering my gluten intolerance and making other changes to my lifestyle, I had found myself scared to travel, worried that I wouldn’t be able to eat. But I always more than make it, I eat well on my travels and I am able to honor my body the way I choose to, while still being able to explore new cuisine, experience new restaurants and travel a city the way everyone else gets to. I want to encourage you guys, to get out there, to have fun, explore and travel.

    Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars

    For me, a big part of my travel routine, relies heavily on planning ahead and of course, packing food. Though with every passing year it gets easier and easier to find restaurants that truly support gluten-free, I also like to know that I am covered. Plus, when flying, let’s be honest, most airlines haven’t quite received the memo that gluten-free is a thing! Homemade energy bars, trail mix, dark chocolate and other healthy snacks, these are always a must for me. Plus, I don’t ever leave home without some green stuff. This girl’s gut needs the green stuff to keep things moving, if you know what I mean.

    Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars

    These Chocolate Trail Mix Energy Bars (gluten-free, vegan and paleo) are basically all of the good superfood stuff you love, in one magical, travel-friendly bar! Trail mix, greens and of course, chocolate. (To know me is to know, this is something I won’t leave home without). Enter ALOHA, my very best travel companion. In my world, ALOHA is as important as my passport, when I head off on adventure.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates

    Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    You didn’t actually think I would let Valentine’s Day come and go without some sort of sweet, did you?

    In the world of candies and sweets, baked goods and other treats, in my opinion, these Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates for sure fall somewhere in the world of a “healthy sweet”. Sure, sugar is sugar, but if the options include these naturally sweetened treats, than I am all in, especially considering I have been avoiding all traditional sugary sweets the last handful of weeks.

    Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    Stuffed dates have always been one of my favorite ways to indulge in something sweet, without the guilt. Generally I opt for coconut butter, coconut oil or almond butter, but I also love a little crunch, too. The best part about this recipe, is that it’s more of a guide and you can easily make these tasty dates however you would like. Stuff them with whatever you fancy, top them with whatever makes you most happy, but however you make them, I suggest you enjoy them with some warm Valentine’s Day love in your heart and share them with those around you, whom you adore the most!

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars (made from almond milk pulp)

    Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars - Made from Almond Milk Pulp

    Every week I make at least one quart of homemade almond milk, if not more than that. For a while now I have been taking the leftover almond milk pulp and immediately placing it in the dehydrator and drying it out, then I give it a few quick pulses in the food processor before add it to a jar in the fridge.

    I usually just add it to granolas or cereals, sometimes muffins or other baked goods, but mostly I have just been collecting a ton of this almond pulp flour, waiting to come up with the perfect use for it.

    These raw chocolate chip cookie dough bars are the answer!! I have been making something kinda similar for a while now, with blanched almond flour and I would usually make a single serving in a bowl.  A simple way to handle those sweet cravings at the end of the day. That is, until I came across this recipe on Pinterest, which gave me the idea to make it into bars. Which is also when I thought this would be the perfect use for all of the dehydrated almond pulp.

    Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars - Made from Almond Milk Pulp

    These cookie dough bars are grain-free, egg-free, easily made vegan, they are safe-to-eat raw, and they taste just like the real deal, usually made with eggs and butter. Now, I generally prefer to eat dairy-free, but since I am lucky to not have a dairy intolerance or allergy, I can be  a bit lax on this. Good grass-fed organic butter is one of those things I keep on hand for special uses. If I am having a fried egg, I want it cooked in a teaspoon of butter, grilled corn just isn’t the same without a little melted butter and so on. But generally I prefer to bake dairy-free most of the time. That said, I have found that these bars are amazing and taste most like the real thing when they are made with some good quality grass-fed butter (local if you can find it) and for me, it is a fine time to indulge a little. I can tell you though that they are also insanely delicious with softened coconut oil, which I have made several times and really enjoy, as well. If you are vegan, you can also easily substitute your favorite vegan butter.

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  8. Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups

    Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups

    Ella's Virtual Baby Shower

    One of my favorite things about blogging has been connecting and making friends with people who I not only have so much in common with but who I also adore, so much, too. Who knew it was possible to have, what some people would consider to be “perfect strangers”, as some of your most favorite people and some of your closest friends.

    Since most of us bloggers are scattered all over the country world, it would be nearly impossible to get everyone together to throw a party in someone’s honor – so the next best thing is a virtual party and today a bunch of us teamed up to do just that! In honor of our lovely friend Ella, of Pure Ella today we are hosting a virtual baby shower for and you are all invited. Ella is one of the most sweet and inspiring people I have met, Ella’s energy, happiness and positivity makes me smile every day and I am so proud to call her a friend, despite the fact that we haven’t even met in the real life. Ella’s beautiful site is filled with delectable, swoon-worthy recipes, that are always so perfectly photographed. Plus, besides all of the yummy goodness, she is always sharing fun creative ideas for healthy living, beauty, home, crafts and more.

    I am so happy to be able to get together with some friends today, albeit virtually, to celebrate Ella and her family’s pending new addition.

    Pure Ella Virtual Baby Shower2
    Whether you have an upcoming baby shower you are attending or you are planning a baby shower, a bridal shower or even your mother’s day brunch – there are tons of incredible ideas here for you to knock your guests socks off. The best part is, every single recipe is both gluten-free and vegan, too!

    I am so honored to be sharing my recipe amongst this amazing group of talented bloggers, so please after you check out this recipe, head over to each of their sites and check out their amazing recipes, too. Of course, be sure to pin them, share them, print them out, memorize them or whatever you’ve gotta do – these recipes are all so perfect for entertaining, so I know they will all come in handy at some time or another, whether for an upcoming baby shower, bridal shower or another occasion.

    Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups

    Read the rest of this entry »

  9. Honey Lavender Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup and Martini

    Honey Lavender Vanilla Bean Martini

    Homemade simple syrups have become a staple in my kitchen, much like homemade nut milks, nut butters and even sprouts. It’s a simple treat that you can easily make with your favorite fruits, herbs and/or botanicals. Occasionally, I will make them with organic raw sugar, but since I really adore the lovely the depth of flavor that you get when you use good local raw honey, I usually opt for that instead.

    The possibilities are really endless for flavors, you can experiment with whatever you like best and expand your flavors and combinations from there. This particular flavor combination is one of my absolute favorites. Lavender and vanilla bean together are what dreams are made of, add in the honey and just forget it. It really doesn’t get any better.

    Honey Lavender Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

    Sweet, fragrant, earthy and unique. A few teaspoons of this syrup is wonderful topped with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. You can also use it as a traditional syrup, pouring it over yogurt or ice cream, cereals and granolas you can even add it to a homemade almond milk latte, which I am telling you – is life changing!! I am kind of obsessed.

    Honey Lavender Vanilla Bean Martini


    Read the rest of this entry »

  10. How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies
    How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters // Tasty Yummies

    How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters

    I am so excited about this next post in the Tutorial Tuesday series. It has been quite the undertaking sampling, soaking, dehydrating and playing with different flavors but it is so easy and so totally worth it to make your own homemade nut butters. OK, so I may have gone a little overboard, but hopefully all of your nut butter questions have now been answered.

    Besides the simple how-to instructions, I wanted to include some insight as to why I recommend soaking your nuts and seeds, how to also dehydrate them after you have soaked them and all of the various times for doing so. Plus, you will find some various flavor combinations that I love and even a nut-free sunflower seed butter recipe. Hope you guys enjoy.

    How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters

    What Nuts?

    Basically if it’s a nut (and even many seeds) and you like it, you can make a butter out of it. I have sampled so many different types of nut butters and the sky is the limit. I wish I could afford to buy enough of each of the nuts pictured to sample making nut butters with all of them for you guys, but that is certainly out of the budget when buying organic. So for this tutorial, I just went with a couple of my personal favorites. Almond, cashew, pecan, hazelnut (in a homemade nutella) and I even made a nut-free sunflower seed butter for you.

    Nuts and Seeds Soaking Chart // Tasty Yummies

    To Soak or Not To Soak.

    Why I Choose to Soak: Most nuts, seeds, grains and beans are covered in natural chemicals – enzyme inhibitors and toxins – that protect them while growing, both from sprouting prematurely and also from predators. These nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. Once harvested, those same chemicals, the major one being phytic acid – are indigestible to the human body and must be broken down before consumption. When food containing phytic acid is consumed, the acid combines with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly.

    The very simple process of soaking releases these chemicals, helping you to absorb your food’s essential minerals and nutrients. Additionally, by soaking the nuts with the removal of these nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances, the flavor and taste is much more ideal and appealing.

    To summarize: Soaking nuts and seeds makes them easier to digest and improves their flavor. Read the rest of this entry »

  11. Mint Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream Cake {Gluten-free, Vegan and Refined Sugar-free}

    Mint Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream Cake {Gluten-free and Vegan}

    Before you jump ahead and read the ingredient list on this cake and get pissed at me for adding a vegetable to your dessert – please, please hear me out and give it a chance! This cake is life changing. It is creamy, thick, rich and so decadent.

    I know I tell you guys this all of the time, but the true litmus test to a successful gluten-free dessert or baked good that I create – is the reaction of my husband. As a man that literally can and will eat just about anything, the gluten-free treats that I get so excited for are oftentimes totally unappealing to him. He likes traditional sweets, the sweeter the better – that man most times would prefer a cookie from a tube, than a less than perfect homemade gluten-free cookie fresh from the oven. The same also goes for (and usually more-so) the vegan creations I develop. I can’t blame him though – he literally can eat anything, no food intolerances, no responses or  reactions. Just a stomach of steel!

    The thing is, when I can create something gluten-free, that isn’t made with refined sugars, that uses an alternative to cream and butter that he actually goes nuts for – nothing makes me happier and that’s how I know I’ve created something amazing. He really loved this one and he cannot stop talking about it, he actually ate a piece for breakfast today. That’s a WIN!!

    Mint Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream Cake {Gluten-free and Vegan}

    I’ve been obsessed with cashew cream cakes a while now, I love the versatility and how it appeals to all eaters, vegan or not. The No-Bake Vegan “Cheesecake” I made last summer is something I have made for many of our friends and every single one has always been impressed that the creaminess is all from soaked cashews.

    This cashew cream cake has the perfect amount of subtle mint flavor, both from the fresh mint and the mint extract and the chocolate of the crust and the chocolate chips on top compliment it so well. I love serving it with a little whipped coconut cream on top. Plus, rather than the beautiful green color coming from an artificial dye, it comes from some fresh baby spinach!  Whether you want to believe it or not, there isn’t a bit of flavor from the baby spinach – just a beautiful, fresh and natural green hue. Read the rest of this entry »

  12. Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding – Gluten-free and Vegan

    Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding - Gluten-free and Vegan

    Does anyone else find that they crave chocolate more than ever in February? With all the Valentine’s Day recipes in blogs and magazines and all the treats in stores, I feel like I see the stuff everywhere! Of course, a good quality chocolate treat isn’t bad for you, in moderation, but why not a chocolate treat that actually has tons of additional, wonderful health benefits, even?

    Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding - Gluten-free and Vegan

    Today as part of my ongoing Restricted Diet series with Free People, I am sharing a super simple to make, raw Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding that will knock your socks off. The best part about this pudding, besides it being chocolate, is that you can really make it you own. Select your favorite toppings, add some cinnamon or cayenne for a little heat, whip up some coconut cream for topping, the possibilities are endless.

    Chocolate Chia Seed Superfood Pudding - Gluten-free and Vegan
    Read the rest of this entry »

  13. Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco “Meat” (Gluten-free and Vegan)

    Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco "Meat" (gluten-free and vegan)

    Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco "Meat" (gluten-free and vegan)

    There are so many things to love about Southern California – the year-round beautiful weather, the sunshine, the incredible varying produce was have access to throughout the year, the beaches, mountains, hiking trails – I could go on and on. But, one of my very favorite things is that I can have a vegetable garden growing year round. I am not sure I will ever get used to that or ever take it for granted. When I was planting the seeds for my winter garden, I was convinced there was no way it would work. It seemed impossible to this New York girl. I am used to a growing season that lasts from May to, if you are lucky, October. And this is barring no major unseasonal frosts.

    Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco "Meat" (gluten-free and vegan)

    I planted a bunch of goodies from seeds right at the end of fall – peas, broccoli, leeks, carrots, radishes, lettuces, kale, spinach and Swiss chard. Not everything has grown perfectly, I am still learning what does well in my soil and what doesn’t, but my Swiss chard is one of the many that did amazing. Since we had a pretty hot and dry December and January, everything got off to a slow start. Then, suddenly one day, after my yoga teacher training program ended and I had been too busy to check on things all month, I went outside to see that everything had a major growth spurt, especially my beautiful chard.

    Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco "Meat" (gluten-free and vegan)

    I find Swiss chard to be so beautiful. Those leaves have that lovely contrasting, vibrantly colored stem and the surface of the leave is so perfect. It is so gorgeous growing out in my garden that I almost hate to pick it. Almost. Read the rest of this entry »

  14. Grain-free No-Bake Gingerbread Cookie Balls {Gluten-free & Vegan}

    Grain-free No-Bake Gingerbread Cookie Balls {Gluten-free and Vegan} // www.tasty-yummies.com

    Gingerbread is one of my absolute favorite holiday flavors. It’s right up there with dark chocolate and mint anything and of course, nog-flavored goodies. I don’t always have the patience to make a full batch of gluten-free cookies, especially not the kind you have to roll and cut out, then decorate. These no-bake cookie balls are an amazing way to enjoy the unique flavor of gingerbread cookies without the work and the guilt! I love a sweet treat that not only satisfies your cravings, but doesn’t leave you feeling bad about what you just ate. Plus, between the protein from the nuts and the iron from the molasses, one could even argue these cookies are extra good for you! Read the rest of this entry »

  15. Cocoa Dusted Macadamia Nuts – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Cocoa Dusted Macadamia Nuts - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    A few months back, I was lucky enough to have a very sweet and lovely Tasty Yummies reader, Rina, offer to send me some of the beautiful macadamia nuts she and her family grow here in California. Their company is called CaliMac Nut Company. I obviously said ‘yes!’ Macadamia nuts are something I don’t often splurge on at the store.

    First, I used some to make the crust on my 4th of July Vegan “Cheesecake” and then I struggled to decide what to do with what remained. I didn’t want to waste them and just use in any ‘ol boring recipe. I wanted them to shine! I originally wanted to make a fun homemade macadamia nut version of “Nutella” with them, but to be honest I worried if it didn’t come out properly, I would be wasting so many beautiful nuts. I wanted to savor each and every one of those beauties. But I loved the idea of combing the cocoa flavor with the slightly sweetened toasted nuts. I decided on a snack that we could take on our pending road trip to San Francisco let month and enjoy easily while in the car and at our booth for the weekend. Enjoying each and every one and celebrating the lovely place and family that they came from with every bite, I love food with a story and I am always so grateful when I can know exactly where it came from and the love that went into growing it.

    Cocoa Dusted Macadamia Nuts - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    These beautiful cocoa dusted nuts are full of so much flavor! They have a wonderful roasty crunch, a subtle sweetness from the maple and the cocoa gives a nice punch of rich, earthy flavor. I like that they aren’t overly sweet, so the flavor of the nuts aren’t overpowered and I really enjoy that you get the flavor of the sea salt, which I personally find compliments chocolate more than almost anything. Macadamia nuts are higher in fat than many other nuts, which is why I think this recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy them. A few of these nuts are all you really need, they are rich and satisfying. Close the package up and come back to them again later. No need to consume them all at once. I do feel it is important to note, concerning the fat in macadamia nuts, between 78 to 86 percent of the fat is monounsaturated (the good for you, heart-healthy kind of fat). Monounsaturated fat helps lower cholesterol and decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, macadamia nuts are one of the only food sources that contain palmitoleic acid (a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that may speed up fat metabolism, thus reducing the body’s ability to store fat). (SOURCE)

    Feel free to use raw cacao (which is what I did) instead of traditional cocoa. The health benefits on raw cacao are incredible and so worth it. Did you know that raw cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Additionally as we all know, cocoa in any form is great for your cardiovascular health.

    You can play with the recipe a bit and add some cayenne pepper and/or cinnamon for a fun and spicy “Mexican Hot Cocoa” twist on the recipe. And, if you can’t get macadamia nuts or you would like to use a different nut, this recipe would also be great with almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or cashews. These would make a wonderful gift wrapped up in a cute handmade package or in a vintage canning jar. Oh gosh, is it bad that I am already thinking about edible holiday gifts?

    Thanks again Rina for sharing your delicious macadamia nuts with me. I will certainly be ordering some when the season starts back up again! I cannot wait.

    NOTE – as a dog lover who is ALWAYS obsessed with the things that are unsafe for my baby girl, it is very important for me to note that macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, inducing a temporary yet severe weakness and other possible and very serious side effects. Keep those tasty babies high up and out of Fido’s way, please!!

    Cocoa Dusted Macadamia Nuts - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    [print_this]Cocoa Dusted Macadamia Nuts – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    • 2 cups raw organic macadamia nuts
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (if possible, choose organic and/or grade B, for both)
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt
    • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

    Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a large bowl combine macadamia nuts, maple syrup and sea salt. Use a rubber spatula to mix together, fully coating the macadamia nuts. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring at least twice during baking to prevent the nuts from burning.

    Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Immediately return macadamia nuts to the bowl, add cocoa powder and toss to coat, making sure the nuts are all evenly coated with the cocoa powder.
    Fully cool and store in an air tight container. [/print_this]

  16. Zucchini Bites with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese – Gluten-free

    Raw Zucchini Bites with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese - Gluten-free

    I’ve been trying to be super creative over here with zucchini. I planted ours from heirloom Italian seeds in our garden and they did wonderfully, they grew far better and far faster than anything else out there. We have a lot of zucchini. I have been bringing them to all of our friends.

    So, I have stuffed them (look for that recipe next week), I have made muffins with them, I have made more zucchini “pasta” than I would like to admit and the rest have been getting grilled. Good thing zucchini is my absolute favorite vegetable of all time. Read the rest of this entry »

  17. No-Bake Vegan “Cheesecake” – Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-free

    No-Bake Vegan "Cheesecake" - Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-free

    This week I thought it was appropriate to share a fun patriotic-inspired treat that you could take to any BBQ or picnic on the 4th! Not only is this dessert festive, but it is super simple to make, doesn’t require you to ever heat up the oven and it is sure to please everyone — restricted diets or not.

    No-Bake Vegan "Cheesecake" - Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-free

    Since I cut most dairy from diet last year, there are a few things I miss from time to time. A rich and creamy cheesecake is certainly one of them. This “cheesecake” has a smooth and creamy flavor, with a bright tanginess you would find in most traditional cheesecakes. The crust is super simple and compliments the filling perfectly. The best part about this crust is, besides being raw, is how super versatile it can, you can use whatever nuts you have, I went with 1 cup raw macadamia nuts and 1/2 cup raw almonds.  Plus it would be great for many other pie recipes, too. Read the rest of this entry »

  18. Chipotle Almond Spread / Dip (w/other Favor Variations) – Gluten-free + Vegan

    Chipotle Almond Spread/Dip (w/other Favor Variations) - Gluten-free, Vegan

    Since we have been here in California I have really been getting back to my roots of making all of my own foods, right down to breads and dips, etc. I sometimes hate the extra time to make things I can buy at the store, but the quality is unmatched and the same goes for the health benefits. When you are making your foods from scratch, there are no unknown ingredients, no preservatives or other junk. Just good clean food.

    Chipotle Almond Spread/Dip (w/other Favor Variations) - Gluten-free, Vegan

    It is hard to remember why you do it, when your life gets busy and the packaged food is glaring at you from the aisles of the store, with “wonderful” health claims like gluten-free, organic, all natural, non-gmo, etc. But remember this doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have strange, unknown ingredients in it, still.

    I was craving a snack the other day and didn’t want hummus again, but I wanted something similar but sans bean. This creamy spread is thick, still a tad bit chunky (depending on how long you process), and served best with crackers or fresh vegetables as a dip. It is also great spread on a slice of toast or fresh bread, or added to steamed veggies, pasta, rice, quinoa or other grain. It is perfect in a wrap or on a veggie burger and really nice in place of mayo or mustard on your favorite sandwich or in place of mayo in tuna (or mock tuna) salad.

    Chipotle Almond Spread/Dip (w/other Favor Variations) - Gluten-free, Vegan
    [print_this]Chipotle Almond Spread / Dip (w/other Favor Variations) – Gluten-free, Vegan
    yields just over 1 cup of dip

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup raw organic almonds, soaked overnight* OR 2 cups of leftover almond pulp (without vanilla or sweetener)
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoon lemon juice (from appox 1/2 lemon)
    • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
    • 3 teaspoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
    • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle (or whatever herb or spice you prefer)
    • sea salt, to taste
    • 1/4 cup of water (you may or may not need this, and it may be less – you won’t need this if using almond pulp)

    Optional add-ins to change the flavor profile:

    • Spices like chipotle or smoked paprika.
    • Fresh herbs like rosemary, cilantro, mint , basil, etc
    • Vegetables like roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, jalapeños
    • Try roasting an entire bulb of garlic and adding that.
    • The possibilities are endless.

    You can really have fun with this dip and make it however you want. Add in whatever you’d like, make combinations. Just make it your own, the base stays the same, you can just tweak the recipe as you see fit. My three favorite flavors personally are chipotle, rosemary and roasted garlic.

    Place all ingredients in your food processor and pulse just until chunky. You can either continue blending for a smoother spread, or stop while there are still little chunks of almonds. I like it to where it isn’t totally smooth and creamy and a tad bit of the nuttiness comes through. You may want to drizzle in a little water if it seems like it is too thick or chunky, use your own judgment.

    *soaking the almonds is important to making this dip creamy, otherwise you would end up with almond butter if you processed it long enough.


  19. Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)

    Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)

    In stepping into a coffee shop next door to the yoga studio I go to here in Long Beach the other day, to grab a juice, I saw something called a Mexican Mocha on the menu. I was intrigued but didn’t order it since I knew it would be loaded with sugar and other stuff I try to avoid, but I was definitely curious, so I asked. It is basically a mocha, which we all know is a sinfully delicious drink where coffee meets hot cocoa, but this one comes with some additional spices, which can vary based on coffee shop and some even add in almond extract/flavor. In looking around online, most Mexican Mochas include cinnamon and some also chipotle or cayenne for a little extra kick.

    I have had a Mexican style hot cocoa with those spices, but never with the addition of java. Sounded pretty delicious. Although, I drink very little coffee these days, I was still excited to try the flavor combination and I was inspired to have a little fun with it.
    So, I created these simple to make no-bake cookie balls. They are grain-free, vegan and sugar-free. If you are sensitive to caffeine, no worries, you could leave out the espresso and then you would just have Mexican Hot Cocoa Cookie Balls. Oh and either way, if you really wanted to go crazy with the chocolate, you could even dip them in some melted chocolate or add some mini chocolate chips.
    I think what I like most about these cookie balls, unlike the other no-bake cookie balls I have made in the past, is that normally I use uncooked oats and although they make for a really nice texture, I find oats in that state to be quite hard to digest. So I experimented in making these without any grain and I just added in the chia seeds to give these a little crunch and to also add some of that healthy Omega-3 Oil to this treat.
    These are a nice little sweet treat, with just a little hint of a coffee and spice kick, which are an extra added bonuses.

    Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)


    [print_this]Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)
    makes about 18-20 cookie balls

    1 /2 cup raw organic cashews
    5-6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
    1/2 cup blanched almond flour (I like Honeyville)
    1/4 cup coconut flour
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    dash or two of ground chipotle powder (optional)
    1/2 – 1 teaspoon instant Espresso powder (optional)
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Add the cashews and dates to your food processor and pulse a handful of times until it becomes a chunky crumble.(see below photo)

    Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)

    Add in the almond flour, coconut flour,  cocoa powder, spices, espresso powder, chia seeds and vanilla. Process until it is a fine crumble, almost sand-like.

    Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)

    It may seem to try to roll, but you will be surprised. Put a bit of the mixture into your hands, roll it around, it should come together into a ball. If it seems a bit too dry and crumbly add a bit more water or if you want it a bit sweeter, maybe a little maple syrup. Don’t add too much though, you don’t want it to get to soggy.

    Roll the mixture onto ball and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refridgerate for 30 minutes or so to firm them up. [/print_this]

    Mexican Mocha No-Bake Cookie Balls (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan + sugar-free)


  20. No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookie Balls (Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free)

    No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookie Balls (Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free)

    My final recipe in my healthy Halloween series with Free People this month is for a simple, quick no-bake cookie ball, that is full of delicious fall flavors. Instead of the cut-out cookies and donuts and wayyy too much Halloween candy, why not snack on these? Gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free these no-bake treats will still wow your socks off.

    No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookie Balls (Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free)

    The spicy pumpkin flavor is perfect for this time of year and the whole recipe can be put together from start to finish in about 15 minutes. Plus, you can have fun with these and add in your own favorite extras like coconut, raisins, additional nuts, chocolate chips, powdered sugar or maybe even a drizzle of caramel sauce.

    No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookie Balls (Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free)

    This recipe was originally shared on the Free People Blog, BLDG 25 

    [print_this]No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookie Balls (Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free)

    Makes approximately 18 balls

    • 8 Medjool Dates, pitted
    • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
    • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée (canned or fresh, if you use fresh be sure to drain as much water out as you can)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • Dash of ground cloves
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup raw walnuts
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut plus more for rolling

    Optional Add-ins:

    • raisins (I used raisins in half of the recipe, about 1/4 cup)
    • additional coconut for rolling
    • additional chopped walnuts for rolling
    • mini chocolate chips

    Add just the pitted dates to the food processor and process for a minute or two until a thick paste forms – if they are quite dry, you may need to add a teaspoon or two of water to get it moving. If they are pureed and form a large ball in the food processor, don’t worry too much, the other ingredients will thin it out. Next, add the almond butter, pumpkin puree, the spices, salt and the vanilla extract. Process for a minute or two again until thick and creamy. Add in the nuts and coconut and pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped and it all comes together into a thick dough. Try to roll a little in your hand, if it is holding together it is ready, if it is too crumbly try adding more almond butter and/or pumpkin. If it is too creamy and sticky, add more nuts and coconut. If you are adding raisins, just fold them in by hand with a spoon or spatula.

    Take the blade out of the processor and roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Roll into shredded coconut, if you wish. You should end up with approximately 18 cookie balls. You can eat them right away, or place them in the fridge for a bit to firm up (which is what I prefer).

  21. Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Vanilla Almond "Sugar" Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Every time I make my homemade almond milk, I swear that I am going to do something amazing with the leftover almond pulp. Enter Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp! Most times I put it in the fridge with really great intentions and plans, then within a few days it has mold and I feel horrid throwing it out. Happens way more often that I would like to admit. Almond pulp has to get used up within a day or two, so if you can muster up the motivation to do something with it, you have to do it quickly. This time as soon as I finished making the almond milk I started looking around online at different recipes I could use the pulp in. I have seen many recipes for savory crackers made from the almond pulp, but since this time the almond milk (and therefore the almond pulp) that I made was sweetened and I added vanilla, I wanted to make some type of sweet cookie. I still want to play around with a cracker recipe, too. So hopefully soon.

    These cookies have a really great vanilla flavor and they are delicious with an ice cold glass of almond milk, or a mug of hot tea or coffee. If you want to skip the chocolate and sea salt on top, go for it, I just felt like it was the perfect compliment to them, who doesn’t love chocolate? These cookies are subtly sweet and reminiscent of a classic sugar cookie, but without all the junk. Side note, even after baking and making dozens of different sweet treats and smoothies, etc – sweetened only by using dates, I am still completely amazed by them. Who knew those funny looking little things could be so sweet and sinful. The sweet nuttiness from the almond pulp is so delicious and pronounced in these cookies, it’s really one of my favorite flavors. After eating a bunch of these, I started thinking about different ways I could play with this recipe. I think you could add cocoa to make a chocolate cookie and I also think a spicy gingersnap version of these cookies made with ground ginger and cinnamon would also be delicious, so I will definitely have to play around with both of those.

    Just a quick note, the original recipe has an option to dehydrate these cookies to make them “raw”, but since I don’t have a dehydrator and I was making these at night and wasn’t comfortable leaving them in the oven overnight, I just baked them as the recipe also suggests. The bake time can vary a bit depending on how moist your pulp was when you started, I think mine ended up baking for nearly 30 minutes, but I would suggest checking them around 18 or 20, since you don’t want them to dry out or burn.

    Vanilla Almond "Sugar" Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    [print_this]Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free
    Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
    Recipe adapted from Choosing Raw

    • 2 cups almond milk pulp
    • 8 soaked and pitted medjool dates
    • 1/3 cup almond or coconut flour
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • dash of sea salt
    • 1/4 – 1/3 cup melted dairy-free dark chocolate (I melt unsweetened bakers chocolate and sweeten it with a little maple syrup and/or stevia, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips or whatever your favorite chocolate happens to be)
      1 teaspoon course sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    Add the almond pulp, dates, coconut flour, salt and vanilla extract into a food processor and process until the “dough” is the same texture and consistency of sugar cookie dough, or there about. You may need to add a little more flour, depending on how moist your almond pulp was to start.

    Using your hands, make small little round balls with the dough (about a tablespoon or so each) and line them up in rows on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press each one down very gently using a fork. (the original recipe called for using a fancy cookie press, but since I don’t have one, I improvised)

    Bake cookies for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. This time may vary depending on how moist your cookies are. Just keep checking on them so you don’t burn them or dry them out.

    Allow the cookies to cool totally then drizzle the dark chocolate over top of each cookie and sprinkle a small amount of seat salt on each cookie.



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