Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Raw Soft Pumpkin Cookies


In the deli I work in, they make soft, lightly spiced pumpkin cookies with a maple frosting glaze.  The aroma they give off when removed from the oven is simply heavenly.  The rack they cool on is right next to my work station, and they always make me happy as I take in the scent. Very tempting to steal one and snack on it, but since they are not raw and are filled with sugar I do not. I simply dream about them.  


But dreaming is not good enough for me.  Ever.  If I want something I am dreaming about, I go after it, or in this case make it.  So, I decided to make a rawified version.  I created a soft dough that tasted pretty darn amazing before it was made into cookies.  Just the right amount of spice.  I think I like snacking on pumpkin cookie dough just as much as chocolate chip cookie dough.  I don't discriminate when it comes to deliciousness!


The secret to keeping this dough so soft and fluffy is the ground flax seed.  But trust me, you would never even know this healthy fiber and omega 3 filled ingredient is in there since these taste like they should be bad for you.  But of course, you can enjoy all you want and not feel guilty!  I glazed them with a cinnamon maple laced coconut butter glaze and they were pure deliciousness!  Move over classic baked soft pumpkin cookies, these are just as heavenly!


Raw Soft Pumpkin Cookies
makes 12

Dough:
1 cup raw coconut flour (home made is preferred)
3 cup sprouted buckwheat flour (or sprouted oat flour, or additional coconut flour)
1 3/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups chopped raw pumpkin or squash*
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar (maple syrup, or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 cup raw coconut butter ((not oil) warmed to liquid

Glaze:
2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 tsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp filtered water

For the dough, in a food processor, combine the coconut flour, buckwheat flour, flax seed, dates and salt, and process until the dates are very finely chopped and it is all well combined.  Remove from the food processor.  To the processor, add the vanilla, maple, spices, squash, coconut nectar, and coconut butter and process until smooth.  Add back the dry ingredients, and process until smooth Shape into 12 cookies (roll into balls, and flatten them) on a lined dehydrator tray, and dry for about 4-6 hours until firm, but still soft and moist.
Whisk together the glaze ingredients, and drizzle over the cookies (I like to put it in a pastry bag, and pipe it over).  Enjoy!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Chipotle Caramel Apple Chocolate Cups


"You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody." -Maya Angelou

This is one of my favorite quotes, and I think everyone needs to hear it.  We all have those days where we doubt ourselves.  Maybe we don't feel attractive enough, intelligent enough, strong enough in the eyes of others, or ourselves...but the fact is we are! Maybe we just don't see it at the time. Whenever I start to be negative and doubting about myself, I try to stop and start telling myself the things that I appreciate about myself instead.  So, today if you are having one of those days, be kind to yourself, and maybe enjoy some chocolate...because that is always something that is ok to do!


If you want to go all out, make yourself some of these beauties!  Trust me, the combination of caramel, apples, chocolate, and the heat of chipotle is freaking delicious!  You can choose to share them, or not...because sometimes it is ok to make something just for your self. These keep well in the fridge for a few weeks if they last that long...so you can save them and pull one out for a sweet indulgence when needed.



Chipotle Caramel Apple Chocolate Cups
Makes about 12 large cups


Caramel:
10 soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak them in filtered water 30 min. and drain before using)
2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp maple extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
2 tsp maca powder (optional)
1/4 cup filtered water (or more if too thick, add an additional Tbsp at a time)
 1 cup chopped dried apples, soaked in filtered water for 15 minutes until soft and drained well.

Chocolate:
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
3/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt

To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
To make the chocolate, combine all ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Set out 12 PB cup tins (I use the large size, you can use smaller, but then adjust the filling measurements to your size).  Fill the tins 1/4 full with chocolate. Place in the freezer until set, about 10 min.  Take your filling, and spoon one mounded Tbsp into the center of each cup (you don't want it sticking up too far or it will poke out the top of the chocolate, so flatten it slightly.  Top with remaining chocolate so it is even with the top of the cups. Place in the freezer to harden for about 15 minutes, and enjoy! Store in the fridge in an airtight container.




Sunday, September 28, 2014

Raw Banana Matcha Almond Cheesecake


I always have bananas covering a large portion of my kitchen counter.  I use them for part of my breakfasts, smoothies, desserts...you name it.  I love bananas.  But I had an extra large amount last week, and I figured I might as well make something beautiful with some of them.  I wanted a cake, but what I didn't want was a usual suspect as far as the flavor profile went.  


Don't get me wrong, I love a good banana peanut butter, banana chocolate, or banana caramel combo, but I wanted something more exciting!  I decided on banana matcha almond.  I know I like banana and almond together, and matcha and almond together, so I thought banana with the other two flavors would be a win. I like the earthiness of the matcha paired with sweet things.  It just works!


Usually I go for all coconut based fillings that are nut free, but since this cake had almonds as part of the flavor profile, I thought why not use them in the filling too along with the coconut.  I knew this cake was going to be good as soon as I sampled the fillings.  Eh...who am I kidding, I was snacking with the amount of spoonfuls I had, they were delightful!  As I had guessed, the matcha was amazing with the banana and almond!


Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and take a chance with these things.  Especially with desserts.  The best thing about this cake is I think it can be served any time of the year, since bananas are always around.  At least at my house!


Raw Banana Matcha Almond Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cake


Crust:
2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or raw almonds)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling:
2 1/2 cups young coconut meat*
1 cup raw almonds, soaked 8 hours or overnight**
1 cup bananas
1/4 cup coconut water
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup plus raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)***

2 Tbsp matcha powder

2 large bananas, sliced, divided

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and cinnamon and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut, coconut water, banana, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla, and almond extract, in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and and process for a minute until blended. Remove half the mixture (I like to divide it between two bowls and add one back to the processor).  Add matcha powder to the half in the food processor and process until well blended.  
To assemble cheesecake, pour banana almond filling over the crust, reserving about 3 Tbsp for the top of the cake.  lay a layer of sliced bananas over that, then pour over the matcha layer.  Drop some of the remaining banana almond filling by the 1/2 tsp over the matcha layer and swirl with a knife.  Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until set.  When ready to serve, garnish the top with banana slices.  
*If you are unable to get young coconut meat, you may substitute 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours and drained and filtered water instead of the coconut water.
**You can pop the skins off of the almonds after they have been soaked if you want a whiter cake.
***If your coconut meat is very soft and watery, you may need to add a few More Tbsp coconut butter.




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mocha Almond Body Scrub


This is the time of year when I love the smell of freshly ground coffee. I no longer drink coffee, but I love the smell.  It reminds me of when I was younger and my Mom and I would always stop at a local coffee shop after church to get a warm liquid treat.  For a while, I would order a dark chocolate mocha.  Sometimes I would add in a little almond flavor for an extra layer of flavor.  It was sweet and delicious, plus very decadent.  To my high school self it was heavenly.


I was reminiscing about those coffee shop visits last week, and I decided to make a Mocha Almond Body Scrub.  I love how home made body scrubs make my skin feel.  This one is special, because it is especially good for reducing cellulite.  But, it is good on other parts of the body as well!  So how does it work?  Well, the sugar in this scrub gently polishes the skin. The coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals, stimulate blood flow, and improve circulation.  And lastly the almond and coconut oils are to moisturize the skin (you do not want to use soap after this scrub for that reason).  The cacao powder makes it smell like dessert while you are scrubbing.  After you use this scrub, you will feel invigorated, and well taken care of.  At least that is how I feel!  Try it out, and your skin will thank you.  



Mocha Almond Body Scrub
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup ground coffee
1/4 cup almond oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl together until well combined.  Store in a jar.  Use in the shower to exfoliate and moisturize skin!  Just rub into skin, and rinse off with water (but not soap, because you want the moisturizing oils to remain on the skin).



Friday, September 26, 2014

Raw Pumpkin Brownies


The pumpkin creations coming out of my kitchen are in full force right now and that is not likely to stop for a while since I love me some pumpkins and squash! One of the best smelling things that is made in the deli where I work is the pumpkin cookies and muffins.  The aroma makes me happy and after enjoying that, I come home feeling like I need to make my own pumpkin deliciousness!  I made pumpkin blondies earlier this week, so I had to make brownies as well.  It just seemed right!


I made a swee chocolate pumpkin dough, laced with spices that love pumpkin, such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves...and it tasted and smelled wonderful as it was.  And I could have just kneaded in chocolate chunks and stopped there, but that did not make a pretty enough brownie for me.  I wanted a pumpkin layer on top too!  So I whipped that up, and let the brownies set...but they needed chocolate too. Because I could not resist!  These were some delicious Autumnal goodness!  They may look like they have a lot of ingredients, but many of them are spices and they are really not all that hard to make.  So try them out, you deserve to enjoy some too!


Raw Pumpkin Brownies
Makes 12

Dough:
2 cups raw coconut flour (home made is preferred)
2 cup sprouted buckwheat flour (or additional coconut flour)
3/4 cup ground flax seed
1 Tbsp ground psyllium husk
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups chopped raw pumpkin or squash*
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 cup raw walnut butter
1/3 cup raw coconut butter (NOT oil), warmed to liquid

Topping:
1 1/2 cups chopped squash
1 cup raw coconut butter
2 Tbsp raw walnut butter
1/2 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar
pinch sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Chocolate Drizzle:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar, or agave nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

For the dough, in a food processor, combine the coconut flour, buckwheat flour, flax seed, psyllium husk, lucuma, raw cacao powder, dates and salt, and process until the dates are very finely chopped and it is all well combined.  Remove from the food processor.  Add the vanilla, pumpkin, coconut nectar, walnut butter, and coconut butter to the food processor and process until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients back and process until smooth like dough. Then press the dough into a 1 1/2 inch square on a foil lined sheet pan. Place in the freezer, while you make the topping. 
For the topping, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth (if you do not have a high speed blender and there are small bits of squash, you may want to strain it through a fine meshed strainer to remove them).  If it is too warm and a little runny, just place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes until it is more thick.  Spread the mixture over the brownies, then place back in the freezer until set (about an hour), then cut into 12 squares. 
Once the bars are ready, to make the chocolate drizzle, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Then drizzle over the finished bars (I like to put mine in a pastry bag and drizzle it).  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the chocolate.  Store finished bars in the fridge in an airtight container.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Raw Autumn Squash Apple Chili


A coworker of mine was making chili last week and it smelled so amazing, I had been craving it ever since.  Which is why, when I finally got the time and ingredients I made a batch!  This was a little different than classic chili though, because I went for a seasonal twist, adding sweet squash and apples.  Autumn, is actually one of my favorite seasons.  Not only because of the beautiful leaves changing colors on the trees, the crisp air perfect for running, and the awesome sunsets...but because of the local apples and squash.  Especially honeycrisp apples with their tart sweet flesh and kabocha squash, which is the perfect balance of sweet and savory in my mind. They were both perfect in this chili along with tomatoes fresh from my Grandpa's garden!  It was hearty, satisfying and of course delicious!  I think I will be making it often now that the weather is cooling off here.


Raw Autumn Squash Apple Chili
Serves 2-4

3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in filtered water 30 minutes and drained
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp cumin
1 large apple, chopped
2 soft medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp Nama Shoyu
sea salt to taste
1 cup water
2 large tomatoes, diced (4 cups)
2 cups grated sweet winter squash (such as butternut)
1 bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 cup carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

In a food processor, combine the sun dried tomatoes, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, apple, dates, nama shoyu, sea salt, water, and 1 cup of the diced tomatoes, and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse until chopped, but still chunky. Spoon into bowls, and warm in the dehydrator at 115F for about an hour or until desired warmness.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raw Pumpkin Pecan Blondies


 I saw a baked recipe for pumpkin blondies and I just could not resist making my own rawified version.  They sounded so good!  I love blondies as it is, and add in the sweetness and spices of pumpkin...then I am really in love.  Yes you can be in love with dessert.  I am in full pumpkin mode as well right now even if it is just the beginning of fall technically and the leaves have not started to change color yet.


You see, I have missed pumpkin  and squash since last year!  Anyways, back to the blondies.  I knew these were going to be scrumptious even before I was finished making them because the dough tasted amazing, and I could have just eaten that as it was.  I added plenty of spice to the dough, especially cinnamon and ginger which are a must in pumpkin desserts as far as I am concerned.  As far as mix ins went.  Chocolate chips had to be in there, because that is the type of blondie I was craving. But I also added in pecans and golden raisins for some fall flair!  These were so delicious!  The best part is there is no dehydration required, so you get to enjoy them a lot sooner!


Raw Pumpkin Pecan Blondies
Makes 12

Dough:
2 cups raw coconut flour (home made is preferred)
2 cup sprouted buckwheat flour (or additional coconut flour)
3/4 cup ground flax seed
1 Tbsp ground psyllium husk
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups chopped raw pumpkin or squash*
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 cup raw pecan butter
1/3 cup raw coconut butter (NOT oil), warmed to liquid

3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
3/4 cup chopped soft medjool dates (if they are not soft, soak them in filtered water until they are then drain and pat dry before using)
3/4 cup raw chocolate chunks, or chopped raw chocolate

For the dough, in a food processor, combine the coconut flour, buckwheat flour, flax seed, psyllium husk, lucuma, dates and salt, and process until the dates are very finely chopped and it is all well combined.  Remove from the food processor.  To the processor, add the vanilla, maple, spices, squash, coconut nectar, pecan butter, and coconut butter and process until smooth.  Add back the dry ingredients, and process until smooth like dough.  Turn out into a bowl or on a piece of parchment, and knead in the chopped pecans, golden raisins and chocolate chunks. Then press the blondies into a 1 1/2 inch square on a foil or parchment lined sheet pan. Place in the freezer until set (about an hour), then cut into 12 squares and enjoy!  Store in the fridge.

*You may use a sweet winter squash such as kabocha or butternut, which is what I like to do sometimes since the other squash is sweeter than actual pumpkin in raw form.