Mom’s Homemade Red Hot Applesauce with Annie’s Whole Wheat Lemon-Date Rolls

Mom’s Homemade Red Hot Applesauce with Annie’s Whole Wheat Lemon-Date Rolls

Some food memories we have relate directly back to one person.  Mom’s warm, chunky homemade applesauce is one of those foods for me.  Something I know my Mom also loved but rarely got to enjoy, is now a favorite in my own home.  I can remember times in the kitchen as a young girl, peeling apples, eating peels till I was stuffed, and that smell of apples and cinnamon cooking up on the stove.  My mom’s simple little secret for a spiced, warm applesauce? She throws in a handful of Red Hot cinnamon candies at the very end.  Maybe we had a few candies on the side as well…..thanks Mom ♥ And what goes perfectly with hot, creamy, sweet applesauce?  Hot freshly baked breads of course! My friend Annie,  who was my original inspiration to go full Vegan 4 years back now, has always had a way with bread. Pancakes, Waffles, Loaves, anything earthy, hearty and warm.  She shared her recipe for a scrumptiously healthy Whole Wheat Lemon-Date Loaf a few months back was crying out to me and my Mom’s sweet, warm apple sauce.  I’ve always fallen weak-in-the-knees for hearty, crusty breads and biscuits and Annie’s lightly sweet, lightly lemony loaf…

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Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’ – A Review + A Giveaway

Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’ – A Review + A Giveaway

  I had the excruciating task of trying out a few recipes last month from Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’  It was tough.  I managed to get through the book, several times in fact.  And now I can share some of my experience with you.  Fran will share a free copy of her book with one lucky reader as well.  Details on that at the end of the post.  Fran Costigan is an internationally recognized culinary instructor, recipe developer, and innovative vegan pastry chef, and author of 3 cookbooks.  A graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute, Fran was a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan restaurant kitchens.  Today Fran teaches her distinctive courses (including her Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®) in her hometown of New York City at the Institute of Culinary Education.   This woman knows her chocolate! You can almost taste the pages……..   Fran is generously sharing one of her recipes from the book with my readers as well. ‘Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies’  Once you’ve tried this brownie version, it will be hard to go back to any other.  The fudgy brownie contrasts with chewy nuts and the deep, rich…

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Straight from the Vegan Easter Bunny – Raw Cacao Nib Truffles

Straight from the Vegan Easter Bunny – Raw Cacao Nib Truffles

   From Julie’s Lifestyle.com Easter treats can be fun and healthy with these quick, kid-friendly balls of chocolate flavors.  You’ll want to make them year round too but they sure can make a perfect substitute for popular Easter, sugar laden candies and eggs.  These Cacao Nib coated treats will give kids and adults the healthiest option for a sweet and chocolate treat this Easter.  Plus, once you’ve got this recipe down, the sky’s the limit for new versions, flavors and shapes.   Raw Cacao Nibs are just so yummy on their own.  But when you add them to these healthy truffles, they’re just heavenly. If you can’t find cacao nibs in your area, these are certainly delicious treats with cocoa powder coating instead.  But I urge you to give the nibs a try when you can.  I used NuNaturals Orange and Peppermint Liquid Stevia to make up two different flavor backgrounds for these little balls of fun.  The Cacao nibs rolled on top at the end just add to their chocolate background and make them positively super good for you. Have you ever eaten a whole plate full of candy and not been sinking with guilt and a stomach ache? Okay,…

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Coconut Butter Biscoff Fudge = “little bites of Heaven”

Coconut Butter Biscoff Fudge = “little bites of Heaven”

    If I could only bring 5 food items to a deserted island, 2 of them would be jars of Biscoff Spread.   How we got lucky enough to have this stuff turn out to be Vegan as well as fantabulous?  Only God knows!  Combine it with coconut butter and chocolate?  HEAVENLY stuff ♥        The pan wont last to the end of the day……just warning you!             1 year ago I was pouring Stawberry Syrup over Buckwheat Pancakes

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Coconut Dulce de Leche Candies and Cream

Coconut Dulce de Leche Candies and Cream

This week I discovered what are likely the cutest and likely the most tasty cookies ever over at  Keepin’ It Kind.  Rika from Vegan Miam had created the cutest little purple cookies you’ll ever see.  And sandwiched between those gorgeous crispy layers was creamy decadent Coconut Dulce de Leche.      Oh my. My dreams of that creamy caramel taste without the dairy started swirling around and around in my head for the rest of the week.  Especially since now I know how simple and inexpensive the ingredients in this magical sauce are;  I just had to make some for myself.  But I also thought about how much I had to get done for the holidays, and how little I wanted to stand by the stove for 2 hours so as not to burn a single spoonful of this heavenly creation.  Of course!  I’d let my little 2 quart crock pot do all the work for me while I slept cleaned and wrapped and got all my work done.  The smell of the creamy caramelizing leche boiling away all day ( 7 hours in total) was a little difficult to ignore though.  I forced myself to do taste test after taste test…

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Vegan Richa and Vegan Diwali Sweets

Just because you may have missed out on Diwali celebrations last week doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy some of the wonderful sweet Diwali traditional recipes. Beautifully “Veganized” for you by Vegan Richa herself…. Print Vegan Richa’s Coconut Burfi Author: Richa @ “http://www.veganricha.com Recipe type: Traditional Diwali Treat Cuisine: Indian   Makes 8-10 balls. Easily doubled. Allergy Information: Dairy, Egg, Corn, Soy, Yeast free, Vegan. Can be made nut, gluten free Ingredients ½ cup Semolina flour (or Brown rice flour for Glutenfree) ½ cup dry Coconut flakes 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil (optional. Omit to make Oil-free) 2 Tablespoons chopped cashew pieces (optional. Omit to make nut-free) a pinch of salt Sugar Syrup: ½ cup ground raw sugar 3 Tablespoons water ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder Instructions In a large pan, dry roast the semolina on medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes until the color changes and it gets fragrant. Using a blender/processor, blend the coconut flakes to make coarse coconut flour. Add coconut flour, coconut oil, salt and cashew pieces to the pan. Mix well and roast for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pan, make the sugar syrup. Add all syrup ingredients and bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to heat at…

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Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

The winner of the ‘Bake and Destroy’ Cookbook giveaway is…… Tanya Shields! Congrats to you Girl♥  I saw this wonderful caramel and thought it could become a proper coating for some big ripe red apples.  To fancy them up just a bit, I sprinkled each apple with some coarse sea salt while the caramel was still warm.  VERY nice.  The caramel sauce in itself will make a special gift.  Then bring along a basket of apples and make it a party!  The Vegan caramel wont take your teeth out and the salt, well it just makes thing a little refined, don’t you know.  A lot tasty.  You can find step by step instructions for this luscious sweet creamy sauce at Cara’s  Forks and Beans:  Microwavable Vegan Caramel Sauce from Forks and Beans I think I like Red Foods, with or without all those nutrients.  Thanks Cara for a great recipe! Have a safe weekend everyone.

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Crystallized Ginger Candy & Ginger Pear Tea

Crystallized Ginger Candy & Ginger Pear Tea

  A funny thing happened to me when I ventured into making my own homemade crystallized ginger candy this week. I discovered Ginger Pear Tea ♥   This candy is simple to make.  Just slice up some fresh ginger into thin strips, boil it for 30 minutes, add sugar, dehydrate, eat!  A wonderful thing happens  when you pour off the liquid you’ve been softening up the ginger in.  It makes a fantastic tea.  I had yet another overly ripened pear again so I added some juice from the pear  in with the ginger water.  Add a little stevia and BOOM! A spicy rich tea that is even good for you.  Between the candy and the tea I am loving my ginger this week!  I purchased a small 4 oz. jar of crystallized ginger last month from Pensey’s and nibbled away at a little each day.  At $4 I felt the need to conserve my cravings no matter how deliciously healthy the bits were.  But now its all mine at only pennies per cup.  Its ginger all around and as much as I’d like.  I love the spicy sweet and the chewy texture of the candy.  The tea gives it’s own…

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Sea Glass Candy

Sea Glass Candy

  I made a batch of this candy last year and wanted to share the recipe again with you all.  It’s simple and fun to make.  You can definitely change the colors to your liking but I think these Ocean blues and greens are pretty awesome.  Not a super healthy thing to eat a lot of but it makes a great gift or snack if you stick to just a piece or two.  Keeps in the freezer well and doesn’t stick to your fingers or make a mess for little hands taking a bite 😉  I’m sure kids would find the process a real kick (well supervised)  and of course would enjoy taste testing the final product!  It’s really just a big lollipop that gets broken up into pieces.  But it can sure look pretty in a bowl … or in your mouth… I made two batches.  One green and one blue. You’ll need a candy thermometer that goes beyond 250 degrees. When the sugar gets to a high enough temperature, you’ll pour the hot liquid out onto a greased pan. It hardens quickly into one gigantic Lollipop. Here’s the fun part for kids:  when the candy hardens, you’ll sprinkle…

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July 4th Bing Cherry Bombs

 I live in Washington D.C. and one thing we celebrate in grand fashion each year is Independence Day on July 4th. Although I rarely go down to the Mall for the biggest fireworks show anymore, crowds are not my favorite thing since 9-11, I do like to celebrate with family and some good foods. This time of year that usually includes some summer fresh fruit or veggies. And Bing Cherries are absolutely in my top 10 Summer snacks.  Who knew they were also pretty healthy for you? I can remember each summer growing up, my Mom bringing home the huge bag of cherries and we’d grab a handful, go outside and start gobbling them up and spitting out the pits over the deck. The bag never lasted very long ;( My fancier version here includes two more  favorite foods:  Dark Chocolate and some shredded Coconut flakes.  I also experimented with a Vegan Marshmallow spread I found that is super easy to use and tastes great with the Coconut and the sour of the Bing Cherries.  The Vegan Marshmallow Creme from Suzanne’s that  I used here made the cherries taste a lot like a fruit filled cake.  Not overly sweet but…

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Raw-Vegan Chocolate Sauce

A delicious, raw chocolate dessert sauce that can adapt itself from a creamy dipping sauce for fruits into a mildly sweet frosting for cakes or sweetbreads.  Mix in a handful of dried fruits and nuts and spoon onto wax paper to make Raw Nut Candies. A wonderfully versatile  sauce from Carmella Soleil at Carmella’s Sunny Raw Kitchen. Adapted from “Carmella’s Raw Sunny Kitchen” – Raw Vegan Chocolate Sauce Carmella’s original recipe called for Coconut Oil. I thought the coconut taste was too strong for me and prefer a milder Vegetable spread option for the fat. I also used powdered Coconut Palm Sugar mixed in with the water until it dissolved in place of the Agave in mine. It’s really amazing that this creamy, sweet sauce comes from a dry almost bitter tasting nut like pecans. I’d like to try a version with walnuts and see how that goes too. So glad Carmella’s got this basic for us though already. And I hope she is back on the road to recovery and getting some great care these days 🙂 PrintRaw-Vegan Chocolate Sauce What you will need for this recipe:3/4 cup raw cacao 1/2 cup pecans, soaked 1/2 cup raw liquid sweetener, or…

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Ornament Cake Balls – Vegan, Gluten Free w/ Raw Options

Ornament Cake Balls – Vegan, Gluten Free w/ Raw Options

I saw these adorable little ornaments while searching for some ‘cake pop’ ideas and had to give them a try.  I picked up some clearance ornaments at Michael’s Crafts for a $1, removed the top metal hooks from them and got to work making up a ‘raw’ batter for my pops. My quick and easy – delicious raw recipe came from Cara over at ‘Fork and Beans’.  Leave it to Cara to come up with a wonderfully nutritious version that tastes as good as it looks!  Check out her Raw Chocolate Cake Pops. After the dough balls firmed up in the freezer, I rolled a few in some sugar crystals and dipped others in melted chocolate. These cute little balls of sweet goodness would be perfect for a party tray or dessert centerpiece for holiday tables.  With all the sweet stuff around this month, you can pop one of these bites without much thought to it ending up on your hips. Store them in a sealed container in the freezer until you’re ready to decorate the tree! Definitely healthy fun food……… Enjoy 🙂

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Spicy Candied Nut Brittle

Candied Nuts?  Spice? = YUM I’ve always loved contrasting flavors and textures in food and this snack has it all! The salty, spicy seasonings, the syrupy sweetness of the stevia and maple syrup, the crunch of the caramelized  nuts! I took half of this batch and saved it to break up on top of salads and the other half I pressed into a greased square container to make bars out of for breakfast.  Press down hard on the candied nuts, cover and freeze.  When they get cold, just cut into squares and wrap. Either way you enjoy these spicy gems……….you will enjoy them a lot! Spicy Candied Nut Brittle – Sugar Free options, Vegan & Gluten Free 4 Cups of Mixed Raw Nuts    ( I used slivered Almonds, Brazil, Pistachio and Peanuts in this batch) 1/3 Cup Black Sesame Seeds 1/3 Cup Vegan Vegetable Spread like Earth Balance 1/3 Cup NuNaturals brand  PreSweet™ Tagatose 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar 1 Tbs. Cinnamon 1 tsp. Sea Salt 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes Melt the Vegetable Spread in an iron skillet or fry pan over low heat  until it begins to simmer slightly. Add in all…

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Vegan Cocoa-Pomegranate Freezer Fudge

Vegan Cocoa-Pomegranate Freezer Fudge

The flavors of chocolate, a touch of orange and a tangy sour bite of the Pomegranate make this ‘good for you’ fudge my new favorite. The contrasting textures of the Pomegranate and the Cocoa Powder leave your tongue wondering ‘Wow, what’s next?” Then you taste the creamy dates and chia seed filled fudge and the whole thing kind of melds together in your mouth…………. This fudge is not too sweet, not to sour, and definitely a healthy choice for snacking!      Click here for how to remove pomegranate seeds   The Cocoa & Pomegranate are a wonderful contrast of  flavors. First you taste the mildly sweet cocoa, then a burst of tart fresh Pomegranate. A perfect bite. Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffles

Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffles

Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffles  – Sugar & Dairy Free   The inspiration for these truffles started out to be this wonderful recipe for Creamy Mixed Berry White Chocolate Crumble Bars. From Averi Cooks     Well…………they didn’t quite work out when I tried to adjust them to Dairy and Sugar Free…Oh well. Try Averie’s recipe to try those beauties.  But my Peanut Butter and Jelly version is darn good too.  Here’s what mine turned out to be in the end: Peanut Butter & Jelly Truffles 1 2/3 Cup Coconut Flour 1 Cup Old Fashioned Steel Cut Oatmeal (you could use either quick oats or regular) 4 Oz. Softened Organic Vegetable Spread like Earth Balance Mix dry ingredients and then add in: 1 tsp. Liquid Vanilla Stevia ( I used NuNaturals brand) 1 Cup of Nut Milk Creamer ( I used an almond / cashew creamer this time, Coconut would be fine) 1 Cup unsweetened Peanut Butter softened in the microwave but not melted 1 Cup of shredded Coconut When all this is stirred in together,  fold in 2 Cups of frozen mixed berries. I used my hands to blend everything together evenly, sometimes fingers just work better than spoons……add more…

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Brazil Nut Brittle w/ Sugar Free Options

Crunchy, Crispy, Creamy, Sweet, Salty…………all in one bite! Ingredients:1 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar1/2 Cup Agave Nectar1 Cup Chopped Brazil Nuts (I used Raw for this but salted is fine)1/4 Cup Salted Sunflower Seeds (optional)1/2 tsp. coarse Sea Salt2 Tbs. Organic Vegetable Spread1/2 tsp. Vanilla Stevia 1 Tbs. Baking Soda Butter a cookie sheet. Combine the Palm Sugar and Agave in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in the nuts/ seeds, be careful not to touch the sugar because it will be boiling and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes more, then stir in Vegetable Spread and Stevia and microwave for 1  minute.    Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread lightly. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.                Since I was adding chocolate this time, I let the brittle cool for about 5 minutes before swirling the chocolate on.  I wanted the brittle to set up some but still be warm when the chocolate was drizzled on so it wouldn’t blend in with the brittle but would stay on top. Couldn’t believe how light and crispy the brittle came out.  I increased my original amount of Baking Soda from 1 tsp. to 1 Tbs.…

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