Annie’s Almond Butter Chocolate Oat & Seed Squares from An Unrefined Vegan – April’s ‘Nut Butter Bash’ entry

Annie’s Almond Butter Chocolate Oat & Seed Squares from An Unrefined Vegan – April’s ‘Nut Butter Bash’ entry

April’s ‘Nut Butter Bash’ entry comes from my long time Virtual buddy Annie; Creator of An Unrefined Vegan. She never fails to disappoint after 3 years of my monthly blogger entries.  These squares are no exception.   Check ’em out: When Angela invited me to participate in her annual blogger/foodie event (this year’s is called Nut Butter Bash), I hesitated. For about 30 seconds. This gave me an opportunity to just go (with my sincere apologies) a little nuts with ingredients that were verboten in our household. The recipe below is just about everything we no longer eat. And it is one decadent, devilishly delicious dessert. Coconut oil, chocolate chips, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and of course – the star of the show: almond butter. Creamy, luscious, rich, chocolatey. I ate one purely for testing purposes, you understand, and then quickly wrapped them up and gave them to a neighbor. I couldn’t be trusted with the whole batch. The (bitter) irony is not lost on me. The woman who devoted a whole month to peanut butter-themed recipesis no longer eating nut butters of any kind. It is not an allergy that stopped me in my nutty tracks, but the health and well-being of my…

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“Protein Ninja” by Terry Hope Romero + Dark Chocolate Almond Chewies

“Protein Ninja” by Terry Hope Romero + Dark Chocolate Almond Chewies

Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Terry Hope Romero’s “Salad Samurai” which was simply,  deliciously, outstanding! No one’s ever done so much with salads, slaws and sides in one book to strike at my personal veggie cravings as Terry did.  So when they sent out a copy of her newest vegan book, “Protein Ninja”, I was confident I’d be more than happy with the her ‘protein packed’ recipes and tips.  I made my first recipe from the book the very first day the book arrived and I’ve been experimenting and delighting in the results from her book for weeks now. Thanks to Da Capo Lifelong Publishing, you’ll be able to enter to win a copy of Terry’s new book at the end of my review here.   First a quick look at some of the many recipes I’ve whipped up from Terry’s new book already: “Protein Ninja” starts out aptly, guiding readers to easy, economical sources of protein in a plant based diet.  What to keep in your panty.  Best techniques for storing protein packed foods.  On the go foods.   After the Ninja basics, she gets into some hard core creative ways to boost your protein intake without…

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Spiral Spring’s Spirulina Maxima Powder & Delectable Choco-Spring Cranberry Bites

Spiral Spring’s Spirulina Maxima Powder & Delectable Choco-Spring Cranberry Bites

Why all the hype about Spirulina? Here’s a refresher for you: A cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) consumed for thousands of years for its nutritional properties One of the most potent nutrient sources available Benefits include: Strengthens immune system, improves eye health, improves digestive system, lowers cholesterol, and helps detox the body Spiral Spring’s Maxima Powders and Tablets are Gluten-Free, Certified Kosher, USDA Organic, non-GMO. As far as green powders go, and I’m getting to be an expert at their quality and values these days, Spiral Springs is the best I’ve had the opportunity to try yet.  I wish I could send each of you a sample to try this stuff out.   It’s powerful stuff, maybe the healthiest thing you could do for your health. SPIRULINA HAS NO CHOLESTEROL CALCIUM 1.26 times more calcium than cheese.4.15 times more calcium than soy. 8.4 times more calcium than fresh milk. IRON 22 times more iron than beef liver. 32 times more iron than black beans. 34 times more iron than spinach. 83 times more iron than beef. BETA-CAROTENE 1.6 times more beta-carotene than beef liver. 15.2 times more beta-carotene than peaches. 21 times more beta-carotene than carrots. 76 times more beta-carotene than cheese.…

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Adding Powdered Greens to your diet, deliciously + a Giveaway!

Adding Powdered Greens to your diet, deliciously + a Giveaway!

I want to share some thoughts today on Vegan “Dieting” and healthy weight loss.   I’m absolutely NOT a ‘green smoothie’ gal – can’t stand the taste so I stopped trying to like them years ago.  But green powders, full of tons of nutrients like ‘Organic Spirulina’ Chlorella, Wheat Grass, Barley’ – that I can do everyday to add healthy, non-fat greens to my diet.  I’ve been hiding Oriya Organics green powders in my foods for over a year now and can really attest to the increased energy they can give an already healthy, plant based diet. The wonderful folks at Oriya want to share some goodies with one lucky reader now this week.  Don’t forget to enter to win a full size of their ‘Supergreen Medley’ a full size ‘Superfood Protein Medley‘ and a cool mixing cup – all up for grabs at the end of the post here. First a little background on me: I’m one of those Vegans who didn’t exactly lose weight when I stopped eating meat and animal products 3 years ago. When I stopped eating dairy products 5 years ago, I basically lived on meat and veggies for two years.  That brought me a…

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‘The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook’ Giveaway, Emily’s Almond Cookies and a fabulous bonus from Gena Hamshaw @Choosing Raw

‘The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook’ Giveaway, Emily’s Almond Cookies and a fabulous bonus from Gena Hamshaw @Choosing Raw

    This recipe is part of a Family Favourites series hosted by Angela at Canned Time. The theme was to veganize a recipe that you used to love as a kid and/or that your fam would regularly enjoy together. Honestly, I had trouble thinking of sweet recipes that I hadn’t already veganized for my blog (like pumpkin pie, berries and whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate cake) and most of the savoury dishes I loved eating when I was little are just sooo not ideal to veganize (think Thai-style omelettes and baked salmon). There were a lot of savoury foods I ate growing up that I COULD made vegan now – pizza pops and chicken nuggets to name a couple – but they wouldn’t be that healthy or simple and I’m not into spending lots of time making recipes for dinner, especially if they have more refined ingredients.. I’d rather just bake eight potatoes, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and be done with it. Seriously, my dinners are pathetically easy when I’m not writing a savoury cookbook.  My point is I couldn’t think of any recipe that I wanted to make a healthy vegan version of. So I improvised. I planned…

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Sunwarrior Vanilla Goji Berry Granola Parfait & An Awesome Giveaway!!

Sunwarrior Vanilla Goji Berry Granola Parfait & An Awesome Giveaway!!

I just love having the opportunity to help someone try out these products for free this month! Sunwarrior made me very happy this summer! Here’s why.. If you’re new to Canned Time, you may have missed a scrumptious posting I brought you this spring which featured a few recipe ideas using a fabulous new ‘Classic Plus’ line from Sunwarrior products.  If so, please check it out after you’ve enter to win some Sunwarrior for yourself at the end of this posting.   Here’s the link to that earlier article. It has a complete listing of all the fabulously healthy ingredients that Sunwarrior uses in this new ‘Classic Plus’ line and shows you just how important the way they process their products can be to how beneficial they are to your body. Some protein powders leave you wondering why you didn’t spend a little more and get something truly beneficial and tasty?  I’ve been using Sunwarrior’s full line now for years and I really think the Classic Plus is their best product in the full line of options they offer.  The video here will get you some of the reasons I love this product so much and why you MUST enter…

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July 4th Cherry-Ice Watermelon Mocktails and No-Bake Salted Chocolate Cherry Doughnuts

July 4th Cherry-Ice Watermelon Mocktails and No-Bake Salted Chocolate Cherry Doughnuts

ALOHA! Today, just in time for the July 4th celebrations I have some Cool Summer fresh healthy treats for you! Having grown up in the Washington D. C. Metro area, I’ve seen my fair share of July 4th festivities.  My family would drive down to The Mall, early in the afternoon so we could get a spot on the grass near the Washington Monument with a good view of the fireworks and music most years.  Some years, were better than others as I remember.  Some years, the weather would be unbearably hot and humid.  In the late 60’s, there were Hippies, Police scuffles and things were a little less family friendly….  But they all had that swelling of patriotism,  family groups from all Nationalities, hot summer sun and plenty of food and drinks.   Now that I’m still in D. C. but have a little less tolerance for heat and crowds, I prefer to enjoy just as much food and fun but most likely it’s from right in our own back yard.  The music is traditional, the food… a lot more healthy, and the drinks are now less sugary and fresh from the farmer’s market.    “July 4th Cherry-Ice Watermelon Mocktails” …

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Peanut Butter and Strawberry Chia Jam Cookies with Sugar Free & Raw Options

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Chia Jam Cookies with Sugar Free & Raw Options

 What’s better than a chewy peanut butter cookie? Let’s see… Whether you choose a ‘Raw’ cookie …  Or Baked and Toasted….      These are a tasty, healthy way to get your sweet in without all the fat, sugars or gluten of most cookies. Have a great week everyone! Thinkin’ Jack had one too many cookies…………Shhhhhh !

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No Bake Maca Chia Chews with Pistachio Maple Glaze – Kristy’s 2014 Vegan Cookie Swap! Plus a Vitamix Giveaway Contest

No Bake Maca Chia Chews with Pistachio Maple Glaze – Kristy’s 2014 Vegan Cookie Swap!  Plus a Vitamix Giveaway Contest

I’m so happy to be joining Kristy’s Keepin’ It Kind Vegan Cookie Swap again this year.   Last year, my 5 Layer Lime Brulee Bar Cookies were slightly more complicated than my recipe for this year’s event.  This year, Kristy’s month long event has a special addition.  Vitamix will award one lucky reader with a fabulous Vitamix mixer!    Awesome.   To enter to win, and the see the full post and recipe for my Maca Chia Chews, you’ll need to hop on over to Keepin’ It Kind. Be sure to check out all the Cookie Swap entries while your there as well.   No bake and raw, these Maca Chia Chews will be the hit of any holiday party and likely, the most healthy treat on the tray! Topped with a naturally sweetened glaze and a pinch of my favorite Pistachios, this cookie is a perfect choice for any diet, any taste,  any cookie lover~!     Chocolate Chips?  Cacao?  Maple Syrup?  How can you go wrong with these babies? I love raw cookies for the same reason that people so love cookie dough.  You cut out a step, baking that is, and in the process, allow for more of…

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Spiced Carrot Cookies

Spiced Carrot Cookies

I’ve been juice, juice juicing this month.  What do you get when you juice?  Pulp!  And more pulp. I can’t handle buying beautiful, organic fruits and veggies and throwing away any little part of them.  So saving my pulp has produced a lovely little Spiced Carrot Cookie.   They’re Vegan, Gluten-free, with Refined Sugar Free options. Read on!  Read on!  Carrots and Orange is a nice, simple combination for juicing.  Mildly sweet.  Very healthy.  Relatively inexpensive.  Very quick! Just 3 or 4 carrots is plenty for a large juice glass.  And an Orange or two will round out the flavors.  The carrots will yield a cup or more of pulp for your cookies.  I don’t have a ‘juicer’ so I just blend the chopped carrots in a high speed blender and then strain the juice out through a fine mesh strainer.  Try to leave your pulp for an hour or so to remove as much liquid as possible.  I put my stainer over a deep bowl.  I squeeze a lot of the juices out with the back of a large spoon and then leave the bowl in the fridge so the pulp can drip through the strainer for a while without wasting…

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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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Mandarin Almond Cookies – gluten-free with raw options

Mandarin Almond Cookies – gluten-free with raw options

My Flax Flour experiments continue. Last week I successfully created a flavor packed cocoa-peanut butter cupcake  This time I combined golden ground flax seeds with almond flour and tangy mandarin orange for a delicate and cake-like cookie.   They’re as healthy as a cookie can be.        Check out the health benefits in these little golden flax seed jewels HERE.  A zesty little cookie!     I told myself I was fighting off cold and flu germs by eating these cookies.  Not really.  They’re just yummy ♥ Enjoy!  

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Vegan Peanut Butter Cocoa Cupcakes – for “The Lunchbox Fund: Feeding South Africa”

Vegan Peanut Butter Cocoa Cupcakes – for “The Lunchbox Fund: Feeding South Africa”

FEED A CHILD, NOURISH A MIND.      ON FEBRUARY 10, 2014,  FOOD BLOGGERS ARE DONATING THEIR POSTS TO SUPPORT THE LUNCHBOX FUND. WE ARE RAISING MONEY TO PROVIDE A DAILY MEAL TO 100 SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLCHILDREN FOR ONE YEAR.  Last year in The Giving Tables  event,  I shared a wonderfully delicious meal idea, “The Vegan Value Meal”,  that emphasized the need for us to concentrate on healthy diets as well as inexpensive.  This subject is dear to my heart.  I am more and more concerned about the way advertisers and the food industry promote low nutritional food items for reduced income families.  Fast food doesn’t have to be full of sugars and empty carbs if we educate what foods are really best for our health.   This year, The Giving Table  has partnered with The Lunchbox Fund in a new campaign to feed 100 needy children in South Africa.  Their goal is to provide 1 meal, each day to 100 children while feeding their minds about nutrition as well.  To support this effort, I’m sharing a lunchbox idea of my own which features these lovely, easy, inexpensive and nutritious peanut butter cupcakes.  They are actually so packed with good flavor…

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5 Layer Lime Brûlée Bar Cookies for Keepin’ It Kind’s Cookie Swap Party

5 Layer Lime Brûlée Bar Cookies for Keepin’ It Kind’s Cookie Swap Party

I’m so pleased to be a part of Kristy’s Cookie Swap Party!  I’ve been a fan of Keepin’ It Kind for about a year and always look forward to Kristy’s recipes.  She has a unique way of bringing serious issues to us without being preachy, self-serving or unkind to those of us who are struggling to do the right thing when it comes to eating and respecting animals.  She’s just a true sweetie!  Thanks Kristy ♥ So I’m sharing a new recipe that combines so many of my favorite dessert flavors; chocolate, almond, caramel, vanilla, citrus just to name a few. These bars have of a little of everything in each bite.   The contrasting crisp and creamy, the sour vs. crunchy caramel in the bruleed lime topping all combine for one great cookie treat.  Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate drizzle hiding in between everything else.  Yes, they would be just as tasty without the candied Limes on top of each bar but heck, it’s the holiday season and I’m going all out these days to jazz up my recipes.  I love lime with chocolate and I love that hint of crunchy caramelized Turbinado sugar topping with these bars.  Yea,…

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Salted Mocha Caramel Lava Cookies – plus a giveaway

Salted Mocha Caramel Lava Cookies – plus a giveaway

I know we’re all up to our eyebrows in Holiday dressings and pumpkin bars right now…but this cookie recipe is worth stashing in your ‘must try’ folder for 2014.  It’s Awesome. Originally perfected by a young wonderfully talented British baker named Izy, creator of ‘Topped With Cinnamon‘, they are chewy and gooey and overall like a few bites of heaven.  Have a napkin ready to wipe the drool when you check out her video recipe for Izy’s ‘Salted Caramel + Nutella Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookie’ recipe.  It’s Awesome too! Of course, Izy’s version is just perfection.  But then it wouldn’t be natural if I didn’t tinker with the ingredients a bit.  Izy’s recipe is not Vegan.  And I wanted to try something without the Nutella that had more of a Mocha/ Caramel background.  So, like thousands of non-dairy eaters out there, I dropped the eggs and added 2 Tbs. of flax mixed with water.  I used molasses, Vegan butter and ground coffee  instead of the cocoa and used a  caramel sunflower seed butter cup from SunCups.com  for the filling in place of Nutella and the  Cadbury candy.  I also topped mine with some whole pecans that I pressed into the…

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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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Kathy Hester’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies For Two’ – plus a giveaway!

Kathy Hester’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies For Two’ – plus a giveaway!

Closing out the end of Vegan MoFo with a bang folks: Have you had that evening yearning for just a touch of sweet but would never dream of dragging out everything you would need to make a couple dozen cookies up hot and fresh? Kathy Hester has a solution that will rock your dessert world…as well as your meal plans. Seriously.  Is this cookie big enough or what? The recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies in  ‘Vegan Slow Cooking For Two – or – Just For You’ has directions for one big beautiful (shareable) cookie.   I mixed up a quadruple batch of batter then separated  half into a long tube, wrapped it and stuck it in the freezer for another night’s cravings.  All I have to do is heat up the slow cooker and slice off a couple of  inches of batter from the freezer some night and I’m set in about an hour.  Okay, maybe I over did it a too much  little with the ‘extras’  for these cookies but they are chocked full of goodness.  Big dark chocolate chips, pecans, cranberries…… I also sprinkled each one with some coarse sea salt that cuts through the dark rich chocolate chips perfectly.…

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Cranberry Cocoa Rice Crispy Bars

A blast from your past today on Canned-Time I’ve had cravings this week for something nostalgic and tasty from childhood and so, as it goes, I grabbed a box of Health food store Cocoa Crispy cereal.  By the time I got home I just had to have a big bowl of that cocoa taste I remembered.  The almond milk turned all cocoa brown and sweet.  The crunch in the rice pieces faded more and more with each bite.  The soggier they got,  the more I wished that I’d waited and mixed up something with a little more crunch factor.  Enter – Cranberry Coco-Crispy Bars. These bars are just what I needed for my childhood craving.  I had a brand new jug of Vegan Marshmallow waiting to melt into my puffed rice.  But couldn’t I improve on these tasty treats to make them a little more healthy? I’ve been buried in Vegan cookbooks lately and thought I’d try the old “add something ‘good-for-you’ to them” trick. Cranberries, and a few walnuts for good measure ♥  The Vegan “RiceMellow” melted perfectly with a little Earthbalance and a pinch of Cayenne pepper just to make them a little more ‘grown up’ Grease a…

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blondies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blondies

  I’ve always wondered what the difference between ‘brownies’ and ‘blondies’ is.  Now I know, it’s just a little molasses.  Or Brown Sugar.     Creating a Vegan Blondie wasn’t too tricky, but this version is also Gluten Free so I was very pleased that it turned out moist and cakey.  Gluten free and I are not friends yet in the kitchen………..but we’re talking at least The flax ‘eggs’ worked well, I added both yeast and baking powder to make sure the batter had some lift.  And homemade brown sugar makes them as fresh as possible. I mixed up my first batch of brown sugar last year and am truly addicted to the difference from store bought.   If  you’ve never tried your own, here’s some details on how easy it really is to mix up and have fresh on hand anytime:         Homemade brown sugar makes up in about 5 minutes and only has two ingredients. You can make it dark or light, store it just like store bought and more importantly you’ll know what’s in it……….you can use the molasses of choice and sugar of choice for that matter.  Check here for more details.  It’s…

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Frozen Fruit Smoothie Breakfast Bar

Featured on: Brit + Co. The Best Uses for Frozen Berries You’ll Ever Find: 27 Brilliant Berry Recipes  For years I’ve been blending away all the delicious healthy ingredients for green smoothies, usually at lunch time since I leave for work before 5 am and no one wants to listen to ice crushing…including me at that time of day.  I’d love to have a delicious icy drink for my morning meal but it doesn’t work out for me time wise.  I also freeze left over smoothie in ball jars but it takes forever for them to thaw.  Sometimes they don’t soften up for hours when I take them for work and that doesn’t work either ;( So I’ve invented a freeze, grab and go version of a smoothie:  These little squares have all the good things in a green smoothie…and a little more.  Fruit, Nut Milk,  Flax, a little Vanilla Protein Mix… And are perfectly portable! Mix up a batch of these with your favorite smoothie flavor(s), pour it out in a lined pan, freeze and then cut into take-with squares.      Hope you will enjoy this smoothie in a bar with your own favorite flavors.  Be sure and…

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Brownie Date Nut Bread with Strawberry Butter

 A wonderful pair up:  Cocoa, Strawberry, Dates and Butter. Enjoying every little sweet, tangy bite! PrintBrownie Date Nut Bread with Strawberry Butter Yield: 1 1/2 Lbs. loafServing Size: 1 inch slice This Brownie Date loaf will be more bread like than cake. It’s very dense and filling. The Strawberry Butter goes well with a slice fresh from the bread maker and lightens up the dessert with it’s tang and fluffy texture in contrast to the dense heavy bread. I sliced up my loaf and wrapped individual pieces to take as a mid day snack. Not overly sweet and it’s relatively sugar free with the Stevia.What you will need for this recipe:1/2 Cup Stevia Baking Blend (I used NuNaturals Fiber Blend brand) 1/2 Cup High Quality Cocoa Powder 1 1/4 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour 1 Cup Chopped Dates soaked in 1 Cup Boiling Water (reserve soak water) 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts 3 Tbs. Ground Flax Seed mixed with 6 Tbs. Water) 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon 2 tsp. Baking Powder 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract InstructionsSoak chopped dates in boiling water. Add ingredients to bread maker in this order: Vanilla, Flax w/water, Dates w/ soak water, Sea Salt, Cinnamon,…

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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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Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Basket Weave Chocolate Topping

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Basket Weave Chocolate Topping

These tasty bars are just a fun to look at as they are to eat……….and super easy to make as well! The trick in making your chocolate topping extra fancy is just finding a cheap, patterned place mat to cut up and smear some melted chocolate all over.  Let it cool, peal back the mat………. and you’ve got a great new look to plain old cheesecake. 1. Cut the place mat so that it is the same size as the  dessert.  This woven mat worked well but any patterned plastic will be fine. 2. Spread melted chocolate over the mat and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. When the chocolate hardens, slowly peel the plastic mat away from the chocolate.  Then keep the chocolate in the fridge wrapped up until you are ready to top your dessert with it. Gently place the patterned chocolate on top of your dessert.  Press down lightly to adhere the chocolate onto the top and refrigerate to seal.    The mat should  wash up and be reusable over and over.  I got this one at Marshall’s for $1.99. There are also professional versions available on line as well. There are tons of great Pumpkin Cheesecake recipes out…

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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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Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix Review w/ Pumpkin Puree / Vegan Options

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix Review w/ Pumpkin Puree / Vegan Options

I’ve seen so many pins for brownies made with just a can of pumpkin puree, no eggs, milk, oil….just a can of pumpkin.  I wanted to see how it would work.  So I picked up a box of brownie mix the other day at Trader Joe’s. I’ve heard you can substitute the egg and water in a cake for canned beans but I’ve never tried Pumpkin puree so this was a fun experiment for me.  It worked out great. Just replace  the Eggs, Oil and Water with 1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, just puree.  Stir the pumpkin into the batter until all the dry ingredients are mixed.  Pour into an 8 X 8 pan and bake per the boxed brownie directions. This change in recipe also makes the dessert into a Vegan option. Never leaving good enough alone, I added Sugar Free Chocolate Chips onto the top of the brownies when they were still warm.  Then I sprinkled the melting chocolate chips with flaked coconut.  It turned out to be just too much sweet for me.  But, the pumpkin brownies worked out great.  Very moist, very spongy and fully cooked. If I made these…

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Vegan Coconut Beet Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Vegan Coconut Beet Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Coconut Beet Cookies have big Chocolate Chips to sweeten up the veggie-ness of the cookie. I came up with these because I really love the nutrition in beets………..but can’t stand the flavor.  I’ve tried, but it aint happening for me I also wanted a soft cookie that I could do in the dehydrator.  These are chewy but not ‘mushy’ so they hold up well for packing, don’t crumble and keep well in the fridge. I went heavy on the spices to cover the beet taste and also used a couple new products from NuNaturals to sweeten the batter. I used the NuNaturals More Fiber Stevia Baking Blend as a substitute for flour and it worked perfectly to hold the pureed beets together The other NuNaturals sweetening product I tried is new and turned out perfectly with these cookies. It’s actually a probiotic and a sweetener called’ PreSweet’ Tagatose, One of the health benefits of PreSweet is that it is a prebiotic ingredient. PreSweet can actually be browned like sugar…..definately on my list from now on for sugar substitutions.  I sprinkled a little on top of each cookie for this recipe and there is no aftertaste. Check out the NuNatural’s website…

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Coconut Blueberry Dark Chocolate Bark

Coconut Blueberry Dark Chocolate Bark

It was time to clean out some ‘just about used up’ bags from my freezer and what better way than to combine all the good ingredients inside some chocolate? There’s no real recipe here since I was just kind of piling things into a bowl, stirring it up and then freezing it.  But here is a good example of some Coconut Blueberry Chocolate Bark:  (and a great site as well)  http://lifeasadreger.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/paleo-coconut-blueberry-bark/ For mine, I used a bag of Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips that I got at Whole Foods, melted together with some Coconut Oil.  And then 1/3 of a Cup of each: Fresh Blueberries, Sunflower Seeds Coconut Flakes Chopped Macadamia Nuts, Raisins I love chocolate bark because it allows you to be so creative and make something specific to your personal likes.  And if you’re careful, you can make it pretty healthy as snacks go………. Chocolatey, chewy, fruity, nutty, and a touch of salt…..yum! Have you ever made some chocolate bark? I love to see how different people can use the same ingredients in so many different ways.  What’s your favorite combination? Enjoy!

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Raw Vegan Caramels with Chocolate Nut Butter

Raw Vegan Caramels with Chocolate Nut Butter

These Raw Vegan Caramels are adapted from a recipe at Averie Cooks       These are beautiful little bites of chewy, sweet goodness.     I took Averie’s advise and added some homemade chocolate butter on top just to make them even more perfect. I made a chocolate sauce by blending sugar free peanut butter with cocoa powder and NuNaturals Liquid Vanilla Stevia The main sweetness comes from ground up dates. Make sure if you’re using whole dates to remove the pits. Thanks to NuNaturals, they are sugar free except for the date sugar. When you have the ‘caramel’ dough, flatten it out on a stick free surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate to firm the caramel.  I combined the dates with sunflower seeds.  Blend the Sunflower Seeds first and then add in the other caramel ingredients.  I had better success pulsing the blender much of the time until a paste formed. The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but I’m saving money using sunflower seeds but I’m sure that these would be even better using Pine Nuts. Raw Vegan Caramels with Chocolate Nut Butter Frosting Caramels 1 Cup Raw Unsalted Sunflower Seeds (or Pine Nuts) 15 Pitted Medjool…

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