Banana Cream Pie with Cocoa Crust

banana cream pieI had a random inclination to create a banana cream pie, so I followed my instincts and made one. I’m not sure where the desire came from, as I’ve never made banana cream pie before and have hardly ever eaten it in my life, but I figured it’d be a fun (and tasty) experiment. Plus, it gives all of you a dessert idea for Easter, if you’re celebrating. All around, I think it’s a great dessert for both spring and summer though.

There are a few steps in this recipe, but nothing is too complicated and the end result is delicious. If you want, you can even just make the filling and eat it as a pudding. If you do so, I recommend lining the bottom of the dish with banana slices, as you do for the pie.

Cheers and enjoy!

Cocoa almond crust ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp organic palm shortening (I used this one)
  • 1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey

Crust directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Add almond flour, cocoa powder and sea salt to food processor. Briefly pulse to combine. Then, add the shortening, egg, vanilla and honey. Pulse again until mixture is well combined and starts sticking together.
  3. Press mixture evenly into a 9.5-inch pie pan, using your hands. Then, poke several holes in crust with a fork.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like this one, which has no gums)
  • 2-1/2 medium just-ripe bananas
  • 1-1/4 tsp gelatin powder, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey or more to taste if you want it sweeter
  • Homemade coconut milk whipped cream, for topping, if desired (highly recommended)
  • Cacao nibs, for garnish, if desired
  • Extra just-ripe banana slices for garnish, if desired

Filling directions:

  1. Slice one of the bananas into about 1/4″ thin pieces and arrange on top of the crust.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup or so of the coconut milk to a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Once warm, whisk in the gelatin powder until completely dissolved.
  3. To a blender container, add the remaining coconut milk and 1-1/2 banana, along with the vanilla extract, pinch of sea salt, raw honey and gelatin mixture. Blend on high until smooth.
  4. Pour filling on top of cooled crust (it’s okay if it’s still a little warm) and place in fridge to set for a few hours.
  5. Once set, top with coconut milk whipped cream (or homemade dairy-based whipped cream if heavy cream is tolerated), cacao nibs and extra banana slices, if desired.

Dairy-Free Pistachio Pudding

 

pistachio pudding 3

It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s day without something green and I’ve got just the green thing for you. No green dye either. Fresh spinach is what gives this pudding its beautiful green color and no, you cannot taste it. The pistachios add a little bit of green too.

This pudding is not to be confused with the extremely processed, boxed pistachio pudding you may have grown up eating, so don’t expect that flavor. I will admit that I did enjoy said pudding as a kid though and even remember buying boxes of the instant stuff for myself as a teenager. Ick. Meanwhile, the banana acts as the sweetener in this pudding and it was enough for me, but if you want it sweeter, feel free to add a little raw honey, maple syrup or even a couple dates. Also, this is a thicker pudding and more mousse-like in texture, but if you want it thinner, experiment with less gelatin.

Oh, and I am back from Iceland as of late Monday night. It was an incredible trip and we loved it there! I will share more about that soon. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram if you want to check out some of the photos and videos from our Icelandic vacation.

Cheers and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

P.S. Anyone else excited about eating corned beef and cabbage today?!

vertical 3 pistachio pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1 small just-ripe banana (yellow with no spots)
  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
  • *Scant 1 Tbsp gelatin, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • Extra pistachios, chopped, for garnish

*Experiment with less gelatin if you want a thinner texture. I personally like the hybrid pudding-mousse texture, but make it how you want it.

Directions:

  1. Pour about 3/4 of the coconut milk into a high-speed blender container. Then, add the vanilla, banana and spinach. Blend until totally smooth.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining coconut milk over low heat. Once warm, whisk in the gelatin and continue whisking until dissolved.
  3. Pour the gelatin mixture and pistachios into the blender and mix about 20 seconds or until mostly smooth (I like to keep some coarse pieces of pistachio).
  4. Pour into desired-size ramekins and place in fridge to set for 1-2 hours. Before serving, add chopped pistachios for garnish, if desired.

 

Raspberry Cacao Nib Fudge

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Normally, I wouldn’t post two treat recipes back-to-back, but I blame it on Valentine’s Day…it inspired me. I actually rarely post dessert recipes as it is, but alas…Valentine’s Day. But, truthfully, I’ve been wanting to experiment with something like this for a while, so that’s reason enough.

This recipe is super easy and very customizable too. The freeze-dried raspberries are a splurge, in my opinion, but really make this fudge extra special. And, the pop of color is quite pretty too. Kinda romantic, eh?

Cheers and enjoy! Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day too!

raspberry-nib-bite

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Freeze-dried raspberries, to taste (I used this brand)
  • Cacao nibs, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the honey and stir until dissolved. Then, add the cocoa or cacao powder, sea salt and vanilla. Whisk until cocoa powder is completely mixed in. Let mixture sit a few minutes to thicken a little.
  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into pan and while still wet, sprinkle the desired amount of freeze-dried raspberries and cacao nibs on top. Place in fridge to set for 20 minutes or so.
  3. Cut into desired-size pieces and store in the refrigerator.

“Peanut Butter” Chocolate Mousse

choc-mousse-3

Traditionally, chocolate mousse is made with whipping cream, sugar, some form of chocolate (chocolate chips or cocoa powder), and egg yolks or egg whites — I’ve seen both. Not totally sure which came first. The mixture is also heated on the stove.

However, my variation is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and couldn’t be any easier. No stovetop needed and everything mixes together in the blender. I added sunflower seed butter too, so the final product tastes a bit like a peanut butter cup. It is so decadent and heavenly! Of course, there are no peanuts, but sunflower seed butter mimics a peanutty flavor, in my opinion. If you want a quick, easy and painless Valentine’s Day dessert, make this recipe!

mousse-bite2

Also, if you really want to go all out, make homemade coconut milk whipped cream (or dairy-based whipped cream, if tolerated) and top each serving with a dollop or two. Add fresh berries, fresh grated chocolate or a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if desired.

And, one last thing…I will be making this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live today, so tune in if you like (show is from 3-4 PST). I will share the replay clip afterward though, so you can catch it that way too. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!

Enjoy!

pb-choc-mousseIngredients: 

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I like and used this brand)
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw honey or more if you want it sweeter
  • *Scant 1 Tbsp gelatin, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one OR this one)

*Note: experiment with a little less gelatin if you want your mousse to be a bit thinner. Also, this recipe sets up fine without “blooming” or dissolving the gelatin first, but I know I am doing it differently than the standard. If you prefer to let it “bloom” in a small amount of chilled coconut milk first and then add it to some warmed coconut milk on the stove, go for it (you’d then of course mix it with the remaining ingredients & pour into dishes). I just know it works for me without doing this step and the directions on my gelatin container even instruct it can be used this way.

Directions:

  1. *To a blender container, add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla, sunflower seed butter and honey. Blend for several seconds or so on low or medium-low. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, if needed and briefly blend again. Then, add the gelatin and blend on low or medium-low to incorporate it into the mixture. Make sure the gelatin is thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-blend!
  2. Immediately pour into small dishes or ramekins and place in the fridge to set. Allow to firm up for at least a few hours or longer, if needed.

*Note: this can be whisked in a large bowl by hand, but it’s harder to get a totally smooth texture. You have to whisk somewhat vigorously, but it works pretty well. I have done it this way too and still liked it. The texture was a little thinner too. Blending yields a smoother, thicker texture. Both are good, in my opinion! If you choose to blend the mixture, but want your mousse a littler thinner, see my note above about the gelatin.

Nut-Free Seedy Bites

seedy-bites-portrait

Making tasty little bites out of dates, coconut oil, nuts and/or seeds isn’t foreign to me, but this specific combo is a new one. I can’t totally take credit for this combo, but I can take credit for putting this together, the ingredient ratios, and the addition of sea salt. Still, props to my friend and personal transformation coach, Joe Shoemaker for this creation and turning me onto seed cycling. Speaking of Joe, I’ve been working with him for about 1-1/2 years now and the work has been deep, eye-opening, profound, amazing and valuable in all aspects of my life. I can’t say enough wonderful things about him and the many gifts he has to share. He is based here in Portland, but can work with anyone worldwide via Skype as well.

Anyway, a few months back, I went to Joe for a foot reflexology treatment and at some point during our session, he asked me about my cycle. Actually, based on the reflexology point on my foot (the spot specific to the reproductive organs), he was able to determine what my cycles were like and asked me if what he said was accurate. It was spot on. If you want to know (if you don’t, give yourself permission to stop reading), my cycles are pretty decent, overall and I really don’t have many complaints. I don’t really get PMS, cycles are moderate-light, but I do get some mild-to-moderate cramping on day one and occasionally a little on day two. That’s it…and that’s exactly what he repeated to me.

On that note, he suggested seed cycling, which I was not familiar with. He said it can help with cramping and any other PMS symptoms, and is something that has helped his wife immensely. His recommendation was to mix all the seeds together using dates and coconut oil as the “glue” and get a dose of the seeds that way versus the traditional approach. It’s easier, less fuss and a tasty little treat. Yes, men and children can eat them too!

seedy-bites-landscape

I will say, since adding these seed bites into my daily routine (I usually eat 1-2 per day), I have definitely noticed a change on the first couple days of my cycle. The cramping that I would generally experience is incredibly subdued and the seed bites are the only thing I’m doing differently. It still blows me away. It was noticeable on my first cycle after introducing these into my diet too! So, whether you believe the theory behind it or not, it doesn’t hurt to give ’em a go. If these don’t serve you in that way, you’re still getting a delightful treat. In my opinion, that’s a win-win.

I know my ratios don’t match up exactly with the recommendations of the traditional approach, but I’ve found that it’s enough to make a difference for me. Feel free to play with the ratios though or try the traditional process if that’s of interest to you. Also, know that to get the full benefits of flaxseed, you need to grind it up. You can do this on your own in a grinder (coffee/spice grinder works great) or you can purchase ground flaxseed meal, which is what I did. If you don’t grind the flaxseed, it basically passes right through your system and it doesn’t break down in the food processor either. Those suckers are tough! You can grind the sesame seeds if you want as well, but I find they break down pretty well in the food processor.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted (I recommend buying these with the pits in, as they’re more plump and flavorful)
  • Heaping 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Heaping 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (I like this brand or grind your own)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Heaping 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

*Note: I recommend using high-quality, organic seeds and sprouted, if possible.

Directions:

  1. Add dates to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times or until dates are chopped up, but still chunky.
  2. Next, add the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed meal, along with the sea salt and coconut oil. Pulse until well combined, scraping sides with a spatula as needed.
  3. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls or so and store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 12-15 balls

Nutty Golden Sweet Potato “Toast”

nutty-golden-sweet-potato-toast

Sweet potato “toast” has been on my radar for some time now and I finally got around to trying it. Getting a foot of snow and being snowed in gave me the perfect opportunity to do so and luckily, I had all the ingredients for this variation on hand. Supposedly, you can make these in an actual toaster too, but I got rid of my toaster oven a while back because I no longer had use for it.

I went with a nutty (yes, I know sunflower seed butter isn’t made from nuts, but it yields a nutty flavor), spiced and slightly sweet combo here, but really, there are many possibilities. All the toppings listed here are to taste, so make it how you want it. Also, I used a white sweet potato here, but feel free to use whatever sweet potato variety you like. Meanwhile, I may post other creations of sweet potato “toast” in the near future, so stay tuned.

Enjoy!

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live this past Monday and made my spiced chicken stew recipe. Watch my segment HERE.

nutty-golden-sweet-potato-toast-trio

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into ~ 1/4″ vertical slices
  • Avocado oil, for drizzling (I used this brand)
  • Unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I used this one)
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • Ground turmeric
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Raw honey, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place sweet potato slices evenly on sheet. If any of the sweet potato slices end up being a bit thicker, pierce a few times with a fork. Lightly oil both sides of the sweet potato slices with avocado oil and then place in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly toasted.
  2. Once the sweet potato slices have cooked, spread desired amount of sunflower seed butter on top of each slice. Then, top each with desired amount of unsweetened coconut flakes, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper, and a drizzle of raw honey, if using. Enjoy warm.

Yields: 2 servings

Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodle-2

I can’t believe it’s the holiday season! This year has been such a whirlwind and full of change, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already almost over. Regardless, I love the holiday season and am happily embracing it. I’m even going home to Michigan for Christmas this year…the first time in five years!

Anyway, since it is the time of year for goodies, I thought I’d try my hand at grain-free snickerdoodles. These did not disappoint and could not be any easier to make. The texture is soft and pillowy with a light crust on the edges. The flavor is slightly sweet, tangy and of course, cinnamon-y. The cream of tartar is actually what gives the cookie its signature tang and reacts with the baking soda to create the crackled appearance. The cream of tartar also accounts for the perfect chewiness.

When first researching snickerdoodle recipes, I was actually kinda thrown off by the cream of tartar. I had to do a little more digging, but soon understood that from a snickerdoodle purist standpoint, it’s a must. Traditionally, it was always used to make snickerdoodles and without it, it’d just be a crunchy cinnamon sugar cookie (it keeps sugar from crystalizing!). It truly is the age-old snickerdoodle secret and enough for me to want to include it in the recipe.

Another thing about a classic snickerdoodle recipe — there is no vanilla extract. This is actually quite rare for a cookie recipe, but from what I learned, vanilla mellows out the tangy flavor from the cream of tartar. Who knew? So, in an effort to keep the cookie more classic, I also opted for no vanilla. And, truthfully, I didn’t miss it.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live in November and made my herbed turkey potato stew. Watch the segment HERE. Stay tuned because I’ll also be going back on December 16 to make my no-bake rum balls!

snickerdoodle-bite

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp non-irradiated cream of tartar (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted softened butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, plus another 3 Tbsp for rolling
  • 1 large egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use a non-slip baking mat like this one. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together the softened butter and 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar. Once light and fluffy, beat in the egg. Then, slowly add the dry mixture until combined.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar.
  5. Scoop out 1 Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form a ball. Then, roll the ball in coconut sugar and cinnamon to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten dough with palm of your hand.
  6. Bake in the prepared oven for 8-9 minutes or just until edges are barely brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields: 20 small cookies