“Peanut Butter” Chocolate Mousse

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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!

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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.

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Nut-Free Seedy Bites

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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!

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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

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Sausage, Apple & Walnuts

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This recipe was inspired by a Brussels sprout salad from Danielle Walker’s, Meals Made Simple cookbook. When I was home over the holidays, my mom and I were looking for a winter side dish recipe to take to my aunt’s for Christmas dinner. Upon looking through her copy of Danielle’s cookbook, we decided on the Brussels sprout salad recipe (had leeks, bacon and pomegranate seeds in it!). It ended up being a huge hit! Afterward, I knew I wanted to create my own variation and that it was a priority after getting back to Portland.

I went with the idea of this being a complete one-dish meal versus a side, but it could be served as a side, if desired. It’d be a great side for a holiday meal, actually! Surprisingly, this dish held up well the next day too, though I don’t recommend letting it sit in the fridge for too long. There are so many possibilities for a meal like this, so feel free to get creative and make it how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

brussels-sprouts-salad

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed & shredded in a food processor or with a mandoline
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee (or avocado oil if you don’t tolerate any dairy)
  • 1 leek, chopped (white part only)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 pink lady apple, chopped
  • 1 12 oz package chicken apple sausage, sliced (I recommend Aidell’s or Applegate – both of which have 4 pre-cooked sausages in each package)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • Grated raw parmesan cheese for topping, if tolerated and desired

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Then, add the leek, garlic, Brussels sprouts, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes.
  2. Next mix in the chicken broth, apple and sausage. Add more sea salt and black pepper, if desired. Place lid on pan and let cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Top individual serving with desired amount of Parmesan, if using. Serve warm.

Yields: 3-4 entree-size servings

Nutty Golden Sweet Potato “Toast”

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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.

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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

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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There’s been a cold front coming through Portland, and it has definitely been chilly. Thankfully, the sun has been in tow a good chunk of the days, but nonetheless, it’s still cold. This soup has been the perfect remedy to ward off some of the nip in the air, and it’s definitely a hearty one. I’ve found that I can tolerate white potatoes just fine, which is exciting, especially after avoiding them for so long. I had to nix them completely when I was treating my SIBO, but after all that was over, I felt scared to try reintroducing them. Anyway, it’s good to have them back in my life, but they’re definitely not an everyday kinda thing.

This soup gets thicker as it sits because of the starch in the potatoes, so it ends up becoming a little more like a stew. It sort of reminds me of a hybrid of chicken soup and chicken pot pie. It’s definitely comforting, savory, satisfying and filling. It would also work great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. You’d have to already have some stock on hand though, use store bought or make a fresh batch from the turkey carcass.

Meanwhile, I hope all of you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving tomorrow. Enjoy it and remember what you’re grateful for (more importantly, do this everyday!). Jesse and I will be headed to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving up in Vancouver, Washington. We often do our own thing, so we’re excited to be with lots of friends this year, many of which are from our hometown in Michigan. I will be taking my crustless butternut squash pie to share, along with some special bacon almonds.

Cheers!

chicken and vegetable soup 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb whole chicken
  • Filtered water (enough to completely cover chicken in large soup pot)
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium-large white potatoes, peeled & cut into pieces (alternatively, you could use butternut squash or sweet potato)
  • 12 oz bag frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (I like this brand)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped, plus stems for making stock

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a large soup pot and cover completely with filtered water. I usually leave fill it a couple inches from the top. Add the 2 Tbsp sea salt, bay leaves, 1 chopped celery stalk, cilantro or parsley stems and the halved garlic cloves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer for about 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours, remove the chicken from the pot and strain the stock through a fine mesh colander. Allow the chicken to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, place the same pot back on the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and once melted, add the 2 stalks chopped celery, carrots and yellow onion. Sauté a couple minutes and then add the potato pieces. Stir well and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Pour the stock back into the pot and stir in the turmeric and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Allow mixture to simmer about 10-12 minutes or until potato pieces are tender. Then, add the frozen peas.
  5. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and stir into the pot. I recommend saving the bones and skin for making bone broth. You can even store the bones in the freezer until you’re ready to make broth.
  6. Remove from heat and add a generous handful of chopped cilantro or parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve into bowls and garnish with extra cilantro or parsley, if desired.