Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Cups

Halloween is getting closer and I thought it best to honor the holiday with these perfectly sweet pumpkin caramel cups. And, I gotta say…these are straight up divine. The combination of sweet, salty, and pumpkin spice flavors with a delicate bite and soft center is just right. It’s ridiculous, really.

You will end up with a little extra date caramel, but luckily, there are many other ways to use it: spread onto dark chocolate squares, use as a dip for apples or pears, mix into yogurt, stir into nut butter, dollop on top of baked acorn squash or sweet potato, or simply eat with a spoon.

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters. These are another winning combo and great for Halloween as well! Watch the replay of my segment HERE. Also, if you can believe it, this month marked my one-year anniversary of going on the show!

Cheers and enjoy!

Caramel ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of sea salt

Chocolate ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
  • Dash of sea salt

Garnish:

  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

pumpkin cups and date caramel

Directions:

  1. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners and add about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate to each liner. Then, add about 1 tsp of the date caramel to each and flatten out slightly (and gently) with back of spoon. Top each cup with another 1 tsp of melted chocolate. Garnish each cup with Maldon sea salt and place in fridge to set. If you want these to set faster, you can place in freezer.
  4. Store any leftover caramel in refrigerator and use within a week.

Yields: ~21 cups

Advertisements

Cashew Butter and Jelly Bars

My gosh, these bars are something special, and my inner child is especially satisfied by such a delightful treat. These take me back to PB&J days as a kid, something that was often a staple in my lunchbox. Mom almost always used homemade jam and her strawberry was my favorite. It was probably the sandwich I ate most growing up (side note, but I also used to like bologna and ketchup sandwiches).

Back-to-school time isn’t too far away and that’s what inspired this rendition of a classic creation. I don’t have kids of my own (I do have two fur kids though), nor do I plan to have kids, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a back-to-school treat! But, back-to-school or not, kids or no kids, these are wonderful anytime and for all. Also, I will be featuring this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live later this month, so stay tuned! UPDATE: watch the replay of me making these on KATU Afternoon Live HERE.

Feel free to experiment with almond or sunflower seed butter, if you prefer. If you eat and tolerate peanuts, you can even use peanut butter, of course. The cashew butter is so good in this recipe though and a nice change of pace — at least for me (I really don’t eat cashews or cashew butter very often). The strawberry filling is so fresh and jammy tasting, but not overly sweet. And, overall, the bars as a whole are not too sweet either. If you ask me, these are just right.

Cheers and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Filling:

  • 16 oz fresh strawberries, sliced and hulled (if need be)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp water

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew butter (I used this brand)

Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp unsweetened cashew butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped (note: I dry toasted mine beforehand, but that’s optional)
  • Light sprinkling of fine Himalayan salt, optional (if using salted cashews or salted cashew butter, you may not need)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add strawberries and honey to medium saucepan over medium heat. Mash strawberries with a potato masher to break up the large pieces and release juice. In a small dish, dissolve the arrowroot powder into the water. Then, once the strawberries are mashed, but still a bit chunky, add the lemon juice and dissolved arrowroot mixture, and stir. Simmer over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a food processor, gently pulse together the coconut flour, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Then, add the coconut oil, cashew butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pulse until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Press dough into bottom of 8×8 pan with fingers (note: greasing pan isn’t necessary, but feel free to line with parchment paper for super easy removal, if you like). Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and pour strawberry filling on top. Then, dollop cashew butter on top in teaspoon-sized increments (8 tsp total). Gently swirl cashew butter around with a chopstick or spoon handle. Sprinkle with the chopped cashews and the Himalayan salt, if using. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until strawberry topping is warm and bubbly.
  6. Let cool completely (about 2-3 hours) and then cut into desired-size squares. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Mint Popsicles

These chocolate mint popsicles are creamy and full of mint chip flavor. Not only that, but they’re dye-free, have no refined sugar, include a dose of protein and probiotics, and have vitamins and minerals from the spinach (and natural light green color to boot). They are not your average popsicle. They’re the perfect healthy treat on a hot day and I’ve definitely been enjoying my fair share. I went through two rounds of experimenting with this recipe, so I’ve had a freezer full. No complaints on my end!

In the directions, you’ll notice that I don’t add the chocolate pieces to the blender. It doesn’t work all that well if you do and I know since I tested it this way on my first trial run. The chocolate pieces break up a bit more, but then sink to the bottom, which means you then have to scoop them out by hand.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making these popsicles on KATU Afternoon Live at the end of the month, along with two other flavors (one of which will be for adults only). Stay tuned for those recipes!

Hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July! Cheers!

UPDATE: watch the replay of my KATU Afternoon Live segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups coconut cream (I used this brand, which has no gums)
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt, preferably grass-fed (I used this brand)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (use more if you want it sweeter)
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 3-4 drops high-quality, dietary-safe peppermint essential oil OR 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (learn where to get therapeutic-grade oils here)
  • 2.5 oz good-quality dark chocolate bar, finely chopped (I used this one, which is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar)

Directions:

  1. To a high speed blender container, add all the ingredients, except the chocolate. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving a little space at the top of each mold. Then, disperse chocolate evenly among the molds. Top off with more of the mixture and stir a little with popsicle stick, if desired (chocolate will distribute a bit during freezing though).
  3. Freeze for 6-7 hours or overnight. Once ready, rinse mold under hot water briefly to remove popsicle.

Note: I used these molds, but the Dixie cup & popsicle stick method will do the trick as well. Just put the stick in halfway through freezing. This way, the sticks will stay centered.

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

Fourth of July Panna Cotta

Fourth of July is only five days away! Can you believe it? I’m never totally ready for it to come because summer always seems to fly by in the blink of an eye after the Fourth is over. We don’t have any plans other than working a little that morning (I am anyway — not sure about Jesse) and keeping our kitties company in the evening. Our cat, Frankie, is terrified of fireworks and loud noises in general, but our other cat, Dutch doesn’t seem to mind much. Anyway, we want to be there for Frankie since she gets so stressed out. Poor kitty. During the day, maybe we’ll go for a bike ride or something. We’re playing it by ear.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a festive, healthy, and patriotic dessert to make, look no further. I’ve got you covered with this non-dairy Fourth of July panna cotta featuring coconut milk, blueberries, and raspberries. It has a hint of lemon flavor thanks to the lemon essential oil and tastes wonderful with the fresh berries.  If you don’t have access to the lemon essential oil, you can substitute lemon extract instead (1 tsp is probably enough, but it depends how lemony you want it). Strawberries would also be a great addition to this dessert if you want to add some extra red color and more berry flavor.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my summer “grain” salad with lemon tahini dressing. Watch the replay of the segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is great and has no gums)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp cold filtered water
  • 1-1/4 tsp gelatin powder, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter
  • 4 drops high-quality, dietary-safe lemon essential oil (learn where to get therapeutic grade oils here)
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries or strawberries, for serving
  • Toasted slivered almonds, for serving
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes or chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin powder, allowing it to bloom. Set aside.
  2. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in the vanilla and honey. Once the honey is fully dissolved, add the gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon essential oil.
  3. Divide mixture equally among three individual size glasses or small bowls (small mason jars also work well). Place in fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
  4. Once set, top with desired amount of fresh blueberries and raspberries. Garnish with the slivered almonds and coconut.

Yields: 3 servings

Grain-Free Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

strawberry cake

Mother’s Day is upon us and this strawberry upside-down cake is perfect for a celebratory brunch or dinner. It’s not too sweet, incredibly moist, and full of flavor. It’s got that rustic, yet pretty thing going on too.

Traditional upside-down cakes have a lot of sugar, especially in the “top” glaze layer, but I scaled it way back (no refined sugar either) without sacrificing any of the flavor. The strawberries are a nice change-of-pace and pair so well with the cardamom too. This cake can be served warm, room temperature, or cold (keep leftovers in the fridge). I recommend serving it with a generous dollop of  homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp melted grass-fed butter, separated
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • About 1 cup strawberries, hulled (if need be) and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which has no gums)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp of melted butter into a 9-inch cake pan, coating the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the coconut sugar on top of the butter. Then, arrange the strawberry slices on top of the coconut sugar in an even layer.
  3. With a stand or hand mixer, mix the remaining 8 Tbsp melted butter with the raw honey, vanilla, eggs, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Mix until fully blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cardamom.
  5. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  6. Spread batter evenly over the strawberry layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge of the pan and place a serving dish on top. Invert the cake onto the serving dish and let sit for a few minutes before fully removing the cake pan.
  8. If desired, serve with homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Yields: 6-8 servings

 

Raspberry Cacao Nib Fudge

raspberry-nib-fudge

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.

Grain-Free Blueberry Cobbler

img_3638

Blueberry season and fresh-picked berries call for cobblers and crisps, and my friend recently reminded me of this. I can’t tell you the last time I even made something of the sorts. Overall, I don’t do that much baking, but it is fun to take on a baking project every now and again. Not only that, but baked goods make the house smell so comfy and cozy. Sometimes, I feel like the smells are the best part!

Overall, the cobbler turned out well, but is best eaten day of and shortly after it comes out of the oven. Yes, it still tastes great the next day, but the dough part gets a little soggy from all berry juice. I actually didn’t mind it at all, especially because the flavor is still there and the dough is a little gritty versus totally mushy (since it’s almond flour/meal). You can be the judge though, but know that you’ve been forewarned, especially all you texture peeps out there.

Meanwhile, feel free to add your own flair to the cobbler — different berries and spices, shredded unsweetened coconut, nuts, etc. There’s a lot of room for variety with something like this, so have fun with it!

img_3634

For the berries:

  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour

Pour berries into a 9×9 baking dish. Mix with the coconut flour. Set aside.

For the dough:

  • 1 cup almond flour or meal (I used fresh ground from sprouted almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour/meal, coconut flour, sea salt, nutmeg, baking soda, lemon zest, lemon juice vanilla and honey.
  3. Add the butter and blend with your hands or with two knives until course crumbs form. Add the coconut milk and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms.
  4. Drop mounds of the dough on top of the berries. It doesn’t have to be neat — we’re not going for perfection here. It’s not supposed to be perfect, in fact!
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until dough is brown and berries are bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with coconut milk drizzled on top, if desired. Coconut milk whipped cream would also be delicious.

Yields: 4-5 servings