Maple Almond Brownie Blast Nice Cream


Can you believe summer is almost over?!  It’s crazy to think about, and stressful because the end of summer means it’s very close to my wedding!  It feel’s like October 28th is creeping up fast and my to do list just gets longer by the day.  I have to sample a few more wedding cakes before I finalize my plans for what I’m baking, I have to set up a food tasting with our caterers to finalize that menu, design my vegetable arrangements with my best friend…the list goes on and on! Sorry, did I say work?

Lot’s of coffee and treats have been powering me through this crazy time of work and planning.  I have a bit of a sweet tooth and with these hot and hazy days of late summer, my go-to dessert is cool and creamy ice cream.   Seriously, I’ve been crushing on ice cream hard the last week and have come up with three new recipes!  They all start with my favorite frozen banana base, aka “nicecream” in the food world (I’m so trendy!). Today I’m sharing a fully-loaded version, studded with giant brownie chunks and toasted meld-in-your-mouth walnuts, all paired perfectly with a creamy slightly-nutty almond and dash of sweet maple syrup ice cream base.  Pure bliss! If you haven’t checked out my last post for giant lentil brownies, I suggest you head on over and whip up a batch for the brownie part in this treat!

I have a bit of a confession to make; I don’t have a ice cream scoop!  Which is crazy considering I spend 90% of my time in the kitchen cooking.  It’s actually hard not having one because when I make muffins or cookies I cannot easily scoop the batter and dispense it on the pan in perfect portions.  I usually wind up using a tablespoon and creating a giant mess.  Par for the course with me.  Whenever I go over my parent’s house and bake, or anyone’s house for that matter I feel so fancy and luxurious using a scoop.  Guess it’s time I bite the bullet and shell out the $3 to get one…

Scoop or no scoop, you can still enjoy this frozen treat.  The best part about this recipe is it only requires one bowl (really blender) and no fancy ice cream maker. Let the regular people have ice cream!!

 

Maple Almond Brownie Blast Nice Cream

4 super ripe medium bananas, peeled and frozen in chunks

3 Tbsp almond butter

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 giant lentil brownie, diced in small pieces

1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces

1/4 cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Blend the bananas, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a high speed blender.  Add a splash of non-dairy milk if using a food processor to help blend.  Fold in the brownie pieces, walnut pieces, and cacao nibs.
  2. Line a 9×9 baking pan with wax paper, all the way up the sides.  Spread the ice cream mixture evenly in the pan and let freeze for at least 3 hours.  The longer you freeze it, the harder it will become.  Store in the freezer with saran wrap over the pan for up to 3 days.  If you want it to last a bit longer, transfer the ice cream into a air-tight container and store for up to a week.

Giant Lentil Brownies

The past few months I’ve been all about beans.  You name the bean, I’ve put it in something!  I even created a vanilla cake recipe using cannelloni beans that I am going to make into my wedding cake!  I’m for real bean crazy over here.

Not only are beans nutritious and super filling, but they are also cheap and extremely versatile.  I buy my beans dry, soak them, then cook them in large batches. Sometimes I sprout them a few extra days before cooking; it all depends on my mood and what I’m planning to use them for.  At any given time there is at least one giant bowl of soaking beans on my counter.  Usually there is sourdough dough fermenting next to it, but that’s for another day.

I’ve been eating mainly vegetarian since last September.  But to be honest I don’t like to put a label on my “diet”.  I don’t believe in diets.  I believe that you should eat plant based (as in mostly vegetables and fruits), whole food (no pre-pared or packaged crap: stay to the outside edges of the grocery store and skip the middle), and everything in moderation.  That’s about it.  If you’re a meat eater, that’s totally fine!  Just eat way more veg than beef.  And treat yourself.  I strongly believe in a non-elimination diet!  Recently I watched Michael Pollan’s film In Defense of Food while on vacation and loved it.  It hit the nail on the head when it comes to trendy nutrition and dietitian buzz words that are driving the food industry.  I really have to read the book.  Anyway, in the past few months I’ve transitioned to this very simple and holistic approach to how and what I eat and I’ve never felt better!

Enter these brownies.  They are made of whole foods, no refined sugars, oils, or grains.  Nothing but nature in these bad boys!  My logic behind making these was I wanted a eat brownies for breakfast and thought it might be wise if I include ingredients that did more than just give me a sugar rush.  The protein, fiber, fruit, not to mention vitamins and minerals in these make them not only a good option but a great one!  I made them a few times to get it right, but this recipe is even dessert worthy.  My two favorite ways to eat these are warmed with chocolate nice-cream and extra cacao nibs or slathered in my cacao butter frosting (recipe to come).  This recipe is not joking around and makes 12 giant brownies!  Size matters and a giant brownie is always better than a tiny one.  So go ahead, wake up and have a brownie.  No judgement here 😉


 

Giant Lentil Brownies

vegan, gluten free, oil free, refined sugar free

1 1/2 cups GF oats

1/2 cup teff (or more oats)

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups cooked lentils

16 oz dates, pitted*

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk + more as needed

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter**

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips, walnuts, or a combo (optional)

cacao nibs for sprinkling (optional)

 

*If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes before using them.

**Sub a seed butter here if necessary. I have not actually tried it myself, however I bet sunflower seed butter would taste amazing!

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Blend the oats and teff in a high-speed blender or food processor until a flour consistency is achieved.  Pulse in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Empty into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Blend the dates, peanut butter, vanilla, and 1 cup of the milk until smooth.  Add to a large bowl.
  4. Blend the lentils, applesauce, and 1/4 cup milk until smooth.  Add to the large bowl.  Stir everything together until combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and gently mix until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips or walnuts if desired.
  6. Spread the batter evenly over the greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle with cacao nibs if desired.  Bake for about 30 minutes for more fudgy brownies, closer to 35 for fully cooked texture.  Let cool completely, cut into 12 pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Farmer’s Market Zoodle Pie





My garden is in full production mode and I’ve been harvesting enough produce to feed a small army.  As the greens build up, I’m forced to come up with new recipes to use them up.  It’s a terrible burden, but I’ve been doing my best to get through all the veggie sampling, cooking, and visits from friends and family as they help me try out my new creations.  I really hope by now you realize I’m super sarcastic because I’ve been in my element the past few months cooking up a storm with home grown produce!  Now using up the kale from my garden has been easy; a solid 25% of me is kale.  Salads, soups, sauces, sandwiches; basically I put kale in every “s” culinary item that’s not a smoothie.  I know green smoothies are all the rage, but personally I detest having veggies in my drinks.  I prefer to eat my greens with some garlic and olive oil thank you very much.  To each their own. (I do have this green smoothie recipe that is pretty delicious).

While I’m a walking encyclopedia for kale recipes, zucchini is a rather foreign veggie to be used in my kitchen.  I blame my minimal zucchini use on the fact that the past three years my zucchini plants have been dismal at best.  In fact, last year I had eight zucchini mounds and they all died within the first two months! During the summer I tend to only eat what comes from my garden (considering I’m always up to my eyeballs in fresh veg and never get the urge to buy any more).  You can imagine the shock I was in when all six mounds of 3+ plants took off this year and I’m currently picking over 10 zucchini a week!  It was time to figure out how to use up such a plethora of zucchini after giving away as much as my friends and family would take.

I started simple.  Zucchini bread.  Zucchini carrot apple muffins.  Sliced zucchini as a substitute for lasagna noodles. After exhausting my slim knowledge of zucchini recipes I had to get creative.  I wanted to do something fun therefore I started playing with my mandoline to make zucchini chips.  One of the big downfalls of zucchini it they are really watery and tend to be soggy in most sautés and pastas I’ve had them in.  Zucchini chips are a great option because they crisp up nice and are a super healthy alternative to regular chips.  The problem is they are a pain in the you-know-what to make, super time consuming, and I quickly realized why my mandoline has collected so much dust.  I ALWAYS slice my finger on it!  For someone who cooks so much I really should not be handling sharp knives and hot pots and pans.  If I had a dollar for every time a knife almost landed on my toes…

But I digress.  Basically I love zucchini chips and hate to make them.  So I took my bandaged finger and got out another fun (slightly safer) kitchen gadget, my spiralizer.  I had leftover caramelized onion collard greens from dinner I wanted to use up, so I decided to make a spaghetti pie of sorts with a collard crust and a zucchini noodle filling. Bam.  Farmer’s market pie. I kept the seasonings simple to let the vegetables shine through.  Salt, pepper, and garlic powder is all the zucchini needed, plus a hit of nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor while keeping it on the lighter side.  I love cheese, but sometimes a lighter option is nice.  Especially when it’s 90 degrees outside!  Omitting cheese keeps this pie vegan as well, so everyone can enjoy!  As a finishing touch I served it with a dollop of spicy cashew cream.  AH-mazing.  I highly recommend serving this with the cashew cream.  It’s rich, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and really adds to the deliciousness factor of this recipe.

Is this dish going to come out in nice clean pieces?  No.  It’s not your typical wheat and cheese bound pie.  It is light, refreshing, and one of the most delicious messes to grace your dinner plate.  Or lunch plate.  Heck, serve it up with eggs and call it breakfast!  I might have to eat this for the next 32 meals straight to use up all the zucchini I have growing.  If you, like myself, have an obsession for all things green (or are trying to make get on my level), pick up some zucchini at the farmers market and try this beautiful mess of what I’m calling farmer’s market zoodle pie!

 

Farmer’s Market Zoodle Pie

1 bunch collard greens; deveined, washed, and chopped

1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

 

2-3 zucchini, spiraled or peeled into thin strips (about 4 heaping cups worth)

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp pepper

spicy cashew cream (optional – for serving)

Directions:

  1.  Saute the sliced onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown*.  Add the collard greens and cook until tender (about 5-10 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Spread the cooked collards out evenly over the bottom of a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pie pan.
  3.  In a bowl, toss the zucchini noodles with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast.  Place over the collards and spread into one even layer.  Sprinkle with the remaining nutritional yeast.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes.  Broil for the last 2-3 minutes (optional but gives it a nice golden crust!).
  5. Serve warm with a dollop of spicy cashew cream!

Date Caramel

Two ingredients.  All-natural.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  BADASS.

Update your sweet tooth with this rich, decadent, creamy,  mouth-watering caramel.

 



 

ps.  I strongly suggest making this asap because there’s a recipe headed your way that uses this…

 

Date Caramel

1 lb dates, pitted*

1 1/2 c-2 cups water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Place the dates and 1 1/2 c water in a pot.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Place in a high speed blender with the vanilla and blend until a thick and smooth. Add more water to thin out as desired.  Store in a air-tight container in the fridge.

*It doesn’t matter the type of dates you use.  I’ve used both medjol dates and deglet noor dates with great results.

Classic Tempeh Burger


Sooooo…I planned to share this recipe last week, as in Tuesday of last week, then life happened.  Oh well, better late than never!  And believe me, with this hot weather and grilling season in full swing you are going to want to whip up a batch of these burgers.

The idea for there burgers came from a pop up vegan event I went to with a friend in February.  I had the most amazing burger (and waited in line for almost an hour – totally worth it!).  The next day I got to work on recreating it and I got pretty lucky the first time.  What I love most about these burgers is the heartiness the tempeh adds to the patty.  While I adore veggie burgers made out of beans, vegetables, and grains, they are often very light and the consistency doesn’t provide the satisfying chew that I crave when eating a burger.  These bad boys deliver in both texture and flavor while also holding up well to grilling and many toppings! My favorite toppings are spicy cashew mayo and sweet relish + hot sauce, but feel free to try just about anything.  The burgers in these photos are on a homemade sprouted sourdough bun with tahini dressing and kale.  Still delicious.  There are no wrong answers when it comes to decking out your burger!

Did you notice the super cute cutting board I photographed these on?  It was an engagement gift from one of nick’s aunt’s and I’m obsessed!  I’m actually thinking it will be a great way to plate some of the appetizers at our wedding.  See, not only am I making my own wedding cake but I’m not leaning towards making most of the food as well.  I sure hope my mom isn’t reading this…:)

 

Classic Tempeh Burgers

1 8oz block tempeh, cubed

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans

1/2 cup oat flour*

1/3 cup hemp seeds (or sunflower seeds)

2 chia eggs (2 Tbsp chia seeds + 1/3 c warm water mixed and set aside to gel)

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

*You can make your own oat flour by adding oats to a food processor or blender (1/2 heaping cup of oats = 1/2c flour).  Simply blend until a flour consistency is achieved.

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2.  Put the tempeh in a food processor or blender and pulse until a crumbly consistency is achieved then empty into a large bowl.  Repeat with the garbanzo beans.
  3.  Put the hemp seeds in a food processor or blender and pulse until a flour consistency is achieved.  Add to the bowl.
  4.  Add the salt, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, and cayenne to the bowl.  Mix everything together.
  5.  Mix in the chia eggs.  As you mix, a dough should start to form.  You know it is ready when you can press it into a ball and it holds together.  If the dough is still crumbly, slowly add more water one Tbsp at a time.
  6.  Form 8 even balls and gently press them into a patty, about 1 inch thick.  Place on the parchment lined pan.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, flip over and bake another 15-20 minutes.

My Trip West

DSC_0126

Here I am, on top of the Grand Canyon.  It was extremely windy and my sunglasses blew off while trying to get this shot.   Luckily they landed in front of me!  I was slightly cursing Nick to hurry up and get the shot, therefore my feet got cut off.  Worth it!

DSC_0142

DSC_0151

Experience a sunset on the Grand Canyon.  Breathtaking. 

DSC_0445

Valley of Fire State Park.  aka alien park.  aka rock climbers playground.   

Hi friends! I’m back from one of the coolest and most inspiring vacations I’ve ever been on. It also happened to be decided and organized on a whim, and turned out better than I can have imagined. The past few months I have been extremely stressed. Work has been crazy busy with me putting in 7 day weeks, dealing with some interesting (aka insane) individuals, and having no time for myself. Not to mention I got engaged (yay!!!) in February, and instead of wedding planning being a fun, creative, and let’s be real…an all about the bride experience; it’s been adding more stress to my life and catering to what everyone else wants, leaving my voice unheard! Enter how getting to watch the sunrise on the grand canyon and climb above the clouds on the Angel’s landing trail at Zion have helped me overcome these problems + so much more. (I’ll be doing a separate post on wedding planning and why I’m going to make my own cake soon!)

DSC_0188

Although I was less than thrilled waking up at 4:30am to catch the sunrise over the grand canyon, boy oh boy am I glad I did!!  Truly remarkable.

DSC_0281

DSC_0223

We’ve all been there. Overworked. Exhausted. Stuck in the same routine. Feel as if you’re working so hard towards a goal you don’t even want. I needed a change.  I needed to turn my mindset around and figure out what’s important in my life.  I needed an escape from the daily grind to get some mental clarity.  With that in mind I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas with Nick, my parents, my sister and her fiance, plus my brother and his girlfriend.  Ok, I know what you’re thinking.  Not quite the relaxing and restorative vacation I was describing.  And believe me I thought the same thing at the beginning.  But I was so wrong.

Not for nothing, but it was COLD at night and in the early morning.  I think I had three layers on when we watched the sun rise but it didn’t stop me from doing some casual yoga on the rim of the grand canyon.  You bet I did sun salutations!!

I even got my mom to join me!  

I ate like a veggie goddess!  Seriously enjoyed having a kitchen everywhere I went with our RV.  Everyone thought I was crazy, until they asked for seconds of my cheesy lentils…

Ok, Antelope canyon was mind blowing!  Confusing when you pull up and it looks like a seriously mediocre desert.  And then you have to wait in the hot sun for over an hour in order to descend into the actual canyon.  But this was one of the coolest things I have even seen; put it on your bucket list people!!

After landing in Vegas, we stayed the night in the hotel Paris before really getting the adventure started.  (Let me just say I am totally baffled by how popular Vegas is.  Call me crazy but being surrounded by a haze of smoke and alcohol, plus more people than comfortable for a desert, not to mention an almost one to one ratio of slot machines to humans is not my idea of a good time.  It did serve it’s purpose as an airport so I can’t be all that mad.  End rant.)  The next day we picked up our RV’s that we would call home for the next week.  I was highly skeptical of this RV lifestyle, but now I can honestly say it’s the way to go!  If any of you followed my instagram and instastories during the trip, you know just how accommodating to my foodie lifestyle RVing is! I was able to cook up a storm and enjoy my usual “cheesy” lentils, warm salads, roasted chickpeas, figgy teff porridge, and so much more.  And yes, I did pack a container of sautéed broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, and chickpeas with a fork for my on-the-go trail lunch as we hiked through the national parks.  I don’t mess around when I say I’m a plant based foodie!

On the left: Me, on top Angel’s landing trail in Zion National Park, eating my casual trail lunch.  Top right: my lunch before hiking 3 miles down the grand canyon then 3 miles back up (a change of over 2,000ft elevation both ways!).  Same lunch (although in a super unsophisticated plastic bag) + the addition of green juice.  Last two photos are the results of the insane trek!  We were both covered in dust and amazed at what we had just accomplished!!

Yea, we hiked down and up that…

Always cool when faced with adversity.  We just had to get back to the top of the rocks behind me, no big deal!  I’d also like to point out that although it was cold in the dessert at night, it was hot during the day!  I’m simply terrified of the sun and stick to long sleeves, pants, and hats whenever outside for more than 30min.  Call me crazy, but in 30 years when I look 20 we’ll see who gets the last laugh!

Throughout the trip I saw some truly remarkable natural wonders.  There is something therapeutic about looking out over the vastness grand canyon and calming climbing to the top of a mountain in Zion park and eating a simple lunch feeling on top of the world.  It sounds cliche, but I needed the wake up call.  Over the course of the trip I was able to shut down my stress and open my mind.  And while it’s never a bad idea to take a trip to national park and view some breath-taking natural wonders, remember nature is all around us and there are ways to relieve our daily stresses no matter where you live.  My biggest take-away from the trip is inner peace is not a destination but a journey.  We drove over 4 hours at times, across three states and a time zone to fit everything we wanted to see.  At first I thought the drives would simply be a means to an end, but the open and constantly changing mountainous landscape and vegetation was breathtaking! We all have the ability to figure out what we want and change our current path to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

I took about 1000 pictures of the ever changing landscape on my phone.  I have never had so much fun driving!!

Extension of Angel’s landing at Zion National Park; Nick and I got about 1/4 way out and decided not for us!  It is treacherous terrain with only a metal chain to hold on to!  And if that wasn’t bad enough, there were a ton of people on it causing traffic jams in places that clearly lead to death if you so much as move an inch to either side.   I was happy with our decision.  Shout out to my bold a** sister and her fiance for actually getting to the top!  Nick and I had the most delicious cold-brewed iced coffee at the bottom while we waited 😛 

Although we did climb up this mountain before turing around (and this was only the halfway point!)

We stopped at a truck stop for lunch on our way to Valley of Fire state park (gotta love the RV life!), and this guy joined us!  

Valley of Fire was our last stop, and we were all exhausted by the time we got there.  The temperature was also reading 102F so that didn’t help.  Good thing we had quite a view! 

Remember I said how tired and drained I was?  Kidding.  As soon as we started down a trail I was ALL over the rocks!  They were super fun to climb!!

The whole trip I rocked comfy clothes, no make-up, and 0% cares on how I looked.  Oh wait, that’s how I usually am!  

Shut down stress and open up your mind.  Be open to new possibilities.  Do things that make you happy.  Find joy everyday.  Live a little!!

Spicy Cashew Mayo (vegan!)

 

DSC_0041

Get excited, because today I’m sharing my dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free recipe for mayo!  It took me long enough to try using cashews to make a savory sauce and ever since it’s been making many appearances at meals.  The idea to make this sauce came from a vegan pop-up event in Morristown that my friend invited me to.  I was blown away by a burger I had, dripping in a drool-worthy (vegan) sauce!  I immediately thought ‘I can make that!’ and got to work in the kitchen.  With some seriously luck, I hit the nail on the head the first try and everything else is history.

The real beauty of this creamy spread is it has so many uses!  I’ve used it as a mayo, sour cream, pasta sauce, and dip. Feel free to leave the hot sauce out and add some dill, onion, and parsley to make this a ranch mayo.  Or add a cumin, turmeric, and curry to make a curried mayo. The possibilities are endless!  Over the past few weeks, my instagram has been filled with this mayo.  Whip up a batch, then tell me how you’re enjoying it!

IMG_20170327_202256

DSC_0039

Spicy Cashew Mayo

1 cup raw cashews*

2 large medjol dates, pitted

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp hot sauce**

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

*I use raw cashew pieces from Trader Joe’s because they are cheaper than raw whole cashews.

**Feel free to use your favorite sauce here (japaleno, siracha, etc.)

Directions:

Soak the cashews and dates overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Add everything to the base of a high speed blender and blend, starting on the lowest speed and gradually increasing, until you have a smooth, uniform, thick texture.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

Lemon Chia Seed Cookies

IMG_20170308_142907_397

I LOVEEE chia seed baked goods. Seriously, I find myself sneaking them into most of my sweet treats. They add a wonderful crunch not to mention a healthy dose of omega3’s, protein, and a bunch of other vitamins and minerals. Currently I’ve been craving anything and everything citrus so I whipped up these lemon cookies using protein-rich teff flour and topped them off with an orange coconut glaze. Take a moment to take all that goodness in!

Teff is a grain that is not used often, however I’m trying to change that (one cookie at a time) because it has so much to offer! First, it is naturally gluten-free and adds a rich, nutty flavor to anything you are baking/cooking. Where I really think this grain shines is it’s high protein content, as well as containing a significant amount of calcium and iron. I’m all about plants packing a power punch 😉

IMG_20170302_132153_190

 

I kept these cookies breakfast-approved by sweetening them with pureed dates, but couldn’t resist topping them with a sublime coconut citrus frosting. These are a crowd pleasure for your next weekend brunch, or on-the-go snack to answer your mid-afternoon hunger. I do have to disclose that you will want to eat all of the dough before baking these bad boys – you have been warned! Now get baking…

 

Lemon Chia Seed Cookies

2 cups teff flour*
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

15 medjol dates, pitted
1/2 cup almond milk**
3 meyer lemons, juiced
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp coconut butter 

coconut citrus frosting (recipe follows)

*I add two cups of teff grain to my vitamix and blend it into a flour.  You can also buy teff flour at most stores.

** Any plant-based milk will work here

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the teff flour, chia seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a high-speed blender, add the dates, almond milk, lemon juice, and coconut butter.  Blend until a thick, smooth paste forms.  Add more milk as needed to blend smooth.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones.  Add the lemon zest.  Mix until a dough forms.
  5. Using a melon scooper (or about 2 Tbsp of batter per ball), gently press each ball flat on the prepared baking sheet.  You can keep them close together because they won’t spread out as they cook.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before frosting.
  7. To frost, add a small dollop of the coconut citrus frosting on the top of each cookie and gently spread out.  Once frosted, place in the fridge to solidify.  Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.

 

Coconut Citrus Frosting

1/3 cup coconut butter, warmed

juice of 1 blood orange

juice of 1 meyer lemon

2-3 Tbsp raw honey or agave

*any type of lemon or orange will work, I just prefer these varieties

Directions:

Whisk everything together.

Citrus Cherry Chia Jam

DSC_0004

This jam contains three ingredients, a pot and wooden spoon, and a few stirs.  It’s subtly sweet with notes of citrus and deep cherry flavor.  Totally awesome.  And when slathered on anything with nut butter it’s down right heavenly!

I posted this recipe awhile ago for blueberry fig jam which is super delicious, however I can’t always find dried figs (or afford them let’s be honest!).  I’m also extremely lazy and the thought of having to blend everything together then wash my vitamix is enough to tempt me to reach for the jarred jam at the grocery store. But in all honestly most store-bought jam is too sweet for me and if you know me, you know I basically have to make everything myself.  First I don’t like to eat any form of processed sugar and I also avoid most thickener agents used to give jams and jellies their signature texture.

For this jam, I simply simmered whole frozen pitted cherries with fresh squeezed orange juice then added chia seeds towards the end to gel everything together. The concentrated cherry and citrus flavor together is super tasty while the chia seeds add nutritional benefits as well as a texture element.  I like making a big batch of this and jarring some so I have plenty in the pantry for those times when the craving strikes!  I have found that I’ve been eating this just about every day for the past few weeks, therefore making the jarring process unnecessary.  Apparently I’m still in the honeymoon phase with this jam.  Seriously, am I the only one who latches onto a delicious food for weeks (eating it almost every day) before getting sick of it?!

DSC_0013

I’ve been toasting up my homemade sourdough bread and slathering it with cacao almond butter before topping it off with a healthy scoop of this jam.  Every. Damn. Day.  I’ll be posting the recipe for my cacao almond butter soon and I’m working on a large post about sourdough.  So stay calm and spread this tangy jam!!

ps. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a super annoying ‘engagement ring on hand’ post.  Yes I am engaged (EKKKK<3<3<3), yes I have an emerald engagement ring (bad-ass), and yes you can be assured I am making my own wedding cake.  But let’s focus on the immediate future…sharing the recipe for the grown-up cacao almond butter and citrus cherry jam sprouted sourdough sandwich that I gave you a teaser for.  Baby steps 🙂

 

Citrus Cherry Chia Jam

4 cups frozen pitted cherries (fresh work as well)

4 oranges, juiced

1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions:

Bring the cherries and orange juice to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until the fruit has thickened.  Add the chia seeds and stir until jam consistency is achieved*.  Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or can to keep the jam for up to a year.

 

*remember the jam will thicken as it cools

Teaser: Cacao Almond Butter and Citrus Cherry Chia Jelly Sprouted Sourdough Sandwiches

IMG_20170214_072232_765
Peanut butter and jelly has always been my thing. Didn’t really matter the format or vehicle; if there was peanut butter and jelly involved I was a happy camper. I’ve had everything from PB&J crackers (ritz were always the best) to goober’s (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’re better off) to uncrustables (because eating crust as a kid was sac-religious). My love of PB&J took a weird turn in my early teens as I decided I was much more a PB girl than J, so my sandwiches became extremely lopsided with globs of PB and only a small slathering of J. In my later teens, the J got lost completely when I decided it was too sweet for me. Eventually I lost the bread and went straight for PB because everyone knows that’s the heart of the combination. But now in my later 20’s, I understand what’s important when it comes to this staple combination. Everything in balance plus using only the best nut butters, breads, and jelly make a killer sandwitch. So I’ve gourmet-ified my childhood favorite with a whole bunch of flare. Basically, I’ve thrown everything in your standard PB&J out the window and replaced it with clearly better options and flavor combinations. Let’s explore my grown-up sandwich:

1. It’s open faced. Open-faced sandwiches are always better. Why? Because you can hold more toppings per bread ratio. While you need top of the line bread and toppings, if you have more bread than toppings you are loosing the integrity of the sandwich. Think about it.

2. The bread is toasted. Don’t argue with logic; toasted bread is better than mushy bread. If you think otherwise I guess you are free to express your opinion, just know you are wrong.

3. Homemade toasted almond butter infused with a touch of cocoa butter replaces peanut butter for a grown-up subtly sweet and chocolaty note. Oh. My. God. This almond butter is the champion of almond butters! The cocoa butter really adds a depth of flavor that is truly unique. I’ve made almond butter with coconut oil, coconut butter, and other nut butters, however nothing comes close to the rich, velvety texture cacao butter adds. Not to mention the perfect pairing of sweet toasted almonds with a touch of chocolate. Dreams do come true…

4. That jelly though. Citrus Cherry Chia Jelly for the win! Most jellies and jams are too sweet for me. I love fruit, but I don’t love the added sugar. It’s unnecessary and it ruins the natural fruit flavor. I’ve made a jelly that uses only three ingredients; cherries, fresh orange juice, and chia seeds. Basically, I’ve made a jelly that is sweet while slightly tart, tangy, has a great depth of flavor, extremely fresh and free of preservatives, and packed with vitamins, minerals, omega 3’s, and protein. For the win!!

5. All the gooey deliciousness is spread on sourdough bread. I want everyone to walk into their kitchen cabinets, fridge, freezer, or wherever you keep your bread and toss it if it’s not sourdough. Why sourdough (besides it tastes better)? Sourdough is a fermentation of the flour that transforms your standard grain bread into a much more digestible and nutritious loaf. I’ll go into the “why sourdough” early next week when I share my first post about sourdough, so for now trust me. It’s better.

Are you drooling yet? Good. This bad-ass sandwich has been in my breakfast rotation for the past few weeks and I just can’t get enough! It makes a great snack as well, mid-afternoon or late night 😉 Stay tuned for the individual recipes for each of the components of this sandwich later this week!!!