No-bake Sweet Potato Brownies

No-bake Sweet Potato Brownie

These no-bake sweet potato brownies have been my best sweet potato discovery since around Thanksgiving 2004… when I discovered (a bit too late for that meal!) that there actually are really great taters here in Philippines!

We had lived here for less than 6 months, and I was newly pregnant with Sara, when we thought it would be a brilliant  idea to invite about 30 people from Mark’s office over for Thanksgiving.  Never mind that my kitchen had exactly one…

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Vegan Pecan Pie

Vegan Pecan Pie

I find it a bit ironic, don’t you, that I’m sharing this rich, decadent pecan pie with you immediately after announcing that I’m training for a bikini competition.  I also find it ironic… or maybe masochistic is a better word… that I began this program immediately prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I didn’t really think about the timing on that one……

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Hello friends, it’s pumpkin season!  (At least it is in North America!)  And actually, in Philippines, it’s pumpkin season all year long… Philippines has beautiful local pumpkins called kalabasa that are a bit softer and milder than “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins.  I do everything with them, from roasting slices with cinnamon & curry powder, to cubing them up in curries, to pureeing them for pies……

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Chocolate Chia Freezer Fudge

Chocolate Chia Freezer Fudge

Some things are annoying, and beyond our control.  For example:

  1. Traffic: in Manila we don’t say “traffic jams,” just “traffic,” and everyone just nods their head…
  2. People who say mean things…
  3. And blogs that break themselves even though you haven’t changed anything.

Yes, #3 happened to me, and is still happening!!  My recipe thingamajig just up and turned on me… broke itself!… I’m sure all of you readers over 40 can understand how this kind of thing happens. …

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

I must confess that Valentine’s Day has never made a whole lot of sense to me.  I mean, if you have a “true love,” then why set aside only one day to celebrate… CELEBRATE EVERY DAY, PEOPLE!!  And if you don’t, then it seems like a sort of “in-your-face” holiday at best.  I’ve long harbored a secret feeling that V-Day is probably just a big marketing scheme of Hallmark…

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

But before I sound too jaded, I will also confess that I’ve mostly enjoyed this maudlin holiday on the benefits of its chocolate-pushing alone. …

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Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

You know you’ve hit on something good when you have to make two batches of it in order to have enough for a complete photo shoot!  And I still had to be careful of camera angles…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

This recipe originated in my Ma’s kitchen, probably about 20 years ago.  I told you she was “eating clean” before that was even a thing!  I still have her handwritten recipe for these kisses on an index card, and the only changes I’ve made are to roll them in balls (she flattened them into cookies), reduce the maple syrup a tiny bit, and dip them in chocolate.  This indulgence takes these kisses to a whole ‘notha level, and I’m sure Ma would approve.  Of course, if you want to keep it simple, just skip the dip, and you won’t be disappointed. Well, you might be a little…

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

These kisses require only 5 ingredients and about 35 minutes to prepare, including the dipping.  That’s pretty amazing for a Christmas cookie!  They are vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and suitable for paleo diets (although I’m not sure cavemen had access to chocolate…)

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

The only slightly tricky part is forming the dough into balls (or mounds, or whatever shape you want,) because it’s really sticky!  You can get around this by keeping a little dish of cold water by your bowl and dipping your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to them too much.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Melt your dipping chocolate while you wait for your baked kisses to cool, then dip away!  I dipped half in the chocolate, then used the tines of a fork to fling the rest of the chocolate on top.  But do whatever suits you!  Dip the whole thing if you like, or just glaze the top… whatever floats your boat.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

I have to warn you, though- they’re addictive!  They’re small and easy to pop into your mouth.  I don’t normally have the urge to eat past my, ahem… “reasonable point of fullness”… but these little bites of heaven defy all sense of reason.  The flavour and texture combination of sweet toasted pecans, chewy coconut, tart dried cranberries, rich dark chocolate, just a pinch of salt… well, they can be dangerous.  There, you’re warned.

Chocolate-dipped cranberry pecan kisses

Now, go make them.

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 18 kisses

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry Pecan Kisses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt
    To dip:
  • 2 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C (375F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pecans in a blender or food processor, and process until fine crumbs form. Don’t over-process or the pecans will get oily.
  • Remove to a mixing bowl and add coconut, maple syrup, chopped cranberries, and salt. Mix well, until mixture sticks together when you press it.
  • Form small (¾-inch) balls, wetting your fingers as necessary to keep mixture from sticking. Place on baking sheet about 1½ inches apart.
  • Bake 14-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and cool for 10- 15 minutes before dipping.
  • To dip, melt chocolate and coconut oil over very low heat in a small saucepan. Dip one side of each pecan ball into the chocolate. Set on parchment paper. Use a fork to distribute the remaining chocolate over the dipped kisses.
  • Chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set, then store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.

Notes

The prep time includes the time it takes to cool and dip them... these cookies are fast!

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5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Hey friends, I haven’t meant to neglect you in the dessert department, but I see that it’s been a savoury 3 months since I’ve given you anything sweet.  Perhaps I felt guilty for posting 2 desserts in a row that time in September?  Nahhh!!!

Those of you who know me,  know that I love dessert.  I eat something sweet every day because if I don’t, I feel kind of cranky, and nobody likes that!  But it’s gotta be healthy or I won’t waste my calories on it.  Wasting my calories makes me even more cranky.  Anybody relate?

Most of my sweet intake involves chocolate of some sort.  If I don’t have anything baked on hand, I’ll always resort to my 70% dark chocolate bar.  But sometimes I want something creamy and dreamy and dip-able… but without the saturated fat of butter and cream, of course.

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

This is where the cashew comes in.  Cashews are the vegan’s best friend when it comes to making things creamy without using cream.  Or butter.  Or sour cream.  Or cream cheese.  Or any of those other heart-clogging fats.  Raw soaked cashews blend up like magic into a perfectly smooth, silky consistency that just melts on your tongue.  And not only that, cashews are also high in mono-unsaturated fats, which lower your LDL (read, bad) cholesterol, while raising your HDL (good) cholesterol.  You also get a decent amount of protein, copper, and magnesium from these little babies.  So let’s blend away without guilt, people!

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

This fudge sauce contains only 5 ingredients and takes only 5 minutes to make.  That could be dangerous!  But as healthy as it is, I’m gonna give you the go-ahead on it.  Especially because it’s soooo good with fruit!  But it would also be delicious on vegan peppermint ice cream (I’ll give you a recipe soon, I promise!), smeared on banana oat cookies, or, I’ll be honest… just right off the spoon.

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

You can vary the amount of coconut milk to alter the consistency of your sauce.  With the amount in the recipe, it’ll be like thick hot fudge right out of the blender.  But after it’s refrigerated for several hours, it firms up to more like a soft Nutella.  You really can’t go wrong!

I used just enough sweetener to make it very “70% dark-chocolate-like.”  So if you prefer a lighter chocolate flavour, increase the maple syrup by 1 Tablespoon and reduce the cocoa powder by 1 Tablespoon.  And I promise you that you do NOT taste the coconut milk… however, if someone is not a fan, just sub almond milk.  You know I love it when you personalise your recipes!

5-ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

But however you choose to make this fudge sauce, definitely make it.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.

5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Prep Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

5-Ingredient Vegan Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cashews, soaked for 3 hours & drained
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (I used regular)
  • 1 t. vanilla

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until silky-smooth.
  • Serve as a fruit dip, on cookies or muffins, or just eat it right off your spoon!

Notes

If you haven't soaked your cashews ahead of time, you can soak them in hot water for 30 minutes and they'll be good to go. Don't forget to drain them!

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http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/5-ingredient-vegan-fudge-sauce/

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Squares with Chocolate Glaze

No-bake peanut butter oat squares

Everybody hold onto your hats… I’M GIVING YOU TWO DESSERTS IN A ROW!!!

What is this world coming to???

If you take a look at my Recipe Index, you can clearly see that I’m due to give you either a salad or a soup next.  Those poor slots have only one lonely post each… oh, the woes of a baby blog!  But sometimes dessert just happens to happen at my house- and that’s never a bad thing.

No-bake peanut butter oat squares

My friend Emilie described this recipe to me while we sprinted around the block during bootcamp one morning, and in my acute oxygen deprivation, I didn’t note the details.  But it sounded fabulous- and healthy!  When I began to make it, I couldn’t recall the exact ingredients (honey, no honey?), nor the proportions (a whole jar of peanut butter??)  Yet I forged ahead anyway, knowing that she would rescue me from any peanut butter square emergency.  I think I might have made the recipe a bit differently than Emilie does, but the end result was the same: rich, perfectly salty/sweet, glazed with dark chocolate… and dangerously delicious….

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