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…

Read More »

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Soooo… I know half of the world is buried under at least a meter of snow, and the East Coast of the United States is just now digging out from “Snowzilla”- the blizzard that shut down airports, schools, and even US government offices for more than a day.  But over here in Philippines, we’re harvesting fresh strawberries from the highlands of Baguio.

Fresh Baguio Strawberries

I’m not being smug or anything.  I know you’ll have a “right back achta” moment as I lay panting in the heat of April & May whilst you enjoy your own fresh, cool strawberry season.  What comes around does indeed go around.  Plus, you’ll have this wonderful recipe with which to showcase your lovely fresh strawbs, while for me there will be not a berry in sight, straw or otherwise….

Read More »

Chocolate Orange Almond Muffins

Chocolate Orange Almond Muffins

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the flavour combination of chocolate and orange.  Baskin-Robbins used to make a flavour called Dark Chocolate Orange, and it was so dark it was almost black, really great I’m sure for my mother to try to clean off my face when I was finished.  But from the moment I put my tongue to that cute little pink taster spoon, I was hooked.  Rich dark chocolate colliding with the tangy sweet orange on my taste buds… well, it was like a flavour burst from heaven to my 5-year-old imagination.  But alas, Baskin-Robbins stopped making this flavour… …

Read More »

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Happy New Year, everyone!!

It’s January, and that means it’s obviously time to detox, right??  What’s the latest in cucumber water/detox soup/dandelion juice, anyway?  I’m not sure… because I don’t detox.  Why?  Two reasons:

One: my basic food philosophy is to nourish yourself “well” all the time.  By that I mean eating enough calories, not skipping meals, not punishing yourself by either under-eating or over-eating… eating mostly plant-based foods- healthy, yummy, delicious foods that truly satisfy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

By doing this, your body will be filled with health-preserving nutrients and will do a great job of self-regulating, therefore you’ll never feel the need to “detox.”  Eating this way also allows you to indulge once in awhile without going overboard or feeling totally out of control.  Like over the holidays.

Two: our bodies have built-in detox systems already: our liver and kidneys.  Unless we’re seriously abusing drugs or alcohol, these organs do a fabulous job of filtering out all of the not-so-good substances we ingest (consciously or unconsciously) on a daily basis.  And flooding our bodies with healthy foods provides our detox organs with all the necessary nutrients (proteins, anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, etc.) to function optimally.  Most “detox” programs provide far too few calories and too few nutrients to support our vital detox organs.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

So I say, “LET’S EAT!!” (…healthfully!)

It’s a much nicer way to do January, right?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Sara & I discovered awhile back that blending frozen bananas, cocoa powder, & almond milk makes a thick, creamy shake that obliterates the need for a chocolate milkshake.  Score!  I’ve since amped it up by adding peanut butter and hemp seeds.  These additions add protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making this smoothie an ideal post-workout snack or quick breakfast.  It’s also a fantastic dessert or afternoon snack, especially for kids.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Feel free to add a scoop of vegetarian protein powder, use soy milk instead of almond milk (or substitute part coconut milk, yum!), use chia seeds instead of hemp seeds, sprinkle cacao nibs on top…you know I love it when you personalise your recipes.  Speaking of personalising, I used homemade almond milk, and I found it was sweet enough without the stevia drops.

The bottom line is, please nourish yourself well in January… and February… and next December… and every day of this beautiful year.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Here’s to a fabulous 2016!!  Filled with chocolate peanut butter banana smoothies and more…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: About 12 fluid oz (360 ml)

Serving Size: 12 fl oz (360 ml)

Calories per serving: 300

Fat per serving: 14

Carbs per serving: 33

Protein per serving: 10

Fiber per serving: 5

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 c. vanilla almond milk (I used homemade)
  • 1 T. natural peanut butter
  • 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T. hemp seeds
  • a few drops of liquid stevia, optional (I didn't need it)
  • 2-3 cubes ice

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes one smoothie.
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/

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!

Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.thexpatdietitian.com/chocolate-dipped-cranberry-pecan-kisses/