Vegan Salted Caramel Bars

These vegan salted caramel bars are so good they almost made me bust my macros!!!

Hello friends!  I’m now 2 days out from my upcoming bodybuilding competition, and today is my last day of carb and calorie depletion before refeeding tomorrow in final preparation for the show on Saturday.  I’m hungry!!  In every sense of the word.

The fun part of “peak week” for me is deciding what post-show treat I’m going to indulge in. …

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No-bake Peanut Butter Fudge

Howdy folks!  This no-bake peanut butter fudge is hands-down one of my “must-have-in-the-house-at-all-times” recipes, not only for contest prep, but for every single day of my life.  I hope it will become one of yours as well.

Remember my no-bake sweet potato brownies?  Well, these are a close cousin… …

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Vegan “Buttercream” Frosting

Hello friends!  In Philippines you’re allowed to celebrate your birthday all month long… and so I have.  Even though my calories have been lowered (boo!) and my workouts have been stepped up (whoa!), I’ve still found time to relax a bit and really enjoy turning 47.

47!!!  I know!!  I kind of can’t believe it… especially when I consider that I remember my Granny Cox (my Ma’s mother) when she was 47….

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Hello friends!  This here chocolate mousse is soooo rich… soooo creamy… soooo chocolatey… sooo0 decadent, and sooo0 easy to make, that even though I didn’t do my usual photo shoot, I’m giving you the recipe anyway.  I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but one taste is worth more, in this case.  Please trust me here….

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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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Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies

Why is it that all my desserts involve chocolate of some sort??  But I guess there’s no need to apologise for that…

These trail mix cookies came into being from my strivings to make a “not-unhealthy” cookie that my kids wouldn’t realise was not unhealthy!  Ha!  It was somewhat of a challenge, and took several tries.  My final attempt (this recipe) was one I thought would be a complete failure, because the dough was so oily after I mixed all the ingredients.

Trail Mix Cookies

But no!  It baked up beautifully!  These little babies are crispy on the outside and soft inside.  My own analysis told me I had a winner.  But I knew the real test would be when the kids came home from school and tried one.  Would the cookies pass, or would I be accused of “putting weird stuff inside”??

I waited… They arrived… They ate…

Trail Mix Cookies

Success!!!  Not one sound except “mmm!” escaped the kids’ lips as they plowed through as many cookies as possible with dinner looming.  Chocolatey, peanut buttery, crispy, chewy… these are everything a cookie should be.  And “not unhealthy”?? Amazing!

Trail Mix Cookies

It’s truly hard to believe these cookies are vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and with a nut-free option.  Spoiler: I used “flax eggs” (flax meal + water) instead of eggs, coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar, and oat & coconut flour instead of wheat flour (use certified GF oat flour if you need to be sure it is gluten-free).  For the nut-free option, you can use sunflower seed butter (or tahini) to replace the peanut butter, and obviously, omit the chopped nuts.  So while they are clearly not low in calories or fat, these little treats won’t send your blood sugar through the roof, and they have a decent amount of fiber as well.

Trail Mix Cookies

I wouldn’t eat them for breakfast or anything… but I suppose with a glass of fresh almond milk, it wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do!  Enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 20 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 135

Fat per serving: 7 grams

Carbs per serving: 15 grams

Protein per serving: 3 grams

Fiber per serving: 2 grams

Trail Mix Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 T. coconut oil
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs (2 T. flaxmeal + 5 T. water, let stand 5 min)
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2-4 T. coconut flour
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup peanuts, pecans, or a mixture of the two
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 180 C.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together coconut oil, peanut butter, coconut sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add flax eggs, chia seeds, and cocoa powder and stir well.
  • Stir in quick oats, oat flour, baking soda, & salt. At this point your dough will be quite wet and oily, that’s normal. Add coconut flour one tablespoon at a time until dough has dried out enough to stick together when you press it. (Depending on how runny your peanut butter is, you may not need all 4 tablespoons of coconut flour.) The dough will still be oily even when it presses together, that’s normal.
  • Add dried cranberries, peanuts, & chocolate chips, mixing well to combine.
  • Roll into small balls, place on a baking tray and flatten into a cookie shape. Cookies will not rise or spread much.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned & set. Remove from baking sheet to cool thoroughly. Makes about 20 cookies.

Notes

1. For nut-free option: substitute sunflower butter or tahini for the peanut butter, and omit the chopped nuts. 2. Try to use runny rather than stiff peanut butter for this recipe.

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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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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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