Raw brownie bites

Raw brownie bites

I’d venture to say that 95% of the desserts I consume are raw. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a health freak and don’t like having to out train my diet. And although raw desserts are usually higher in fat than traditional desserts, it’s the good fat – so your body can actually process it. And use it. Which means you can get away with eating a handful of raw brownies for breakfast and not worry about them going to your ass. Because they won’t. I’ll give you a moment to let that process.
I intended on measuring each of the ingredients in grams, then I realized most people don’t own a scale. But this is a fairly simple recipe and you’ll be able to tell by the consistency of the dough whether or not you need to add more wet or dry ingredients (ahem, dates are considered a wet ingredient). If you don’t have hemp hearts, you could substitute flax seeds or additional nuts, but I highly recommend trying to find hemp hearts, as they’re ridiculously high in protein and give the brownies a great texture. Also, you can totally substitute raw agave for the nut milk, if you prefer a sweeter brownie.

RAW BROWNIE BITES (GF)
1 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1/2 c. hemp hearts
3-4 tbsp cacao powder
6-8 medjool dates, soaked
2 tbsp raw nut milk
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, blend the almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts and cacao powder into a fine meal. Add the dates, nut milk and salt; blend 45-60 seconds, or until dough starts to form. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 20 minutes then press with a fork. Transfer to an air tight container and store in the freezer. I’m not sure how long they’ll keep, as they never last more than a few days in this house.
Yield: 22 brownie bites

How to make almond milk

Almond milk

In honor of the new Got Milk? campaign that’s attempting to smear the alternative milk industry, I thought I’d share a quick and simple nut milk recipe. Which I’m sure you’ve seen, because it’s nearly everyone’s nut milk recipe. But remember, guys, this isn’t real milk. Becuase real milk comes from cows. That are injected with hormones and antibiotics and milked until their udders fall off.* Hmm, sounds to me like the “real” milk industry is in danger if they’ve stooped to picking on almond milk for it’s ‘funky color’.

*Pfft, obviously I know the cow’s udders don’t really fall off.

ALMOND MILK (GF)

1/2 c. raw almonds
2 c. filtered water
In a small bowl, soak the almonds in fresh, filtered water; cover with a towel and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Line a large jar with a nut milk bag; set aside. Drain the almonds, rinse thoroughly then place them in the container of a high speed blender (I use a VitaMix). Add the 2 cups of water and blend, on high speed, for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared jar and squeeze all of the milk out of the bag. You can freeze the nut pulp for later use, if desired. As for the milk, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Shake well before using, separation is natural.
Yield: 2 cups

Chocolate dipped vanilla bean shortbread

Chocolate dipped vanilla bean shortbread
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been posting a lot about chocolate, lately. Probably becuase I’m not eating it as often, so I live vicariously through posting about it. Which seems to be working considering I can’t remember the last time I ate through an entire bag of chocolate chips in one sitting. Progress, people. Progress.

I made these cookies the day after I came home from having my wisdom teeth extracted. Despite being told I would be in excruciating pain, and wouldn’t be able to do anything for several days, I was back to my normal self once the anesthesia wore off. Speaking of the anesthesia, that shit made me crazy. So crazy I told Thom I wanted a cheeseburger as soon as I woke up. And a milkshake. A real milkshake made with milk from that thing that goes moo. I think I also referred to myself as a badass (multiple times) when my doctor informed me of how easy my surgery went. Me on drugs is embarrassing, to say the least.

Chocolate dipped vanilla bean shortbread

This shortbread recipe is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. The dough comes together within minutes and bakes up perfectly. I didn’t intend on dipping them in chocolate, but I couldn’t resist once I realized how adorable they’d look as half dipped hearts. If you don’t feel like dipping them, you could enjoy the cookies on their own, sans the chocolate. If you want to add additional sugar, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED VANILLA BEAN SHORTBREAD
1 c. vegan butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean
, split and scraped
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 c. unbleached flour
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla bean, using a hand mixer on high speed, for at least 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and flour. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 90 minutes.
Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is 1/4″ thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut dough then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes then bake at 325˚ for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. While the cookie are cooling, prepare the chocolate by melting it in a double boiler over medium heat (or a microwave). Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate then place back on the wire rack to harden. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Chocolate espresso cake

Chocolate espresso bundt cake
I went four years without baking anything in a bundt pan. Four years without baking anything in a bundt pan becuase I didn’t have one; because I was too stubborn to buy one that wasn’t Chicago Metallic. A few weeks ago, I finally found the Chicago Metallic bundt pan I’d been dreaming about, and apparently it’s been on the market for quite some time. Which makes me feel kind of foolish considering I’ve been looking for a bundt pan for longer than I can remember. And all along the pan of my dreams existed, I just wasn’t looking in the right place. Despite the fact that I shop on ‘that right place’ multiple times a week. Isn’t it funny when that happens?

Chocolate espresso bundt cake

As soon as I ordered the pan, I started dreaming up all of the things I could bake in it.  But the moment I opened the box, I knew there was no better way to put it to use than by making my one bowl, chocolate espresso cake recipe, in bundt form – because everything tastes better when it’s baked in a pretty pan. This cake is light, airy and the perfect thing to chow down on during a cold winter day. I turned on the fireplace, lit a couple of woodfire candles and sat on my couch with a big piece of this cake and an oversized mug of coffee. It was probably one of the single, greatest moments of my life, this year. The only thing that would have made it better was if my fireplace was real. And if the cake didn’t give me a massive stomach ache for the rest of the afternoon. But that’s the price you pay when you chow down on a big piece of gluten filled cake, when you can’t have gluten. One day, I’ll learn. But probably not.
CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO CAKE
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 c. dutch process cocoa powder
1 c. light brown sugar
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 c. soft silken tofu
3/4 c. strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 10″ bundt pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, milk, tofu, coffee and vanilla extract; whisk 1-2 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 350˚F for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for  15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve with powdered sugar or drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings

Chocolate

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This will probably come as a shock to most of you, but I spend about $80 a month on chocolate. Some people have gas budgets, some people have alcohol budgets, I have a chocolate budget. Which means I don’t have an alcohol budget, because all the money I would spend on alcohol gets siphoned into my chocolate budget. I’ll admit, most of the budget is for those $2 packs of Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups – becuase I can’t come within a one mile radius of them without buying a pack (which sucks, for my pocketbook, considering I live two blocks away from a Whole Foods) – but the remaining $30-40 dollars goes toward fancy chocolate bars, like the ones pictured above.
My favorite chocolate ever? Moonstruck’s 68% cacao bar (not pictured becuase it never lasts long enough for me to photograph). It is literally the creamiest dark chocolate you will ever eat. My favorite bean-to-bar chocolate was Askinosie, until I tried Moonstruck’s single origin. I don’t know how they do it, but Moonstruck has some mad chocolate making abilities. And if you enjoy dark chocolate in the slightest, you should check out the companies listed below. In my opinion, they’ve created some of the greatest bars available.

Potato soup

Potato soup

I regret to inform you that this is not your average bacon and cheddar-loaded potato soup. Did I lose you, already? I hope not, becuase I’d venture to say that this version is equally as tasty, if not better. I know some people think bacon is the greatest thing in existence – and I’m not just saying this becuase I don’t eat meat; I was never a bacon eater – but I think it’s silly to taint a perfectly healthy soup with one of the most unhealthy foods on the planet. Especially when it’s as delicious as this.
I made this soup while my body was riddled with pneumonia, which is proof of how ridiculously easy it is to prepare. It doesn’t require exact measurements, so if you add a few extra potatoes or want to leave out the broccoli, knock yourself out. This soup is healthy, filling and, in my opinion, one of the best things to eat when you’re feeling under the weather.
POTATO SOUP (GF)
8 c. filtered water
2 bullion cubes
3 garlic cloves
1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1 lb yukon gold potatoes
2 large carrots
4 celery stalks
2-3 broccoli crowns
1/2 small onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, bring the water to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare all of the vegetables by chopping and peeling them (leave the garlic whole). This soup is going to be pureed, so size isn’t necessarily important. Once the water starts to boil, add the bouillon cubes and garlic cloves; cover and continue boiling until the cubes have dissolved. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli and onion; cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Transfer the vegetables, and 2-3 cups of the broth, to a high powered blender (or a food processor) and blend just until smooth; about 10-15 seconds, or 30-45 seconds for extra creamy soup, like this. If you desire a thinner soup, add additional broth. I like to reserve a few spoonfuls of vegetables to add to the soup, later.
Yield: 4-6 servings