Amazing Gluten-Free Almond Brownies

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

This recipe came out of the quandary facing all makers of homemade nut milk… What to do with all that leftover nut pulp? Although making yummy almond milk every week (check out my recipe here), and creating delicious baked goods that taste oh-so-amazing with a tall glass of cold almond milk can lead to a pretty vicious cycle, I am actually finding a wealth of yummy, healthy, gluten-free recipes that almond pulp is perfectly suited for.

So, behold my delicious, gluten-free, moist, cakey and amazing brownies!!  For those of you who are not yet making your own nut milks (seriously, get on the bandwagon!), just substitute 3/4 cup finely ground nuts (almond works best).  The brownies won’t come out quite as cakey and moist, but they’re still delish!

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The Skinny on Superfoods

By Callie McBride

navitas

Gone are the days of avocado madness; chia seeds have had their time. Though we aren’t saying goodbye to these wonderful nutrient powerhouses, there’s some new kids in town: superfood powders. The latest craze to hit health food stores and foodies’ cabinets, these natural powders, often sourced from the rain forests of tropical islands, offer insane amounts of nutrition and flavor in each scoop. With so many to choose from, your morning smoothie will get a fabulous makeover and your nutrient checklist will trump all others.

Flax Powder:

Sprouted flax seeds. That’s it. This powder will load you up with omega 3 fatty acids and fiber, and it’s incredibly easy to digest, so your body will feel its benefits quickly. Flax seeds hail from Canada, where they were cultivated for their awesome fiber content. Throw a scoop into a banana, almond milk, and spinach smoothie or mix into your morning oatmeal for optimal taste and benefits. You can also purchase flax in the form of ground seeds and oil.

Lucuma Powder:

Lucuma is actually a fruit, originating in Peru, which is milled into a fine powder and used as a type of low-glycemic sweetener. It contains iron, zinc, calcium, and protein, and has a maple flavor to it. It’s definitely smoothie-friendly, but mixing into a raw ice-cream or coconut yogurt sounds equally as heavenly.

Goji Berries:

Either in powder form or as dried berries, the amazing goji contains tons of antioxidants, as well as over 20 vitamins and minerals. These berries hail from the Ningxia Province in China where they are grown, harvested, and dehydrated to maintain maximum nutrient content. They’ve been consumed by Asians for decades, and the Western world is just catching up. Eat ’em by the handful or toss some in trail mix for  a chewy texture and sweet flavor.

Maca Powder:

This one’s my favorite: its known to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue. I’ll take 20. The maca root, found in Peruvian Andes, is gently dried and milled to a fine powder, and contains amino acids, fiber, and phytonutrients. Listen to this: the maca root is one of the only plant foods able to survive a such a high altitude as the Andes mountains. How cool? It energizes naturally and, according to the ancient Incans, helps relieve stress. This powder is packed with body and mind benefits.

Acai Powder:

The Acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry grows in the Amazon Rain Forest and is known for its high antioxidant content, as well as its vitamins, minerals, and dark fruity flavor. You can also find frozen, slushie-like acai packets in health food stores to whip up in smoothies…I’ve been known to snack on dark chocolate-covered acai berries, as well. Yum.

Maqui Powder:

These berries are sourced in the mountains of southern Chile, and similar to Lucuma, offer a sweet taste that’s perfect for dessert. They boast of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects, and contain loads of calcium, vitamin C, iron, and potassium. Get this: Mapuche Indians, the longest living culture in the world, credits the maqui berry as a staple food, as well as an addition to their rituals and ceremonies. They believe that the superfood symbolizes goodwill (not to mention a good body!).

These are just a handful of the fabulous superfoods currently on the market; coconut palm sugar, camu powder, mesquite powder, and dried mulberries are some more to check out for their heavy nutrient doses. If anything, these unique names will impress your next house guest and get a conversation started, either on geography or your health food obsession.

All information comes from the Navita Naturals website, where you can learn more about and purchase all of the above mentioned superfoods. Many other brands produce and sell the powders, as well. Our Organic Beauty store has a handful in stock, too! Go get your superfood on.

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3 Raw, Vegan Delicious Valentine’s Day Desserts!

By: Stephanie Heino

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, and it really is a holiday of desserts like candy, chocolates, romantic decadent dinners – all of it screams indulgence. I usually don’t encourage sweets, but since it is around the corner, I thought that I wanted to share three delicious, homemade, completely raw and vegan treats for you and/or your sweetie! Whether you are happily taken or happily single consider making a mindful choice and treat your body with love by making these sweets instead of buying processed candies or cupcakes with unidentifiable ingredients.

Chocolate Almond Date Ballsimages

This recipe is 100% raw – there’s no baking at all, and these are so healthy they make a great dessert!

The Ingredients

  • 20 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Finely shredded coconut flakes

The Directions: Mix all ingredients in food processor except the coconut flakes.  Roll into small balls, then roll in the shredded coconut to coat.

Raspberry Fudge Cakeani's choc cake slice1

The Ingredients

  • 3 cups dry walnuts
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder or carob powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1 medium avocado)
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder

Filling

1/2 cup raspberries

The Directions: To make the cake, combine the walnuts, cacao powder, and salt in the food processor and pulse until mixed fully. Add the dates and pulse until mixed well. Shape into 2 cakes of desired shape and set aside. To make the frosting, combine the dates and agave syrup in the food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocado and process until smooth. Add the cacao powder and process until smooth. To serve, frost the top of the cakes with the frosting and top with the raspberries. Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator for a couple hours to firm up.

Makes About 6 Servings

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cream Cake 21863-cream-cakes

The Ingredients

Pecan chocolate crust

  • 1 cup pecan meal (just ground up pecans, can use any nut meal of liking)
  • 3-4 medjool dates (or 2-3 tbsp maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder (cocoa powder)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

The Directions: Place all ingredients into a food processor (can do in a blender) and pulse until mixed fully. You want the crust to slightly stick together. Grab your mini cheesecake pan and scoop your pecan chocolate crust into your pan. Press down with fingers to firmly place the crust into pan. Set aside as you make your filling.

Chocolate filling

  • 2 cups cashew, pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup ( or may use agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

The Directions: Soak the cashews for about 10- 15 minutes (optional) then rinse well. Place cashews into blender with maple syrup, vanilla, and water. Blend for a little bit to get it creamy.

Next add in your cacao powder and coconut oil. Blend until creamy. You may have to scrape down the sides a few times. Just keep blending till it is nice and smooth.

Once chocolate filling is blended begin scooping your filling into your mini cheesecake pans. fill them to the top. Set the chocolate cream cakes into your freezer to set for a few hours before removing from pan.

12 mini cheesecakes or one large 8 or 9 inch cake’

Enjoy!

Healthy, Vegan Avocado Chocolate Pudding!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but suddenly, everyone seems to be craving pudding.  There is definitely something comforting about the rich, creamy consistency of this favorite dessert… and you know what?  Sometimes it’s ok to have pudding!  BUT, it is never ok to eat the crappy, supermarket stuff that is full of sugar (or carcinogenic fake sugar), artificial flavors and colors, and low quality dairy.  Your amazing body deserves better than that!

How about a chocolate pudding that is actually healthy?  “Whaaaaaat????” you say… Well it exists.  Avocados are a super amazing, healthy food that are full of delicious, vital nutrients, and their creamy consistency make them the perfect base for yummy desserts!  This recipe uses avocados to achieve that pudding consistency, and a select few other, healthy, natural ingredients that honestly taste pretty close to that crappy store-bought kind you know you shouldn’t let within a 10 foot radius of your body.

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Serves 3 (please keep this in mind, and don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting!  Sa-a-a-a-avor the experience!)

1 avocado pitted and removed from the shell
1/3 cup raw, organic agave
3 tbsp organic cocoa powder (preferably raw)
1/2 cup water (soy or coconut milk work here too, but if you’re watching the waistline, stick with water!)
2 tsp vanilla

In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth and the consistency of pudding. Refrigerate and enjoy!

{Photo: Pennies on a Platter}