MINTY BROWNIE HEAVEN (Vegan. GF.)

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Base fudgey brownie layer
-2 cups soft pitted dates(I like caramelly kinds.. but go for Medjool if it’s easiest!
-4 tsp coconut oil
-1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
-2 cup sprouted and dehydrated walnuts
-3/4 cup rolled oats
-6 tablespoon raw cacao powder
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used the kind sweetened with stevia)
-2 peppermint candy cane, crushed (for holidays)
(or crumble up 1/4 cup organic mint candy patties for non-holiday times)
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Mint Ganache Top
-3/4 cup full fat coconut milk (only use the solidified portion of canned milk)
-1 tablespoon peppermint extract & a splash of mint extract
-1 cup dark chocolate chips (I like stevia ones unless you want to make your own!)
Decoration
1 cup of crumbled mint candies of your choice or 6 peppermint candy canes for thewp-1482547192949.jpg holidays, crushed and sprinkled on top
WHAT TO DO:
Base
  1. Use food processor to pulse walnuts and oats until finely chopped–like coarse sand. Set aside in larger bowl.
  2. Add dates, melted coconut oil, sea salt and process on high until a smooth paste forms. Let it get super sticky and dense.
  3. Add the raw cacao, walnuts/oats mixture, chocolate chips, and mint candy of choice. Process until thoroughly mixed.  It’s hard to over-process them, so keep going until you’re darn sure 🙂
  4. Line an 8×8 or smaller springform with parchment paper. (The smaller the pan, the thicker the brownie!) Press the brownie layer firmly into the loaf pan..use gloved hands. Chill while you make the ganache.
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Ganache Top
  1. Bust out your double boiler 🙂
  2. Add the coconut creamed part of your millk and mint extracts to the bowl. Heat until the mixture is steamy hot…not rolling at a boil.  Add the chocolate chips and whisk to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the brownie layer and chill in the freezer.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes and top with crushed candy canes-press into the top ganache with your gloved hands gently.  Chill for another 45 minutes minutes and then cut into mini squares. Store in freezer. Allow 3o minutes in fridge before serving…and at room temperature, the nice chilled minty flavor will last about 2 hours before your should put in fridge again.
wp-1482547192996.jpgThis fantastic recipe is adapted from ilovevegan.com … Thank you!
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Pumpkin muffins for pups and peeps

I call one of my rescue pups named Tessa “my roley-poley pumpkin muffin.” As silly as that sounds, she inspired me to make a pumpkin muffin my pups can enjoy along with me… and so here’s what love for my furbabies yielded.

wp-1477961094601.jpgThis is the base recipe for the pumpkin muffins… It starts out Paleo for those who want that, but can become what you need and crave with the optional swaps.  One version is a pup-friendly option that is super easy!  This makes this a must-have and must-do recipe for any health-conscious dog lover!

wp-1477961094719.jpgINGREDIENTS:

2 cups blanched almond flour (sub buckwheat flour or spelt flour for puppy version)

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon each of Ceylon cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt (leave out for puppy version)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup date paste

1/4 cup unrefined maple syrup ( leave out for puppy version)

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin mash (from can or fresh if you have the time)

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

options: date crystals, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips.

wp-1477961095232.jpgWHAT TO DO:

1- preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2-sift together dry ingredients (flours of choice, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin piece spice, and salt)

3- mix together with wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla…and add apple cider last.)

4- fill mini muffin cups or larger… this recipe will make about 24 mini muffins

5- FYI: Almond flour versions take about 21 minutes…test and be sure because they are very moist and may need more time. The buckwheat flour versions will also be about 21+ minutes to bake.  These will rise more like standard muffins and brown easily.

optional: add cup of soaked raisins and chocolate chips.  Leave enough raisins to add garnish atop each muffin or use nuts instead for added texture and decor.

other option: sprinkle date crystals atop each muffin for plain versions like the puppy version to add a bit more natural sweetness.

PUPPY VERSION POINTERS:

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Rocky the Rescue and Contessa Bear Smith wait so sweetly.  www.ROCKYTHERESCUE.com

It’s important to substitute the almond flour which makes the base recipe a paleo version for people because dogs don’t do well with high fat in their diets.  The coconut oil is a healthy fat and plenty for them.  Plus, just using date paste is sweet enough for some people and definitely enough for pups…and leaving out the salt is very important since less is best for pups.  The puppy version is actually quite delicious and I found myself wanting the doggie version more than the sweeter human-designed version!  Seriously!

Lastly, I love the puppy version using buckwheat flour instead of almond flour… just enough of everything–heartiness, flavor, and health value! It’s a fruit’s seed, not any kind of wheat, so it is gluten free! Here are some other compelling reasons to try it: buckwheat flour benefits .

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Puppy version taste good and is worth the wait!

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Version for peeps with chocolate chips and raisins for extra sweetness 🙂

HECK YA Healthy Brownies (GF, Paleo, Nut-free)

When you bake to give, you bake and get… really YUMMY, HEALTHY TREATS!!!

This was prompted by my dear mom’s birthday. She enjoys chocolate, but I don’t want to give refined sugars to those I love if I can help it.  The constant challenge? … reinvent standard, sweet-tooth comforts with good-for-you options that taste great!

and TA-DAAAAAA:

Introducing–HECK YA HEALTHY BROWNIES–all whole food ingredients you can feel great about baking with, devouring, and sharing (if you have any left!)  (Awesome carob version at bottom if you need to skip caffeine in raw cacao!)20160305_232906.jpg

Happy to be sharing this 1st time successful baking run of these Gluten-Free, Paleo, Nut-free, Soy-Free Brownies.  These are light in texture, but become dense and chewy as they feel like they are melting in your mouth.  These have no added refined sugars, especially if you omit the optional stevia-sweetened chocolate chips used in the topping-layer baked in.  DO NOT TRY THESE IF YOU NEED A SUGAR HIGH– you won’t get such a high except for the good for you happies from whole food sourced ingredients. Then, again, there is that cacao that can lift your mood, though.

What you need (go organic, local, farmer market sourced!):

  • 2 medium purple sweet potatoes 2-3 cups when grated
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup of date paste moistened with coconut milk and blended to thick syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder, sifted with next 3 ingredients (sift 2x’s) (replace with carob, if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2½ tablespoons coconut flour
  • Himalayan pink salt – few dashes and one dash cinnamon
  • Mix stevia chocolate chips (optional) into ½ cup date paste mixed with melted coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of mesquite (top later of brownies before baking)

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 365 °F .
  2. Combine grated sweet potato, eggs, vanilla, date paste and coconut oil in a mixing bowl and stir together until well mixed. Then add sifted powders cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, and coconut flour and hand mix. (I really like when the powdered ingredients are sifted 2x’s for lighted consistency.)
  3. Line springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides with coconut oil.
  4. Pour into 9×9 springform pan
  5. Cook for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, undo springform, cut into nice pieces. Add other toppings as you wish! This would be fantastic with raw banana ice cream or coconut ice cream.

So delectable!  I actually took a huge bite out of this fresh out of the oven.  I don’t have much patience to wait for baked goods to cool! LOL… It wasn’t a bite, it was several spoonfuls shared by a friend 🙂

Note: if you are not a bittersweet, dark chocolate lover like me, replace raw cacao powder with dutch chocolate and omit baking soda.  Here’s an in-depth article explaining why: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/difference-dutch-process-natural-cocoa-powder-substitute.html why dutch cocoa

Regardless of whether you use carob, cacao, or dutch chocolate, ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY!

Happy birthday to my beloved mom… 🙂

Take 2!  I liked this version better because it was fudgier…the 1st version above was lighter and more cake like…

  • 3 1/2  cups of sweet potato grated
  • 1 cup of moistened (with coconut mylk) date paste blended to thick honey consistency
  • dollop of vanilla paste to mix into moistened date paste
  • 3 small eggs
  • add 1 teaspoon of lucuma and mesquite to batter
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted
  • ¾ cup cacao powder; ¼ cup baking chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder and baking soda each
  • 2 ½ tablespoon coconut flour (sift all dry ingredients 2xs)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • For topping, use ½ cup of moistened date paste with vanilla paste and coconut oil, add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and mesquite and mix in stevia chocolate chips… layer on top of batter…. follow ingredients above and bake!

Last, but definitely not least… I version with CAROB! … for someone dear with gallbladder concerns and was told she needs to avoid chocolate.  Keep recipe the same as first version, add 1/4 cup of Monkfruit granules to batter.  For topping to mix in just at top–soak 1/3 cup of raw Indonesian cashews, 5 medjool dates and roughly blend. Add thawed, mashed cherries…mix into top of batter and bake!  Just make sure the carob is raw and fresh!

PALEO-FRIENDLY BANANA DATE “CAKE” LOAF

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I used to bake standard gluten-filled, sugar laden, and sour cream-filled banana nut bread, but this higher protein, no-gluten version TAKES THE CAKE! This one is FLUFFY LIGHT as a loaf YET DECADENT IN TASTE. PLUS, MY FAMILY ENJOYED THIS AS MY DAD’S HEALTHY BIRTHDAY CAKE OPTION and am now posting it because I made it again and it turned out just as delightful! 🙂 mmmmm…. happy birthday to a friend and to meeee bellyyyy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas (1 frozen from overripe and 2 ripe unfrozen yet…. or just do 3 ripe of any kind)
  • 4 free-roaming hen eggs
  • 3/5 cup coconut flour
  • 3/5 almond meal (not blanched)
  • 4 melted overflowing tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • 3/4- 1 cup of mixed variety date paste broken up into chunks for mixing ease
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dollop of vanilla bean paste
  • several dashes of Himalayan Pink salt
  • small capful of apple cider vinegar
  • unsweetened dark chocolate (I used what goes into making mole sauce for spice and depth)
  • 1 cup of more of pecan pieces
wpid-20150814_183206.jpgInstructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Combine your frozen bananas, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, cider vinegar
  3. Once all of your ingredients are blended, add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well
  4. if you are using 2 unfrozen bananas, then slice super thin and mix into batter .  if using only room temp or only frozen, just mash and mix into wet batter in step 2
  5. then mix date paste into batter into well mixed, but not overly so
  6. Pour your batter in a loaf pan
  7. mix your coarsely crumbled chocolate and pecan pieces into top 1/8th of loaf pan batter b/c this will form a delicious crust
  8. You will bake for 40 minutes, then cover the top to prevent the crumbley choco-pecan covering from burning with some foil.  Put back into over let bake another 12 minutes.
  9. All done when a chopstick inserted into loaf comes out clean.
  10. I had enough batter to make a small mini loaf of this… for me…HEE HEE!!!wpid-20150814_161413.jpg

BTW– you can opt not to do the pecan and chocolate topping, but it made it so rich in look and flavor that I would recommend you add the flourish!

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…and I do love using a silicone loaf pan… avoid metal toxicity whenever possible (Aluminum in our systems is just bad news for our brain and studies have shown some links to Alzheimer’s Disease.

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PONDERING PEPPERMINT-Gluten Free peppermint blondies!

I always like having sign with information placed near my baked goodies so folks can savor the treat… Here’s what I wrote in case you want to copy and paste and print for your own platter… 🙂 If you read this little blurb and find yourself intrigued– you can have the recipe that follows!!!

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COCONUT-PEPPERMINT-BLONDIE-BITES
vegan, gluten-free, almost guilt-free!
Not-too-sweet crumbley morsels with kisses
of dark chocolate and coconut chips with
just enough peppermint to ponder the season.

RECIPE
1 1/4 cup all purpose GF flour (used one with Cassava, coconut, and tapioca flours)
3/4 cup sweet brown rice flour
2/3 cup palm sugar (keep in mind Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips have sugar)
1 cup chocolate chunks (I use Enjoy Life and a stevia sweetened Lilly’s brand to reduce the sugar overall)
2-3 tablespoons flax egg in 1/4 cup of warm rice “mylk”
few dashes of Himalayan pink salt
dashes of freshly milled cinnamon
dashes of white pepper
splash of cherry brandy
1/2 cup coconut chips (I have Nutiva)
1/2 cup warmed coconut oil
drizzle of sunflower oil (can skip if conscious about your Omega 3-6 balance)
drip of vanilla extract
agave drizzle
peppermint candies crushed
Earth Balance vegan butter or similar

DIRECTIONS:
sift together all dry ingredients
mix up all wet ingredients with palm sugar to melt together and combine both sets of ingredients
add chocolate chunks last

butter your 8×8 pan with vegan butter and cover with peppermint candle crumbles
put mixture into pan–use moderate pressure and press down to prevent over-crumbley-ness
if your gut tells you the dough may be too dry and bit too crumbley, drizzle some agave over it before baking
Bake 375 at 25 minutes

Final touch…that makes this treat a treat!
Take out and sprinkle Lilly’s chocolate chips on top and put in oven until chips soften enough to spread. Spread evenly and sprinkle as much of the crushed peppermint candy bits on top as the chocolate will take!!! Let cool 🙂 and devour!

There is something about the unique texture of this and the subtle peppermint taste that is so cheerful and delectable… I took this to a holiday soiree and it was the first baked good to disappear!!!

I will definitely make this again.
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