Desserts and Drinks

Chocolate Truffles

IMG_1512 I think it’s safe to say that most people like chocolate.

And that many  of us LOVE chocolate. I know I do!

But let’s face it: most chocolate bars and candies that you buy in a store aren’t even close to health food. All of it contains sugar or even corn syrup, and soy, at least in small amounts. A lot of it contains other additives and chemicals that sure aren’t good for you.

The solution? Make your own healthy chocolate treats!

 

Chocolate Truffles

1/2 C. unsweetened, shredded coconut 1/2 C. quick oats 1/2 C. almonds (or 1/4 C. almond butter) 1/3 C. cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder) 1/4 C. honey 1/4 C. coconut oil (do not melt) 1 t. vanilla 1/4 t. salt

Additional cocoa powder to coat the truffles

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until as smooth or chunky as you like. I left mine with a little texture. You’ll need to stop and scrape the sides several times.

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2. Refrigerate truffle mixture for 30-60 minutes until very firm.

3. Roll into balls, pressing your hands tightly so the balls hold together. You can roll in additional cocoa if desired. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before serving.

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Notes: These are delicious and easy to add various flavors- a little cinnamon goes great with chocolate, and a bit of cayenne would give these a great little kick. You could also add a little fancy sea salt to the cocoa you roll the truffles in.

Yield: I got about 30, but it depends on how big you make them.

10-Minute Pie Crust

IMG_1306 If I had a dollar for every pie crust tutorial/recipe I’ve read I could probably buy a tank of gas for my van. I’ve rolled so many pie crusts you’d think I’d be really good at it by now. But every time I use a pie crust recipe that involves a rolling pin I’m disappointed. They’re always tough! I know it’s something I’m doing, but I can’t seem to get a good crust rolled out no matter how many times I try.

But that’s ok. I have this recipe that involves no rolling pin! It takes less than ten minutes to make and comes out perfectly flaky every time. This is only for a bottom crust, because it is pressed into the pan so there’s no way to make a top crust with it. All our favorite pies use a crumb topping or none at all, so this works great for me.

This can be used with both sweet and savory pie fillings.

10-Minute Pie Crust

-Ingredients-

1 C. whole wheat pastry flour 2/3 C. unbleached flour 2 t. sucanat or sugar* 1 t. salt 1/2 C. melted butter (or coconut oil) 2 T. milk

1. In a medium bowl stir together the flours, sucanat and salt with a fork. Add the melted butter and milk and stir just until it starts to hold together in large crumbs.

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2. Scrape the large crumbs into a pie pan and begin pressing the crumbs together in the bottom. Work the crust out and up the sides of the pie pan until it’s as thick or thin as you like. We like a pretty thin crust so I press out and up until I can see some light through the crust (see the sides in the top photo?). Trim the excess from the top edges.

3. For an unbaked crust, pour in pie filling, then top and bake according to pie recipe. For a baked pie crust, line the crust with foil, bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely. Fill and bake according to pie recipe.

*You can omit the sucanat if you want, just use less salt-like 1/2 t.

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Notes: You can wrap either the unbaked or baked pie crust tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months before using.

Yield: One bottom crust for a 9” or 10” pie pan.

This is adapted from my Aunt Carrie’s recipe.

Blueberry-Banana Smoothie. With a Secret Superfood!

IMG_1006 Some folks are really into cooked greens. I’m not one of those people. Sure, greens are a superfood so I try to include them in our meals regularly, but I just don’t like them cooked. But according to this article, raw kale is actually better nutritionally than cooked kale. I can do raw kale!

David and Jonathan aren’t fans of kale, but David doesn’t mind it if he doesn’t taste it. I mix it into our salads where it isn’t noticed much, and now I learned another way to subtly add more of this superfood to our diets: Smoothies! If you look closely at this picture you might see little specs of green from the kale, but if you don’t know it’s there it goes unnoticed. David didn’t even know it was there, and NOTHING gets by him!

If you’re really worried about adding the kale, start with just a few little pieces. Over several weeks you can slowly add more and more kale until you’re using a whole, big leaf. Be sure to blend really well so you don’t have chunks of kale giving away your secret superfood ingredient!

Blueberry-Banana Smoothie

-Ingredients-

1 C. frozen blueberries 1 whole, frozen banana* 1 big leaf of kale (remove the tough stem) 3 C. kefir (or half yogurt and half milk) 2 T. honey

1. Place all ingredients in blender. Pulse a few times to break up the big chunks of banana, then blend on high for several minutes until completely smooth.

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*I peel and cut bananas into pieces and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen I transfer the banana chunks to a bag to store in the freezer until I need them. This is a great way to preserve those bananas that are about to go bad!

Notes: I’ve noticed that when I’m making a smoothie with kefir it expands quite a bit when blended (I think because of the fizziness), so be sure to leave some extra space in your blender!

Yield: About 6 C. of smoothie

Inspired to use greens in smoothies by Tammy’s Recipes