Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Raw Sweet Potato Cranberry Brownies

 I tend to have a lot of sweet potatoes around my house this time of the year.  They are sort of addictive once I prepare something with them...because they are so sweet and delicious. But being addicted is ok because they are so packed with nutrients! Although I love them in savory dishes, using them in sweet is just as exciting  to me. So I decided that I wanted to use them in some raw brownies this week.  When I first started making raw brownies, they had mostly nuts for a base, and were very dense, but then I later learned the magic of fruits and veggies in raw "baked" goods to keep them lighter.  I often use things like beets, zucchini and carrots in my brownies, so I knew the sweet potatoes would be wonderful as well.

Not only would the sweet potatoes keep the brownies light and moist, but they would add sweetness.  The dough for these was scrumptious! Like cookie dough, but brownie style.  I decided that I needed to mix some cranberries into it to make the brownies festive, and some cacao nibs for crunch. 

They were wonderful as was, but I decided to guild the lily and drizzle raw chocolate over them for one last touch.  These were crave worthy.  Soft, decadent, fudgy, sweet and just how brownies should be!

Raw Sweet Potato Cranberry Brownies
Makes 12

2 cups raw coconut flour (home made is preferred)
2 cup sprouted buckwheat flour (or additional coconut flour)
3/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup lucuma powder
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chopped raw sweet potato*
3/4 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
3/4 cup raw pecan butter
2/3 cup raw coconut butter (NOT oil), warmed to liquid

1 cup raw cacao nibs
1 cup dried cranberries

Chocolate drizzle:

1/4 cup raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

For the dough, in a food processor, combine the coconut flour, buckwheat flour, flax seed, cacao powder, lucuma, dates and salt, and process until the dates are very finely chopped and it is all well combined.  Remove from the food processor.  To the processor, add the vanilla, maple, cinnamon, sweet potato, water, coconut nectar, pecan butter, and coconut butter and process until smooth.  Add back the dry ingredients, and process until smooth like cookie dough.  Turn out into a bowl or on a piece of parchment, and knead in the cacao nibs, and cranberries. Then press the brownies into a 1 1/2 inch square on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate** for about 4-6 hours until a little dry on the outside, then cool and cut into12 squares.  Whisk together the chocolate drizzle ingredients, then drizzle over the brownies and allow to set a few minutes until dry. Enjoy!  Store in the fridge.

*Since sweet potatoes may vary in dryness, if you feel that the dough seems too dry add a little more moisture in the form of a few tsp water at a time until it reaches the consistency you like.
**Alternatively, you may simply place the bars in the freezer to firm up but keep in mind they will be more fudgy.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chocolate PB Bliss Smoothie Bowl

I often make smoothie bowls for myself after workouts on a Sunday when I have the time to relax and enjoy and not have to head off to work, but sometimes they find their way into my week as well in snack form. Many times also during the week I find myself making smoothies for my boyfriend Eric, because he has a big appetite.  This was one of those smoothies.  We had gone for a 4 1/2 mile walk and he was hungry so I asked him what type of smoothie he wanted.  Peanut butter and chocolate he replied.  I could have guessed that, because that is his favorite.

I was feeling like making something a little more elaborate than just mixing it all together and dumping it into a huge glass, so I decided to make him a smoothie bowl.  He had never had one, since I usually reserve them for myself.   I went for a marbled PB and chocolate smoothie topped off with the crunchy goodness of hemp seeds, chia seeds and cacao nibs with some jungle peanuts this time.  

Let me tell you, this was some serious deliciousness.  Although I made the smoothie for him, I saved some for myself...because how could I not?!  I love chocolate and PB too!  This was like one giant chocolate PB cup in smoothie form.  Eric devoured his bowl in no time.  If you want to have an indulgent smoothie, this one is for you!

Chocolate PB Bliss Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1

4 large bananas, frozen and cut into pieces
1/4 cup raw hemp milk
1 scoop raw vanilla protein powder (I used Sunwarrior Vanilla Blend)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp raw jungle peanut butter, macadamia butter, or pine nut butter
stevia to taste (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

raw cacao nibs
raw jungle peanuts
raw shelled hemp seeds
chia seeds

For the shake, combine banana, milk, vanilla, peanut butter, protein powder, and stevia in a blender and blend until smooth, using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades. Pour half into a glass liquids measuring cup.  Add the cacao powder to the remaining mixture in the blender, and blend until smooth.  Pour a little of each at a time into a bowl (to create layers of chocolate and vanilla), then take a knife and swirl the middle in a spiral. Top with toppings and serve!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Raw Sweet Potato Cranberry Granola

My Mom told me a few weeks back that I should make her some Sweet Potato Cranberry Granola. She had loved another flavor of granola I had made and said that this could be her Thanksgiving themed granola. Not that people eat granola for Thanksgiving, but you know everyone is in a festive mood and has lots of sweet potatoes and cranberries on hand.  I liked the idea.  Add in a little maple, nuts and cinnamon and it would be delicious.

Funny, I am saying that sweet potatoes and cranberries would make a good granola flavor because those two things were what I disliked most on the Thanksgiving table as a child.  It for sure had something to do with the overly sweet sweet potatoes in syrup and can shaped cranberries.  As an adult I have grown to love sweet potatoes and cranberries, I just know that they do better when prepared simply and not loaded with sugar.  They made the perfect combination in this granola, my Mom was right!  This stuff is pretty darn addictive!

Raw Sweet Potato Cranberry Granola
Makes about 8 cups

2 cups raw buckwheat

1 1/2 cups dried large coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
3/4 cup raw pecans
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar, maple syrup (or your choice sweetener, more if you prefer sweeter)
1/4 cup raw coconut butter
1 cup chopped raw sweet potato
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
1/4 cup filtered water
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp raw coconut oil, liquefied
1 cup dried cranberries

Soak buckwheat for 30 minutes, rinse very well (as it has a slimy coating that needs to be removed) and drain well. Place in a large bowl, along with the coconut and nuts. In a food processor, combine the coconut nectar, coconut butter, sweet potato, sea salt, vanilla, maple, water, cinnamon, coconut oil. Process until smooth and pour the mixture over the granola, and mix well with your hands. Spread out a lined dehydrator tray, and dry for about 12 hours at 115F until crispy. Stir in dried cranberries.  Can be stored in an airtight container for a few weeks at room temperature.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Raw Chocolate Pecan Pie Mousse Cake

Apple pie, pumpkin pie and pecan pie were always musts at my Grandmother's house on Thanksgiving.  I always had to have a piece of each, but the pecan was my favorite.  A preference I shared with my Mom and Grandmother but the rest of my family didn't seem to care for the pecan. I could never understand it.  The combination of caramel and pecans in a pie was pretty delicious.  I wanted some pecan pie this year, ended up a little different than that because I love cake as well and chocolate.  So what I created ended up being a Raw Chocolate Pecan Pie Mousse Cake.  

Pecan pie alone just wouldn't cut it with me because I tend to vary from tradition.  I love what resulted though because this cake was freaking delicious!  I made it a little different than the typical chocolate mousse base I use for cakes because avocados are super expensive right now.  That is what I usually use for chocolate mousse because it is easy, rich and silky.  But I decided to use a little lighter and cheaper ingredient, zucchini.  Before you go thinking that sounds crazy in a mousse cake, it ended up just as silky when I mixed it with the coconut and you could not tell it was in there.  

 I put a layer of pecan filling in the middle and on top of the cake and it was amazing with the decadent chocolate mousse.  We are talking heavenly cake here.  It tastes like something that is really sinful to eat, but hey, it has veggies included so that makes it healthy right?!  I think this is even better than pecan pie because you get chocolate mousse included as well.  Why reserve it for Thanksgiving though, this would be good any time of the year!

Raw Chocolate Pecan Pie Mousse Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

1/2 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats, dried in the dehydrator
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 cups young coconut meat*
3 cups diced zucchini
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar or your choice of raw liquid sweetener
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 tsp maple extract
1 1/4 cups raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid) 
3/4 cup raw cacao powder

Filling and Topping:
1 cup soft medjool dates
2 Tbsp raw pecan butter or other raw nut butter
1 Tbsp coconut butter, warmed to liquid
filtered water as needed
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt

1 1/2 cups chopped raw pecans, divided

whole raw pecans for topping cake

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process buckwheat, coconut and sea salt in a food processor until it is fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside. 
To make the filling, in a food processor combine coconut, zucchini, coconut nectar, sea salt vanilla, maple and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter, and process for a minute until blended. Remove the filling from the food processor and place in a bowl. Set aside.
For the filling, combine all ingredients but the pecans in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (adding filtered water as needed until it is a desired consistency).  Mix in chopped pecans.
To assemble cheesecake, pour half the chocolate filling over the crust, then spread half the pecan caramel mixture over that, then pour the remaining chocolate filling over that.  Place in the freezer to set for about 4 hours.  Once the cake is set, spread the remaining pecan caramel mixture over the top.  Cover the top of the cake with the whole pecans. Store cake in the fridge.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can substitute 3 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained for the coconut and filtered water for the coconut water.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Raw Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

 What is Thanksgiving dinner without dessert?  Yes, the savory part of Thanksgiving tends to be the star in most people's minds, but to be completely honest, dessert was always the thing I looked forward to as a child the most.  I would always save room for a piece of pumpkin, pecan and apple pie.  That was what my Grandmother served every year.  The pecan was my favorite.  But I have a feeling that if we still had a big Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandma's house I would be bringing some sort of dessert.  I no longer have a big family Thanksgiving, just a small one at home but dessert is still important to me.  Maybe it is to you as well, so I thought I would share with you 22 of my recipes that I feel are fit to serve at your Thanksgiving feast! As you may notice, it is heavy on the cakes, because those are my favorite, but I have smaller things like cookies and candies if you want to go lighter.  There is lots of food porn in this post even if you don't make any of it, at least you can drool over some dessert deliciousness.  Lastly, I wanted to say I am thankful for all of you that visit my blog!  You make my day with your kind words and it makes me so happy when I hear that you have made one of the recipes!  I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your families!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Raw Savory Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and since many of you are putting together your menus I thought you might like a bit of inspiration in the form of savory recipe ideas to make.  I know it can be a challenge when you are eating raw and plant based to find things to make.  I have compiled a list of raw recipes, some from other bloggers I admire and some of my own.  They are not all traditional, but they are seasonal.  I like to switch things up a bit.  You will not miss the Turkey with these delicious dishes!  Stay tuned, tomorrow I will be sharing my top Thanksgiving Dessert recipes! 

by Susan Powers of Rawmazing

by Susan Powers of Rawmazing

By Amie Sue Oldfather of Nouveu Raw 

By Sarahfaé Bedelia of Addicted to Veggies