Chocolate + Coconut + Smoothie

IMG_3932Thursdays are like the middle child of weekdays. The anticipation of Friday and hump day Wednesday steal the spotlight causing it to get lost in the mix.  This morning I woke up wanting to acknowledge the excitement of Thursdays. It is one day away from Friday, which means one day closer to the weekend. So what better way to honor a Thursday than to start the day off with a chocolate coconut shake. Special right? It’s not everyday I kickoff the morning with a smoothie that tastes like dessert. It is highly likely it will become my new Thursday morning trend. Although the smoothie tastes like a sweet treat, it is packed full of essential nutrients to start your day off right. Avocado, hemp seeds, banana, almond milk, raw honey…major benefits!

I should add that I love middle children. I don’t think they get lost in the mix, it’s just an old theory. My middle sister is my BFF. If you are a middle child you should feel pretty excited about being compared to a Thursday. Thursdays are awesome, you are awesome and this smoothie is awesome!

Feel free to skip the honey and just use dates to sweeten the chocolate shake. I prefer to use the honey for a nutrient boost, especially the allergy fighting properties it offers. Allergies are killer this time of year in Texas. Another option is to use only honey as a sweetener and skip the dates. Up to you.

[recipe]

Oat + Berry Bars {gluten free}

IMG_3811A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the raspberry oat bars at Whole Foods. OMG are they good. The Whole Food bakers have mastered the perfect ratio of crust to berries to oat topping. I bought one thinking it would last a couple of days…wrong. It was gone before I made it out of the parking lot. These bars only have one flaw- they are super heavy. I am pretty sure my biceps got a workout by lifting it up to my mouth. After tasting them I knew I had to make a lighter version. One that wouldn’t leave me feeling weighted down. After a few recipe tweaks I think I have found the perfect replacement. There is still a place in my life for the occasional Whole Foods Berry Oat Bar, but I will be keeping a stash of my version in the freezer for when I am having a craving.

[recipe]

 

Mint + Dark Chocolate Smoothie

IMG_3304Our house is officially ready for Christmas. This past weekend I bought Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels out of all their Christmas décor and pasted it all over our house. Nothing makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house. Actually, there is one thing that makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house…that would be sitting on the couch, watching Home Alone while sipping on a holiday inspired smoothie. That is exactly how I spent my night last night. It was awesome. I put a festive holiday spin on my usual green smoothie by adding fresh mint leaves and dark chocolate. It tasted more like a milkshake than a smoothie. Very indulgent without being super heavy. A green mint smoothie is the perfect addition to a cozy night in or a great way to start a day of holiday shopping.

I used hempseeds in my smoothie. Flax seed or chia seed would also work well.

[recipe]

 

Honey + Cinnamon + Vanilla Almond Milk

IMG_3290The other day I was roaming the grocery store when I passed an entire section dedicated to flavored milks. That’s right, an entire shelf!  Pumpkin, eggnog, peppermint, hazelnut…the list goes on. Those flavors sound great, especially for the holiday season, but it got me thinking…if I were to drink a flavored milk what would I choose? I settled on honey, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk. Once an idea is in my head I get a bit obsessive. It’s all I can think about until I make it. Thankfully this recipe idea conveniently came to me while in a grocery store. Which meant I could buy the ingredients, head home and have the almond milk made before sunset. Oh boy, was I wrong. I got so caught up in my excitement that I forgot almond milk takes time and patience. The almonds need to be soaked for 24 hours before transforming them into milk. I did have the almonds soaking in water by sunset, but would have to wait until the following day to turn them into honey, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk.

The wait was worth it. This milk is happy dance material. The kind of yumminess that automatically makes you shake your booty. You can drink it straight up, in tea/coffee, or blend with some ice and a banana to make a bomb milkshake. Using a vanilla bean made the milk taste (and look) extra special. Vanilla beans are pricey so feel free to substitute vanilla extract for the bean.

Using a nut bag is the easiest way to drain the almond milk from the almond pulp. They can be found at most grocery stores. You may also use a few layers of cheesecloth.

[recipe]

Chocolate + Cherry Tart

IMG_2153

September is a busy birthday month for my family. I’m talkin’ 4 birthdays in 30 days.  Living in another state makes it difficult for us to participate in the family b-day celebrations, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating. Last night I made a raw chocolate cherry tart in honor of the birthdays. We skipped the candles and singing, but dug in like it was OUR birthday. This may be the richest and most satisfying dessert in the whole entire world and the next universe over. The cherry flavor is very slight. Not too strong. Not too weak. I served it with coconut vanilla bean ice cream. The depth of the tart pairs well with the lightness of the ice cream. Besides the flavor, what I love most about this dessert is all the goodness it entails. Your body will benefit from eating every single ingredient blended into this chocolaty tart…A true rarity when it comes to dessert.

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                               Raw Cacao  

Before the cacao bean is processed with sugar and dairy to make your favorite chocolate bar, it is a packed with vitamins and minerals. Raw cacao, which can be found in the form of butter, nibs, powder or beans, is high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and Omega 6s. Ready for a shocker…raw cacao is said to help prevent cavities. Yup-sir-e. Cacao is high in Theobromine, which kills a strain of bacteria that causes cavities. It is also one of the highest food sources of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral of a modern day diet. Raw cacao is a bit pricey but defiantly worth it for the health benefits.

[recipe]

      

Decadent No Cook Brownies

IMG_1614

Are you ready for the most chocolaty, rich and nutrient dense dessert you will ever have? If your answer is yes (there is no reason is shouldn’t be) then I have the perfect recipe for you, decadent raw food brownies. They have been tested on my best friend, who is a self acclaimed chocolate connoisseur, and passed with flying colors. Instead of rambling on and on about how delicious these bad boys are, I am going to suggest you get up from whatever you are doing and go make them. Oh, and no need to turn on the oven. All it takes is a few go-arounds in the food processor for the brownies to come together.

At The Honest Plate cooking class I served the brownies with a Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (recipe to follow) and paired them with Matthews Chalkboard Red Wine (www.matthewswinery.com). It was a match made in wine and dessert heaven, which is the heaven I would like to go to.

[recipe]