Sunday, December 30, 2012

Orange Spice Sweet Potato Pie

Here is a variation on the Coconut Pecan Pumpkin Pie.  The only differences are to substitute sweet potato for the pumpkin and add 1/2-1 tbs orange flavored extract to the batter.  View the recipe here and make those two simple changes.  :)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Roasted Red Beet and Garlic Hummus

Several years ago I made a beetroot hummus from a recipe I found in a vegetarian cookbook.  I made it around Christmas time and the color was so beautiful and festive.  This year I finally got to making it again, but this time I made some changes and, oh my, it is yummy!  The roasting of the beet and garlic adds to the flavor, but if you wanted to save some time you could steam the beet and use raw garlic (if using raw garlic, be sure to decrease the amount you use or it will be too strong, garlic-wise).


1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 large beetroot (or 1 small)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bulb roasted garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin (or if you used a high speed blender like me you can add the seeds whole before blending)
pinch of salt (I use sea salt or Himalayan)


Begin by roasting the beetroot and garlic.  Preheat oven between 350-400 degrees.  Wash the beetroot, do NOT peel, rub with olive oil, then wrap in a piece of tin foil.  Next, take the bulb of garlic and cut the cloves off across the top, just exposing the inside.  Place bulb on a piece of tin foil, then drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap the bulb up in the foil.   Now, place the garlic and beetroot on an oven proof pan and bake until roasted.  You will know the garlic is done when it begins to look caramelized (a bit browned but NOT burned!) and the beet is done when you can stick a fork through to the middle.  I think it took me about 45 minutes to roast the garlic and about 1 hour for the beetroot.  I started the timer at about 30 minutes and kept checking them periodically.

While the beetroot and garlic are roasting begin preparing the other ingredients.  Rinse the garbanzo beans (you can definitely substitute canned beans with freshly soaked and cooked ones!) in a strainer and allow the water to drain off for several minutes.

Combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt in a food processor or blender.  Once the garlic has been roasted take it out of the oven, open the tin foil, and allow it to cool enough to handle safely with your hands.  It should look something like this:

Once cooled, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and add to the other ingredients.  Alternatively, if you chose to use raw garlic, just add 2 peeled cloves of raw garlic instead.  Raw garlic is much stronger, that is why I suggest using a much smaller amount.  Once the beet(s) have been roasted, use a fork to "hold" on to the beet(s) and remove the skin by scraping it off with a butter knife.

After the skin has been removed cut the beet into smaller pieces to help it continue to cool.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then add to the other ingredients.

Now, you are ready to blend it up!  Blend up the ingredients until smooth.  Serve immediately or store in the fridge and use within several days.  This hummus is delicious with raw veggies, corn chips, salad or sandwich topper, and the list goes on!  Also, a GREAT addition to the appetizer spread for your holiday potluck or party--- Enjoy!

Check out this link for more feel divine recipes at this week's Wellness Weekend!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Festive Cranberry Pecan Brussel Sprouts

I had some brussel sprouts in the fridge and, after making cranberry sauce and snacking on pecans, I was inspired to put them together in this delicious combination!


1 lb brussel sprouts
2-3 tbs olive oil
handful chopped pecans
handful fresh cranberries
salt, to taste
cracked pepper, to taste
cranberry sauce, optional (recipe on this blog)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash brussel sprouts and be sure to drain all water off.  Cut them in quarters and place them in a large caserole baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add pecans and cranberries.  Mix to coat with oil.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the brussel sprouts can be poked thru with a fork but not too soft. 

Eat by itself or serve with quinoa.

Try adding some cranberry sauce on top!

A link to this recipe may also be found here, along with other wonderfully delicious and nutritious recipes: Wellness Weekend December 20-24. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Carob-Mint and Almond Faux-Chocolate

I am always on the lookout for chocolaty treats that are both healthy and tasty.  This one goes beyond the tasty part that was inspired by the combination of this idea: Whole New Mom: Homemade Chocolate Chips AND peanut brittle.
I used coconut oil instead of butter and had a hard time cutting those chips without them just crumbling.  Recently, I had the craving for something similar to a candy bar and came up with this idea and, instead of cutting it apart, you break it apart like peanut brittle.  The nuts are a wonderful compliment and addition as well!  When having something as purely decadent as this I have absolutely NO reason to miss the ol' fashioned chocolate filled with sugar... I actually think this is better.  Please note: you want to eat this right from the freezer for a solid "chocolate" and from the fridge for a softer sort of "chocolate," or in a hot car if you'd like chocolate syrup...


1 cup coconut oil
1 cup carob powder (up to 1/3 of that can be cocoa powder if you'd like it SUPER chocolaty.  I used about 1 tbs cocoa)
stevia powder, to taste
1 tbs vanilla extract
3-6 drops peppermint oil or 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup raw or roasted almonds (or walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)


If your nuts are raw and you would like to toast them first, lay them across a 9x12 baking pan and roast them at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes, or until slightly brown.

While the nuts are toasting...

With a medium saucepan over low heat, stir coconut oil with a whisk until melted thoroughly.  Do not leave unattended while on the burner.

Add carob/cocoa powder and whisk into the oil until all the lumps are out.  Next, take it off the heat and thoroughly whisk in extract, peppermint, and stevia.

With the pan out of the oven and cooled enough to handle safely, spread nuts evenly across pan and pour the "chocolate" over them.  Use a spatula to scrape the excess out of the saucepan.  If you choose move the chocolate around with spatula to coat the top portion of nuts.

Place pan in freezer, making sure to leave it on a level shelf (very important!).  If you do not have enough room in your freezer to place it flat you may find a flat area in your fridge to place it until lit sets up solid enough to move it to the freezer to set up the rest of the way.  Leave in the freezer for approximately 1 hour, or until it has turned completely solid (check the middle).

Next, either use an even larger pan or a clean counter top to turn the "chocolate" on to.  Using your hands, break the "chocolate" into smaller pieces.  The size it up to you.  I break mine into pieces that are approximately 1-3 bites.

Store in an air-tight container in your freezer.   Be sure to not leave them in a room-temperature (or warmer) environment for very long as they will melt.  Let them melt in your mouth instead... and, oh, they will!!

A link to this recipe can also be found here, along with many more delcious and nutritious recipes: Wellness Weekend December 13-17-2012.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cranberry, Pumpkin, and Mung Energy Custard Bars

After making protein bars with protein powder in them I wanted to figure out a different sort of "protein bar" that doesn't have the same highly refined protein powder in them.  So, I came up with the idea to sprout mung beans and use them in baking.  They are so very easy (and inexpensive) to sprout at home.

You can use canned pumpkin or you can roast it yourself.  I have some saved in the freezer in containers like this to take out when needed:

The combination of subtle pumpkin spice, cranberry and crunchy walnuts makes for a delicious snack food (or, a healthy dessert!).  I just love how the cranberries pop open during baking to spread their flavor.  If you blend the mung sprouts very smooth you cannot tell they are in the batter.  Though these are not vegan, perhaps you might be able to use egg replacer.  Let me know if you try it!


4 eggs
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
3 1/2 cups sprouted mung beans
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbs oil (sesame, olive, coconut, or almond)
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tbs nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2-1 tbs chopped fresh ginger (or less dry)
stevia powder, to taste preference
1/2-1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


Blend all the ingredients, except the cranberries and walnuts, in a food processor or blender.

Pour batter in a greased 9x9 baking pan and sprinkle the walnuts and cranberries evenly across the top.  Press walnuts and cranberries lightly into batter using a spatula.

Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake approximately 40 minutes.  You can test to see if it's done by carefully sticking a knife into the middle; if it comes out clean it's done.

Allow to cool and cut into bars.  These are delicious still warm or cool from the fridge.  You can store in the fridge for several days or place in a freezer-safe container and keep there to take out a bar when you need an energy boost during the day.
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