Heart Healthy Raw Chocolate Pudding

heart healthy chocolate pudding

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and I felt this was the perfect excuse to celebrate all matters of the heart; so why not have chocolate pudding?!

All chocolate pudding is not created equal, but those made with legitimate ingredients like cashews and coconut can protect your heart; perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Check out my Raw Chocolate Pudding YouTube video- it’s a goody; click here for the delicious visual goodness and , of course, the recipe!



Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad

caesar salad dressing
A recipe from my Delicious Detox Cooking Class, Vegan Caesar Salad- so good you won’t believe it’s healthy! This healthful Caesar salad is brimming with protein and fibre from the kale and pinto beans, and classically Caesar salad with Dijon mustard and garlic; warning, garlic breath will ensue- any Caesar salad worth its salt will give you dragon breath; but this recipe is so good, you won’t even care.

You can watch the video demo on my YouTube channel today; regardless, you NEED to add this vegan Caesar salad recipe to your repertoire!

Hint: It’s always a good idea to check out the video…

Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
1 bunch of romaine lettuce, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
½ cup vegan caesar dressing (below)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Dressing Ingredients
⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons dijon mustard
½ cup raw walnuts, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
¼ cup canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
2 teaspoons garlic (roughly 2-3 large cloves)

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor; blend until completely smooth.

Combine the dressing with kale and romaine season with salt and pepper.



Natural Sugar Substitutes

Sugar is bad- but you knew that already. Today, more than ever, the world is becoming aware of the need to reduce our sugar intake. Sugar is everywhere and it wreaks havoc on the human body, it feeds behavioral disorders, contributes to obesity and tooth decay and is 100% unnecessary in our diets; but I know that sometimes a little sweetness is just what the doctor ordered, so I want to share my favorite natural sugar substitutes.

Blackstrap Molasses (unsulphured)
Black strap molasses is made from the same sugar cane the produces refined sugar, but it is obtained during the third and final refinement of boiling the sugar syrup derived from sugar cane; but unlike white refined sugar, blackstrap molasses is rich in calcium, iron and magnesium that serves to ease muscles cramps. Molasses is also rich in B vitamins that fuel our metabolism and fortify our immune systems.

Now, I don’t use this natural sugar substitute that much in cooking, due to its black licorice flavor, I find the flavor profile a bit too bossy; but I use it during my period to help relieve cramps- and it works like a hot damn. It works to relax muscles, and the uterus is one of the biggest muscles in the female body; heck, it pushes a baby out! For all day cramp relief, take 1 heaping tablespoon in the am, and then dilute another tablespoon in water and drink throughout the day.

A word of caution, blackstrap molasses will relax all your muscles, including your bowels, so for the first few uses, be near a washroom!

Honey (raw, local, unpasteurized)
Honey is an incredibly healing food; and, although, it’s comprised of mainly sugar and water, honey is a nutritional powerhouse. Honey can help reduce seasonal allergies, relieve sore throats and heal wounds; so honey is one of my favorite natural sugar substitutes.

I say this everytime I refer to honey, and it bears repeating; BEWARE of shitty honey (the language IS very necessary). Honey is a perfect food and one of the oldest natural remedies on earth, resisting spoilage and offering the aforementioned health benefits; however, when it’s pasteurized and made by bee’s who are overworked (having to pollinate FAR MORE than natural) honey loses all it’s health benefits, and becomes amber sugar syrup. Raw, local, organic honey is what you are after.

Coconut Sugar (organic)
If you’ve been with me for a while, then you know that I am loco for all things coconut, including coconut sugar; and in my kitchen, as far as cooking and baking is concerned, this is my number one natural sugar substitute. Yes, it’s sugar but this natural sugar substitute measures cup for cup with white sugar, so it seamlessly integrates into all your recipes. Coconut sugar, despite its name, has a light caramel color and flavor to match; and it’s made from drying the sap of the flower from the coconut tree. It has iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium and is low on the glycemic index; and since I caught wise to coconut sugar almost 2 years ago and made it one of my standby natural sugar substitutes, I haven’t looked back!

Always be sure to purchase your coconut sugar organic- just to be safe.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NATURAL SUGAR SUBSTITUTES? DO YOU NEED SUGAR, OR ARE YOU SWEET ENOUGH?!


Raw Chocolate Recipes ~ Raw Cacao Dipped Strawberries

I have always had an affinity for chocolate recipes- made with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, cacao powder and everything in between; but as I have come into my own as a natural foods chef and (soon to be) nutritionist, I have learned that not all chocolate recipes is created equal.

There are so many health benefits associated with eating chocolate and various chocolate recipes; chocolate is high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that are associated with amazing skin and brain health- but we aren’t talking about Cadbury. You see, when chocolate is heated and processed ALL of the health benefits are completely negated; and since milk inhibits the absorption of the aforementioned polyphenols so it’s best to stick to raw, organic, unprocessed cacao.

Funny story, when I first started consuming raw cacao and experimenting with raw chocolate recipes, I would talk (at length) about raw CACAO, however, my friends and family thought I was referring to COCOA but saying it funny; no, I wasn’t saying it funny, because cacao refers to raw chocolate- and it’s the word you should look for when purchasing this healing food.

Now, when you think of healthy snacks, chocolate covered strawberries may or may not come to mind, but this is one of my favourite raw chocolate recipes and I’ve made it even better with a few extra boosts.

When we consume fruit, despite the many associated benefits of eating it, fruit can spike blood sugar if it isn’t eaten with other foods that create balance; which is why I add the ever amazing hemp seeds. 3 tbsp of hemp seeds boasts 11g of protein, which makes this a protein rich snack- bet you didn’t see that coming! And hemp seeds are one of the only plant based foods on the planet that have the perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. So this raw chocolate recipe is a rich source of healthy fats too.

In regards to dipping your strawberries, be sure that the strawberries are completely dry, or else the chocolate will not adhere; and because strawberries are high atop the dirty dozen list, please purchase them organic or even better, visit your local farmers market and buy them there- lucky for you and me, they are just now coming into season!

Impress your friends and nourish your body with raw chocolate covered strawberries that are also a complete meal- they won’t even see it coming!

Raw Chocolate Recipes- Raw Cacao Dipped Strawberries

2 tbsp raw cacao
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds
2/3 cup coconut oil, soft
1 lb organic strawberries, washed and dried

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the strawberries, mix until well combined. Dip the strawberries in the cacao blend and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; place them in the refrigerator to set up and enjoy!


Lemon Lavender Mint Refresher

lemon lavender lemonade

Summer is here; and with summer vibes, comes summer libations. I’m guilty of having a few cocktails during the summers months, as I believe that nothing compliments the summer sun quite like a white wine spritzer. Life is for living and should be balanced, so in order to tip the scales back in my favor, I like to sip beverages that support my body in it’s detoxification efforts.

I love lemons, and lemons are a natural diuretic that helps reduce swelling, inflammation and bloating in the body- all natural by products of a hangover. Since lemons are also antibacterial, they flush out bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections; do yourselves a favor ladies and consume lemons UTI’s are no fun. And for those of us with anemia or low iron, vitamin C in lemons help the body absorb non-heme iron, a form of iron from plant sources, such as vegetables.

I made this lavender lemonade for a backyard BBQ, and truth be told, I spiked it with wine; however, during the week, I make a large batch and sip it diluted in water for a detoxifying and sweet sipper. By steeping the lavender and mint with coconut sugar and water, creates an extremely flavorful syrup.

Summer sippin’ redefined!

Lavender Mint Lemonade

7 meyer lemons
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
4 cups water
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 cup water
15 leaves fresh mint

In a small sauce pot, add 1 cup water, coconut sugar, lavender flowers and mint; bring to a boil, remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice the lemons into 4 cups of water.

Once cool, strain the lavender mint syrup and discard the solids; stir the syrup into the lemon water. Serve ice cold.