Friday, November 30, 2012

Raw Nutty Truffles

Are you ready for a delicious gift that you might compulsively eat while making them?  Good, me too.  These little guys are fantastic and a little addictive- so make sure you make plenty.  Let's just say my taste testers weren't complaining!

We eat a lot of nuts in this house.  I use them in granola, as snacks, as toppings for oats or stir fries (or just about anything), in baking.... I'm sure you get the picture.  We buy in bulk here.  Since we eat so many nuts, it's important we soak and dry them properly to reduce the phytic acid as much as possible.

You can check out my post over at Modern Alternative Kitchen for more info about phytic acid.  All of the nuts in this recipes have been soaked and then dehydrated prior to coating them with chocolaty goodness.

So on to the recipe.  We can't have dairy here so chocolate isn't a daily occurrence in this house.  That's not to say we don't have carob and cacao powder- we just can't buy those dairy and soy laden bars they sell in the store.  Since we can't, I'm all about making delicious chocolate creations on occasion.  The bonus on these is the nutty center- it doesn't hurt that it's good for you too!

Raw Nutty Truffles

2 cups nuts (I like almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts)
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp cacao powder (you can substitute cocoa or carob, but it won't be raw)
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

Combine melted coconut oil, 2 tbsp cacao powder, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.

Whisk together until smooth.

Add nuts and stir until completely coated.

Mixture will be thin and will run off of nuts- that's ok.  Put everything in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

Stir again.  Your coating should be thick and gooey.  If it still runs, put it back in the fridge.

If it sticks to the nuts, you're ready to go.  Spread nuts on a piece of parchment paper and return to fridge for 20 minutes.

After chilling, dip each nut in remaining cacao powder.  I used a mesh hand strainer to shake off extra cacao.

You can do a couple nuts at a time.

Um, yum!

When you're finished, "wrap" your gift in a jar or other pretty container.

Keep in the fridge until ready to gift or eat!

These never made it back to the fridge...

This post is shared at Monday ManiaMeatless MondayMelt in Your Mouth Monday and Homestead Barn HopWhole Foods WednesdayReal Foods WednesdayGluten Free WednesdayTasteful TuesdaysFresh Foods Link Up and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

We're really getting in the holiday mood over here.  Some cooler weather, Christmas decorations and festive music have got us all feeling a little like Christmas elves.

This weekend when we got out our decorations, I got to watch the magic of Christmas come back to life in my kids eyes.  It was so awesome!  They are at a perfect age for christmas- everything they see is full of wonder and they are too young to get caught up in the commercialism.

So we had decorations, Christmas stories, the smell of our fresh Christmas tree and some cool weather. All that was missing was some hot chocolate make things really festive.  But ya'll know I can't just rip open a package of cocoa and plop in some marshmallows.  I have no idea what is actually in those packs but I know there is sugar and most likely a bunch of sketchy ingredients.

My kids don't need to associate Christmas or any holidays with sugar, thanks.  So I needed a dairy free version that is naturally sweetened.  My version has zero funky ingredients!

I found that a mix of almond and coconut milk have the right amount of creaminess without any overpowering flavors (which I think you get if you use a single milk).  I also used carob powder since I was making this for my kiddos.  I like to limit the cocoa they eat since it contains caffeine.  We go light on the sweetener over here so I only like to at 2 tbsp of honey, but add more if you like it a little sweeter!

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

makes 4 mugs

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups coconut milk
¼ cup carob powder (or cocoa)
2-4 tbsp honey (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla

Make sure your coconut milk is not separated.  I poured mine from the can into a mason jar and whisked it together.

Combine all ingredients in your blender.

Blend on medium-low until combined.  Alternately, you can whisk ingredients together.

If you've got a fancy coffee maker like me, you can froth it in batches.  The steam not only heats it, but also adds yummy bubbles!

If not, simply heat the mixture on the stove until hot.  You can pour it back in the blender when hot and blend on high to get some froth on top if you want (who doesn't like froth?).

You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon or carob.  I also dropped an extra spoonful of coconut cream in for some extra yumminess.

And don't think I didn't have two willing taste testers...

They both did a thorough job.

Dakota was all smiles.

And Aidric's dripping face was all I needed to see to know it had his approval.

If you're looking for another yummy gift to wrap up this year, you could also put this in a jar.  It would make a great hostess gift!

This post is shared at Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Fresh Foods Link UpFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Monday Mania, Meatless Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday and Homestead Barn Hop.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soaked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I post a lot of oats in my meal plans so it is high time I get a recipe on the blog for some.  Dakota especially loves oats and asks for them almost every morning.  I love that they are super quick, so they are my go-to breakfast for the two mornings that the kids go to preschool.

I'm posting this recipe today because I've got another post over at Modern Alternative Kitchen running today on soaking, sprouting and phytic acid.  Phytic acid is some pretty exciting stuff.  If you're not familiar, it's in grains, beans, seeds and nuts.  And unfortunately for us, it can wreak havoc on the absorption of minerals in our digestive system.

I could tell you all about it but I'd love it if you clicked on over to MAK and check out the post instead.  That way I don't have to repeat myself (I do enough of that with the kiddos).

In case you were wondering, oats happen to have a good amount of phytic acid.  They also have very little phytase, the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid.  This means you're going to want to give oats a good long soak with something acidic (I use apple cider vinegar) in a warm spot to reduce it as much as possible.

I soak these overnight and they are so easy to make in the morning.  The pumpkin flavor is amazing this time of year!  I also add some yummy fats in the form of coconut oil, cashew milk and pecans to keep the kids going all morning.

Soaked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1 cup rolled oats
2 cups filtered water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree 
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2-3 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup cashew milk
drizzle of honey or maple syrup
dash cinnamon
1/8 cup chopped pecans

Soak oats overnight in water and vinegar.

In the morning, heat oats and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.

Stir well until pumpkin lumps are gone.

Add coconut oil to each bowl.

Scoop oats into each bowl.

Mix with coconut oil to melt.

Top with cashew milk, honey, cinnamon and pecans.  Enjoy your bowl of pumpkin-y goodness!

This post is shared at Whole Foods WednesdayReal Food WednesdayGluten Free WednesdayFresh Foods Link Up and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Today my meal plan is posted over at Modern Alternative Kitchen.  I hope you'll click on over and check it out.  Then you can come back and check out this recipe.  We're having it for lunch on Friday this week.  It's an easy meal, perfect for the busy days ahead as the holiday season gears up.

I'm just learning to master the art of the slow cooker.  My mom bought me one a few years ago and it has gone largely unused (except for some broth making) until recently.  I ignored my slow cooker because it made me think of those terrible recipes where you throw a couple different cans of things in and voila- dinner! Eeekkk. 

But like freezer meals, I've had it all wrong.  You can still pack tons of nutrition into that pot.  And, like freezer meals, I've realized that slow cookers are a busy lady's bestie.  

This recipe is one of my new favorites since Andy is a lover of tacos.  You can also tailor to this recipe to fit your time requirements for the day.  Below I include some options to make this a super easy meal to pull together.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken
2 large chicken breasts
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 cups diced tomatoes

Purple Cabbage Slaw
4 cups sliced or shredded cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1tsp honey (optional)
Dash of salt

Optional Additions
sliced avocado
1/2 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced

Combine all ingredients for shredded chicken, except the chicken, in slow cooker.

Mix it all up!

Place chicken in slow cooker and turn to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (8 if frozen) or high for 3 hours (4 if frozen).

Shred chicken.
Optional: add a sliced bell pepper and half an onion during the last half hour.

Now this deliciousness is ready to eat!

For the slaw, mix everything together and massage cabbage to help break it down.  Alternately, you can make this ahead of time and allow to marinate fridge.

Serve with or without a tortilla (we had sprouted) and top with some yummy avocado.

This colorful, flavorful meal definitely doesn't remind me of canned food!

So make yourself a yummy home cooked meal- even better, make a double batch and freeze half for another day!

This post is shared at Natural Living Mondays, Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop and Melt in Your Mouth Monday