Cacao Power Protein Bars

Cacao Power Protein Bars

Breakfast, Desserts, Snacks | July 24, 2016 | By

I love making snack bars for work and it’s no secret that I love chocolate, so what a perfect way to marry the two into a healthy protein power bar to keep me going all morning!  My favorite raw vegan protein powder is Sun Warrior Warrior Blend; it is so smooth, tastes amazing and does not leave my stomach in knots.  You can use any protein powder for the base of this recipe.

No bake protein bars are so easy to make because you just set them in the freezer, and last a long time because you can keep them frozen until eaten.  I like using raw almond butter in my protein bars but you can use any nut butter.  For a liquid sweetener my go to is raw coconut nectar, it is the lowest on the glycemic index and full of these health benefits:

  • Contains 17 Amino Acids
  • Low in the glycemic index with a rating of only 35
  • Adds medium-chain fatty acids for readily available energy
  • Full of minerals, containing 10 x the amount of zinc and 4 x the amount of magnesium as brown sugar

I don’t rave about coconut nectar enough, it is truly my favorite!  Learn more about coconut nectar here.

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I love to add superfoods wherever possible, right?! So, I just had to throw some maca root powder in these bad boys!  I have been using maca root a lot lately to help balance out my hormones, but also has so many other health benefits:

  • Maca is rich in vitamins B, C, E, and contains high amounts of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.
  • Maca is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility.
  • Maca relieves menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression
  • Within days of using maca your energy level may increase. It is also known for increasing stamina. Many athletes take maca for peak performance.
  • Many people take maca for skin issues, as for some people it helps to clear acne and blemishes.
  • If you find yourself overcome with anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings, maca may help ease these symptoms, though of the evidence is anecdotal. Some have reported an increase in mental energy and focus.

Now that’s a superfood!! Read more about the health benefits of Maca here.

Enjoy these superfood protein power bars!

Cacao Power Protein Bars
Raw, vegan protein bars with superfoods.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
  2. 2 scoops vanilla Sun Warrior Protein Powder
  3. 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1/2 cup liquid sweetener (I used coconut nectar)
  5. 1/2 cup nut butter (I used raw almond butter)
  6. 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  7. 2 tablespoons maca root powder
  8. 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  9. 2 teaspoons cinnamon (I use ceylon)
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or extract
  11. dash of Himalayan salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until a dough is formed or batter starts sticking together. If it is not sticking together add more nut butter or liquid sweetener.
  2. Scoop batter into an 8 x 8 square pan lined with parchment paper and flatten with a back of a spoon until even.
  3. Put in the freezer overnight or for 1 hour to set. Remove and cut into squares. Keep in fridge or freezer until eaten. Makes 9 - 12 bars.
Notes
  1. You can omit the maca root powder, sub carob powder instead of cacao, and sub chocolate sun warrior vanilla protein powder instead of vanilla.
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Strawberry Lemonade Parfait and Sweetly Raw Cookbook Review

Strawberry Lemonade Parfait

Breakfast, Desserts | July 4, 2016 | By

I am so excited for this post!  It’s no secret I love raw desserts and so a while back, I stumbled across an amazing raw desserts “cookbook” called Sweetly Raw Desserts created by the beautiful Heather Pace from Sweetly Raw.

Heather is a classically trained chef turned raw dessert chef and a certified yoga instructor.  She lives in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and sells her treats at Farmer’s Markets.  I was so lucky to be visiting my sister in Victoria the weekend she was at the Moss Street Market, so naturally I had to go and meet her in person and try her famous snickers bars!  And oh my goodness, they were amazing!!  If you live in or visiting the area, you have to go check out her booth!

This book is one of my favorites! Heather has put in a lot of work including details on how to prepare and organize your raw dessert kitchen with equipment, storage instructions, and so many how to’s!  It’s rare to find a cookbook these days with so much information.  And not mention the amazing recipes!  Her pictures will make you want to dive right in!

I was so happy to share a recipe from her book; this Strawberry Lemonade Parfait is perfect for summer.  The flavors are so light and refreshing, and who doesn’t love a parfait? They are super fun and easy to make!  I couldn’t stop eating these, my neighbor had to come over and help me! 

I love making parfaits because you can be really creative.  In this recipe I decided to add diced strawberries and granola, but there are so many options.  Shredded coconut, pecans and/or walnuts would also pair really nice with this.  Try it, you’ll love it!

Here are just a few reasons to purchase her book:

  • With over 90+ recipes – including parfaits, puddings, pies, cake, chocolate and more
  • Extended instructions on how to create a well-stocked raw dessert kitchen, including necessary ingredients and tools
  • Multiple step-by-step techniques describing baking basics, including the proper way to melt chocolate, frost a cake or even open a coconut
  • Mouth-watering photos that are both instructional and appealing

You can purchase her book on amazon here, or through her blog here. You have to check it out, anyone can make these recipes, and don’t forget they are made with real, healthy ingredients!

Strawberry Lemonade Parfait
Light, refreshing parfait made with lemon and strawberry pudding perfect for summer! Raw, vegan and healthy!
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Lemon Pudding
  1. 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  2. 1/2 cup mashed avocado
  3. 3 tablespoons agave or coconut nectar
  4. 2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
  5. 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
  6. 3 drops stevia
  7. 2 pinches turmeric, for color
Strawberry Pudding
  1. 1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
  2. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons agave or coconut nectar
  4. 1/2 cup cashews
  5. 2 or 3 drops stevia
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
For Assembly
  1. 1 cups diced strawberries, for garnish
Lemon Pudding
  1. Blend the lemon juice, avocado, and nectar until smooth in a blender.
  2. Add the coconut butter, lemon zest, stevia and turmeric and blend again.
  3. Chill the pudding in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Strawberry Pudding
  1. Blend all ingredients except the coconut oil until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the oil and blend again.
  3. Chill pudding in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Assembly
  1. Layer the lemon and strawberry pudding in a parfait glass with your favorite toppings.
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Lucuma Chia Seed Pudding with Blueberry Compote

Lucuma Chia Seed Pudding

Breakfast, Desserts, Snacks | June 17, 2016 | By

I made this chia seed pudding a while ago and it was soooo amazing that I had to make it again for the blog! Lucuma powder is a staple in my superfood supply and I use it quite often. The lucuma is a subtropical fruit native to the Andean valleys and produced in Peru and Ecuador; popular in raw desserts and smoothies, this sweet, creamy and maple tasting powder can also be used as a sweetener replacement.

Lucuma is full of health and nutritional benefits: 

  • Contains 14 essential trace elements including high amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorous
  • Low on the glycemic index
  • High in fiber, B Vitamins and Beta Carotene (an antioxidant to help combat free radicals)

Read more about health benefits of Lucuma here. 

Let’s not forget about the power of chia seeds!  I try to add chia seeds in my diet wherever I can because of their super high content of omega 3’s! They are such a powerhouse of nutrition, only 1 ounce contains the following: 

  • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value)
  • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (4915 mg)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (1620 mg)
  • Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV)
  • Copper (0.1 mg – 3% RDV)
  • Phosphorus (265 mg – 27% RDV)
  • Potassium (44.8 mg – 1% RDV)
  • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

Read more about health benefits of Chia Seeds here. 

I used blueberries for the compote recipe but you can use any berry.  The Berry compote flavor pairs so well with the Lucuma chia pudding and melts in your mouth!  I topped it off with some sprouted buckwheaties and blueberries but crushed pecans or walnuts would also be really nice!  This recipe is definitely of my favorites!  ENJOY! 🙂

Lucuma Chia Seed Pudding with Blueberry Compote
Caramel, Maple chia seed pudding topped with blueberry goodness!
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Chia Seed Pudding
  1. 1/4 cup chia seeds (black or white)
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 3 tablespoons lucuma powder
  4. 5 dates, soaked and pitted
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. Dash of Himalayan salt
Blueberry Compote
  1. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  2. 3 dates, soaked and pitted
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
Chia Seed Pudding
  1. Place chia seeds in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  2. Blend dates, lucuma powder, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a high speed blender until smooth.
  3. Pour mixture over chia seeds, whisk well until combined.
  4. Place uncovered in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.
Blueberry Compote
  1. Blend all ingredients except coconut oil in a high speed blender until smooth.
  2. Pour melted coconut oil in blender while on low speed to emulsify.
  3. Place in a glass container and set in fridge overnight or for 1 hour (optional).
  4. Remove chia seed pudding and compote from fridge.
  5. Layer pudding and compote in a parfait glass and top with your choice of garnish.
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Substitute dates for any liquid sweetener, almond milk for any non-dairy milk and blueberries for any berry.
  2. Soak dates until soft. I soak mine in warm water for 30 minutes.
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

I have another amazing smoothie recipe I’ve been drinking a lot lately!  Now that summer is here I am drinking a lot more smoothies, and getting more creative with my ingredients!  This recipe is very light and refreshing; just looking at it reminds me of sunshine. 🙂 

Turmeric is one of my favorite super ingredients to add to smoothies!  I like to use the fresh root instead of powder, but you can use either or.  WARNING: when handling fresh turmeric root wear gloves!  It will stain everything yellow.  I don’t wear gloves but then end up living with yellow fingers and nails for a couple of days and I have a permanent turmeric stain on my cell phone case, lol!  Here is why I LOVE turmeric root so much: 

  • Blocks Cancer – Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.
  • Powerful Antioxidant – The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.  Early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.
  • Potent  Anti-Inflammatory  studies have shown turmeric to be one of the most potent anti-inflammatory on the planet and even trumps some medication. 
  • Osteoarthritis pain relief – Turmeric may also be helpful with another type of arthritis. Some research has shown that taking turmeric extract can ease the pain of osteoarthritis. In one study,reports WebMD, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for relieving osteoarthritis pain.
  • Indigestion and heartburn aid  Curcumin works with the gallbladder, stimulating it to make bile, which may help with digestion. In Germany, turmeric can be prescribed for digestive problems. Some research shows that turmeric may help upset stomach, bloating and gas. Turmeric may also help reduce the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in people who are otherwise healthy.

Read more about the health benefits of turmeric root here. 

I like to top this smoothie recipe off with shredded coconut and cinnamon, but be creative; fresh mango, banana and coconut whipped cream would be delightful!

Tropical Turmeric Smoothie
Delicious vegan tropical smoothie with anti-inflammatory turmeric.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 orange, peeled
  2. 1 fresh banana
  3. 1 cup frozen mango
  4. 2 dates, pitted
  5. 1 thumb size turmeric, peeled
  6. water for blending
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Only add a little water as needed for blending.
Notes
  1. Add vegan milk, or coconut butter for extra creaminess!
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Banana Carob Smoothie with Chaga

Chaga Carob Smoothie

I have been making so many awesome smoothie recipes recently and I cannot believe I have not shared ANY with you yet!  I have been drinking this one about 3 times week, not only because I’m so in love with Chaga Mushroom powder (and find any way I can incorporate it into my diet), also because this reminds me of a chocolate milkshake without the chocolate, dairy or sugar!

I posted another recipe recently using chaga mushroom powder explaining it’s superstar qualities, so in case you missed it, here are just some of the nutritional benefits: 

  • Antixodiant – Chaga mushrooms have the highest ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) for antioxidants ever recorded in any natural food – approximately 1,104 units per gram!
  • Cancer fighting – not only does the betulinic acid found in chaga help to eliminate cancer cells, but it can also help to overcome the unpleasant effects of chemotherapy.
  • Supports Healthy Digestion – With its anti-inflammatory effect, chaga may relieve digestive discomfort and promote better digestive funtction. 
  • Promotes Healthy Skin – Chaga is a natural source of melanin, the pigment that darkens skin and provides protection against solar UV rays. With its anti-inflammatory effects, chaga can help to clear skin conditions like rashes, acne and eczema more quickly. It even protects the firmness and elasticity of skin, delaying the formation of wrinkles.

Read more about the benefits of chaga mushroom here.

I also included the recipe for vanilla bean coconut whipped cream, which pairs so nicely with this recipe! Top it off with strawberries, any fresh fruit or even walnuts! ENJOY! 

Banana Carob Smoothie with Chaga Mushroom Powder
Vegan carob banana smoothie with a special immune boosting ingredient!
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Smoothie
  1. 2 frozen bananas
  2. 2 dates, pitted
  3. 2 tablespoons raw carob powder
  4. 1/4 cup almond milk
  5. 1 teaspoon chaga mushroom powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream
  1. 1 can of full fat premium coconut cream
  2. 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or any other liquid sweetener)
  3. 1 vanilla bean
Smoothie
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Coconut Whipped Cream
  1. Place the can of coconut cream in the fridge overnight to chill.
  2. Remove coconut cream from fridge, turn can upside down, open and drain out all coconut water into a jar and save for another smoothie.
  3. Remove coconut cream into a bowl and add sweetener and vanilla bean.
  4. Using a hand electric mixer, beat cream until fluffy and smooth.
Notes
  1. You can substitute raw carob powder with raw cacao powder, almond milk with any other vegan milk and add ice cubes if you want!
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Butterscotch Caramel Cheesecakes with Chocolate Drizzle

Caramel Butterscotch Cheesecake

Desserts | April 28, 2016 | By

I was dying to use my new silicone cupcake/cheesecake mold! I have had it for a while now and still have not used it so when a potluck came up at work I just had to use them!  I also just received some new flavor extracts: butterscotch and caramel so I had to try them out! 

I wanted to experiment with making a nut free crust, and this oat, raisin crust did just the trick! I love nut crusts but I do find when you have such a nut heavy recipe like a raw cheesecake it’s nice to balance it. 

The butterscotch caramel tasted divine in this recipe!! I let it cool in the fridge for a while and then piped it onto the crust before pouring the cheesecake mixture over top.  You can even add it on top like icing if you want!  I decided to garnish these with chocolate sauce and rose petals and they turned out beautiful!

Everyone at worked just loved them, I know my co-workers are spoiled!! 🙂 Try this recipe you will love it!!

Butterscotch Caramel Cheesecakes with Chocolate Drizzle
Raw, vegan cheesecakes with a oat crust, caramel filling and chocolate drizzle. This recipe makes 12 small cheesecakes
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Crust
  1. 1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
  2. 3/4 cup raisins
  3. 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. dash of salt
Caramel
  1. 10 dates, soaked and pitted
  2. 1/4 cup agave
  3. 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  4. 1 tablespoon mesquite powder
  5. 1 tablespoon water
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 teaspoon vegan butterscotch extract (optional)
  8. dash of salt
Cheesecake
  1. 3 cups cashews, soaked
  2. 3/4 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup agave
  4. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  5. 2 tablespoons mesquite powder
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. dash of salt
Crust
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until a dough ball forms, (this could take a few minutes).
  2. You will require a silicone mold or muffin tray with 12 molds. If you use a muffin tin, line with saran wrap or parchment paper.
  3. Take approximately a tablespoon of dough and roll it in your hands until a ball forms.
  4. Press the dough in the bottom of the mold firmly until even.
  5. Repeat for the rest and place the mold or muffin tin in the freezer to set while making the caramel.
Caramel
  1. Soak the dates for approximately 1/2 hour and remove the pits.
  2. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed for blending.
  3. Remove crusts from freezer, scoop the caramel into a piping bag with a medium tip and pipe caramel in the middle of each crust. Or you can use a spoon and dopple (is this even a word?) it in, but using a piping bag is easier.
  4. Place back in freezer while making the cheesecake filling.
Cheesecake
  1. Soak, drain and rinse cashews. (soaking time - 4 hours)
  2. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender except coconut oil.
  3. Blend until smooth and pour the coconut oil in last while on low speed to emulsify.
  4. Remove cheesecakes from freezer, pour cheesecake mixture in each mold filling right to the top.
  5. Place in freezer overnight or for 8 hours.
  6. Remove cheesecakes carefully from molds and place in the fridge while making chocolate sauce.
  7. Get my chocolate sauce recipe in my post for Easy Raw Vegan Chocolate.
  8. Garnish cheesecakes how you like; I used chocolate sauce, rose petals and cacao nibs. You can be creative and add candied nuts, buckwheat, or more caramel!
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

Chaga Maca Cookie Bites

Chaga Maca Bites

Desserts, Snacks, Uncategorized | March 16, 2016 | By

Have you ever tried chaga mushroom powder??!! Well, these are more like brownie bites infused with two superfoods: chaga mushroom powder and maca root powder.

I think everyone knows by now how obsessed I am with raw chocolate and desserts, so naturally I would post another chocolate dessert recipe 🙂  I was craving a cookie (truth; I had an abundant supply of almond and oat flour  I needed to use).   I make a lot of almond milk and do not like to waste almond pulp, so I dehydrate it and store to use as almond flour when needed. 

Let’s talk about these superfoods! Have you ever tried chaga mushroom powder!?? If not, you should start! not only is it a super immune boosting ingredient, it can also act as a cacao substitute.  Chaga mushroom powder is very similar in taste, look and texture to cocoa powder, as pictured below.

Chaga mushroom grows on the trunks of birch trees in the norther hemisphere.  Here are just some benefits of this amazing superfood!

  • Antixodiant – Chaga mushrooms have the highest ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) for antioxidants ever recorded in any natural food – approximately 1,104 units per gram!
  • Cancer fighting – not only does the betulinic acid found in chaga help to eliminate cancer cells, but this herbal tea can also help to overcome the unpleasant effects of chemotherapy.
  • Supports Healthy Digestion – With its anti-inflammatory effect, chaga may relieve digestive discomfort and promote better digestive funtction. 
  • Promotes Healthy Skin – Chaga is a natural source of melanin, the pigment that darkens skin and provides protection against solar UV rays. With its anti-inflammatory effects, chaga can help to clear skin conditions like rashes, acne and eczema more quickly. It even protects the firmness and elasticity of skin, delaying the formation of wrinkles.

Read more about the benefits of chaga mushroom here.

What a good way to add Chaga mushroom powder to your diet then adding it into these delicious, chocolaty, brownie bites!  Not only are they super quick and easy to make, they are super healthy!  Enjoy!

 

Chaga Maca Cookie Bites
Raw vegan chocolate cookies infused with chaga mushroom powder and maca root. Makes approximately 20 cookies
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Dry Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond flour
  2. 1/3 cup cacao powder
  3. 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
  5. 1 teaspoon chaga mushroom powder (optional)
  6. 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
  7. dash of salt
Wet Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup melted cacao butter
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Melt the cacao butter double boiler method.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients except cacao butter in a small bowl and pour into dry ingredients while mixing until combined.
  4. Slowly pour melted cacao butter in batter while stirring. Batter will be very thick.
  5. Take a small ice cream scooper and scoop onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. Put in fridge or freezer to set for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from freezer and store in in the fridge; will last for 5 days in an air tight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. The easiest way to melt cacao butter is to fill a stainless steel bowl with hot water and place another stainless steel bowl on top with the cacao butter and stir until melted.
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/

 

Matthew Kenney Culinary – Plant Based Desserts

Matthew Kenney Plant Based Desserts

Matthew Kenney | March 5, 2016 | By

I recently took another course through the online Matthew Kenney Culinary School – Plant Based Desserts.  I wanted to take this course last year after I completed the Level 1 Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine but never got around to it!

I love to make healthy desserts and raw chocolate and I wanted to broaden my knowledge and skills, so I finally registered for this course!  It had been almost a year since I had taken an MK online course; I forgot how intense they are, but that’s why I love them, you learn a lot in a short period of time!

Another reason I love the MK courses is because they focus on plating and presentation which is very important to me when executing a recipe.  Through plating you are able to express passion and creativity. 

I included just a few pictures of the dishes we made throughout the course, there were quite a few recipes we executed.  I was looking through my pictures from the course I took last year and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come with presentation and photographs. 

All of the recipes I really enjoyed, of course there were a few favorites, including coconut ice cream, matcha cheesecake and spice cookies (pictured above).  We made six different types of ice cream including a sorbet; my ice cream maker definitely got one heck of a work out! I could whip up batch of vegan ice cream now in no time!

Pictured above are breakfast bars we made and below a parfait with berry jam and maple oat crumble; it was a nice change to have some non dessert recipes thrown in there!  The breakfast bars are so easy to make I will be making them as a weekly snack staple from now on!

One of my absolute favorite desserts was this matcha cheesecake (pictured below).  Usually this is served with black tahini but I did not have access to any so I decided to add dehydrated strawberry powder and strawberries which paired really well!   This photo turned out to be one of my favorites 🙂

Who wouldn’t like vegan hazelnut pralines?!!! These were really fun to make, they have a hazelnut praline filling, en-robed in chocolate and coated in assorted toppings including shredded coconut, hazelnuts and raw cacao nibs.

Pictured below is a dish called White Lotus, and contains 3 different frozen components with mango purée and buckwheat crumble.  So beautiful!!

In the MK courses we always have a chance to create our own recipe utilizing the skills and techniques we have learned.  Since the matcha cheesecake was one of my favorites, I wanted to create a cheesecake dish, so I decided to write a recipe for vanilla cheesecake plated with citrus coulis and spiced buckwheat.  The textures and flavors in this dish worked really well; one of my favorites!

If you are reading this post and thinking about taking the MK Plant Based Desserts Course, I highly recommend it!

Winter Mountain Retreat in Canmore, Alberta

Winter Mountain Retreat

Retreats | February 28, 2016 | By

Hey Everyone; okay so I know I’ve been super MIA from my blog lately and apologize, but, I have been super busy working on so many exciting projects!  This is not a traditional recipe blog post but I really wanted to share this wonderful experience with you.  The beautiful Tracy Stafford from Integration Pilates in Edmonton, Alberta organized an amazing yoga/mediation retreat weekend in Canmore, Alberta in the rocky mountains and I was offered the opportunity to prepare a raw vegan menu during the weekend which turned out to be such a rewarding experience.

This was my first time preparing meals for a group and I was nervous but excited at the same time.  I knew I would succeed because I am super organized and I had learned how to write and execute a menu while completing the Level 1 Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine course through Matthew Kenney Culinary.

I wasn’t sure if the guests had much experience with raw vegan food so I chose to create familiar dishes raw vegan style 🙂 Everyone loves tacos and I love making them, so we had taco Saturday where everyone had the opportunity to assemble their own and the response was amazing!  Tacos included walnut nut meat, pico de gallo, guacamole and cashew sour cream served in Romaine shells.  The recipe for these are actually posted here on my blog.

Mornings started off with a healthy energizing smoothie, meditation, yoga/pilates then brunch.  The first morning we had buckwheat porridge parfaits; one of my favorite go-to protein packed breakfasts.  The second morning we had carob chia pudding, and hemp seed yogurt with coconut, fruit, pecans, and walnuts which were also a huge hit!

You can’t forget about dessert! That’s right; dessert at a raw food yoga retreat! Of course this is healthy dessert; I decided to show everyone how to make chocolate and caramel.  Everyone could not believe how easy this was!  You can find my recipe for chocolate and caramel here.

I had so much fun teaching everyone how to prepare easy, fun nutritious food.  I even had the opportunity to show everyone how easy it is to make your own nut milk!  Once you have tried homemade nut milk you will never buy store-bought nut milk again, the taste and creamy texture of homemade nut milk does not even compare!  Here is a basic almond milk recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup almonds, soaked for 12 hours

3 – 4 cups filtered water

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse almonds very well.
  2. Place sprouted almonds with filtered water in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain in a bowl through a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth.
  4. Place in a mason jar or sealed glass container. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days.

Tracy took the guests on a guided hike through the grassy lakes area and even though it was snowing it was so beautiful and everyone had a great time!  There is something so magical and peaceful about being in the mountains around all that lush green and breathing in the fresh mountain air. 

Even though it was a lot of work preparing and prepping for this, I left the retreat feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and with more passion than ever about raw vegan food.  I like to keep educating myself and improving my skills so as soon as I got home I signed up for a Plant Based Desserts course through the Matthew Kenney Culinary School which I have now completed and will post my experience soon 🙂 

This retreat was so successful we are planning the second one!  If you live in the area and are interested, send me an email and I will keep you posted 🙂 rawrevive@gmail.com

Thank you for reading!

The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook Review – Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Mains, Uncategorized | January 10, 2016 | By

I was offered the opportunity to review Ginny McMeans’ new cookbook The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook.  If you haven’t stopped by her blog Vegan in the Freezer, I highly recommend you do; Ginny’s approach to healthy and ethical eating is creating simple vegan recipes you can freeze including shelf life, storage and freezing instructions. 

The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook takes this approach a step further and includes easy to follow detailed instructions on how to freeze foods properly, including storage times, tips and tricks and which containers to use.  Did I mention her cookbook includes 125 recipes each with their own beautiful color photo? 

Once I received the cookbook and reviewed it, I was amazed at how easy the recipes were!  This cookbook is perfect for everyone including those just starting out in the kitchen on a vegan diet. 

I was able to choose any recipe I wanted to make for this review, and it was REALLY hard to choose!  I decided to make the Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes because the cold Edmonton, Alberta weather had me craving comfort food. 

The recipe was really easy to follow and only took 1 hour to make (including baking time).  What a great idea to add black beans in potatoes; the combination of black beans, onions and mushrooms were a great addition.  I was eating the mixture straight out of the pan (shhh…).   This recipe does not call for cilantro but I love my greens, so I added a bit on top.

Enjoy this recipe from Ginny McMeans, if you are interested in her cookbook, you can purchase the kindle or hardcover version here.

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamins and minerals. These sweet potatoes are even better because they are packed with more veggies and then baked again. Great to have premade for when company is coming. YIELD: 6 TO 8 SERVINGS | ACTIVE TIME: 25 MINUTES | COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES | TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
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Ingredients
  1. 6 medium-size sweet potatoes, as oval as you can find
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  3. ½ cup red onion, diced
  4. 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  5. 1 (15-ounce) can black beans,
  6. drained and rinsed
  7. 4 tablespoons nondairy butter
  8. ¼ cup nondairy milk
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  11. 1 tablespoon Nondairy Parmesan Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Pierce with a fork so that they do not explode when baking.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Pinch the center to test whether they are done. They should not be hard at all.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are baking, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the beans and heat through for a couple of minutes.
  7. Remove the baked sweet potatoes from the oven. Cut lengthwise right down the center so that you have two boat-shaped halves. Scoop out the center and place in a
  8. large bowl. Do this with all the sweet potatoes, reserving their shells.
  9. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher and add the butter, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  10. Fold in the bean mixture. Taste to see whether you think it needs more salt or pepper.
  11. Evenly divide the mixture among the empty sweet potato shells.
  12. At this point you may refrigerate or freeze the stuffed potatoes; otherwise, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Storing in the refrigerator
  1. Place the stuffed potatoes in a large casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 days.
Freezing
  1. Freeze in hard-sided freezer containers according to how many will fit comfortably in each container. Will keep for up to 4 months.
  2. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Some water may defrost into the dish but you can just drain this off and bake in a casserole or on a baking sheet as usual.
Raw Revive http://www.rawrevive.com/
 Reprinted with permission from “The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook” by Ginny Kay McMeans

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