Tag: gluten free (Page 1 of 3)

Stop Playing Small…Who Are You NOT to Be Great?

I was going to write an entire post dedicated to a recipe for a yummy chicken salad from one of my favorite blogs, Nourishing Meals.

The authors of that blog have also written a few of my favorite cookbooks, including Nourishing Meals and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

Asian Chicken Salad

But because of all of the exciting events over the past week, I felt more inspired to reflect on and share a life lesson that has really transformed my life and what’s possible in it.

Earlier this year, I wrote about how Bill and I started the year by declaring how we wanted to FEEL (vs. a laundry list of all the things we wanted to ACCOMPLISH) in 2015. I narrowed down how I wanted to feel to five words and have intentionally taken action to do things that make me feel RADIANT, CLEAR, FLOWING, CONNECTED and WORTHY.

When I’m speaking, teaching, or presenting about a topic near and dear to me, I feel radiant, flowing and connected. Something in the deepest part of me unlocks and I radiate only goodness and positivity. I become the best version of myself.

I feel energized, inspired and ALIVE.

I lose track of time. I’m in a “flow” state, and everything seems effortless.

I’m joyful. I’m authentic.

I’m boldly and unapologetically me.

What a relief that is.

I haven’t always felt so CLEAR or so completely myself.

In March 2015, I was recognized by WELCOA as the #1 Health Promotion Professional in the Country, and won a trip to San Diego to attend their summit. I had the privilege of being able to share a few words with my peers during an acceptance speech and was stoked to do that.

As I was sitting at the conference listening to all of the awesome speakers, I thought to myself, “I want to do that one day.” 

I reflected on the time I spent in San Diego at the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) Summit and the American Journal of Health Promotion Conference, and I wrote down a list of declarations on the last page of my journal.

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It’s been pretty mind-blowing to see how many of those intentions have become realities over the past 6 months.

On a warm, sunny day in late August, I received a call from Sara Rauch, the Director of Strategy and Planning for WELCOA. She invited me to be one of the speakers at the 2016 WELCOA National Summit in Orlando!

I was elated/joyful/on top of the world/stoked and couldn’t stop smiling. It was literally a dream come true.

Since then, a few of the other intentions I’d written down in April have come to be.

1) I’ve spoken at multiple SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) conferences.

I presented at the Maryland State conference in Ocean City in September, at Chapter meetings for the DCSHRM and Baltimore County SHRM, and most recently, at the Carroll County SHRM’s Annual Fall Conference. I’m slated to speak at the Montgomery County SHRM and possibly two other regional SHRM groups in 2016.CCSHRM2

2) Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak at a CEO group in Baltimore. The event was put on by the Hunt Valley Business Forum and was focused on Health and Wellness for the 21st Century Woman. I was one of the four panelists, each with different areas of expertise in the health and wellness field.

My friend and favorite group exercise instructor Jacob, who I’ve known for nearly a decade, invited me to be on the panel, and I felt SO alive and invigorated before, during and after the event. I met some amazing women who are doing great things in Baltimore and beyond.

hvbf flyer3) I’ve had the privilege of presenting at the Institute for Integrative Health multiple times.

I co-presented a Sweet Confessions event with Dr. Chris D’Adamo in July, taught a Yummy Snacks for Healthy, Happy Kids cooking class and workshop in September, and felt totally on fire and “in the zone” teaching this week’s workshop, “Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy.”

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Have you ever walked away from a project and just felt like, “THAT is what I’m meant to do!”?

That’s exactly how I felt after Wednesday’s class. It was incredible!

We’re in the process of planning programs for next year, and I’ve been asked to speak at the Annual Health and Wellness Conference put on by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine and hosted by the Institute for Integrative Health in April 2016. I’m pumped!

I share all of this with you not to brag or be arrogant but to prove that point that we have to BELIEVE things are possible in our lives and make room for them before they’re likely to happen.

If we NEVER think we’ll get that job, have a healthy and thriving relationship, run that half marathon, cook from scratch, get a raise, or be happy, then we probably won’t. If we believe deep down that something is impossible, then subconsciously, we’ll do things to sabotage anything that comes close to looking like what we actually want to happen in our lives.

We’ll end up shutting it down before it even has a chance to come into being.

In the spirit of transparency and being totally honest and open with you, I feel compelled to share that one of my deepest fears and insecurities is that people won’t like me, that I will be TOO successful and that, ultimately I will be alone.

I know it might sound crazy to hear me say that, but ALL of us, no matter how “successful” or accomplished we become, deal with those feelings in some way or another.

Because of that, I have to be hyper aware of that tendency, so I don’t sabotage myself or sell myself short. I love what Marianne Williamson has to say about that…

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That inspiration comes from her book, A Return to Love, and the complete passage reads like this:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So, what about you?

What would your life look like if you were honest with yourself about what makes YOU radiate and bring light and joy into the world?

Each one of us has the power within us to be great.

So stop playing small. 

And start living the life you were meant to live!

The ONLY Real Food Cookbook You Need to Buy This Year!

One of the things I love about this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to share fun and exciting info and inspiration with you guys. Today’s post is no exception!

As most of you know, I completed a culinary nutrition certification program last year, which helped me take my nourishing and yummy meals to another level.

It also gave me a community of people who love food, health and healing as much as I do!

my people

Meet, Meghan! :)

Meet, Meghan!

The creator and rock star behind the program is Meghan Telpner (more about her here). Her philosophy has inspired and is aligned with so much of the way I eat and how I live.

She has this unique way of presenting nutrition and healthy living in a way that makes it really fun, approachable and not at all intimidating, which is something I’m passionate about doing as well. Both of us want to take the “fear factor” out of eating well and make it accessible, so it’s something WANT to do instead of something we feel like we HAVE to do.

If any of you have come to a class or workshop I’ve taught, you’ve probably heard me declare it a “judgment-free zone” and Meghan takes the same approach, which I LOVE!

Both Meghan and I are happy for you to start from wherever you are on your journey and just make a few small changes, one step at a time. And neither of us will ever preach one kind of eating to you. We’re not pro-vegan, or pro-meat, or anti this or that. We really want people to pay attention to their food, skip the processed stuff and learn how to listen to their bodies to figure out what they need.

You can learn more about her take on everything by watching her creed. 

Meghan’s newest book sums up everything you need to know to live a vibrant, awesome life into one entertaining read.

undiet cover

Over the years, I’ve been following Meghan’s advice and have noticed for myself how much better my mood is, better sleep, fewer colds and flus and overall a better outlook. What I’ve learned is that health becomes this bonus of just following this rule-breaking way of living. I feel like the “UnDiet” lifestyle inspires me to live in a way that lets me feel alive and not filled with guilt or restriction.

I choose to live this way and am pumped to share everything I learn with all of you, so you can have your best life ever, too! That’s why I’m SO excited to tell you guys more about this cookbook put together by my teacher, Meghan.

The UnDiet Cookbook starts by Meghan telling her own story of how she healed from an inflammatory autoimmune disease that her doctors told her was incurable. From there, she breaks it down: why calories don’t count, how to eat real food, why we might want to kick-it gluten-free (with evidence based research to back it all up), and then we dive into 130 simple, delicious, beautiful and health supportive recipes.

The cookbook includes:

  • Over 130 gluten-free + dairy-free recipes (the oat-mazing berry banana muffins are AMAZING…seriously, you need them in your life!)
  • Guidelines for stocking an UnDiet pantry
  • Delicious recipes for DIY beauty care
  • UnDiet on the road: travel tips
  • UnDiet Entertaining menus for every kind of event
  • UnDiet Health Tips
  • Cooking Tips
  • Healthwashing Alerts
  • 85 mouthwatering, vibrant photos

The UnDiet Cookbook is on sale today and when you buy the book, she’s also giving away some pretty cool presents (more on those here). If you’re curious about this book, you can get instant access to your Sneak Peek.

Stay tuned for a few posts from me in the coming weeks giving you even more sneak peeks at the yummy dishes I’m creating from the book! I can only share one of the recipes though, so you’ll have to get the book if you want to know how to make everything 🙂 It will be well worth it!

click here

Beautifying Raw Purple Cabbage Slaw {Breast Cancer Prevention Month Recipe}

beautifyslaw

October is breast cancer awareness month.

I know several women who have survived and others who have lost their battle with this terrible disease. Chances are, you or someone you love has been affected. Cancer is a complex disease, so I don’t pretend to have all of the answers or solutions for how to fix or heal it.

Because this blog and my overall food philosophy focus on empowering you to nourish your body and transform your health, today’s post features a recipe that is full of beautifying, anticancer nutrients.

As many of you know, I strive to “upgrade” my diet and “add in” more of what is healing, nourishing and energizing…so we’re going to flip our focus today to breast cancer prevention.

All of us are aware that breast cancer exists and know that we don’t want to have it, but what have we learned about how to prevent it?

What can we do proactively to give our body the best chance to be well and protect ourselves against diseases like cancer in the first place? 

I’ve learned a lot from some incredible doctors, researchers and nutritionists over the years about what we can do help our body’s chances of staying well by eating a nutrient-rich diet.

Dr. Fuhrman, whose focus on anti-cancer nutrition has influenced how I eat, outlined his top tips for breast cancer prevention here.

One of his tips is to eat more foods like the ones outlined in this recipe, especially cabbage.
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Up until about a year ago, I had never bought purple cabbage and certainly hadn’t cooked with it.

I had tasted it sprinkled in to salad mixes before but never thought much about it until reading The Beauty Detox book by Kimberly Snyder and being introduced to this recipe, which Kimberly spins as a way to reduce crow’s feet.

Red cabbage is one of Dr. Fuhrman’s anti-cancer, anti-fat storage foods called GBOMBS. It contains powerful nutrients that help our body reduce inflammation and detoxify (get rid of harmful toxins that build up).

Those two processes are the SECRETS to losing weight, having clear and beautiful skin, and not getting sick. The more inflammation-fighting, detoxifying foods we eat, the better off we will be.

This recipe is also a much healthier option than most mayo-loaded slaws that we’re used to eating 🙂

And it’s really easy to prepare. Just like this paleo cole slaw I featured a few weeks ago that was a hit!

beautifyslaw

**If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you should have all of the main ingredients below (ACV, tamari, tahini and nutritional yeast or “nooch”). If not, check out this point where I covered what they are, why they’re good for us, and where we can buy them. Stocking a healthy pantry is KEY to eating well.**

Ingredients (Organic, when possible)

Optional Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • A few avocado slices
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives

Click here for the full recipe from Kimberly Snyder’s website and here to read all about nutritional yeast!

Happy National Kale Day! {Plus a NEW Kale Salad Recipe to Try}

Happy National Kale Day!

In all honesty, I had no idea this was even a “thing” until I woke up this morning and saw it all over twitter.

We love kale and all of the amazing health benefits it provides. It’s a super versatile super food.

kale

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore and had the privilege of meeting Mr. Kale himself – Brad of Brad’s Raw Kale Chips

Total food nerd moment 🙂

brad

I’ve featured kale in several recipes on this blog in addition to the one I’m sharing today! I use it in everything from salads, soups and sautees to smoothies and frittatas.

To celebrate National Kale Day, try one of these recipes, the *new* salad below, or one of the others on the National Kale Day website:

  1. Taste the Rainbow Kale Salad
  2. Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
  3. Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
  4. Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
  5. Peachy Keen Kale Salad
  6. Tuscan Bean Soup (scroll to the bottom of the page next to the picture of the soup)
  7. Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

I was on Facebook the other day and was intrigued by the headline, “The Recipe That Will Make You Fall In Love With Kale All Over Again” on MindBodyGreen’s page.

Being the kale lover that I am, I had to click on it.

Reading through the ingredient list piqued my interest, so Bill and I made it for dinner using the purple kale that we had in our fridge. I’m so glad we did!

The lemon juice broke down the bitterness of the kale (as it always does!), and the combo of the sweetness from the dates, complex flavors of the curry powder, bite of the ginger, tanginess of the tahini and crunch of the pumpkin seeds was a real mouth party!

kale salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 big bunch of kale (any variety), thinly chopped (about 5 cups)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (usually in the international section of the grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 3 Medjool dates, pit removed and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

We topped ours with some raw pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch 🙂

Click here for the full recipe from MindBodyGreen!

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we've found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we’ve found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins (GF)

paleopumpkinSpiceMuffins

“This is one of the best muffins I’ve ever had.” 

That’s what one of my co-workers said when she tried these the other day.

I served these pumpkin muffins at a client meeting, and one of my other coworkers, who is a meatball sub and Fritos-lover, went back for seconds.

That’s how I knew this recipe was a keeper!

If you’ve been following my blog for some time or are a newbie (welcome!), you’ll notice that all of the recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free, most are vegan (though I am not), and all focus on making “upgrades” to typical favorite recipes…all while nourishing our body!

Some of the recipes I make are also paleo-friendly (no refined or processed sugars or oils; grain-free, dairy-free; bean-free). It’s supposedly the way the cavemen ate.

(There are still disputes about what the cavemen actually ate, so if you’re interested in learning more about that, check out this TED Talk or this post.)

Many people who have health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, thyroid issues, and even multiple sclerosis find they feel a lot better when they “eat paleo,” even if just for a trial period.

This recipe for pumpkin muffins happens to be paleo, so it should fit with most people’s health needs and concerns. 🙂

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Enough about paleo…let’s talk PUMPKINS!

Fall is my absolute favorite season, and pumpkins are one of my favorite things about fall.

Because I like to focus on WHY we should add in more good stuff (like pumpkin!) to crowd out the other stuff. I want to share just how nourishing pumpkin is for our bodies before we get into the recipe:

  • Fun facts: Pumpkins are actually fruits (not veggies) and are related to cantaloupes and cucumbers (Who knew??)
  • High in fill-you-up fiber, which keeps us “regular” (this is a good thing!) and keeps us feeling satisfied for hours
  • Excellent source of beta-carotene – a potent antioxidant and cancer-fighter that also happens to be good for our eyes and skin health
  • Loaded with lycopene and carotenoids that are known to help “diminish cancer cells, inhibit diabetes, hypertension, the signs of aging, and prevent macular degeneration”
  • Full of potassium, which helps restore our body’s electrolyte balance

I wrote a blog post the other day about some of my top “Sweet Treat Pantry Staples.” You’ll see some of them below (coconut flour, maple syrup), and I mentioned some of the others in my Top 10 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Everyday Pantry Essentials post (coconut oil, raw apple cider vinegar).

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten-Free)

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (or fresh puree!)**
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup or raw honey (I used maple syrup and loved it!)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s brand)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped (I added this ingredient)

I followed the directions in the original recipe but used 100% pure maple syrup instead of honey and sprinkled pecans on top before baking. I really liked the added crunch!

**Make sure you don’t buy pumpkin pie filling if you buy the canned stuff, by the way. It’s totally different from pumpkin puree!

I cooked them for a full 30 minutes. Coconut flour has a tendency to dry out, so make sure you don’t overcook them.

Click here for the full directions for how to make these yummy muffins 🙂

I love my silicone muffin holders!

I love my silicone muffin holders!

Refreshing Quinoa, Apple & Almond Potluck Salad

In the springtime, our bodies naturally want to start detoxing to “clean out” all of the gunk that we’ve stored up over the winter (which was pretty brutal this year!).

Wastes and toxins build up in our bodies from stress, processed and refined foods, sugar, fried foods, chemical additives, and pesticides.  That is just one of the reasons we often feel tired and sluggish, hold on to extra weight (toxic tissue is a fat storage hog!), and don’t radiate health in the way we look.

Fortunately, this salad contains a bunch of ingredients that naturally promote the elimination of wastes and toxins. Check out all of the detoxifying ingredients!

  • Scallions (also a GBOMBS food!)
  • Celery
  • Lemon Juice
  • Parsley

This is a great dish to bring to a potluck or cookout. You can even make it the night before and store it in the fridge to let all of the flavors come together!

I went to one of my best friend’s birthday parties a few weeks ago (yay for turning 30!) and brought this salad with me. I doubled the recipe for the party, and it made enough for a group of 50 people. It was a HIT!

Refreshing Quinoa Salad with Apples & Almonds

Bring this to your next potluck or make it for your family!

Bring this to your next potluck or cookout or make it for your family!

Ingredients*

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (here’s how to cook perfect quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used raw honey)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup peeled, diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (you can use regular raisins if you can’t find golden ones :))
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions*
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • Coarse salt and pepper

*I added about 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions to the original salad recipe, since they are in season and add another dimension of flavor. They are also detoxifying and an anti-cancer GBOMBS food!

Click here for the full recipe!

Green Goddess Guacamole!

Think of a food you dislike.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you know you don’t like it, and there’s no way anyone can get you to try it…right?

Until about 4 years ago, guacamole was one of those foods for me. Why? Because I was CONVINCED that guacamole had mayonnaise in it…and I’ve always disliked mayonnaise.

One day at work, we had a healthy cooking demo taught by a health coach like me, and we were learning to make none other than…guacamole!  I had all but made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I realized that it was NOT made with mayonnaise and that everyone else was trying it, so…

I gave in to peer pressure and was shocked to find out I LOVED IT!

What had I been missing??

Ever since that day, I’ve been an avocado and guacamole lover.

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat AND are known as a beauty detox food. Here are just a few of their awesome health benefits:

  • Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals promote moisturizing from the inside, which means healthy, smooth, radiant skin (a true beauty food!)
  • The healthy fat helps our bodies better absorb antioxidants from other fruits and veggies
  • The antioxidant they contain – glutathione – is a powerful cancer-fighter
  • The combo of good fat and fiber helps control blood sugar

My favorite ways to use avocados are in dips, soups, desserts, mixed in to salads, and (of course!) in guacamole. I found a super simple recipe that used a slightly different combo of ingredients than the usual ones, so I thought I would test it out.

Two of the other ingredients in this guac – cilantro and scallions (AKA green onions) – are also great for you. Cilantro helps the body detoxify and onions are one of the top anti-cancer GBOMBS foods, so enjoy them all you want!

Green Goddess Guacamole

Creamy guacamole goodness

Creamy guacamole goodness

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled (here’s how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH lime juice (don’t sub the bottled kind)
  • 3-4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced (also called scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours to be a bit chunky, so we don’t mash it too much.

We love dipping fresh veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, red peppers, and sugar snap peas into our guac, along with these tortilla chips!

Perfectly Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Broccoli with non-dairy "snow" sprinkled on top. Yum!

Broccoli with non-dairy “snow” sprinkled on top. Yum!

When I found out that dairy products were triggering a lot of the health issues that had plagued me since childhood, I started to give them up little by little. I had been eating foods that I thought were good for me my whole life that had actually been harming me.

The more I cut out, the better I felt. It seemed like a miracle!

The last two foods I took out of my diet (after much resistance!) were yogurt…and my beloved Parmesan cheese.

Pasta, pizza, zucchini, ravioli, Beefaroni, zucchini, summer squash, and broccoli all tasted infinitely better when covered with a generous coating of Parmesan cheese.

I used it so often, I didn’t know how I would live without it and struggled to find alternatives that were even remotely comparable. Fortunately I’ve found a recipe that looks and feels just like it and tastes “cheesy” enough to satisfy! It’s considered paleo, too, because it doesn’t contain any dairy. (I don’t follow the paleo diet exclusively, but whenever I’m looking for recipes, I use it as part of my search since paleo automatically means it’s dairy and gluten free.)

The best part? It’s one of the easiest recipes I’ve made and has only 3 ingredients 🙂 Hooray for simplicity!

Perfectly Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Parmesan cheese made with "nooch" and cashews!

Parmesan cheese made with “nooch” and cashews!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest!)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix it in a food processor until it is the texture of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle it on cooked veggies, salads, pasta, or on anything else you’d normally use Parmesan cheese. I used it on sauteed broccolini with tomatoes and garlic the other day and on my salads throughout the week, and it was so good! YUM!

You Had Me at “Fudgesicle”

With the weather finally resembling spring and the temps hitting almost 80 degrees today (yay!), I was inspired to share a new recipe for a deliciously decadent summertime (or anytime!) treat…

Fudgesicles!

I remember buying 18-count boxes of fudge pops when I graduated from college and enjoying them every day. Since they were a low-calorie AND sugar-free treat, I thought I was making a healthy choice!

Yum! Homemade fudgesicles!

Yum! Homemade fudgesicles!

Out of curiosity, I looked up the ingredient list for Popsicles Sugar Free Fudgesicles, and this is what I found:

nonfat milk, maltodextrin, lactitol, polydextrose, cocoa (processed with alkali), sorbital, whey, coconut oil, microcrystalline cellulose, tricalcium phosphate, mono- & diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 65 & 80, carrageenan, malt powder, salt, cellulose gum, aspartame, artificial flavor, acesulfame potassium, citric acid

Really? Do we need over 20 ingredients in a fudgesicle?? I don’t even know what half of those things are, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need them in my body.

I’m excited to share this recipe because it’s 2-in-1. The same recipe that makes fudgesicles ALSO makes creamy chocolate pudding if you leave it unfrozen. How cool is that?

This recipe is dairy-free and doesn’t contain any refined sugar (or the laundry list of chemicals in the store-bought kind!), and it results in a rich taste and creamy melt-in-your-mouth texture because of the avocado and coconut milk.

Bill and I and two friends tried these for the first time the other day, and we couldn’t tell the difference between these and the “real thing!”

Creamy Chocolate (Avocado) Fudgesicles (Dairy-Free!)

So decadent, chocolately and delicious!

So decadent, chocolately and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 6 medjool dates (pits removed, soaked and then drained)*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk) – I used full fat coconut milk to make these nice and rich. You can find the coconut milk at any grocery store, often in the international aisle. I use this kind.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Click here for the full recipe from Tasty Yummies!

Ingredients laid out for the fudgesicles!

Ingredients laid out for the fudgesicles!

We bought the popsicle holders at Home Goods, and they were really cheap! You can also order them online here.

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce!

It'll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

It’ll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

One of the reasons a lot of us don’t take the time to cook or try out new recipes is because we are afraid of failing, fearful that we will “mess it up” and that it will have been a waste of money on food.

We’ve all been there, right?

I often experiment with recipes I’ve never made before and ingredients I’ve never used. I learn what I like through trial and error and take the “will this really taste good?” guesswork out of it for you 🙂

As I continue to focus on a dairy-free lifestyle because of how much better I feel eating this way, I’m sometimes challenged to find comparable alternatives to dairy-based favorites.

In my last post, I shared one of the key ingredients I now use in my cooking to impart some “cheesy” flavor. I promised that one of the recipes I would share with you would be a dairy-free nacho cheese sauce (AKA “noocho” cheese, since nutritional yeast or “nooch” is what gives it its “cheesy” taste).

Most of the time when I prepare new recipes, they turn out great and taste delicious, and I can’t wait to share them with friends and family.

Other times…they don’t. That’s what happened with noocho cheese attempt #1.

Not-so-nacho cheese...first recipe attempted - won't be making this one again!

Not-so-nacho cheese…first recipe attempted – won’t be making this one again!

It lacked flavor, and no matter what I added or even if I heated it up on the stove, I couldn’t get it to taste right…and it definitely didn’t resemble nacho cheese.

Fortunately, using a recipe from this cookbooknoocho cheese attempt #2 was a HIT!

Bill and I made it on Friday night and brought it to a friend’s house as an appetizer, and they liked it, too. Check out the recipe below. You will not regret making this stuff! 🙂

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Ingredients*

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and then rinsed (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 roasted red pepper (rinsed from a jar or prepared from fresh)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (tamari is gluten-free soy sauce and is in the Asian food aisle…or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Click here for the full recipe!

We served it with our favorite healthier chips, which I will share more about in my next post! I enjoyed some leftover sauce the next day with baby carrots.  You have to try this!

*There’s a good chance that a couple of things in this recipe aren’t already in your pantry…don’t let that stop you! Ordering online at Amazon or Vitacost is super easy, or you can pick them up the next time you’re at the store.

If you don’t know where to find something, ask. I’ve found that people are happy to help!

  • Tahini (find in the international section of most grocery stores, in any natural food store, or online.)
  • Roasted red peppers (sold in glass jars in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • Nutritional yeast (you can buy this online at Amazon, Vitacost or other retailers, or at any natural food store, Wegmans, Whole Foods, MOMs, or Roots)

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