Tag: oh she glows

14 Valentine’s Day Sweet Treat Recipes {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

Bill and I love holidays and find ways to make them special. My family always did that growing up, so it’s a tradition I’ve carried into my marriage.

This past week, I thought it would be neat to buy a card and a treat for Bill for each day leading up to Valentine’s Day.

I put a card and a treat in a brown paper bag with “Happy <3 Week” written on it and put it in his backpack each day.

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It was fun for me to do and I know it will be at least one bright spot in the midst of his hectic days as an elementary school phys ed teacher. I’m not sure what he has planned for this weekend, but I’m looking forward to it!

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, one thing is for sure – BOTH of us love chocolate.

We are fans and followers of our favorite Baltimore-based chocolatier, Jinji, and know that Valentine’s Day is not complete unless we are eating some of her amazingly delicious chocolate creations. It’s seriously the purest, richest chocolate I’ve ever tasted.

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Truffles galore! They’re always so creative and decadent.

If you can’t make it out to your favorite chocolate shop, or you just want to make a delicious sweet treat at home, try one of these 14 Valentine’s Day-worthy recipes below.

They are all dairy-free, gluten-free, and made without refined sugar. Many of them are paleo-friendly as well, so give at least one of them a try!Vday Collage.jpg

The first recipe holds a special place in my heart because dark chocolate caramels are pretty much the best thing ever.

Homemade Rolos by oh she glows

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Photo Credit: Angela Liddon. Used with permission.

Oatmeal Heart Cookies by Nourishing Meals

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Photo Credit: Nourishing Meals. Used with permission.

Sweet & Salty Super Food Chocolate Bark by RNK

Superfood Bark

Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies by RNK

cherry choco chip cookies

Two Layer Raw Chocolate Brownies by oh she glows

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Photo credit: Angela Liddon. Used with permission.

Cacao Mousse & Raspberry Parfaits by Begin Within Nutrition

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Photo Credit: Begin Within Nutrition. Used with permission.

Cherry Chocolate Brownie Bites by RNK

cherry choco bites

Seductive Raw Chocolate Walnut Fudge by oh she glows

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Photo Credit: Angela Liddon. Used with permission.

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake by Kasia Kines (my nutritionist!)

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles by RNK

Dark Chocolate Berry Cups by Yuri Elkaim

Healthy Valentines Berry Cups

Photo Credit: Yuri Elkaim. Used with permission.

Peanut Better Balls by oh she glows

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Photo Credit: Angela Liddon. Used with permission.

Mint Chocolate Crunch Bliss Balls by RNK

Mint Chocolate Chip Bliss Balls

Peanut Butter Cup Pie by The Detoxinista

no bake

What are your favorite sweet treat recipes?

Feel free to leave a comment below and share!

 

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Honey-Glazed Peaches (Only 4 Ingredients!)

I love simple recipes.

And peaches.

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Satisfyingly sweet and dripping with juicy goodness, peaches are nature’s candy.

They’re delicious on their own but even better in recipes.

Today’s recipe for roasted, honey-glazed peaches is so easy, you’re going to want to try it this week!

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Roasting food in the oven creates depth of flavor and helps all of the ingredients meld together to create mouthwatering dishes.

This is especially true of vegetables…and even fruit! Ever had baked apples or pears or a fruit crisp or crumble? If you answered, “yes,” then you know what I mean!

I recently baked an ooey gooey triple berry peach crumble and was inspired to try something super simple by just using peaches as the main ingredient.

I didn’t know what to expect but was very pleased by the result! When my parents were over for dinner the other night, I served this for dessert, and they raved about it!

I made a raspberry chia jam (also simple & only 4 ingredients) earlier this week, and you could put a nice dollop of that on top, but I opted for coconut milk whipped cream (3 ingredients!) 🙂

Honey-Glazed Baked Peaches

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Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 2 ripe peaches, cut in half, pit removed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted OR 2 teaspoons grass-fed butter, melted (Kerry Gold brand is sold in almost every major grocery store and is grass-fed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey (or other sweetener, such as coconut sugar, 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey)
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stir the coconut oil and honey together in a small bowl.
  3. Place the peaches cut-side up in a baking dish lined with parchment paper (to prevent sticking!). Fill each peach cavity with the mixture and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the flesh has softened and the tops are browned. Check halfway through cooking and baste the top of the peach halves with the melted mixture in the middle, so it seeps in.
  5. Serve warm, with the toppings of your choice. I used coconut milk whipped cream (click for the recipe). SO good!
Click the link above for how to make coconut milk whipped cream!

Click the link above for how to make coconut milk whipped cream!

Heirloom Tomato & Chickpea Summer Salad

I used to hate tomatoes. 

I don’t know what it was specifically that fueled my aversion, but unless they were blended together in pizza sauce or in my can of Spaghettios or Beefaroni, I wanted nothing to do with them.

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Fortunately, over the years as I’ve opened myself up to foods and giving them a second chance rather than immediately writing them off, I’ve found that I really like tomatoes.

Especially heirloom tomatoes.

If you want to learn all about heirloom tomatoes, check out this link by a guy who has an entire website devoted to tomatoes!

I also pulled this little bit of info off of Hometown Harvest’s website. I’ve met the owners, Tony and Abby, and respect and admire their approach to food and the fresh, local products they source to their customers, which is why Bill and I switched from a different produce delivery company to Hometown Harvest.

An heirloom tomato is an open-pollinated tomato whose seed grows “true to type”—meaning, if you plant Cherokee Purple seed, you’re going to get Cherokee Purple plants. From generation to generation, that seed will stay true. Some heirloom tomatoes have, in fact, stayed within one family and so are heirlooms in the truest sense of the word. Other heirloom tomatoes circulate widely.

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes also tend to have a thinner skin and are more prone to bruising and puncturing, so it’s important to handle them carefully. Their flavor is second to none, and they come in lots of different colors, so they spruce up the plate!

I made this recipe using heirloom tomatoes for the first time last summer and LOVED it.

Oh my goodness it is so tasty!  It was the perfect way to use the heirloom tomatoes we got in our Hometown Harvest bag this week and at the farmer’s market in Easton, Maryland on Saturday morning.

If you like to “go downy ocean, hun,” you should plan to stop by Easton’s farmer’s market on your way to or from the beach.

We’ll be making this dish tomorrow night for Meatless Monday. Give it a whirl if you’re looking for something new to try. Enjoy! 🙂

Heirloom Tomatoes & Chickpea Summer Salad

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Ingredients

Serves 6

Base

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch discs (or whatever thickness you like!)
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh greens or lettuce of your choice

Chickpea Medley

  • 5.5-6 cups cooked (~ 3 15-ounce cans) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (We like Eden brand!)
  • 5 ounce baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups cilantro, large stems removed (or parsley if you don’t like cilantro or want a milder taste)
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped finely

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt + ground pepper

Arrange the tomato slices on top of the greens and then follow this link to the full recipe for the medley and dressing from one of my favorite vegan bloggers over at oh she glows (she makes veggies taste fantastic!).

3 Chocolately Valentine’s Day Sweet Treats

I will always remember my first Valentine’s Day with my then boyfriend, now husband, Bill. I’m super sentimental and have been known to pull the line, “You don’t have to spend a lot of money – just do something creative. I like homemade things.” Haha. This is an evil thing women do to men, but he always comes through for me, so it must be working!

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That first Valentine’s Day, he took my words to heart and made me a card, complete with foam, puffy paint, and felt letters he cut out himself, along with a now scruffy-looking teddy bear and flowers. The card read, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I feel blessed to be married to a man who knows the importance of romance and making me feel loved on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.

Since we are likely to be snowed in on Valentine’s Day this year,  we decided to make the most of the time and whip up some yummy Valentine’s Day sweet treats!

If you like peanut butter, chocolate, walnuts and almonds, you will like at least one (if not all) of these recipes!

All the recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and raw, so everyone can enjoy them! They come from one of my favorite bloggers, Angela Liddon, at oh she glows.

They’re listed in order of awesomeness. It should be no surprise that the chocolate peanut butter combo is the winner. It is AMAZING!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Dip – oh my chocolatey peanut buttery goodness. That is all I will say…you HAVE to make this stuff…As tempting as it will be to literally drink the whole bowl, try dipping strawberries, bananas, or apples in it!

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Seductive Raw Chocolate Walnut Fudge – Holy cow. This melt-in-your-mouth fudge is simple to make, loaded with chocolate/walnut/maple flavor and won’t stay around for long!

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Raw Almond Butter Cups – Almonds. Cinnamon. Chocolate. What’s not to love?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

3 Chocolatey Valentine’s Day Sweet Treats

I will always remember my first Valentine’s Day with my then boyfriend, now husband, Bill. I’m super sentimental and have been known to pull the line, “You don’t have to spend a lot of money – just do something creative. I like homemade things.” Haha. This is an evil thing women do to men, but he always comes through for me, so it must be working!

Vday

That first Valentine’s Day, he took my words to heart and made me a card, complete with foam, puffy paint, and felt letters he cut out himself, along with a now scruffy-looking teddy bear and flowers. The card read, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I feel blessed to be married to a man who knows the importance of romance and making me feel loved on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.

Since we are likely to be snowed in on Valentine’s Day this year,  we decided to make the most of the time and whip up some yummy Valentine’s Day sweet treats!

If you like peanut butter, chocolate, walnuts and almonds, you will like at least one (if not all) of these recipes!

All the recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and raw, so everyone can enjoy them! They come from one of my favorite bloggers, Angela Liddon, at oh she glows.

They’re listed in order of awesomeness. It should be no surprise that the chocolate peanut butter combo is the winner. It is AMAZING!

IMG_3306

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dip – oh my chocolatey peanut buttery goodness. That is all I will say…you HAVE to make this stuff…As tempting as it will be to literally drink the whole bowl, try dipping strawberries, bananas, or apples in it!

IMG_3305

Seductive Raw Chocolate Walnut Fudge – Holy cow. This melt-in-your-mouth fudge is simple to make, loaded with chocolate/walnut/maple flavor and won’t stay around for long!

IMG_3312

Raw Almond Butter Cups – Almonds. Cinnamon. Chocolate. What’s not to love?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

This Is Community

Growing up, I preferred being alone more than being with other people.

It’s not because I didn’t like people; I was just super shy and introverted and felt safer and more comfortable in my own company than I did with others.

As I’ve mentioned before, studying abroad in Spain my junior year of college left an indelible mark on me, expanding my palate beyond what I ever thought possible.  It also transformed my social tendency to prefer being alone.

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The Hispanic culture is a very social one. I was surrounded by people all of the time and rarely had the opportunity to be by myself.  When I returned from my semester abroad, instead of spending all of my weekday evenings hunkered down in the library reading, studying or writing, I began to value and enjoy staying up until 2:00 a.m. playing cards, baking, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends.

For the first time in my life, I wanted to be around people more than I wanted to be alone.

Graduating from college and leaving the academic world for the first time two years later was frightening for meAll of my identity was wrapped up in how well I performed as a student and whether I got good grades.

I had just started my first dating relationship, moved out of my parents’ house and into an apartment with someone I didn’t know, and was working two jobs. In the midst of all of those transitions, I felt alone, lonely, and sad. I lacked community.

My then-boyfriend (now husband!) and I went through some challenging times as individuals and as a couple as we sought to establish new connections and find community.

Over the past seven years, we have been blessed by the generous, loving, supportive community of family, friends, church members, and co-workers that surrounds us.

We have experienced the significance of what it means to be in community.

When a couple in our church has a baby or is going through a challenging time, and dozens of people sign up to bring them dinners for two months…

This is community.

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When we sign up for a missions trip to Nicaragua as we are buying our first house and don’t know where the almost $3,000 we need for the trip will come from but end up being fully funded

This is community.

When a kitchen sink pipe starts leaking the day we move into our new house, and our next door neighbor (who happens to be a plumber) offers us his industrial air blower to dry out the floor and replaces the pipe for half of what it would have cost elsewhere…

This is community.

When our bus gets stuck in the mud in an impoverished village in Nicaragua as we are on our way to a feeding center, and the villagers stop what they are doing to find rope to pull us out, dig their heels into the mud to push from behind, and bring whatever precious water they can find to help us clean ourselves up afterwards…

This is community.

When my husband has hand surgery and can’t drive his manual transmission car for a month, and four friends eagerly offer to lend us theirs…

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This is community.

And days later, when a snowstorm comes through, and our next-door neighbors take it upon themselves to shovel out our walkway, sidewalk and driveway, as they tell us, “We know your husband can’t use his hand. We take care of you.”

This is community.

This is what happens when we are in community. We were meant to be in community. 

So, what does this have to do with food?

As I’ve written before, we believe good health begins in the kitchen. It’s a place of connection, community, and comfort.

Unique communities around the world identified as “Blue Zones” are home to the world’s longest lived people, people living active, fulfilling lives well into their 90s and even 100s. Belonging to some kind of faith-based community, being in a social circle that supports healthy behaviors, and eating a plant-centric diet are three of the nine lessons learned from people who live to be 100+.

The next time you have an opportunity to spend time with friends, family or even a coworker, create community in the kitchen. Make a healthy, nourishing meal together. You don’t have to have a fancy kitchen or be an experienced chef to do this – maybe a pot, a pan and a knife, or some of these inexpensive kitchen staples.

Pick out the menu, go grocery shopping, prepare the meal, and savor the food together. It will be more enjoyable than doing it by yourself. Do that enough times and maybe cooking will become something you get to do instead of something you have to do.

Looking for some healthy recipe inspirations? Check out my Pinterest board or some of the links below for ideas!

  • Kath Eats Real Food: Real food. Nothing processed here. Delicious and simple ingredients and recipes…check them out!
  • Girl Makes Food: Discover how delicious and easy healthy food can be!
  • Clean Food: Terry Walters cooks seasonally and prepares delicious, nourishing recipes. I have her cookbook, Clean Food, and we have made nearly a dozen delicious recipes from it!
  • Healthy Girl’s Kitchen: After struggling with diet obsessions for years, Wendy has lost and kept off over 40 pounds through a plant-based diet. Check out her awesome recipes!
  • The Gracious Pantry: Clean eating recipes for everyday living.
  • oh she glows: In addition to being meat and dairy-free, many of Angela’s recipes are free of gluten, soy, and processed foods…did I mention they are also delicious?

5 of My Favorite Sweet Treat Recipes!

One of my favorite books that really simplifies how to eat real food is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. I love what he has to say about junk food.food-rules-cover-484

Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Let’s be honest. If every time we wanted fries, baked goods or ice cream we had to cook them ourselves, we would eat a lot less of those foods. It would truly be a treat when we ate them instead of something we can easily do every day thanks to modern food manufacturing.

In college, I was given the nickname “Betty Crocker” by a group of my husband’s fraternity brothers and roommates because of all of the baked goods I made for them, including my specialties of cookies and cream brownies and half-inch thick chocolate chip cookies.

Now that I’m focused on nourishing my body (and my friends and family) with wholesome, minimally processed or refined foods, I take a different approach to baking.

As I’ve learned more about how to cook and bake in a healthier way, I’ve discovered that a variety of foods found in nature are sweet, minimally (if at all) processed AND delicious, including fruit, dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, applesauce, and blackstrap molasses, to name a few. They are great substitutes to use in recipes that call for highly refined white sugar.

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Like any sweet treat, these are meant to be enjoyed occasionally, not every day, because the more sugar we consume, the more our bodies will crave. In fact, many of us are literally addicted to it.  Two of the keys to curbing a sugar addiction are to minimize our sugar intake and make sure we are eating enough nutrient-rich whole food at regular intervals, so our bodies feel nutritionally satisfied.

Many of the sweet treat recipes I prepare will often include fiber, which helps the sugar in the food release more slowly into the bloodstream, giving your liver more time to metabolize the food.

I like to think of food choices on a continuum of “Good, Better, Best.” All of these options are better choices than grabbing a box or bag of sweets with long lists of ingredients we can’t pronounce. 

Here are links to 5 of my favorite tried and true sweet treat recipes!

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  1. Homemade Rolos (oh she glows) I LOVED Rolos growing up. I made these last night for dessert, and they were gone by the time we finished playing Catchphrase! I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they only have 3 ingredients and are gluten, dairy, and soy free (you find them at Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and MOMs). oh she glows is one of my absolute favorite blogs. Angela posts so many amazing and delicious recipes – from baked goods to side dishes and salads – and I’ve tried about a half dozen of them and will feature them in future posts.
  2. Chocolate Mint Truffles (Mind Body Green) – I made these for multiple holiday parties this year, and they were full of minty goodness. They’re vegan and don’t contain any processed sugar, but no one will know!
  3. Peanut Butter Granola Bars (The Family Vegan) – This recipe is from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which my hubby gave me as a gift for Christmas. We have already made 10 delicious recipes from the book this year, so I can’t recommend it enough!
  4. Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies (Fast Paleo) – These are a great gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies, and they are delicious! An alternative option is to use half raw honey and half maple syrup instead of using only honey. Sometimes I also do half peanut butter and half almond butter instead of only almond butter.  I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips in these as well, but you can skip the chips altogether, if you prefer, and add cranberries instead!
  5. Banana Bread Muffin Tops (oh she glows) – I just made these for the first time last week, and I really enjoyed them with walnuts and raisins!

Unfamiliar with some of the ingredients? Just do what we do, and buy them off of Amazon. They are usually cheaper there than anywhere else, and we get free 2-day shipping with our Amazon Prime Membership!

I would love to hear if you end up trying any of these recipes. Feel free to share them, and stay tuned for more!

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