Friday, December 14, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Goat Cheese

Tis the season... to enjoy lots of finger foods, right?! But unfortunately its usually unhealthy. When I was a child I enjoyed the spinach and artichoke dip often served in a pumpernickel bowl at holiday parties. But for many years I never touched such a dip. Now that my diet is much more open, I thought I'd re-create a healthy version this yummy appetizer.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This dip is great served both hot or cold. Enjoy with veggies, flax crackers, and/or rice chips.

1/2 cup packed, thawed frozen spinach (squeeze water out well)
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for the top
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl stir all ingredients together until well combined.
Spoon into a heat proof bowl and sprinkle with extra feta (optional).
Bake at 350F for about 20- 25 minutes, or until warm through.

Remember, if you want to make delicious healthy raw vegan chocolate treats, download a copy of my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook today!

Raw orange chocolate cashew goji clusters make an excellent Christmas gift!

I hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday season!  What yummy things are you making?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gluten Free Brownies (Grain Free Too!)

Last week I had a strong urge to make the perfect gluten free brownie. I felt like making it grain free too. I grew up eating my mom's "made from scratch" chocolate brownies. They were dense, rich, chocolatey, and moist - the perfect brownie in my opinion. I wanted something that resembled hers.

Looking at her recipe for inspiration, I realized that I could just make some adjustments to create a gluten free/grain free/refined sugar free brownie! And actually I made these twice to get them just right. I played around with amount of cocoa powder, sweetener, and cultured butter vs. coconut oil. I also tried them with two different frostings - because let's be real - a brownie needs rich chocolate frosting to go with it.

Gluten Free Brownies

I also made these with half butter and half coconut oil. There was a texture difference but was still great.

1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted*
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl beat the coconut sugar and melted butter. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again.
Add the dry mixture to the wet and beat until combined.
Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 8x8" pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool before adding frosting.


Chocolate Frosting

5 tablespoon maple syrup
5 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons cashew butter
3 tablespoons coconut butter
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together the maple and cacao powder.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. If the mixture starts to firm up before you're ready to frost, place the bowl over another bowl of hot water.
Frost cooled brownies and sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans (if desired).

Still on a chocolate note, my Sweetly Raw vegan chocolates are available to order for the holidays! Check out my post for more details.

Caramel pecan choccie clusters are perfect stocking stuffers! ;)

Or if you want to make your own delicious raw chocolates for Christmas, download a copy of my Raw Chocolate Dream eBook!

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free wednesdays

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Burgers with Gluten Free Buns and Cocktail Party Food

I've never been a burger gal at any point in my life - veggie burgers and even raw burgers have always been just OK in my opinion, but this burger changed it all. It was definitely the whole package that sealed the deal for me. We ate them with a side of baked sweet potato fries and chipotle maple mustard dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Yum.

This tasty dinner idea came to be after I stocked up on some ground elk meat at the local farmers market. A few days later while having dinner with my friend Marcy, she raved about these gluten free buns her mom has been making lately. Her, her hubby, and her mom all went gluten free a while ago and they are always trying new recipes. As she went on describing them I just knew I had to try them too. She gave me the link to the recipe on a wonderful blog I'd never heard of before. Maria's Nutritious and Delicious Journal has lots of great recipes and ideas. I've only just started browsing but there's lots to see! Anyway, here's the recipe for her bread. The healthiest gluten free bread I've ever come across that is a good replica of regular bread.

A few notes about the bread first:

Make sure to follow the instructions exactly. Make sure to powder the psyllium and measure out the powdered amount. Must be egg whites as she says people were having problems with the yolks.
I formed it into 5 large buns for the burgers and they puffed waaay up! As you can see in my pics, they look like giant buns but actually, the tops were all hollow despite following the recipe to a T. Not like the ones she pictured and a lot of people have had the same result as myself. A lot of people also had problems with the recipe in general as seen in the comments section.
I'll be trying it again but will not blend quite as long as I think that's what caused the hollow bread. Will post about it again if I do!


1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

5 TBS psyllium husk powder (no substitutes) 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
3 egg whites (My eggs are medium sized on average)
1 cup BOILING water (or MARINARA - for more Tomato Basil Bread!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (I have a convection oven so for non-convection use 375 degrees F). In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, psyllium powder (no substitutes: flaxseed meal won't work), baking powder and salt. Mix until dry ingredients are well combined.  Add in the eggs and mix until a thick dough. Add boiling water or marinara into the bowl. Mix until well combined and dough firms up.
Form into 4 to 5 mini subs (the dough will rise about 2 to 3 times so I start mine as a 1 inch disk) or one large sub/loaf and place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 65 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the bread cool completely.  Cut open with a serrated
 knife. Fill with desired fillings. Makes 5 servings. OPTION: Double the batch and bake in a small bread pan to make a PANINI!

Now onto a delicious savory appetizer that is perfect for the holiday season!

These cheddar salsa stuffed cocktail tomatoes are a healthy alternative to the possibly unhealthy food you may encounter at parties (or maybe you're lucky and go to parties that have lots of clean food). Either way, I think these are a nice snacky addition to a party, or even great while watching a Christmas movie. And of course you can have a cocktail in one hand and a stuffed tomato or cucumber in the other!

You can check out my guest post recipe HERE at Cara's Cocktail Party. You'll find all kind of amazing healthy holiday food ideas there!

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays