Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mint Chocolate Applesauce?


Applesauce usually plays only a secondary role as sweetener/consistency-helper in desserts. There's a reason for this. While applesauce can be a dessert by itself, it's a little mundane. Thus, while I was tinkering in the kitchen/procrastinating studying, I decided to try jazzing up good ol' applesauce.

Cocoa powder is always good, but for a summery spin, I decided to throw in a little peppermint extract.  Bye-bye boring! I relearned my love of mint chocolate. 

So, if you're feeling adventurous with your no-sugar-added desserts, give this a try for only 40 calories. 

  • 1/4 cup Applesauce
  • 1 tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 dash Peppermint Extract
    Yes, as a matter of fact, I do eat all my food in mugs

    Mix and Enjoy!
Also, for people concerned about protein. In the original version of the recipe, I added equal amounts of hemp protein powder and cocoa, and the hemp flavor was completely masked. So feel free to spike the recipe with protein powder. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cherry Coco-nutty Granola


I was betrayed today. At the farmer's market, I picked up a seemingly innocent box of granola. On the front, it listed oats, almonds, cranberries, coconut, and apple juice. I was ecstatic to enjoy some healthy, no-added sugar or oil granola. 

Not quite. Apparently this wasn't the real ingredients list but just the main flavorings. On the back, I found a list including sugar and oil. Grr.....

So, I decided to make my own granola out of healthy, whole ingredients, as there really does seem to be a lack in this field. Have you seen how many granola recipes out there are drowning in oil and sugar? Plus, I had a healthy fat source to try out. 

Presenting, coconut manna!

It's in the coconut butter family, and, although I hesitate to write this, I think it just might be better than peanut butter. (Gasp! I'm sorry peanut butter, but it's true.) I've had it with dates, carrots, and a spoon, and it imparts a subtly sweet decadently rich flavor to it all. The best part?

Its just pure coconut! I warn you, when you first get the jar, its a pain to homogenate. I spent a good half an hour at least soaking the jar in hot water and then attacking it with a spoon to try and get the oil on top to mix with the rock hard sediment on the bottom. But, you know, it was definitely worth the effort. 

So, armed with my new coconut manna and some dried tart cherries we also picked up at the farmer's market, I headed to the kitchen. After a few tweaks on my original recipe, I managed to create something that my sister and even my brother can agree is quite good. 

(Serves 1-2)

  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1/4 cup Dried Tart Cherries (or substitute dried fruit of choice)
  • 1/4 cup Almonds (or substitute nut of choice)
  • 1/4 cup Sweetener (I used Stevia. Note: my brother thought it should be sweeter, so you can play with this if you have a sweet tooth)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Manna
  • 1 tbsp Hot Water (Yes, it really does need to be hot)
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 pinch Salt
NOTE: For fruit-sweetened granola, leave out the water and stevia, and use 1/3 of a banana (melted in the microwave for 30 sec) and 1 1/2 tbsp applesauce

1. Chop up the almonds
2. Place all the ingredients beside the hot water in a bowl, and mix. The coconut butter will not really blend in that well assuming your kitchen is kinda cold like ours, but just do your best. 

3. Heat up the water and place into the bowl and mix. Now, the oats should cling together a little, but mostly be separated. 
4. Place in the over at 350 for about 15 minutes until lightly crisp. Stir often so that it doesn't burn.

5. Let cool, and enjoy!

If you're like us, waiting for food to cool when it is hot out of the oven is blasphemy. Needless to say, we ate our granola on the spot. However, if you want your granola good and crunchy, I would recommend cooling it. 


For those who are wishing for a fruit-sweetened granola, not a stevia-sweetened one, T3 comes to the rescue! I made a triple batch of the above subbing the water and stevia for a melted banana (microwave the banana for 1 minute and stir until liquid-y) and 1/4 cup applesauce. For a single batch, use 1/3 of a banana (melted) and 1 and 1/2 tbsp applesauce. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Pudding


Peanut butter and chocolate.

 Need I say more?

Inspired by the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard (which I haven't had in years), but slimmed down, sugar-limited, defatted, and un-dairied.  And it still tastes great! This healthy dessert has 110 calories, 5 g fat (none saturated), 1 g sugar, and 7 g protein. Just for comparison's sake, a small Blizzard has 530 calories, 62 (!) grams of sugar,  21 grams of fat (11 of which are saturated), and 13 g protein.

Plus, no cows were harmed in the making of my product.

Without further ado

  • 1 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 heaping tsp Agar Powder (I think this is around 1 tbsp Agar Flakes)
  • 2 tbsp PB2 (you can experiment with actual peanut butter or almond butter if you want here)
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (brownie points for fair trade/organic!)
  • 2 tbsp Sweetener (I used Stevia in the Raw, which measures like sugar)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Optional Protein Powder (if you want to use this as a post work-out snack)
  1. Microwave almond milk in mug for about 30 sec in microwave
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir (all might not dissolve, so give it your best shot and move on to step three)
  3. Microwave at 30 sec intervals, stirring in between until mixture is hot and all is dissolved
  4. Refrigerate for several hours
  5. Enjoy!

If you want it extra smooth, I would recommend placing it in the blender after it's done. Plus, if you wanted, you could really go for the Blizzard effect: add a frozen banana and blend!

Have fun!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chocolate-Covered, Pistachio-Crusted Turkish Apricots


What's better than fruit?

Chocolate-covered fruit!

What's better than chocolate-covered fruit?

Chocolate-covered fruit with nuts!

I love me my pistachios. They are probably my favorite type of nut, so it only made sense to somehow combine them with chocolate, my sister's favorite food. And with Whole Foods having a sale on organic unsulfured Turkish apricots (which are a darker cousin of the regular dried apricot with more depth and a caramel undertone, my sister and I agree.), we found a match made in heaven.

Chocolate-Covered, Pistachio-Crusted Turkish Apricots

Doesn't that just sound decadent? And, it's completely healthy with only about 35 calories a pop! Thus, you can be like me and consume ten of them before they even had time to cool. 

Also, for theme and variation, I also spiced it up with some cinnamon-sprinkled, chocolate-covered Turkish apricots plus PB2-coated, chocolate-covered Turkish apricots and finally PB2-coated, cinnamon-sprinkled, chocolate-covered Turkish apricots.




I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

  • ~30 Dried Turkish Apricots (any apricot will probably work here, or even any large dried fruit. Have fun with it!)
  • 1/2 cup Shelled Unsalted Pistachios
  • 1 Dark Chocolate Bar (3-4 oz)

  1. Grind pistachios. I did this by putting the nuts in a cereal bowl, stacking another cereal bowl on top, and then grinding. I think pulsing them a few times in a blender or food processor would be more efficient. Still, what's cooking without a little elbow grease?
  2. Break the chocolate bar into pieces and place in a mug. Melt chocolate at 30 second intervals in the microwave, decreasing the amount of time as it gets closer to melting. Stir between each go. It shouldn't take too long, and if there are only a few chunks left, just stir for a moment, and they should all melt and homogenate. 
  3. Dip apricots individually into chocolate, then dredge through ground pistachios
  4. Leave to cool on a non-stick surface such as parchment paper or plastic wrap
  5. Enjoy!