Chocolate Cabernet Brownies

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sentinelI am getting so excited for the Orlando Science Center’s Science of Wine fundraiser event and having way too much fun “baking with booze”… research purposes only, right?…

Recently I was asked to do a little promo video for the Orlando Sentinel and FOX News Orlando to talk about this amazing event and share with them a deliciously healthy dessert recipe, using wine, of course! Well I certainly couldn’t show-off the same dessert I’ll be demonstrating at the event …Chocolate Cherry Cabernet Truffles (yum!)….. But I was still digging the cacao and cabernet pairing, so I decided to make brownies for this live demo. But not just any brownies… Cabernet Brownies!FullSizeRender

These tasty, oh-so-chocolatey treats are gluten free, vegan and even paleo, but more importantly, they’ve received the deliciousness stamp of approval from the Orlando community! Rich and fudgey, but not overly sweet, your tastebuds will fall in love with these Cabernet Brownies, not to mention, they  are simple and quick to make!

FullSizeRender_1Chocolate Cabernet Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2/3c + 2T cacao powder
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • 1/3c applesauce
  • 1/4c Cabernet (or your favorite red wine)
  • 3T coconut oil
  • 2T coconut butter (or nut butter of your choice; sunflower seed or maybe almond?)
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • pinch of pink himalayan salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a brownie pan. For an 8×8 pan preheat your oven to 330°F (low and slow).

Using a blender, puree all of you ingredients! (I told you it was simple, right?).

Pour the batter into your  pan and bake! I used a bite-sized brownie pan and baked them for 15min. For an 8×8 pan, I would recommend maybe another 15 minutes, but be sure to check on them!

Find more great brownies recipes here.

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Champagne & Macaroons

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I love being a proponent for healthy eating, but I really love that eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy desserts… and champagne (yay!). So why not combine these wonderful things to create a deliciously healthy dessert?

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I know what you’re thinking, champagne can be expensive. True. But a little bubbly doesn’t have to be! Champagne has a strongly protected reputation amongst the French but you can certainly find an affordable sparkling wine even in France like the cre’mant.

Other popular bubbly favorites are the Spanish Cava, Italian Proseccos or Asti’s, and of course, Sekt from Germany and Austria. My favorite is Schloss Biebrich Sekt (hello Germany) from Trader Joe’s of all places ($5.99) and rated as one of the best wines under $20. Not too shabby!

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So I decided to use this not too shabby, champagne in my Champagne Macaroons. I do enjoy “baking with booze” but in this instance, I’m trying out recipes for the Orlando Science Center‘s Science of Wine fundraiser event where I will be doing a healthy dessert demonstration. I’ll be talking healthy foods, ingredients and yes, wine, as I whip up a deliciously healthy dessert! So if you make these Champagne Macaroons in your homes, please tell me what you think!

IMG_2021Champagne Macaroons

  • 1/3c coconut butter (not solid)
  • 4T maple syrup
  • 2T Champagne (substitute more maple syrup)
  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 2c shredded unsweet coconut

Directions

This recipe is, like most of my recipes, really simple. Begin by preheating the over to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl stir together all of your liquid ingredients and add the pinch of pink Himalayan salt (brings out the sweetness). Now begin to mix in the dry shredded coconut.

This is where is gets messy. Use your hands to make sure everything is well incorporated and begin forming the “batter” into mounds and set on a greased, or parchment lined, baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.FullSizeRender

When finished, remove from the oven and let cool. I drizzled mine with a simple Berry icing. The icing was made by blending coconut butter, mixed berries and non-dairy milk, though chocolate might be good too… let me know what you try and have a beautiful day!IMG_1997new welli dessert logo

Oatmeal Cream Cookies

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FullSizeRender_3Move over Little Debbie and check out these Oatmeal Cream Cookies! What’s so special about these? Well, they’re not made with the same yucky, not good for you ingredients…

– Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Barley Malt, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And Cottonseed Oil With Tbhq , Dextrose, Contains 2% Or Less of Each of The Following: Leavening (Baking Soda, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Whey, Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, Mono- And Diglycerides, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Propylene, Gylcol Monostearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polysorbate 80), Salt, Corn Starch, Eggs, Palm And Palm Kernel Oil, Soybean Oil, Citric Acid, Pectin, Sodium Citrate, Egg Whites, Modified Corn Starch, Cocoa, Modified Wheat Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dried Apples (Sulfite Treated to Preserve Color), Colors (Caramel Color, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Beta Carotene, Yellow 5, Turmeric, Annatto Extract, Blue 1), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Rice Flour, Nonfat Dry Milk, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Malic Acid, Carrageenan, Spices, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness). 

Well if you’ve gotten bored of that laundry list of ingredients, take a relaxing breath. This recipe for Oatmeal Cream Cookies is made with whole food, real ingredients that you can find in almost any home cupboard. No hydrogenated anything just real foods like rolled oats!

FullSizeRenderOats are deliciously healthy and commonly associated with a reduced risk for many chronic diseases, as well as, a reduction in liver inflammation, and even weight loss! Did you know that just one cup of oats contains 17g of fiber which contributes to the 25 grams of soluble fiber you should be eating everyday. And if that’s not enough reason to eat more oats, then give this tasty recipe a try!

Oatmeal Cream Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2/3c soaked rolled oats
  • 1/2c Brown Rice Flour
  • 3/4c (plus 1T) Sorghum Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4t nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3T cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp molasses (you can omit)
  • optional *stevia to sweeten

Vanilla Cream Frosting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 330°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all of your dry ingredients Now slowly stir in all of your liquid ingredients.

Combine until well incorporated.  You should be able to roll the dough into one large ball of dough. If the batter is too runny, sprinkle in a bit more sorghum flour. Too thick? Try adding a little non-dairy milk.

Once you have formed your giant ball of dough. Roll golf ball sized pieces of the dough between your hand and press down on your parchment lined baking pan.

When you’ve finished shaping your oatmeal cookies, bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

To create the cookie sandwiches, put a large dollop of Vanilla Frosting between each pair of cookies. Scarf when you want to!

FullSizeRender_4Delicious just got healthy with these Oatmeal Cream Cookies!

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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Sometimes I feel like there should be an extra day in the week to help me take care of all the little things I’m not able to accomplish in the day. Well if I can’t extend the days in a week or the hours in the time, I’ll have to settle for extending my life. What’s that? Life extension? The simple act of eating a handful of nuts most days of the week can actually extend your life by up to two years. That’s one tasty solution!

FullSizeRender_5What better way to enjoy better health than by enjoying delicious foods. Some of my favorite ways to utilize heart healthy nuts are recipes like my Sriracha Queso or fresh baked Cinnamon Rolls and now this Vanilla Frosting. 

Why use nuts? Nuts are most definitely a staple in a plant-based home, so load up on almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and yes, macadamia nuts. In this Vanilla Frosting recipe I used macadamia nuts (cashews are a great substitute) and these creamy, slightly sweet nuts are packed with vitamin A, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium and potassium… and if that’s not enough for you, they’re delicious, too!

Try macadamia nuts in all their goodness in these oh-so-healthy Strawberry Shortcakes!

FullSizeRender_6Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cake recipe
  • strawberries
  • Vanilla frosting recipe below

Frosting (… more frosting recipes here)

  • 1c soaked (and drained) macadamia nuts (can sub cashews)
  • 1/2c coconut water (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4c coconut butter
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1t coconut oil (optional)
  • stevia (or 3T maple syrup) to sweeten
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Prepare the batter for your mini shortcakes but rather than baking them in a pie pan, press the batter into a mini muffin pan. Bake 10-12 min at 330°F. When finished, allow the muffins to cool 15 minutes or so on the counter top.

Meanwhile, as the shortcakes are baking, begin preparing your vanilla frosting. Place macadamia nuts in a food processor along with the vanilla extract, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Blend a minute or two, add coconut butter and blend another minute. Finally, add coconut water (or non dairy milk) until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Add whichever sweetener you’d like and be sure to taste along the way to achieve your desired level of sweetness and consistency;.

FullSizeRender_3To finish off these shortcakes, place a dollop of frosting on half of your shortcakes. Now top each of the frosted shortcakes with the remaining shortcakes and add another dollop of frosting. Top with sliced strawberries.

And there you have it, a deliciously healthy dessert that is not only sweet to look at but will satisfy your sweet tooth, too!

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Red Velvet Brownies

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FullSizeRenderLent is almost over which means I can start using cacao and chocolate again!… I’m a little excited. Plus, I have this new recipe to share with you that uses cacao… delicious, raw, cold pressed cacao. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa powder? While they are pretty interchangeable, the health benefits and processing are quite a bit different.

Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter).  Cacao is the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods. In fact cacao is packed with all sorts of goodness:

  • Magnesium (great for “that time of the month”), and other essential minerals like calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
  • Vitamins galore: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
  • Heart-healthy, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat

 Cocoa looks the same but because it’s been roasted at high temperatures, most of these beneficial qualities are lost. Again, you can still use cocoa powder, this is just “food for thought” and why not make your desserts both delicious and healthy?

FullSizeRender_4Another great quality about these Red Velvet Brownies is the red color. No, I didn’t use any red food coloring. I used raw beets! Beets are actually what people use to use to make red velvet cakes… back before they started creating junk with artificial food colorings (check out this link for reasons you should avoid red dye and other food colors). Back to the beets.  Beets are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, B vitamin folate and other essential minerals like potassium, and manganese. Potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function while manganese is good for the bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Essentially, beets are awesome and that’s why I use them; plus the color is gorgeous!

So with all that knowledge, get ready to enjoy these Red Velvet Brownies even more!

FullSizeRender_2Red Velvet Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2c oats
  • 1/4c steamed or canned beats (raw works, too!… but has a less sweet, more beet flavor)
  • 1/4c raw cacao powder
  • 1/2c coconut milk (any non-dairy milk will do)
  • 1/2 cannellini beans (1/3 of a can)
  • 1/3c maple syrup
  • 1/4c applesauce
  • 3T coconut oil
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4t baking soda
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/4c chocolate chips… or more!

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan.

Begin by grinding the oats into a flour. [never spend money on oat flour; buy rolled oats and blend]. In a large mixing bowl, pour in your oat flour and dry ingredients and give them a good mix.

In a blender, add cooked beet, beans, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth! [Check out that beautiful color!]. Pour the contents of the blender into your mixing bowl and mix until well combined; now you can stir in all of the chocolate chips you’d like.

Pour the red velvety batter goodness into your baking pan and put it in the oven. Keep the brownies in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check the brownies to be sure they’re done. Then let cool 15 minutes or so before devouring.

FullSizeRender_3Enjoy!

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Blueberry & Almond Butter Streusel

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FullSizeRender_2Baking with nut butters? Who knew you could do such a thing? But I love it! Making nut butters couldn’t be more simple, recipe down below, and then using the nut butters for tasty recipes is even more deliciously fun.

So why use almond butter (or any nut butter for that matter) in your recipes?  Well to start, nut butters are an amazing source of healthy fats and fiber. Because of its amazing fiber and fat content [each serving of almond butter contains 18 grams of fat, made up primarily of unsaturated fatty acids], these both work to improve your blood cholesterol levels to combat cardiovascular disease, and also provide energy. So yes, I think those are great reasons to enjoy more nut butters.

With a lot of people on the grain free, or paleo diet, these Blueberry & Almond Butter Bars are a great go-to recipe, so go ahead and give these a whirl and find more nut butter recipes here.

 

 

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Blueberry & Almond Butter Streusel

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 1/4c applesauce
  • 1/4c almond butter
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1-2t cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4c non-dairy milk (plus 1T lemon juice); let sit 5-10min

Streusel topping:

  • 1T coconut oil
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1/3c almond meal
  • *stevia to sweeten

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 330°F and lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan. Into a blender, place the two peeled plantains, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla extract and non-dairy milk. Blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl add almond butter and begin to stir in contents of blender. [you could do this all in the blender, but it is a pain in the boot-ay to blend and “pour out”]. Now stir in all of the dry ingredients until well combined. Finally stir in the blueberries!

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To make the “streusel topping”, brush the top of the batter with coconut oil. Using a small  separate bowl, stir together the cinnamon, almond meal and stevia and sprinkle liberally over the batter. *instead of stevia, you could also drizzle or sprinkle the sweetener of your choosing.

Place pan in oven and bake for 45min. When finished, remove the bars and allow to cool before slicing.

Note, these bars are by no means dry… in fact, they taste and feel like your biting into a pb&j (or in this case, almond butter and jelly) sandwich, heavy on the filling but oh-so-deliciously healthy!

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If you’re interested in making your own almond butter, it’s über simple:

Almond Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2c almonds (roast at 350°F for 10 min)
  • *optional- vanilla extract; maple syrup; honey; cinnamon; nutmeg; chocolate chips; coconut oil or butter; whatever you like!)

Directions: 

Remove almonds from oven and let cool. Next place them in a food processor and let them blend (5-10 min) until you have almond butter! Add whatever optional ingredients you’d like to kick it up!

Peppermint Cream Cakes

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FullSizeRender_4Recently I read an article in Time that said “nearly %60 of Americans daily calories come from ultraprocessed foods”. Does that not blow your mind? Over half the food we eat daily isn’t even food, but food substitutes, fillers, flavorings and other things you probably wouldn’t stock your pantries with.

And speaking of “franken-foods” tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, which means there will be a lot of unnaturally green foods and drinks being passed around and gobbled up. But your St. Patrick’s Day celebration can go on with delicious whole foods that are naturally green. Like these Shamrockin’ly good Peppermint Cream Cakes!

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What makes them so awesome? Well with just a few whole food ingredients like cashews, coconut butter, and bananas, you have a dessert that’s actually good for you! [Keep reading for some of the benefits of these whole foods or jump ahead to the recipe down below].

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Cashews (substitute macadamia nuts if you’re paleo) are packed with copper, manganese, mangnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K. What does that mean for you? These beauties are a monounsaturated fat that help to lower triglycerides (associated with heart attacks). The magnesium  is good for lowering blood sugar and preventing migraines… not too shabby, right?

Dates? Well, dates are a packed with fiber, energy boosting carbs, iron and even more potassium than bananas. And what does all that do for you?  That means some healthy pooping, a help for those who are anemic, and great for weight loss.

And what about coconut butter? It’s full of fat, right?  Yup! Deliciously good for you fat that actually boosts your metabolism and strengthens your immunity while destroying bacteria, fungi, and other viruses

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Peppermint Cream Cakes

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1/2c cashews
  • 1/4c coconut shreds
  • 4-6 dates (sub 3T maple syrup)

Mint Layer:

  • 1/2c macadamia nuts (soaked)
  • 1/4c coconut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4c coconut water (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4-1/2t peppermint oil
  • a few spinach leaves (for color)
  • optional stevia or maple syrup to sweeten

Cream Layer:

  • 1/2c macadamia nuts (soaked)
  • 1/4c coconut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4c coconut water (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • optional stevia to sweeten

Directions:

For the crust, you’ll want to pulse together the cashews and coconut shreds until you have a fairly ground flour. Then one by one, add the pitted dates until the mixture begins to clump together. At this point, you can press the “crust” mixture into a spring form pan.

Next, take all of your “cream layer” ingredients and place them in a blender. Blend until you have a nice creamy consistency. Pour the cream on over top the crust, but leave room for the mint green layer!

For the final layer, place all of the “mint layer” ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Pour the final layer over the cream layer. Now place your spring form pan(s) in the freezer to firm up.

FullSizeRender_2Remove the pan 10-15 minutes before serving for the right consistency! How simple is that? Just a few whole foods for an awesomely delicious

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