Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

As you might be able to see, I am currently experimenting with some vegan recipes. It’s really easy to make some super yummy sweet treat out of ingredients that aren’t necessarily that great for your health. Even if all of those ingredients are organic. I have taken it as a sort of challenge to see if I can make sweet treats that are not only healthy and packed with nutrients, but are also really delicious. This raw vegan dark chocolate pudding is a definite winner when it comes to healthy, nutrient-dense and, above all, delicious!

I have a lot of people on Instagram who inspire me. One of those inspirational people is Lisa at www.chocolatemeetsstrawberry.com. A couple of weeks ago, she wrote a post called “Healthy Chocolate Pudding for One.” Both of our recipes have ingredients that will surprise you. I had heard of this type of chocolate pudding nearly a decade ago. When I read Lisa’s post, I decided to give it a shot. But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to put a little different spin on it. I think it might also be a little more acceptable to people who are just testing the waters of a more healthy lifestyle.

Chocolate pudding made with avocado? What?! There, it’s out in the open now. Yes, avocado is the mystery ingredient. For those of you new to this, take a deep breath. I promise you that it is really delicious, and no one will ever know that it’s made with avocado. I challenge you to try it out. As with a few of my recipes, this is best made and refrigerated at least eight hours before eating. I think the ingredients need time to chill and get to know each other.

This raw vegan dark chocolate pudding is so packed with nutrients, that it would be perfectly acceptable to eat it for breakfast. Avocados are loaded with several vitamins, B5, B6, C, E, K and folate and have more potassium than bananas. They also contain plenty of heart-healthy fat in the form of oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard how good avocados are for you, just Google “health benefits of avocados.” There is really no reason you shouldn’t be eating this delicious fruit! If you don’t know the health benefits of the ingredients in this pudding, do the same thing for all of the ingredients. I promise you, I’m giving you a recipe for something super healthy and super delicious at the same time. Who wouldn’t want to eat chocolate pudding for dessert? And even better, who wouldn’t want to eat chocolate pudding for breakfast? Guilt free!!

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

Here’s a shot of all of the ingredients that I used. If you have any questions about where I get any of my ingredients, please ask in the comments below.

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 30 grams of organic honey
  • 2 packets (or 6 grams) of granular stevia
  • 28 grams (5 Tablespoons) raw organic cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon organic Ceylon cinnamon
  • 14 grams (2 Tablespoons) organic virgin coconut oil
  • 65 grams (about 2 Tablespoons) organic light canned coconut milk
  • a pinch or two of pink Himalayan salt
Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

This is a happy dessert!

You could do this in a blender or a food processor if you don’t have an immersion blender. I’m giving instructions for an immersion blender since that is what I used. Put all ingredients into a glass 4-cup measuring cup. Insert an immersion blender and pulse on high until things get a bit mixed.

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

Blending up the ingredients

Then blend on high, moving the stick around and up and down a bit until it reaches a creamy consistency. This takes 30 seconds to one minute. Spoon about a half of a cup (about 125 ml) into similar sized dessert ramekins or dessert cups. You should be able to get 3 to 4 servings out of this recipe. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving. Top with unsweetened, shredded coconut, a light dusting of cinnamon, sliced strawberries, cacao nibs, chopped nuts, or other such yummy topping. Enjoy and know that even though it tastes decadent and sinful that it is really good for you!!

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

I know what you’re thinking already. How can anything with “vegan” in the name taste good? “Vegans only eat beans, kale and alfalfa sprouts,” I can hear you saying. Well, I’m here to fix that thinking for you. These vegan peanut cacao bliss balls really do taste good, and none of the ingredients are beans, kale or alfalfa sprouts. I promise.

Besides being super yummy, these little bites of deliciousness are also healthy and really easy to make. You only need five ingredients, and there is no cooking or baking required. And each ingredient has a myriad of health benefits. Let’s go through some of them before we get to the recipe, shall we?

Peanuts, which have gotten a bad rap in recent years due to peanut allergies, are first. Peanuts are delicious, and I feel sorry for anyone who has a peanut allergy. They are rich in monounsaturated fat, which is the heart-healthy fat found in the Mediterranean diet. Peanuts also contain vitamin E, niacin, folate, resveratrol, oleic acid and antioxidants. And roasting peanuts actually boosts their antioxidant content. If you would like to read more about the health benefits of peanuts, please click here.

Cacao is next. Cacao is not cocoa, so please don’t confuse the two. Cocoa is that bitter, processed powder that you have probably used to make hot chocolate or chocolate cake and/or frosting. You can actually use raw cacao powder in the same recipes, but the difference is notable. Since I found raw, organic cacao powder on Amazon, I haven’t even considered ever using cocoa again. If you would like to know, I buy Healthworks Raw Certified Organic Cacao Powder on Amazon. It’s a fantastic deal! This stuff is truly a superfood. Cacao contains high levels of powerful antioxidants that have numerous health benefits. If you would like to read more about the health benefits of cacao, please click here.

Dates are used in this recipe as a binder and a sweetener instead of sugar. Plus, dates have the added benefit of having significant health benefits with which sugar just can’t compete. Dates contain a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and have a long history of traditional uses. Modern research has backed up long standing beliefs about the fruit. If you would like to learn more about the health history and benefits of dates, please click here.

Honey is also used as a sweetener in this recipe. You have probably used honey to sweeten tea or lemon water when you have a sore throat. Besides as a sweetener, do you have any idea why you do that? It’s not just to sweeten your beverage or to coat your throat. Honey actually has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Honey also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you would like to read more about the health benefits of honey, please click here.

The last ingredient is vanilla extract, which, I have read, contains antioxidants and can boost mood and enhance mental performance. If you would like to read more about this, please click here.

See! I told you there would be no beans, kale or alfalfa sprouts!

Enough with how good it is for you. Let’s get on with the recipe so you can find out how good they taste in your mouth!

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

  • 120 grams of roasted, salted peanuts
  • 120 grams of pitted medjool dates
  • 15 grams (2.5 tablespoons) of raw organic cacao powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Here’s a shot of the ingredients that I used in this recipe.

Put peanuts, dates and cacao powder in the bowl of your food processor. Process for a few seconds to chop and mix everything up a bit. Add the vanilla extract and a tablespoon of the honey. Process on high for about a minute. Everything should be well chopped, combined and a loose dough should form. Pinch a bit into a ball and see if it will hold together. Have a taste and see if you want to add more honey or leave it the way it is. If it’s not holding together, process it until you can get it to hold together.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

This is not a lovely picture, but it’s to show you what your dough should look like when it’s ready.

Scrape everything out into a bowl and use a small cookie scoop to make equal sized portions.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Scooping dough with a cookie scoop is the most effective way to get equally sized bliss balls.

Roll together in the palm of your hand to form a firm ball.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

This is how your bliss balls should look after rolling them in the palm of your hand. Your hand will also be greasy. Think of it as moisturizer.

Once you have done this with all of the dough, for best flavor, refrigerate overnight. For some reason, these taste better after they have had a chance for the ingredients to blend together. So they actually taste better the day after you make them than right away. Eat and enjoy.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls ready to eat!

Keep any uneaten bliss balls in the fridge until you are ready to eat them. With the size I made, this recipe yielded about 25.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

I put the bliss balls onto a flat-bottomed bowl and covered with plastic wrap to refrigerate.

If you make this recipe, please let me know. Follow me @organicandrea on Instagram and tag me in your recipe photos. Also be sure to like the Organic Andrea Facebook page.

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Vegan Peanut Cacao Bliss Balls

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

Besides boiling water, how much more basic can you get than scrambled eggs? I’m not that big of a fan of eggs by themselves, therefore, I try to find new ways to eat eggs that make them more palatable to me. With this grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free eating that I’m doing these days, eggs have become an essential part of my diet. I have noticed that my body craves more protein now that I have cut out sugar, grains and dairy. It’s always important to listen to the queues our bodies give us.

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

With summer’s heat blazing on, there is a bounty of fresh in-season vegetables available. I decided to take advantage of the vegetables that I had in my kitchen and make a scrambled egg invention. It turned out marvelously! In the past month, I have eaten this at one point or another for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but not all on the same day. This recipe provides a good dose of protein as well as more than one serving of vegetables. And it’s really great, because it will keep you satisfied and energized for hours. This recipe makes one large serving for one person as a complete meal, or it can be the main course at a meal with a variety of other sides. It would also be a great addition to a breakfast or brunch buffet!

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

  • 1-2 Tbsp. organic extra-virgin coconut oil, or bacon grease (a Southern favorite and my personal favorite)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 organic zucchini, grated
  • 4 mushrooms, diced
  • 1 handful of organic baby spinach, cut into ribbons
  • 2 small Campari tomatoes, diced
  • 3 large, organic eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water
  • sea salt to taste

Heat oil in a large (cast iron, if you have it) skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms and salt to taste and continue to cook for about another 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and tomatoes. While this cooks, beat your eggs with the water and salt to taste. I beat the heck out of my eggs in a glass bowl with a fork. I’m convinced that this makes my eggs lighter and fluffier. Pour the eggs over the skillet full of sautéed vegetables and use a silicone spatula to stir it around. At this point, you might want to put a lid on your skillet and then open it to stir it occasionally until all the eggs are cooked. Once all the eggs are cooked, plate, sit and eat. Bon appétit!

Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs

 

Have you tried this recipe? Do you have an even better recipe for scrambled eggs that is also dairy-free? Let yourself be heard in the comments section below!

orange cream chia pudding

Orange Cream Chia Pudding

With a sweet tooth like mine, it doesn’t take long to start coming up with dessert ideas, even if I’m following a sugar-free diet. I’m not totally sugar free. I consider naturally occurring sugars in fruits to be okay. I am not using added sugar, i.e. granulated sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave, etc. To sweeten anything exclusively with stevia, in my opinion, is completely revolting. I have found that a little bit of stevia to boost the sweetness where fruit or fruit juice is used is fairly undetectable, as long as you don’t use too much.

I had made chia pudding before, when I was still using traditional sweeteners and liked it. Plus, there’s no cooking involved, so it’s really easy. There is a waiting period while the chia seeds soak up the liquid and make the pudding-esque texture.

Chia seeds have come a long way from the Chia Pets that used to be advertised on television in the ’70’s. For several years now, chia seeds have been moving into the mainstream of the American diet. I picked up my last bag of organic chia seeds at Sam’s Club. How much more mainstream America can you get, other than their close relative Walmart? But you can probably buy them there too. Chia seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition. They are packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and the list goes on. Do a quick Google search on benefits of chia seeds, and you will find a ton of information.

Who doesn’t love an orange creamsicle? Especially in the long, hot days of summer? This recipe is a healthier take on that idea. It tastes great and is great for your health. You can also make a pineapple cream version of this by substituting freshly blended pineapple for the orange juice. My husband, mother, two daughters and I all loved both varieties. Whip up a batch today to start enjoying the delicious heath benefits of the tiny, but mighty, chia seed!

orange cream chia pudding

Orange Cream Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice
  • 1/4 cup organic unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 packets of your favorite brand of organic stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Put chia seeds into a bowl that will hold at least one quart. Add the rest of your ingredients.

orange cream chia pudding

Stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve alone or garnished with fresh fruit.

orange cream chia pudding

As I said above, you can also make a pineapple cream chia pudding by substituting one cup of blended freshly cut pineapple for the orange juice.

pineapple cream chia pudding

Do you have a favorite way to use chia seeds? Please let me know in the comments below!

Dairy- and Grain-Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

Dairy- and Grain-Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

I know it’s hotter than Hades right now. And maybe soup is the last thing you want to eat. But, summer doesn’t last forever, except here in Florida. And some people still do eat hot soup in the summertime. Otherwise, why would restaurants like Panera still be making it everyday?

In my last post, I told you that I have given up sugar, dairy and grains. This causes one to be more creative in what one eats. As I said before, this is not that Paleo diet thing. I have a wider variety of things that I can eat, like potatoes and beans. I have never been a big cream of broccoli soup fan. I think I never ordered it once back in the days when I actually ate at Panera. But someone asked me how you make it the other day, and it got me thinking. How would I make it so that I can eat it with the constraints of my current diet? The very first experiment that I did produced a winner!! I have often read the blogs of other people who are doing the Paleo diet and variations of clean eating. Many times I have read them say, “It’s so good, I didn’t even miss (insert prohibited ingredient here)!” I have also thought to myself every time that I have read a statement like that, “Yeah, right!” Well, this recipe actually turned out so good that I really think it is better than the original that is made with cream, milk, butter and flour. This soup was really easy to make, which is also a big bonus. Besides a cutting board and knife, all you need to make it is one pot! And it makes enough for freezing for future use for one person or for dinner for a family. And if you are vegan, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this work for you.

I’m so excited about how well this recipe turned out that I’m dying to make a cream of mushroom variety and a creamy butternut squash soup too! Those will probably be coming up in future posts. I have also come up with some desserts for future posts also. I will quit making you wait and get on to the recipe.

Dairy- and Grain-Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

Dairy- and Grain-Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium sized organic yellow potatoes (like Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken base (or vegetable variety if you’re doing a vegan version)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 can organic coconut milk
  • 1 pound organic frozen broccoli florets
  • sea salt to taste

Heat your coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add your onion and garlic and about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and sautée until translucent. Add your potatoes, chicken base, water and coconut milk. Raise the heat and bring to a boil for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Use an immersion blender and blend the soup until the potatoes are smooth. Now, add your bag of frozen broccoli florets and let it cook slowly for about 15 minutes. Once again, use the immersion blender and blend the soup until the broccoli is in small pieces. Taste it to see if you need any more salt. Adjust it to how you like it, and voilà! You have just made a delicious, healthy version of a classic favorite soup.

FYI: I don’t usually buy organic onions or garlic. I buy my organic potatoes and organic canned coconut milk at Whole Foods. I buy my sea salt, organic Better Than Bouillon and organic frozen broccoli florets at Costco.

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

Paleo Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

No, I have not gone Paleo. But I have decided to cut out grains, sugar and dairy. I am two weeks into it at this point. I did this a little more than a year ago for about three months. I’m hoping to stick with it this time for good, only cheating on special occasions, like birthdays and holidays. What’s the difference between what I’m doing and what Paleo dieters are doing? I eat beans and potatoes and don’t use honey or maple syrup.

When I tell people that I have gone grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free, they usually respond with, “What’s left for you to eat?” That’s kind of how I felt when I first did this last year. But you still have meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, nuts, seeds and oils. Eating is very important to me, so I figured it out pretty quickly. There are actually lots of things left to eat. And I find that I get a lot more creative eating this way. And if you’re a self-professed sugar addict like me, you are going to get a bit crazed trying to get a sweet fix. This is where my creativity really comes out. Usually on Saturday or Sunday mornings I will make a special breakfast for my family. It’s usually some type of special pancakes or muffins. This morning I wanted to make a special breakfast that I could eat, but that the whole family would also enjoy. I researched several recipes and this is what I came up with. I plan on changing up the flavor combinations in the future and will post the variations as I come up with them.

I was really happy that everyone loved these muffins. My two year old ate two of them. My twelve year old ate three and probably would have eaten more if I had let her. And my husband asked what was in them, because they were so good. He couldn’t believe it. I have a feeling that variations on these are going to be the normal breakfast around here for a while. Let’s get to the recipe!

Organic Paleo Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

  • 5 organic large eggs
  • 3/4 cup organic apple sauce
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour (I use Nutiva)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil (melted or solid, doesn’t matter)
  • 1 packet of organic stevia
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with cupcake papers. Put all ingredients except blueberries into a bowl and mix with hand mixer or an immersion blender. You could probably do this quickly in a blender or one of those smoothie bullet-blender things also. Stir in your blueberries. You will end up with a thick but moist batter.

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

Spoon your batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. I used a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop and a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop for each muffin.

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. When they are finished baking and cool enough to not burn your fingers, take them out of the muffin pan and put them on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

Place them on a plate and serve them to your family!

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

 

The muffins turn out very fluffy and moist, which is an amazing feat for a coconut flour muffin recipe. I’m still trying to figure out how to make them look as pretty on the outside as a traditional muffin. The inside is looking good though!

Paleo Coconut Flour Muffin

Here are some flavor variations. I will add more as I create and test them out.

  • Banana Nut: Leave out stevia and blueberries. Grind 1/4 cup raisins with a tablespoon of your already measured out coconut flour in a coffee grinder. Add your ground raisins, 1 tablespoon of organic Ceylon cinnamon before you mix. After mixing, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.
  • Chocolate-Cherry: Leave out banana. Change it two packets of stevia and 1 cup of applesauce total. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of organic raw cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of diced organic cherries.