Healthy Eating

Gluten Free Pumpkin Balls

Happy Opening!

Yesterday night was the opening of Zodiaque Dance Company’s Celebration 40.  It is the 40th year of Zodiaque Dance Company this year and the excitement is high.  I am assistant to both the Manager Director and the Artistic Director for the company.   It is quite exciting to be on the other side of things for a show.  Although I would love to be on stage dancing I also love taking a different role in the company.  It is a “tradition” for baked goods to be enjoyed by the dancers and crew before a performance.  Not to mention all the dancers I know are wiling to eat no matter what the occasion.  We find any reason to celebrate and eat.  Since I am assistant to the directors and I thoroughly enjoy baking (if you couldn’t tell!) I figured I would try my hand at something new….donuts!

I found this recipe on Pintrest of course.  They were adapted from A Step in the Journeyand originally called Pumpkin donuts.  The company dubbed them “Those Delicious Pumpkin Balls”  so I think I will stick with calling them Pumpkin Balls.  This recipe was interesting to me because I like trying new things and I have only made an attempt at donuts once before and they did not turn out that great.  Since it is fall (despite the dusting of snow on the ground) I thought something pumpkin flavored would be perfect.  Although this recipe is made gluten-free to accommodate many of the dancers who cannot eat gluten it can be made with regular all-purpose flour (maybe even a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose for a healthier version).  This is a perfect pre-performance treat to give the dancers energy to perform this wonderful show!

The show this semester varies from Broadway style Jazz to modern.  It is a great collaboration of dancers and you can see how much they love being onstage with every piece.  Overall the energy in the show is light and airy.  If you are in the WNY area I definitely suggest you take the time to come out and see the show.

Merde!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Balls

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Ingredients

.    1 3/4 cup for cup flour (or another gluten free flour mix)
.    2 tsp of cornstarch
.    1/2 tsp of salt
.    1 tsp of cinnamon
.    3/4 tsp of nutmeg
.    1/2 tsp of ground ginger
.    1/2 cup of olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
.    1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
.    1 egg
.    1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
.    1/2 a can of pumpkin puree (about 6 oz.)
.    1/2 cup milk

Donut coating

.    1/4 cup sugar
.    ¼ cup brown sugar
.    2 tbsp cinnamon
.    1/2 a stick of unsalted butter

Directions for the donut:

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (flour mix), cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Pumpkin balls 1

In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, olive oil oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla extract.

pumpkin balls 2

Combine all ingredients and mix together to create your dough.

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In a WELL GREASED mini muffin pan spoon in the batter evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until you can stick with a toothpick and pull out clean.

Pumpkin balls 4

Allow muffins to cool for about 2 minutes. If you would like to have the donuts look more like holes than muffins you can remold them as long as they are still warm.

Directions for the coating:

In one bowl melt the butter. In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon and sugars. Dip the donut holes in the butter and then roll around in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  (They kind of look like little meatballs, but that’s because of the brown sugar.)

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Enjoy!

pumpkin balls 7

 

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I made this recipe a few weeks ago and have not had time to post it yet.  However, as I am sitting outside the theater for the show I am working on, I figured what better time spent than time working on my blog and getting this delicious recipe out to all of you!  (On a side note, after you are done baking these delicious cookies, get yourself to a computer and support your local college’s theater department.  We work hard and love having full houses!)  Anyways the cookies you need to bake are called, Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Yes, you heard me right, I used avocado.  I am telling you, this recipe is so deceivingly delicious.  And I promise all you can taste are is the delicious chocolate. Although, I must warn you I changed this recipe a bit from its original

I am not going to lie; I tried this recipe because I was curious. You don’t exactly think of chocolate and avocados going together, but NEWSFLASH: they totally do! I gave the recipe out to four or five people already because I think it is that good.  Also another fun fact is that it is completely clean and gluten free.  So many people can win by making this yummy recipe.  I promise you I am not lying.  Have a health conscious family member?  Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies!  Need a really delicious chocolate fix?  Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies!  I am telling you, you will love them!

So, here it goes…

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients (adapted from The Smoothie Lover)

  • 1 medium avocado (ripe)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • A handful of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix together avocado and brown sugar until smooth (making sure that there are minimal avocado chunks). Add in the egg and mix until combined.

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Mix in the cocoa powder. In a small bowl or glass dissolve the baking soda in water and add to the dough. Mix well. Finally add in the chocolate chips and make sure they are well combined before placing on a baking sheet.

Avocado Cookie 2

Using two spoons place dollops of cookie dough in a baking sheet with parchment paper. The cookie won’t spread as much as usual cookies when baking, so make sure to flatten them out a bit with the back of the spoon.

Avocado Cookie 3

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies don’t stick as much to the paper as they did before baking.

Once the cookies are cool, store in a container in the fridge.

Enjoy!!

Avocado Cookie 6

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Hello again,

I’m sorry to say that I am posting this recipe for all the wrong reasons.  This afternoon is a memorial service for a very loved family member that has recently passed away.  As when anyone in your family passes, he passed far too soon.  In order to celebrate his life after the service, my cousin has offered her house as a place of gathering so we can share a meal together.  As I always do for family gatherings, I decided to make a dessert.  Whether my cousin services it today or keeps it for herself is up to her, but food has an odd way of brining people together in a time of sorrow.

I have had a book called Healthy in a Hurry that my dad bought for me from William Sonoma when he still worked there.  I have always admired the recipes inside but have never made any of them.  Since, my family is very healthy conscious (which I have told you guys before) I decided to pull a recipe from the book to share today with them.  It is called Dark Chocolate Oatmeal bars.  There is something comfortable and even reminiscent about cookie bars.  They somehow bring you back to your childhood.  Not to mention the picture in the book looks delectable.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I know my family will!

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 6 oz dark chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9” by 13” baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with 2 tsp of butter.

Spread walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in oven until lightly browned, for about 10 minutes.

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In a large bowl, stir together the flours, oats, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In another large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining butter and brown sugar until light and well blended.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.

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Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or beat on low until just combined.  Stir in chocolate and walnuts.

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Spread the batter evenly in the baking dish.

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Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a fork can be inserted and removed with moist crumbs.

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Let cool completely in pan and then cut into 24 bars.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello!!!

I am so sorry that I have not posted in forever! I know some of you have been wondering where I have been and why on Earth I have not posted in decades (okay, well maybe not that long but I feel like it has been FOREVER!) I am sorry about that! Unfortunately homework comes first.  I am not always a fan of that policy but I don’t think my professors will accept a batch of chocolate chip cookies over a paper.  (Although they would kind of be silly not to don’t you think?)  Since fall is quickly setting in around here…

Target has their Christmas decorations up so I better get all my fall things in soon….

I decided to make some healthy cookies.  I have to say I am proud because I created this guy all myself.  (Well I used the basic principles for cookie making, but that’s about it!)  They are also SUPER easy to make, which is why I made them.  I have some free time but lets face it, chapter 9 is waiting to be read.  They are Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies packed with protein and fiber…two very essential things in a person’s life.  Especially because most people do not receive an adequate amount of these in a day, I know I lack in the protein category.  However, if you do not have protein powder lying around don’t feel the need to go out and buy some, that stuff is expensive!  Just omit it.  Same with the flax and chia seeds, because those babies cost a pretty penny too.  However, I would be delighted if you had all these ingredients on hand and went for the entire recipe.  They are also very healthy.

Now, I can’t comment on how these taste because I literally just pulled them out of the oven but the batter was delicious (haha whoops! I couldn’t resist!) They also look quite amazing so I can’t wait!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (or unflavored)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (even better, add ¾ cup mini chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a medium bowl.  Whisk together to combine.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine together the pumpkin, brown sugar, olive oil, egg and protein powder.  Mix on low until combine.  

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Mix in the chocolate chips until combined.

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 Scoop 1 tbsp of the dough and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool before enjoying!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chewies

Hi Y’all!

I am so sorry that I have not been able to post in a while.  School started and then auditions started and theres homework and work and my body wants to cry it is in so much pain! Let me tell you, being in shape and being in dance shape are 2 totally…and I mean totally, different things! Anyways, there has been no time to make anything delicious until now! I went through 2 days of auditions (hoping I did well because that will be disappointing if it didn’t) and now I think I deserve a treat.  Although I have eaten really well all week so I don’t want to “ruin” that so why not make something healthy?  (I also don’t have butter) And as always I decided to change this recipe up a little to fit my needs!

I have an over abundance of baking supplies in my apartment however I forgot butter somewhere along the line.  So this recipe is completely butter-free. Although don’t get me wrong, as much as I like to eat healthy I also like to eat unhealthy too! How can you go wrong with a big, moist, fudgey piece of chocolate cake?  Mmmm that sounds really good!  But that would call for butter…

So here goes nothing, a healthy cookie recipe that I hope is as delicious as Eating Wellmagazine makes it look. (Also a note, I decided to cut this recipe in half to only make about 18 cookies instead of 36.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chewies

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1.5 tablespoons vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp flax seed
  • 2tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter, oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a  until the sugars are blended. Beat in egg, yogurt and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add in the flour, cocoa, oats, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well blended. (It will be sticky.) Stir in chocolate chips.

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  1. Using a small cookie scoop or slightly rounded tablespoons of dough, roll in hands to a flattened ball and place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

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  1. Bake the cookies in batches until they are just set and the tops appear cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake or they will be dry.) Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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Blueberry Kale Muffins

Hi Everybody!

Tonight I was in one of my “can’t sit still moods”.  I came home from work and decided that I didn’t run around enough today (have I told you I work in a bakery?) so I decided to run to Target to buy some bathroom decorations.  I live in an apartment during the school year and my last roommate moved out leaving me without proper bathroom essentials.  I don’t mind because I like decorating and as corny as this is, the closer I am to reaching graduation, the more I want to become a “grown up”.  This includes buying classy bathroom decor and decorations to match!  I was kind of excited to buy new bathroom decor; and by kind of excited I mean really excited.  Now the bathroom can look the way I want it to.  Not that I minded it before, but change is always good right?

After I came back from my shopping excursion, I figured I would make some kale chips.  We had kale sitting in the fridge for the past week and it had gotten to the point where we had to use it or throw it out.  I hate throwing things out and my dad has been bugging me to make kale chips; so I did!  As I was cutting the kale I realized I had a bunch of scrap parts that weren’t big enough to make chips out of.  I remember seeing a recipe for Apple Kale Muffins on Pintrest and thought I would make my own variation to use what I had on hand.  They taste pretty good for a muffin with kale.  Next time I might add in a ripe banana for added sweetness but for now here is how I made them this time…

Blueberry Kale Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 1⁄4 cup milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients mixing until combined.

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Fill paper lined cupcake pan 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for about 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Olive Oil- Almond Cake

This past week I was in a baking mood yet again.  I wanted to go hog wild and bake everything under the sun.  This however is not financially a good idea and my biggest consumer of baked things is over 1,000 miles away.  That being said, strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting and eclairs don’t exactly travel well.  I do suppose I could send my thoughts with chocolate chip cookies or my “famous” Reese’s fudge but then I would have to package it up and hope to God that it made it down in one piece and not in millions of crumbs. Plus! I like presenting my baked things in person to willing consumers.  It makes the experience that much better!  Sooo, instead of baking things and sending them to far away places I decided to make something out of one of my cookbooks that I have had for a while but haven’t exactly utilized.  It is called Healthy in a hurry and is part of the Williams-Sonoma cookbook collection.

Flipping through the section of delicious dessert, this seemed like a recipe that would fulfill my needs to create something beautiful while also getting me in the kitchen and making something that would  satisfy my urge to create.  I have to say, my absolute favorite way to bake is either in peace and quiet or with the radio on and no one home.  It lets me be in my own world and is probably one of the most relaxing activities.  It helps get my mind off things.

Although I changed some things slightly, this recipe was very easy to prepare but looked gorgeous when it was completed.  Almost too pretty to cut into.  But I did! Because after all I am your official taste tester to make sure everything tastes delicious.  Not that I mind this job at all…

Olive Oil- Almond Cake

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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp unsalted butter (or cooking spray)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped (or unsalted almonds)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp orange zest, minced (or lemon zest)
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 large orange, peeled and thinly sliced (or 1 pint blackberries)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 inch springform pan.  Dust with flour and shake out excess.

In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  In a food processor, combine nuts and 1/4 cup sugar and process until finely ground.  Add to bowl with flour mixture and combine.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat eggs together until frothy.  Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow, 6-8 minutes.  On low speed, beat in olive oil, orange zest and vanilla.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour-almond mixture into egg mixture until well blended.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.

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Bake cake until top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a thin bladed knife around edge of pan to loosen sides of cake, and remove pan sides.  Let cool completely.

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Before serving, top cake with orange slices (or blackberries) and pomegranate seeds and drizzle with honey.  Cut into wedges and serve.

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Enjoy!!

Chickpea Almond Butter Cookies

I am going on vacation next week and you all know that when you are on vacation all rules about eating go out the window! Anything goes and I am perfectly okay with that! My entire extended family is going camping which is sure to be interesting.  We are the worlds most dysfunctional yet loving family I have ever met.  Once second we are proving each other wrong and the next we are laughing and enjoying ourselves.  As crazy as it sounds I would not change it for the world! In preparation for camping I have made (and froze) 5 different kinds of cookies which I am very proud of.  I am making brown butter snickerdoodles, healthified oatmeal raisin, healthified chocolate chip, homemade Oreos and America shaped cut-out.  However since I am planning on eating all my yummy cookies plus much more next week I am trying to be healthy this week.  This is where my idea for chickpea cookies came into play!

Being a dance major at UB I am lucky that I can develop relationships with all of my teachers.  One of my modern teachers knows my love of baking and suggested once making cookies with beans.  She was not a fan of the recipe she made but thought she would still suggest them.  As I was searching Pintrest one day I found a recipe for Chickpea Peanut Butter cookies.  I have been craving something not good for me but didn’t want to completely splurge so I decided to make them.  They are interesting.  You can tell they are made out of chickpeas and honestly I think I liked the taste of the batter better than the taste of the cookie but what can you expect from a cookie with no butter, flour or eggs?  You can decide for yourself!

Chickpea Almond Butter Cookies

Adapted from Our Simple Happy Life

For the original recipe it called for peanut butter but I was running low so I decided to make my own almond butter! It was super easy and turned out great!

Almond Butter

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  • 1 1/3 cups almonds
  • 2 tsp olive oil

In a food processor combine both ingredients and combine until smooth.  The process with take about 5 minutes so stop the food processor every once in a while to scrape down the sides.  From this I got about 3/4 a cup of almond butter.

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Cookies

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  • 1- 15 oz can of unsalted chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup carob chips (chocolate chips would work too)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor combine everything but the carob chips and combine until smooth.

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Add the carob chips and pulse until combined

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With wet hands form the “dough” into balls and place on the baking sheet.  The “dough” will be very sticky so the water helps it from sticking to your hands.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes

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Enjoy! I think what might make these cookies taste less like chickpea cookies will be to maybe add some unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix.

Raw Caramel Slices

I am very excited to be posting a raw recipe.  Recently I have become quite interested in raw “baking” and so I have been keeping my eye out for recipes and ideas. (I put baking in quotes because you don’t actual bake anything).   As a dancer I am always conscious of what I am eating but I think in general it is important to know what is going into your body. I would rather eat something homemade than store bought because I can assure that there aren’t any crazy preservatives or chemicals in it.  And although I do enjoy eating the occasional chocolate chip cookie..or 2…or 5 and full fat, full sugar baked goods have their place in my life (and everyones) it is important to enjoy everything in moderation! I will be the first to admit that my self control when it comes to sweets is ZERO, so to be able to enjoy something so sweet and delicious and get benefits from it is always a plus in my book. It also gives me the ability to regulate what I am putting into what I make.  Often times if I see a recipe with a boat load of sugar I try to reduce that; same with the amount of butter.  And now there are so many sources out there on raw eating it is super easy to try it out.  I just think it is important to know what we are putting into out bodies so that they can perform to the best of their abilities (on and off the stage).

Raw “baking” is a great way to eat yummy delicious treats while also getting health benefits from it.  Often times in raw “baking” coconut oil is used which is from a plant so it has natural benefits that way, but it also contains no hydrogenated or trans fats and has very minimal unsaturated fats.  It however does contain a healthy amount of saturated fats which our bodies can use in a productive way.  Another thing about raw “baking” is that often times dates are used which are great natural sweeteners (no refined sugars here) and nuts are used as well.  Nuts as we all know have a number of benefits.  They are not only a great source of protein but also have a great effect on our blood pressure, cholesterol and are a key in weight loss for their fibrous nature.  And overall what is better than eating something that is delicious and is also good for you?  I can’t think of much!

Upon searching for raw recipes on Pintrest (surprise, surprise) I came across this one for Raw Caramel Slices.  The recipe came from the blog “Triumph of the Lentil” and looked easy enough to give it a whirl.  I bought coconut oil and dates at my local grocery store.  The rest of the ingredients I had laying around.  Although eating raw is a but of an investment (coconut oil+dates=$10.00 at my local grocery store) it is worth it in my opinion.  There is nothing more priceless than your health!

P.S Since raw “baking” doesn’t involve any cooking, it is super easy!  If you follow the directions it is almost impossible to mess up.

Raw Caramel Slices (borrowed from Triumph of the Lentil)

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Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid*

For the caramel filling:

  • 18 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2-3 pinches of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid*
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (hazelnut, almond, cashew or brazil nut)

For the chocolate topping:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid*
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw agave syrup (I used honey because I was out of agave)
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder

* To melt the coconut oil place it in a bowl of warm water until it goes from white and solid to liquid and clear.

Directions

For the base, process the almonds and salt in a food processor until crumbly, but not too fine.

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Add the dates and process until no large pieces remain.  Process through the coconut oil until evenly mixed in.  Press the mixture into a greased or lined 20cm (8”) square or round baking tray. (I lined the bottom a rectangle baking pan with wax paper).

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I placed the pan in the refridgerator while I was making the next layer.  I found it easy to spread the caramel layer on top of the base.

To make the caramel layer, process the dates and salt in a food processor until it is finely ground and forms a ball.  Add the coconut oil and nut butter and continue to process until thoroughly mixed through (I did not need to, but you may need to stop the processor and break up the ball with a fork a couple of times).  Press this mixture into an even layer on top of the base.

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I again placed the pan in the refrigerator while I made the chocolate layer because it was then easier to spread the chocolate on top of the caramel layer.

Prepare the chocolate topping by combining the coconut oil, salt and agave (honey) in a bowl.  Stir through the cacao and mix until evenly combined, adding more agave if you like.  Spread this on top of the caramel layer (you may need to use your hands to spread it) and allow to set at room temperature for at least half an hour before slicing, or until the chocolate topping has set.

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Enjoy!

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