Mama and Me Freezer Cookies

A few months ago I began introducing Hermione to nut butters and nut milks. I have to admit the reasons were partially selfish. I use nuts so often that having Hermione enjoy them along with me has made cooking for the two of us much, much easier. She and I can now share green smoothies! Along with green smoothies Hermione has also been enjoying these Almond Butter Freezer Cookies. They are an easy way to get her the healthy fats and protein found in nuts, all in a form she can grasp in her tiny hands. The “Mama” version is a take on a dessert I enjoyed often while pregnant. I love to make a big batch of these and store then in the freezer so the are ready when either of us needs a little treat!

 

Mama and Me Freezer Cookies

  • 1 cup organic creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 T cacao nibs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • liquid stevia
  • pinch of sea salt
For Baby
  1. Combine the almond butter coconut oil in a small bowl
  2. Drop half the mixture by small spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Freeze until solid
  4. Reserve the other half for Mama’s Cookies
  5. Store cookies in freezer
For Mama
  1. Combine the remaining almond butter/coconut oil mixture with the cacao nibs, vanilla extract, sea salt and stevia to taste
  2. Drop the mixture by small spoonfuls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Freeze until solid
  4. Store cookies in freezer
Pronut Holes

I am a sort of, kind of, semi superstitious person. I will not panic over a broken mirror or a black cat. I do refuse to call my unborn daughter by the name we have chosen for her. Doug calls my belly by her name all the time and it freaks me out a little bit. This may seem strange since I have fully finished her nursery, stocked closet and all but to each her own right?

One superstition I have grown more attached to recently is that full moons can bring about labor. I have heard stories from friends, nurses, and my own doctors about babies being born on full moons. Some say it has to do with a change in air pressure, tide and gravitational pull. Some say it is more primal than that. Either way tonight is a full moon so we shall see if baby girl decides to make a slightly early arrival!

As my pregnancy draws to a close I have been trying to really focus on preparing myself for labor and delivery. I have been resting as much as I possibly can and eating for strength and energy. Recently I have become very dependent on healthy snacks. The bigger my baby gets, the less room I have to fit big meals. Eating for two? Forget about it! My stomach and the rest of my digestive system is so squished that eating a full meal is nearly impossible.

These protein bites or Pronut Holes (protein doughnut- get it?) as Doug named them are the perfect pregnancy nibble. I keep a batch of them in the fridge and grab one or two whenever I need a little pick me up or protein infusion. I definitely plan on having some on hand to eat during early labor, whenever that may be!

Pronut Holes

  • 1 cup Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Powder or other vegan protein powder
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, coconut water or water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • stevia to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Add more liquid if needed to get a thick dough to form.
  3. Roll into small balls.
  4. Allow to set in fridge.
03/07
1
Dessert with a Purpose

I love to have a bite (or several) of something sweet at the end of the night. I am not one for cakes, cookies, candy, and ice cream but somehow my evening does not seem complete without a little dark chocolate or one of my own healthy dessert creations. While I have had no major cravings during my pregnancy, my desire for sweet treats has certainly not gone away.

While pregnant I have been focusing extra hard on eating as much nutrient dense, plant based food as possible. Growing a person is hard work and she and I both need the best nutrition we can get. The general full feeling I walk around with everyday thanks to my little passenger sometimes makes it hard to eat food in any significant volume, so I try and make every single bite count- even dessert. Recently I have switched out my dark chocolate and other healthy yet not nutritionally necessary desserts for sweet bites that serve a purpose! Since healthy fats and protein are even more important than usual during pregnancy, I have been trying to load up on them whenever I can in the form of nuts, nut butters, avocados etc. These Cookie Dough Bites are a recent creation that fit the bill of a sweet treat combined with a nutrient dense bite. I can reach for a few after dinner knowing they are not only satisfying my sweet tooth but are helping my baby as well!! I like to make a double batch and keep them on hand in the freezer so they are always at the ready. Yum!

Cookies Dough Bites

  • 1 cup almond butter (preferably raw)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 T cacao nibs
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adjust sweetness to taste.
  2. Drop mixture by the spoonful  into a lined mini muffin pan and freeze for approx. 30 minutes-1 hour before eating.
Chai Chia Pudding

It’s no secret that I love OMilk. I use their Almond Milk every day in my smoothies, sauces and sometimes to make a cup of hot chocolate! While the classic Almond Milk is amazingly useful, I also love their special seasonal flavors. Available only by home delivery, a bottle of specialty flavored OMilk in my fridge is a real treat. Yesterday, I was thrilled to find out they are bringing back their Chai Cashew Milk! I personally love chai spices, and paired with cashew milk it is a delicious, creamy treat (even better when served hot!).

Last year, when I first discovered the OMilk Chai Cashew Milk, I created this Chai Chia Pudding to serve at a party we hosted together. This could not be an easier to make, truly delicious, good for you dessert! Don’t have a party coming up? Feel free to make a bowl and enjoy it yourself as this pudding keeps well in the fridge for about three days!

OMilk Chai Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup OMilk Chai Cashew Milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • cinnamon
  • dried coconut
  1. In a medium bowl pour the cashew milk over the chia seeds and stir.
  2. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.
  3. Serve the pudding in individual bowls or ramekins topped with a sprinkling of coconut and cinnamon!
Holiday Party Food and Drinks

I hope you enjoyed my video on How To Throw a Healthy Holiday Party! Over the next few days I am going to be sharing more details on the tips featured in the video starting with party food and cocktails.

A great party is nothing without delicious food for your guests to enjoy. Sadly, most holiday party fare tends to be rich and heavy. Nothing makes me feel lees like celebrating than being put into a food coma! Instead of the typical bloating holiday bites try some of my healthier ideas. You want your guests merry, not miserable!

All of these recipes are easy to make and can be made either entirely or partially ahead of time. In the hours before you party you should be focusing on getting yourself gorgeous and party ready, not catering! The one exception is the guacamole which tastes and looks best when made fresh. However, as long as you have all of your ingredients ready to go it can be thrown together right before your guests walk in the door.

Black Truffle Salted Almond Bark 

Instead of traditional holiday cakes, candies and cookies try making this Almond Bark. Dark chocolate is low in sugar and there is an added bonus of healthy fats and protein from the almonds.

Pomegranate Guacamole

I like to update guacamole for the holidays with the addition of pomegranate seeds, one of the few fruits in season during the winter.  They are packed with antioxidants, have a wonderful sweet-tart taste, and the color is oh so holiday appropriate. I serve my guacamole inside of a romaine leaf, and as a dip for crudités!

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms 

Stuffed mushroom caps are a party favorite. Most recipes call for breadcrumbs and tons of cheese. Gross! I stuff mine with a delicious dairy free pesto, which can be made days or weeks ahead of time and frozen. The day of your party just defrost the pesto, stuff the mushrooms and pop them in the oven a few minutes before your guests arrive. You may want to go easy on the garlic in your pesto when making these for a party. Nothing is worse than being caught in an intimate situation with garlic breath!

Food is great but let’s be honest, most people go to holiday parties for the drinks! Instead of a full bar I always serve a signature drink or two at my parties. Picking one or two speciality drinks saves you the time and money of offering a fully stocked bar. Everyone loves a great cocktail!

Almond Nog 

While delicious, traditional egg nog is loaded with sugar and fat. For my holiday gatherings I make Almond Nog with OMilk Almond Milk and a few extra spices. It’s a delicious alternative that is great on it’s own or for a more “adult” beverage add a few ounces of rum!

Prosecco with Pomegranate

While festive, champagne is quite pricy. Instead, I like to toast with glasses of Prosecco. A few pomegranate seeds at the bottom of the glass make for a very merry glass of bubbly!

Rosemary Ginger Lemonade

I always make sure to have a special non-alcoholic drink on hand for any guests who are not drinkers. Drinking plain water at a party just doesn’t feel special. Adding fresh ginger to homemade stevia sweetened rosemary lemonade gives a spicy, savory twist!

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed  lemon juice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 6 springs of rosemary
  • 1″ knob peeled ginger chopped
  • 2 squirts liquid stevia
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or large bottle
  2. Allow to “steep” for 30 minutes or so
  3. Adjust sweetness to taste and serve!

 


 

12/11
0
Sugar Cookies

The holiday season always makes me think of traditions. The traditions I grew up with and the new ones Doug and I are creating together. I grew up Jewish but we always had a Christmas tree and exchanged presents on Christmas day. This was partly because my mom was born on Christmas Day (and named Holly), and partly because we were always together on a family vacation on December 25th.

Now Doug and I have started some special holiday traditions of our own. We decorate our apartment for the season while listening to Christmas music and drinking peppermint hot chocolate made with almond milk. We light Hanukkah candles and let them flicker in our window. It’s the only time we ever burn candles in our home, as we do not like inhaling smoke. We exchange gifts with each other at home before we head to his parents house upstate for the holiday. And we always, always watch The Preachers Wife and Love Actually. Sometimes if I’m lucky A Muppet Christmas Carol get’s thrown in too!

One of the many holiday traditions that Doug grew up with that I did not is baking Christmas cookies. Every year he asks me if we can make cookies and for one reason or another it never quite happens. However, last week I made his wish come true with these Sugar Cookies. They are so decadent tasting that Doug calls them “butter cookies” although they contain no butter. I plan on making several batches over the next two weeks to bring as hostess gifts to the various holiday parties we are attending. These keep quite awhile in the fridge so go ahead and triple or quadruple the recipe to get you from now until the end of the holiday season!

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups almonds ( I use blanched here) or 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 T coconut oil melted
  • 2 T coconut nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grind almonds in a high speed blender or Vitamix for about 20 seconds until they resemble a coarse flour. If you do not have a powerful blender you can use store bought almond flour.
  3. In a small bowl throughly combine the coconut oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia.
  4. Add the ground almonds (or almond flour), baking soda and sea salt and mix until  you have a thick, even dough.
  5. Using your hands form the dough into teaspoon sized balls and place on a Silpat lined baking sheet.
  6. Gently flatten each dough ball and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
  7. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely before eating or storing.
Chia Pudding Bar

New York City is an amazing place to live for someone devoted to healthy, clean, plant based eating.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by many options for pressed juice, smoothies, raw food, plant based meals, and farm to table fine dining. I am constantly discovering new places to add to my list of favorites!

Recently, a girlfriend introduced me to Hu Kitchen, which has quickly become my newest obsession. Hu Kitchen is an eat in/take out mecca of my favorite kinds of food. They have a great juice and smoothie bar (I love to add kale to the Smooth Avocado for a nutrient dense liquid lunch), delicious prepared foods, and best of all a “mashbar.” The “mashbar,” is a clean eater’s version of the frozen yogurt or sundae bar. You start with a base such as their divine chocolate chia pudding and add toppings from there. So far my favorite combination is chocolate and vanilla chia pudding with strawberries and coconut cream. I fully admit to getting two per visit so I can have multiple nights worth of dessert in my fridge! This stuff is beyond amazing. I desperately want them to open in TriBeCa ( hint hint).

Sadly I cannot visit Hu Kitchen every day. So, with their “mashbar” as my inspiration I decided to make my own at home Chia Pudding Bar. I have been enjoying chocolate and vanilla chia pudding at home for years, but never thought to add multiple toppings into the mix. Chia pudding lasts a few days in the fridge so I like to make batch of each flavor and then top with whatever I have on hand when the mood hits! It has been tiding me over until I can get back to Hu Kitchen.

Today is also my niece and nephew’s 1st Birthday! Happy Birthday Ben and Grace! They are not quite eating desserts yet, but how much fun would a Chia Pudding Bar be at a kid’s birthday party? Much better than a sundae bar in my opinion. Maybe next year their aunt will set one up at their party! Or take them to Hu Kitchen? Or both?

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  1. Combine coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and stevia in blender. You could also do this by hand but cocoa powder can be hard to incorporate evenly in liquid so a blender works best.
  2. Pour blended coconut milk over chia seeds and stir.
  3. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally  until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 tsp stevia
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust sweetness and vanilla flavor to your liking.
  2. Allow chia pudding to sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until it thickens and the chia seeds absorb all of the liquid.

Some Toppings Ideas

  • pomegranate seeds
  • shredded coconut
  • chocolate chunks
  • chopped walnuts
Frozen Hot Chocolate

Something about the holiday season makes me feel a little bit like a kid again. All of a sudden I want to go ice-skating, wrap presents, decorate a tree, light a menorah and drink hot chocolate. Frozen Hot Chocolate that is. Growing up my most favorite treat on the planet was the Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity. This incredibly decadent treat is/was served in a giant glass and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. One of them is enough to give four kids a major sugar high. I have not touched the stuff in at least twenty years but I can still recall the experience vividly.

The other day I picked up some NibMor Organic Vegan Drinking Chocolate  with every intention of making a cup of steaming hot chocolate with almond milk. I love NibMor because it is vegan, organic, gluten free and sweetened with coconut sugar. My favorite is the Mint flavor- a perfect minty chocolaty combination. However, come dessert time that night a hot beverage was no longer what I was craving. Looking around my kitchen for an alternative treat I noticed a tray of OMilk ice cubes in my freezer. I like to keep frozen cubes of almond milk and coconut water on hand to use in my smoothies; they make them frosty cold without watering them down like regular ice cubes do. Also, making almond milk ice cubes is useful when I have more OMilk than I can drink before it expires! Into my Vitamix went some OMilk, a packet of Mint NibMor and two large almond milk ice cubes. The result was a creamy, frosty treat that reminded me of the Frozen Hot Chocolate of my past. Yum!

Frozen Hot Chocolate

  1. Blend in Vitamix or blender.
  2. Top with dark chocolate chunk and enjoy!
11/20
5
Crustless Pumpkin Pie

I have loved pumpkin pie ever since I was a little girl. The rest of a traditional Thanksgiving meal never really appealed to me. Even in my omnivore days I was not a fan of turkey. I never understood exactly what gravy was. I didn’t like the taste or texture of stuffing. But pumpkin pie? Yes please! I would often have two pieces at Thanksgiving dinner, and if I was lucky my mom would let me have a piece for breakfast. Hey, I never said my childhood was the healthiest!

This crustless pumpkin pie is incredibly easy to make and so delicious! I have already gone through three of them in the past few weeks! If you do not have a Vitamix make sure you soak your almonds overnight and add a little extra almond milk when blending. One friend who has tried this recipe reported that it broke her non-high powered blender so please be careful. I personally prefer my pumpkin pie to be all filling and no crust, but if you prefer a crust feel free to use your favorite (preferably vegan). A combination of almond, dates and cinnamon in the food processor would also make a lovely crust for this pie!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 can organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 1 cup almonds soaked for a few hours or overnight
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  • 20 drops liquid stevia
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2-3 T almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Grease a pie pan with coconut oil.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix  (if you are using a regular blender add a little more almond milk slowly to facilitate blending).
  4. Pour into pie pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an aditional 30 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center come out clean.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

 

 

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

Happy Friday! I am incredibly excited for the weekend. Last weekend was so packed with moving back home after the hurricane that I could really use a few days to relax and unwind. Tonight Doug and I have a movie date planed; we are both very excited to see Flight! Tomorrow we were supposed to be running in a 5K for the American Brain Tumor Association  with Doug’s family and some friends but sadly it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Instead, we will be having a family brunch so that we can all see each other 5K or not! Tomorrow evening we are celebrating a dear friends birthday over dinner. Finally, Sunday will be spent making 150 batches of my Clean, Pure and Simple Pumpkin Spice Granola to sell at the Brick Church Holiday Fair next week. Ok, so maybe this weekend won’t be so mellow after all! Amidst all the plans I know I will find some time to lay around and relax.

On weekends I like to make one or two sweet treats to keep in the house for the coming week. These treats are never anything overly complex. Just a little something sweet to top the night off with. This Spiced Chocolate Pudding made with agar is a great one to have on hand. Agar is a sea vegetable that when cooled and hardened acts like a (cruelty free) gelatin. Whenever I make something using chocolate I like to add another dimension of flavor to it to cut through the sweetness. Additions such as sea salt, truffle salt, chipotle powder and cinnamon give chocolate desserts a much more complex taste. I love the spicy/sweet combination of this pudding. Whenever I eat something with chocolate and chipotle I am instantly transported to Mexico… a very, very good thing!

Spiced Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk ( I use OMilk)
  • 1/4 cup coco powder
  • 2 T agar ( can be found in Asian section of most markets)
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/ 4 cinnamon
  • 2 T dark chocolate chunks
  1. In a medium pot bring almond milk and agar to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat slightly and add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes until agar is completely dissolved.
  4. Pour into small bowls or ramekins and allow to cool and set ( this can be done in the fridge).
  5. Top with a few dark chocolate chunks before serving.
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