Chocolate Avocado Mousse Layered with Banana Slices

As I mentioned in an earlier post (the Chocolate Avocado Brownies recipe), I learned of the diverse uses of avocado in baking and sweet treats on a trip to Maui.  I’ve been fascinated since.  This mousse was inspired by a chef in Wailaia; who made the most decadent, vegan dessert for my son because he wasn’t able to eat any of the other desserts on the menu due to severe food allergies.  I’ve wanted to replicate it since then.AvocadoMousse1

My kids are equally fascinated by the fact that avocados—a fruit—can be used in their treats, so when I tempt them with some new avocado experiment, I’m pleasantly surprised with their excitement!

I love that they receive healthy nourishment and get to feel indulgent at the same time!  This one, they devoured!

Ingredients:

1 Large Ripe Avocado

A heaping ¼ Cup measure of Organic Cocoa Powder

2-3 TBS Honey (I’m a big fan of raw, local honey!) *

1 TBS Pure Grade A Maple Syrup

1 tsp Pure Madagascar Vanilla

A Pinch of Sea Salt

1 Ripe Banana

Soy Whip Topping (or other whipped topping of your choice–there are some great homemade versions that use coconut milk.  Another of my favorites uses blended cashews…  I’ll need to find that one again soon!)

*Play around with the right sweetness, after adding both honey & maple syrup.  I definitely prefer the blend, and I personally prefer a bit of the bitter chocolate taste—my kids like things a little sweeter!

Directions:

Spoon the avocado into a large bowl, add the other ingredients and begin AvocadoMousse2mixing with a hand mixer.  Once all of the ingredients are combined, use a rubber spatula to scrape the edges, and keep mixing—the more you mix, the smoother it will become.  When you’ve blended it to the consistency you want, layer the mousse in dessert cups (four of them) with slices of banana.  Top with whipped topping and enjoy!

Variations:

I’ve had a similar dessert with mint leaves and a touch of mint extract added to the mousse.  I’ve also eaten it with raspberries.  I think it could be wonderful with most fruits!  I also would like to try it with a bit of almond extract and topped with sliced almonds, or with coconut extract topped with coconut flakes.  And for those who like a little heat, try a pinch of cayenne!  I’d love to hear of some of the other variations that you try!

AvocadoMousse3For the Love of Your Life,

Angie

Greens… it continues!

My greens obsession is in full swing!  In fact, I’ve finally had time for my garden to begin, and have planted rows and rows of healthy, nourishing greens.  I can’t wait! The great thing is, my kids are almost as excited as I am.

Today I was playing around with some new combinations of flavors and came up with a great Kale Salad.  I’ve done a few, all with some delectable blends that are sure to nourish and enliven your palate!

Kale & Pancetta SaladKaleBeatPearFig

with Beet, Pear, & Fig

  • One bunch of Dino or other Green Kale, chopped
  • One bunch of Red Kale, chopped
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/4 Purple onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 Cup Cubed Pancetta
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil and 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • 1/2 Cup cooked and marinaded beets (I’m crazy for the Love Beets that Whole Foods now carries)
  • 1 Pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Handful of Pine Nuts
  • 4-5 Figs, chopped
  • Chèvre Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • Tessemae’s all Natural Lemonette Dressing

Prior to adding the beets, pear, and cheese, blend the first half of the ingredients, and add about  2 Tbs Olive oil, and a hefty squeeze of lemon.  Take your time massaging the oil and lemon into the salad.  Add course sea salt and pepper to taste and keep massaging.  When the salad is tender the the touch, and the taste seems just right to you, add about 1/4 Cup Tessemae’s all Natural Lemonette Dressing.  Then top with beets, pear, and Chèvre.  A touch more salt and pepper if needed, and you’re all set for nourishing your body in a way that will also nourish your taste buds!

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Green Addiction

I just can’t get enough kale these days… it’s my new obsession (I fall into those sometimes.  WonderWomanThankfully, they’re all pretty healthy.)  I’m loving all greens really, though Kale is my favorite.  When I eat it, I have a bit of a super hero response, like I’m pretty sure if I spin around really fast, I might magically find myself in a satin cape, able to deflect bullets and all that…  (That childhood fantasy is still there!)

Greens can be the food that people respond to with, “I should eat them more, but…” and, “I know they’re good for me, but…” yet most folks simply just don’t get enough.

In a TedxTalk on “Minding your Mitochondria,” Dr. Terry Wahls talks about how necessary relatively massive amounts of greens are for the myelin protecting our nerves, for our brain cells, for our mitochondria, and of course for the rest of our bodies.

Greens are rich in vitamins B, A, C, and K, as well as minerals.  And Kale–my favorite! –has the most nutrition per calorie of any plant.

And knowing that… some of us still struggle, right?

kale3What is it about greens that has us shying away, even in adulthood?  too much limp, brown-tinted spinach as kids?  Whatever the cause, it’s time to develop a love relationship with everything GREEN!

Here are a few ideas:

Massaged Greens

Thanks to my friend Erica, who shared with me the somewhat therapeutic practice of “massaging” greens, I’ve come to use this technique almost every time I eat them!  It’s a great way to maintain all of the nutrition and still create a soft texture to chopped greens which can often have a tougher texture than other lettuce greens.

The idea is to chop the greens, put them into a large enough bowl that you can really get your hands into, add in whatever dressing, oil, or other complimentary items to, and dig in! …with you hands.  Squeeze, rub, work your way into softening the texture of the greens.  It really can be a wonderful sensory experience, along with creating a great nutrient-rich dish.

Here’s one of my favorites:greens5

1 bunch of fresh, organic Kale, chopped
About 3 Green onions, chopped
One large handful of raw pine nuts
One large handful of Goji Berries
salt and pepper to taste
About 1/4 cup Tessemae’s All Natural Lemonette Dressing (Found at Whole Foods).
A bit more Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and fresh lemon (just squeeze over the top to taste)

Massage the above together for a good 5-10 minutes

Then add:KaleSalad1
1/2 Avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 “cutie-sized” orange, sectioned and cut into bite-sized pieces
(optional:  1 serving chicken, cut into bite sized pieces)

(Note:  Chicken can be added prior to massaging, if you prefer your chicken to have an almost “shredded” texture, or added after, to enjoy more whole chunks)

KaleSalad2

Another way to enjoy greens is to put them into fresh smoothies. I’ve seen a lot of recipes lately for green smoothies, detox drinks, and the like. Here’s one I’ve tried that is so fresh, a little tart, and starts my day out beautifully!

 

 

 

GrSmoothie2

Green Smoothie

1 bunch of fresh organic kale
1/2 of a fresh lemon, peeled
1/2 of a lime, peeled
1/2 of a “cutie sized” orange, peeled
1 Whole Organic Banana
1/2-1 Cup organic plain (no sugar added) Cranberry Juice

Blend together…  if you have a powerful blender (like a Blendtec) you’ll get a smooth consistency fairly easily.  If not, you might need to add a bit more water, and pulse on and off for a bit).

I’ve also added a handful of fresh, organic strawberries to this mix for a bit more “sweetness.”

Citrus fruits are full of phytonutrients that support not only our immune response, protecting us from a host of potential diseases, they are good for our skin and our other organs, and help keep all of our systems working smoothly.

GrSmoothie3The thing is….  we need to nourish our bodies–we need to Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.  And when we choose to nourish through the consistent use of healthy, whole foods, our bodies begin to crave those.  The “reward centers” in the brain become activated, and that feels good!

So plant some greens, eat some greens, LOVE some greens… and then ask your body how it feels!

GrSmoothie4

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

GrSmoothie6

Avocado Brownies (Vegan Option)

My foray into sweet treats using avocados began a couple of years ago, when MauiSandCastlewe were in Maui and had the opportunity to go to a Luau in Wailea.  That experience altered my entire perception of the expansive uses of this magical fruit! Now, I’ll admit, senses are a little more “alive” for me when I’m hanging out on a beach…  it’s as if the sun, sand, and waves wake not only my skin, my toes, and my breathing but also my taste buds! The whole sensory experience can be hard to duplicate but I’m giving it my best shot.

Eating out can be a challenge in our family, as my son, Nathaniel, has multiple life-threatening food allergies.  Balancing the unwanted attention he can receive in the vein of, “Oh, that must be so hard for you!” (not a fun message for a kiddo) with both cultural and culinary opportunities always calls for some mindfulness.  So we take caution in putting ourselves in situations where there’s a good chance he could feel left out.

This Maui Luau, however, opened my mind to some new possibilities.  When it came time for dessert, I was pretty certain none of the items offered would be safe, so made a quiet request to our waiter as to the availability of an alternative that would be free of dairy, egg, coconut, peanut, hazelnut, and sesame seeds.  I was surprised to see the chef making his way to our table just minutes after, holding what looked to be the most decadent dessert I’d seen all night.  He held a deep, rich chocolatey mouse in his hands, and I was certain he was mistaken–that couldn’t be safe, could it?

The hyper-vigilant Mama that I am, I asked him to go over the exact ingredients.  And as surprising as it was, everything was on the “safe” list.  What was even more surprising, however, was the inclusion of Avocado!  Never had I imagined using avocado in anything sweet, but the consistency and flavor are a perfect foundation for many many treats, and provide an ultra healthy option!  And the taste…?  I can still feel the smooth, rich texture on my tongue, and taste the rich, chocolatey wonder. Needless to say, Nathaniel was thrilled and the rest of us a bit jealous.  When I returned home, I began exploring just how versatile Avocado is when it comes to sweets.  And I’m still playing!

The following is something I threw together last night.  My kids invited a friend up for a sleepover, and I realized I had nothing to serve for dessert–and I’m kind of a dessert Mom.  However, I don’t like desserts filled with junk–it just doesn’t set anyone up for success in any way.  So I opted for creativity.  Here’s the recipe I came up with and, thankfully, the kids LOVED it!  I’ll be tweaking it for a bit, but wanted to share the process and invite you all to play along.

Avocado Brownies

(Vegan Optional)

Ingredients

1 Avocado, peeled and mashed

½ cup Organic Sugar (Next time I’ll try substituting more maple syrup, honey, or another sweet alternative)

2 TBS Grade A Maple Syrup

½ Cup Organic Cocoa Powder

2 oz. Dark Chocolate (I used Whole Foods brand vegan chocolate chips but semi-sweet baking chocolate or other dark chocolate bar would work well)

2 TBS Coconut oil, melted

2 eggs or equivalent egg replacer

1 tsp Pure Madagascar Vanilla

1/8 Cup Almond Milk

¼ Cup (+ more) Almond Flour

About ¼ Cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Directions

Blend avocado, sugar, maple syrup, and cocoa together with a hand blenderavocado-brownies until smooth.  Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together (either in a microwave or double broiler) and add to the above mixture.  Then add remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth.  Place in an 8×8″ glass baking dish that has been sprayed/wiped with coconut or canola oil.  Bake @ 350 for about 22 minutes.  These brownies are definitely on the gooey side, and, served warm, pair wonderfully with a bit of Almond or Rice Dream (our favorite substitutes for ice cream).

I’d love to hear your experience and suggestions!  Enjoy!

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls

NatLilBenSpringRollsI’ve never cooked Vietnamese food but I love it, and was looking for something “fun” to prepare with the kiddos tonight.  We had a great time and created these beautiful, clean, healthy, nutrient rich rolls that were super tasty!  (I altered them a bit from a few different things I found on-line.)

If we can teach our kids that healthy eating is fun, and help them develop the habits of nourishing their own bodies, they will begin to crave the foods–and experiences–that nourish their lives!

Ingredients:prep-spring-rolls

• 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips  (I’ve also made this recipe with shrimp–Yum!)
• 4 Tablespoons of coconut or canola oil
• 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• Tsp fresh ginger, minced
• Hefty squeeze of fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup fresh mint
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro
• 1 cup, chopped fresh butter or other bib lettuce
• 2 large carrots, grated
• 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips
• ½ cup bean sprouts
• ½ cup spicy salad sprout blend
• 1 whole daikon radish, grated or julienne cut
• 1 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
• 1 package sea kelp noodles (optional)–boiled in chicken broth until soft.
• 1 whole avocado, sliced
• 1 package rice paper

Garlic Soy Dipping Sauce:

• 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
• 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon organic, unbleached sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, coconut/canola oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, lime, and soy sauce. Cover well and allow to marinade for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat frying pan to medium and cook chicken through.
  3. Place piles or bowls of vegetables next to a large cutting board, so everything is ready for rolling.
  4. Fill a large, flat bowl (large enough for rice paper to fit in) with hot water (not too hot for your hands!)
  5. Combine all Dipping Sauce ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.

Preparing Rolls:SpringRollPrep2

  1. Gently dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for about 10-15 seconds until soft. Do your best to keep the paper from folding over on itself–it becomes really sticky!
  2. Place rice paper on cutting board and fill with your choice of chicken and vegetable blend.  Be sure to fill only as much as the paper will hold, and leave room on the ends to fold the paper over.
  3. Roll the wrapper over the fillings away from you, tucking in the sides, making sure all the fillings remain tight within the rice paper wrapper.
  4. Serve immediately with soy dip.

My kids have loved trying out new things in each roll they make, and playing Lilly-SRwith the different flavors.  They have a blast helping out in the kitchen, and these are a great way to get them involved from the cutting and peeling, to the soaking of rice paper, to creating their very own rolls!  I’d love to hear some of the other variations that you come up with!

Enjoy!!

For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Paleo Chocolate Almond Butter Tart

I’ve been having major chocolate cravings as of late… I think this is indicative of something else lacking in my life! Regardless, chocolate and I have a bit of a love affair going on, so I’ve been indulging in creative explorations–just like in any good love affair. And this one was so good, I couldn’t even get a picture taken before it was half-eaten!

tart

Shell:
• 1 1/2 cups (180 g) almond flour
• 1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened organic cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut oil, melted
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
• Pinch course sea salt

Mix above ingredients well and press into glass pie pan.

Filling:
• 1/2 cup (120 mL) coconut oil, melted (or mix ½ and ½ with almond butter)
• 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder (depending on your preference for “richness”)
• 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on your preference for sweetness)
• 4 whole eggs
• Pinch sea salt

Mix remaining ingredients and fill uncooked crust.

Top with a small handful slivered almonds.

Bake for 25 @ 350 degrees.

Let cool and serve… or enjoy warm and gooey with your lover!