Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

This time last year I shared a recipe for Triple Chocolate Peppermint Brownies and since they were a big hit, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could recreate them to be closer to my current “diet.” I was going to try and make them AIP compliant, but since Willow isn’t the biggest fan of carob, I thought I better stick to good old cacao.

So what adjustments did I make?

Instead of gluten-free all purpose flour, I used cassava flour.

I used coconut butter in place of raw tahini (oh, how I miss tahini!).

Instead of aquafaba, I subbed in pumpkin puree.

My first trial was too heavy on the cassava flour which not only left you with a somewhat overpowering taste in your mouth, but they were also on the dry side. Second trial got a little closer, but not up to my perfectionist standards 😉 Third time’s a charm and I knew that I finally nailed it when Willow took a bite and already asked for a second one…and said, “Mom, can we make these for Christmas?”

YAY! On that note, when we asked Willow what she wanted us to make for dinner on Christmas Eve, she replied: “Cookies.” I swear she does eat more than baked goods!

These brownies are NOT for the faint of heart as they’re super….

RICH

CHOCOLATEY

SWEET

CHEWY

FUDGY

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

GRAIN-FREE PEPPERMINT BROWNIES

{gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, seed-free, oil-free, vegan}

Makes 8 large brownies or 16 smaller ones

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/3 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1 Tablespoon NuStevia Cocoa Mint Syrup*
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 4 Tablespoons gum-free, unsweetened coconut milk*

*If you’d prefer to skip the stevia syrup, add an additional 1/4 cup coconut sugar and use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. You can use sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin (I recommend using white sweet potato) or you can do a combo of both. For the coconut milk I recommend either Trader Joe’s canned or Native Forest’s Organic Simple Coconut Milk.

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 8×8 baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cacao, coconut sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a double boiler, gently melt together the chocolate chips and coconut butter; stirring frequently. Once smooth, remove from the stove and add it to your dry ingredients…along with the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and stevia syrup.
  4. Once everything is combined, fold in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the mix to your baking dish and either using your fingers or a spatula, flatten it out into an even layer. This batter will be very thick due to the cassava flour and you’ll be tempted to add in more liquid, but please don’t!
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  7. Enjoy!

If you have leftovers, I recommend warming them slightly before eating to allow the chocolate + coconut butter to soften a bit!

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Grain-Free Peppermint Brownies

Merry (almost) Christmas, my friends! Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

Funny story about these muffins – I created this recipe months ago, but when I went to type up the blog post, my notes got all jumbled together and I couldn’t figure out which trial was the one. I stared at four separate pieces of paper with jotted measurements and couldn’t figure it out! I was SO bummed! Last week I decided to revisit this recipe and took a guess as to which piece of paper held the winner, but also made a couple of simple adjustments. The house smelled amazing, they looked like muffins, and the taste test…

Willow: “Mom! Did you know you’re the best baker?”

I certainly wouldn’t go that far, but it’s always sweet to get a compliment from your child because they’re blunt + honest. Guess we figured these out!

Whew!

These aren’t dry like many of the gluten-free muffins I’ve had and they’re not overly sweet…which means they’re ok for breakfast, right?

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

Inspecting for chocolate chips!

CHOCOLATE MUFFINS {gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, oat-free, vegan}

Makes 9 muffins or 8 mini loaves

What you need:

  • 1 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour*
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened plant milk (I’ve used almond and cashew)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 flax eggs (2 TBSP ground flax + 6 TBSP warm water)
  • 1/2 TBSP blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chips

*This is my favorite all-purpose, gluten-free flour as it doesn’t contain any gums or chickpea flour (which can overpower baked goods).

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How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly grease your muffin pan or mini loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, prepare your flax eggs and set aside to thicken.
  3. Next, measure out your milk in a liquid measuring cup and add the 1 teaspoon of ACV. Mix and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and whisk until incorporated – breaking up any clumps from the almond flour.
  5. Then add all the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups about 1/2-3/4 of the way full. You can sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top, if you’d like.
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes; you want the tops to spring back when touched and the toothpick test should come back clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. ENJOY!

Like a lot of baked goods, these are best the day they’re made. I recommend storing any leftovers in the fridge and warming them in the oven for the best flavor…or you can eat them cold.

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

RECIPE: Chocolate MuffinsIf you really want to take these muffins over the top, sneak 1/4-1/2 square of dark chocolate into each muffin cup while filling – you get a nice, melty, chocolate surprise in the center! I got that idea from my friend, Diana, and I can tell you first hand that it’s pretty fantastic.

You can also add a bit of cinnamon and/or espresso powder to the batter for a richer flavor.

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

We used 1/2 square of Theo 70% dark chocolate in each muffin. After sneaking the chocolate in there, be sure to top with more of the batter.

 

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

RECIPE: Chocolate Muffins

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: January Favorites

We had a few highlights during January – a good bit of snow early in the month, took Willow to use her snowshoes for the first time AND we got our fireplace running! Which meant we were finally able to keep our house heated above 60°! Not even kidding, our house was freezing – I’m talking wearing a winter hat, layers of clothes and a few blankets to bed. For those who aren’t familiar with cadet heaters…they stink and put your electric bill through the roof! So, we’re all happy, cozy and able to enjoy a smoothie without shivering all day. And our cats are in heaven.

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JANUARY FAVORITES:

OREGON BRINEWORKS HOT SAUCE >> Supporting anything Oregon made (and organic) makes my heart super happy. We’re big hot sauce fans – just a couple drops adds such a great flavor to some of my favorite dishes. This is one of the best hot sauces I’ve had as it tastes fresh AND the ingredient list is pretty fantastic (raw and fermented). We found this in the refrigerated area at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

ZENBUNNI BIODYNAMIC CHOCOLATE {Rainbow Box} >> A very dear friend sent me a wonderful package of goodies this holiday season and this was in there. They were meant to be for Josh, but thank goodness he shared! The three of us shared each bar so we could get a little sample. Talk about the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Here is the list of flavors included in the box:

REVIEW: January Favorites

My personal favorites were the Kathmandu Chai and Maui Turmeric Ginger. Willow LOVED each one, but we didn’t allow her to try the Mucha Mocha or Frida Azteca (had a pretty good spicy kick). I really loved how the little box came with a quartz crystal, too! All of their ingredients are organic and contain zero soy, gluten or refined sugar. While on the pricier side, it forces you to really savor each bite and not devour the box in one sitting…although I fully admit we wanted to!

FLYING BIRD BOTANICALS >> Peace of Mind herbal tea >> Another gift (from the same friend) and I shared it with Willow. I really love finding teas that require no added sweetener – such a mild floral, comforting flavor with a touch of mint. The packaging is beautiful! From the label on the canister, to the actual tea bag itself. I look forward to trying other teas from this company as they seem to be a very passionate, people-driven (and organic) group.

REVIEW: January Favorites

MAY LINDSTROM SKIN >> THE YOUTH DEW >> Yet another gift from that package and she seriously spoiled me with this one. I’ll be real honest, I have been eyeing up this product, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. You guys, this stuff is liquid gold. The smell is intoxicating, soaks right in without a greasy feeling and leaves my face feeling moisturized. A little goes a long way and from what I’ve read, this bottle should last me quite a while. I have to say, I don’t think I can go back to anything else after using this…it’s pure magic and seeing as I am getting older (soon to be 37!), if I can prevent or decrease some of the aging in my face, it’s a huge bonus. 

REVIEW: January Favorites

GT’s KOMBUCHA with TURMERIC, CARROT & GINGER >> I will admit that I was first drawn to the label and then the flavor. I LOVE turmeric and I LOVE kombucha so obviously this was delicious! I purchased this specific flavor at Natural Grocers.

REVIEW: January Favorites

RECIPES WE TRIED AND LOVED:

LAZY DAY VEGAN TOMATO BISQUE >> THE VEGAN 8 >> I’ve been loving our Soup Saturdays and this soup from Brandi’s blog did not disappoint. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t have any leftovers…it was that good. Incredibly creamy, thanks to the homemade cashew butter and jam packed with flavor and veggies….my kind of meal! Willow is super picky when it comes to tomato soup and she gave it a thumbs up – just more proof that it’s amazing! So, my only recommendation would be to double the recipe!

REVIEW: January Favorites

TURMERIC CHICKPEA FRITTERS >> MINIMALIST BAKER >> We typically don’t make recipes that require pan frying since we limit our oil intake, but we made an exception for these…and boy am I glad we did! Surprisingly enough, they weren’t as greasy as I expected. Simple to make, but the process is a bit messy…but SO worth it! We made these to go with our tacos one night and they made an excellent filling. Instead of panko bread crumbs, I used Sophia’s crispy topping from her mac n cheese recipe (I’m kind of hooked on that), but I omitted the oregano and added garlic. For the vegan parm, I took some raw cashews, raw hemp seeds, unfortified nutritional yeast, a little salt and whirled them through our nut/seed grinder. These little fritters were heavenly! No photo because, (1) the lighting was awful and (2) they got devoured too fast! Willow even ate one…little victories!

EASY VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES >> FEASTING ON FRUIT >> I still haven’t mustered up the courage to try oats again, but I had to make these for my family. Well, Willow asked and I can’t say no when that little voice asks to bake with me. A little side note…Willow is obsessed with Natalie’s YouTube channel. No joke, she will ask if she can watch a specific video and then 30-45 minutes later she’s moved on to several other videos of hers. She has portions of them memorized and while watching them with her, she will tell me what’s going to happen next! Haha! Anytime Natalie makes a new video, Willow and I watch it together…almost instantly, she requested that we make these cookies. So, the verdict? Thumbs up! I made these into mini cookies (my cookie scoop is small) and pressed a few extra mini chips on top. I struggled a bit to get these cookies flattened, as they are sticky, but Natalie suggested that next time I wet my fingers to help with that. I can attest that the paste that holds these cookies together is fantastic…I did indeed lick the blender. Don’t judge. For you oat loving, date fans – make these!

REVIEW: January Favorites

And Willow asked to take her own photo of these cookies…

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SUPER CREAMY VEGAN STOVETOP MAC & “CHEESE” >> KITCHEN TREATY >>  I told you that I am a sucker for those homemade vegan cheese sauces…and the photos of this specific recipe lured me in. Super creamy is right! Whoa. Seriously, go click on the link…you’ll be drooling and licking the screen. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. I made a couple minor adjustments to this recipe: used Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce, used veggie broth to saute up the onions/garlic instead of oil and added a one tablespoon of unfortified nutritional yeast. I really liked that this recipe uses coconut milk instead of cashews…it’s nice to change it up and it’s cheaper than cashews without sacrificing the creaminess factor. Again, no photos to accompany this review since the lighting was bad…but we all loved this! Willow included!

CREAMY CARROT GINGER BISQUE with CASHEW CREAM >>  FOOD 52 >> Hubby subscribes to VegNews emails and this recipe caught his eye. Holy carrots! Haha! This recipe calls for a whopping 1 1/4 pounds of them. I absolutely LOVED how simple this soup was and the curry powder brought about a lovely flavor. Despite the beautiful color and creamy texture, Willow refused to try it. Just meant more for us!

REVIEW: January Favorites

VEGAN BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP {gluten-free, oil-free} >> VEGAN DOES IT >> When I saw Natalie’s IG post featuring this soup and then Audrey made it, I absolutely had to try it for myself! Hubby whipped this up one evening while I did some work for my Etsy shop and this was amazing! So thick, creamy and comforting. Insanely cheesy thanks to the nutritional yeast and the potatoes, but no cashews were used! I would have shared a photo on IG, but the color of our soup looked a bit different compared to Melissa’s…we ran out of orange carrots! Ha! So, we used some of our rainbow carrots (purple and white) which made for a bit of a darker color. But it didn’t compromise the taste one bit! We enjoyed it with potato wedges and later we used leftovers on top of a baked potato…I know, potatoes on top of potatoes! 😉 I know many of you are nut-free and the great thing about this recipe is that you can easily swap out the almond milk for a nut-free option. Oh, and it’s toddler approved, too!

REVIEW: January Favorites

HAZELNUT ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING >> UNCONVENTIONAL TREATS >> I absolutely LOVE all of Audrey’s recipes and this was no exception. I finally ordered some espresso powder so I could give this treat a try and holy moly! This was amazing! Decadent, chocolate-y, rich, not overly sweet and simply delicious. I highly recommend checking out her eBook or her blog because it’s filled with wonderful recipes that are all gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and always a hit!

REVIEW: January Favorites

RED VELVET SMOOTHIE >> PEANUT BUTTER & VEGAN >> My friend, Hunter (@hnoflecopter) asked if I could test a recipe for her to see if it was kid-friendly. I was so excited and honored to! The ingredient list is amazing and the final blended outcome is gorgeous. Bright, bold pink and literally tastes like cake, but in a creamy smoothie form. So, what did Willow think?! LOVED it! We’ve made it a few times since then and each time we’re just blown away by the color and taste. The recipe can be found on her blog, please click on the link above and give it a try!

REVIEW: January Favorites

BOOKS I’M READING:

MEET YOUR SOUL: A Powerful Guide to Connect with Your Most Sacred Self >> by Elisa Romeo

If you follow me on Instagram, I shared that every month I read at least one self-help/spirituality book. I truly believe we are forever a work in progress, always learning, always growing. Being open to improvement and learning how to get in touch better with your inner being is important to me. I’ve been struggling lately with some bumps in the road and feelings of doubt…which is why I sought out this book. It’s not a book you read in one sitting, but rather you should take your time and work through the journal prompts and guided meditations. It’s a journey of discovery and growth that will leave you feeling alive and empowered. I am about halfway through this book and I’m learning to be more kind to myself and to trust my inner voice. Along with this book, I recommend checking out her site: http://www.elisaromeo.com/

REVIEW: January Favorites

 

THE MOONLIT GARDEN >> by CORINA BOMANN  

I chose this as my Kindle First (free read) for the month of January and so far it has my interest. Lilly (the main character) runs an antique shop and one day a man brings in an old violin, saying it belongs to her, but the man leaves without explaining anything else. We go on a journey in search of answers in this mystery novel – it is a work of fiction. Look for my review/rating in either next month’s post or on Goodreads.

As always, I’d love to hear what your latest favorites are! Books, products, recipes, shows, etc.!

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa // Be Sol-Ful Living

After a day of sledding or snow fort building, there was nothing better than warming up to a mug of cocoa. For me, every time I sip on hot cocoa, I’m flooded with childhood memories of playing out in the snow and cold with my brother – and we’d come inside to hot cocoa with marshmallows. My grandmother used to make some of the best homemade hot cocoa and I’m pretty sure it was because she used whole milk and for all I know, she could have used Hershey’s syrup, but it was darn good. For the last couple of years, I’ve been making my own homemade version and my sweet Willow LOVES it. Josh has been on me to share my recipe here on the blog, but it seems so simple and silly to me…but with winter upon us now I guess there’s no better time!

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The key to this recipe comes in two parts:

  • The addition of full fat coconut milk to make it extra creamy
  • The coconut sugar-maple syrup combo gives it a rich, somewhat caramel-y, sweet flavor.

RICH, CREAMY (VEGAN) HOT COCOA:

Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Oil-free, Vegan

Serves 2-4

What you need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of milk)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (preferably full fat)
  • 2-3 heaping Tablespoons raw cacao powder (use 3 for a richer flavor)
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • pinch Himalayan salt
  • Optional Add ins: 1/2-1 tsp peppermint extract/flavor OR 1 tsp pure vanilla extract OR a square of dark chocolate OR 1/4-1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon.

How to:

  1. In a small pot, gently warm your milk over medium-low heat, whisking often. You DO NOT want the milk to come to a boil – steaming is OK,  just not boiling (approx 10-12 minutes). Don’t worry if it isn’t “hot” enough because you’re going to whirl it in the Vitamix and it will warm up some more. If you’re using the additional square of chocolate, add it to the milk to melt.
  2. Once the milk is warmed up, carefully pour it into a high speed blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and frothy, approximately 1-2 minutes. Adjust the sweetness level as needed. If it’s not warm enough for you, simply return the mixture to your pot and heat on the stove. I keep it on the cooler side for Willow’s sake.
  3. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows! Enjoy!

*** For an added superfood boost, after blending the ingredients together, add in 1 teaspoon mesquite powder + 1 teaspoon maca, then whirl again for a few seconds. This combo isn’t recommended if you’re using peppermint.

*** If you don’t have a Vitamix or high-speed blender, that’s ok! Simply warm the milk over the stove with all of the ingredients (except the peppermint or vanilla), whisking often. Once heated to desired temp, remove from heat and whisk in the peppermint or vanilla (if using). I love using the Vitamix to get the super frothy top.

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

 

 

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I’ve shared how I make my whipped cream before, but I’ve since then learned a trick for a guaranteed perfect batch! I have tried literally every brand of organic full fat coconut milk and hands down the best one is Whole Foods brand and it’s always 2 for $4. I know it has guar gum (I try to avoid too many “gums”), but I’ve tried a couple brands without it and you will never get a thick, fluffy whipped cream AND the flavor was really bad, in my opinion. You can also use Trader Joe’s canned coconut cream, but it is very strong in coconut flavor (my mom wasn’t a fan when I used it). Ok, so the trick?!? Before you buy the can, give it a little shake and if you hear a lot of sloshing around, don’t buy it! Sounds silly, but since learning this trick, I’ve made successful whipped cream every single time!

Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream:

What you need:

  • 1 can organic full fat coconut milk (use two cans for a bigger batch)
  • Your choice of sweetener (maple syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, etc.)

How to:

  1. Chill the coconut milk can in the fridge for 24 hours, at least.
  2. Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes prior to making the whipped cream.
  3. Gently turn the coconut milk can upside down, open it, discard the liquid and scoop the thick cream into your chilled mixing bowl.
  4. Mix until fluffy and smooth – adding sweetener, as desired (I usually do a drizzle of pure maple syrup). Store any leftovers in the fridge and use within a couple of days.
RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

Willow insisted on a chocolate chip topping…surprise, surprise!

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

RECIPE: Rich, Creamy (Vegan) Hot Cocoa

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Triple Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

 

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When my friend Angela, over at Canned Time, invited me to be a part of the Family Favorites Dessert series, I was over the moon and excited for my chance to try NuNaturals Stevia products. So, thank you, Angela, for the opportunity and challenge.

I knew that my dessert had to be something super chocolate-y because I swear chocolate runs in my family’s blood. My mom used to have to hide the bags of chocolate chips when I was growing up because my dad would eat them straight out of the bag…I’d be lying if I didn’t say I used to do the same. When I think back to my childhood, I’m reminded of my mom’s delicious chocolate chip cookies and brownies – we’d devour them right off the baking sheet, melted chocolate all over our fingers. Since I’m fairly comfortable with creating cookies, I wanted to move outside my comfort zone and attempt brownies…but not your ordinary brownies.

You know my love for tahini and when paired with chocolate, you’ve got a rich, magical combo. After several trials (only one of which went directly in the trash), I nailed the texture and flavor I was looking for. So, I present to you, my take on my mom’s brownies, but these are infused with peppermint for the holidays…

Rich – Fudgy – Sweet – Chocolate-y

So, how is it triple chocolate?! We’ve got cacao powder, melted chocolate chips (and un-melted) AND NuStevia Cocoa Mint Syrup. A chocolate lover’s dream!

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BROWNIES

Gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, nut-free, egg-free, vegan

Makes 8 large brownies or 16 smaller ones.

What you need:

  • 2/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (preferably garbanzo bean free)
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or your choice of granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (divided)
  • 1/2 cup raw tahini
  • 6 Tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea brine)*
  • 4 Tablespoons unsweetened plant milk
  • 2 Tablespoons NuStevia Cocoa Mint Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. If you’re not a fan or happen to be allergic, I have also made these with two flax eggs (2 Tablespoons of ground flax + 6 Tablespoons of water).

**If you’re not a into stevia, simply omit and add an additional 1/4 cup of coconut sugar. You can use mint flavor/extract instead, but I do not have exact measurements. If you don’t like mint flavored treats, these brownies are still delicious without it.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8×8 glass baking dish.
  2. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao, coconut sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. Next, in a double boiler (over med-low heat), gently warm your tahini and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips – stir constantly. Once the chocolate has melted and is smoothly combined with the tahini, remove from heat.
  4. Add the chocolate-tahini mixture to the dry mixing bowl, along with the other wet ingredients (aquafaba, milk, vanilla, cocoa mint syrup). Stir until well combined and then fold in the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and somewhat sticky.
  5. Evenly spread the batter into your greased baking dish using the back of a spatula to smooth it out.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 25 minutes before cutting. I was super impatient the first trial and not only made a crumbled mess, but I burned the roof of my mouth! Ha!
  7. Top with homemade Coconut-Peppermint Whipped Cream (see below) or ENJOY them plain.

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Coconut-Peppermint Whipped Cream:

  1. Chill a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  2. Once your coconut milk has chilled, place your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Scoop the thick cream part out of the can of coconut milk and place it in your chilled mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand up mixer, whip until fluffy and creamy!
  4. Add 5-6 drops of Pure Liquid Peppermint NuStevia and whip again until combined.

*If you’re not a fan of stevia, simply omit and use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of mint flavor/extract. Sweeten to taste.

For photo purposes, I crushed a TruJoy Sweets Organic Candy Cane.

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Thanks for stopping by!

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Who’s ready for another donut recipe?! This may or may not be the last one I share for a while…we’ll see. I’ve been eating WAY TOO many sweets lately – one of the downfalls to running trials for dessert recipes. So, I’m thinking I’ll focus on savory after this 😉 If you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peek for this recipe…I think the chocolate-y goodness on top lured you in. I wrote this recipe almost six years ago and have drastically changed it and also added one of my favorite teas! The first few trials I ran, I steeped a couple of tea bags in almond milk and then added it to the batter, but the flavor just wasn’t there. It was also being covered up by the strong garbanzo bean flavor (from the all purpose flour) and a couple other ingredients, so after several trials, I finally got the flavor down – it also helped that I took a chance and ground the contents of the tea bags and added it to the batter. Once again, I intended to create an oil-free recipe, but all of the ingredients I tried substituting, took away from the chocolate-earl grey flavor. BUT this recipe is (as always) gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free AND can easily be made nut-free!

If you know me, you know I LOVE Numi teas – they’re one of the few companies I trust when it comes to tea. They’re organic, fair-trade, nothing artificial (no “natural” flavors), just pure ingredients AND use safe, non-toxic packaging materials (no genetically modified corn, pesticides or carcinogens). I buy a wide variety of their teas from Natural Grocers and occasionally from Whole Foods. Here’s the ingredient list for their Organic Chocolate Earl Grey:

Fair Trade Certified organic cacao powder, Fair Trade Certified organic Assam black tea, organic orange peel, organic vanilla beans, organic bergamot oil.

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Numi Organic Tea - Chocolate Earl Grey

Before and After

Enjoy Life’s All-Purpose Flour & King Arthur’s Gluten-free Multi-Purpose Flour (they do not contain garbanzo bean flour). Both are pricier than your standard flour. I have found that Vitacost carries the Enjoy Life flour for the best price and Natural Grocers currently has the King Arthur Flour on sale…so go grab a box!

BAKED CHOCOLATE EARL GREY MINI DONUTS {gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free option}

Makes 24 mini donuts

What you need:

{DRY}

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour that doesn’t contain garbanzo bean flour (I use King Arthur or Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or your choice of granulated sugar)
  • 3 bags of Numi’s Chocolate Earl Grey tea*
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

*You can use chai tea or espresso powder instead. For those who only use loose leaf tea, use a tablespoon of finely ground tea.

{WET}

  • 1 flax “egg” (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 3 Tablespoons water)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use almond)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup(optional)**

**If you like a really sweet donut and have no plans to glaze them, I recommend adding the maple syrup.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your donut pan(s).
  2. In a small bowl, prepare your flax “egg” and set aside for at least five minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients (milk, ACV, vanilla, flax “egg” and avocado oil). Whisk until thoroughly combined. I used my stand-up mixer.
  4. Next, cut open the tea bags and empty out the contents into a spice grinder (or coffee grinder). Grind until it resembles a fine powder (see photo above). Should amount to approximately a tablespoon’s worth. Add this and your other dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until just combined. I recommend sifting your flour & sugar to get the clumps out. The batter will look a bit like pancake batter or creamy almond butter (not as thick and sticky as my previous donut recipe).
  5. Spoon a tablespoon’s worth of batter into each donut “cup” – somewhere between 1/2-2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick (tester) comes out clean. My oven is awful and always requires a longer cooking time. The donut should spring back to the touch.
  7. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and allow to set for five minutes. Then transfer the donuts to a cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy plain or with a simple chocolate glaze (see recipe below). I store my leftovers uncovered on a cooling rack in the oven, but you can also leave them on the counter (on the cooling rack) with a piece of parchment paper loosely draped over them. Plastic airtight containers will change their texture significantly.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Simple Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened plant milk (I used almond)

Over low-med heat, melt the mini chips and milk in a double boiler – stirring frequently. Once melted, remove from heat and dunk the tops of the cooled donuts in the chocolate. Eat right away or allow them to set longer for a firmer glaze. Make sure the chocolate glaze has firmed up before storing them away.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

This is how the chocolate glaze looks once it has been set.

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

My little helper (and photo assistant) took some photos of her own – she was so proud of them, I had to share them with you!

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Earl Grey Mini Donuts

Thanks for stopping by!

REVIEW: September Favorites

Hello, friends! I don’t know about you, but September flew by faster than any month so far. Hard to believe that the holidays are fast approaching. You’ll be happy to hear that this post isn’t nearly as long as my Summer Favorites round-up! We didn’t try very many new products and my list of books and recipes is short and sweet. As always, if you have any current favorites, please leave me a comment below!

PRODUCTS WE TRIED & LOVED:

Kite Hill Yogurts >>

REVIEW: September Favorites

Kite Hill is a Whole Foods Exclusive brand @ $1.89/ea

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably read how excited I was when these hit our Whole Foods right around Labor Day. I’ve mentioned Kite Hill in a previous favorites post for their Soft Fresh Truffle Chive & Dill product. When I heard that they were coming out with a yogurt, I knew they were going to be amazing. I’ve purchased quite a few other dairy-free yogurts, but none blew me away. The texture was always off or they were overly sweet. When I pulled back the label of Kite Hill’s Blueberry yogurt, my eyes lit up. No curdled, chunky texture, just smooth, creamy deliciousness. I’ve tried all of the options (Plain, Vanilla, Blueberry, Strawberry and Peach) and loved every single one. I was never a fan of the fruit-filled or fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts, but I have to say, these were outstanding. They didn’t require a lot of stirring/mixing up and the fruit actually tasted fresh. If you ask Willow, she’ll tell you Vanilla is her favorite…but she’ll eat around the fruit in the others.

REVIEW: September Favorites

PASCHA Chocolate: 70% Cacao {Organic, Allergen Free}  >> Another Whole Foods find and well worth the price…although, my mom purchased it (on sale) and put it in my shopping bag when I wasn’t looking. It is often times difficult to find chocolate that doesn’t contain soy lecithin, so I’m always excited when I find a brand that is soy-free. This chocolate is incredibly smooth and rich, but not intense like a lot of dark chocolate (I actually love the really intense flavors). What attracted me most to this company was how they use very few ingredients and all of it fair trade and organic. Their chocolate is also made in a dedicated allergen free facility, which is huge. Our Whole Foods carries two of their full size chocolate bars (as seen in the photo below) and their mini bars. On their website, I noticed that they offer several other options, such as one with maca, lucuma or Arabica coffee. The 70% cacao bar is Willow approved, but I’m pretty sure she’d love them all.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Yumbutter Organic Superfood Peanut Butter >> We’ve tried and loved their sunflower seed butter (mentioned in a favorites post a good bit back) and we finally got around to trying their peanut butter this month. SO good. Willow and I packed it with us to take on a recent rockhounding adventure and it hit the spot with Le Pain des fleurs Organic Buckwheat Crispbread.

Rockhounding treasures! LOTS of agates, Jasper and petrified wood.

Books I Read and Enjoyed:

I’ve read quite a few books over the last month or so, but here are the ones that stood out:

Cold Black Earth by Sam Reaves >> This was another Kindle First (free download) for me and it was a well written murder mystery. I only get to read after Willow is asleep and I found myself staying up until almost 1:00 AM because it was almost impossible to put down. I will admit, the book starts off slow, but stick with it…I promise it’s REALLY good. The author did a fantastic job pulling you in and there were times where my heart was racing and I was holding my breath. It takes place in a small town in Illinois (which is partly why I chose it) and is about a woman who comes back home after leaving the combat zone and a painful divorce in hopes to pick up the pieces. While back home, an inmate escapes from a local prison and murders begin. Just when I thought I had figured out who the killer was, I had to think again!

Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates >> Every so often, we take Willow to Barnes & Noble to browse and sit on the floor to read a few books. We stumbled upon this sweet book and had to get it. She was so excited to add this into our nightly routine – we do each pose as a family before cuddling up in bed to read some books. The illustrations are beautiful and the author does a wonderful job of inducing relaxation. The poses are simple and we find Willow doing them throughout the day on her own. Such a perfect way to end the day.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel >> My mom bought this book for us a good bit ago, but I just finished it last month. While the book is geared towards an older age group (5-12), I found it to be incredibly useful – I recommend it to every parent to read and reread. It’s a book to help with anxiety, stress and to help with concentration. It has definitely helped me to be more mindful over the last month. I’d like to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 (Parenting with Greater Mindfulness):

Presence enables you to be simply here – in contact with this moment. With these feelings and thoughts – open, curious, generous, and without an immediate opinion. Present with that small hand in yours. Present with the temper tantrum. Present with the daily school run. Present in all those moments of happiness, misfortune, routine, and everything in between. The more present you are, the less you miss. This is never a question of good or bad. Being fully present is enough.

This book goes hand in hand with my recent post – Unplug to Reconnect. It’s a gentle reminder to be present in this life – to become more focused and patient. I look forward to reading this again with Willow in a year or two. She wanted to read it now, but when she saw that it wasn’t quite a picture book like she’s used to, she lost interest. The book comes with a CD of guided exercises that I have not listened to yet.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson >> I am still reading this one, but I love it so far. I have my dear friend, Julie, to thank for the recommendation. It’s a young adult book that moves fast and keeps you on the edge of your seat. {Steelheart is book one in a series} The story takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic city (Chicago) where we learn about Epics (people with extraordinary powers – evil) and Reckoners (ordinary people who have made it their mission to learn about the Epics’ individual weaknesses and assassinate them). The main character, David, has made it his life’s mission to eliminate Steelheart.

What I’m watching:

I thought I’d start a section in these ‘Favorites’ posts where I share any movies, shows, documentaries that I’ve watched during the month. We don’t have TV service, not even basic cable, so Netflix and Amazon Prime are our sources of entertainment.

True Detective Season 1 >> Josh and I watched this together via DVDs (eight episodes). It is a HBO series and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey…enough said. Ok, I’m kidding, but seriously, you can’t really beat that pair. With each movie/show that I’ve seen with either one of those actors, I am blown away by their talent. This show wasn’t any different – they become the characters – it doesn’t feel like acting. True Detective is a crime drama about two detectives, “Rust” and “Marty,” and a 17-year manhunt. It’s dark, at times very heavy, but nothing short of amazing. We got sucked into the series before the first episode was even over.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Other shows I’ve been watching on occasion via Netflix & Amazon Prime:

  • Bones season 10
  • Covert Affairs
  • Justified

Recipes we tried and loved:

We made a lot of repeat recipes last month, along with creating our own, but here are the few we fell in love with:

Plant Strong Vegan:

Sriracha Sweet Chili Wings >> Words don’t even begin to describe how amazing this recipe is. The first time we made this, I forgot to grab the sweet chili sauce while grocery shopping, so I had to improvise. I used Coconut Aminos Teriyaki sauce and a little avocado oil. Willow LOVED them! Broccoli is my absolute favorite veggie, so finding new ways to cook it makes me happy. And when your picky toddler approves, even better. No joke, Willow requests this all the time. For example, just today she said to me, “Mom, can Dad bring some broccoli home tomorrow so we can have sticky broccoli?” That’s what she calls it – “sticky broccoli” ❤ We’ve made this several times – using teriyaki sauce and the way Margaret wrote the recipe (using Sriracha and sweet chili sauce)….the spicier recipe isn’t Willow friendly, so we make her a separate batch using a mild sauce of some sort. We made homemade pizza last week and chopped up the wings for a topping, along with some homemade white sauce. I love these way more than cauliflower wings – the texture is incredible and her method is genius. The one thing we learned to do is to brush a little oil on the parchment paper before putting the broccoli on there – makes for easier flipping.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Broccoli wings using Coconut Aminos Teriyaki sauce and avocado oil. Served with organic basmati rice.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Homemade pizza crust using the King Arthur gluten-free pizza crust recipe (leaving out buttermilk powder), topped with homemade white sauce and Plant Strong Vegan’s Sriracha Sweet Chili Wings. Ahhhhmazing!

REVIEW: September Favorites

Creamy Hemp Pesto Alfredo Fettuccine with Oil-Free Roasted Garlic >> This was a three-part recipe and each one fantastic. Just more evidence that hemp seeds are truly magical. I also love that Margaret shared her method for roasting garlic that didn’t require oil OR the use of aluminum foil. The creamy Alfredo sauce didn’t use the typical cashews as a base, which was a nice change…and less expensive to make. I loved how well the pesto paired with the Alfredo – it provided a big pop of flavor and I was pleasantly surprised when Willow approved of this meal. We’ll definitely be adding this recipe into our pasta night rotation!

The Vegan 8:

Fudgy Coconut Butter Brownies >> I knew these were going to be amazing before I even made them. Brandi is incredibly talented at creating dessert recipes that are oil-free. While I no longer follow a strict oil-free “diet” I do like to watch my consumption. If you make these, definitely go the extra step and make your own coconut butter…she provides instruction on how to do that if you’ve never made your own before. The brownies are insanely rich and fudgy – If you love chocolate like we do, you will love these…I promise.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole (Oh She Glows} >> My dear friend, Diana, has raved about this recipe a few times and we FINALLY made it and loved it. Insanely easy to make and a short ingredient list. Sadly, Willow did not try this as she likes things to be separated…black beans on their own, avocado alone, and “noodles” in either cheeze sauce or tomato sauce…so this was far from being a Willow meal. That’s ok, that just meant more for Josh and me! Don’t worry, she didn’t starve, we made sure to prepare a pasta dish for her.

REVIEW: September Favorites

Thanks for stopping by!