You know those times it seems you can’t ever catch a break? That’s been me the last month. In the span of just a few weeks I managed to come down with a sinus infection, chip a tooth and throw out my neck (all unrelated events, surprisingly). Talk about bad luck.
I think I deserve a treat. Sometimes you just have to treat yo-self. I know just the thing…
When I first started out as a vegan chef, I worked at a restaurant that served a rich, creamy and decadent mousse made of avocado and raw cacao. This stuff was perfection. Here’s the version I like to make at home.
Raw Chocolate Mousse
Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free
- 2 medium ripe avocados
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond, cashew, hemp or coconut)
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional topping)
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- Spoon into a bowl and garnish with toppings of your choice.
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I’ll see you back here next week with new content! Have a lovely holiday weekend!
Photo credit: my sister, Jenny Norris.
Today is my birthday! I turn 26.
The day brought much reprieve and rest, along with ample sunshine. My fiancé and I packed a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon enjoying some lovely eats and the warm weather along the harbor. We even have some new freckles to prove it.
I don’t usually aim for anything too fancy on the big day. I like keeping things simple. I’m totally content with enjoying a nice meal with friends and sharing some dessert. There’s always some dancing involved too. Over the weekend I did just that. I set off gallivanting the streets of Cork with my dear friend Emma. You can be sure there was plenty of banter and laughter shared, the best kind of celebrating.
Upon arriving at Emma’s house on Saturday, she remarked, “You look like a tart.” This was funny for multiple reasons. First off, Irish insults are interesting terms of endearment which are abundant in the friendship between Emma and me. Secondly, as coincidence would have it, I just so happened to be experimenting with these raw tarts for my birthday. I went on to explain the intricacies of making raw tarts with nothing but nuts and dates. It turns out we both have bold minds. We collapsed in a huge fit of giggles. Who knew Veganism could be so risqué?
These tarts are pretty amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that they are vegan, gluten-free and raw, and just focus on the delectable elements that combine to create perfection. Raw desserts really are my fave (especially during the summer months.) I can enjoy an incredibly delicious, nutrient-dense dessert without post-dessert remorse. I can feel really good about what I am putting into my body, and what I am feeding the people I love. That is truly something to celebrate.
Raw Berry Tarts
- 1 cup of almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup of medjool dates
- 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 3 Tbsp filtered water
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- fresh blackberries, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
- mint leaves for garnish (optional)
- In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the almonds and allspice until it becomes a fine consistency. Then add in the dates one by one until they have all been added and you have a sticky dough.
- Divide the mixture into 6 muffin or tart tins. Then press the mixture into the tin forming the crust.
- Place them in the fridge until you are ready to fill them.
- Drain the cashews after they have been soaking for at least three hours and place them in a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice, zest, water and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding additional water as needed.
- Place the filling in each tart, heaping it up in the center, using up all the filling. Top each tart with berries and a garnish of mint leaves. Enjoy!
Tarts are best eaten same day but will keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Now it’s time to pop some bubbly and toast to another amazing year.
Valentine’s day is silly, but I’ll look for any kind of excuse to get dressed up and take my handsome man out on the town. While we don’t go over the top with celebrating, I get into the spirit of the day the only way I know how to show true love: food. I baked again, and with a vengeance.
These are my latest creations – Exotic Spice Cookies. They are perfectly spicy, wonderfully soft and deliciously chewy. They are an ideal companion for a hot cup of tea. And the best part of all – baking a batch or two is incredibly easy. And on a day like today (rainy), baking is the perfect way to pass the time.
Exotic Spice Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 cup spelt flour or whole grain whole-wheat flour
- 2 tsp. fresh or powdered ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup nut butter (I used organic almond butter)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
- In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: oats, flour, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl mix nut butter and oil until well blended. Stir in sugar, non-dairy milk and vanilla until combined.
- Add wet to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
- Drop dough by spoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.