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Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

One of the benefits of all of the crazy things that have been going on with my health lately is that I have discovered  that I no longer have an allergy (or at least a reaction) to chocolate.

This is one thing that has been fun to add back to my diet (in small amounts of course) and I am enjoying being able to try out some new recipes that I would have had to pass by only a few short months ago.

But I am still eating mostly dairy-free, and now that I have managed to go several months without refined sugar I am reluctant to fall back on baking or cooking with it.

Enter Dark Chocolate Pudding made with coconut milk and honey.  Dairy free, and free of refined sugar.

This is a very rich pudding, slightly bitter, and full of dark chocolate flavour.  The original recipe called for just 2 tablespoons of honey, but I added a couple more for a slightly sweet dessert.  Hubby added spoonfuls of sugar and a drizzling of chocolate sauce to his bowl and it still wasn’t to his liking, so this might be one for dark chocolate fans only!

Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

The original recipe comes from this cookbook .

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (I used an organic dark chocolate bar)
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 large egg yolks
Combine the first three ingredients with a few tablespoons of coconut milk and whisk together.  Heat the rest of the coconut milk over medium heat until simmering.  Stir in the chocolate until melted, then whisk in the cocoa powder mixture.  

Whisk egg yolks.  Pour in a small amount of the hot coconut milk mixture, whisking continuously, then pour the eggs into the pot and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and it coats the back of a spoon.  (I use a candy thermometer to make sure the pudding has reached at least 160 degrees to kill any bacteria that might be hiding in the egg yolks.)

Pour into ramekins or small bowls, place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface so it doesn’t form a skin, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


 

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I LOVE these cookies. I love what they don’t have in them (no oils, no refined sugar, no dairy, wheat) and I love what they do have in them (oats and spelt and honey and peanut butter), but most of all I just love them because they taste good. And Hubby gives them the thumbs up too, which is saying a lot for a generally healthy cookie.

They are based on this recipe, but adapted to exclude wheat and dairy.   The original recipe calls them “breakfast cookies” but I think they make a yummy dessert or snack too.  And change up the nut butter, the dried fruit, and the liquid and the possible variations are endless! (How about cashew apple raisin?  Or almond orange cranberry?)

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1  tbsp almond milk (or other liquid)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (or other flour)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Combine the banana, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and almond milk until smooth.  In a small bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon and baking soda and then combine with the peanut butter banana mixture.  Fold in raisins.

Drop spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined pans, and flatten with a wet spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Applesauce Muffins – Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and honey-sweetened

 

I am slowly getting the hang of this new way of eating.  One of my friends said to me the other day that watching me do this has made her more aware of just how much wheat she eats.  All I can say is, me too.  Bread, muffins, biscuits, cookies, fruit crisp, cake, oh how I miss my baking!

I have also discovered that there is definitely a learning curve to baking without wheat.  Especially when you also aren’t eating eggs.  But…ta-da!  Some moist, delicious, yummy, muffins!  The inspiration came from here.  I used ground flax instead of eggs and after reading a lot about guar gum and xanthan gum I have decided they aren’t something I want to add into my diet.  But chia seeds to the rescue!  I read here that you can substitute chia (or ground flax) for gums – hooray!  And so, muffins are back into my life!  I made this batch with raisins and almonds, but think I might experiment with some fresh fruit for the next batch.

Applesauce Muffins

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 tsp chia seed mixed with 1 1/2 tsp hot water
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
Combine oil, applesauce, honey, water, flax and chia mixtures (this is very easy to do in a measuring cup!)  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until moistened.  Fill 6 greased muffin cups with batter and bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.  Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.  
Enjoy a happy snack!

Make Your Own Baked Tortilla Chips

As I am working at adjusting to this new way of eating, there are certain foods I crave more than others.  Nachos is one of them.  Crispy tortilla chips, topped with spicy beans, salsa, veggies, laden with cheese and baked in the oven until it becomes a hot, melty mess.  Yum.

But nacho chips are not on my list of acceptable foods at the moment.  (and please, let’s not even talk about cheese, ok?)

So imagine my excitement when I learned I could make my own, healthier, baked version of this favourite food!  (Insert dance of joy!)

This is so easy to do, and unlike some “healthier” substitutes, it does not taste like a poor version of the real thing, but has the same great corn crunch as the orginal.

Ready to see how easy this is?

Baked Tortilla Chips

First, you need corn tortillas.  If you are lucky, you can buy these at your local supermarket.  If you are even luckier, you can buy sprouted corn tortillas at your supermarket or health food store, which are even better for you.  Not being able to find either, I, of course, learned how to make my own.  (This is also ridiculously simple – I promise I’ll share the recipe later, but if you can’t wait to make your own I found the recipe on my bag of Maseca – the flour the tortillas are made from)

Heat your oven to 375.  Use a pizza cutter to cut your tortillas into quarters.

Toss with olive oil and herbs or spices of your choice. (I used chipotle chili, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt.)

Lay out the tortillas in a single layer on a baking pan.

Bake for about ten minutes, or until crispy.  (Thicker tortillas may take longer.)

Done!  Cover with your favourite nacho toppings and enjoy!

That bright orange processed-looking cheese is actually a sauce made from cashews and roasted red peppers and it is delicious.  You can find the recipe here (this was my inspiration for baked tortilla chips, too!)

Any other nacho fans out there?  What are your favourite toppings?

 

More Yummy Pinterest Recipes

As we are coming to the end of my Pinterest experiment I found I still had a lot of random photos of recipes I have tried, but that do not necessarily lump together well as I have done in other Pinterest posts.  So, in no particular order, here is some more Pinterest recipe love:

Skillet Lasagna

Considering how labour intensive lasagna making can be, this was quite easy.  I used cottage cheese instead of the Ricotta, and regular cheeses instead of the skim versions, but other than that made the recipe as written. It cooked quickly enough to be a week-might meal, and will definitely grace our dinner table again!

Pinned Here              Blogged Here

Taco Seasoning

The taco seasoning we used to buy at the grocery store was full of ingredients I could not pronounce (always a sign that something isn’t quite “real” food.)  So when it comes to seasoning meat or tofu for our favourite Mexican meals, I always make my own seasoning.  But having lost the recipe I was using (I am sure I put it somewhere “safe”) I quickly turned to Pinterest for a new one.  I liked this mix and will use it again!

Pinned Here            Blogged Here

Sourdough Burger Buns

I have been wanting to make my own burger buns for a while.  And I am always looking for uses for my sourdough starter.  In comes this recipe.  I actually have made this one twice.  The first time the buns were absolutely perfect. The second time they were a little crumbly.  But both times they tasted good – even Hubby ate them!

Pinned Here             Blogged Here

Raspberry Oatmeal Smoothie

I have become an oatmeal smoothie convert.  And the raspberry flavour is wonderful in this version.  I made mine with almond milk in place of the coconut water.  And I’ve been making variations on this recipe ever since….

Pinned Here            Blogged Here

Pineapple Coconut Popsicles

This was a bit of a vague recipe (how large a can of coconut or pineapple chunks?) but I just kind of threw things together and poured them in popsicle molds (and the leftover mix I put into a smoothie – yum!).  Both Hubby and I have been enjoying them on the hot sunny days we have been having.

Pinned Here             Blogged Here (scroll down to find the recipe for the popsicles)

Grain Free Brownies

Although I do not eat chocolate, Hubby does and loves it.  So a while back I started testing out some healthier versions for him.  This was the winner.  The base is black beans, but with all of the chocolaty goodness in there, you would never know. They are definitely better the second day (otherwise Hubby says they taste a bit “eggy”) and Hubby prefers them cold from the fridge.

Pinned Here             Blogged Here

That’s it!  I am going to reorganize my pin boards so that the recipes I have tried have their own boards, which will hopefully make them easier to find.  And then I will know what I still have yet to try…..

For the next three weeks, in the interest of improving my health,  I am going to be eating meat-free, dairy-free and wheat-free.  Anyone know of some great vegan and wheat-less recipes I should try?

 

“Pinterest”ing Sauces and Beverages

I am having so much fun working my way through my Pinterest boards.  The only problem is, just when I think I’ve made it through a whole bunch of them, I pin more!

Today I am going to share with you some of the sauces and drinks I have been experimenting with lately.  And this time – not one pin to remove from my pin boards!  That’s right, every single sauce and drink recipe I have tried so far is a keeper!  Go to love it when that happens! :)

Strawberry Lemonade

Sweetened with Stevia, this is a healthy, sugar-free drink for a hot summer day.  Both hubby and I loved it.  It was a little on the sour side after following the recipe (my frozen berries are a little bitter) but an extra bit of Stevia solved the problem.  I will be making this all summer long!

Pinned Here       Blogged Here

Sore Throat Tea

I often make a honey and lemon “tea” to soothe a sore throat, but had never thought to add cinnamon, ginger and mint.  I actually didn’t have any cinnamon on hand, but even the addition of the fresh ginger and a handful of mint from the garden added a little extra dimension to this already soothing drink.

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

Awesome Sauce

OK…that’s not its real name.  But hubby and I renamed it as its given name includes a word we try not to use in daily conversation.  Whatever you call it, it’s good.  There are two versions, the original and a chipotle.  I am partial to the heat and smokiness of the chipotle, hubby prefers the original.  Either is beautiful over a bowl of rice and veggies, or as a topping for a quinoa burger.

Original Pinned Here      Original Blogged Here          Chipotle Pinned Here      Chipotle Blogged Here

Peanut Sauce 

Many of you already know that my beloved hubby is not a big fan of vegetables.  I am discovering, though, that if I can find the right sauce, it makes a lot of the veggies I love to eat more palatable to him.  This thick, nutty, and slightly spicy peanut sauce had him eating rice, kale and green beans and loving it!  I would say it is a winner!    I found it took quite a bit more water than the recipe stated, and it was still a little thick, but I know I will be making this again and again.

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

Catalina Dressing

We enjoy a good taco salad around here.  And our recipe calls for Catalina dressing.  So when I saw this recipe for Catalina dressing, created by someone trying to please her husband’s fondness for a traditional taco salad, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  The photos I took were fuzzy, but the dressing (and salad) were a hit!

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

 

What have you been cooking (or pinning) lately?


Want to learn more about healthy eating? Count me in!

For those of you who have been around this blog for a while, you will know how passionate I am about eating healthy.

 

You will also know that I am always learning more.

And if you’ve known me even longer than that you will know that I was a strict vegan vegetarian for many years, both as a way to stay healthy and to avoid some debilitating food sensitivities.

But it is easy to get off track.  Easy to get back into bad habits.  Easy to let convenience or speed take precedence over health.  (But when we are sick all the time, or our bodies are tired and run down, have we really saved ourselves any time?)

I have been in the downward spiral of health before, the one where we take pills and antibiotics that help at the moment, but the root causes still remain and wellness eludes us.

So I recognize when it starts to happen.  And I know I need to get back on track.

Isn’t it amazing when you have decided something for yourself, and all of a sudden things come into your life to confirm and help you in your goals?

This morning, reading through my favourite blogs on Google reader, I find this post on why it is important to listen to your body on a blog I only recently discovered.

Then I learn that Meghan Telpner is finally going to be offering an e-course!  Meghan is a holistic nutritionist and her blog is full of healthy tips and recipes.  She is the reason I started drinking green smoothies, and her recipe page is full of healthful recipes – even for yummy (but healthy) treats!  Her course offerings have often made me wish that I still lived close to Toronto, where they are held.

But her e-course launches on Monday! A course devoted to healthy eating made easy.  And you can even enter to win a spot on her blog!

And then, in following a link from that blog, I discovered another one, with another treasure trove of recipes and I am now like a kid at Christmas.  Because I get excited about things like healthy recipes!  And I know that excitement will help me to make the changes and adjustments I need to be healthy again.  And to add icing to the cake (make that yogurt icing sweetened with a hint of maple syrup) she is also hosting a giveaway for a chance to win a spot in Meghan’s class.

And so it seems I have no more excuses!  And with fresh veggies starting to grow in the garden, what better time to find new and exciting (and hopefully tasty!) ways to use them?

How about you?  How do you keep on track with eating and living healthfully?

 

Pinteresting Breakfast Recipes

This month I have decided to work my way through some of the recipes I have pinned on Pinterest.  I am a great collector of recipes, and wanted to actually try some of these out before my boards got too big.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so seemed like a good place to start!  For each recipe I include a link to the original source (in case you aren’t on Pinterest) and the pin.

Overnight Oats

I absolutely love this recipe.  It was incredibly simple to put together, and it was so wonderful to wake up in the morning and have a hearty breakfast all ready to go.  I was a little worried that the oatmeal would be a strange texture but I needn’t have worried – smooth and creamy would be the best way to describe it!  I had mine with banana and a spoonful of mixed fruit jam – so good!  I did find it made enough for two, but it was just as good for breakfast the second day.  The second batch I mixed with coconut milk and pineapple, also very yummy.   Found here and pinned here.

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

I love smoothies but I would never have thought to put oatmeal in one.  I halved the recipe so it would just serve one, and true to its promise I really did keep me filling full.  Rather than cook up oatmeal, I just soaked the oats in the yogurt overnight, like I did for the overnight oats.  I also added a little almond milk when I blended it to thin things out.  I will definitely be making this again!  Found here and pinned here.

Quinoa For Breakfast

I wasn’t sure I would like this one but was presently surprised.  I used quinoa I had left over from another meal, mixed it with almond milk, fresh pineapple and coconut.  Found here and pinned here.

Recipes I won’t make again

Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

Not all recipes are worth keeping, and this was one of them.  It certainly didn’t live up to its beautiful picture on Pinterest, and although I loved the ginger flavour, the pineapple flavour really didn’t come through, leaving it a little bland.  I love the idea of ginger in a smoothie and will definitely try that on my own.  Pinned here.  

More Yummy Breakfast Ideas from this Pin Board

A few of the recipes on this board I had already tried.

Sourdough Pancakes – truly the best sourdough pancake recipe I have tried!  Found here and pinned here.

Cheesy Potato Cakes  - with a little minced onion thrown in I think these are perfect.  Found here and pinned here.

Zucchini Waffles – like zucchini bread, only in a waffle.  Found here and pinned here.

Enjoy!  If you know of any other “pinteresting” breakfast recipes, feel free to link to them in the comments! :)

Fruit Snacks and Nut Snacks – Healthier Snack Foods

It seems to be all about food here at Artisan in the Woods this week.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and under motivated lately – does this ever happen to you?  But we do have to eat, so things are still happening in the kitchen! Here are two more favourites inspired by recipes in The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman.

We’ve been munching on these for the last week and they are the perfect snack (and we’ve even had them for dessert!)  Hubby likes nut snacks best, I’m more partial to the fruit, but they are both good.

Both call for cereal.  I almost never buy cereal but happened to have just bought one for hubby that he ended up not liking.  It was one of those cereals that is a mix of flakes and other assorted pieces of all shapes and sizes and it worked well, so I think just about any cereal would work.  Next time I might sub in some nuts and/or seeds or more dried fruit instead.  Hubby has also asked for me to make a batch of nut snacks with chocolate chips.  Not quite as healthy, but I am sure they would be good!

Fruit Snacks

Adapted from “Fruit and Cereal Bits” from The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruits  (include some soft fruits like dates, figs, or prunes)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Water or juice, as needed
  • 1 cup cereal
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut (or cocoa)

Puree fruit, oil, and honey in food processor, adding water if necessary.    Fold in cereal.  Roll into balls and then roll in coconut.  Store in the fridge.

 

Nut Snacks

Adapted from “Crispy Rice Treats” from The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 2 cups cereal
  • 1 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
  • 1 tbsp spice (optional)  curry, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Combine.  Use wet hands to form into balls.  Roll in coconut.  Refrigerate.

What healthy snacks do you enjoy?

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

With one more week in my month-long exploration of The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman, I thought I would join in on The Food Matters Project again.

This week the recipe was Whole Wheat Bread.  Similar to the Pizza Dough, the recipe was of the mix it and leave it variety (no kneading!) 

I must say that I do love the ease of making this type of bread.  (Especially when I remember after I have already gotten into bed and am almost asleep that I wanted to throw this together so I could bake it the next morning!) 

And even though the end result was a little hardier than my usual takes-all-day-and-knead-by-hand-for-twenty-minutes loaf, it is also very soft and moist.  Both hubby and I enjoyed this topped with butter or jam, and even a few days later I am still enjoying it, even without the toppings. 

You will find the original recipe, plus another recipe for baguette which I have yet to try, here.  I am surprised no one else has mentioned this (although I do admit that although I read all of the comments I didn’t visit all of the other blogs) but I found the bread to be overly salty.  Next time I will definitely use one teaspoon instead of two.  I also forgot to put parchment paper in the bottom of my glass loaf pan, and despite greasing and drizzling with 2 tablespoons of oil as the recipe recommends,  the loaf was completely stuck when it came out of the oven.  I’m afraid the bottom of my bread got a little mutilated as I tried to pry it from the pan. (and there was a moment I was afraid I was going to have to scoop it out of there with a spoon!)  I don’t think I’ll forget again.

You can also check out all of the other reviews and variations here.  There are lots of creative cooks out there!  I will definitely be trying out some of the creative variations soon.  I am tempted to buy the cookbook just to keep playing along!  It has been fun to explore the same recipe with so many others.

Enjoy!

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