Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Brownies

You read that right...chocolate brownies that are both gluten free AND vegan! When my hubby Russ first told me about these, I was like "sure...I bet they taste great" (add LOTS of sarcasm). He decided to make them for me as part of my Valentines Day dinner he made me...and he made me a believer. They're chewy, chocolatey, and well...just perfect! So as my super belated Valentines Day gift to you...I'm sharing the recipe :)

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
From Food Loves Writing

For brownie layer:
1 cup walnuts
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup cocoa powder

For frosting
1/2 avocado
3 to 5 tablespoons raw honey (you can adjust to taste)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a hefty dash of cinnamon
a tiny pinch of salt

1. Make the brownie layer: Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, with extra paper hanging off the sides so you can lift it out when the brownies are done. Combine walnuts, dates and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like clumpy dirt or potting soil. Pat this mixture into a compact layer in the bottom of your lined loaf pan.

2. Make the frosting: Combine avocado, honey, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread mixture over the brownie layer in the loaf pan, creating an even layer on top.

3. Freeze the loaf pan for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove parchment from loaf pan, lifting the brownies out in one big piece. Slice and serve. Note the brownies will be slightly crumbly, so they are best eaten with a spoon or fork.

Just as a bit of bonus info, this recipe, being that it utilizes all whole foods, is filled with all kinds of nutritional benefits. Walnuts are high in Omega-3s, known to control inflammation. Dates are not only an excellent source of fiber but also B vitamins. There are rich antioxidants in cocoa powder and honey, and the avocado is one of those really amazing sources of good monounsaturated fat, shown to be easily burned by the body for energy.

On another note...I've been up to quite a bit these days in the crafting department. I've added a bunch of super cute crocheted headbands to the store...

And some pretty cute necktie onesies too :)

Plus, I'm working on some new animals I hope to be adding stay tuned :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

A's appy sauce...

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to "sneak" veggies in to A's food. Don't get me wrong, A does love him some broccoli, and I want him to eat his veggies by themselves, but you can never get enough veggies, so why not throw it in with some of the other foods he eats!

One such concoction is A's appy sauce (he can't say he says appy, and I love it...haha).
It's super duper tasty and easy, and pretty darn cheap too. A bag of organic apples at Trader Joes is $2.49, and a bag of organic carrots are $.89. You could do several batches for under $4...not too bad.
So here's what you need to make one jar of A's appy sauce:

3-4 apples
4-5 carrots

I start off by peeling and chopping my carrots, and then throwing them into a steam basket over steaming water, and let them chill until their tender (10-15 min). If you don't have a steamer...throw the carrots in just enough boiling water to cover the carrots, and let boil for 15-20 min. Then toss the carrots (no water) into the blender.

While the carrots are steaming, I core and chop my apples. I usually skin half, but then leave the other half with skins on to get those good nutrients you're missing out on by throwing the skins away. Throw those in a heavy bottomed pan, and add a few Tbs of water, and some cinnamon (I think I usually end up adding around a Tbs or so). The cinnamon is great, cause not only does it add a great flavor, but there are some awesome health benefits to cinnamon as well ( Cook the apples, cinnamon, and water on low until the apples are tender (about 6-8 min). Throw the apples and juices in the blender with your carrots, and blend away to your little hearts content.

Pour the sauce into an old applesauce jar :) and let cool

And then watch your little munckin enjoy the fruits (and veggies...hehe) of your labor. This is the best part!

I've tried this same sauce, but with Broccoli instead of carrots...and he loves it!
There are probably a million different variations you could make, so get creative!