Thursday, June 11, 2015

Raw Cacao Covered Cherries

Growing up, one of my favorite treats were the chocolate covered cherries from See’s Candies. I still love them, but since I don’t find myself indulging in sugary chocolates anymore, I decided to put my own healthier spin on the classic treat.  

I've chosen to use raw cacao versus chocolate.  Raw cacao is naturally high in magnesium, a necessary mineral that promotes relaxation.  Much of the chocolate we consume today has been highly processed with sugar, trans fats, and preservatives and therefore lacks these nutrients of raw cacao.  Additives in processed chocolate do not promote healing. Sticking as close to raw as possible allows the vitamins and enzymes to be more bioavailable. 

This antioxidant rich dessert is high in iron and fiber. Cherries help cleanse the bowels, and support healing of arthritis, rheumatism and anemia.  They also help combat migraines.  

Yields 8-10 servings

1 lb bag fresh cherries, rinsed and dried
5 oz unsweetened chocolate 100% cacao, I used Dagoba brand
2 Tbs coconut oil
3 Tbs honey or maple syrup
pinch of sea salt

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Boil water in a double boiler or in a large glass bowl that can sit securely over a saucepan.
  3. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in double boiler or large glass bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine coconut oil and sweetener in a small bowl and melt together.  I do this by letting it sit on the stovetop while I boil water to melt chocolate.
  5. Once water comes to a boil, place bowl with chocolate over saucepan.  Stir until melted.  Then add liquefied coconut oil mixture.  Stir to combine.  Finish with pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
  6. Holding the stem, dip the cherries into the chocolate sauce until fully coated.  For the cherries without stems, I use a spoon.  Place on parchment to solidify. Continue with remaining cherries.  You can put the cherries in the freezer briefly to help harden chocolate coating.  Store in fridge for 5 days.  

Institute of Transformational Nutrition Slides 2015

Creamy Vegan Queso

I paired mine with local radishes and turnips
When I was in school in Denver my friends and I would frequently hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant, Illegal Peets, for margaritas, chips and queso.  Since my body doesn't tolerate dairy as well anymore, I've come up with this cheesy vegan alternative that, let me tell you, is even more satisfying than cheese dip…and it doesn't leave you feeling sick. 

This recipe is great paleo followers and vegans alike! Its satisfying, creamy texture and cheesy flavor makes it a perfect dip when paired with sweet potato chips or smothered over a taco bowl.  Nutritional yeast is high in B12, a vitamin that many are deficient in, yet is crucial for supporting our nervous system and helps the body utilize proteins, fats and carbs.  Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable high in sulfur, a detoxing nutrient necessary to help the body excrete toxins.  It also helps promote a healthy digestive system.

Yields 6 servings

½ head orange cauliflower or roughly three cups cooked
½ cup water
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water at least 30 minutes
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp sea salt
several liberal crushes of fresh ground pepper
optional: diced jalapeƱo, red peppers, or onion

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-2 inches of water to boil.  Fill steamer basket with cauliflower and steam until tender, about 5 minutes.  It is ok if they are still a bit al-dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Rinse cashews and add to high-speed blender.  Add cauliflower and remaining ingredients.  Process on high until smooth and creamy.  If consistency is too thick, add more water one tablespoon in at a time.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Store in fridge for 5 days. 

Salmon with Rosemary Pesto and Butternut Squash

These no fuss plates are my favorite kinds of meals to put together.  Ya know why? Because this nutrient dense dish is actually SUPER easy, inexpensive, quick to put together and will definitely impress your significant other.  I love this meal because you’re getting three delicious servings of healing vegetables as well as brain-boosting essential fatty acids from the salmon.  

The creamy pesto does require a high-speed blender.  If you don’t have access to one, try a food processor, which will yield a chunkier pesto. Be sure to mince the garlic and rosemary before processing if you don't use a blender.  Several springs of chives would be a nice alternative to the rosemary if you have some growing wildly in your backyard (or your neighbors).

Yield 2 servings

1 can sockeye salmon (I bought mine from Trader Joes)
2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

½ an avocado
2 large cloves roasted garlic (you can also use raw, I personally don’t enjoy the flavor as much)
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs or more of water
3 generous handfuls of kale, spring greens, or whatever fresh greens you have.
1 spring fresh rosemary, or any other fresh herbs available. 
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2 inches water.  Once boiling, fill a steamer basket with squash and frozen peas and place in saucepan.  Cover. Steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  Set aside.
  2. In a high-speed blender, add all ingredients for pesto.  If mixture is too thick, thin it out with more water, one tablespoon at a time.  Process until pesto is creamy and smooth.
  3. Add vegetables back into empty saucepan.  Toss with ghee or coconut oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the vegetables between two bowls.  Divide the salmon between the two bowls.  Lastly, top each portion of salmon with a couple generous dollops of pesto.
  5. Enjoy!