Raw Cacao Chia Pudding: A healthy vegan dessert

You know the feeling: It has been a couple of hours since dinner and your tummy is grumbling, but bedtime is fast-approaching. Or, maybe, your tummy isn’t grumbling… but you’re craving something sweet. Welcome to my nightly ritual.

I do my best to avoid indulging late at night, but sometimes you just need a little something. Cue this healthy vegan dessert. My Raw Cacao Chia Pudding has only four ingredients and satisfies my sweet tooth and hunger.

The best part? It’s good for you. One serving of my chia pudding has about 180 calories.

Chia seeds Raw cacao powder
120 calories 30 calories
8 grams fiber (32% of DV) 2 grams fiber (8% of DV)
60% DV of manganese (great for bone production, skin health, blood sugar control and more) 41 mg magnesium (10% of DV)
Other benefits: Protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. Other benefits: Packed with antioxidants and rumored to help cardiovascular function.

Learn to make raw cacao chia pudding in this video — recipe below!

Raw Cacao Chia Pudding

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk

1 Tbsp of raw honey or other natural sweetener

Directions

  1. Add chia seeds and raw cacao powder to a sealable jar or tupperware container and stir or shake to combine.
  2. Add the almond milk and sweetener. and then stir to make sure the solid ingredients don’t clump at the bottom. Seal the container and shake well.
  3. Store in refrigerator for at least 3 hours to allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid. You make need to shake your chia seed pudding a couple of times during those hours if the ingredients start to clump at the bottom.
  4. Enjoy topped with coconut, raw cacao nibs or a pinch of granola.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

Whole Wheat Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

Why whole wheat? To fill you up and keeping you from eating 10 cookies. Why vegan? Because I’d rather eat my eggs scrambled, boiled or cooked over-easy.

Most of my dessert recipes use whole wheat or gluten-free flour and a flaxseed egg to sneak in extra health benefits. When possible, I also use raw honey, pure maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of the white granulated kind. But, all of this comes down to who I’m cooking for. If it’s me, desserts are healthy as possible and just sweet enough to satisfy my taste buds. If I’m cooking for a crowd, I aim to please.

This recipe is easily manipulated. Make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want by playing around with your ingredients. Comment below if you have questions!cookie

Whole Wheat Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes 18-24)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp of ground flaxseed
3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/2 cup sugar**
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

*I opt for crunchy, unsalted PB

**When baking for a crowd, I use white granulated. At home, it is coconut sugar or another 1/4 cup maple syrup.

Directions

  1. To make a flaxseed egg, mix ground flaxseed and water. Let sit for at least 5 minutes. It will start to take on a gel-like consistency.
  2. Add coconut oil, PB, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract to the flaxseed egg. Blend well using an electric mixer or whisk (I recommend electric).
  3. To the same bowl, at your flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Stir everything together (using an electric mixer if you have one). Cookie dough will start to come together after a minute or so.
  4. Place cookie dough in the freezer and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Once the oven is preheated, take dough out of the freezer and start rolling your cookies into balls (no bigger than golf balls). Flatten them gently by pressing with a fork twice in two different directions (to make a grid-like pattern).
  6. Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until edges start to brown.
  7. Remove and let cool.

Enjoy!cookies

Cocoa Coffee Smoothie

I really love Starbucks coffee, especially their dark roast blend. On days I work from home, I typically head down to my local coffee shop and get a small cup of dark roast, add my Stevia, then sip, sip, sip. Since I use my Starbucks card so often, coffee and tea refills are on the house. Before I leave, I frequently ask the barista for my free refill  and then store that beverage in the refrigerator to use the next day.

Not only is this a great way to save a couple dollah, dollah bills, but it allows me to get a little creative with my beverage. After seeing this smoothie post from a friend, I was inspired to create my own concoction. Here we have a…

Cocoa coffee smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup of cold* coffee

1/2 banana

1 tbsp cocoa powder

3 drops liquid Stevia

Splash plain, unsweetened almond milk**

1 handful of ice

Cacao nibs for garnish***

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*Making the beverage hot isn’t out of the question, just warm the coffee and omit the ice.

**Any milk will do — even 1 tbsp of coconut oil.

***Going the coconut route? Top with shredded coconut.

coffee

 

Directions

  1. Blend coffee, banana, cocoa powder and Stevia.
  2. Add ice to a glass and pour smoothie in. Add a splash of milk and garnish.

coffeecoffee

 

Delicious and refreshing! Perfect for this transition from winter to spring. :)

Let me know if you try it out!

Black bean brownies

Cold weekends are for baking. The end.

Well, weekends — no matter the weather — are also for spending time with friends. This weekend, I had a great time seeing friends from all walks of life. Friday night I went out with new friends and some dear friends. Saturday, Mary came up for a visit to take pictures of me at work in my (tiny) kitchen — stay tuned for those! Fun fact, I’ve known Mary since we were in middle school. Me in middle school = a little weird and oddly obsessed with Degrassi, 80s music and dancing my heart out. Lucky for me, I found girls with similar interests. Finally, today I got brunch with yoga teacher training friends at Washington Square Tavern in Brookline — I recommend!

Aside from teaching Zumba and yoga on Saturday, I tried this 40-minute FitSugar workout again this weekend. I liked it more the second time around — my arms are feeling it:

But here is what you’ve all been waiting for… the brownies. I got a number of requests for this recipe over the weekend and can’t keep it from you any longer. All photos compliments of the lovely Mary Polleys. So grateful!

Black bean brownies (gluten-free, vegan)

(Makes 12 brownies)

Ingredients

1 can black beans

2 flaxseed eggs (2T ground flaxseed, 6T water)

3 T coconut oil

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 t sea salt

1 t baking powder

1 T vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

*Optional toppings: Cacao nibs and coconut

Photo: Mary Polleys

Photo: Mary Polleys

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 2T ground flaxseed with 6T water. Let sit for a five minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse black beans, then add them to a food processor and blend. To the food processor, add your flaxseed eggs and mix everything together until smooth (or as smooth as possible).
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir cocoa powder and baking powder together. Transfer beans and flaxseed into the bowl and begin to mix. Add softened coconut oil (microwave it for ~20-30 seconds), sugar, honey and salt. The batterwill not be as thin as typical brownie batter, but thinner than frosting.

    DSC_0110

    Photo: Mary Polleys

  5. Portion batter out into non-stick muffin pan (makes 12). Sprinkle your chosen topping on — I did cacao nibs and coconut, but chocolate chips or nuts would work! Bake for 20-30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the edges rise up and start to look crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes — otherwise, it all falls apart.

The great thing about these brownies? You can’t undercook them! They are okay to eat raw, though I think they taste better baked. :)

Photo: Mary Polleys

Photo: Mary Polleys

Coconut chocolate chip cookies

Crazy girls be like, “Giving up cookies for New Year’s!” I’m all like, “No.”

If you know me, you know I have a super sweet tooth. As a kid, I used to eat handfuls of Chips Ahoy cookies from my family’s cookie jar after school and sneak late night snacks like the peanut butter cups from the freezer. (Those were my brother’s — he wasn’t too happy when his Reese’s went missing.) Don’t believe me? Ask my awesome boyfriend to show you a picture from my chubby days that he snapped at Thanksgiving.

Now that I have my snacking under control, I’m constantly looking for ways to make desserts a bit healthier… and that’s not changing in the New Year. Here is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that incorporates whole wheat flour and subs in coconut oil for butter.coconut

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or coconut/almond/oat flour for gluten-free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1/2 cup soft coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 heaping cup coconut (or brown) sugar
1 egg (or 1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T of water for vegan)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 chocolate bar, or 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut

*You might need 1 Tbsp of almond/coconut milk to bring a dryer batter together.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a another bowl, whisk/blend coconut oil, sugars, egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Your batter might be on the drier side — if so, this is where you add the milk. Start with 1 T and mix well.
  5. Finally, fold your chopped chocolate bar to your cookie batter.
  6. Chill batter in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.SAMSUNG CSC
  7. Roll cookies into balls. Place cookies on a non-stick cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment paper). Bake for ~10-15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

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Enjoy!