Radiant Recipe: Cinnamon Cacao Coconut Butter

Hello friends! Hope your week has been a good one. Today is just one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong, so while I am waiting for the plumber (argh!) I thought I might share a recipe I absolutely adore with you.

Since this week seems to be the week of the “butters” (Rebel Grrl Kitchen posted some delicious maple cinnamon almond butter and the trio of coconut oil spreads over at Healthy Happy Life made me drool), I thought I would add my simple but oh so tasty version.

As you may remember from my video, I am in deep, deep love with coconut butter. Artisana coconut butter to be more specific and no one gets between me and my jar.

Except my wallet. Oh, how I wish that incredible jar of amazingness wasn’t 12 bucks but sometimes you have to splurge, right? For those weeks where I just can’t fit it into the budget, I make my own!

It is simple, only requires three ingredients (or one if you prefer the original) and costs way less than the jarred kind. I will say though, for someone who isn’t part of the Vitamix club (yet!), it can take a while and can be quite loud. Especially in our new apartment which has no carpet…

Anyway, onto the recipe!

 

CINNAMON CACAO COCONUT BUTTER

(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups unsweetened, organic (if possible) dried coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the coconut in a food processor (or Vitamix if you are so lucky!)
  2. Blend for about ten minutes, or until it gets creamy. It will first start to clump up, then it will start coming together once the oils from the coconut have been released. Don’t give up! (If you have a Vitamix, this process will be easy and take only a few minutes.)
  3. After it becomes creamy, add in the cinnamon and the cacao powder and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
  4. Transfer to a glass container and cover with lid. Your coconut butter can now be used without refrigeration for about six months!

 

Other options would be to add in some wet ingredients, such as vanilla extract, maple syrup or even fruit! Please be warned, however, that adding liquid to the butter will require refrigeration and I am not sure of the shelf-life at that point…

So there you have it, a nutritious, luxurious and delectable treat for a fraction of the cost!

What are your favorite recipes using coconut butter?

 

[beautiful coconut tree photo by Ben]

 

 

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Radiant Recipes: Chia Fresca (Iskiate)

Greetings readers!

I know it has been a long time since I have posted any recipes but I have been so excited to write about other stuff, the poor recipes got pushed to the back burner.

Well no more! Today we will be discussing a fantastic indigenous beverage that tastes great and gives you a big energy boost. Chia fresca (also called iskiate in Tarahumara) is a drink made with very few ingredients that has been giving many Mexican and Guatemalan folks energy since before the colonization of those lands. It is believed that the Aztecs (among other peoples) used chia fresca as a nutritional concoction and anyone who has read Born to Run knows of the Tarahumara tribe using solely this drink as their sustanance for 100-mile ultra marathons.

Many of you health folks are well acquainted with this little seed but here are some nutritional facts:

  • Chia seeds contain what is called a “complete protein”, meaning they don’t have to be combined with any other proteins to give the body what it needs.
  • They possess a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber, witch slows down the conversion of starches into sugars in your body.
  • Chia seeds contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (which are hard to come by in a vegetarian/vegan diet)

Are you in love already? If not, try making some chia pudding and see what you think. Choosing Raw has a great chia recipe page and you can start there, experimenting with your favorite flavors!

But back to this chia fresca. This stuff is great. It is super cooling during the summer and so refreshing. My husband and I made it everyday we were on our honeymoon in Mexico. We were housesitting at a place with a lime tree in the garden so when the 110 degree afternoons came around (and they always did), we would sip some of this to get us through the heat spell.

 

CHIA FRESCA (ISKIATE)

  • 8 ounces purified water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sweetener (I find maple syrup to be best but yacon syrup, coconut syrup, honey, stevia, agave or brown rice syrup would be fine)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint (optional)

Combine all ingredients except the chia seeds and stir well. Adjust lemon/lime juice and sweetener to taste. Add chia seeds, stir and wait about ten minutes. If the seeds are separating too much, stir every few minutes. Add a slice of lemon/lime and/or a sprig of mint as garnish. Enjoy!

 

[photo from No Meat Athlete]

Radiant Recipes: Overnight Chai Steel-Cut Oats!

:the best overnight oats – dressed up with some walnuts + vegan chocolate chips!:

 

I can’t believe it has been so long since I posted a recipe! Sorry y’all, things have been busy and honestly, with all the detoxes + other food-related issues around here, recipes haven’t been at the front of my mind.

But enough excuses, onto something fun!

First, a story: I had never even heard of oatmeal before moving to Chicago and upon seeing it for the first time, I declared it the most revolting thing and swore never to eat it (although jowar porridge is a millet dish I grew up with that is somewhat similar now that I think about it). Fast-forward ten years to a brunch date with my husband at the adorable + delicious Milk and Honey cafe in Chicago. After much argument, I finally caved and agreed to having one tiny bite of oatmeal to prove that I had been right all of these years.

You can imagine what happens next.

Oh my, the oatmeal! It wasn’t slimy + mushy as I had feared, but instead was warm, hearty + comforting! It had been cooked with dried cherries and raisins and smelled of cinnamon! I was completely shocked that I had been missing out on something so easy to make. I made a vow then and there that I would welcome oatmeal into my life.

These days, I cook oatmeal every weekend when my husband and I have the mornings together. We take the extra time to make steel-cut oats because they are healthier for you than rolled oats (although I love making oatmeal bakes, cookies + smoothies with the rolled kind). Steel-cut oats are from the whole oat kernel, whereas rolled oats have the outer shell removed (which is where most of the fiber is!) and are more processed than their steel-cut counterparts.

The main issue with steel-cut oatmeal is how long it takes to cook. On our mornings off, spending half an hour preparing oatmeal, letting the breeze flow through the kitchen window and listening to some folk-y tunes is a lovely way to start the day. During the week when we are rushing to work and/or school, however, it is just too much of a bother.

So what can a steel-cut oat fan do? Bring out the overnight oats approach! Overnight oats hit the blogging world a few years ago and showed us how easy it was to “set + forget” rolled oats until the morning. Angela from Oh She Glows has posted some great vegan overnight oats (or “VOO”) resources including recipes for 12 VOO parfaits!

I have used a similar approach for this recipe, swapping rolled oats for the nutrient-packed steel-cut babies…and made it like a cup of chai tea!

OVERNIGHT CHAI STEEL-CUT OATS

(Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Nut-free)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup hemp milk (or any non-dairy milk that you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • optional: a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of black pepper and/or 1 tablespoon of natural sweetener

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a jar (such as a mason jar), combine all ingredients.
  • Stir to combine, secure lid and refrigerate overnight
  • In the morning, stir once more and enjoy!

You can also add a number of toppings right before eating, such as nut butter, dried coconut or (my favorite) chopped pistachios!

 

NOTE: As a (future) Ayurvedic Practioner, I have to remind my readers that cold food is strongly discouraged in Ayurveda. Not only do these oats get stored in the fridge, but they aren’t heated up before eating! In Ayurveda, food needs to be cooked to release certain healing properties for nourishing the body (which definitely goes against the raw food trend!) I love my green smoothies + breakfasts such as this one but I just needed to get that out there 🙂

radiant recipes: rosemary summer squash bean bowl

hello there friends!

today’s recipe was an improvisation that came from the moment we all (or at least us broke folks) dread: the moment you realize that a bunch of things in the fridge are about to go bad. we have a very limited farmer’s market budget so if one thing gets funky before we can eat it, my husband and i both get really sad and feel guilty about wasting a piece of the very precious produce we allow ourselves to buy.

we came home after a beautiful afternoon in the park (we are loving the bay area’s not too hot+not too cold, perfect park weather) and opened the fridge to see what would be for dinner. lo and behold, there were THREE things that were on the brink of rotting and so i had to think fast. how could i use summer squash, rosemary and spinach together to make a yummy dinner? i just started cooking and boy, am i glad i did. with the addition of some black beans (gotta get that protein!) we had a delicious+healthy meal.

 

 

ROSEMARY SUMMER SQUASH BEAN BOWL

(VEGAN+GLUTEN FREE)

 

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 clove garlic (or more if you prefer), sliced
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary (see note)
  • a few summer squash (any kind is fine, although i enjoy yellow scallops the most), sliced
  • a few tablespoons of oil (i used olive)
  • a few cups of spinach
  • salt+pepper to taste
  1. heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan on medium heat and add both the rosemary sprigs+garlic
  2. after a minute or so, add the squash and stir to coat with the oil
  3. saute until tender and lightly browned, stirring often (about 5-8 minutes)
  4. add the spinach to the squash and cover, allowing the spinach to steam for a few minutes
  5. meanwhile, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a small pan and add the beans, stirring occasionally
  6. remove the rosemary sprigs from the squash and add salt+pepper to taste to both dishes
  7. serve a bowl of the black beans with the squash+spinach on top

 

YUM!

 

note: in ayurveda, the year is divided into the seasons of the three doshas, or constitution types. summer is the time of pitta which is fiery and can fill us with impatience, irritability and anger. summer squash is a great pitta-reducing vegetable, cooling down our bodies and keeping us relaxed. rosemary aggravates pitta however, so a cooling herb such as mint, dill, tarragon or cilantro would be better to use (in that case, you would just finely chop the herbs and not remove them from the dish). adding some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) would also be a great addition!

radiant recipes: balela

hello readers!

well today was rainy and gloomy here in northern california so we spent the day inside, working and cooking hearty food. i wanted to highlight a recipe that i often turn to when a) i don’t have much in terms of groceries b) i don’t want to waste tons of money on creating an expensive dish and/or c) i am too tired to make anything difficult. here comes…balela to save the day!

balela is a middle-eastern bean salad (palestine respresent!) which is easy, quick and super yummy. it takes only minutes to put together and you then wait half an hour for the flavor to deepen. it has tons of protein due to the garbanzos and black beans, lycopene from the tomatoes and healing qualities from the herbs. i sometimes add garam masala or curry to the dish to infuse a little indian flavor but you could add other spice combinations and i am sure it would taste great. also, if you don’t have access to the fresh herbs, omitting them from the recipe is totally fine.

BALELA:  (vegan and gluten-free)


* 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzos

* 1 can of black beans

* 1 can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

* extra-virgin olive oil

*  1 lemon

* a few sprigs of parsely

* a few sprigs of mint

* salt and pepper to taste

* other spices such as garam masala, curry, turmeric and/or ginger (optional)

1. drain and rinse the chickpeas and beans thouroughly and pour into large mixing bowl

2. drain tomatoes and add to bowl

3. pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of lemon juice into the bowl, adjusting amounts to taste

4. tear the leaves from the herb sprigs, break apart with fingers and add to dish

5 if using, add amounts of other spices to taste

6. toss and mix well and let stand for 30 minutes

and that is it! so simple and so tasty. you can also serve it on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, wrap it up in tortillas or stuff it into a pita. so many options, although it tastes great enough to just enjoy with a spoon!

radiant recipes: raw vegan mixie

hello there!

i wanted to start my new series called “radiant recipes” where we will talk about meals, snacks and drinks that taste good and make you feel great!

yesterday was our 8 month wedding anniversary (we are dorks so we celebrate our anniversary every month because…why not?) so we celebrated with some amazing pizza. as great as it was, when we got home i was feeling really lethargic from all that cheese and fat so i wanted to make something fast and healthy for dinner.

one of my favorite new go-to meals when i am wanting something that is yummy and totally customizable is what i call the RAW VEGAN MIXIE.

this creation first saw the light of day when one day i was terribly hungry and had only a few ingredients to use for dinner. i started looking through the refrigerator and pantry and decided that i would put my food processor to the test. i used some greens (since they are healthy), some nuts (they are always great for making vegan dishes more “meaty”), carrots (to add some moisture and beta carotene), olive oil (to bind everything together), spices and some salt and pepper. it was so yummy and i had enough for two meals! the best part about this recipe is that you can make it with so many things and eat it in so many different ways!

THE VEGAN RAW MIXIE:  (vegan and gluten-free)

* 1 cup of greens (you can use spinach, kale, lettuce, arugula or whatever green you fancy)

* 1 cup of nuts (i usually use walnuts but you can use almonds, cashews, peanuts or sunflower/pumpkin seeds if nuts are too pricey)

* 1 cup of carrots (i put these in since they have a lot of moisture and crunch but if you don’t like carrots you could add celery instead or bell peppers)

* a few sundried tomatoes (these add oil and general tastiness)

* a pinch of whatever spices you choose (i like to add garam masala, curry and turmeric but you can mix and match your favorite spices and herbs!)

* a splash of olive oil (or sunflower/safflower oil) to get things moving in the machine

* salt and pepper to taste


1. toss all of the ingredients into a food processor (or strong blender) and pulse until mixed. depending on the strength of your machine, your mixie will be between the consistency of a cole slaw and a pate. don’t worry, either way it will be tasty!

2. at this point, you can either eat it as is (with some chips or baked pita triangles) or you can wrap it up. i usually wrap it in these amazing local chipotle tortillas but you can also wrap this in lettuce, collard greens, nori or stuff it in a pita) so many options!


as you can see, this recipe is very versatile and can be made just about anyway you want. it is easy and quick to make, tastes good and is good for you!

(just a note: ayurveda traditionally discourages a raw food lifestyle since it is believed that the healing properties of foods are enhanced through cooking but i have no problem promoting some vibrant, live food from time to time!)