Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

I thought the only fruit available for my smoothie this morning was bananas. I looove smoothies with “only” bananas. Was getting ready to blurt out the recipe for my banana spice smoothie but I’ll save it for another day…

Avocados are a fruit, so I was wrong, I did have another fruit besides bananas. I made an avocado smoothie a few months back and didn’t like the combo and just never tried again. Today the combo was excellent. Ripe avocados + frozen bananas (they must be frozen so the smoothie will turn out cold and thick) + chocolate protein powder + a little honey for sweetness = drinking it faster than usual because it’s so good.

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 frozen bananas, broken into chunks
  • 1 heaping scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Garden of Life)
  • 2 tablespoons local honey

Method

  • Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender (like a Vitamix) on “smoothie” setting. Instagram it! Serves 2. Enjoy!
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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

The 17th was my Mom’s 59th birthday. Happy birthday Mom!!

ingredients for flourless chocolate cake

She stays away from gluten, so I went on the hunt for something that she could feel good about having a big ole piece of. After searching through some recipes that called for 3-4 different types of flour that I didn’t want to go out and buy, I searched for “flourless cake” and came up with this one. It was perfect for her birthday/Easter egg hunt/dinner at my sister Angela’s house.

melted chocolate chips, butter and sugar

This was the cake after baking and before it was inverted on to a cake plate.

flourless chocolate cake

I added sliced strawberries to the finished product.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

The cake is an amazing combo of cake/brownie texture. Very fudge-y but not heavy. Super smooth and moist. Ultimate chocolate flavor! Super awesome with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. One of those go-to recipes that will WOW your guests (from 17 months to 59 years).

nephews

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • Garnishes: sliced strawberries or raspberries

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pan aside.
  • Place 8 ounces of the chocolate (2 cups of chips) and 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat (I used a large heatproof bowl over simmering water instead of placing the chips and butter directly in a pan). Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat. (Alternatively, you may use your microwave to melt the butter with the chocolate, if desired). Add sugar and mix well until it’s almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely. (I made the cake the night before, then made the glaze a little while before serving).
  • When cake has cooled, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.

Slightly adapted from Whole Foods

Buckwheat Brownies

Buckwheat brownies

This is maybe hard to admit…whatever the right words are…but these brownies are better than my “brownies from childhood”! I think it’s the buckwheat!

Words cannot describe the fudgey, rich chocolate-y, chewy goodness of these brownies! The buckwheat flour adds to the chewy factor. It makes me wonder why all brownies aren’t made with buckwheat flour?

What is buckwheat? It’s not a grain like you would think. It’s a fruit seed in the rhubarb family. They are high in magnesium…which is good for you for many reasons…hey, I’m not a nutritionist but I’m trying to learn!

Here are the buckwheat brownies before they were baked. I didn’t have the walnuts that the recipe called for so I decided to use dots of the homemade chocolate hazelnut butter that I made.

Buckwheat brownies (before baking)

Buckwheat brownies

Buckwheat Brownies

  • 1 stick organic, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup organic raw cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup organic walnuts (or 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, divided)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Prepare an 8×8 square baking dish by rubbing coconut oil around the bottom and sides.
  • In a small pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder, stirring until combined. Pour into a medium bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add vanilla and eggs and stir well to combine.
  • Add buckwheat flour, salt and baking powder and stir well for about 2 minutes, making sure to incorporate anything that may have stuck to the side of the bowl.
  • This is the point where you can fold in walnuts if using. I decided to use 9 dallops of my chocolate hazelnut spread.
  • Pour batter into the baking dish and spread evenly.  Bake for 28 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. When done, remove immediately from the baking dish and allow to cool completely before cutting/serving.

Recipe adapated from CA Organic Foodie

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

AKA super-healthy homemade Nutella.

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Some of the many interesting facts about hazelnuts (found here):

  • A specific B vitamin found in hazelnuts called thiamin works to help regulate your nervous system and aid healthy muscle and cardiovascular health. This valuable vitamin and antioxidant eliminates free radicals within your body that have connections with causing cancer.
  • Hazelnuts lack both sodium and cholesterol, making them a healthy choice for those watching weight and looking to improve heart health.
  • The small nuts contain viable amounts of magnesium and calcium, both of which greatly improve bone and teeth formation and density. Each also helps regulate metabolic functions.
  • The copper within hazelnuts plays a vital role in protecting against and improving some forms of arthritis, slowing down the overall aging process, and even stimulating brain cells. Copper also works to increase immunity, protecting you against common sicknesses.

Hazelnuts and coconut oil

Some benefits of Coconut Oil (found here):

  • Coconut oil increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy… Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
  • Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
  • You should read the whole section under “Other”!

For this recipe after the hazelnuts have been roasted you have to try to remove most of the skins…they won’t all come off…

Hazelnuts having a skin removal party

Layer the ingredients in the blender:

chocolate hazelnut butter

Look at that goodness!

Chocolate hazelnut butter

Doesn’t it look great in this jar? Give me a spoon!

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups organic raw hazelnuts

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. Take them out and shake them around about halfway through. Once roasted place them on a clean kitchen towel and try to remove as much of the skins as possible. Discard skins.
  • I used my Vitamix and placed all ingredients in the order listed. Start at level 1 and move dial very slowly to level 8. Run for 20 seconds and turn off.
  • Place in an air tight container and refrigerate.
  • Makes 2 1/4 cups of chocolate hazelnut butter.
  • Enjoy on toast, apples and slathered on crepes etc.