Tag Archives: chocolate

Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Holla from the beautiful hills of Whistler everybody!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful time with family and friends over Christmas for those who celebrate. We’ve gotten cozy here in the crisp air of Whistler where we are grateful to connect and catch up with great friends over great food and clean mountain air. It’s pretty spectacular to see the snow at Christmas time, and I for one am always happy to have a break from the rain soaked streets of mild Vancouver πŸ™‚

Gearing up for Christmas always presents a lot of prep work, and this year was certainly no exception.

Our traditional family breakfast is always the same: fresh crepes stuffed with chocolate and fruit. Always easy, always good. This year I was thrilled to use this recipe in our crepes (the other half was made with classic Nutella). Smooth, rich, creamy, and 100% amazing. Not to mention ridiculously easy to prepare. It’s almost too good to be true!

Almost as good as this view from our walk home yesterday.

Whistler | IPOM

The Less:

Less milk dependent dessert options means more flexibility for those craving it. Fewer ingredients in recipes means easy work of making them. Less chemically laden processed chocolate products means more clean, whole ingredients, so enjoying delicious foods doesn’t mean you can’t pronounce what is in them.

The More:

More clean eating rich desserts means more enjoyment from less volume of them. More full fat plant-based desserts means more taste and less overdoing it. More two ingredient recipes means more two minute inspiration, so whipping up a rich tasty treat is never taxing.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread:

  • (1) 398 ml can of coconut milk (with the cream separated from the liquid)
  • (115-130) grams of dark chocolate

Put up a double boiler onto the stove by boiling a small pan of water with a stainless bowl resting over top. Bring the water to a boil.

Open the can of coconut milk (without shaking the can!) and using a spoon, scoop out the cream from the top of the can, reserving the liquid to use in smoothie or salad dressing.

Combine the chocolate and the coconut cream together in the bowl over the boiling water and stir as the two melt together over the heat. Feel free to turn the heat down a little to maintain just a roiling boil. Stir the two together and using a spatula, ensure any chocolate that gathers on the sides of the bowl gets re-incorporated into the mix.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Once the two are nicely combined and have formed a silky smooth sauce, remove from the heat and pour into a clean jar or serving vessel. Served warm, you can treat this like a thick sauce, but to keep it, simply store it in the fridge where it will form a thick spread that can be used as an icing, or to fill crepes, or even on toast.

In my next post I’ll share the hazelnut & chocolate Christmas cookies I made, taking inspirations from this recipe.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

It’s always a good time to set up camp in the kitchen for a fun time of exploration – I was so happy to discover this amazing combo (and I am certain I am not the first to do this).

  • Have you experimented with coconut cream & chocolate before?
  • What would you use this for/on?

Me? I am finding ways to use this on just about anything – it is especially good with fresh banana for an easy, sweet pick me up πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear your ideas! Wishing you all a wonderful remainder to your holiday week!

Yours in Less,

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32 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan

Recipe: Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte & Thoughts on Hope

More fresh ways to get creative in the kitchen.

The greatest thoughts come from the heart.

~ Vauvenargues

It’s true! We are here!

The family made it to Paris, and after a typical long travel day, we arrived yesterday to a bustling busy city at the height of tourist season. As I write this, I’ve got a fabulous internet connection in my quaint french apartment (which will be home for the next week). French press coffee at my side (brought from home), and sleeping children in the room adjacent.

Life is good, and I hope to share it as I am inspired over the course of the 3 weeks we’ll be away here.

Of course the blog will look a little different from here, and to me this is exciting, as who knows what might inspire me? There is surely no shortage of material, as I learned from the first time I visited this beautiful city just two years ago.

Today’s post is the follow-up from the recipe for Homemade Fresh Coconut Milk, which I am quite certain a few of you will attempt, if only to get to this dessert.

Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.

~ French Proverb

Taking inspiration from this popular IPOM recipe, (remember those insanely delicious Rice Krispie Treats?), I knew there had to be a most delicious way to take advantage of the by-product from making coconut milk, and after all that work, I surely wasn’t going to waste a single morsel.

And it is so delicious, that would have been absolutely criminal.

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~ Author Unknown

As it happens, last week was also fun as I was nominated in a blog relay about hope by a fellow favorite blogging chum Cara at Fork and Beans (love this girl).

This ‘relay’ asks bloggers to touch on the topic of hope, an interesting word if there ever was one. I could write a whole essay on this topic (as I am sure some of us could), and hope is a funny thing, as surely we all hope, and in turn also have hopes.

To me, I think hope is the feeling we have when we simply want something to go our way. Hope is also the deep belief & longing that helps us get through the toughest of times.

Simply put, the notion of hoping always reminds me that certain things are in our control, and others simply are not. The things we can control are often the hardest to do.

Things like how we feel & think, how & what we eat, how we behave with others. Hoping is the first step in simply doing. By doing, I believe we can get closer to actually realizing our hopes and dreams.

As a hope without action is simply just that, nothing more than a thought, or a desire. By doing, we become.

And as for the things that are beyond our control? The quote below pretty much sums it up for me.

Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.

~ Robert Brault

Here are the next few bloggers tagged in this relay – I’d love to hear what these lovely ladies have to share with us as I always enjoy their unique perspectives on food, life, art, travel, and all those hopeful dreams of ours πŸ™‚

Spree at Cooking Spree, Marina at Marina Chetner, Syders from This Sydney Life, Sharyn at the Kale Chronicles, Ishita at Ishita Unblogged. Have fun with it ladies!

The Less:

Fewer ingredients makes for simple, easy working. Less heated dessert foods means more intact enzymes and less baking in the heat of summer. Less heavy, flour-based baked goods, means less allergens and less gluten, so these treats can really be enjoyed by all, no matter where you go, or who you go with.

The More:

More uses for by-products means less waste and more value. More healthy chocolate treats means more feeling good about eating them. More easy simple recipes means more incentive to get the job done, so killing two birds with one stone just got easier. Not to mention delicious, healthy, and fun too.

Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte:

  • leftover pulp from (1) recipe Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk you should have about 2.5-3 cups (the pulp of one coconut, or feel free to sub shredded coconut for the pulp, though I suspect the result will be much drier)
  • (2) cups chocolate chips, for melting
  • (1/3) cup almond butter, raw or roasted
  • (4) cups rice krispie cereal
  • (1) tsp vanilla

Optional Topping:

  • (1) cup chocolate chips
  • (1/4 1/3) cup shredded coconut

Begin by melting the (2) cups of chocolate chips using a double boiler, or by putting the chocolate chips in a stainless bowl (use a bowl big enough to mix the whole recipe if you can) over a pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted completely, remove the bowl from the heat.

Add the almond butter and vanilla and stir. The heat from the chocolate will help the almond butter to soften without heating the almond butter over heat itself (particularly good if you are concerned about this and are using raw almond butter).

Add the coconut pulp to the chocolate-almond butter mixture and mix well. The coconut will cool the hot chocolate and bring the temperature down a little. Next, add the rice krispie cereal to the mixture, and mix well with your hands, ensuring it is even.

Line an 8 inch round or square pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan, using your hands to get it as even on the top as possible. Put the pan into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

The mixture will harden and become very firm to the touch. Remove the firm torte and with your hands take out the parchment paper, holding it in your hands carefully. Place the hardened torte back in to the pan.

From here, you can enjoy as is, or if you want to get creative or fancy (like I did), simply melt an additional cup of chocolate chips and spread over the entire cooled torte, topping with shredded dried coconut as garnish. Place the pan back in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

Serve in slices with optional fruit (raspberries are delicious!), and perhaps some ice cream or whip. You can also cut and enjoy through the week as a snack.

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.

~Author Unknown

This dessert made a fabulous treat for a group this week as I said good-bye to my co-workers before my holiday. One good-bye was a little harder than the others.

It is rich while still being light on the tummy. A true feel good dessert!

Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.

~ George Weinberg

Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.

~ Robert Ingersoll

It is my sincere desire that anyone reading this post today can feel hope in knowing that deliciousness is never far away, and that in all of our hands is carried infinite possibilities for action of all kinds.

Whether it is cooking, writing, or any form of art, it is the hands that carry out the work of the heart and the mind.

Here’s hoping we can all enjoy some of that. I’ll be seeking in the coming weeks here from France what has begun as a fabulous time in a most beautiful place. Here’s to infinite possibilities!

  • What are you hopeful for today?
  • Got a favorite no bake dessert to share with us?

More to come readers, stay tuned! Off to see the sights as I’ve officially had enough coffee…

Yours in Less,

67 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Hope, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Superfood Chocolate Chip Cookies & Guest Posting!

Ready for a 2 Post Friday?

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

~ Dr. Seuss

Welcome to a special 2 Post Friday here at IPOM! Holla! *So much fun*

Another link at the end of this post too!

Today I’ve got a guest post up at Cara’s amazing blog, Fork and Beans.

If you’ve never had a chance to visit her before now, I highly suggest you do after I tempt you with these delicious cookies (the link is up at the end of the post too!).

Today’s recipe, here at IPOM, is Carla’s favorite homemade cookie recipe, the one given to her on her wedding day in a family cookbook.

This version is slightly updated and it incorporates a few of our latest favorite super foods.

It is super. For reals.

I’ve also got to thank you readers for your responses and messages regarding the last post about Chris and Carla – if you liked what you read then be sure to keep up with us as we share more and more…it is only just beginning!

Now for the cookies…

Cocoa nibs are a nutritional wonder finding their way into yummy treats all over the blogosphere. You can enjoy them in granola, or these raw cookies.

But today – they team up with chocolate chips for an extra hit of rich sweet goodness!

Look for cocoa nibs online or in most health food stores these days. They aren’t cheap, but a little goes a long way.

Hemp hearts are one of my all time favorites.

Grown here in Canada (you’ve got to love local), they are loaded with healthy fats and protein that fill you up and keep on giving well into the end of your day.

I am a giant fan of enjoying them in the morning, they provide fuel for an evening run or workout that is amazing, and did I mention just a few tablespoons keep you satisfied for hours too? Pretty killer.

The Less:

Less hydrogenated fats and oil mean less hard to identify compounds for your body. Less store bought treats means less packaging, waste, and preservatives. Less reliance on outside sources for snacks and goodies means more ways to make life simply delicious. Especially when it is this super-charged.

The More:

More superfood ingredients means more super-charged nutrition. More pure easy ingredients means more goodness that’s easily at hand. More homemade chocolatey treats means more tasty ways to share blessings, so you can spread thankfulness for today πŸ™‚

Superfood Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Cream Together:

  • (1/2) cup brown sugar
  • (1) cup butter (at room temperature)

Wet:

  • (2) eggs
  • (2) tsp vanilla extract
  • (2) tbsp milk

Dry:

  • (1) cup whole wheat flour
  • (1) cup white flour
  • (1) tsp baking soda
  • (1) tsp baking powder
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • (2) cups oatmeal
  • (1) cup shredded coconut
  • (1) cup hemp hearts (sub 1 more cup coconut of you don’t have these)
  • (2) cups chocolate chips
  • (1) cup cocoa nibs (sub 1 more cup chocolate chips if you don’t have these)

Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Combine the dry ingredients in another mixing bowl and add to the wet ingredient bowl in batches, stirring in between to incorporate. Get in there with your hands!

Shape your cookies and set on a flat un-oiled cookie sheet. No need to press these down as they will make a lovely ‘cake-like’ cookie (like my mom used to make).

Bake for 8 minutes. Once ready, remove from the oven and let sit on the hot dry another 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Pack up in your favorite tin and share, share, share!

This recipe does make a rather large batch of cookies. Of course, you could halve the recipe though I am sure the large batch size is for a reason ~ for sharing!

After all, who in your life could use a little thank you? Got a friend, co-worker, neighbour that likes cookies? I bet you do! Accountant, boss, arch enemy? No one could say no to a home baked cookie.*

*(unless you could)

There is no delight in owning anything unshared.

~ Seneca

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

~ Winston S. Churchill

The world is what YOU think of it, so think of it DIFFERENTLY and your life will change.

~ Paul Arden, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

Consider this the official invite..

I’ll be busy planning an extra special dinner with some very special friends next weekend. I’ll be sure to update you all very soon on that one!

  • What is your favorite cookie recipe?
  • Anyone in your life that could use a little thank you?

I am so happy to share Carla’s favorite way to perk the office up with you today, we are always thankful for home baked treats!

Let us know your thoughts, and as always giant thanks to all for reading!

Make sure to come see us at Fork and Beans and meet Cara, you’ll be so happy you did, and thanks again to Cara for hosting me today!

Yours in Less,

51 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Oatmeal, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegetarian

Recipe: Almond Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares

Can I tempt anyone with dessert?

There’s more to life than chocolate, but not right now.

~ Anonymous

Anyone up for a special treat?!

This has been a very special week here at IPOM, and for (little, wee) me. Many hard weeks of patient, persistent, and tough pushing on seem to be paying off.

There are some big decisions being made, some plans being laid out, and some fruit ready for the picking from from what has been (what feels like) a (very) long, a (very) careful, and (at times) a very trying growing season (yes, more corny metaphors…..I can’t help it!).

There is one reason only these things are happening, and that is I am lucky to be surrounded to by truly great people.

These people give of their time, and of their talents, and most of all, from their hearts. For these people, and for you readers who are so wonderfully supportive, I am so very grateful. Thank you.

So I made dessert this week to celebrate! It was rather overdue, and plus, I get to thank a couple of special people for the inspiration on this one.

It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t.

~ Paul Arden, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

The inspiration for this recipe came to me from one of my blogging buds – Sarah from the Healthy Diva – who whipped up a batch of a lovely sounding dessert (originally from Oh She Glows) for a charity bake sale.

I checked it out and not only did the recipe sound amazing, but it was also right up my alley – gluten-free, no baking, and now, loaded with chocolate.

I made a few changes to the original, and the results are, well, more than worthy of this wonderful week!

Thanks to the Diva for her amazing efforts (in both cooking and giving) and to another wonderful reader also named Sarah (wink) who expressed her love for rice krispie squares this week in one of her comments.

The Less:

Less marshmallow sweetened rice krispie treats means less gooey, sticky messes to clean. Less heavy, flour-based treats means you can eat these and still feel light as air. Less time baking treats in the oven means less energy expended, so we can save it for something (or someone) else who needs it more.

The More:

More natural nut butter richness means sweet cravings become welcome. More crispy sweet rice cereal means less mess and more crunch. More yummy homemade treats means more yummy homemade smiles, ones you can share everyday.

Almond Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares:

  • (4.5) cups rice crisp cereal (I use the traditional Kellogg’s but you can use any kind)
  • (1/2) cup roasted or raw almond butter (feel free to sub cashew or pumpkin butter too!)
  • (1) tbsp coconut butter, butter, or margarine (optional)
  • (1/2) cup honey (or brown rice syrup)
  • (1/4) tsp fine salt, or to taste
  • (1) tbsp vanilla extract
  • (1) cup chocolate chips (we love Chipits in this house)

Get ready a 9 inch by 9 inch baking pan and butter lightly (either coconut butter or butter) or line with wax or parchment paper.

In a small pot, combine the nut butter, honey, sea salt, and coconut butter.

On very low heat, stir to combine and warm only very gently. Remove from heat once smooth and well mixed and add vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine the rice krispies and chocolate chips with the nut butter/honey mixture and mix (you need your hands for this!). Mix well with a firm hand, squeezing the mixture tightly to ensure evenness throughout.

The chocolate chips will melt as you mix and you will end up with a gooey mixture of pure amazing-ness.

Press the mixture into a square pan either greased with a little butter or lined with parchment paper. Push down firmly to pack it in tightly and evenly (this can be a bit of a meditative exercise). Once smooth, pop these babies in the refrigerator until set!

When cold and set, cut into small squares, triangles, (or whatever shape you desire really) and enjoy!

Keep these guys in the fridge to maintain their yummy firm texture.

Amazing, delicious, nutritious, and so easy!

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

~ Pablo Picasso

The beauty here is you need very little to be satisfied.

These little guys are loaded with nutrition from the almonds, sweetness from the bees (or rice syrup if you choose for my vegan readers), and crispy chocolatey perfection.

As is often said here at IPOM, it’s about celebrating & reveling in the little things, and a little really does go a long way here!

Talent helps, but it won’t take you as far as ambition

~ Paul Arden

These will now be household staple here as it is rare we don’t have all the ingredients in the house.

Once you taste these you’ll really understand πŸ™‚

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

~ Lou Holtz

So with that, I am signing off for a relaxing weekend with old friends over food, family, and (just a little) poolside banter and a few long, deep breaths of clean country air.

I am feeling incredibly grateful for life’s lessons this week, and know that the secret to doing anything is always just in starting.

From there, the road is bumpy. It’s messy and full of failure. But it is also exhilarating, and full of giant triumphs and smiles.

If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else.

~ Paul Arden

I can’t imagine any other way I’d want to live, and I am so happy you are here with me too!

  • What’s your favorite rice krispie recipe?
  • Are you as in love with chocolate as we are?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

I might be a little MIA for the next few days and will try to keep up with you all as best I can. I am looking forward to some amazing meals and can’t wait to share it all with you when I get back!

Let us know your thoughts friends – I’ve a feeling there are some chocolate lovers out there with me πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

92 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

Let’s start the week right, with chocolate!

Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

~ Gandhi

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend – filled with family, good food, and (maybe) (just a little) sunshine!

We enjoyed a few days together and certainly made the most of it: by cleaning out the basement!

Well, not the whole weekend was spent this way, but a needed spring-clean was a feel good way to ring in the season of newness, and clean out some cobwebs (literally!)

It felt pretty good, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.

~ Benjamin Disraeli

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote me asking if I had any recipes for kid’s lunches that are yummy, portable, and nut-free.

I admit I’m a little guilty of throwing a fruit snack or a little piece of chocolate (even a very occasional Oreo) into my kids lunches, as I’ve got at least one very picky eater in my house – the home baked goodies aren’t a guarantee that is for sure!

I’m not a big cookie-maker (or baker in general) – but I do like a good challenge…so I set out to make a treat that was flour-free, kid-approved, and still easy to make and (just a little) healthy.

I’ll let you guys tell me how I did!

No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.

~ Aesop

The Less:

Less flour-based sweet treats means more in tact nutrition, and less reliance on gluten. Less packaged cookies and treats means less waste, less additives & preservatives, and more fresh gooey texture to boot. Less looking for ways to use whole grains means more inspiration that eating this way is easy. Less wondering means more confidence, and who doesn’t want that?

The More:

More chewy sweet ways to combine healthy ingredients means more ways to ‘trick’ loved ones who may not be keeners. More millet and oats means more super-powered fuel from clean sources. More homemade sweet goodness means more ways to the hearts of those you love, and who wouldn’t want that everyday?

This recipe incorporates millet, which is actually a highly nutritious seed that dates back to Biblical times. It’s totally gluten-free and high in protein, so if you are new to it – it’s worth checking out for sure! This recipe can easily be veganized too – and I know at least a few of you who are pros at that!

Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars:

  • (1/2) cup dry millet
  • (1.25) cups cold water
  • (1.5) cups quick oats
  • (1) cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • (1/2) cup coconut milk (or nut milk or regular milk)
  • (1) tbsp butter (or coconut butter)
  • (1/4) cup brown sugar (or sucanat)
  • (2) tbsp cocoa powder
  • (1/4) tsp salt
  • (1) tsp vanilla
  • (1) tsp baking powder
  • (1) banana (fresh or frozen)
  • (1) fresh egg (or egg substitute)
  • (3/4-1) cup chocolate chips of choice (I used medium-sized dark for this, 1 cup will make them super sweet)

Start by combining the dry millet and the cold water in a small pot with the lid. Bring to a boil, and cook, covered on low heat for 20 minutes, until fluffy. Once done, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Oil a cookie sheet lightly with butter or oil and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked millet, oats, coconut, coconut milk, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add to the mixture. If you are using a frozen banana, skip this step and instead simply soak the banana in hot water until it thaws and add it straight to the large bowl.

Add the egg or egg substitute and mix. Add baking powder and stir one more time before adding the chocolate chips.

Mix well one last time (don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands!).

Transfer to the oiled cookie sheet and press until you have a layer about 2/3 inch thick.

This recipe doesn’t make quite enough to cover an entire large cookie sheet so I butted it up the edge of one and lt it go from there trying to make the free end as straight as I could. I didn’t mind the jagged edge – the perfect tester piece before cutting the bars!

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into bars either 3/3 inches or 4/4 inches square. Totally your call how you want to cut these! Keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature and eat with 2-3 days.

Moist, chewy, and sweet – these are perfect for the chocolate lover’s post lunch treat! No wrappers or crumbs either.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

~ Will Rogers

Serve kid-style with a cold glass of your favorite milk. With these treats fresh from the oven….that’s a match made in heaven!

We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

~ Aristotle

That’s a sweet way to start the week – even if you are up to your bunny ears in chocolate from the weekend πŸ˜‰

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.

~Arnold H. Glasow

An even bigger thanks for stopping by regularly and for taking the time to leave your notes and comments. I loved the response from the last post – and the appreciation for the beauty in the little things!

  • What was your favorite cookie as a kid?
  • Whats’ your favorite cookie NOW?

Let us know – we might just share in that too!

Yours in Less,

68 Comments

Filed under Children, Cooking, Desserts, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegetarian

Recipe: Sweet Life Coconut Chocolate Chews

There’s always room for a little sweetness in life.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

~ Mother Teresa

Want to stay sweet?

Life is quick, yes – and so it should be good.

And by good, I mean full of sweetness and joy – not just for us as individuals but for those special people we share our lives with.

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

~ Plato

Being good (comes with being sweet) isn’t as easy as we wish it was. Like anything worth doing, being good, consistently, is hard work.

So make it easy for yourself. Start with you!

Treat yourself as you would have others treat you!

Whip up a batch of these delicious bars, throw them in the fridge, and enjoy a healthy feel good treat whenever the mood strikes you.

Share them with friends. Live the sweet life. Never look back.

The Less:

Less processed foods in your sweet treats means more real energy to infuse goodness into your cellular self. Less flour based treats means easy simple sugars, protein, and whole foods in their pure form that are a snap to break down and provide long burning fuel that doesn’t need baking. Less refined ingredients in the form of oils and less heat from not cooking means your food stays in tact in its raw state. Less ingredients mean your stars can take their sweet spot at center stage.

The More:

More real chocolate, nuts, and coconut means more rich satisfying goodness that will feed your soul and your stomach. More super foods and dried fruit means less of the sugared stuff is needed to be satisfied. More sweetness on your tongue means more sweetness where you speak, so whispering sweet words and spreading kindness have never been easier.

Sweet Life Coconut Chocolate Chews:

  • (200) grams good dark chocolate
  • (3) cups shredded coconut (part can be roasted lightly)
  • (1/4-1/2) cup cocoa nibs
  • (2) cup pitted dates soaked 4-6 hours in cold fresh water
  • (1) cup raw whole brazil nuts, coarsely ground
  • a pinch of good sea salt (or two)

Start by soaking the dates 4-6 hours in advance using the same method as I described here for Coconut Date Bliss Balls.

Once ready to make, begin by melting your chocolate using a double method of your choice (I outline mine here).

Grind your brazil nuts using a hand blender grinding attachment, a food processor, or my latest accessory: a hand nut grinder ($12.99)! If you choose to roast a portion of your coconut, heat the oven to 350 degrees and roast the coconut for a few minutes only, 2-3 minutes should be plenty.

Drain the soaked dates (reserve the soaking liquid in case you need any) and add to a blender. Blend the dates on high without additional water until blended (it’s okay if there are a few chunks). If you feel you need to, add a little of the date soaking water to facilitate better blending, just be careful not to make it too wet.

Combine all prepared ingredients – melted chocolate, roasted or raw coconut, blended dates, cocoa nibs and ground nuts – in a large mixing bowl and mix together by hand. Add a little pinch or two of good sea salt to the mixture if desired (you’ll want to do this part but only with really good sea salt).

Good sea salt is important.

Line a 9 by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper a little oil or butter inside the pan will be fine). Spread the mixture into the pan and press with your hands to make a firm even layer of yummy. This is like a massage of love onto your dessert and so essential to the taste!

Think good thoughts while you do this (maybe take a few long deep breaths too)!

Once pressed (and blessed), throw the pan into the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove from fridge to cut into whatever shape you desire and store in a sealed container either at room temperature or in the fridge (I opt for the fridge).

Enjoy your sweet treats – you deserve them…really! We all deserve sweetness, whether bestowed on ourselves (by ourselves) or by others.

That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.

~ Emily Dickinson

Wherever you find yourself on this gorgeous March day, I hope your day is smelling sweet, and your kitchen is smelling even sweeter!

As for me, I’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of the soccer field sidelines and reveling in the sweet moments I am collecting to tide me over for my future. My kids won’t be young forever – and neither will I πŸ™‚

  • What are you reveling this fine weekend?
  • Any good deeds you’d like to share with us?

Go ahead, make our day!

Thanks to all of you for coming back to visit – your support, comments, and blogging inspiration are truly wonderful and I love hearing from you – so wherever you are on this fine day: thanks for being you!

Yours in Less,

39 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan

Finding More in (just a little) Snacks & Magic.

Do you believe in magic?

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

~ Goethe

I think it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of magic in our household these days.

Evidence of this over the weekend was made by a visit by not one, but two of our (reasonably) regular household visitors – the Leprechaun and the Tooth Fairy (she’s been around A LOT lately).

I would say that one of the best parts about having kids is keeping up with all the magic.

There’s been a lot of other magic around these parts too of late, that being the wonder of the flowers that are (once again) poking their heads out of the cold earth to bring us cheerfulness and a renewed sense of possibility.

β€œIf you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

~ Albert Einstein

A few peeks at the garden waking up.

For those of you who visit IPOM regularly (for which I am so grateful!), you have probably noticed the penchant over here for quotes and inspirational tidbits.

Keeping magic alive is a big part of the mystery (and fun) of life (IMO) and I am always game to look for (just a little) of the make believe here and there.

Part of it has to do with this:

There is no lack of creative juices in our household..there is a lack of desire to clean up though (another story entirely).

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?

~ Sun Tzu

Another part is to do with this:

The Leprechaun leaving a trail behind..

I mean can you blame me?

I spent the weekend keeping up a bit of magic on St. Patty’s Day, making green chocolate bark (thanks to the ever creative genius of Cara over at Fork and Beans), and enjoying the simplicity of kid friendly snacks, and a long, looooong, walk in the fresh air.

The classic Ants on a Log.

I mean, with all the pressures we face to keep fit and exercise (run! ski! yoga! gym! bike!), the bottom line is our shoes are always there at our back door, ready to be laced up and taken for a walk.

That’s a magical and empowering thought (or reminder) in itself now isn’t it? Something so simple can be so special.

Not such a bad place to be on a walk about, hey?

Magic is always just right out your front door.

So with that, dear IPOM readers, I’ll leave you today (I’ll be getting saucy on my next post). What I’d really like to know is:

  • Do you believe in magic?
  • What gets your imagination going?
  • What are you favorite snacks from your childhood?

I’d love to know how you keep the magic alive!

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!

~ Dr. Seuss

Thanks (as always!) for stopping in!

If you want to find out how the peppermint bark is made, simply have a gander over to Cara’s website – I made the minty delicious filling to her confection (white chocolate, green food coloring & peppermint extract, that’s IT!).

This week I’ll be posting more magically delicious recipes, starting with Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce (and friends!).

Happy Monday to you all!

Yours in Less,

33 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Children, Family, Inspiration, Photography, Rejuvenation, Snacks

Recipe: DIY Peanut Butter Cups

Don’t get the sandals out just yet!

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

~ Abraham Lincoln

It’s snowing/sleeting/spitting here today (ugh!) – a bit hard to swallow after last weeks heavenly sunshine, and even harder to believe after buying myself a new and much needed (flower-printed) hand trowel yesterday and a few (ever cheerful) pansies for my front stoop.

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.

– John Lennon

Despite all this, I am doing my best to stay cheerful – to look forward – and get ready (this is code for I am getting a pedicure!).

I truly believe one must make time for themselves in this busy life, but to appreciate it is key (like it is with most things really).

As a rule, the mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also weak, and where there is no strength of mind there can be no strength of soul.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

So with that in mind, here is a recipe for true self-indulgence and pleasure (especially if you are a peanut butter lover).

Rich, satisfying, and easy as 1, 2, 3 these are!

So go ahead and enjoy the simple pleasures.

The Less:

Less packaged confections means less litter and less guilt. Less pesticides from heavily sprayed conventional peanuts means better health for you and your loved ones. Less refined fats & unpronounceable ingredients in your diet means more support for your body as it breaks down your fuel. Less stress on the system means better living. Y’know?

The More:

More satisfying richness from more real ingredients means less craving for calories elsewhere. More protein, real healthy fat, and intense flavor in your treats means more long term satisfaction so you can consume less, less often (you won’t need a lot). More peanut butter and chocolate together means (quite simply) more delicious. Straight up.

DIY Peanut Butter Cups

  • 400 grams good milk chocolate (buy it bulk – you could also use dark!)
  • (1) cup good smooth or chunky natural organic* peanut butter at room temperature
  • paper muffin cups (any size – fancy ones would be nice!)

Honestly that’s it!

Here’s how to impress your peanut-butter-chocolate-loving friends..and a little ‘tip from the top’ today: men love these!

Put up your chocolate to melt in a double boiling mechanism (I describe how I do it here). Melt your chocolate, stirring to prevent caking or burning. Once the chocolate is melted, keep it on the heat (very low) and add the peanut butter.

Stir together until the mixture is a gorgeous warm blend of pure glory. Feel free to add more peanut butter once you taste it..you really can’t mess this one up.

Once you have eaten as much as you can handle from the stirring spoon (don’t be shy), prepare your muffin cups on either a flat cookie sheet or in a muffin pan (you might need 2 muffin pans as this makes more than 12). Spoon the mixture into the cups carefully – 2-3 tbsp per muffin cup or more depending on the size of cups you have.

You don’t want to make these too big or you might not be able to finish a whole one in a sitting (or maybe you will)!

Shake the pan to even out the cups and pop these babies in the fridge or freezer to cool and set! You can store these in the fridge forever….(I’d love to know how long they last you)..

* A word about peanut butter: it is really really important to use real natural organic peanut butter (I am sure most of you don’t need to read this) – processed peanut butters contain heinous amounts of saturated fats and refined oils that are straight up not good for you – peanuts are naturally oily as they are! Peanuts are also grown conventionally with heavy amounts of pesticides – so eat organic if you can!

These super rich treats are great to have around in your fridge when you need a sweet hit.

Creamy, rich, and oh so yummy, they’ll hit you right where it counts and you might just impress a friend or two. I like to use them as topping for ice cream – straight up french vanilla or homemade white chocolate hazelnut – say what? Yup, I’ll share that in an upcoming post…

While I wait for the sun to return, I am dreaming of fresh cut grass, picnic baskets, and sandals.

I am thinking I might pick a sunny orange color for my toes today.

  • How do you pamper yourself?
  • What’s your favorite nail polish color?
  • Are you a peanut butter fiend like me?

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thanks to all of you for reading this week – anyone out there with leftover kale pesto?

My last batch is dwindling too….I think I’ll make another pizza….what did you do with yours?

We’d love to know..

All the best to you all fine IPOM readers (as always) – and regardless of the weather, Happy Wednesday!

(Even if it is sleeting, snowing, spitting, slushing, and blustering)

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Superfood Coconut Energy Cookies

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

~ Japanese Proverb

Anyone out there tried making almond milk yet with any great success?

I’ve been swooning over it myself these days (and so has the teenager!) and have looked forward to coming up with new ways to use up the pulp (I’ve now finished the last batch of ice cream).

Here is the latest go with a use for almond pulp, and my, its yummy! No need for anything other than the ingredients, a bowl, your clean hands, and a good song!

The Less:

Less waste, less sugar, less sweetened, baked treats. Less packaging from making almond milk. Less cooking means less energy, and less appliances means less time spent on clean up πŸ™‚ Less wondering what to do with this superfood stuff!

The More:

More seriously potent fiber from hemp hearts and cocoa nibs. Lots of good energy, protein, and yummy healthy fats too. More dancing if you make them like we make them (we dance a lot).

Superfood Coconut Energy Cookies:

  • almond pulp from one recipe Mindful Almond Milk (about 3/4 cup)
  • (2) cups shredded unsweetened coconut (you can roast a small portion of you like)
  • (3) tbsp almond or any nut butter
  • (1/2) cup hemp hearts
  • (2) tbsp maple syrup
  • (1) cup quick oats
  • (1/4-1/2) cup cocoa nibs (you can also sub in teeny tiny chocolate chips or a roasted ground nuts)

It’s simple really..

Mix all together with your hands – form into little cookie shapes no bigger than two inches in diameter. Feel free to play with amounts until you reach a firm texture that will mold and hold shape well.

Voila! Keep in the fridge – I took these into work and they totally vanished (if you want any maybe don’t do that)…these little treats are two bit perfection as a little snack or a treat – you could even snag them for a quick breakfast.

This is a move you could try. Or not.

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart.

~ Author Unknown

Let us know what you think (and how you are, will you?!)

  • Do you dance in the kitchen?
  • What are you dancing to this week?

Next post, more oats…

Have a wonderful day!

Yours in Less,

42 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Nut Recipes, Oatmeal, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Finding More in coffee and (just a little) fun with friends.

More Chocolate anyone?

This one is pretty straight forward.

Like Chocolate? Check.

Like Coffee? Check.

Like sweet, iced, lusciously energizing beverages? Check.

Let’s not talk about our occasional jaunts to Starbucks, K? I won’t tell if you won’t, and for the record, they do a lot of things pretty well, and I kind of have to credit them with getting me hooked on coffee in the first place (and life is (just a little) better with coffee in it, in this girls’ very humble opinion).

In all seriousness, I consider myself very fortunate to have access to some of the very best roasted coffee in the world – check out the roaster I work for here – and I don’t really hit many Starbucks, unless I am traveling.

But who doesn’t love a decadent pick me up now and again?

Crafting this insanely delicious concoction isn’t rocket science, but you do need to be prepared (as in you have to have made the almond milk and the ice cream from the last two posts)…

Almond Iced Mocha:

Combine everything in your blender and enjoy!

You might also want to cover your bases with a good activity planned for after ingesting this.

(No, really).

Chances are you’ll be pretty juiced and I’d really hate to see that energy go to waste…

Got a book to finish? Write it. Gardening? Have the shovels and gloves ready! 10K time you want to beat? Now’s your chance.

Or, if you are anything like me, you might just kick back and enjoy another kind of activity that I wish I could do more often.

The joy of doing nothing.

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

~ Aristotle

However you choose to enjoy your time, do it well.

And do it often!

So that will wrap the sweet stuff for a bit…(I promise)..

I am excited to share some wonderful savory recipes and an idea for a series I’ve been working on.

Here are a few shots of the Not So Fast photo shoot we did on Sunday, it was a blast!

 

Huge thanks to all the new readers who have shared your enthusiasm with me, you are all amazing!

  • What do you do with your excess energy?
  • Are you a coffee drinker too?

Happy Wednesday folks!

Yours in Less,

27 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Going Without, Happiness, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Running, Success, Vegan