Tag Archives: good things

Recipe: Vegan Almond Chocolate Ice Cream

To me, there is something very satisfying about using up every last morsel of something.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

Charles M. Schulz

I’ve always struggled with tossing the pulp produced from juicing perfectly good whole vegetables and fruits. The same goes for bread crusts, wilted greens, and wrinkly old apples and oranges.

My last post about almond milk provided a nourishing, high quality way to satisfy a craving for richness. Straining the almonds makes a beverage that is ultra smooth and silky – but what to do with the leftover pulp?

Here is what I did.

My bet is you’ll be making almond milk from now on just so you can get to the leftovers.

A good friend once told me about her two rules to a happy marriage:

1. Never go to bed mad

2. Always have chocolate in the house

Over the years, I have learned that sometimes ignoring rule no.1 is the only way out of a silly late night bickering match.

(Trust me, go to sleep and it won’t seem like such a big deal in the light of day).

But I do stand by rule no. 2 religiously.

You might want to have a little of this tucked away after you try it too.

Here is the recipe for a 4-ingredient ice cream that will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth, and hopefully have you (and your significant other) sleeping soundly at night!

The Less:

Less real ice cream means less additives, fat, and calories from not eating dairy, not to mention dollars spent on processed packaged goodies. Less waste in the kitchen means better karma for your whole life, not to mention more satisfaction from using every penny’s worth of your precious ingredients.

The More:

More real chocolate and richness means you can enjoy less to be satisfied more. More nutritious treats means you can indulge without worry. More chocolate in life is just good. Just like more time in the kitchen celebrating goodness for yourself and your loved ones.

Almond Chocolate Ice Cream:

You will need:

  • Almond pulp from making one recipe of Mindful Almond Milk (this will yield about 3/4 cup of pulp)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup cold water for soaking chia
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 200 grams good dark chocolate (I use Callebaut from Belgium)

In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and 1/3 cup of cold water. Mix well and set aside. Next, using a double boiler or stainless bowl atop a pot of boiling water (I outline an easy method for this here), begin to melt the chocolate. Stir the chocolate as it melts to avoid it getting stuck or burnt. Check the soaking chia seeds after a few minutes and stir with a fork to make sure it gels with the water consistently.

After 10 minutes or so, the chia will have formed a nice gelatinous mixture. Stir one last time. In a blender, combine the almond pulp, chia, and remaining 1/3 cup of water and blend on high until smooth and well mixed.

Transfer chia/almond mixture to a small mixing bowl. Once your chocolate is melted, stir the warm chocolate directly into the chia/almond mixture and stir (be sure to spatula out every last drop of melted chocolate!).

Stir your gloriously warm concoction together and look to the stars, chances are angels are singing, birds are dancing and the clouds are parting…you are stirring pure heavenly goodness!

From here you can go one of a few ways, but for ice cream, (after all that is the title of this post, right?) transfer the mixture to individual containers (I just happened to have an empty dessert container from a frozen probiotic yogurt I tried)….then freeze!

If you eat this on the same day you make it – allowing 4-5 hours to set in the freezer – the texture will be perfection. However, if you want to save it for a later day I recommend removing it from the freezer 20-30 minutes before you want to eat it, the texture will be just right….

And here you have it, the finished product. By-products from other delicious recipes never looked (or tasted) so good!

I hope you enjoy this partially raw, totally vegan, protein-and-nutrient-packed dessert as much I did πŸ™‚

I’ll admit my almond milk was gone (partially from the results of my next post) pretty much the same day I made it….this ice cream disappeared about 5 minutes after I showed up to the office today.

Want to see what else I made with this?

Stay tuned. Other major highlights this week included a photoshoot for Not So Fast with the talented photographer, soon to be world traveler, Mark Feenstra (we seriously nailed it thanks to an amazing group of sexy volunteers!).

  • How do you stay steeped in chocolate?
  • Do you have any rules to a successful marriage/partnership?

I’d love to hear how you are making out!

Update: as this has been one of the more popular posts on this blog, this has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays, a super cool new initiative from a group of great bloggers! Check out their event and enjoy! πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,


29 Comments

Filed under Children, Desserts, Family, Happiness, Nut Recipes, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Date Coconut Bliss Balls

Got a sweet tooth? Here’s a good challenge – ever tried cutting out baked goods and other sugary treats and replaced them with dried fruits and nuts for a week?

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.

Matthew Arnold

Here’s a sweet way to feed your sweet tooth, with a little chocolate variation to make it even sweeter. All you need is good dates, dried coconut, a little nut butter, and of course, rich, healthy and incredibly satisfying hemp hearts. Combine these ingredients and enjoy a hit of sweetness before a workout or for dessert. Delicious with a spot of tea! Even your mother-in-law will like them.

Because everyone deserves a little sweetness in their lives.

The Less:

Sweet dates are an ancient food prized for their gooey natural sugars. Substitute these for refined sugar and consume less of the white stuff. Nutritionally, these treats will fill you up longer, meaning you can eat less of them to satisfy your craving. More sweetness means less deprivation. Less deprivation can only be a good thing. Because who wants to feel deprived?

The More:

More satisfaction from nutritious nuts and seeds means more sustained energy through the day. Hemp hearts, nut butter, and coconut provide long burning fuel that fills you up for longer. That means more time for all the other sweet things in life.

Date Coconut Bliss Balls:

  • 2 cups pitted dates, soaked in water 6-8 hours
  • 3 tbsp Pumpkin Seed Butter (you can substitute almond or cashew butter)
  • 4 cups dried coconut
  • 6 tbsp hemp hearts

Try to find resaonably good quality dates, but not baking dates if you can, they aren't the greatest for eating raw. But don't use expensive Medjools, unless of course you want to! Medjools are pricey, and best eaten as is, with a macadamia nut popped inside.

Here is how:

Soak dates for 6-8 hours prior to preparing in enough water to cover.

When ready to go, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 2 cups of coconut onto a cookie sheet. Roast the coconut in the oven until fragrant (about 4 minutes) and turning brown. Remove from oven to cool in a bowl. Drain dates and add to blender. Blend dates to a paste (you will need to stop the blender to make sure you get it all blended, do not worry if there are a few chunks left). Do not add any additional water to the dates when blending.

Remove dates into a large bowl, making sure to scrape them all out from the blender with a spatula. Combine roasted coconut, plain coconut, and hemp hearts in a bowl. Add this mixture to the date paste one cup at a time, stirring with your hands. Add pumpkin seed butter – keep stirring! Don’t be shy with your hands..the mixture should be firm enough to roll into balls.

Roll into one inch balls with your hands until all done, yum….good work!

If you are adding chocolate, melt some high quality dark chocolate over boiling water (I do this by melting the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of bowling water). Dip the balls into the melted chocolate by hand and set on a parchment paper lined flat pan. When done, set the balls by refrigerating until the chocolate is firm.

A little rustic presentation is okay. Unless you are serving the Queen of course. (Then - and only then- you might need to obsess about such things).

Though this won’t be relevant – these will store indefinitely in a sealed container in the fridge!

These aren’t totally raw, as the roasted coconut takes care of that, and you certainly can’t classify chocolate as raw – but they can be if you want to skip those steps. I use Omega’s pumpkin seed butter….so good and they add a little sea salt to it.

I’d love to hear how you find bliss.

Yours in Less,


21 Comments

Filed under Children, Cooking, Nut Recipes, Raw, Recipes, Success, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Finding more in (just a little) less on the plate.

A full plate seems like a dream come true. Indeed it is for many.

What does a full plate mean to you?

To many it’s the picture of a literal plate, a plate filled with food, and (hopefully) a plate to nourish and fuel us.

A full plate is a nice thing to have, and I like to imagine most of us are keenly aware that this is not a luxury all are lucky enough to enjoy.

Then there is the other full plate: the fuel of our lives, made up of to do lists, obligations, chores, passionate pursuits and promises made to ourselves and loved ones.

This plate is rarely empty for many of us, as we hustle through the day trying to keep up with all we commit to.

Our hungers for achievement and successes drive us with voracious appetites…we pile the plates so high until we actually can’t see it all clearly anymore.

When my plate gets too full I start to lose my appetite.

When I get a plate that’s too full for too long – I have to say I stop knowing real hunger anymore. Literally, figuratively, or otherwise.

When this happens to me I know something’s got to go.

So whether you are looking to lighten your load by streamlining what you eat….or dropping a few commitments you’ve made, feel strong in knowing your strength and your wisdom can only do you good.

When times get tough, I always try to lighten the load (just a little).

Step 1: Don’t be ashamed, no one can do it all! Admitting weakness is healing and empowering. Better to know now than further down the road.

Step 2: Look objectively at your life. What brings you joy? What isn’t working?

step 3. Take action! You aren’t going to change overnight, but you can start tomorrow. March forward fearlessly!

Begin to make changes in small doses. This will show real results and can be very motivating, it also won’t overwhelm you.

If you need to devote 10% less time for a friend you just aren’t getting anymore, or even spend 10% less time volunteering because you haven’t time for yourself, you are only going to gain somewhere else. The same goes for your diet. Try cutting meat one day a week, or dairy, or sugar. Give yourself a small boost and try again. Small victories add up.

Chances are, when you streamline, you’ll start to see clearly again. And you may just end up finding that sweet spot, the modern holy grail, that sweet blissful spot known asΒ  just right’.

When you cut out what's not working, you will start to see clearly....you can even add a little more variety. Less is more.

I’m working on it constantly, and it’s why I am here today.

Because many of us could all do to live with (just a little) less.

I am so glad to have found some friends along the way….stay tuned next week – I’ll introduce you to two of my friends who are doing just that! We’ll follow their journey as they both give something up for the good of others….I am so excited to share their story.

I love this response from the Dalai Lama when asked what surprises him most:

β€œMan, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

  • Is your plate too full?
  • If you had to drop one thing from your life, what would it be?
  • Could you live with (just a little) less?
  • Are you already?

I’d love to know.

Stay tuned for a killer raw recipe tomorrow….a little something sweet!

Yours in Less,

2 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Fasting, Going Without, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory

Finding more in Good Karma Croutons and (still) waking early.

Got bread? Increase your daily karma quotient with croutons….a great way to use up old crusty bread ends.

I don’t know about you guys but we’ve got bread in the house constantly. Personally, I don’t tend to eat it as I am mostly wheat-free, but the kids do.

You see if I had my way, there would be no bread, no ketchup, and never an oreo in sight in this house. But I’ve got kids. And a husband who is an athlete. I don’t deny them the odd treat and I try my best to raise them in a way that teaches moderation in all things (especially to diets that are too limiting or too strict unless totally necessary for good health).

So we have bread, always good quality bread, baked without yeast or sugar or additives. And a couple times a week, we have leftover bread. As simple as it seems, croutons are still often a store bought item in so many salad loving homes. Here’s the deal on the homemade goods.

The Less:

Less packaging is a bonus with home made croutons. Guaranteed you will ingest less sodium, additives, and rancid stale oils too. Less waste as you stop chucking those poor bread nubbins, unless you happen to be one of those folks who likes to eat them. Less cost too.

The More:

Kids love making croutons. They just do. More things to do with your kids in the kitchen. More good karma for your economic and healthful ways. More taste from real sea salt and quality olive oil. I call those things all wins.

Here’s how:

Homemade Good Karma Croutons:

You need:

  • a few slices of old bread, new bread, any bread
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • optional pepper, garlic powder, or dry herbs!

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop your bread into bite sized cubes and toss them in a bowl. Drizzle enough olive oil to moisten and mix with your hands – or get a loved one to do this with you. Add a sprinkle or a pinch of salt (careful not to over-salt), and maybe a little garlic powder or herbs if you like.

Lay flat on a cookie sheet in one layer and bake for 15 minutes or so, checking often and turning once or twice. Remove when golden and fragrant. Allow to cool and see if they make it to the salad!

Don’t want to eat them yourself? Surprise your neighbor with them. How’s that for a nice thing to do?

I use the best sea salt I can find….coarse salt from France. I know, it’s not cheap, but you use less and it tastes and feels so much better than the iodized salt from a box. The same goes for olive oil – make sure you are getting true Italian or Spanish or Greek – always extra virgin, always cold pressed. So many oils these days are using olives grown in China, then processed in Europe. Check your labels if you can!

I am preparing for a fast tomorrow with a green smoothie today. I’ll post more about that soon.

As an update, I was up early this morning. It felt good and my family really needs me right now. This parenting gig isn’t easy, but it’s worth every late night and early morning in the world.

In the meantime, make the most of your day, and be sure to tell your loved ones that you love them.

Because you just can’t do that enough.

Yours in Less,

2 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Family, Happiness, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Waking Early

Recipe: Creamy Cashew & Fresh Herb Dressing

It’s here! Has Cupid come by to kiss you yet?

I can see this morning there are a lot of folks pretty excited about Valentines Day. I hope everyone is feeling the love today!

It’s a day for the kids in our house, where they get to be reminded that their mother loves them. I like that, and so do they (they also don’t mind the Hershey’s kisses they find scattered on their bedroom floor when they awake).

We’ve never really made a big deal about this holiday, me and my husband ~ mostly I think because we are lucky to have been married for many happy years. To risk sounding (just a little) smug and corny, we actually still enjoy everyday together. Like, a lot. I know, right? It’s pretty great and we try to tell each other as much as possible (and we certainly did this morning).

So…to balance off the heart shaped cookies and sweet delicious treats out there today, here is a way to celebrate freshness. You might just want to plan this one for tomorrow after the big Valentine’s dinner!

This beautiful creamy salad dressing can be enjoyed with any meal. Because anyone taking the time to read blogs about food already knows the beauty in healthy food preparation made with love, all year round!

The Less:

Another creamy dairy-free substitute courtesy of the silky and decadent cashew. Less dairy in one’s diet can mean feeling lighter and clearer. Less saturated fat in our diets is a good thing, as is consuming less prepared salad dressings. This one could just become a favorite.

The More:

More fresh dressings means more motivation to eat more greens. More salads and fresh roughage leads to better elimination. More lightness, more good feelings. Nothing makes me happier than a fresh salad prepared just for me.

Here is how to enjoy this in one easy step:

Creamy Cashew & Fresh Herb Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill (or substitute fresh basil or parsley)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients except water in a blender. Start the blender and add water slowly, in 1/3 cup measurements to get the mixture swirling. Blend everything on high for 2 minutes until super creamy and smooth. Make sure there are no chunks of nuts left in the mixture – adding the water in increments helps to make this happen.

There is no need to soak the cashews in this case as the oil and water provide the extra silkiness.

Store dressing in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. This should keep for 3-4 days.

This dressing is delicious on crisp fresh greens (especially romaine lettuce or spinach) or cold steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli. Personally I celebrate any crutch to get more vegetables into my day. Especially when it’s this delicious!

I hope that whatever you do on this day that you feel loved.

Happy (and Healthy!) Valentines Day!

Yours in Less,

20 Comments

Filed under Cashews, Cooking, Dressings, Family, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Finding More in Tofino. And (just a little) oatmeal.

Finding more in just a little less busy-ness. We spent the weekend away. It was quiet, it was relaxed, it was oh so needed! (We spent the weekend in beautiful Tofino).

The Less:

This week I felt great during my fast. I thought a lot about clutter and how I can really streamline things and get rid of a lot of junk. Now I’m home and feeling inspired to organize and tackle a few big home projects I have been putting off (time to clean out that garage). Being away does wonders for the mind. I disconnected. Less clutter and less noise meant more much needed sleep and quiet time.

The More:

Delicious and satisfying oatmeal provides more energy, more stability, and more gounding than many other breakfast foods:) I always find fasting on a vacation travel day superb…no driving stress or routine demands. Just music, the sounds of my family, fresh hydrating water, and best of all, my husband doing the driving! Bliss. More relaxing, more family time, more peace of mind!

Here is how I found more this week with glorious healthy oatmeal:

Apple Oatmeal:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • a few generous dollops of fresh Cashew Cream
  • nuts and currants for the top
  • Cinnamon and brown sugar or maple syrup (optional)

Combine oats, water, apples, and salt and bring to a light boil. Turn the heat down. Cook, 8-10 minutes on medium low with the lid on until the apples are soft.

Serve, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, Cashew Cream, toasted nuts, and currants. Add extra sweetener if you like.

This is fiber-rich, super-inexpensive, and wonderfully satisfying in the morning!

I sometimes call it endless oatmeal, there is no need to specify servings here as leftovers can go right in the fridge. The next day, simply add more water, more apple, more whatever and heat up again! It never ends and there are so many different ways to enjoy it. I like to use soft or slightly wrinkled apples – It’s economical and makes me feel good not to waste (I am very picky about fresh apples).

I am feeling rather invigorated after a mellow weekend catching up on sleep and fresh air with friends and family. Amen.

I’ll start planning the impending spring clean this week. I just want to enjoy this feeling a little longer…

  • Are you feeling cluttered in life?
  • What are some things you could do to get rid of?
  • What brings you peace of mind?

I’d love to know.

Yours in Less,

_


8 Comments

Filed under Cashews, Cheap, Children, Cooking, Family, Fasting, Happiness, Inspiration, Nut Recipes, Oatmeal, Photography, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Cashew Cream.

Cashews. Are. Amazing.

It’s true! Everyone loves them. Children love them. Husbands love them. Friends love them.

Cashews just might be the best thing in the world if you are on a path to eating less dairy.

(or even if you are not)

Cashews – the seed of a tropical fruit – grow in tropical countries and are native to South America. They are a treasure for their creamy texture and, when soaked and eaten raw, can satisfy anyone’s appetite for a rich treat.

You will notice as more recipes get posted at this site that these versatile nuts find many ways into my dairy-less cooking and preparation. They aren’t cheap, but no nuts are these days, and like anything high in calories – when eaten in moderation – are worth every penny.

Buy whole cashews if you can, as the pieces don’t soak up as well in the water, though pieces can be a stand-in if that is what you have available. Just be sure they are raw – no salted or roasted nuts here!

Store cashew nuts in the fridge or freezer if you can to keep them away from heat and air. This helps to keep the oils in nuts from going off.

Here is how to make it at home in just a few simple steps:

Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews (whole or pieces – whole are best)
  • 2-4 pitted dates
  • 2 cups water for soaking
  • 1 1/4 c cold water

Soak cashews and dates together with 2 cups water in a bowl for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add to blender with the 11/4 cup cold water and blend on high until smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes.

You may need to agitate the mixture a few times with the edge of a spatula to get the blending running smoothly.

Refrigerate in a sealed jar until ready to use. These ratios will make 2 cups and should keep 4-5 days in the fridge. Feel free to play with amounts!

Enjoy this satisfying treat on its own, on top of hot cereal in the morning, or with fruit salad (especially good with bananas and blueberries).

**If you want to make cashew milk, simply add water after the first round of blending until you reach the consistency you want. Some people drain the cashew pulp with cheesecloth, but I like it best kept intact myself. Find what you like best!

I hope you enjoy this if you are new to it and will let us know if you try it! I’ve heard many times – “what is that?” – as unsuspecting people don’t know what they are eating….they just know it’s delicious.

If you have made it before drop me a line to let us know how you prefer it and what you like to eat it with…

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

17 Comments

Filed under Cashews, Children, Nut Recipes, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Vegan, Vegetarian

Finding More in (just a little) patience.

Patience.

There has been a lot of talk around here about patience. My own personal lack of patience aside, we know good things come to those who wait.

Do you want everything done yesterday?

What are your favorite ways to cultivate patience?

Here is a quote that resonated with me this week:

“Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want right now.”

Patience. Discipline. Amen.

Here are a few shots of sustenance around our house this week, while I tap my fingers on the countertop.

Papaya from the very generous Albert Lum of Fresh Direct

Such a beautiful fruit - Persimmons are one of my very favorites.

the 14 year old chef at work for herself. not bad!

I’ll be sure to let you know what becomes of the wait!

Your in Less,

5 Comments

Filed under Children, Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Not So Fast, Photography, Uncategorized