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Mint Chocolate "Ice Cream" Bars

Yes, it's September, but it's still BALLS HOT here in New England. We're in Boston shooting Ted 2, and I wanted to come up with a healthy gluten-free refreshing treat to keep us cool and happy on set. One of the actors mentioned he was in the mood for some mint chocolate chip ice cream and my wheels started spinning...

I love when inspiration hits at the unlikeliest moments! Back in the kitchen, I whipped up a bunch of these to satisfy our cravings for something minty, chocolatey, and cold. But, I also kept mind that we all need lots of good energy to keep us going during the long shoot days. This treat hides spinach so well and will satisfy your sweet tooth, but without the crash you get from a grocery store treat made with refined sugar. Plus, this homemade explosion of goodness has loads of protein and healthy fat, which will help our bodies move better and our brains work faster during the long scorching days.

Enjoy these last hot days of summer with this fun cool treat!

Mint Chocolate "Ice Cream" Bars

for the chocolate crust-

  • coconut oil spray. 
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the mint cream filling-

  • 2 cups cashews soaked in water for a few hours
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water for a few hours
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen spinach
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a few tablespoons of water, to thin the cream if necessary

Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with plastic wrap, and spray well with coconut oil spray. In a bowl, mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, flax seeds, and vanilla extract. 

Add the half of the chocolate mixture to the bottom of the lined baking dish, and place it in the freezer to set up while you work on the filling.

In a high-powered blender, add the soaked cashews, soaked dates, spinach, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peppermint extract, and vanilla. Blend until a smooth cream forms.

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Add water if the cream is too thick and doesn't blend well. With a spatula, spread the mint mixture over the chocolate layer in the 9 x 9. Use the remaining chocolate mixture to spread on top of the mint layer. 

Place back in the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until it sets. Slice, smile, and serve!


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Raw Chocolate Brownies with Rich Chocolate Shell (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Protein packed brownie dough… UM, yes please! Hemp seeds, dates, nuts, raw cacao… It’s like a love affair that you just don’t want to keep a secret! 

Not only does it feel like a seedy celebration, but this recipe takes little more than a food processor. No oven, no flour, NO REFINED SUGAR, no fuss. 

OH, and why stop at just the brownie when you can have a drizzle of chocolate sauce? Exactly. 

Super excited to share this versatile recipe... Feel free to swap out certain nuts and seeds for your favorites. I like to serve mine with a banana "ice cream" (pictures above, recipe coming soon)!

Have fun with this raw yummy goodness. I’m smiling now just thinking about how happy you’re going to be when you get cracking in the kitchen on this one!

Raw Chocolate Brownies with Rich Chocolate Shell (Gluten Free & Vegan)

For the brownie:

  • 6 dates soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • ⅓  cup sliced almonds
  • ½  cup hemp seeds
  • ¼  cup flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Just over ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the chocolate shell:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus a little extra for extra love)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick

For the brownie:

Line a 9 x 9 baking dish (glass or ceramic preferred) with wax paper.

In a food processor, blend all of the brownie ingredients until the mixture is thick, blended, and a dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the baking dish. Place the dish in the freezer and let the brownie set for 6 hours or preferably overnight.  

For the chocolate shell:

Add all of the chocolate shell ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture over the heat until everything is fully incorporated. Once incorporated, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes so that it has time to set. With a spoon or small spatula, drizzle the mixture on top of the brownie and place the dish back in the freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight so that the chocolate layer can fully harden, and can form a beautiful shell.

To serve:

Take the brownie out of the freezer. Run a very sharp knife under hot water, and cut the brownie into squares. Serve topped with your favorite frozen dessert!

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Chia Pudding

AHHHH I want pudding! Who doesn’t love pudding? Pudding is a crowd pleaser, and it brings out the kid in anyone. Unfortunately, most puddings are loaded with fat and sugar; both of which will drain you of energy and make your feel sluggish. Blah! No one loves that.

This chia pudding is delicious and creamy, but it doesn’t have any dairy, eggs, or processed sugar. That means this dessert is vegan, gluten-free, and good for you. Did I mention it’s the easiest pudding to make? If you can mix something in a bowl and put it in the fridge, then you’re all set for this recipe.

Serve the pudding in a martini glass, a mason jar,  or other fun cup or bowl, and top it with your favorite healthy toppings. Serve to your soon to be very happy family and friends.

Chia Pudding
Serves 2

  • 1 ¾ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • dollop of honey

In a bowl, add the almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla, and honey. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for 5 hours or overnight, stirring once.

Top with fresh berries and shaved coconut, or sliced banana and almonds, or even shaved dark chocolate with pomegranate seeds. The combinations are endless!

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Have your Cake and Eat it Too

brunch

A great brunch makes any day brighter.  Hosting a brunch is a casual way to get friends, family, or even clients together.

I always like to serve something fun and unexpected when cooking for guests. For this brunch it’s a Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake. What’s the secret? Black beans! Trust me, you won’t taste the black beans, but you will feel like you’re spoiling yourself with a decadent morning treat. Without the guilt and sugar crash regular chocolate cake gives you, this extremely high protein and rich in fiber cake will surprise even the pickiest dessert lovers!

This spread was for one of my client's brunch meetings. In addition to the cake, I served: a platter of dried fruit, a plate of smoked wild Scottish salmon garnished with sliced lemons, red onions and capers, sliced whole grain bread, a bowl of berries dressed with a little lime juice and a touch of honey, and a bowl of roasted mixed nuts.

Whomever you choose to serve it to, this brunch will guarantee a happy and energy-filled day ahead.

SECRET INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CAKE

Serves 12

for the cake-

  • 2 15-ounce cans low sodium black beans
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • A few drops of water (as needed to blend)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Olive oil spray

chocolate icing-

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper, and spray with olive oil spray. Set aside.

In a high-powered blender add the beans, eggs, salt, honey, vanilla, coconut oil and water. In a small bowl whisk the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and carefully add to the blender. Mix gently with a spatula before turning the blender back on. Blend until well mixed, about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the two baking pans. Tap the pans lightly on the countertop to prevent air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in their pans. Carefully flip the cakes out of the their pans, and place on a cooling rack. Cool for another 15 minutes before icing.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the icing.

Mix the coconut oil and honey in a medium size bowl. Slowly stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the Greek yogurt until smooth.  Lastly, add in the shredded coconut.

Use half of the icing to ice the top of one cake.  Place the other cake on top of the first, and ice the top of the second cake.  Cover the top of the cake with shredded coconut.

Slice and serve!

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