Sunday, April 21, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with Raw "Dirt Brown"-ie Earth Truffles and a "Greener than Grass" Smoothie

Happy Earth Day!

There is no dirt or grass in either of these recipes so don't be alarmed!

However there is everything delicious... chocolate, almonds, vanilla and dates in our "Dirt Brown"-ies and bananas, calcium-rich sesame and spinach in our "Greener than Grass" Smoothie!

This smoothie is one of my all-time favorites. I love enjoying it in the evening with the calcium-rich sesame seeds and dark greens and potassium-rich banana. Sesame seeds (what tahini is made from) meld wonderful with banana and a touch of vanilla and date. It has a wonderful "earthy" flavor so I've been saving it to post for Earth Day although I usually just call it Green Sesame Banana.

Feel free to substitute any dark green for the spinach. I'd recommend kale or any other local greens (make it truly eco-friendly)! Also for a grown-up version, add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground Green Matcha Tea powder available from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Almonds are a great food to mix with dessert ~ they have a neutralizing effect on blood sugar spikes. They also have a natural affinity for chocolate and dates!

For another fun trick, gather twigs or straws and stick the Earth truffles on one end, making Earth Pops!

"Dirt Brown"-ie Earth Truffles
1 cup almonds
10-12 Medjool dates
3 TB coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder (or more for richer browner)
1/3 vanilla bean (these are still on sale on amazon)
Pinch of salt
1. Add dates and almonds to food processor. Process until coarsely chopped.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process until ball starts to form like dough.
3. Shape into round "Earth" shapes. Refrigerate.

"Greener than Grass" Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice
2 Medjool dates
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Large Handful of Baby Spinach (or other green)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1/3 of a vanilla bean

1. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? And are there any gardening books you enjoy?

In the spirit of Earth Day, I've downloaded these two books to enjoy:

The Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb: 400 Thrifty Tips for Saving Money, Time, and Resources as You Garden
Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grain-free Molasses Cake + the Kitchen House

This last month a dear friend picked out the The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom for my Books for Broads book club.

Overall, we enjoyed reading the book. It wasn't an easy read - a few parts were hard to stomach and on more than one occasion, you wanted to shake some sense into one of the narrators. It certainly made the reader wonder. But that's what makes a good book, right? The characters were tangible, their voices real and their moments of vulnerability made my heart ache. Lavinia and Belle are characters that you won't be able to shake.

In the back, the author Kathleen Grissom supples a recipe for molasses cake, also found on the book's amazon page. I used that as an inspiration to create a grain-free molasses cake as a few of my friends and family are currently eating grain-free. I topped it with a spicy and tangy ginger glaze sweetened with apricots.

For a paleo friendly version, use 1/3 cup dark, dark honey. It won't have that unique molasses richness but it will be equally delicious.

Grain-Free Molasses Cake
5 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
4 Tb melted coconut oil
2 cup almond flour
1 TB flaxseeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice

1. Whisk eggs until slightly frothy and consistent color throughout. Add molasses and coconut oil.
2. Grind flaxseeds and combine remaining dry ingredients together.
3. Whisk dry into wet until incorporated. Pour into greased or parchment lined 8x8 pan (or a circular cake pan would work).
4. Bake in 350 preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove. Let cool then spread with ginger apricot glaze.

I soak the apricots before I make the cake then when baking the cake or right after baking, make the rest of the frosting.

Ginger Apricot Glaze
1/2 cup packed apricots
3 TB honey
1 tsp dried and ground ginger *
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cashew pieces

Boiling water

*This is quite spicy so if you'd prefer use only 1/2 tsp ginger or less

1. Soak apricots in boiling water for at least twenty minutes
2. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until thick and yogurt-like.
 Spread over cake! And enjoy!

Inspired by

Someone mentioned that this cake looks like a cheeseburger. It does, doesn't it? But NO way does it taste like a cheeseburger (just in case you were wondering)!
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