Invited to half a million holiday parties? We get it. You’re going to need something other than chocolate chip cookies or chips & salsa if you’re going to make it through the next week. This is why we’ve compiled a variety of desserts: something yummy, something amazing and something super simple for you to try. Ready to give it a try? Tell us your favorite! Continue reading
Thanksgiving is around the corner and we for one are excited to eat, drink and be merry!
Whether this is your first holiday hosting or you are in search of something to take to an upcoming party, here are some of our recommendations for excellent recipes you should try:
This Week: My intent is to celebrate!
Do not regret growing older.
It is a privilege denied to many.
This summer has been a mess.
I left a new job and went back to a job with not enough hours to pay my bills. I upgraded from a studio apartment into a wonderful two bedroom apartment only to have to move a month later and found a new place with only 4 days to spare. I lost a grandfather and a grandmother. Between time, money and distance, I wasn’t at either funeral. I cried a lot. I was very stressed. I probably made my friends wish they were deaf so they couldn’t hear my whining.
My birthday is on Friday. I turn 28. WHAT? Yes. It’s the oldest I’ve ever been.
Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family. That’s something for which I’m super grateful. After the past three months, I’m even more grateful for a time to stop and celebrate. I can start with the fact that I’m alive. Considering the number of people lost every year to disease, war, and random acts of God – making it another 365 days deserves some attention. It was 365 more days to call my mom so she could tell me what our family dogs had gotten into that day. It was 365 more days to go see comedy shows with my best friend and lay on a California beach just because. It was 365 more days to enjoy things like pumpkin pancakes and Easter candy and Thanksgiving dinner. Not everyone gets to say they’ve had 28 Christmases, 28 birthday parties, 28 anniversaries of waking up on this Earth another year.
I intend to celebrate because gratitude and happiness are good for your soul. There are legitimately terrible things that happen every day. In LA, sometimes it’s a struggle just to get groceries into your house without putting your back out. The unfortunate part is that terrible things have this way of being so loud and in your face. They seem bigger than the wonderful things, but trust me, they’re not. You can spend 24 hours focused on the dent on your bumper, the watered down coffee at work, the obnoxious person who just called to yell at you on the phone, or you can spend that same amount of time thinking about pictures of puppies on Instagram, drinking chai tea lattes with coffee ice cubes or telling someone how much you love them. You get the same amount of time everyday. Spend it thinking about things that won’t give you an ulcer or make your hair fall out.
I intend to celebrate because cake is good. And presents are good. And people you love paying for your dinner at fancy restaurants? Also good. Celebrate whether or not it’s your birthday. Because it’s good.
This is the inaugural post in MeLissa’s weekly column where she’ll explore the power of setting intents in her own life and for those around her. She will also news from Intent.com and guest intents that have inspired her. Want to be part of it? Sign up at Intent.com and start sharing your intents!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that all vegan food is bland and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! In my experience, it’s not hard to make delicious vegan food, and it starts with knowing how to work with a few key ingredients.
As a mom, I love making tasty desserts for everyone to indulge in, and there’s no reason these can’t be vegan. For vegan desserts, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with things like dates, cashews, and maple syrup – healthy, natural ingredients that will add sweetness, texture, and depth to your treats.
Here are three of my favorite dessert recipes – so gooey, delicious, and flavorful that no one will guess they’re vegan!
1. Chocolate Truffles
Yields @20 truffles
- dates – 1 cup
- cashews – raw, 1/2 cup
- almonds – raw, 1/2 cup
- raw cacao powder – 3/4 cup
- coconut – shredded, unsweetened 1/2 cup
- maple syrup – 1/2 cup
- vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
- salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- almonds – raw- extra 20 for inside truffles
- coconut – shredded 1 tablespoon
- cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
- raw cacao powder – 1 teaspoon
In a high speed blender or food processor, blend together the dates, cashews and almonds until they form a crumble-paste. Add a little warm water if the paste is too thick – it shouldn’t be totally smooth and it shouldn’t be wet; it should be crumbly with nutty pieces in it.
Add the raw cacao powder and blend.
Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, coconut and salt and blend until completely incorporated. Make sure you stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a few times to keep the mixture moving.
Measure the truffle mixture out as 1 tablespoon each.
If the dough is too sticky at this point, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes; it is easier to manage when it is cold.
Place one of the raw almonds into the middle of the truffle and roll into balls. Coat with shredded coconut, cinnamon or raw cacao.
I find the easiest way to coat the truffles is to put whatever topping you choose into a plastic or paper bag. One by one put the truffles in and shake. Kids LOVE this part.
While the truffles can be eaten right away, they are better when eaten cold. For best results, place the truffles in the freezer and allow them to harden for at least an hour. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months (though they would be lucky to last until the end of the day). Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
2. Chocolate Cheesecake
- pecans – 1 cup
- sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp
- medjool dates – 5 large, pitted
- salt – pinch
- water – 1 tsp
- cashews – 2 cups
- maple syrup – 2/3 cup
- water – 3/4 cup
- vanilla – 1 tbsp pure
- raw cacao powder – 2/3 cup
- himalaya salt – 1/8 tsp
- coconut oil – 1/3 cup,melted
- coconut butter – 1/4 cup, melted
In a high speed blender or food processor grind the pecans and sunflower seeds.
Chop the dates and add to the nuts and seeds with the salt. Grind again into crumbs.
Add the water and zap again until the mixture turns into a moist dough that holds together when pressed.
Press into the bottom of a spring form pan, mini pans, or small silicone muffin cups.
Blend all but the oil and butter until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender.
On stove stove, heat the oil and the butter until it is melted. Then, add to the mixture and blend again.
Pour over the crust.
Set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
I add fresh fruit and coconut whipped cream for taste and decoration. It’s so much fun to play with and the fruit is perfect with the density and texture of the chocolate. Add the coconut whipped cream and you have yourself a winner. I have turned coconut haters into coconut lovers with this dessert. Really, it’s that good.
3. Chocolate Cashew Butter
- cashews – 1 cup
- maple syrup – 1/3 cup
- raw cacao powder – 1/2 cup
- coconut oil – 2 tbsp
- coconut butter – 1 tbsp
- water – 1 tbsp
- salt – dash
Add everything except the coconut butter and coconut oil to a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. Melt the oil and the butter on the stove and add to the blender and blend until the ingredients are combined.
Put in an airtight container (preferably glass). It will keep for a few months in the fridge or a few weeks in the pantry, though it won’t last that long. The jar is empty in about a week in our house. Spread on toast, dip fresh fruit in it, add it to coconut milk ice cream, quinoa crepes, waffles, use it as an icing or anything else you can imagine spreading chocolate on. Most of all, enjoy!
Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.
I was terrified the first time I threw a kids’ party without the usual pizza and brightly dye-colored cakes and candy. I was worried I was going have a revolution on my hands, a mutiny, a gang of pizza-crazed 2-year-olds who were going to make me walk the plank. I was pleasantly surprised when only one parent asked, “Where’s the pizza?” and astonished when there wasn’t a peep or a whimper from the kids. “Phew,” I thought back then. “It is possible.”
This year I had a little boy pull me aside. He had a concerned look on his face. He said, “I only eat one kind of chicken nugget, and I don’t eat salad.” I replied, “I’m sorry that I don’t have your special nuggets, but the chicken on the table is really tasty and you don’t have to eat salad.” About ½ an hour later I saw him happily munching on a sweet and sour lemon chicken stick and the noodles with pesto sauce. I personally handed him an apple lemonade ice pop and saw him wipe his cake plate clean. So, even the picky ones left satisfied.
On the menu this year was:
Two quick tips on guacamole-making:
- Keep the avocado seeds in the guacamole. It will help keep it from turning brown.
- Add 1 teaspoon of avocado oil to your guacamole. This, too, will help it from turning brown.
Next up, hummus and vegetables. This year I bought some fresh made from a local market. Usually I make it fresh, but there is only so much time…
For a sweet snack, fruit kebabs. Honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes. Yum.
And finally, the main course!
Grilled Chicken on a Stick 2 Ways. I marinated the chicken overnight and then I grilled them. Well, my husband grilled them…
Here’s a picture of the Chicken Satay final product:
Some ideas for healthy side dishes:
- Green Salad with my favorite dressing. Mix of Romaine, Butter Lettuce, Arugula and Sorrel.
- Gluten-Free Tinkyada Brown-rice noodles with fresh pesto sauce. I bought this one from a local market.
And now what the kids are all waiting for: dessert!
First, homemade ice pops. Chocolate Mint, Apple Lemonade, Pina Colada, Sour Apple Sorrel, and Ruby Beet.
Sam is eating the Pina Colada Pop here. His favorite was the Ruby Beet. He looks like a vampire in the photos of him eating that one though!
These were a huge hit. I actually got a call from a 7-year-old boy who was at the party asking for the recipes! Ice Pop recipes will be available in an e-book I will be releasing in the next couple of weeks.
For a more traditional cake option, try one of these:
- Spinach Avocado Chocolate Cake. I used Coconut Whipped Cream as icing and put a layer of strawberries on the top and in between the 2 layers.
- Pina Colada Pie. Not to be missed. This was a huge hit.
So there you have it! A kids’ birthday party without junk. It can be done.
Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.