Tag Archives: dessert

Intent of the Day: Make Something Sweet

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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

Intent of the Day: Thanksgiving Feast Favorites

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This Thursday we feast, which means this Tuesday we go grocery shopping.
As we prepare for the biggest dinner of the year, we intend to pull out the Thanksgiving favorites! We’re talking potatoes, desserts and the quintessential turkey. Whether you’re a chef or lost in the kitchen, we wanted to share some of our favorite sources for recipes and menus for this week.

Hungry? Try any and all of these recipes for holiday favorites! Continue reading

Celebrate Pi Day with These Recipes

pi dayAs a self-proclaimed and nerd and person of the internet there are three days of the year that make my soul so so happy. There’s May 4, or “May the Fourth” – as in May the Force Be With You. Then there’s October 3 because any self-respecting person that’s seen Mean Girls knows “On October 3, he asked me what day it is. It’s October 3.” (It makes more sense in the context of the movie…)  But the of these in the calendar year is today – 3.14 – Pi Day

I went to a nerd magnet school for my last two years of high school. Our rally chant at school sporting events (or mathlete tournaments) was the following: “Secant, tangent, cosin, sin / 3.14159 / Physics, Bio, Polymer Chem / Give ’em hell / Go S&M.” First of all, yes we stole it from MIT, shh. Secondly, it was the North Carolina School of Science and Math, hence the S&M. It wasn’t some weird sexual thing, in case you were worried. Back then I thought that I was going to grow up to be some sort of mathematician (What do people who major in math actually do when they grow up? NASA?). I did Calculus homework as stress relief. Before graduation I realized that my real talents lay in creative fields, but the nerd alert alarms within me sound off on special occasions. Pi day is one of those occasions.

The best part of Pi day is not just celebrating one of the best irrational numbers around – it’s about dessert. Oh, that’s right. What better use of Pi than to figure out the area of a delicious berry filled pastry from heaven? To help you celebrate and indulge your sweet tooth we’ve rounded up some of the best pie recipes from around the web. Treat yourself today!

The Food Network Pie Recipe Collection – Obviously, the best channel on television. Of course they’d have an entire selection of pie recipes ready for your perusal  – from apple to coconut to chocolate swirl. There’s something here for everyone’s pastry preferences.

Country Living’s Favorite Pies – Since I’m from the south I can’t imagine any doctor’s office or waiting room that didn’t have a copy of Country Loving. After looking through these I can tell you I already started drooling over their pecan (pronounced pee-can if you want to get in the spirit) pie recipe.

Martha Stewart’s 25 Perfect Pies – Maybe you prefer an artisan approach to your pie making. I can dig it. Let’s turn to the mother of all things beautiful and domestic then – Martha Stewart. Just the names of some of these give me shivers of delight. Triple chocolate pumpkin pie? Count. me. in.

Huffington Post American Author Pies – The Huffington Post won my heart when they combined their own celebration of Pi day with classic American authors. My math nerd with my book nerd self can celebrate as one! From Jack Kerouac apple pie to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry pie – American literature has never sounded so delicious!

Mental Floss 10 Pies for Pi Day – Leave it to the folks at Mental Floss to create the list of nerdiest pies. The digits apple pie looks way too impressive to eat but I think I could take out those mini pi-pies in just one bite. If you’re good at carving apples and want to take your Pi day love to the next level then this is definitely the list for you.

Are there any “nerd” days of the year that get you excited? How do you celebrate them? And if you plan to make a pie today be sure to tell us which ones in the comments below! 

 

The Closest We Can Get to Healthy Candy

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 1.19.47 PMHealthy candy? Is there such thing? Well, not exactly, but some are better than others. These Chocolate Tahini cups have the goodness of tahini going for them, along with the antioxidants founds in good dark chocolate. Yes, there is sugar, and all sugars should be kept in check, but sometimes you have to live a little.

Candy is normally packed with GMO-High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives, “natural” flavors and dyes. So, when this time of year rolls around, I prefer to have a healthier alternative. Rather than keep my boys away from any candy at all (which frankly wouldn’t be any fun) I make candy like these chocolate tahini cups and sour gummy bears , or I order from www.naturalcandystore.com and ‘trade’ for the candy they get trick or treating.

Chocolate Tahini Cups

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Place paper mini muffin baking cups in a mini muffin tray.

Melt a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on the stove. It only takes a couple of minutes. Stir the chips continuously and don’t let them burn!

Spoon out @3/4 of a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each paper baking cup.

Place tray in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for @5 minutes or until the chocolate is almost hard.

While the chocolate is cooling, mix the tahini, honey and salt together in a small bowl. You can use almond, cashew, peanut or sunflower butter in place of the tahini. I chose tahini because I love it’s nutrient profile plus, I am making these for my younger son’s school which is tree-nut free.

When the chocolate is nearly hard, spoon out @1/4 teaspoon of the tahini mixture into each baking cup.

Melt the remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips on the stove.

Spoon the newly melted chocolate on top of the mixture already in the baking cups.

Smooth the surface with the side of a spoon.

Put in the refrigerator to cool for @10 minutes or until chocolate is hard.

After the chocolate is completely hard, tear away the paper baking cups.

These can be kept in the fridge or on the counter.

Originally posted on my website Tapp’s Tips.com

Do you have any favorite chocolate or candy recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Sweeten Up Your Fall with Cinnamon Baked Apples and Cashew Cream

baked-apple-2sm-1024x682Cinnamon and apples are two of my favorite fall flavors. There are a lot of savory things that come with the cooler temperatures – pumpkin and squash, stuffing recipes, etc, which are great for the holidays. But I think fall also lends it self to amazing desserts, and why shouldn’t we give in to our sweet tooth every now and again? Together apple and cinnamon create delicious sweet treats that are still healthy.  Using cashew cream also erases some of the guilt you’d get from pairing with regular ice cream. This recipe is a great fall dessert – and it’s vegan. It is definitely enough by itself but you could also pair it with a nice apple pie if you are feeling indulgent.

Cashew Cream 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours.

Rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.

Put cashews, water and salt in blender.

Blend until smooth. It will have the consistency of heavy cream.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples with Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Wash and core apples

In a bowl combine all ingredients except the cashew cream and the honey.

Mix well.

Stuff the apples with the mixture

Pour @1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and add the apples.

Cover with tin foil

Bake for @20 minutes or until the apples are soft

Put oven onto Hi Broil, remove tinfoil and broil the apples for @ 3 minutes or until the oats look brown and toasted.

Take the apple out and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle each one with a little bit of the liquid from the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle each one with one tablespoon of cashew cream.

For an added bit of decadence, drizzle with a little bit of raw honey.

Yum.

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.com

The Perfect Gluten-Free Dessert with a Secret Ingredient

brownies-blue2sm-682x1024Calling all sweet tooths! Brownies are a dessert staple – right after cake, ice cream and pie. There are so many variations of the brownie recipe that it can be difficult to carve out your own, but after many attempts I think I’ve done it.

It took a while to get this recipe right, but I found that spinach, of all things, is the key. Not only does it add a little nutrition to the treat but it also helps keep the brownie moist. I’ve also added Cardomom, which is a bit of an exotic spice. If you don’t have it in your cupboard you can skip it, but I think it rounds out the taste nicely. Oh, and these brownies are also gluten-free! Does it get any better than that?

Perfect Gluten-Free Spinach Brownies

makes @16 brownies

Serve with Almond Milk

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 9×12-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Steam the spinach until wilted (about 2 minutes).

 In a mixing bowl whisk together the raw cacao, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and baking soda.

 Put the maple syrup and the spinach in a blender and blend until pureed.

 Make a well in the center of the mixing bowl and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sesame oil and maple syrup-spinach mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together. At first it will seem thin but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy. It might seem a little soupy to you but that is ok. It will come together in the oven.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

 If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula.

 Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

 Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. The top will crack, like a flourless chocolate cake. You will know it is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com 

The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Family Healthy (And Have Fun Doing It!)

Matt and Jack share a snowconeWe went to a local carnival on a recent night, and the boys and I each had a snow-cone. Sam’s and mine were both bright blue and George’s was half red, half blue.

They were nothing but sugar and nasty dyes, but it was part of the fun of being there. We stood under the fireworks and happily ate them. We broke a lot of rules that night. We stayed up past 10 o’clock, we paid to play games we knew were unwinnable  and we ate carnival food. It was all part of the experience of being there and we had a blast.

This confuses some people. Most notably, my husband. Yesterday he brought home conventionally grown strawberries which I promptly returned to the store. “How can you let the boys have snow-cones and not let them eat conventional strawberries?” he asked. I understand the question, and see that it looks like hypocrisy, but this is how I make sense of our lives. This is my 80/20 rule.

scale (1)It’s All About Balance

I do not strive for nutrition perfection. That wouldn’t be any fun. I mean, what is life without french fries? Instead I strive for 80% good and 20% of whatever comes our way. Life is to be enjoyed. The negative impact of the stress of trying to eat perfectly all of the time far outweighs that of eating something that really makes us happy.

So, how do I balance this? How do I keep track? My way is to treat my home as a sacred food zone. We eat 100% clean food. No dyes, no chemicals, no pesticides (hence the no conventional strawberries rule), no refined sugars or refined flours and no GMOs. The 20% of the time that we are out in the world then all bets are off. We eat what comes our way. That said, of course we eat the best option of what we are offered. Like if we are given a choice between a not-so-good food and a just-plain-awful one, we will choose the former, and if there is a healthy option we will always go for that. But, even then sometimes, we take a time-out.

When we go to birthday parties, we eat cake. We go to the movies and eat movie-theater popcorn. Today, after a haircut, we went into town and had a double scoop of ice cream before dinner. I believe that the key to teaching children to eat healthily is for them to recognize those not-so-good-for-you foods and accept them as being something that is consumed occasionally.

The 80-20 rules works well for us. The kids know it’s all right for them to break the rule on occasion because they understand what the rule is – and why.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

3 Mouthwatering Desserts You’d Never Guess Were Vegan

heart-pie-1024x7681I 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!

4-truffles-on-plate1. Chocolate Truffles

Yields @20 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 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

For Topping:

  • coconut – shredded 1 tablespoon
  • cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • raw cacao powder – 1 teaspoon

Instructions:

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

Ingredients:

  • Crust
  • pecans – 1 cup
  • sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp
  • medjool dates – 5 large, pitted
  • salt – pinch
  • water – 1 tsp
  • Filling
  • 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

Instructions:

Crust

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.

Set aside.

Filling

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

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.

5 Classic American Dishes Made Healthy for 4th of July!

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 1.12.33 PMHolidays almost always provide an excuse to have a feast, right? Unless the occasion calls for fasting, in which case a feast may come later. But for the most part, we celebrate, we commemorate, and we chow.

The 4th of July is no exception. This is a day many Americans spend grilling meat and veggies, squeezing lemons for lemonade, and making blueberry pancakes and apple pie. Because what better way to celebrate independence than to merrily flip hot dogs on the grill, surrounded by friends and family? It’s a bit of a stereotype, perhaps, but we’ll bet many of you have had at least one, if not many, Independence Days that exactly fit that bill.

The unfortunate reality is that many of the “classic American dishes” we enjoy on this and other holidays are not all that healthy, and some are downright vicious to our health. Luckily, there are ways to make some of these beloved recipes more healthy so that you and your family can enjoy an Independence Day feast without worrying about the consequences.

Here are 5 of our favorite recipes:

  1. For Breakfast: Eating pancakes for breakfast is kind of like having dessert in the morning, but it is a holiday, after all. To ease your mind a bit, these delicious blueberry lemon pancakes are made with half white flour and half whole wheat flour, which will at least add some fiber to balance out the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Enjoy with maple syrup, jam, butter, or just one their own!
  2. For Lunch: After that yummy, but heavy, breakfast you may want something light and green to munch on for lunch. Potato or pasta salad is typically the go-to picnic dish, but since we’re already enjoying lots of carbs and starch for breakfast and dinner, opt for something with more fiber. This kale slaw is the perfect choice for a light, refreshing midday meal.
  3. For Dinner: There’s perhaps no dish more classically American than a burger and fries. But this year, instead of wasting the calories on meat, cheese, and a big bun, get creative with this amazing veggie burger recipe. Lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts provide the main substance of the dish, packing lots of protein, fiber, and potassium. Serve these burgers with mustard, whole wheat buns, and sweet potato fries for something classically delicious and blessedly worry-proof.
  4. For Refreshments: It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re thirsty – you’re going to want something delicious and cool to sip throughout the day. Instead of buying juice or soda from the supermarket, make your own fresh-squeezed lemonade! It’s the only way you can control how much and what kind of sugar goes into sweetening your tasty beverage. This recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar, but try using maple syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar, or stevia as alternatives.
  5. For Dessert: Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream! Ginger, peaches, and the sweet coolness of a dessert you can savor as fireworks paint the sky above you. Try out this recipe and be prepared to never eat another flavor of ice cream again.

What are your favorite 4th of July recipes? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Desserty Secret: Eat Your Sugar With Fiber

appleIn nature, sugar always come in a fibrous package. Whole fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and beans all contain both sugar and fiber. When the sugar and the fiber work together, all is right in your body. The sugar, in the form of glucose, is an essential nutrient. Not only does it give us quick energy, glucose is needed by every cell in your body for proper functioning. The fiber’s role is to slow the sugars rate of absorption, thereby giving us a sustained release of energy. Like Batman and Robin, sugar and fiber are a perfect duo.

So What’s the Problem?

The problem occurs when sugar is consumed without fiber. When sugar enters your bloodstream without the fiber to slow the rate of absorption, then the pancreas, which is the organ that regulates the blood sugar levels, is forced to produce insulin to bring the sugar levels down. This fluctuation in blood sugar levels creates stress in the body and can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It also interrupts the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are both essential minerals for bone strength a proper nerve function.

So Where is the Fiber?

Fiber is the hard shell of grains and beans and the meat of fruits and vegetables. Fiber is an annoyance to food manufacturers. It is perishable so it creates a shorter shelf life, and it makes things take longer to cook. How could we microwave our dinner in 3 minutes if we have to cook that pesky fiber? So, what food manufacturers do is strip the fiber away from the food in order to make it more convenient for us. Bread lasts longer when made with refined flours, processed foods can sit on the shelf for months or years without  problem, and rice can take only a minute to cook.  Juice is easier to drink than actually eating an apple, so just drink your fruit. Nice right?

Sugar Robbers

The problem with all of this convenience is that it is causing mayhem in our bodies. Sugar in the body, without fiber, is like the Tasmanian devil, swirling and whirling and generally creating chaos. The fiber, which acts like a cop, is not there to tame the devil, so insulin levels shoot up, and we go on a sugar-fueled roller coaster ride. This effects us in so many ways. As mentioned above, it creates a huge amount of stress on the body. Because there is no fiber to slow the rate of absorption of the sugar, we get a huge rush of sugar followed by the inevitable crash. This wreaks havoc not only on our bodies but on our emotions as well. Have you ever witnessed the aftermath of a child’s sugar-high? It almost always ends in tears.

truffles2The Solution?

Always eat your sugars with fiber. I make a point in all of my cooking to ensure that I keep the dynamic duo together. The chocolate cake I bake is made with ground almond flour, stone ground millet, spinach and avocado. The frosting is made with fiber-rich coconut milk. The cookies are made with stone ground garbanzo beans and almonds, and the to-die-for chocolate truffles, which you will swear are the most decadent chocolate deliciousness ever, are made with dates and cashews. I have many, many more recipes on my site that maintain this same simple principle.

By incorporating these fibers into our sweet treats, we don’t need to give up our great love of sugar. Rather, if we make sure to eat fiber in combination with sugar,  we can have a happy mouth AND a healthy body.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips

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