Butter Peacan Balls

I’ve been on a real dessert ball kick lately: Cookie Dough Balls (Adrienne at Whole New Mom’s recipe choice for Allergy Free Wednesdays), Brownie Batter Bites (Wellness Weekends reader’s choice),  Vanilla Cake Batter Balls, and now Butter Pecan Balls.

These were a huge hit at work. One of my coworker asked for one…and ate three. I’ll consider that a vegan victory in the desserts-can-be-healthy war.

Butter Pecan Balls

1/2 c pecans – soaked

2T maple syrup

1T vanilla

1/2 c pecans, ground into coarse pecan meal

1/8 – 1/4 c almond meal

pinch salt

Make pecan cream by combing the raw, soaked and rinsed pecans with the maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener – nutritive or not) and vanilla extract in a high-powered blender. (A smaller blender works best here because of the small amount of pecan cream. I used my Magic Bullet.) Blend until cream is smooth. (If cream is too dry, add a little water or non-dairy milk.) Scoop pecan cream into a medium sized bowl.

Add dry pecans (soaked and dehydrated if possible – or frozen if not) to a mini-chopper and pulse until it becomes a coarse meal. Add pecan meal to pecan cream and mix to combine. Add almond meal (fine grind) until batter becomes thick enough to scoop.

Scoop batter with cookie scoop or TBSP and place cookie balls into a container to freeze. Store in the freezer.

Makes small batch of about 10 balls.

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I’m sharing this post with the readers at….

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry

Healthy Vegan Fridays @ The Veggie Nook

Whole Food Friday @ Allergy Free Alaska

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

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It’s my Blogiversary!

I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since my first blog post. An entire year!

Hey! It’s my Blogiversary!

I started this blog as a way to share the delicious vegan recipes I began creating in my tiny, little kitchen. Even though I was a vegetarian for 10 years before I dropped the eggs and dairy, I didn’t cook much until I started following a plant-based diet. At first, I relied on meat analogues and some frozen and packaged vegan goodies to get me through the week, but as the days have gone by, my diet has changed, and my reliance on kitchen helper foods has all but disappeared. At this point, unless I’m doing a little experimenting with my digestion (more on that coming soon), on any given day, I don’t consume anything from a package. (Unless you happen to find on that off day when I’ve had to resort to a prepackaged Lara bar because my freezer stash ran out, or I’m traveling and (a) got stuck somewhere or (b) got hungrier a lot quicker than expected.)

In the past year, I’ve created nearly 100 original recipes, sold 11 copies of my first eCookbook (all to friends and acquaintances, but…it’s a start!), presented the wonderful world of veganism to about 50 people – and fed them!, helped a friend transition from omnivore to herbivore, become a trusted source of food and nutrition information for my real-life friends and acquaintances, met a countless number of amazing bloggers and blog readers who have my sincere appreciation and admiration and make my days a little bit brights 😀 In past few months, I’ve had quite a few recipes featured on other, wonderful blogs, found my blogging ‘voice,’ engaged in stimulating conversations on Facebook and Twitter,  and been blessed with over 17,000 blog visitors. 17,000…I wouldn’t believe that number if I didn’t see for myself!

When I was thinking about what to write to celebrate my blogiversary, I was going to share with you how much my diet has changed and what I’ve discovered my myself , but once I started thinking about the past year and how much a part of my life this blog has become – and all of the people associated with it and the blogging community I’ve become a member of  (including readers who don’t blog!), it didn’t seem like the way to go. Not today. Today I want to (not so) simply say, “Thank you.” Thank you for reading. Thank you for like my recipes. Thank you for making my recipe. Thank you for being a part of my vegan adventure.

Cheers to another year!

Dutch Apple Pie

What do you do with the last few, annoying apples rolling around in the crisper from vacation a month ago that are a little too soft to eat on their own? Make pie! Raw pie. Low-fat, raw, vegan pie. Nut free. Seed free. Packed with flavor.

Dutch Apple Pie

10 medool dates, pitted (or another soft date)

2 heaping TBSP desiccated coconut, unsweetened

3 small apples, cored, cut in half, sliced thin (peeled or unpeeled)

1 TBSP maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener of choice)

1 TBSP lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Peel and core apples ( I did not peel). Cut each apple in half then slice thin. Add slices to medium sized bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup to apples. Mix to combine. Let apples sit a few minutes to a few hours (refrigerate if allowing to sit for a while). Meanwhile, add pitted dates and coconut shreds to a food processor (a mini chopper works best) and pulse to combine until part of the mixture forms a ball. (You want some of the mix to remain crumbly.) Press the ball of dough into a small, glass container to form the pie “crust.” (You can bring it up the sides of the dish to be more pie-like, or press the dough into a spring-form tart pan.) Place the apple slices on top of the crust, arranging them so they fit snugly against the edge of the container. Press the slices into the dough and into each other as you build the layers. Once you reach the top of the container and run out of apples, pour any leftover  juice from the apple dish onto the pie. Cover the apple mixture with the leftover, crumbly dough. Either refrigerate pie to allow apples set or dehydrate a few hours to warm up the apples and give the top a little crunchiness. Cover and refrigerate left-overs.

No apples? Try peaches (while they’re in season!), pitted, sliced cherries, or blueberries.

Can’t eat pie without whipped cream? Make coconut cream! (Refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight. Open carefully without shaking can. Scoop coconut cream off the top of the can into a bowl. Use as is or gently stir in a little vanilla and/or granulated sweetener of your choice.)

Want a warmer flavor? Add a little cinnamon (or your favorite pie spices) and/or vanilla to your apple mixture.

My mom used to make the best Dutch apple pie. It was crazy rich and sweet. This pie doesn’t rival hers, but it’s a good substitute. And it’s a lot healthier 🙂 Enjoy!
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I’m sharing this recipe at…

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Keep it Real Thursday @ Beyond the Peel

One Lovely Blog Award

So, ya, way back in May I was nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award by veggiewhatnow. Oops! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun in blog-land :-/

Thank you, thank you, thank you veggiewhatnow!

According to the rules of the One Lovely Blog Award, I have to share ten things about myself and nominate five deserving bloggers for the same award. No problem-0!

About Me, Veggie V!

1. Favorite color? Red & White, but I also really like orange
2. Favorite animal? Cats, but I love my vegan goldfish, Betty
3. Favorite number? 6
4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Water, but I’m digging Kombucha lately! (And I can’t forget decaf coffee and herbal tea!)
5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, but I try to be active on Twitter, too. And I love Pinterest!
6. My passion? Sharing my knowledge about —everything from education to veganism 🙂
7. Prefer getting or giving presents? Both! Who doesn’t love a present? Then again, who doesn’t love that look on someone’s face when you give them the perfect gift?
8. Favorite pattern? Hum…plaid? LOL
9. Favorite day of the week? Thursday
10. Favorite flower? Yellow Tulips

Ok, now onto my five blog nominations. I love so many blogs, it’s hard to choose just five, but I really wanted to nominate bloggers who haven’t previously been nominated or who may be newer to the blog scene and haven’t been nominated for any blog awards yet. (I was super pshyched when I received a Liebster award during Vegan MoFo last year!)

Catherine @ Almost Raw Vegan

Madison @ Veggieful

Jane @ The Healthy Beehive

Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

Sophie @ Sophie’s Foodie Files

Ali @ Farmer’s Market Vegan

Denise @ Veggiewitch

Obviously, I couldn’t choose just five deserving blogs and  bloggers to receive the One Lovely Blog Award. I could have probably filled up an entire page of nominees, but at least I cut it down to just seven 😉

Now, spread the love!

Brownie Dough Bites Plus Bonus Recipe

I ran out of raw freezer treats. That’s unacceptable.

Brownie Batter Bites

1/4 c almond butter

1/4 c date paste

4-6 drops liquid stevia

1 TBSP vanilla

2 TBSP raw cacao powder

1 TBSP cacao nibs

Dash salt

Combine everything in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Use a cookie scoop to make bite-sized treats and freeze until firm. Store in freezer for optimal desserty goodness.

Notes:

Almond dry? Try warming it (microwave or water bath). Don’t like almond butter, allergic or don’t have any? Use a different nut or seed butter.

Dough too dry? Add some coconut oil. Start with 1TBSP.

Not sure how to make date paste? It’s easy! Soak a few pitted dates in just enough water to cover them for a few hours. Once softened, blend or process dates and soaking water until smooth. You can use the same process to turn any dried fruit into paste. (Try prunes, raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, etc.) Just remember, each fruit will change the flavor of the dough a little.

Don’t want to use date paste? Substitute with your favorite liquid sweetener OR use stevia entirely to sweeten. (Or try xylitol)

Don’t have stevia or don’t want to use it? Use more date paste, or add 1TBSP of your favorite liquid sweetener. (If you want to use a dry sweetener, it may make the batter a little dryer. No problem – just increase the nut/seed butter and/or coconut oil.)

Don’t care if your dessert is raw? Use regular cocoa powder (not processed with alkali) and/or chocolate chips.

Want a warm cookie but want to keep it raw? Try dehydrating or baking on the lowest temp your oven will go. To dehydrate: start cookies on paraflex sheets an dehydrate for a couple of hours at 115F or until firm enough to flip onto mesh screen. Continue to dehydrate until no longer tacky to the touch. (TIP: Begin dehydrating at at higher temp – 145 –  for an hour or so. This temp won’t increase the internal temp of the cookies past 118, so they’ll still be raw, but it will help form a nice crunchy crust on the outside of the cookies.

BONUS RECIPE

I lost the photo for this recipe, so I’m including as a bonus. Bonus!

Vanilla Cake Batter Balls

1/2 c soaked Brazil nuts

2 T vanilla

1 T maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

2 T coconut flour (this is the key to the cake batter – try not to sub)

1 T vanilla protein powder (optional)

Blend Brazil nuts, vanilla, and maple syrup until smooth. (I used my Magic Bullet.) Scoop the Brazil nut cream into a medium sized bowl and add the coconut flour and protein powder (if using). Stir to combine. Dough should be thick and soft – like soft play dough. Use a cookie scooper to make the dessert balls and freeze to firm. Store in the freezer to retain freshness.

Important Note: If you decide to use the protein powder, the flavor will be come very evident as the dessert balls age – even in the freezer. If eaten within a day or two, the flavor blends nicely, however.

Notes:

Don’t like Brazil nuts? Try something else! Cashews would work wonderfully in this recipe, as would macadamia nuts or even pine nuts.

Want to keep it sugar free? Use stevia. Start with one dropper full, or about 10 drops or liquid or 1 pkt (about 1/4 tsp) of powdered stevia. (You may need to add a splash of liquid – water or nut milk – if using powdered sweetener.)

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Check out

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SSGF

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Allergy Friendly Fridays @ Cybele Pascal: The Allergy-Friendly Cook

Cookie Dough Balls

I don’t know why I was so slow to warm up to cashew cream. It’s so versatile! Add some lemon juice and a pinch of salt and voila — sour cream. Add some vanilla and a little sweetener and voila — vanilla cream (the filling for my Hazelnut Tarts)! Mmmm….vanilla cream….

While indulging in my new-found love for cashew cream, I accidentally created cookie dough dip. Then I scooped it into balls, froze it, and created cookie dough balls. I love happy accidents!

It seems like all the blogs I read have at least one recipe for cookie dough dip, and I’m always drawn to it because it looks and sounds delicious. But, then I think, “What will I dip in it?” So, I’ve never made any. Until I accidentally did. Ha!

My goal was to create some kind of non-chocolate dessert. My parameters were pretty wide: raw (or as raw as possible considering I can’t consume agave) and vanilla flavored. Pretty easy, right? Right.

Cookie Dough Balls

1/2 c cashews, soaked

1T vanilla

1T maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

1T almond milk (or water)

1/4 c almond meal

pinch salt

1T Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder (optional)

1/4 c cacao nibs (optional)

Blend cashews, vanilla, maple syrup, and almond milk/water until smooth and creamy. (I used a Magic Bullet for this because the batch of cashew cream was too small to make the Vitamix happy.) Scoop cashew cream into medium bowl and add almond meal and protein powder (if using). Stir to combine. Fold in cacao nibs (if using). Dough should be thick and tacky. Scoop mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet with a cookie scoop or melon baller and freeze until firm. Store in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy!

Notes

If your cashew cream isn’t as creamy as it should be, add additional almond milk/water by the teaspoon until thick and creamy.

If you’d like a sweeter cashew cream, add additional sweetener: 1T maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), or 1/4 tsp stevia powder.

For a sugar free option, start with 10 drops of liquid stevia and increase as necessary. You may also need to increase almond milk/water.

If your cookie dough dip is too thin to form into balls, add additional almond meal.

Make your own almond meal by grinding frozen almonds into dust in a food processor (stop before it turns into butter – frozen almonds will help). Or, dehydrate left-over almond pulp (from homemade almond milk), dehydrate, and grind for a finer texture.

If you choose to use the protein powder, the flavor will become more apparent as the balls age. It may also affect the texture/mouth feel of the cookie dough balls. I didn’t mind the flavor change, but if you think it will be a problem, don’t include the protein powder.

If you want chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough balls, add 1T raw cacao powder to the dough before rolling and freezing.

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I’m sharing this recipe with the readers of…

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Gluten Free Pantry

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Allergy Friendly Fridays @ Cybele Pascal