Recipe Review: Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo”

As I breifly mentioned in my last post, I’ve made some changes to my diet, which include lowering my daily fat intake. So, when I saw Angela’s recipe for alfredo sauce made with cauliflower come through my in-box, I was all about it!

As luck would have it, Whole Foods had organic cauliflower on sale, so I picked up a couple of heads and Cauli-power Fettuccine Alfredo was moved to the top of the dinner menu.

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I’ve been using corn pasta, or a combo of corn and some other gluten-free grains, and I’ve been pretty happy with the outcome. The taste is good; the texture is good, and I don’t feel all vibratey after eating a big ol’ bowl of pasta like I do when I eat regular semolina pasta. So, for this recipe, I used the pasta I had in the pantry, which was a bag of rigatoncini. I figured that shape and style would work fine with this sauce because of the lines – and I was right. Woot!

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I was a little worried the sauce would come out watery because of my previous attempts at using cauliflower in sauces and soups. (Hello. How do people think mashed cauliflower tastes anything like my beloved mashed potatoes?!) But, surprise surprise, the sauce was super thick and creamy and delicious!

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I ended up adding a little extra nutritional yeast (because I always do), and I waited to add any salt until the individual servings. (I’m making a conscious effort to reduce my sodium intake.) I also skipped the sauteed onions (If you keep them in, please try sauteing them with water, not oil.) and just added granulated garlic and onion powder to the mix. And, I had plain soy milk open already, so I used that for the non-dairy milk. I think using a thicker non-dairy milk like soy or hemp is probably a good idea, although Angela used almond milk.

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I also added some broccoli to my dish. I just tossed in w/ the pasta as it cooked, and eight minutes later, they were both done. Yummy add for no extra work! (Well, except for the little bit of chopping required to get the broccoli florettes off their stems.)

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Other than those few tweaks, I followed the recipe exactly. I even  followed the suggested order of boiling the cauliflower first then making the sauce and letting it sit while I boiled the pasta and broccoli. After I drained the pasta/broccoli mix, I added it back to the hot pan on the still warm burner and poured in the sauce, stirred, and ate!

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I will definitely make this recipe again! One thing I will keep in mind, though, is the sauce really soaks into the pasta as it sits, so the next day, the pasta is a bit mushy, and the sauce is even more bland. I ground on a bit more salt and plowed through my next-day plate, but I kept wishing I’d added some fresh tomatoes or onions or something to brighten it up. (My husband thought adding a little bit of non-dairy milk might help revive things a bit, but I’d already eaten all of the left-overs before he suggested it. Ha!)

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Overt Fat Free

I need to write a post about the current state of my diet, but long story short, I’ve gotten a handle on my moving + holiday eating frenzy and feel like I’m in a good place right now. Basically, I’m eating within a ration of 80% carbohydrates and 10% each fat and protein. And while my diet is high raw, it is not all raw, so it’s not the 80-10-10 of The 80-10-10 Diet – just the ratio.

Back to why we’re here today…I made cookies!

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Yup. Delicious, nutritious, overt-fat-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies made with only four ingredients (five if you count the optional cinnamon) and sweetened only with fruit. 80-10-10 for the win!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Overt Fat Free)

2 c old fashioned oats

1/2 c super thick date paste

1 medium banana, mashed (about 1/4 c)

1/4-1/2 c raisins (soaked if dry)

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

First, make date paste by blending soaked dates. Try not to use any of the date soaking water, so the paste is extra thick and sticky. Then, mash the banana using a fork (or pulse it in a mini-chopper). Don’t blend it because the liquid banana will add liquid to the dough.

Add oats and cinnamon to a bowl. Stir to combine. (Optional: Add a dash of salt.) Add mashed banana and date paste. Stir to combine. Add raisins. Stir to incorporate. [If  dough is too dry, add more date paste.]

Scoop dough onto a parchment or Paraflexx lined dehydrator tray. [I used an ice cream scooper.] Use the back of a spoon to flatter the cookies into desired thickness. Shape edges for prettier cookies (and so no little bits dry and fall off).

Dehydrate at 145F for about 30 minutes to quick set the cookies. Reduce heat and continue to dry at 110F for about 60 minutes. Flip cookies and continue to dry for 60-90 more minutes.

Makes 10 cookies at about 160 calories and 1.5 grams of fat each.

NOTES:

EFA’s: If your diet is a little low on EFA’s (essential fatty acids 3-6-9), try adding a flax “egg” (1 TBSP flax meal + 1-2 TBSP water). You might need to cut back on the date paste if you.

Baking: If you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t feel like using one, you can try baking the cookies. Try a low oven of around 200F and check on the cookies every 5 minutes. I’m guessing it will take somewhere between 5-10 minutes to dry out the cookies. (Be careful; without fat, these cookies will go from not-quite-done to burnt in the blink of an eye.)

Storage: Completely cool the cookies and store in an air tight container. You can probably store these outside of the frig, but I like to keep all of my goodies in the frig. [Remember, glass will help keep baked goods crispy, and plastic will help keep them soft. So, store according to texture preference.]

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Happy Herbivore Light & Lean Blog Tour

I’ve got a treat for you! Lindsay Nixon, aka “The Happy Herbivore,” is doing a blog tour for her newest baby book Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, and she’s stopping by to say, “Hi!”

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This is Lindsay’s fourth book, and it promises not to disappoint. I own the three previous HH books, and I love them all. So when Lindsay’s publishers posted they were looking for bloggers to help promote HHLL, I jumped at the chance. Why not? Who doesn’t love delicious and easy-to-make, low-fat, oil-free, vegan goodies??

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great is a unique addition to the Happy Herbivore family. This time, Lindsay has included a fitness component. If you follow the Happy Herbivore blog (like I have for many years), you know that Lindsay used to be a personal trainer. And, since being active is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, it’s only natural that fitness and food make an appearance in this latest addition to your plant-based book collection.

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According to Amazon:

With easy, no-fuss recipes, the bestselling Happy Herbivore cookbooks show how easy, affordable, and delicious eating healthy can be. Now, in her latest cookbook, Happy Herbivore chef Lindsay S. Nixon provides recipes that put a special emphasis on weight-loss and a set of exercises that, like her recipes, are quick, easy, and produce great results.

Like all Happy Herbivore cookbooks, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean contains filling, flavorful, plant-based recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. But this time, Nixon takes healthy to an all-new level, with low-calorie, satisfying meals that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals—and without deprivation.

True to its title, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean also includes “recipes” for your body with basic workouts, plus tips and tricks that will inspire you to move more for a trimmer, more-toned you. As always, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean recipes are free from oils, processed foods, and diet chemicals such as artificial sweeteners.

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean keeps it healthy, keeps it simple, and keeps it delicious.

Are you excited yet? Wait…there’s more! I had the chance to ask Lindsay a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:

VV: After four cookbooks, where do find your continued motivation?

HH: Contractual obligations with your publisher, I find, make one very motivated 😉 Though in all fairness I signed up for a total of 6 books freely. I had (still have) a lot of ideas. I’m one of those people who likes a challenge… a goal to work toward. My fans and supporters are also incredibly motivating. Everything I do, I do for them

VV: Since Light & Lean introduces readers to the fitness component of HH, are you going to continue to incorporate it into the mix? For example, are you perhaps going to offer fitness plans in the future?

HH: There are fitness plans in the new book 🙂

VV: With the holiday season upon us, what’s your best tip not only staying plant strong but light and lean as well?

HH: Have a plan in place. Have a strategy before you walk in the door to a party, hit the buffet line or sit down to dinner. If you want to indulge a little, great, but decide what and how much before you start feasting with your eyes.

I was really interested in the motivation part. I can barely come up with enough content for a weekly blog post, let along fill 4 (6?!) cookbooks with tasty and unique recipes and stories that keep people coming back for more.

I’ve got one last surprise for you. Lindsay’s publishers graciously agreed to share a recipe from HHLL, and I chose Meatloaf Bites. Why? Because I love meatloaf (meat-less loaf?) and anything that’s bite sized. Seriously. I can’t resist finger foods! (That’s tiny food. Not food made from fingers. (Hey. It’s Halloween. I don’t know where your mind is! Ha!))

Meatloaf Bites

Makes 8

Gluten-free, Quick, Budget

One afternoon I grabbed what I thought was corn from the freezer but later realized it was mixed vegetables. Once they thawed on the counter I knew they weren’t going back in, so I looked for a new, inventive way to use them. A can of kidney beans started calling, and before I knew it I had a vegetable-filled meatloaf in the oven. Since this meatloaf is baked in a muffin tin (great for serving sizes and portion control), I call it meatloaf “bites” and, yes, leftovers are great as a burger!

1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder (add another 1 tsp if you like it spicy)

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (recipe in full cookbook)

1 c frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

6 tbsp instant oats

 Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use nonstick. Mash beans in a bowl with fork or potato masher until well mashed. Add remaining ingredients, except oats, and stir to combine.

Stir in oats. Spoon into muffin tin and pack down. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside and fairly firm to the touch (firms a bit as it cools). Serve with ketchup, Quick Gravy (pg. 188), etc.

Per BiteCalories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.7g

Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.9g

Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6.5g

Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g

Protein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5.8g

WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

[Note: I added the mechanical emphasis to make the recipe appear more consistent with the way I post recipes. I also added the color to make the recipe stand out. I didn’t want you to miss anything!]

Disclaimer: Lindsay’s publishers offered to send me a copy of HHLL for participating in the blog tour (but I would have done it anyway. I’m always happy and willing to help promote a healthy, plant-based life!).

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Aren’t these the cutest?! See…finger foods! And that ketchup frosting? What a great idea!

Are you excited yet? You can pre-order your copy of HHLL here. Books are scheduled to be available at the beginning of December, but I’ve heard through the grapevine (OK, it was on the HH blog *wink*) that preordered books may ship sooner. Order now, and you might  have a new resource for your [American] Thanksgiving meal planning!

Enjoy your Meatloaf Bites!

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Brownies

I’ve been craving brownies since December.

First, I tried this fat-free black bean recipe. It was OK. I’ve tried other fat-free black bean recipes, and they’ve been OK too. All have been very cake-like. Good when you’re in the mood for that type of brownie, or even a piece of chocolate cake, but not so good when you aren’t sure what you want. Apparently that wasn’t what I wanted.

Then, I tried a fat-free brownie that used sweet potato instead of beans or bananas. It was OK. But, guess what, I can’t find the recipe. Ugh. I guess you’ll have to settle for some a photos.

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I also made this  blondie, which was very interesting. Cooked quinoa. Crazy!

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Sadly, I wasn’t super thrilled with either of these recipes either. The blondie was a different flavor I wasn’t fond of – not bad but not great. And, I ended up having to bake them for almost four times the length of time in the recipe. I don’t know what the difference in moisture could have been, but wowza! They were in the oven forever, and I could have left them in even longer. The regular brownies didn’t do it for me either. I probably didn’t leave them in the long enough (the oven had been on all day), and instead of being fudgy, they were gelatinous. I don’t do anything anything gelatinous. Luckily, after a night in the fridge, they firmed up a bit, and I ate them with the mindset of cold chocolate oatmeal.

Finally, I tried making a batch of raw brownies. Just about every vegan food blog, and maybe non-vegan blogs, have a recipe for raw brownies – and why not?! They’re delicious and super easy to make.

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The recipes are all about the same: dates, cacao and some kind of mix-in. My recipe isn’t anything special in design, but it sure tastes good!

Raw Brownies

20 jumbo medjool dates (40 regular size) – soaked if hard

1/4-1/2 c raw cacao (or carob – to taste)

1/8 – 1/4 c almond meal or flour (I used dehydrated and processed almond pulp left-over from making almond milk.)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

2 TBSP (heaping) raw cacao nibs – optional

1/4 c (scant) sliced almonds – optional

Add dates to food processor first. Process until dates have broken down. (You don’t need to process them into a paste, though.) Add cacao powder and almond meal and process again until mixture forms a ball. Add your mix-ins and combine by hand. Press mixture into a small container, silicone molds, or form into balls and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow to thaw a bit before eating  if freezing.

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Hot and Spicy Drinks for a Long, Cold Night

Tonight is the longest night of the year; it’s the winter solstice. It’s also the last day on the Mayan’s long calendar, which lead some to believe the end of the world was a mere clock tick away. But, it’s already tomorrow in many parts of the world, and here I am, typing away. (I guess you can save your emergency bags for another day – ha!) Coo incidentally, today is also the first day of the season we’ve had measurable snow. Woohoo! The ground is still pretty warm, so the roads are clear – thankfully – but the wind and cold temps sure make it feel like the first day of winter 😀

To help keep you warm, I’m sharing two spicy winter drinks. If you use a non-nutritive sweetener, each drink is well below 100 calories, yet each is rich, creamy, and super satisfying! And, if you’re not into warm drinks, chill ’em! Chill all of your ingredients, toss them into the blender with some ice cubes, and ta-dah, smooth, creamy, chilly goodness in a glass!

Hot Chocolate Chai

1 c brewed chai tea

1 c almond milk, plain or vanilla, unsweetened

1 TBSP carob, cacao, or coco (unsweetened and not processed with alkali)

 

Sweetener of choice: 1 TBSP liquid, nutritive sweetener (maple syrup, agave, etc) or 1 pkt (1/4 tsp) stevia or other non-nutritive sweetener

Optional: 1/4 tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or cacao nibs (crushed slightly)

Brew your favorite chai tea. While brewing, combine carob or cacao/coco powder with almond milk and sweetener either by blending or briskly whisking. After tea reaches desired level of strength, slowly add it to the chocolate mixture, whisking to combine. Sprinkle with cinnamon/nutmeg. (Option: Add cinnamon/nutmeg to drink)

Notes:

Keepin’ it Raw: Make your own almond milk, use raw cacao or carob powder, choose a raw sweetener such as date paste or raw stevia (dehydrate your own stevia leaves and process into a fine powder), and steep tea in water less than 115F. Please note, however, depending upon the brand of tea you’re using, it may or may not be raw.

Smoothie: Turn this into a smoothie by chilling the tea and blending ingredients with a couple handfuls of ice. Add protein powder and chia seeds for some some staying power.

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Spicy Chai Latte

1 c chai tea

1 c almond milk

1 c coffee (regular or decaf)

1 TBSP nutritive (maple syrup, agave, date paste, etc) or non-nutritive sweetener (stevia – liquid or powdered)

1 t vanilla

Optional: garnish with cacao nibs

Brew your chai tea and coffee. While warm, combine with almond milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Gently blend everything together (string should be fine) and garnish with cacao nibs for a chocolate kick. Serves 2 (or one giant mug)

Notes:

Keepin’ it Raw: There’s not way to make raw coffee because the beans are roasted, but you can cold brew your coffee in a French press over night in the fridge. Cold brew your tea at the same time, and don’t forget to soak your almonds, too. Warm everything before serving.

Mocha Chai Latte: Turn your Spicy Chai Latte into a Mocha Chai Latte by adding some raw cacao powder (or coco powder not processed with alkali).

Smoothie Time! Add your chilled ingredients to the blender along with some ice, chia seeds and protein powder (for staying power) and blend away.

Iced Chai Coffee: Combine your extra chai tea and left-over coffee, add some non-dairy milk, and poor over ice. A little sweetener and a dash of vanilla really brings out the flavor.

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Chai Spiced Holiday Nog

I have yet to embrace the holiday season this year. I haven’t bought a single gift (not that I have many to purchase since it’s just Mr M and me). I haven’t even bought myself anything, which is usually how it begins. (Hey. Somebody has to do it – ha!) Maybe it’s because we don’t have the tree up yet. Or maybe it’s because I work through next week and have enough work to do over break that I doubt I’ll even notice I’m not “working” for a few weeks. But, most likely, it’s because of the wacky weather here in Ohio. Last weekend, the temperature was over 60F! That’s crazy for early December. Even today, the temperature is in the 40’s and raining. Supposedly, snow and colder temps are on the way, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

Maybe I should clarify. I love winter. It’s my second favorite time of year. Fall is my first favorite time of year, but only because it means winter is coming. I love, love, love the colder temperatures of winter. And, I love me some snow! But, I HATE ice. I’ve had too many car accidents to mention due to ice, and that’s just the tip of the slippery ice-berg when it comes to the frozen wet stuff: downed power-lines, cancelled classes, falling down – ugh. Now, on the other hand, is awesome! It makes everything – even the ugliest of trash piles – look beautiful. And the way lights twinkle through the snow really sets the holiday mood. The mood of which I am lacking. Sigh.

To help get me in the spirit, I’ve been indulging in some holiday cheer in the form of chai tea. Traditionally, I haven’t been a fan of chai spice, but I found this tea recently, and I’m hooked!

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I cannot have caffeine, and I’m not a big fan of “decaffeinated” products, so any time I can find an herbal tea that makes me happy, I’m all over it. And, considering how much I love rooibos, and how much I love Numi brand teas, I figured this would be a hit. It is!  Who wouldn’t love naturally caffeine free ro0ibos chai tea?!

Combined with some vanilla almond milk and a couple of dates and/or bananas and protein powder, this holiday drink is a pure delight 🙂

Chai Spiced Holiday Nog

2 c Rooibos Chai Tea (or your favorite chai tea)

1 c vanilla almond or other non-dairy milk (or add 1 tsp of vanilla for plain milk)

1 heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder (I love Sun Warrior Blend Vanilla)

2 jumbo dates, pitted (or 4 regular size) – or another sweetener of your choice

Optional: 1 TBSP chia seeds (for thickness and a healthy dose of EFA’s)

Optional: 1 super ripe banana (fresh or frozen) for a thicker nog

Lots of ice

Add everything to blender and blend away. Garnish with cinnamon.

Notes: This amount of ingredients makes two nice servings at just over 100 calories each (with the chia seeds). Not bad for an indulgent holiday drink – with an added protein boost! If you choose to use the banana, you might want to omit the dates. I tried it with both, and it was WAY too sweet. But, if you’re making this for children or non-vegan guests,  the extra sweetness might be nice. Admittedly, the banana does add a nice touch. Additionally, if you want a thicker drink, try using a thicker non-dairy milk such as hemp or soy. I also find my homemade cashew milk is quite thick.

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Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers & a Raw Foods DVD Contest

I’ve been obsessed with raw caramel dipping sauces lately. Seriously. Check out these awesome, easy recipes!

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

splash water

Blend dates, water, and vanilla in a small, bullet style blender until smooth. Drizzle over or apples or other tart fruits.

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular sized fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1 TBSP raw cacao powder (or carob powder for a chocolate-free sauce)

splash water (start with 1 tbsp)

Add all ingredients to a bullet style blender cup and blend until smooth. Dip apple slices into caramel or drizzle over your favorite fruit, pancakes, toast, etc.

Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1-2 TBSP shredded coconut (super fine shred works best)

splash water (about 1 TBSP)

Add all ingredients to bullet style blender cup and blend until incorporated. Coconut will not blend until smooth, but will blend enough to create an awesome dipping sauce for apples, banana skewers, strawberries, or even stuffed into whole, pitted dates.

Are you familiar with the works of Jennifer Cornbleet? I have two of her books and absolutely love them! Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert: Easy Delights for Everyone are both amazing, and I have been drooling over Jennifer’s videos on her YouTube channel for months.  Guess what…Jennifer has a new DVD that’s releasing next month, but you can enter to win a free copy! She’s giving away one DVD each week, so even if you don’t win this week, you still have another chance 🙂 Enter to win today; I did!

Jennifer Cornbleet has just released an excellent new DVD that’s loaded with
tips and recipes to make eating well a breeze no matter how busy you are.
It’s full of time-saving techniques and dishes that taste great and will
keep your body energized.
Throughout the month of November, you can enter to win a copy for free! For
more information, and to enter to win, click here

Chocolate Craving

Apparently I’ve been craving chocolate lately. How do I know? I’ve been making chocolate treats left and right!

If you follow me on Facebook, I shared these recipes last week. But, just in case you missed them, or if you want them in a more printer-friendly format, here they are again 🙂

Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw cacao (could sub carob)

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

1 tbsp water (adjust to desired thickness)

1 tsp cacao nibs

2 tbsp raw slivered almonds

Blend dates, cacao, vanilla and water until smooth. Stir in cacao nibs and 1 tbsp almonds. Top with remaining almonds and freeze until firm. Store in freezer.

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Smoothie

4 chilled bananas

1 heaping tbsp of raw cacao

1 heaping tbsp of roasted carob

1 tbsp alcohol free vanilla

1/4 cup nut butter and/or protein powder

1/4 c water

8 ice cubes

Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth. 

Pumpkin Chia Oatmeal

I couldn’t take it any long; I broke down and opened a can of pumpkin. And then I opened another. And all the while, the tiny pie pumpkin I bought a couple of weeks ago sat atop the shelf, staring at me. Don’t worry little pumpkin; your days are numbered!

Pumpkin Chia Oatmeal

2 TBSP chia seeds

1/4 c oat groats, coarsely ground (or rolled or steel cut oats)

1/2 c pumpkin puree (canned or raw)

2 TBSP maple syrup (or your favorite liquid sweetener or stevia)

1/2 c (or more) almond milk (I make my own)

1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine everything and let it sit for a few minutes so the chia seeds can gel and thicken the oatmeal. Eat cold, room temperature, or warm. (I eat mine cold like cereal.)

To keep the recipe completely raw, use soaked then dehydrated oat groats (like I did), date paste for sweetener (or raw agave or honey if that works for your diet) or chunks of other dried fruit (raisins, craisins, dried cherries, etc), raw pumpkin puree, and homemade almond milk (to ensure it’s raw).

If you’re OK with a higher fat dish, try swirling in some almond butter, coconut butter, or coconut oil. All three would make your oats even creamier!

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Better than Newtons

I have a serious thing for figs. Always have. Always will. Ok, maybe not always will, but I can’t imagine what would happen to make me not love figs. Case in point: I used to give tours to temporary workers at a local manufacturing facility that makes Fig Newtons. Seriously. After a day at the factory (jewelry-less and covered in hair nets), everyone left smelling like figs. Most people found this sickening. Not me. I relished in it. I looked forward to my Thursday tour group days. That was the only thing that got me through those long three months of employment with that company. (“Why only three months?,” you may be wondering. I got fired. Thank God for small favors!)

My obsession with Fig Newtons (small, squarish fig cookies for those of you not familiar) started in childhood; they were one of my dad’s favorite treats. And, being a fairly obese child, a cookie was cookie; bring it on! Luckily (unluckily?!), I loved the flavor and Fig Newton’s quickly became one of my favorite cookies, too.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and I still love figs, and I still love Fig Newton’s (Newman’s makes an awesome version too!), but I don’t love the preservatives, HFC, gluten, and whatever other nasties are floating around in a bag of Newtons. What to do, what to do…I know, make a healthier, vegan version of my childhood figgy treat! Enter, Skinny Figgy Bars ala  Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (which can also be found in the awesome cookbook  Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas), which I made a few (dozen) times last year. But that was last year. This is this year, and this year I’m eating a bit higher on the raw spectrum, so I went back to the drawing board food processor, and this is what I came up with.

Better Than Newtons

1/2 lb figs, de-stemmed (I use Turkish figs)

1/2 lb dates, pitted (I use Medjools)

1/4 c raw almond slivers (or raw almonds, crushed)

1 lemon, juiced (about 2 TBSP)

Optional: 1/4 tsp almond extract and/or pinch of sea salt

Place everything in a heavy-duty food processor and process until mixture begins to form a ball. Scoop giant tablespoons of mixture out of the food processor and roll into a ball. (Note: Mixture will be VERY sticky!) Then, you have a couple of options: either (a) place cookie balls on a dehydrator teflexx/paraflexx sheet, flatten, place on dehydrator tray, and dehydrate for one hour at 145F; then, reduce heat to around 110F and dehydrate another 2-4 hours or until desired firmness/tackiness; store cookies in the freezer or refrigerator, or (b) place cookie balls in a container and store in the freezer or refrigerator. Either option is delicious!

I shared one of these cookies with a co-worker who can’t eat chocolate, so I make a special point to share chocolate-free goodies with her, and she said the cookies were the best treat I’ve never shared with her — and she’s even paid for some of my treats before!

Sharing is caring…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Food Thursdays, Vegan Friendly Fridays, and Wellness Weekends.