Guilt-free, fat burning delicious dessert, anyone?

Guilt-free, fat burning delicious dessert, anyone?

THIS is yet another guilt-free “cheesecake” recipe. It seems like its all the rage with bloggers lately, so I am jumping on the bandwagon. I love these recipes!  They are low glycemic, delicious, decadent, and guilt free.  Hello…what more could you want from life??  I, however, want to change it up and have my own version. I made an orange and blueberry cheesecake for Passover (check out the post here), and I have made similar chocolate ganache tarts, but I’m if I serve blueberries again my husband might get tired of my  raw, vegan antics, and sometimes all chocolate is just too rich (wow, did I just say that??).

Another thing that I love about these recipes is this:  many people who want to lose weight and/or eat healthier think they have to give up good food and tasty treats.  NOT SO!  This delectable dessert is a perfect fat loss, burn-those-hips-down-to-size example of how healthy can be delicious and guilt free. The coconut oil, coconut cream,  and cashews are all extremely nutritious.  They are good sources of healthy fats and protein, which help the body to burn fat.  I use real maple syrup for these  recipes, which is lower glycemic than other sweeteners.  The dates–have you ever opened a date?  They have tons of fiber!  But, you’d never know you’re eating something healthy with this delight.  When you eat foods balanced with healthy fats and proteins your body secretes less insulin, and this creates a little magic in the body.  Glucagon, the fat-burning hormone is released and BAM!  This is why people can eat all day and not get fat.  Its a fine line, though.  If there is too much insulin (because there’s too much sugar/carbs in the bloodstream at once), then glucagon can’t come out to make energy.    This is one of the secrets to fat loss that people forget, which causes massive frustration, which ultimately results in giving up, feeling like a failure again, and demoralization (all the usual things that go along with diets on the back end).  These types of dishes show that you can have your cake and eat it too!

This week I’m going to experiment, so stay tuned for pictures! I’m going to take the basic raw, vegan, gluten free cheesecake deliciousness (trust me, it is GOOD), and use strawberries and raw cacao nibs. Who DOESN’T like strawberries and chocolate!  My hubby is not a fan of strawberries, so to make everyone happy, I’m going to alternate blackberries and strawberries.  This is sounding better and better by the minute!

Its my daughter’s birthday, too. Strawberries (or any berries) and chocolate is such a great combo for a special occasion.

So, go over to Savanna’s blog and check out the recipe and then stay tuned for my version with strawberries and raw cacao nibs!

Wish me luck in the kitchen!  🙂  Elyse

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Holiday dessert that will impress

A couple of weeks ago, we had our occasional vegan gourmet club I lovingly call Veggie Fest.  You should try this.  Gourmet clubs have a reputation for being food orgies that usually involve a lot of decadent, unusual food with a theme, alcohol, and indigestion, so a VEGAN gourmet club might seem like an oxymoron.

Its actually one of the most fabulous and looked-forward-to event events at my house.  My HUSBAND even asks, “when’s the next veggiefest??” with anticipation!

None of us are actually vegan.  It all started when I flirted with veganism, or what I like to refer to as plant-based eating, after watching a few too many food documentaries.  I decided to try it for  as long as I could.  I made it 6 months.  Not too shabby.

We always impress ourselves about how good we have gotten at finding amazingly delicious recipes that use only plants, and we joke and laugh about how the first few dinners caused some “intestinal discomfort.”  Despite that, we hung in there and now share great recipes that we mostly get from other awesome vegan bloggers.

This past dinner I made a delicious Raw Orange and Blueberry Cheesecake (yes, vegan), from OneGreenPlanet .  YUM!  It’s not only impressive looking, but it really is delicious.  AND, you can make it for Passover or Easter (or for a summer birthday cake, or a baby shower, etc).  I made a few modifications, but otherwise I used the recipe on the OneGreenPlanet.

For the crust, I used 2 cups of hazelnuts and 1 heaping tbsp of raw cacao powder, about 10 dates and a pinch of salt.  This was combined in a  food processor until very fine and sticky.  I put it in a lined (with plastic wrap) springform pan.

For the main “cheesecake” layer, I followed the recipe here and added 5 drops of doTerra Wild Orange essential oil to give it a little more orange flavor (it needed it even with using the juice of 3 oranges and their zest). Only use doTerra brand.  Other brands are not edible.  Wild Orange also has awesome antioxidant properties (double bonus!). If you would like to order a bottle, just contact me.  (read  about essential oils here).

There were a lot of OOOH’s and AAAH’s.  The nutella-like crust was an amazing little extra.  There was none left over.  And all the ingredients are kosher for passover! YAY for healthy delicious Passover treats!!

Please let me know how YOURS turns out and if you made any modifications by leaving a comment below!  Happy Spring Holidays!!  Elyse

 

 

Crockpot Bison Stew and paying hommage to our food

Its has finally gotten cool enough to make stew! I apologize for the lack of pictures!  By the time I got home last night there was barely anything left!

I have been waiting patiently since I bought some bison short ribs at the farmer’s market this summer.  I have always wanted to try bison, mostly because my husband (who is a much more adventurous eater than I) said its good.  When I saw the farmer’s stand, and that they were offering samples, I just had to try it.

So, yes, I am not a vegan, even though I post lots of vegan recipes and think it is a very healthy lifestyle.  I tried it, and learned a lot, but I admit I like meat!  What can I say??!  So, to continue justifying eating meat, I do three things:

  1.  get the best cuts from the cleanest (healthiest) source
  2. eat small portions (probably half of what a normal portion would be for most people (about 2 oz)
  3. recognize the sacrifice of the animal and the resources it took to give me this delicious protein.

The more I learn about animals, the more I realize how amazing and smart they are.  We must not abuse them or take them for granted.  And the resources it takes to raise and slaughter meat is ridiculous.   I struggle with this, I will be honest with you, but not enough to give it up completely.  If we all eat less and more consciously, then it will have a big impact on agrifactories and on our environment.

BACK TO THE STEW…

So, this weekend it was finally cold enough to warrant defrosting my measly 1.5 pounds of short ribs.  Good meat is expensive, so I try to economize by getting cheaper cuts and smaller portions.  Stew is a great way to use high quality meat because you mix it in to make a hearty dish (people don’t notice that there is less), and you can use cheaper cuts that require longer cooking.

The farmer’s wife had a pretty complicated recipe and I simplified it down to the point where it was delicious, but nothing like the one she made.  I had some potatoes, carrots, string beans, and white beans in the kitchen, so I threw that all in too (chopped) along with a sauteed onion.  You can put anything in that you have around–that’s really what is so beautiful about stew.  It can be vegan with barley and lentils, or you can add some chicken or other sustainably-raised meat, and of course any veggies laying around–even kale!

Stew should also be easy to make.  It SHOULD be a crockpot meal.  Her recipe was not, so I adjusted it and, well, the fact that it was gone by the time I got home last night says it all.  Everyone enjoyed it, including my picky teenagers.

Here is the recipe:

marinade:

1 c water

11/4 cup brewed coffee (save some from morning)

1-2 tsp himalayan salt (i used 3 twists on the grinder)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 drops doTerra rosemary oil

2 tsp tamari sauce

2 ice cubes (don’t know why)

1.5 lbs bison short ribs

I put in a vertical ziplock-style container like this one:

container

I just slipped the ribs in there vertically and marinated overnight.  It was a little full so I mixed gently and poured a little out. You could probably save it for part of the stew if you wanted.

STEW:

1 chopped onion (sauteed)

1-3  fresh and chopped carrots, potatoes, string beans

1/4 cup ketchup

1 cup white beans

1 cup coffee

3 cups water

2 vegan chicken-flavored boullion cubes

1 bay leaf.

Drain the marinade off the ribs and discard.  Add the sauteed onions to the crockpot along with the other ingredients, while the meat is browning in the same pan as the onions.

cook in the crockpot on high for 8 hours.  I like to put the crockpot on low overnight and then high the last 4 hours if it needs to thicken.   Pull the bones and meat out of the pot.  Discard bones, and cut the meat into smaller pieces.  Put back into the crockpot and mix to disperse the meat.

Before you enjoy your stew, pay respect to the sacrifices made to get the meat to your table.  Saying thank you, literally, before you eat will raise the energy of your food to a higher level, and it will raise the consciousness of your eating higher as well.  Both of these seemingly benign acts are not.  Just try it and see how it elevates your meal!

Our stew was delicious, lean, and nutritious.  It was a great meal with a salad or just by itself.  YUM!  Stay warm!!  Please leave a message if you have a question or just tell me how YOUR stew turned out!

Be well, Elyse

It’s chocolatey, smooth, and delicious!

Welcome to my 100th post!!!!  I can’t believe that I have posted 100 ideas, recipes, workouts, theories…pretty much a glimpse of the philosophy of my life, but like that’s a blog, right?

I am so excited about this smoothie I just made that I am dedicating my entire 100th post to it.  It is a dream for:

  • people who love chocolate
  • people who are watching their sugar
  • people who are always in a hurry

Here it is!  Its as smooth and chocolatey as it looks!  Almost like pudding!

as chocolatey and satisfying as it looks

as chocolatey and satisfying as it looks

Part of my inspiration for this smoothie is this Venuswoman Cleanse I am working on.  I am in the midst of it, to witness the change my very self.  So far, its been awesome and pretty easy.

Part of the cleanse this week is to eat all real food–no additives, no preservatives.  Nothing with a chemical sounding ingredient.  The ingredients have to be things a 10 year old could identify (unless its some obscure vegetable like a kholarabi).

One of my essentials to a good smoothie is that it has to be balanced.  I can’t do straight fruit or I will crash fast (not a pretty picture). So I always add nuts or seeds to my smoothie.  In order to do this without it turning out lumpy and chunky, you really need a high speed blender like a vitamix or a blentec.  its worth the money.  My family and I use it at least 5 times A DAY!  My hubbs is a smoothie fanatic now!  Its a great way to get the hubby to eat more fruit and veggies.  So, to balance this smoothie I added cashews.  Cashews and raw cacoa in a blender (with something to sweeten it up) is so smooth and scrumptious!  I’ve even made chocolate mousse this way–awwwesome!!!

Anyway, I know you are dying for the recipe so here it is.  You will be amazed at how simple it is:

6-8 oz of water (yep, just water–depending on how thick you want it)

3 heaping Tblsp of raw cacoa powder

1/2 frozen banana

1/3 cup of raw cashews (no need to soak beforehand, but if you have time, its healthier)

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt.

Blend to its creaminess deliciocity!  Healthy, chocolate, balanced, fast–what more could a girl ask for?

Please share a comment or question below!!  I want to know–what would you add to make this more scrumptious??

I hope you are enjoying my posts!  And when my Venuswoman Cleanse comes out you will be the first to know (hint: it will be soon!!!!).

love ya!  Elyse

Aside

This will tickle your tastebuds! Curry Butternut squash and shallots

Curry Stacked Butternut Squash and Shallots

stackedsquash

Omg! this is by far one of the best vegetable dishes I have ever TASTED let alone made!  I lost the original recipe and kind of winged it this time.  Necessity is the mother of invention and this little invention is yummy!

Just in time for fall, this butternut squash is elegant, versatile, and easy (after you peel the squash).  I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to be worth posting so i didn’t take as many pictures, but its so easy you will get the point.

Enjoy!  Elyse

Curry Stacked Butternut Squash and Shallots

butternut squash sliced into disks and chopped (the rest of it that is not in disks)

2 shallots sliced

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp curry

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

a pinch of cumin

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Directions:

After carefully peeling the butternut squash (I use a very sturdy vegetable peeler (one that is not rotating), cut the solid part into slices.  Clean out the seeds and chop the other half.

Saute shallots in olive oil, pepper and himalayan salt.  Add the chopped butternut squash.

sauteingsquash

Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and up to 1 tsp curry.  Stir and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and a pinch of cumin.  Also add about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and cover for about 5 minutes or until soft.

Roast squash rounds in a 9×13 dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, brushed with olive oil. Create stacks by placing disk on plate with a small amount of the sauteed mixture.  Another nice touch is garnishing with plain or spiced chopped pecans.

Please leave a comment below!!!  Enjoy!!!

Elyse