Molten chocolate cake? Pot o’ chocolate? Taste of creamy chocolate heaven? Not sure what to call this rich and delicious recipe. All I know is that it is GOOD! Valentine’s Day is next week – the chocolate holiday if one can claim to be. And molten chocolate cake has always been one of Rob’s and my favorites. In my gluten loving years, I can remember ordering little ramekin cakes from Williams Sonoma, and boy were they delicious. This flourless, somewhat healthy (dare I say!), version surprisingly gives the real thing some good competition!
I made this pot o’ chocolate with sweet potatoes! You know those are one of my favorite foods, right? Who says they can’t replace flour in a dessert recipe…you won’t even miss the grains, and as a trade off you get to check off another vegetable on your list of 9 to eat a day. And sweet potatoes meet your daily need for vitamin C and beta carotene – good for the immune system, good for the skin, really good for the whole body.
And, let’s bring up cacao! Really dark and rich chocolate – like the 70% cacao and greater type – is a superfood according to David Wolfe. Cacao is not only energizing but also is packed full of antioxidants to keep your body healthy. Plus (can it get any better?), it’s a mood enhancer, PMS reliever, endorphin boosting burst of yumminess that I could eat every day…no with every meal!
Try this indulgent flourless molten chocolate cake with your favorite Valentine on Thursday!
- 2 small to medium sweet potatoes, steamed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (at least 70% cacao)
- ¼ cup organic raw coconut oil
- optional: orange zest for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I used my toaster oven.
- Combine the steamed sweet potato, eggs, cacao, honey, and vanilla in a blender.
- Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together over low heat, or microwave until melted.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture to the blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Divide evenly into 4 ramekins.
- Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Do not overbake!
- Garnish with orange zest before serving.
Ahhhhh…chocolate and peanut butter…ever a more perfect combination?? I don’t think so. Yum!
I can remember in high school I had a love affair with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I had a friend whose mom bought huge bags of the minis weekly and kept them out in a bowl in their TV room. We loved to go over to her house after school just to veg and mindlessly eat Reese’s. Before I knew it, I would have an embarrassing pile of wrappers growing next to me.
Fast forward 20 some years…and I still have my sweet tooth – especially for chocolate. Only now, I am on a mission to make simple, gluten free desserts that are indulgent but healthy too. These flourless chocolate peanut butter bars have all of the same rich goodness, but I made them with whole ingredients. The only problem in my house is how fast they disappear. Good thing they are so easy to make!
We peanut butter lovers had a little scare in recent years when it came to light that most commercial peanut butters have small amounts of a known carcinogen, aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold that has been linked to liver cancer. To minimize the aflatoxin in your peanut butter, choose recognized brands that are organic and unsweetened. All commercial brands are required to be tested for aflatoxin, and Arrowhead Mills brand claims their peanut butter is completely aflatoxin-free. Also, store your peanut butter in the refrigerator to reduce fungal growth. Surprisingly, the fresh peanut butter grinders at health foods stores seem to produce peanut butter with the highest amount of aflatoxin, so avoid those completely.
I am certainly not going to stop eating peanut butter but will take care to make healthy choices in the kind I buy. For those avoiding peanuts or on a paleo diet, these bars can be made with almond butter too.
- 1 cup organic creamy peanut butter, unsweetened
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease an 8 inch square baking pan with coconut oil.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir until well blended.
- Pour batter into the greased baking pan.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Come late afternoon my munchies kick in full gear. Anyone else with me? And when I have a craving, it is always for something creamy and sweet. Others crave crunchy and salty but not me – it’s sweet all the way, and chocolate is my favorite. The darker the better.
I have learned to look for quick homemade healthy alternatives to satisfy my cravings without expanding my waistline like this chocolate chia pudding. It’s rich, creamy, sweet, and chocolaty – PERFECT.
Chia seeds are a new nutritional rock star – one of the latest to hit the health food scene. I first heard about them from Anne Louise Gittlman in her Fat Flush for Life book, and since then, I love to sprinkle them on all kinds of things.
You probably remember chia seeds as the instant pet that grew out of an animal-shaped ceramic figure. But now, they are being touted as a perfect food – rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, and healthy omega-3 fats.
From a couple of posts back, I talked about those anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. They are good for your brain, your nerves, your skin, and your heart in addition to any inflammatory conditions. And these tiny little chia seeds are packed with them.
Chia seeds are also one of the world’s richest sources of soluble fiber. There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. The soluble type dissolves in liquid and becomes like a gel. The soluble fiber in chia seeds is a friend to those who are detoxing. Chia seeds absorb more than their weight in liquid, so imagine what they do as they move through your digestive tract. They are like little tiny vacuums, picking up and sweeping out of your body whatever is in their path – any old debris, toxins released by your system, and cholesterol.
Eating chia seeds keeps your digestion moving along at a nice pace. You feel fuller longer, as these chia seeds act like a present your body gets to slowly unwrap. The nutrients are gradually released into your system, so you feel fuller longer and eat less – a natural weight loss aid! Speaking of weight loss, this chocolate chia pudding has only 130 calories!
Need a pick me up? Ancient Aztec warriors used to eat these power seeds for energy, as the slow releasing carbohydrates sustained them. Chia seeds also have twice the potassium as a banana, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, three times more iron than spinach, and six times more calcium than milk. And, they are a good source of complete protein that includes all of the essential amino acids.
Some other ideas for incorporating chia seeds into your diet…
- Sprinkle them over Greek yogurt
- Add them to salad dressings to thicken
- Add them to sauces to thicken
- Soak them in beaten eggs for a frittata
- Add them to other nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and make a grain-free homemade granola
- Soak that homemade granola in almond or coconut milk to make muesli
- Sprinkle them on cooked vegetables
- Sprinkle them on a fruit salad
- Eat them raw with other nuts and seeds
- 1⅓ cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 – 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder (depending on how rich you like it)
- 2 – 3 tablespoon honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
- optional: grated dark chocoalte
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Garnish with grated dark chocolate if desired.
My husband calls these gluten free cookies a little bit of heaven. They are the first gluten free baked item that he actually liked and are still his favorite. I found the recipe on one of my favorite gluten free blogs, Elana’s Pantry. I love her simple and delicious approach to food. For years, I made these cookies like she does, with grapeseed oil, but recently, in an effort to lower the omega 6 fatty acids in my diet to get my omega 6:omega 3 ratio closer to 1:1 or even 5:1, I have substituted organic raw coconut oil instead (grapeseed oil has a 676:1 ratio!). These chocolate chip cookies are even more than a little bit of heaven now!
Omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning our bodies cannot make these fatty acids so we have to consume them. They are each very important to good health although very different. Omega 6 fatty acids play a role in processes that promote inflammation, whereas omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect. Ideally, we need to eat a diet that has a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Realistically in America, due in large part to the type of cooking oils we use, we eat a diet having a ratio closer to 20:1 or even 50:1. It’s no wonder so many of us are suffering from inflammatory conditions. Choosing your cooking oils wisely can have a huge benefit to your health, as nearly all diseases start with hidden inflammation in our bodies.
Coconut oil is made up of about 92 percent saturated fat, so it is solid at room temperature, making it an ideal substitute for butter and lard in baked items. It is less sensitive to heat than a lot of other oils too, so it is an excellent choice for baking, roasting, or any cooking at a high temperature.
For years, coconut oil was crossed off our list of healthy oils due to it’s saturated fat content and the risk for heart disease. But not all saturated fats are the same. A study done by Dr. Westin Price of South Pacific Islanders found that although the natives ate a diet high in coconut, they were healthy and trim with no evidence of heart disease. Several other studies have been done in tropical areas with the same results: excellent cardiovascular health and fitness despite getting 30 – 60% of their calories from coconut oil.
Surprisingly, coconut oil is not only “not bad” for you, but it is actually good for you, as it has been shown to…
- Improve your heart health
- Boost your thyroid
- Increase your metabolism
- Promote weight loss
- Have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties
- Benefit your skin when used as a skin care product
Take care to choose only organic and raw or virgin coconut oil (not refined), as the process to isolate coconut oil uses chemicals unless labeled organic and raw or virgin.
- 2½ cups almond flour from www.honeyvillegrains.com
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup organic raw coconut oil
- ½ cup agave nectar or honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, stir together almond flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, stir together coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Mix in dark chocolate chips.
- Place spoonfuls of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
- Recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.
I made these brownies for my kids after school, and they loved them so much that they insisted on taking the picture for this post. So, the picture above is a collaboration of both of their efforts. A really good moist and fudgy brownie is one of my family’s favorite treats. And a treat this one is. It is quite rich, but it is oh so delicious! I sweetened these brownies with Madhava Coconut Sugar, which is a natural sweetener derived from the sugar blossoms of fresh coconuts that are sliced to release the sap or nectar. The nectar is boiled into what is almost like a thick caramel and then dried into crystals. Nothing is removed during this process, so coconut sugar stil contains all of its minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and boron. It also contains 16 of the 20 amino acids, especially glutamic acid. Glutamic acid makes glutamine, and glutamine helps regulate metabolism. Coconut sugar is a good natural gentle sweetener to use in place of white table sugar, as it has a very low glycemic index of 35. However, it is still sugar, so remember small portion sizes! Enjoy!
- 4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
- ¾ cup raw coconut oil
- 2 cups Madhava Coconut Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- Optional: chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 for glass baking dishes.
- Grease a 8 x 8 baking dish with coconut oil.
- Melt chocolate squares and coconut oil in a small saucespan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Stir coconut sugar into chocolate mixture until well blended.
- Stir eggs and vanilla into chocolate mixture until well blended.
- Stir in flour, xanthan gum, and optional nuts until well blended.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Today was the first day of school, so we made frozen yogurt for an after school snack. Making frozen yogurt with our Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker is easy and fast. We always use Greek yogurt to make ours, as adding Greek yogurt to your diet provides an additional gram of protein over typical non-fat yogurt per ounce. A 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has 15 grams of protein, which helps you feel full and satisfied. Because of the way Greek yogurt is made, much of the natural sugar is removed, so it has half the sugar of unsweetened, non-fat American-style yogurt. Greek yogurt is minimally processed and has not been heat-treated, which provides you with essential healthy bacteria that improve intestinal health and help to keep yeast at bay.
- 1⅓ cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 2½ cups 0% Greek yogurt
- ½ cup agave nectar
- 3 peaches, pits removed and cut into chunks
- juice of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Freeze ice cream bowl for 24 hours.
- Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender, and blend until smooth.
- Assemble ice cream maker, and turn on.
- Slowly pour contents of blender into the ice cream bowl while it is on.
- Wait about 20 minutes for contents to freeze, checking often for desired consistency.
- Serve immediately because it melts fast!