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Fudgy Chocolate Cake

If I could eat chocolate every day I would be a happy girl. This is a fudgy chocolate cake. Two of my favorite things combined, chocolate and cake. Yum. The cake is such a surprise. It actually has butternut squash as the main ingredient. Nothing like sneaking in some veggies into a chocolate treat. It gives this fudgy cake moisture and some sweetness. I have had fudgy cakes that were so dense it was more fudge than cake. This delicious bite is the perfect combination, not too light or dense.

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  • 2 c uncooked butternut squash, peeled, diced
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 2/3 c paleo all-purpose flour or GF All-purpose Flour Blend
  • 1/4 c raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 flax eggs, prepared
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • whipped coconut cream, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

In food processor add flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt to processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined.

Combine squash and water in microwavable bowl; cover. Microwave on high until squash is fork tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to food processor and blend until creamy; add vanilla extract. Pulse ingredients until they are combined.

In a small bowl combine almond butter, and chocolate, microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate into processor and pulse . Add vinegar and pulse until all ingredients are well combined.

Transfer chocolate mixture to 8-inch square baking dish. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

 

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Roasted Baby Potatoes

This is one of my family’s favorite kind of potatoes that I make. They take only about 20-25 minutes to make. I like them because they are easy, fast, and tasty.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Quarter potatoes.

In a large bowl toss potatoes, vegetable broth and seasoning to coat potatoes.

Place potatoes on prepared sheet pan (parchment paper or silicone mat).

Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Stir after 10 minutes.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

 

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Orange-Ginger Carrot Puree

This is my favorite carrot side dish. It has the perfect balance of orange and ginger. This recipe calls for roasting the carrots first. Roasting the carrots brings out the natural sugars and develops the flavor of the carrots.

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  • 1 lb. of baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp vegetable broth
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 orange, zested and peeled
  • 3 tbsp of vegan butter (optional)
  • 2 tsp of raw honey agave

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place carrots in a large bowl. Add broth and seasoning. Toss carrots so they are well coated.

Spread carrots out on to a sheet pan in an even layer. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, or until carrots are easy to mash with a fork.

Add carrots,  vegan butter, orange zest, orange segments, and sweetener. Pulse until carrot mixture is a puree.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Date Truffles

I have not made these in a long time, and I do not know why. They are so delicious. They make you feel like you are cheating, but you are not. These are a wonderful treat and so easy to make. Just a little FYI – these are only 2 smart points each, if you are following weight watchers.

  • 14 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Add dates, almond butter and cinnamon to food processor. Pulse until well combined. Use a tablespoon to scoop out mixture and roll into balls. Place on a sheet pan lined with either a silicone mat or wax paper.

In a small bowl melt chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir. Repeat. Remove bowl from microwave, stir well. Place 2 date balls into the melted chocolate and turn to coat. Lift out of bowl letting the excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffle back onto silicone mat, wax paper. Repeat with remaining truffles. Freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and transfer to a container with lid. Store in the refrigerator. Eat. Share. Enjoy.

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Cashew Cream

Some of my recipes have called for cashew cream (Pumpkin Cheesecake, Blueberry-Almond Clafouti), so here is the recipe. You can use this instead of heavy cream. The possibilities are endless.

  • 1 1/2 c whole raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 c filtered water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • lare pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Cover the bowl and soak for 4-8 hours.

Drain and rinse cashews. Transfer them to a high speed blender and add water, lemon juice, salt, and vinegar. Blend the mixture on high until very smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender midway through blending. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using or for up to 3 days.

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Roasted Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

It is said that you eat with your eyes first. I always try to make the plate colorful for two reasons. First it looks better. Second, it is usually more nutritious.

  • 3 zucchini, medium
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp mediterranean seasoning mix
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees.

Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch coins. Spread out zucchini, and tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle broth on vegetables. Sprinkle seasoning on vegetables. Stir seasoned vegetables. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove for oven.

Turn oven to broil. Broil for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle nutritional yeast over vegetables.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Apple -Cranberry Compote

Sometimes I even surprise myself. This combination of apples and fresh cranberries was a huge  – WOW moment. It is really that good. The flavors are complex, yet the compote is so easy to make. Basically a chop and in the pot kind of sauce. Ladle this compote on pancakes or waffles and you will have a breakfast everyone will remember.

  • 1 orange, zested, juiced
  • 1/2 c  maple syrup
  • 1/2 c fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple , peeled, cored, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat add all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then turn down to a simmer. Cook until most of the cranberries have burst. Turn heat off, set aside until ready to serve.

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Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries

I know what you thought when you saw “Brussel Sprouts”, but I promise these are really good. I’ve never been a big fan of brussel sprouts, however I was determined to find a way to like them since they are so good for you. I think I accomplished that with this dish. The key to this is to get them carmelized, so that the natural sugars come out, and make them yummy.  My husband said to me, “Who would think I actually would ask you to make brussel sprouts.” That was a huge moment, because he didn’t really like brussel sprouts either.  Like most things, I try to make them easy, so anyone could make them. Give them a try.

  • 16 oz brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 1 c fresh cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tbsp vegetable broth to toss the sprouts and berries
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine sprouts, cranberries, and seasoning. Toss to coat ingredients well. Spread out brussel sprouts and cranberries on sheet pan. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring half way through. They will be done when they are fork tender. The cranberries will have burst and shrunk in size, That is a good thing. Drizzle with maple syrup and stir. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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All-Purpose Seasoning

I like to make up different seasonings to add a new dimension to the flavor of the dish. Each mix I make gives a dish a new flavor profile, making it unique. So far I’ve shared my Mediterranean and Southwestern. Today its the quintessential All-purpose mix. Hope you enjoy the flavor.

  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Himalayan Salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Measure all ingredients into a mason jar. Shake. Sprinkle. That’s it. Try it on any protein or vegetable you like. This seasoning will transform your dish.img_0601

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Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque

This recipe came about because I had this butternut squash on hand and felt like some homemade soup. I found some apples and thought this sounded like it would be good together. This bisque smell so good. Serve with a side salad and you will have a very satisfying meal.

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash peeled and cubed into 1 inch cubes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 honey crisp apples, peeled and cubed into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • chives, minced for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On sheet pan combine butternut squash, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over ingredients on sheet pan. Stir, so that all the ingredients are covered with oil and the seasonings. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until you can smash the squash with a fork.  By roasting the squash and apples, along with the spices the flavors develop to a cohesive, luscious deliciousness.

Transfer squash and apples into a large dutch oven, (large pot) over medium heat. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Simmer (Do not boil). This is where all the flavors meld together. Before serving blend into a food processor, or high-speed blender. Remember to only fill either appliance half way with the hot ingredients. Because of the heat there is expansion, and you don’t want to blow the tops off your appliance, and get burned. Be patient, it’s worth the wait. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with chives.img_0598