Traditions

Halloween Treats! Superfood Monster Heads


I had the pleasure of joining the founder of Beaming, Lisa Odenweller, and Brad Wills on Fox 5 San Diego last week to talk about ways to “Trick Out Your Halloween Treats” … via, you guessed it, SUPERFOODS! Watch the full clip HERE as we talk about what makes superfoods so incredible, then grab the recipe we made on air below to make your own healthy (and super fun) treats!

SUPERFOOD “MONSTER” HEADS

A great project for kids to put together and enjoy superfoods! Makes about 1½ dozen “monster heads.” Adapted from “No Bake Brownies” from Superfood Kitchen © 2012 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup Medjool dates, pits removed

½ cup cacao powder

2 tablespoons Beaming Protein Powder (or your favorite protein powder)

pinch sea salt

¼ cup chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips

[Toppings (each in small bowls]

  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • spirulina powder to preference (about ½ -1 teaspoon)
  • a few spoonful’s Goji berries
  • a few spoonful’s hemp seeds
  • a few spoonful’s sunflower seeds
  • a few spoonfuls cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, briefly grind the walnuts into a coarse flour. Add the dates and process until chunky. Add the cacao powder, protein powder and sea salt and process once more until a crumbly dough has formed. Test the constancy – dough should be stick together easily and slightly malleable, if not, blend in water – 1 teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Lay the wax paper on a flat surface.  Mix coconut flakes and a little spirulina in a bowl to create light green flakes, and spill out the mixture onto wax paper. A tablespoon at a time, pack the cacao dough into a tight ball by hand, and roll around in green coconut, using a dab of coconut oil if needed to adhere more coconut. Use toothpick to help shape a mouth (etc) and other toppings to make eyes, nose, teeth, etc with different toppings. Stick with a toothpick and transfer to a serving plate.

5 amazing superfood candy recipes

One thing I particularly appreciate about this season is getting asked quite a bit about a subject that’s rather dear to my heart: chocolate. And, jumping on the excuse, I always end up making a few new chocolate candy recipes, clearly inspired by all the delectable discussion. Tis the season of cacao powder.

This year, I wanted to take the chocolate parade to a new level. There were just too many goodies to choose from to share just one recipe, so not only did I decide to create an EPIC chocolate recipe collection, but I asked some of my favorite superfood-savvy chefs to share their most popular recipes too. Between the subject matter, and the recipes themselves, this is the may be one of the most exciting collections ever known to mankind. I kind of really do mean that.

1. Raw Raspberry Cream-Filled Chocolate Candies

Recipe and image by Amber Shea Crawley

Author of Practically Raw as well as the highly anticipated Practically Raw Desserts, Chef Amber Shea definitely knows a thing or two about making incredible raw desserts! But really, this particular recipe just takes my breath away. The gorgeous raw cacao exterior, followed by the va-va-VOOM of the soft raspberry filling is just over the top wondeful. RECIPE

2. Bliss Balls

Recipe and image by Marni Wasserman

It’s no wonder Marni Wasserman’s highly acclaimed classes and upcoming cooking school consistently generate such a buzz: the recipes she offers continue to be the inspiring combination of healthy, simple, and SMART. These impeccable donut-hole-esque treats are a perfect example of how quickly an incredible dessert can come together when made with just the right natural ingredients. RECIPE

3. Chocolate Haystacks

Recipe and image from Raw & Simple, by Judita Wignall

Yearning for the secret to chef Judita Wignall’s gorgeous glow? It’s all in the food! Between her successful book Going Raw, and her popular new work Raw & Simple, Judita stylishly shares mouthwatering recipes that make the healthy benefits of the raw food lifestyle a motivatingly delicious adventure. Case in point: these chocolate haystacks (WOW!!!), which Judita describes as “super–simple to make and will brighten anyone’s day. I use longer coconut threads to give it that haystack look, but you can use the finely shredded coconut with the same great results. Jazz it up with some chopped nuts or hemp seeds for a little nutrition boost.”

Makes 12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2/3 cup (66 g) cacao powder
½ cup (118 ml) maple syrup
1⁄₄ cup (59 ml) coconut oil, warmed to liquid
½ vanilla bean, scraped, or small pinch of vanilla powder
1⁄₄ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
2 cups (160 g) shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS:
Blend cacao powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.

In a bowl, hand mix the shredded coconut with chocolate mixture.

Line a plate with parchment paper. Use a spoon or melon scoop to form twelve to fourteen individual haystacks on the parchment paper. Freeze for thirty minutes or until firm.

The haystacks can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for one month.

 

4. Vanilla Cacao Bliss Bites

Recipe and image by Meghan Telpner

Cooking class extrodinairre, spunky Nutritionista, and author of the upcoming UnDiet cookbook, Meghan Telpner has an undeniable knack for motivating people to eat “the good stuff” through her accessible, flavorful, easy recipes (and super fun attitude!). With these luscious vanilla-cacao treats on the queue, I can’t wait to get on the “UnDiet” bandwagon! RECIPE

 

5. Salted Caramel Bonbons

Recipe and image by Julie Morris

And, of course, I couldn’t help but include one of my own recipes in the mix. While I still am a die-hard fan of the “perfect-anytime” simple raw chocolate recipe included in Superfood Kitchen, this “whole-new-level” recipe was inspired by a friend who gave me the request to create something “chocolately, with caramel, and salty-crunchy.” Ahem, um, how can I say no to that? With in a moment, I knew homemade bonbons were in the near future, and the resulting recipe is just ridiculously wonderful: deep, dark, raw chocolate that wraps a soft, nougat-like caramel center … with just a touch of salty crunch. I know, I know, I know...

Makes 2½ dozen bonbons

INGREDIENTS

For the caramel:

6 tablespoons coconut butter*
¼ cup agave nectar, or liquid sweetener of choice
½ teaspoon maca powder
1 teaspoon lucucma powder (optional)
¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the chocolate:

2/3 cup cacao butter, solid form – cut into shavings
2/3 cup cacao powder
1/8 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons agave nectar, or liquid sweetener of choice

For the base:

¼ cup pretzel sticks**
2 tablepsoons raw pecans

DIRECTIONS
You will need 2 bonbon trays for this recipe.

Make the caramel first: In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter over low heat until softened. Add the liquid sweetener, maca, lucuma, and sea salt, and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat. Transfer the contents to a small pastry bag, and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate. Use a double boiler method to gently melt the cacao butter into a liquid. Transfer to a bowl, and add the cacao powder, coffee granules, and sea salt, and whisk to combine. Pour in the liquid sweetener and stir well. Spoon chocolate into the bonbon trays, filling each cavity to the top. Over a bowl, flip the trays over and tap out the excess chocolate, leaving just a thin layer in the bonbon trays. Transfer to a freezer, and let the chocolate shells harden – about 15 minutes.

While the chocolate is setting, place the pretzels and pecans in a small zip-lock bag and seal, removing any excess air. Use the back of a heavy jar, or a wooden spoon to crush the contents into fine bits, leaving a little bit of texture.

To assemble, remove the chocolate shells from the freezer. Pipe a small dab of the caramel into each one – about ¼ teaspoon. Use the pretzel mixture to fill the shell ¾ full, pressing down gently to pack into place. Carefully top with chocolate, filling to just below the baseline. Return the bonbons to the freezer to let fully set – about 20 minutes.
For best results, keep bonbons refrigerated or in a cool place to prevent the raw chocolate from melting.

*Use a coconut butter like this one – do not substitute with coconut oil.

** Look for whole wheat or gluten-free varieties.

Pumpkin-Lucuma Pie

pumpkin_lucuma_pieWith a busy holiday week ahead, I have little time to write a proper post, but I DID want to share a fabulous pie recipe with you. It seems every year I go on a personal quest to create a lower sugar, lower fat pumpkin pie, and this year I’m so pleased with the wonderful recipe that’s emerged.

To begin, it’s delicious. If you like pumpkin pie, you will love this one.

But this special pie has two pretty major healthy secrets underneath it’s tasty exterior. The first secret is the use of organic silken tofu (be sure to use an organic or a certified non GMO brand). Incorporating tofu in the place of eggs, cream, or even cashews, gives the pie a deceptive richness while making it very low in fat, lower in calories, and high in protein (WIN!). I’ve seen many plant-based pie recipes use this trick, and for good reason: it works. And incredibly, you won’t taste it a bit.

The second ingredient trick which I love even more however, is the use of lucuma powder. As I’ve mentioned before, this South American fruit provides a complex-flavored sweetness, yet is naturally very low in sugar. It also has a slightly squash-like undertone, meaning it is the PERFECT addition to a pumpkin pie! Using lucuma powder in this recipe means that though a very minimal amount of sugar is used (just a tablespoon per serving!) we can still retain all the traditional flavor. You can definitely feel proud serving this one up to your friends and family – for all the right reasons! Learn more about lucuma powder here.

Pumpkin Lucuma Pie

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 12.3 oz package organic silken tofu
½ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup lucuma powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon clove powder
1 prepared pie crust (preferably whole grain and dairy-free)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients – except the pie crust – and mix until completely smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust, and spread into a flat layer. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until the top has slightly browned and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, and let the pie cool completely to room temperature, to fully set. Slice and serve; will keep up to 4 days, unrefrigerated.

Serving suggestion: Make a coconut whip cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop out the separated cream from the water, and use a hand-held blender to whip the cream until slightly stiffened. Top the pie with coconut whip cream when ready to serve.

Walk the eco talk: Olsenhaus Pure Vegan Shoes


We interrupt this food-related program to bring you a very important announcement: There’s an amazing shoe sale going on… and it’s eco friendly!

I was 14 when I first began to pursue a vegetarian diet. Was it an overnight change? Nope, not even close. But the longer I stuck with it, the easier it became. At 20, swayed by the health benefits, I decided to go fully vegan. Again, initially there were many slip-ups (mostly cheese-related), but with time, my cravings faded away as I enjoyed the virtues of the plant-based lifestyle. Eventually, I felt strong and solid as a bonafide “vegan” … except for just one dirty little secret.

Shoes.

I was still buying leather shoes.

As a vegan, I knew it was wrong; as an animal lover, I knew it was gross (when you really start to think about it); and as a environmentalist, I knew it contradicted everything I supported and promoted. And yet, inevitably, I would pass by a pair of THE most amazing heels, and suddenly find myself overwhelmed with a case of temporary insanity. Swept up in the momentum of beautiful design, my personal ethics were simultaneously swept under the rug. “No one will know,” I’d think. “I’m doing the best I can,” I would lamely tell people who DID know. “I’ll just get this one pair and it will be my last leather item. This is seriously it.” Finally, in 2004, I bought my true last pair of leather shoes: a pair of hot pink flats with dots. They were pretty ugly. And I realized I felt the same way buying them. “No more,” I told myself. And I meant it.

Though I had solved my ethical dilemma, it wasn’t long before I found myself faced with a new challenge: what, on earth, to wear on my feet. Sure there were a handful of companies that made “vegan” shoes, but I didn’t really like them. And the only other option was to wear shoes that were vegan by default – the cheapie shoes that were made with man-made materials that smelled like chemicals and pinched my feet. Worst of all was the time of year when fall fashion hit, when hot boots lined store windows with their tall zippers and “I mean it” heels, screaming “fabulous” in my face and daring me to even step foot in the store. As boots girl, I felt bothered.

But, my friends, that was YEARS ago.

Fashion is progressive by default, so it makes sense that, in time, it would begin to evolve environmentally and intellectually in addition to soley aesthetically. One of the first companies I discovered on my quest for an all-around “better shoe” was Olsenhaus — and they continually hold a special place in my heart (and closet). Olsenhaus presents a whole new level of yes when it comes to footwear: beautifully-considered heels, perfect flats, funky party kicks, and, of course, amazing boots. But best of all? Their shoes are in line with a compassionate lifestyle without an ounce of sacrifice, via gorgeous design, impeccable quality, AND an ethically and/or environmentally friendly footprint.

Olsenhaus has kindly allowed me to share with you a 30% discount off of their entire website good through Nov 10 – just enter “JMLOVES” at checkout. If you are a shoe girl (or guy), this is one shoe experience that has absolutely no regrets. How fun!

A superfood to be thankful for: Goldenberries


I used to proclaim cranberries as the ideal flavor-balancing antidote to rich fall ingredients. Until, that is, I met goldenberries (also known as gooseberries, incan berries, or ground cherries) — nature’s fabulously unique rollercoaster ride of sweet, tart and citrus flavors. These delectable small fruits have become a rising star in the world of superfoods, with benefits like inflammation-fighting bioflavonoids (vitamin P), metabolism-friendly B-complex vitamins, and a whopping 16% protein composition (rare for a fruit). Not to mention they’re cute too, resembling a yellowish cherry tomato, and growing inside of natural paper-like husks resembling Chinese lanterns. Goldenberry bushes can be found flourishing all around the world – from North America to South Africa.

When they’re fresh, you can use goldenberries in desserts, like jams and pies … just like a berry. But to me, this is one fruit that really benefits from being dried, as the sugars condense and the complex flavor becomes much more intense. I’ll usually look to acquire double the amount that I need for a recipe, as my first step is to eat half of my dried goldenberry bounty obsessively. So that’s one way to enjoy them, I suppose. In recipes, however, a great way to use them is with winter squash, just like cranberries. I like to take dried goldenberries and some juice, briefly simmer them together into a reduction (a fun process to watch as the goldenberries plump up like they’re excited), then toss the resulting glaze over roasted winter squash and toasted pecans. Hello holiday side dish.

Goldenberry Glazed Acorn Squash with Pecans

1 cup raw pecans
4 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed, then cut into rounds
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¾ cup dried goldenberries, coarsely chopped
4 cups apple juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 sprig fresh rosemary (whole)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, spread the pecans into an even layer. Toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes, and let cool. Chop coarsely.

Spread the squash rounds onto a couple of baking sheets in a single layer and brush cut sides of the squash with the coconut oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and bake until tender and lightly browned, about 35 minutes, flipping once, after about 25 minutes.

While the squash is baking, combine the goldenberries, apple juice, maple syrup, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about a third and the goldenberries appear rounded, about 15-20 minutes. Keep warm to prevent the contents from solidifying.

When the squash is ready, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the pecans. Remove and discard the rosemary from the glaze and immediately drizzle the goldenberry mixture on top of the squash. Toss gently, and transfer to a serving bowl, drizzling any glaze at the bottom of the bowl on top of the finished dish. May be served hot or cold. Serves 8

©2011 www.JulieMorris.net

Making chocolate the easy way {VIDEO}

Notice the quiet around here? Yeah, me too. I have a guilty conscience when it comes to this website, and although the brief hiatus of posts here may not be something you one day tell your grandchildren about, it has nonetheless made a haunting impression on my mental “to do” list.

But!  Onward and upward. And by upward, I of course mean chocolate. February is the season of romance so the stores tell us, which if you’re like me, implies that it’s time to rack your brains for some kind of non-commercial, heart-felt, homemade gift that shows you didn’t seccumb to blind consumerism (. . . but also didn’t take up too much time). This year, my gift answer is an extra easy one – making little valentine chocolates from scratch and putting them in clever candy molds. Since I’m making quite a few batches, I’m using this amazingly easy kit from Navitas Naturals. The kit produces an exceptional chocolate that contains no sugar, no dairy, no gluten — just pure and natural (delicious) superfood awesomeness.  Trust me, there’s no better feeling than giving something that’s truly caring . . . well, that and getting the credit for being a magically creative chocolate maker person.

Here’s the video I made with Navitas. Check out the chocolate 101:

Love it? Get the superfood chocolate kit here.

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