Mixed Berry ‘nice cream’ smoothie (Vegan, Paleo)

I love Instagram! Don’t know why I stayed away from it for so long! I am loving meeting different food bloggers and seeing their inspiring creations!  Am I inspired? Nope, I am floored! Gosh, so much talent out there and so many young kiddos creating such cool stuff. One of my favorite things in the morning (whilst waking up in bed) is to quickly check out the insta posts to get inspiration for my morning breakfast smoothie. These days along with smoothies, a new healthy deliciousness has been trending – ‘nice creams’!  He He, ‘nice cream’ sounds a bit shady but it  is nothing but a healthy version of ‘ice-cream’ which uses only fruits and other vegan ingredients.  Most recipes use frozen bananas to get the ‘nice cream’ texture. And then with that as the base, you can add different fruits – frozen or otherwise of your choice and blend everything to a creamy, smooth ‘nice cream’ texture 🙂 Oh so yum!

So these days mixed berries nice cream is my favorite afternoon snack to satisfy my sweet cravings!  I make sure I keep a few slices of bananas in the freezer at all times so i am adequately prepared to meet my cravings 🙂 The other morning I woke up to see a couple nice cream posts and oh, boy I started craving for one right away. So I decided to make a smoothie ‘nice cream’ for breakfast. A couple dashes of coconut milk gave it the perfect smoothie/nice cream texture. I made a separate blueberry compote to give it some additional richness and sophistication 🙂 Hey, you’ve gotta love your breakfast!

Hope you get inspired by this post to come up with some lovely creations of your own. Please do share with me! Btw, looks like spring is almost here! Yay!

Mixed Berry 'nice cream' smoothie (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack, Dessert
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Mixed berries blended with frozen bananas and a dash of coconut milk to create this healthy and delicious 'nice cream' with a topping of blueberry sauce/compote
Ingredients
For the nice cream:
  • 1 banana, peeled, sliced and frozen for 3 hours or more
  • 1 cup mixed berries (I used combination of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries - if using frozen, thaw them to room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream or thick coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
For the blueberry compote(sauce):
  • ½ cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  • ¼ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch mixed in 2 tbsp water to form a slurry
Instructions
  1. In a small cooking pot, add the blueberries, water, salt and maple syrup and cook for about 4-5 mins until the blueberries turn soft. Add the tapioca slurry and mix on low heat for another 2-3 minutes till you get a thick sauce. Turn heat off and transfer sauce to a container.
  2. Blend all the ingredients under 'nice cream' in a high speed blender until you get a creamy smooth consistency (should be like slightly thawed ice-cream)
  3. Take a tall glass or jar. Add some blueberry sauce on the bottom. Add 'nice cream' on top and drizzle more sauce on top. Top with berries!

 

A Valentine’s Special dessert: Berry Panna Cotta ( Paleo)

Sometimes I wonder if there is too much hype surrounding Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong…I am very much a romantic at heart!  However I dislike how commercialization of Valentine’s Day by the marketeers has somehow made people hung up with the date of Feb 14th.  Couples feel that they need to do special things only on this date. Single folks might feel depressed thinking that they need to find a date for Valentine’s day or else they will lose out! As a consequence they end up spending too much money more often than not on the wrong person!  Well, the simple fact is this: If you have been fortunate enough to have found the love of your life, then everyday can be Valentine’s day. And if you haven’t been lucky to have met this person yet, it’s not likely that you will magically meet your sweetheart on Valentine’s day!  Anyways the point I want to make is this: I hope that people express their love outside of Valentine’s day too and that everyday can be romantic too. All you need is the right attitude and an optimism towards life and everything beautiful.  All these thoughts reminded me of a quote that I had memorized in high school – don’t ask me why 🙂

“I may not say it often

But you know that it is true

That I am always wishing

Real Happiness for you

For though I may not say so

To me you are always dear

Not only on a day like this

But Every day, Every year! ”

I had pinned this special dessert recipe specifically for Valentine’s day since it was a dessert that I could actually eat! Yes being on a dairy free and sugar free diet for almost a year now, my desserts have been mostly limited to fruits, dates and raw honey.  I was so excited to see this recipe of Raspberry Coconut Panna Cotta by Eileen from Phoenix Helix.  Along with the recipe what excited me was her story of how she has been battling RA too just like me and that the Autoimmune Paleo diet has been helping her control her disease for the last few years. Now isn’t that exciting!

I made some slight changes to her recipe – I added a combination of strawberries and raspberries since I find raspberries alone to be too tart. Also I upped the amount of sweetener -and  used maple syrup instead of honey. I find maple syrup to provide the right amount of sweetness that I crave for in desserts. And for the sauce , since I ran out of raspberries, I made it out of cherries!  The end result was one special dessert!  This indeed felt like a huge treat for me having not had any frozen treats for so long!  Yummy yum! thank you Eileen for this great recipe and I think this is already inspiring me to come up with other ideas of similar frozen treats.

Linking this Valentine special recipe to Fiesta Friday this week. The co-hosts this week at FF are Ai @ Ai Made It For You and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

A Valentine's Special dessert: Berry Panna Cotta ( Paleo)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat organic coconut milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. gelatin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Cherry Sauce Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cherries
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp.maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add gelatin keep aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In a small pan, heat half of the coconut milk (about 1 cup) over medium heat. Add the maple syrup (or honey) and the gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved completely.
  3. Pour this mixture into the blender, along with the remaining coconut milk and the raspberries and strawberries. Blend at low speed until smooth.
  4. Pour it into small ramekins or small bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours).
  5. For the sauce, Heat all the sauce ingredients in a small pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. let cool and then blend quickly in a blender to get a smooth sauce.
  6. To get the panna cotta out, dip each ramekin in a bowl of hot water for about 1 minute. Then turn them upside down onto a serving plate. Drizzle with cherry sauce on the top.

 

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)


Peanut butter jelly cookies
Last time I asked my husband to get peanut butter for the kids snacks, he got a giant jar of it. Which of course the kids were only too happy about.  But that instantly got me thinking about utilizing this peanut butter into other recipes!  I had also been wanting to bake healthy recipes and had purchased whole wheat pastry flour recently. And so the idea of making peanut butter cookies came to mind. I looked up some recipes but came across this wonderful and healthy recipe from ‘The American Vegetarian Cookbook’ by Marilyn Diamond. This book was a gift to me by my newest friend Debbie who has been ‘Godsend’ soul to me to boost my morale and offer so much support. More about Debbie later. For now let’s go back to the cookies!

This recipe uses healthy whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour and maple syrup instead of sugar for sweetness. So today evening when I had some free time, I decided to try this recipe. I made some changes to her recipe since I wanted to use regular butter instead of margarine and did not want to add almonds additionally. Wanted to stick to only peanuts to keep this ‘peanutty perfect’.

I didn’t add jelly to the whole batch.  So we had a mix of plain peanut butter cookies and PBJ cookies. The kids loved both of them!  The plain ones were a little less sweet than regular cookies they said but they definitely loved it!  They said they loved the texture – crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth kind! Isn’t that wonderful? When you give them no sugar and they say they love it! What more can a mom ask for 🙂

These also seem like perfect to bake and share for the holiday season – Make a large batch for your family and for your friends!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)

  • Servings: Makes about 18 cookies
  • Time: about 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

strawberry preserves as needed for PBJ cookies

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375 deg F (or 180 deg C).

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork to blend well. To that add the melted butter, maple syrup, peanut butter and the vanilla extract.  Using a large spoon or your hands knead into a smooth dough.

In a large tray, arrange small ping pong ball size balls of dough. Using a fork, press the dough ball to flatten it.

To make PBJ cookies, flatten and make a deep indent in the center of the dough ball using your fingers. Place about 1/4 tsp of jelly into the indent.

Bake cookies at 375 Deg F (180 deg C) for between 12-15 minutes or until the base is slightly browned. They may still seem soft on top but will harden on cooling. Let cool for 10 minutes on cooling rack before serving.

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PBJ cookies

 

Happy Diwali!: Chocolate Nut Burfi (Vegan, Sugar free)


dsc_0609With Diwali just being around the corner….it falls on Oct 30th this year,  it is going to coincide with Halloween and we know what that means, right? Yes, just sugar overload! The traditional Diwali sweets mostly all require dairy and tons of sugar.  Oh boy!

This past year has been one where I have spent tons of hours doing research on what constitutes a healthy diet.  And I am still continuing with my dietary experiments on myself and continue to remain confused about a lot of things – meaning what is good for you vs what is bad for you. One reason for my confusion is that some diets seem to work on some folks but do not seem to work as well on other folks. One thing, however, is crystal clear and that is this – that sugar is one thing that is absolutely not good for anyone. Period. Especially white sugar.  Hence I am going to do my part to treat myself and my family in a healthy way for Diwali this year by cutting down on the sugary sweets.

dsc_0607And thus the genesis of this decadent chocolatey burfi.  Burfis are in general made with lot of milk and sugar.  But I substituted nuts for the milk and added dates for sweetness. Now how could I make them irresistible? Easy! Just add cocoa 🙂 I had to do some trial batches before getting the perfect texture.  Yum o Yum. Have your burfi guilt free this Diwali. It is actually so good for you! Loaded with the goodness of nuts and dates. Pure, decadent and heavenly! Happy Diwali to you and your family! May this Diwali usher in good health, peace and prosperity in your homes.

Chocolate Nut Burfi (Vegan, Sugar free)

  • Servings: Makes 20 pieces
  • Time: about 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 16-18 dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • extra whole walnuts for decorating

Method:

In a food processor, powder the almonds and the walnuts in batches such that there are no big pieces. The powder will be coarse.(Do not over powder since the nuts will turn into butter)

In a small cooking pot, boil the water and the dates together for about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat off.  Cool for 5 minutes and then puree the dates along with the water until you get a creamy texture.

Take a large mixing bowl and add the powdered nuts. To that add the date mixture and the cocoa powder and the cardamom powder.

Using your hands, mix everything thoroughly to form a well-blended dough.  Line a brownie pan with parchment paper and dump this mixture onto it.  Using a cup dabbed with coconut or olive oil on the surface, press the dough lightly to fit into the square pan. Place walnuts on top and place the pan in the refrigerator for a few hours(at least 2 hours) to set.

Take pan out of the refrigerator and make slits on the dough to form square pieces.

Note:

To make this buffi sweeter, you can either increase the amount of dates or add a bit of powdered jaggery into the date water mixture.

 

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