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27 Jul

For the Love of Chocolate

You know those games where you have to name three things you need to have on a desert island? One of my three would have to be dark chocolate! I don’t think I’m alone in this – many people feel the same way. There’s just something about it. Well, science is on our side because this amazing gift from heaven that we call chocolate has been found to be heart-healthy. Yep, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology says just that.


Turns out, dark chocolate is choc-full of antioxidants that help to boost mood, improve concentration, get blood flow going, and even reduce inflammation. The study says that a single serving of dark chocolate has more prodyanidins than Americans usually get in a day, and these help to block the uptake of bad cholesterol. More good news: The antioxidants in chocolate last longer than they do in other foods. We know green tea is healthy, but the antioxidants degrade with its shelf life. Chocolate bars remain potent for about 4 years, and cocoa beans and powder are good for 75 years.


The darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. Darker chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which is where the antioxidants are. However, if the chocolate is highly processed, some of the benefits lessen. Dark chocolate also has a lower sugar content, and fewer calories than milk or white chocolate, which are typically mixed with either powdered or condensed milk.


Of course, remember to eat any food, even chocolate, in moderation. Too much of anything is not good, especially when you factor in the calories, sugar, milk and fat added into commercial products. The study recommends a 1-ounce bite a few times per week. Remember that you can also get heart healthy flavonoids with other foods such as apples, tea, citrus fruit, onions and berries.



Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe


(serves 6-8)

  • 7 small sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cup almond milk, or other vegan milk substitute
  • 7 Tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • raw cocoa nibs for garnish


Bake the sweet potatoes until soft, then cool and remove the skin.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth.

Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Serve in individual cups with a sprinkle of cocoa nibs over the top.



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03 Jan

Cobb Salad

1 bag (10 oz.) torn romaine lettuce (about 10 cups)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, sliced and tossed with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
12 slices Bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (I prefer veggie bacon)
1/2 cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (or Veggie Shreds soy cheese)
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup  Blue Cheese or Ranch style Dressing
TOSS all ingredients except dressing in large salad bowl.
onto plates; drizzle with dressing.
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03 Jan

Chinese Salad

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, cooked per directions
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head of butter lettuce, chopped
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup bean sprouts, fresh
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 can chow mein noodles

Optional additions:
Cherry, grape or pear tomatoes
Chicken, cooked and sliced, or tofu chicken strips
Bamboo shoots

1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat the dressing on the stove just until the sugar dissolves. Mix all of your favorite ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing until well covered. Makes 6 generous servings.
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03 Jan

Zucchini Cake

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Mix oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add sifted dry ingredients to first mixture; alternating with grated zucchini. Fold in chopped nuts. (Batter will be a bit thin.)
Pour into greased and floured 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
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03 Jan

Yogurt Pops

Turn a container of yogurt into a yummy treat!
Open up a cup of your favorite fruit yogurt, drain off the excess liquid and stir. Spoon some berries and granola on top, pressing down a bit. Cut a slit in the lid of the yogurt container and insert a large craft stick. Put the lid back on and freeze for at least five hours. Dip cup in warm water to unmold. Enjoy!
Turn a container of yogurt into a yummy treat!
Open up a cup of your favorite fruit yogurt, drain off the excess liquid and stir. Spoon some berries and granola on top, pressing down a bit. Cut a slit in the lid of the yogurt container and insert a large craft stick. Put the lid back on and freeze for at least five hours. Dip cup in warm water to unmold. Enjoy!
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03 Jan

Watermelon Mojitos

Watermelon Mojitos from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

Serves 6   30 large fresh mint leaves 3 to 4 thick slices fresh watermelon 12 ounces light rum, such as Bacardi ½ cup simple syrup (see note) 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes) Sprigs of mint and spears of watermelon, for serving

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the mint leaves. Remove and discard the rind and seeds of the watermelon. Put the fruit into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Put the mashed mint into a large pitcher with 2 cups of pureed watermelon, the rum, simple syrup, and lime juice and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a pitcher for serving.
Place ice cubes in 6 glasses and pour the mojito mixture into the glasses. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and spears of watermelon. Serve ice cold.

Note: to make simple syrup, put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Chill.

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03 Jan

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour (I substitute brown rice flour)

1/2 cup potato starch

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup arrowroot

1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

12 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup coconut oil (I substitute Earth Balance vegan butter)

1 1/3 cups agave nectar

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 Tablespoons vanilla extract

1 Cup hot water or hot coffee

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and sale.

Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla and hot water to the dry ingredients.  Still until batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it.

Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes.

Let the cupcakes stand in the tims for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.


To frost, I melt chocolate chips with a bit of soy milk to make a glaze.

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03 Jan

Vegan Lemon Poppy seed cookies

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup margarine (butter or ghee)

3/4  cup soy yogurt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup poppy seed

preheat oven 350 degrees F, mix all ingredients, bake 8-9 minutes until done
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03 Jan

Vegan Cappuccino Cupcakes

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup soft silken tofu, blended until creamy with a little bit of soy milk

2/3 cup vanilla soy milk or rice milk

4 Tablespoons instant decaf coffee

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

For Ganache frosting:

3 Tablespoons vanilla soy milk

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.

-In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, tofu, soy milk, vanilla, and coffee until smooth.

-In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

-Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined and smooth.

-Fill the liners 3/4 full.

-Bake 20-22 minutes.  Don’t overbake.

-Cool completely, and frost!

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

Heat the soy milk in a microwave safe bowl (I use a Pyrex measuring cup) until almost boiling.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until they are melted in and blended with the milk.  Cool for a few minutes, then drizzle onto the cupcakes.

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03 Jan

Tropical Mango Pudding-Dairy Free!

with permission, The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.� Marie Oser 8 Servings 1 (12.3 ounce package) lite silken tofu 1 medium banana, peeled, and broken into chunks 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 (24 ounce package) frozen mango chunks, thawed 1 (8 ounce can) crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup orange juice 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar (wholesome sweeteners) 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch 1 1/2 Tablespoons cold water 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350� Place tofu in food processor and process until smooth. Add banana chunks, and lemon juice, and blend. Add mango, pineapple, orange juice, and sugar. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and add to the mixture, and blend until smooth. Pour into a 2-quart oven-safe casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg -run through with butter knife to create cinnamon swirls. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate covered. Enlightened Tropical Mango Pudding Nutrition Analysis: per serving: 1 cup Protein 4g, Carbohydrate 43g, Fiber 3g, Fat 1g, Sat Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 36mg, Sodium 49mg. Calories 202 from Protein 8%, from Carbohydrate: 88%, from Fat: 3%
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