Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Oat Balls…. Yum!

These little balls of deliciousness are vegan, gluten free and powered with plant based protein! They will also give you a good dose of fiber and hit the spot for that sweet tooth without going too far off track! This was an impromptu  recipe that I came up with, and after the fam ate them faster than I could get them out of the oven, I figured it was blog worthy!

 

bananaballs

 

These are best served right out of the oven when the chocolate is good and melty…. I had mine with a cold glass of almond milk!

 

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Here is what you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I prefer silk almond milk because it is part of the non GMO project and it does not use carrageenan as a thickener)
  • 1/4 cup natural no sweetener peanut butter (I used chunky no salt added on these) *plant powered protein
  • 1/2 cup raw almond meal *plant powered protein
  • 1 cup gluten free oats *plant powered protein
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds *plant powered protein
  • 1/4 cup vegan and gluten free chocolate chips such as enjoy life brand

 

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mash your banana in a medium size mixing bowl, then add your coconut sugar, almond milk and peanut butter, once this is nice and creamy add the rest of your ingredients with the chocolate chips last. Use a cookie scoop if you have one, if not a larger table spoon will do to make the dough into “balls” place on a baking sheet or stone and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes each. This will make about 2 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Creamy Asparagus Soup

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Happy St. Patty’s Day! How about something festive AND healthy for a change 🙂 This soup is called creamy asparagus, but it actually has few different veggies in it!  And you can make it any time of year, it just so happens to feel a little more festive when served on March 17!

Here is a list of what you will need:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic 
  • 2 cups chopped up raw asparagus (with woody ends removed)
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower cut up
  • 1 cup chopped up kale
  • 6 cups low sodium and organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

And here is what you do with all those ingredients 🙂 :

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil and add your 3 garlic cloves, either minced or pressed, cook the garlic for 1 min, then add your chopped up asparagus and cauliflower pieces, cook for an additional few minutes. Now add your 6 cups of vegetable broth and kale and bring to a mild boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for aprox 10 min (or until cauliflower is nice and tender) add your seasonings and then transfer your veggie soup mixture to the blender (I love my vita mix!) I did mine in two separate batches, in the second batch I added the raw cilantro and parsley. Once everything is blended until nice and smooth, transfer back to your stock pot and serve nice and warm!

Not only is this soup pretty and green for St. Patty’s day, but it is highly nutritious! The asparagus provides anti oxidants and is a great anti inflammatory food and the cilantro and parsley are both great blood purifiers so this soup could easily be incorporated into a cleansing or detoxing program!

If you try this soup let me know what you think! Be sure to join Graciously Organic’s community of followers on Facebook!

Organic Creamy Dilled Butternut Squash Soup

1511738_600664583333474_1866854922_nWinter food at its finest 🙂 even though here in CA we have been experiencing a heat wave for this time of year! I know some of you have been dealing with frigid temps, and so… Well, this one is for you! Have I ever mentioned that I am a fan of easy as well as nutritious? Well, this soup is SOOO easy, with only a few ingredients and minimal prep its a great one for a cold winters night.  Here is what you will need:

  • 1 organic butternut squash
  • 1 32 oz container of free range organic chicken stock (I get mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1 8 oz package of full fat organic cream cheese (if you cant find the organic variety, go for all natural full fat)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Dill (fresh or dried will work)
  • dried spice blend to taste (mine had onion, celery, turmeric, black pepper and paprika in it)

First thing you want to do is take a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off of your squash, then cut it in half and scoop all the seeds and strings out of it, it’s sorta like a pumpkin in this way. Once you have it nice and cleaned out chop it up into squares for boiling like so…

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Victoria chopping away

Boil the squash over medium heat for about 40 min, just keep an eye on it and get it to the fork tender point. When it is nice and soft, drain ALL of the water and replace the liquid with the chicken stock (I only used about 3/4 of the box, it depends on the consistency you want, creamier use less, thinner use more) and the entire 8 oz block of cream cheese, break it up into chunks if you can. Now you are going to transfer it to your blender, unless of course you have an emersion stick blender then you could skip this part entirely  and just blend it up in your stock pot. But for the rest of us, we are going to transfer this into a high powered blender (I love my vita mix) and blend until smooth, you may have to do this step in batches depending on the size of your blender.

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Creamy goodness

Once it is nice and smooth, transfer it back to your stock pot and add your seasonings and reheat just before serving. That is it! I told you this was easy 🙂 now I do want to talk just a bit about the nutritional value of this soup. Butternut squash packs a big nutrient punch giving your body adequate doses of Vit C, Vit A, Vit B6, Folate and Potassium, All great to eat during cold and flu season, but…. in order for your body to assimilate these nutrients you need to eat them with some fat…. enter cream cheese to the rescue! These nutrients will satisfy your body and the taste will satisfy your taste buds (even the kids will ask for seconds!!) I hope you enjoy this recipe, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. Also come on over and lets continue the discussion on Facebook, I’d love to chat with you more about all things natural 🙂

Gluten Free, Grain Free, Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza

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A pizza crust made from what?? Yep that’s cauliflower alright! I made this for dinner last night and let me just say, next time… I’m making a double batch! The kids all wanted  more! One head of cauliflower will make one pizza, so plan accordingly if you have a larger family or want to make more than one pizza 🙂 This pizza was melt in your mouth delicious, you know the kind when you close your eyes while you chew to experience the flavor all the more (or maybe thats just me) Now since this was my first time making this recipe, I think I will make a few tweaks to it for next time, for one thing the crust was not crisp and we had to eat it with a fork (we really didn’t mind) and I used cream cheese in the crust and I think next time I will use an herbed chevre (goat cheese) other than that, we have a winner here!

So this is what you need to do, take your head of cauliflower (preferably  organic) and grate the entire head (minus the leaves) with your cheese grater into a bowl, when you are done it will give you approx 4 cups depending on the size of the head.

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I then filled the bowl with very hot water and covered it for about 15 min to let it “steep” after that I poured it in to my small holed metal colander to drain AND THEN I transferred it to a dry clean thin dish towel (a cheese cloth would work nicely as well) bundled it all up and squeezed all the remaining water out of it, seems like a lot of work, but its really not!

From there I put the soft cauliflower back into the dry mixing bowl and added 1 cage free egg, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp organic herbs de provence, 3 tbsp cotija cheese (the Mexican version of parmesan)  and 4 oz of natural cream cheese (not lite) and blended it all together. Then I spread it out evenly  on my rectangle baking stone and baked it at 350 for 15 min.

After this I pulled it out of the oven and topped it with organic spaghetti sauce, organic cheese, and sliced up mushrooms and red bell pepper and put it back in to back for another 25 min.

We enjoyed ours with a large green salad, which in my opinion has always been the perfect accompaniment  with pizza! Please enjoy and let me know what you think after you try it!

Here is what you will need again (for easier reference):

  • 1 Large head organic cauliflower
  • 1 cage free egg
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp organic herbs de provence (oregano is a good spice to use as well)
  • 4 0z natural cream cheese or 4 oz herbed goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 3 tbsp cojita or parmesan cheese
  • organic spaghetti sauce for topping
  • organic mozzarella cheese for topping
  • assorted veggies such as: bell peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms

12 Day Pre-Holiday Cleanse!! Yes, Lets Get Ready For The Holidays!!

While eating real food!! No diet food or special products 🙂 this is all about cleansing the body mind and spirit! Want to know more?? I am looking for 10 motivated people, if you are ready to lose weight, sleep better, have more energy and boost your immune system, and do it all before the hectic holiday season gets into full swing, then NOW IS THE TIME!!! Watch the short and informative video and then register here.

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Cheesecake… Oh yeah!

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So this weekend we celebrated my handsome husbands 35th birthday, and I tell you, if anyone in this house loves pumpkin flavored food more than me… it’s him! This Cheesecake was indulgence at its finest!  When I coach my clients they are sometimes shocked to see me endorse desserts! And to bring clarity to the matter, I coach my clients to not fear indulging from time to time, losing weight and being truly healthy in mind body and  spirit is never brought about by following rigid rules or by deprivation dieting!

*Coaching tip… I always say when you indulge, make it count 😉 be sure it is the best quality food and that you really truly enjoy it, eat it in the presence of loved ones and with great appreciation for the “sweetness” in your life 🙂 eat it with the understanding and acceptance that we allow no food to be our master.

So back to this beauty! I originally  found this recipe on Pinterest  but as I always do, I made my own additions and modifications to it, and the raves and reviews from my family were well worth the time and effort put into this cake! My mother in law even said that this was the BEST cheese cake she had ever tasted! As for the birthday boy? He was full of compliments for the chef as well! My advice is to make this cake the day before you plan on serving it, this gives it time to really “set” not to mention builds the anticipation for something to look forward to!

Here is what you will need for the crust:

  • 1 cup of ground up Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookies (I got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup of Raw Pecans coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup Grass Fed Butter melted
  • 2 tbsp organic brown sugar

Coarsely grind up your ginger snap cookies and your pecans and toss them into a medium sized mixing bowl along with 2 tbsp brown sugar. Melt your grass fed butter and pour over your crumb/sugar mixture. mix together until all of the mixture is nice and moist then press into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan and set aside.

Here is what you will need for the filling:

  • 2/3 cup Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 egg yolks from pastured (cage free) hens
  • 3/4 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of Natural Full Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Large Pastured egg
  • 1 Pastured egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp Organic Grass Fed heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp Organic Tapioca Starch
  • Additional whole Pecans
  • Jar of Fluer De Sel caramel (I got mine from Trader Joes)

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Let your cream cheese get nice and soft at room temp, beat all 3 packages with an electric mixer until they are well blended and fluffy. In a separate bowl, add your pumpkin puree, 2/3 cup of turbinado sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and 3 egg yolks and mix well and set aside. Slowly blend in your 1/2  cup of turbinado sugar to the cream cheese, add the 1 large whole egg and blend in, then add the 1 remaining egg yolk, once this is nice and incorporated add in the 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream, lastly add the tapioca starch. When the cream cheese mixture is nice and blended slowly pour in the pumpkin  mixture until well combined. Pour into your ready to go 9″ spring form pan (you may want to grease the sides for easy release later, I use trader joes coconut oil no stick spray) Place cheesecake in middle rack of preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 50-55 min (some of the filling may leak out so place on top of foil or a cookie sheet when baking 🙂 )

After the cheesecake bakes for 50-55 min (a knife in the middle should be mostly clean) turn the oven off and let stand in the oven for an additional  60 min. This tip is supposed to keep your cheesecake  from cracking, perhaps you will have better luck than I because mine still cracked : / luckily no one seemed to care, and it sure did not affect the taste!

Once the hour is up, remove from the completely cooled oven and cover with foil and place in the fridge, preferable overnight,  about 2 hours before it is time to serve, take the cake out of the fridge and let sit on your counter for about 15 min before removing the spring form pan. Take your jar of caramel and a clear plastic zipper baggie and fill about 1/3 of the baggie with caramel, cut one corner tip of the baggie off to create a “piping bag” and use this to drizzle or “pipe” lines of caramel over the top of your cheesecake, go up and down, side to side and zig zag. As you can see in my picture above, the caramel ended up all “smooshing” together anyway 😀 but it was still fun to do!

Then lastly add your remaining pecans around the edge and place back into the fridge until cutting time! Enjoy and I would love your comments below!

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Ryan on his 35th Birthday

Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles

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It’s Fall, my favorite time of year! Its also the time of year when EVERYTHING tastes better with pumpkin!  Did you know that Pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A? Pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana and it is also high in the antioxidant beta carotene which is what gives pumpkin its lovely orange color.  I love to experiment in my kitchen with real food and today was begging me to make something for the season, the weather was a little cooler the clouds were nice and overcast I even noticed there was a little “chill” in the house so out came the inspiration to make some yummy pumpkin waffles (I am never short on my canned pumpkin supply during the fall months!) I used an all purpose gluten free flour mix for these that was made from millet and brown rice, but I have to say I prefer Trader Joes all purpose gluten free as it it much finer and bakes up with a less grainy texture, but these were still pretty good and since the kids gobbled them up and Olivia even asked for seconds I think  its safe to say we have a good recipe (they are usually my toughest critics! 🙂 )

 

Here is what you need for the waffles:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cage free egg
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

 

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the banana and add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, coconut oil, egg and vanilla, mix until well combined. Add all dry ingredients  and mix well, then add your almond milk. Once your batter is all mixed up (it will be thick, not runny) place a couple of larger scoops into your preheated and greased (I use additional coconut oil for this) waffle iron and cook as directed.

When these babies are ready, serve with some grass fed butter, real grade B maple syrup or a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you desire and enjoy the fall flavors 😀