dessert

Mango-Orange Julius

Orange Julius

Summer is officially here. Beach days, camping, barbecues, swimming. There are countless activities that make this time of year so great. 

One of the most wonderful gifts this season has to offer is an abundance of incredible produce. Squash, tomatoes, artichokes, nectarines, cherries- the list goes on and on! This is probably one of our favorite seasons for produce, as we love the rich, sweet, earthy flavors that come with so many of the Summer crops. Living in the Bay Area, we are gifted with tons of local fruits and vegetables, some of which we grow in our own gardens. We are lucky enough to have family that have figured out the fine art of growing food (we are far from experts ourselves, but have managed to have a few tasty results). Visiting our Grandma’s house is the equivalent of attending a small farmer’s market. We also are close by local grocery stores that provide “discount produce”- the stuff that is perfectly good,  but ready to be eaten IMMEDIATELY. This is something that we often utilize, as money is always tight (remember how we mentioned living in the BAY AREA?!) and food waste is high all over the country. We like to see what is available and decide what to make based on those items. 

On a recent visit to our Grandma’s we ended up with about 3 trash bags worth of oranges from the 30 year old tree in her backyard. Man, are those things delicious. The plan was to take them all, juice the majority of them to have fresh juice on hand, and lots in the freezer, with a few oranges left to eat. SPOILER ALERT: they never made it to the freezer. 

Mango’s have been abundant on the discount shelf lately, as they all seem to go ripe at the same time, causing the store to try and move these tropical treats quickly. We have been in mango heaven. The accessibility we have had to these fruits the last few weeks, as well as the heat and desire for cold, refreshing things, has prompted us to make a rendition of a dairy laden treat that we loved as kids- the Orange Julius. We added frozen mango to the fresh oranges (if you don’t have the time, will power or abundance of mango to freeze your own, mango from the freezer section of your local store will work beautifully) with a few other simple ingredients to create a super delicious, refreshing frozen drink that is perfect for those hot days when you can’t even muster up the energy to eat. It is quick to prepare and is sure to please all ages. No mango? No problem! Just add some frozen oranges in place of the mango for a more classic take on the Orange Julius. Now go relax; it is Summer, afterall!


 

Mango-Orange Julius {recipe}

Servings 2

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large orange, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 c non-dairy vanilla creamer
  • 1/4 c non-dairy milk
     

METHOD

  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into 2 glasses and serve with orange or mango segments. 
  3. Enjoy!
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English Toffee + Easy Gift Idea

toffee

The holidays are a crazy time of year for most people. It is expensive, time consuming and exhausting. Everyone is having holiday parties and there are a million family obligations. Of course, you never want to show up empty handed! Gift giving can be a huge source of stress and anxiety, and can become quite impersonal. It never fails that SOMEONE will give you a gift that you were not expecting to receive, and you suddenly feel a weird obligation to return the favor. It can be very difficult to come up with individual presents and it never hurts to have some back ups! Hand making gifts can be a wonderful and inexpensive way to have something for everyone, and allows your loved ones (or other acquaintances) the opportunity to reap the benefits of your talent. When it comes to us, the main thing we want to share with those around us is food! We decided to make a sweet treat that practically everyone is familiar with, and show them how good it can be when made VEGAN!

English toffee is a delicious and easy confection made up of mostly butter and sugar. Add some chocolate and almonds, and what’s not to love?? It is also a very pretty candy, and is nicely shown off in glass mason jars! Top your jar with a cute and festive sticker, and you are ready to go! Everyone will be thrilled to receive a tasty treat made with love and compassion, and it will hardly cost a thing. This year, relieve some of your stress with this simple and sweet recipe that everyone will surely love. Happy holidays!

English Toffee {recipe}

Makes 12 - 1/2 pint jars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15oz tub earth balance vegan butter
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c chopped almonds

METHOD

  1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, cook butter, sugar and salt until mixture reaches 300° F will be foamy and bubbly, stir often.

  2. Once it reaches 300°, take off heat and stir in vanilla until bubbles and foam subside.
  3. Quickly pour onto parchment lined cookie sheet, making sure mixture is even. 
  4. Let rest for a few minutes so toffee begins to harden.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee. Allow to sit a few minutes for chips to melt.
  6. Spread and smooth chips to form a chocolate coating.
  7. Sprinkle almonds on while chocolate is still melted.
  8. Place in fridge or freezer to set.
  9. Once completely cool, use a butter knife and mallet to break toffee into bite size pieces. or use clean hands to break apart.

 

NOTE: Feel free to add in your favorite nuts to the toffee for a delicious nutty brittle.

 

EASY GIFT IDEA!

  1. Stack into 1/2 pint mason jars. (Makes 12)

  2. Print & cut labels (download here) place under ring, give as gifts!

 

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Pecan Pumpkin Torte

Pumpkin Torte

The holidays are nothing without our favorite desserts gracing our table. There are so many choices, and frankly, we want them all. This year we decided to come up with a special treat- one that covered all the bases in one fell swoop. We knew this dessert would be extremely decadent, and the perfect thing to satisfy even our mother’s sweet tooth (and that is no easy feat)! We started by combining all the things that we love- pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake and of course, chocolate. The pecan crust is chewy and sweet, but balances nicely with the lightly sweetened, silky smooth pumpkin filling. There is a thin layer of whiskey caramel in between to add a little something extra, and it is all topped with a delicious and simple chocolate ganache.

What is even better about this dessert is that it can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer. You never have to bake it, just leave it out to defrost.

This is a very rich dessert, so we kept it somewhat thin. You only need a small slice, and it would be even better with your favorite whipped topping or even some vanilla ice cream. Now you don’t have to pick just one of your favorites to prepare for your holiday meal- you can have them all!

Pecan Pumpkin Torte {recipe}

9" torte, serves 10-12

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust

    • 8 oz unsalted, dry toasted pecans

    • 2 cups (about 40) pitted dates

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • 2 TB raw agave nectar

  • Whiskey Caramel

    • 1 c dates

    • 1 TB whiskey

    • ½ c hot water

    • ½ tsp vanilla

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • ½ cup raw pecan pieces

  • Pumpkin Cream Filling

    • 15 oz can pumpkin puree

    • 1 c cashews, raw unsalted

    • ¼ c coconut oil, refined

    • 4 TB maple syrup

    • 2 TB lemon juice

    • ¾ tsp cinnamon

    • ¼ tsp nutmeg

    • 2 pinches clove

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • ½ tsp vanilla

  • Chocolate Ganache

    • ¼ c almond milk

    • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)

    • 1 TB vegan butter

 

METHOD

  1. In a food processor, combine crust ingredients and pulse until a sticky dough forms.

  2. Press crust into 9” springform pan with about ½ inch up the side (to contain caramel).

  3. In a blender, combine all whiskey caramel ingredients, except pecans and process until smooth.

  4. Pour over crust and spread, then sprinkle with ½ c raw pecans.

  5. In blender combine all Pumpkin Cream ingredients and blend until smooth (might need to use tamper to get the mixture going).

  6. Pour over caramel and pecan layer.

  7. Place in freezer for about an hour before adding chocolate top.

  8. Heat almond milk in a small sauce pot over medium heat, until hot. Then add chocolate chips and whisk constantly until smooth and melted.

  9. Then whisk in 1 TB butter until glossy.

  10. Pour melted chocolate over the top and spread.

  11. Place back in freezer for several hours until set.

NOTE: Best served after it sits out for 30 minutes to soften.

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Nutrageous Grave Bites

We all know Halloween is a holiday of indulgence, so what would it be without something spooky AND sweet? Crazy...that’s what! Being a night with so many cruelty-filled candies, we knew we had to make our own little bite size compassionate candy bars. These are reminiscent of one of our favorite chocolate treats growing up, the Nutrageous bar. A sweetened peanut butter core topped with peanuts and caramel, all wrapped up in a decadent chocolate shell. WOW, what is there not to like?!

It was off to the laboratory and the mad scientists began their work. Mixing & stirring. Blending & melting. Freezing & spreading. Then we had it, the perfect bite! These little mounds look like a fresh grave, so we popped on some fun printed tombstones, and there we had it- our own delicious graveyard. Now don’t think these are only for Halloween; they can be enjoyed anytime of year. They can easily be formed to any shape or size you like. These little treats are so hauntingly delicious that they nearly disappeared before the tombstones made it on them….oops!  

 

Nutrageous Grave Bites {recipe}

30-45 bites depending on size

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Date Caramel

    • 2 c pitted dates

    • ¾ c Hot water

    • ½ tsp Vanilla

  • Peanut Butter Core

    • 1 c Peanut Butter

    • ½ c Coconut Flour

    • ¼ c Powdered Sugar

  • 1-2 c vegan dark chocolate chips

  • 1-2 c salted roasted peanuts


 

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, create Peanut Butter Core by mixing the flour and powdered sugar with peanut butter. Place in refrigerator to chill.

  2. Make date caramel by combining ingredients in a high speed blender and blending until smooth.

  3. Form small rounds with the nougat on wax paper on a cookie sheet. They should resemble a thick vanilla wafer cookie.

  4. Then press in peanuts onto the nougat.

  5. Top with date caramel.

  6. Place candies into freezer for about an hour.

  7. Melt chocolate chips, I microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between until melted. (1-3 minutes)

  8. Spoon melted chocolate over peanuts, covering the mounds in chocolate.

  9. Once covered place back in freezer to setup.

  10. Decorate with printed tombstones for a delicious graveyard.

 

NOTE 1: Keep these treats in the freezer before serving, they soften quickly, but then again they also get eaten just as fast.  

NOTE 2: You might have extra caramel, be sure to save it. We love it on apples and especially ice cream.


 

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RAW Chocolate Almond Shake

almond_shake

It has been unseasonally hot around here. Although fall is officially in full swing, we are getting summer temps that we were just not ready for. It is important to adapt, which means holding off on wearing our favorite boots, substituting sweaters for tank tops and indulging in our favorite heat beating dessert, milkshakes! Everybody loves them, and we are no different!! We are not of the mind that we should ever go without, so we came up with this amazing shake using ALMONDS!!

This milkshake has become a staple in our household. It is thick, creamy and the perfect substitute for those heavy dairy based shakes. This shake is less than half the calories of one from your local fast food joint, and will give you a healthy dose of protein and fiber; and although it’s as if it can’t get any better, it is completely RAW! What’s not to love??

Not only will your sweet tooth be satisfied, but you will go to bed feeling full (because sometimes that summer salad just isn’t enough). Give this new shake a try, and soon you will be experimenting with different flavors just like us!

But beware, you will be craving these even during the chilliest of nights!

 

RAW Chocolate Almond Shake {recipe}

Makes 4 cups | Serves 2

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup cold water
  • 12 pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan crystal salt
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 TB raw cacoa powder
  • 1 TB raw cacoa nibs

METHOD

  1. Place all ingredients except ice and nibs in a high power blender, and blend on high until smooth, then gradually add ice until desired consistency is achieved.

  2. Once smooth, add in nibs and blend briefly to incorporate them throughout

OPTIONAL: Add mint extract for mint chocolate shake, one of our favorite flavors.


 

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