Peanut Butter Chocolate Tarts

This past weekend, the boyfriend and I decided to hit up a vegan potluck in Toronto. At a loss for what to make, I was originally going to make some spinach (vegan) cheese phyllo triangles. Unfortunately I didn’t plan far enough ahead (I’m a bit off of my kitchen game lately it seems), and discovered that I wouldn’t have enough time to make these little guys because I’d have to let the pastry thaw for at least 5-6 hours. I’ve worked with this stuff many times before, and the best way to work with it without the sheets ripping is to do the thaw properly, and not use a microwave (or oven) to attempt a quick thaw.

So in the middle of the grocery store in panic mode, I decided to make something else. Thinking of some simple and quick desserts I’ve made in the past, I settled on throwing together some chocolate peanut butter tarts. One more thing – pie tart shells… Were they vegan? I look at the puff pastry – it had butter… Damn. I broke out in a sweat, hoping I wouldn’t have to Betty Crocker the tart shells due to buttery ingredients… I checked the tart shells, and score! They used vegetable based oils in the ingredients instead of butter. Happy Nikki.

So I tossed a package of shells in my basket, grabbed some more key ingredients, and went home to get started.

Oh, you may want to know what ingredients I used in these… So here you go! These are super simple to put together, and look really cute!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Tarts

Ingredients:

  • 15 mini pie tart shells

Peanut Butter Mousse

  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp maple flavoured agave nectar (can sub. any liquid sweetener you like here, and this is purely to taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Chocolate Base

  • 3 squares unsweetened dark chocolate if using Baker’s chocolate. Otherwise, about ½ cup chopped dark chocolate of your choice
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar

Garnish

  • Slivered almonds

Method:

  • Bake the pie tart shells according to the package directions, and set aside to cool
  • Mix all ingredients for the peanut butter mousse in a food processor, and mix until combined. Allow to cool in the fridge while preparing the chocolate.
  • In a saucepan, melt the chocolate with the agave nectar. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon about 1 tsp of chocolate into each shell, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Take the peanut butter mousse out of the fridge, and put about 1 tbsp of mousse in each shell.
  • Garnish with slivered almonds.
  • Eat, and enjoy! 🙂
Pre-moussing!

Pre-moussing!

 

Moussed and garnished!

Moussed and garnished!

Ready to serve! :)

Ready to serve! 🙂

 

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Smoothie – Coco-Choco-Banana

After my P90X Kenpo X workout today (my schedule is off a bit, but I’m still working through it), I needed something good to calm my muscles. 🙂 I had some coconut water in my fridge, so decided to use that instead of almond milk, and I’m pretty happy with the result! (Why have I never really given coconut water a chance before? That stuff tastes great…)

So here’s today’s smoothie recipe! 🙂

Today’s Smoothie: Coco-Choco-Banana

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I’ve been using the chocolate Performance Protein by Vega for a little while now, and I’m loving it! So yummy, and dairy/soy free!)
  • 1 scoop GREENSuperFood by Amazing Grass – chocolate flavour (pictured below)
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal
  • Splash of pomegranate juice
Method:
  • Blend all ingredients together, and drink up! 🙂

 

coco-choco-banana smoothie

coco-choco-banana smoothie

GREENSuperFood

GREENSuperFood

Clean Chocolate-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to be updating this blog, but I”ll have more to post soon! 🙂 For now, this is going to be an entry that’s short and sweet, just like these cookies! If you’re into eating clean, these are the perfect little things to snack on and not compromise on nutrition. Enjoy! 🙂

Clean Chocolate-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 scoop carob powder (you can use cocoa powder if you like, but carob powder is naturally sweeter! So no need to add any extra sugar… 😉 This scoop should be the same size as the scoop of protein powder.)
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites (or egg replacer)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

  • Pre heat oven to 350.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Roll into 12 balls, and place each ball on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Press your thumb lightly into each ball, but keep the cookies thick!
  • Bake for 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and enjoy minus the guilt! 🙂

    mmmmm

    mmmmm

 

Easy Cocoa Protein Granola Bars

I really like granola bars because they’re a quick snack that you can have on the go. As much as I enjoy those chocolate dipped peanut butter granola bars, they’re really not that healthy. I’ve made granola bars before, but there’s just something about these ones that stand out above the rest. This recipe makes anywhere from 6-9 granola bars/cookies depending on how big you make them. Enjoy! 🙂

Easy Cocoa Protein Granola Bars

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used Bodylogix Vanilla Protein Powder)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
  • 3 tbsp vanilla almond milk (or any milk of your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • about 1/4 cup of your favourite dark chocolate (try to keep it above 70%)
Method:
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a non-stick baking mat. Set aside.
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
  • In another bowl, mix all wet ingredients, and microwave for about 25 seconds.
  • Stir all wet ingredients together until incorporated. The peanut butter and almond milk may separate a little bit, but that’s okay! If everything isn’t completely melted and in liquid form, just microwave it for a few more seconds.
  • Add all dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, and stir until a dough forms.
  • Form a small handful of dough (about 1/3 of a cup) into either a bar or a cookie shape, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat this with all of the dough until you have used it all.
  • Place baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the bars to firm up, and then they’re ready to eat!
  • Bars can be kept in the fridge for up to a week in an air tight container, however the quantities of this recipe are small enough where the bars can easily be finished within a couple of days! 😉
Yummy! :)

Yummy! 🙂

Cocoa Irish Oat Cakes

When I was trying to find a new cracker recipe on the Whole Foods app for the iPhone, I came across a recipe for Irish oat cakes. The original recipe seemed a little boring, and it used butter (which I try to avoid), so I decided to make my own version of the recipe inspired by the original. These little guys go great with some raspberry honey that I purchased from The Bee & Me tent at the Milton Farmers Market this weekend. I also used the honey in the recipe instead of just plain liquid honey.

Here’s my take on Irish Oat Cakes, with a little cocoa! 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂

Cocoa Irish Oat Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour (you can purchase this already made, or you can simply grind rolled oats in the food processor/blender until it resembles flour)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp raspberry honey (or regular liquid honey if you like)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg white (use two if dough is too dry)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 325 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicon baking mat, and set aside.
  • Add all ingredients into a bowl, and mix together.
  • The mixture will be quite crumbly, so once it’s all mixed together well, transfer the ball of dough to the baking sheet and roll/press it flat. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick. If the edges are starting to crumble off, just use your fingers to press the dough back together.
  • Once the dough is flat, use a knife to make lines in the dough where you’ll want to cut it once it’s done.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. The edges will be slightly darker (but not by much), and the dough will feel dry to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven, and use a knife to cut into each line. Set aside to cool completely before eating.

    Yummy :)

    Yummy 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Waking up this morning, I was presented with a few dilemmas:

  1. There are three bananas on the counter coming up to that point where they’re past their prime, and I already have about 20 bananas in the freezer for smoothies.
  2. I have a nice, nasty little cold right now, which makes me crave sweets as a comfort food. I’m trying to eat healthy, so I don’t want to go out to get junk food.
  3. Because I’m sick, there’s no way I’m going to go out and get junk food. I’m surprised I can even get off of the couch for more than five minutes.

The solution: healthy cookies with bananas! These turned out so soft, and so yummy… There’s no butter, no eggs, no junky stuff, and barely any sugar. They’re filled with a whole bunch of flavour and goodness! This recipe makes 12 medium-sized cookies, about an inch thick. They almost have a cake-like texture, very similar to a chocolate crueller or something. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve already eaten four of these. Anyways, here’s the recipe, enjoy! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp organic cane sugar (this obviously isn’t a wet ingredient, but is mixed in with them anyways)
  • 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe banana

Solid Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup carob chips (you can use regular chocolate chips if you like, I just really LOVE carob chips.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnut pieces (this is optional also, so feel free to omit if you don’t like walnuts.)

Method:

  • Pre heat your oven to 325 F for convection ovens. (If not using a convection oven, pre heat to 350 F)
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat (or any silicone baking mat), and set aside.
  • In a bowl, sift together all dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl, mash the banana, and add all wet ingredients to the mashed banana.
  • Pour the wet into the dry.
  • Add the solid ingredients, and stir together until everything is combined.
  • Because it’s a dough that’s a bit on the dry side, I like to get my hands right in there and mush it all together, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
  • Using your hands, shape pieces of the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball (or a little bigger), and press into a patty that is about 1 inch thick. These don’t really spread while baking, but you also want to make sure that they maintain that cake-like texture because it’s pretty darn good!
  • Once all of the dough is shaped and on the baking sheet, pop it into your oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to check the cookies at 15 minutes. The bottoms of the cookies will be slightly darker than the rest of the cookie. If it’s looking a lot darker, take them out!
  • Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then eat and enjoy! 🙂
  • Note: I made these in a convection oven, so my cooking time was longer. (Lower temperature, slightly longer cooking time, however they cook perfectly even.) So if you don’t have a convection oven, keep it at 350 F, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

    Three tasty (and guilt-free!) cookies with an almond milk latte. Now that's a tasty snack! :)

    Three tasty (and guilt-free!) cookies with an almond milk latte. Now that’s a tasty snack! 🙂

Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Frozen Yogurt

I feel a little strange calling this frozen yogurt, because it’s not very similar to that stuff you get at the grocery store. It’s not soft and mushy like ice cream… It’s actually closer to an Italian ice in texture, or even similar to a strawberry sorbet… Somewhat… Regardless, it’s still technically “frozen yogurt”, as there is dairy (yogurt) involved as a main ingredient. (Italian ice doesn’t have any dairy.)

This tastes pretty great, and I can imagine that in the hotter summer months ahead, it will be quite an enjoyable form of refreshment. Also, using non-fat yogurt cuts the fat almost completely! If you prefer using another liquid sweetener over honey, you can and I’m sure it will taste just as good! 🙂 Here’s the recipe, enjoy! 🙂

Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1-2 cups frozen strawberries (this varies depending on how much strawberry flavour you want!)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Roughly chopped dark chocolate (I used about 4 squares of a large Lindtt dark chocolate bar)

Method:

  • In a blender (or with an immersion blender), blend all ingredients except the chopped dark chocolate. Blend until smooth.
  • Stir in the chopped dark chocolate, and then pour into a couple semi-shallow plastic dishes (I used two Glad containers, about 2 inches deep)
  • Place in the freezer, and allow to harden for about 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes, remove the containers and stir contents until smooth.
  • Repeat this process (freezing, and removing every 45 minutes to stir) until the desired consistency is reached.
  • The frozen yogurt can be stored in these containers, or you can scoop it back into the original yogurt container. Make sure it’s covered with a lid after the whole “freeze-then-stir” process is finished.
  • Note: You can store this for many weeks in the freezer. After it’s been frozen for a day or two, it will be rock solid. Simply allow the frozen yogurt to soften slightly on the counter for 5 minutes or so prior to serving. To serve, you can also shave pieces of the frozen yogurt off of the top in layers if it doesn’t come off in one big scoop.
mmm... There it is... ;)

mmm... There it is... 😉

Coconut Banana Cream Pie – Raw & Vegan

Here’s something a little interesting, and it’s (sort of) raw. I say “sort of”, because a few ingredients such as maple syrup and carob powder aren’t considered “raw” by everyone. There are “truly raw” carob powders available, however it’s not always guaranteed that the temperature was kept low enough during processing. Either way, if you eat raw foods, the carob powder and maple syrup can easily be substituted for more “raw friendly” items such as agave nectar and raw chocolate. (I’ve been interested in raw recipes in the past, and I was actually inspired recently to try out another raw recipe by an old highschool acquaintance, Elena. She’s got her own blog going on, and has some pretty cool recipes for raw food lovers!)

So here’s my tasty recipe for a coconut banana cream pie! This recipe makes 4 small servings. It’s a very rich and decadent pie that’s slightly higher in calories, so I suggest keeping the servings small. Enjoy! 🙂

Coconut Banana Cream Pie – Raw & Vegan

Ingredients:

Base

  • 1/2 cup pitted honey dates, soaked for about 5 minutes.
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnut butter (home-made is best!)
  • 1/4 cup carob powder (tastes similar to cocoa powder, but a little sweeter)

Filling

  • 1 banana (I used a frozen banana, it may be a better idea to use one that’s not frozen though, as it causes the coconut butter to harden…)
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (to make: blend/process 1 cup flaked coconut for 5-10 minutes until a liquid forms. It may be slightly grainy still. Pour into a jar/cup, and allow to harden slightly for about 15 minutes. It will be creamy and smooth in texture. This does not need to be refrigerated.)
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (again, home-made is best, but store-bought is alright too)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (real, not that artificial stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp carob powder

Method:

  • For the base, stir all ingredients together in a bowl until mixed well. Press into the bottom of a plastic wrap lined bowl, and freeze for 30-60 minutes.
  • For the filling: using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, mix all filling ingredients together. Pour the mixture on top of the semi-frozen base, and return to the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.
  • For the chocolate sauce: mix all ingredients together, and drizzle over the finished pie prior to serving!
  • To serve: Simply remove the pie from the bowl by pulling the plastic wrap carefully, and cut into four slices. Serve with chocolate sauce drizzled on top, and enjoy! 🙂 If the pie is too hard, allow to soften for a few minutes before serving.
Here's the pie! :)

Here's the pie! 🙂

And now for a "fancy picture" :)

And now for a "fancy picture" 🙂

Review: President’s Choice Chocolatey Chai Herbal Tea

I’ve always loved coffee, and hot chocolate, and any type of fancy coffee-type-beverage… And I’ve always been pretty vocal about my love for these things…

However, I don’t want it to seem that I’m leaving tea in the dust. My favourite tea to drink is Earl Grey, mainly because the smell of the bergamot orange (the oil extracted from the rind, not the whole fruit) reminds me of fruit loops. It’s got such a pleasant smell and taste… But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. 🙂 There is now a close second, almost tied for first, tea in my life.

Every week at No Frills, I walk past the tea and coffee aisle at least ten times. I walk by this random “chocolatey chai herbal tea”, and think to myself “what an unusual tea.” The price was really what tempted me to buy it, being $2.00 for a box of 20 bags.

So I brought this tea home, a little skeptical, but quite eager to try it. As soon as I opened the box, the scent of chocolate filled my nose. Oh wow… It smelled amazing! Chai spices mixed with chocolate. Such a smooth smell… I still didn’t get my hopes up though, because I’ve been let down so many times with tea that smells this good. A few types of green tea that I’ve had smelled wonderful, but tasted like shi something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

I poured some boiled water (after letting it sit for a minute of course – never pour boiling water over a tea bag!) over the thirsty tea bag waiting in my mug, and let it steep for 3 minutes. After the first minute, I could smell the spices and cocoa from the other room. I added a spoon of turbinado sugar, and a tiny bit of lactose free coffee whitener (I still can’t drink tea black…), and took my first sip. After I was finished swearing from burning my tongue, I drank that cup of tea faster than I’d drink a bottle of water after a hard work-out! It was amazing.

Amazing.

Again: Amazing!

It has a smooth flavour with a bit of a bite to it, similar to regular chai tea, but with a lovely aroma of cocoa. It almost makes me think of chai tea with chocolate milk almond milk. Hmm… Maybe a chai latte with chocolate milk almond milk.

Here’s a picture of the box, and of the ingredients and nutrition information:

This is some good tea! :)

This is some good tea! 🙂

nutrition info

nutrition info

Please note: this is not a sponsored review. These are my genuine, unbiased opinions.

President’s Choice Chocolatey Chai Herbal Tea

Peppermint Mocha (2)

Last winter, I posted a peppermint mocha recipe. In it, I used the Starbucks syrup, and it turned out pretty darn good! This year, I’ve decided to make one that didn’t use the syrup, and came up with this one! It can be made iced, or hot. This recipe calls for crushed candy canes, so you can either buy a box of candy canes, OR you can get the crushed candy cane powder at a bulk store near you.

This recipe makes 2 drinks. Enjoy! 🙂

Peppermint Mocha 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 3 tbsp finely crushed candy canes
  • 1 tbsp coffee whitener (Coffee-Mate Double Double is pretty tasty!)

Method (hot version) :

  • Mix all ingredients together in a jar.
  • Boil some water.
  • Place about 2 heaping table spoons of the mixture into each mug.
  • Pour 3/4 cup of boiling water into each mug, and stir.
  • Add about 2 tbsp milk/almond milk/soy milk  to the mug, and stir again.
  • If you like, top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane.

If making the cold version (1 serving) :

  • Place about 1 cup of ice in a blender. Pulse until crushed.
  • Add 2 heaping table spoons of the mixture into the blender, and 3/4 cup of milk/almond milk/soy milk.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass, and top the same way you would the hot version.
mmm...

mmm...