Chocolate pudding

Easy Chocolate Pudding (Sugar Free) – Made With Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding

This is my super easy recipe for chocolate pudding! Eating this reminds me of eating those chocolate pudding cups when I was a kid. I like to make a big batch of this and stash it in the fridge for a quick snack and it keeps for about 5 days in fridge.

This pudding is lovely and thick, and has a rich and decadent chocolate flavor but no added sweeteners. The pudding still tastes sweet (it gets is sweetness from the milk, coconut oil and sweet potatoes) and it’s a nice treat for days when you want to eat something that tastes delicious but also helps you get in an extra serving of vegetables.

You can make it with any kind of milk that you like (the milk that I use for this recipe is the organic lactose free 2% milk from Costco which tastes very sweet without any added sugar, but you can use coconut milk for a vegan version). Feel free to play around with the flavors of this pudding. You can add a bit of peppermint extract for a mint chocolate pudding, or swap out some of the milk with a little coffee for a slightly deeper chocolate flavor.

I like to freeze 1 cup portions of this and then let it thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes so the pudding sort of becomes this fudgesicle / chocolate ice cream-like frozen treat. In luscious pudding form or frozen, this treat is great when eaten with fresh strawberries.

You can also add about a 1/2 cup less milk and blend it in batches in a food processor for a more chocolate mousse-like texture.

Easy Chocolate Pudding

Makes 6-8 generous servings

Ingredients

28 oz cooked sweet potato – (3 medium sweet potatoes, or about 4 cups diced)

1.5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

2/3 cup coconut oil

2 cups milk of choice

small pinch of salt

 

Instructions

1. Peel your sweet potatoes and cut them into 3/4 inch cubes. Steam them for about 30 minutes until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool to room temp, measure out 4 cups of sweet potatoes and transfer to a blender.

2. Pour the milk into the blender and add the salt. Melt the coconut oil and chocolate over medium low heat stirring frequently (this took about 5 minutes for me). Pour the chocolate and coconut oil mixture into the blender and blend until smooth, stopping the blender occasionally to scrape down the sides and give it all a good mix with a spatula.

3. Pour the pudding mixture into a airtight container and refrigerate overnight until thickened.

4. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

 

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A Trip to the Farmers Market

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It’s Fall!

My favorite season of the year.

It’s time to wear cozy socks, cuddle up with a book by the fire and drink / eat pumpkin spice flavored things with joy!

I love seeing all the autumn leaves turn color and am very much looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving (of course my favorite holidays are always food related…).

Recently, I discovered a local farmers market nearby and I didn’t know what I was missing until I went there. My weekly trips there are something that I look forward to on the weekends.

I’ve almost always shopped at grocery stores before, and it is so neat to be able to see all the different kinds of food that are produced in my local area. There are shelves with local honey, dried herbs, lots of different vegetables (I saw a purple bell pepper for the first time here a few weeks ago), and locally produced beef and lamb as well.

I buy fresh eggs often here. They come in a beautiful array of colors, from white, to brown, to pastel blue. The fresh eggs also taste so good, and the hens that produce them are free ranged.

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These beautiful carrots were $1.99 / lb, which is more expensive than the $1.29 / lb at the local grocery store, but these were locally grown. I also usually buy kale and lettuce here as well, and they are usually about 50 cents more per bunch. For not very much more, it seems really exciting to be able to support local farmers in my area.

I love seeing all the different kinds of squash that they had at the farmers market. A lady came by with a cart piled high with all kinds of them which she mentioned that she was going to use for decoration.

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I can see why, all of them look interesting. These beauties are Cinderella Pumpkins. So cool! I’ve never seen these kinds of pumpkins before.

It was also super cute to see parents taking pictures of their toddlers holding little pumpkins. What a sweet memory.

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They also sell lovely herbs (both dried and live plants) there. Here are a variety of mints!

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Two squash that kind of look like spaceships…

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And more varieties of squash!

Do you have farmers markets where you are? What’s you’re favorite thing to buy there?

Elaine

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How to “Hard boil” Eggs in a Rice Cooker (Super Easy)

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Hardboiled eggs are one of those things that are great to have stashed away in the fridge. They are perfect high protein snacks (they even have a built in wrapper!) and make a great breakfast on the go as well.

The not so nice part of hard-boiled eggs? The sitting / waiting for a large pot of water to boil.

As it turns out, cooking them in a rice cooker is much easier and faster too!

I first got the idea to do this when I saw an awesome post on the Digging Food blog about how to steam fresh eggs. I had no idea that you could steam eggs before I read their post.

After a little experimentation, I figured out how to make perfect “Hard-boiled” eggs in a rice cooker.

Let me walk you through how to make them…

Step 1 –  Place your desired number of eggs in a heat safe bowl (ceramic or metal is fine).

I use a Tatung 10-Cup Multifunctional Cooker (the most useful piece of cooking equipment known to man). It’s a great rice cooker / steamer, and when I was in college (and living in small dorm room) I managed to make 60 tamales from scratch in one.

Step 2 – Add water. I pour about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the cooker before adding a rack that looks like this (you can buy it pretty inexpensively in a larger Asian grocery store like 99 Ranch).

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Step 3 – Put the bowl on the rack (this ensures that your food won’t scorch on the bottom of your bowl).

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Step 4 – Cover the rice cooker with the lid and turn the rice cooker on, then set your timer.

My rice cooker takes about 5 minutes until I start to see steam come out the sides of the lid. Your rice cooker make take more or less time to heat up, and it may take a little trial and error before you figure out the right amount of time to cook the eggs to your liking.

For my rice cooker (from the time you turn the rice cooker on to when you turn it off):

Soft Boiled –  takes 13 minutes

“7 Minute Egg”  (Like the one pictured) – takes 14 minutes

Hard-boiled – takes 20 minutes

 

Step 5 – Turn the rice cooker off.

Put on an oven mitt and transfer the eggs into an ice bath using tongs.

****Please be careful not to burn yourself **** The steam is pretty hot and you can use the lid of the pot to fan the steam away from you before you take the eggs out of the rice cooker.

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Step 6 – Leave the eggs to rest in the ice bath for at least 30 minutes.

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After this, the eggs should be pretty easy to peel. I like the keep them in the fridge unpeeled (I just like the ritual of peeling them right before I eat them) or you can peel the eggs and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

The most I’ve done at once is 4 eggs in one batch, and the cooking time doesn’t change if you cook 1-2 eggs or 4 at the same time.

Update – Jan 14, 2018 – I’ve found that it does make a difference what bowl you use to cook the eggs in. You want a sort of normal serving bowl and not something that’s super deep with high sides so that the steam can surround the eggs better. My preference these days is to cook 6 eggs at a time for 18 minutes (perfectly hard boiled , dunk them into ice water and then keep them in fridge for breakfast / snacking.

I hope that this helps make your breakfast / snacking / meal prep a little easier!

How do you like your eggs for breakfast?

– Elaine

Iced Watermelon Cubes

Iced Watermelon Cubes – A Healthy Ice Cream Alternative

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If you’re living through a heat wave at the moment what you probably want most in the world is something sweet, cold, and refreshing to eat.

Here is the simplest of desserts to keep on hand for a hot day. These little cubes of frozen watermelon are delicious and perfect for popping into your mouth (straight from the freezer) to cool you down.

Refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo, and all that jazz… but what’s really important is that they taste so good!

Iced Watermelon Cubes

Makes lots and lots of servings

Ingredients

1 sweet seedless watermelon (pick the sweetest one you can find)

That’s it! 😀

 

Instructions

1. Cut the watermelon into 3/4 inch cubes (this is a perfect size as they can be eaten straight from the freezer and they thaw quickly too).

2. Freeze the cubes flat in ziptop bags.

To serve, scoop about 1 – 1.5 cups (or however much you want) of the frozen watermelon cubes into a bowl and eat with a spoon.

Ta-Da! I hope that these little cubes of watermelon joy make your summer days a little more awesome. 🙂

pear sorbet

2 Ingredient Pear Sorbet (No Churn) – Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

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This pear sorbet is so simple to make and it tastes amazing! It’s flavor is light and sweet and makes the humble pear really shine.

When I first tasted it I couldn’t believe how good it was, and it was only 2 ingredients!

It’s smooth and creamy, and the perfect thing to make when you have ripe pears that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Even if they are a little bruised, that’s ok! They will still work great in this recipe.

2 Ingredient Pear Sorbet

Makes 2 servings (2 scoops each, or a generous serving for one)

Ingredients

2 ripe Bartlett pears (also known as William’s pears)

1/4 cup apple juice (I used the Martinelli’s brand apple juice as it’s naturally very sweet)

 

Instructions

1. Peel and core the pears. Cut them into 3/4 inch cubes (if they vary in size a little that’s ok) and freeze them in a single layer in a ziploc bag or an airtight container.

My two pears (after being peeled, cubed, and frozen) measured 2 2/3 cups.

2. When you’re ready to make your sorbet, take the frozen pears out of the fridge and let them thaw for 10-15 minutes.

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Break up any big clumps of pear cubes up with your hands and add the pears to a food processor along with the apple juice and process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.

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If you’re having a hard time getting the sorbet completely smooth, you may have to process half the mixture at a time. I have a smaller food processor and had to process the sorbet in two batches, but it came together beautifully.

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3. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.

Happy Eating!

sweet potato fries

Oven Baked Garlic Paprika Sweet Potato Fries – Paleo, Vegan

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These garlicky paprika sweet potato fries make a glorious side dish when you’re craving carbs, and are my go to snack when I’m craving junk food but want to eat something a little healthier.

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Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium (which is great) but what really matters is that these sweet potato fries are really satisfying.

I love dipping them into creamy avocado mayo (sometimes with a bit of finely minced garlic mixed in) and they are also good with honey mustard.

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Next time your craving junk food, give these sweet potato fries a try. If you’re anything like me, you find that you’ve eaten them all before you know it.

Oven Baked Garlic Paprika Sweet Potato Fries

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients

3 small sweet potatoes (the ones I used were 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches in length)

2 tbsp neutral flavored oil (I used avocado oil)

1 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp granulated onion

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp dried thyme (optional)

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Give the sweet potatoes a good scrub and cut each sweet potato into 8 wedges.  Place the sweet potatoes into a large glass baking dish with the oil and toss gently.

2. Stir together the salt, pepper and other spices. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the sweet potatoes and give it all a good mix so that the fries are well coated.

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4. Arrange the sweet potatoes onto the baking dish so that they are in a single layer.

My baking dish was a little too small to fit all of the fries. So for this amount of sweet potatoes I used a 3 qt (9 in. x 13 in.) glass pyrex baking dish and a 9 in. pie plate.

5. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until crispy and golden brown around the edges.

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Happy Eating!

 

Watermelon Agua Fresca – Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

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With summer fast approaching, the weather is getting warmer, and Memorial Day weekend is here!

This means that ’tis the season for backyard barbecues and hanging out with friends and family in the sunshine. This calls for drinks.

One of my favorites is my watermelon agua fresca. It’s cool and refreshing, and along with iced apple green tea is a refined sugar free alternative to sweet tea.

I love watermelon. It’s one of my favorite fruits and drinking this is almost like drinking a cross between lemonade/limeaid and watermelon juice.

Watermelon season in the US runs from May to September, so lots of delicious ripe watermelons are available in grocery stores right now, which is super exciting (yay!) and another thing that makes this watermelon agua fresca the perfect drink for summer.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Makes 2 servings (4 cups total)

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups cubed seedless watermelon (1 – 1 1/2 inch cubes)*

1 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup water

3 tsp lime juice (I used lime juice that froze previously and defrosted)

Notes – * Use the sweetest watermelon you can find, that way you won’t have to use any added sweeteners. If you’re having a party, you can make a big batch of this ahead of time and it will keep great in the fridge overnight.

Instructions

1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until well chilled, making sure to give the agua fresca a good stir before serving. Pour over ice if desired (especially if it’s a particularly hot day) and serve.

green goddess dressing

Parsley Green Goddess Dressing Recipe – Paleo, Dairy Free

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I like to think of Green Goddess dressing as Caesar dressing’s sort of hippier, more free spirited cousin.

Caesar is the dressing that you want for a beautiful dinner party, while Green Goddess is for summer picnics and dancing through a garden in a sundress while wearing a daisy crown.

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My Parsley Green Goddess dressing has all the things that you love about Caesar dressing (the rich savoriness and creaminess, with a bit a bit of garlic thrown it to punch up the flavor) and is full of anti-inflammatory herbs like parsley, rosemary, and basil.

It’s light and creamy, a little thinner than most green goddess dressings (which makes it better for drizzling over a salad), and is packed with heart healthy olive and avocado oils.

This is also the perfect recipe for when you’re looking to use up a bunch of fresh parsley in a hurry. You can blend it all into this beautiful dressing.

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Parsley Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients

3/4 cup packed parsley (stems and leaves)

1/2 cup water

2 cloves garlic

1 egg (lightly scrambled over a double boiler, and cooled to room temp)

 

2 tbsp + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 tsp fish sauce (I used the Red Boat brand)

 

1/8 level tsp dried rosemary

1/4 level tsp dried basil

1/8 level tsp granulated onion

1/4 level tsp granulated garlic

1/4 level tsp black pepper

1/2 level tsp sea salt

 

1/4 cup avocado oil + 1 tbsp (or any neutral oil)

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Instructions

1. Add all the ingredients except the oils to the blender and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender occasionally.

2. Take the top cap off of the blender, and with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive and avocado oil into the dressing (you’re basically making a cooked mayonnaise).

If there is some separation in the dressing at this point, that’s ok. Put the top cap back onto the blender and blend on high until well combined.

3. Pour the dressing into a jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use. The dressing should keep at least 3-4 days.

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This dressing would also be delicious over chopped roasted potatoes for a quick potato salad, but honestly it’s good on just about anything.

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I hope that you enjoy this recipe!

Happy Eating 💚

 

Creamy Garlic + Rosemary Dip – Paleo, Vegan Friendly, Dairy Free

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Sometimes eating vegetables can be a little less than exciting. Eating should be a pleasure. You want to have something that has a lot of flavor and be so delicious that you crave eating it the next day.

For me, this dip is the answer to getting myself to eat a big serving of vegetables, and to do so very happily.

This creamy garlic rosemary dip takes just minutes to put together and makes snacking on everyday vegetables feel like a fun and tasty treat.

I used avocado oil mayo (but you can also use vegan mayo) and olive oil, so this recipe is packed with heart healthy oils and anti-inflammatory ingredients like parsley, garlic and rosemary.

 

Creamy Garlic + Rosemary Dip

Makes 1 serving

 

Ingredients

3 tbsp mayo or vegan mayo (I used avocado oil mayo)

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves thawed frozen garlic *

1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1/8 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste (if needed)
Notes – * Thawed frozen garlic has a milder taste than fresh raw garlic and less of a bite to it. If you’re making this dip with fresh garlic, start out with adding 1 clove of garlic and then adding more to taste.

Instructions

1. Add the mayo and olive oil to a small bowl. Tilt the bowl to that the olive oil pools together and slowly stir it into the mayo until well incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it all a good stir.

Serve with any vegetables that you like. This dip is great with sweet potato fries, or I like eating it with 2 carrots (cut into carrot sticks) and a diced tomato for a quick snack.

 

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Happy Snacking!

How to Bake Sweet and Creamy Sweet Potato Fries – with No Added Sweeteners

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This is one of my favorite recipes and I make it all the time. I love cooking sweet potatoes this way because they become soft and creamy in the middle and almost taste like custard, but the crispy ends taste like toasted marshmallow.

The sweet potatoes are cooked slowly so that it brings out their natural sweetness and this is a great recipe to make when you’re trying to avoid added sweeteners, but still want to have something that tastes like dessert.

Make a big batch, and keep any leftovers in the fridge. They actually get sweeter once refrigerated and are wonderful for snacking during the week. They are delicious on their own, but you can also sprinkle over some cinnamon and nutmeg right before serving and it makes this sweet potato dish even more dessert-like and wonderful.

Sweet and Creamy Sweet Potato Fries

Makes about 3 – 4 servings

Ingredients

2 – 3 sweet potatoes (cut into 1/2 inch fries)

1 tsp of avocado oil (or any neutral flavored oil)*

Notes – * I’ve used olive oil before too and that works great as well. You don’t taste the olive oil flavor very much at all when you cook the sweet potatoes this way, so really any oil that you use will be fine. Coconut oil is nice too, the sweet potatoes taste even sweeter when cooked with coconut oil.

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

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2. Take your sweet potatoes and place them onto a sheet pan or glass baking dish (I prefer using a glass dish for this, as the sweet potato fries do stick a little to the pan and you can use a spatula to scrape any crispy bits off of the glass without having to worry about scratching up a sheet pan).

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3. Pour the tsp. of oil into a corner of the baking dish and slide each sweet potato fry into the oil and toss them with your hands until well coated.

Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 55 – 60 minutes until the fries turn a little crispy and golden brown at the edges. In my oven this takes about 57 minutes.

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4. Allow your fries to cool a little before serving.

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I hope that you love these sweet potatoes fries as much as I do! I’m about to go make another big batch of them, and I can’t wait to eat them.