Toasted Coconut Chocolate Gooey Treats

There are so many wonderful things about making and eating your own raw chocolate creations. NO GUILT about eating your creations might top the list. Because the ingredients are good – and good for you, there is no need to feel guilty! You can also tailor any recipe to exactly the taste you love.

Feel free to modify the recipe I created after seeing something similar.

The ingredients.

I use local raw honey because it is good in so many ways and makes the top 10 Superfood list by David Wolfe. You can adjust the amount if you prefer it more or less sweet. I avoid sugar as much as possible and I don’t like to substitute with sugar substitutes, even the ‘natural’ ones.

I use fresh ground ‘peanut only’ peanut butter, avoiding the processed brands which add other ingredients like sugar or oils.

Salt always means Himalayan salt because it comes with other minerals.

I soak the walnuts (when I remember) for a few minutes – up to 24 hours – because it gives them a nice texture, and reduces phytates making them even more beneficial. Walnuts provide nutrients to improve brain function and are a good choice to add to your snacks.

Toasting your raw coconut is easy and adds a boost to the taste. I make sure my coconut has no added sugar. I enjoy buying Bob’s Red Mill coconut flakes because Bob’s is employee owned and I want them to succeed! To toast your coconut, simply place it in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it gets a beautiful golden brown color. Be sure to transfer it to a new bowl immediately since it can scorch quickly!

I use raw milk (the creamy top layer is best!) because that is what I have, but any milk will work.

Coconut oil (extra virgin organic) is also excellent for your brain and most of us need to eat more good fats. Contrary to the popular philosophy that dominated US culture for years, fats make you feel satisfied and you end up eating less.

Raw cacao powder has so many benefits with the mineral content and off the charts ORAC scores. Do some research – eating raw chocolate is a good daily habit! Making your own ensures you know exactly what you are eating.

Here’s what you do, prepare a coconut mixture, which will go on the bottom and the top. Prepare the chocolate mixture for the center.

Coconut layer

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups toasted coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (soak in water first – if you remember!)
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Melt butter and coconut oil gently, add honey, molasses and salt, stir until well combined. Add coconut and walnut and stir thoroughly. Put 2/3 of the mixture into a pan (line with parchment paper). Place in the refrigerator to harden.

Chocolate layer

  • ½ Cup coconut oil
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • ½ Cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ Cup milk (almond, coconut, or dairy)

Melt coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey just enough to combine thoroughly. Add salt and milk and stir well. Pour over hardened coconut mixture and spread around gently. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 coconut mixture on the top. Put in the refrigerator to harden.

It doesn’t take too long to harden, then you can cut into squares and arrange on a tray or place into an air tight container and store in the refrigerator. The bars will melt if left out for too long, and they might be a little bit crumbly so be sure to eat with a plate or napkin underneath.

Enjoy – guilt free! Satisfying, delicious, nutritious!

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!

 

Simply Delicious Raw Chocolate

There is no ‘wrong’ way to make raw chocolate. I encourage people to modify the ingredients and personalise this basic raw chocolate recipe according to your preferences. Here are the approximate quantities of a great batch of raw chocolate I made recently as part of a healthy snack demonstration for a group of ladies. It disappeared quickly and received many positive comments.

  • 1 cup organic raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup cold pressed virgin coconut oil at room temp, or warm.
  • 8 dates (soaked overnight and chopped, include water)
  • 1/2 cup brazil nuts & walnuts (soaked overnight and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • ±2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. If your coconut oil is hard, stand the container in hot water until it softens. Never microwave your ingredients! When thoroughly mixed, pour into a glass dish or a pan lined with parchment paper, spread around. Place in the refrigerator to harden – or the freezer if you are in  a hurry to eat some delicious raw chocolate!

Remove the parchment paper and cut on a chopping board. When the chocolate is too cold it may crumble. Be careful when serving because it may crumble. Store in the refrigerator.

In my raw chocolate demonstrations I like to discuss health, making more healthy food choices, adding more delicious and ‘good for us’ foods to our plates, and ORAC values. Most people are aware that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate has specific health benefits. However, consuming raw cacao powder delivers a phenomenal array of mineral content and unique properties.

According to David Wolfe, Cacao is the best natural food source of antioxidants, Magnesium, Iron, Chromium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin C. Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Phenylethylamine (PEA) (Cacao is one of the great weight-loss foods because the minerals and the PEA molecule help shut off the appetite).The ORAC value of raw cacao powder is off the charts when compared to fruits we have come to think of as high in antioxidants. The ORAC Value for blueberries is 32, wild blueberries 61, compared to raw cacao powder with a value of 955. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity assay is a standard measure of antioxidant concentration.[1]

I really liked the result of soaking the dates and the nuts overnight. There are benefits to soaking nuts (reduction of phytates) but they also enhance the delivery. Soaking also made the dates moist and mixable. I use walnuts because they are excellent for brain health and brazil nuts because they delivery selenium.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the actual raw chocolate – it was so good and appreciated by so many, that it was eaten up fast! I need to make another batch and try to remember to take a picture! [Edit: I did it! Note the picture at the top. It was also delicious!]

Author: Becky Hastings is a wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!

[1] David Wolfe, Superfoods, The Food and Medicine of the Future, 2009.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

decadent-chocolate-cake-quinoaThis recipe is based on quinoa and is amazingly moist. My friend, Simela, says it works equally well using millet. While I generally try to avoid sugar, this recipe with the quinoa, butter, coconut milk, coconut oil, and eggs, makes it lean towards the more healthy of decadent chocolate treats! My presentation skills are not high in my skill set, but I thought the picture looked quite appealing! I imagine adding some blueberries or other berries on top would increase the appeal.

cake-cherry-sliceThis recipe is quick and easy to make if you have a blender. I’m not sure what the results would be without a blender. I used my Vita-mix, and since I was using such a powerful blender, I decided to try something I’d never seen before in a cake recipe. You know how it says, “whole eggs”? Well, I washed my farm fresh eggs bought directly from a local farmer, and put the WHOLE eggs into the Vita-mix! So, my cake has the additional benefit of calcium and probably a few other necessary minerals! We can all use more minerals!

cake-eggsMy cake is based on inspiration from my friend, Simela, and the explanation found here. Of course, I can never follow recipes exactly, so here is what I did:

Combine in blender:

  • 4 whole (I literally used whole clean eggs in my Vita-mix! I blended them on high until no crunchy noises were heard!) If you don’t have a Vita-mix, or aren’t into consuming egg shells, just crack and use the 4 eggs as normal!

Then I added the following ingredients and blended again.

  • 1/3 Cup raw milk (from my local dairy farmer)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I used sprouted organic)
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter (I never use a microwave to melt butter – unlike some people who bake in my kitchen. I always melt slowly over low heat)
  • 1/4 Cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

In a separate bowl I combined:

  • 1 Cup Hershey’s dark cocoa (I often use raw cacao, but when you are going to be cooking, there is little point in using raw cacao which is more expensive)
  • 1 Cup organic brown sugar (because that is what I found in my pantry. My friend Simela, always uses honey – just less than a cup – in hers. I think I will try honey next time.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder (I left out the baking soda/bicarb because it ALWAYS seems to give baking a bad taste)
  • Himalayan salt, several turns, probably around 1 tsp, but life is too short to measure exactly.

I poured the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stirred to mix thoroughly. I lined 2 pans with parchment paper and divided the batter between them. The batter was a bit stiff and I spread it around and popped them straight into a 350 degree (180 Celsius) oven and baked for 25 minutes.

It works best to prepare the icing BEFORE. But I neglected to read that part – or at least digest that information enough to put it into practice! I did however, put the can of coconut milk into the refrigerator the day before, so it was nice and cold, which is important.

ICING:

  • I melted one whole 12 oz (340 g) bag of Private Selection 43% Cacao semi sweet chocolate chips. I’m sure a variety of chocolate would work, for me the darker the better.
  • I opened the can carefully and scooped out all the thick part of the coconut milk. It was about 1/2 of the can and added it to the chocolate once it was melted. You can taste it at this point to see if you want to add more coconut milk, depending on the darkness/sweetness of your chosen chocolate. I stirred everything together, then allowed it to cool on the counter, then in the refrigerator.
  • After it was cold, I whipped it for about 45 seconds.

Putting it all together:

cake-insideAfter the cake cooled I put it carefully on a plate with the bottom side up, smothered it with 1/2 of the icing, added the 2nd cake bottom side up, and smothered it with the remaining icing. I put the whole thing in the refrigerator to get cold.

I did have a piece for breakfast desert. It is satisfying, without leaving you craving more – a good place to be!

Thanksgiving 2015

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety.

Avoid Cancer Eat More Turmeric

Turmeric_main_0127The video below, Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death, is full of great information. I LOVE the beginning. Please at least watch the first 2 minutes for a great explanation of how your body is a brand new you about every 100 days! Every cell in your body is freshly made that often – so the building blocks your body has to work with are VERY IMPORTANT! There are only 3 components for building the new you.

Turmeric is excellent in programming cancer cell death. It is also a great anti-inflammatory and that is why I look for ways to imbibe it EVERY SINGLE DAY! I add it to my breakfast, add it to my raw milk afternoon pick me up, every stew or soup, and even in raw chocolate! Enjoy your curry!

What is your favorite way to include more turmeric in your diet?

 

Morning Boost

IMG_1226I like to get a great start in the morning. I love to bounce out of bed and get ready to have the best day ever! I’ve been teaching people about the wonders of raw chocolate and other healthy superfoods and I always look for new ways to combine them together.

I’m not great at recipes, every time I make things they turn out slightly different. But this time, I wrote down everything as I was putting it into my morning bowl! The way I think about it is, ‘What veggies, fruits, superfood powders, nuts and seeds can I combine with my chia seeds and kefir for breakfast?’ Along the lines of “let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food:”

Morning medicine bowl:

  • Chia seeds, 3 Tablespoons or so
  • Water to cover
  • Kefir, 1/2 Cup or so
  • Raw organic Maca powder, 1 Tablespoons
  • Raw organic Cacao powder, 2 Tablespoons
  • Turmeric 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt, several shakes
  • Cacao nibs
  • Goji berries
  • Blueberries (fresh from my friend), 1/2 cup or so
  • Fresh CiIantro, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Green Fresh Chili, from my friend’s garden

IMG_1213

  • Fresh Pineapple, chopped
  • Coconut flakes
  • Nuts & seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, walnuts, almonds
  • Honey, 1-2 Tablespoons
  • Micro green sprouts
  • Hemp seeds, 2 Tablespoons
  • [Avocado would have been a great addition]

Do you want to have the best day ever? Why not try throwing all the best ingredients you can find into a big bowl for your breakfast boost!

I usually end up with enough for my husband and I to have for two days [I’m still working on enticing my daughter to participate!]. Half of the mixture keeps well in the refrigerator for our breakfast (or lunch) tomorrow!

Raw Cacao Benefits

Minolta DSC100% Raw Organic Cacao Powder

Cacao is chocolate, chocolate in its raw state – unheated, NO trans fats, NO sugars, NO dairy. 100% pure, dark chocolate.

The Cacao Bean

It’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t love chocolate! Yet very few people have ever had the real food that all chocolate comes from – cacao beans! Cacao beans are the seeds of the cacao fruit – it is a nut that grows on a jungle tree. Cacao beans are 100% pure dark chocolate!

Why Raw?

To retain the highest nutritional benefits, the cacao beans must be carefully dried and processed at low temperatures – never exceeding 116F (most cocoa powders are exposed to temperatures as high as 300F). This low temperature process avoids the formation of trans-fats and allows for maximum digestion and absorption.

Benefits of Raw Cacao:

Cacao contains so many minerals it’s like having a mineral supplement with other bonus nutrients!

Magnesium, Iron, Chromium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin C, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Phenylethylamine (PEA), Anandamide (bliss chemical), Tryptophan, Serotonin, & Fiber

Anti-Depressant Properties – Cacao is a great source of well-studied neurotransmitters, which help alleviate depression and are associated with feelings of well-being. All this makes cacao a natural anti-depressant.

Lose weight, eat chocolate! – Eating raw cacao is known to diminish the appetite. The cacao bean is Nature’s number-one weight loss and high-energy food.

Antioxidants – Cacao beans contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world, nearly 30 times more than blueberries!

When you make your own raw chocolate, using raw organic cacao powder and coconut oil you are giving your body a delicious, nutritious boost. I buy organic raw cacao powder from Vitacost.com. You can save $10 on your 1st order with this link

Check out some chocolate recipes:

Basic Chocolate recipe

Chocolate Breakfast Salad

Amazingly Healthy Brownies!

Chocolate Time Again!

Chocolate Bar in a Jar

Best Chocolate Ever!

More Chocolate

Raw Chocolate Extraordinaire!

Basic Raw Chocolate

2 pieces

There are so many possible variations.  This is what I wrote down as I prepared the chocolate for my Health Talk:

Basic #1

  • ±1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 3 fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • ±1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch or so of Himalayan Crystal salt

Mix well together.  Taste to see if you are satisfied with the sweetness.  Place into a glass dish and put into the refrigerator (or freezer if you are in a hurry!) until hard. Store in the refrigerator.

Basic #2

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh ground peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • other nuts as you desire (almonds, cashews, pecans)
  • pinch Himalayan Crystal salt
  • 1 Tablespoon, approximately, lemon or orange zest

Mix well together.  Taste to see if you are satisfied with the sweetness.  Place into glass dish and put into the freezer until hard.

Chocolate Breakfast Salad

IMG_1118

This is not what I would have considered a great breakfast a few years ago, but it truly is a fantastic way to start the day.  You can make this recipe and share half with someone, or put half in a container for your breakfast tomorrow. Or, if you have a hectic day ahead, you can eat the whole bowl yourself! Like my mentor, Lee Haney says, eat for what you are going to do, not for what you have done.

  • 2 Tbl chia seeds
  • 1 Tbl goji  berries

Add a little spring water to cover.  The seeds will absorb the water and become more gelatinous while you add the other ingredients.

  • 2 Tbl hemp hearts/seeds
  • 1 Tbl Maca powder
  • 1 Tbl cacao powder
  • 1 Tbl cacao nibs
  • ±1/3 – 1 cup kefir
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbl coconut
  • honey
  • coconut oil
  • fresh ginger, chopped

That is the basic, then add any or all of the following that you happen to have on hand, as much organic as possible. I keep a basket in the pantry with my “superfood” breakfast ingredients to make it easy. Then I have “spice cupboard” additions, refrigerator additions and freezer additions.

  • ±1 Tbl frozen blueberries
  • ½ frozen bananas, chopped small
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • pecans, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, preferably soaked and chopped
  • twist of Himalayan crystal salt
  • cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • fresh turmeric chopped
  • fresh jalapeños chopped
  • cilantro chopped
  • cucumber chopped
  • apple chopped
  • pineapple chopped
  • fresh lemon with some of the rind, no seeds
  • any other dried or fresh fruit you have

I have given measurements as a guideline, but you can vary the quantities according to your taste, or leave some out. If it seems too dry, add more kefir or water. Use whatever you have and whatever you like from the list. There is a lot of room for variety. Use any nuts, seeds, fruits you have available.  I also purposely limit the amount of fruit and LOVE having the celery for the crunch, goodness and detox benefits!

This is fast, easy, delicious and nutritious! I usually make 6 or 7 x 200 g servings. I put them in individual containers in the refrigerator and have a wonderful fast food breakfast for a couple of days!

So far my husband, 2 sons, one daughter-in-law and a few special friends have enjoyed my specialty breakfast. The rest of the family isn’t quite so adventurous!

Becky Isaac 11 monthsAuthor: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus Christ and truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the true route to health, freedom and joyful family living.

 

Amazingly Healthy Brownies!

IMG_1115I’ve been wanting to make a recipe like this FOREVER! I’ve read a lot of different recipes, debated the ingredient list in my mind, stalled out and done nothing!

Finally, motivated by the fact that it was Mother’s Day and I could splurge in a healthy way, I dived in.

My daughter had shown me a similar recipe a couple of weeks ago by a British healthy foodie, but her recipe called for 2 cups of coconut sugar. Firstly, I have no coconut sugar on hand. Secondly, that is WAY TOO MUCH for me to feel good about using.

I asked my daughter to read me the list of ingredients used by healthy foodie for her avocado chocolate brownies, and I modified it radically to fit into my ideals for health indulgence. Before I give you the recipe I want to encourage you to make this well in advance of the time you would like to eat it.  I wanted to eat it right away, but the texture and experience was about a 3 out of 10. However, after it spent the night in the refrigerator, it is a 9 out of 10.  So be warned, it looks good and you will want to eat it immediately, but you will be rewarded by WAITING! You also might want to hide it from other family members who don’t have as much self-control as you!

Avocado Coconut Oil Brownies 

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup or so coconut oil (it was very soft because the inside temperature was warmish)
  • 6 blended dates
  • 1 cup or so of honey (I think it was a bit less, but I don’t measure because I don’t want to waste the ingredients!)
  • a couple of turns of Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup almond flour (approximately)
  • 1 cup cacao powder (again, approximate! If you add it 1/4 cup at a time you can see the desired darkness you like)
  • ¾ avocado mashed (that was all I had on hand. Feel free to use more!)
  • ¾ cup whole pecans (add after well mixed)

I whisked it together in a bowl until it was well blended, then put it into a glass baking dish and baked it at 350 for 25 minutes. Allow to cool and then put into the refrigerator (or freezer if you want a faster result). Wait until cold for the best results!

While these are probably the best brownies you can make – the coconut oil, avocado, eggs, and nuts are all good for you – they should be still considered a treat because of the potential of raising the blood sugar!  However, I confess I did have them (and nothing else) for supper on Mother’s Day and for lunch the following day!

Please fee free to modify as you desire, and please, let me know your results!

Breakfast to Go

IMG_0928We all love fast food.  Many times we NEED fast food.  We have a deadline, a place to be, an important reason to be there, but not enough time for eating our healthy breakfast.

It is time to think differently.  What can I make that is fast, nutritious, good for me AND will travel well? Chia porridge to go.  I wrote about chia porridge previously, this is an expansion. Choose your favorite flavors and personalize it!  The great thing about Chia porridge is that the chia seeds need about 15 minutes of soaking to expand, so it can travel with you and get better on the way! I made this chia porridge to go for my husband to take with him for his early morning appointment:

  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • water to cover
  • 1/2 Cup or so of homemade kefir
  • 1/4 Cup hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbl raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbl raw maca powder
  • nuts, raisins, seeds
  • 1/2 Tbl honey
  • chopped pear
  • chopped strawberry

For those who are more hard-core you could add a few veggies (celery, cucumber, kale) and omit some fruit.  Others might want to top their chia porridge with homemade granola or add different fruits. The hemp gives you the energy and will sustain you so you don’t feel hungry.  The chia is a great source of omega 3s. The maca powder is optional, but gives a great boost. We’re all at different stages of our journey, but I think most people will be able to find some way to modify this concept in a way they can enjoy it.  If you decide to have eggs for breakfast, you could always have a bowl of chia porridge for lunch!

Other chia ideas here

and here