{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Almond Carob Tahini Bars

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These gluten-free, no-bake bars are reminiscent of tahini-based halva. They consist of a base and frosting.

Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw pecans

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

2 Tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)

for the frosting:

1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 10 large)

1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup

3 tsp carob powder

Method

1. For the base: In a food processor, process the almonds and pecans for about 45 seconds. Add the tahini, coconut sugar, almond milk and vanilla. Process until well combined, stopping to scrape the mixture from the sides of the jug with a spatula if necessary. The mixture should stick together when you press a small amount between your fingers. It should not be grainy or crumbly.

2. Press the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper or foil. Smooth and flatten the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or your fingers. Put the base into the freezer for 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: In a food processor, process the dates for about 20 seconds. Add the almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and carob powder, and process until smooth.

4. Spread the frosting evenly across the base. Refrigerate for an hour.

5. Slice into bars, and serve. Store the leftovers in the freezer or fridge.

almondbars2The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans enjoy date and nut-based treats, so there was never any doubt that they would enjoy this one.

The frosting is a little bit sticky, so you could make the bars without frosting if giving them to toddlers or young children, or if packing them in lunchboxes.

***

I’ll see you back here tomorrow for the last day of Vegan MoFo 2013. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Nutty Cinnamon Bites

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Ingredients

1/4 cup pecans

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

3 tsp raw carob powder (or raw cacao powder)

1 Tbsp organic coconut sweet spread* OR 1 Tbsp smooth nut butter

1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (about 5 large)

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

1. Add walnuts to a food processor, and process for 10 seconds.

2. Add pecans, pumpkin seeds, carob powder, dates, coconut spread, and cinnamon. Process for about 60 seconds. Do not over-process, as the nuts will release their oils and the bites will be greasy to touch.

3.  Press the mixture into silicone molds and place in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

4. Alternatively, roll the mixture into balls and coat in shredded coconut, almond meal or ground sunflower seeds, then refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

I store leftover balls in the fridge, and leftover bites in the freezer.

I use my limited range of silicone molds – hearts and Easter egg shapes – for most of the mixture. I roll the remaining mixture into balls, and coat them in almond meal or ground sunflower seeds.

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My school-age kids are permitted to bring nuts to school in their lunchboxes, but peanuts are prohibited. My son’s pre-school excludes all nuts and peanuts.

For packing in lunchboxes, I prefer to roll the mixture into balls, as they are more sturdy. However, I have packed the bites in lunchboxes (inside an insulated bag), and my daughter assures me that they stay intact until ‘little lunch’ (when she eats them).

coconut spread

* Organic coconut sweet spread. Ingredients: organic coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic coconut nectar.

***

Ally

{Recipe, Vegan MoFo} Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge Balls

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To mark the first day of spring and the commencement of Vegan MoFo, I am posting a simple chocolate-based treat.

This is my first time as a participant of Vegan MoFo (the vegan month of food). For the month of September, I intend to post Monday to Friday, and Sunday. I am adhering to a gluten-free theme. This provides an opportunity to expand my repertoire of gluten-free recipes.

These simple treats are delicious and decadent. They are a yummy afternoon snack for the family or a late night chocolate-craving ‘fix’ once the kids have gone to bed.

They are free of gluten, added oil and refined sugar. They contain only a tiny amount of liquid sweetener – pure maple syrup.

Moreover, they are quick to prepare. You can eat them straight away, but I prefer the texture that is obtained by a short period of refrigeration (about 1/2 an hour). They are quick to disappear too!

Ingredients

Quantity- 9 or 10 balls

1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 10 dates)

1/4 cup raw almond butter

1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or raw carob powder)

1 tsp maple syrup

a generous pinch of salt

10 raw almonds 

Method

1. To make almond meal: process the raw almonds in a small food processor until they almost resemble flour – you do want some chunkier pieces. Set aside.

2. Add the dates, almond butter, cacao powder and salt to a regular-sized food processor. Process ingredients for about one minute. After about 30 seconds of processing, drizzle the maple syrup through the chute while the machine is still processing.

3. The mixture should stick together when you press it between your fingers. It should feel a little spongey. It should not be dry or crumbly.

4. With your hands, form the mixture into balls. Then coat each ball in the almond meal.

5. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

***

chocalmond2

I imagine you could replace the maple syrup with the same quantity of freshly squeezed orange juice, to create the delectable orange-chocolate combination. I intend to give this a try soon.

Are you participating in Vegan MoFo this year? Are you adhering to a theme? 

Ally

{Recipe} Raspberry Cheesecake (vegan, no-bake)

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Tiny Vegan, 6 years old, will celebrate his birthday soon.

He has reminded me several times that he would like a raw blueberry cheesecake for his birthday – the same cake that I made for his dad’s birthday.

The raw blueberry cheesecake is delicious and simple to prepare, but I had been planning on making some changes to the recipe.

With Father’s Day coming up (on Sunday, in Australia) and my son’s birthday only weeks away, it was a good time to experiment with cheesecake preparation.

So, I gave Mat a choice of strawberry or raspberry. No prizes for guessing which one he chose.

Fortunately, this cheesecake is suitable to freeze, so there is no ‘pressure’ to gobble it down in a few days. Unless you want to.

The base consists of raw macadamia nuts, medjool dates, raw cacao powder and desiccated coconut.

The filling consists of freshly squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, raw macadamia butter, vanilla extract, and coconut oil.

Raw macadamia butter is a suitable and simple alternative to soaked macadamia nuts or cashews for the cheesecake filling. In fact, I think it is superior.

The topping features organic frozen raspberries, maple syrup and lemon juice.

raspcheese1

Ingredients

(The filling is inspired by this recipe)

Quantity- 10 slices

Base:

1 cup/150g raw macadamia nuts

1/3 cup/70g pitted medjool dates

1/2 Tbsp raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut

Filling:

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained of pulp

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups raw macadamia butter

Topping:

3/4 cup frozen organic raspberries, defrosted

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

1. Line the base of a springform cake tin with baking paper.

2. For base: Add macadamia nuts to a food processor. While processing the nuts, add the cacao powder and coconut through the chute. Once nuts have been processed to a crumb consistency, add the pitted dates and process until combined.

Press the mixture into the cake tin, and smooth the top with a spatula. Place in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.

3. For the filling: Prepare the filling once the base has been in the freezer for 2 hours. Add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender (or food processor) in the order that they are listed. Blend until smooth. I use the ‘smoothie’ setting on my Blendtec blender.

Retrieve the cake tin (base) from the freezer, and pour the filling into it. Smooth the top with a spatula. Set cake tin aside.

4. For the topping: Use a mini food processor or an immersion (stick) blender to combine the defrosted raspberries, maple syrup and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Pour the raspberry sauce into a small jug.

5. Drizzle the raspberry sauce onto the top of the cake in a spiral pattern, starting from the outside and working inwards. Retain a couple of tablespoons of sauce in the jug, for serving. Use the tip of a chopstick (or similar implement) to create a swirl pattern in the raspberry sauce. Or, cover the entire surface of the cake with the raspberry sauce.

6. Cover the cake tin and place it in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.

7. Once the cheesecake is frozen, remove it from the freezer. You may need to run a knife around the inside edge of the cake tin to separate the cake from the sides before you undo the clasp.

Once you have removed the springform section of the tin, place the face of a large plate on top of the cake. Turn the cake upside down and carefully remove the cake tin bottom, and the baking paper. Then place the surface of another large plate (or cake stand) over the base of the cake, and invert the cake so that it now facing the right way up. If you do this before the cake is adequately frozen, you will smudge the raspberry topping.

8. Serve immediately. Decorate with additional raspberry sauce (optional).

9. Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

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Mat’s Verdict

Mat was very happy with his early Father’s Day ‘gift’. He insinuated that I should make another one on Sunday as this was only the ‘practice run’.

The Tiny Vegans’ Verdict

The kids were happy that Father’s Day had come early to our house.

6-year-old Tiny Vegan asked if he could have two birthday cakes: ‘this one, and the one that daddy had’. I suggested that I could make one the same as ‘this one’ but use blueberries instead. He contemplated that for a moment. But, it is obvious that he has his heart set on the raw blueberry cheesecake –  or the thought of two birthday cakes!

His reaction has left me pondering whether I really do need to tweak the other recipe. He loves it just how it is.

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Pecan Date Nibblers | Cinnamon Date Slice

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Both of these recipes feature dates. One is raw, one is baked. Both are suitable for school lunchboxes, or an afternoon snack. Cinnamon Date Slice is gluten free and refined sugar-free, with an oil free option. My children adore this slice.

Pecan Date Nibblers are wheat free, oil free, and refined sugar-free. There is a variation to make them gluten-free. They are very popular in my household.  The recipe lists lemon or orange zest as optional. I always use orange zest. I think it should be compulsory! The orange flavour is very appealing.

pecan1

Pecan Date Nibblers

Recipe from: Let them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton (yes, another Dreena recipe!).

Quantity: 12-15

Recipe available here.

***

dateslice1

Cinnamon Date Slice

Adapted from a recipe in Fresh Blends, the book that accompanied our Blendtec blender.

Quantity: 20 squares

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw almonds

2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts

1 cup ground flax seeds 

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup date paste, store bought or homemade (recipe below)

1/3 cup sultanas

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

Topping: 2 Tbsp ground almonds, 2 Tbsp shredded coconut, 1-2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 20 walnut pieces.

Method

1. Add almonds, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and sea salt to a food processor, and process until nuts are ground.

2. Add nut mixture and ground flax seeds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Add date paste and agave (or maple) syrup to the mixing bowl, and stir until incorporated.

4. Add sultanas and walnuts. Mix well.

5. Line a large baking dish with baking paper* (parchment) and scoop the mixture into the dish. Flatten the mixture with the back of a large spoon.

6. Sprinkle the top with ground almonds, shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds.

7. Refrigerate (or place in the freezer) for a few hours before cutting into 20 squares. Place a walnut piece on each square. Store slice in fridge or freezer.

Date Paste

Quantity – approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

10 dates, pitted

2 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional, but the slice is drier without it)

1/4 cup dried apricots

1 cup of water (for soaking dates)

Method

1. Soak dates in water for 1-2 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking water for step 2.

2. In a small food processor, add ingredients in the following order: soaking water, dates, agave (maple) syrup, coconut oil, and dried apricots.

3. Process until smooth.

Store the leftover date paste in the fridge. Date paste is yummy on bread or crackers, with macadamia butter.

dateslice2

* I had run out of baking paper on this occasion. It is much easier to extract the slice from the dish if you use baking paper, but it is not essential.

Each Monday, I feature a couple of delicious vegan recipes that are enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys them too!

Ally

{Recipe} Sensational Smoothies

Our new, shiny, RED Blendtec blender arrived last week!

blender

***

Lately, our Powermill blender has been acting up, demonstrating to us that it is ready for early retirement. It has served us well for 5 years. I had always been happy with the texture achieved by the Powermill, but the Blendtec makes the silkiest, smoothest green smoothies. It leaves the Powermill for dead.

When the Blendtec arrived, we eagerly opened the box and began excitedly discussing possible smoothie combinations.

Mat decided on an orange, carrot, rockmelon, banana and baby spinach blend. Yes, a whole carrot. The Blendtec took it in her stride. I was enraptured from that moment.

Blenders get heavy use in our house, but the excitement of a new blender (that is so easy to clean) has resulted in an escalation of smoothie making. It’s so easy to clean! Did I mention that? Moreover, the jug and motor are much lighter than the Powermill’s.

I am posting a sample of the smoothies that my family enjoyed last week. I don’t usually measure ingredients when making smoothies, but I did last week in order to provide you with adequate instructions.

First up, my favourite. Green smoothies!

***

1. Green Smoothies

Mango Citrus Berry

 Mango Citrus Berry Smoothie is a standard green smoothie at our house.  All of my green smoothies contain bananas as a base, the riper the better, and usually frozen. Frozen bananas provide a beautiful, creamy texture. I also add oranges and frozen blueberries. Mangoes are cheap and abundant at the moment, so they have been featuring regularly in our smoothies.

Mat and I prefer to use coconut water, but are happy to use filtered water if coconut water is not available. I always add ground flax seeds (linseeds) and chia seeds to my smoothies. Mat likes Maca powder so I usually add that too. The greens don’t vary considerably. I always add baby spinach leaves. If we have kale, I add 2 leaves. Otherwise, I add baby cos or cos lettuce.

You will need:

(Serves 2)

500ml coconut water or filtered water, cold

flesh of 1 mango

2 bananas (frozen is preferable, for a creamy texture)

1 orange, peeled and cut in half (remove visible seeds)

1/4 – 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed

6 baby cos lettuce leaves, washed

1 heaped tsp of ground flaxseed or chia seed (or use a combination, as I do)

1 heaped tsp Maca powder

Method

1. Pour coconut water (or water) in jug;

2. Add maca powder, flax seeds/chia seeds, orange, bananas (if unfrozen), mango, and all of the leaves;

3. Lastly, add blueberries and banana (if frozen).

4. Blend until smooth (obviously, the time it takes to achieve a smooth blend will depend on the power of your blender).

***

Summerrain1

This blend reminds me of summer. It is the perfect summer drink, containing mango, nectarine and pineapple. I was going to name it Summer Smoothie, but it began to rain as I took the photos, so a new name was bestowed upon it. 

You will need:

(Serves 2)

5ooml coconut water or filtered water, cold

2 bananas (preferably frozen)

flesh of 1 mango

1 nectarine, seed removed

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple

20 (approximately) fresh mint leaves

5 cups of baby spinach leaves

1 heaped tsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour coconut water or water in jug;

2. Add the flax seeds/chia seeds, mango, nectarine, pineapple, and all of the leaves;

3. Add banana (frozen or unfrozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

Just to set the record straight, I don’t drink green smoothies out of wine glasses. I use this….

IMG_0909

….which gives you an idea of the portion size of my smoothies. No small glasses for me!

***

2. Coconut water/water-based smoothie (not green):

Mat's smoothieA

Mat usually has a green smoothie each day. Depending on the particular workout he has endured, he may also make this smoothie.

I usually have some too because it is scrumptious! Or he shares it with the kids.

You will need:

(serves 2)

15 raw almonds, soaked overnight

5 dates, soaked overnight

15g goji berries, soaked overnight

1 cup frozen blueberries

3 bananas (preferably frozen)

500ml coconut water or filtered water, cold

1 heaped tsp maca powder

3 heaped dessertspoons of protein powder (we use Vital or Sun Warrior)

Method

1. Pour coconut water or water in jug;

2. Add maca powder, protein powder, dates, goji berries, bananas (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, bananas (if frozen) and almonds;

4. Blend until smooth.

***

3. Non-dairy Milk-based Smoothies

Mango Berry

Mango Berry is one of my daughter’s favourite smoothie concoctions. She’s not too keen on green smoothies, unfortunately. She will drink a tiny amount because she understands that they are healthy but she doesn’t request them. She prefers rice or soy milk-based smoothies.

Our 3 year old will drink any type of smoothie. Our 6 year old went off green smoothies a couple of years ago (after enjoying them as a toddler), but in recent days (yay!) he is enjoying them again -it must be the new blender! 

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

1 cup organic soy milk or protein-enriched rice milk

flesh of 1 mango

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup frozen raspberries

1 banana (preferably frozen)

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

5 ice cubes

Method:

1. Pour non-dairy milk in jug;

2. Add ground flax seeds/chia seeds, mango and banana (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, raspberries, bananas (if frozen) and ice cubes;

4. Blend until smooth.

***

Chocberry1

Raw cacao powder is delicious in smoothies. Bananas and frozen blueberries complement the rich chocolaty flavour. I don’t use cacao powder in my green smoothies (maybe I should!), but I do like using it to make hot chocolate (in winter) and raw desserts.  My kids enjoy it in their milk-based smoothies. I really enjoyed this smoothie, and will probably indulge in it again soon.

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

1 cup organic soy milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)

2 bananas (preferably frozen)

1 heaped tbsp avocado

1 heaped tbsp cacao powder

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour soy milk in jug;

2. Add flax seeds/chia seeds, avocado, cacao powder, bananas (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, and bananas (if frozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

***

Peanut Butter Chocolate

My sons are enamoured with peanut butter and bananas sandwiches, so I suggested that they may like a peanut butter and banana smoothie. Of course, they thought it was a brilliant idea! The addition of raw cacao powder gives this smoothie a richer flavour.

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

2 cups protein-enriched rice milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)

2 bananas (Yep, you guessed it!…preferably frozen)

1 tbsp cacao powder

1tbsp natural peanut butter (sugar-free, salt-free);

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour rice milk in jug;

2. Add ground flax seeds/chia seeds, cacao powder, peanut butter.

3. Add bananas (frozen or unfrozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

***

What is your favourite smoothie recipe? Please share it with all of us!

If you recently posted a smoothie recipe on your blog, I am happy for you to share the link in the comments section if you would like to. 

I know that a few of you are trying to establish a regular green smoothie habit. If you would like some tips or ideas, please use the comments section too. I am sure that the seasoned green smoothie drinkers among us would be happy to help! I am all too happy to spread the green smoothie joy. 🙂

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

RP

Thank you to eveyone who has been voting for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms 2013. I really appreciate your support. 

If you enjoy my blog, I would be thrilled if you voted for me. You can find my entry here. Also, there is an icon on my home page, and you can click on that too.

You can vote more than once! You can vote for me once every 24 hours. You are not required to register, or provide your email address. You just click. It’s really quick!

The competition ends on 7 February. Thank you. 🙂

 

Ally 

{Recipe} Raspberry and Pecan Muffins; Almond and Date Slice

I am posting 2 recipes today.

My sister is visiting at the moment and we have had an enjoyable weekend – lots of laughs and yummy food.

Raspberry and Pecan Muffins: 

 ***

Almond and Date Slice (no bake):

***

A couple of friends visited me recently -while Mat and the kids were away – and I wanted to serve something sweet for morning tea. I decided on muffins – quick to prepare, and suitable for freezing.

I scoured my pantry and fridge for muffin ingredients. I found raspberries and blueberries in the freezer. We had a good range of raw nuts.  Ultimately, I decided that pecans would complement raspberries. So, I whipped these up.

They were delicious, served with chai tea. One of my (non-vegan) friends ate two. That’s a good sign, right? I froze the rest for my children’s lunch boxes.

I made them again this weekend while my sister was visiting. They turned out beautifully. We enjoyed them with Kahlua soy lattes (Oh yum!).

Raspberry and Pecan Muffins

Quantity- A baker’s dozen (13)

You will need:

2 cups wholemeal flour

1/3 cup raw sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

12 pecan halves, chopped

1 cup + 1 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or rice syrup)

3 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen), chopped

13 pecan halves (for decoration)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F.

If using frozen raspberries, remove from the freezer. Set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients, including chopped pecans, in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Combine all liquid ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients with a fork.

Add wet ingredients to mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula until ingredients are incorporated. Add raspberries, and fold in to the mixture with spatula:

Scoop batter into silicone baking cups. Place a pecan on top of each muffin:

Bake in oven for 12 mins, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 10 mins before removing from baking cups. Serve with chai tea or soy lattes, or your favourite beverage:

***

Here is my Little Baker (and yes, that is a Raspberry Disaster on the floor!):

‘Pick me up, Mummy’.

***

During the weekend, my mum prepared a slice that she adapted from a non-vegan recipe.

Almond and Date Slice (no-bake)

You will need:

200g of vegan plain biscuits (eg. Digestive biscuits)

500g date paste, store bought or home made

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/2 cup flaked almonds

1/2 tsp cardamon

1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

Process biscuits in food processor until they form crumbs.

In a large saucepan, melt margarine, add date paste and stir.

Add almonds and spices, mix well.

Add crushed biscuits, mix well.

Spread mixture into a 9 x 11 inch baking dish. Place in fridge for approximately 30 mins.

Sprinkle a light coating of icing sugar over the top (optional).

Cut into diamond or square shapes.

Delicious on its own or…

We served ours with vanilla soy ice cream and slices of fresh strawberry:

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe – one that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

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