Coconut brownies

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Yesterday I came across this great brownie recipe in a newsletter that I subscribe to. The recipe is vegan, gluten-free and it still sounded delicious and easy. With the rainy weather we’ve been having I was in the mood to bake, so decided to give it a try right away. Thankfully I already had almost everything on hand and was able to make one simple substitution, so I was all set.

Ingredients:

½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw organic cacao powder
¼ cup organic coconut sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt
4-6 dried pitted dates
¼ cup light canned coconut milk
¼ cup organic coconut shreds
4 prunes
2 Tbsp. organic unrefined coconut oil
1/3 cup applesauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Blend almonds in food processor until ground.
3. Pulse in the cacao, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
4. Next, add the dates, figs, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut shreds, and blend until you have a smooth batter.
5. In a medium bowl, stir applesauce into the batter.
6. Grease an 8×8” pan lined with foil and spread batter evenly on the foil.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cool about 10 minutes before cutting. They can last a week in the fridge, but it’s doubtful they will make it that long!!

Here’s a link to the original recipe: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12821/fig-coconut-brownies-a-gluten-free-vegan-treat.html

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Presence and Eckhart Tolle

Some of our Frequency Holder team members

Some of the Frequency Holder team members

This last weekend I attended the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco as a member of the frequency holder team. One of the highlights was hearing Eckhart Tolle talk on Saturday. Interestingly, I heard that Eckhart Tolle was the one who wanted to have frequency holders at the conference. He defines this roll as someone whose “purpose is to let consciousness flow into whatever they do – to do everything in a sacred manner.” Hearing his presentation was so very fitting.

When he walked out on stage we were invited to simply be with him (instead of clapping). That moment when he came out was magical. He exuded love and compassion, which I experienced as a huge wave of acceptance in the form of a golden light shining throughout the room. It was an offering of love to any who wanted to tap into it. His simple presence offered tremendous healing. Feeling this offering and opening up to it brought tears to my eyes.

For the next half hour or so he talked all of us through a straightforward, simple and yet powerful meditation. It was an invitation to be present, consciously aware and in the now moment. The simple steps he shared are as follows:

  1. Notice your surroundings. Stop and really look at what is around you. This will help you begin to let go of all the thoughts or mind chatter.
  2. Next use your senses to find something that you hadn’t noticed before. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? As your thoughts quiet there is an alertness that remains.
  3. Open yourself to this alertness and ask yourself what is beyond the senses. In other words notice the part of you that is watching the mind and the thoughts. This observer self transcends the “story you” (and all the drama) and is the light of presence in you – your consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle

These steps help to bring us into the present now moment, which is all that there ever is. Eckhart Tolle talked about how we never arrive in the future as the future, but only as another now moment. He talked about how we are not our personal histories or life stories, but that instead our true essence is this “presence”.

As with anything, being in the present moment all the time takes practice. My experience is that the more I pay attention to these steps and practice them, the easier it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no master at it, but after many years of meditation and learning it has become easier to let go of the “story” or the “drama” (the mind chatter) and simply BE in the now moments.

It was such a gift to experience his presence, listen to his words, and watch how he was able to touch so many people. When asked about what brings him hope he said, “My hope comes from this moment being here with you.” Thank you, Eckhart Tolle for being with us.

Also, a big thank you to my friend Ryan of Soulful Brand who worked hard to coordinate and lead the frequency holder team!

Click here if you want to read more about frequency holders and other thoughts of Eckhart Tolle in an interview with Unity Magazine.

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Coconut vegetable soup with Ginger and Lemon

The other day I felt like making soup, but did not want to use onion or garlic in it. A friend of mine, Veronica, had told me about making a soup base with fennel and ginger, so I decided to try something out. From there I pulled out most of the vegetables in my refrigerator and started adding things. I also realized that I wanted something a little hardier than just a clear broth soup so I added a can of coconut milk which would add flavor also. To balance the coconut milk taste which I find a little too sweet sometimes I added just a little lemon zest and some lemon juice. The result was delicious!

Ingredients:

- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1-2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 4 stocks of celery, chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 medium beet, chopped
- 4 large bok choy leaves or 3 whole baby bok choy, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 14 fl. oz. can of coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp. Lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
- salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Sauté the fennel and ginger in the coconut oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.
2. After a few minutes add the celery and some salt. Continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
3. Next add the sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots. Stir briefly and then add the vegetable broth and water.
4. Bringing it up to a boil, then turning it down to simmer.
5. After five to ten minutes, add the greens and other remaining ingredients. Let cook for another five minutes or so.
6. Taste test for flavor and doneness of the veggies and adjust accordingly.
7. Enjoy!

Note: This soup can easily be changed to accommodate whatever vegetables you have on hand. The beet I used made the soup a reddish color.

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Sage & Mushroom Vegan Gluten-Free Dressing

This past Thanksgiving my family tried a new gluten-free dressing (or stuffing, as it’s also called). Last year we had made a different gluten-free version using only millet and with bacon or prosciutto and currents, which was also quite tasty, but we had a vegetarian friend with us this year, so no meat in the dressing! The mushrooms add a wonderful earthy flavor and we actually liked this dressing even better than the one with bacon. Also the millet by itself was a little grainy so we mixed it with quinoa which made for a nicer texture.

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium to large red onion, diced
  • 2 packages crimini mushrooms (~20 mushrooms), diced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sage powder (to taste)
  • 2-3 tsp. thyme (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Cook millet in a pot with 2 cups of the vegetable broth and a dash of salt (bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 30 minutes)
  3. Cook quinoa in a separate pot with the other 2 cups of vegetable broth and a dash of salt (bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 15 minutes)
  4. While the grains are cooking, sauté the onions, mushrooms, and celery until tender. Add herbs and salt to taste.
  5. Add cooked millet and quinoa to sautéed ingredients.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
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Double Chocolate Gluten-Free Cookies

Over Thanksgiving I was invited to a friend’s house and asked to bring a chocolate dessert. Since I knew there would be a number of other desserts and it’s fun to sample multiple things on these special occasions, I thought some cookies would be just the thing. I also knew that there were a number of people who are gluten-free, so used gluten-free flour instead of regular flour, which worked well for these. The cookies were delicious and melted in your mouth. They were also a bit delicate, so I may try adding two eggs, especially if they are small eggs, next time.

The below recipe made 18 cookies. You can easily double it.

Double Chocolate Gluten-free Cookies

Double Chocolate Gluten-free Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy (~2 minutes)
  3. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy (~2 minutes)
  4. Combine dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt)
  5. Gradually beat into wet mix until just combined (try not to over mix)
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips
  7. Spoon onto a baking sheet
  8. Bake for 7-8  minutes
  9. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. (They fall apart easily, especially when warm.)
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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bars

Adapted from this recipe on Mind Body Green.

Dry Ingredients:

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Pumpkin Spice Bars

  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ginger (powdered)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Layer

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree. I used a Sweetmeat Squash from the garden, Heartshaven, I belong to. Just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, spread a little coconut oil on, sprinkle with salt, place face down in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool, remove the skin and puree until smooth.
  • 2 tablespoons agave (or 3 tablespoons maple syrup)
Layers

Layers

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Grease a bread pan with coconut oil or line with foil.
  3. Prepare pumpkin filling layer by blending puree with agave (or maple syrup).
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add in wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Spread the pumpkin filling evenly across the bottom layer, then top with the other half of the mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the crumble is lightly browned.
  7. Serve warm from the baking dish as a crumble, or wait until it’s completely cool and slice into bars.
  8. Enjoy!
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Squash Tacos with Beans & Avocado

Squash Tacos

Squash Tacos

This recipe is super easy and quick to put together. It just take a little planning ahead so that you have time to bake the winter squash. I find it easy and convenient to bake the squash the night before so that it’s ready to go the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 winter squash such as butternut, acorn, or kabocha
  • coconut oil
  • salt
  • black beans (1 can or 1 cup dried & cooked ahead)
  • onions (I used green onions)
  • cumin, coriander, paprika or other spices of your choice
  • 1 zucchini or other quick cooking veggie
  • 1 avocado
  • tortillas
Baked squash

Baked squash

Directions:

  1. Bake a winter squash (Cut into chunks, rub with coconut oil & sprinkle with salt, bake at 400 for 45 min. – 1 hour or until tender, which will vary with the size and type of the squash).
  2. Heat up some cooked black beans. Added the chopped green onions and squash, cut into quarters and then sliced, plus the spices.
  3. Simmer until squash is tender and beans are hot.
  4. Layer tortillas with slices of avocado, the baked winter squash (reheated if need be), and the black bean mixture.
  5. Enjoy!

Have fun playing with this recipe and adding different ingredients depending on what you have on hand and what your taste buds enjoy!

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