Saturday, May 4, 2013

Raw Chocolate Avocado-based Pudding

Get Your Chocolate Fix the Healthy Way—
Raw Chocolate Pudding

I've made avocado-based raw puddings before so I know how tasty (and nutritious) they are! I hadn't made a chocolate version yet, so here's what I came up with today.

This is one healthy treat that I would have loved to make and feed to my boys when they were growing up. Well, now I can treat them when they are here to visit, and meanwhile I can treat myself and Hubby.

Raw Chocolate Pudding
by Kathy's Kitchen, Health, & Nutrition
Prep Time: 10 min
Keywords: raw pudding dessert

I added in the coconut sugar after the pudding was already made, as it just needed a bit more sweetener. Most of the time I use stevia in smoothies and drinks, but I love the taste of organic raw coconut sugar and I thought this might be a good use for a bit. It was.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 2 medium size ripe avocados
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (like Vita-Mix) and pulse at first. Then blend until very smooth. You many need to stop and stir a few times. Pour into one large or two medium sized dessert cups and refrigerate until cold. Enjoy!

Last year I bought two bags of raw cacao powder before Christmas. I'm still into my first bag so I guess I don't make chocolately things too often. Plus, for a time I was not eating chocolate at all. I missed it! I look on raw cacao a bit differently than other candy bar chocolates or processed cocoa, and I believe in its health benefits. There is a difference between commercial chocolate which has no health benefits and organic dark chocolate, the kind with no added sugar.

Is it just hype, that raw chocolate 
is good for you?  

Do some research and decide for yourself. Eating large amounts of cacao can be detrimental especially if it is not the raw organic kind, and even then I wouldn't overdo it, but certainly the raw version is the healthier choice.

I know of one person who eats chocolate medicinally to help with depression. It works for him. Raw cacao is also high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. Its essential fatty acids are believed to help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

According to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity scale (shown below), raw cocoa powder is tops, even much higher than goji berries and blueberries which we hear about so often. The thing is, you can eat a considerable amount of these berries with no side effects, whereas if you consumed large amounts of chocolate or cocoa you'd expose yourself to the dangers of too much oxalic acid (interferes with calcium absorption), theobromine (affects our nervous system), and of course caffeine. Keep this in mind.

Raw cocoa powder ranks highest of the Top 10 Antioxidant Foods (per 100 grams) 
1) Raw cocoa powder 95,500

2) Raw cacao nibs 62,100

3) Roasted cocoa powder 26,000

4) Organic Goji Berries 25,300

5) Acai Berries 18,500

6) Dark Chocolate 13,120

7) Milk Chocolate 6,740

8) Prunes 5,770

9) Raisins 2,830

10) Blueberries 2,400

Source: US department of Agriculture/Journal of American Chemical Society

References and Related links:

Examining the Properties of Chocolate and Cacao for Health

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao (Raw chocolate) 

Linking up with Wellness Wednesday

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kale Chips and a New Favorite Raw Cookbook!

Kale Chips—
Where Have You Been All My Life?

Potato chips . . . you are no longer longed for . . .

My friend Lynne, makes some of the best raw food snacks, including her yummy, crunchy kale chips. My cousin, John, who basks (and probably does other things) in Hawaii and grows his own kale among other green beauties, recently posted on Facebook about eating homemade kale chips. Well, instead of admiring them from afar, it was finally time to make my own!

You all know the benefits of eating your greens, and this is a most delightful way to do it—RAW, no less!

I bought two different types of kale, a standard dark green curly type, and a new variety with some pretty purple splashes of color. For this occasion I made two different recipes: Pizza Kale Chips (in the photo above) and Naked Kale Chips (pictured below). 

The recipes were from my new favorite raw food cookbook: Practically Raw by Amber Shea Crawley. Get this—she devotes a whole chapter to kale chips! After reading those recipes I decided that I could not let another week pass by without making my own.

FYI:  Amber's recipe for Pizza Kale Chips is online so there's no need to share it with you here. I left out the fennel seed and I substituted a tomato for the red bell pepper. I picked a few basil leaves to add as well.

Naked Kale Chips!

Practically Raw is a unique cookbook or uncookbook. Let me tell you why I'm so enamored with it. This beautiful book is filled with full-color photos. I love to see the pic of the dish I'm making, don't you? 

The innovative side of this book is that it has instructions for two ways to make each recipe—a raw version and a baked version! I own many raw food prep books and I've never seen this before. Plus, there are recipe variations and ingredient substitutions for every recipe—quite useful, for the way I use recipes these days. Plus it has even more features that I love like health and nutritional information, menus, and a resource list.

As I read through the chapters of this book I kept a running list of recipes that I had to try. My list is at around 40 recipes at this point, and I'm not quite finished looking through the book yet! That's not the typical response I've had with many other recipe books I own! So many yummy sounding, stress-free recipes that I'm wanting to make—yippee!

Just a few on my list are raw Graham Crackers, Basic Nut and Mexican Cheddar Cheese, Flaxjacks Pancakes, Brazil Nut Bread, Coconut-Vanilla Kale Chips, Spinach-Walnut Pesto Pasta, Almond Butter Sesame Noodles, Stuffed Peppers and Wild Rice—all RAW of course! But if I want, I can speed up the process and use the cooked version.

Did you notice the Coconut-Vanilla Kale Chips mentioned above? You should see the dessert type kale chips you can make! There are Chocolate and Maple-Pecan also!

Pizza Kale Chips ready for the dehydrator

Naked Kale Chips ready to dehydrate

The Naked Kale Chip recipe was a little simpler to make and less mess. One thing about making the Pizza recipe is that the coating is made in a blender and it is very thick, so thick that some sticks in the blender and you really can't get it all out.

Naked Kale Chips
by Kathy's Kitchen, Health, & Nutrition
Keywords: dehydrates raw vegan snack

For Naked Kale Chips you just stir the following in a large bowl:
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • Then add this mixture with your washed and chopped big bunch of kale leaves (with hard stems removed), massaging into all the leaves. Place on Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and dry for 8 or more hours. I made mine in the evening and let them dry til morning.

Then, like my cousin in Hawaii says: 
"You eat them all in a single sitting." 
And that's pretty much what happened to ours.

Enjoy Kale Chips, your way!

For more kale delights and kale information visit Diana Dyer, MS, RD at 365 Days of Kale, also from where I borrowed this pic:

Linking up with Gluten-Free Cat and  Raw Foods Thursdays!