Fresh Berry Tart

This berry tart is fantastic!  A tasty, crumbly nut crust, cashew date cream and fresh berries.  That’s it!  Its quick, easy and makes a great dinner party or potluck dessert with plenty of “WOW!” factor.  Want to take it to the next level?  A vegan lemon curd beneath the berries would be out of this world!

Vegan Berry TartNutty Tart Crust

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted nuts (you can use pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, whatever you like)

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light, neutral oil (grape seed oil is like canola, without the GMO risk) see note after directions

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Process the dry ingredients (nuts, oats, flour and cinnamon) in a food processor until it becomes a coarse meal.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in the oil and syrup.
  3. Press the crust mixture firmly into a 9″-10″ tart pan or pie plate.
  4. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack

Note: Melted coconut oil could be used in place of the oil mentioned in the tart crust, but I would advise against it, only because it will harden at room temp and become solid as a rock once refrigerated!  This may make eating (let alone slicing) the crust a bit of a challenge.

Date Sweetened Cashew Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews (if you have time, soak them in water for 1-2 hours prior, then rinse well).

2-3 Tablespoons dates (double check for pits!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cashews in a blender pitcher.  Add enough fresh water to just cover the nuts.  Add dates and vanilla, blend until it becomes a smooth cream.  Scrape into a small bowl and set aside.  Can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Once the tart shell is cooled, we can assemble this baby!  

Spread and even layer of your sweetened cashew cream over the bottom of the completely cooled tart shell.  Rinse and pat dry the berries, then arrange on top of the cashew cream any way you fancy.  I started from the center and made concentric circles with some berries I had left over from the night before.  You could use different fruits like kiwi, or mango for more color and variety.  Have fun and get creative!

When you are ready to serve, get ready to hear the “Oooh”s and “Ahhh”s!  Slice, serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

Holy cow are these cookies good!  If you love lots of chocolatey-oaty, sweet and crunchy goodness then this is the cookie for you.  It is also a great back-to-school treat you can share with the kids, without any guilt since the only things these little gems lack are eggs, butter, oil and soy.  To make them wheat-free, try substituting the whole wheat pastry flour with oat or barley flour.  These also freeze very well, so why not make a double batch and freeze some to enjoy later!  

A Helpful Note: The dough is a lot easier to manage if you can let it chill in the fridge for about an hour or so before baking, but this isn’t necessary.  Here I use applesauce and prune puree (baby food prunes).  If you only have one of the two on hand, it’s no problem.  Just as long as you end up with 1 cup of fruit puree, whether in the form of applesauce, prunes or a combo.  Mashed bananas may also work in a pinch, though I haven’t tested that substitution yet.  

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 1/2 cup prune puree or baby food prunes 
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated can juice or raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  2 1/2 -3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, or roughly chopped vegan dark chocolate
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.  Place oven racks at 2nd and 5th positions.
  2. Combine water, flaxmeal, applesauce, prune puree and sugars in a large bowl and beat well.  Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Gradually add dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in oats, cherries, chocolate and nuts.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight, if desired.
  6. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  Press to flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes.  Rotate baking sheets half way into baking time.  Rotate 180 degrees and switch racks that the baking sheets are on, to insure even baking.
  8. Cool on baking sheet for 5-10 min., then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling…if you can wait that long.  🙂

Creamy, delicious brown rice pudding!

I was so excited when we came up with this recipe today, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!  We eat oatmeal around here for breakfast almost daily.  This rice pudding makes a great warm breakfast cereal for a little change of pace.  You can also serve it cool, or even as a dessert.  It is so versatile.  If it looks a little thick once it has cooled, just stir in a little non-dairy milk, and it should be fine.  Also feel free to experiment a little yourself.  I really like the apples, currants and walnuts that we used today, but raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, bananas, pecans, almonds would all work really well too.  Get creative!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, etc.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon, to taste

1 apple, peeled and chopped (small dice)

1 handful raw walnuts, chopped

1 handful dried currants

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan at medium heat and stir.  Bring to a simmer and lower heat.  Simmer for about 15-20 min., stirring occasionally.  Serve warm or cool.  

Chocolate Banana Macaroons

 

These are so yummy!  As you can tell, my daughter couldn’t resist the temptation when she saw them out, while I took pictures for this post.  They are so easy you can whip up a batch just on whim, if you like. If you celebrate Passover, then you’ll definitely want to save this recipe for next year. Sorry I didn’t get it posted earlier.

I adapted this from a recipe I found online and jotted down. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the source. If you know who originally posted it, please let me know so that I can give them credit! But this is a great recipe. Banana works so well with the chocolate and coconut. These macaroons are so moist and delicious and full of flavor. The only things they are lacking are sugar, oil, cholesterol, soy and gluten – stuff you won’t miss! The walnuts also add, not only crunch and flavor, but a nice little dose of omega 3s too!

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then add remaining ingredients.

3. Roll into walnut-size balls, or shape into pyramids on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you may need 2)

4. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you don’t wait to transfer the macaroons, they will be more likely to stick to the parchment. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Holiday Salad

Again, here is a quick, easy and beautiful dish for the holidays.  What says Christmas like a red and green salad!  And it’s so simple!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (or 4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced)

2 Persian cucumbers (the little skinny ones, about 4-6 inches long), diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (juice of about 1/2 a lemon) OR 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, optional

DIRECTIONS:

It’s a salad!  Throw everything in a pretty bowl and toss to combine!


Holiday Hummus

Introducing the perfect holiday appetizer!  It is quick and easy, yet elegant and a definite crowd pleaser.  Slice up some whole wheat pita bread to go with it and you are set to go!  I learned this recipe from our good friend, and amazing martial arts instructor, Hezi Sheli.  To learn more about his classes in Southern California, visit http://www.martialartsla.com.

INGREDIENTS:

1 to 1 1/2 cups hummus (store-bought, or check out the oil-free hummus recipe at yournutritionista.blogspot.com/2010/05/hummus-quesadillas.html)

6 – 8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Heat a medium saute pan over med. high heat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil or 2-3 Tablespoons water.

2. Add mushrooms and cook until golden and most of the moisture has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. While mushrooms are cooking, plop the hummus in the middle of a large plate.  Using the back of a large spoon, spread the hummus in a large circle. About 1-2 inches from the outer edge, create a shallow circle using the back of your spoon again.  This will make the center and outer edge appear higher.

4.  Spread the mushrooms over the top of the hummus.  Garnish with fresh parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil, if preferred.

5.  Serve with whole wheat pita wedges.  (Try warming them up in a 375 degree oven for about 5-10 min.).  Dig in!