Fudgy Brownie Bites

I’ve heard about people making brownies with black beans (I plan to try it out at some point), so that was the inspiration behind today’s truffle concoction.  I’ve recently become all about using beans in “desserts,” thus my cookie dough truffles made with white beans.  These brownie bites use my cookie dough truffle formula with a chocolatey twist!

Before I made the truffles with black beans, I really liked them and was pretty blown away by how much they taste like traditional cookie dough.  Now that I’ve subbed the black beans—which are high in protein, fiber, folic acid, and magnesium, and a solid source of potassium and iron—and tossed in some cocoa powder, I LOVE these truffles!  It’s kind of freaky how much they ended up tasting like ooey gooey fudgy brownies.

A true chocolate addict?  Up the cocoa powder, double the chocolate chips, or dip in melted dark chocolate.  Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES

Yields 16-20 balls

  • 1 ½ cups cooked beans (e.g. garbanzo, great northern, cannellini, etc.) –> I’m using black.
  • ½ cup seed or nut butter (nuts/seeds ONLY) –>  I’m using peanut.
  • 1/8 cup+ liquid sweetener (e.g. agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.) –> I’m using ¼ cup agave.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –>  I’m not using it.
  • ½ cup chips (e.g. chocolate, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.) –> I’m using 2 1/2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).

Combine all ingredients—except the chips—in a food processor and run until smooth. Transfer dough into a bowl and stir in chips.

dsc_3010

Using a melon baller or teaspoon, form into balls and roll in your hands until smooth. Ready to eat immediately! 🙂 Store leftovers in the fridge.

dsc_3014

 

Advertisements

Puppy Chow Remix

Today’s sweet treat is a cross between the classic American snack, puppy chow, and one of many special cookies that my mom makes every year for Christmas.  The happy marriage happened quite by accident.

When my dad was in town, he went over to my aunt’s for her famous chop suey, which she always tops with crunchy chow mein noodles.  Always the hostess with the mostest, she sent my dad back to my house with ample leftovers, including a huge bag of the chow mein noodles.

Now, while chow mein noodles aren’t particularly nutrient rich, this brand is vegan and not horribly unhealthy either.  Not one to waste food, I put my thinking cap on to transform them into a quick and easy snack, rich enough that one or two at a time will do you just fine.

chow mein noodles

My mom’s Christmas haystack cookies are named as such because they include chow mein noodles bathed in peanut butter and melted butterscotch chips, resulting in a small heap that looks just like the perfect home for a needle.  My intention was to replicate these—one of my favorite holiday treats she makes—the Fresh Formula way:  vegan.

There may be vegan butterscotch chips out there, but regardless, I didn’t have any on hand.  Just a couple of days before inheriting the chow mein noodles, I stocked up on some 85% dark chocolate in bulk.  I never tasted it when I bought it; the bitter smell alone told me that this chocolate was meant for melting and repurposing.  Thus, the idea for dark chocolate haystacks—or as Nolan calls them, “spiders”—was born.

dark chocolate

You can substitute any nut butter and any meltable chocolate to make this recipe your own.  You can also substitute any cereal—Chex is used in traditional puppy chow—crackers, pretzels, nuts, or chips for the chow mein noodles if you aren’t set on your heaps looking like hay.  As long as the combination tastes fantastic, the shape and appearance of the clusters doesn’t much matter.

The reason these treats ended up a cross between the haystacks and the puppy chow was because the 85% dark chocolate was much bitterer than I anticipated.  I enjoy 70% dark chocolate regularly and thought that 15% wasn’t substantially higher…but no, it is!  Even though, according to the ingredients listed on the bulk bin, there is sugar in the chocolate, I could barely taste it and practically puckered when I bit into the first haystack.  Travis thought of puppy chow and suggested I toss the haystacks around in powdered sugar to compensate for the lack of sweetness.  It worked enough for me—I’m so used to dark chocolate now that I don’t need my desserts oozing with sweetness—but Nolan said he would like “new spiders” with a little more sugar.  🙂  Lesson learned for next time.

Other tips…

This is the type of formula where having a kitchen scale really comes in handy.  I am getting better and better at eyeballing amounts and weights, but being precise is generally preferred in any recipe.  Using a simple kitchen scale, you can easily measure out the ingredients for today’s haystacks.

scale

Secondly, a roll around in powdered sugar is optional and I wouldn’t have done it had I not selected such a bitter chocolate that I made the mistake of not tasting first.  Oops!  If you like your desserts extra sweet, by all means, make it snow!  Just make sure to make your own powdered sugar (I use turbinado); remember, white, refined sugars are typically white as a result of bone char from cows.  Not vegan.  🙂

powdered sugar

You could also toss your haystacks in or top them with chopped nuts, sprinkles, or any other garnish that would add to the appearance or flavor.

You’ll love these yummy treats!  Assuming your little ones aren’t irked by spiders, they are bound to dig in, too!

FORMULA BASE:  HAYSTACKS

Yields 24 haystacks

  • 7 ounces unsweetened/minimally sweetened crunch (i.e. cereal, crackers, chips, pretzels, nuts, etc.) –>  I’m using chow mein noodles.
  • 12 ounces vegan chocolate (chips or bars) –>  I’m using 85% dark chocolate bars.
  • ¾ cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only) –>  I’m using a combination of peanut and sunflower.
  • ¼ cup garnish (i.e. powdered sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts/seeds, desiccated coconut, etc.) (OPTIONAL) –> I’m using homemade powdered sugar.

Using a double burner*, melt your chocolate and nut/seed butter together over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

double burner

Once melted, pour the mixture over your crunch element and stir to combine.  If the combination seems too runny, you can always add more crunch.

mix

Use a spoon to dollop small heaps of the mixture onto baking sheets lined with silicone baking pads or parchment paper.  They will eventually solidify if left on the counter top, but the process is expedited in the fridge or freezer.

haystacks

Once solid, you can top your haystacks with or toss them in a garnish, if you wish.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

up close

*Don’t forget to protect yourself from steam that might escape your double burner.  I wear gloves start to finish in the process of melting chocolate and don’t remove them until I’ve poured the chocolate out of the melting vessel. 🙂

How to Keep an Omnivore Happy

I just said goodbye to my dad, who we lovingly nicknamed Papa Kale while he was visiting from Michigan.  My dad was raised in a typical American omnivorous family with meat and potatoes and good old comfort foods on the menu often.  In fact, I think a lot of us millennials were raised that way, too; research about plant-based living is relatively contemporary in the grand scheme of human existence.

Thankfully, amid overwhelming evidence that a plant-based diet is substantially healthier than an omnivorous one, it is becoming increasingly popular to ditch animal products.  Check out any menu at a respectable food establishment:  vegan—or at least vegetarian—items are popping up everywhere.  It’s never too late to eat healthier, to educate ourselves, and to educate generations prior.  I don’t try to convert anyone; I just share what I know when people come to stay with me.  You might eat hamburgers, but they’ll never be flyin’ off the grill chez Witzke.  🙂

My dad earned the title Papa Kale because he really embraced what he calls “how the other half lives.”  Ha!  Although skeptical at times, my dad cleaned his plate—and went for seconds whenever possible—of all of our vegan food.  I’m still new-ish to the plant-based eating scene (four and half years in), but for real, my food is delicious.  As you know, every party or get together we host at our house is 100% vegan…and no one goes hungry…ever.

papa kale

I’ve written before about how making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle takes time and patience, but truthfully, that’s much easier that pleasing those that have little or no intention of changing their diets long-term, but simply want to survive staying with you.  🙂  Whether you have out-of-town guests or are trying to convince a persnickety spouse or children to consume healthier foods, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t start with something extreme. Items like kale and tofu aren’t likely to win anyone over on the first try.  A green smoothie or edamame?  Same ingredients, different story.
  2. Offer variations of popular comfort foods. Classic dishes like chili and pizza (two of my dad’s favorites, vegan or not) are generally winners in everyone’s book.  Make a vegan version and blow minds.
  3. Dispel myths about how bland and boring vegetables are. Yes, frozen, crinkle-sliced carrots that are heated, salted, and served can certainly be unappealing.  In addition, I think that when Americans picture “salad,” they often see iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and ranch dressing.  Travis and I whipped up these two salads (above and below) for my pops and vegetables were the main event.  (The top salad is a combination of kale, cucumber, millet, red grapes, and slivered almonds.  The bottom includes fresh tomatoes, grilled corn, avocado, lime juice, green onion, and black beans.  Both salads were loaded with herbs/spices, too.)
  4. Have sweets on hand, too. I have literally never made a bad vegan dessert—I’m not just saying that!  So far, they have all turned out fabulously, despite the gambling I’ve done with substitutions for animal-based components.  My brownies are always a crowd pleaser and my dad enjoyed my first-ever dessert smoothie, which I make all the time, and not just for dessert.
  5. Most importantly, foster a supportive, judgement-free zone. Plant-based living isn’t totally effortless for anyone.  I’ve been very frank with you about occasionally splurging myself and it takes time to break those habits…IF they are ever totally broken.  No worries—making an effort to do better is what matters…and we can ALL do better.

Moral of the story?  I can’t prepare chicken or steak for my dad—or anyone—in good conscience now that I know what the potential consequences are.  So, I continue eating and living how I always do and end up keeping my guests full and happy in the process.  Good luck—not everyone is as easy to please as Papa Kale.  🙂  Miss you, Dad!

bean salad

Sweet Cherry Nice Cream

My little family and I returned from a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago and the boys developed colds just a few days later.  I know from growing up in The Mitten that the weather patterns can be unpredictable, but I truly didn’t expect snow in the middle of May.  🙂

Nolan, like many little ones, I assume, is not one for much eating when he isn’t feeling well, especially if he’s complaining of a sore throat.  I didn’t have to think too long about a special treat that I knew would cheer him up and provide him essential nutrients:  nice cream!

My nice cream formula is easy to make if you have some frozen bananas on hand, which I typically always do.  In a recent Bountiful Basket, we ordered thirty-eight pounds of bananas, most of which we peeled, chunked, and froze.  I’m ready to whip up nice cream at a moment’s notice!

I decided to make this batch using cherries, for a few reasons.  First of all, cherries are in season now.  I wish I could have brought some back from Michigan—the United States capital of cherries, if you didn’t already know—but my family spoiled my boys with nearly more gifts than I could transport back to Arizona, so I bought some here instead.  🙂  Secondly, cherries are loaded with antioxidants and known to aid with sleep, which the boys tend to get less of when they aren’t feeling well.  This nice cream was bound to be a win-win before the fruit hit the blender.  Lastly, I missed cherries!  Haven’t done much with them since my first-ever pie from scratch.  We were overdue for more cherry deliciousness.

I topped Nolan’s nice cream with vegan whipped cream—made from coconut milk—but you could opt out to save on the sugar.  The splurge—which also included a melted dark chocolate bar drizzle and mini-chocolate chips—was totally worth it to see my sick babe smile.

FORMULA BASE:  NICE CREAM

Serves 3-4

  • 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice)
  • ¾-1 cup specialty ingredients –> I’m using 1 cup of pitted sweet cherries.
  • ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ¼ tsp almond.
  • Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness –> I’m not using any.
  • Juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with just a splash) –> I’m using a touch of almond.
  • ¼ cup extras for mixing in by hand (optional) – think nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. –> I’m topping my nice cream with mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).

If you plan to make whipped cream to accompany your nice cream, place a mixing bowl in the fridge to chill while you prepare the other components.  Start by pitting your cherries.  This device saves some time, but your hands will do just fine.

cherry pitter

Combine all ingredients (except the extras) in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and fold in any extras you are using by hand. Cover and place in the freezer while you prepare your toppings (if any).

Whipped coconut cream:

  • 1 can coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
  • Powdered sweetener to taste (start with ¼ cup) –> I’m using a heaping ¼ cup of powdered turbinado. You can easily make powdered sugar out of higher quality vegan sugars by using the dry blade on your Vitamix or other high powered blender.  (Remember, white, refined sugar lacks nutrients and flavor and tumbles with bone char to achieve its color.  Definitely not vegan.)
  • ¼-½ tsp extract (depending on flavor intensity) (optional) –> I’m using ½ tsp vanilla.
  • 1 pinch-¼ tsp spices (optional) –> I’m not using any.

Chill your can of coconut cream/milk in the fridge overnight. After your nice cream is tucked away in the freezer, prepare your powdered sugar and remove your chilled mixing bowl from the fridge.

Empty the can into the bowl and whip with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Add sweetener (and extract and spices, if using) and continue whipping until smooth and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. This whipped cream will not quite achieve the height and stiffness of dairy whipped cream, but it will become a bit fluffy nonetheless. Store any extras in the fridge.

Assemble your nice cream sundae and absolutely, enjoy!

sundae

Blackberry Nice Cream

Our last Bountiful Basket included sixteen clamshells of delicious blackberries. We ate some of them fresh and froze the majority to use in smoothies. Since they are already frozen, I figured they would do well in a quick batch of nice cream.

If you remember my pistachio nice cream, you know that this non-dairy version of easily THE most popular frozen treat is just as satisfying and pretty darn healthy. It’s essentially a thicker version of a smoothie, into which you can add endless crunch factors like chocolate chips, nuts, or pretzels…just like “real” ice cream!

Blackberries not only make nice cream look rich and vibrant, they are extremely nutritious. One serving of blackberries provides approximately one third of your daily recommended fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C intake. They are the perfect balance of sweet and tart and really compliment salads, smoothies, and desserts.

DSC_2643

Another feature of today’s nice cream rendition is cacao nibs, which I’m using to top my treat. Raw cacao nibs are bits of cacao beans, which are used to make the chocolate that we are used to eating. The raw nibs have all of the health benefits of chocolate without the added sugar, salt, and fat. They are most notably jam-packed with flavonoids, cell-improving antioxidants also found in tea and berries. You’re getting a double dose of antioxidants with this dessert!

DSC_2637

Not ready to let go of holiday sweets? Indulge in a dessert that will help you to bounce back from the holidays madness and reach your fitness goals. 🙂 Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: NICE CREAM

Serves 3-4

  • 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice)
  • ¾-1 cup specialty ingredients –> I’m using 1 heaping cup of partially-thawed blackberries.
  • ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ¼ tsp almond.
  • Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness –> I’m using 2.
  • Juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with just a splash) –> I’m not using any (the juice from the blackberries is enough to puree my ingredients).
  • ¼ cup extras for mixing in by hand (optional) – think nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. –> I’m topping my nice cream with raw cacao nibs and raw chopped almonds.

Combine all ingredients (except the extras) in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Ready to enjoy immediately, or place in the freezer while you prepare any desired sauces or toppings.

DSC_2659

Double Chocolate Mint Brownies

Need one more dessert for your holiday parties? These brownies are easy to throw together, delicious, and festive. I had such amazing unexpected success with my mint chocolate chip cookies that I had to try out the mint milk concept with brownies. If you’re a fan of the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mint cookies, you will LOVE these. And…this particular rendition is gluten-free, too. 🙂

When I made my mint chip cookies, I used traditional peppermint in lieu of incorporating processed candy canes. All out of peppermint, these brownies include another mint I have growing at my house: spearmint. Like peppermint, spearmint can assist with gastrointestinal issues and can also help to remedy nausea. As I mentioned before, these desserts with real mint are the ultimate post-dinner dessert!

DSC_2644

With visitors in town and the daily grind of a newborn and a two-year-old, it’s been slower than usual on The Fresh Formula. After the holidays, I’ll resume posting progress reports on my journey to my pre-baby body and of course, sharing formulas and recipes. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

BROWNIES

Fills a 9 x 13 pan with approximately ¾-inch thick brownies

  • 2 cups flour –> I used 1 cup brown rice flour and 1 cup white rice flour.
  • 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk –> I used ¾ cup almond.*
  • 1 cup sweetener –> I used ½ cup turbinado sugar and ½ cup agave syrup.
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup oil –> I used coconut.
  • 1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds + 3 tbsp hot water (“egg”) –> I used flax.
  • 1 tsp extract –> I used vanilla.
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • OPTIONAL:  ½-1 cup chips –> I used ½ cup packed spearmint leaves and ½ cup mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).

DSC_2645

*Because they are raw plants, the peppermint leaves themselves contain additional moisture, so I am using less milk to ensure that the dough/batter is the right consistency.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Puree the mint leaves and milk in the blender and set aside. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients, sans sweetener.  In another bowl, mix your wet ingredients (including mint milk), plus sweetener.  This includes your “egg,” which should be prepared separately before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. Slowly mix your wet ingredients into your dry until a dough or thick batter forms; different sweeteners and oils will change the consistency.  Point is, don’t be concerned if what you expected to be a drippy batter turns out thick.  🙂 Mix in your chips (if using) or save them to sprinkle on top.

DSC_2649

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 backing pan or dish (I prefer glass).  Spread your dough evenly throughout and top with chips, if you’d like. Bake for 20-22 minutes for a fudgy brownie or 23-25 minutes for a cakey brownie.  Using gluten-free flour and/or liquid sweetener? Baking time will likely be longer. These went for 27 minutes for fudgy. Enjoy!

 

12413950_10107635847741734_1479646511_o

 

 

 

Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

Today’s formula presents a way to use up another popular holiday meal leftover: cranberry sauce. I don’t write “popular” because most people love it…It’s just incredibly common around the Thanksgiving table and you either love it or hate it. Chances are, there will be leftovers.

DSC_2622

What better way to breathe new life into tired cranberry sauce than to make it into a not-too-sweet dessert. If you forewent this loved and loathed preserve-like holiday side dish, you could use jam (check out my jam formula). We will be dolloping our fruit filling into a thumbprint cookie base.

Before adding the cranberry sauce (or jam), you will have the opportunity to garnish your thumbprint dough. Today, I’m using unsweetened shredded coconut. To me, the shreds aren’t overwhelming in coconut flavor and add a nice bit of texture. Shredded coconut is also high in fiber, manganese, and copper, so there’s that, too. 🙂

DSC_2623

Another wonder food that I’m including in my thumbprint cookies is sunflower butter. Sunflower seeds are most definitely a super food and excellent source of protein, folate, vitamin E, and selenium. Sunflower butter is more of a blank slate than say, peanut butter, which has a very distinctive flavor. Thus, I can use it in an application like this one or to make a creamy salad dressing without overpowering the other flavors.

DSC_2624

Whenever possible, look for nut and seed butters that contain only raw nuts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find raw sunflower butter and this one also contains salt, so I am choosing not to add salt to the cookie dough. Use your judgement to keep dessert as healthy—or at least, as minimally unhealthy—as possible. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Makes 24-28 cookies

  • 2 cups flour –> I’m using whole wheat.
  • ¾ cup homemade preserves (jam, cranberry sauce, etc.)* –> I’m using cranberry orange sauce.
  • ½ cup nut/seed butter –> I’m using sunflower.
  • ½ cup liquid sweetener –> I’m using agave syrup.
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk –> I’m using almond.
  • 2 tbsps chia or ground flax seeds –> I’m using chia.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ½ tsp almond.
  • ¼ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –> I’m not using any.
  • 2-4 tbsps garnish (cocoa powder, raw nuts/seeds, coconut flakes, etc.) (optional) –> I’m using unsweetened shredded coconut.

*Homemade is best so that you can control the quantity and quality of ingredients.

Mix your butter, sweetener, extract, and milk, ideally using an electric stand mixer. Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients until a thick, pliable dough forms.

DSC_2625

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out a heaping teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball with your hands. Place the ball in the center of your palm and press your thumb into it to create a well for your filling. The “walls” of the well will be approximately ¼ inch high and the well itself about half the height. Gently coat the dough in your garnish, if using.

DSC_2626

Line the wells up on a baking sheet that is lightly greased or lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking pad. The cookies will not expand much, so they can be fairly close together. Dollop approximately a teaspoon of filling into each well. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and lightly browned.

DSC_2627

Apples, Pumpkins, and Spices, Oh My!

That’s right:  It’s fall, one of my favorite times of the year.  I love that apples, cider, pumpkins, and doughnuts are everywhere, even in Phoenix, where “fall” is still 100 degrees.  Ugh!

I’m now thirty-four weeks and two days pregnant and in addition to being done with the intense heat, I’m also not always feeling fresh fruits and vegetables to the extent that I normally do.  I recently read an article about different pregnancy symptoms and the author noted that many moms-to-be develop an aversion to fresh produce.

I wouldn’t say I’m averted—most of my diet consists of fresh produce, after all—I’m just less keen on snacking on carrot sticks when I could have one of my most prevalent pregnancy cravings fulfilled in a sweet, creamy, comforting peanut butter sandwich.  The next second, I might want the world’s biggest salad, but despite my usual eating habits, in general, I’m just not as in to the foods that I normally crave.

The aforementioned article suggested a solution that is already a staple in my house:  smoothies!  If you regularly follow this blog, you know that I’m experimenting with new smoothie combinations all the time.  Especially during this pregnancy, smoothies are one of the primary ways that I’m getting all of my nutritional needs met, even when disguised as “dessert.”

Today’s dessert smoothie is, as always, packed with nutrients, contains no added salt, oil, or sugar, and capitalizes on the flavors of fall.  Introducing the apple pie smoothie, no cooking required.  🙂

As you know, finally splurging for a Vitamix has changed my life because I don’t need to cook any of the produce that go into my smoothies.  With previous blenders, I would have needed to steam a fruit like apples just to ensure a smooth puree; with the Vitamix, the apples go in totally raw with their skins intact and a silky smoothie ensues.

My pumpkin pie smoothie features ground cinnamon and Honeycrisp apples.  In Arizona, at least, I don’t see Honeycrisps all throughout the year and when I do, they are expensive.  Fall has made them plentiful and affordable, even in the desert.  Thank goodness because the Honeycrisp is low in calories (if you’re counting), high in fiber, and exquisitely juicy.  They also have a lengthy refrigerator shelf life—minimum seven months—so stock up while they’re cheap.

DSC_2444

The addition of medjool dates—which I use in nearly all of my dessert smoothies—adds a touch more sweetness and the caramel-like notes that are indicative of a freshly baked apple pie.  Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  DESSERT SMOOTHIE

Serves 2

  • 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice)
  • ½-1 cup specialty ingredients  –>  I’m using 1 medium, quartered Honeycrisp apple and ½ tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity)  –>  I’m using ½ tsp vanilla.
  • Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness  –>  I’m using 3.
  • 100% freshly squeezed juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with 4 oz)  –>  I’m using almond.

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust specialty ingredients as necessary.

DSC_2446

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

Yes, another dessert smoothie, coming right up! Going on thirty-one weeks pregnant, I still can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. As always, healthy sweets are the goal, and this decadent treat is no exception.

Naturally, the star of strawberry shortcake is the strawberry. This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. I recently stocked up on a bunch in my Bountiful Basket and froze them, as you can see below. Ready for smoothies any time!

DSC_2397

How will I achieve the shortcake portion of the equation? A very basic cake batter includes some type of flour, sugar, fat, liquid, and extract. For today’s shortcake-in-a-smoothie, I’m using rolled oats in lieu of flour (learn more about the health benefits of rolled oats by checking out my granola formula!), medjool dates for sugar, a variety of seeds for fat, almond milk for liquid, and homemade vanilla extract.

DSC_2398

Packed with nutrients, sweetness, and traditional strawberry shortcake flavors, this dessert will check all of your boxes…and you can drink it guilt-free, any time of the day. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: DESSERT SMOOTHIE

Serves 2

  • 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice) –> Since my strawberries are frozen, I’m using fresh bananas today.
  • ½-1 cup specialty ingredients –> My whole, frozen strawberries equate to about a cup, but if they were chopped fresh, I’d use ¾ cup. I’m also using ¼ cup rolled oats.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ½ tsp vanilla.
  • Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness –> I’m using 2.
  • Juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with 4 oz) –> I’m using almond.

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust specialty ingredients as necessary.

DSC_2400 DSC_2401

Cherry Cordial Dessert Smoothie

As mentioned a few times now (ok, maybe a lot of times!), I am craving sweets in this second pregnancy.  I’m happy to report that I’m now twenty-two weeks along, the baby is healthy, and I’m getting all the sweets I want, the Fresh Formula way.  (Don’t worry, I’m still eating a boat load of veggies, whole grains, beans, and nuts, too.)

If you’ve been tuning in recently, you’ve seen my peanut butter and jelly smoothie, homemade jam formula, and an epic cherry pie, all working together to satisfy my sweet tooth with little to no added sweetener.  Today’s cherry cordial dessert smoothie incorporates elements of one of my favorite candies, the abundance of cherries I am still consuming from my latest Bountiful Basket victory, and a whole bunch of nutritious deliciousness that will leave me satisfied and guilt-free.

Traditionally, the cherry cordial is a cherry and sweet syrup inside of a dark chocolate shell.  If you’ve never had one, at some point, splurge and please do.  They are so so so decadently yummy!  Could I sit down and eat the better part of a box right now?  You bet…but I won’t.  With my latest dessert smoothie concoction (the first being my chocolate peanut butter version), I get all there is to love about the classic cherry cordial without the added sugar.

With babies on the brain, I’m also thinking about two-year-old Nolan when I come up with one of these recipes.  I totally let Nolan dig in to a traditional dessert on occasion—the boy hasn’t met an ice cream he didn’t like—but by “on occasion” I mean I can literally count on less than two hands the number of times he’s eaten a dessert with animal products in it.  Because he rarely sees or consumes something like ice cream, he knows it’s a special treat and honestly, would be even happier with one of my dessert smoothies any day.  In our house, he doesn’t beg for ice cream, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets; he wakes up shouting “Chocolate smoothie!” instead.  🙂

Even these dessert smoothies are a “special treat” compared to the super food smoothies we make regularly.  As much as a two-year-old can, Nolan has developed quite the sophisticated palate and definitely knows the difference between routine healthy eating and special treats, like this one, that are often super healthy, too, especially when compared with other varieties.  I mean, look at the ingredients:

DSC_2254

The point is, this is “dessert” I feel excited about feeding my toddler and unborn child, so it’s definitely a-ok for me, Travis, and you, too.  Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  DESSERT SMOOTHIE

Serves 2-3

  • 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice)
  • ½-1 cup specialty ingredients –> I’m using ¾ cup pitted sweet red cherries* and ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ¼ tsp almond.
  • Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness –> I’m using 3.
  • Juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with 4 oz) –> I’m using the minimum in almond.

*After I made this, Travis said he wanted more cherries.  Can’t go wrong with that.  Make it a full cup if you really like ’em!

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, adjusting specialty ingredients as necessary.

DSC_2259