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  • Peanut Butter + Chocolate Pie w/ Peanut Butter Coconut Whipped Cream

    Happy almost new year! I am getting a head start on my resolution to consume more chocolate and peanutbutter, so am extremely proud of myself 2 days out of 2019. Yes!As for the rest of 2019, I intend to...(this list is not in any order of importance....):

    -Meditate more (I have been following this 8-week program at the recommendation of my therapist, and like it very much!)

    -Drink more water

    -Learn/continue to learn Portuguese 

    -Get back on that kombucha brewing train!

    -Seek out balance and accept that each day will be different (this one will be hard for me...)

    -Eat more plants and explore more/share more plant-based recipes again; after a steer (haha no pun intended...get it...with the farm animal reference I just did?) into a sad/maddening situation, I went full-plant-based again, but am welcoming this new phase with gratitude, compassion and also less regidness. Read: if I eat some cheese here and there, the world will keep turning. The end. I've come to the conclusion that a) it is better to actually feed myself than not in the face of these moments, and b) nothing with sever strictness should ever be a part of my food lifestyle. 

    -This is not an intention, but it is a "gonna happen": GET MARRIED to my favorite person. Shout out to all y'all who are going through/went through/will go through the K-1 visa process. We've been pretty quiet about this whole thing, just becase we seriously don't know how it will end up. My boo's interview at the US consulate is on January 18th, and we are excited/nervous/anxious...but it should go well. 

    -Learn more about wine! I joined a wine-club thing...but I do have an excellent resource (aka: one of my bestie's husband), so I want to commit to adulting by buying a legit case of solid wine this year!

    -Stay grounded, and remind myself daily that perfection is an illusion. 

    -Let go: of planning, of over-scrutinizing, over-analyzing, over-thinking. This is hard for my analytical mind. 

    -Tell the people that I love that I love them more, and that I appreciate them. Make time for these important, special beings!

    -Play outside more, even if it is cold out. Maybe even play in the dirt and grow something.

    Alright, I think that covers my important bases. To this recipe: largely adapted from Angela's recipe in her recent book, this thing comes together fast and can be made ahead. Yippee! Instead of topping with a caramel-like substance (because, even though there is not an FDA SOI for caramel, I just cannot in good Food Scientist faith call plant-based caramel "caramel"....), I opted for coconut whipped cream punctuated with peanut butter, and I added a splash of rum for good measure. Top this baby with more peanuts, excellent chocolate shavings (just use your veg peeler on a dark chocolate bar), and you've got a serioulsy decadent situation on your hands. I brought this to a family gathering, and seriously could not believe how fast it got gobbled up. Nothing but crust rubble remained on the plate I served it on! A success I'd say.Happiest days and new years etc etc to you all!! Let's get at this 2019 thing!!



    Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Peanut Butter Coconut Whipped Cream // makes 1 9" pie //

    Crust:

    • 1 ¾ cup rolled oats
    • ¾ cup roasted and salted peanuts
    • ¼ tsp or pinch sea salt
    • 4 TB melted coconut oil
    • 3 TB maple syrup
    • 1 ½ tsp water, if needed

    Filling:

    • 1 14oz can of full fat coconut milk*
    • 5 ½ oz (150g) semi sweet chocolate chips
    • ⅓ cup maple syrup
    • ⅓ cup natural smooth peanut butter
    • Pinch of sea salt, to suit your taste and saltiness of peanut butter

    Peanut Butter Whip:

    To Finish:

    • Extra roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
    • Shavings of chocolate

    *you can use a variety that separates, using the full-fat portion that separates from the coconut water after refrigeration for at least 24 hours, and use all except ⅓ cup of the coconut water; OR you can use a variety that does not separate, and use all of the can except 6 TB (1/3 cup)

    1. Make the crust: combine oats, peanuts and sea salt in a food processor or blender (I used my vitamix). Form a rough flour. Add the remaining ingredients, except water, and pulse/mix to bring together into a semi-sticky dough that holds its shape when squeezed. Use the water to bring it together if needed. In my vitamix, I used my tamper to help form the dough, and then finished mixing/incorporating in a bowl. 

    2. Pat into a 9” pie pan that has been greased lightly, and prepared with 2 strips of parchment placed criss-crossed. The oil on the pan helps hold the strips in place. Bake at 350 for 12-17 minutes and cool completely. This time really depends on your oven, so watch it closely after the 12 minue mark. Cool pie shell to room temperature. 

    3. Make the filling: heat the coconut milk and chocolate over low until just melted; whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste for salt. Pour into the cooled pie shell. Freeze for a few hours, covering the top if storing in freezer for more than that.

    4. Make the whip: scoop white layer of coconut cream from top of coconut milk. Reserve water left behind for a smoothie, etc. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and rum if using, and mix with hand beater or stand mixer until smooth and no clumps are present. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix until fluffy-about 20-30 seconds. Top the cooled pie. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate to firm, up to 2 days ahead of time. Pie can be served chilled, or take the pie out about 1 hour before serving for a softer experience. 



  • Date, Cacao & Peanut Energy AmazeBalls

    That is correct! Amazeballs. Amazing Balls. Get it? Feel free to laugh, snicker, turn up your nose, or go into a 2nd-grader laughing spree and come up with other ball-like jokes. Seriously, I did and still do...and I probably won't be growing up anytime soon.

    But, wait...yes, maybe I will, but just a little bit! And I forsee these future adult-like endeavors needing food...energy...dates...cacao (or chocolate/cocoa) and crunchy things with lotsa plant protein and fructose for fast-fuel. I mean, don't we all need that in our lives??

    And we also need treats. Lots of them. Because rewarding yourself shouldn't be hard, it should be easy. And sometimes, maybe nourishing (but not alllllll the time, cause pie! beer! tasty coconut caramels dipped in chocolate!). I rest my case. These amazing balls (haha) were inspired by a low blood sugar craze while at Trader Joe's (ps: don't go to there after a long run, starving, eyeing up every carbohydrate in the store). I picked up an energy bar, and then like 5 more, and mumbling to myself threw them back on the shelves because inulin (aka: chicory root), cane syrup (wtf?), palm oil (come oooon!!). But there was one...ONE bar that fit my criteria: whole foods, nothing overly processed and, NO INULIN (does anyone else have gut bacteria that just go NUTS for this pre-biotic soluble fiber???). 

    The bar was essentially dates, cacao, peanut butter, pea protein, and crunchy peanuts, along with some puffed rice for more crunch and texture. It was amazing. Simple ingredients, but so, so good. As I stuffed the bar into my face on my walk home, I resolved to re-create this bar in ball form because balls just seem easier to make and eat than dealing with pressing bars our, and cutting them. Don't say anything about that...cause I am not hitting the delete button...we've gone too far....So I resolved the main players in these energy balls to be:

    • soft medjool dates for their caramel-like sweetness, and sticky binding properties
    • raw cacao powder for the energy-boosting, bitter, chocolate-y flavor, and crunch! I don't usually have puffed rice cereal on hand, so this was a natural replacement for this
    • cacao nibs for CRUNCH
    • roasted and salted peanuts for more CRUNCH, as well as plant protein...and chocolate/cacao + peanut = so good. Also, peanuts + dates + chocolate/cacao = a better, not nasty version of a snickers bar.
    • peanut butter because...see above (I used freshly made, since I am on a nut/seed butter making kick lately, but feel free use your favorite all natural variety, making sure the ingredients are only peanuts and maybe some salt)
    • virgin coconut oil because our bodies can absorb MCTs like birds. As in: our bodies can process medium chain triglycerides quicker via the portal vein, which bascially means these fats are available for metabolic processes sooner after we consume them than regular longer chain fatty acids. Hooray, right?
    • hemp hearts for plant protein, great flavor and becaue they are really pretty, in my opinion
    • chia seeds for fiber and plant protein, both of which mean we will be feeling fuller for longer after enjoying a few of these treats
    • sea salt because flavor. Also, cinnamon because it helps to control blood sugar and it tastes amazing. Win-win!

    And that is it. Whole, real-food ingredients that aren't overly processed and do not taste like crap. In fact, far from it. Blitzed into a sitcky mess, rolled into balls and then coated in cacao powder, hemp hearts or just left plain. And there you have it: my perfect date energy amaze-ball. (see also cherry-cacao-almond energy balls, also which are also pretty darn perfect as well).

    Notes: The dates really do need to be soft, and not hard. I do not recommend soaking them in water since that often times makes them too soggy, so get yourself a fresh pack of dates! And, yes, you CAN substitute the peanuts with almonds. You could also try sunflower seeds, but I have not tried either, but assume they will work just fine. Try to roast them fresh yourself for maximum flavor. Similarly, in regards to the peanut butter, you can replace it with your favorite nut or seed butter, with freshly made being the best for flavor (but totally not required). I chose to roll my balls (haha) in hemp hearts and raw cacao powder, with my chocolate addict swooning over the almost gooey-like chocolate coating created by the cacao powder after the balls sat for a while in the fridge. You could also roll them in crushed peanuts (or almonds, or sunflower seed), chia seeds, or just leave them plain. 



    Date & Cacao Energy Bites // plant-base; vegan; gluten-free; soy-free // makes about 12 to 14 golf-ball to walnut-sized balls // 

    • 2 packed cups soft medjool dates, pitted
    • 1 cup freshly roasted peanuts, or other nut or seed of choice
    • 2 TB peanut butter, or other nut or seed butter of choice
    • 1 TB virgin coconut oil
    • 1 TB maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
    • 2 TB hemp seeds
    • 2 TB chia seeds
    • 2 TB raw cacao, or cocoa powder, using Dutched (alkalized) of for a more oreo-like flavor and a darker color, or natural for a more acidic chocolate flavor
    • 2 TB cacao nibs (or sub with some really dark chocolate, I would recommend at least 70% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces)
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
    • 1 or 2 TB water to help bind, if needed (I did not need to add any)
    • 2 TB of any of the following: hemp seeds, chia seeds, chopped nuts/seeds or cacao or cocoa powder, to roll balls in

    1. Add the peanuts and cacao nibs to a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop up into a coarse meal. If using dark chocolate instead of nibs, add it now and pulse to break into smaller pieces.  

    2. Pit all the dates, making sure EVERY pit is out. Firmly pack into measuring cup, and then place into the food processor, along with all the remaining ingredients, keeping the peanuts and nibs in the processor bowl. 

    3. Pulse until the ingredients are all incorporated, and the mixture can be pressed into a ball. Add 1 or 2 TB water to help bind, and pulse again to incorporate, if needed. 

    4. Roll all the balls into golf ball or walnut sized balls (roughly 2 or 3 TB each), and then roll them into hemp hearts, chia seeds, finely chopped nuts or seeds, or cacao powder. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.



    The peanuts + nibs all chopped up. I find that doing this first really got the best texture in the final balls, with not too big of pieces preventing the balls from holding together! That my friends, is science. Not really, but you know...Dates, peanut butter, cacao nibs...what else could you ask for in a high-energy snack??The supporting players, equally important but also high-energy!

    Now, add the rest of the stuff, and blitz!

    Roll into balls, and then roll each into hemp hearts, cacao powder, chia seeds....whatever tickles your fancy! I personally (ahem, the chocoholic in me) loved the ones rolled in cacao powder, but the hemp hearts also stole my plant-protein-loving heart.And you're done! Place the balls in a covered container in the fridge. These are so easy to grab and enjoy, whether you are at home relaxing or are on the go...grab and enjoy your balls, I say! Bahaha...sounds so bad! But really, these are such a tasty, great-for-you treat. Win!