Date Sweetened Vegan Sesame Apricot Dessert Balls (No Sugar Added)

I took all of these shots at my friend Jacki's perfect little house, which is definitely home tour worthy. This recipe is also from PlateJoy, which makes my recipe planning so, so much easier. So, if everything looks a little bit different then before, that is why, and I can't take credit for much of it. So here we've got these vegan desserts, which I was going to press into little bars, but ultimately decided they were better as dessert balls. Also, FYI if you want to put these in an 8x8 and chop them into bars, you'll want to double the recipe and get some parchment paper, so they don't stick too badly to the pan. They're no-bake, so stickiness should be too much of an issue. I remember my first few attempts at vegan baking where I thought all problems could be solved by subbing almond flour and vegan butter. Not so, my friends, not so. Well maybe in some cases. 

I've found that the vegan baking/dessert world is a beast all its own. Modifications can be as simple as subbing a few ingredients, but often you're kind of reinventing the wheel, which is never a bad thing. Get those little neurons and synapses working, and learn new skills, but it can also be frustrating, or surprisingly simple, like these little guys. The only real tricky here is, getting them to the right consistency. They're never all the way, all the way, blended, but they do mush together really nicely, and form these little balls that are super quick when you need something sweet. I like to keep them in the fridge. I think they're much better cold, but you may have a different opinion. Try them both ways, see what you think. 

If you're looking to find more vegan, vegetarian, Whole30, or any specialty diet recipes, click here to get tons of ideas. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup of dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds - you can either blend these in the food processor or roll the other ingredients in the seeds. I prefer to blend all together. 
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter (optional, but it helps them get nice and sticky)

Directions:

  • Pulse just the cashews for about 30 seconds in the food processor
  • Add in all other ingredients and blend until it becomes easy to press together. It'll look something like the picture above.
  • Roll into balls, and store in the fridge for up to a week. 
  • Yields about 10

Vegan Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

So, I've been working to perfect my vegan coconut oil chocolates, and if you haven't had chocolates made from primarily coconut oil, you're missing out—in my opinion. So, these have a minimal amount of sugar in them, but you can always add more, but I genuinely prefer them with less sweetness. Although I did make them with a whole bunch of raw honey before and that was delicious. So, there are a lot of ways to personalize it. Add in maple syrup, and a little bit of salt, whatever you're into. This peppermint bark is strongly inspired by my love for Andes mints so if you want to add in a little green food coloring, I'd understand. I didn't choose to, although there are so many ways to make natural food dye that I want to try. 

So these guys need to set in the freezer and definitely not the fridge. This is what helps them set, mine pulled away from the pan super easily, and it's not greased or lined at all. Also putting them in the freezer helps the layers not blend together. When I take a bite into mine there are definitely three separate layers and not a big half-melted block, which a big part of me appreciates. They don't cut super well, so you'll have to crack it a little like bark or peanut brittle, but I think that part is fun. Aside from that these are delicious, and pretty healthy. I've been trying to work more healthy fats into my diet because it's been so good for my skin tone. So, I'm definitely a fan of these coconut oil chocolates. I even found myself at the store craving something sweet, and none of the store made candy looked good—this is a first for me. I was really just craving a big piece of coconut oil candy, which again, I never thought I'd say. 

andes mint bark 4 (1 of 1).jpg

Here's what you'll need:

Layer 1: 

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar

pinch of salt

Layer 2:

1/2 cup of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract

2 tablespoons of sugar

Layer 3:

Same as Layer 1

andes mint bark 8 (1 of 1).jpg

Directions: 

Melt the coconut oil for layer one (about 30 seconds in the microwave) and mix in dry ingredients

Add to a glass bread pan, mine is 8.5" x 4.5" set aside to cool in the freezer for 15 minutes

Melt the coconut oil for the second layer and add in peppermint extract and sugar

Add to pan and set aside to cool in the freezer for 15 minutes

Melt the coconut oil for the third layer and add in dry ingredients

Add to pan and set aside to cool for 15 minutes

Let it set in the freezer for at least an hour and the whole piece should come out when you flip it upside down. 

Cut or break into pieces.

Store candies in the fridge. 

 

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Easy Strawberry Kefir Sorbet

I've been wanting to make this sorbet since I saw this recipe from Just a Taste. It looked so simple with just a few ingredients. And it is. I changed it a little bit, by using kefir and lime juice instead of yogurt and lemon juice. I never really have yogurt on hand, but I always have kefir, and I prefer the taste of lime, but you can use whichever you prefer. 

I'm trying to think of what's new for me, and basically my obsession with The Mastery of Love continues, as well as, a new obsession with The Four Agreements by the same author. This book was recommended to me maybe 10 years ago, and I am trying so hard to not lament the fact that I didn't read it then, because it is so amazing. In my short time reading the works of Don Miguel Ruiz, I've gained so much piece of mind. I can't say enough good things about it. I tend to be a bit of a worry wart, like if someone read my blog while I was sitting there also, I'd be sweating bullets and wondering what they thought. This is also the second lesson of The Four Agreements, that nothing is personal, if people like stuff, not personal, same if they don't, not personal. So waiting for other people to like my work is me waiting to run into someone who has the same tastes as me, which is great, but also too much waiting, and also what they like or their judgments of good or bad, aren't about me. They're about them. It's simple but still hard to let it fully sink, especially when you've lead a life full of worry of what others might thing. 

He heavily emphasizes building from the inside out. Which is concept we've all heard, but I don't think I got the full effect until I read it the way he puts it. 

I wrote recently about acceptance, and I think the need for acceptance ties in pretty intimately with anxiety, which can rarely be assisted or handled by forces outside of ourselves. This is both a blessing and a curse, because we struggle, struggle, struggle to build our place in the world only to find we are our place in the world. What a concept, right? Basically he teaches: 1. The search is over. 2. Settle in. 3. Love is always the answer. 4. Start by examining your beliefs.  

Those are not the four agreements. It's just a summation of what I've gotten out of it. It's been a lot for me to chew on, in a good way. 

So, this sorbet is good right out of the blender or food processor. It doesn't need a lot of churning in an ice cream maker, and you can eat it right away, or put it in the freezer. It may need to thaw for a few minutes, but not long. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 lb of strawberries or roughly 4 cups -- frozen (very important)
  •  3 tablespoons of sweetener -- I used Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/2 cup of kefir -- I used strawberry
  • Juice from one lime

Directions: 

  • Blend all ingredients well. I used a food processor, but I'll bet a blender would be fine too. 
  • Serve immediately. If made ahead, allow a few minutes to defrost