15 feb. 2017

Raw Pumpkin Energy Squares

Hey it's been a minute! I couldn't post a new recipe last week (damn, I hate to put my blogging tasks on hold) but I'm back with a really nice (and healthy) sweet snack that will help you kick those late afternoon cravings right in the butt.
These energy squares are a powerhouse of energy, packed with superfoods like chia, sesame and pumpkin seeds, sprouted oats, maca and carob powder. A lot of goodness in just one small bar...and most importantly: they taste super good!
I'm eating one of them right now as I'm typing this post, it's my treat of the day after a pretty intense core workout and I love their pumpkin taste and how well they combine with the carob flavor. I'm really into carob these days, it smells so good! That nutty and sweet aroma drives me crazy (almost as much as pure chocolate...almost!).
Next time I'll add some carob powder to the dough to give these energy squares a chocolaty flavor.
Have you ever tried cooking with carob powder before? Which are your favorite recipes? I need suggestions! 

Raw Pumpkin Energy Squares
(Yield: 16 squares)

10 Medjool dates (or 170 g dates).
3/4 cup sprouted rolled oats.
2 tablespoons raw chia seeds.
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds.
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds.
2 tablespoons maca powder.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
1/3 cup natural almond butter.
Carob powder, to decorate the tops.

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. The dough should be thick and compact, you'll need to stop the food processor a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
To make sure the dough is ready simply scoop a small amount of dough and roll it into a ball, if you can easily give it a round shape and the ball doesn't crumble then you can proceed with the next step.
Line a shallow square tin (like a small brownie pan) with parchment paper leaving some extra paper on the sides to easily unmold.
Firmly press down the dough using your fingers and silicone spatula, make sure the dough is well compacted so the bars will keep their shape once they are chilled.
Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours) until the dough is firm.
Once chilled, cut into 16 equal squares and dust the tops with carob powder. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

- You can leave the bars au natural or dust them with raw cacao powder or pure cocoa powder.
- Replace the maca powder with your favorite protein powder or if you wanna give them a chocolate flavor use raw cacao powder instead.

2 feb. 2017

Pear and Walnut Muffins

I quit sugar since Christmas, yeah...I know what you're thinking right now: "dude, she runs a dessert blog what the hell is she thinking? Is she going to publish 'hippie' food from now on?". Calm down people, it's not that I'm giving up on sugar entirely...I just wanted to 'behave' since I ate quite a lot of sweet treats during the holidays (comparing to what I usually eat on normal days). That lead me to some heartburn symptoms for a week or so, and then I decided to eat more clean, more fresh, more raw and to cut back on sugar and some oily, saucy foods. My stomach is so used to eat healthy and clean that when I try again the 'bad stuff' my body rapidly sends me a warning message...and let me tell you something, I'm feeling more energized, less foggy and my stomach is happy again.
So during the last month I haven't tasted any refined sugar, not even whole cane sugar, only coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten up my morning pancakes, porridges and my bakes. 
These pear and walnut muffins I'm sharing with you today are sweetened with natural applesauce and pure maple syrup and they taste so deliciously good! They have the right dose of sweetness and make the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack without feeling those sugar spikes, or when you want to treat yourself with something sweet yet good for you. Also these are quite probably the fluffiest and lightest muffins I've ever baked, they are like really REALLY tender and soft; so much that I recommend having a fork on hand cause you'll want to eat even the tiniest crumb.
I'm thinking right now about the banana chips + dark chocolate chunks-combo...pretty sure it will work very well in this recipe.Of course I'll let you know as soon as I try it!

Pear and Walnut Muffins
(Yield: 8 muffins)

1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk.
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour.
1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour.
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tbsp almond meal.
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1 teaspoong baking soda.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
1/2 cup pear chunks (1 pear approx.).
3/4 cup chopped walnuts.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
1 Rocha pear, cut in thin slices to decorate.

- About the almond milk: I always recommend to read the labels because not all the milks have the same percentage of almonds. Some brands taste like meh-sweet water because they have a lot of water, sugar/sweeteners and thickeners but a little amount of almonds. I recommend you to compare different brands and buy the one that has the higher percentage of almonds in your store.
- You can use regular spelt flour instead of sprouted spelt flour.
- I recommend using Rocha pears for this recipe (it's a portuguese variety). It's a crunchy, nutty pear that is more resistant to handling and easier to cut into thin slices. To get 1/2 cup of pear chunks you'll need one Rocha pear approximately, to decorate the top of each muffin you'll need a second pear.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the apple cider vinegar and almond milk, set aside until the milk curdles, approximately 7 minutes. Meanwhile preaheat the oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF) and line a muffin tin with 8 paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl mix the flours (brown rice and spelt), the almond meal, ground flaxseeds, baking powder, soda and spices.
Chop the pear into small chunks and add them to the dry mixture along with 1/2 cup of the chopped walnuts. Reserve the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts to decorate the tops.
In a medium bowl whisk the olive, applesauce and maple syrup until combined. Add in the milk/vinegar mixture and mix well. Finally pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well with a silicone spatula until thoroughly combined.
Fill each muffin cup with the batter and decorate the tops with two slices of pear per muffin and the rest of the chopped walnuts (1/4 cup). 
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean.
Brush the tops with a bit of maple syrup while they are still warm (optional).
Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

26 ene. 2017

Overnight Sprouted Oatmeal

This week I'm bringing you another oat-based recipe, yeah, more oats. What can I do?! I simply love oats! And you should too since it's a super healthy and nourishing grain. Also I remember that long time ago I kind of promised to share with my readers my go-to breakfast and snack recipes, well I've shared some of my most favorite pancakes (like these deadly fluffy Coconut Milk Pancakes), several energy bites and granola bars, but never published a recipe that is a classic at my home: overnight oatmeal.
Yes, there are so many oatmeal recipes on the internet but have you tried eating sprouted rolled oats? Sprouting increases the nutritional value of oats and it makes them more easy to digest, this process 'brings to life' many beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are 'locked away', plus the content of starch is reduced (and that's why they are easier to digest).
You can try sprouting at home by soaking beans, grains and seeds in water for about 2 days changing the soaking water every day; I haven't done it though, so maybe the technique for sprouting beans is slighlty different than the one used for seeds or grains. However, eating sprouted rolled oats for breakfast is good for you!
But don't think they look weird or have an unpleasant flavor, at first glance they are quite the same as classic rolled oats. Their texture is different: standard rolled oats are softer and that's why I use the sprouted ones to prepare my overnight oatmeal. Soaking them in milk makes them soft and with a delicious bite.
Obviously I don't recommend using sprouted oats for baking because simply there's no point in doing that: if you cook them you are destroying the good enzymes, and all the benefits from sprouting will vanish. To cook or bake keep using your regular rolled oats (like I did in my last recipe)...after all, who can resist to a warm bowl of good ole oatmeal? Specially on a cold winter day!

Overnight Sprouted Oatmeal
(Servings: 2)

1 1/2 cups oat milk.
2 tablespoons chia seeds.
1 cup sprouted rolled oats.
2 tablespoons maca powder.
1 or 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
- Toppings:
Mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.).
Raw almonds.
1 tablespoon almond butter.
Crispy puffed quinoa or rice.

In a small mixing bowl (or a container with a lid) stir together the milk, chia seeds and rolled oats. Add in the vanilla and other spices (if using), cover or transfer to an airtight container and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. This way the chia seeds will soak the liquid and form a pudding-like consistency, the rolled oast will become softer. 
In the morning add in the maca powder, stir well and adjust the sweetness to your taste by adding a couple teaspoons of your favorite sweetener (maple syrup, agave, coconut nectar, etc.).
If you prefer a less dense oatmeal add a little more milk and stir again until you reach the desired consistency.
Top with some berries, nuts, almond butter and crispy puffed quinoa.