Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.

Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer.
PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.

 

Tuscan White Bean Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Summer is around the corner, but honey if you live in Georgia, it is already here sitting on our backs like a monkey. LOL. In the Summer time my go to is salad. I love to use vegetables and fruits that are in season to make super flavorful and refreshing salads. This salad here is excellent anytime of the year. What makes it special to me is the champagne citrus vinaigrette, it gives the salad this wonderful burst of summer in your mouth. I am one to take my salad seriously. It’s not just putting raw vegetables and fruit in a bowl. Allow yourself  to get wild with salads this summer, roast, sauté, grill bake your ingredients and add them to arugula, wild kale, Napa cabbage, just get creative and add lots of color, EAT THE RAINBOW! Salad is a great way to do this. I hope you enjoy this recipe just as I have. Remember, to Set the Table with Love.

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Tuscan White Bean Salad with a Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Tuscan White Bean Salad w/ Lemon Basil vinaigrette
2 cans white beans
1 1/2 tbsp Tuscan season blend
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions, med, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, med. chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 garlic clove
5 small artichoke heart , cut in fours
1/2 cup black olives,small
3 tbsp parmesan grated cheese
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp capers
4 shaved pieces of parmesan for garnish
1 boiled egg cut in quarters as garnish,
optional

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of cracked black pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp lemon zest
2 1/2 tbsp. organic honey
1 tbsp citrus champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. In large skillet add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, saute the onions, peppers,
beans. Sprinkle everything with 1 tsp of Tuscan season blend and
1/2 tsp of sea salt , cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is soft. Set
everything aside in a larger salad bowl.
3. Add to the bowl the quartered artichoke hearts, black olives,
capers, red onions, 3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, dried basil and
the remainder of the Tuscan season blend. Set aside and make the
vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette
1. In a food processor, process the basil, garlic, salt, black pepper and
lemon juice vinegar and zest, until smooth. As the food processor is
running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined.
2. Drizzle vinaigrette onto the white bean salad and gently toss until
all ingredients are combined. Do this to taste. I like to start off with a
small amount of dressing for the salad and add more, as needed. Or you
can leave the dressing out and serve it with the salad on the side.
3. Place the shaved pieces of parmesan on top and quartered boil eggs and add to the salad.

 

Mother’s Day Story ~ Breakfast in Bed Ideas

I love Mother’s Day. I have two boys, one 29 and my youngest is 15. I have two grandchildren, I adore and could get up with a biscuit and some gravy. They are truly yummy. My favorite thing growing up as child was to think about how I was going to make my mom feel special for Mother’s Day. Of course, I did the usually cards with macaroni glued to them and flowers, candy and little things I made with popsicles sticks. Okay, I need to confess soon as I wrote, macaroni, I thought about my mom’s cheesy, buttery, gooey macaroni and cheese, bubbling over in her special mac and cheese glass bowl. So where were we? Yes, Mother’s Day. One year I came up with the idea to make my mom, breakfast in bed.  Now granted I was about 9 years old and I never really cooked a meal all by myself, but I was determined to do this for her.

I went into the kitchen very quietly. I made sure not to make a sound. I remember opening up the fridge and getting out,  bacon, eggs, butter and the orange juice. Yes. I was going to make my mom, a good old southern, bacon and eggs breakfast. I put on a cup of coffee, aka, hot water and Folgers, put the cast iron skillet on the stove and added the bacon. It smelled so good, but it was making too much noise, so I closed the kitchen door.

I added the eggs to the skillet, with lots of butter, just the way my mom did.  Well, maybe too much, but hey I was 9. I cracked the eggs, very gently into a bowl and used a fork to gently whisk them. I was doing something. I felt like my mom, for just a moment. I remember my little sister and brother getting up. I pulled them in the kitchen and demanded they keep quiet. We made our brother sit at the table quietly and my sister made the toast and poured the juice.

All of a sudden I hear footsteps. I wanted to cry.  Oh no, it will not be a surprise anymore, I thought. But, it was my dad. He open the door very slowly. It seemed as if, it took forever for him to open that door and for me to see, it was Dad, not Mom.

He asked with a smile on his face, What are you guys doing? We replied, Making mom breakfast. He left out and said, Okay, carry on.

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My grandson Mikey
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My oldest son Bernard and granddaughter Naleyla
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My granddaughter Naleyla
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My husband, Joseph, my youngest son,  Tyler and my granddaughter Naleyla

It was almost done. I had my sister run into the dining room and get a pretty tray from our china cabinet. We got a rose from my Dad’s rose garden and put it in a nice vase. I was so proud of that breakfast. The toast was a little burnt and the the bacon on the crispier side, but my eggs were awesome. We carried the tray to her bed and the best thing about that day that I remember, is my mom’s face when she say we had made her breakfast in bed.

Just writing this makes me cry. She has been gone for 14 years now and I miss her as though it was yesterday, when she left this Earth. She kissed me, my sister and brother and said, Thank  you so much, this makes mama feel special. But I remember the special look in her eyes she gave me. She was so proud of me, she knew how much this meant to me.  I will never forget that look as long as I live. She ate that breakfast as though it came from a five star restaurant. This is properly where my love of cooking for those I love comes from.  The day I first Set the Table with Love for my Mama.

Thanks everyone for taking time out to read this post. I usually don’t write long. I just get to the recipes, but that will change. I believe setting the table with love, is much more than just good healthy food, it’s about expressing love and that love being experienced through food.

Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

Check out these links for some yummy Mother’s Day breakfast and brunch idea.

Gluten Free Vegan Potato and Leek Waffles

Southern Style Biscuits No Lard Needed Sorry Mom

Caramelized Pears with Homemade Granola

Gigi’s Fluffy Pancakes with Nutella Almonds and Chocolate Chips

 

Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Who says, you can not eat sweet potato soup in the heat of summer? This soup is spicy but very cooling because of the base of coconut milk. It is also has a nice sweet, smoky and just plan delish. The saffron gives it a touch of elegance. Some things are just worth the price and saffron is one of those.

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Spicy Saffron Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced, put 1/2 cup to the side for garnish

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup red onions, diced

2 garlic clove, crushed

pinch saffron threads

1 tsp smoked chili

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup organic vegetable broth

1 1/2 tbsp organic honey

1  tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Salt and Pepper to taste.

A few saffron threads for garnish. If it suits your fancy. 🙂

Directions~

In a large pot add enough water to cover the diced sweet potatoes. Cook on a medium high heat, until tender.  Remember to put 1/2 cup of the diced sweet potatoes to the side to sauté for your garnish.

Garnish:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook the 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, red onions and red bell peppers, stirring, until soft. Add the garlic and the saffron; cook, stirring. Add 1/2 smoked paprika, fennel seeds and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for a minute to incorporate the spices. Set the garnish mixture to the side.

Soup:

Take the boiled sweet potatoes and drain them in a strainer. Add the sweet potatoes to a blender, Vitamix or Ninja. Add the remaining ingredients, milk, honey, vegetable broth and spices. Blend until smooth. Add the soup to a pot and warm up, if needed. Add the soup to serving bowls; top with the sweet potato garnish and Enjoy!