Homemade Vegan Chocolate

Need a treat?  How about some delicious, decadent and healthy homemade vegan chocolate?  Yum! If you’re already eating healthy, chances are you’ll have the ingredients on hand. Oh, and that awesome little silicone heart-shaped ice cube tray is from Ikea (you can buy it here) 🙂  Update: you don’t even need a chocolate mold for this – see the bottom of this post for a variation!

Piyo Counts:

Ingredients

Makes 1 chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon raw unsweetened cacao  powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or less, to taste)

Directions

If the coconut oil is solid, melt it in the microwave or in direct sunlight.  Combine all ingredients (and optional add-ins below) and mix well.  Pour into a chocolate mold, silicone ice cube tray, or any small container lined with parchment paper.  Place into the fridge to harden.

Here are some optional add-in ideas:

Add-Ins (adjust food count if necessary)

  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of seasalt
  • touch of nut butter
  • dried fruit
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Vanilla & Flaked Almonds
  • few drops of a high quality peppermint oil
  • few drops of a high quality lemon oil

IMG_8286

Update: I’ve been making this as “chocolate bark” lately and it’s even easier and sooooo good!  Just dribble the chocolate onto parchment paper/waxed paper on a plate, put it into the fridge for just a few minutes to harden slightly (then you can gently drop on any toppings you’d like, such as sea salt), and pop into the freezer until you’re ready to eat.

Oil-Free Salad Dressings

I just realized that I’m using up one of my very precious servings of Fat by putting a tablespoon of homemade dressing on my daily lunch salad… hmmm… if there was a way to leave the oil out of those dressings, then I’d have that serving of fat to use in something more delicious, like a piece of homemade vegan chocolate, for example!

Right now I get 3 fats per day, but when I drop 2 more pounds I’ll then also drop to 2 fats per day.  Ouch!

So I just found this list of vegan homemade oil-free salad dressings and I’m going to whip one up tomorrow.  In fact, the first one on the list sounds like exactly the dressing I made earlier this week – except without the oil!  I’ll report back on this…

One-Ingredient Healthy Ice Cream!

I’d seen this simple recipe a million times but until I started Piyo I just dismissed it; why would I want to eat “ice cream” made from bananas?  Now that I’m focused on clean eating & working out hard, I get it: I’m dedicated to the Piyo food plan and, after being at it for 1.5 weeks, I am starting to feel the need for a few treats here and there.  Woman cannot live on Healthy Green Smoothies alone – sometimes, she needs ice cream.

You won’t believe how amazing this is, and how easy, and how healthy.  Oh, and also, how variable – see below for optional add-ins to make this a real treat!

Piyo Totals:

  • 2 Fruits  (Tip: Simply eat half of this recipe for a 1 Fruit treat, and put the other half in the freezer for another day!)

Ingredients:

  • One banana, sliced into 1/4″ chunks and frozen for at least 24 hours

Directions:

Put your frozen banana into the food processor and pulse for approximately 30-60 seconds.  If your chunks get stuck in the blades, carefully remove them with a spatula and keep pulsing.  Be careful, because after awhile the heat from the processor will start to melt the ice cream!  Blend until smooth.  Eat the whole portion for a 2-fruit treat, or for a 1-fruit count put the other half into a container & freeze for later.

Delicious (optional) flavor combos:

  • Mint Chocolate Chip: a few drops of peppermint oil with a handful of dairy-free dark chocolate chips and pulse in the food processor for 10-15 seconds. [Piyo Count: 1 tsp chocolate chips = 1 Fat]
  • Cherry Vanilla (Chocolate Chip): add a few frozen cherries and a few drops of vanilla and pulse. Optional: throw in a few chocolate chunks for a “Cherry Garcia” treat!  [Piyo Count: 1 & ¼ Cups cherries = 1 fruit,  1 tsp chocolate chips = 1 Fat]
  • Chocolate Coconut: add unsweetened coconut flakes and a tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Add a tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder and a teaspoon of peanut butter (or other nut butter).  [Piyo Count: 1 tsp nut/seed butter =  1 fat]

Fresh Poblano and Edamame Spread

Piyo Totals:

TBD

Inspired by a recipe by Rip Esselstyn (of “The Engine 2 Diet” cookbook)

Enjoy as a dip for veggies, piled onto crackers or on top of your fresh green salad.

* Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

2 cups edamame, shelled and cooked
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon yellow miso
1/3 cup Poblano pepper (or other mild green pepper), seeded and diced
3 dashes crushed red pepper flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons water, for texture
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the water and
salt and pepper.

Blend well and taste. Add water, as needed — the texture should be drier and fluffier than hummus.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Salad In Jars

I bought 5 quart-sized canning jars from a natural foods market near my house,  and now on Sunday night I take a 1/2 hour and assemble lunch for the week!  It’s a great time-saver, but more importantly for me it’s a brain-saver: now I don’t have to wonder what to eat for lunch, and my daily veggies are almost completely taken care of from this one meal!

Piyo Totals per salad:

  • 1 Protein
  • 5 Veg
  • 1 fat

Ingredients:

  • Quart-sized mason jars (we love these)
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Protein of choice: I often use 1 chopped veggie burger or 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 Tablespoon dressing

Directions:

Chop up veggies.

Layer into each jar:

  1. Salad dressing on the bottom
  2. Carrots or chickpeas next, to protect the greens from the dressing
  3. The rest of your veggies & protein

When ready to eat, empty the jar into a big bowl, mix up and enjoy!  If you’re on the go, mix the salad, then put it back into the jar and take it with you.

 

Super Healthy Super Green Smoothie

Piyo Totals:

  • 1 Veg
  • 1 Protein
  • 1.5 Fruit
  • 1 Fat

Note: if I want to save a 1/2 fruit to have our One Ingredient Ice Cream for dessert, I’ll leave out the berries from this recipe, which removes .5 fruit from the totals above.

Ingredients:

  • Huge handful Kale and/or spinach
  • 1/2 banana (freeze in advance, if you like cold smoothies – I don’t 🙂
  • 3 Tablespoons hemp protein
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (optional)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground flax

Directions:

Add a huge handful of kale and/or spinach to your blender (we love this one) along with some water.  Blend for 20 seconds.  Then add the rest of the ingredients & more water to the blender and blend until smooth.  Yum!

Vegetarian Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This pizza crust is SO GOOD you won’t believe it – really!  We’re still incredulous that a crust made only from cauliflower and an egg turns into such a healthy and believable – and delicious – substitute for a flour dough.  And it really holds up under the weight of toppings, too – in the photo below, we used two chopped up two veggie burgers as toppings and this amazing pizza handled it like a champ.  This cauliflower pizza crust is my favorite new food discovery yet!

Piyo Totals (whole recipe):

  • 4 Vegetables (cauliflower)
  • 1/2 Protein (egg)
  • 2 Fats – cheese (if vegan, omit the cheese and these fats)
  • debatable: 1 1/4 cups of tomato sauce = 1 Fruit (as calculated from this 21 Day Fix post) – you’ll only use a few tablespoons for this recipe, so calculate it as you wish.
  • Toppings to be calculated as you choose them

Time-Saving Tip: Make extra pizza crusts and freeze them for later!. After baking the crusts and adding the toppings wrap the pizza in foil and freeze it. To prepare, thaw and bake at 400F until the toppings are hot.

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
•    One head of cauliflower (Or if you buy pre-riced Cauliflower from the freezer section of Trader Joes, use 4 cups for this recipe)
•    1 egg, beaten
•    1 teaspoon dried oregano
•    garlic powder)
•    pinch of salt

Pizza Toppings:

  • Prepared marinara sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded mozzerella cheese (omit if vegan)
  • Any veggies you like
  • Veggie burger, tempeh, tofu, Field Roast sausage, etc

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 400F

Make the cauliflower “rice” – pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer (I love this one) and run cold water over it to cool it down.

Transfer cauliflower to a clean, thin dishtowel (I like these).  Twist & squeeze all the excess moisture out (there will be a LOT).  This is important, so you have a nice dry crust that will hold together. This is the hardest part 😉

In a large bowl, mix your cauliflower, beaten egg and spices using your hands. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with oiled parchment paper. Or use a silicone Silpat mat and don’t worry about the sticking!  Keep the dough about 1/3″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F. The crust should be firm and golden brown.  Then flip the crust and bake it on the other side for 5-10 mins, watching carefully so it browns but doesn’t burn.  This extra baking will make the crust really firm.

Add any toppings you’d like, then return the pizza to the 400F oven and bake just until the toppings are hot and the cheese (if using) is melted.