Healthy Dark Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies

These are my favorite healthy cookies. Why feel guilty when eating a treat, when you can feel good about what you put in your body. Try adding dried fruit or some other fun combinations. If you have nut allergies, perhaps try it with coconut flour.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies

3 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs or make VEGAN using ground chia or flax seed mixture (*see below)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1 1/2 - 2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped walnuts
Pecans for garnish

*To make chia or flax seed mixture - mix 3 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon ground seed. Stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes before using. It will create an egg like consistency.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If using the chia or flax mixture instead of the eggs, prepare that first so that it can sit for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat eggs (or chia mixture), maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until well combined. Melt coconut oil, but then let it cool before adding to the batter. Continue to blend with the hand mixer until combined. 
Stir in dark chocolate and nuts. 

Drop balls of cookie dough (flatten a little) on to parchment paper. Add one whole pecan on top of each cookie and press down a little. Bake for 15 minutes or they look delicious.


Triple Berry Galette

A rustic tart, otherwise known as a galette, is a simple way to showcase seasonal fruits or vegetables. The inspiration for this dessert came from the gorgeous berries at my local farmers market. Ripe blackberries, blueberries and raspberries make this Triple Berry Galette shine. Bursting with berry goodness, this beautiful dessert is guaranteed to be a summer favorite.

Triple Berry Galette

1 (9 inch) refrigerated pie crust
3 cups fresh berries (such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste
Organic cane sugar to taste
Turbinado raw sugar to taste

Chia wash for crust:

1/2 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1/4 cup room temperature water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring refrigerated pie crust to room temperature (or follow package directions). Gently unroll and place pie crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Prepare chia wash: Combine the ground chia seeds and water in a small bowl. With a small whisk, whip the ground chia seeds with the water to make a wash (it should be the consistency of beaten eggs), set aside. The chia wash will get thicker as it sits. 

In medium bowl combine the berries with lemon juice and cane sugar to taste. The amount of lemon and sugar depends on the ripeness of your berries and your personal preference. 

Spoon the berry mixture into the center of the dough circle, leaving a 1-2 inch border around the edges. Brush the exposed edges of the dough with the chia wash and then carefully fold edges up over the filling, leaving the fruit exposed in the center.  Fold the dough into pleats so it lays nicely over the fruit. Pinch to seal any cracks if needed. 

Gently brush the chia wash over the outside edge of dough and sprinkle dough generously with the coarse turbinado sugar.

Bake galette for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. 

Let cool and serve room temperature. Garnish with a light dusting of powdered sugar and serve with fresh whipped cream.


Mango & Avocado Salsa

Mango & Avocado Salsa

2 mangos, cubed
2 avocados, cubed
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice and then slowly whisk in oil. Toss in mangoes, avocado and red onion to coat. Add fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips or in a taco with black beans and cilantro.


Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna

Everyone loves lasagna, but if your gluten free you might try to avoid it. It's now easier to find gluten free lasagna noodles at the grocery store, but why not do something crazy like use a vegetable instead. This vegetarian lasagna uses butternut squash in place of the noodles, which offers more nutritional value. The result is a savory, hearty vegetarian/gluten free lasagna, that won't weigh you down. To make this dish vegan replace the mozzarella with a vegan cheese or skip it altogether, it's delicious either way. 

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna

Serves 4

1 butternut squash

1 package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble (100% plant based)
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 cloves chopped garlic
generous pinch (or two) red pepper flakes
fresh ground salt and pepper
4-5 cups chopped baby spinach
2 - 24 oz Classico pasta sauce (spicy red pepper)
16 oz mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Pre-heat oven to 400º F. In a skillet with some olive oil sauté the Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble, onions and mushroom over medium heat until onions are just starting to become transparent. Add garlic, spinach, red pepper flakes, fresh ground salt and pepper and cook another few minutes. Remove from heat while the spinach is still bright green and set aside. 

Time to prep the squash. Cut the top and ends off the squash and peel it. Cut the squash in half width-wise, right where the squash starts to turns bulbous. Split the two halves in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and slice the squash into planks. Make sure your planks are the same width for even cooking, 1/4-1/2" thick. 

In a 4 quart baking dish, put down enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish (this keeps the squash from sticking). Add the squash planks to cover the bottom of the dish, cut the planks into smaller pieces as needed to fit in any gaps without overlapping. Lightly salt and pepper each squash layer. After the squash, spoon half of the mushroom mixture, a generous layer of sauce and a layer of cheese. Repeat again with another layer of squash (lightly salt & peppered), remaining mushroom mixture, sauce and finish with remainder of cheese. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly. Stick a knife into lasagna to make sure the squash is fork tender before removing from oven. It will be quite liquidy when it comes out of the oven, let it set for a good half hour before cutting into it, as it will solidify. 

Top with fresh basil.


Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Winter weather calls for an easy, warming, home made bowl of soup. Sopa de Ajo is a delicious Mexican broth based soup that is satisfying and perfect anytime, but especially good when you feel a cold or flu coming on. The simplicity of this recipe, from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook, is the best part. Besides the peeling of a lot of garlic cloves, this slow cooker recipe is one of the easiest soups you will ever make.  I could use another bowl of it right now!

Sopa De Ajo

Serves 4

6 cups water
2 large heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
4 slices french or country bread, cut into cubes
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 ounces Mexican queso fresco
1 ripe tomato, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced, green part only
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Place the water and garlic in the slow cooker insert, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the garlic is tender.

Add the bread to the broth, replace lid and allow to soften for about 10 minutes, then puree the garlic and bread using a handheld immersion blender. Add the olive oil and salt to taste.

To serve, place some of the avocado, oregano, cheese, tomato, and green onions in the bottom of each bowl, then ladle in the broth over the ingredients. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of cilantro.