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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mint Chocolate Creme Tart

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your loved ones!  This was our first year away from home for the holidays, which for us is the U.P. of Michigan.  A little bittersweet to be away from from family and snow, and still have a good time with our Austin on his first Christmas.  We ended up driving up to the Washington D.C. area to spend Christmas with my aunt.  We had a cozy time with good food, drinks, and stories of past years.  Very fun!  Here is our 2011 family portrait:

I have a lovely dessert recipe to share today.  This dessert is a lighter version of my Grasshopper Pie that I shared with you last December.  It turned out this year I couldn't find any avocados that weren't shipped in from Mexico (and in extremely bad condition, if I may add), so I nixed that layer of the pie and changed it up a little.  This Mint Chocolate Creme Tart was delicious with a dollop of my Advanced Plan vanilla flavored Coconut Whipped Cream on top (find that recipe in my Season's Eatings Holiday e-Book).  Sorry no picture to accompany...we had the intention but devoured the tart before grabbing the camera!

Mint Chocolate Creme Tart
Makes 8 Servings

1 1/4 cups coconut flour, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
5 Tbsp coconut oil (room temp solid)
1 Tbsp raw almond butter
2 tsp spoonable Stevita stevia powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours in water
1 cup unsweetened organic coconut milk
1 tsp pure liquid stevia, or to taste
5-8 drops pure mint essential oil, or to taste
5 drops liquid chlorophyll (for natural green color)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1.)  CRUST    In your food processor, add all crust ingredients and pulse until it is of uniform consistency.  It should be crumbly.  Transfer your crust to a spring form pan or 9 inch tart shell and press firmly and evenly to line it.  Place in fridge to set slightly while preparing filling.

2.)  FILLING    In a blender, combine the cashews, mint leaves, and coconut milk.  blend until smooth.  Add remaining FILLING ingredients and blend until combined.  (Start with less mint oil and stevia, tasting between blends until you get the perfect combination to your personal taste.  I shared my preference above in the ratios. You can use mint extract instead of oil, but will need to use lots more to achieve the right taste.)

3.)  Pour filling into chilled tart crust.  Cover and place tart in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Best if in fridge over night to set.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Season's Eatings e-book is ON SALE now thru midnight on December 25th!  You can now purchase the holiday e-book for only $10!  There is still time to plan your holiday menu and keep it healthy.  I promise my recipes are simple to prepare and will take the same, if not less, time to prepare compared to the "traditional" sugar and gluten laden dishes of this time of year.

Check out the e-book here for the types of recipes included and how to purchase.

Merry Christmas everyone!  We are off to spend the holiday (and Austin's first Christmas!) with my aunt who lives in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area.  Hoping to get over to the White House to see the national tree!  We hope you all have a wonderful time with your families and loved ones!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Planning Your Holiday Menus

It's about time to begin planning your holiday menu, if you haven't started already.  Giving yourself at least a week to plan ahead is ideal, leaving yourself plenty of time to do the shopping and make sure you have the serving platters and utensils needed.  Planning in advance also means you'll be less stressed the day of!

The advice I have to offer for your holiday menu is captured in my Season's Eatings holiday e-book.  Inside you will find more tips for planning and preparing your menu, how to deal with the stress of the holidays, as well as 62 Core and Advanced Plan recipes which are redesigns of holiday classics!  It's not too late to purchase your copy in time for Christmas!

A Charlotte mom shares her story of how Season's Eatings has helped her make healthier choices for her family:

"I am embarrassed to admit how many cookbooks I own, but Season's Eating is on the short list of my favorites.  I received your e-book as a gift and it is one of the nicest presents I have ever received.  The book has a beautiful layout with great pictures, the recipes are filled with tips and practical advice, and the recipes are written with a lot of explanation and can be followed by people who may not have a lot of experience cooking.  My family is new to Healing Cuisine and eating following Maximized Living, and your website and this book are my constant companion.  As Dr. Oz would say, the food 'is delicious and it's healthy.'  Believe it or not, my 2-year old son (who is generally a non-vegetable eater) asked for seconds of the Christmas Kale Salad (which is delicious) and all 3 of my children get excited when they see that we are having 'dessert' (your protein bars) for breakfast!  Thank you for the great recipes and for helping me make better choices for my family and me."   - Kim T.  Charlotte, NC
Thank you for sharing, Kim!  I am honored to help you and your family reach a greater health potential!  Keep it up!  I'm excited to see the health goals you reach in the coming year!  :)

You CAN eat healthy thru the holidays, and it doesn't take a lot of work either.  Find out how!  Check out Season's Eatings either for yourself or a friend who will appreciate it as a Christmas gift.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Swap Recipes to Revisit

Unfortunately there are no new cookie recipes to share this Christmas from my kitchen.  With a newborn in the house, I'm lucky if I make it in there to make dinner every night!  But I've been reading your emails and requests for cookie recipes, with cookie swaps holiday parties coming up!  Wanted to send along a list of the cookie recipes from years past.

And just a reminder, I have already included all of my favorite holiday cookie recipes (made Maximized Living approved) in my holiday e-cookbook, Season's Eatings.  You can purchase and download here.

Cookies and desserts found in Season's Eatings e-book:  Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Balls, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Cinnamon Walnut Cookies, Coconut Flour Brownies, Dark Chocolate Bites of Heaven, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties, Gingerbread Cookies, Pumpkin Coconut Squares, Raw Chocolate Fudge, Snowball Cookies, Apple Pie, Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie, Fruit Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, Vanilla Cheesecake, Almond Flour Pie Crust, Coconut Flour Pie Crust, Crumb Pie CrustFind them for purchase here.

Free cookie and dessert recipes from Elise:

Cocoa-Nut Bites
Peppermint Bark
Candy Cane Macaroons
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Almond Cookies
Banana Bread
Cranberry Nut Bread
Blueberry Bread
Apple Crumb Pie
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Coconut Dream Cake
Grasshopper Pie or Bars
Pecan Pie
Bumble Bars
Moist Chocolate Brownies
Nut & Seed Bars

And, just one more thing...a huge request.  I have entered a gluten-free Christmas cookie contest.  It is hosted by Jules Gluten Free and is taking place on Facebook. If you would take a moment to VISIT THIS LINK and "like" my recipe for Candy Cane Macaroons, it will count as a vote in the contest.  I have a chance to win a Kitchen Aid mixer, kitchen bakeware, and a few other great items.  Hope you'll vote for me, and take a second to share with your friends!  (Don't forget to try the recipe in your own kitchen, too!  It's a fav of ours!!)  I appreciate the help!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Healing Cuisine 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

It's time for Healing Cuisine's 2011 Holiday Gift Guide!  I'd like to share my top gift ideas, including new products I have discovered this year and quality staples that every foodie or natural lifestyle enthusiast will love.  Be sure to refer back to 2010's Holiday Gift Guide, too!  This year's list is a bit abbreviated compared to 2010's, but that's only because I listed evvverything I adore on last year's list!  2011 introduces some fresh ideas and new companies I discovered this year.

Homemade Gifts  Save time.  Save money.  Show you care.

Jarred Spice Rub
- This year we are making homemade vanilla, bottling it up and sharing with loved ones.  My personal directions to come when our first batch is finished, but you can start here.

- Create gourmet spice blends and package in individual jars or designed baggies.  Check out About.com and BlogHer for some spicy inspiration.  Attach a recipe to each jar that uses the unique spice blend.

- Give a container of homemade natural dish washer detergent.  Find my recipe here.  Make a unique label for it, and even include a bottle of distilled white vinegar relabeled with your personal logo.

- Sort of like homemade gifts, just not by you...I've really gotten into Etsy.com lately.  It's a site for people who make crafts and products by hand to sell them world wide.  It's quite amazing really, the things that people can do from home in their hobby shops.  Hop on there and browse, I'm sure you'll find something you like and someone to help support for their hard work!

Kitchen Supplies  Stuff healthy peeps always need.

Local Harvest's Map of Farmers
- A Local Harvest CSA Membership:  Check out Local Harvest to find a farm that offers a Community Supported Agriculture program in your recipient's neighborhood.  Usually you can purchase membership by the month, season, or year.  Your foodie friend will receive fresh, local produce (organic if you choose) and you will be supporting a local farmer.

- Give them a few months supply of coconut flour, almond flour, raw nuts, coconut oil, chia seeds, etc...something they will definitely use and enjoy while testing recipes in their kitchen.  My favorite bulk sites to order quality food products from:  NutsOnline.com and CLNF.org.

- L.O.V.E the natural lunch supplies offered by Nubius Organics.  While they do offer plastic options, try to stick with the stainless steel, bamboo, and cloth as much as possible. Great for adults and kids!

- 98% dark chocolate bars SWEETENED WITH STEVIA!!!!  Find them only on Amazon.com.  You can only order them in bulk, so plan to give some as gifts and save some for yourself.  I had the opportunity to try these bars, and they are very good.  Advanced Plan approved guys!! :)

Body Care  Organic.  Natural.  Health-inducing.

Florere natural deodorant
- Any of the products from SKIN Organic Body Care.  My favorites are the Hand and Body Cream and the Naked Face Wash.  I love everything Stephanie, the owner, makes!  Your skin is guaranteed to respond well to it all as she uses whole food organic ingredients!

- Okay, not kidding here, this is THE BEST completely all-natural and organic deodorant we have used yet! And to boot, it's a vegan product!  It passed the "Dave test," meaning he approves it with flying colors. He's tossed out every past "natural" deodorant option we have tried except for MiEssence, but even with that brand he had to reapply at least twice daily.  With Florere brand, he applies in the morning after showering and that's it, he's good for over 12 hours no odor.  Two thumbs up for quality and performance, two thumbs up for being completely all natural and safe!

Kids and Baby  Mixed bag of my favorites.

- For a crafty kid or teen, a Paper Flower Kit from PS.  They offer many different flower options.  I like this summer bouquet -- brings the summer cheer indoors when it's winter white outside for so many months!

Lil' Sprout Creations
plastic-free mobile
- Snuggle Me Cushion for baby.  An all-natural transportable infant sleeper.  We have one and LOVE it!  Truly a life saver!  Austin loves his, and even hangs out in it with a smile while he's awake.  We also use it when co-sleeping, and when traveling for an easy napping place.

- Robeez or Bison Booties soft sole shoes for babies and toddlers.  They stay on and keep feet warm while providing the best opportunity for the development of their tiny feet.

- Kiss Naturals Lip Balm Making Kit: all natural, eco friendly

- What Does It Mean to be Green book

- Recycled paper supplies from Julia on Etsy.  I am in love with her notebooks that use recycled Dr. Seuss book covers!

- Classic all-natural wood toys from Verry Cherry Toys on Etsy

- One of the cute all natural mobiles from Lil' Sprout Creations on Etsy

- Praise Baby Christian songs and videos for babies and young children

Stocking Stuffers All natural and healthy.

Nellie's PVC-free dryer balls
- A new BPA-free reusable bottle from Lifefactory! You can order online or find at your local health food store.  They come in different sizes and you'll fall in love with the vibrant colors!  These bottles are made of glass wrapped in silicon to prevent damage if dropped -- and to provide a grip while using.

- Pack of Nellie's all natural laundry detergent or dryer balls.  The company uses completely natural ingredients, and the surfactants used in the detergent come from coconut!  Awesome company, LOVE their dryer balls!

You can also visit TreeHugger for some other great eco-friendly gift giving guides.  Do YOU have any other great gift suggestions??  Happy gifting! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Project Christmas Tree CONTEST

I have an exciting contest to share that YOU can enter to WIN BIG!!  It is called Project Christmas Tree 2011, and it's happening now thru December 15th!

I have teamed up with Jade Louise Designs and 11 other fabulous bloggers and companies to host this huge giveaway contest.  You have the chance to win a bunch of prizes and $cash$, total value of $295.80.  I am donating a copy of my Season's Eatings holiday e-cookbook!

We are selecting just ONE winner, so be sure to enter all the ways you can to deepen your odds.  Here's how it works:

-  The giveaway is open to US residents only
-  One winner will take home ALL of the cash and prizes.
-  Entrants must like/follow each of the sponsor's site to qualify to win
-  The giveaway ends at 12:01AM EST on Thursday, December 15th
-  Entries and the winner will be managed by the service Rafflecopter.  See all the ways to enter below in the Rafflecopter box OR visit Jade Louise Designs here. (Failure to follow every sponsor will result in a forfeit of winnings.  This will be confirmed before rewarding the Winner.)

Most of the entries are a one time option, but there are a few at the bottom that you can enter every day!  Don't miss out on that opportunity!  GOOD LUCK everyone!!  Merry Christmas! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions Answered: Pecan Pie

I had the request for Pecan Pie from Melanie on my facebook page:

"I grew up on an awesome tasting Pecan Pie, but unfortunately it calls for both dark Karo syrup and Light Karo syrup.  What would I substitute instead for the same flavor and texture?  I make this a lot at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I really want to have the healthier version!"  - Melanie C.
Can you believe that I have not only never made a pecan pie before, but never tasted one?  It's just not something my family ate growing up.  Being from northern Michigan, we were a pumpkin pie or apple pie family.  But now that we're southern dwellers, I suppose it's about time I tried my hand at a pecan pie.  To be honest, since I didn't know where to begin, I tasted a not-Maximized Living approved pecan pie first...just a couple bites to get the texture and flavors into my brain.  And then I got to work.  Those who love your pecan pie, please try this recipe out and let me know how it compares to what you think a pecan pie should be!  I need your opinions and suggestions!

This is a Core Plan pie, because it definitely still needed maple syrup to get the texture right.  But this is much healthier for you than using corn syrup or processed sugars!  Hope this is what you were looking for, Melanie!

Pecan Pie
Makes one 9" pie

2 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
20 drops pure liquid stevia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure liquid stevia
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh flax seed meal
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
A couple pinches of sea salt for pecans

1.)  THE CRUST  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.   In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt with a fork.  Add in the remaining liquid crust ingredients.  Stir together with fork until well combined and crumbly.

2.)  Press dough into a 9 inch pie shell (or tart pan -- that's what I used).  Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3.)  THE FILLING:  In a medium sauce pan, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, stevia and vanilla extract.  Bring to a boil over Medium-High heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (It will seem like the oil and syrup are separating.  The flax and arrowroot mixture will act as an emulsifier later!)  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

4.)  In a large stainless steel skillet, toast the pecans on Medium-Low heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt.

5.)  In a small bowl, mix together the flax seed meal, arrowroot powder and almond milk.  Let it sit for 6 minutes.

6.)  Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooled to room temperature, whisk in the flax/arrowroot mixture until combined and smooth.  Stir in the chopped pecans until combined.  Pour onto the cooled pie crust and distribute evenly.

7.)  Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.  Chill in fridge at least an hour or two before serving (we found it easier to cut and serve when slightly chilled).

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