Cranberry Orange Spice Mini Tarts.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is a family holiday, but unfortunately our family is far away from us, so I am glad that this year we were invited for a dinner to our friends’ house. Great young couple with an adorable daughter Sophie ( our Sophia’s friend).

We’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving in Ukraine, so it’s becoming a new tradition for us, and because our daughter was born here I am trying to involve her in american culture and traditions as much as possible. We are learning with her too.

Because we were going for dinner, I didn’t cook anything at home. I only made some salad to take with us, and at the last minute I decided to fix some healthy dessert. Actually, it wasn’t at the last minute, because I spent 2 days to make it, but the result worth these two days spending in the kitchen.

Honestly, the recipe is simple, but there are three steps in making it, so I made part of it the first day and finished the next day.

The recipe is completely vegan, grain, gluten, dairy, wheat free.

Cranberry Orange Spice Mini Tarts.

Tart Shells:

2 cups almond flour

2 tablespoons maple syrur or coconut syrup or agave syrup ( I will use less syrup next time, because it was too sweet for me)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 cups in a regular-sized muffin tin with paper liners (I personally used silicone muffin cups).

Put all the crust ingredients in the food processor and mix very well. Let it become a very nice dough.

Add the crust mixture to the cups and press down firmly into the cup using your knuckles, going up the sides a tad bit.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts and serve. ( I used mine the next day)

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Cranberry-Orange Spice Sauce:

1 cup fresh organic cranberries, washed

1 large orange, peeled, sectioned and pith removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

Zest from that orange, set a little aside for topping when serving

1/2 cup maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, etc.

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, combine the the cranberries, orange pieces, maple syrup and ginger.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries open and the orange pieces dissolve. I  used a fork to get in there and mash up the cranberries.

Remove from the heat, stir in the orange zest and allow the mixture to fully cool. Blend the mixture in the blender to smooth consistency.  Place into the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts.

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Cashew Cream Layer:

3/4 cups raw organic cashews, soaked at least 4 hours ( I did it overnight)

Juice from 1/2 orange about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons filtered water

2 tablespoons maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey( I will use less next time)

Pinch Himalayan crystal salt

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Add everything to your high speed blender and blend on high for as long as it takes to make it smooth and creamy.

Remove the paper liner off of the tart shells. Top each of the tart shells with a spoonful of the cashew cream filling and a spoonful of the cranberries.

Enjoy!!!!

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I made tarts and cranberry sauce the first day, and the cashew cream the next day.

They were really very delicious and everybody liked them.

You can find the original recipe here.

Pecan Citrus Cookies.

The other cookies recipe is completely dairy, gluten, wheat, grain free. Vegan, healthy and will work for any tea party or a little sweet bite.

I made those cookies when my mom was visiting us and she really liked them. ( I was trying to teach her how to cook healthy dishes).

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Pecan Citrus Cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup ground almonds
4 tbsp organic nut butter (you can use any type of nut butter)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 tbsp honey
zest of 2 lemons
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp baking soda
about 1/2 cup pecans for decorating (optional)
a pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 360°F, and grease a baking tray with coconut oil or line with baking paper.

In a food processor add the ground almonds, nut butter, honey, shredded coconut, lemon rind, lemon juice, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Process until a dough like texture is achieved. You can add more almond flour if the dough is a little wet.

Using your hands form small balls and place them on to the baking paper, a couple of centimeters apart as they expand a little.

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Press down on each ball to flatten in half. Place a single pecan on top of each cookie.

Place in to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until nice and golden on the outside.

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The Best Organic Play-dough recipe.

My daughter has been asking about play dough for a while. She plays it at school and at the Art classes.

This sounds weird but first I was thinking she is too young and will make our house covered with play dough. The other reason I didn’t get her play dough was the chemicals in it.

My first step was to buy a play dough at her Art school ( it supposes to be handmade and natural), but then I realized if they can make it, I can make it too.

The ingredients are really easy, the only special one is cream of Tartar. It took me a few days to find it at the grocery store. ( I got one at Target).

Play dough supposes to be different colors, and a lot of recipes ask for food coloring. When I checked the regular food colorings from the grocery store, I was in shock. All these food colorings (you are allowed to eat them) are full of chemicals and make your food bright rainbow colors. It is definitely not a real food, and looks dangerous for my kid.

After some searching on the internet I found easy ways for food coloring that you can make at home from real vegetables, fruits, spices etc. The easiest ones are: turmeric ( to make your food yellow), beet juice ( to make your food bright purple or pink), carrot juice ( to make your food orange), red cabbage ( to make your food purple) , basil ( to make your food green) etc.

If you are too lazy to make your own food coloring, there is the other option for you.

Glob Paint Color (6 packets of natural botanical paints)

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Sophia got this paint set for her last birthday. We didn’t use it before, but I tried it for the play dough and it worked great. These paints are completely plant based ( made of vegetables and fruits).

Waiting for my daughter at the Art school I heard the conversation between moms about their kids were eating play dough, and one of them just reccomended the other one to buy the Organic Play dough from the school ( 35$ for the few pieces). Really?

Just make your own. You will save money, and will know that it’s really safe for your kid.

Ready to make it? Here we go:

Ingredients:
1 C Flour
1 C Water
1/4 C Salt
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
Food Coloring (I used Turmeric and Glob Paint Colors)
Sparkles (If you wanna be a fun mom!)
Sauce Pan and Wooden Spoon

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Pour in all ingredients. (No particular order… each time is different for us.. and it always turns out the same.)

I divided the mixture for three parts and mixed every single one with the separate coloring.

Stir until everything is mixed well.

Once the mixture is (mostly) clump free. Heat over MEDIUM heat.

Stir. Don’t stop stirring. After a few minutes it will start to clump up. Stir, Stir Stir.Just keep stirring until the Play Dough is formed. It will  form one big clump.

Remove from heat, and knead by hand.

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 Note: If you forgot to add sparkles in the mix at the beginning, you just knead the sparkles in and it turns out just fine.

Once cooled it’s ready to go. Package it up for some party favors or stocking stuffers.

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This recipe yields about a cup and half of dough.

As far as how long it lasts, as long as it is stored right, it should last at leas up to 6 months. I’d suggest wrapping it in plastic wrap (or a Ziploc bag) and then putting it inside your sealed container… and it could last even longer. Every sealed container has air, and air can dry out and/or mold your dough, which is why I suggest wrapping in plastic wrap first.

Carrot and Coconut Cakes with Chia Seeds.

I guess all the kids like muffins, cupcakes, cookies etc. Every time when I picked my daughter up from preschool she asks about muffins:) Once I got her a muffin as a reward to behave at school. I don’t really mind to eat them, but they need to have at least a few healthy ingredients and still taste good.

These Carrot and Coconut Cakes taste like muffins, or you can even use them as cupcakes, just make some frosting to put on.

They are healthy, gluten, dairy, wheat, grain, refined sugar free.

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 Carrot and Coconut Cakes with Chia Seeds.
Ingredients:
3 free range eggs
½ cup honey, maple or agave syrup
¾ cup extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil or butter
2 cups ground almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 cup tightly packed grated carrots
grated zest of one lemon
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 320 F, and grease or line 12 muffin tins.
Add all ingredients in to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix until well combined.
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Divide the batter between the muffin tins, and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
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Guess who likes them the most?
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Yumvelope Giveaway!!!!

Last month I wrote a review about Yumvelope Monthly Food Box.

What is Yumvelope?

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Yumvelope sends out some of the best-tasting artisanal food products to their customers monthly. $21 gets you a large USPS padded envelope sent to you filled with a minimum of six full-size products, including snacks, drinks, desserts, and chocolates.

Yumvelopes are the newest way to discover awesome brands and find new favorite products. Be it dutch-process hot cocoa from a small-batch chocolatier or granola baked with Michigan maple syrup, there’s certain to be a product for everyone in each shipment. Unlike “sample” style subscriptions, you will always receive full-size products. Unlike “expensive” style subscriptions, your subscription won’t break the bank!

Yumvelope is doing a GIVEAWAY this month and anybody of you can win a “double-stuffed” November Yumvelope.

Follow this link to enter the GIVEAWAY:

Yumvelope Prize Pack
The GIVEAWAY runs until Black Friday, so DON’T MISS IT!!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

To Genetically Modify, or to Not Genenetically Modify? The Question Continues…

Great explanation about GMOs!!!!

Honk If You're Vegan

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When I heard that foods were being modified to produce their own pesticides, I became concerned. That just sounds SO unhealthy! Still, I have to admit that I know little about GMO’s. So today I’m sharing a GMO guest post by writer, Sandra Mills. I’m curious about what she has to say.

To Genetically Modify, or to Not Genetically Modify? The Question Continues… by Sandra Mills

GMO. Non-GMO. To play with nature or not. Are there benefits? What are the drawbacks? The debate has raged since the first use of genetic modification in 1996. And yet, many more people are becoming aware of this formerly scientific debate as our product packaging is now changing to promote one or the other. Most people are confused, and rightly so.

Pesticide and large agricultural companies tell us one thing, small farmers and independent researchers tell us another. The health world has studies for…

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