Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know you’re thinking, “avocado??” but you wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you! Avocado is one of those amazing healthy fats. It’s packed with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It also doesn’t have a strong flavor, so you can mask it with other ingredients. This is the perfect way to get more of this super fruit into your body! 

I definitely recommend a vitamix for this since you can use the tamper to press the food down while mixing. If you are using another high speed blender, just pause and use a spatula to scrape down the sides. You also may need a bit more liquid in another blender to keep it moving. 

It comes out looking silky and smooth like this  Looks good doesn’t it!? It tastes just as good! Make sure to taste it before you dish it out so you know if you need to adjust anything. Guilt free and delicious! 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding-Serves 4

2 ripe avocados

¼ cup cocoa powder

pinch salt

tsp vanilla extract

1 cup agave nectar

2 tbsp maple syrup

½ cup water

2 tbsp coconut oil warmed to liquid

Put all ingredients, except coconut oil, into a high speed or Vitamix blender. Blend on high until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides. While blending, stream in coconut oil to emulsify. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Cran-Apple Relish

I made this relish for Thanksgiving, and it was a hit! This could not be easier! You chop up the apple and onion. Throw them into the saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients.   Simmer on low until everything comes together and until cranberries pop, liquid is absorbed, and it turns into a chunky chutney. Make sure you taste it. I like it tart. If you like it sweeter, you can always add more agave, some brown sugar, or maple syrup. Although it’s great by itself, I use this for so many things! It’s delicious on cold cut sandwiches, brie and turkey sandwiches, even as an elegant appetizer on top of brie filled phyllo cups! You can always omit the onion for a fruitier cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

Cran-Apple Chutney

Serves 6-8

1 12 oz. bag cranberries

¼ yellow onion diced

1 granny smith apple diced

1 cinnamon stick

¼ cup agave nectar

¼ cup apple cider or cranberry juice

pinch salt

zest of 1 orange

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan. Simmer on low until cranberries pop and apples cook down.  Stir occasionally while cooking. Cook until the chutney has thickened, about 25 minutes. Let cool and serve.

King Oyster “Calamari”

This is one of my favorite “raw food” dishes. I’m definitely not 100% Raw, but I really feel better the cleaner I eat. Raw just means that food is prepared at temperatures below 115 °F  so that the enzymes are still alive allowing them to aid in digestion and rebuild proteins in the body. Now, nothing beats a fruit or veggie that is in season and uncooked! But sometimes it’s fun to experiment and transform them into another dish. That’s where this “Calamari” comes in. This is such a great party idea! It’s much cheaper than real calamari and just as tasty! King Oyster mushrooms are not always available, so make them when you get the opportunity. I’ve only ever seen them in Whole Foods. 

Take the caps off the mushroom and slice the stem into ¼ in disks. The rings are pretty small, unless you find jumbo sized mushrooms. So I found that an olive pitter works really well for the smaller rounds and then I just use a round cutter or a paring knife to cut circles in the center of the larger rounds. 

Let them marinate in the olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt mixture for about 30 minutes. While those sit, make the cocktail sauce. Combine all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until chunky. 

For the “breading” add the flaxseed, herbs, chili powder, cayenne, and black pepper into a bowl. Just mix with your figures until all the ingredients are combined. 

Take the mushrooms that have been marinating and toss in the “breading” mixture. Place the “calamari” on a mesh dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115 °F for about 2-3 hours. They should be warm and softened (like the texture of calamari). If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t go out and buy one just for this (unless of course you’re looking to get into more Raw Food cooking)! You can use your oven, just bake them at a low temp for a shorter time. They won’t be considered Raw, but they’ll still be good. Keep an eye on them if they’re in the oven. 

Pile high onto a plate with the bowl of cocktail sauce. Place some lemon wedges on the plate for a nice fresh garnish, and there you have it! 

King Oyster Mushroom “Calamari”- Serves 6

Adapted from Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis


10 King Oyster mushrooms

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup ground flaxseed

2 tsp dried Italian herbs

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp chili powder

½ tsp black pepper

 Cocktail Sauce

1 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked at least an hour in warm water

3 cups chopped tomatoes

2 tsp horseradish

½ yellow onion

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sea salt

pinch black pepper

Slice the stem of the mushrooms into ¼ inch thick disks. Caps can be saved for later use. Using an olive pitter, make a whole in the center of the small pieces. Using a paring knife, cut a whole in the center of the larger pieces. Toss the mushroom rings into the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, to make the cocktail sauce, add all ingredients into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Place into serving bowl and set aside.

Then combine the flaxseed, herbs, cayenne, chili powder, and pepper into a bowl to create the “breading” mixture.

Once the mushrooms have marinated, add them into the “breading mixture” and toss to coat. Place the “calamari” onto a mesh dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate for about 2 to 3 hours at 115 degrees until warm or slightly crisp. To serve, cut a lemon into wedges and place on the serving platter with calamari and cocktail sauce.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

After years of experimenting with vegan and raw foods, I’ve created the most addictive and delicious vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookie! I only say the word “vegan” so people know. But honestly, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think these were full of buttery goodness! I’m not vegan, nor am I 100% raw, BUT I do eat lots of veggies and fruits. I don’t like labels, because then if you stray, you feel guilty. So I’d say I eat clean fresh foods with a bowl of frozen yogurt or a piece of cake thrown in here and there!

I got the clear Kitchen Aid bowl for Christmas that goes with my mixer, and I was dying to use it! For these cookies, start off by adding the almond meal, oat flour, oats, salt, and cinnamon into your mixing bowl. You can find almond meal and oat flour at Whole Foods. 

In a separate bowl, add the coconut oil (also found at Whole Foods) and peanut butter. Now coconut oil is hard when it’s in the jar. But you can microwave it for a few seconds to turn it into liquid. This is a miracle in a jar! Not only is it great for cooking, but you can use it as moisturizer, shaving cream, lip balm… the list goes on! Anyway, enough with the infomercial! You pop the coconut oil and peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You want the oil to turn liquid and the peanut butter to soften.  To that bowl, add in the honey, vanilla, and water. 

Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.   Add the vegan chocolate chips and give it a stir. I used a mini ice cream scoop to make the cookies the same size. You can either keep them rounded (I like them that way), or flatten them with your hand for more of a traditional cookie look. These are absolutely DELICIOUS! I can’t wait for you to try them! 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes about 18 small-ish cookies 

1 cup almond meal

1 cup oat flour

½ cup quick cooking oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

¼ cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup honey

3 tbsp water

½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix together almond meal, oat flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, warm coconut oil and peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds (until coconut oil is liquid and the peanut butter is softened). Add vanilla, honey, and water to wet ingredients and whisk together. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls for dough-ball-like cookies or flatten into disks for “traditional” cookies. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges are just set. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from sheet; Be delicate they might crumble!

Green Goddess Shake

While the holidays are definitely a time to overindulge, there are times when I just need a break from all those heavy dishes! Stew and I had our Christmas Cocktail party this past Saturday night. It was so much fun! We had tons of friends and family over, all drinking wine and having a great time. The food was delicious! I made a vegetable Stromboli, a meat Stromboli, mini turkey sandwiches, brie cheese and cranberry bites, sausage balls, cookies and brownies, and a veggie platter. So we ate a lot of heavy food to say the least! I went to bed feeling so full! I hate that feeling. When I woke up in the morning, I wasn’t hungry. That’s when I know I’ve eaten too much the night before. So instead of having cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, I made my favorite green shake. After all, it’s still in the 60s and 70s here! Why not take advantage?

I definitely recommend a Vitamix for this shake.  If you don’t have one, use a softer green like spinach; that way you don’t have chunks of leaves in your shake. I add almond milk, kale, frozen banana, berries, and agave into my Vitamix and blend it up on high until it’s completely smooth. YUM! The great thing is, you can change up the ingredients and make endless variations of this shake. I felt like a million bucks after I drank this! It definitely tastes much better than it looks. Although, I’ve gotten quite used to drinking green things!

Green Goddess Shake


1 cup almond milk

1 Handful (about ½ cup) of kale leaves (or other green washed well)

½  frozen banana

½ cup frozen blueberries

¼ cup frozen strawberries

1 tbsp Agave Nectar

Add all the ingredients into your high speed blender and blend on high until the shake is completely smooth. Enjoy!

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Stew and I went to a Christmas party last night. Needless to say, there was tons of food! I swore I was going to eat a nice light breakfast today. But sometimes, you just can’t resist the urge for good old fashioned buttermilk pancakes, especially on a Sunday morning! I had some buttermilk left over that I needed to use, so it worked out perfectly! Stew was on table duty, while I worked on the pancakes. These are truly the best buttermilk pancakes EVER!

I perfected the art of pancake making at an early age. I like to use cooking spray instead of butter because it makes a nice even golden color. I get the pan to medium and do a little test droplet to make sure the pan is not too hot so the pancakes cook on the inside and don’t get too crispy on the outside. Once they start to get a few bubbles, it’s time to flip! While I make the next batch, I put the pancakes on a sheet pan in the oven at 200 degrees just to keep them warm. Usually, we like to mix it up by adding fruit to the batter, but this morning we decided to use homemade cranberry butter! It was the perfect addition to these light and fluffy pillows of perfection!

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes 8-10 pancakes

½ stick of butter melted
1 cup of buttermilk
1/3 cup club soda
1 large egg
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt

Melt the butter and let cool. In a medium bowl, sift together baking powder, baking soda, flour, and salt. Once the butter is cooled, mix butter with buttermilk, club soda, egg and sugar in a large bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Spray the griddle with cooking spray. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle. Use approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Cranberry Butter

1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup cran-apple relish

This is the perfect use of leftover cranberry sauce from holidays! Just mix the left over cranberry sauce/relish with a stick of softened butter in the food processor! Scoop it into a pretty bowl using a large ice cream scoop. So easy!