Goji Cacao Bites

I know you’ve missed me. I’m sorry I’ve been spending very little time with you lately, it’s just I’ve gotten so busy with work and other obligations…I know, a pathetic excuse. The only way left to show you how sorry I am is with chocolate.

All is forgiven? Fantastic! I knew you couldn’t stay mad at me for long.

I’ll get the cons of this recipe out of the way, if you want to call them that. The first thing you should know is that these little guys need to stored in the fridge or freezer, or this happens:

Granted, these were sitting outside in 95 degree temperatures for several minutes while I took pictures. They won’t melt like that in your house (unless your house is 95 degrees, and I’ve been there…), but they will definitely soften. Coconut oil is not to be trusted and will melt at just above room temperature, so these must be cold. The great part is that they don’t taste or feel very cold, even if stored in the freezer. Even when “frozen” they’re still soft quite an enjoyably edible texture, almost just like a cool, firm but melty inside of Lindt chocolate truffle, only…different. Apparently it’s all very hard for me to describe accurately, so it’s probably best if you try it out for yourself.

Second “con” of this recipe: ingredients. If you want these to be superfood chocolate bites, you need to have actual superfoods on hand. And they’re not cheap, either. Organic raw cacao powder, organic dried goji berries, and raw, unfiltered, local honey are all classified as superfoods, meaning they’re chock-full of crazy nutritional power! However, their inexpensive, processed alternatives (baking cocoa powder, dried cranberries, processed honey) are on the opposite end of the superfood spectrum and contain little or no nutritional benefits. I don’t know about you, but I want the power! That’s the whole point of these babies! Coconut oil is irreplaceable, too (and full of health benefits). If you don’t believe me, try using olive oil and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s all pros after that. These will satisfy any chocolate craving and are just bursting with all kinds of amazing nutrients. If you’ve already invested in some of these superfoods and were wondering what to do with them, well, it’s Becky to the rescue! And did I mention that these are super simple to whip up? I think you’ll agree that it feels great to feed your sweet tooth (or chocoholism) with something so wonderfully healthy!

Don’t believe that chocolate can be so incredibly good for you? Check out some the health benefits of raw honey, raw cacao, and goji berries. And though not technically a superfood, cashews are mighty good for you, too!

Let the chocolate-eating commence.

 Goji Cacao Bites

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
2 T raw, local honey
3 T chopped raw cashews (I love them salted for this recipe)
3 T chopped dried goji berries
1/4 t pure vanilla extract
1/8 t pure stevia powder (or more, for added sweetness. If you don’t have stevia, add more honey if it’s not sweet enough for you)
1 T raw coconut butter (optional, keeps it from getting melty longer)
A few cranks of sea salt (optional – a must for me!)

Heat the coconut oil and coconut butter (if using) in the microwave until just melted. Stir in the cacao powder, honey, vanilla, stevia and sea salt until smooth. Pour into some sort of mold – I used an ice cube tray for the first batch and mini cupcake liners for the second (you may notice a lack of cashews in the second batch because, unfortunately, I ran out). I also poured some into a plastic dish shaped like a candy bar and now have a big ol’ chocolate bar in the fridge. Awesome. Sprinkle on the goji berries and cashews, put them in the freezer, and let harden for at least an hour. You now have a week’s worth of healthy chocolate for whenever the craving hits! JOY!

The plan is the get back to our regularly scheduled programming around here. As I mentioned, both Elesha and I have been insanely busy lately, and something very exciting has happened: I got a new job! What’s even more exciting about it is that Elesha is the one who informed me about the job opening and we now both work at the same law firm! It’s awesome to work for the same company, even if we are in different cities. We talk and email constantly and see each other at least once a week – it’s great! We’ll keep you posted on what’s going on behind the scenes. We’re apologize for our absence and hope you’ll stick around – there’s more to come! In the meantime, be healthy and eat your chocolate. 🙂

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Italian Seitan Sausages

If you’ve been hesitant about experimenting with homemade veggie meat thus far, I suggest you take the plunge and give this recipe a try. It’s delicious and you won’t believe how easily and quickly it all comes together. Super simple – great for beginners. And it’s really tough to screw up seitan, so you’re practically guaranteed success. These are spicy, flavorful, and the hubs goes bonkers over them. You’re gonna love ’em, too.

This recipe is taken from Post Punk Kitchen, a great vegan recipe resource. I left out the beans because I didn’t have any cooked, but I’m anxious to add them and amp up the nutritional value. I simply subbed extra vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast for the beans and it worked perfectly. I also took out the fennel seed because I’m not a fan. These are going to be wrapped in foil and steamed, so you’ll need some sort of steaming apparatus. I have a rice maker/steamer that works really well.

Italian Seitan Sausages
Original recipe found here

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos)
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Instructions

First, get your steamer ready by bringing the water to a full boil.

Have ready 4 square sheets of tin foil. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In another bowl, stir together the broth, olive oil, and soy sauce and mix with the dry ingredients. Divide dough into 4 even parts (an easy way to do this: split the dough in half and then into quarters). Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log.

I realize the resemblance to dog vomit here is unmistakable. I won’t deny that (unfortunately, I’ve seen my fair share of the stuff lately). But don’t let that deter you! When they’re done they’ll be perfectly cute sausages. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll.

Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes. That’s it! You can unwrap and enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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