Chocolate Hazelnut Squares

Chocolate Hazelnut SquaresThis week has been a funny week for me. The new company I work for offers extended health & dental benefits as well as critical illness benefits as an additional coverage. When I started I thought “What the hell? Might as well apply for the it – I know how shit can happen”. Well, I received a letter from the benefit company stating that I was denied all critical illness coverage because – you guessed it – I had cancer.   Chocolate Hazelnut SquaresDoesn’t matter that it has been 11 years since I had it, or that I practice a healthy life style, eat all my vegetables, drink several litres of water a day, exercise daily. Nope. None of that shit matters. Because all they see in bright red lights as they read my application was ” CANCER, CANCER, CANCER” screaming at them (my hands and arms are of course flay-ling right now to describe this).

At first I was annoyed that I was denied all critical illness coverage (this includes about 40 different types of illnesses other than cancer like heart conditions). But then, I thought about it. Instead of getting mad that I was never going to get this coverage, I thought  – what if I invest that monthly fee differently? Either I invest the money into more organic, healing produce OR I invest it into my retirement plan when I will be living even longer then the people who denied me  my application? I decided to go with the later. Because let’s be honest, only 10% of all cancers are genetic – the rest happen due to life style choices, environmental pollutions or toxins that people have been exposed to. If I am making a daily effort to live an honest, clean eating, balanced lifestyle then I am already making more of an effort to sustain my life. And the truth is, none of us know what’s to come. Maybe my conscious efforts will work, maybe they won’t. But at least I can say I tried. At least I took the time to invest in my health, my mental well-being and my future of living to 100. And that, makes me smile. :)

Chocolate Hazelnut Squares

Chocolate Hazelnut Squares
 
Chocolate pudding layered on top of a hazelnut chocolate crust.
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 20 pitted dates, soaked in water for 15mins
  • 1¾ cups raw hazelnuts
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup gluten free flour blend (I used TJ's brand)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
  • PUDDING
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9.5 x 13.5 glass pan with a little coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor on an 'S' blade, grind up nuts until a grain-like consistency. Place in bowl and set aside.
  3. Next, place soaked dates into food processor and blend until a paste-like texture. Dump in bowl with nuts.
  4. Add all other ingredients to bowl and mix until mixture takes on a dough-like shape. Spread into glass baking pan and spread evenly. Press the dough firmly into the pan, using the bottom of a glass if necessary to make it level. Bake for 10 - 15mins. When baked, set aside to cool.
  5. In the meantime, start your pudding. Place your arrowroot powder and a couple tablespoons of almond milk in a bowl and mix together until there are no lumps. Set aside.
  6. Take remaining ingredients and place in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium low heat and continue to stir until well blended/melted.
  7. Add the arrowroot mixture and continue to stir continuously. Once mixture begins to thicken quickly transfer to spread on top of the hazelnut crust. Smooth out fast before pudding begins to set. Place in fridge to cool for several hours or overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, add chopped hazelnuts & grated dark chocolate. Cut into squares and devour!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries (Gluten-free & Vegan)

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

I’m baaaaaack! After taking a couple of months hiatus from the blog, I am back with a new fantastic recipe that is perfect for your upcoming summer BBQ party. I tell ya, if you’re the one who has been assigned desserts for the next pot-luck – this Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries is perfect! Decadent, creamy, cool and utterly satisfying, this pie will do the trick to win over the hearts of your friends and family. Of course, check about nut allergies before you bring it – wouldn’t want a serious allergic reaction to ruin your fun…

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

Who knew that chocolate and blueberries went so well together? Anyone? Anyone? Why have I never had this combo until now?!?!?!?! This combination is perfect, especially when the blueberries are fresh and from your local farmer. We have an earlier harvest season here on the West Coast compared to the East. And lucky us we get to have blueberries at a very reasonable cost so early in the summer.

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

Chocolate is back in my diet…in small amounts. How I was dealing as a new mother with no dark chocolate (or wine!) is beyond me! Seriously, as much as I love my kale, let’s be honest, it’s NOT chocolate. And everyone deserves some chocolate in their lives. I still have to watch my intake and not have too much or Baby A will be refluxing for several hours.

Every summer since we moved to British Columbia we go to an organic blueberry farm and pick blueberries. It’s only a half hour drive to get to the farm, which really is not far to have fresh blueberries in the fridge. We buy buckets full. And I mean buckets. Literally. My husband LOVES his berries and has to eat them every day. So we usually make to trips to pick, one near the beginning of the harvest and one near the end. The batch we buy at the end of the harvest gets pack and frozen so we can use the berries through the winter when the cost to buy them in the store is not affordable. It’s great for the family to get out picking, connect to nature and see how our food grows and gets to our table.

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

What about you and your family? Do you go blueberry, strawberry or even apple picking at harvest time?

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries (Gluten-free & Vegan)
 
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 20 pitted dates, soaked 15mins in warm water
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¾ cups raw walnuts
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (don't skimp on this part!)
  • ½ cup GF flour blend (I used Trader Joe's for this recipe)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chis seeds soaked in ¼ cup water for 5mins until a thick gel
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • CREAM FILLING
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for min 3hrs
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk (Thai kitchen's brand has mini cans that work perfectly)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (again, don't skimp on this!)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • TOPPING
  • 1-2 cups of fresh, cleaned blueberries
Instructions
  1. Get your cashews soaking. Set aside and make crust.
  2. Soak your dates in warm water for 15mins. In a food processor with an 'S' blade, take your pecans and walnuts and grind them until it resembles a meal-like texture. Place in medium sized bowl.
  3. Next, take the soaked dates and drain water. Place in food processor and make into a paste, scraping sides with a spatula if necessary. Add to nut mixture along with remaining crust ingredients and mix until well blended.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take a 8" spring-form cake pan and grease with a little coconut oil.
  5. Take your raw crust in a ball and place in the middle of the pan. Then gently press the dough around the bottom and sides of the pan until completely even & smooth.
  6. Bake for 10-15mins, keeping an eye on it so that it does not burn. When done, let cool completely still in the pan before you put your filling in.
  7. For the filling, drain water from cashews and place all cream filling ingredients in the food processor with and 'S' blade and blend until smooth. This can be done with a high powered blender as well. Once completely smooth, pour into cooled crust, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 4hrs to set.
  8. When ready to serve, remove spring-form and allow the pie to thaw for 30mins or longer if it was in the freezer for more then 4hrs. Pour blueberries on top. Using a sharp knife (run under hot water for 1min for a clean cut) cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!