I am crazy about dark chocolate, nuts and coconuts. So why not put them all together? My local Whole Foods makes chocolate covered clusters that you can buy in bulk for about $18.99 a pound. I know it’s expensive but this is because the mix includes sprouted nuts, raisins, blueberries, coconut bits and chocolate. I figured why not try to make my own home version with a good dark unsweetened chocolate and about two cups of whatever I had on hand?
My mix has some sprouted ingredients and some not. You can do whatever you want as long as delicious chocolate is covering it all.
Super snack attack? No need to feel guilty with these treats unless you throw down too many of them. Nuts are to be eaten in small batches otherwise you’ll just feel weighted down. This is a great snack for kids as well and you can sneak in protein and energy all at the same time. Unfortunately my toddler is still too small to give him nuts but I’ll pick out the coconut flakes, date pieces and raisins and he will be thrilled.
No more to say except for make a batch and share half with a friend. I am bringing half my batch to share with Gabriel’s teachers at school for a pick me up afternoon treat!
You can substitute the coconut oil in the chocolate for earth balance and the coconut sugar for pure cane sugar. When letting mixture set on baking sheet you have the option of not tossing it and letting it create clusters instead of individual pieces.
2 cups mix of raisins, walnuts, almonds, goji berries, date pieces and coconut flakes (or use whatever you have on hand and toss it together)
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
½ cup unsweetened dark chocolate
Place wax paper on baking sheet
Spread nut and coconut mix on baking sheet
In a small sauce pan add coconut oil and melt over the lowest heat
Add coconut sugar and dissolve with a small spoon
Add dark chocolate to coconut/sugar mixture and gently swirl around lifting pan about an inch of the flame while chocolate melts. Stir chocolate as necessary with a spoon making sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn
Turn flame off and quickly pour chocolate over nut and coconut mix tossing gently with a fork covering mixture well with chocolate
Let mixture set until chocolate is hard for an hour or two gently tossing every half hour
Lucuma ice cream was my favorite as a child living in Peru. And mango everything was everyone’s favorite. I was shopping at a different Whole Foods in the suburbs of Boston last week and I came across lucuma powder. I was skeptical at first but I bought it anyways. It was pricey at about $14 a bag but I couldn’t resist hoping for a taste of my childhood. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. Lucuma is a tropical fruit native to the highlands of Peru, Chile and Ecuador and it is packed with minerals and vitamins including carotenes and vitamin B3. The taste is sweet but mild making it unique to other fruits, in my opinion.
This morning I made Gabriel’s daily fruit smoothie and I sneaked some of the lucuma powder into the shake. I handed him the glass with a straw and watched out of the corner of my eye to see his reaction. Gabriel has such a sensitive palate that he can tell when anything is out of the ordinary in his food. To my joy (or sadness because of the price of the powder), Gabriel drank the whole thing down and said “mas!” I thought I would have a bit of smothie leftover for me but no go. It’s all good though since I made this delicious lucuma mango smoothie after I dropped him off at school. More for me!
If you can’t find the powder at your local grocery store try Amazon. I looked today and it is actually cheaper if you buy two 8 oz packages. They are about $10 a piece this way and I won’t be sweating it out when Gabriel becomes addicted to the lucuma taste.
Dates are a nice way to add a little bit of a sweeter bite and, literally, little bites of dates as you slurp up the smoothie.
Top with strawberries or nothing at all and enjoy this light delicious beverage for breakfast or a healthy low-cal snack.
I have always loved polenta and in the most traditionally cooked ways. Polenta is popular in Italy and Latin America where many times it is served with a red sauce on top. Sometimes I make it in this way too but it is a heavier dish and better left for the winter time. These polenta rounds are made in a more contemporary way and are lighter as well as easy to make since you can buy a tube of pre-cooked polenta and just cut slices.
Usually an 18 ounce tube will serve about 16 rounds slices or 8 people, although most will want more than two slices each so account for that. You need some arugula, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and freshly cracked pepper and voila! Of course you also need an oven and about 5-10 minutes of your time.
Bake for 7 minutes or so and you have a delicious side dish or appetizer.
Savory, simple and colorful. People will think you slaved over this…but you didn’t!