Day 7 (final) ~ 7-day Desserts and Snacks Challenge ~ Bliss Balls

Bliss Balls ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.
Bliss Balls ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.

Bliss balls are taking the health food world by storm lately, and most health food nuts have their own special recipe. While you may pay a premium price for one of these in stores or at your local health food restaurant, making them at home will not only save you money but will also give you an opportunity to create your own unique flavour combinations.

This is a super basic recipe that lends itself well to experimentation. Try adding in fun things like chopped dried fruits, other nuts, different extracts, citrus zests or even switching up the nut butters! Play around and have fun 🙂

Raw Bliss Balls (Makes 4-6 balls – can be frozen for 3-4 months)


  • ½ cup raw nut butter of choice
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp dried shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp chopped hazel nuts
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • any add ins you like  – chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, carob chips etc.


1. Blend dates and nut butter in a food processor or blender until smooth.

2. Transfer date and nut butter mixture to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and combine with your hands. Your mixture should now form balls. If it is too crumbly add more nut butter. If it is too loose add more shredded coconut.

3. Form into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate until set. Enjoy!

Recipe ~ Mushroom Biryani


I’ve made this dish several times and each time has been a fantastic taste experience. Sometimes I add seasoned tofu cubes, sometimes I don’t. But, what makes this dish is the vibrancy of the spices … this dish will leave you feeling warm and happy in the tummy. Enjoy!



Basmati Rice – 250 gms, soaked for 15 minutes
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Button Mushrooms – 10, chopped
Tomatoes – 2, chopped (optional)
Mint Leaves – handful, chopped
Coriander Leaves – handful, chopped
Oil – 3 tsp
Ghee – 2 tsp
Salt as per taste


Grind together:
Saunf – 1 tsp
Cumin Seed s – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Bay Leaf – 2
Garlic – 10 cloves
Cloves – 2
Black Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Coconut – 2 tsp, grated
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Cardamoms – 2


1. Heat a pan over medium flame.
2. Add ghee and oil.
3. Saute the onions till golden.
4. Add the ground paste, tomatoes, mushrooms, salt, mint leaves, coriander leaves and stir well.
5. Cook till the oil starts to separate.
6. Pour 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
7. Add the soaked rice and cover with a lid.
8. Cook till the rice is done.
9. Remove from flame and mix well.
10. Transfer to a plate and serve hot with onion raita.


Day 6 ~ 7-day Desserts and Snacks Challenge ~ Orange Chocolate Fudge

orang choc fudgeHave you ever had orange flavoured chocolate? I know that the combination may sounds a little strange at first, but trust me when I say that the bright, clean and crisp flavours of citrus really adds a special sparkle to the natural earthiness of chocolate.

These fudge squares are much easier to make than traditional fudge, and does not require a candy thermometer or precise temperatures. All you need to do is melt a little chocolate, blend a few other ingredients, mix and you’re good to go!

I know that the instructions tell you to wait until this glorious mixture is cooled and set before consuming, but if you are a little too impatient to wait for that, we will understand.

Orange Chocolate Fudge


  • 2 cups dry shredded coconut
  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 orange, zested then peeled
  • 2 cups Fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch sea salt


1. Line 6×6 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Place cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and cinnamon powder in a bowl and combine. Zest orange zest into cocoa powder mixture. Peel orange and discard the peel.

3. Place coconut in high speed blender and blend until a smooth butter forms. Add your peeled orange and dates. Continue to blend until well combined. Add to your cocoa powder mixture

4. Place a small pot with 1-2 inches of water over high heat. Place a glass or metal bowl over the pot, making sure that the water does not touch the bowl. Add chocolate chips and almond milk and melt chocolate until fully melted. Stir melted chocolate into coconut orange date mixture.

5. Mix well then transfer to lined baking dish. Place in freezer for a few hours. Slice and enjoy!

6. Makes 1 6×6 baking dish worth. Can be frozen for several months.

Recipe ~ No-Bake, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Just 5 Ingredients!)

No-Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
No-Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raw cookies anyone?

This recipe is ridiculously simple and healthy. Your kids (and you) will love it.


No-Bake, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1.5 cups almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 squares of your favorite dark chocolate, diced in small chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Add almond meal, cinnamon and chocolate chunks into a mixing bowl.

2. Blend coconut flakes in a high speed blender until mealy, then add to the bowl with the almond meal mixture. Mix well with your hands or a spoon.

3. Add the melted coconut oil and mix with your hands until you get a slightly sticky texture. Then, using your hands, create four balls with your paste and carefully press them on a plate with your hand. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

NOTE:  If you want these a bit sweeter, add a teaspoon of coconut sugar.  Makes about 4 cookies.


Day 5 ~ 7-day Desserts and Snack Challenge ~ Apple Crisp (4 servings)

Apple Crisp ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.
Apple Crisp ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.

Apple crisp was one of the first desserts I ever learned to make on my own when I was a little girl. I have fond memories of standing in my grandmothers kitchen in the summer time, chopping apples, mixing the butter into the oats and watching as my grandmother pull  recipes together without ever touching a measuring cup.

As I grew up and began eating a healthier diet, I started to experiment with different ingredients in order to clean up the apple crisp my grandmother taught me to make. I found that apple crisp is one of the best desserts out there if you are in the mood to experiment, because it is not an exact science like baking is. Have fun with this basic recipe, adding in anything that you think would taste good to you and your family.

Apple Crisp


  • 3 apples, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup dried shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • pinch sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Toss diced apples with 1 tsp cinnamon and pinch of sea salt. Place in lined baking dish.

3. Combine remaining ingredients. Mix in a large bowl with your hands until a crumble forms. Place crumble on top of chopped apples in an even layer.

4. Bake for 30-40 minute or until apples are fully cooked and fork tender.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

Autumn Recipe ~ Snickerdoodle Mini Cakes

snicker mini


For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (combination of nutmeg, ginger, coriander, dill, cinnamon, cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted in the microwave (20 seconds at a time, until completely melted)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Line a muffin pan (I use silicone liners) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients:  flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and mixed spice. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together melted butter and sugar until pale in color and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla extract, beat to combine. Add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Don’t overbeat.

Lastly, add the  buttermilk, and beat until just combined.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping.

Fill the muffin liners to 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the tops evenly.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.


Recipe ~ Miyoko’s Un-Turkey (Vegan, yeah!)

Watch Miyoko as she recreates for you her famous UnTurkey with gravy and stuffing.  Holidays are coming … this recipe will come in handy.  Enjoy!

This makes one very large UnTurkey, enough to feed 12 and still have leftovers for sandwiches and UnTurkey Noodle Soup.

Light Yeast Flavoring:
1 cup good tasting nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder

Pulverize all ingredients in a blender until powdered.  Store in a jar in a cool place.


For the UnTurkey: 
6 cups water
1/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup Light Yeast Flavoring
8 cups vital wheat gluten

Traditional Dressing:
4 Tbsp. oil
1 large oni
on, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 lb. mixed mushrooms, sliced, tossed with oil and roasted in the oven
1 ½ lbs. Bread, cubed and dried in oven
1 Tbs. rubbed. sage
1 1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Celery seed
1 tsp. salt
2 cups UnTurkey stock


Follow along with Miyoko with her step-by-step directions here:

Day 4 ~ 7-Day Dessert and Snack Challenge ~ Simple Raw Apricot Crumble

Simple Raw Apricot Crumble
Simple Raw Apricot Crumble ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.

Baking can be fun, but sometimes you just want a simple dessert that comes together quickly and does not require that you heat up the whole house by turning the oven on. If you are in a warmer climate or it is still summer weather where you are right now, I have a feeling you are going to really enjoy todays recipe.

This crumble takes advantage of the natural sweetness of dates and fresh apricots or peaches to create a stunning dessert that will take you less time to make than it would for you to preheat your oven. You can also use peaches, plums, pears, nectarines or even thinly sliced apples in this recipe if you do not have access to fresh apricots. Get creative and have fun with this one!

  • 1 ½ cup Fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 tbsp dried shredded coconut
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 7-8 apricots, pitted and diced or 2-3 large peaches
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch sea salt


1. Place ½ cup dates, 2 tbsp maple syrup, ½ tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 pinch salt and 1 apricot in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture over remaining chopped apricots, toss and set aside.

2. Place walnuts in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Add your remaining dates and pulse until a sticky mixture forms.

3. Remove date walnut mixture from blender or food processor and place in a bowl. Add coconut, remaining maple syrup, remaining vanilla, remaining cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Combine with your hands.

4. Crumble date walnut mixture over apricot mixture. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Enjoy!

5. Makes 4-6 portions – can be frozen for 1-2 months if well sealed.


Recipe ~ Maple Balsamic Quinoa Delight Salad

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Delight Salad
Maple Balsamic Quinoa Delight Salad

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. Packed with fibre, carbohydrates, amino acids (the little structures that make up proteins), iron and b vitamins, this little pseudo grain is great if you are looking for a hit of usable energy.

It is much easier to digest and absorb than traditional grains like barley and wheat because it does not contain any gluten, and its chemical structure is much simpler. This salad is light, refreshing and tasty, but won’t leave you feeling hungry again within the hour.

Salad Ingredients:

½ cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
½ small beet, shredded
1 small carrot, shredded
½ small cucumber, sliced or diced
2 cups spring mix

Dressing Ingredients:

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard
pinch Himalayan salt
pinch pepper


Place water in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add your quinoa and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until quinoa has absorbed water. Allow to cool. Combine cooled quinoa and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl or on a plate and set aside. Combine dressing ingredients in a personal blender or high speed blender and blend until smooth. You can also simply whisk dressing ingredients with a fork into a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad, toss and enjoy!

*Note: It can save you a lot of time to make the quinoa the night before and store it in the fridge!

Day 3 ~ 7-Day Desserts and Snacks Challenge ~ Hot Fudge Sundae (Makes 1 serving)

Banana Sundae ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.

Is there anything more decadent than a warm, chocolate sauce drizzled over cool, sweet, creamy ice cream? Today’s dessert is going to have you licking your bowl clean – and don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

The sauce for this recipe is super fudgy and will have you forgetting all about the sugar and chemical filled chocolate sauces of your past. And you may even discover that you enjoy the way banana ice cream makes you feel so much more than the way regular ice cream makes you feel, that you make it a permanent fixture in your life!

When I was first transitioning towards a whole food diet, I actually ate banana ice cream with a different sauce every night for about six months, and never got tired of it! I am sure that you are going to love it was much as I do.


  • 3 bananas – 2 frozen, 1 fresh
  • 2 tbsp cacao or cocoa or carob powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut or cacao butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts of choice


1. Place two frozen bananas in a blender or food processor and blend until it reaches a creamy ice cream texture. Transfer to a bowl and allow to set in the freezer while you make fudge sauce.

2. Place cacao or cocoa or carob powder, coconut or cacao butter, maple syrup, salt and vanilla into a blender and blend until smooth. The friction from the blending should heat your sauce.

3. Slice your fresh banana in half the long way. Place in a dish. Scoop ice cream in between the sliced banana, top with your sauce and chopped nuts

Recipe ~ Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Almond Butter Pasta

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Almond Butter Pasta ~ by SimpleDish
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Almond Butter Pasta ~ by SimpleDish

PREP – 8 minutes
COOK – 15 minutes
YIELD – 6 servings

100% guilt-free, low-to-almost-no-fat, super good for you CREAMY pasta sauce.


1/2 cup packed sun-dried tomatoes*
1 cup vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. almond butter or 1/2 cup almonds
1 tbsp. olive oil, optional**
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 lb. dried pasta, cooked to serve


Place all ingredients except for basil and pasta in the jar of a high-speed blender. Purée until completely smooth. Add the basil and turn the blender on low just to distribute.
Toss as much sauce as desired with cooked pasta and a little of the starchy cooking water, if needed.



*If using sun-dried tomatoes that are NOT packed in oil, then you will want to soak them in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Do not boil them- soak them in the boiled water. Or you can heat the vegetable broth and soak them in that, and then use the vegetable broth in the sauce for the added flavor from the sun-dried tomato soaking liquid.

**You don’t need the extra tbsp. of oil if you used sun-dried tomatoes that are jarred in oil. You can omit it completely if you’d like, but the sauce will be less rich.


The Top 36 Foods For Detoxing Your Body

Click on image for article.
Click on image for article.
As Hippocrates famously said, “Let thy food be thy medicine” — and what easier way to do that than by incorporating the top 36 foods for detoxing your body into your diet regularly? Foods truly can have a powerful cleansing effect on the body.  They are more subtle than herbs or supplements, but they also taste good and can be consumed regularly and safely, which makes them ideal for long term health and wellbeing.  Cleansing more slowly over time is gentler on the body and mind but still produce tangible results.  By including detoxing foods in your diet daily, you will be setting yourself up for lifelong wellness.  It’s truly simple and beautiful — food as medicine — how much easier does it get than that?
~ To read more, click on the above image.

Day 2 ~ 7-Day Snack and Dessert Challenge ~ Toasted Coconut Truffles

choco truffles
Chocolate Toasted Coconut Truffles ~ If you want info about this challenge and the shopping list, click on the image.

In our world, you should be able to have your chocolate and have your health too! These toasted coconut chocolate truffles are just what the doctor ordered if you are looking for something dense and satisfying that won’t totally weigh you down.

You may also be pleasantly surprised how flavourful these truffles are even tough they only contain 5 simple everyday ingredients. Enjoy these with a nice cup of tea at the end of your day, or as a pick me up snack during your day, or both!


  • 3 cups dried shredded coconut
  • 3 cups Fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • cacao or cocoa or carob powder to coat


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place coconut in an even layer on baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until coconut is brown and toasted. Be sure to watch it as it can go from brown to black in a very short time!

2. Remove coconut from the oven and transfer to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend with coconut oil until a smooth butter forms.

3. Add pitted chopped Fresh dates and process again until thick mixture forms. It is OK if the dates don’t get full blended in, having a few date pieces in your truffles can be tasty!

4. Remove mixture from blender and let cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Roll your mixture into 1 inch balls and coat in cacao, cocoa or carob powder.

6. Place on lined baking tray and cool in the freezer or enjoy as they are!

Recipe ~ Homemade Guava Jam

guava jam2Here is the recipe for homemade GUAVA JAM:

Cut ends of Guavas and cut in half.
Place in pot and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook for about half an hour until
it is soft. Strain the juice in a sieve. Keep juice separated.
Press pulp thru a sieve, until only seeds remain.
Discard seeds.


Measure pulp. I used 6 cups to 6 cups of sugar and place in a pot.
Bring to a boil (being careful not to burn yourself.) Stir constantly,
continue cooking til thickens about half an hour.

guava jam


Have canning jars ready.  Place 1 block of butter into jam, stir till combined, then pour into jars, place lids and caps on.  ALL PAU (that means “it’s finished, the end”).

Give with ALOHA.

**P.S.:   Guava Jam is the key to my very tasty Baked Guava Ham.  And, with a couple loaves of homemade bread?  Heaven.

Recipe ~ Easy Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki Sauce

Click on image for recipe details.
Click on image for recipe details.
  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness
  • 1 tablespoon mediterranean seasoning (you can substitute Italian seasoning in a pinch)
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 pitas (this is a Greek-style flatbread you can find at almost any grocery store near the bread and tortillas or in the bakery)
  • optional: lettuce, feta cheese crumbles
Tzatziki sauce
  • ½ English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups cold plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ⅓ cup chopped dill, fresh or frozen (may sub 2 tablespoons dried dill)
  • 1½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of ½ medium lemon)
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  1. Puree all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Cover and chill until ready to serve. (If you have time, make this a few hours in advance or the night before so that the flavors can marinate)
  2. Season chicken breasts with mediterranean seasoning. Cook in a large skillet or pan over medium heat 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Cut into strips.
  3. Lay pitas on a clean surface. Add lettuce (if desired, chicken, red pepper strips, and onions. Top with tzatziki sauce and feta (if desired). Fold pita over like a sandwich, or roll it into a “tunnel shape”.

Discussion ~ Eating According To Your Genes


Nutritional genomics or Nutrigenomics is a new science studying the relationship between human genome, nutrition and health

97% of the genes known to be associated with human diseases result in monogenic diseases, i.e. a mutation in one gene is sufficient to cause the disease

Modifying the dietary intake can prevent some monogenic diseases

Can eating broccoli prevent cancer? This could actually benefit carriers of the gene like GSTM1, but not others …

Carries of CYP1A2 gene could be at higher risk of a heart attack if they consume a considerable amount of caffeine

Studies have shown that the NAT2 acetylator genotype had a higher risk of developing colon cancer in people who consumed relatively large quantities of red meat

Consider #Coffee : A number of studies offer evidence that drinking java lowers heart-disease risk, most likely as a result of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in coffee beans. But a few studies show heavy coffee drinkers having a higher than average risk of heart disease—leaving scientists scratching their heads. Nutrigenomics suggests an explanation. In people with the genetic variant that causes sluggish metabolism of caffeine, the stimulant sticks around in the bloodstream longer than usual, where it may disrupt normal heart rhythms and boost blood pressure, overwhelming any benefit. Quick metabolizers, on the other hand, clear the caffeine fast from their bloodstreams but still enjoy the benefits.

Type 2 #Diabetes offers another example. Several studies suggest eating too much #sugar and refined carbohydrates—foods linked with big jumps in blood sugar—can lead to type 2 diabetes. But when researchers look at large groups of subjects, no clear link emerges. The reason may be that only some people are #genetically sensitive to the effects of these foods on blood sugar.

#Cholesterol : Can nutrigenomics explain why some people’s cholesterol levels respond to a healthy diet and others’ don’t? Here, too, there are plenty of clues. Scientists have detected one gene variation that seems to enhance the health benefits of polyunsaturated fats, for example, giving people who possess it a bigger boost in good cholesterol when they eat a diet rich in plant oils. Another appears to make bad-cholesterol levels more likely to soar when people eat a high-fat diet. “Variants in a gene called APOE, which controls cholesterol metabolism, seem to be especially important,” Ordovas told me. People with one genetic pattern see a big drop in cholesterol levels when they switch to a healthier diet. Those with a slightly different pattern get almost no benefit at all.

A study conducted at Stanford University looked at the long-term effects of #weightloss using a few different diets assigned at random. Results showed that some participants lost weight on one type of #diet such as low-fat, while others did not. The study then tested participants’ #DNA for 3 specific gene variations and found that those using the best diet for their DNA lost as much as 2 1/2 times more weight than those not using their best DNA diet.

“It makes sense because our genes control hormone levels, enzyme levels – all the basic levels of #metabolism . And how we metabolize food determines what happens to the nutrients and calories we take in” – ays David Katz, MD, nutrition expert and founder of the Yale Prevention Center

Many common diseases, such as #obesity #cancer #diabetes and #cardiovascular diseases, are #polygenic diseases, i.e. they arise from the dysfunction in a cascade of genes, and not from a single mutated gene. Dietary intervention to prevent the onset of such diseases is a complex and ambitious goal

#health #healthyeating #healthyliving #healthylifestyle #foodhacking #genetics #nutrigenomics #nutrigenetics #interesting #science

Information credit:; MyDietClinic,;


For Monday, September 29, 2014 ~ 7-DAY DESERT AND SNACK CHALLENGE ~ DAY 1

Tropical fruit ice cream with no white sugar!
Tropical fruit ice cream ~ Click image to access the shopping list and description of this 7-day snacks and desserts challenge


1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen mango
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)



Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 serving



Recipe ~ Filipino Champorado (Chocolate Rice Pudding)


Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding)
Champorado ~ Total Time: 30 mins | Makes: 6 servings
Champorado, also called chocolate rice, is versatile. Jun Belen, an Oakland, California–based cook and food photographer, grew up eating it for breakfast on chilly winter mornings in Manila, with pan de sal (soft, buttery rolls) and fried salt fish. He also ate it chilled as an after-school snack with evaporated milk poured over the top. We prefer our champorado made with good-quality bittersweet chocolate and served warm as a luxurious ending to a meal.

What to buy: Since this recipe contains so few ingredients, be sure to use good-quality chocolate. Missouri-based bean-to-bar company Askinosie imports single-origin cacao from Davao in the southern Philippines and produces a 77-percent bittersweet chocolate with earthy and slightly smoky flavors that really shine through in this simple recipe.

Although rice does not contain any gluten, short-grain sweet rice is sometimes labeled as glutinous rice or sticky rice and can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.

Game plan: The liberal garnish of rich evaporated milk is traditional, but feel free to substitute regular whole milk or half-and-half.


  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup short-grain sweet rice, also known as sticky rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk



  1. Create a double boiler by filling a pot with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over the pot. (Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.) Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a medium saucepan, add the measured water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and melted chocolate to the rice, whisk to combine, and return to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until the pudding has cooled slightly but is still warm, about 45 minutes. (At this point, you can cool the champorado completely, transfer it to a container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)
  4. Spoon the champorado into serving bowls and drizzle each with evaporated milk.

Recipe ~ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crunch Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


1 (16.5-ounce) boxed spice cake mix
1 (15-ounce) can plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly spray a 9X13 baking dish (or pan) with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the cake mix, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Stir until mixed, adding more lemon juice if necessary to get the mixture smooth and just pourable.

Pour half of the cake batter into the baking pan and then drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top. Gently spread the cream cheese mixture as much as possible, but don’t stress over getting it perfect. Top with the remaining cake batter and spread evenly.

Mix the chopped pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in another bowl and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is set. Cool before slicing.


Recipe ~ Samoan Panipopo Coconut Buns

panipopo bunsRecipe:  Samoan Panipopo Coconut Buns

A popular, yet misrepresented, recipe is of panipopo, or coconut buns. There are many recipes on the Internet using ready-made dough, which is not authentic. An authentic recipe can be found by Lei Ne’emia. As with many people who “eyeball” in their cooking, Ms. Ne’emia’s recipe is similarly written. Here is a shortened version that hopefully will give similar results.

Pani Ingredients:
8 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c butter, softened
1/4 c sugar (add more or less to preference)
1/4 c dry active yeast
2 c warm water

Pani Preparation:
In a large bowl, rub softened butter into flour and salt. Using of clean hands works best to create the silky, but not greasy, texture that is needed.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the sugar in the middle.

In a smaller metal or glass bowl, dissolve yeast in really warm water. Avoid using plastic bowls for this recipe. Stir until the yeast is fully dissolved. Add more warm water if necessary. The yeast should be a milky gray color and smell like bread. Pour mixture into the well of sugar.

Using a wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together. Scrape from the sides of the bowl into the middle until everything is combined nicely. If necessary, add more warm water in to make the doughy consistency, but be sure it is really thick and sticky, like pancake batter.

Cover bowl with a damp dish towel and allow it to rise in a warm, dark place for one hour.

Now, the dough should have doubled in size and have holes in it. Spread flour onto a counter top or tabletop, a thick blanket of flour is good. Knead the dough working from the edges inward. Continue kneading flour to the mixture until it can form into a ball. Do not knead too long or the buns will not be fluffy, but dense like bagels.

Cover the dough again and allow to rise another hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the dough into chunks a little larger than a golf ball. Roll each chunk into thick “strings”. Tie each string into a knot. Place about 24 knots in each large cake pan. About two and a half to three pans will be needed.

Popo Ingredients:
2 cans pe’epe’e (canned coconut cream)
1 c flour

Popo Preparation:
Fresh coconut cream is always best, but, when there are no coconut trees or coconut tree climbers to pick and crack open a coconut, it is okay to resort to canned coconut cream. A great coconut cream product is made by Kara.

Pour the coconut cream into a container.

In a small bowl, mix together flour and water to make a runny paste. Pour into container. Top off with more water to be sure there’s enough for all the pans. This mixture should be able to fill all the pans and cover at least half of the height of the buns.

Before pouring the mixture onto the buns, it needs to be sweetened with enough sugar to be a bit sweeter than you think it should be.

Panipopo Preparation:
Pour the cream mixture onto the buns. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Be sure to check the cream to be sure it is not too dry. It has to have a chance to boil and the tops of the buns to golden.

While the buns are cooling, be sure to top it off with sugar water to prevent the buns from getting dry. Cover with foil or a damp cloth should work as well.

Best served warm in a shallow bowl with some extra sauce for dipping. Goes great with a warm drink like koko Samoa.

Please note:
Coconut is a laxative if enough is eaten. Be sure to watch your intake!


Recipe: Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea Recipe


  • 2/3 cup Thai tea leaves
  • 1 2/3 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk (12oz can)


Bring water to a boil in a kettle then remove from heat. Add Thai tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes; remove tea leaves. Stir sugar into tea until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Fill glasses with ice; pour tea into each glass until almost full. Stir in desired evaporated milk into each glass.

Serves 3-4


Recipe ~ DIY Healthy Nutella!

binnyNutellaNutella is so yummy and addictive, but have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on the jar?

Sugar, vegetable oil, hazelnuts (13%), skim milk powder, reduced fat cocoa powder, emulsifier and flavoring.

Not exactly the healthiest, however you can easily make your own using just a few wholesome ingredients!

The secret to making any nut butter is to keep blending.

Don’t be disheartened if your butter still isn’t smooth within the first few minutes, it can take up to 10 minutes of constant processing before it reaches desired consistency.


2 cups roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cashew milk
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt


Put the hazelnuts into a food processor or blender and blend on medium speed for a few minutes. You might have to scrape down the sides as you go.

Add all the other ingredients and keep blending with the speed on medium, again scraping down the sides if need be. It should take up to 10 minutes before it turns into a smooth, delicious butter.


Healthy Recipe ~ Crunchy Coconut Crumble Ice Cream

Crunchy Coconut Crumble Ice Cream contains no white sugar, and uses raw and plant-based ingredients. If you like this recipe, you'll love our upcoming 7-Day Snacks & Dessert Challenge!
Crunchy Coconut Crumble Ice Cream contains no white sugar, and uses raw and plant-based ingredients. If you like this recipe, you’ll love our upcoming 7-Day Snacks & Dessert Challenge!
This recipe will knock your socks off, and I am confident that it will convince any one – plant based eater or not – that raw and plant based desserts can be just as satisfying as their ‘junk’ food counter parts. This recipe is really simple to prepare, and you can have the components on hand in your freezer, ready to be mixed up whenever your sweet tooth calls you. I do recommend that you keep the two components separate until you are ready to munch to maintain maximum crunchability :)



Crunchy Coconut Crumble:

(makes at least 20 servings, depending on how much crumble you want in your ice cream)

  • 1 cup oat groats – ground into a flour
  • 2 cups toasted coconut flakes – you can purchase pre-toasted coconut or toast your own at home.
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Ice Cream:

(This is for one serving of ice cream)

  • 2-3 frozen, peeled bananas
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup crumble balls

Directions:   To make your crumble, place your oat groats, coconut sugar, chopped pitted dates, cinnamon powder, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor and pulse until a sticky cookie dough like consistency is reached. Remove from your blender or food processor and stir coconut flakes and chopped almonds in by hand to maintain their shape and crunch. Form into 1/4 inch balls and place in the freezer. When you are ready to make your ice cream, place your frozen bananas, vanilla and coconut or almond milk in a high speed blender or food processor and process until smooth. Remove from your machine and stir in your crumble mixture. Enjoy!


Grounded Nutrition ~ 7-Day Snack & Dessert Challenge ~ Sept. 29, 2014


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If everyone on the planet was living as vibrantly and as healthy as possible, it would be a much different living experience for all of us.

Our mission is to empower humanity to shift into our natural states of being on all levels; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We all deserve to live amazing and healthy lives, and it starts now!

Take our FREE 7 Day Dessert And Snack Challenge … Guilt-free snacks and desserts for one week!

Includes 7 healthy snack and dessert recipes, shopping lists, daily group support and more to help you snack the healthy way!

Begins on Monday, September 29th!

Here is how the challenge will work: 

1. Below you will find the shopping lists for every item you will need for all 7 days of the challenge. Collect all your items on the list on the weekend prior to the start date. 

2. Prep any ingredients that need to be prepared ahead of time (such as peeling and freezing bananas.)

3. On Sunday, September 28th we will post your first recipe.  Make that recipe for your dessert, whenever you choose to eat it.

4. Let us know you are following along by taking pictures and sharing them with us as comments to the recipes posted, or just letting us know in comments on the page.

5. Continue on with the following day’s recipe. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the end of the challenge! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Note:  The following shopping lists are not recipes.  We will post your first recipe on Sunday, September 28th. 

ott32All right!  Get ready to have some fun.  Make sure you get your groceries by the end of this coming weekend!

Shopping Lists: 


  • 3 apples
  • 7-8 fresh apricots
  • 4 banana
  • 7 cups fresh dates/medjool dates
  • 1 mango
  • 1 orange


  • 1 small jar almond butter (8oz)
  • 6 cups dried shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp hazel nuts
  • 1 small jar raw nut butter of choice (8oz)
  • 2 tbsp nuts of choice
  • 1 1/4 cup walnuts


  • 1 small box cup almond milk (1L)
  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips (dairy free – We like Enjoy Life)
  • 1 small container cacao or cocoa or carob powder
  • 1 small can full fat coconut milk (14oz)
  • 1 small container coconut oil
  • 1 small jar maple syrup
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • Optional:  add-in’s for bliss balls  – chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, carob chips, and the like


  • 1 small jar cinnamon powder
  • 1 bag vanilla powder or 1 small bottle vanilla extract
  • 1 small box sea salt

Preparation list: 

1. Peel and freeze 3 ripe bananas.

2. Peel, dice and freeze mango.

Tools Needed: 

These are all relatively simple recipes, but having a few pieces of equipment will make them all that much easier:

  • 1 Blender or Food Processor
  • 1 Baking Sheet
  • 9×9 Baking Dish
  • Parchment Paper
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon/Spatula
  • 1 Small Pot
  • 1 Glass or Stainless Steel Bowl (to be used for double boiler)
  • Measuring Cups

Recipe ~ A Different, Holistically Nutritious Strawberry Pie!

stawberry pieCommitting to a healthy lifestyle does not mean committing to a life that is void of fun, delicious, satisfying treats. In fact, we eat just as much amazing food as the average person.

The difference between what we are doing and what the rest of the population is doing comes down to the quality of the ingredients that go into our treat foods.

Eating healthy should be delicious, and we are never going to compromise on that – either for ourselves or for you. That is why we are firm believers in substitutions.

For instance, when we are making a pie – we use whole nuts, seeds and pseudo grains instead of processed flour. We use cashews for making thick creams rather than processed diary. We use dates, coconut sugar and maple syrup in place of processed white sugar… You get the idea!

For us, eating healthy should never mean deprivation. It should simply mean you still get to eat everything you crave, you just use healthy, whole foods ingredients to make your favourite dishes in place of processed ones!

To get you started, here is an amazing Strawberry Pie recipe that you will be proud to serve guests – not only because it looks beautiful, but because it is absolutely delicious AND nutritious!

Of course if you want to keep the whole thing to yourself, we won’t tell anyone 😉

Strawberry Pie

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1-2 oranges, juiced
  • pinch of salt

Strawberry Cream Layer:

  • 2 cups cashews – soaked for 30-60 minutes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries
  • pinch vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Strawberry Topping:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


For the crust: Place unsweetened coconut in a blender or food processor and blend until a fine powder is created. Remove from blender and place in a large mixing bowl. Repeat this process with sunflower seeds, buckwheat and coconut sugar. Add salt and mix together with your hands until well combined. Add enough orange juice so that your crust sticks together. Press into a lined pie dish and set in the freezer.

For the strawberry cream: Drain and rinse cashews. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour over crust and place back in the freezer.

For the strawberry topping: Set aside your sliced strawberries. Place remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Arrange sliced strawberries over the strawberry creme layer of your pie, and pour your glaze on top. Freeze for an hour or until set. Enjoy!

Health ~ Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life

Click on image to read full article.
Click on image to read full article.

We don’t think of sesame seed paste as a ‘life saver,’ but new research shows it is capable of reducing blood markers of cardiovascular disease risk by 39% within only six weeks.

Sadly, in the Western world, when the average Joe thinks of protecting himself from heart disease, aspirin and statin drugs are often as high on the list – if not higher – than exercise and eating better. Through decades of intense marketing and miseducation millions have been made to think of the #1 killer as an inevitable force; one against which we fling pills and various pharmaceutical potions to ‘minimize risk,’ never to strike to the core of the problem and resolve it permanently.

Health ~ The Magic that is Chocolate

Bowl of chocolate creamWe are constantly trying to restrict what we eat. Every day we hear about yet another food we should cut out completely, or we get berated for not catching onto the latest food fad fast enough. One of the recurring stories in the food tabloids is the evil of sugar, and while it is true that in general the overall sugar consumption of the human race has increased exponentially and no doubt has adverse effects of our health, it has also meant the defamation of less guilty subject, chocolate.

Mmm. Chocolate.

Unfortunately much of the chocolate that we find on the market today is not chocolate at all, but rather a flimsy syrupy substitute masquerading as the real thing. This trite treat has lost all of its original zest and surely too its mystique. Chocolate originated in the foothills of the Andes, in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America. The cocoa bean was deemed so valuable that it was used as a common currency before the Spanish conquest. Montezuma the Second, Emperor of the Aztec civilization (the story goes) drank nothing but chocolate. He enjoyed his royal beverage in a golden goblet, whipped into a mouth-watering froth and flavored with vanilla and spices. It wasn’t long before chocolate was introduced to the Europe, and it was soon revered as the delicacy among delicacies. Revered isn’t too strong a word either: chocolate’s Latin name, Theobroma Cacao literally means “food of the gods”.

The reason why chocolate was so highly regarded was the titillating sense of elevation that people originally experienced when partaking (and its ability to act as a powerful aphrodisiac was presumably also well noted). Today we know that the stimulating effects of chocolate come from the compound Theobromin, and that chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants which may well have anti-aging properties. Chocolate also contains high levels of flavonoids which are said to have a positive effect on the heart.

Recent studies done on the Kuna people, who consume large amounts of cocoa as part of their daily lives, found that they have significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer, which should be unsurprising, as it has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure. The benefits of cocoa are even believed to extend to the brain’s abilities to learn and remember.

With all these incredible benefits at our chocolaty fingertips, it’s a wonder we don’t consume more of this charmed stuff. And after you tire of the cheap imitations, you’ll find that raw cocoa and dark chocolate products are readily available, and that they open up a whole new range of decadent culinary experiences. For instance, try adding a scoop of raw chocolate to your morning porridge. Chocolate can even be grated over salads, and adds a sensuous depth of flavor to a humble stew.

And the moral of this decadent tale? Don’t deprive yourself of the chance to savoir this godly delicacy, and say yes to the magic that is chocolate.

Recipe ~ Raw Chocolate Treats

RawChocolateRounds-850x400These taste great with a cup of your favorite organic coffee, or whenever you want a nutritional chocolatey pick-me-up. The cacao and dates are chock-full of vitamins and minerals and are sugar, dairy and nut-free. And the best part? They don’t melt in your bag, so you can take them with you and enjoy them while you travel.


3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup of melted cacao butter
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/4 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. unsweetened dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut


Melt the cacao butter on the stove over very low heat. To avoid burning the butter, you can create a makeshift double boiler. Put a little hot water into a metal pot or bowl and then use another smaller metal bowl or metal cup for the solid chunks of cacao butter. Place the smaller metal cup into the larger bowl, and try to be sure that not one drop of water enters the cup with the butter in it. Gently stir the cacao butter while it heats up.

Remove the melted cacao butter from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder and agave nectar and mix thoroughly and quickly. Next add in approximately half of each of the dry ingredients and stir. You will need to be quick with this step to ensure it is mixed well.

On a sheet of baking paper spread out the mixture into an even thickness into the shape of a rectangle. Put a second sheet of baking paper on top and press down firmly on the mixture. You can use a rolling pin if you have one or just give yourself an arm workout by pressing down on the mixture with your hands.

Take off the top layer of baking paper and add the rest of the dry ingredients on top of the mixture.

Fold the edge of the bottom sheet of baking paper towards the centre of the mixture, to roll the mixture over itself (a bit like rolling sushi). Be sure to press down firmly to keep the mixture warm with the body temperature from your hands and to keep the mixture sticking together. Roll until you have a nice fat tube created, and be sure to pull the tube away from the baking paper as you roll.

Alternatively you can roll the outside of the tube across a plate of shredded coconut.

Pop the chocolate tube into the fridge for an hour to make sure it’s nice and hard. This will make it easier to cut into the thickness of rounds that you prefer using a sharp straight edged knife.

Store in a container with a lid and pop a few in a sandwich bag when you’re ready to hit the road. Safe, healthy travels!


Recipe ~ No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

no-bake choco cookies
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or chunky but is seems to make a more crumbly dry cookie)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 -3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats

Prep Time:   5 mins.
Cook Time:  1 min.

1 – Add the first four ingredients into a 4-quart sauce pan.
2 – Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute.
3 – Remove from heat.
4 – Add peanut butter into the hot mixture and stir until melted.
5 – Add in vanilla. (almond extract is good also, but I only use 1/2 teaspoon almond and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla).
6 – Mix in the oats and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.
7 – Let cool until set.
8 – *Please remember that even if you do follow the recipe exactly, it doesn’t always turn out just right. I have had these not set up for me AND be hard and dry. But most of the time, the recipe is just right. I have also found that it makes a difference if you use quick cooking oats or old fashioned. In my experience it takes more old fashioned oats than quick cooking and I like the texture of the quick cooking better. When you make it a few hundred times like I have you learn a couple of things:) Also, Chunky peanut butter tends to make them more dry and crumbly.

Recipe ~ Fully Raw Mediterranean Salad, by Kristina

It is hard to believe that raw food could be so good. Below is a good list of ingredients for a yummy alkalizing lunch. Use this recipe as is, or modify ingredients to meet your taste.

  • Raw salad recipe
    Kristina shares a wonderful salad recipe with us. Thank you!

    4 cups kale and romaine

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cucumbers diced
  • 1-2 cups sweet baby bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4-5 homegrown heirloom tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
  • Fresh mint and basil, diced
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • cumin
  • edible flowers

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to create a beautiful Mediterranean Salad. Then create the raw hummus recipe below for the dressing. Or use a healthy dressing option of your choice.

Raw Hummus Recipe

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic

While we are at it, here is another awesome raw food salad recipe as a bonus for today.

Ingredient List for Yummy Raw Food Salad

  • Spinach or other nutrient dense leafy green
  • Red peppers, the more vibrant the color the better, a great source of vitamin C
  • Apples, adds fiber
  • Sprouts are a wonderful source of nutrition and enzymes.  You can also buy fresh sprouts at the store, if you don’t feel like sprouting your own
  • Pumpkin seeds,  are helpful against parasites, although they are by no means a complete solution. I like to do a parasite cleanse at least 4x year, just to be safe.
  • Dried Cranberries, be sure there is no added high fructose corn syrup
  • Goji Berries, Asian superfood of the great Goji warrior
  • Marinated artichoke hearts. I love to add these whenever I am at a salad bar.
  • Hemp seeds, good source of protein, healthy fats and fiber.

Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, organic cold pressed
  • Raw Apple cider vinegar
  • Pure water
  • Liquid aminos

I like to add fresh or dried herbs to my salad dressing.  There is a bulk herb section at the health food store. They have small bottles of a bunch of different single herbs and spices as well as combos.  I like to look and smell, then bring home a new one to try every now and then.  A great way to familiarize myself with some new flavors.

Recipe ~ Bahn Mi, Vietnamese Street Sandwiches with Pickled Veggies


bahn mi

Yield: 4 Sandwiches

Cook Time: 1 hour

Making good banh mi at home is quite easy, but can involve a bit of preparation. Simply put, you can make it as simple or thorough as you want or have time for.

Making Banh mi preparation easier is all about nailing down the assembly. Once you have your basic pantry items for banh mi, it won’t take that much more effort. The carrot and daikon pickles can be made ahead of time and be stored in the fridge for about 1 month.


Caramel Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs warm water

Pork Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cubed pork belly (about 1 inch cubes) — Vegans, substitute with seitan
  • 2 large shallots, minced (about 3-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • about 1 or 1.5 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Banh Mi Assembly (not all required, some are optional):

  • 1 french baguette
  • pickled carrots and daikon (recipe, below)
  • fresh cilantro
  • soy sauce
  • pork liver pate
  • mayonnaise
  • thin slices of chili pepper
  • thin slices of cucumber


For the nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce)

  1. Add sugar and water to heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat pan on medium heat and let sugar melt. As sugar begins to melt, the mixture will begin to turn to a golden brown. Using wooden spoon, stir the mixture occasionally.
  2. Do not leave the caramel sauce unattended! Once the sugar begins to melt, it will turn color very quickly. As soon as the mixture turns to a medium golden brown, immediate remove pan from heat.
  3. If the mixture is still too thick, SLOWLY and CAREFULLY add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes more watery consistency. Adding the addition water to the HOT caramel will splatter, so be careful. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon so that there are no hard lumps. When finished, set aside.

For the Pork:

  1. In medium to large sauce pan (or dutch oven), turn on heat to medium. Heat oil, then add shallots. Slowly cook shallots for about 1 minute, then add garlic. Cook both until they become soft and fragrant. Add pork belly. Cook pork belly for about 10 minutes or until all the edges are seared and browned.
  2. Add fish sauce and cook pork belly for about another 5 minutes. Add about 1 cup of water. If you need more water to cover the pork, add more until the pork is covered. Add the peppercorns. Turn heat to low and cook for about another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Then add the caramel sauce.
  3. Continue braising the pork on low heat for about another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.

For the Banh Mi assembly:

  1. Slice baguettes lengthwise. Add the ingredients that you want (or like) to the banh mi. Add slices of the pork belly.
  2. Enjoy!


viet pickled veggies


1/4 lb. cucumber, julienned
1 lb. daikon, peeled and julienned
1 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned
2 tsps kosher or sea salt
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Make sure the vegetables are fairly dry (pat them dry) so they don’t dilute the pickling liquid with excess water. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water together until the sugar dissolves. Place the vegetables in a jar large enough to fit them all and pour the pickling liquid into the jar so that all of the vegetables are submerged. Store them sealed in the jar in the refrigerator for 5 days for best flavor.