Category Archives: chocolate

Monday, October 12, 2015

Healthy Halloween Treats the Whole Family Can Enjoy

alternative treats cover

Yay!  It’s almost Halloween!  My favorite holiday.  There is something about Halloween I’ve always loved.  And it’s not all about the candy and treats (as you might know, I’m not a huge sweet tooth). Truth be told… I’m a big ole’ scaredy cat and don’t even believe in ghosts, but man I love the spirit of Halloween.  It’s so fun to dress up and I remember how exciting it was as a kid walking around in the dark gathering candy with the anticipation of being scared out of my Princess Leia buns any minute.  My kiddos participate in Halloween, but they agree to eat mommy’s healthy treats and they turn in their trick-or-treating candy for a gift from the “Great Pumpkin” (who comes the morning of November 1st).  I’ve done this for years now (since my daughter was 2) and my kids love it.  We usually come in early from trick-or-treating and I make some popcorn and other favorites like caramel apples and ginger cookies (via Ricki Heller) and we snuggle up on the couch and watch a low-key Halloween cartoon.  And I’m the nerdy neighbor who does NOT give out candy (I know…booo to me) please don’t egg my house.  I hit up the dollar store for festive stickers, pencils, erasers, and other little trinkets and that’s my “treat.”  It’s nice to have some variety, right.  

Below are my family’s favorite treats for Halloween. Continue reading

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Labels: candy alternatives, carob, chocolate, dessert, Halloween, holidays.


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Raw Pepperminty Nutty-Roons


I shared this recipe last month with Ricki on her blog: Ricki Heller.  I found Ricki’s blog shorty after I started blogging (about 2 1/2 years ago). I distinctly remember visiting Wellness Weekend for the first time to share a recipe and instantly fell in love with Ricki, her writing style, and (of course) her recipes (of which I’ve made many)! Personally, I suffer from candida, so her blog is of great interest and value to me. I reference it constantly and refer friends and family to her site. Ricki’s cookbook Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free is one of my favorite cookbooks with so many healthy treats for my family.  For the guest post I wanted to share a recipe for Ricki’s readers reminiscent of her cooking style with common ingredients used by Ricki herself.  I call these β€œNutty-Roons” because they are like a macaroon, but with a nice nutty bite to them.  Made with only a few simple ingredients, these raw little bites of coconut bliss are sure to please.  I made about 10 batches of these as Holidays gifts last year (I kid you not) and they were well received by all.  I hope you enjoy them too.  You can view my guest post here.


Raw Pepperminty Nutty-Roons
Recipe type: Raw, Paleo, Grain Free
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ⅔ cup raw walnuts
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons peppermint flavor (or more to your preference)
  • 5 drops liquid stevia (plain or flavored)
  1. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, add in the walnuts and cashews and blend for 20 seconds.
  2. Next add in the shredded coconut and blend with the nuts for another 20 seconds.
  3. In a small cup, mix together the maple syrup, stevia, vanilla extract, and peppermint oil.
  4. With the food processor running, pour in the coconut oil and the maple syrup mixture.
  5. Blend for 10 seconds.
  6. Scoop out mounds of the mixture and create little macaroon shapes (I use a small ice cream scooper).
  7. The mixture makes about 15 nutty-roons. Place them in freezer for ½ hour.
  8. While the nutty-roons are in the freezer, melt some chocolate*. I like to use a 1 cup glass Pyrex, placed in a pot of boiling water. This keeps the chocolate raw and melts nicely.
  9. Remove the nutty-roons from the freezer and dip each into the chocolate.
  10. Store the nutty-roons in the fridge. They hold up well at room temperature too, but I like how they taste cold.
1. You can replace maple syrup with coconut nectar (or honey if not vegan).
2. You could also make your own chocolate (see recipe below).

Raw Chocolate Recipe
Recipe type: Raw, Paleo
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon raw ground cacao
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract -Optional: a few drops of stevia
  1. Place the above ingredients into a 1 cup glass Pyrex.
  2. Place the glass Pyrex into a pan of very hot water and mix around until everything is melted. Do not heat over 110 degree



This recipe was shared on:  Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursday, Plant Based Potluck Party, Savoring Saturdays

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Posted by Amber at

Labels: chocolate, dessert, grain free desserts, guest post, low glycemic, Paleo, raw.


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Monday, February 3, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy free, cane-sugar free, nut free)

This chocolate chip cookie is a grand baking success for me!  Woot-woot.  I’ve been trying to capture that traditional chocolate chip cookie flavor in tasty alternative form for years.  Finally, last week, I did it.  If you’re gluten free, or new to gluten free, this is must recipe in your repertoire.  
Enjoy my friends, enjoy!
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, chocolate, cookies, dessert, nut free, snacks.


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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Raw Freezer Fudge

Well a Happy New Year to you!  
With the New Year upon us today I reflect on some of my most notable challenges and successes from 2013 and from those challenges/successes I created goals for the New Year.  No I’m not going to run a marathon, or lose weight, or not cuss, or go to bed early.  I know what’s realistic for me.  Wait, I do have a goal regarding bedtime which includes getting my bony butt in bed earlier than 11:00 pm (and that, my friends, is something).  I’m a very goal oriented person (yes, I make daily goals for myself) and so here are my general goals for the Year (in order by category).
1.  Family – marriage.  Continue a strong partnership with Scott, use kind/constructive communication, and be mindful of my mood and behavior.
2.  Family – kids.  Continue to learn and explore alternative methods to deal with sibling bickering (rivalry). 
Use effective behavioral interventions, reflective speech, and empathetic language.  Continue reading the book “Siblings Without Rivalry” which is proving to be a great resource.  Be okay with the chaos that is childhood, laugh about it, embrace it, pick my battles, let things go, don’t be so ridged.  Keep it light, fun, structured, and safe. Don’t be overly annoyed and angry.  
3.  Health – body.  Continue eating foods that make me feel good and avoid foods that make me feel bad.  Start doing more Yoga, or just stretch every morning.  Try to walk everyday, or ride bikes to school.  Try and get IN bed before 11:00 pm.  
4.  Health – mind. Continue using positive coping to decrease stress.  Introduce more effective coping with sibling bickering. Use more positive visual imagery.  Read a few enjoyable books.  
5. Professional.  Use meditative/relaxation techniques at work when things get stressful.  Take time off when I need it.  Work on my L.C.S.W. CEUs.  Attend at least one new conference or therapy-related talk this year.  Meet with my other therapist friends to process and reflect on work and trouble shoot challenges.  
6.  Hobbies.  Blog when I have time, take time away when I need it – blogging will always be there.  Continue learning Spanish guitar, and continue playing guitar (it’s very calming and centering). Continue work on my scrapbooking and creating videos of the kids. Plan my spring/summer garden.  Break out my jewelry making stuff as a calming, therapeutic activity.  Visit a few of my favorite thrift stores when I get the urge to buy something new.  
7.  Home.  Continue to purge what’s not used, continue organizing and cleaning as a method to feel productive and calm.  De-clutter as needed. Slowly work on getting the garage more organized.  Wash dishes as I cook so I’m not totally overwhelmed by insane kitchen messes.  
8.  Personal.  Go out to dinner with girlfriends.  Carve out some alone time each week.  It’s okay to not be doing something – be more comfortable doing nothing.  Be more in nature.  Slow down. Appreciate the pain-free days and treat my body with kindness and respect.  Be the change I want to see, speak how I want to feel, and smile at others as often as possible.  
9.  Be okay with eating an entire batch of raw freezer fudge.  
I deserve it! 
Happy New Year Raw Freezer Fudge 
(click the links below for where to purchase the ingredients)
-1/2 cup soaked medjool dates (about 7)
-1/4 cup raw local honey
-1/4 cup raw cacao powder
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
-Chopped walnuts for garnish
How To:
1.  Soak the dates in water for 3 to 4 hours.  Drain the dates and add dates to a food processor fitted with the S blade.  To the food processor add in the almond butter.  Pulse the dates and almond butter until the dates are broken down.
2.  With the food processor running, drizzle in the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla.  Blend until everything is smooth and creamy.  Open the lid and add in the cacao powder.  Blend again until the mixture is thick and creamy.
3.  Spread mixture out on a silicone mat or wax paper – make it as thick or as thin as you like.  Top with chopped walnuts.  Place in freezer.  The fudge will stay soft from the dates and honey.  You could also store in the fridge, but I prefer the freezer.  These do well at room temperature for a while.  They don’t melt all over the place.
*For nut free, use homemade sunflower seed butter.  
*For vegan, use coconut nectar or maple syrup (using maple syrup will make the recipe a little softer, as it’s not as viscous).  
*For sugar free, use 3/4 teaspoon chocolate or vanilla liquid stevia (or to taste). 
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Shared on these wonderful link parties: Raw Foods Thursday, Wellness Weekend, Paleo Link Party, Whole Food Fridays,  Gluten Free Wednesdays, 


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Labels: chocolate, dessert, grain free desserts, Paleo, raw.


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Raw Peppermint Patties

These raw peppermint patties are dedicated to my handsome chocoholic husband.  This is his favorite combination (chocolate, peppermint, and coconut).  I love creating healthy treats for my family…I feel like such a superstar mom when I’m like, “Why yes, we have a fun sweet treat for snack, or yes, there is something tasty and healthy for dessert.”  I love it.  I’ve been working on this recipe for a while. I’m excited to share the final product with you today.  Enjoy!   
Raw Peppermint Patties 
Chocolate Shell
-1/4 cup melted cocoa butter
-1/4 cup honey (vegans use 3 T maple syrup, 4 T coconut nectar or 1 teaspoon stevia) 
-1/4 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup melted coconut oil 
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
-Tiny pinch of salt 
-1 cup shredded coconut
-1 to 2 tablespoon honey* (vegans use maple syrup or coconut nectar) 
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-1 tablespoon peppermint extract/flavor (or more to your preference) 
-1 tablespoon cocoa butter (optional, but worth it) 
-Cacao nibs (optional) 
How To:
1.  Melt the cocoa butter.  Here is how to keep it raw while melting: fill a small pot with water (half full) and place a 1 cup glass Pyrex in the water.  Add the cocoa butter (shredded for quicker, more even heating).  Stir while it’s melting.  Once melted, remove from the water.  
2.  To the melted cocoa butter add in all the above chocolate shell ingredients.  Stir until the raw cacao powder is incorporated.  
3.  Don’t skip this next step:  Use an immersion blender (or some blender) to emulsify the mixture for only about 10 seconds* (see notes).  If you skip this step, the honey will sink to the bottom and will not be evenly distributed throughout the chocolate.  
4.  Pour chocolate (as much or as little as you like) into the bottom of a mold (silicone or paper) – place in the freeze for about 5 to 10 minutes to harden.  
5.  In a food processor make the filling.  Add the 1 cup of shredded coconut and blend 3 to 5 minutes.  Scrape down sides as needed. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until incorporated.  If adding the cacao nibs, add last and pulse a few times to incorporate.  
6.  Remove the molds from freezer and (with your hands) add in the filling on the layer of chocolate, leaving enough room on all side for the top layer of chocolate to form around the filling and touch the bottom layer of chocolate.  Add as much or as little as you like. 
7.  Transfer to fridge or freeze to harden.  
8.  Makes 4 to 5 large peppermint patties.  I pour any leftover chocolate into small silicone candy molds and refrigerate.   
*Be careful…DO NOT blend the chocolate too long.  Something crazy will happen: the honey and coconut oil blob together and the cocoa butter separates.  There is no recovery when this happens.  
*I use 1 tablespoon of honey for the filling – these puppies are RICH, but add in more sweetener to your preference.    
Here they are with cocoa nibs for added texture and flavor 
Here’s what they look like made thin(er) 
Here is the general building process
Shared on: Fat Tuesdays, Raw Foods Thursdays, Allergy-Free Fridays, Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Friday 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: candy alternatives, chocolate, dessert, Paleo, raw.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pink Peppermint Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich for Valentine’s Day

Updated ice cream cookie
Just a little Valentine’s Day surprise for my sweethearts.  
Chocolate Cookies
  • 1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • ⅓ cup whole raw almonds
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup raw organic cacao
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 7 medjool dates (pitted and soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In food processor with s-blade, grind hazelnuts until coarse.
  3. Add almonds and blend until coarsely ground.
  4. Add coconut flour and coconut sugar, pulse, pulse, pulse. Add cacao, pulse, pulse, pulse.
  5. Add baking soda and salt, pulse, pulse, pulse.
  6. (the dry mixture should feel like a fine flour).
  7. Transfer dry ingredients to a bowl. Wipe out food processor.
  8. In food processor with s-blade, add strained dates, coconut oil, vanilla, water and blend until incorporated.
  9. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix (with hands).
  10. Roll out dough on non stick surface about ½ inch thick - make sure they aren't too thin. Make cutouts. Transfer to nonstick baking surface and bake for 10 - 12 minutes - or so, check at 10 minutes. Cookies will firm as they cool. Thisis a popular brand to use.
Pink Shredded Coconut:
-Shredded Coconut
-Natural food coloring, HEREor HERE.

How To:
1. Add ½ cup shredded coconut to a jar.
2. Add a few drops of red coloring.
3. Cover lid and shake until well incorporated.
Pink Peppermint Ice Cream
  • 1 can coconut milk (I really love thisbrand for ice cream, also a BPA free can)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ of a cup sweetener (honey, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • Red natural food coloring (to preferred pink color) HERE or HERE.
  1. Add coconut milk, vanilla, peppermint, sweetener, and coloring to blender and blend until incorporated, add to ice cream maker.
  2. Blend until thick and transfer ice cream to glass storage and place in freezer for a few hours.
  3. Remove from freezer about 20 minutes before serving.

Shared on: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Traditional Tuesdays, Fat Tuesdays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, Ruth’s Real Food 101 (Mondays), Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage,  Lunch Box Love Fridays, Wellness Weekend, Allergy-Friendly Friday, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Fridays & Recipe Lion

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Labels: chocolate, cookies, dessert, grain free, holidays, ice cream, Paleo, vegan.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Cookies

Once in a blue moon I crave chocolate like a crazy person.  This makes my chocoholic husband insanely happy.  These little double chocolate cookies really hit the spot.  Dates give this cookie a nice chewy, soft texture.  Generally I use almonds or walnuts as the base ingredient in grain free baking.  But I had some lonely little hazelnuts in the fridge just waiting for their turn.  Hazelnuts and chocolate?  Fuggedaboutit.   
Double Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Cookies
  • -1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • -1/3 cup whole raw almonds
  • -1/4 cup coconut flour
  • -1/4 cup raw organic cacao
  • -1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • -1/8 teaspoon salt
  • -6 dried medjool dates (pitted and soaked in filtered water for about 3-4 hours)
  • -1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • -1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • -3 or 4 tablespoons honey
  • Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (for the topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In food processor with s-blade, grind hazelnuts until coarse.
  3. Add almonds and blend until nuts release just a bit of oil.
  4. Add coconut flour, pulse. Add cacao, pulse.
  5. Add baking soda and salt, pulse, pulse, pulse.
  6. (the dry mixture should feel like a fine flour).
  7. Transfer dry ingredients to a bowl.
  8. In food processor with s-blade, add strained dates, coconut oil, vanilla, and honey and blend until incorporated.
  9. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix.
  10. Form small balls and press down into cookie shape
  11. Bake for 12 minutes.
  12. When cool, top cookies with melted chocolate chips.
Vegans use coconut nectar or maple syrup
Shared on: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Pennywise Platter, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Traditional Tuesdays, The Healthy Home Economist, Fat Tuesdays, Ruth’s Real Food: 101, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Lunch Box Love Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend, Allergy-Friendly Friday, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Fridays, & Superfood Sunday
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Labels: chocolate, cookies, dessert, egg free, grain free, Paleo, vegan.


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Did I mention my husband is a HUGE chocoholic?  Well he is.  More than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.  And he likes the good stuff this man.  I’m not talking about a Hersey’s bar (although if you gave him one he would eat it).  My husband’s list of loves would probably go something like this: 1) his family, 2) the outdoors, 3) chocolate.  And if he was outdoors with his family eating chocolate he would probably explode (with joy).  So this chocolate series is dedicated to my sweet-teeth husband…and my daughter who is quickly following suit in the chocolate-loving department.
Here we have recipe #2 in the pumpkin + chocolate series.  I don’t know about you, but I like chewy brownies.  Not cake-like brownies.  I thought it would be a fun challenge to make these grain free.  So the trick here was to make a grain free brownie that didn’t crumble apart.  I’m pleased with the final product.  My husband LOVES this brownie, as does my daughter.  They both gave it a two-thumbs up, and that’s saying something from my chocolate connoisseurs.  How wonderful to make something so healthy and sinfully tasty for the ones I love.
(grain free, gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, egg free, soy free, xanthan gum free) 

-2 cups raw almonds
-1 cup raw walnuts
-1/2 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup (room temp)
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (vanilla or cocoa flavor is nice)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup applesauce (room temp)
-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
-3 tablespoons water
-1/4 cup coconut oil – liquified
-1/4 cup non-dairy milk (or water)
-1/4 teaspoon ginger

How To
Preheat oven to 375

In a food processor:
1.  Add almonds and grind until fine and slightly moist
2.  Add walnuts to almonds and blend together until the nuts start to stick together a bit- test with fingers
3.  Add cacao powder, blend/pulse
4.  Add arrowroot, baking soda, ginger, coconut flour, and salt…
5.  Blend, blend, blend, pulse, pulse, pulse

In a separate bowl:
1.  Whisk together: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, applesauce and milk (or water)
2.  In a separate small bowl stir together chia and water until thick then add to wet ingredients. mix
3.  Add dry ingredients from food processor into wet ingredients and mix
4.  Transfer batter to 8×8 baking dish
5.  You can either line the 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray oil and dust with coconut flour.  I used oil & flour.
6.  Bake 30 minutes or until sides start to harden and crisp up

*The middle will be moist, but will firm up as it cools, but overall stays rather moist.
*I would wait several hours before cutting into the brownies (if you can) or wait until the next day (yeah right).
*Top with melted chocolate (I melted 1/2 of this chocolate bar with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)

Shared on: slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  
Gluten Free Wednesdays, Week 5 of Home for the Holidays: Gluten Free Style,  Fat Tuesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, GFE’s Virtual Support Group, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Pot Luck Party Fridays, Feed Your Soul Friday, Superfood Sunday 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: chocolate, chocolate + pumpkin, dessert, egg free, grain free, Paleo, vegan.


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