When eggnog hits the shelves, my life gets complex. Do I get the dairy one, which is organic but not grassfed, and has a perfect texture bc of gums? Or the grassfed one that has no binders and is subsequently too runny? Or the non-dairy one that is as delicious as the branding implies but has multiple gums and binders? And why the *%&$*# do they all have SO MUCH SUGAR, no matter which I pick?
So, it’s DIY time. In the past I’ve made everything from raw vegan nog to eggy custard cream, and I love them all. This morning I decided it was go time, and I wanted a sugar free version that I could use to make a latte out of without starting my day on a sugar high. What I created is therefore paleo, low glycemic, vegan, and raw if you are using fresh/unpasteurized almond milk.
Coconut butter is an awesome ingredient to work with. It’s just ground organic coconut meat, and it makes liquids thicker without having to add more nuts. Sometimes nut milk + nut butter = too much nuttiness, so this gives things a different flavor. Any brand is fine, just make sure to stir well before using because the meat and the oil tend to separate.
3 cups almond milk (either homemade or a fresh / no gums or fillers one, preferably)
1/3 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup Swerve or other erythritol
1 dropper liquid stevia (I used toffee)
1/4 tsp lecithin, optional, to emulsify
1/8 tsp nutmeg, or more to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric, for color
Blend all ingredients until creamy. Shake before using once stored in fridge.
How I got into making marshmallows is a long story, the short version of which is that I got some gnarly food poisoning over the holidays that left my stomach in a major state of disrepair. As I’ve spent the last month since trying to rebuild my insides, I’ve been craving gelatin like mad. I’m not someone who tends to eat many animal products (though I cook them regularly for clients), so the craving has been super weird for me. I’ve made and consumed gallon upon gallon of bone broth and I’ve plowed through over a lb of grass fed gelatin. In the search for foods that contain as much gelatin as possible, I came across marshmallows. Yes, those gloopy gloppy sugary childhood chunks of sin that most of have not eaten in MANY a year. They can be re-vamped into a healthy treat, they are freaking delicious, and I’m placing bets that once bone broth hits critical mass and the general public becomes aware of its endless health benefits, gelatin based derivatives like marshmallows are going to be huge.
I didn’t invent a paleo recipe for marshmallows; thankfully the internet was already full of them, and they ‘re all comprised of water, either honey or maple syrup (you can find recipes for stevia but they just don’t hold up well), gelatin, and maybe some vanilla. Not much of a vanilla girl, I set forth straight away to the land of better and more interesting flavors. On this ride I’ve made cinnamon maple, salted bourbon butterscotch, and now the best of all: cara cara orange and Levity red asparagus root extract. Not only are these crazy yummy, they are also full of feel good chemicals to create a joyful mindset. I used some sweet orange essential oil to up the orange flavor and health benefits, as orange oil is good for everything from mood to digestion. Longevity Power Levity is something I’ve spoken at length about: it tastes like caramel and it feels like magic. Together these ingredients combine to create a delectable dessert that is as good for your gut health as it is your mental health.
All the recipes I’ve found for paleo marshmallows proclaim repeatedly, “These are so easy to make!!!” so I am going to be the first honest human to tell you, these guys are a pain in the butt. They are messy to make, messy to clean up, and messy to cut, they take about a half hour, and timing for each step is critical. They’re just damn good tasting enough to be worth the effort.
Cara Cara Orange & Levity Marshmallows
If cara cara oranges aren’t available near you, or it isn’t winter when you’re reading this, regular oranges will work fine. If you prefer all maple syrup or all honey, that’s fine too. If you’re familiar with paleo marshmallow recipes, you’ll notice that mine is a 50% increase over the standard. One reason is because this quantity fits perfectly into a 9×13 pan, and another is that if you are going to go through this effort, you should have as much to show for it as possible.
1/2 cup boiling water
juice of one cara cara orange, approximately 1/4 cup
1/3 cup grass fed gelatin powder
2 tbls Levity powder
zest of one orange
pinch of salt
4 drops sweet orange essential oil (organic, therapeutic grade only!)
Pour boiling water over remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir well. Gelatin will lump up, which is ok. Leave to soften as you work on the next step, and return every few minutes to stir gently and help gelatin break down. If after you’ve completed the below syrup making you still have any gelatin chunks that can’t be smushed down, just remove them.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup maple syrup
Combine in a saucepan over medium heat and boil until soft ball stage, 240 degrees. Do not stir. As bubbles arise, poke them down with a fork.
Once you have soft ball stage syrup, remove from heat and begin pouring over ingredients in mixing bowl in a slow stream with mixer on low. Once combined thoroughly, move mixer up to high and beat until mixture looks like marshmallow fluff, 8-10 minutes.
Grease a 9×13 baking sheet with coconut oil, and if desired, coat with a dusty powder such as arrowroot, corn starch, cinnamon, or cocoa powder, and/or additional orange zest. Pour marshmallow fluff into pan and refrigerate until firm and ready to cut, 3-4 hours.
It can be nearly impossible to find sushi at a restaurant made with local, wild fish and organic produce from the farmers market. What to do when you’ve got the craving? Make it (or hire me to make it) yourself. =)
I must admit that I’ve never eaten a slice of commercial red velvet cake. I was brought up to be wary of unnaturally colored things, so I have had a bite once or twice of others cakes, just to see what all the hoopla was about, but it was nowhere good enough to eat a big heaping serving of artificial dye. I did make a red velvet cake for a friend’s birthday a few years ago, and tried to do so first with natural dye. The result was a muddy mess, and I resorted to the “real” stuff, since red velvet, not mud velvet, was the type of cake she’d chosen when asked. I was aghast at the fact that one cake takes AN ENTIRE CONTAINER of red dye, which most people know is made from carmine, a type of bug. Sure, Americans eat all kinds of kooky things, like bread with “dough conditioners,” which are made of human hair, but I tend to avoid all that because I’m a complete snot when it comes to food.
Anyway, last night I decided to make pudding, and I wanted to make something a little different than the standard chocolate-avo ones I’ve been making for ages. I wanted it to be avocado based, but a bit lighter than just all avocado, and a little chocolaty, but not overly so. I decided to cook up some beets, which technically makes this a not-all-the-way-raw pudding, and did my usual “let’s throw stuff in the blender and see what happens!!” routine. The result was a delectable concoction that I’ve decided to call red velvet pudding, because of its color and mild cacao flavor. It doesn’t seem terribly different in ingredients than the other avo-based puddings I’ve posted the recipes for, but the quantity of beets makes for a substantial difference in both color and flavor.
Raw(ish) Vegan Red Velvet Pudding:
2 medium avocados
1/2 cup honey or coconut nectar or agave OR 1/2 cup water plus 1 dropper flavored stevia
1 cup baked beets with 1 cup beet water, 1/2 cup reserved
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup dried cherries, reconstituted
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup lucuma powder
2 tbls cacao powder
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 dropper chocolate-raspberry stevia
Add all ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 cup of beet water to blender. Blend until creamy, adding reserved beet water as necessary for texture. Fruit can be changed up with any other red fruit. Chill in refrigerator until cold.
To serve: this is hearty and thick enough for usage as a frosting, but light enough to parfait with fruit and granola. I just put it in a little cup and added a dollop of almond butter and a smattering of cacao nibs.
Recently I heard about adding beets to smoothies, so since I had some cooked ones in the fridge this morning I decided to try it. And WOW, do beets gorgeous up a drink! I also added chia kombucha to this for extra fruitiness and tang.
This is the smoothie I made:
And this is how I made it:
1 1/2 cups purple kale leaves
3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1 small cooked beet
1 white nectarine
a 1 inch piece of frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup black chia kombucha
1 scoop protein powder
1 tsp camu camu powder
stevia to taste
Camu camu intensifies the sweet tart fruitiness, coconut milk mellows it out a little, and I swear, you can’t even taste all that kale! I prefer purple kale for red smoothies because besides the additional antioxidant benefits of purple foods, it’s nice to sometimes to have normal looking/not swampy smoothies.