Chocolate Cherry Pudding Pie Tarts

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Chocolate and cherries have been one of my favorite pairings lately. These mini pie tarts are so full of chocolatey fruity goodness, all while keeping things healthy with whole plant food ingredients. These are oil-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. The magic fluffy binding ingredient at work here is actually baked sweet potato. You won't even know it's in there, but it's the backbone of this recipe providing structure and texture to the pie filling. 

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I first heard about the idea of chocolate sweet potato pudding from this recipe by The Vegan 8 and I was so amazed by how the sweet potato made a pudding consistency when blended. I kept experimenting with this idea, adding various flavors with fruits and firming up the texture with starch to make a pie filling.  The result was these decadent, yet still super healthy mini chocolate cherry pie tarts. 

Although cherries aren't in season at the moment, frozen cherries work just fine in this recipe. Just make sure to thaw and then drain them first. Cherries make the tarts extra sweet, which makes it possible to add less sugar form of maple syrup, and the best part is that they're a whole food which actually provides dietary fiber.

Thanks to this fiber, even though we are adding more sugar in the form of fruit, we are actually blunting the insulin response. If you were to eat the same meal without berries, it would cause a greater insulin spike than if you included berries in your meal. Another benefit of adding fruit, is that the polyphenols and phytonutrients can actually block some of the uptake of sugar by the cells that line our intestines. So there's some more reasons to eat lots of fruit if you needed some!

This recipe makes enough for two 4-inch diameter mini tart baking cups, but if you increase the recipe portion size and cooking time, this could make a full-sized pie.

The crust is just about as simple as it gets- made from almond flour, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir until it becomes clumpy and holds together when pressed, then press into a silicone or otherwise non-stick pie tart pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and then bake the crust on it's own for about 10 minutes. Then allow to cool slightly, add the pie filling and bake for 15 more minutes, or longer if making a full-sized pie. 

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You could make a bunch of mini pies or even one big pie to share at holiday parties or to gift to friends, everyone will be amazed that these are actually healthy and made with sweet potato. It's the best feeling to eat delicious pie and feel still good during and after eating!

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Chocolate Peppermint Mini Cakes [Raw, Vegan, Oil-Free, Refined Sugar-Free]

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These mini chocolate peppermint cakes are so delicious, you'd never guess they're actually good for you! And I don't just mean that they're not bad for you, I mean they are actually good for you. There's even spinach in there! Though I promise you can't taste it. Maybe don't tell anyone until after they're done eating, just to maintain the element of surprise. 

This recipe is super simple. The bottom chocolate layer is made from walnuts, oats, cacao, and dates- that's it! The top layers are mainly made of cashews and maple syrup, and while the layers look different, they're actually basically the same, except half of the filling is colored green from a few baby spinach leaves and the other half is left white. 

All you need is a good blender and a silicone muffin tin, and you're ready to go. No baking required! These mini cakes go in the freezer for a couple hours until they're solid, then you just let them thaw for a few minutes and enjoy! 

They taste like frozen peppermint patties and have a wonderful fluffy and creamy texture. They also store nicely in the freezer for easy access. I'm one of those people who will get a craving for something, and then once I finally have it I'm over it for a while, so that works out really well with these mini cakes because I can enjoy one and then keep the leftovers in the freezer for the next time a chocolate-peppermint craving strikes. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe!


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Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread [Oil-Free, Refined-Sugar Free]


This peanut butter bread loaf is refined sugar free, sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar, and it contains no oil. While it's not a health food, it's a really fun and easy recipe, it travels well, and makes a great treat to share with others. 

Peanut butter and jelly bread has been getting us through some strenuous days of manual labor out on our new property clearing a few invasive blackberry bushes. After six months of searching for land to purchase and build our first home, we finally closed on a 7 acre parcel of forest here in Washington state. It's a beautiful property covered with ferns and pine trees and we think it will be just the right place to build our small cabin and learn how to grow our own food. 

For now, we've been practicing with a few potted plants around our Airstream and seeing what we can learn about the process. We mostly have flowers and succulents along with a tomato plant that has five green tomatoes ripening currently. 

taken during the eclipse here in Seattle (92% coverage) 

taken during the eclipse here in Seattle (92% coverage) 

This peanut butter and jelly bread is so easy to make, all you need is two bowls and a 9 x 9 inch baking pan or loaf pan. Most of the ingredients are common household items and require very little preparation other than mixing and dumping into a pan. If you make this now, in less than an hour you'll have a delicious fresh sliced bread to enjoy all week!

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The addition of the dried blueberries adds a fruity jelly flavor, but feel free to omit for plain peanut butter bread. For other variations, try adding chopped nuts, raisins, or vegan chocolate chips. Dial down on the coconut sugar for sandwich bread or add more coconut sugar for a sweeter loaf. Slice and store in the fridge covered for up to one week. 

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble [Vegan, Oil-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free]

Rhubarbs are in season here in Washington and while strawberries are not quite there yet, I decided to jump the gun and try experimenting with a strawberry-rhubarb crumble anyway... or is it a crisp? I'm going with crumble because crisp reminds me too much of apples and this tastes more like a crumble-pie than anything. 

I used half fresh, half frozen strawberries for this recipe, but I recommend using all fresh strawberries especially if you can find them organic and in season. If you're reading this in June that should be much easier, but until then frozen, thawed strawberries will definitely work. Just make sure to thaw them first and drain out the water. 

First, you make the strawberry rhubarb filling.

Then mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle it over the filling in an even layer.

It's not quite the most traditional strawberry rhubarb pie, but it's much healthier as it doesn't contain any refined flours or sugars and still makes a delicious pie-like treat!

 

Strawberry-rhubarb Crumble [vegan, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free]