Raw Hazelnut Date Bars: you know you want them (paleo and vegan)

Hazelnuts, LOVE them. They are delicious in cookies, in soups, in cakes, in breads, the list goes on. I mean come on, they make Nutella out of them! But whereas Nutella has a ton of added sugar and dairy, this recipe only has FOUR ingredients, none of which are sugar. You’re welcome.


Plus hazelnuts are good for your heart, help reduce the risk of cancer, and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health. Check it out. These bars are paleo and vegan, meaning no grains, dairy, added sugar, or animal products. Whoop.

While they may look like bird food, I promise they don’t taste like it. They’re the perfect snack, on the go or at home. You can use any size baking dish depending on how thick you want them. I use a 8 in x 11.5 in pan, but it’s up to you.

Helpful Hints:

#1: Do not over roast the hazelnuts. Because most raw hazelnuts have a brown skin, it can be difficult to tell when they’re golden. Check them after 5 minutes and watch them closely for up to 10 minutes. It’s super easy to burn them and then that will be the only flavor you taste. No bueno.

#2: Once the hazelnuts have cooled slightly, roll a few in your hands in a circular motion to remove the skin. This step is not necessary, but I think it helps with the overall texture of the bars. I.e. removing as much skin as you can.


#3: Line your baking pan with parchment paper. It makes it easier to remove the bars from the pan and you can cut them without scratching the pan.

#4: Keep them in the fridge for freshness!


What you need:

1.1 lbs medjool dates, pitted
280g blanched hazelnuts
5 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons of maple syrup

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden, take out and leave to cool.

Once cool, blend the roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture. Add the dates and blend again. Add the cacao and maple syrup. Blend.

Place the mixture into a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once they set, cut them up. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread: jumping on that fall bandwagon

Now that we are getting well into October I have begun to accept the fact that summer is over and it is now fall. Cue the pumpkin recipes. I love pumpkin! I could put it in pretty much anything, you name it. Cookies, muffins, soups, breads, pies, cheesecakes, the list goes on.


This guy uses apple sauce instead of butter and honey instead of white sugar!  When baking with honey you need to turn down the oven temperature by 25°F to make sure the sugar in the honey does not brown (or burn) too quick. So while you normally bake quick breads at 350°F, bake this guy at 325°F.


This bread is delicious with morning coffee (my fav!), on the go, or as an after dinner treat! And if you don’t want to buy pumpkin pie spice, it’s super easy to make and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your cupboard.

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.
Mix the spices together in a small bowl, ta-da!

What you need:

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
15 oz pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

chocolate chips, dairy-free

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix apple sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill 4 mini bread pans 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bread is cooked through. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pans.

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Raw Chocolate Macaroons: the works—paleo, vegan, nut free.

Packed with coconut. Homemade chocolate. And no baking required. Triple win. These macaroons are the perfect treat, snack, or dessert. You can sprinkle a pinch of coconut on-top, drizzle some chocolate, or leave it plain. I mean let’s be real, you can put really anything on top! Just make sure to do it while the chocolate’s still wet.


Making your own chocolate is way easier than you think. To start, you need a double boiler: a set of two fitted saucepans or pots that are stacked together with space between them. The space is KEY! If you don’t have a “real” double boiler, make your own. I place a glass bowl on top of a small sauce pan. Works like a charm.

Alternatively, you can just melt chocolate chips if you don’t want to make your own chocolate. If you want to keep it vegan and paleo, read the ingredients (no soy, dairy, etc.)!


These guys are super quick to make. 15 minutes or less. The perfect last minute go-to! No one will ever know you completely forgot you were bringing dessert to the dinner party.


What you need:

2 cups unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon canilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder

Raw Chocolate
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 cup (or less) maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Optional- coconut ribbons, sea salt, toppings of choice

What to do:

Put all of the balls ingredients into a food processor and pulse for about a minute or until the mixture comes together. You want some of the coconut to get ground, but you don’t want to turn it into butter.

Scoop 1 teaspoon sized mounds. Pop them in the freezer to chill while you make the chocolate.

To make the chocolate, combine all the ingredients in a double boiler and gently melt. Once the chocolate is melted, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to cool and thicken up a bit.

Take the macarons out of the freezer and using a fork, dip them in the chocolate base, letting the extra chocolate drip off them before placing on a wire rack. Dip all of the macaroons before returning to the freezer for a few minutes to set.

Store these in the freezer for long term snacking, or in the fridge for immediate consumption.


Paleo red curry coconut chicken soup: to warm your insides

On that paleo kick. Commence the soup making. Soups are fairly easy to make paleo and you can swap out ingredients left and right to fit your taste buds. You can switch up the veggies as well as the meat. Or make it vegetarian by substituting the meat for potatoes!


If you’re not a huge fan of tomatoes, I recommend using only 1 to 1.5 cans of the roasted tomatoes instead of 2. However, after you let the soup merry, the tomato flavor isn’t very potent. I try to make soups in the morning so that they have all day to sit. Plus then all you have to do is warm it up and dinner is served!


  • Leftovers (i.e cooked veggies and meat) make this meal super quick!
  • Marinate the chicken (or meat of choice) while you cook the veggies to get more flavor!
  • Add the veggies at different increments depending on their cooking time, i.e. broccoli first, zucchini last.
  • If substituting potatoes for meat, peel and cube the potatoes and boil them until cooked.

What you need:

4 chicken breast, 1 inch cubed pieces
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1 zucchini, sliced and halved
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
1 orange bell pepper, cubed
15 mushrooms, quartered
1 small head of brocoli
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 4 oz jar red curry paste (check label for added sugar)
1 tablespoon powder ginger
handful of spinach leaves

1 spaghetti squash, cooked

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What to do:

Mix sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, ginger powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss chicken in, coat thoroughly. Let it marinate while you cook the veggies.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add broccoli and then peppers. Cook for a few minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes longer. You want the veggies to be al dente since they will continue to cook in the soup! Remove from the pan and place in bowl.

Cook the chicken in the pan, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a pot, combine coconut milk, tomatoes, curry paste, and ginger. Stir with a whisk to combine. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Add cooked veggies and meat until heated through. Add spinach, cook for a minute. Pour over spaghetti squash to serve.



Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice: a warm and cozy dish

The first snow has fallen. It’s officially fall in the mountains. The leaves have begun to change and the mountain tops are white. A beauty to look at (from inside!). The cold weather makes me want to curl up in bed with a ton of blankets and watch a movie. It also makes me crave warm, hearty meals.


This guy is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s warm and filling and baked for maximum coziness. Who doesn’t love a mixture of delicious ingredients? Credit for this recipe has to go to my old housemate, J.G. While I have made a few changes, he is the one who introduced me to this scrumptious dish.


What you need:

1 cup rice
3 tbsp olive oil
10 chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, wings – any will work)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
2 cm piece of ginger, minced
1 jalapeño sliced into rings, or more if you like it spicy
2 3/4 cups chicken stock
Lime wedges, optional, to serve


What to do:

Season the chicken with the all-purpose seasoning, salt, and pepper. Let it sit while you chop the veggies and such.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken and place it in a casserole dish, big enough so that it can all fit in one layer.

Add the onion and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-8 minutes. (You want to peppers still crunchy because they will continue to cook in the oven). Add the garlic, allspice, turmeric, ginger and jalapeño. Cook for about a minute longer.

Add the veggie mix to the casserole dish. Pour the rice all around and add the stock.


Pre-heat the oven to 385 °F (between 375°F and 400°F if you can’t enter a specific number on your oven). Cook for 35 minutes and then cover, a cookie sheet works great! Cook 5-10 more minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Serve with the lime wedges if you’d like. It helps cut the spice.


No Bake Raspberry Chocolate Tart: vegan, paleo, and gluten free.

RASPBERRIES!!! It’s that time of year again when our raspberry bush is going crazy. Bowls and bowls and bowls of fresh raspberries. It got to the point where eating them for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dessert was not enough. So why not bake with them too.


Raspberries go lovely with chocolate and given my chocolate obsession it was an easy choice: Raspberry Chocolate Tart. The raspberries add the perfect freshness to the creamy rich ganache filling.

Beautiful facts about the tart:

  1. No bake, you’re welcome. This guy takes about 10 minutes to whip up and then all you have to do is let it set in the fridge. Worth the wait, trust me.
  2. Gluten free, hello almond flour
  3. Paleo, good ol’ maple syrup means no added sugar
  4. Vegan, no dairy or eggs
  5. It’s safe for almost all friends, except those with nut allergies, sorry!
  6. Healthy! Well at least in my book, it only has 8 ingredients


Given the plethora of raspberries on hand, I simply smashed raspberries to add into the filling. If you don’t want to do this, I know raspberries can be expensive, raspberry preserves work too, which is pretty much the same thing, just sold in a jar. Make sure there is no added sugar if you want to keep it paleo.


This guy is beyond smooth, decadent, and oh so easy. Plus there’s not a strong coconut flavor. I find myself avoiding coconut oil and milk because of its potent flavor, but not in this guy. Helpful hint: it does not last very long, so if it’s for a crowd and you want leftovers, go ahead and double it making two tarts. Let’s get after it.

What you need:

For the crust:
1½ cups almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup liquid coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup mashed raspberries, or raspberry preserves
2 cups fresh raspberries

What to do:

Lightly grease a 9-inch pan with coconut oil.In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crust and stir together. Press evenly into the prepared tart pan. Set aside.

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk just to a boil. Pour hot coconut milk over chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in mashed raspberries. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Place tart in the refrigerator to set and cool completely, about 1-2 hours. Top with raspberries. Slice and devour.


Ooey, Gooey, S’more Cookies: summertime in a bite

Summer is for nights around campfires making s’mores. But with the hot weather and crazy winds, fire bans have been in full force. Problem: want a s’more but can’t make a fire. Time to get creative. Solution: make a cookie. Bam.


Plus the little bro had a birthday. Summer birthdays go hand-in-hand with s’mores. And by pure coincidence, it’s national s’mores day. A much easier way to partake in the celebration verses making a fire and roasting a marshmallow.

These guys aren’t as low in sugar as other recipes on here. The marshmallows add extra sweetness and aren’t made with the healthiest ingredients. But hey, the baby in the fam only has a birthday once a year. Solid reason for a cheat day. And you can always use vegan marshmallows, they are gelatin free and melt less. Double win.



  • Don’t add extra graham crackers. While it might seem tempting to add extra crunch, it actually makes the cookies dry and it is more difficult to wrap the dough around the marshmallows. Trust me, I learned from thinking I was clever.
  • CHILL THE DOUGH! The cooler the dough is, the easier it is to work with and the puffier the cookies will be.
  • You need more mini marshmallows than you think. Squeeze them together to make one big blob or use jumbo marshmallows and cut in half. I only had mini ones in the cupboards.
  • Make your own gluten-free graham crackers. It will be healthier than buying store-bought ones and it’s pretty easy. Confession time: these guys use store-bought graham crackers because I was pressed for time.


What you need:

2½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup soy-free earth balance butter, softened
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
¾ cup hand-crushed gluten-free graham crackers, NOT fine crumbs
Lots of mini marshmallows, 5-8 per cookie. Learn from my mistake.


What to do:

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream the butter for a minute or two, then pour in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Mix in the honey, and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips, and then gently fold in the graham cracker pieces.

Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop 1/2 tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball, flatten, and set down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Set the marshmallows right in the middle. Top with another 1/2 tablespoon of flattened dough and press together. Repeat with remaining dough.


Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the sides are golden. Let sit on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Best eaten while warm but delicious whenever.



Spicy Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps: when creativity isn’t flowing

Whenever I don’t know what to make for dinner, this is my go-to. It’s super simple and quick. Plus I usually already have all of the ingredients in my house minus the ground pork. Start to finish we are looking at about 30 minutes, you’re welcome.

Packed with flavor, it has just the right amount of spice, zing, and punch. Huge crowd pleaser. If lettuce wraps don’t seem quite filling enough for dinner, make some rice and put the pork mixture over it. A more substantial option.


Let’s get after it.

What you need:

1 1/2 pound ground pork
2 red bell pepper, finely diced 20170805_113733-e1501955688252.jpg

3 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce, this guy is gluten-free
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (make sure it’s GLUTEN-FREE)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
4 scallions, thinly sliced
24 Boston lettuce leaves

Add-ins: One 8-ounce can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Add with scallions.

What to do:

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, sriracha, fish sauce and sesame oil. Side note: the longer you marinate it, the more flavor the pork holds. Somedays I wait a few hours, others none.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the pork mixture and stir-fry, breaking it up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.

Stir in scallions and remove from the heat. Spoon mixture into lettuce cups. Enjoy!




Veggie Green Thai Curry: when your brother decides to stop eating meat (gluten, dairy, nut, soy, meat free).

I LOVE curry! All kinds. I usually opt for a combination of dry spices like ginger, turmeric, and chili peppers because it’s what I have in the cupboards. More of an Indian style curry. But it wasn’t satisfying my craving, so I decided to buy curry paste. More of a Thai style curry. Spoiler alert: definitely worth it. What’s the differences between curries you’re wondering, check this out.


There are a ton of curry paste options out there. Depending on where you live, you may have 10 to choose from or 2 like me. But guess what? You can always make your own. Mind blown. One day I’ll get there, but for now Thai Kitchen works for me.

Alright, time for a quick lesson. While I was living in Colombia, my roommates and I would switch out making dinner for each other, less cooking and family meals. Win-win. For one of my turns, I decided to make curry and trying to respect the fact that one of my roommates hated spicy food I chose the least spicy paste, green. Or so I thought. Turns out green curry is the spiciest…oops. Backwards right? One very unhappy roommate later, now we know. Spice level increase: yellow, red, green.

Good news, for this recipe you can choose whichever one you want to use. All will work! I love spice, so I chose green, but pick your poison. And if you’re a real spice lover like me, the green paste is not even that spicy, so add some serrano or jalapeño peppers to your mix to spice it up.

You can pretty much choose what ever veggies, meat, and starches you want: why I love curry. The options are endless. Of course, certain choices are more traditional than others, but who’s to tell you no? Not me. Have at it.


This recipe is easy to make up at home and healthier than takeout. It is also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free for everyone to enjoy.

What you need:

1 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch nub of ginger)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3-4 slices serrano pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 yellow, orange or green bell pepper, cubed
15 baby carrots, cut lengthwise x2
1 poblano peppers, cubed
1 small yellow squash, cut into rounds and then quartered
1 small zucchini, cut into rounds and then quartered
1 small head broccoli, chopped
10 mushrooms, largely chopped
1 4oz jar Thai green curry paste
1 can (14 ounces) regular coconut milk*
3 medium potatoes, cubed and boiled**

Garnishes/sides: handful of chopped fresh basil or cilantro, optional red pepper flakes, optional sriracha or chili garlic sauce

*Use FULL FAT, otherwise it’ll be watery and gross
**Switch out for your choice of meat. Cook it prior to adding.

What to do:

To cook the rice, read the instructions, come on y’all. But for you lazy peeps: 1 to 1.5 rice to water ratio. Place in a pan, throw in some salt if you so please, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes (alright here is where you should really look at the bag, no actually, different rices cook for different times). Remove from heat, let the rice rest for 5 minutes or longer, until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving, season the rice to taste with salt and fluff it with a fork.

To make the curry, warm a large pan with deep sides over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and serranos and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, while stirring continuously.

Add the all veggies except mushrooms. Cook until the bell peppers are fork-tender, 3 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Add mushrooms and stir. Then add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Mix in potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the veggies have softened to your liking, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Remove the pan from the heat . Add salt to taste. If the curry needs a little more punch, add ½ teaspoon more tamari. For more acidity, add ½ teaspoon more rice vinegar.

Pour curry over rice and enjoy! If you’d so please, garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. For more spice, add sriracha or chili garlic sauce.


Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam: sometimes you have to go paleo (no grains, no dairy, no refined sugar)

So it looks like I’m having a bit of nostalgia for winter. Whipped up these guys and then realized they are typically a holiday treat too. Ooops. But come on, I mean how can you shut down an almond and raspberry combo? And putting them on an apple plate makes them more summery, yeah?


Plus I was bringing them to a yoga teaching session and you can’t just bring any old dessert to these kinds of meetings. Yogis are all healthy and stuff, right? So these guys are PALEO (i.e. no grains, no refined sugar, no dairy). But do you worry your lil ol’ mind, they are still delicious. Don’t believe me, give them a shot.


They are soft and chewy and pretty darn healthy. What are you waiting for, get baking.

What you need:

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly*
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam or jam of choice

*Unrefined coconut oil gives these guys a coconut taste. If that is not your cup of tea, you can use refined coconut oil or soy-free Earth Balance butter (1 to 1 ratio), but then they are not really Paleo anymore, read here and here.

What to do:

In a bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, stir together the coconut oil, egg, maple syrup, and almond extract.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined. The dough will feel quite wet. Let sit for 10 minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb the liquid.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F and line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

Using your thumb or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon (works like a gem) to make an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into each cookie. You may want to re-form the edges a little to make them prettier.


Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Be sure not to overfill them.

Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookies have barely started browning on the bottom.

Let the cookies, which will be very soft, cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat up. Or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.