Vegan Vanilla Caramel Slice

The most AMAZING vanilla caramel slices! They taste like caramelly cookie dough heaven! Vegan and refined sugar free. Made from wholesome ingredients with healthy benefits! I like to keep these in the freezer and have one for dessert…or breakfast ūüėČ with a cup of coffee. Awww perfection!¬†
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup soft pitted dates
1 cup almond flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. water
Blend ingredients in a food processor until combined. Press date mixture into a lined (wax paper) 9X9 glass dish.  Place in the freezer.
Middle Layer:
2 cups soft pitted dates
1 tbsp. peanut butter
3 tbsp.  tahini
1/2 cup hemp mylk
1 tbsp. mesquite powder (*see note below)
1 tsp. vanilla
Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour on top of the base mixture and use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners of the dish. Place back in the freezer.
Top Layer:
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup (optional sweetener)
Mix ingredients in a cup. Use a microwave if needed to melt the coconut oil.
Pour on top and spread chocolate sauce evenly over the caramel-date layer.
Sprinkle with topping of your choice or keep plain (I used chopped pistachios and Brazil nuts).
Place in the freezer for 8 hours (or over night). Cut into slices and serve!
*Note on Mesquite Powder

So when I first heard about Mesquite powder, I thought it would taste like smoky BBQ; not so… it has a sweet nutty caramel-like flavor, making it ideal for a natural sweetener in desserts. Mesquite powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and is high in protein, low on the glycemic index and is a good source of soluble fiber, calcium, iron, lysine, manganese, zinc, and potassium. Nice…

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

I’m obsessed with¬†Laura Bars…my favorite is their chocolate peanut butter bar. At $1.79 a pop things can add up quickly, so I decided to make my own. It looked simple enough, right? It was! My version is refined sugar-free and packed with protein. They are the perfect treat!
15 soft pitted dates
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter (raw or regular)
1 tsp. water
1/2 peanuts
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or cacao nibs
1 cup shredded coconut
Blend pitted dates, peanut butter and water in a food processor until the mixture turns into a coarse paste. You may need to add more water depending on the brand of peanut butter you use (some pb’s are drier than others).Add peanuts, salt and chocolate chips to the food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate the ingredients and break the peanuts into smaller pieces.Take spoonfuls of the mixer and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll each ball in finely shredded coconut and place on a plate.Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

*I usually keep these in the refrigerator for the whole week and grab one whenever a sweet craving hits.

Peanut Butter Banana Date Nice Cream Bowl

I was craving something sweet…sometimes nothing will do, but a big bowl of peanut butter and chocolate! My solution –> a smoothie bowl made with bananas and dates drizzled with organic chocolate and peanut butter and topped with caramelized coconut bananas, brown butter chocolate squares, berries, mint, buckinis, cacao nibs and everything you dream about.¬†
Nice Cream:
2 frozen bananas
3 soft pitted dates
1 tbsp. organic peanut butter
1/4 cup water
Chocolate Drizzle:
2 squares of chocolate (I used this amazing Brown Butter Organic Chocolate) You can also opt for one of Altereco’s vegan chocolates.
1 tsp. coconut oil
Peanut Butter Drizzle:
1 tsp. organic peanut butter
1/2 tsp. coconut oil
Caramelized Coconut Sugar Bananas:
6 banana coins
1 tbsp. coconut sugar
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Extra Toppings:
5 berries
3 sprigs of mint
1 tbsp. buckinis (sprouted buckwheat groats)
1 tbsp. cacao nibs
Nice Cream:
Blend frozen bananas, dates, peanut butter and water together. set in the freezer until ready to serve.
Chocolate Drizzle:
In a small cup melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until liquified.
Peanut Butter Drizzle:
In a small cup melt peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until liquified.
Caramelized Coconut Sugar Bananas:
Dip each side of the banana¬†coin in coconut sugar and place in a hot pan with 1 tbsp. hot coconut oil. Fry on each side until a crispy shell is formed. *I like to flip them with chopsticks…it’s easier than a spatula.
Take the nice cream out of the¬†freezer and pour/spoon into a bowl. Drizzle chocolate and peanut butter sauces (if you want to make it look pretty swirl them with a toothpick, move¬†quickly because¬†both or these sauces will harden in 10 seconds or so). Place¬†caramelized banana’s on¬†top, followed by berries, mint,¬†buckinis and cacao nibs. And there you have it!
Peanut Butter Banana Date Nice Cream Bowl

Market Finds & Joie de Vivre

So I’ve been writing¬†joie de vivre posts for a long time…highlighting things, places, activities or moments that make my heart zing. There are lot of simple joys¬†throughout the week, but one that I particularly look forward to is fruit shopping on the weekends. There is a large population of expatriate Vietnamese families in Westminster known as Little Saigon¬†(a 30 minute drive¬†away from where we live) and it’s become one of my favorite places to explore!¬†I really have a blast shopping in the markets and trying different restaurants with Dan and our friends. There are so many awesome goodies to discover. Mangosteen, passion fruit, durian, cherimoya, starfruit, sugarcane, pho¬†and banh xeo! Here are some of my favorite fruit finds from¬†Trai Cay Ngon.

Market FindsFullSizeRender-94FullSizeRender-95 IMG_4526 IMG_4908

Vegan Chocolate Nut Butter Caramel Cups Sprinkled with Sea Salt

I’m not a vegan (as you can see from many of my other recipes), but lately I’ve have been experimenting with healthier options. I think I nailed this one! I wouldn’t feel right keeping this to myself so I had to should share it with you guys! It will improve your life…or at least put a satisfied smile on your face. I even like these better than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! Whaaaaat!? It’s true. They are super easy to make and taste amazing + you’ll¬†feel less guilty indulging in these little treats because they are all natural with no preservative. Without further ado, I give you¬†Vegan Chocolate Nut Butter Caramel Cups With Sea Salt.

Makes about 8 (2 inches round 1 inch thick each)


Chocolate shell:
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
2 tsp. coconut oil

Nut butter caramel:
2 tbsp. nut butter (any kind will do…I like peanut)
8 soft pitted dates
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. water
pinch of sea salt

-Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwavable cup for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir to incorporate the oil into the chocolate. You’ll want the consistency of the chocolate to pour off your spoon in a thick stream (not too runny or it won’t set up)

-Spoon a bit of the chocolate into your mini nonstick muffin cups, just enough to cover the bottom of each cup. Then place the tin in the freezer. Any leftover chocolate can be set aside and used later.

-Now start the nut butter caramel! Place the nut butter (cashew, almond, peanut or whatever you like), soft pitted dates, coconut oil, water and sea salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until the the ingredients turn into a fine paste.

-Take the frozen chocolate tin out of the freezer and distribute the nut butter caramel evenly among the cups. Press the paste firmly into the mold to avoid any gaps between the layers. Make sure to pat the tops so they are level and flat.

-Reheat the leftover chocolate and pour it over the cups. Give the tin a few taps on the counter to level the chocolate. Sprinkle with a sea salt flakes.

-Place in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate has set. * To release the treats from the mini muffin tin, hold the bottom of the tin over a flame for 5 seconds on each cup. Take a thin knife and run it along the edge of each circle. They should pop right out. Serve at room temp

Vegan Chocolate Nut Butter Caramel Cups Sprinkled with Sea Salt