Even though I’m not dairy free or vegan I like to try healthier recipes from time to time. They’re loaded with protein, good fats and sweetened with dates instead of processed sugar – a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling the guilt. Danny and I may have made 2 batches when we went vegan for a month…and may have eaten them the same day we made them 😉 We couldn’t resist the yummy layers of sweet, nutty, caramel and chocolate goodness.

10X10” glass dish
Makes 8 slices


2 tbsp. rolled oats
1/2 cup roasted almonds (or almond meal)
3 soft medjool dates
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. coconut butter

Peanut Butter Nougat
1 1/2 cup cashews (soaked in water over night)
3 soft medjool dates
1 tbsp. almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp. tahini butter
2 tbsp. peanut butter
4 soft medjool dates 1
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 tbsp. coconut butter
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract

Chocolate Topping
3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. coconut butter

Crust Base: Throw ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until combined. Line the dish with the crust and press evenly until covered. Set aside.

Peanut Butter Nougat LayerAdd all peanut butter nougat ingredients into your cleaned food processor (I used our Vitamix…so blender or food processor will work). Blend until very smooth. Add water if needed to reach a “thick pour” consistency. Pour over the crust and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Place in the freezer.

Caramel Layer: Place all ingredients in your cleaned food processor and blend until smooth. Add more salt or soft dates until desired taste is reached (some like it salty, some like it sweet). Take dish out of freezer and pour on the next layer. Place back in freezer while you prepare the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer: Place all chocolate topping ingredients in a heatproof bowl and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until “chocolate” is liquefied, smooth and the oil has mixed into the cacao. Pour evenly on top of the dish and place back into the freezer for 5 hours or until the raw snickers dish has completely hardened. When ready, pop it out of the dish by pulling on the plastic wrap. Peel off the plastic and cut the dessert with a large knife into desired size squares.

*Top with sea salt flakes

Vanilla Bean Purple Sweet Potato Creamy Cashew Berry Cake

How about a slice of vanilla bean purple sweet potato creamy cashew berry cake? These cakes are vegan, gluten free, wheat free, refined (cane sugar) free, dairy free, soy free and yes they’re still delicious! Flavor packed little squares! Here is the easier-than-you-think recipe!


6 soft dates (pitted)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp almond meal
1/2 nuts (almonds, peanuts whatever you have)
1/2 cup rolled oats

Bottom Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
1/2 purple sweet potato (peeled and steamed)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Top Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
10 raspberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp maqui powder
1 tbsp pomegranate powder
2 tbsp beet (finely shredded)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Make each layer separately in the food processor (wash the container between each layer). Starting with the crust – throw all ingredients into the processor and blend until a ball is formed. Crust should be pliable and easily to shape without falling apart. Line square glass dish with parchment paper and press the crust into the paper and the edges of the dish. Spread evenly.
Wash out the food processor and blend the first layer ingredients together until smooth and silk. Pour into the dish. Wash and repeat with the second layer.
Place the layered “cheezecake” in the freezer for 3 hours. Cut into squares and top with desired goodies (I used chocolate covered cacao nibs and blackberries). If you want to drizzle it with a magic chocolate sauce shell, mix 1 tbsp cocoa powder with 1 tsp of coconut oil and maple syrup. Serve when cakes are thawed, yet still cold. Like cheesecake.


Every time we drive to the cabin I ask D to take the slightly longer route so we can stop at the taqueria shop on Ramona Expy. They make a mean champurrado – a Mexican hot chocolate thickened with corn flour masa. It’s pretty amazing. Here’s how I make it back at home:

2 cups of water
3 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 c. corn flour masa
4 c. milk
1 Mexican Abuelita (or Ibarra) chocolate tablet (chopped)
1/2 cup piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) or sub with brown sugar

In a large pot, combine water, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. Boil. Cover and simmer for 15 min. Slowly add corn flour masa stirring to remove clumps. Add milk, chopped Mexican chocolate and piloncillo. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot!

Double Chocolate Fudge Molasses Brownies with Espresso Drizzle

I’ve got to brag a bit, I do believe these are the best brownies I’ve EVER made. It’s like a dark chocolate fudge crossed with a decadent chewy brownie resulting in the yummiest of all fudgy brownies! This is not your traditional box brownie…no this is an entirely different level. And to push it over the edge, drizzle a bit of chocolatey espresso nutella sauce on top!

3/4 cup butter (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
6oz bittersweet chocolate (melted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped or chips)

-Preheat oven to 350F
-In a glass bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add sugar and molasses and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir.
-Remove from microwave and stir in 6oz of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Chocolate should melt while stirring. Add more time in microwave if needed.
-Allow mixture to slightly cool before whisking in eggs (as not to scramble them).
-In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients –> flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
-Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix slowly until combined.
-Pour batter into a 9X9 buttered baking pan (or pan of similar size). Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolatey Espresso Nutella Sauce
1 shot hot espresso
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 spoonfuls nutella
*Stir until chips have melted and drizzle on top

Vegan Friendly Gluten Free Wagon Wheels

Homemade treats are happening in the kitchen today. Wagon wheels were a popular dessert for Aussie kiddos back in the 1950’s – traditionally made with shortbread biscuits, strawberry jam, marshmallow fluff and chocolate. I remixed this classic treat into a healthier more adult”ish” version. Super lush sweet almond and cashew “cookie dough” with vanilla bean coconut cream and fresh raspberry chia jam. All covered in chocolate of course + it’s gluten-free and vegan friendly! Here’s how you make em!

Makes 2 full wagon wheels


Cookie dough:
1/2 cup sweet almond paste
1/2 coconut flour
1 cup raw cashews
Splash of hemp mylk (if needed)
*Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until the cashews are fine and the cookie dough forms a ball. Set aside.

Coconut cream:
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut butter (not coconut oil…there is a big difference)
1/4 cup hemp mylk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
*Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and combined. Set aside.

Raspberry chia jam:
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maple syrup
*Mix ingredients in a cup and let chia seed activate for 10 minutes.

Chocolate shell:(after the wagon wheels are assembled and frozen)
1 cup chocolate chips (enjoy life if you prefer vegan)
1 tsp veg oil
*Microwave ingredients in a cup for 2 minutes. Stir with a spoon and repeat until chocolate is melted and the consistency is ready for pouring.

Use a a cylinder form such as Ateco to help shape your wagon wheels. Start with pressing 1/4 of the cookie dough into the mold, making sure it is level with the tamper before adding a layer of coconut cream, jam and cookie dough once more.  Place in the freezer for 1 hour before removing the from the form and covering with melted chocolate.
Vegan Friendly Gluten Free Wagon Wheels
Vegan Friendly Gluten Free Wagon WheelsVegan Friendly Gluten Free Wagon Wheels