Best Superfood Blissballs

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I’ve made (and tasted) many a blissball; these are the best ever!

It may take a little doing to collect these ingredients, but it is totally worth the effort.  All of these especially nutrient-dense and Ormus-rich superfoods should be included regularly in a vegan diet. The benefits of doing this are profound, and the energy provided by these sweet balls of power! is intense! haha…

BEST SUPERFOOD BLISSBALLS

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups raw walnuts, soaked and dehydrated

1 cup medjool dates, pitted

1/4 cup goji berries, dry

3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tbsp maca powder

1 Tbsp cracked-cell wall chlorella

1 Tbsp spirulina powder

1 tsp vanilla bean powder / seeds scraped from one fresh vanilla pod

1 tsp reishi mushroom powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

2 Tbsp bee pollen (optional, not strictly vegan!)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Soak and dehydrate your walnuts. Soak them for 6 hours then dehyrate them on 115* for 8 hours. Grind them to a fine powder in your food processor, then add in the dates, gojis, and coconut oil and continue to process. Add in all of the remaining ingredients except the bee pollen, and process into a smooth, thick dough.

Use your hands to roll the mixture into smooth, bite-sized balls, and roll the balls in a dish of bee pollen to coat them thoroughly. Place the balls on a pretty plate, top with a goji berry, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

This recipe makes a dozen luscious, richly blue-green treats that will please your most discriminating guests! Serve with coconut water for a tropical power breakfast, or kombucha, rejuvelac, and coconut water kefir for a healthy version of a cocktail party!

OPTIONAL: Before forming balls, stir in by hand 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs. FULL POWER!

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Superfood Raw Chocolate Hearts

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You can pack an amazing amount of nutrition (and pleasure) into a tiny heart-shaped bonbon! Omega 3’s, minerals, phytonutrients, adaptogens, mood enhancers,even medicinal mushrooms! Every ingredient in these amazing chocolates is rich with powerfully health-enhancing properties.  This is crunchy, melt-in-your mouth chocolate that you can feel wonderful about sharing with that special someone (or someones). It’s guaranteed to make them love you forever. Happy Valentines!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

1/2 cup raw carob powder

3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil

1/3 cup hemp seeds

1/3 cup  chia seeds

1/3 cup raw local honey (or maple, to keep it strictly vegan)

2 Tablespoons raw Maca powder

1 Tablespoon Reishi powder

1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Green Option: add 1 teaspoon chlorella powder

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, and spoon into silicone molds. Refrigerate for one hour or freeze for 10 minutes if you can’t wait. These chocolates will melt in the heat so eat them fast or store them in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

I’m posting yet another sweet baked good recipe at the request of  a fellow Ashtangi here at the retreat. I always bake these cookies for the arrival of new guests to welcome them to India with a bit of masala spice and a touch of love….

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups gluten-free oat flour

2 cups brown rice flour or millet flour (here in India I use ragi flour)

2 cups granulated jaggery (coconut palm sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon each ground cinnamon powder, ground cardamon, and ground dried ginger

1  heaping teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 scant teaspoon ground clove

3/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

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TO PREPARE THE COOKIES:

Preheat the oven to 375* F/190* C/Gas mark 5.

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. You can make your own oat flour by spinning gluten-free oats in the blender for a few seconds; this is very easy to do and makes a light, sweet, and fiber-rich fresh flour. Mix together your flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices until they are thoroughly blended.

Of course, these spices are all easily available already ground to a fine powder, which makes baking these cookies a snap! But you may prefer to freshly grind your own spices as they have more flavor, and also more antioxidants, this way. Spices can be ground in an electric herb or coffee grinder in an instant, or by hand with a mortar and pestle if you are feeling particularly crafty. They can be stored in sealed glass jars for up to a few months if you don’t feel like grinding them each time you need them! It is best to shell the cardamom before grinding, which takes a little time.  A whole nutmeg seed can be powdered by hand using a fine steel grater.

Stir in the coconut oil and coconut milk, and use your hands to mix it all thoroughly. The dough should be fairly stiff and quite smooth, not at all sticky. Use quite a bit of oil here so that you can roll the dough out easily. Form a ball with the dough and use an oiled rolling pin to roll it flat, to a thickness of about 1/4″ or 1/2cm. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a cup to cut the cookies into shapes, and place them on a greased baking sheet (again using coconut oil so the cookies won’t stick). Put the cookies in the oven and allow them to bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them! The longer they bake, the crunchier they will be. Serve these up with a nice cup of (almond milk) masala chai! (recipe to follow…)

Enjoy!

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Amaranth Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Here at fabulous Purple Valley Yoga Centre in the bohemian paradise that is Goa, India, I teach a cooking class called “Alternatives to Wheat and Dairy.” This class involves lecture and discussion, but is also a hands-on workshop in which we make a cake that is so good, we’ve dubbed it THE CAKE. Much excitement ensues when we all realize it’s “cake day” and that we are soon going to enjoy this exceptionally moist, tasty, and nutrient-rich Amaranth Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache.

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So while I realize that Yogi Food has been far too cake-centric these days, I promised my students that I would post the recipe of this perfectly moist cake made with almond meal, brown rice flour, and freshly ground amaranth flour.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup amaranth

2 cups almonds, preferably soaked and dehydrated (or dried in the oven) ahead of time

3 Tbsp ground flax seeds

1/3 cup water

1 cup brown rice flour

2 cups jaggery or coconut sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla bean powder, or 2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup coconut oil

FOR THE GANACHE:

1 cup chopped/grated dark chocolate

1/3 cup coconut milk

TO MAKE THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350*F/ Gas Mark 4.

Begin by grinding the amaranth into as fine a flour as possible.  If you have your own grain mill, that is ideal, but the sort of small coffee or herb grinder commonly found in most kitchens will also do the trick.

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Option: You may be able to buy amaranth flour, rice flour, and almond meal at your local organic food co-op, which would make this recipe even quicker and easier!

Or…

Make your own almond flour (almond meal) in a high-speed blender, or in the same grinder you used for the amaranth. A few short bursts in the blender should do it. Try to grind the almonds into as fine and light a meal as possible, but don’t overdue it or you may end up with almond butter (also yummy but not so good for this recipe).

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Next make your flax “eggs.” This is done by freshly grinding flax seeds (again in the coffee mill) into a powdery flax meal, and then adding water. Use approximately 2.5  parts water to 1 part flax. Stir and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. It will form an egg-like gel which will help to bind the flours together.

cake day 048cake day 043 Find brown rice flour at your local co-op, or in a pinch you could also use white rice flour. If you own a grain-mill,  you can make your own, but make sure the flour is very fine and soft, as we need some lightness to balance the density of the almond meal.

Combine the dry ingredients in a  large mixing bowl, that is,  the amaranth, almond, and rice flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla bean powder.
If you use pure vanilla extract instead of powder(see my earlier blog on how to make your own), combine it with the wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut milk, almond milk, coconut oil, and flax eggs. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir well with a whisk until the mixture is well combined into a thick batter.

Use coconut oil on a clean paper towel to thoroughly grease the sides of your cake pan. I like to use a round bundt ring for this particular cake, but a 9″ round pan would also work well. Pour the batter into the pan and place it in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake so that the bottom doesn’t get too brown or burn. You may want to test for done-ness at around 30-35 minutes. The crust should be a golden brown, the cake firm and springy to the touch, and a toothpick should come out clean.

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Let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges of the pan, place a plate tightly over the top, and swiftly flip the whole thing upside down so that the cake comes neatly out onto the plate. Let it cool while you make your ganache.

EASY CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

This icing is incredibly simple to make. Just use a dark (at least 70%) organic chocolate of your choice, chop or shave it into small pieces, and melt it slowly in a double boiler over low to medium-low heat. Gently stir in the coconut milk with a rubber spatula until you have a smooth, rich sauce.

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the best is ELIXIA raw chocolate!

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Pour, drizzle, or spread the ganache over the cake, and enjoy!

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Matcha Tea Layer Cake with Creamy Icing

This delicate cake was perhaps the most delicious ever…but it didn’t last long,  as many guests enjoyed several slices apiece! Somehow both satisfyingly rich and suprisingly light, this tea cake is made with such nutrient-dense ingredients that you can feel fine about going back for seconds. But maybe not thirds….

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Matcha is made with only the most tender top buds of Japanese green tea, which are shade-dried and stone-ground into a bright green powder. The vibrant hue comes from high levels of chlorophyll, amino acids, and antioxidants.

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I used a very finely powdered white rice flour, to provide a light, elegant texture, and a sweet taste. Brown rice flour would be ideal; just try to find some that is finely ground and smooth.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups finely ground rice flour

1 cup freshly grated mature coconut meat, or dried coconut soaked in water or coconut milk until rehydrated

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups finely ground jaggery (coconut sugar)

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 cup soya milk

2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp matcha powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas Mark 4

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then blend in the wet ingredients. Beat the batter well, until smooth. Grease two small (7″) cake pans with coconut oil and divide the batter evenly between them. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Let cool for one hour.

Meanwhile, prepare your icing!

INGREDIENTS:

1 block firm tofu

1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1 1/4 cup jaggery, finely ground to a powder

1 Tbsp matcha

It is possible to grind coarser coconut sugar into a fine powder, or at least finer granules, using a high-powered blender or spice mill. Combine this fine sugar with all the other ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. You may need to stop the blender, scrape the sides with a spatula, and blend again to ensure that the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Place the icing in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the cake has cooled, run a butter knife along the edge of the pan, place a plate over it, and swiftly but gently turn it upside down. Your cakes should come out easily and cleanly. Allow them to sit until cool to the touch; they are then ready to be iced.

Choose one cake for the bottom and use a spatula to ice only its top with tofu cream icing about 1 centimeter thick. Carefully place the other cake on top and use the remaining icing to frost the whole cake. Sprinkle the cake with coconut and matcha, slice it carefully with a sharp knife (dip the knife in water to cut most cleanly), and serve with tea!

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Variation: Rather than make a layer cake, you can use this recipe to make one larger single cake. Simply choose a larger cake pan! You may have to adjust cooking times if your layer of batter is thicker; just keep an eye on the cake and test for doneness using a toothpick. Voila!

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Stellar Flax Crisps

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These most delicious crisps were inspired by a bite of the ones my best girlfriend had at Stella Natura, a music festival held in the forests of Northern California. She bought hers for a high price at the store, but you can make your own so easily and inexpensively at home, and they taste every bit as good.

On any diet it is crucial to include Omega-3 fat, and flax seeds are one of the best plant sources (the others include hemp and chia seeds).  I made these crisps with brown flax seeds, but you could also make them with the golden variety if it’s available. Rosemary also is known for its health-protective benefits, high antioxidants, and aromatherapeutic properties. These crunchy snacks are a powerhouse of nutrients!

Pair these aromatic crackers with dips such as herbed cashew cheese or sun-dried tomato pate. Make a lot, as they’ll keep well sealed in a cool, dry place, and if you want to share with your best girls!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flax seeds

1 1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon ground dried rosemary

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl and allow them to sit for at least 15 minutes while the flax seeds absorb the water to form a thick gel. Spread this gel thinly (about 1/4″) and evenly over a teflex sheet if you are using a dehydrator, or if using the oven, over parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Use a knife to score the edges of the crisps into squares, so that they snap apart easily when dried.

If using a dehydrator, set the temperature at 110* or 115* F and allow the crisps to dehydrate for about 6-7 hours, then carefully flip them over, remove the sheet, and dehydrate for at least another 2 hours, until the crisps are, well, crispy….

If using the oven, set your temperature as low as possible. You may want to open the oven a crack to keep the temperature low. This is important because the beneficial fats in the flax seeds are best kept “raw” (below 115*), as plant-based omega-3’s are somewhat fragile and may be deranged or go rancid from heating. Alternatively you may place the crisps in a very warm oven (up to 145*F is ok for short periods of time) and then turn off the heat for a few hours. Repeat this process until the crisps are crispy, and gently flip, remove the parchment, and repeat one more time if necessary.

Break the crisps along the scored edges, and voila! Easy, healthy, fragrant, and delicious crisps!

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