healthy party idea! how to host a chocolate bar

healthy party idea

Stick around here long enough and you’ll know that I’m obsessed with helping people kick their sugar addiction and love living life without it. While this can be much easier to do when you’re by yourself at home, here’s a healthy party idea that is meant for a crowd and can even be taken on the road…host a “Chocolate Bar.”

I did this for a group of ladies at our local rock climbing gym this week and it was so. much. fun! It’s easy to do too.

But what it is?

A “Chocolate Bar” is kind of like a Menchies (except without all the sugar) or a salad bar (but this is dessert). You start with a base – in this case, my favorite chocolate avocado pudding recipe, and then provide a variety of mix-in and toppings options for your crowd to pick from.

Read on for the how to…

vegan chocolate pudding

Healthy party idea: How to Host a Chocolate Bar

1) Start by making the vegan chocolate avocado pudding. Since it’s gluten and grain free, this is perfect for your gluten-free and paleo friends and family too. If you have guests with nut allergies, I recommend making a nut-free batch first and storing it away

2) Brainstorm and gather your topping and mix-in ideas. I highly recommend choosing toppings and mix-ins that are free of added sugars (and vegan too!). Otherwise, this party is not quite so healthy. Here are my suggestions:

  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pistachios)
  • Fresh fruits (raspberries, strawberries, cherries, oranges)
  • Unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, goji berries, apricots, cranberries, cherries, coconut)
  • Cacao nibs
  • Instant coffee
  • Peanut butter
  • Peppermint extract
  • Date caramel (grab my recipe for that here)

3) Create a large sign to display at the Bar plus smaller food tag cards in front of all the toppings and the pudding too. This is so important, especially if you have guests with particular food allergies, aversions or dietary preferences. If you have guests with nut allergies, I recommend keeping the nut-free pudding and topping options separate from the rest to avoid cross contamination.

4) Decide whether you will have the pudding portioned out ahead of time or will have guests help themselves to that along with their topping and mix-in selections. I shared my favorite ideas for doing this with my VIP readers in a brief video. If you aren’t already a Wildberry Press VIP and want to become one so you have access to that video, plus printable versions of the recipe and how to, click here to learn more.

5) Optional, but fun (this is a healthy party idea, after all!): Have guests name their creation, snap a selfie with it, then share their picture with you which you can use to create a shareable Chocolate Bar Photo Album!

That’s it! So easy and super fun. And if you’re looking for other healthy recipes for a party, try these ones from my blog:

vegan scalloped potatoes (easy, dairy free, gluten free)

vegan scalloped potatoes

 

With Thanksgiving coming up fast, here’s one of my favorite side dishes that’s an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes: vegan scalloped potatoes.

Even though there isn’t bit of dairy to be found, they taste very close to the original. In fact, when one of my young nephews tried it, he said he, “really liked these cheesy potatoes.” Total vegan recipe win!! Did I let him in on the dairy-free secret? Nope.

But I’m sharing it with you. Let me know what you think!

 

vegan scalloped potatoes

 

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes (printable version below)

6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk (see tips for more)

1 cup original hummus

1 T nutritional yeast

3/4-1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

 

  1. Add garlic cloves, soy milk, hummus, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a medium saucepan. Stir gently over medium-high heat until well-combined.
  2. In a greased casserole or baking dish (see tips for what I use), add a single layer of potatoes, then onions and repeat until all the potatoes and onions are gone, making sure you end with the potatoes. For a more finished look, place the final layer of potatoes in a spiral pattern starting on the outside of the dish and working inward and slightly overlapping each potato.
  3. Pour the sauce over top, cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. 

 

Recipe tips:
  • Onions, garlic and hummus are the key to bringing the cheesy flavor out in these vegan scalloped potatoes. My go to brand of hummus is Sabra so if you use another brand, you may have to adjust for flavor.
  • While you can slice the potatoes and onions by hand, makes it much quicker and easier to use a food processor to slice them (here’s the one I use). Or you could use a mandolin. I usually pluck out the best pieces and save them for the top for a prettier look.
  • I prefer using avocado oil for greasing the casserole or baking dish because it’s better for high heat cooking. If you can’t find avocado oil in your local grocery store, try this one.
  • I use unsweetened organic soy milk in this recipe because I think it gives the best flavor. While soy is a controversial ingredient, I personally don’t have a problem with it, especially since I use it sparingly. If you try another non-dairy milk, you may need to adjust for taste.
  • Though I love these in a round or oval casserole dish for looks, any shallow baking dish will do.

 

And if you’re looking for other potato side dish ideas for a holiday dinner, you might like these: smashed potatoes & roasted broccoli  or jeweled sweet potatoes.

 

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This easy side dish is a vegan take on a classic...cheesy but without the cheese!

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, vegan scalloped potatoes, vegan side dish
Servings: 8
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 6 medium potatoes thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk see post for more info
  • 1 cup original hummus
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add garlic cloves, soy milk, hummus, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a medium saucepan. Stir gently over medium-high heat until well-combined.
  2. In a greased casserole or baking dish (see post for what I use), add a single layer of potatoes, then onions and repeat until all the potatoes and onions are gone, making sure you end with the potatoes. For a more finished look, place the final layer of potatoes in a spiral pattern starting on the outside of the dish and working inward and slightly overlapping each potato.

  3. Pour the sauce over top, cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

 

 

 

low carb snack plate (vegan, no sugar)

Earlier in the summer, I posted this recipe for low carb crispbread – a more nutrient dense alternative to traditional crackers. They’re packed with plant-based protein in the form of  seeds and are a perfect medium for transporting all sorts of yummy veggie snackage to your mouth. (I’ve dropped the crispbread recipe below in this post, too, for your convenience.)

I made a batch recently when my husband and went away for a long weekend to the Smokey Mountains because they’re sooo portable. From experience, I’ve learned I need to pack ample snacks or simple meals to keep my nutrition on track and avoid paying $9 for a salad (which I find to be insane!).

For the trip, I just snacked on them as is or with hummus, but here are some favorite toppings if you want ideas for a low carb snack plate, appetizer or even lunch!

And tell me below, which would be your top topping pick!

 

low carb vegan snack idea

 

1. The Garden Salad: red pepper hummus (the Sabra brand is my favorite), baby spinach leaves, cucumber, tomato, peeled carrot, drizzle of salad dressing (you can try this one that I often make)

2. The Smokey Avocado: baby spinach, sliced avocado and eggplant bacon. The recipe for the eggplant bacon is for my VIP readers. If you’re not a VIP already, you can become one by signing up here

3. The Eggplant Parmesan: regular hummus, roasted eggplant, pasta sauce, cashew parmesan. You can find the pasta sauce recipe I use on the regular here and the cashew parmesan recipe here

4. The Quick Cuke: regular hummus, baby spinach, sliced cucumber

5. The EST: Like a BLT, but a wee bit healthier…regular hummus, eggplant bacon, baby spinach, and tomato

6. The Spicy ‘Cado: baby spinach, sliced avocado, garlic powder, chili pepper flakes

 

low carb crispbread
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy to make snack that is light on the carbs and heavy on the nutritional impact. So you can fuel your body and not just fill it up.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: cracker, low carb crispbread, snack, vegan
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add water and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Spread a layer of parchment paper over a large baking sheet (a flat one is best vs a jelly roll pan). Spread crispbread mixture over the paper so it's in the middle and down the length of the pan and place another sheet of parchment paper over top (the crispbread mixture should now be "sandwiched" between the parchment).

  4. Using a rolling pin, carefully press and roll the crispbread mixture, pushing it towards the outer edges of the pan until it is very flat and thin and covers most of the pan.

  5. Remover the top layer of parchment and cut the crispbread "dough" into desired cracker sizer (square or rectangle). A pizza wheel is best for this.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 13 minutes, remove and recut the crackers then turn each over individually to bake the other side. Return to the over for another 13 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and check each crispbread section for doneness. Depending on your climate and how thinly you rolled the crispbread, you may need to add on additional baking time. The crispbread should be completely dry with only slightly toasted edges. You may need to remove some of the crispbread (usually the pieces from the outer edges) before returning the remaining batch to the oven for additional drying time of 2-3 minutes. If more drying time is needed, return the pan to the oven, turn it off, close the door and let it finish crisping while the oven cools.

raw fruit crisp (vegan, no sugar)

raw vegan fruit crisp

(Printable version of this recipe are near the end of the post. This post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you.)

 

Last week, I shared one of my favorite go to recipes: raw granola. This week, I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to eat it, especially as a snack.

When you first “give up” eating certain foods, it can be hard not to lament all the foods you loved to eat B.D.C. (before the diet change). Like traditional fruit crisp.

While I’ve never been much of a pie person, I always adored crisp because of the topping. With added sugars (mostly) out of the picture, however, the traditional topping for crisp was no longer an option because it’s loaded with brown sugar.

Thankfully, I discovered this raw granola makes an excellent substitute. The dates for the brown sugar and the pecans add buttery crunchy notes. No need to find a sub for the oats, unless you need ones that are certified gluten free.

 

vegan raw granola

 

The “recipe” for this raw fruit crisp is simple:

  • one piece of raw fruit per person (e.g. apples, pears, peaches) or an individual serving size of berries per person
  • dashes of cinnamon
  • a few sprinkles of the raw granola

 

Besides the health benefits of eating raw fruit, another thing I love about this raw fruit crisp is that it’s more economical. LOL Whenever I make a cooked fruit crisp (apple, for example), I always use much more fruit than if I leave the fruit uncooked because the water evaporates as it cooks down. And with several hungry mouths to feed, ones that particularly love dessert, anything I can do to stretch our food budget is a bonus.

 

And here’s the printable version of the recipe for you:

Raw Fruit Crisp
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Simple to prepare and excellent as a snack or dessert, this raw fruit crisp contains only five ingredients!

Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: easy vegan dessert recipe, raw vegan fruit crisp
Servings: 1 per person
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 piece/serving raw fruit (e.g. apples, pears, peaches, berries, cherries)
  • dashes cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats gluten free if needed, organic is best
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients for the raw granola to a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes crumbly. Don't overmix or the pecans will release their oils. Can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks.

  2. Prepare fruit as needed (e.g. washing it, slicing/dicing) and add to an individual serving bowl along. Sprinkle cinnamon over top and add topping.

Recipe Notes

*If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. See post on why I prefer using date paste.

raw granola (vegan, no sugar, raw)

vegan raw granola

(Printable version of this recipe are near the end of the post. This post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you.)

Word on the street is that most people who visit recipe blogs want the goods up front and without the life stories. I get it. I often do that too. #guiltyascharged So I’m making a slight change in posting format to get you to the recipe faster.

However, I know there are a few of you who also enjoy learning more about the blogger behind the recipes. If that’s you, then you’ll definitely want to join my VIP newletter list where I share more about life plus give you insider tips, content and recipes. You also can find me on Instagram here.

 

Now for that granola…

This raw granola is incredibly easy to make and comes together in minutes. It can be made gluten free, if needed, simply by using gluten free oats. The best part? It satisfies your craving for something sweet, because of the dates, but without any added sugar.

You’ll notice in the recipe below that I use date paste which is just a blend of softened dates that I buy from a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern market in our area. You can find the specific brand I use here. I like to have a softened form of dates ready to go as they blend more readily, but you can make your own I’ve included the how to below and in the printable version for your convenience.

Here’s how to make the raw granola:

  • Add 3/4 cups of date paste, 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup of whole rolled oats (organic is best) to a food processor (this one is my favorite) or high speed blender (like this one).
  • Blend on high speed until the mixture becomes just crumbly. Be careful not to over-mix or the pecans will release their oils. Refer to the picture for the texture you are going for.
  • That’s it! All done.

 

While you certainly can eat it as is and straight from the jar (and I absolutely adore these tulip jars by Weck!) which I occasionally do, I think it’s best when combined with other foods, like fruit – here’s the recipe for my favorite apple crisp – or vegan, unsweetened yogurt or sprinkled over oatmeal. The raw granola can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

And here’s the printable version of the recipe:

Raw Granola
Total Time
3 mins
 

This raw granola is added sugar free and so easy to make it comes together in minutes.

Servings: 2 cups
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats, gluten free if needed, organic is best
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes crumbly. Don't overmix or the pecans will release their oils. Can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks.

Recipe Notes

*If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. See post on why I prefer using date paste.

*See post for suggested uses.

peach melba popsicles with magical vanilla cake dust (vegan, added sugar free, gluten free))

vegan peach melba popsicles

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

 

 

I don’t know why I have this “thing” for peach melba. I don’t remember my mom ever making it or even trying it anywhere as a child. Maybe it’s my love for peaches and raspberries or maybe it’s this lingering desire I have to nail a peach melba – even if only in popsicle form – after I bombed my first attempt at it when I first switched to a plant-based diet.

Anyway…I’m in love with how these peach melba popsicles turned out and I know you’ll love them too!

Here’s why:

  • Peaches (organic, of course)
  • Raspberries
  • No added sugar
  • Gluten free
  • Chia seeds to boost your energy
  • Plant protein from my favorite unsweetened vegan yogurt
  • Fun magical vanilla cake dust coating

 

At first, I was going to keep them plain Jane with just the raspberry and peach flavors (although I love them this way too), but what is peach melba without the cake, right?

 

 

Since I wasn’t about to re-create my original disaster with the peach melba in cake form, I figured out a solution with just three gluten and added sugar free ingredients: coconut flour, almond flour and 100% pure stevia! So simple and it adds just the right nod the original dessert. If my children are anything to go by, they love the peach melba popsicles with the magical vanilla cake dust!

My tips for how to dust the popsicles with the vanilla cake “crumbs” are in the recipe instructions. While it’s fairly simple to do, it does take a little extra time, so be prepared for that.

The ingredient amounts for these peach melba popsicles are specifically for the popsicle maker I used, so quantity results may vary slightly with different mold. BTW, If you love the old fashioned mold as much as I do, you can find it here.

 

Peach Melba Popsicles with Magical Vanilla Cake Dust
Prep Time
30 mins
Chill time
2 hrs
 

These vegan, no added sugar peach melba popsicles with magical vanilla cake dust are gluten free and packed with sources of healthy plant protein to keep your summer energy up while cooling you off at the same time. Note: the prep time is longer if you choose to add in the cake dust, otherwise, these take less than 10 minutes to put together.)

Keyword: cashew yogurt, chia seeds, easy vegan dessert recipe, gluten free, no added sugar, peach melba, peach melba popsicles, peaches, raspberries, stevia, vegan child friendly, vegan popsicles, vegan snack
Servings: 10 popsicles
Ingredients
For the rapsberry part (make this first)
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cashew yogurt
  • 1 scoop 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
For the peach part
  • 1 10 oz bag frozen peaches (organic is best)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cashew yogurt
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 1-2 1" slices of frozen just ripe banana
For the magican vanilla cake dust
  • 1/8 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 scoop 100% pure powdered stevia
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients for the raspberry part of the popsicles in a food processor or blender until smooth and well blended. Distribute evenly between each popsicle mold.

  2. Rinse the food processor bowl or blender and mix up the peach part. starting with just one banana slice. Add the second one if additional sweetness is desired. Add to the top of the raspberry portion, distributing evenly between each popsicle mold. Add a popsicle stick if your mold requires it and freeze for at least two hours or until frozen solid.

For the magical vanilla cake dust (optional, sort of)
  1. Mix the three cake dust ingredients together. Remove the popsicles from the freezer and run the molds under warm water until they are all freed of the molds. (Depending on the temperature of your room, you may want to store the popiscles you aren't working with in the freezer.)

  2. Fill a bowl with very warm water and, using a pastry brush, brush the last 1/2"-1" of each popsicle  (on the peach part nearest the stick) with warm water on all sides. This helps melt the popsicle slightly so the cake dust will stick to it. Sprinkle the cake dust on, patting gently as needed to help it adhere. It's best to sprinkle the cake dust on over a dish that is both separate from the cake dust and the water.


  3. Since the popsicles can no longer be stored in the molds (otherwide the cake dust comes off), place them on a baking sheet to ensure the cake crumbs are frozen in place. Then store them in an freezer friendly bag.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years!
  • Almond & Coconut Flours: many stores are carrying these now, especially natural foods stores. However, if you can’t locate them near you, you can buy them online. Almond flour here and coconut flour here.
  • Old-fashioned Popsicle mold: this is the exact one I have so you know the quantities will match up exactly. Click here to get it.

low carb crispbread (vegan, oil free)

low carb crispbread vegan

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

 

I’m absolutely crackers over this low carb crispbread!

When I grabbed a package of crispbread from Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago, it was love at first bite and I knew I had to try and re-create it at home. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but was ecstatic with the results the first time I tried it.

Why all the excitement?

When I cleaned up my diet by going plant-based, one of the interesting “side effects” was a desire to cutting back on my bread consumption. It was something I swore I’d never do (along with going vegan, cutting out added sugars, giving up cheese, eat Brussels sprouts… ), but I  lost interest in eating bread, crackers and any heavily wheat-based foods, except for the rare occasion.

It’s like my body naturally began to recognize the difference between eating foods that are fillers and foods that are fuel.

Buuuut, the one thing I miss about crackers especially, is their perfect snackability for a quick pick-me-up or to satisfy a craving in-between meals.

Which is why I love this low carb crispbread!

It gives you all the benefits of a cracker but without the empty calories and carbs. It’s also incredibly easy to make and I worked the kinks out of the baking process to give you perfectly crispy crispbread every time. (Hint: using a pizza wheel, flat baking sheet and parchment paper.)

 

 

The health benefits:

  • Combined the seeds in this low carb crisp bread give you these nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, calcium, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, maganese, zinc, folate, phosphorous molybdenum, selenium and vitamins B1, B2, B6, E & K.
  • All of these seeds provide a hearty helping of plant-based protein and fiber
  • Zero oils makes it heart healthier and is easier on the waistline
  • Since the oat bran is whole grain, it’s fuel, not a filler.

 

 

So, go ahead, make a batch! What are you waiting for?!!

 

Oh.

 

The recipe. Right. 😉

low carb crispbread
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy to make snack that is light on the carbs and heavy on the nutritional impact. So you can fuel your body and not just fill it up.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: cracker, low carb crispbread, snack, vegan
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add water and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Spread a layer of parchment paper over a large baking sheet (a flat one is best vs a jelly roll pan). Spread crispbread mixture over the paper so it's in the middle and down the length of the pan and place another sheet of parchment paper over top (the crispbread mixture should now be "sandwiched" between the parchment).

  4. Using a rolling pin, carefully press and roll the crispbread mixture, pushing it towards the outer edges of the pan until it is very flat and thin and covers most of the pan.

  5. Remover the top layer of parchment and cut the crispbread "dough" into desired cracker sizer (square or rectangle). A pizza wheel is best for this.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 13 minutes, remove and recut the crackers then turn each over individually to bake the other side. Return to the over for another 13 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and check each crispbread section for doneness. Depending on your climate and how thinly you rolled the crispbread, you may need to add on additional baking time. The crispbread should be completely dry with only slightly toasted edges. You may need to remove some of the crispbread (usually the pieces from the outer edges) before returning the remaining batch to the oven for additional drying time of 2-3 minutes. If more drying time is needed, return the pan to the oven, turn it off, close the door and let it finish crisping while the oven cools.

 

chocolate peanut butter mousse (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

“We go together like birds of a feather…”

If chocolate and peanut butter ever had a theme song, that would be it. They were simply made for each other. #Godsagenius

And if you were playing Family Feud and had to name a food that went with peanut butter, I’m pretty sure “chocolate” would be a top answer. (“Jelly” might have the edge, numbers-wise, but taste-wise chocolate has “j” beat hands down IMO). You too?

So it was only a matter of time before I gave my go to chocolate mousse recipe a slight makeover to transform it into a chocolate peanut butter mousse.

 

 

There are three things I especially love about this chocolate peanut butter mousse recipe:

  1. It’s easy to make. With so many things on the go…four kids, two business, plus life and laundry, I want as many easy recipes in my life as possible.
  2. It’s a crowd pleaser. Whenever I hit on a recipe that satisfies many palettes, it quickly becomes a go-to and I love that this chocolate peanut butter mousse works as a snack or can be dressed up for company.
  3. It’s healthy but decadent. It’s my mission in life to prove that you can have a healthy dessert and eat it too without the sugar rush and crash and regretting that last bite, piece or helping. Dates and stevia stand in for added sugars but without fueling a sugar addiction and the fats from the avocado, peanut butter and coconut milk give a richness to the dessert that we often crave but with more substance and nutrients than we receive from butters and oils.

 

I’m giving you an option for a peanut butter mousse layer if you want to get all fancy pants and dress it up for guests. I’m perfectly content either way, but definitely run with the second option when I want to add a little wow factor. Mixing it up in food processor (this one’s my favorite), is my preferred way to make it because I find it easier to scrape than a blender. If you do go with the blender option, make sure it’s one with a motor powerful enough to handle blending the ingredients, especially the dates.

If you’re opting to add the peanut butter mousse layer, then you definitely want to serve this in a clear glass container. I used a Weck canning jar in this picture, which you can find here. For a slightly smaller size, these Weck tulip jars are my favorite. Yep, I totally crush over beautiful containers. And for parties, these jars make great portable, classy and environmentally friendly individual portion sizes. They’re my favorite party trick. For a party, though, you’ll want to double or triple the recipe depending on the number of guests.

 

P.S. Typically, I prefer using full fat coconut milk in my recipes, but because of the fat content in the peanut butter, I opted to use low fat coconut milk for this chocolate peanut butter mousse.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse
Prep Time
10 mins
Chilling
1 hr
 

Easy but decadent, this chocolate peanut butter mousse whips up in a jiffy and satisfies all the cravings.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, easy vegan dessert recipe, no added sugar dessert recipe, vegan chocolate mousse
Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 just ripe avocado
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup date paste
  • 1 15-oz can low fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. If making without the peanut butter swirl, add all ingredients to the food processor or blender and mix until smooth and creamy and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.


  2. If making the mousse with the peanut butter swirl, add all ingredients EXCEPT the avocado and cocoa powder to the food processor and blender. Blend thoroughly, then remove 1/4-1/2 cup and set aside. Then add the cocoa powder and avocado to the remaining mixture and blend until smooth and creamy.

  3. In clear glass containers, fill each 2/3 full of chocolate mousse, add enough peanut butter mousse to create a layered effect and then top with more chocolate mousse. Chill for at least one hour in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

serving up sides: smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli (vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

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I was working on this post two weeks ago and then life happened. Or rather, bed bugs. Let’s just say “don’t let the bed bugs bite” is so not funny or cute to me anymore. Thankfully, we have the little buggers taken care of, but it was a lot of work. Good, but tiring at the same time. And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

It’s the night before the Royal Wedding and this feels like a very fitting recipe to share – so British, but with an nontraditional twist. I am most definitely an Anglophile since one of my grandmothers was British and we lived in England for a few years. I still miss it.

Something I don’t miss is meat. Which really surprised me at first. Before switching to a plant-based diet, I never gave veggies much thought other than I knew I was “supposed” to eat them and mostly as a side dish.

But now, I would (and have!) eat these smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli as a main dish because I love making a meal of sides! I mean, why not? They’re usually easy to pull together, give you variety and allow other family members to load up on their favorites and nibble on the rest.

 

Let’s serve up those sides, shall we?

 

 

Smashed Potatoes: If my meal doesn’t contain lentils or beans as the main feature, then it will have potatoes! Gold, russett or sweet. For these smashed potatoes, I went with organic gold potatoes which are creamy, have a lovely thin skin and are the perfect size for a side dish. Organic because potatoes are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and I like my veggies with out an extra dose of pesticides thankyouverymuch. To make them, you simply scrub them up, pierce them with a knife or fork and roast them in a 375 degree oven for 40-55 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with this easy vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

 

Roasted Broccoli: I feel like roasted veggies is a millennial thing. And I couldn’t be happier. Growing up, we mostly ate raw or boiled veggies (a kickback to my grandmothers’ generation) which were good, but it meant we hadn’t discovered how amazing roasted veggies are. This is the first time I tried roasting broccoli and was thrilled with the results! As with the potatoes, I prefer mine simply dressed with salt, pepper a teeny bit of avocado oil. Why avocado oil? Because it’s better for high heat cooking and I love it’s slightly buttery flavor! Other oils (like olive) become unstable and hydrogenated at much lower temperatures. If you can’t find it locally, try this one by Chosen Foods.

 

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks: I’ve always love potato and leek soup (get my simple recipe for it here), but it never occurred to me to serve them with baked potatoes until now. I did these in our cast iron skillet (like this one) with only a little avocado oil, but you could try roasting them with the potatoes and/or broccoli too.

 

And here’s the printable version of the smashed potatoes and sides for those of you who are old school like me (give me paper over digital anytime!)

 

Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Simple, yet satisfying sides that also can eat as a meal.

Course: Side Dish
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • yukon gold potatoes
  • broccoli
  • leeks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary
  • avocado oil
  • vegan sour cream (optional)
Instructions
Smashed Potatoes
  1. Scrub the, pierce them with a knife or fork, place on a pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli
  1. Rinse the broccoli well then cut the broccoli "trees" from the stalk. Peel the stalk and cut into bite-sized rounds and spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli turns a little crispy on the edges and becomes tender. You can add the broccoli to the oven during the last 15 minutes that the potatoes are cooking.

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks:
  1. Rinse the leeks and slice into rounds (use the white and light green parts). If you don't like waste, save the dark leafier part for soup stock or stews. To pan-sear the leeks, heat a pan (cast iron is best for this!), add a little avocado oil and then the leeks. Sear over medium-high heat until lightly browned, then flip and do the same with the other side.

    To roast, lightly dress them in avocado oil and add them to the baking sheet along with the broccoli. Flip once during cooking time to ensure even browning.

easy vegan sour cream (nut free, sugar free, gluten free)

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Today it’s easier than ever to eat a plant-based diet. There are so many products on the market and new ways of approaching food (think aquafaba) that it’s possible to eat your way through life without really missing the animal-based version.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy plant-based diet.

Take sour cream, for instance. A quick glance at the common store-bought brands and you’ll find ingredients like: maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, oils, gums and added sugar (whyyyyyy???). It’s this last one that has me turning to my own kitchen for a solution because even the “better” vegan sour cream brands contain added sugars – something that I avoid as much as possible ever since I detoxed from it several years ago. So while these store-bought products might taste closer to the real thing, they aren’t something I want to put in my body.

Which is why I decided to try a homemade version instead.

 

 

Instead of using tofu or cashews which many vegan sour cream recipes include as the main ingredients, I choose sunflower seeds since they are less allergenic and is budget friendly. As an added bonus, sunflower seeds are high in selenium which is an antioxidant and beneficial for thyroid health. I was excited by how well they worked for this easy vegan sour cream!

While it doesn’t taste like the “real” sour cream (I’d be lying if I claimed that), this easy vegan sour cream does add that same tangy creaminess to a meal without the side effects that come with eating dairy or sketchy ingredients from a lab. The key to a smooth sour cream is soaking the sunflower seeds overnight and using a high speed blender. I find it also is better when eaten within a week.

As a side note: Isn’t that jar the cutest? It’s a Weck Tulip Jar and I found it while thrifting for food props at my favorite thrift store in our area. Since I’m chalking that up as a rare find, you can find a set of them here. Also, if you want to see what I’m up to on more of a daily basis, I love sharing to Instagram stories (you can find me on Instagram here). And I’m also on Pinterest where I love pinning vegan recipes that catch my eye along with other healthy living and blogging-related topics. Click here to connect with me on Pinterest.

 

Ready to make this easy vegan sour cream? Here’s the recipe:

 

Sunny Sour Cream
Prep Time
5 mins
soaking time
12 hrs
 

An easy to prepare vegan sour cream that is nut-, added sugar- and gluten free and gives you a creamy tanginess to your favorite plant-based dishes.

Course: Condiment, Topping
Servings: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk*
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp, scant salt
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is best)
Instructions
  1. Add the sunflower seeds to a glass bowl and cover completely with water (about 1.5-2 cups. Cover the bowl and let them soak overnight at room temperature.

  2. Drain and rinse and add to a high speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, scrapping down the sides a few times.

  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you prefer not to use or are allergic to soy milk, you can replace it with an unsweetened nondairy milk of your choice but you might need to adjust the other ingredients since other nondairy milks tend to be naturally sweeter than soy.