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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lee's Favorite Vegan Dessert - Chocolate Pots de Creme

About two weeks ago, I decided to try making another raw, vegan dessert I'd had my eye on for a while in my Raw for Dessert cookbook.  It seemed simple enough, and it was chocolate, and you can never go wrong with chocolate.  The ingredients were all things I already had in the house, too, which made things even easier!  I made the dessert for my husband and sister-in-law, and they both loved it.  In fact, my husband is still raving about it.  He said he wants me to make it for dessert the next time we have guest over for dinner, so that gives you a good idea of how much he liked it!  The recipe said to chill for 2 hours before serving, but I found it tasted just as good if you eat it immediately!  Even if you're not vegan, this is worth a try.  It's delicious and full of healthy ingredients.  Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Pots de Creme

1/2 cup Date Paste (See below for recipe)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed avocados (3 avocados)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

Place date paste, syrup, vanilla and salt into a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the avocado and process until blended.  Scrape down sides with a rubber scraper occasionally to make sure everything is mixed well.  Add the cocoa powder and coconut oil and process.

Pour the blended mixture into 6 ramekins, cups or mugs.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Will keep for 5 days in fridge if covered.

Date Paste

32 pitted medjool dates
3 cups filtered water

Place the dates in a large bowl and cover with the water. Soak for 20 minutes.  Soften the dates in the water by massaging them with your hands for a minute.  Drain the dates, but reserve the water.

Place the dates and 1/2 cup of reserved water in a food processor.  Process into a smooth paste.  The paste will keep for 2 weeks stored in the fridge and 1 month if stored in the freezer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Popcorn

This past weekend was my birthday. I had a few people over, and I wanted to make something different for dessert-type item that wasn't too complicated. I'm a huge fan of chocolate, and I came across a recipe for chocolate popcorn, that I ended up modifying. It was quite tasty, especially since it's a peanut butter and chocolate combo, with a nice crunch from the popcorn. It's pretty simple:

9 cups popcorn
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter (I used Smart Balance instead)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Put popcorn in a very large bowl.

2. In a microwave at 50% power, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour chocolate mixture all over popcorn. Stir until all of the popcorn is evenly coated.

4. Spread coated popcorn onto a baking sheet and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

5. Break up into pieces and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning on the Brain

It's March 1st, so spring is officially only a few short weeks away.  Today was a nice, sunny day, and it makes me want to begin spring cleaning!  Where to even start?  Today I shampooed our carpets upstairs.  Yesterday, I washed all of our bedding in our bedroom and the guest room, including duvet covers, shams, blankets, pillow protectors, you name it.  I've found that adding a scoop of baking soda to the wash makes things come out so much fresher when I wash them.  I'm also a huge fan of Oxy Clean.  For each load of wash that I do, I put in half a scoop of Oxy Clean and 3/4 of a scoop of baking soda.  I just pick up the huge containers of both at Costco.  You can do so many things with baking soda, so I don't think you can ever have too much on hand.

It's About Time

For many years, I've been dishing out tips to friends and family about how to clean, organize, cook, make crafts and so on.  I've had more than one person say, "You should really start a blog and post your tips for everyone."  I did agree it was a good idea, but I never got around to it.  Back in December, after handing out homemade Christmas gifts to all our friends at our annual holiday party, our friend, Matt Bobenchik, coined me "Martha of the Main Line."  I thought that was pretty clever, hence the name of this blog.  So thanks to Matt for his creativity and humor in giving me the seed to get things started.  I've never blogged before, so this will be a learning experience for me.  I have more than enough tips in the back of my head, so I shouldn't have too much trouble coming up with ideas for blog topics!  We'll see how this goes.  If you have any questions for me, let me know and I'll see what advice I can dish out.