Are You in the DARK?

On March 16th- after months of debate- the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate. This bill is essentially intended to keep GMO labeling off of American products and keep our consumers in the Dark about what is in their food.

This bill would have prevented the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska – and crushed the movement for mandatory GMO labeling in the United States. This means that millions and millions of Americans are waking up to what is happening in our food system and taking a stand. There is an exorbitant amount of money being spent to keep us in the DARK, this is a huge victory and a giant leap toward progress. With dozens of other countries banning the use of GMO’s we are quite behind, but there is hope for us yet!

GMOWe can’t be sure what happened next. Hopefully the Senate will do the right thing and pass the legislation to ensure federally mandated GMO labeling. But it’s also very possible that some Monsanto-friendly “compromise” legislation will be introduced.

What can you do? Educate yourself and vote. Not only on this specific case but you are actually voting every time you shop. We spend more money on food than almost any other item (besides our homes), imagine how many dollars that puts in the hands of the “good” vs “bad” food companies. The cleaner we buy, the more clean food will be available, thus lowering the cost, improving our planet and our overall health. A fantastic website called The Food Revolution is an incredible resource where you can read a very in-depth article about the DARK Act as well as endless information about all things “clean food”.

Raw Energy Bars

These raw energy bars are so simple and a great sustaining snack as well as a healthier and less expensive option to the popular store-bought version. Double the batch and keep in your freezer for months. They also store well at room temperature and are great for travel!

Raw Energy Bars

1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup pistachios or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1 heaping packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup sweet cacao nibs
1-2 Tablespoons filtered water, if needed (more…)

Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

When my husband Anthony makes a food request, I will always oblige. This is rare and he is my favorite person to cook for. I asked him what dessert he wanted for Valentine’s Day and his request was brownies. Now, I’m not sure if you have ever made a classic brownie but they are full of an inappropriate amount of butter and sugar and will basically make your teeth fall out :). So this left me to the task of a new and improved brownie, but still healthy-ish. So I set out to make an version that would sweep him off his feet.

This one takes the cake (or the brownie as it were) and suffices to say it just might have been breakfast this morning. This delicious ooey, gooey treat also happens to be totally plant-based, gluten and refined sugar free…but I’m not telling!

Gooey Fudgy Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

1-15oz can black beans, rinsed well
2 large flax eggs*
6 Tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup**
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnut flour***
1/2 cup cocoa powder (raw is highest in nutrients)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Makes 10-12 decadent squares (more…)

Vanilla Cashew Milk

This Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe is a revelation for me. Some of you know of my “milk conundrum”. That is, my long time battle with what kind of milk to take in my coffee. I used to use fat free organic dairy milk. If you don’t know what that was a bad choice read this post.

I switched to store bought organic almond milk. I follow the rule of not using anything with ingredients that I cannot pronounce…almond milk was my only exception. Why not make my own my own you ask? Because it’s grainy and separates in my coffee and I refuse to be annoyed before 7am. So then I went to grass-fed whole milk. This didn’t quite sit right either, as I try to lessen my environmental impact and eat vegan much of the time.

I went back and fourth for a long time. Then the “ahhhhh ha” moment came. Cashew milk was the answer! Creamy, rich, vegan, easy to make, no straining and it doesn’t separate in my coffee…victory! You can make it plain for universal applications or put vanilla or other fun stuff in it.

Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more…)

Raw Energy Bars

Raw Energy Bars

1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture of
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1 heaping packed cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1/3 cup sweet cacao nibs (optional)
2-3 Tablespoons filtered water, as needed
A pinch of Himalayan Salt

Makes 8 bars or 12 balls

Place the nuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes and sunflower or pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the mixture is the texture of coarse sand. If you would like some more texture in the bars you can take out a little of the nuts, coconut and seeds before mixing and add them in later.

Add the dates, cranberries and the cocoa nibs and blend until the mixture begins to come together in a sticky dough. If this is not quite happening you can add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until it is sticky and moist and will come together easily in your hands. At this time mix in the chunky pieces if you kept some aside and pulse just until blended.

For Bars:
Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper and press the mixture down into a rectangle about 1/3 of an inch thick, making the sides as even as possible.

Place in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove and flip over onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment. Cut into 12 even pieces and store in a glass container or wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy transportation.

For Balls:
The faster method is to roll the dough between your palms into balls about 1 ½ inch diameter.

Both methods will keep in fridge for up to a month or at room temperature for a week.