Chocolate Cake You Can Eat On A Diet!

Single Layer-Chocolate Cake You Can Eat on a Diet!

Yes, it is possible to 'have your cake, and eat it too!' when watching your weight.  I thought I'd have to swear off chocolate, to drop a few pounds.  Not true. 

Give this chocolate cake a try!  (I'm sucker for the new organic ingredients sold at Costco, and a life-long choco-holic).  I came across this Costco recipe, and tailored it to our needs.    It had multiple layers, but the recipe here is for one layer. 

5 Medium avocados
1 Cup Almond Flour
1 Cup Organic or local Honey

2 Tbls. Coconut Oil
1 1/2 Cups Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Homemade Vanilla (This recipe had Vanilla made with Madegasgar beans)
4 Eggs
Organic EVOO Non-stick cooking Spray

Food processor
9-inch Cake pan
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup
Spatulas and Frosting knife 

To prepare the cake:  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cake pan with EVOO spray.

In food processor, add 2 1/2 Avocados (scooped out), 4 Eggs, 1 Cup Honey, 1 Cup Cocoa Powder, 1 Cup Almond Flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla, 3/4 Tsp. Baking Soda, 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
Mix until creamy smooth.

Scoop and spread evenly in the prepared cake pan and cook for 30 minutes. Always check with the 'toothpick test'. (In my oven 25, was too short, 35 min. would have been too long). 

Love my Vintage Cake Pans! 

The great thing about this recipe, is by the time you clean out the food processor, the cake is cooking and you can mix up the frosting.  After the cake comes out of the oven, cool completely.  While the frosting is in the refridgerator for about 25 minutes. 

To prepare the frosting: 
In the food processor, place 2 Avocados (scooped and measured), 1/2 Cup Honey, 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder, and 2 Tbls. Coconut Oil. (This is important..do not add more than that).  Blend until smooth and creamy and place in the refridgerator until ready to spread on the cooled cake. (About 25 minutes).  

Frost the cooled cake and garnish as desired.  Here we have Organic Dark Chocolate Shavings, and fresh Blueberries. (You could put a dollop of whipped cocoanut mild cream. 



Chocolate Pudding that Packs a Punch

Eating healthier has gotten easier!   Try this Chocolate Chia Pudding as a dessert substitute. 

For me, the  3 most important criteria for a new recipe is:  #1- The recipe has few ingredients.   #2- It is as natural, chemical, process free foods.  #3- Is quick and easy.   This recipe has a plus in that it is absolutly delicious!

Why eat Chia?  They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.

Ingredients:    (per serving)
2 Tbls. Chia Seeds 
1 Tbl.  Organic Cacao Powder
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk  (can use Almond for fewer calories)
1 Tbl. Sweetner- Parker's Maple Butter   (Honey, Stevia, etc.) 
Dash of Cinnamon 

Assemble in Pint Mason Jars

To Assemble:   Blend all ingredients: Maple Butter, Milk, Cacao Powder, Cinnamon, and Chia seeds in the jar. Mix with fork, small blender attachment, or put lid on and shake thoroughly until cacao and maple butter are completely mixed in.     Cover with jar lids and refridgerate for approx 4 hours, or overnight.   The chia will absorb the liquid and become smooth with a tapioca type texture.  Serve plain, or garnish with raspberries or strawberries. 

VARIATION:  Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding  

For a nutty flavor!

In small mason jars, to the basic mix of 1/2 Cup Almond Milk add 2 Tbls of your favorite Almond Butter, and mix until creamy.  Add 2 Tbls. Chia Seeds.  Add 1 Tbl  (homemade vanilla- this one shows Madagascar Vanilla) and a dash of cinnamon. Toss in a handful of Blueberries.   Put lids on the jars, and refriderate.  When ready to serve top with a few more fresh blueberries and slivered almonds. 

You'll easily get hooked on this superfood of Chia...do your research and make sure you don't eat too much.  A person needs 1-2 Tablespoons per day.  So don't overdo it!



The Perfect Steak! Sous Vide Style

We've been experimenting lately with the Sous Vide (Sue-Veed) method of cooking recently to attempt to get professional, fine dining quality results with home cooking.

What is Sous Vide? It is a cooking method which in French means "Under Vacuum". Food is vacuum sealed in a bag, or jar and then slowly cooked to a precise temperature to a desired 'doneness'.

There are many models of Sous Vide cookers available.  We chose to choose a moderately priced model to begin with.  (See below)   You will also need either canning jars, or zip-locked bags, or a vacuum sealer and the bags which fit the model sealer you have.  (see also below)

Ingredients:  Prime Cut- New York Strip Steak  (Purchased at Costco) The steaks were 3/4 inch thick and approximately 3/4 lb each.   Salt and Pepper.

Prepared:  Fresh, not frozen: lightly sprinkled with sea salt and fresh milled black pepper.  The steaks were then vacuum sealed in food-saver bags and refrigerated for 24-48 hours.

Equipment:  Sous Vide precision cooker clipped onto the side of pot, set  at 135 degrees for 3 hours.   This method seems to create a uniform tenderness throughout the steak and a nice ribbon or band of 'done'.    We used water balls to limit evaporation and keep the temperature consistent.

Vacuum Sealer and bags:  Get to know your sealer and use appropriate bags. 

Cast iron skillet to 'sear' the steaks, or kitchen-grade torch or 'Searzall' . We complete our steaks on the Treager grill to our desired level of 'doneness'.

Here are photos of how the cooking of the perfect steak progressed: 

Steaks sealed in bags and Sous Vide for 3.5 hours

Removed from bags and ready to 'sear' 

Steaks straight of the Traeger, grilled for 10 minutes per side for Medium-well and 5 minutes per side for Medium-rare! 

Medium-Well, to perfection!

Medium rare...to perfection!


16-Minutes to Stuffed Peppers! Generations away from my Hungarian Roots!

I'm part Hungarian.  This part of my ancestry has always intrigued me since I've never been to Hungary and yet LOVE  some of the foods from that part of the world.  I grew up eating goulash, steamed cabbage, and stuffed peppers.  (The peppers may be of Turkish origin, but apparently since they contain Paprika, they are categorized as Hungarian)  My Great Grandfather came to this country, knowing he'd never see his family again, and Americanized our name when entering at Ellis Island. My father (the Hungarian part of me) also told stories of his Grandmother making homemade noodles, which I have learned to do, but that is for another post.  

Finished!! Ready to Serve!
So let's just connect the past to the present here quickly!  I love stuffed peppers and needed to find a way to fit them into our busy family schedule. Our traditional recipe, updated, easily converts to a pressure cooker recipe. 

5 Fresh, Green Peppers 
1 Cup uncooked Rice
1/1/2 Cup Water
Tomato Sauce (14-16 oz.)
1/4 lb. Ground Sausage (or meat of choice) 
Himalayan Salt, Multi-colored Peppercorn Blend, & Paprika (try smoked paprika) and a dash of Cayenne Pepper

EQUIPMENT:  You will need a 6-qt. pressure cooker in order to stay on the 16 minute time frame.   I found it helpful to use a silicone trivet inside the bottom of the pot. You also need simple kitchen tools-  knife, cutting board, tongs, and spoon.

DIRECTIONS:    Place rice in to pressure cooker pan, cover with all the water.  Secure the pressure cooker lid, and close the pressure valve lever.  Cook for 6 minutes on the 'Rice' feature on the pressure cooker control panel.  After the cooker timer 'beeps', release the valve lever to release any steam. Remove lid.

IN THE MEANTIME: While the rice is cooking, brown the sausage on the stovetop, or in a second pressure cooker on the 'saute' or 'brown' feature.   Stir in either bottled processed tomato sauce, or canned.

ADD:  Salt and Pepper, best dispensed through a grinder, and the Paprika and Cayenne. (Just a dash)

ALSO:  Wash the peppers, slice the stem end of each, exposing the inside of the pepper.  Scrape out the seeds and 'clean up' the insides of the peppers.. see below.  No need to blanch or tenderize the peppers before cooking with the pressure cooker method.
Clean Green 'Bell' Peppers -remove all seeds

SPOON the rice mixture into each pepper up to the brim, pressing down the mixture to fill each pepper. Place the peppers on a trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooker, secure the lid, closing the pressure valve. Set the timer on High Pressure for 10 minutes.  

TO SERVE:  Once the timer 'beeps', release the valve, letting of steam, open the lid, carefully remove the peppers, using tongs, and place in a serving dish.  Serve hot.    


*These make great leftovers too!  Can be heated up in a steamer, or microwave the next day!



5 medium Red Delicious Apples
5 Granny Smith Apples
1 Lemon
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tsp. Homemade Vanilla
2 Tbls. Honey
1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Cup Water OR Organic Apple Juice

TO PREPARE:  Wash, peel, core, and slice apples and put into the pressure cooker pot.  Cut lemon in halve and juice the lemon onto the apples (I use a citrus squeezer).  Mesure and add Cinnamon, Salt, Honey, and Homemade Vanilla. (For this recipe, I used Vanilla made with Madegasgar Bean). Pour either the Water or Organic Apple Juice over all.

TO COOK:  Secure the lid on the pressure cooker, turn the valve to Pressure and set the timer to 5 minutes on High Pressure. Once cooked, release the valve to let out the steam and open the pot. SPOILER ALERT, AMAZING SMELLS ABOUND!.   I stirred the hot sauce well, but left in a chunky state. You can blend with an immersion blender for smooth or runny sauce.  Serve warm, or place in mason jars to refridgerate.

Just for fun:  While preparing this recipe, I was reminded of how much our loving hands can do for our families, and the loving thought that went into making these few jars. One of my favorite movies is Sleepless in Seattle.   In the movie, the character Sam, is explaining some of the things he loved about his deceased wife:  "She could peel an apple in one long strand".

Love you family!



Apple-Blueberry Crisp-Under Pressure!


With apples on hand waiting for me to try out a new applesauce recipe, I decided to splurg and make a quick dessert while we were waiting for the brisket to finish cooking on the Traeger smoker.   This apple crisp went together so simply it was amazing!  Here's the scoop: 

Wash, peel and slice 5 pie or applesauce apples of your choice (I used Red Delicious).  I used an apple slicer and then halved the slices so the apples are bite-sized.   Place these in the bottom of the electric pressure cooker.   Add one small clamshell of washed fresh blueberries.

Sprinkle 1 Tbl Siagon Cinnamon, and 1/2 Tsp freshly grated nutmeg over the apples and blueberries.  Pour 1/2 Water, and 1 Tbl maple syrup on top.   (Maple syrup is NOT Pancake syrup. Or use your favorite natural sweetener) 

I use a microplane tool to finely grate 1/2 to 1 tsp off a whole nutmeg seed.
In a seperate bowl, mix 4 Tbl butter (melted), 1 Cup Rolled Oats (not steel -cut), 1/2 Tsp Hymalayan Pink Salt,  1/4 Cup Flour (I have not tried Almond Flour, but consider it a great option) and 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar.   Mix well, until a crumble is formed, and drop spoonfuls over the apple mixture to cover.  

Here I used room temperature butter-nearly melted in this AZ weather!

Secure and lock the pressure cooker lid on the pot, turn the valve to pressure and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.  After the pot sounds the alarm that the time is up, release the pressure by opening the valve. After all the steam has been released open the pot.  Let stand for a few minutes as the liquid will thicken into a nice sauce. Serve by itself warm, or topped with ice-cream or favorite cold dessert.



(Pressure cooker recipe) 
2.5 lbs Baby 'Creamers' or New Potatoes
2 Tbl. Chicken Stock/Soup Base
2 Tbl. Fresh Dill Weed
2 Tbl Butter
8 Oz. Sour Cream                                        1 C. Water

In a 6 quart pressure cooker, place washed, unpeeled New Potatoes, (can cut in half) Butter, Chicken Soup Base, and Dill. Pour the cup of water over all. 

Secure and lock the pressure cooker lid on the pot, and turn the pressure valve to 'pressure', set the timer on High Pressure for 7 minutes.    Once the pot reaches high pressure, the timer will count down. After 7 minutes, the pressure cooker alarm will sound. Release the pressure valve. After all the steam is released, open the lid and stir. If desired, stir in up to 1 cup sour cream, or eat without sour cream, the delicious buttery dilled potatoes.