Raw Paleo Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Paleo)

It was like waking up from a dream. I took a bite of a chocolate-coconut date bar, and then another: these are amazing, I remember thinking. I was a sophomore in college and it was the first time I had made something like this. Up until that day, it was all brownies and cookies for dessert (an occasional cupcake thrown in). Something had inspired me to make a healthy version (not really sure what). It was easy, something that I remember being surprised by. Honestly, it was easier than making regular brownies, because all I had to do was pop everything in the food processor and press it into a pan.  

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Paleo)

Chocolate-coconut bars were the first “real food” dessert recipe I think I ever made, intentionally at least. It was revolutionary, as evidenced by this blog. Today, fruit and nut bars are a dime a dozen at the grocery store and even more easily found online, but this recipe still stands out at me as “the one.”  

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Paleo)
Raw Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Paleo)
Cacao nibs - Anthony's Goods

Over the years I’ve mixed things up, trying out different nuts, drizzling the bars with chocolate, or the ultimate treat: topping them with an avocado mousse frosting and a sprinkle of cacao nibs (If you have a hard time finding cacao nibs, try ordering them from Anthony's Goods, here - they are great quality). These are decadent. They are a fruit nut bar that feels like so much more. They are rich and sweet but honest and whole, still made only with clean ingredients. After you eat a bit of this bar, you’re going to feel the difference: it tastes like a guilty pleasure but there’s no crap in there!  

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Paleo)

Raw Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Mousse Frosting

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

The chocolate-coconut bars are easy to make and no-bake! They get the ultimate treatment with a layer of creamy chocolate mousse frosting.

Serves: 9   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried, pitted dates (I used med jool)
  • 1 cup dried figs (remove stems)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pecans
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • For the frosting:
  • 1 ripe avocado (or 1/2 of a very large avocado)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (try 2 tablespoons if you prefer a lesser that is not very sweet, you can always add more as you go)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs for topping brownies

Directions:

  1. Place dates, figs, coconut, cashews, pecans, 1/4 cup cacao nibs, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until stick crumbs form and begin to climb together. When you pinch the mixture between two fingers, it should easily stick together.
  2. Fit a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and pour fruit nut mixture into pan. Use your fingers to press the mixture into a single, even layer. Cover and place in fridge.
  3. Now, make the frosting: Place avocado, vanilla extract, coconut oil, honey, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a high-speed blender (you can use a food processor, but you will need to scrape the sides frequently to get everything incorporated well). Puree mixture, scraping the sides of the blender as you go to ensure everything is incorporated and no green chunks of avocado remain. Feel free to taste for sweetness and add more honey as desired.
  4. Once frosting is completely smooth, spread in a single layer over the brownies. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and allow to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Slice into 9 squares and serve, or cut into small 1-inch bites if you prefer.

Sesame Cabbage Fritters

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)
Like most humans, I am hungry...our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it... - M. F. K. Fisher

Thick, paperback, and a little bit intimidating, a large text book sat on my desk when I walked into the office one morning. I immediately remembered a conversation with a co-worker when they said they had a book to lend me (thanks Max!). Food and Culture: A Reader, was the title.

The forward was a quote from M. F. K. Fisher that I absolutely adore (the one I opened this post with).  Of course food and security and love, are intertwined. Every discussion about food is also about your up bringing and your emotions and your heart. Of course. This is why I love the topic: we all have a deep, intrinsic connection to what we make in our kitchens and even what we eat when we are very, very far from our kitchens. There is something there, and it is so much more than food (even when food is the hero of the story). 

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

Take these cabbage pancakes: I could tell you about how delicious they were, and how they were something new for our table. But that's not the story. The story is about how I have always (always!) struggled to make anything like this: latkes, zucchini pancakes, corn cakes. The few memories I have of latkes (a bat mitzvah, a pot luck)  are positive (who doesn't love potato fried in oil) but they were never something my parents made and I didn't grow up watching them come together. So when I've tried to recreate them in my own kitchen, it's been a battle of Caitlin versus fried patty, and sadly the patties usually win and I put up a white flag. We eat whatever it is as a shredded, fried pile (it's delicious, but totally off the mark). 

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

With this as my background, I'm not sure what exactly made me think "I will make pancakes out of this head of cabbage that's been wasting away in the fridge" rather than just sautéing it or making slaw. But, that's what I thought. I got out a knife, and shredded the cabbage into thin, papery strips, and as I did it's volume ballooned and filled our largest mixing bowl. This made me nervous, but I made the move that said "There's no turning back" (tossing everything with egg and cassava flour) and then--after thinking for a brief moment What will I do with this pile of sticky battery cabbage if this doesn't work out?- I heated up oil in the pan. 

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

And? Hallelujah! Finally a fritter I can make. A single battle won, 15 more pancakes to flip. That first pancake gave me the bode of confidence I needed: It didn't matter that I wasn't a life-time latke-making pro. Attempt after attempt of fritter frying, my work had paid off. This win was coming home. (And yes, the stringiness of the cabbage, compared to shredded potato, may have something to do with my success. I'm ok with that for now). 

These were also completely devoured in 5 minutes, if any one asks. But if they do ask, please also tell them it's a story about perseverance. 

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

Sesame Cabbage Fritters (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Cabbage is fried in a savory pancake and served with a sesame-soy dipping sauce.

Yields: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cassava flour (Here is one brand)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions, roots removed and remaining parts roughly chopped
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Coconut oil for cooking

  • For the dipping sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

Directions:

  1. Please shredded cabbage in bowl and toss with chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, dash of salt, and cassava flour. Once cabbage is coated, crack eggs into bowl and add sesame oil and soy sauce. Mix until everything is combined.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it sizzles, scoop the cabbage mixture into the skillet 1/4 cup at a time. Use a spatula to press the 1/4 cup pile down into a pancake shape and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage begins to brown. Using the spatula, flip the fritter and cook on the second side for 5-10 more minutes, until browned. (I find I can do 3 fritters at once in my skillet to quicken the cooking process). Place cooked fritters on a plate and repeat until all of the cabbage mixture is used.
  3. Make the sauce: combine ingredients for sauce in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir. After 5 minutes, remove from heat. Pour into small bowl.
  4. Serve fritters warm with sauce for dipping. Garnish with extra sesame seeds or Sriracha.

Jicama-Pineapple Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Jicama Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Are you ever so brain dead after work that you pull into your drive way and realize you just listened to the public radio pledge drive the whole way home? Or worse, a solid 20 minutes of commercials? And by listen, I mean you actually heard every word...you just couldn't think enough to care or change the station? This is me, all the time.

On the other hand, some days I get in the car and hear the news start, and immediately have to just turn it off. No more words, too many words! Peace and quiet is all I can handle on those days.  

These are the days I want to come home to dinner already prepped and ready to go: zero effort, just delicious satisfaction on a plate so that I can do nothing more than relax. 

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Lately, we've been getting home pretty late, after we manage to leave the office and hit the gym. Like 8:30pm. When I get home at 8:30pm, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner... By the time 9pm hits, I'd rather be in bed than pulling something from the oven or dishing something onto a plate! 

Jicama-Pineapple Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Anyways, it's made me want to start planning ahead of time, by loading up the slow cooker with Korean Pork or Enchilada Beef in the morning. When I'm doing really well, I'll even prep a side dish while I'm making breakfast or packing lunches--something that will stay fresh if it's stored in the fridge all day. This Jicama-Pineapple Slaw is perfect for these days, because the jicama and carrots stay crisp and fresh long after you put everything together. 

You can eat this slaw as a topping for tacos or taco bowls, but you can also just eat it as a salad. Make a big batch! You'll save yourself chopping and planning the next day. 

Jicama-Pineapple Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
Jicama-Pineapple Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Jicama-Pineapple Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

This slaw works as a topping for tacos or as a salad on it’s own.

Serves: 6   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 Jicama (2 cups, chopped into matchsticks)
  • 3 large carrots (1 cup chopped into matchsticks)
  • 1 mandarin orange or tangerine, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño (or 1/2 large jalapeño), cut into thin slices
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash paprika
  • Dash granulated garlic (garlic powder)
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Toss jicama, carrots, orange wedges, diced pineapple, jalapeño and cilantro in a salad bow.
  2. Then, whisk together lime juice, honey, olive oil, paprika, granulated garlic, and a dash each of salt & pepper.
  3. Drizzle dressing over vegetables, and took until coated.
  4. Store in airtight salad until you are ready to eat! Stays good for 3-5 days in the fridge.