Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and when it comes to pampering yourself & your loved one this year, why stop at just one day. Savour those romantic vibes with our weeks’ worth of delicious, easy to make recipes that will leave you & your partner feeling loved up and guilt-free.

Naked Chocolate Brownies 

A perfect recipe for chocolate lovers especially those who want all of the taste with none of the nasties. These brownies are chock full of antioxidants and magnesium as well as an array of other tasty nutrients.

Makes 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 250 g (2 cups) raw almonds or walnuts
  • 10 fresh soft pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter or cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 heaped tablespoons cacao powder
  • Pinch sea salt

Method

  1. Place almonds into a food processor and process until broken up roughly.
  2. Add cacao powder and sea salt.
  3. Process again for a few seconds until combined.
  4. Add dates and process again until the dates have distributed evenly throughout the almonds.
  5. Add coconut butter and process again until combined.
  6. Spoon mixture into a bowl.
  7. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons water – just enough so that the mixture sticks together when squeezed together.
  8. Press into a 15 cm square tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  10. Cut into small delicate portions.
  11. Serve topped with your choice of berries.

(source https://www.thehealthychef.com)

 

 

Red Velvet Chocolate Chunk Pancakes

Surprise your loved one with breakfast in bed. These beautifully decadent delights are vegan, gluten free, no added sugar and use nutrient-rich beets as colouring. Definitely makes for a nutritious & delicious start to the day!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pureed red beets*
  • 1 1/4 cups thin coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or to taste)
  • about 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks
  • coconut oil for cooking pancakes

Cream Cheese Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk chilled until very cold (only the thick part from the top of the can)
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cider vineger
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • filtered water as needed

Method

In a food processor, combine all pancake ingredients but the chocolate chunks and process until just blended, pour into a bowl and set aside.
To cook pancakes, preheat oven to 110 degrees.  Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add a little coconut oil to coat the bottom.  Once hot, add the batter in 1/4 cup amounts (I did 3 at a time, but it depends on your pan), and let cook for about 2-3 minutes on the first side until set and starting to brown, then flip with a spatula, press some of the chocolate chunks into the top and cook another 2-3 minutes.  When cooked, place on a plate and keep warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining pancakes (or you may serve them as you cook them, keep in mind, the chocolate may get runny the longer you keep them in there).
To make cream cheese drizzle, mix together ingredients in a bowl, and whisk together until combined (if it is too thick add a little filtered water, you want to be able to drizzle it). Top the pancakes with the cream cheese drizzle to serve (I like to put mine in a ziplock bag with the corner cut off and squeeze it out).

*I chopped it up, threw it in the high speed blender, and then used it in the recipe.

(Source www.fragrantvanilla.com)

 

 

Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake Bites

This mouth-watering dessert is easy to make and tastes amazing. A creamy mixture of sweet dates, cashews and silken tofu makes a satisfying base for a jewel-like combination of raspberry purée and whole fresh raspberries. The only difficulty will be stopping at just one!

Makes 16

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cup raw cashews, divided
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus pinch fine sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almondmilk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon agar-agar flakes
  • 1 (14-ounce) box firm silken tofu, drained
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, divided

Method

Place dates and 1/2 cup of the cashews in a small bowl. Pour in 1 cup boiling water and soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 3/4 cup cashews, flaxseed and pinch salt in a food processor and process until the mixture begins to look sandy. Add 1 tablespoon water and process until mixture begins to pull together. Form dough into a disk and place in an 8-inch square baking dish. Gently press it out until it forms an even layer over bottom of the dish.

Drain dates and cashews, reserving soaking liquid. Place dates and cashews in a blender. Combine soaking liquid and almond milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat. Stir in agar-agar and cook at a bare simmer, stirring frequently, until agar-agar is completely dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into a blender. Add tofu, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and blend until very smooth. Pour over dough in the baking dish.

Wipe out the food processor bowl and place 1 cup of the raspberries in the bowl. Process until puréed. Pour purée into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. Press on mixture with the back of a spoon to extract as much purée as possible. Discard solids. Drizzle purée over top of tofu mixture. With a table knife, swirl purée into tofu mixture. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup raspberries, cut into squares and serve.

(Source http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)

 

Aphrodisiac Bliss Balls

Put some spice into your love life by making your sweetheart some of these amazing, nutrient-dense little treats. This recipe has an option to add powdered damiana which is a herb used traditionally to enhance libido in both men and woman. Maca powder also makes an appearance and is great for energy, stamina & libido. A great combination in a very tasty delivery.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut, desiccated
  • 1½ cups almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
  • ½ banana (about 62g)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (I used white)
  • ½ teaspoon beetroot powder (optional – for a pink colour)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon Damiana, powdered – optional
  • 2 tablespoons maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • Extra orange zest and shredded coconut to roll in

Method

  1. Add all ingredients except the orange zest and coconut flakes, to a food processor and blitz to combine.
  2. Add the zest and larger coconut flakes for a quick pulse.
  3. Roll into equal sized balls.
  4. Cover a small plate with shredded coconut and extra orange zest, and roll the balls to coat them.
  5. These are best kept in the fridge as they have fresh banana in them.

(source http://www.ascensionkitchen.com)

 

Strawberry Lemonade Gummy Hearts

Give the gift of gut healing this Valentine’s day with these delicious gummies. If you’ve read our article in this newsletter “The Gut Brain Connection” then you’d know how important the gut is to overall health. Few things say I love you quite like the gift of something to help improve vitality & longevity. Plus, these cute little gummies taste amazing too!

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ cups strawberries (about 18 medium strawberries)
  • 3 Tbs gelatin (organic, grass fed beef is best but can substitute for
  • 1-2 Tbs honey (optional depending on your tastes and the sweetness of the berries)

Method

 Over medium low heat combine strawberries, lemon juice and honey

  1. Once mixture starts to simmer, add to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. With the blender on low, slowly add gelatin and blend until combined
  3. Pour into molds or into a parchment lined baking dish
  4. Chill until set, about 30 minutes to an hour

(Source: http://www.vibrantlifearmywife.com)

 

Strawberry Ice-cream Cake 

This summer has been a scorcher so what better way to keep you and your partner cool during this most romantic time of the year then a beautiful strawberry ice-cream cake. With only four ingredients, this mouth-watering treat is vegan, gluten free, raw and the strawberries can be swapped for any fruit of your choice. Can also be made nut-free by swapping almonds out for sunflower seeds. Delicious and easy to make, this cake could easily become not just a valentine delight but one you could whip up on occasions all Summer long

Serves 8

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 and ¾ of a cup (250g) raw whole Almonds
  • 4 Medjool Dates

Strawberry Ice Cream Filling

  • 1 cup Coconut Cream from a can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups (roughly 25) frozen whole Strawberries
  • up to ⅓ of a cup Coconut Water from the can of coconut milk

Topping

  • 1 Medjool Date
  • 6-8 fresh Strawberries
  • 12 or more fresh Strawberries (halved) for garnish

Method

  1. Place a 7 inch (18cm) Springform on a sheet of parchment paper. Trace a circle around it and cut it out. Place the parchment paper circle and springform aside.
  2. Prepare crust by pulsing dates and almonds in a food processor until a sticky mass forms. Press this into the base of the springform.
  3. Clean out food processor and add coconut cream and frozen strawberries. Pulse until smooth. Add up to 1(3 of a cup coconut water if food processor is having difficulties. Taste filling and add a sweetener of choice (I prefer maple syrup) if it is not sweet enough to your liking. This all depends on the sweetness of the strawberries to begin with. Spread the strawberry ice cream filling over the crust in the spring form, and place prepared parchment paper circle on the top. Place in freezer for 2-3 hours.
  4. Once the strawberry ice is frozen remove the parchment paper and prepare the strawberry topping by pulsing 1 date with 6 strawberries in a food processor. If the strawberries are very small add 2 more. Spread strawberry-date topping over the ice cream layer.
  5. Garnish with 12 small strawberries or more if desired.
  6. Serve cold and slightly thawed. Cake will keep in freezer for up to two weeks.

(Source: http://www.veganfamilyrecipes.com)

 

Homemade Valentine Chocolates 

Struggling to find chocolates for your sweetheart with dietary requirements? Here’s how to make your own! This recipe is clean and very much customisable so can be tweaked for those with various dietary needs such as gluten free, vegan, paleo, nut -free, etc. You can also play with flavours as well – why not add some espresso for that coffee lover in your life, peppermint essence for a nice kick, or even some baileys for a smooth and creamy combination.

Makes approx. 20 depending on mold used

Ingredients

  • 115g chocolate (any kind – dark, semi-sweet, vegan, organic etc.)
  • 60g pitted dates
  • 60g nuts (I used equal parts almonds and pecans)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavouring, eg coffee, rum, coconut)

 Method

  1. Place pitted dates in a food processor and whirl until a smooth ball forms. Add nuts and vanilla extract and process until combined.
  2. Melt chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second bursts; stirring in between) or on top of a double boiler. If needed, you can add a little vegetable or coconut oil (1 teaspoon at a time) to make it even smoother.
  3. Use a brush or stick to spread chocolate around the bottom and walls of a heart mold and tap mold down to smooth out chocolate. Place in the fridge or freezer (faster) to set up.
  4. Press a little of the filling mixture into each chocolate cavity, but not to the very top. Spread more melted chocolate over the filling and tap again to smooth out. Using a knife or spatula scrape off excess chocolate.
  5. Let the chocolates set up fully in the fridge or freezer, before popping them out of the mold.
  6. Place in mini paper liners for presentation.

(Source http://leelalicious.com)