Eeeek! I’m so excited for the first ever guest post on Naked Cuisine. Chocolate Avocado Mousse from an awesome Holistic Nutritionist, Voula Cicchelli.
I’ve been a stranger lately you guys, I know it’s internet land and unless you’re my mom you probably didn’t notice. But I miss you, regardless. The focus lately has been on growing my writing business for health and wellness professionals. It’s fun and I’m learning loads about running your own show. It’s a lot of work and I give mad props to all the self-employed peeps out there.
Don’t worry (I tell this more to myself since I’m sure you’re not worried), I’ll be back in full force this summer. We’re moving to the beautiful west coast of Canada where there’s an insane abundance of amazing foods that I won’t be able to refrain from sharing with you all.
The city life is not for me, although I love certain aspects of it I really just want to raise my little man closer to nature.
But enough about boring old me.
Let me introduce to you, the lovely and talented Voula (cool name right?!). Voula is a Holistic Nutritionist and she graciously offered to share her fantabulously simple recipe for chocolate avocado mousse. I’ve made it, and man it is so luxuriously creamy and rich. My two-year-old goes nuts for this stuff.
So without further adieu, here’s Voula!
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE sweets. What is better than having something sweet AND have it being healthy all at the same time right?
As a Holistic Nutritionist, I try my very best to instill healthy eating in my house and always try to find healthy alternatives to common desserts. My kids always ask for chocolate pudding but we both know that is loaded with sugar and preservatives so I came up with this great alternative.
This Chocolate Avocado Mousse totally hits the spot and is a total hit in my house, especially with my kids. They don’t even know that it is made with avocado which is the best part. It is high in healthy fats, low in processed sugar; full of antioxidants and, of course, a great taste that can trick just about the pickiest eater. Here is to a well-kept secret between us moms. It’s a pretty simple recipe to whip up, even on short notice.
Voula Cicchelli is a Holistic Nutritionist, Trainer, Coach and owner of Lifestyle4Life. She focuses on helping her client’s battle depression, deal with hormonal acne, lose weight and gain their confidence back through food and exercise. She educates her clients and empowers them to take personal ownership of their own health and happiness. She is also the author of Deliciously Healthy, a recipe e-book as well as the popular Clean Eating Kick Start 7 day program. Voula’s passion is infectious and she continues to motivate and help woman all over find their way back to themselves.
It’s the time of year when I go into full on holiday baking mode. Cookies, pies, fudge, you name it. But it still doesn’t mean a plethora of refined junky foods, no thanks. Instead, I look at the holidays as an opportunity to get creative and experiment with new sweeteners and flour substitutes. Technically none of these are completely sugar free but they all contain natural unrefined sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Refined sugar free just sounded like a long and annoying title.
Here are some of my favourite treats to make for the holidays, as well as some that I really want to try out this year. I think after I write this post I might run to the kitchen and make those paleo gingerbread cookies. I’m feeling a little blue and lethargic today and I have a feeling the smell of cookies wafting through the house is just the fix.
I’ve made this pie twice now and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s way easier than regular ol’ pumpkin pie and a lot healthier too. The crust is made with macadamia nuts (or whatever nuts you have kicking around) dates and coconut oil and the filling is a creamy combination of pumpkin, coconut milk, aromatic spices and grass fed beef gelatine which is absolutely loaded with health benefits. I was hesitant to use the gelatine as I didn’t want the pie to have a weird consistency, but if you use the right amount it does the job of thickening without creating any weird gummy textures. If you want a purely vegan pie you can get vegan gelatine using agar agar or irish moss which are both seaweeds.
You American peeps haven’t had your thanksgiving yet and my vote is that you try this Paleo No Bake Pumpkin Pie for the occasion. I made it for our thanksgiving and the fam jam went gaga. The best part is that its so light and easy to digest that you don’t get that same lead weight feeling in the pit of your stomach that usually comes along with thanksgiving.
Since we’re on the topic I would also seriously recommend dry brining your turkey 24 hours before cooking it. This technique definitely resulted in hands down the best turkey I have ever had or made. Last year I did a traditional brine, which is great but leaves the meat a bit watered down. Dry brining imparts the flavour from the salt without taking flavour away from the turkey. I suppose I should just write a post on this alone since I’m so passionate about dry brining but you guys I didn’t take any photos because that turkey was gone so fast.
If you’re in the kitchen for an extended amount of time and looking for a great jam, check out this mix, its long, varied and beautiful.
1 1/2 C unsalted macadamia nuts (pecans or walnuts also work well)
1/2 C date paste
1/4 C coconut oil
pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean or vanilla extract
Filling and coconut whipped cream
1 28oz can pumpkin puree OR equivalent amount homemade pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (left in the fridge for a few hours to firm up)
1/2 C coconut oil
3 Tbs grass fed beef gelatine OR 1 tsp agar agar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30 drops liquid stevia OR 1/3 C maple syrup
For the crust
In a high powered blender or food processor, add the macadamia nuts, date paste, coconut oil, salt and vanilla and blend until all the nuts are crushed and everything is evenly combined.
Press the crust into a springform pan, the smaller the pan the taller the pie will be but I used a 9 inch.
Set the crust in the fridge or freezer to set a bit while you make the filling.
Filling and coconut whipped cream
Using the same blender or food processor add the pumpkin puree, separate the liquid from the coconut cream and add the liquid only. Add the gelatine or agar agar (don't worry about blooming it) and puree until smooth.
Add the coconut oil, spices, salt, vanilla and stevia or maple syrup and puree again until smooth.
Pour over top of the crust and allow to set for at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving.
To make the coconut whipped cream simply use the remaining coconut cream and whip it with a whisk or in a mixer until light and fluffy, you can add a splash of maple syrup or honey to sweeten it up if desired.
Pie serves 8-10 people, place a dollop of coconut whipped cream on each piece and enjoy!
I’m overjoyed that Canada has a new leader. We’ve been through a hellish 12 years of environmental destruction and infringement on our human rights. Yet still so many people supported Harper, it’s astonishing to me how even at this pivotal point in time, when the planet is crying for us to stop annihilating it, people can still care more about money than breathing clean air. Hopefully the Liberals will hold true to their promises, the first day in office Trudeau pulled Canadian fighter jets out of Iran. He’s moving ahead and accepting more refugees into our gigantic and abundant country and helping to disable the fear propaganda we’ve been hearing for so long. A very noble first step towards regaining our countries peace keeping reputation.
I told some friends that if the conservatives were to win I was moving to Ecuador. Luckily for now I’ll be staying in the homeland, enjoying delicious cinnamon apple streusel muffins and aged earl grey tea on calm cool mornings with change in the air. Here’s hoping we can start to move forward after a long time going back. Amazingly Canada already employs more people in the sustainable energy industry than in oil. We have long needed a government that echoes the sentiments of the majority which I think are kindness, generosity and humility.
Oh yes, and about these muffins…they literally disappeared in a matter of 3 hours. They were gobbled right up and the scent from the cinnamon makes your kitchen smell amazing. Since they’re sugar free they are perfect for sensitive little ones. My son just adores them so much. I’ve made a few variations of this recipe now and it works great for banana muffins, chocolate and savoury. After many different paleo muffin renditions this is by far my favourite formula. The baking powder technically isn’t paleo and you can omit it. Personally I don’t think a bit of BP does much harm and it makes the muffins nice and plump!
I meant to post this BEFORE I started the sugar detox from hell. I’m a fiend you guys. Even if it’s raw pies and honey I’m still jonesing for a fix. So I’ll live vicariously through you. This decadent cake is fully awesome. It’s loaded with all the best things- honey, vanilla bean, cacao, nuts, hemp seeds, young coconut meat, berries and of course, ba-nay-nays. Let me know the dirty details of each delightful bite if you make it. I’ll just be over here eating a carrot stick…
But in all seriousness, it feels good to make the conscious decision to get rid of some of the more junky aspects of my diet. All summer was just one big smorgasbord of enjoyment with family and friends. I’m grateful, truly, but that over indulgence catches up. So with a final slice of cake, I bid adieu for one month.
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed (save the pod for other uses)
1/2 C cocoa butter, melted over double boiler
1/4 C coconut oil, melted over double boiler
1/2 C raw honey
pinch sea salt
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 C cacao nibs
1 C mixed frozen berries
2 Tbs raw cacao powder
In a high powered blender or food processor, add date paste, walnuts, hemp seeds, coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Pulse until evenly combined.
Press crust into a 10 inch springform pan (or smaller for a taller cake) and pop it in the fridge or freezer while you make the filling.
For the filling. Add coconut meat, soaked cashews, vanilla bean seeds, cocoa butter, coconut oil, honey and sea salt. Blend until super smooth and pour 1/3 of filling on top of the crust. Top with a few banana slices and a sprinkle of cacao nibs.
Pop the cake back in the fridge or freezer for the first layer to set slightly.
Pour 1/2 the remaining filling into a bowl and set aside.
For the berry layer add 1 C frozen berries of your choosing to the filling and blend until smooth. Pour over top of the vanilla layer and top with more sliced bananas and cacao nibs.
Pop it back in the fridge or freezer to set slightly.
For the chocolate layer, add the remaining filling back into the blender with 2 Tbs cacao powder and blend until fully incorporated. Pour over the berry layer and top with the remaining sliced bananas and cacao nibs.
Vanilla beans are a magical magical thing. They blow my mind. Every little seed bursting with the most common yet rare and precious flavour in existence. Vanilla is an ethereal looking orchid, truly stunning. It adds something so special to anything it touches and brings out the hidden characteristics in the foods it mingles with.
If you can’t tell, I’m pretty fucking gung ho about vanilla.
I just got back from my brothers wedding where I had the pleasure of making THE cake. What foods represent the true characteristics of star crossed lovers and real deal twin flames?
Chocolat et vanille of course.
Cacao and vanilla grow in the same jungles, one is masculine, rooted, robust, dark, hard shelled yet amazingly soft inside. While the other is light, ephemeral, delicate and grows upward towards the heavens. The two were ordained the perfect match long before modern society had any idea of their existence. It only made sense to encapsulate their majesty into their luxurious wedding cake. I’ll post the recipe on the blog soon of the cake which was a double fudge chocolate quinoa cake with vanilla bean, rose and honey cashew cream icing.
For now, I’ll ramble on a little more about vanilla…
And macadamia nuts because mmmmmmmm…
Whenever I go on vacation I crave fudge. Which likely stems from childhood trips to Banff where we would always visit the fudge factory and stock up for our trip back home. And if you know me at all, you know that when a craving lurks, it cannot simply be ignored. But most fudge is way too sweet so of course the simple solution is to make it yourself.
Vanilla Bean Macadamia Nut Fudge is my new obsession, and you only need a tiny bit to satisfy even the maddest sweet tooth. It’s loaded with healthy fat from coconut and adorned with another tropical favourite, macadamia nuts.
I’ll tell you a secret. The other night I watched game of thrones for hours and ate nearly two cups of mac nuts. Talk about a binge. I can’t even have them around or I just go mental and day dream about Jon Snow while noshing my life away. So, if you got em, use em!
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.