Chocolate Milkshake {with raw cacao}

For some time now, our family has been enjoying these Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes from A Couple Cooks.  Everyone I’ve made these for  is surprised when they find out these milkshakes are dairy-free and refined sugar-free.  They are so creamy, chocolate-y, and delicious.  I recently tried making these milkshakes with raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder and it has the same delicious taste with an added boost of nutrients.  Raw cacao powder has transformed our dessert life.  Because cacao powder is cold-pressed and kept at low temperatures, it is extremely high in antioxidants and has a variety of health benefits.  Although cocoa powder is derived from the same cacao nibs as cacao powder, many of the antioxidants are destroyed during the production process when the cocoa is roasted at high heat.  I do not claim to be any type of nutritional expert, but I have also read that dairy interferes with the absorption of nutrients from cacao.  The coconut milk in these milkshakes allows for the full health benefits of the cacao powder.  Besides being healthy though, these chocolate milkshakes just taste so so good.  We love them and I hope you do too!

Chocolate Milkshake {with raw cacao}

Chocolate Milkshake {with raw cacao}
Serves: 2
  • 1 can light coconut milk (not boxed coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 5-7 medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • toasted coconut and dark chocolate chunks, for garnish
  1. Shake the can of coconut milk well before opening it. Reserve half a cup of coconut milk in a separate glass and refrigerate. Pour the remaining coconut milk into an ice cube tray and freeze.
  2. Using a high-speed blender, blend together the frozen coconut milk cubes, cacao powder, medjool dates, vanilla, and reserved coconut milk until creamy and smooth.
  3. Garnish with toasted coconut and chocolate chunks and serve immediately.
slightly adapted from A Couple Cooks via Edible Perspective

Black bean quesadillas | Gather & Dine

 Now that the kids are getting a little older and have their own evening activities, there are days when we only have ten minutes to get together as a family to have dinner.  Those are quesadilla days.  It’s been fun to experiment with different ways to dress up quesadillas and make them more interesting.  The black been spread on these adds a layer of texture and flavor  and gives some added protein and fiber.  The black bean mixture can be made ahead of time and then everything can be assembled quickly before heating the quesadillas.  We usually use whole wheat tortillas, but sometimes I use brown rice tortillas just for variety.  These go along well with guacamole and salsa.  I am so thankful for simple and tasty dinners, even when dinner only lasts ten minutes.

Black Bean Quesadillas
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, lightly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • colby jack cheese, shredded
  • flour or rice tortillas
  1. To make the black bean spread, combine the black beans, onions, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor. Process until beans are creamy and smooth, adding another tablespoon of water only if necessary. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Spread a layer of the black bean mixture on top of the tortilla, top with cheese, and then another tortilla. Heat both sides on a buttered griddle or pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until cheese is melted. Let cool for one minute before cutting into wedges. Serve with guacamole and salsa.
adapted from The Ski House Cookbook by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo


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Creamy guacamole and hot salsa

Our family likes avocado everything.  On toast, in soups, in salads,  in sandwiches…  to us everything avocado is delightful and delicious.  One thing that is NOT delightful for my kids is raw onion, so chunky guacamole does not go over well with them, even though they love avocado.  Once I started making guacamole in the food processor to achieve a super smooth and creamy guacamole, my kids devoured it.  Fine with me too, no chopping or dicing, throw everything into the food processor, and it’s done.  What’s not to love about that?!

The salsa recipe is one that my father-in-law came up with.  Yes, I have a father-in-law that can cook like no other.  Having dinner at my in-laws is always a big treat.  Since being married to my husband, I have developed my taste for hot and spicy foods.  And this salsa is hot.  If you prefer a more mild salsa, leave out the jalapeños, and reduce the amount of crushed red pepper and cayanne pepper.  While I often enjoy using fresh herbs, this recipe actually works better with dried parsley and cilantro.  The dried herbs soak up the crushed tomatoes and help to thicken up the salsa.   I love this salsa because it doesn’t get watery, it’s not too sweet, and it has so much flavor.  It’s possible to eat the salsa immediately after making it, but the texture and flavors really develop after sitting overnight.  This keeps well for a couple weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

Creamy Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ medium onion (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, lightly packed
  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Scoop flesh out of the avocados and put into a food processor, along with remaining ingredients.
  2. Process for one minute, or until guacamole reaches desired consistency.

Hot Salsa
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 jalapeños, seeds removed
  • 1 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  1. Use a food processor to finely chop the onions. Transfer to a large bowl, and then use the food processor to finely chop the jalapeños. Add the jalapeños to the onions.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir together thoroughly. Transfer to storage containers and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.

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