Category Archives: Diana’s Blog

Heart Healthy Chocolate Cake

This recipe is absolutely perfect. Not too sweet, just the right amount of richness from the Dark Chocolate.

I brought a slice to my acupuncturists, and she dubbed this the Heart Health Cake.

Beets lower risk of heart disease. Beets are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine, which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery-damaging inflammation.

And Dark Chocolate helps to lower your blood pressure naturally. … The other surprise was they reported no increase in heart rate with chocolate consumption, once again confirming the benefits of dark chocolate for heart health.
Savory Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ganache

BeetChocCake

For the cake:

2 medium beets (1 cup beet puree)

2 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups oat flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon of sea salt

For the frosting:

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache:

1 cup dark chocolate

1/2 cup coconut milk

To puree beets

Boil beets until smooth and then cool. Peel and chop.

Place beet chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary. You may have to add a bit of water to encourage the beets to puree. Scoop out 1 cup of puree for this recipe – the rest is leftover.

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with coconut cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, set aside.

To the coconut milk mixture, add 1 cup of beet puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer), beat until foamy, about 30 seconds.

Mix together remaining dry ingredients. Add liquid to dry ingredients and beat until smooth

Divide between the cake pans. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 30-35 minutes.

Remove and cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

To make the frosting:

Ganache:

Reheat the water to a simmer in the pot on the stove

Place another medium bowl over the water and add chocolate and coconut milk

Stir until completely melted and add coconut milk

To assemble the cake:

Place the first layer on your cake stand or serving plate. If the top is uneven, carefully even it off with a knife. Smooth on about half of the frosting, and top with the second cake layer. Smooth on remaining frosting and add any decorations you like! (If you made 1 9-inch layer, you will have enough frosting to coat the sides, if you want.)

Refrigerate before serving. The cake can be served immediately, but I like it best after being refrigerated overnight. Enjoy!

Mexican Chocolate Tart

This beautiful and creamy tart melts in your mouth. It has a chocolate crust and a creamy filling made with the unique pili nut, which is a rainforest nut from the Philippines. They have the highest vitamin E and magnesium content of any nut and add a creamy, buttery texture to recipes.

Mexican torte

Chocolate “Graham Cracker” Crust
Ingredients
1¼ cups raw walnuts
1 cup coconut cane sugar
¾ cup raw cacao nibs
1 cup raisins or cranberries
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Directions
Place all walnuts, sugar, and cacao in a food processor fitted with an s-blade and process until it is finely ground. Add raisins (or cranberries) and process until the crumbs begin to stick together. Do not over-process. Transfer crust mixture into a 9-inch round or rectangular tart pan. Spread evenly and press down with hands to compact and bring the crust up the sides. Set aside.
Creamy Filling
Ingredients
2 cups whole pili nuts; shelled, brown skins left on
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
Directions
Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. You may need to use a plunger or scraper to get the best consistency. Spread filling evenly over crust and let sit to set. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a month.

Vegan Spiced Cupcakes With Orange Cream Frosting

How do you make cupcakes without flour, eggs, and milk? Easy! This is a fun recipe with a delicious sweet orange frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.
SpicedCupcake
Spice Cake
Ingredients
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup shredded dried coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pecans
½ cup medjool dates, pitted & packed
1 teaspoon orange zest (1 orange)
½ cup raisins
Directions
Place almonds, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in processor fitted with S-blade and process until finely ground. Add walnuts and pecans. Process until finely ground. Add dates, zest and raisins until mixture begins to stick together. Do not over-process.
Line a cupcake tin with paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full with mixture. Press down gently to compact each cupcake. Set aside.
Orange Cream Frosting
Ingredients
1½ cups coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews, soak 2 hours, rinse & drain
¼ cup raw agave nectar
1 teaspoon orange zest (1 orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lecithin powder, non-GMO
1/3 cup raw virgin coconut oil, melted
Directions
Put coconut milk in blender, add soaked cashews, agave nectar, zest and vanilla and blend until creamy. Add lecithin and oil until incorporated, using a spatula to scrape down sides. Place in airtight container, chill for at least two hours until set.
Assembly:
Use a pastry bag to pipe or spatula to spread frosting over cupcakes. Garnish with orange zest. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw as needed.

10 Ideas that Block Your Spiritual Path

I recently read an article written by Author: Marie-Elizabeth Mali

I really want to share this with you, my friends, my readers, because I have been doing this work for a long time, and in my humanism, I make mistakes every day.
In those mistakes I observe others in what may seem like a better way to be.
Not that I’m questioning myself or my teachings, but that I question, if there is some other way, something I may be missing.

When I read this article, I can admit that it was somewhat gratifying as I could hear others, see others, and feel others that I have witnessed, worked with, engaged with, and spent amazing amounts of time with, wondering, “Are their ideas more valid, am I missing something…..and why do I cringe when I hear certain things” Starting with #1.

If you are a person who does things they don’t want to in order to be liked, or because it is the “right thing to do”… this READ is for you. Enjoy!

Do you think spiritual people shouldn’t be angry?
Now that we are exposed to many paths through the magic of the internet, we absorb spiritual ideas from different levels of consciousness. What’s true at one level may not be true at the level we’re hearing it.

Here are 10 often misunderstood ideas that can block our deeper awakening.

1. Be a good person.
We don’t have to try to be good. The more we get to the truth of who we are, the more goodness we express. Covering self-doubt or self-loathing with a veneer of niceness makes us untrustworthy. Others can sense the fakery, even if they can’t articulate it. For example, when I call my mother because I should, the conversation stays superficial and I can’t wait to get off the phone. But when I call her because I want to, the conversation connects and I’m in no rush to leave.

2. Be selfless.
Trying to be selfless is a recipe for disaster. It’s like walking around with a sign on our foreheads saying, “Use me.” When Bill Withers sings it, it’s hot because the singer feels right with his desire to be used. When we’re trying to be selfless because we want approval, it’s not hot.

3. Your teacher, priest, rabbi, imam, or shaman knows better than you.
If your teacher isn’t teaching you how to uncover your own wisdom, get away. Teachers are necessary because they are further down the road. They see where you are and what you need for growth, but if they encourage dependency and leave you disempowered, nope.

4. You must always communicate with kindness and compassion.
About 15 years ago, I encountered “nonviolent communication.” While the technique itself has merit, the person using it said the nonviolent words while trying to passive-aggressively control the whole room. Spiritual communication techniques, if co-opted by covert needs, don’t make us less of an asshole. In fact, they make us more of one because we’re pretending to be all love and light when we’re not.

5. Spiritual means orderly and calm.
For control freaks (my people!), there’s a fine line between doing every action from a place of devotion, and micromanaging our environment to make it perfect before we can get centered. Yes, it feels better when the yoga mats all line up and the bed is made, but the universe couldn’t care less. Let’s stop outsourcing our need for order on God. Have you ever felt the holiness of a Prince concert at Madison Square Garden, every musician playing full out, the crowd screaming with joy? Have you seen the apparent chaos that is the natural world, the way it works without our intervention?

6. Your truth is what matters.
The need to assert our truth can also disguise a need for control. If everyone thinks their truth is the truth, then we compete to out-truth each other, sacrificing real listening and depth. When it comes from our deepest self that is one with everyone’s deepest self, truth just is. Nobody’s dying to hear what our egos come up with as our truth of the day, but many people are dying to feel connected at that deeper level where our shared truth resides.

7. You’re above messy emotions.
Emotions are not problematic, but our reactions to them are. I thought I was chill until I got feedback from a friend that he experienced a painful, high-pitched whine when I got uptight and clamped a lid on it. If we express our emotions in real time, they eventually come out less messy and pass like a cloud on a windy day. Down the road, we can choose when to express—not because we’re pretending to be someone we’re not, but because we can feel what each moment calls for.

8. Do nothing. God or the universe will bring you your good.
Sometimes it’s right to do nothing and wait for clarity, and sometimes it’s passivity and a refusal to take responsibility for our lives. We are not beggars waiting for crumbs from an unreliable universe. Our desires, if they come from our deepest self, are God’s desires. It’s on us to do the work to align with our deepest self and act from there. An external God has nothing to do with it.

9. What’s mine is yours.
In the grand scheme, yes. But if we’re letting folks walk all over us in the name of being spiritual, it’s time to learn to set boundaries . Being generous from a place of overflow is divine; being generous from the need to be liked is not. I once lent someone $5,000, though a little voice said not to, because I wanted to be liked. After paying a small portion back, she left town and never paid back the rest, even after getting a large settlement from her former job. I learned a good lesson: to listen to that little voice instead of my need to be liked.

10. Kill your ego.
For all my driven perfectionists (oh hey, tribe!), don’t punish yourself when your ego or shadow shows up. Don’t wield insight like a two-by-four toward yourself or anyone else. Freedom and awakening happen gradually, and we are already perfect in our own perfection. When we notice the next thing in an endless series of f*cked up things about ourselves, let’s welcome it and ask it what it wants, what fear it has at its core. Let’s celebrate that we now have more freedom to make conscious choices and be less of an *sshole, which is more than enough.

I hope you can grow from these 10 Tips, and always strive to do your best. And remember, perfection is a frame of mind.

In health and love,

Diana

Raw Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

One bite of this special dessert and you’ll say, “No way is this dairy free! No way is this free of processed sugar and gluten and wheat! And it’s good for me?” Yes, it is! It’s full of “good” fats that can actually lower your cholesterol and help your body burn fat. (Check out “Everything You Need to Know About Coconut Oil” for more information.) Plus you’re getting all the nutrients of raw pumpkin, raw nuts, and carrot juice. It’s a super-delicious super-dessert!

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust
Ingredients
3 cups raw pecans
3 dates
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Directions
Process all ingredients until they start to stick together. Pour ingredients into a 10-inch non-stick springform pan. Spread evenly and press down slightly with hand until gently packed.
Pumpkin filling
Ingredients
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for 1–2 hours, drained, and rinsed
2 cups pumpkin, cubed
1½ cups carrot juice
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup coconut oil, melted in hot bath
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Directions
Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Pour mixture into pan on top of crust. Using spatula gently spread toward edges of pan until even. Place in freezer while making next layer or for 1–2 hours.
Coconut topping
Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1½ cups coconut milk (1 young coconut)
¼ cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons lecithin
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
Pinch sea salt
Directions Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until light and fluffy. Carefully spread on top of cheesecake filling. This should be at the very top of the pan. Place in refrigerator for 4–6 hours until completely set. Use thin knife to scrape around edges of pan before removing cake from pan. Cut into slices and enjoy!

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Why I am not a Vegan

Many years ago, the term “vegan” was brought to my attention by this elderly hippie couple that lived next door to a friend of mine.  They were awesome humans, and they explained that their love for animals led them to stop eating them.   I asked what they ate, and it didn’t seem that different from what I ate except that they added a lot of soy-based faux-meat items to their diet (tempeh, soy chorizo, tofu, etc.).  I sort of wrote that off as being a religious belief and not about health.

Years later, when I became very ill, I came to the conclusion that I needed to eliminate the 6 “Know No’s” from my diet — no Dairy, Wheat, Sugar, Meat, Caffeine, and Alcohol — to halt all my symptoms of illness.  And it worked.  But it wasn’t until I became 100% raw for two years, living on pure greens and nuts, that my body made a huge shift.  I knew I had found the fountain of youth.  I knew that the results of eating this way showed that it is the BEST way to heal your body.  And I still believe and know it to be true.  

But as time passed and my new raw lifestyle became routine, many deficiencies began to appear.  My adrenals were shot, hormones were going wild, testosterone was non-existent, muscle tone was weakening, and I was aging fast.   I did blood workups that showed I was in a catabolic state (meaning that my body was becoming depleted), my body could no longer process certain foods and I was unable to produce hormones.  I had prematurely induced menopause.  Many health practitioners, ex-vegans and blood workers said I needed to introduce animal protein into my diet.   Very specifically, pasture-raised eggs, egg yolks, wild fish, organic free-range chicken, and good, non-GMO, organic, grass-fed beef.   It wasn’t easy for me because I’ve never been much of a meat eater, even before I realized that I was vegetarian/vegan.   But I ate what I was told, and I began to re-balance my body.
DianaWalking
I learned some valuable lessons in my life.  And one lesson of health is that we are constantly changing.  What our body needs today is not a formula for what it will need tomorrow, and listening to our bodies is the key to good health.

I am not a vegan because my body tells me that it is not the ultimate solution for my good health.

In health and Love,

Diana

 

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Curly Kale Casserole

This is one of those recipes that I kept thinking about until it just happened, and it came out perfectly the very first time. WOW is it good. It’s a healthful, delicious alternative to Green Bean Casserole.

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Ingredients

Kale and Mushrooms

• 1 tablespoon ghee

• 1 cup thinly sliced leeks

• 2 cups sliced fresh crimini or shitake mushrooms

• 11⁄2 teaspoons Spike Gourmet Natural Seasoning

• 2 teaspoons tamari wheat-free soy sauce

• 2 bunches curly kale, chopped

Sauce

• 1⁄4 cup cashew butter

• 1⁄2 cup water

• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

• 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Directions  

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the ghee. Add the leeks, mushrooms, seasoning, and tamari and sauté until soft. Add kale, cover, and let steam on low for 5 minutes.

In a high-speed blender, mix cashew butter, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt until incorporated. Add to kale mixture in skillet and toss. Turn off heat and transfer to a 9-x-9 inch baking dish. Top with Crispy Leeks (below) and bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Crispy Leeks

Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2)

2 teaspoons olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Toss leeks in olive oil and sea salt. Spread evenly and thinly on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Toss and bake an additional 5 minutes until almost completely browned. They will continue to brown on top of casserole.

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Eating the Healthy Egg: How to find a good one

A Good Egg is Easy to Find

With so much information scrambling around about eggs, it’s hard to separate the yolks from the whites. Are they good for me? Too high in cholesterol? Which came first?  The importance of eating healthy and naked are always essential, one should always keep the “5 know no’s” close to heart. But if you occasionally want to indulge in a luscious poached egg served over sauteed rainbow chard, I implore you to find the best egg possible.

Eggs provide us with an egg-celent (wink wink) source of protein, which can keep us full longer. Eggs contain choline, which helps our bodies maintain proper B vitamin levels and promote brain function. Also vital is lutein, an antioxidant that protects our eyes and lowers our risk of cataract development. Although we can obtain our lutein from our yummy and beloved dark leafy greens, the lutein found in egg yolk is more easily absorbed into the human body. Bottom line: if you love your morning egg, your morning egg will love you back.

That being said there is still the conundrum of what type of eggs to purchase.

Fresh eggs at a farmer's market in Olympia, Washington.
Fresh eggs at a farmer’s market in Olympia, Washington. Image: news.livinginolympia.info/

White vs. brown

The nutritional benefits of brown and white eggs are exactly the same. Different breeds of chicken produce different colors of eggs. If you shop local farmers markets, you can find them in a variety of colors including green, blue, and speckled. Just the variety of life!

Cage free vs. free range

Cage-free eggs are from chickens not kept in a cage — simple enough. Even though these chickens are kept free from the confinement of a cage, they are still kept inside barns or warehouses.

Free-range chickens are housed inside barns and warehouses but are allowed access to an outside area.

Organic vs. non-organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range humanely raised organic!

Organic eggs come from chickens that are fed exclusively organic feed with no hormones or antibiotics.

Vegetarian eggs are produced from hens given feed containing no animal by-products, such as fish or (gasp) other chickens.

Humanely raised means just that: the hens are given the freedom to roam, eat grubs, and play in the sun (okay not really, but you get what I mean). Hens raised in crowded cages pass on their stress hormones to their eggs, and we certainly don’t need more stress hormones in our lives!

What’s best?

So what does it all mean? Nutritionally all eggs are basically equal, but a fresh egg tastes remarkably better and has more nutrition than a mass-produced store-bought egg. Some store-bought eggs are more than a month old before they land in your fridge.

Also, keep in mind that an egg from a healthy hen is nicer for your body than one from a sick hen. So only buy eggs from chicken fed their natural diet of grains.

I say, when you can, buy from your local farmers market. There you are given a chance to see the source, ask questions about how their hens are raised, and support your local agriculture. It feels right and you are getting a fresher, higher quality egg.

Enjoy your Easter eggs! Image: Franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Enjoy your Easter eggs! Image: Franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Fresh eggs keep refrigerated for 2 weeks. They are better when fresh, so you might as well use them right away. Eggs require a consistently cold temperature, so always keep your eggs stored inside your fridge, not in the refrigerator door.

Now go and enjoy your big-kid egg hunt and Happy Easter!

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Raw Pumpkin Pecan Spice Milk

This milk is sweet and rich; it may be too good to share. I would even serve this milk slightly warmed with some fresh nutmeg sprinkled on top.

pumpkin milk

Raw pumpkin is full of B vitamins, beta-carotene, and iron. The juice from raw pumpkins is reported to help improve liver and kidney function.

Ingredients

1 cup pecans, soaked for 2 hours, rinsed, and drained

4 cups of water

1 cup sugar pie pumpkin, diced

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ cup raw coconut nectar or maple syrup

A pinch of sea salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in your high-speed blender. Blend on high until nuts and pumpkin are thoroughly broken down and liquid is smooth. Place nut-milk bag over mouth of a large pitcher or hold it over a large bowl. Carefully pour liquid through nut-milk bag. Squeeze the nut-milk bag repeatedly until all the milk is released and the pulp is dry.

Store milk in jar(s) in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Coconut Curried Pumpkin Soup

My girlfriend on the East Coast just called and asked for a recipe for Pumpkin soup.

She always calls me when she wants to make something yummy and healthy.

When we were little girls growing up, she used to come over to my house after school and watch me play in the kitchen.

I was a latch-key kid and was in charge of making dinner for my brother and my mom.

And one of my specialties was soup.

So, I took one of my favorite soups and played with it a bit

here is the recipe I gave her:

Coconut Curried Pumpkin Soup

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Ingredients

3 cups fresh pumpkin, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons ghee or (coconut oil for a vegan version)

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 quart organic vegetable broth, either — •

  • Store bought (e.g., Pacific Natural Foods)•
  • Homemade •
  • 1 quart water and organic vegetable bouillon cube

2 cups coconut milk, either — •

  • Homemade (see recipe below) •
  • 14-ounces of organic store-bought coconut milk

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

 

Directions

 

In 4-quart saucepan, sauté onions and pumpkin in ghee until they sweat but do not brown. Add curry powder, sea salt, and broth. Cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Take pot off heat and add coconut milk. Using hand blender, blend until desired consistency. (Or cool and transfer to blender and blend for 20– 30 seconds.) Stir in cilantro and serve.

Coconut milk

1 1/2–2 cups coconut water 8 ounces coconut meat (or meat of 1 coconut, depending on size)

Place both in high-speed blender and blend on high until ingredients are emulsified.

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