Category Archives: Diana Says….

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

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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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Soothing Non-Dairy Turmeric Milk

Not only is this warm drink delicious, it is also soothing for sore throats and stuffy noses. Ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. The black pepper boosts those properties. You can make this with any fresh nut-milk you have on hand or even store bought coconut milk. Make sure you heat it gently to not curdle the milk.

Non-Dairy Turmeric Milk

2 cups homemade almond, coconut milk, or any non-dairy milk of your choice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1″ piece of ginger sliced
raw honey to sweeten, if desired

Combine all ingredients and whisk on low heat until milk is warm but not too hot. Serve immediately.

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Soothing Turmeric Almond Milk

Mesquite Maple Cheesecake With Walnut Mesquite Crust

I’m a maple fanatic. I love maple scones, maple doughnuts, maple cookies, maple milkshakes, and maple cheesecake. But this one is the raw version of something fantastic. I know you will love this, too.

MapleCheesecake

Crust
Ingredients
3 cups raw walnuts
¼ cup mesquite pod powder
¼ cup medjool dates (packed)
½ teaspoon sea salt
Directions
Process all ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Pour ingredients into a
10-inch non-stick springform pan. Spread evenly and press down slightly with hand until gently packed.
Cheesecake Filling
Ingredients
4 cups raw cashews, soaked
1¼ cup almond milk
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup coconut oil
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Reserve 1 cup of filling for the Maple Butter Swirl. Pour remaining filling into pan on top of crust. Using spatula, gently spread toward edges of pan until even.
Maple Butter Swirl
Ingredients
½ cup medjool dates, packed
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup reserved cheesecake batter
Directions
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Pour over cake batter layer in one thick line about an inch away from the edge of the pan. Take a butter knife and place it into the batter where the two colors meet and begin a swirling pattern weaving in and out of the mixtures.
Top with fresh chopped pecans and place in the freezer for 4–6 hours to set.

Portobello Turmeric

Grilled Portobello with Quinoa Risotto in a Turmeric Ginger Sauce

Yet another mouth-watering creation from The Retreat. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free and is hearty enough to satisfy any appetite. I use freshly grated turmeric in this recipe for its anti-inflammatory properties but if you can’t find any locally, feel free to use powdered turmeric instead.

Portobello Turmeric

Mushroom Marinated
•2 large Portobello mushrooms
•2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
•1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
•2 garlic cloves chopped fine
• 1 tablespoon of tamarin (gluten-free soy sauce)

Directions
Fold ingredients together in bowl or resealable plastic bag. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, tossing and basting every few minutes. Grill on high for 10 minutes (5 minutes, each side).

Julienne Veggies
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 stalks of green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Sautée veggies on medium high in coconut oil until soft.

Turmeric sauce
•1 can coconut milk
•1 teaspoon shave and fresh turmeric (can substitute powdered turmeric)
•1/2 teaspoon lemon grass, chopped fine
•1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Directions
Combine in a high-speed blender and set aside.

Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water

Directions
Rinse the quinoa: Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds. Drain well. This step removes any bitterness on the outside of the quinoa
Combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 to 20 minutes
Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open into little curlicues, so it’s nice and fluffy. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

To assemble, toss hot quinoa in turmeric coconut sauce. Top with sautéed veggies and grilled Portobello. Drizzle with remaining sauce and enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Curd Cheesecake

I have seen so many Raw cheesecake recipes, but I have never been inspired to make any of them. One day while I was playing in my Garden , I picked a dozen Meyer Lemons and had a craving for something very tart and creamy …and this is what I came up with.

Meyer+lemon+cheesecake

Crust
1 ½ cups macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
3 medjool dates
¾ t sea salt

Cheesecake Filling
3 cups cashews, soaked
1 cup meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ cup agave nectar
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ teaspoon sea salt

Meyer Lemon Curd layer
1 cup medjool dates
¾ cup meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
pinch of salt

Lemon-Coconut topping
1 cup coconut meat
1 cup coconut water
½ cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon lemon extract/oil
1/3 cup coconut oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Crust:
In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process all ingredients until they start to slightly stick together. The texture should be slightly granular, but dough like. Do not over process. Place ingredients into a 10-inch non-stick spring form pan. Spread evenly with fingers and gently press down with hand until packed.

Cheesecake Filling:
In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. (If using a vita-mix, you will need a plunger to help move the thick batter. If you are using a regular blender, you may need a spatula to keep momentum going.) Pour mixture into the spring form pan over top of crust. Using spatula, gently spread mixture toward edges of pan until even. Place the pan level in freezer to set while making next layer of cheesecake.

Garnish (Optional)
One lemon sliced in half lengthwise, removie seeds and then thinly sliced. Place thinly sliced lemons, round side up around the rim of the pan on top of the cheesecake layer.

Curd layer
In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process all ingredients until smooth and creamy. (This may also be processed in a blender) After cheesecake layer is firm enough,remove from freezer and layer curd on top of cheesecake. Using a thin spatula, gently and evenly spread the curd up to the edge of the spring form pan.

Coconut topping:
In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients together until light and fluffy. Pour this mixture over the top of curd layer. Using a thin spatula, distribute and spread evenly over top of curd layer. This should be at or close to the very top of the spring form pan.
Place pan level in refrigerator for 4-6 hours until completely set.
Use a thin knife to scrape around the edges of the pan before removing cake. Unlock the spring form and carefully lift cake out of pan. Slice cake into the size of each lemon garnish. And serve.

*Second option is to place entire cake in freezer (covered), remove and slice when frozen and serve in pieces.

The Secret Ingredient in My Crème Brûlée….

Crème Brûlée is one of my favorite desserts.

The crunchy sugar topping, the beyond decadent cream.

It is my go to after a fancy meal at most restaurants.
It is a special occasion treat. An Anniversary dessert..
Well, I wanted to create my “Naked” Version, so it didn’t have to be a once in a while kinda thing.

It could be a whenever you want kinda thing.
I am really proud of these 2 recipes, they just turned out perfect.

This has become a permanent recipe item down at The Retreat.
And you’ll never guess the start ingredient…. Cauliflower.
That’s right, I created Cauliflower Crème Brûlée and it is perfection.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Caramel Crème Brulee

CremeBrulee

Ingredients
2 cups steamed cauliflower
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup lucuma powder
3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut sugar for topping

Directions
Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes and then mash, you can use a food processor.

Combine the maple syrup and the lucuma powder in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

In a small pot preheat the coconut milk. Add the unflavored gelatin, salt, vanilla and caramel paste made with the maple syrup and the lucuma.
Mix all these ingredients with the mash cauliflower and put in small containers approximately 3 oz each and put in a fridge at least 4 hours.
When is ready, put a little bit of coconut sugar on top and melt with a torch making a crust. Or you can place the ramekins in the oven on highest rack and turn on the broiler to high. Broil for five to 10 minutes, watching very carefully and rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Serve immediately.

Coffee Crème Brulee

CoffeeCremeBrulee

Ingredients
2 cups steamed cauliflower, mashed
3/4 cup coconut milk

½ cup concentrated coffee or espresso
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut sugar for topping

Directions
Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes and then mash, you can use a food processor.
In a small pot preheat the coconut milk and then add the unflavored gelatin, salt, vanilla, coconut sugar and maple syrup.
Make the concentrated coffee using less water to make a stronger flavor or espresso.
Mix all these ingredients with the mash cauliflower and the coffee. Put in small containers approximately 3 oz each and put in a fridge at least 4 hours.
When is ready, put a little bit coconut sugar on top and melt with a torch making a crust. Or you can place the ramekins in the oven on highest rack and turn on the broiler to high. Broil for five to 10 minutes, watching very carefully and rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Serve immediately.

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