Raw Chocolate Tart with Vanilla Creme and Raspberry Coulis

This is a decadent dessert perfect for special occasions. The filling is made with avocados to give it a thick, velvety smooth texture. It has a rich chocolate flavor that goes perfectly with the sweet vanilla creme and slightly tart raspberry coulis. It is also delicious on its own and can be served like chocolate mousse. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and made without refined sugar. It takes approximately one-and-a-half to two hours to prepare.

Serves 8-12

Crust

  • 1 cup dried, shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Filling

  • 2 avocados
  • 6 dates, soaked for one hour in a little water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup carob powder*
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

*Carob powder can be found at most health food stores in the baking or bulk sections. It has a sweet flavor somewhat similar to chocolate. It is used in this recipe to enhance the flavor of the cocoa powder, which can sometimes be bitter on its own.

Vanilla Crème

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in a little water
  • 6 pitted dates, soaked for 30 minutes in a little water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Raspberry Coulis

  • 1 pint raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey

Start by soaking the dates for the vanilla crème and filling and the cashews for the vanilla crème in separate bowls. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Blend the ingredients for the crust in a food processor until they are smooth and can be pressed together into a dough. Press the mixture into a 9″ x 1.125″ tart pan with a removable bottom; making sure it evenly covers the bottom and all sides of the pan. Set the crust aside in the refrigerator.

Retrieve the dates and cashews for the vanilla crème from the soaking water, making sure to reserve the date soaking water. Place all ingredients for the vanilla crème in the food processor and blend, adding 1 Tbsp of the date soaking water at a time until the mixture is the consistency of smooth frosting. Set aside.

Blend all ingredients for the raspberry coulis in a blender or food processor until smooth and then set aside.

Drain the dates for the filling and add to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally to ensure that everything is well mixed. Spoon the filling into the crust. Starting at the center, push it out to the edges with a rubber spatula so that it forms one even layer. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until it is set (longer is also fine).

Serve the tart chilled, with a dollop of vanilla crème and a drizzle of the raspberry coulis.


Prioritizing Organic

Many people are interested in incorporating more organic food into their diets, but it can be an expensive switch. So how do you decide what items are the most important to buy organic? Here is a list from the Environmental Working Group that details the types of produce that typically have the highest levels of pesticide residues. Simply buying these items in the organic version could greatly cut down on the amount of pesticides you are consuming. If you are trying to prioritize what products to buy organic, this is a great place to start. Besides produce, buying organic animal products (milk, eggs, meat, etc.) can also be a healthy choice, since pesticides get more concentrated as they move up the food chain. This means that eating a small amount of conventional animal products can have just as much pesticide residue as a much larger quantity of conventional produce.

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Bell peppers
  9. Cucumber
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap pea
  12. Potatoes

Soba Salad with Tahini Dressing

This is a great easy meal to make during the week. Soba noodles are made primarily from buckwheat flour and have a darker color than semolina pasta and a somewhat nutty flavor. You can find them in health food or asian grocery stores and although some soba noodles contain wheat flour you can also find gluten-free alternatives. Feel free to substitute other favorite vegetables you may have on hand for the ones listed here, with equally wonderful results. This recipe takes approximately 30 minutes to prepare.

Serves 4

Soba Salad

  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 lb shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ medium onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 lb  sugar snap peas, tops and strings removed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower or other vegetable oil
  • 1 box soba noodles
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted for garnish

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Tahini (raw or roasted)
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp Siracha (or other) hot sauce
  • 3 Tbsp water

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot but not smoking, add carrot, bell pepper, and onion and cook for 3 minutes until onion starts to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes longer, until all vegetables start to soften. Add snap peas and ginger and cook 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil 3 quarts of water in a medium sized pot. Once boiling, add soba noodles and cook 6-8 minutes or as directed on package. Drain noodles in a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking. Divide noodles evenly into 4 bowls.

Mix ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Heat a small non-oiled skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast for about 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until seeds begin to lightly brown. Be careful not to burn as seeds cook very quickly. Remove seeds from hot pan into a small bowl to cool.

Serve the vegetables over the soba noodles. Top with a few spoonfuls of Tahini dressing and garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Summer Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup with Broiled Asparagus and Farm Eggs

This meal is a wonderful way to celebrate the vibrant colors and flavors of summer. Peppers may be roasted and eggs boiled in advance, up to one day ahead.  This recipe takes approximately one hour to prepare.

Serves 4

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 3 leeks, white and light green portion only
  • 1/2 large shallot
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried dill, or 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 2 tsp dried thyme

 Broiled Asparagus with Farm Eggs

  • 1 bunch thin asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 Eggs
  • Optional: fresh grated parmesan

Place bell peppers on a broiler pan and place in the broiler approximately 6 inches below heat source. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning three times, until the outer skin on each side of all peppers is blackened. Set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. You may place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap to make them easier to peel.

Place eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil over high heat and then turn heat down just slightly to maintain a gentle boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes and then turn off heat. Allow eggs to rest in the hot water for 1 minute for soft boiled or 3 minutes for hard boiled. After time is up, spoon eggs out and place immediately and gently into a bowl of ice water. Allow eggs to cool. Shell carefully and then gently slice in half, to maintain integrity of yoke.

Discard darker green top portion of leeks. Slice leeks into 1/4 inch rounds, removing any dirt. Set aside. Peel and dice shallots and set aside.

When peppers are cooled, heat oil in a heavy bottomed stockpot over medium low. Sautée leek and shallot for five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, peel bell peppers, remove the seeds and stems, and roughly chop. When the leeks and shallots begin to become translucent, add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and broth to the pan. Turn heat to medium and allow to soup to simmer for 10 minutes.

To the soup, add the salt, pepper, dill (if using fresh dill, don’t add it until you remove soup from heat), and thyme, then simmer 3 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then pour one half at a time into blender or use an immersion blender.  Blend soup until smooth.

Wash and snap off ends of asparagus. In small bowl or shallow dish toss asparagus with oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Arrange asparagus evenly in one layer on broiler pan and place in broiler about 6 inches below heat source.  Broil 5 minutes, stir, and then broil 2-3 minutes longer until asparagus are tender and lightly browned.

Ladle soup into bowls. Plate asparagus with optional grated Parmesan and two half eggs per serving. Serve warm.


What is Naturopathic Medicine?

echinaceaNaturopathic medicine is a distinct system of medicine that supports the body’s ability to heal itself using natural, safe, and effective remedies. The roots of naturopathy reach all the way back to Hippocrates, whose philosophy was based on vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature. Naturopathy has been influenced by homeopathy, traditional western herbalism, the nineteenth-century nature cure movement, and the Eclectic movement. It beautifully blends traditional healing practices with modern diagnostics and evidence-based medicine.

Licensed naturopathic doctors study at accredited four year medical schools that cover the same type of basic sciences, specialties, and clinical sciences that medical doctors study. In addition, they also study clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, psychology, and physical medicine, all with an emphasis on disease prevention.

Naturopaths have an exceptional array of powerful tools with which to treat their patients. In many states naturopaths can order labs and x-rays, perform minor surgery, use manipulative therapies to realign the musculoskeletal system, and prescribe herbs, supplements, homeopathic remedies, and some pharmaceuticals.  Naturopaths are taught to treat patients using a specific therapeutic order, using the safest and most effective treatments possible in order to minimize side-effects and unnecessary suppression of body processes.

Naturopaths also believe in the importance of preventative care and are trained to optimize wellness as well as to treat disease. They are thus uniquely able to treat many of the chronic conditions that are common today, such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, and autoimmune disease. Rather than simply palliating symptoms, naturopathy seeks to find the underlying physical, emotional, and spiritual imbalances that brought about the disease.

Uncovering the true root of disease can take time and naturopaths typically spend forty-five minutes to an hour with their patients during each visit. Naturopathy looks at the whole person, seeing each person within the context of their families, communities, and unique life experiences to offer truly individualized care. Through counseling, nutrition, and lifestyle changes, the body can regain its vitality and return to a state of health.

For More Information:

Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians