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Chocolate Indulgence for Valentine’s Day

Today’s joyful offering is a recipe for vegan and gluten-free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. With this dish, I offer my salutations to the Goddess of Chocolate and my gratitude to the chocolatiers of yore who infused an ancient pagan holiday with the chocolate tradition!

Who doesn’t love an excuse to revel in Mother Nature’s finest flavor? Whether you prefer extra dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate, February 14th gives you full permission to indulge your chocolate fix—yes even on the Ayurvedic path. Made with almond and oat flours, and sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar and dark chocolate chips, these cookies fit my guilt-free version of desserts…when eaten in moderation, of course!

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Chasing Perfectionism with a Cookie Update

Perhaps I’ve mentioned that I have a tendency to chase perfectionism. For this very reason, I’m updating my OMG Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to make it easier for vegans and anyone who avoids eggs.

Just to be clear, this recipe is different from the one I first published during this blog’s infancy in February 2015. Ever since, I’ve played with the ingredients, revising it more than once. You’ll find a slightly different version in my 2018 book, Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook. Then, just last week, I was baking and packing thank-you cookies for several amazing healthcare practitioners who are helping bring my injured hand back to life. I decided the recipe needed one more tweak to make it more accessible for readers.

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All Things Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Today, dear friends and fellow chocolate enthusiasts, I offer you an incredibly delicious gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake with which to tempt your sweetheart on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. When Sacred & Delicious was first published in October 2018, Biblio Reviews wrote this: “The vegan Dark Chocolate Layer Cake was the best vegan cake I have ever made!”

I’ve adapted the book’s large sheet cake recipe to create a smaller cake you can bake in a heart-shaped pan or as a traditional 9-inch layer cake. Yes! A gluten-free and vegan cake that is moist, not overly sweet, and still delicious enough to make having seconds hard to resist. Just ask my husband!

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Vegan Valentine 2021

Today I decided to try making a Vegan Dark Chocolate Pudding, in case my readers are looking for a new dessert on February 14—the joyful (if commercial) holiday of chocolate love. I had never tried making pudding from scratch, the exception being rice pudding (which is also divine). So, I asked Annapurna, the goddess of food and nourishment, to be my coach. The first try was oh so good and I’m happy to share the recipe with all of you!

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Bring on the Dark Chocolate for Valentine’s Day!

If you love dark chocolate and want to splurge a little for Valentine’s Day, do I have a treat for you and your beloved—perhaps the fudgiest brownies you’ve ever tasted! From a health perspective, the good news is that these are not outrageously sweet compared to standard fare, even though I’m told they are sufficiently decadent to stir the passions of any chocolate lover.

First, let me acknowledge what may be obvious to many readers: chocolate, fudge, and brownies are not part of ancient Ayurvedic cuisine. Nonetheless, I believe in adding some flexibility to my offerings so that people exploring Ayurveda don’t feel constrained by too much austerity. As one of my Ayurvedic mentors often says,

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Chocolate and the Sweetness of Life

When my husband and I married, almost twenty-one years ago, we exchanged pieces of chocolate as part of our wedding ceremony. The event was conducted by my mentor and friend, Diana Vela. At the point when Tom and I fed each other chocolate, Diana spoke these words on our behalf:

“I, Tom, share with you the sweetness of my soul, and may we share in the light and food of life together. I, Lisa, share with you the sweetness of my soul, and may we share in the light and food of life together.”

Although I had always loved chocolate, its sweetness took on a new layer of meaning for me in that sacred moment!

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A Chocolate Lover’s Confession

Dear Readers,

I have a confession. I’d never read about the horrible working conditions of cacao farmers who provide cacao beans as a commodity crop to the largest industrial chocolate manufacturers. Until today.

This essay is not meant to be a downer just before Valentine’s Day, when so many of us revel in all things chocolate! I am, however, sharing my personal wake-up call, and I was inspired to save you some time searching for the best chocolates that are guilt-free.

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Chocolate Decadence for Special Occasions

As my regular readers know, I always make space in my healthy and delicious life for special occasion decadence, which is why I’m excited to share a recipe for Gino’s Flourless Chocolate Cake.  What could be more perfect for Valentine’s Day!

This recipe was inspired by the most delicious flourless chocolate cake I ever tasted, which was at a restaurant whose chef, the late Gino Izetta, was my friend and cooking mentor. Although this was many years ago, I still remember the euphoria that accompanied each bite! The cake featured wonderfully rich dark chocolate, just sweet enough but not overly sweet. It was perfectly smooth and creamy, and it melted in my mouth.

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All Things Pumpkin 2019

This October Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe reflects my most recent experimentation with gluten-free baking. I’m happy to say the experiment turned out well—though I regret it was in response to my newest food sensitivity!

 

Sadly, I seem to have developed an intolerance to nuts, including almond flour. Eating nuts or baked goods with almond flour make me itch. From an Ayurvedic perspective, it makes sense: nuts increase pitta, and high pitta can cause itching. Since nuts are also a common allergen and cause of food intolerance, I decided to explore baking with another high-protein flour for my growing readership.

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A Sweet & Savory Soup for Valentine’s Day

As you plan an alluring vegetarian or vegan meal for Valentine’s Day, I invite you to sample this unique Savory Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms & Chocolate Swirl!  I owe its inspiration to one of my very favorite and utterly charming movies: Chocolat.

In the movie, the main character, Vianne (Juliette Binoche) opens a chocolate shop that is considered too great a temptation in a conservative French village. If you watch the movie, you’ll see amazing delicacies that will have you lusting after chocolate! One of the movie’s more memorable and talked-about scenes features a chocolate-themed luncheon that Vianne hosts for a friend’s birthday in which chocolate sauces accompany every dish. Her menu features a large turkey and a pork roast, though I’ve often wondered what that meal might look like for a vegetarian feast. Today’s sweet and savory soup is my attempt at the first course!

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