Chocolate Pecan Bark

Ingredients: chocolate, chocolate, pecans and cacao nibs.

This recipe is super easy; all you need are some chocolate chunks and your choice of nuts and seasoning. I used two-thirds Scharffen Berger semi sweet chocolate and one-third unsweetened chocolate.  I melted the chocolate in a double boiler, then mixed in a few cacao nibs and lots of pecans.  I think the next kind I’m making will be chocolate cayenne almond bark!

Make them any shape/size you like

Drop the melted chocolate and nut mixture onto parchment paper and let them cool completely.  Done and ready for gifting, sharing and eating!

Homemade chocolate!

5 Star Dessert

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Cocao Nibs

One of my clients recently went to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a chef whose day job is at a 5 star restaurant in San Francisco, lucky her!  She was worried, of course, that there would be only a few things that she would be able to eat since she is on the Candida diet.  And rightly so, it’s usually difficult to get someone who doesn’t have any idea what Candida is to understand this diet.  I recently had the pleasure of eating a meal at Eat in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  They usually serve a small, set menu based around what’s local and fresh, my kind of place!  And the set menu on Saturday night was not looking very Amy-friendly.  The chef, surprisingly, wanted to accommodate my diet and asked me, what can I eat?  We went through a list of the usual suspects and he seemed to understand.  What came out of his kitchen was absolutely delightful, lots of greens, some smoked fish, a little cheese, more fresh green herbs in an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.  I was impressed.  And so thankful that he was willing to be flexible and to listen.

I went to a restaurant with my mom yesterday for a little post holiday shopping meal.  Mom was familiar with the menu and quickly pointed out the things I could eat and probably get on the side.  And she was right!  It’s funny how something so seemingly insignificant as the minutia of what I can and can not eat means so much to me when someone else gets it, especially family.  Eating the same food, together at the same time, is so important and that’s why it’s so easy to feel lonely and left out when your diet seems drastic, mysterious and limited to those around us.  With all the holiday parties and family get togethers coming up it’s important to speak up and participate.  Bring food to share so that your friends and family can understand that your diet is full of delicious food.  Plenty of recipes to choose from here!  Ask ahead about the proposed menu and make sure that there will be plenty for you to eat that doesn’t compromise your health.  Is it really worth it to just eat what happens to be available (and end up starving) or have your health suffer for days because you ate something to be polite that you really shouldn’t eat?  Eating together is one way that we social creatures bond, so speak up and share your food, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Avocados: creamy, rich, healthy and versatile.

Back to the Thanksgiving dinner, my client had a great time because she chose to get in touch with the chef and, politely ask about his Thanksgiving menu.  The chef was very nice and had a chat with her about what she can eat.  He made plenty of friendly foods and he even made dessert!  Here’s the recipe for the rich chocolate pudding that he made.  My client loved it and, a few days later, replicated the recipe easily at home.  So we’ll call this one ‘Five Star Dessert’.  The recipe can easily be doubled.
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Stevia, to taste
A bit of heavy cream or coconut cream, to desired consistency, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup
1 ripe avocado
Optional: vanilla extract, just a dash and cocao nibs, sprinkled on top!
Put everything (except the stevia) and about 1/4 cup of the coconut or dairy cream into a blender and blend.  Adjust the consistency by adding more cream and/or more cocoa powder.  Add stevia, a little at a time until it’s sweet to your liking.  Top with cocao nibs and/or shredded coconut.  Share, eat and enjoy!

Lavender Chocolate Tart: A Perfect Winter Dessert

Dana made this tart for me and then we got married, just sayin'

If you are like me and you want to have your chocolate and eat it too, this is the recipe for you.  It’s super chocolatey, easy to make, gluten, sugar and lactose free, and will absolutely impress.  What’s more thoughtful and delicious than a homemade chocolate tart? If you want to get really awesome you can infuse the chocolate with lavender, woah.  I got this recipe from my husband Dana, all I changed was the crust.

For the Crust

2 cup ground raw almonds (This is what I used)


1 cup ground dried unsweetened coconut and 1 cup of the raw almond meal


¼ cup cold coconut oil or butter

Dash of sea salt

Using a pastry thingie to mix the almonds and the solid coconut oil

Combine all the ingredients, a food processor or blender will do the trick as will a pastry cutter or fork, to make a crumbly, uniform mixture.  Press evenly into a 9 inch spring form pan, bank the edges and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Take it out and let it cool while you make the filling.  If your pan is a little smaller you will have more crust on the edges, yum, if it’s a bigger pan, just make a little more of the crust keeping the ratio of 2 cups dry to ¼ cup fat.

Looks the same before and after baking except for a little bit of browning on the edges.

Ingredients for Chocolate Lavender Tart

1 ½ cup organic coconut milk

¼-1/2 teaspoon dry lavender, this is optional, but recommended for awesomeness and unexpected depth of flavor.  How strong and fragrant the the lavender you are using will determine how much you add in.

7 oz of the best bittersweet chocolate you can find.  You can also use a semi sweet dark chocolate, just make sure it’s low in sugar, if that’s something you need to watch.

4 egg yolks (I get my eggs from the farmer on Michaels Road in Hinsdale, best eggs in the county!)

Stevia to taste, omit if you are using semi sweet dark chocolate

For The Tart Filling

If you are going to do the lavender infusion, bring the coconut milk to a boil, take it off the heat, add in the lavender, cover, and let it steep for 10 minutes.  Then strain off the lavender, return the coconut milk to the pan and continue on to step two.  If you don’t want to use the lavender, just boil the coconut milk, take it off the stove and…

Coconut milk steeped with lavender

Whisk the chopped bittersweet chocolate into the warm coconut milk until melted.  Make sure it’s well combined then set it aside and get cracking with your eggs.

Mmmmm pretty and delicious!

Separate the yolks from 4 eggs.  Save the whites to make macaroons, yum!

Whisk the yolks and sugar or stevia together gently until combined.  Use a bowl big enough to accommodate the chocolate coconut mixture.

The chocolate coconut mixture should be about body temperature, go ahead, use your finger to check and double check; you don’t want to cook the eggs too fast.

Dana pours while I whisk and Lizzy takes pictures, go team!

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the yolks and sugar, whisking the yolks all the while.  It’s helpful to get someone to pour the chocolate  mixture while you whisk the yolks, this makes for less mess and a better incorporated tart filling.  When everything is in one bowl and well combined, pour your finished tart filling into your prepared crust and refrigerate for one hour.  Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Chocolate lavender tart with almond crust, keeps well in the fridge but ours usually gets eaten with in 24 hours!