Cocoa hummus – an amazing healthy spread for your toast and not only

You already know that I’m a hummus addict and also a chocoholic. They sound like unrelated things, but apparently they’re not. Cocoa hummus is a real thing and tastes heavenly. The idea to experiment with cocoa hummus wasn’t mine. It practically came as a challenge from Ingrid Xh. a fellow foodie who is behind Bonvivant blog. Bonvivant is so interesting, it guides you through bars, restaurants and bistros in Tirana and not only, sharing her experience and thoughts. It has become my guide lately and I’m pretty sure it will become yours too, so go check it out.

Now coming back to cocoa hummus, all I have to say is that is amazing. It is easy peasy to make, has a spreadable consistency, is very healthy and tastes better than any chocolate spread you may have tried. I’m sure that this low sugar, low fat and high fibre spread  will easily substitute Nutella in your children diet, so what can be better than that?

The ingredients you need to make cocoa hummus are simple: chickpeas, tahini, cocoa and maple syrup. You may replace tahini with every nut butter you like, like peanut butter or almond butter, and also you can easily replace maple syrup with honey. You may add cinnamon or other spices you like, it all depends on your taste. The chickpeas are tender, so there is no need for a high speed blender to make cocoa hummus.

Cocoa hummus tastes great on toast, waffles, fruits and even oatmeal. It tastes even better with a spoon straight from the jar 😛  I think it will work well even to frost a cake or cupcakes but haven’t tried it yet, so in case anyone tries let me know.

For all of you who love nature and especially animals, the good news is that this recipe is vegan and can be part of your daily diet.

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Power balls – guilt free healthy bites

Power balls are an amazing choice for the afternoon snack or after lunch sweet treat. That’s really cool to have a jar of power balls in the fridge and reach for them after lunch instead of dessert or any time you are craving for something sweet. They’re moist, chewy and packed with healthy ingredients like dates, raisins, sunflower seeds and oatmeal.

Power balls are a really great snack for all ages but kids particularly. They are full of fibre, minerals and vitamin. Another reason I love power balls are that they are free of processed sugars, and get all their sweetness from natural sweeteners, in this case from dates and raisins.

Power balls look super cute and are made in a food processor, so, no cooking involved. You can make them with your kids, I’m sure they’ll love them more. Below I’m sharing a basic recipe using dates, raisins, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and tahini, but you may experiment endlessly with it. You may use other seeds or nuts, such as sesame, walnuts, almond, or add a little bit honey, or replace tahini with other nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter, you may add spices such as ginger or cinnamon, or vanilla, etc, etc.

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Jam shortbread

I really enjoy shortbread. Easy to assemble, sweet and tasty, pairing perfectly with a cup of tea in the evening.

All you have to do is mix together butter, sugar and flour, than enrich the taste with spices, fruits or jam.

I love to add a little bit of semolina flour to make it super crispy.  Why not also some sesame seeds and coconut to add flavor and make it prettier?

So, I ended up with this beauty.

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Cauliflower steak

The cauliflower steak hit internet years ago. It is a creation of Dan Barber, one of the most amazing modern chefs and one of the most dedicated advocates of farm to table concept. Barber uses every part of cauliflower and combines the perfectly roasted parts with a creamy cauliflower puree.

I felt in love with cauliflower steak the first moment I tried it. I love to serve it over hummus for a full and hearty meal. You may serve it as a side dish accompanied by fish or chicken fillet, or just as it is for a quick low calorie dinner. Continue reading

The basic granola recipe

I’ve been quiet busy this period, so I just needed to relax, even from the kitchen. So I’m not sharing any cookie, cake or comfort meal recipe, but I’m going to the basics, GRANOLA.

Granola is basically baked oatmeal flakes with nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Once you master a basic recipe you may play endlessly with the mix-ins and spices to find the perfect combination for you. Granola is perfect to top almost anything from smoothies and yogurt to dessert, or even salads.  I almost cannot live without homemade granola in my pantry. It not only tastes amazing but is so healthy, made with whole grains, unrefined oil and sweetened naturally. The recipe I’m sharing with you is my basic granola recipe, that you may adapt to your taste. You may experiment with spices, nuts and sweeteners.

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Hummus, a Middle East treasure – the basic recipe

Hummus is a dip or spread made form mashed chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin. It is a Middle East dish, but its popularity has now crossed continents. Hummus is so simple yet tastes heavenly. The best things in life are the simple things, aren’t they? <3

The most wonderful thing about hummus is that is a great medium for experimentation. You may add different spices you like :

  • coriander
  • paprika
  • cinnamon
  • dried chilli flakes.

You may experiment with adding

  • chopped red pepper
  • olives
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • caramelized onions
  • lemon zest
  • different seeds.

It’s fun also adding a little piece of cooked beetroot or a handful of spinach, for extra flavour and amazing colours.

The recipe I’m sharing with you is the basic hummus recipe, a great base that lets you experiment with different flavours. Hummus is served as a spread on flatbread, as a dip for vegetables, as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish or cauliflower steaks.

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Sesame crisps – a super yummy healthy treat

I’m always in search of healthy little treats, and this time I had them just in front of my eyes at my office cafeteria, sesame crisps. Isn’t that amazing? As always I needed to create my own version of it. I made some research online and after two weeks of trial and error, I found my favourite combination to make healthy sesame crisps.

This recipe of sesame crisps is very easy to follow and requires few ingredients, egg whites, butter, flour, sugar and of course sesame seeds. I sometimes add also other seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower or flex seeds, but in very small quantities.

These sesame crisps are super crunchy and tasty and will give you energy on hiking or even when you feel tired in the evening. They are perfect also for children’s lunchboxes or evening snacks so don’t hesitate to try them.

I want to keep them on the healthier side, so the quantity of sugar I use is very small, but in case you prefer it sweeter you made add some more sugar, which will caramelize and give you a nice sweet treat.

If you’re in search of other healthy treats just click here, I’ve plenty of guilt free easy recipes for you.

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Mushroom risotto – the perfect comfort food

Mushroom risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods. The combination of creamy risotto with mushrooms has some kind of magic in it. It complements very well grilled meats and chicken but stands perfect also on its own. As every type of risotto it is labour of love. Cook it with love and with the best ingredients you can find and you’ll end up with an irresistibly smooth, creamy risotto. For a more elegant flavour I like to cook mushrooms with a sprig of fresh rosmarine. Continue reading

Cocoa Chia pudding

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear “cocoa pudding”. For me is luscious  Now, what’s the second word that comes to your mind, when you hear “cocoa pudding”? “Hyper-caloric”  Not about this “cocoa chia pudding”.
I’ve figured out a way to make it very fast and moreover it is healthy. I usually have it for breakfast, before long biking trips. It keeps me full, is easily digested and gives me lots of energy.

I almost forgot, it is super yummy. You may easily double or triple the portions to serve more than one person.

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Asure aka Noah’s pudding – the easiest recipe you can find

Asure is a special dessert with eastern origin that is traditionally cooked also in Albania. The dish has a fascinating story behind.

When Noah and his animals were running out of food, he mixed whatever was left and cooked them together to feed his companions. The result was asure, a beautiful and so adaptable dish.

The original recipe calls for many ingredients, different types of beans, grains, fresh fruits, dried fruits, fruit juice and different spices etc, while in my family we only use wheat, walnuts and cinnamon and thicken it with corn-starch. Sorry Noah… The recipe is so easy and it makes enough to serve a crowd since traditionally asure is made to share with relatives, neighbors and friends. I usually put it in small jars, since is easier to share and also they are so cute.

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