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Almond Butter Cups Recipe

almond butter cup stack_crop
This delicious recipe combines Jason’s love for chocolate with everyone’s love for the peanut butter cups of our youth. Instead of peanut butter, they’re made with almond butter. Instead of sugar, they’re sweetened with agave. Boom! You’ve got a recipe makeover you never knew you needed, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

I discovered them at our favorite local café and work spot Café St. Jorge. If you ever make it to San Francisco, you must try this spot. The owner, Andrea De Francisco, is a Bay Area native with Portugese heritage, which means you’ll find traditional Portugese pastel de nata alongside creative vegan treats and Stumptown coffee.

I used to treat myself to Andrea’s Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, but when I was looking for something with less sugar, she turned me onto these. They are rich and decadent and really easy to make! If Sofia-Rose and I can do it, I know that you can, too.

ALMOND BUTTER CUPS

Makes 14-16 servings

Note: Silicone baking cups work well for these. If you don’t have them, use a cupcake pan with greased paper liners. I tested both and silicone cups are much easier! I got mine on Amazon for about six bucks.

INGREDIENTS

For the almond butter filling:
3 cups almond butter
1/2 cup agave
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons vanilla extract

For the chocolate shell:
2 cups chocolate chips
1 teaspoon salt
Maldon sea salt (to top)

HOW TO
1.   Make the filling by combining the almond butter, agave, salt, and vanilla. Stir together well and refrigerate.
2.   Now we need to melt those chocolate chips. (You don’t need to temper the chocolate for this, so you won’t need a thermometer.) Heat up some water in a saucepan or a double boiler.
3.   Put your chocolate chips in the top of the double boiler or in a metal pan or metal bowl.
4.   Rest the chips pan on top of the boiling saucepan.
5.   Stir until the chocolate melts.
6.   Using a spoon, put one scoop of melted chocolate in each silicone baking cup. Use back of the spoon to spread the chocolate up the sides and bottom of the silicone cup. You should not see any silicone liner. If you do, add a tiny bit more chocolate and spread it around.
7.   Chill the chocolate cups in the freezer for at least 5 minutes, or until they harden. (If you’re using the paper liners, pop them into a muffin pan to help them keep their shape.)
8.   Take out your chocolate shells and place a large spoonful of the almond butter filling inside.
9.   Place one more spoonful of melted chocolate on top and thinly and evenly spread on top.
10.   Top cups with a pinch of Malden sea salt.
11.   Put them in the freezer or fridge until they set, then carefully pop them out of their liners.

Eat and enjoy. Don’t get too addicted!

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Gifts For Your Foodie Friend Who Always Hosts Your Favorite Parties

Gifts for Foodies

1. White dipped teak tray made by artisans in Uganda, $85. Available in Tom’s Marketplace.

2. Crest Bottle Opener, $65. Made in USA by a Brooklyn design company. Get them here.

3. The best matcha made on this side of the Pacific, $58. And it’s organic! (And remember matcha is packed with antioxidants!) Founder Eric Gower is the best kind of matcha geek — and his teas reflect his passion.

4. Matcha creamer, $38 and

5. Matcha frother, $19 — for whipping up matcha lattes.

6. Because, who doesn’t? By the uber-talented Emily McDowell. $20.

7. Local foods wheel, $15. A colorful reminder of what’s in season & when.

8. Yummi Yogi Cookie Cutters, $8.50. I can’t wait to make Tree-shaped cookies this year! Lots of other poses available, too.

9. Because dessert should be served on the happiest-looking plates ever. Designed by San Francisco artist and color queen, Leah Rosenberg. $30 each.

10.You will never go back to Nutella again after sampling this spread. Trust. $15.80. (And thank you to the student who introduced us to it. You know who you are!)

11. Bright tea towels make every cook happy. These are handprinted with eco-friendly ink by Studio Patro, $15.

12. Crushed Mandarin and Crushed Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, made in Corning, California, $32.95 for the set.

13. Because one green tea isn’t enough — this one from Samovar in San Francisco is bright and grassy, perfect for a green tea newbie. $19.

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe

We had amazing food at this year’s retreat to the Lumeria Maui. And when you’re on a yoga retreat, doing many hours of yoga each day you really need a great dessert. This Avocado Chocolate Mousse was, hands-down, the group’s favorite, because hello, chocolate?

The base is nutrient-dense avocado, making it great for the non-dairy people in the crowd. But I’ll just say, for the record, that I love my dairy and I LOVE this dessert. (Since I’m on the low-sugar train I even tried it with less sweetener and raw cacao and that worked, too). I plan to make it on Thanksgiving and fool all my guests who happen to be afraid of avocado as a dessert choice.

Thank you to Lumeria and Chef Ben Diamond for sharing it with us!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup avocado meat (about three avocados)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup strawberries

HOW TO

1. Place all ingredients except strawberries into a food processor and blend till smooth.
2. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries and mint sprig for garnish
3. Try not to eat all of it at once like Jason does.

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Turmeric Toddy Recipe

Turmeric Toddy Recipe
A note from Jason: I went to Portland this year to teach at Yoga Pearl and, fortunately for me there is a delicious restaurant right inside the studio, called Prasad. Equally as lucky, the food there is amazing. I was nursing a little traveler’s cold when I got there and became addicted to the Turmeric Toddy. We’re so happy that Karen Pride and Brittney Galloway, the creators of Portland’s popular health food establishments Prasad and Harlow are sharing the recipe with us!
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Best Tip for Healthy Snacking

Fig and Farmer's Cheese Tartine
Truth be told, I was never much of a fan of snacking. I don’t have natural self-control or discipline when it comes to food. I was a teeny tiny little fairy waif growing up. I exercised a ton, I was always hungry, and I ate whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased.

In my mid-twenties all of that changed, when, seemingly overnight, I put on enough weight that my cholesterol skyrocketed and I could not zip up my Banana Republic flat front pants. Ever since then I’ve been experimenting, trying to figure out which foods make me feel healthy and well without feeling whacko and deprived around food. It’s a constant work in progress since we are constantly evolving (read: aging) human beings.

Snacking never made sense to me until I worked with a nutritionist a few years ago. Until then, I didn’t plan for it. So I either ate mindlessly and — whoopsie! — the whole bag of pretzels was gone. Or I tried to be austere but those baby carrots just didn’t satiate me. I really still wanted a Frappucino.

This very specific bit of advice I got from my nutritionist colleague, Karyn Duggan, turned it around for me — are you ready? It’s very simple:

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