The Clean Creative

healthy eating can still be awesome


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Fruit pizza

fruitpizza3Happy Easter, everyone!

OK, I’m a few days late, but you can’t expect me to make an Easter dessert, photograph it, haul everything over to the family gathering, AND blog about it, can you? (No, you can’t…just to be clear…)

This year, I was asked to bring a fruit plate to the Easter festivities. However, I’m an artist (graphic/web designer, to be exact), so I can’t possibly be normal! This is when the idea of the fruit pizza was born.

I wanted to do something that was gluten-free (currently a little nervous about my thyroid), egg-free (‘cuz I’m fascinated with flax these days), and sugar-free (since small children would be eating it). My three-year-old niece was pretty excited about this one. She followed me EVERYWHERE as I was trying to find a place to cut and serve it. So there you go…kid-friendly? You betcha! Yes, they had jelly-beans throughout the day. However, their “crunchy” auntie was not about to be the one to load them up on more sugar! They didn’t even get sugary treats from me in their Easter baskets. That’s just the way I am.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Crust:
2 c. oat flour (make your own in a food processor!!!)
1 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/8 c. honey
3/8 c. Sucanat
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flax in 4 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine flax and water, and set aside in refrigerator for 20 minutes, until flax has an egg-like consistency. (I find this completely fascinating!)

Meanwhile, combine oat flour, guar gum, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter, honey, and Sucanat. Add flax mixture and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Grease a medium-sized jelly-roll pan and spread dough evenly. Bake at 350º for 18 minutes. Allow to cool.

Mine was a big nerd and pulled away from the sides of the pan while it was cooling. It still turned out just fine!

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I actually made my crust the night before, just to save on time! Next up, you need to make the creamy goodness:

Cashew cream:
2 c. cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours and then drained
1/2 c. almond milk
1/4 c. virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in your Vitamix and blend until creamy. You may need to add a little more almond milk to the mixture, if the consistency isn’t what you want. Refrigerate for 2 hours. (You could also do this the night before to save on time! I actually recommend it…)

When you’ve got all of that finished, spread on the cashew cream!

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And now – creativity at its finest…

CREATE AN AWESOME DESIGN WITH YOUR FRUIT!!!

I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, mandarin oranges (not the stuff in the can, either), and bananas. Here’s a tip for you: after slicing your fruit, arrange it on a paper towel and let the towel soak up some of the juices. The fruit juices will do tragic things to the appearance of your pizza, otherwise!

For your bananas – do those LAST!!! They turn brown really quickly. You’ll also want to drop them in a little lemon or pineapple juice before placing them on the pizza. This helps to keep them from turning brown…but be forewarned – they’re slippery little things! Be ready for a few escapees…

If you have a particular design in mind, you can be a big nerd like me and sketch it out ahead of time. Seriously, this helps. I also used toothpicks to place the corners of my cross, just so I’d know it would be square. And then – create! Have fun! Who needs frosting when you’ve got all this fruit to play with?

My fruit pizza was an Easter dessert, so I went with an Easter-appropriate design. Really, you could do ANYTHING. Have some fun with it! Don’t be afraid to cut your fruit to make it fit the way you want it. My mind is already creating a billion designs, as we speak.

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Next design: ceiling of the Sistine Chapel…(not really).


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Kermit’s Favorite Green Smoothie

kermit1Kermit the Frog once said, “It isn’t easy being green.” He was only partially right. He failed to mention that being green is AWESOME!

You see, he just didn’t want you to get any of his green smoothie.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Green smoothie? Ewwwww!” You need to trust me on this. Contrary to what it may look like, green smoothies are actually REALLY good! You’ve got to try it to believe it.

I should probably also mention that I LOVE green. It’s my favorite color. I was born in August, so peridot has GOT to be the best shade of green out there! I almost called this the “Peridot Smoothie”, but it’s a little dark, and Kermit was just too cute. Yes, I have a stuffed Kermit decorating my kitchen. Admit it: you’re jealous. Kermit is an old childhood friend of mine, and he now guards the radiator pipe in my kitchen.

Here’s what you’ll need (well…it’s what you’ll need for the one I just made!):

1 c. cold water
1 frozen banana
1 kiwi (leave the skins on if you have a Vitamix)
1 stalk of celery
1-2″ chunk of zucchini
4 large chunks of frozen pineapple (with the core, if you have a Vitamix)
4 frozen peach slices
1/2″ chunk of raw ginger, peeled
juice from 1/4 of a lime
a handful of unsweetened dried coconut flakes
1-2 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
1-2 tsp. raw honey
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
LOTS AND LOTS of spinach (1-2 c. raw)

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Put all of these fruits, veggies, and other whatnot in your Vitamix, in the order that it’s listed. As you can see from the photo, there’s no need to chop up your ingredients ahead of time if you’ve got one of these awesome blenders. It will power right through it! If you’ve got a normal household blender, you’ll probably want to add the ingredients a bit at a time (after chopping them up).

With your Vitamix, start on variable speed 1 and gradually work up to 10. Blend on HIGH for 30 seconds, and you’re done! You MAY need to use your tamper to shove the spinach leaves into the blades, but that’s about it!

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If you’re using a Vitamix, don’t peel your kiwi. The peel is where the majority of the nutrients are! If you’re using fresh pineapple and freezing it, be sure to include the core. The core contains lots of bromelain, which is a great anti-inflammatory. A normal blender won’t be able to chop it, but a Vitamix will pulverize it!

You can also add and delete ingredients if you don’t have them in your kitchen (no weaseling out on the spinach!) If you add an apple, be sure to throw the seeds and core in as well! Apple seeds contain Vitamin B17, which destroys cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. (Why not stay ahead of the game?) I do the same thing if I throw in a pear. I don’t know anything about the nutritional value of pear seeds, but I figure it can’t hurt!

I use coconut oil for all of its wonderful immune-boosting benefits. It also adds a great flavor! As for the coconut flakes, I just happened to have them in my pantry from another recipe I was trying out, so I figured I’d use them up.

Raw honey is another gem when it comes to healthy eating. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-cancer…it’s just all-around awesome! You want to be sure that your honey is RAW, as well. The pasteurized stuff won’t cut it. Your raw honey should last forever, meaning that it never expires. Raw honey was actually found in Egyptian tombs, and wouldn’t you know – it was still good! How’s that for shelf life? It also has amazing healing properties for things like burns, but that’s for a different blog.

Why raw ginger? Ladies and gentlemen, we have yet another powerful anti-inflammatory. It also has a healing effect on the digestive system. Did I mention that it tastes absolutely amazing?

Why do I use ground flax seed? If you remember from my last blog post, it’s loaded with Omega-3s, cancer-fighting lignans, and fiber, which binds to toxins and eliminates them. How cool is that?

If you’re freaking out about putting SPINACH in your smoothie, have no fear: spinach has relatively no flavor. However, it’s packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Iron, Manganese, Calcium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc…how’s that for a super food you can’t taste? If you’re blending it in a Vitamix, the blades are able to break through the cell wall of those leaves, opening up even more of the nutritional goodness of spinach.

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So there you go! If you’re a green smoothie nerd, this probably isn’t news to you. If you haven’t tried one, though, give it a shot! I bet you’ll be shocked to find out that something that nasty-looking could be so good!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go retrieve my smoothie from a stuffed frog.


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Berried Treasure Cupcakes

muffins3Delectable chocolatey goodness, we finally unite.

Now I have to admit: I came up with the name for these cupcakes whilst trying to figure out the baking time. I checked them in 10-minute intervals, so in order to pass the time, I watched ABT’s 1999 performance of “Le Corsaire” on YouTube. That’s probably where the pirate theme comes from with “Berried Treasure Cupcakes”.

The creation of these cupcakes all started out when I made some basic chocolate cupcakes a few weeks ago. I pulled them out of the oven, let them cool, and my taste buds made the determination that they were really, really AVERAGE. They needed something…like a little treasure…and more chocolate…definitely more chocolate.

That’s when I decided to push the recipe a bit further, and I came up with these guys!

Does anyone know the one thing that’s better than chocolate when you’re baking? You get 20 points if you guessed more chocolate!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 c. almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 c. spelt flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Sucanat
1/2 c. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. ground flaxseed (you can add more if you want)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. dairy-free maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips
(I recommend Hershey’s maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips or Yamate dark chocolate bars, broken up into pieces for your chocolate chips.)
72 frozen raspberries (fresh will work as well)

So, do you remember how we learned to make our own buttermilk in the last blog post? Good! We’re doing that again. In a small bowl, combine your apple cider vinegar and your non-dairy milk, stir it a bit, and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your spelt flour, ground flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set that aside as well.

In a large bowl, (oh, man – we’re using all the dishes!) combine your Sucanat, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Add the non-dairy milk mixture and mix well.

  • Helpful hint: I have a confession. I didn’t put Sucanat on my grocery list, and since I didn’t pick it up, I didn’t have enough for my recipe. (Sucanat is a natural replacement for brown sugar.) Did you know you can make your own brown sugar? Your ratio is 1 tsp. molasses to 1 c. xylitol, erythritol, or cane juice (whatever you choose). Combine it with a fork (this will take some work), and TA DA!!! You’ve got brown sugar.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Add in your chocolate chips, and stir until they’re mixed in there real good.

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That looks awesome, doesn’t it? Here’s the good news: This recipe contains no eggs, so you can eat all the raw batter you want! YAAAAAAAY! Be sure to save some for the cupcakes…

If you’re using a traditional muffin pan, now is the time to put your paper liners in the muffin cups. I’m using a silicone muffin “pan”, so I didn’t need them. I know, I know…I’m bound to get some hate mail on this one. Hey, I like my silicone baking pan! Don’t pick on me. The good news is that if you want to use a traditional pan, you are more than welcome to.

OK…back to baking…

Put about 1 Tbsp. of the batter in each of the muffin cups. I didn’t measure it too exactly, but you want to make sure you’ve got enough to cover the bottom of each cup. Place 3 frozen raspberries in the center of each cup, being careful not to let the berries touch the sides. I’m serious. If they touch the sides, your cupcakes WILL fall apart!

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Fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. You should fill 12 cups, as long as you didn’t eat too much of the batter before this point. If you’re using silicone like me, put your muffin pans on a cookie sheet in order to bake them. Otherwise, they flop all over the place!

Bake at 290º for 1 hour. Yes, I’m serious about that, too. If you bake your flax seed at any temperature higher than 300º, you’ll destroy the nutritional benefits of the flax. (Flax is loaded with Omega 3s, cancer-fighting lignans, and toxin-eliminating fiber!)

Your cupcakes will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean when they look like they’re done and the toothpick doesn’t come out too messy. Hey, who cares if they’re not completely done? You could eat ’em raw because they don’t contain eggs!

OK, but really, you want to bake them long enough so they don’t fall apart. An hour should do it.

When they’re done, let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan. Top each cupcake with three raspberries.

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The fudge I used in this photo is Wax Orchards Classic Fudge. It’s sweetened with pineapple juice, and it doesn’t have anything “bad” in it! It’s some pretty awesome fudge.

Berried Treasure Cupcakes, in a nutshell
1 c. almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 c. spelt flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Sucanat
1/2 c. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. ground flaxseed (you can add more if you want)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. dairy-free maltitol-sweetened chocolate chips
72 frozen raspberries (fresh will work as well)

Preheat the oven to 290º.

In a small bowl, combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together spelt flour, ground flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, combine Sucanat, applesauce, and vanilla. Add non-dairy milk mixture and mix well.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir until they are well mixed in. If you’re using a traditional muffin pan, put a paper liner in each muffin cup. Place 1 Tbsp. batter in each muffin cup. Place three raspberries in the center of each muffin cup, being sure not to let the berries touch the sides. Fill muffin cups with remaining batter.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near the side of a cupcake comes out relatively clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing. Top each cupcake with 3 raspberries before serving.