Category Archives: Recipe-Dessert

Recipe: Instant Pot Apple Crisp

This is one of those recipes that emerged from beginning one thing and discovering it could not be done. I set out to make wine stewed apples, only to discover that the leftover wine had been poured down the sink. I wasn’t about to open a fresh bottle, since we have been struggling to get through a bottle of wine without it going bad for months now. So instead, I took all the apples I had already had and crafted an apple crisp from a conglomeration of recipes found online and my own flavor preferences. Here’s the result; tell me what you think!

  • 5 medium sized apples, chopped into chunks (peel first, if desired)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats (NOT instant)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sucanat or date sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Place apples in the bottom of the instant pot.
    Add spices and maple syrup and stir to mix. Drizzle water over apples.
  2. In a small bowl, add oats, flour, sweetener, ginger, walnuts, salt and melted fat. Mix well, then spoon on top of apples.
  3. Set Instant Pot on manual for 5 minutes. Let pressure release naturally and sit for about five more minutes, so sauce can thicken.
  4. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

Serves 4-5

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble (paleo, dairy-free)

Spring is my favorite season! I love the lift in energy and mood that comes after a dark, brooding winter and the blush of cherry blossoms, birdsong and peppering of flowers throughout the city never fails to make me smile. This spring I noticed rhubarb at the local market. Rhubarb has such a short season but is a quintessential flavor of spring sweets. I pulled this strawberry rhubarb crumble together off a mash-up of various internet recipes coupled with what I had in my kitchen. The result is sweet, tart, and delightfully crunchy. Enjoy!

For the filling:

  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp wildflower honey (this has a floral note that pairs very well with fruit)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tbsp arrowroot powder

For the crumble:

  • 1/2 cup chopped raw hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp. wildflower honey
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Grease a 9″ by 9″ square casserole dish or pie plate.

Mix all filling ingredients together and pour into the casserole dish. Mix all crumble ingredients together (ideally with your fingers) until all is well incorporated and has a crumbly texture to it. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the fruit and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is browning nicely.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or keep it paleo with a whipped coconut cream (by chilling a can of coconut cream overnight and whipping it in a blender with 1/2 tsp vanilla before serving) or cashew cream.

Cashew Nut Cream (recipe from Cynthia Lair’s book, Feeding the Whole Family)

½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla

Grind nuts to a fine meal in a small coffee grinder or food processor (no lumps or there will be lumps in your nut cream). Put ground cashews, maple syrup, and vanilla in the blender.  With blender running, add water a little at a time until you have a thick creamy consistency.

Raw Vegan Paleo Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake

I can’t believe I did not photograph this before bringing it to a birthday party tonight. I lay blame to Momma brain, combined with September heat and cramming two birthday parties into a single Saturday. Thankfully, the original recipe from which this was derived has a fantastic photo that can give you an idea of what to expect. The beauty of this dessert is not only that it is paleo, vegan, gluten, soy, dairy free AND delicious, but it’s also pretty to boot! You can feel confident bringing this dessert to a party and knowing that pretty much anyone who can eat nuts will thoroughly enjoy it. Goodness knows it’s near impossible to please both vegan AND paleo folks at a potluck. Bring this decadent ‘cheesecake’ and everyone will be your best friend!
(Heads up – this evening the entire thing was gone within the first two hours of the party – you may want to make two).

Raw Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake

Serves 10


2 cups raw nuts
1 cup dates or raisins
pinch of salt

Lemon  Cheesecake Filling

3 cups raw cashews pieces
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
zest of all the lemons you juiced
pinch of salt

Blueberry Layer

2 cups organic blueberries (I used frozen)
1/4 cup of the lemon cheesecake mixture

To make the crust: process the nuts and dates/raisins in your food processor until the nuts have become crumbs and the mixture sticks together when you press it. Press into the bottom of a spring-form pan and put in the fridge.

To make the lemon cheesecake: blend all ingredients (except lemon zest) in a Vitamix or Blend-Tec until very smooth. Pour cheesecake mix into a bowl then add in the lemon zest with a spoon and stir until well combined. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture for the blueberry topping – pour the rest onto your crust, spread until evenly layered atop the crust and put it back in the freezer.

To make the blueberry layer: blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture in your food processor or blender until creamy but still with small pieces of blueberry for texture. Spread this over your cheesecake and keep in the freezer or fridge overnight. If you can wait a day – this is best after 2 days (and not frozen, of course) enjoy with fresh blueberries!



Recipe Round Up: The Pumpkin Edition!

Here’s our second recipe round-up! It seems almost negligent to NOT include pumpkin recipes this October, so I have scoured the internet for sweet AND savory recipes using pumpkin for you! These are all VIBRANCE approved – meaning made with whole foods, low glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free (or easily altered to become dairy-free) and paleo friendly. Click on each picture to be taken to the recipe. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Coconut Flour Pancakes (Gluten, Dairy, Grain-free)

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus 
Roasted Pumpkin Fries (sweet AND savory options!)
Chicken Pumpkin Curry with Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins 

What are YOUR favorite ways to use pumpkin?

For special recipes tried, tested and created in the VIBRANCE kitchen, be sure to stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter by clicking the button below!

More Recipes Please!

Recipe of the Moment: Gluten-Free Low-Sugar Plum Basil Upside Down Cake

Gluten-free Plum Basil Upside Down Cake

Plum Basil Upside Down Cake
1/4 cup grass-fed butter (can use coconut oil or palm oil, if preferred)
1 pound large plums (red, black or purple, or a mix), pitted and quartered (about 6 plums)
1/2 cup organic brown sugar (can use erythritol or other low-GL granular sweetener, if desired)
1/4 cup stevia in the raw (NEVER use this product alone; it must always be blended with another sweetener or your recipe will taste wretched)
1/2 cup Erythritol (I love Wholesome Sweeteners Zero product)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves and stems, roughly chopped
1 and 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar in a pyrex measuring cup, topped with unsweetened almond milk to 3/4 cup line

Melt the 2 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add plums, and cook 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and dash of salt. Cook 10 minutes or until plums are tender, stirring frequently. Remove plums from pan using a slotted spoon. Bring cooking liquid to a boil and add basil. Cook 35 minutes or until liquid is very thick (consistency of jam). Remove basil.

While the basil liquid reduces, arrange plums in bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Pour strained basil liquid over plums. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat 1/4 cup butter stevia in the raw and Erythritol with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and almond milk/vinegar alternately to sweetener mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter over plums, spreading batter evenly.

Bake 47-50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around outside edge. Place a plate upside down on top of cake. Invert cake onto plate; cool. Makes 8 servings

Kelly’s Favorite Snack: Raw Energy Balls

“Here is one my favorite, easy to prepare, grab-and-go snacks that my entire family enjoys.  My six year old Carmen, the best sous chef I could ever ask for, sits on the counter and helps put the ingredients into the food processor and then helps roll these out into balls.  These Raw Energy Balls created by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre make for a great snack that can go with you to work, on a hike, bike ride, or in your child’s lunchbox.”        – Kelly

  • 1 cup raw almonds or walnutsRaw Energy Balls
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ cup raw almond butter
  • Shredded coconut

1. In a food processor fitted with the “s” blade grind the almonds until finely ground. Add the dates, raisins, and spices. Grind to a fine meal.
2. Add the almond butter, process again until thoroughly mixed.
3. Form into balls and roll in shredded coconut.
4. Store in a sealed container on the counter for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for up to a week.

Recipe from: Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre. The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, 2nd ed. Whole Life Press. 2007

This Cookbook is a must-have in any healthy, gluten-free kitchen!

Sugar-free Hibiscus (Jamaica) Raspberry Jello

Occasionally, I get a hankering for gummy bears.

This recipe immediately took me back to sucking on Haribo Gummy bears as a child – an unexpected extra shot of joy in what was already an instantly successful attempt in fitting a sweet treat into a reduced-grain, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, deeply healing, body rebuilding diet.

Inspired by Diane SanFilippo’s fantastic work “Practical Paleo“, this recipe served as a “what I can create with what I’ve got” variation of her herbal tea gelatin cubes. Like all of my original recipes, I start with 1-3 other recipes as a template, merge them all together with significant substitutions, whimsy hits of inspiration and a dash of bravado, then take to the kitchen like an over-caffeinated mad scientist.

Hibiscus flower, known as jamaica in Mexico (not to be confused with jicama) is most commonly seen served as a brilliantly fuchsia beverage by street vendors and small cafes.  Hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants (as is evident from it’s brilliant hue) and has been shown in some research to effectively lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

The tart-tasting flower is also rich in vitamin C, and when paired with gelatin, as in this recipe, serves as delicious medicine for tendon, ligament, and skin repair.

Behold – Hibiscus Raspberry Jello! All of the color and sweetness of our childhood snack with none of the Red #5 or sugar!

  • 2 Tablespoons organic gelatin (I’m a fan of Great Lakes products)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup hibiscus flowers (found at almost any Mexican market – look for “flor de jamaica” – or online)
  • 1/2 cup xylitol (erythritol can also be used)*
  • 1.5 droppers of liquid stevia
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Bring the water and hibiscus flowers to a boil. Strain the flowers out and set aside. While still hot, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add sweeteners. Pour the liquid into a 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish and let cool. Add raspberries, then refrigerate overnight or until firm (about 2 – 3 hours).


*Both xylitol and erythritol are sugar alcohols. Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol that has about 30% fewer calories than sugar and appears to have antibacterial and anti-microbial effects. Erythritol is best tolerated if sugar alcohols make you gassy. I chose to xylitol because I felt stevia alone may be too strong; I will be experimenting in the future with exclusively stevia as a sweetener.  If natural sugar sources are acceptable to you, 2 tbsp. of honey may be used in lieu of the xylitol.


Thank You – and Happy Thanksgiving!

As a special thank you for your support, encouragement and feedback, I want to offer all my readers a special gift:

Free Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes!! 


Please click here ( Thanksgiving recipes ) to download the seven page recipe booklet containing such favorites as pumpkin pie and herbed turkey, as well as an extra dessert, dairy-free whipped cream and a couple of yummy vegetable recipes (gotta get those greens in!). All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly. To save it to your computer, you may need to “right click” the link and “save as..”

Thank you again for your continued support! I am looking forward to growing and sharing so much more with you in 2013!

If you are not on our monthly newsletter list – full of recipes, helpful articles, and special offers, click here to join! You can also get more frequent smatterings of yummy, relevant tips, recipes and nutrition and fitness information at my Facebook page:


“OMFG, Are-You-For-Real” Decadent Chocolate Pudding

I’m 25 days into an allergy elimination diet and I feel like I am going mad.

(She looks just like me, minus the Tammy Faye Baker mascara streaks and the bruise on my forehead from banging my head on my desk.)

This diet, offered by my friends at Metabolic Effect, is a more extreme version of my detox plan and it is designed for digestive healing – something I have wanted to undertake myself on a deeper level for several years, but until now it hasn’t been the right time and place in my life to do so.

So I jump in gung-ho last month and eliminated a laundry list of common foods that would make your wince, PLUS any food not on that list that I eat three or more times per week. (adios, chicken!) I quickly discovered that most of the spice blends I rely upon for flavor had forbidden elements to them. So I’ve been leaning on salt and pepper and am bored to tears tonight with any options I have available to me.

Some of this is poor planning on my part – I got too wrapped up in work to ensure my fridge was stocked full of fun foods on the okay list. I plowed through my exotic meats and haven’t made it back to the butcher to get more. (BONUS – I have tried kangaroo and elk this last month! I may go for the water buffalo next. Not sure what to do with python meat, but I want to try it…so much fun!) Thus the last few days have been piecing together pathetic excuses for a meal from the back of my cupboard, trying to make do with something satisfying if I am eating out (so far, this is impossible) and trying not to say “the hell with it!” and stuff brownies into my mouth while I am making macaroni and cheese and melting ice cream in the microwave so I don’t have to worry about brain freeze.


One of the things that has kept me sane is the recipe I am sharing below. It feels SO NAUGHTY that I don’t even want to get fresh strawberry pie or ice cream or a latte (okay, maybe I still want a latte) or any of the other treats I have whined about the last 3 1/2 weeks. I’m counting my lucky stars that this plan said nothing about eliminating cocoa powder, so I have been relishing this pudding spoonful by spoonful. It is thick, creamy, sweet enough to satisfy and so quickly made I feel like I am cheating somehow. Whether or not you are on a food restricted meal plan, you simply MUST make this decadent dessert and share it with your favorite people!

“OMFG, Are You For Real” Decadent Chocolate Pudding (gluten,soy,dairy,egg and sugar free)

1 cup coconut cream, 1 ripe avocado, 2 tbsp. cocoa and 6 dates.

Yeah. That’s it.

Throw everything but the dates into a blender, then add the dates one at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.


Not one to keep a recipe as is, I decided to adjust my second batch to bring in some protein and reduce the sugars from the dates. I added 1 scoop of Vega Sport Performance Protein powder – an excellent soy-free, vegan protein powder that is my favorite choice right now. The recipe turned out slightly different but just as good, and I was able to reduce the amount of dates to 2 due to the stevia in the Vega Sport.
That recipe is as follows:

1 scoop Vega Sport Performance Protein Powder

1 avocado

1 1/3 cup coconut cream (more liquid is needed to offset the dry powder)

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

2 dates, pitted.

Repeat the process above.

For those following the Metabollic Effect Plan, or understand hormonal carbs, there are only 6 grams of hormonal carbohydrates per serving (a generous 1/4 of the recipe). This is rich enough that I am quite satisfied with a honking spoonful, so I end up with about 8 or so servings each time I make it.

Alas, I have no ripe avocados at the moment. But soon. Soon. This recipe will be the key to making it over the next few weeks.

Tonight, however, begins food prep night. Pounds of produce grilled, roasted, and baked. A couple of salmon fillets that will get the standard salt and peppering, and yummy yams for something sweet until the avocado ripens.



Holiday Recipe: Baked Apples with Maple, Walnuts and Cherries

This, along with our family sweet potato recipe, is what I’ll be bringing to this year’s Thanksgiving potluck! I can’t wait to try it!

Serves 4

  • 4 fuji apples, cored within 1/2″ of the base
  • 2 tbsp. sucanat or xylitol
  • 2 tsp. molasses
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. pastured butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees


If needed, slice a little off the bottom of the apple so it will stand. Place apples in a 9 inch glass pie plate. In a small mixing bowl, mix xylitol (or sucanat), molasses, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, cherries, walnuts, butter, and lemon zest. Stuff apples with mixure, overloading extra over the top. Place remianing maple syrup and apple juice at the bottom of the pie plate. Bake apples for 20 minutes, basting with juice. Cover and bake until tender, about 15 min. more. Serve warm.