chocolate chips (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)

If you’re on a refined sugar-free diet like us (meaning no fake sugars either) it’s a little difficult to find chocolate chips.  Even simply gluten free eaters have a little harder time finding them too, because most brands use wheat.  And if you do happen to find some, they are going to cost you, say, an arm and a leg, at the very least.  This was a problem, because I was really, really craving chocolate chip cookies.  Sure, I made chocolate cookies and chocolate peanut butter cookies, but those are just not the same.  When you want chocolate chips, you want chocolate chips.  So of course I had to make some!  (Unfortunately, I was not able to get a picture of the fabled chocolate chip cookies, because my camera battery was dead and I didn’t have my charger.  I used Elana’s recipe.)

Luckily, the first combination of ingredients I tried worked…and that’s not usually the case.  It was just meant to be. :)  These are deliciously semi-sweet, with just the right amount of sweet to balance the cocoa.  They hold together when baked, but melt just enough to turn chocolately.

3 TB coconut oil (2 melted, 1 mostly melted)
2 TB gluten-free cocoa powder + 3 TB (or cinnamon for cinnamon chips!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TB honey (or agave nectar to be vegan – if using agave, add 2 additional teaspoons tapioca starch)
1 TB tapioca starch

1. Add all ingredients to high-power blender (I use a VitaMix, with the dry container so that the ingredients don’t get sucked into the bottom), but just the first 2 TB of cocoa powder.

2. Mix on medium for about 20 seconds, then increase to high for about 10 seconds.  Since there isn’t much in the blender, it will look like it’s not really mixing, but just keep it going.

3. Add the remaining 3 TB of cocoa powder, and blend on high for about 20 seconds.  The mixture should be tacky and sticky, and almost like caramel (but a little less so if using agave nectar).  Because the blender heats up the coconut oil, it will be melting a little in the bottom of the blender.  That’s normal, and it begins to separate from the mixture.

Now comes the part where you get creative…there are a few options here.  The first time I made these, I just pulled apart the mixture bit by bit and made “chips”.  That worked, but it took forever.  The next time I rolled it out in between two sheets of wax paper, which worked better.

Transfer to a cookie sheet, and freeze for about 30 minutes (or, you know, just put it outside if its anything like it is by me in Chicago).  After that, it will be a little more set, and cut into small squares/bits with a knife.  That method seemed to work best for me, but feel free to try anything else that you think might work.  Store in freezer.  They will never get completely as hard as a rock like “normal” chocolate chips (at least not with the honey), but I actually prefer that, personally.

Note: As much as a really dislike using starches, I think it is quite necessary in this recipe, in order to hold them together, and prevent melting everywhere – trust me, it’s not a pretty sight.  I think it’s a pretty good trade off, considering what’s in (or not in!) commercial chips.  I find its best to just forget about that little aspect when savoring any number of delicious treats, which can only be made complete with chocolate chips.  Let’s face it, its the truth!


(Hot chocolate whipped yogurt, topped with cocoa and chocolate chips, with a chocolate chip peanut butter brownie.)

Also, this recipe fits the guidelines for the SOS Kitchen Challenge…check it out!

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tuesday

So today is Tuesday, and I have been cooking wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, yeast free, sugar free and (mainly) egg free meals for my family for about two weeks. At first, this was nearly impossible and I was tempted to just gnaw on a hunk of vegetables for each meal. But that wouldn’t do…I wanted real food. I wanted real meals. And I wanted them to taste GOOD. These restrictions really seemed to limit that, however. Thankfully, I have been used to eating “weird” food for most of my life, seeing as my brothers used to be allergic to gluten and dairy, so my mom would cook different things than most moms. They managed to rid themselves of those allergies a couple years down the road (or did they…) so lately my mom has been into general health food (keifers, soaking flours, alternative foods, etc.). However, the past month, my mom has become convinced that we are all suffering from an overgrowth of the yeast Candida, which is normally found in all humans, but exorbitant amounts of it can cause problems like allergies, brain fog, nausea, bloating, tiredness, psoriasis, and pretty much every other ailment under the sun. So, in an effort to cleanse ourselves of this, we are now following a very strict and rigid diet, which bans pretty much every food item found in common “normal” dishes. This is where the art of the challenge comes in: I am given the duty of creating dishes that please everyone (including unrealisticly high standards of my 19 year old brother) and still do what food was always and originally intended to do: nourish our bodies.

I decided to start this blog mainly to remember what I made each day (or at least the interesting things) and maybe help other people out in the process. Although – I am greatly at the mercy of the many many other blogs and research I found out here, I am merely a receiver of their tireless recipe-making efforts! So, I really claim no recipe as my own, although I do generally make many alternations.

So, today I made Strawberry Coconut Muffins – this is a HUGE landmark because my past three batches of muffins (one of which was this recipe, but with all applesauce instead of eggs – crazy, I know) failed in some aspect or another. Finally – what I had in my head actually materialized on the plate! Amazing. I only used 2 real eggs, because I didn’t feel like using up 6, and used 3 flax “eggs” (1 TB ground flax seeds to 3 TB water, per “egg”), and one cup of mashed left over spaghetti squash. And I also eliminated the sugar and added more coconut oil and some water. They were delicious!


And for dinner, I made Chicken Alfredo with homemade buckwheat noodles. I made a few alterations because we only had half a zucchini, so I put broccoli in with the noodles, and used the stalks from the broccoli in the sauce. It was soooo good…my parents had no idea! And thankfully I was pretty good with the cashews – I’ve been having some problems with them sometimes (brain fog and some tiredness). So all in all, a good day! I also made brown rice waffles for breakfast, but I didn’t get a picture of them. Maybe tomorrow, since there were leftovers. :)