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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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I always thought chocolate making was super complex and you had to have just the right finesse and patience (which I don't have much of) to get beautiful chocolate.  In culinary school we practiced the art of tempering chocolate and it was way to tedious too interest me. 

I always read ingredients on the chocolate bars I purchase and the more I read the more I realized that you could make your own with a few simple ingredients without all the temperature checking.  So I dove in to figuring it out.  It didn't take long and this simple three ingredient bark was born.  It has the perfect amount of sweetness mixed with the delicate bitterness of good cacao.

 

You can top the bark however you would like but for a pretty Valentine's Day inspired version I like to add freeze dried raspberries, goji berries, rose petals and almond slivers.  Feel free to choose whatever your heart desires!  You can add any variety of seeds, nuts, dried fruit and edible flowers for something a little extra fancy. 

 

Set up a double broiler.  Put a small amount of water in the bottom of a small sauce pan and place a heat safe bowl inside it but make sure it is not touching the water.  Place over medium-low heat and add cacao butter to bowl.

 

Stir occasionally until melted.  Add cacao powder and maple syrup.

 

Stir until combined and smooth.  Remove from heat.

 

Place parchment paper in an 11"x7" container (or similar) pour the chocolate mixture in.

 

Sprinkle your toppings evenly over the chocolate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

 

Remove from fridge and break into pieces. 

 

Sending love and chocolate,

Crystal

Valentine's Day Chocolate Bark

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cacao butter
1/2 cup cacao powder*
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 to 2 tbsp each: rose petals, freeze dried raspberries, goji berries and slivered almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Set up double broiler: place a small amount of water in a small saucepan.  Put a heat safe bowl on top of the pan.  Make sure it does not touch the water. 

2. Add cacao butter to bowl and put the double broiler over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Once melted add cacao powder and maple syrup to bowl.  Stir until well combined and remove from heat.

4. Place parchment paper in an 11"x7" container.  Pour chocolate mixture over parchment paper. 

5. Sprinkle toppings over the chocolate.**

6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

7.  Break apart into desired sized pieces. 

Notes: *Cacao powder is a less processed version of cocoa powder.  You could probably make this recipe with cocoa powder if that is what you have on hand but I have not tried it.  **You can put the chocolate in the refrigerator for about 8 to 10 minutes before you add the toppings if you want them to be sitting more on top instead of sinking into the chocolate.  

Equipment needed: small saucepan, heat safe small bowl, heat safe spoon or whisk, measuring spoons and cups, 11"x7" container (I used a pyrex) or similar, parchment paper and a refrigerator. 

 *This post contains affiliate links.  They are in bold.  I only share products I love and use on a regular basis.  If you are interested in seeing what products I use and recommend simply click the word(s) in bold.  If you are moved to buy it, I will receive a small commission that helps support this blog and other projects I am working on.  Thank you for your support!

Products used for this recipe:

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Cacao Powder, 1 Pound
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Cacao Butter, 1 Pound (Raw, Keto, Vegan Friendly)
NOW Foods Organic Maple Syrup,Grade A Dark Color (formerly Grade B), 32-Ounce
If You Care Parchment Baking Paper, 2 Pack
Pyrex Basics 2 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish with Red Lid - 7 inch x 11 Inch
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I used to love all kinds of crackers; from the fancy ones you buy at a specialty grocery stores, plain ole saltines and everything in between.  Once I got in the habit of reading ingredients on everything (you should totallly do this too!) I put into my cart fewer and fewer crackers were allowed in.  I knew all the additives weren't going to make me feel better so I started going without crackers. 

I have seen people make crackers at home but I never really considered it until the idea of using chickpea flour as a base popped into my head.  Then I got excited!  This flour makes these a delicious protein packed snack and the added rosemary and black pepper add lots of flavor.  This will be a new travel staple for me so I am no longer tempted to buy crackers at the airport or gas stations. 

Add all dry ingredients to the bowl: chickpea flour, baking powder, pepper, salt and rosemary.

 

Stir in wet ingredients until it all comes together.

 

Knead for a couple of minutes, roll into a ball and let sit for 10 minutes.

 

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and use a roll out until it is about 1/8th of an inch thick.

 

Using a pizza cutter (or knife) cut into about 1 inch squares.

 

Using the bottom piece of parchment paper move to sheet pan.

 

Bake 18 to 20 minutes in a 350° oven.

 

Remove from oven, let cool, break up and enjoy!

  

Love and snacks,

 Crystal

Rosemary & Black Pepper Crackers

INGREDIENTS

1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
1/4 tsp pink salt
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix chickpea flour, baking powder, pepper, salt and rosemary into a medium sized bowl.

2. Stir in water and olive oil until it comes together as a dough.   Using your hands if needed.

3. Knead 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

5. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/8th an inch thickness.

6. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut into 1 inch squares.*

7.  Keeping the crackers on the bottom piece of parchment paper slide onto a sheet pan. 

8. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes.  Until lightly browned.

9. Remove from oven, let cool and break up along cut edges.

Notes- *You can cut them larger or in different shapes if you like.  Triangles would be great if you want to eat these with a dip.  **Eat within 4 days.

Equipment needed: measuring cups and spoons, medium bowl, spoon to stir, cutting board, parchment paper, rolling pin (or wine bottle!), pizza cutter or knife and a sheet pan.

*This post contains affiliate links.  They are in bold.  I only share products I love and use on a regular basis.  If you are interested in seeing what products I use and recommend simply click the word(s) in bold.  If you are moved to buy it, I will receive a small commission that helps support this blog and other projects I am working on.  Thank you for your support!

Products used for this recipe:

Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour - 16 oz.
Aluminum Free Baking Powder
If You Care Parchment Baking Paper, 2 Pack
Boos Block Maple Cutting Board
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Sauces are my favorite.  They can turn a plain and simple meal into something fantastic.  This Romesco sauce does just that.  It is great with veggies, potatoes, over pasta or even on pizza. Romesco is a spicy red pepper and almond sauce originating from the Catalonia region in Spain.

I was inspired to create my own version of this sauce after visiting one of my favorite restaurants in Oklahoma City, Packards.  They have an appetizer platter loaded with veggies and flatbread and serve it with Romesco.  It is my favorite with the fingerling potatoes and the broccolini (hint for my next recipe!).

  

Preheat oven to 450° and place 2 red bell peppers on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. 

 

Roast for about 40 minutes, turning the peppers every ten minutes so they cook evenly.

(For a quicker option you can place the oven on broil, place about 6 inches from the top, rotate and check on them every 3 to 5 minutes.)

Remove from oven once all sides of the skin are turning black and bubbling up.

Place in a bowl with a towel draped over for around 10 minutes so the skin can steam off and make it easier to remove.

 

Once cool enough to handle peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds.

 

Place peppers along with all other ingredients in a small blender, such as a Nutribullet, and blend until smooth and creamy.

 

Enjoy!

 

Keep it saucy, 

Crystal

Romesco Sauce
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup almonds
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic*
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4+ tsp cayenne**
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pink salt
pinch of ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place bell peppers on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.***

2. Roast for around 40 minutes.  Rotating the peppers every 10 minutes.

3. Remove from oven once all sides of the skins are turning black and bubbling up.

4. Place into a bowl with a towel to cover for at least 10 minutes.

5. Once, cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and remove the stems and seeds. 

6. Place the peppers and all other ingredients in a small blender, such as a nutribullet, and blend until smooth and creamy.  If the blender is having trouble you can add a little more water.****

Notes: *For a sweeter garlic flavor you can place the cloves on the sheet pan with the peppers and roast until browned and softened.  **Use desired amount of cayenne for heat preference.  ***For a quicker roasted red pepper you can turn the oven on broil, place about 6 inches from the top, rotate and check on them every 3 to 4 minutes.  ****For a super quick sauce, buy jarred roasted red peppers and skip steps 1-5.

Equipment needed: Oven, parchment paper, sheet pan, bowl, kitchen towel and a small blender.

* This post contains affiliate links.  They are bold and underlined.  I only share products I love and use on a regular basis.  If you are interested in seeing what products I use simply click the word(s) in bold.  If you are moved to buy it, I will receive a small commission that helps support this blog and other projects I am working on.  Thank you for your support!

Products used for this recipe:

NutriBullet 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System, Gray
If You Care Parchment Baking Paper, 2 Pack
 Organic Red Wine Vinegar
Tomato Paste
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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.