Join Our List:

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.

Join Our List

for updates, recipes, & more


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,


Valentine's Day Chocolate Bark


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


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
for recipes, updates,
& more
Jan 02, 2018


Happy New Year!  One of my intentions for this year is to be of service to others.  The best way I can do that is to use my gifts and knowledge.  I have spent the better part of the last decade learning to cook, nourish my body and figuring out how to make delicious foods that are both healthful and good for the planet.

I will be sharing processes, template recipes and how tos on here and on my new Instagram account @routewellacademy!  If you have a specific technique you would like to learn or a recipe you would like transformed into a healthier version please let me know!  I would love to help you on this journey.

Today, I am sharing this delicious coconut butter.  It is as simple as it is delicious.  All you need is a food processor or high speed blender.

First, you measure your shredded coconut and put it in your food processor.


Next, turn the processor on and let it run for about 15 to 20 minutes, stopping every couple of minutes to scrape down the sides.


It is done when it is a creamy consistency and there are no flakes left. 


Coconut butter is great to use in desserts, smeared on toast for breakfast, by the spoonful and so much more!

This method is also great for nut and seed butters like my Cinnamon Almond Butter.


Never stop learning, 


Coconut Butter
Makes about 1 cup


4 cups shredded coconut


1. Add the shredded coconut to the bowl of a food processor.

2. Turn on your food processor and let it run for 15 to 20 minutes.  Stopping to scrape down the sides every couple of minutes. 

3. It is done when it becomes a creamy consistency and there are no more flakes. 

*This post contains affiliate link.  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:

Organic Shredded Coconut
Food Processor
Vitamix E310 Blender
for recipes, updates,
& more


As the seasons change so do the foods we eat.  Even if you don't realize there is a good chance you start eating pumpkin and other harvest delights, add in more cooked foods and eat less fresh greens and salads.  We naturally tend to make these adjustments even when we aren't paying attention.


The days are becoming shorter and the temperatures are starting to drop.  My breakfasts are becoming warmer and more nourishing.  I tend to lose the green juices and smoothies and trade them for porridge and oats.


Since we are currently living a little farther south the heat tends to linger a little longer.  There is just a hint of chill in the air but the days are still warming up so I have made the perfect healthy breakfast treat to take you from summer to fall.


Here is my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl.  It is packed with flavor and will get you in the fall spirit as we watch the leaves start to change.  I love topping it with my Pumpkin Spice Granola.  It adds the perfect amount of crunch to the rich and creamy smoothie bowl.  I think you are going to love it!


Peace and fall y'all,


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1 (easily doubled)


1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
1/2 frozen banana
handful of frozen cauliflower**
2 tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup (or more) almond milk
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)


1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend.

2. Add more almond milk if needed.  One tablespoon at a time until you get a thick and creamy texture.  This is a smoothie bowl so you want it thick enough to hold toppings and eat with a spoon.***

3. Pour into a bowl and add your favorite toppings.  My favorites are my Pumpkin Spice Granola, coconut yogurt, cacao nibs, flax seeds and pecans!

Notes: *You can use canned or my homemade Pumpkin Puree. **For best results steam cauliflower before freezing.  If you want to omit cauliflower add more frozen banana. ***For a regular smoothie add more liquid until desired consistency is reached.

for recipes, updates,
& more


© 2014-2018 Crystal Vaughn  |  All Rights Reserved
Website Design by Indie Shopography

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.