BFF Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Are you in love with chocolate hazelnut spreads like Nutella, but want to avoid the unsavoury add-ins like palm oils and excess amounts of sugar? Or do you just love rich and satisfying nut butters? Either way, this recipe is for you! Using 3-4 simple ingredients, this recipe is full of healthy fats and antioxidants, and much lower in sugar than classic spreads. It’s also very easy to make this recipe vegan, as lots of dark chocolate can be found without any added dairy, especially the 80% or higher varieties. 

This nut butter is like a dark chocolate version of Nutella. You could spread it on your toast, or you could eat it with a spoon. If you are partial to dark chocolate or use a lower percentage of dark chocolate, like 50%, you probably don’t need to add any maple syrup. We used 70% dark chocolate and found that just a little bit of maple syrup (about a tablespoon) was enough to sweeten it up for us.

When we first starting adding our ingredients to the blender, we thought that it couldn’t be possible to create a butter out of only chocolate and hazelnuts. We had coconut oil on hand to throw in, but we didn’t even need it! The trick here is to be persistent. Blend at a slow speed and stop your blender every minute or so to give a mix so your motor doesn’t burn out. A few minutes after adding the warm chocolate in, our butter magically got quite liquid, and then turned the consistency of a regular nut butter once it cooled down. This recipe makes enough to fill about a 16 oz mason jar.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw, unsalted hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (70% dark works well)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
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Simple ingredients yield great results!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Roast hazelnuts on an ungreased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes.
  3. When hazelnut skins are darkened, pull them out and rub the tops of them with a dishcloth to get most of the skins off. Try to work quickly in this step as you want the hazelnuts to stay warm!
  4. Add warm, skinned hazelnuts to the blender. Blend until hazelnuts are very finely chopped.
  5. Melt chocolate on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  6. Add warm chocolate to the blender and blend until butter is desired smoothness. It may get a bit liquidy but it will thicken when chocolate cools down!
  7. Add salt, plus maple syrup if desired and blend to mix in.
  8. Transfer nut butter to a jar and store sealed at room temperature.
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Our hazelnuts before and after we rubbed the skins off. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect, but quickly rubbing the skins off makes the butter much creamier! 

Hope you enjoy this healthy chocolate hazelnut butter! Let us know your favourite way to enjoy it in the comments below!

BFF Simple Salad Dressing (3 Fun Ways!)

Salad dressing can make or break an otherwise healthy salad. While it may be quick and easy to pick up a bottle of prepared salad dressing, store bought salad dressings have long ingredients lists that are full of excessive sugars and chemicals. Luckily, it is also quick and easy to make your own dressing, so there is no need to ever buy dressing again.

All of our favourite dressings are olive-oil based, meaning they are rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids that will keep you feeling full. We then add an acidic liquid to the oil, usually a citrus juice or a vinegar. This forms the base of the salad dressing. From there, all the dressing needs are some spices and herbs to flavour things up, which can range from simple salt and pepper to fiery cayenne.

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Simple herbs, citrus, oil, and vinegar are all you need to make your own dressing.
Here are our three favourite salad dressing combinations, but lettuce know below if you have any other herbs or vinegars you love to use! Also see below for tips on what kind of salads we love to pair with these dressing!

Simple Lemon Dressing

  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine and crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Spicy Lime Salad Dressing

  • ⅔ cup lime juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

To make your salad dressing, mix all ingredients together in a jar with a tight sealing lid. Shake well before use, as oil separates quickly in homemade mixtures! We usually use about a tablespoon for one salad, so these jars will last you a while kept in the fridge. 

 

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Olive oil is life.
TIPS ON PAIRING DRESSINGS:

Simple Lemon Dressing is our most flavour neutral dressing. It goes great with fresh greens, as well as chickpea and white kidney bean salads. However, our favourite use for this dressing is a tabbouleh salad, or any other salad that is heavy on herbs.

Classic Balsamic Dressing works wonderfully on a garden salad, spinach salad, or any salad with feta or mozzarella.

Spicy Lime Dressing is a favourite for bean salads. We love drizzling it over a salad with black beans, corn, cilantro, and tomato.

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Spicy lime dressing gives this salad a great kick.
What kind of salad do you like drizzling your olive oil dressing over?

BFF Blueberry Cashew Yogurt

Cashews continue to amaze us! This week, we’ve whipped up a delicious tasting yogurt that uses cashews and nut milk instead of dairy, which is perfect if you are lactose intolerant or vegan! Cashew yogurt is super filling, full of healthy proteins and fats. It’s a great way to start the day so that you won’t be hungry till lunch!

This recipe does not have the probiotics that yogurt usually has, and instead uses lemon juice to achieve a tang. However you could stir in the contents of 2 of your favourite probiotic capsules to make this recipe gut-healthy, just make sure you don’t store it in a metal bowl or container as this may kill the probiotic bacteria!

Our recipe has the consistency of greek yogurt, so it is very thick and creamy. However, you can thin it to the consistency of normal yogurt by adding extra nut milk or water.

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Only 4 simple yet delicious ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup nut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
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Cashews soaking their way to delicious creaminess. 

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews for at least 3 hours
  2. In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
  3. Add water or more nut milk to thin to desired consistency.

We love topping this yogurt with cacao nibs for an extra crunch and boost of antioxidants, or hemp seeds for extra protein and texture. Let us know your favourite topping in the comments!

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We live for the cacao crunch combined with creamy cashew!

 

Nutrition (for ⅓ of recipe)*: 244 calories, 16.7 g fat (2.7 g saturated, 2.8 g unsaturated, 2.8 g polyunsaturated, 0 trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 60.1 mg sodium, 36.8 mg potassium, 16.2 g carbs, 3.2 g fibre, 5.2 g sugar, 6.7 g protein, 3.8% vitamin A, 16.3% vitamin C, 15% iron.

*calculated using ½ cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk.

BFF Matcha Latte Chia Pudding

“2 superfoods in one dish, and you’re telling me it tastes like a latte?” you may say, astounded.

From my very first sip of a matcha green tea latte, I was in love. From my very first glance at the nutrition info of said latte, I was shocked and heartbroken. So imagine my shock when, years later, I combine chia seeds with matcha powder while casually whipping up a batch of chia pudding, only to take a little taste test and find that same flavour, falling in love all over again.

This matcha chia pudding tastes like sipping on a matcha latte, only it is full of healthy fats and fibre. It is the perfect breakfast, and a satisfying afternoon snack. It is almost too good to be true.

This batch makes 4 servings that fit nicely into small mason jars to take on the go, but sometimes it’s also nice to store it in a big container to whip up a big chia bowl topped with fruit and nuts. The choice is yours, but either way if you love matcha lattes, we’re sure you’ll love this filling superfood pudding.

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We got everything we need. Look at that green health!
Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened nut milk

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Blending it up for that smooth, dreamy latte feel. 
Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. (Alternatively, you could mix ingredients together with a whisk but the pudding will not come out as smooth).
  2. Divide mixture in 4 small mason jars, or place in a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Enjoy!

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Perfect for storing, portioning, and stashing in your bag. 
Nutrition* (for 1/4 of recipe): 156 calories, 7.1 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 4.3 g polyunsaturated, 1.2 g monounsaturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 103.1 mg sodium, 169.9 mg potassium, 20.4 g carbs, 9.1 g fibre, 4.5 g protein, 58.8% vitamin A, 15.1% vitamin C, 43.7% calcium, 7.5% iron.

*calculated using unsweetened vanilla almond milk

BFF Peanut Butter Banana Bars

Mmmm, bananas and peanut butter are a classic. These peanut butter banana bars are like a peanut butter banana sandwich to go, with the added goodness of oats.

We love these bars as an on-the-go breakfast, or a pick me up in the afternoon. Bake a batch on Sunday, and enjoy for the whole week! This recipe makes 12 bars.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cups unsweetened nut milk
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter*
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 chia egg (or regular egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
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So wholesome.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a blender, blend 2 cups of the oats until they resemble flour.
  3. In a bowl, mix blended oats, remaining oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients one by one.
  5. Poor into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top has browned a fork goes through clean.
  6. Store in an airtight container on countertop for 3 days or in refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Nutrients (for 1 bar of 12)**: 167 calories, 6.9 g fat (1 g saturated, 2.3 g polyunsaturated, 0.9 g monounsaturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 252.1 mg sodium, 35.2 mg potassium, 23.4 g carbs, 4.1 g fibre, 0.6 g sugar, 5 g protein, 0.9% vitamin A, 0.1% vitamin C, 5% calcium, 8% iron.

*if using an unsweetened nut butter, we recommend you add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup or honey, as these bar are already not very sweet

**calculated using unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a chia egg, and regular kraft smooth peanut butter.  

BFF Lime Cashew Garlic Sauce

Recently we’ve been experimenting in the kitchen with cashews, and they can do so much more than we ever realized. Soaking cashews gives them a whole new texture, and there is so much you can make with creamy soaked cashews from garlic sauce, to cashew milk, to cashew yogurt. This is the first of our cashew recipes, but if the rest of our experiments go well it certainly won’t be the last!

This garlic sauce is made from simple ingredients you may already have in the kitchen. All it takes is lime, cashews, garlic, some water, and whatever herbs you have laying around to whip up an amazing flavour addition to your next meal.

There are so many herb combinations that go well with garlic sauce! This makes our lime cashew garlic sauce versatile enough to be used for several different meals – all you have to do is blend a different herb in each time for an exciting new combination!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted cashews, soaked in water
  • ⅓ cup water, to start
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 big clove)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs (see below for tips on herb selection)*
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Such simple and fun ingredients!

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews in water for a minimum of 3 hours. Usually we leave the cashews to soak in the morning and then make the sauce around dinner.
  2. Chop up herbs and garlic.
  3. Drain cashews, and combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding extra water to reach desired consistency if necessary.

*HERB TIPS: Rosemary lime cashew garlic sauce tastes great when drizzling garlic sauce over potatoes or sweet potatoes. Cilantro lime cashew garlic sauce is yummy drizzled over a quinoa bowl or with black beans and corn. Parsley lime cashew garlic sauce goes well with chickpeas and white kidney beans. Dill lime cashew garlic sauce is delicious drizzled over baked fish.

Let us know what your favourite herb and garlic combination is in the comments!

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Mmmm, we love drizzling our garlic sauce over a balanced tempeh bowl.

Nutrition* (for ⅕ of recipe): 70 calories, 4.9 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 0.8 g polyunsaturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 2.5 mg sodium, 18.3 mg potassium, 4.4 g carbs, 0.6 g fibre, 0.9 g sugars, 2.2 g protein, 0.4% vitamin A, 3.9% vitamin C, 1.1% calcium, 4.4% iron. *calculated using fresh rosemary.

BFF Pesto Hummus

If you hadn’t guessed, we love basil. That’s why we added it to our fresh hummus – and one complimentary taste led to another, until we had replaced the traditional tahini with pine nuts for a fresh pesto taste.

This pesto is the perfect dip to pair with fresh veggies and whole grain pitas in the summer. We love it as a snack, or on sandwiches for a bit of basil to go.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup chickpeas (1 19 oz can)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Lightly toast pine nuts by using a non-stick pan to heat them over medium for a few minutes, stirring often.
  2. Throw everything in a blender or food processor and mix it up until smooth. Add a bit more water if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Scoop it out and eat it up! Refrigerate for up to a week.

Nutrition (for ¼ of recipe): 205 calories, 13.3 g fat (1.4 g saturated, 0.8 g polyunsaturated, 5 g monounsaturated, 0 trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 246.6 g sodium, 44.3 g potassium, 16.1 g carbs, 4.3 g fibre, 2.2 g sugar, 6.8 g protein, 18% vitamin A, 7.4% vitamin C, 2.6% calcium, 6.5% iron.

BFF Black Bean Brownies

The infamous black bean brownies. We’ve all heard people raving about them, but are they really that great?

To our surprise, we found out they are even better than great. They are eat-a-whole-batch in one night amazing. They are fool your friends and family ready. Black bean brownies are everything.

This BFF original recipe was made after hours of scouring the internet, trying to figure out what we could possibly put in these brownies to make them edible, and how we could make them with ingredients we already had at home. The coffee in this is essential, as it really masks the bean taste and brings out the rich flavour of chocolate. However, feel free to use decaf if you wish. It’s all about the flavour! We also love the muffin tin because the brownies come out in perfect little cups, ready for munching.

These brownies are filling and decadent. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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Everything you’ll need to get these brownies mixing and baking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup black beans
  • 2 tbsp coffee
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 chia eggs (or regular eggs)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
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Get mixing!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
  2. Add black beans, coconut oil, and coffee to a blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips to the blender and continue blending.
  3. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
  4. Pour muffin mixture from blender into the muffin tin. Top each brownie with a few chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 25 mins. Remove with a spoon when cool.
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Yum! Time to dig in!

Nutrition: 169 calories, 8.6 g fat (6.5 saturated, 0.4 polyunsaturated, 0.6 monounsaturated, 0 trans), 3.3 mg cholesterol, 181.3 mg sodium, 232.5 mg potassium, 23.2 g carbs, 5.2 g fibre, 13.8 g sugars, 4 g protein, 0% vitamin A, 1.8% vitamin C, 6.4% calcium, 10.9% iron.

Chia Seed “Eggs”

Out of eggs? Vegan? Need to do some baking? Have some chia seeds handy?

Then this one is for you!

Chia seed egg substitute is easy to make and works like a charm in baking, with less of that weird taste of flax seed egg substitute.

Is there anything the chia seed can’t do?

All you need for 1 egg substitution is:

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsps water

Multiply this recipe by the number of eggs you will need.

To make:

Grind up chia seeds. I usually use my coffee grinder for this. Place in a small container, mix in water, and let sit in your fridge for 10 minutes. Viola! Ready to use chia egg substitute.

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If not now, when will you make your chia seed eggs?

 

BFF Mocha Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is all the rage these days. For breakfast, we like a little kick in ours, so we’ve created this delectable new BFF mocha version of the classic chia seed pudding. Set in mason jars, this makes the perfect breakfast or snack on-the-go. It’s also super quick to prep the night before. Double the recipe if you eat them as quickly as we do!

This pudding isn’t super sweet so if you have a sweet tooth you may want to add more sweetener of your choice for a dessert you’ll enjoy.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup coffee
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave or honey)
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 8oz mason jars for refrigeration
  • Berries for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients (except mason jars and berries) in a bowl and whisk together, ensuring none of the cocoa powder is in clumps.
  2. Use a spatula to pour into 2 8 oz mason jars, scraping sides of bowl.
  3. Seal jars and refrigerate for 5 hours or more. When the pudding is a jelly-like consistency, you’ll know it’s ready!
  4. Top with berries, grab a spoon, and dig in to enjoy!

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Nutrition: 259 calories, 11.4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 93.8 mg sodium, 166.9 mg potassium, 36.5 g carbs, 12.5 fibre, 20.0 g sugar, 6.6 g protein, 5% vitamin A, 43.2% calcium, 21.1%