Elderberry Gummy Bears

Elderberry Gummy BearsI don’t know where you live, but here in North Texas, it went from summer to fall seemingly over night this past weekend! The winds came through, the cooler temperatures kissed our skin, and, unfortunately, the fall allergies rushed the field.

It is the best of times and the worst of times, this FALL, this AUTUMN! I absolutely love this season, but for some reason, it just does not love me back most of the time. I have definitely been feeling the effects and have some kiddos with some runny noses, too, so this morning, after I had my two school goers shuffled off to their school,  I decided to load up on artillery for the onslaught of the allergy season!

I started my morning by juicing some carrots, apples, and fresh ginger.

Then, I made some Elderberry Gummy Bears! If you haven’t read about the benefits of elderberry, they are abundant for this season. To list a few:

~ a very powerful antioxidant
~ anthocyanin levels make it anticarcinogenic
~ more vitamin C than oranges
~ antiviral
~high ORAC
~improves the coordination of the immune system

This article is worth the read and gives all the proper props to Elderberry!

Recipe:

1/2 cup Elderberry Concentrate
1/2 cup organic pomegranate juice
2 tablespoon organic lime juice
3 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (I used Great Lakes, the orange bottle)

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan and then heat just to almost a boil/low boil and remove from heat. I like to let mine cool down for 5-10 minutes before transferring to my molds. Refrigerate until set.

You can use any silicone mold for these, or even a glass dish and then simply cut into squares. I found my bear molds on Amazon.com.

These are certainly the most expensive$ gummy bears I have ever made, but I know that my kiddos will be so happy to chomp these down, and I will be equally as happy knowing that they will be getting such great nutritional benefits from this healthful & protective treat.   ~Happy Fall~

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don't have to feel guilty about eating.
Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THE FALL ~ well, I haven’t mentioned it yet today, so there it is. Guilty!

My husband would tell you that I have been distracted as of late. My kids would likely say that I have not been a “good listener”. Well, if you could be a fly on the wall of my brain, you would know perfectly well that all this spaciness is due to the pumpkin eclipse that occurs once a year in October!  All I can think about is pumpkin : how crazy we should get with carving, which grocer to grab from, which patch to patron, and mostly, what creative pumpkin concoctions can I come up with in the kitchen?!

This year, I really wanted to test out an idea for a pumpkin cheesecake. Being dairy free, this would be a pumpkin cheesecake without cheese. Yes, you read that right. Many of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes call for vegan cream cheese. This is not my favorite option. I really wanted to find a different way to do a dairy-free cheesecake, one that seemed somewhat healthy and had no artificial ingredients and no cane sugar. So, my creative juices started to flow down a pumpkin path of a freezer cake, a layered freezer cake, and I thought about the creaminess I can get from chia seeds, like with the chia pudding that I sometimes make.  This is what I came up with:


This recipe is done in stages, but it is not difficult, so please don’t let the long explanation scare you off. I suggest reading through the instructions before you begin so that you can plan for each step.

LAYERED PUMPKIN PIE FREEZER ChiaSCAKE

Prior to making your cake/pie, soak 1/2 cup pecans and 1 cup of cashews in the refrigerator (seperately) for two hours. If you can plan ahead, it is easy to simply soak them in the fridge over night.


THE CRUST

{This part is a work in progress. I loved the flavor of this crust, but the consistency was a bit too gooey to me and made the pieces hard to serve, I will revise when I come up with a better solution, but my next try will be more nuts and less dates} :

1/2 cup pecans (or nut of choice), soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
10 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine in food processor or blender. Press a thin, even layer into a glass pie pan or a 6-cup pyrex dish (8x6x2)*
Set aside and move on to the PUMPKIN PIE LAYER.

THE PUMPKIN PIE LAYER
1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
I always opt for the simplest method possible. I combined all the ingredients into my Vitamix and blended until smooth. (You may see some specs from the chia seeds. This is okay)  Spoon the mix over the crust and smooth out with a spatula. Stick in the freezer while you rinse out your blender and move onto your ChiasCAKE LAYER.

THE ChiasCAKE LAYER
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all the ingredients for the ChiaSCAKE Layer into your Vitamix or blender. Blend, starting on low and moving up to higher speeds, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. There may be some specs from the chia seeds again. This is okay. Take the dish out of the freezer and add this layer to the top.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, take the freezer cake out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes, just until it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. Cut and serve.

The first time we tried this, I was not sure how the flavors would go over for the kids (they are 5 and 7). They looked at it skeptically at first, which could always go either way. After the first bite, I could see it written all over their faces. We had a winner, folks! They were soon licking their forks clean and asking {politely, of course} for another piece.  {Music to a momma’s ears.}  2 pieces each for breakfast the next morning and 1 more for an after-dinner-dessert and we managed to polish off this cake in close to a 24 hour period. Not too shabby!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

~Happy Dairy-Free Cheesecake eating ~