Pumpkin Chia Pudding (Keto-friendly, clean)

 

Who’s ready for pumpkin season!?

I’m not scared to admit it. I love pumpkin, and I’m ready for pumpkin season.

I know it’s still August and I’m not saying I’m ready for fall. I’m just ready for pumpkin. Pumpkin everything (except for PSLs…those should never be considered real pumpkin!)…let’s get it going.

This is a super easy dessert to throw together. And it’s keto-approved. (More to come on keto!) The hardest part is making sure you make this ahead of time so the seeds have time to soak. After dinner, I always need one sweet bite or something and this really does the trick.

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Pumpkin is full of fiber and chia seeds are full of healthy fats. The two together make this a totally healthy, fun snack or dessert.

This is another one of those throw-everything-together-and-just-let-it -do-it’s-thing” type recipes.

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Do you guys use chia seeds? I had a weird aversion to them for a while. I didn’t like the texture and didn’t really understand why anyone would even bother. They seemed tasteless and just silly. After reading more about them, they’re now a staple for me every single day. If nothing else, I just throw them in my AM smoothie (which reminds me, I should totally do a blog post on my favorite AM smoothies!)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mixture)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1.25 cups of organic unsweetened cashew milk

How to: Combine everything in a bowl. Mixture will be watery before the seeds have time to expand. Set the mixture in the fridge for 3-4 hours, mixing every hour or so. Once they have set a bit, scoop 1/4th of the mixture into a cup. Top with whipped cream, pecans, or walnuts.

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Blueberry + Chocolate Coconut Bites (Clean, Vegan, no-bake)

It’s been hot. Really really hot. Like, “feels like 100” hot here in Chicago. When it’s that hot, who can stand to be in the kitchen with a hot oven? Not moi. Time for a no-bake, chilled sweet treat!

These take about 10 minutes to put together. Another SUPER easy one! You really can’t mess this up even if you try!

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I have to say… one thing I have never been great at is layering on the chocolate drizzle. It’s a mess. I totally intended to have the chocolate drizzled nicely & evenly across the cookie in straight lines.. Ha! Not even close.

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But really…aren’t they more fun this way?

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One of the things I love about these is that they are actually better frozen. They’re like a little frozen blueberry coconut meltaway puff. (What a mouthful!) I’m planning on keeping these in the freezer until about 2-3 minutes before I am ready to eat them. Totally not necessary to keep them frozen, as they’ll maintain their shape even if room temperature. I am just using them to provide a little relief from the heat wave!

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Ingredients:

  • One pint of organic blueberries (you could also use frozen – I just happened to have some fresh organic blueberries laying around…because…who doesn’t? :))
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (if you don’t have any, just put some gluten free oats in your vitamix and pulse until ground)
  • 1.5 cups of unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1 full frozen ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
  • Optional: Dark chocolate for melting

How to: (Um, the easiest ever…)

  • Pulse all ingredients except for chocolate together in a Vitamix – I like to leave a few blueberry chunks in there
  • Using your hands or an ice cream scoop, create balls of the mixture and lay on a piece of parchment paper or on a cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 1 full hour.
  • Melt dark chocolate in a cup or bowl and drizzle (hopefully, more beautifully than I was able to!)

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I chose to use blueberries in this recipe because I just happened to have some. If you’re a cheery person, I can imagine they would turn out INCREDIBLY. Omg, maybe I need to try that too…

Also, you could use strawberries, blackberries, or really any berry! Give them a try with some different fruits and let me know what you think!

Stay COOL! Woof.

Blueberry Quinoa + Oat Muffins (Vegan, clean)

So we all know the saying “when the cats away, the mouse will play”, right? Well, that happened to me yesterday. My husband was out at a music festival all day and I went a little baking-overboard. I baked 5 different recipes. This is one of the creations that came out of the day.

As you can probably tell, I love breakfast foods. Especially on the weekend. During the week, breakfast is always a green smoothie or some oatmeal. But on the weekends, I vary my selections much more. I found some really delicious looking blueberries at the market and couldn’t resist baking with them right away.

I haven’t posted in a while because some of my original creations have been total busts. I had some matcha muffins backfire on me, a few bland “granola” recipes, and even a few bars (which are my normal go-to!) turn out boring. However, I think these turned out well.

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These took a bit more prep work than my normal recipes. That said, they took about 20 minutes in total – much more normal prep time for a baked good. 🙂

Also, the thing I love about these is that they are packed with quinoa & flax seed and you can’t even tell they’re super healthy. You could even throw some chia seeds in there if you wanted the extra fiber & protein!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup cooked & cooled quinoa
  • 1/4 cup organic flax seeds, or flax seed powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas – the more ripe, the sweeter they’ll be
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pint of fresh blueberries – bonus points if they come from a farmer’s market!

How to:

  • Cook quinoa over the stove per the directions on the box, let it cool
  • In a medium bowl, combine quinoa & dry ingredients – mix together; set aside

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  • In a seperate bowl, mash bananas. Once mashed, add in vanilla, applesauce and cashew or almond butter.

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  • Beat until well mixed

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  • Add dry ingredients to bowl with the mashed banana mixture; beat until combined

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  • Wash blueberries and hand mix in

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  • Scoop mixture into a muffin tin

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  • You can add an extra oatmeal crumble if you’d like. This is optional, but all I did to create the crumble was mix together a bit of almond milk + oats, tossed with a bit of agave. Sprinkle the crumble on top, if you choose to use it.

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  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until edges start to brown

IMG_6163.jpgTotally up to you, but I like to eat these piping hot (but that’s how I eat everything!)

IMG_6161.jpgThese would be great to prep on a Sunday for the family and eat all week long! Or, freeze them and warn them a bit before grabbing on the go.

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These would be great with strawberries, cherries, blackberries…the list is endless!

Give them a shot with some different fruit and let me know what you think! Happy breakfasting!

 

Lime + Pistachio Cheesecake Bites (Clean, Raw, Vegan)

Should I just let this photo speak for itself? cheesecake1.jpg

Or maybe this one?!

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I have been eying some vegan cheesecake recipes for a while now, but the hard part is that the base is made from cashews that need to be soaked over night. Finally, I remembered to buy some cashews on a Saturday and soak them in preparation for Sunday Baking. Win for me.

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Ingredients

  • Base layer:
    • 1 cup dates
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
    • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup of pistachios (unshelled, roasted, but not salted)
  • Cheesecake layer:
    • 2 1/2 cups of cashews soaked overnight until mushy
    • 2 tablespoons of room temperature coconut oil (or avocado oil)
    • 2 cups unsweetened coconut
    • 1/2 cup coconut cream
    • Juice of two limes – plus another full lime for decoration
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

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How to:

  • Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside
  • Like many of my other recipes, you’ll simply combine all ingredients in the “base” layer in a Vitamix until pieces are chopped well
  • Once combined, press mixture into the pan and pop in freezer while you prepare the cheesecake
  • Wash the Vitamix and combine all filling ingredients. Blend until chunks are gone.
  • Pour mixture over the nut base and freeze for 2-3 hours
  • Once solid, garnish with crushed pistachios and/or lime pieces
  • Keep these in the fridge or freezer to help them maintain their shape, otherwise they may spread and melt a bit

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Reminder: Just becuase something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These are clean (which is GOOD) but they should be treated as a treat because they are packed with sugar. But, of all the treats in the world, there could be much worse options 🙂

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These can stay frozen for a couple of days, if they last that long. Such a good, refreshing summer treat!

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Breakfast Bars with Hazelnut Butter (Clean, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, healthy!)

Guys, summer may actually be coming! I know this because my kitchen was HOT while I was baking. To be clear, I am no where near complaining, espeically since we only get a small handful of warm days in Chicago each spring. However, if this keeps up next week may be a no-bake week 🙂

One of my summer addictions is iced coffee with hazelnut flavored syrup. Not the cleanest of treats, I realize, but I just LOVE me some hazelnut.

I decided to combine a few of my favorite things so I could have an excuse to bake with something Hazelnut flavored. The recipe itself is pretty basic and forward, and if you don’t like hazelnut you can easily swap out regular peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, or anything else! However, Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter really is the jam. I would even say it makes the recipe worth it.

This recipe is suitable for almost anyone – no flour, no eggs, no butter, and no dairy! Not too shabby.

Let’s do it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten free oats ground into flour, or almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 extra ripe bananas (PS If you don’t have ripe bananas, did you know you can actually ripen fresh bananas in the oven?? Genius)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Agave
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 packet of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter 

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×8 pan with EVOO spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda + salt) and set aside.
  • In a Vitamix or food processor, blend together bananas, agave, vanilla and applesauce.

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  • Combine wet + dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

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  • Spread batter into pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

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  • Make chocolate drizzle by combining coconut oil with cocoa and drizzle over the pan. (This part is optional, but I feel like the bitterness of the chocolate is actually a nice compliment to the sweetness of the hazelnut butter.)

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  • Also optional (but definitely worth it!) cut the corner of the Hazelnut Butter packet and spread across the bars.

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  • Final step: DEVOUR these 🙂 YUM!

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Raw Vegan Blackberry Mini Cheesecakes

Cheesecake – ugh. The best thing in the world, but not for people like me who can’t really handle cheese. Wah wah. Finally, this recipe is something I can get on board with – vegan cheesecake bites, made with cashews. Can it really be true?!?

I stole this recipe (borrowed? 🙂 ) from Little Vegan Bear’s amazing Blueberry cheesecake bite recipe.  Why blackberries instead of blue? No reason – they just caught my eye at the market this morning. Plus – aren’t they beautiful ?

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These do take some time, so make sure you have an hour or so to spend in the kitchen. Not all of the time will be prep time. These require that you create a layer, then let them set for a while before adding on the next layer. All in all, these took me about 1.5 hours. And, I only photographed one of them becuase the others were still setting, but I wanted to get the good, natural light 🙂

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Ingredients:

Base Layer:
1 cup soaked or boiled dates
1/2 cup pecans or other nuts or seeds (anything but cashews!)
¼ cup almonds
pinch of pink Himalayan salt (Or whatever salt you have – I just prefer pink!)

Cheesecake layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked at least 8 hours – overnight is even better
¼ cup agave
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons  vanilla
1 tablespoon lime juice

Blue layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked
1½ cups blackberries
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup agave or maple syrup

Chia jam:
2 cups blackberries (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons organic chia seeds

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How to:

  • Add the base layer ingredients to a Vitamix or blender. Mix well until still chunky, but mixed well and most of the larger pieces are chopped.
  • Spray a muffin pan then spoon mixture into the pan. The mixture should cover the bottom of the pan but not be too thick – think 1/4 of an inch or so.
  • Pop them in the freezer to set.
  • Clean out/wipe down the Vitamix. Next, blend together the cheesecake layer. Give it a taste before you you scoop layer on to the base – depending on your taste, you may want to add another little bit of agave.
  • Once you’re happy with the taste, spoon this mixture on top of the base and put them back in the freezer while you make the next layer.
  • Again, clean out the Vitamix and blend the next layer of ingredients. Mix together the fruit layer ingredients. Again, layer. Again, freeze.
  • Next, you’re going to create the jam that goes on top. Bring blackberries (or your choice of fruit), agave and lime juice in a sauce pan to a boil. Once boiling, smoosh the berries & let the mixture simmer.
  • Add in the chia seeds and let simmer; allow the seeds to soak up the remaining liquid. This should take 10-15 minutes. Once most of the liquid is gone, allow the jam to cool.
  • Once the cheesecakes are solid, scoop a bit of the jam on top. Layer with any of your favorite superfoods – I wish I would have had some crushed pistachios to layer on top of my jam!

Happy Easter! ❤

Pistachio Matcha Protein Balls (Clean, healthy, Gluten-free, no bake)

A co-worker has been requesting that I bake with matcha for some time now, though I’ve been nervous to try it. Matcha is not cheap when it comes to tea and I was nervous that it wouldn’t taste sweet enough without any added or artificial sugars. However, I just went for it … (YOLO)… and these were a huge hit!

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For a first go at baking with matcha, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the results. The green color of these is natural  from the matcha – they would have been the perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat. I guess there’s always next year!

balls1.jpgThese were super quick to make. I put them in the freezer to set, but you could have eaten them right away. This recipes makes about 12 balls depending on size.

Oh, the best part? These are low calorie and HIGH protein, so they make for a great post workout snack or a healthy after-lunch treat. I’m estimating these bad boys come in around 125 calories each.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 scoops any plant based, vegan protein powder (I used Sun Warrior, a personal fav!)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Matcha (If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with David’s Tea – this matcha is great, and they have a few “flavored” options too)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of organic coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure organic maple syrup (could sub Agave if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1-3 teaspoons of water
  • 1 cup of crushed shelled pistachios (to make sure these are clean, just use plain pistachios – not roasted or salted) balls1.jpg

How to: (Told you these were super easy)

  • In a food processor, blend together cashews, coconut, protein, matcha, and coconut flour until well combined and powdery.
  • Add in melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Blend for a few seconds until a heavy dough starts to form.
  • Scoop all of the mixture out and put in a seperate bowl or onto parchment paper so it’s easier to grab and roll the dough into balls.
  • At this point, if the dough isn’t sticking together, add a teaspoon of water at a time, mixing in between, until you’re able to roll these into balls. They should be dry enough, though, that they will stay together on their own and not melt all over the plate.
  • Put all crushed pistachios on a plate and roll the dough around on the plate, pushing the pistachios into the dough.
  • Set these in the freezer to set. This should only take 15 minutes or so.
  • Eat and enjoy!!

 

Green Superfood Smoothie Bowl (Clean, gluten-free, paleo)

Ok, you know how oats are my “thing?” I may have discovered a new “thing”.

Smoothie bowls.

Most mornings, I have a green drink to go alongside my oats, but I have recently discovered smoothie bowls that bring in some of my favorrrrrite superfoods. This is my very first smoothie bowl and it was delicious. I had to stop myself from making 10 more after this first one because I got so excited thinking about everything I could create!

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One of the most fun parts about these is how beautiful they are! I mean… LOOK!

I started thinking/dreaming about smoothie bowls after my recent trip to Tulum, where I stumbled upon the most amazing raw vegan smoothie restaurant – Raw Love.  My husband made fun of me for discovering one of the healthiest restaurants in Mexico while on vacation, when everyone else we were with was more focused on finding the best margarita. But seriously, this place was legit. Ahhhh, I want to go backkkk.

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Ingredients:

  • Smoothie Bowl:
    • Small handful of kale
    • Small handful of cabbage
    • Small handful romaine
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 10 ice cubes
  • Toppings: 3 large sliced strawberries
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1/4 cup chia seeds
    • 1/4 cup blueberries
    • 1/8 cup pistachios
    • 1/8 cup cashews
    • Anything else your little heart desires!

How to:

  • Add all ingredients from smoothie bowl to Vitamix and blend until well mixed
  • Top with any toppings & enjoy immediately!

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Almond Butter Cups (Clean, Paleo, Vegan)

Who doesn’t love a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? If you say you don’t, I’m pretty sure you’re lying. I try to lie to myself about it sometimes, too, but I gotta admit – they are unbeatable. But, we all know they aren’t the healthiest of treats.

Enter my clean eating & paleo friendly almond butter & coconut cups. Coconut is one of my favorite superfoods and helps to sweeten these babies.

These do take about an hour or so to cool, so make sure you have some extra time before you need to serve these. Once they’re hardened, they will go FAST.

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At this point, can we all agree… peanut/almond butter + chocolate = perfection?

Let me be clear – these are by NO means a diet food, but they are healthy in the regard that they are packed with healthy & natural ingredients. One a day should be more than enough to keep you happy 🙂

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Ingredients: (recipe makes roughly 12 – 15 cups)

  • 1 cup almond butter or cashew butter (I used almond)
  • 1 tablespoon of Agave or Honey (I used all natural honey)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup or more of unsweetened natural coconut
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

How to:

  • Add first three ingredients (almond butter, agave and coconut oil) into a small pan and slowly melt until the mix becomes relatively thin and easy to stir.
  • Remove from heat and hand mix in coconut.
  • Using a cupcake tin or other “shaper”, cover the bottom of the tin with the nut butter goodness
  • Pop in the freezer while you melt the chocolate. You will probably need to let these harden for about 30 min or so.
  • While the bottom portion is hardening, melt the chocolate. I did this on the stove but you could also put into a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, mixing in between.
  • Once melted, pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture. Return to freezer.
  • Cups should be frozen within an hour and ready to eat!

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Pecan Pie Petites (Vegan, Raw, Clean, Paleo-friendly)

Ok so we all know that the desserts that the family brings to Thanksgiving are loaded with sugar and extra processed (and unnecessary!) ingredients – right? Personally, I can hardly ever eat a meal without needing a sweet ending but I hate the idea of eating a dessert made from a box with loads of unhealthy…who knows what! nut4

Juuuuust in time for Thanksgiving, meet my Pecan Pie Petites. You can feed these to pretty much anyone with special diet restrictions and keep them happy, because they’re clean, paleo-friendly, raw & vegan!  (Except they are pretty nut heavy, obviously, so keep these away from the nut-allergic uncle.)

These took about 20 minutes to make in total and were super easy. The worst part? Waiting for them to freeze overnight when all you want to do is shove 0f them in your mouth at once.

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Basically, this is another one of my cococtions where you can just put in a food processor, layer it, freeze it and eat it. Done.

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Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of Agave or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Pie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 Medium/Large Banana (The more ripe, the better!)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Agave or honey
  • 1.5 cups pecans
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tablespoon nutmug
  • 1/2 cup No sugar added Almond Milk (optional)
  • Extra pecans for topping – crushed or whole, totally your preference

How to:

  • Mix all of the crust ingredients in your food processor for about 45 seconds, or until it looks chunky but not blended all the way. You’ll want it to be chunky enough to taste the pieces, but ground enough to hold together as a curst.
  • Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 pan and press mixtures into the bottom of the pan. You might want to use your hands to spread it out but make sure it’s level across the entire bottom of the pan.
  • Wash the food processor.
  • Next, add all ingredients from the pie filling into the food processor and mix well. Add in Almond Milk if necessary to make the it a thick pie texture.
  • Pour pie filling over the crust.
  • Don’t forget to lick the spoon 🙂
  • Freeze at least 5 hours – I froze mine overnight.
  • Cut them into 1 inch bites and top with a a mini piece of pecan or pecan crumbs.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to thank everyone who gives you endless compliments on how much these taste like Pecan Pie. 🙂

Whats your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Have you ever tried to make a clean version of it?