Holiday Chocolate Dessert Hummus with Mini Gingerbread Men

If I know Santa, he loves chocolate as much as the crew of Little Rusted Ladle do. You don’t get a belly like he does without a healthy dose of treats, and chocolate is definitely a treat. We love it in cookies, cakes, pies, sauces, dips, frostings, in drinks or on it’s own. On it’s own, chocolate is a pretty healthy ingredient. Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa )contains antioxidants and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium as well as containing a generous amount of fiber. It can also lower blood pressure and raise HDL(good cholesterol). The problem with chocolate is it is often paired with a couple ingredients we try to avoid. Processed sugar and dairy. Oh sure, the nine of us (Santa, Jena, Brandon, Austin, Elijah, Logan, Kennedy, Judi and I)could just eat dark chocolate, but sometimes there is no substitute for a creamy, rich chocolate dessert. So what can we do to get that creamy, chocolate fix without the guilt? It’s called Holiday Chocolate Dessert Hummus, and trust me, you’re going to want to make some.

I know what your thinking, chocolate hummus, really? Of all the chocolate desserts, we chose one made with garbanzo beans? Yes, we did, and Santa is going to thank us for it. We are definitely getting extra presents under the tree this year. Why? For one, chocolate hummus is delicious! The rich chocolate flavor works really well with the texture of the creamy pureed chickpeas, which have a very neutral flavor on their own. When we substitute coconut oil for the olive oil, Coconut milk for the tahini, and add raw sugar and vanilla, the hummus gets transformed from a savory middle eastern dip, to a decadent western dessert.

Want to know how good this dessert is? Well, recently, when I served this tasty treat to some clients and they were shocked that it was made from chick peas. I piped some onto Mexican wedding cookies and topped them with fresh raspberries. What made it good though was the ingredients. When compared to a homemade frosting using butter and sugar, we see some pretty dramatic results. The calories go from around 140 to 100. The sugars go from 16 grams to 9, but more importantly, we eliminated the processed sugar and replaced it with raw sugar, which helps lower inflamation. The fat stays about the same, but we substituted healthy coconut oil for the butter. Using chickpeas almost doubled our fiber, which for a dessert is pretty amazing.

So this Christmas, when you are thinking about leaving cookies and milk for Santa, think about leaving him some chocolate hummus instead of the cookies. If you have to leave any cookies, try some cute little teddy graham cookies decorated with mascarpone cheese like gingerbread men. He will probably appreciate it more than another plate of sugar cookies. After all, how many sugar cookies can you eat before you get sick of them? Until next time, remember to cook with love and live to cook. Jena and I and our families would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to another fabulous year in 2018.

Jim & Jena


Holiday Chocolate Dessert Hummus
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This healthy super chocolate hummus is delicious, healthy and really versatile. Spread it on cakes. Use it as a filling, or use it as a dip for fruits, cookies, or pretzels.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 can(15 ozs.) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • ½ cup Organic raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ¼ cup Coconut water
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a simmer. Add
  2. chickpeas and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and strain chickpeas. Add chickpeas and remaining
  4. ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Process for one minute or
  5. until smooth. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until
  6. needed. Serve at room temperature.


Turmeric Waffles with Double Nut Cream Recipe

On our last post, we talked about that incredible all natural inflammation reducer known as turmeric. Well, this time we decided to expand on that breakfast theme by adding some more turmeric to some semi-homemade waffles. Who doesn’t love a good homemade waffle? People with gluten intolerance or allergies, that’s who. Also, people with autoimmune or thyroid issues don’t like to take any chances, including yours truly.

Fortunately, there are some pretty darn good gluten free waffle mixes available now so everyone can enjoy a homemade waffle. With our Turmeric Waffles with Double Nut Cream, we added turmeric to both the waffle and the topping. This is no ordinary topping mind you. It is made with Nutella (do I really need to say anything else?), almond butter, cinnamon, honey, coffee, vanilla and of course a healthy amount of turmeric. A whole teaspoon to be exact. Normally you would think this would create an overpowering turmeric flavor, but that’s not the case. The combination of flavors is heavenly. Plus, when you add fresh bananas, toasted unsweetened coconut, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, you add a lot of healthy ingredients that also help the body. Can you say superfood explosion? Yes you can. So go ahead and eat those crunchy, chewy waffles and feel good about it.

Thanksgiving is coming soon. These might be a good idea on Friday morning when the family is trying to get rid of some bad diet decisions from the previous day.  Just a thought. Speaking of Thanksgiving, that means that gift buying season is in full gear. Instead of giving an ugly sweater, tie or slippers to your loved ones this year, why not order a stack of Little Rusted Ladle’s book Herbs for Flavor, Health and Natural Beauty to give to those that matter this year? It’s the prefect gift and it helps the little guy and gal (Jena & I). You can buy it on Jim’s websiteJena’s website or Amazon.  Jena and I wish all our fans, friends and blogging family a wonderful Thanksgiving. We’ll be back soon. Until then, don’t forget to cook with love and live to cook.

Jim & Jena.


Turmeric Waffles with Double Nut Cream Recipe
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Waffles don't have to be bad for you. These gluten free waffles are made with gluten free waffle mix and turmeric. They are topped with fresh bananas, nuts and coconut and a generous drizzle of our turmeric nut cream made with nutella, almond butter and turmeric. Enjoy
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1½ cups
  • ½ C. Nutella spread
  • ½ C. Creamy almond butter
  • ½ C. Whole milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Instant coffee
  • ¼ tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 whole Banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened shaved coconut, toasted
  • ¼ cup Raw walnuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. Raw pumpkin seeds
  1. Combine the first nine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer on low until melted and smooth. Serve warm over hot waffles. Top waffles with remaining ingredients. Feel free to add your own topping ideas.
  2. For waffles, follow directions on gluten free waffle mix to make 8 waffles and add 1 tsp. of ground turmeric.


Health Benefits of Turmeric & Latte Recipe

Turmeric is the new Kim Kardashian. What I mean by that is there’s a buzz in the air about the health benefits this yellow plant has to offer. However, unlike Kim Kardashian, turmeric has always been here. It’s always been the lonely spice in the aisle that nobody used. Now, everywhere you look people are talking about turmeric. Dr. Oz, Web MD, The Huffington post are all writing about the benefits of using it. You know it’s reached fever pitch when Starbucks has a turmeric latte. Well, I know we are a little late to the party when it comes to writing about this super food, but in our defense, we actually created the recipes and did the photography for this article over eight months ago just after our book Herbs for Flavor, Health and Natural Beauty was released.  Anyway, we’re pretty excited about this power house ingredient. For this two part post on turmeric, we wanted to show how it can be used in everyday life to make really tasty recipes that appear pretty decadent, but in actuality have some great health benefits. At the very least, they beat the pants off a pumpkin spice latte or doughnuts and bagels for helping the body.

Today, we are doing a turmeric latte. Jena turned me on to a product called Coconut coffee. It’s basically real coconut and coffee combined. You can get it with or without added sugar. We prefer the no added sugar since the evil ingredient these days is sugar. The latte you see has some good things in it. Turmeric, unsweetened almond milk, honey, cinnamon, yogurt and the coconut coffee. It’s also really delicious! What’s surprising, is that this latte has two teaspoons of turmeric in it. That’s a half a teaspoon per serving! Turmeric can have a very strong flavor, yet in this drink, it’s not overpowering.

I take turmeric supplements daily to combat inflammation, which seems to be the root of all medical problems these days. The problem with the supplements is they can be expensive. It’s good to take turmeric in the morning, so why not start your day off with a turmeric latte and skip the pills? The normal use for this power house ingredient is in savory dishes like curries or healthy dishes from India or Asia. This recipe is Americanized. We drink a lot of coffee here and a lot of the so-called “coffee” drinks are more sugar and cream than coffee. With our turmeric latte, you get a low fat and tasty morning beverage that won’t pile on the pounds or cost you a fortune. Make a big batch of it, keep it in the fridge, then reheat a cup of it in the morning. The perfect way to start the day. Later this week, we’ll add some delicious gluten free turmeric waffles topped with fresh bananas, walnuts and a very special turmeric double nut cream that is to die for. Until then, cook with love and live to cook.

Jim & Jena

Marilyn - looks delicious, but it is missing the recipe. Thank you

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie | Back to School Recipes

Peanut butter, meet jelly. Jelly, meet peanut butter. Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s how these perfect partners met? Some random encounter of two strangers introduced to each other by their mutual friend named sandwich bread. You don’t get used as an example of being perfect together without being REALLY perfect. Especially in the food world. Creamy, salty peanut butter combined with sweet, fruity blueberry jam. Yum! There’s only one problem with this iconic combo. That pesky third wheel named bread is always hanging around. Oh sure, bread is great at making these two besties mobile, and yes, the addition of their friend bread is great from a texture standpoint, but these days, many people would like to have bread, who happens to be loaded with evil gluten, just find a new set of friends. Go hang out with bologna, turkey or ham.

I could go on and on about these two, but let’s get serious. Mom’s love giving their kids PB&J sandwiches because they’re easy, mobile and contain needed protein and fruit that kids need. However, we now know that processed sugar, which is found in abundance in jelly, is not good for you. O.k., so bread isn’t welcome, jelly now is bad because of sugar. Things aren’t looking good for these besties all of a sudden. But wait, what if they were used in a creamy delicious beverage like a smoothie? It could still be yummy, portable and good for our kids too. That’s right, the jelly still has sugar. However, if we told sugar to take a hike but told the fruit they could stay, we’d have a perfect combo again. Add a few more great influence friends like the seed brothers flax and chia. Some calcium rich milk and peanut butters old buddy banana, and you’ve got a pretty great gang that both moms and kids can appreciate.

This full flavored smoothie is super easy, delicious and guilt free. Not so happy about the new friend milk joining the group? No problem, I hear almond milk was looking for some new friends. Now we have two besties back in action with some great friends that mom doesn’t have to worry about. It’s a lot like our own little ones. If only they didn’t have to grow up so quickly. Well, I still enjoy having a PB& J sandwich once in awhile, and it makes me happy every time because it reminds me of my mom and being a kid again. I hope that someday our kids feel the same hapiness drinking their PB&J smoothie when they are older too. Enjoy and don’t forget to cook with love and live to cook.

Jim & Jena

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie | Back to School Recipes
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Healthy back to school breakfast loved by kids. Perfect for on the go! Quick and easy.
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 4 Servings
  • 2 Frozen Bananas
  • 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ c Peanut Butter
  • 1 c Blueberries
  • 1tbs Flax Seed
  • 1 tbs Chi Seed
  • 1 c Ice
  • 2 c Milk
  1. Mix All ingredients together in powerful blender.
  2. Serve.


Pear and Rhubarb Waldorf Salad Recipe

Does it get much prettier then this Pear and Rhubarb Waldorf Salad? Not to mention that it is at tasty as it is pretty. Thats why it makes the prefect first course to this styled out wedding shower. This extravagant party took place at our friend’s, the Maule’s, house. Before the guests arrived we had a photoshoot staring their beautiful daughter Ruthie and a precious baby goat that was born that afternoon. Yes! This darling baby goat you see below is only a few hours old.

Art Direction and Styling: Liz Maule and Jena Carlin
Model: Ruthie Maule
Furniture and Props: Relics Vintage Rental
repurposed Bar: Jesse Maule
Sign Art: ChalkedMKE

Thank you all for for stopping by.  Don’t wait until a special occasion, create one!

Jena & Jim


Pear and Rhubarb Waldorf Salad Recipe
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Serves: 4
  1. When making the blue cheese dressing, blend the mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper and blue cheese in the bowl of a food processor until smooth.
  2. Layer the pears, rhubarb, walnuts, mini basil and lemon balm along with the dressing to serve.


Lori Rice - That picture of Ruthie with the goat is quite possible the cutest thing I have ever seen!

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