Protein powders seem to be taking over supermarket shelves and not in a good way. Many of the containers promise increased muscle and endurance using powders laden with chemicals and artificial flavors. I want wholesome (and vegan!) ingredients to fuel me during my workouts. Undeterred, I began sampling protein powders. After sampling some chalky, bland tasting brands, I tried HealthForce. I knew I had my winner.
HealthForce protein powder is 100% raw, vegan, gluten free, and non-GMO. The protein powder is made from a base of organic, sprouted brown rice and organic hemp. HealthForce then adds in nopal cactus for endurance and blood sugar function, arctic root for endurance, vanilla bean, whole stevia leaf, and a variety of enzymes.
Personally, I like HealthForce vanilla protein powder mixed with almond milk, although it is also delicious when mixed with coconut water and in smoothies. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake. I love that I can see the small black specks of real vanilla bean! The protein powder is great for a pre or post workout drink. It takes the edge off my hunger before a workout without making me feel heavy and helps me not overeat after a workout.
HealthForce also has a chocolate protein powder. I haven’t had a chance to try the chocolate flavor yet, but I’m guessing that the cacao powder and cinnamon listed as ingredients on the label ensure it taste delicious! Did I mention that the packaging is made out of recycled material? Definitely a product worth trying!
For more information on HealthForce’s products, check out their website at:
SOUTH PARK. “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson
So Eclipse Chocolate is clearly a true friend. Eclipse Chocolate understands that chocolate should not be confined to desserts, demonstrated by a menu that weaves dark chocolate into appetizers, entrees, and drinks. But wait, it gets better.
Each month, Eclipse Chocolate offers “Supper Club” – a themed multi-course tasting dinner. The themes change, but each Supper Club dish features chocolate, vanilla bean, or caramel. Yes, even the savory dishes. (Especially the savory dishes!) And Eclipse offers wine or beer pairings for each dish.
Supper Club usually lands on a Friday or Saturday night. Multiple seating times are available. Reservations are crucial. To reserve space, call (619) 578-2984. A full calendar of upcoming Supper Club Events can be found at:
I attended the New Years Resolution Supper Club. I owe a special thanks to Katherine and Sean for finding out about it and passing along the news. So let’s get started . . .
I am an eavesdropper. I eavesdrop. It’s what I do. Within minutes of arriving, I heard one of the servers talking about a Chocolate Chai tea. Suspecting that chocolate tea in a restaurant specializing in chocolate was going to be pretty special, I ordered one. I recommend it. The tea has a rich, chocolate taste with a great blend of spices.
First, we shared the Avocado Street Tacos. The mini tacos arrived (obviously way cuter than regular tacos), and we picked up the hickory salted corn tortillas that encased panko crusted fried avocados, vanilla bean pickled cabbage, and black bean pico de gallo. The tart pickled cabbage and spicy pico de gallo added powerful flavor to the smooth and creamy avocado interior. In short, the tacos were a perfect starter.
Eclipse Chocolate First Course:
Next was the black bean soup, made from roasted veggies, caramelized onion, and black beans. Served with fried tortilla chips, pickled red onion, vanilla bean salt, and chive, this soup could stand on its own as a meal.
Eclipse Chocolate Second Course:
Eclipse Chocolate offered two options for the second course: (1) Spicy Farro Poblano; and (2) the Crispy Quinoa Fritter.
Spicy Farro Poblano:
Farro, roasted veggies, and kale spilled out of a spicy, herb roasted poblano pepper. Eclipse drizzled brute cocoa mole on top. The mole was amazing. In my opinion, chocolate should be drizzled liberally on every dish! Did I use my fork to scrape every last bit of it off my plate? Absolutely. So how did they make the dish even better? By adding a side of fried plantains, mixed with jalapeno peach salsa. A truly special entrée.
Crispy Quinoa Fritter:
Then there was the equally delicious Crispy Quinoa Fritter. The quinoa, bell pepper, and mushroom fritter stood on a polenta cake, served with hickory salted avocado. The fritter was crispy on the outside, and hot and soft on the inside. The same cocoa mole sauce drizzled the fritter, complete with the side of fried plantains and jalapeno peach salsa.
Eclipse Chocolate Third Course:
Finally, it was time for dessert. If you’re judging me for grand indulgence, that’s completely reasonable. I was full, I admit it. But I made room for the Almond Toffee Sundae. At the base, there was a grilled olive oil almond cake. Sweet and mild. Then marcona almond and cocoa nib praline created a salty ring around the almond cake. Finally, raw almond and cashew milk gelato – with coffee kahlua caramel – crowned the cake. Wow. I wish I could spoon feed this dish to every person who thinks that vegan desserts are somehow lacking.
I will be looking at Eclipse Chocolate’s upcoming Supper Club events with eager anticipation. I can only hope that they will have another vegan friendly dinner in the near future. I’ve also explored Eclipse’s regular menu and found that they regularly offer a variety of vegan-friendly options. You can be sure I will be visiting again soon! Expect a blog post about them in the future!
I am a brownie lover. I am a brownie lover who has (until recently!) shied away from making vegan brownies. Why? They final results are often dry, tasteless, and crumbly.
So, when I walked into my vegan cooking class and my teacher, Liz Gary, announced the group of recipes for the day would include vegan brownies (which were also gluten-free), I knew I had to be assigned to the brownie group. We used the recipe from BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna. This was my first time using a recipe from the BabyCakes cookbook. After making these brownies, it is high on my list to purchase!
First, we gathered the ingredients…
Including the apple sauce that would ensure the brownies were moist!
The dry ingredients went in the bowl first. I would recommend taking a moment to smell the cocoa powder! YUM!
Then add the wet ingredients.
And mix together. Looking at this picture of the vegan brownie batter is making my mouth water right now!
The only thing better than brownies? Brownies with chocolate chips!
Once the chocolate chips were mixed in, it was time to pour the batter into the pan.
Spread the batter evenly. I was happy my class made a double batch of these brownies, because I had a feeling they were going to go fast!
The brownies went in the oven, and soon aromas of baked chocolate were wafting through the kitchen. Heavenly.
The brownies were soft, moist, melt in your mouth, chocolate bombs. I’m thrilled that I have a “go to” recipe for vegan brownies. They will definitely be in my rotation for potlucks and dinner parties. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Happy baking!
David Wolf, a vegan who is well known for his dedication to raw foods, superfoods, and longevity, summarizes some of maca’s benefits in the following YouTube Video. (Mr. Wolf will be familiar to you, if you have seen the documentary “Hungry for Change.”)
Mr. Wolf notes that maca supports healthy hormones, is rich in fatty acids, and contains important trace minerals and amino acids. Maca is also important, because it helps the body adapt to stress.
Maca’s other possible benefits include increased libido, decreased cholesterol, increased stamina, reduction in post-menopausal symptoms, regulation of hormones, and reduction in migraine headaches. For additional information on these topics, click on:
Melinda’s Maca Balls are made from whole, organic ingredients and come in 3 flavors: (1) Chocolate Walnut, (2) Double Chocolate Chip, and (3) Chocolate Mint Chip. Agave nectar, cacao, maca, coconut oil, cacao butter, vanilla bean, and Himalayan pink salt make up the base of each ball.
The Chocolate Walnut Maca Ball with its dense, chocolate center is coated with walnut pieces. It is my favorite — in my opinion, chocolate and walnuts can and should be mixed together as often as possible!
The Double Chocolate Chip Maca Ball has the same dense, chocolate center but is covered with cacao pieces. It’s chocolate on chocolate – perfect for those who are looking for their next sumptuous treat!
So far, I have not been able to find the Chocolate Mint Chip Maca Balls in a store. However, if the other flavors are a barometer for the Chocolate Mint Chip flavor, I am in for a treat!
Melinda’s Maca Balls are a decadent maca delivery device. I recommend enjoying them sooner rather than later!
More information on Melinda’s Maca Balls can be found at: