Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 I updated this post with a photo, so you can see what you're making.  I think it's worth re-posting because it's been such a hit around my kitchen this summer (so far), that it might create some lunchtime smiles in yours!

This summer, my son Casey learned to swim.  He came close last year, but this year he got it.  One of the things I love most about Casey is his fierce spirit.  He committed himself to making a swim team, and now he's on it.

What does that have to do with food, you might wonder?

If you have a food-allergic or otherwise food-challenged child, I bet you know right away what this has to do with food.  Trying to ensure good nutrition and adequate calories in a child who is limited by biology (not to mention choice... darn pickiness!) can be demanding, to say the least.  Add in twice-weekly swim practices, and what's a mom to do?

Vegan Chocolate Spread
Chocolate Sunflower Spread

Luckily, there are some great resources out there to help make the job of packing a socially acceptable, tasty, nutritious and most-of-all safe lunch a little bit easier.  One of those resources is the fantastic blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogs written by Ricki Heller.

If you don't know this blog, I encourage you to check it out--and soon.  First of all, Ricki is a completely entertaining writer.  Even when she's cooking up something that won't work for our family, I still love to read the little essay that goes with the recipe.  Lots of times, though, she inspires me to think about ingredients in a new and different way.

Ricki came to the rescue of Casey's lunch box with a recipe for Chocolate Bean Butter.  Casey loves chocolate, so it really struck my fancy to make a refined-sugar-free chocolate spread made with beans.  I don't usually cook with stevia, so I had to make some changes in the sweeteners, but I was committed to trying to keep it in the spirit it was intended.  I used a little agave nectar along with the coconut palm sugar and stayed away from cane sugar.  The flavor was a little grown-up for my boys, so we added in some sunflower seed butter to bring to mind our favorite Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups.  My younger son, Evan, still has other favorite spreads, but this Chocolate Sunflower Spread is hitting the jackpot for Casey right now.

Chocolate Sunflower Spread (adapted from Ricki Heller's Chocolate Bean Butter)

1 can Great Northern, canellini  or black beans, drained and rinsed
5T cocoa
2T coconut palm sugar
pinch of salt
3T coconut oil
1t vanilla
3T agave nectar
2T rice milk
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Happy Cooking!

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  1. Kim, I'm so glad you liked the spread! I've also made it with almond butter added along with the coconut oil, and I love it that way, too (which sounds very much like your sunflower seed butter version). And glad Casey liked it (and hope Evan grows into it!). :D

  2. This reminds me of Nutella, which was a big seller at our house in the days before allergies! I'd love it if you would come link this post at my new party featuring allergy-free lunchbox ideas... perfect timing! The party goes live on Friday morning at http://allergyfreecookery.blogspot.com.


    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

  3. Thanks for coming to my lunchbox party! Hope to see you next Friday :)

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

  4. I can't wait to try this! Thank you.

  5. This sounds heavenly; what a fabulous recipe. Thank you for sharing! Will you be at the Dallas Gluten-Free Expo next month? If so, I'd love to meet you! Enjoy your weekend.

  6. Thanks Lisa, Theophanie, and The Healthy Apple! Unfortunately, neither Megan nor I will be in Dallas this year. I'm sure it's going to be great! We've been in Chicago the past couple of years, and the Expo is really a nice opportunity to meet other people, learn about resources and get some great samples!

  7. This looks so tasty! A nice change from our typical Sunbutter sandwiches. Thanks for the idea.


  8. Thanks for reposting this, Kim! :) (And just curious: has Evan come round yet?) ;-)

  9. He has, Ricki! Everyone is loving it.