Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Why I Don't Eat Fake Animal Products --- It's About Health, Ethics and Compassion!

Two of my most popular blog postings, and also among the most controversial were We Are Not Vegans! and We Are Not Vegans, Part II. I believe that both postings make an important point. While we in the whole food, plant-based movement share with vegans the fact that we don't eat animal products, that commonality does not in and of itself make us vegan. Nor does it make vegans to be whole food, plant-based. That distinction becomes important when we eat because there are a lot of vegan-manufactured foods that are not whole food, plant-based. There are fake meats, fake cheeses, fake mayos, fake buttery spreads, fake yogurts, fake ice creams and on and on. They are all processed foods, containing too much salt, oil and sugar as well as chemicals for which we have no idea what they are. While theoretically plant-based (I personally think of them more as chemically-based myself), none of them are whole foods and none of them have a place in a WFPB diet.

Some will argue that these processed foods have a place in transitioning to a WFPB diet or to a vegan diet. I would disagree. If you had an alcoholic family member who drank beer to a stage of being drunk every night, you wouldn't propose that family member give up beer by drinking wine instead. You wouldn't classify wine as a transition food. Both are prohibited foods for an alcoholic. But yet, we in the whole food, plant-based movement, remove one prohibited food (animal-based products) and replace that with another prohibited food (highly processed foods) and we then call it a transition food. What sense does that make?

In his book How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger on page 259 gives the yellow light to unprocessed animal foods. But he gives the red light to ultra-processed plant foods. In other words, from a health standpoint, it may be healthier to eat the real meat from an animal than it is to eat these highly processed foods. When given the choice between a grilled chicken breast (an unprocessed animal food) or an oil-based fake mayo (an ultra-processed plant food), it appears that Dr. Greger is saying the healthier choice is the chicken breast.

I'm not saying this to say that we should start eating chicken. We should not. I'm saying this to point out how significantly unhealthy processed foods are. And when we refer to them as transition foods, we're saying we want to replace one thing that is unhealthy with something that may be even more unhealthy. That doesn't make sense to me.

So, instead of thinking of ourselves as vegan, which we may well be (although there's more to being vegan than how a person eats), we really need to think of ourselves as being whole food, plant-based. And I would argue that vegans should think that way too (see more on that below). Not eating animal products is only one aspect of being WFPB. Other aspects include avoiding highly-processed foods, which as Dr. Greger points out are among the unhealthiest foods on the planet.

Just remember the old adage --- If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it is made in a plant, don't eat it.

But there's more than health reasons for avoiding fake animal products as well. And some of this may be the Buddhist Christian in me coming out. But it's hard for me to understand wanting to eat some being that I profess to love. Our thoughts are what lead us to the kind of world we want to live in. And what we enjoy eating is part of our thoughts. Our cravings and our desires for certain foods originate in our brains. So, as long as I salivate over the taste of some animal, whether I eat that animal or not, I believe that I am perpetuating to some degree the continuation of violence in the world.

That's because the world will not change until our thoughts change. As Henry David Thoreau said, "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." That statement has application to so many places in our society today, but let me suggest how it applies with respect to compassion and ethical veganism. Giving up on eating animals is worthy, but I believe it is hacking at the branches of evil. It's pruning the bush, but because it's not getting to the root of the bush, the bush keeps growing (and we need to keep hacking). The root of the evil, in our society, is our way of thinking. We live in a world where we think of animals as subservient to us. We live in a world where we think we are a superior species. We live in a world where we think it's okay to treat animals cruelly.

And when we choose to eat foods that imitate what animals taste like, then we are continuing to live in a world that thinks it's okay to eat animals. And the argument that we still might crave the taste of animal foods really holds no water in an ethical world. It's like saying we're married but we still enjoy having romantic relationships with other people. Wouldn't that say there was something wrong with the marriage? A newlywed wouldn't tell their spouse to transition into the marriage by only having romantic relations with old girlfriends or boyfriends. Just don't create any new ones. That would certainly be atypical. What we need to do is learn to restrain our previous ways and to instead seek out the new and better flavors of the plant kingdom. There are lots of wonderful foods to enjoy and try without going for the manufactured fake foods that perpetuate our desire to eat animals.

In closing, I'll quote from The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle. In that book, he says, "As long as we remain imprisoned in the maze of self-oriented thinking, we can easily.....continue on, rationalizing our actions and blocking awareness of the reality of our feelings and of our fundamental oneness with other beings." For health reasons and for reasons of compassion and ethics, let's learn to think of our diet as being whole food, plant-based and for reasons of ethics and compassion, let's learn to think of ourselves as being vegan in the rest of the way we live. There's still a whole lot more to being vegan than in how we eat.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Most Nutritious Salad Dressing Ever

This morning I got to thinking about the pros and cons of green smoothies. The pros, as we all know, are that blending vegetables and fruits breaks up their cellular walls and releases more of the nutrients contained in the veggies and fruits. That's a good thing because presumably the more nutrients released, the more nutrients our bodies absorb. But the negative side of that is that some of the fiber is sacrificed in blending the veggies and smoothies, thus causing us to absorb too quickly. The solution up until now has been to drink your green smoothie slowly, thus slowing down the absorption of the food, particularly the sugars in it.

But today, I came up with a new solution. That is the green smoothie salad dressing.




It's real simple. As you make your salad, use the same ingredients to make the salad dressing. But first, start by putting a cup of water in the blender and then adding the greens (in this case, it's a combination of spinach and turnip greens). Then add your other ingredients. I used onion, carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, radishes and tomatoes. I also put pinto beans on the salad, but I did not include them in the salad dressing blend. Finally, I added about a cup of ice to the top of the blender and then blended everything until it was a nice smooth texture.

The final step is to then pour some of that mixture right on to the salad. Voila! You now have a salad with a salad dressing that is made up of the most nutritious ingredients you can find. But you're not sacrificing the fiber because you're getting the fiber through the salad. What could be better than that?

And there should be plenty left over for future salads. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated because it's not pasteurized.

J Lanning Smith
November 29, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mediterranean Basin: Jim's Comforting Lentils


You probably don't think of a lentil dish as being a comfort food, but that's only because you haven't tried this comforting, hearty, creamy dish. And did I say delicious too? Yes, it is delicious.

The dish is inspired by a recipe I read in Naked Food Magazine's Master Plants Cookbook. There are several recipes in that book that are excellent just as they are, but I chose their Plato's Lentil Risotto as one I wanted to add to, make in a pressure cooker instead of on the stove and just generally enhance. So, you will find a number of new ingredients and different ways of cooking the dish here.

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils (uncooked)
6 medium yellow potatoes, sliced (include skin for extra nutrition)
2 medium carrots
12 oz. sliced mushrooms (any variety you choose)
1 onion, cut into half moons
1 whole garlic, diced
2 whole Bay leaves
1 whole sage leaf, cut into strips
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 bunch of cilantro, cut up
8 cups low-salt vegetable broth (check ingredients to ensure no oil)

2 cups cooked millet 

2 cups cashews with
2 cups water blended in Vitamix or high-powered blender

1 bunch of kale, stripped from the stems and cut up

Directions

Cook the millet by placing 1 cup of uncooked millet in the pressure cooker with 1-3/4 cup of water. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Let pressure come down naturally.

After removing millet from the pressure cooker if using the same pressure cooker for the remainder of the recipe, add the lentils, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic, herbs and spices and the vegetable broth to the empty pressure cooker and cook on high for 6 minutes.

Open the pressure cooker, remove most of the potatoes and mash them. Return the mashed potatoes to the pressure cooker and stir the mixture. Then add the millet and stir again.

Pour in the cashew and water mixture and stir well to get everything mixed in a homogenous manner.

Then add kale and stir it into the mixture.

Cook under pressure for an additional 1 minute and allow pressure to come down naturally. Stir and enjoy!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Resistant Starch Red Potato and Bean Salad



As most of my readers know, I have lost 150 pounds, going from 320 pounds to 170 pounds, by following a whole food, plant-based way of eating. I did that starting in October 2013 and continuing to lose weight up through December 2015. But then in 2016 and up until now in 2017, I have not continued to lose weight, even though I would like to lose another 15 pounds. I don't know if I will ever lose that final 15 pounds or not, many people say I'm too skinny now. But I can see that there is still some spare tire or belly flab that I could stand to shed. It became most noticeable to me over the last several weeks because I was in Alaska, I was tucking my shirts in more; whereas, here at home, I tend to wear my shirts untucked. As I tucked my shirts in, I felt that my stomach was showing itself off too much.

So, in trying to figure out what to do upon my return from Alaska, which was a thoroughly enjoyable vacation and one that I would recommend as a "don't miss" to everyone, I happened to run across the concept of resistant starch. I'm not sure how I happened to find this, even though it was only two days ago that I came to recognize resistant starch. But the concept is right in line with Dr. John McDougall's Starch Solution diet, and I believe it might be exactly why Dr. McDougall's program works so well. Anyway, I've decided to give it a try.

The idea of resistant starch is that there are some starchy foods that our bodies don't fully digest. Instead they pass right through us, providing all the benefits that lots of fiber in our diets can provide. And because they pass right through us, we only absorb 2 calories per gram. You might recall that carbohydrates in general contain 4 calories per gram, so a resistant starch cuts that in half and makes it both one of the most filling meals a person can eat and also the lowest in absorbed calories.

Two of the foods with the highest levels of resistant starch are my favorite, potatoes and also white kidney beans. But there are ways to eat them that increase the resistant starch value even further. By cooking and then refrigerating for 24 hours, resistant starch content is increased even further. Knowing that, I decided that I wanted to make a potato and white bean salad that I could make for my dinner main courses this week. I already had a 5# bag of red potatoes and plenty of white beans, along with some black beans.

I found a recipe for potato and white bean salad by Del Sroufe in his Forks Over Knives Cookbook, but not wanting to spend any more money on food this week, I decided to improvise, using Del's recipe as a starter and then creating my own using ingredients I already had on hand. Following is the recipe that I came up with, and it is delicious. Of course, if your tastes are different than mine, then maybe you would want to try Del's recipe instead. Or you might make both and see which one you like better. I think it's the Spicely Organic Rice Seasoning and the Salsa Verde that really make the difference in my recipe.

This recipe makes 10 hearty servings. And as I said, I was using ingredients I already had on hand. You may want to try different veggies or spices or you may want to use all white kidney beans or onion instead of onion powder or minced garlic gloves instead of granulated garlic.

Ingredients

5# Red Potatoes, cut into 1/16ths and cooked in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes
5 cups cooked White Kidney Beans and Black Beans
4 Bags (40 oz.) Canadian Farm Organic Frozen Garden Blend (carrots, corn, peas & green beans)
2/3 cup Organic Rice Vinegar
2/3 cup Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsps Organic Granulated Garlic
2 Tbsps Onion Powder
1 package Spicely Organic Rice Seasoning (cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander, cardamom and cloves)
1 16 oz container 100% Salsas Salsa Verde (tomatillos, avocado, cilantro, serrano peppers, garlic, cloves, onion and salt) -- optional for added spice

Directions

Cook the red potatoes, beans (unless using canned beans) and vegetables as you would normally cook them. Add the other ingredients and thoroughly mix them together. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Japan: Miso Soup and Japanese Sweet Potato


I'm a creature of habit, and what that means is, I pretty much eat the same lunch every day. Today's post is about that lunch. I've been eating this most days for the last 18 to 20 months.

It's Miso soup and a Japanese sweet potato topped with ginger root. These are foods that the Okinawan population ate on a regular basis. And according to Blue Zones author, Dan Buettner, the Okinawan population is the second longest living population in the world (the first longest living being the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California). Much of their health and long lifespan has been attributed to their diet, although there are other factors that played into it as well.

Before giving specific recipes, let me address Miso for a minute. Many people have concerns about Miso because of its sodium content. And if you're one of them and you still have that concern after reading what I'm about to say, you can leave the Miso out of this soup. The soup is chock full of nutrients and antioxidants even without the Miso. So, if you're concerned about that, just follow the recipe and at the end, don't add the Miso.

The concerns about Miso are the high sodium content, which can lead to stomach cancer or high blood pressure. Dr. Michael Greger has addressed the concerns about Miso in this video titled Is Miso Healthy? As Dr. Greger explains, a recent study found, with respect to blood pressure, that a person had five times the lower risk of high blood pressure if they ate two or more bowls of Miso soup each day. Dr. Greger explains that the soy in Miso soup (from the tofu) can be counteracting the high sodium's effect on blood pressure. And according to The Miso Book by John Belleme and other things I've read, Miso is also high in potassium and potassium actually acts to lower blood pressure. So, perhaps the soy and the potassium working together make hypertension an unlikely result from eating Miso soup. I know from my own personal experience that eating Miso soup on a daily basis has not adversely affected my blood pressure, which averages around 110/70 without any prescription medicines. That's considered remarkable for a 70 year old man.

Dr. Greger also cites studies showing that the salt in Miso soup, unlike the salt in processed foods, has had no effect on stomach cancer rates. Dr. Greger talks more about this on pages 280-281 of his most recent book, How Not to Die.

Regarding the Japanese sweet potato, if you've never had one, you are in for a treat. They are a little pricey when compared to a regular sweet potato or to a yam, but they are well worth it. I buy mine at Whole Foods Market as many regular grocery stores don't carry them. The Japanese sweet potato has a purple skin, but the inside pulp is white. So it should not be confused with a purple sweet potato, which is purple all the way through (and good too). Once cooked, the Japanese sweet potato has a wonderful creamy texture to it. I doubt that you'll be disappointed. So, don't settle for just an orange sweet potato all the time. Give a Japanese sweet potato a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Here are the recipes for my daily lunch.

Japanese Sweet Potato

Serves one

Ingredients

1 Japanese Sweet Potato
Sprinkling of Ginger Root

Instructions

Because of the lengthy cooking time for the Japanese sweet potato, you will want to start this approximately three hours before you plan to actually eat.

The only way to cook a Japanese sweet potato in my opinion is to do it in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Place approximately 3/4" of water in the bottom of the liner pan and put in a steamer basket. Then place the Japanese sweet potato in the middle of the pot and cook under pressure for two hours. Note that two hours is considerably longer than you would cook a standard sweet potato for, but the longer you cook a Japanese sweet potato, the better it is (both taste-wise and consistency-wise).

Once cooked, let the pressure come down naturally and then cut the potato lengthwise and mash up the inside of the potato. Sprinkle with the ginger root and enjoy along with the Miso soup. 

As an alternative, I will oftentimes drizzle apple cider vinegar over the Japanese sweet potato before eating. Then I may or may not add the ginger root. Each way has its own unique taste, and they're all delicious.

Miso Soup

Making Miso soup is a little less exact. There are definite ingredients that should go in all Miso soups. And then there are optional ingredients that I will add at different times. So, every version of Miso soup that I make is different. Here are some ideas for making Miso soup. In general, I fill the pot and consider what I make to provide 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients

1 large onion, quartered or 2 bunches spring onions, chopped
1 large garlic, minced
10 oz. Shitake mushrooms (I will sometimes mix in oyster, crimini and portobello mushrooms)
16 oz. Extra Firm Tofu, cut into 1/4" squares
4 to 6 carrots, sliced
1 bunch asparagus and/or 1 package frozen veggies of choice and/or fresh veggies of choice
5 ounces of Wakame or Kale (if kale is used, then also add a 6" square inch piece of Kombu)
8 cups (or more depending upon how thick you like your Miso soup) of vegetable or Miso broth
1 tablespoon / serving of Red Miso

Instructions

Place all ingredients except the Miso in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the Instant Pot can be used. Just put all the ingredients except the Miso into the Instant Pot and cook under pressure for 0 (zero) minutes. Just be careful to do a natural pressure release. This recipe fills up the Instant Pot and you will spray liquid soup all over your kitchen counter and ceiling if you try to release the pressure too early (I know this from personal experience).

Remove the kombu before placing the soup in bowls.

When you're ready to serve the soup, place the soup in bowls and then add 1 tablespoon of Miso to each bowl. Stir well to mix the Miso into the soup.

Do not cook the Miso. The active cultures in Miso that makes it so healthy for our guts are destroyed when boiled. Therefore, in order to get the health benefits of this meal, it is best to add the Miso when ready to eat. Because of that, using Miso broth is not a substitute for using Miso. The reason for using Miso broth is simply for taste.

For the Miso soup in this picture, I also added a sprig of fennel (or anise) to the soup. I've also added mint leaves and Sriracha sauce in the past as well. And sometimes, I've topped my Miso soup with unsalted peanuts. The possibilities are endless and totally up to you. Like me, you don't have to do it the same every time. Variety can be the spice of life.

© J Lanning Smith
March 6, 2017



Sunday, February 26, 2017

USA: BBQ Soy Curls, Baked Beans, Mac 'n No Cheese and Cherry Nice Dream



I was going to wait until July 4th to do a USA-based recipe for The Art of Plant-Based Meal Creation. But last night, I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend, and they were having barbecued chicken catered in from one of the local BBQ restaurants. There were only a couple of us whole foods, plant-based vegans there. So, I decided to make a complete barbecue meal that we could eat too.

It turned out to be so incredibly good; I decided that I needed to make it my USA recipe selection, and I needed to post it now. This is a meal well worth making. The barbecue Soy Curls are from a recipe from a club member and friend, Carol Korbutt. I modified her recipe only slightly. The baked beans are inspired by a recipe posted online by Paula Deen. She's a very popular chef in Savannah, which is close to my home. Tourists line up down the block just to get a taste of her food. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, it is heavy in creams, butter, salt, sugar and so on. But these baked beans lack all of that. I left out the sugar, and used a little extra maple syrup instead, and I added Liquid Smoke to the recipe as well. The mac 'n no cheese is straight from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kimberly Campbell.

The one recipe I didn't make for the dinner last night, but I've made several times now, is the Cherry Nice Dream, which I think is a lot like Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream. Except my nice dream, as opposed to ice cream, has no dairy products in it. It pairs well with the rest of this meal, so I'm including the recipe here. This recipe is very similar to one made by Dr. Karen Holland at the local 7th Day Adventist Supper Club and also very close to one that I've found online at Forks Over Knives.

The ultimate test to me is when my non-vegan grandchildren and my son-in-law say something is good and they ask for it again. The Cherry Nice Dream is one of those things with my grandchildren. And the Soy Curls are that with my son-in-law. So, I believe that this is an all-American meal that everyone will enjoy. And I'm even betting that you could serve the Soy Curls to your friends and tell them it's chicken, and they will never by the wiser. This is a meal that works on all cylinders.

Start by making the Soy Curls the day before and soaking the pinto beans overnight as well. Also, if you don't have cut up frozen bananas for the nice dream, that will need to be done a day in advance too.

Quantities for all of the recipes below are based on making 4 servings of each.

Barbecued Soy Curls

Ingredients

1 8-oz bag of Butler Soy Curls
2 cups of low-sodium, fat-free vegetable broth
2 cups of very warm water (almost boiling)
1/2 large diced vidalia onion
2 t black pepper
1 package taco seasoning
1 16-oz jar of Bone Suckin Sauce

Directions

Place the Soy Curls in a very large bowl and cover with the vegetable broth and very warm water. Be sure the soy curls are completely covered. Add more water or broth as needed. Soak for a minimum of ten minutes.

Place the diced onion in a large frying pan with a small amount of water and saute the onion until it glistens. Squeeze out the moisture from the Soy Curls and place them into the frying pan one handful at a time. Sprinkle with the black pepper and the taco seasoning. Add the Bone Suckin Sauce and stir.

Heat on medium heat while continuing to stir until everything is hot.

Then let the everything cool and place into the refrigerator for 24 hours in order to let the flavors fully develop.

Serving Suggestion

When ready to serve, simply heat the BBQ Soy Curls either on the stove or in the microwave until they are at the desired temperature.

This can be served on an open toasted whole wheat bun or an Ezekial bun with 1/3 cup of slaw mix (shredded carrots, red cabbage and green cabbage) if desired.  However, it is good on a plate all by itself too.

Baked Beans

Ingredients

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 Tbsps dijon mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 Tbsps ketchup
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

Soak the pinto beans overnight and then cook either in a large pot or in an InstantPot. If cooking in a large pot, cover with water (3 to 1) ratio, bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 1-1/2 hours. If using an InstantPot, use the same water ratio and cook at pressure for 4 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

Put the cooked pinto beans in a Dutch oven pot and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well. Bake covered in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes.

Can then be served immediately.

Macaroni 'n No-Cheese

I am going to refer my readers to my friend, Kim Campbell's cookbook, PlantPure Nation Cookbook for this recipe. I made it exactly as contained on page 206 using frozen butternut squash.

The only comment I would add is that if you have leftovers, or if you make it the day before, you may find it hardens a little in the refrigerator. This is easily remedied by pouring in a little nondairy milk before reheating.

Cherry Nice Dream

Ingredients

6 large ripe bananas, cut up into bite-sized pieces and frozen
2 cups frozen cherries
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp plant-based nondairy milk
4 Tbsp. vegan chocolate chips

plus

a handful more of frozen cherries and
a handful more of vegan chocolate chips

Directions

Place all ingredients into a high-powered food processor. Pulse to break up the fruit. Stop the food processor as needed to break up the frozen fruit chunks with a spoon. Then process continuously until smooth throughout.

Open top of food processor and add additional frozen cherries and chocolate chips. Pulse one or two times so as to give chunks of cherry and whole chocolate chips throughout the creamy mixture.

Serve immediately. And of course this freezes well.

J Lanning Smith
February 26, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

France: Chocolate Mousse



For Valentine's Day, coming up next week, I'm moving on to France, famous for many decadent dishes, one of which is chocolate mousse. This version, however, is not only decadent, but it's also healthy. And I've never met a woman who didn't like (should I say love?) chocolate. So, guys, if you want to impress your plant-based wife or girlfriend, this is the recipe for you. And the best part is, it's super easy and quick to make. So, it's a win-win for the guys. Easy to make, and she will love you for it.

I can't claim credit for developing this recipe, however. I learned about it from the Food for Life classes taught by our local Food for Life instructor, Leslie Haas and sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). If you can find a local class in your area, I think you could find them well worth taking. Although anyone who tastes this recipe for chocolate mousse won't need any convincing about the value of taking a Food for Life class. The recipes are all good.

So, try this one out. The recipe as written theoretically makes 12 servings. But if you're like me and my friends, you might find it doesn't go quite that far. It's just too good. In fact, writing about it has gotten me thinking about it, so I just pulled some out of the refrigerator to eat while I write this. Not that I always keep a supply of  it in my refrigerator, but I'm just saying....

Ingredients

  • 3 packages Mori Nu Shelf-Stable firm silken tofu (I have found this tofu works the best for the right consistency. The refrigerated tofus and the extra firm tofus don't seem to work as well, although I have done it with both in the past)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips (I find Enjoy Life mini-chips in the yellow bag work the best. I've used other chips as well in the past, but the Enjoy Life chips seem to make the optimal mousse)
  • 2 cups almond milk (I think the original recipe might have called for soy milk, but I prefer to use almond milk since the base of this recipe is tofu)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Raspberries and mint leaves as desired to stage the dessert
Directions

Place the tofu (I crumble the tofu first), vanilla and almond milk into the Vitamix (or a high-powered blender).

Melt the chocolate chips in a small, covered pan on low heat, stirring often. Do not walk away from this. Chocolate chips burn easily and quickly (I've learned that from experience). This needs continual monitoring and stirring.

Pour the melted chocolate chips into the Vitamix on top of the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour the blend into a serving bowl or into dishes you plan to serve it in and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours. I usually refrigerate overnight, although I get easily tempted to give it a try before that.

Top with the raspberries and mint leaves before serving.

And that's all there is to it. Enjoy! And Happy Valentine's Day.

J Lanning Smith
February 10, 2017