I can hardly believe it is that time of year again...Too Precious For Processed turns "2"!!! When the idea of starting a food blog first entered my head, I honestly never thought it would actually happen. So the fact that I'm celebrating year #2 is pretty special to me. My family was my main inspiration in the beginning. My desire was to create a space where I could share my recipes and all I was learning in regards to health & wellness with them. A goal of mine was to make sure this information was easily accessible, so a blog seemed most appropriate. I also wanted it to be easy to follow. For that to happen, I try not to get to wild and crazy with my recipes and I opted for a neat and tidy appearance. Cluttering my blog with ads and pop ups could be distracting and take away from the main focus of the blog.
Over the past 2 years, I've spent more time in the kitchen than anywhere else, taken photographs beyond measure, and spent more hours behind a computer screen than I care to count. I'm not a super techie person so that has been a huge adjustment. Two years ago, I did not wear glasses. Now I do- well, part time at least. I'm not sure if that would have been the case if I had not started the blog, maybe my eyes would have started to fail me regardless. All I know is this blogging business does take a toll on my eyes, particularly with seeing up close. The plus side of wearing glasses more often is that my husband chases me around the house when I'm wearing them and he thinks I look like a sexy teacher! This is a total side note, but my eyes would get really dry too. A good friend of mine told me to try a drop of castor oil in my eyes before I went to bed. It sounds a little odd, I know, but you know what...it works! My eyes feel hydrated and I don't have to rely on those over-the-counter eye drops that have preservatives in them and are expensive! So if you suffer from dry eye discomfort, try putting a drop of castor oil in each eye before you go to bed. Make sure you buy organic, hexane free castor oil.
The last two years have brought me many new friends. These are people who encourage, challenge, and teach me on a daily basis. The cheer me on when I am on fire and cheer me up when I want to throw in the towel. I've tried a lot of new foods over the past two years and learned a ton! My vocabulary has changed quite a bit. Some words I have written more than I can count are:
Those words are a necessity when you are a food blogger! I have also washed a ton of dishes, purchased food props galore (some of those I really wonder what I was thinking!), made many mistakes, but I also learned from them. Probably the biggest thing I managed to do in year "#2" is to set healthy boundaries for myself in regards to my time commitment to the blog, as well as the other priorities in my life. Like one big thing I was missing out on is taking time out to relax, decompress, and just take some deep breaths. You don't realize how crucial that is and what a big difference it can make until you start doing it. We all know how fast time goes, how precious it is, how fleeting it is, how it can be wasted in a New York minute, or how it can be utilized in a worthy way. Every day I wake up, I pray several things. But one of the things I always ask God for is the ability to manage my time wisely. As I have gotten older, I truly know how important it is to make a conscience effort to appreciate time for what it is...a priceless gift.
So for those of you who have been with me from the beginning, to those who have joined the party over the past year, and to those of you who have stopped by once or twice, I truly appreciate it. I never thought this blog would get beyond my family and close friends. I'm humbled by your encouraging words, compliments, and faithfulness to me.
Before we talk about this delicious (yep, I said it again) cake, I wanted you to know that the top recipe of all time for the blog continues to be Pan Seared Halibut with Butter Herb Sauce. This recipe has the most visits than any other post I have written. The thing that really cracks me up about that recipe is I was in the kitchen one day, playing around with some ingredients, while my husband was watching Mad Max. I was trying to keep busy because that movie gives me a gut ache. The ingredients were coming together perfectly, the fish was looking phenomenal, and I decided to take some pictures (which at the time I thought were fabulous- lol. (Don't worry, one day I will re-do those). But anyway, the recipe turned out to be a hit with not only my family, but all of you. Every time I make it, my family just eats it up with huge smiles of satisfaction. So if you haven't tried that recipe yet, I highly recommend it!
Now for the cake. I thought the perfect way to celebrate blogoversary #2 is with this pistachio and chocolate crunch cake. We are huge pistachio lovers and pairing them with some chocolate makes a great balance between sweet and savory. I use raw, unsalted pistachios for this recipe. You can use roasted pistachios if you prefer. Try to stick to unsalted though. In order to get the pretty green coloring, I used two avocados in the cake mixture. Avocados give the cake a creamy texture while also adding some powerful nutritional value. You will notice in my list of ingredients that you have the option to adjust the amount of maple syrup you use. I find that 1/4 cup worked great for us. But if you are used to more sweetness, you can bump it up to 1/2 cup. Taste the filling after 1/4 cup is added to see what you think. Keep in mind that once the cake is frozen, the flavor and sweetness level lightens up a bit.
Of course drizzling this cake with some chocolate is a must! It complements the crust perfectly and adds that perfect amount of sweetness. I made these chocolate pistachio bliss balls particularly for this recipe. I think they garnish the cake quite well and you can whip them up in no time. This cake would make an awesome presentation for your next celebration and everyone will appreciate its healthy qualities. Speaking of celebrations, thank you all once again for helping me celebrate this 2nd blogoversary. It's been a joyful ride!
2 cups unsalted pistachios (raw or roasted, your choice)
1 & 1/2 cup packed, pitted dates
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbs water
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours
1 cup raw pistachios, soaked 4 hours
2 large, ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup (reduce to 1/4 cup for a low sweetness level)
1/4 cup coconut cream (from top of can)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbs coconut oil
Chocolate pistachio bliss balls
1. Soak the nuts for 4 hours. While the nuts are soaking, you can get started on the crust and bliss balls (optional).
2. For the crust, place all of the ingredients into your food processor until well combined. Transfer the crust mixture to your 9 inch springform pan and press firmly so it is packed tightly. Place the pan in your freezer while you make the filling.
3. To make the filling, place all of the filling ingredients into your high speed blender and blend until smooth and well combined.
4. Pour the filling into the springform pan on top of the crust. Smooth the filling out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer for a few hours, or until nice and solid.
5. While you are waiting, you can make the bliss balls, if desired. When you are ready to garnish the cake, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil over low heat. Drizzle the chocolate along the edges of the cake, or however you would like to decorate. Immediately sprinkle the pistachios over the melted chocolate. Arrange the bliss balls on top of the cake for a fun look.
6. Keep the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for longer storage.