Sometimes it’s hard to transfer my swirling brain into the written word. Eric has this funny gesture that he does when he’s poking fun of my overactive mind. Picture him making buzzing noises as he motions electricity coming out of his head. He knows all too well that I’m often unable to quiet my mind. Writing has been challenging lately because life has changed so much and it’s been hard to focus with so many things going on. Then there is the sleep deprivation which isn’t always conducive to making coherent sentences. I always ask Eric what I can write about and he always says, write about how you can’t think of anything to write about. God, he’s so logical…ha.
Creative writing was always my favourite thing in school, next to gym class. My mom often digs up stories I wrote as a child and sends them to me. My writing was so free and filled with zany, creative tales. I never worried if I was saying the “right” thing or if others would like it. I owned that shit. In highschool, I eagerly signed up for a creative writing class with my awesome English teacher, Mr. Pierce. We each made our own creative writing journal. Mine was a huge coiled notebook (I think I splurged on the “fancy” Five Star notebook!) filled with random scraps of inspirational words pasted onto the pages and stories confessing the things I had been struggling with or triumphing over. I wrote about love and heartbreak, a cross country move with my mom, missing my best friend, and starting my last year of highschool in a new school. I wrote about my anxiety and struggles with body image. I wrote and wrote and wrote my little heart out; the words came easily because I knew that my teacher would be the only one reading. It was like therapy. Each week, his encouraging comments scribbled below each entry lifted me up. Sometimes he would ask us to share a bit of what we wrote with our classmates and I would freeze up, rarely ever volunteering, even though I could see him glancing my way out of the corner of my eye. Writing freely for yourself is one thing, but being vulnerable and sharing it with others takes guts. Heck, even writing honestly for your own eyes takes guts.
Even after 6 years of blogging and consistent daily writing, I still struggle with the debilitating feeling that my words don’t matter or what I have to say isn’t worth sharing. Isn’t it funny how we can defeat ourselves before even trying? Brain, stop that! I miss the freedom with writing that I felt so many years ago in my creative writing class.
When I started this blog I wrote as if I was writing in my journal. After all, no one was reading so I didn’t think about it much. As the blog grew, I started to overthink every word I wrote because I felt eyes looking over my shoulder as I typed. Would this offend someone…does this sound preachy…will I inadvertently destroy a young and impressionable human being? I’m being dramatic, but you get the idea. This type of thinking stifles every creative bone in the body. It’s definitely a good thing to be aware of others, but it’s a fine line and it’s easy to lose yourself. I think we’ve all been there whether it’s with writing or in real life situations. It’s funny though, since writing my pregnancy and baby blog posts, I’ve actually felt a renewed freedom in my writing again and I’ve even had readers take notice and comment on it. I love writing those weekly posts mostly because I feel like I’m writing in my journal again. It’s helped me bring back the me in my writing.
So. I’ve decided that I want to write more freely and in spite of fear. I don’t think that fear when sharing personal writing will ever go away (sharing takes guts, and always will), but I do think I can forge ahead anyway. I love connecting with YOU; it’s what ignited my passion for blogging in the first place (way back in 2008). What helped me write this post was just sitting down at the computer one night and letting my thoughts hit the paper (err…keyboard). No censoring myself, just writing freely. It felt good!
Having a daughter has made me think a lot about the lessons I want to teach her some day (gulp!), and encouraging Adriana to speak her truth is high on my list. I want her to be BRAVE and raise her hand and share her stories! And not just share her stories, but to feel like her words are worth sharing. That is so, so huge. To know that you are worth it. But I know that I have to practice what I preach and show her there is strength in vulnerability, in taking risks, and being true to who you are.
Raw Chocolate Pudding
This raw, completely natural, no-sugar-added banana cacao almond butter pudding will make your heart skip a beat! It won't give you a sugar crash either. I expect that kids will love this recipe too. If you don't have raw cacao powder you can try using unsweetened cocoa powder, although you will likely have to adjust the amount to taste. I recommend adding it 1 tablespoon at a time and taste testing as you go. Roasted almond butter would also work lovely. And because I will probably be asked - the banana flavour does come through quite a bit in this pudding. Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories, which was adapted from the Kernesund Familie cookbook.
For the pudding:
- 3 medium bananas, peeled (see note)
- 1/2 medium avocado, pitted (see note)
- 1/4 cup smooth raw almond butter
- 4-5 tablespoons raw cacao powder, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of pink Himalayan salt or fine sea salt
- Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe linked in notes below)
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
- Raspberry chia seed jam (recipe linked in notes below)
- Pomegranate arils
- Add all pudding ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. I like to let the machine run for a couple minutes to get it super smooth.
- Portion the pudding into a container and chill in the fridge for an hour or so. Or you can serve it right away with the recommended toppings. Best enjoyed within 12-24 hours or so.
Tips: 1) You want to avoid using overly ripe, brown bananas in this recipe or the banana flavour will overwhelm. Yellow with a few spots is best. 2) If you want an "instant" cold pudding, refrigerate the bananas and avocado prior to making this pudding. 3) For the coconut whipped cream recipe, see here. 4) For toasted hazelnuts, roast the nuts at 300F for 10-14 minutes until the skins start to fall off the nuts. Place toasted nuts in an old tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. 5) For my Raspberry Chia Seed Jam recipe, see here. 6) I don't recommend using an avocado that is bruised as it will be bitter. A soft, but still green, avocado is perfect for this recipe.
Angela this post is incredible! Your words DO matter! They are motivating me to be my healthiest and best everyday. The recipes and experiences you share are tremendously valuable to me as a stay at home momma with two little ones. Don’t ever listen to the “committee” in your head that says “no”, instead listen to your heart, it is more likely to say “yes, you can.”
As for this recipe, I just made it for the first time and can’t believe THIS is vegan! I can see this becoming a favorite of my husband. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe! :) now I can have my chocolate fix without too much guilt.
I LOVE this post. First, the recipe looks amazing (obviously!), but I really appreciate your vulnerability and expressing fears. I have just recently started blogging and can so relate to facing fears over every post and every word. I finally shared my blog on Facebook, and was terrified of what people I know might think. It was shared to family and friends I haven’t talked to in years. I kept thinking, “what will they think of me?!) in fear. Then finally, I thought the point of my blog is to be authentic. I’ve got nothing to hide, and so what if they think less of me for sharing any struggles. It helps to know even big bloggers (like you) still come across those fears. You are so inspiring!
I can relate to what you wrote so much! I think it took me 2 months to finally share my blog with family and friends. turns out all the worry was in my head. Glad you did too.
This is going to be our special Valentine’s Day treat (my son and husband will LOVE it) and I plan on making it for our next special occasion big family meal. It looks delicious, simple and so so healthy. Thank you for this latest!
PS Creative writing was, and is, still my favourite thing. Having a child does make it harder to get in more writing time though:)
I wanted to tell you that your words do matter. I started reading your blog shortly after you started, I too had a food blog, but as my photography progressed I chose to make a new blog that focused on photography. Unfortunately, I stifled my writing once I made that new blog, I wanted to sell my prints, so I told myself not to get too personal. I didn’t want to jeopardize a sale. The idea of trying to make ‘perfect’ photos coupled with stifled writing, I was putting too much pressure on getting it ‘right’. I actually walked away from it all for a few months, it wasn’t fun anymore.
Then in October I went to Geek Girl Con in Seattle and it ignited my creative juices, I started writing again, I enjoyed taking photos again. And I have to say, that it is you I think of when I start to think about stifling my writing again. Because I pre-ordered your cookbook, not ‘in spite’ of you sharing your life, but *because* of it. Your openness made me *want* to order your book, so I shouldn’t be afraid of being myself because it might hurt my sales… that’s just silly.
So yes, your words matter. You are a beacon of inspiration for me and many others. Keep being you.
This is so touching Nic…thank you! I am off to check out your website :)
This looks incredibly yummy! I can’t wait to give this a try!
Wow this looks divine!! Your photos are always so gorgeous, you make me want to make recipes I would usually be so intimidated by! Your blog is beautiful :)
This looks so delicious and so healthy.. I wanna try this for weekend too <3
I just have to ask — were you in the Halton school board for that class with Mr. Pierce? My creative writing teacher was Mr. Pierce — he was awesome — at MDHS. That was….(oh dear….this is painful) in…um….1993. I recently bought your cookbook and it is wonderful. Besides the awesome recipes, I often look through it just to look at it. You are very talented!
I’m sorry if this posts twice…I’m having some internet issues :)
Yes it sounds like the same teacher as I went to MDHS as well. Thanks for your kind words about my cookbook!
Just wanted to encourage you to keep writing. I have been an avid follower of your blog for many years but never commented before. I love your recipes and own your cookbook and enjoy your baby blogs as it reminds me so much of my time with own babies who are now Tweens – it goes so fast! And I always enjoy your ‘voice’, that personal style that is just you. I appreciate your bravery and time for us out here in cyberspace. Thanks for the connection through great food and shared stories. Have a great weekend.
Your words about writing ring so true! I find that the longer I blog, the more frequently I bump into writer’s block, fear, and doubt. All those pesty “what ifs” pop up and they can be a bit paralyzing in terms of getting thoughtful, heartfelt words onto the screen/page. I love that you’re pushing to bring journal-style back. Your words are always so meaningful and easy to relate to, and I look forward to reading them!
Doesn’t it just irk you to no end when your husbands ultra obvious advice is sooooo right! =) your writing is wonderful. your pictures + recipes are wonderful. and your life is wonderful. LOVE reading every word!!
yes he’s rarely clouded by emotions…haha
Thank you for this post Angela! I sent this to my mother who was lamenting about cutting out sweets to lower her cholesterol. I think this will be a perfect dessert for her when she needs to satisfy a sweet tooth craving, as both avocados and raw nuts are great for boosting that good cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol!
Seriously, I love it, when bloggers share the background stories behind the blogs. Especially after being such a long-time reader, I find it really bonding with your readers-so no worries! There is so much work to do on the blog and so many things that poeple don’t see that bloggers actually do! -I can imagine, really, after years of dreaming about it, I am starting mine. And it’s tough…:D sooo much clicking, thinking, planning. It’s a whole journey! I should make that pudding soon enough, it looks amazing! I really adore your photography skills Angela!
Just wanted to say hi and how much I love all of your recipes on your page.
I am not a strict vegan, but just love exploring different cooking and eating styles for me and my family.
But I particularly loved reading this post, as it reflects so many of my fears and doubts about writing. So you know, your writing inspires and motivates many I am sure!
This is the best food. I love it. but i have a question. Hows the taste if youre not give the sugar ? can i change the fruits with banana or other fruits who have sweet taste like sugar ?
Beautiful post!! This has inspired me to get more creative with my writing as well. Thank you for that!! And for the delicious recipe as well!
I come here for the very first time, it’s an amazing place for vegan as me.
This is slightly off-topic… !! I was checking out your instagram account and I wondered where those gorgeous wooden and silver serving spoons are from??!! Thank-you for all the beauty (and good food!) you provide everyday through your blog, instagram, cookbook, etc.!
Hi Sandy, They are from Anthropologie a year or so ago :)
Thank you for the amazing recipe ideas! We used this one on a recent writing about heart health. Chocolate would not be so healthy without the proper care that you have shown it!
I’ve been following you for years – and I was so proud (not that you need ‘me’ to be proud, lol) of your recipe book when it came out! I felt kind of special because I was kind of with you from the beginning – though I don’t comment a lot :)
I resonate with this latest post – about writing freely, without hindrances. I am encouraged by your words and will do the same – get back to my journal-type of writing. You keep going girl – true passion oozes out of the soul and cannot be denied nor quenched. I am so thrilled for all you have achieved! Keep being you!
I teach creative writing, and it makes me glad to hear how much you enjoyed it! Are you familiar with the book Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg? It talks a lot about freeing yourself to write without judgement, sitting down to daily practice, etc, all from a comparison to Buddhism and meditation. I find it so inspirational that I teach it in my class! I hope it might be helpful, as your recipes have been for me.
Hi Megan, I haven’t but I will definitely check it out. Sounds like it would be very helpful!
I just made the pudding and the chia jam is cooling in the fridge. This tastes WONDERFUL! I just winged it noticing I had most of the ingredients on hand. I made a few subs. Frozen strawberries instead of raspberries for the jam and I didn’t have raw cacao so used 2.5 heaping Tbs. of dutch process cocoa. Now I am convinced I have to make a run to the store to get a can of coconut milk and make the whipped cream. Not sure I will have the discipline to wait for a few hours for it to harden. I may finish the pudding first!!
I’ve read your blog cover-to-cover (I’m not a stalker, it’s just interesting!) and I feel I have to comment now. Whilst I love your recipes, and make a lot of them very often, my very favourite part has always been the personal side. It’s been great to see that back with your pregnancy and baby posts. I think you write beautifully, and I don’t think you need worry about saying the ‘right’ things. I think the number of followers and comments you get shows you are doing something right! I look forward to much more of your personal writing, and your amazing recipes of course.
Love this recipe Angela – looks so decadent but delicious!
Aside from your recipes being wonderful, one of the reasons why I love your blog and find it so inspiring is the way you write. I too suffer from the same fear of inadvertently offending someone (and manage it at work fairly regularly and often get colleagues to proof read stuff before I send it!) the trouble with words is the tone is missing which can lead to confusion or misunderstanding. However I think you nail it. You accurately convey emotion through your writing and I really like the intros to your recipes. A few lines of blurb with lots of repeated superlatives is dull to read. But to hear of your adventures and why it’s led you to your recipe is a joy.
I’m portuguese and I found this blog today. I love all of your recipes, and photos and this recipe it’s amazing!
This sounds lovely, but I am allergic to banana’s and have to miss out on so many recipies because of that! Do you have a suggestion on what could substitute banans in this recipe, and similar ones?
Once again, you managed to write a really inspiring post. It is great to see somebody like you who is so creative, passionate and generous. You sound like you feel responsible for your readers and all I can say is that it is very thoughtful. More than anything, I love that you make a point to be true to yourself and do this your way. Being genuine and open requires a lot of strength and courage, but it goes a long way and it is probably why people relate to you. Thank you for sharing so much and mostly your passion for food :)
I will definitely continue to read your blog and try your amazing recipes!
Hi Angela I absolutely adore your blog… I am a first time mom and I so enjoy reading your baby posts along with your blog posts…I keep looking at your blog every week eagerly waiting for your posts esp the baby one’s..needless to say your recipes are amazing….
And your are such an amazing writer….I wish I could put my thoughts into words like you do..writing is such a natural thing….
The reality is, although you are on that side of the screen and we are on this side, you are still a very real human being. If something you say offends someone, they need to go spend some time in their own head and leave us to real life. I would rather you were free and unfettered to say what’s swirling in your brain with some vegan food thrown in for good measure. We’re not just here because you post REALLY good food (my standard line, Angela never makes anything I don’t like =D), we’re also here because we like listening to what you have to say. So spill it sister! Love the baby blog btw. I never comment because I don’t have munchkins and so have nothing to add to the convo, but I love your candor. It’s always great to see someone being true to their soul.
and on a recipe note…I’ll be watching for the not chocolate pudding versions too! I love chocolate but there are days….LOL
I have been following your blog since it began. I have to admit that I’m not a very good participating audience, hardly ever making comments. This one, however, I felt I really needed to comment on because I just loved it. I have always enjoyed your blog and, as I told you in the only other comment I’ve ever made, I love your book. It’s a beautiful book full of beautiful recipes.
I see that others feel as I do. Be yourself! You have a wonderful blog and people follow you because they love it. The lovely person that you are does shine through to some extent anyway, but having the freedom to just be who you are, in my humble opinion, will help you to be even more creative.
Thank you for the lovely post.
Wonderful blogpost. Don’t ever stop writing and blogging, you are an inspiration to foodies, moms, vegans…the list goes on.
This blog post inspired me to start a book of lessons I hope to teach my son. He’s 17 months and I’m realizing how quickly the days go by and how easily some of these important hopes, dreams, lessons, might be forgotten. “Speak your truth. Be brave to raise your hand…” I love that. I want so badly for him to be comfortable with the amazing person he is.
I hear you on writing in your own voice. Sometimes we get all caught up in what we think we should say, how something should be said, and what people want to hear, that we end up sounding disingenuous.
This recipe sounds (and looks) so delicious! Can’t wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing.
Gosh, I feel like I’ve needed to hear (read) these words for some time now!! I’m bookmarking this post to read over and over until it sticks! Geez, even writing this comment was a struggle, haha!
Angela, I’ve been reading your blog and following your recipes for a few months now. I actually stumbled on it by accident and have been hooked ever since. You’ve really helped me change my diet and start eating more healthy – something I desperately needed to change! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes…I rave about them to all of my friends and can’t wait for the second cookbook!!
Btw, this recipe was absolutely divine! A perfect “chocolate” pick me up after a long day :)
This is my first time reading your blog and God, I relate to this so much! Writing used to come so naturally to me, and now that I’m trying to take it more seriously as a newbie blogger, I find myself censoring my own writing, trying to decide who I’m writing for. It’s a constant struggle to remind myself that I’m writing for ME, and to have the courage to put into words what’s trapped my head. You expressed this struggle perfectly. Thank you! And I’ll definitely be making that recipe.
Your food and pictures are so inspiring! Keep up the brilliant work
I Like your recipe. I appreciate your work.
This + raspberry chia jam = heaven.
You always have ingenious routes to vegan recipes. I was expecting chia seeds in this, but you did something totally different! Love it, can’t wait to try it on Saturday.
Side note- I just posted my favorite gluten-free vegan V-day recipe (Red Velvet Pancakes with Cashew Cream Glaze)- check it out if you’re interested!
xo, Lauren @ http://alovelysideproject.com
Also, my V-day lookbook is on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymJ2Sb80zi4
Angela- thank you so much for this post! I think most if not all bloggers can relate to this, I know I certainly can. It’s so important to feel free and be able to genuinely express yourself rather than trying to be who you think other people want you to be.
Thanks for the reminder to stay true to yourself!
This was delicious, simple and so healthy!
I came across your blog while searching for the pros and cons of carob and cocoa. I set myself “Challenges” for 2015, the first was eliminating processed “sugar” foods from my diet. This is day 44. No candy, cake, cookies, pies etc etc. I do use honey, pure maple syrup or natural dried fruit for sweetness. I don’t miss them. I work at a grocery store as a checkout operator and I can smell the sugars, I must say it can be over powering and nauseating at times. I am going to try a couple of your recipes so that I can incorporate them into my life now and then. Plus, reading about your writing, I was never much on writing in journals because I felt I wasn’t using the proper grammar and what if I offended others if by chance it should ever be read by other people. I began writing randomly the end of 2014. And I just ramble on with the thoughts that pop into my head! Ideas, my past, my future, what if’s and why’s, weather, daily life, work, etc. So I wish to say Thank You for your blog. It is very inspiring. Maybe there is hope for my own blog. (Which I have tried but never continued on with.
Hi Angela! Your blog inspires me a lot! Meanwhile, thanks a lot for posting the raw chocolate pudding. The kids really liked this delicacy.
I really want to try this recipe but unfortunately I’m not a big fan of bananas! Is there a substitute for bananas in this recipe?
Wow, I have a VERY similar story. I loved creative writing in high school ; it was where I learned to fly with my pen. I felt uninhibited in our journal assignments and writing time, and wrote “crazy” and imaginative poems. Then, I took many writing workshops later on, discovered the rules of writing poems, got critiqued, and unconsciously let that become a weight that eventually squashed any desire to write, despite all the encouragement I received. Some years later, after much work on myself, I’m now more ready than ever to write again. It really is about being courageous enough to be true to oneself. I try to remind myself that it’s also the journey that is so enriching and the result is secondary. I love watching little kids “make art” : they get really absorbed by the exploration and then, when it’s over, it’s over. They don’t go back to their piece of work and treasure it. They just move on. Thank you so much for sharing!
Just made this and it was DELICIOUS! And beyond easy. I didn’t have almond butter so I used sunflower seed butter and my bananas were pretty overripe- but it was still fantastic! Can’t wait to try this with slightly less ripe bananas and almond butter/peanut butter :D
I just made this and it is DELICIOUS!!
I love your recipes!
I got a even simpler recipe for raw chocolate pudding. take 2 very ripe avocados, 1 very ripe banana, 2 tbsp of honey if the banana isn’t sweet enough (though it usually is), 2 tbs of almond milk and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good cocoa powder. Run all that through the food processor till its smooth and creamy. Thanks to using the avocados it does turn brown and does look like chocolate pudding and you give this to kids they would never know. As for toppings, I actually like my chocolate pudding with sliced banana and pecans. Like an unmelting banana split without the fuss. Thanks for this recipe above. I might have to try that one out.
This looks looks like it will definitely satisfy my chocolate cravings! Looks so good that my mouth is watering! Thanks for posting!