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Sweet and Healthy Holiday Treats

Nov 24, 2010 ● By Recipes Courtesy of Chef Mehmet Ak, of Cousin’s Incredible Vitality

Chef Mehmet Ak originally created Cousin’s Incredible Vitality (IV) as a haven for people with weight and food-related health challenges, and for individuals seeking to improve their body-mind connection. Cousin’s IV has since grown to serve a wide community of health-conscious individuals, offering the highest-quality prepared gourmet raw food, products, services and education.

Island Oasis Smoothie

Serves 1

4 oz water
10 oz coconut water (1 full coconut)
Meat from 1 young Thai coconut (these can be found in most grocery stores)
1/3 pineapple
1/3 mango (or other fruit), frozen

Process all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Add additional water, if necessary, to thin to the desired consistency.

Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4

2 medium avocados
1 cup Sucanat (natural, whole-cane sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup organic cocoa or raw carob powder
3/4 cup water, plus additional water to thin

Process all ingredients in a blender. Add additional water, if necessary, to thin to the desired consistency. For fudgesicles, freeze the chocolate mousse in ice cube trays. Thaw for 5 minutes before serving.

Black Forest Cherry Brownies

1 pan (about 16 brownies)

4 cups walnuts, plus 1/2 cup, soaked and dehydrated (you can omit soaking/dehydrating the nuts, but the brownies will be less nutritious)
3/4 cup pitted, packed dates
3/4 cup carob or cocoa powder
2 tsp cherry extract
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

Place the 4 cups of walnuts in a food processor and grind until they are the consistency of  a meal. Add the dates and continue to process until well mixed. Add the carob or cocoa powder and the cherry extract, and process to mix. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.

Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts by hand. Add the chopped walnuts and chopped cherries to the brownie mixture and mix well with your hands. Pack the mixture firmly into a brownie pan. Chill at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Cousin’s Incredible Vitality is located at 3038 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago 60618. In addition to their restaurant, Live Food Boxes and catering services, Cousin’s IV offers community outreach programs to help educate younger generations about how nutrition affects their lives, and enlighten people across Chicagoland about how they can help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, systemic Candida and colon cancer with proper nutrition. For more information, call 773-478-6868 or 773-675-3143, or visit (on Twitter: cousinsiv).