I've been away from the blogosphere for a little while, so here's my triumphant return! First grad school got in the way then I had a few medical hiccups, but now I'm both spring-breaking and healthy.This recipe is one of my favorites when I'm craving something sweet. All of the ingredients store well so I always keep them on hand. It's thick for a smoothie, more like a sherbet consistency that I eat with a spoon. If you wanted something you can drink you could add more alterna-milk or water. Because it's thick I use my food processor to blend it, but if you have a sturdy blender that would work too.Ingredients:1/2 cup frozen berries (I like raspberries or blackberries)1 Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter1/2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey or brown rice syrup1/2 Tbsp high lignan flaxseed oil (I like Barlean's)Approx. 1/4 cup alterna-milk (hemp, soy, almond, coconut)Very complicated preparation instructions:
Place all ingredients in blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Place in a cup and go crazy with a spoon!Nutrition Info:240 kcal13g sugar6g protein3g Omega 3's
I almost put the word "recipe" in quotes up top, because this is really more of an assemblage than a recipe! This is a favorite sweet snack of mine. The flavor and texture is reminiscent of a much more sugary treat- the richness of the chocolate, the creaminess of the peanut butter, the chewiness of the date. Four of these is usually just about right for a satisfying snack, which contains about 250 calories and 5 grams of fiber.Ingredients:
*I use Theo's 84% Dominican Republic Single Origin.Overly Fussy Instructions:Smear a little bit of peanut butter on each date. Break up chocolate pieces and stick on top, using peanut butter as an adhesive. Enjoy!
- 4 pitted deglet noor dates
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 ounce *dark chocolate
Nick and I went to Mighty-O Donuts last week, otherwise known as the home of “Food Network Challenge: Donut Champions” winner Sarah Beth Russert. For those of you who haven’t visited this vegan and organic donut shop, it’s a treat in more ways than one. Delectable fried dough in seasonal varieties (I miss the late summer peach fritter already) served with espresso from Stumptown Coffee, all nestled in a cozy shop in Tangletown. It’s a lovely place to warm up on a blustery autumn afternoon, so on one of the multiple blustery afternoons we had last week we did just that.
To say that Tangletown is a family-oriented neighborhood would be an understatement; it seems as though offspring are a prerequisite for signing a lease around there. So needless to say on a Saturday afternoon when we showed up the place was teeming with adorable tots. As we sat and enjoyed our pastries we also had the pleasure of being entertained by the sugar-fueled antics of said tots.
I was struck by the pure expressions of joy that occur when a child encounters a food that they love. I work with so many adults who struggle with feelings of guilt and anxiety when it comes to indulging in rich foods. I hear a lot of “I was so bad…” or “I felt so guilty…” from adults when they are describing a decadent food that they ate. It was refreshing to see these little humans show true excitement and unabashed satisfaction with their donut experience. They were totally wrapped up in the experience and in no hurry whatsoever; they were truly savoring the moment.
I saw one kid who had his head down, mouth clamped onto the donut he was cradling in both hands, who was clearly fully involved in his eating experience. He was almost nuzzling his donut, kind of swaying his head from side to side as if to say “Yes, this totally rules.” I saw a toddler in a high chair who had a cake donut with chocolate icing. She was working her way around the whole circumference of the donut, only taking bites out of the iced portion, smiling wide with a chocolate-stained face. These kids were enjoying their donut rapture, they were playing and interacting with each other in their donut wonderland, and it was awesome.
We could all take a cue from these kids when it comes to appreciating rich foods. The holidays are a time where we encounter all sorts of foods that perhaps aren’t the healthiest nutritionally-speaking. However health is a multi-faceted subject, and mental health is a large, perhaps the largest, piece of that healthy pie (mmm… pie).
The building blocks of a nourishing diet are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. High-sugar or high-saturated fat foods (think cakes, cookies, bacon cheeseburgers, and the like) are what I like to call “sometimes foods.” They are fine to enjoy sometimes, but you don’t want to base your diet around them.
When “sometimes” occasions arise: birthdays, anniversaries, parties and the like, make sure you have your cake and enjoy it too. There’s no need to feel guilty for having a reasonable portion of something in celebration of good times. And rather than scarfing it down and leaving yourself plenty of time to feel bad about it, give your "sometimes food" a little breathing room. Here are some quick guidelines for having a sane indulgent food experience:
Look at what you’re about to eat. What is it about the way it looks that makes you excited to eat it? Is it colorful? Does it have a beautiful texture?
Smell your food. Get right in there and take a big whiff. Does it smell like it tastes? Do you associate the smell with a happy memory?
When you do bite into it, Let the food melt on your tongue a little bit. I’ve got news for you: taste buds only exist in your mouth. They don’t continue down your esophagus so give your tongue some time with your treat. Let all the flavors sink in and resonate. Don’t stop with the first bite; examine the flavor with each successive bite that you take. Does the flavor change from the time you put it in your mouth to the time that you swallow? What kind of taste does it leave on your tongue once you have swallowed?
I hope this is helpful as you navigate your way through your next holiday event. This is a wonderful time of year with plenty of tasty treats and quality time with loved ones. Don’t waste your time feeling guilty about the fantastic foods you are lucky enough to enjoy!
By the way none of this applies unless you eat your veggies too. On a regular basis. Just had to make sure that was clear. Eat your darn veggies!
I made this up out of desperation for something sweet this evening, and it turned out great! It's got all the qualities I value most in dessert- chocolatey, creamy, and sweet.
*I used both, because that's what I had! You could also use maple syrup, anything sweet and syrupy.
- 1 banana (could be frozen, but I didn't have the patience for that)
- 1 avocado
- 3 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey*
Put everything in a blender or cuisinart. If you don't use a frozen banana, you may want to chill the pudding in the fridge for a couple of hours. If it still looks a little too green, add a tad more cocoa powder. This recipe makes enough for about two generous servings!