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No-Bake Fudge, Vegan and Raw

By Recipes for a Healthier You Healthy Desserts
on September 01, 2011

I have to admit I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate and accommodate Warren's addiction for chocolate. By "trying" I mean finding healthier ways to make chocolate desserts that aren't full of saturated fat and high sugar content. This is a great one I think. I am going to surprise him with it this evening. You can leave out the dried fruit or top with chopped nuts. Sure it still has fat, but it's the good fats that are inherent in pecans. Not crazy about the sugar content of the pitted dates, but you have to make compromises at some point. This one is quick and easy. How many you can make from this recipe depends, of course, on the size you decide to make your bites. I like to make them large enough to satisfy that chocolate urge, but not so large that it's too much of a sugar rush, which means an insulin spike, which means it all gets stored as fat. This dark chocolate cocoa powder is just that - cocoa without added fats or sugars and it contains natural antioxidants. Okay - I have to tell myself all that so I can get rid of the guilt trip if I eat one - or two... 

 

No-Bake Raw Fudge Bites

1 cup raw organic pecans (soaked for an hour or two and drained helps bind it all together)

1/3 cup dates (pitted and chopped up a little)

½ cup Hershey's Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder (no, not raw, but tastes better and easier to find)

1 tsp vanilla extract (use the pure extract)

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup chopped dried fruit of choice (I really like Trader Joe's "Super Cranberry & Pomegranate Blend) - optional 

  1. Chop up pecans in a food processor - you want them pretty finely ground. Add dates, cocoa, vanilla and salt. 
  2. Continue to pulse until you have a thick dough-like consistency. Taste and see if it's sweet enough for you, if not add a little stevia.
  3. Using an 8 inch lightly oiled (use the spray type) square pan, press the dough down evenly.
  4. If you use the dried fruit, just chop it up some and sprinkle it on top, pressing the pieces in to adhere to the fudge 
  5. They are really best if allowed to chill or even put in freezer for at least 2 hours in order to get them to firm up and easier to cut into squares. 
  6. Enjoy! No guilt allowed.

Let me know if you try this and if you liked it. This recipe makes a thin layer which I think is good in order to try out first to see how you like it. The next time, I will double the recipe to make it thicker and look more like fudge. Do you have a recipe that you'd like to share?

Thanks for listening!


Organic, Gluten-Free Granola

By Recipes for a Healthier You Appetite Control Snacks
on May 25, 2011
2 comments

Looking for a healthy breakfast or snack?

 

I am SO not good about eating breakfast! I usually don't want to eat anything until I've been up for about two hours. Now, I know this isn't a good practice because I then get hungry mid morning and it's too close to lunchtime - what to do? I just attended a 4-day class on a healthy eating program especially attuned to heart health. One of the main things they emphasized was a fairly big breakfast without animal protein, but full of protein-laden grains. Hot 7-grain cereal was one of the choices and although Warren loves this, it's just not my thing and especially not in the summertime. I also have gluten intolerance, not yet a full-fledged allergy, but I don't do well with most grains, which is why breakfast is a problem for me. 

Not any more! I came across this recipe from our friends at Organic Soul. They are Facebook Friends and we receive their very informative newsletter. This was their featured recipe today and I can't wait to try it. I may try to make it more "raw" by dehydrating instead of baking the granola, but either way, this looks like a winner to me. 

To quote from their website: "Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I feel it is the most important meal to get your day started right. It is essential to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to get you energized and motivated for everything that comes your way. Here is a simple and fun, gluten-free organic granola recipe you can enjoy as a breakfast cereal or as a healthy snack during your lunch time break."

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned, organic, and gluten- free oats (yes, all oats are naturally gluten free, but read here why you need to check)
  • 1 cup of raw, soaked organic almonds, coarsely chopped *Note: Soaking requires 8-12 hours prep!
  • ½ cup of shredded organic coconut
  • 3 tablespoons of packed organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of raw organic cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raw organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic raisins (or dried organic blueberries!) (I'm going to try Trader Joe's dried cherries or their blend of dried fruits!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine oats, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, raw cocoa, ginger and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together honey and oil in a small pan over low heat until combined. Pour honey and oil mixture into the large bowl with oat mixture and stir well.
  5. Spread granola mixture into an even layer onto lined baking sheet. Bake granola mixture for about 40 minutes. Be sure to check every 10 minutes to stir and rotate pan. When granola turns golden brown, remove from over and let cool.
  6. Pour granola back into large bowl and stir in raisins until combined.
  7. Now your organic gluten-free granola is ready to be eaten as a healthy breakfast or delicious afternoon snack!

This recipe was contributed by Jake Webster, chef and food aficionado.

Thanks to our friends at Organic Soul for allowing me to share this recipe. Check in with them and sign up for their newsletter and "Like"  them on Facebook.

Thanks for listening! Let me know if you try this and how it turns out.

 


Why are nuts a healthy snack?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutritional Niblits
on May 24, 2011

Looking for a healthy snack?

 

Well, look no more. Following a large study investigating ways to prevent or reduce metabolic syndrome, it was found that adding 30 grams of nuts per day decreased the incidence of this increasingly prevalent syndrome approximately 14% after one year. Whereas adding olive oil and no nuts, the incidence decreased 6.7%. Either way - it's a decrease and the research is showing that the Mediterranean diet is effective for dealing with this problem.

Research now gives us reason to believe that those people with this syndrome characterized by multiple health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol,  high blood sugar, and with the easiest to diagnose - an expanding waistline due to excess belly fat.  I'll talk more about why belly fat is so dangerous in another blog. But it is helpful that this study shows that these symptoms can be reduced just by adding about one ounce of mixed nuts per day. Now don't overdo it, because although the fat in nuts is "good" fat, too much of any fat is just that - too much. I also would add that the nuts should not be the roasted kind that contain large amounts of salt which is obviously counterproductive. I recommend raw nuts only - soaked overnight if possible and then dehydrated at temperatures below 106 degrees. You can season them easily this way according to your own preferences. I realize not everyone has a dehydrator or the time to do it this way, so please at least eat raw nuts easily found in bulk at your local health food store. Researchers believe the fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids in the nuts helped regulate insulin, blood pressure, and inflammation - all of which can result in metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study ate about five walnuts, five hazelnuts, and five almonds daily. Kathy McManus, RD, director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, recommends eating the same amount (approximately 1 ounce) when you have a snack attack.

The link below provides the results of a large meta study on this subject.

 

Thanks for listening!



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