Saturday, February 28, 2015

Recipe: Vanilla Almond Milk

What's really great about this recipe is that it's customizable: so you can adjust just about everything in to suit your needs. Personally, I like mine a bit on the sweeter side: if I'm drinking this it's typically in its raw form, or in a as is, or in a smoothie. The caveat is I don't want to add sugar, to anything if at all possible. So, by  puréeing Medjool Dates along with the almonds, it adds just the right amount of sweetness I desire without refined sugar.

First of all, to all the naysayers that argue that dates are bad for you because they're high in sugar, you're dead wrong. Dates are loaded with at least 15 essential minerals, including selenium, which is believed to prevent cancer and support immune function; 23 types of amino acids; fiber, which is promotes healthy bowels and is a crucial component for digestion and nutrient absorption; potassium, an electrolyte that helps control blood pressure; phytonutrients and vitamins A, B and K, which helps protect mucus membranes and skin, as well as preventing several types of cancers. 

So yes, while an ounce of pitted dates do contain 19g of sugar, they are invaluable source of concentrated nutrients that promote a multitude of health benefits that some scientists say are not even found in some of the most popular fruits such as apples bananas and oranges. 

Okay, now for the recipe I have promised many. My recipe was adapted from the Oh, She Glows cookbook. I highly recommend it.

1c Raw Almonds
1 tsp Cinnamon 
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2-4 Medjool Dates
4c Filtered Water and more for soaking the nuts

Nut bag
High powered blender; Vitamix
Medium sized bowl

1. Cover almonds or nuts of choice with water and soak overnight. 
2. Drain the water and rinse well.
3. Blend soaked nuts and remaining ingredients on high for about one minute.
4. Pour mixture into a nut bag over the working bowl and squeeze gently until milk is extracted and enjoy.

1. Clean nut bag and repeat step four.
2. Blend finished product on high for an addition 30 seconds or so.  

Bon appétit 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding: Nutritious & Yummy

Get your chocolate fix with this super easy, guilt-free chocolate ganache pudding that will have you scratching your head because it's incredibly nutritious but tastes like fine dining. So don't let the main ingredient scare you away because this is the real deal! I know it's hard to believe, but it's the avocado that gives this pudding the complexity, depth and texture one expects when indulging.

Trust me, my husband HATES avocados; so when I served this to him as an after dinner dessert topped with blueberries and freshly whipped coconut cream, I didn't say a thing; he devoured it! He always says the same thing when he really likes something I've made: "Wow! This is really good; thank you babe, you always treat me so well." This of course, tickles me pink because I know if he knew what he was really eating, a food he's decided not to like, period, he'd suddenly taste what he couldn't prior to knowing and would stop eating it. 

Believe me, I could hardly contain myself from telling my husband that apparently he DOES like avocados after all. Instead, I allowed him to reminisce in my rare dessert offering until the following evening; then only after he unequivocally agreed my new recipe is a keeper did I spill it. I do however, wish I had a picture of his facial expression to share with you when he learned of my secret. It was golden! 

My kids would be so proud of me because it seriously takes up ALL my willpower not to blurt my ingredient secrets! I have ruined many successful concoctions due to this flaw of mine, of which, I have yet to master. It's just odd to me that a person isn't as excited as I to discover a creative way to sneak foods we don't like into dishes that don't sacrifice taste, texture or compromised how the food looks or smells.

Now it's your turn. Make this tonight and don't spill the beans until after everyone has finished eating and thanked you for the yummiest dessert EVER.

Bon appétit!

1 Ripe Avocado 
1/4c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4c Almond, Coconut or Dairy Milk (or any milk alternative)
1/8-1/4c *Honey, Pure Maple Syrup (I like a combination between the two)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Blend ingredients in food processor or high powered blender such as a Vitamix until smooth. Chill and serve with toppings of choice. 

*Dates may be used in substitution of all sweetener but to do this successfully, soak pitted dates in water overnight and increase milk until the desired consistency is achieved.