In Need of A Dessert? Try a Raw Brownie
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In Need of A Dessert? Try a Raw Brownie

It’s day five of my cleanse, and so far it has been going amazing. I’m amazed by all the recipes out there for wholesome meals without the need for meat, or processed items. I haven’t gone a day feeling like I am missing out on good foods and that I am starving my body. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A lot of the meals I have been cooking are low in calories, but high in nutrients, which enables me to snack on foods that are healthy and I don’t feel guilty afterwords.

I do have a confession to make…I have been craving baked goodies, and fruits are not cutting it in the sweet department. As you know (or should have figured out from past posts!), I lovelovelovelove to bake, and in the past pretty much all my recipes called for flour, sugar, eggs and milk, which is now a problem. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really challenging finding desserts that fit the bill for my cleanse. So far, I have found only three recipes that sound delicious…I’d love to hear some suggestions on easy desserts that don’t contain flour, sugar, eggs or dairy!

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One of these recipes that I happened to stumble upon is the raw brownie, by My New Roots, and just looking at the recipe, I knew I had to make it.

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No Ordinary Granola
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No Ordinary Granola

quinoa-granola-apricot-cranberry-raisin-almondI wanted to switch it up from having smoothies for breakfast everyday and because processed cereals are out the door (for obvious reasons!) during my cleanse, I wanted to make granola. I’ve seen tons of recipes when I browse my foodgawker app, and it made me realize that making granola is a relatively easy process! Like I said before, there are tons of recipes out there on how to make granola, what ingredients to add.

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The Perfect Snack: Fresh Pineapple & Corn Salsa
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The Perfect Snack: Fresh Pineapple & Corn Salsa

Day 2 of my cleanse is going relatively well. So far so good! I spent a good part of my morning in the kitchen: making my breakfast smoothie, along with homemade applesauce & granola for the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned for recipes for all of them…I’m finding it quite a lot of fun to create new recipes, and of course, be my own taste tester ; )

In between creating all these other dishes, I managed to find time to make this really quick, healthy and most importantly fresh salsa to have with corn chips. Finding healthy snacks is important for me because I love to snack in between meals. I had just made a bean & tomato salsa the week before, and was looking to create something different and lighter. I was inspired by this recipe, which is a Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa by Knead to Cook.

This salsa is light, easy to make and the ingredients go so well together…sweet & spicy. Nothing could be better!

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Day 1: Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo w/Okra
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Day 1: Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo w/Okra

Yesterday was spent prepping for the food cleanse I am about to embark on! I was at a couple of grocery stores for about four hours. No. Big. Deal. A word of advice: the weekends are not meant to go grocery shopping. Why? It’s so chaotic out there with everyone doing the exact same thing!! Repeat after me: weeknight, weeknight, weeknight!

I never realized just how challenging it would be to find non-processed, free from sugar foods at the store. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making things from scratch, but sometimes, it’s nice when you can save some prep time by using canned goods instead. Have you looked at labels recently? This shopping trip was definitely an eye opener. A lot of the canned goods had preservatives (duh, it is to be expected), but it’s kinda scary at how many they had. I couldn’t pronounce half of those chemicals: malto dextro, sodium ditrithiWHAT?!

Did you know that some brands of canned beans have sugar added to them?! Yup, that’s right! You would think for beans, you would just have the basic ingredients of: water, beans or salt. But, nope, there might be a surprise too! So, instead of going the canned route, I chose to buy my beans, lentils and grains in bulk, and ended up with: quinoa, green lentils, brown basmati rice, tabouleh, polenta, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas. I don’t know about you, but it is oddly satisfying to me to know that I can prep&cook the lentils/beans myself rather than having it come out of a box/can pre-cooked.

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Pears Galore: Pear Pudding & Brown Butter Spiced Pear Muffins
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Pears Galore: Pear Pudding & Brown Butter Spiced Pear Muffins

It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption

Edward Bunyard

Pears are one of my favorite fruit – when ripe, they’re incredibly sweet & juicy and when you take a bite, they pretty much dissolve in your mouth. What’s not to love?!
In addition to their deliciousness, they also provide you with a variety of health benefits; they serve as a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, and even Vitamin K, and are a low allergy fruit. Though not normally mentioned, pears are known to have antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

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Happy New Year 2013!
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Happy New Year 2013!

I cannot believe I am sitting here welcoming in another year. New beginnings, new everything. 2012 was one hell of a ride for me…a lot of ups, a lot of middle, and a lot of downs. I’m excited for what the new year has to offer me!

As you know, I am trying to recover from the flu, and so far, for the past week, it’s been kicking my butt. I was supposed to start off today by starting a 21 day cleanse from processed foods, but right now, that’s going to be pushed back till my immune system isn’t fighting so hard. I’m so so so tired, and all my body wants to do is sleep, while my mind is so over it! Ahhh

Once I am back to normal, I am going to start the healthy, non-processed food cleanse. You could call it a food-challenge for better eating, eating more vegetables and whatever comes out of the ground. It’s incredibly scary to read labels at the grocery store and not know what half the ingredients are!

I’m looking for recipes that are simple to prepare but hearty and delicious; recipes that have no processed products, no dairy products, no refined sugars, no meats. So, in a nutshell, going back to basics…have you ever done anything like this before? I would love to hear your suggestions & recommendations on recipes. 

Hot Chocolate Cookies
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Hot Chocolate Cookies

hot-chocolate-cookie

I know holiday baking has come to an end, and I would have got this post out sooner, but I have been sick for the past week. It just seems to be getting worse. What sucks the most, isn’t the stuffy nose or the fever, ohhhh no. What is it you ask? Not being able to taste food! Seriously, everything tastes the same to me…bland bland bland : (

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Banana Walnut Bread
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Banana Walnut Bread

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One of my favorite recipes to make is this Banana Walnut Bread with maple syrup drizzled thru the batter. The first banana bread I ever baked was the Starbucks version - they used to have recipe cards you could pick up at the store. But their recipe calls for ingredients that I don’t always have on hand aka buttermilk, so over the years, I have adjusted the recipe to my liking and tastes.

If you ever have overripe bananas and are thinking about just throwing them out. DON’T!!!! Make this instead. It’s a simple, foolproof recipe that goes great as a snack or during tea time.

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Just in Time for Your Christmas Meal: Persimmon Pudding
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Just in Time for Your Christmas Meal: Persimmon Pudding

‘Tis the season for persimmons falalalalaaaa lalaaala

Persimmons are a delicious, edible fruit that seem to be relatively unknown in the United States. There are two kinds astringent or non-astringent, and the variety I purchased was the non-astringent fuyu version. They are less astringent and lose their tannic quality as they ripen, making them palatable. They are in season from late October to December, which is why they are currently sold in grocery stores. They strikingly resemble tomatoes, but don’t worry, taste nothing like it! When ripened, the fruit is sweet, almost custard like.

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A word of caution, if they are not fully ripened, they do have a bitter, mealy taste to them, which leaves little to be desired. A good way to tell when they can be eaten is by their color (change from orange to red) and cracking skins.
Growing up, they were a common sight in my home, and since I haven’t had it in a while I decided to purchase some, and what better way to eat it than in a dessert?!

I scoured my foodgawker iphone app (a godsend, I tell you!) for an appropriate app, and found the perfect one: a vintage Persimmon Pudding & Hard Sauce recipe made by Boulder Locavore’s Grandmother! I love English puddings, they are so dense, and have an intense nutty flavor to them. Putting some persimmons into the mix could only mean a good outcome : ) I am not afraid to explore and try new recipes even though it sometimes means you could end up with a disaster. While, that has happened before, it wasn’t the case with this recipe!

In the UK, Hard Sauce is associated with Xmas/New Years desserts and is made by creaming butter, and sugar with alcohols like rum, or brandy. It is best served cold and accompanies hot desserts such as puddings, pies or cakes.

Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce

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