Tag Archives: sweet

Sweeten Up Your Fall with Cinnamon Baked Apples and Cashew Cream

baked-apple-2sm-1024x682Cinnamon and apples are two of my favorite fall flavors. There are a lot of savory things that come with the cooler temperatures – pumpkin and squash, stuffing recipes, etc, which are great for the holidays. But I think fall also lends it self to amazing desserts, and why shouldn’t we give in to our sweet tooth every now and again? Together apple and cinnamon create delicious sweet treats that are still healthy.  Using cashew cream also erases some of the guilt you’d get from pairing with regular ice cream. This recipe is a great fall dessert – and it’s vegan. It is definitely enough by itself but you could also pair it with a nice apple pie if you are feeling indulgent.

Cashew Cream 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours.

Rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.

Put cashews, water and salt in blender.

Blend until smooth. It will have the consistency of heavy cream.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples with Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Wash and core apples

In a bowl combine all ingredients except the cashew cream and the honey.

Mix well.

Stuff the apples with the mixture

Pour @1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and add the apples.

Cover with tin foil

Bake for @20 minutes or until the apples are soft

Put oven onto Hi Broil, remove tinfoil and broil the apples for @ 3 minutes or until the oats look brown and toasted.

Take the apple out and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle each one with a little bit of the liquid from the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle each one with one tablespoon of cashew cream.

For an added bit of decadence, drizzle with a little bit of raw honey.

Yum.

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.com

Does Being Happy Make You More Successful?

Most people believe that being successful will lead to greater happiness and sense of fulfillment. This is most likely true. But it is also true, believe it or not, that happiness can lead to greater productivity and increased success.

Don’t believe us? Then watch this video from Soulpancake’s “Science of Happiness” series. It’s super scientific…sort of.

Studies have shown that happiness can lead to increased success in many aspects of a person’s life – career, relationships, health and more. Workers who are happy and satisfied on the whole perform better than their less happy peers, the result of which undoubtedly leads to yet more happiness. It’s a never-ending cycle of good feelings, and it’s about time we all jumped on the train!

One important thing Julian (the “scientist” from the video) forgot to point out, is the role human connection plays in boosting our happiness. Not only did the happy group have primers to put them in a good mood, but they were given these treats and delights by another human being. The kindness they receive through these gifts – the candies, snacks, and cute video – probably acted like a shot of love straight to their hearts. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the quickest road to happiness is through reaching out to others and receiving their love in return.

Just our two cents. 🙂

What do you think? Does success lead to happiness or does happiness lead to success?

Sweetest Dad Captures One Second a Day of Baby’s First Year

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 8.48.16 PMThere’s nothing like a parent’s pride and love for his newborn. Everything is fresh and sweet, if also exhausting and hard work. Often parents find themselves so immersed in the moment that they lose sight of the larger process of maturation and discovery. That’s why this super sweet dad decided to document his son’s first year of life, by recording one second of each of those first 365 days.

The dad writes:

Meet our son Indigo who was born on the 9th July 2012. From that day my wife and I videoed Indigo at least once a day, every day up to a year old. For his first birthday we’ve spent some time putting together a video of his entire first year. He doesn’t quite appreciate it yet, but we hope that in a few years he will.

If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then we don’t know what will!

A lot happens in the first year of a child’s life. Most grow about 30% of their original weight and 20% of their original length; they begin smiling, reaching for object, rolling over, babbling, and some even take their first steps. It’s a whirlwind time that might seem to take forever in the moment, but which in hindsight goes by in a flash. Taking steps to document the process, as these parents did, can be one way to make sure the moments are never lost to our memories.

How did you document your children’s infancy? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Sugar, by Any Other Name, is Not As Sweet

Even though many sweets, whether made from honey or molasses, fructose, sucrose, agave, cane sugar, beet sugar or high fructose corn syrup, may have the same number of calories per teaspoon, they do have differing properties.
 
Sweet in and of itself is not such a bad thing. We’re even genetically programmed to like sweet, and even more, to crave it. Most naturally sweet foods are also nourishing and satisfy the body with more than just the simple calories that they contain. For example, most naturally sweet fruits, such as mangoes, strawberries, cherimoya, bananas, coconuts, pineapples, oranges, dates and others contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other natural phytochemicals important for our health and well-being. Sweet vegetables, like beets and yams, are good sources of these nutrients as well. Whole grains, naturally sweet foods, contain B vitamins and fiber along with complex carbohydrates. Our bodies are used to being nourished and fed by more than just the sweet taste of sweet foods.
 
From an Ayurvedic perspective, sweet provides satisfaction and a feeling of being nourished for these very reasons. It’s why we often gravitate toward the sweet taste as a source of comfort. Interestingly, from an Ayurvedic perspective, it’s not only sugar that is sweet. Whole grains are sweet (they just may not seem that way to our palates used to the intense hit of simple sugars), and even healthy oils are considered to be sweet. Often, many of our nearest and dearest comfort foods are a combination of fat and sugar, and sometimes our sweet cravings are not just cravings for a hit of sugar, but for something more. Taking enough essential fatty acids (the omega 3-6-9 combos found in Udo’s, flax, hemp, evening primrose or other oils) can be literally essential for our well-being and deep nurturing.
 
When we get overly habituated to sweet by overeating simple sugars, highly processed sugars or even artificial sweeteners, then the healthy, natural, whole-food sweets may no longer taste as sweet. When we’ve grown accustomed to the intense sugar hit of a candy bar or a holiday dessert tray, then fruit may be bland, cereal or brown rice may be boring. And we’ve tricked our body. The sweet taste that is supposed to be a harbinger of vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutrients is now an empty promise with no delivery. This is why refined sugars are called empty calories. Sure, they provide energy, but they’re devoid of necessary substance. Calories alone are not enough.
 
One type of sweet that is so pervasive that it is almost invasive is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It can be found in numerous types of candy, cookies, crackers, soda pop, juice drinks, as well as processed foods including salad dressings, sauces and even breads.  High fructose corn syrup is a highly processed form of liquid sugar derived from corn. It’s cheaper than table sugar (usually made from sugar cane or beets), largely due to corn subsidies and sugar tariffs. Depending on how it is processed, HFCS can taste even sweeter than sugar, which is part of the appeal in our society that just can’t seem to get enough of the sweet taste. From the perspective of calories, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), mentioned earlier, has the same number of calories as other forms of sugar. But the fact that it is so heavily processed means that those are empty calories with no nutrients. And HFCS, as its name implies, is a little different than table sugar, which is sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose. HFCS is mostly fructose. These are not necessarily processed in the body in the same way.
 
Some sources suggest that overloading the body with fructose creates a bottleneck in the biochemical pathways in the liver important for dealing with sugars. Thus, a large intake of fructose or HFCS can lead to a buildup of triglycerides in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are a type of fat, so if you’re watching your blood lipids, or fats in the bloodstream, processed sugars can be a culprit. Some sources also link increasing levels of type 2 diabetes with increased intake of processed foods. Processed foods, processed sugars, and increased levels of lipids or fats also coexist with rising rates of obesity, which are occurring in alarming numbers in both children and adults. 
 
Watching how much sugar we eat, particularly refined sugar, is an important factor in eating healthfully as the temptation to find satisfaction through overeating sweets can be particularly strong. Favoring whole foods, fruits, whole grains, homemade baked goods or fare from the farmers’ market or local bakeries, and reading labels are important practices to have a healthy relationship with sweet.

Sweetness without Sugar

In recent years, a number of lovely low–glycemic raw food sweeteners have appeared on the market, which can be wonderful additions to any healthy eating plan. However, many people feel unsure how to use these delectable ingredients. In this article, you can find out the ‘skinny’ on delicious foods such as lucuma, mesquite, yacon, carob and stevia PLUS how to use them in raw food recipes 🙂

Lucuma
Lúcuma (Pouteria obovata) is a Peruvian sub–tropical fruit that is usually found in raw food stores as a powder, made from the dried fruits. This yellow–gold, rich powder is actually my FAVOURITE of the lower–glycemic sweet raw powders, as it has a unique, delicious taste – something similar to shortbread or caramel.
Lucuma used to be called ‘The Gold of the Incas’ and is said to be the most popular flavour for ice cream in Peru where it natively grows 😉 Lucuma is related to mamey, green sapote and canistel (egg fruit) and is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, beta–carotene, B vitamins and iron.

Yacon
Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a root vegetable, also native to Peru, in the Andes. Yacon can be found in many forms in raw food stores – syrup, powder, dried slices. It is often called the ‘apple of the earth’ and is related to the sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke. The syrup is very thick, dark and sweet while the dried slices taste a bit like dried pineapple slices and make great snack food, or trail mix additions.
Yacon is actually said to be ‘no glycemic’ as the sugars it contains (inulin/fructooligosacaride (FOS)) cannot be absorbed by the human body, which makes this a low–calorie product popular with diabetics and those with other sugar–related issues such as candida. Yacon is reputed to be a pre–biotic and a pro–biotic, meaning it supports the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It is also rich in fiber, potassium and antioxidants.

Mesquite
Mesquite powder is made by grinding the seed pods of the mesquite tree (Prosopis spp. – also known as algorroba) – a leguminous plant found in arid/desert areas worldwide. This golden powder has a distinctive, sweet, almost nutty taste.
Mesquite powder is high in protein, lysine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and dietary fiber. Mesquite is another sweetener recommended for diabetics or those interested in balancing blood sugars.

Carob Powder
Carob powder is also made by grinding seed pods – this time, the pods from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). Carob is another leguminous tree, native to the Mediterranean – it also grows well in California and Florida.
Carob has long been appreciated as a non–stimulating alternative to chocolate. The silky–fine carob powder from Italy that we sell is the richest, most chocolaty carob powder I’ve ever tried. Look out too for dried whole carob bean pods.
Carob is not particularly sweet by itself, however, combined with any of the other sweeteners mentioned here, you can create delicious chocolate replacements. Carob is said to be rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, protein and fibre and is also traditionally used to relieve diarrhea in infants.

Stevia
The herb stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is part of the sunflower family, native to South and Central America. It is very popular with diabetics as it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and is almost calorie–free.
Stevia can be obtained in different forms, from the whole leaves, to crushed leaves, powders, liquid extracts and so on. It is intensely sweet and only a very small amount is required in recipes (it’s easy to accidentally use too much stevia and alter the taste of meals, so add it in small amounts to begin with 😉
Stevia is said to contain calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, though it is usually used in such tiny amounts that the nutritional benefits might be minimal… It’s used more as an easy way to add a lot of sweetness without adding more calories/bulk to a dish.

Other Sweet Treats

Goji Powder/Goji Berries
Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) have become very popular in recent years as a healthy sweet ‘superfood’. They are part of the nightshade family. Dried whole goji berries are very widely available, along with goji berry powder. I LOVE the goji berry powder and feel it is best eaten straight from the packet 😉 It can be used in smoothies, puddings, cakes and so on too though. Gojis are said to be rich in protein/amino acids, B Vitamins, beta carotene and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.


Pomegranate
Pomegranate fruits (Punica granatum) are native to the Middle East and are now grown all over the world. Pomegranates are a medium–glycemic, delicious fresh fruit and it is also possible to get dried, concentrated pomegranate powder and dried whole pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate powder is bright pink and tastes a bit like sherbet 😉 It’s nice used in smoothies, cakes and puddings. The dried whole pomegranate seeds can be used like any other dried fruit, though they are much more ‘tart’ in flavour than something like dates/apricots. Pomegranates are said to be rich in B vitamins, Vitamin C, iron and potassium.

Hemp Protein 50%
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a plant with many uses, from food to clothing, fuel, paper, cosmetics and more. Hemp powder 50% is a powdered hemp product made by Nutiva that contains less fibre and more protein – 50% protein. It is sweeter than most hemp powders because there is less fibre. While this powder is not super–sweet by itself, it is certainly a unique, nutrient–packed ingredient for sweet raw dishes. Hemp is rich in essential fats, protein, vitamin E and iron.

Coconut
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is an awe–inspiring plant with myriad uses. As a food it is available in many raw forms such as coconut flour, oil, butter, chips, shreds or simply fresh coconut water/meat. Coconut is naturally a little sweet.
Coconut water is a rich source of electrolytes and in general coconut offers healthy fats, iron, zinc phosphorus and some B vitamins, among other things.
I love using coconut butter, flour or fresh coco water/meat in sweet meals, plus adding coconut chips to soups for a tasty, chewy garnish 😉 My absolute favourite use of coconuts though is drinking the sweet, fresh coco water – YummmMmMmmmm…


Nuts & Seeds
Some nuts/seeds and their butters have a natural sweetness to them, which can make them ideal choices in recipes like cakes, cookies, grawnolas etc. I find almonds naturally a little sweet for example, along with macadamias, hemp seeds, pine nut butter and hazelnut butter.


Bee Pollen

While different bee pollens can differ vastly in their taste, colour and texture, they are usually naturally at least a little sweet. The best bee pollen I’ve ever tasted was from a little bee–keeper in New Orleans somewhere and the pollen actually tasted like chocolate ;O I don’t know what those bees had been picking up but it was a gorgeous concoction.
Bee pollen is a nutrition treasure–trove – proteins, amino acids, folic acid, B vitamins, trace minerals, vitamins E and K and much more…
I like to just eat bee pollen by itself usually. We have a gorgeous sweet pollen in our store that I eat regularly. One of my favourite ways to eat pollen is to simply mix together pollen with shelled hemp seeds as a nutrient–packed ‘trail mix’ or snack.
(Warning: some people can get allergic reactions to bee products/pollen – always try a small amount at first.)

Honourable Mentions:

Cinnamon
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a spice made from the cinnamon tree. Cinnamon is naturally a little sweet, plus warming and pungent.
Cinnamon ‘quills’ are made by stripping bark from cinnamon trees and drying it. The dried bark is then commonly made into a powder.
Cinnamon is said to have a high level of antioxidants, manganese, iron, calcium and there are also reports that it can be useful in treating diabetes/blood sugar imbalances.

Vanilla
Vanilla (Vanilla spp.) is an exotic, pungent spice derived from the seed pods of orchids. Vanilla is available in different forms like whole vanilla pods, vanilla powder, liquid forms and so on. We have an incredible vanilla powder for sale, along with whole beans.
While vanilla is not particularly sweet by itself, it makes a lovely addition to many sweet raw dishes. Vanilla is well–known as an aphrodisiac and is also said to be a great aromatherapy scent to help handle food cravings.


Maca
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable native to the Peruvian Andes. Maca is not particularly sweet by itself, yet is quite often used in sweet raw dishes as a ‘superfood’ addition. Maca is most commonly found in powdered form and is usually a creamy colour, though red and black maca powders are also available (green and purple roots also grow 😉
Maca is renowned as an energy–enhancer, aphrodisiac, adaptogen, hormone balancer and nutrient powerhouse. It is rich in minerals like selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, plus protein, fatty acids and amino acids.

CamuCamu Powder
Camu berries grow on small, wild trees (Myrciaria dubia) from the Amazon rainforest of Peru/S. America. Camu powder, made from the dried berries, can be purchased from raw food suppliers. It is usually pink in colour, a little sweet and very ‘zingy’, a bit like sherbet 😉 It is reputed to contain the highest amount of Vitamin C of any food, along with flavenoids, calcium, iron and amino acids.
Camu by itself is a bit more ‘zingy’ than sweet – it can be used to add ‘zing’ to sweet dishes though 😉 I usually just take it by itself as a powerful, bioavailable vitamin C supplement.

Fresh Low Glycemic Foods:

If you’d prefer to have some fresh low glycemic sweet treats, here’s a list of yummy possibilities:

*berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries etc.)
*limes/lemons
*fresh cherries
*grapefruit
*non–sweet ‘fruits’ like bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra
*fresh corn
*rhubarb
*edible flowers and blossoms, such as mallow, borage, fuchsia, hibiscus, jasmine and squash blossoms.

Recipes
You can create untold sweet wonders using different combinations of the above ingredients 😉 For a little inspiration to get you started, here are eight recipes that use a variety of the foods mentioned above:

*Almond Dreambars
Watch HERE to see how to make these dreeeaaaammmmy smooth treats 😉
Ingredients: almond butter (or any nut/seed butter), coconut oil, lucuma, goji berries

*Hemp Milk
Click HERE to watch my demo of how to make a sweet, yummy hemp milk drink.
Ingredients: hemp seed (butter), cinnamon, cardamom, sweetener such as lucuma/yacon/stevia/dried fruit. Optional: maca, whole goji berries to float in milk 😉

*Yumballs
Visit HERE to learn how to create some delicious goji berry ‘yumballs’ for sweet treats from the fridge 😉
Ingredients: goji berries, nut/seed butter, yacon/lucuma powder. Optional: hemp protein 50%, stevia, cinnamon, maca

*Yumpots
One of my favourite, quick ways to make smthg sweet, raw and delectable is to simply mix up a few of the ingredients mentioned above, by hand, in a little bowl. I call these ‘yumpots’ and the variations are endless – here’s an example, to serve one:

1 tbsp hempseed butter
1 tbsp carob powder
1 tbsp yacon powder
big pinch cinnamon powder
water to thin to desired consistency
optional: 1 tbsp goji berries to stir in for chewability

Simply put all the ingredients into a little bowl, mix together by hand and ENJOY 🙂

*Truffles
Sweet raw truffles can easily be made up in batches and kept in the fridge or freezer for instant sweet satisfaction as and when desired 😉 Again, the possibilities are endless, here is a basic example recipe to start with:

3–5 tbsp (to taste) of powdered sweetener of your choice – e.g. lucuma, yacon, mesquite powders (NOT stevia in these quantities 😉
3 tbsp almond butter OR 1 cup soaked nuts of your choice, e.g. walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans
½ cup carob powder
Liquid to combine – e.g. water, nut/seed milk, fresh coconut water – to desired consistency

Combine everything in a food blender/processor until all bound together in a big sticky lump. Divide out into small balls and chill in fridge or freezer. Can be rolled in powder (e.g. hemp protein 50%) or shredded coconut, decorated with gojis and so on – use your creativity 😉 Add different things like coconut oil/butter, vanilla, cinnamon, bee pollen, a couple of drops of orange/peppermint oil, maca, camucamu powder etc for different tastes and effects.

*Satisfying Smoothies
Again, the possibilities for sweet, low–glycemic, satisfying smoothies are endless. Here’s an example recipe to get you started (for one person):

2 cups nut/seed milk (see hemp milk recipe above to see how to make nut/seed milk if unsure) OR the water and meat from a young coconut
2 tbsp lucuma powder
½ tsp maca powder
pinch of stevia
big pinch of cinnamon powder

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender and enjoy 🙂 As elsewhere, try different ingredients/combos to your taste – e.g. add goji or pomegranate powder, hemp protein 50% powder, sprinkle with bee pollen or go chocolate–y with a heaping tablespoon of raw carob powder 😉

*Chia ‘Rice Pudding’
Chia seeds are a wonderfully energising, light, filling food to use in puddings, cookies and cakes. Here’s a simple chia mock ‘rice pudding’ idea (serves one):

4-5 tbsp dry chia seeds
2 cups nut/seed milk of choice (e.g. almond, hemp milk)
2 tbsp lucuma or mesquite powder
pinch of stevia
big pinch of cinnamon powder
optional: cardamom to taste

In a blender, mix together all the ingredients except the chia seeds. Pour the mixture out into a bowl, stir in the chia seeds and let them soak up the liquid for at least 10 minutes before eating. You might also like to stir in some goji berries or coconut chips, top with some goji powder, add some maca powder or sprinkle with carob powder before serving…Enjoy 🙂

*Green Goddess Ice Cake
This gorgeous recipe is from Icelandic Raw Goddess Solla, voted one of the top raw food chefs in the world, in the 2008 Best of Raw Awards 🙂
You can use this as a complete recipe for a cake, or you can also just make the base to use as candy balls or just make the filling, as a pudding – this is a versatile recipe… Solla recommends making the cakes in small muffin molds…

Cake Crust (this can also be made into little ‘candy’ balls)
3/4 cup soaked almonds
1/4 cup raw coconut flakes
1 cup goji berries
1 Tbsp organic lime zest
hint of vanilla or cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Himalayan crystal salt

Process all the ingredients together in a food processor. If the mixture seems very dry, add 1-2 Tbsp of water, then press the crust into a cake pan or muffin molds.

Cake Filling (this can also be served on its own as a pudding – perhaps using avocado instead of coconut meat)
1 cup young coconut meat (OR pine nuts and/or macadamias – soaked for 2-4hrs)
3 Tbsp lucuma
1 Tbsp mesquite
1/2 cup yacon syrup
1/3 cup lime juice
2-3 Tbsp lime zest

Blend all the ingredients for the filling in a high speed blender or a food processor until smooth and creamy, then pour the filling over the crust. Place the cake(s) into the freezer for at least 1-2 hrs. ENJOY 🙂

Solla is the chef for our 30–Day Raw Food Weight Loss Programme ‘The RevitaLive Plan’, which offers a full 4–week, low–glycemic raw food menu planner, with all the recipes included. You can see more about RevitaLive and access Solla’s recipes HERE. We also offer ongoing monthly meal planners from Solla, in our ‘Inner Circle’ raw food community, see HERE.

If you’d love more inspiration for making low–glycemic sweet raw treats, I recommend checking out Kate Magic’s unique superfood recipe book, ‘Raw Magic’, which includes many of the above ingredients in the recipes.
Evie’s Kitchen’ by Shazzie is another great resource for recipes with these alternative sweeteners.
I also always recommend checking out online raw recipe resources like goneraw.com for further ideas.

I trust this has given you some extra inspiration for your own raw food experiments.
Most of the dried foods mentioned above can be found at the RawReform Store.
Enjoy 🙂

Sources:
TheRawFoodWorld.com
Wikipedia.com
RawReform Recipes Book

 

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