Tag Archives: sweets

The Beauty of Silence, Meditation and Donuts

IMG_3402There’s nothing like a donut to bring two people together.

I brought my truck in for a long overdue oil change yesterday.  My five year-old son came with me and we decided the one hour wait would be a perfect opportunity to visit the donut shop next door.  We hustled in from the cold and ordered up a couple of hot chocolates and sweet treats.

I invited my little man to choose our table and he pointed toward a two-top in the far corner.  The space felt noticeably peaceful.  Nearby three old men sat reading the paper, enjoying a warm ray of sunlight shining through floor-to-ceiling windows.  We smiled at them as we passed and I followed my son to the corner, listening to the quick, rhythmic shoosh-shoosh-shoosh of his snow pants he walked through the quiet shop.

We sat down and got cozy, shaking off our jackets and releasing shocks of staticy hair from under our hats, then reached for our goodies.  I unwrapped my go-to flavor, Boston Cream, and he slowly revealed own his favorite, Strawberry Sprinkled.  He laid the pink donut on a napkin and sipped his cocoa, “Too hot!”  I peeled off the cap and poured in a little more milk.  He tried it again.  “Mmmmm.  ‘S good.”

“What happened in school today, buddy?”

No answer.

“Did you learn anything new?”

Shrug.

He was not interested in conversation.  He pushed his cocoa aside and turned his focus on the awaiting spongey delight.  I decided to stop talking and simply enjoy the sight of my little guy wholly engaging in an exquisite eating meditation.

With deep concentration he examined his snack on the table.  He picked it up and sunk his teeth in.  When a tiny red jimmy toppled onto his napkin, he pinched it between his thumb and forefinger and meticulously nestled it back into the icing.  He chewed and paused and chewed some more.  He lifted the donut high above his head with one hand, clearly in awe of its deliciousness.  He held it up to me as if to say, Look, Mamma, isn’t it beautiful?  But he didn’t utter a word.  He just returned his full awareness to the slow and methodical extinction of one pink donut.  He carefully selected which portion to bite, mindful to save the sweetest bit for last.  He chewed and relished and appreciated the donut so entirely, I could only imagine that for him, in those moments, not one other thing existed in the whole wide world.

The last bite was upon him.  He popped it into his mouth, chewed for a long while, swallowed, then tossed his head back in the chair, staring at the ceiling, seemingly reconciling the experience.

I paused to take in the warm hush of the donut shop.  And I realized that silence is a pretty amazing way to communicate.

I smiled then laughed out loud.  I told him I loved him.

“I love you, too, Mamma,” he finally responded.

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Like Vanessa’s post? Adopt, support or share these similar intents on Intent.com!

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3 Mouthwatering Desserts You’d Never Guess Were Vegan

heart-pie-1024x7681I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that all vegan food is bland and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! In my experience, it’s not hard to make delicious vegan food, and it starts with knowing how to work with a few key ingredients.

As a mom, I love making tasty desserts for everyone to indulge in, and there’s no reason these can’t be vegan. For vegan desserts, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with things like dates, cashews, and maple syrup – healthy, natural ingredients that will add sweetness, texture, and depth to your treats.

Here are three of my favorite dessert recipes – so gooey, delicious, and flavorful that no one will guess they’re vegan!

4-truffles-on-plate1. Chocolate Truffles

Yields @20 truffles

Ingredients:

  • dates – 1 cup
  • cashews – raw, 1/2 cup
  • almonds – raw, 1/2 cup
  • raw cacao powder – 3/4 cup
  • coconut – shredded, unsweetened 1/2 cup
  • maple syrup – 1/2 cup
  • vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • almonds – raw- extra 20 for inside truffles

For Topping:

  • coconut – shredded 1 tablespoon
  • cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • raw cacao powder – 1 teaspoon

Instructions:

In a high speed blender or food processor, blend together the dates, cashews and almonds until they form a crumble-paste. Add a little warm water if the paste is too thick – it shouldn’t be totally smooth and it shouldn’t be wet; it should be crumbly with nutty pieces in it.

Add the raw cacao powder and blend.

Add in the  maple syrup, vanilla, coconut and salt and blend until completely incorporated. Make sure you stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a few times to keep the mixture moving.

Measure the truffle mixture out as 1 tablespoon each.

If the dough is too sticky at this point, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes; it is easier to manage when it is cold.

Place one of the raw almonds into the middle of the truffle and roll into balls. Coat with shredded coconut, cinnamon or raw cacao.

I find the easiest way to coat the truffles is to put whatever topping you choose into a plastic or paper bag. One by one put the truffles in and shake. Kids LOVE this part.

While the truffles can be eaten right away, they are better when eaten cold. For best results, place the truffles in the freezer and allow them to harden for at least an hour. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months (though they would be lucky to last until the end of the day). Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

2. Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • Crust
  • pecans – 1 cup
  • sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp
  • medjool dates – 5 large, pitted
  • salt – pinch
  • water – 1 tsp
  • Filling
  • cashews – 2 cups
  • maple syrup – 2/3 cup
  • water – 3/4 cup
  • vanilla – 1 tbsp pure
  • raw cacao powder – 2/3 cup
  • himalaya salt – 1/8 tsp
  • coconut oil – 1/3 cup,melted
  • coconut butter – 1/4 cup, melted

Instructions:

Crust

In a high speed blender or food processor grind the pecans and sunflower seeds.

Chop the dates and add to the nuts and seeds with the salt. Grind again into crumbs.

Add the water and zap again until the mixture turns into a moist dough that holds together when pressed.

Press into the bottom of a spring form pan, mini pans, or small silicone muffin cups.

Set aside.

Filling

Blend all but the oil and butter until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender.

On stove stove, heat the oil and the butter until it is melted. Then, add to the mixture and blend again.

Pour over the crust.

Set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

I add fresh fruit and coconut whipped cream for taste and decoration. It’s so much fun to play with and the fruit is perfect with the density and texture of the chocolate. Add the coconut whipped cream and you have yourself a winner. I have turned coconut haters into coconut lovers with this dessert. Really, it’s that good.

3. Chocolate Cashew Butter

Ingredients:

  • cashews – 1 cup
  • maple syrup – 1/3 cup
  • raw cacao powder – 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil – 2 tbsp
  • coconut butter – 1 tbsp
  • water – 1 tbsp
  • salt – dash

Instructions:

Add everything except the coconut butter and coconut oil to a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. Melt the oil and the butter on the stove and add to the blender and blend until the ingredients are combined.

Put in an airtight container (preferably glass). It will keep for a few months in the fridge or a few weeks in the pantry, though it won’t last that long. The jar is empty in about a week in our house. Spread on toast, dip fresh fruit in it, add it to coconut milk ice cream, quinoa crepes, waffles, use it as an icing or anything else you can imagine spreading chocolate on. Most of all, enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Your “Non-Piggy Bank”: The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Losing Weight

Marina's portrait II - IMG_8006 edGood Day Tushkateers! Greetings, Salutations, Happy June and more!

Yes, it’s been a few weeks since last we met. And now, just back, I sit, alternating between staring, gazing in a somewhat stupefied state out my New York City window, enjoying the music of the hustle and bustle, as the honks, sirens, people “talking,” all sounds make their way up the side of the building, into my home office; and writing a sentence or two of this morning’s KICK. (I’d call it a high-rise, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as there are only 9 floors.)

I am doing my best to orient myself via caffeine. Talk about writing in ‘real time,’ can you feel the stupefied part of me beginning to wake up?’ I can, holy goodness, mercy mercy me.

The Meaty Portion—or rather the Porky Portion of this week’s KICK:

Last week, while I was traveling about, I did talk to a client who was “struggling,” in need of a cup of motivation and inspiration! (Who isn’t?) Let’s call her Mary.

After talking it through with Mary and identifying that “sweets” are a red light food, a major-league trigger that keep her from fitting into her svelte clothes as well as purchasing a much coveted Eileen Fisher outfit, we—together—remembered and embraced the “Non-Piggy Bank” Pious Project from Our Lady of Weight Loss:  Mysterious and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal.

Here is the Non-Piggy Bank excerpt from the book. Read and ingest now, please, slowly. Word by word!

~

I must have said and continue to say “No, thank you” to offers of food about eight zillion times a day. No! I am NOT exaggerating! You’d think the scales of injustice would be appreciative of my efforts and automatically reward me. Yet, if I cave—even just once—to the sweet temptation of a hot fudge sundae, all my righteous efforts are sugared and fattened away.

I wanted a reward! So, I made a non-piggy bank and paid myself one dollar for each and every non-piggy no thank you I uttered. When my non-piggy is filled with cash, I count it joyfully and either go for a manicure or buy lipstick.

My non-piggy bank changed the focus on my no-thank-yous from deprivation to fun! I started looking for people to offer me things.

“Aren’t you going to offer me some of that key lime pie?” I asked a friend, whom I’d irrationally labeled a food pusher the week before. She looked at me quizzically and apprehensively inquired, “Would you like a slice of pie?”

“Non merci, je suis a la diete,” I cheerfully answered in French, adding another level of flavor to my no-thank-you. I kept count of my no-thank-yous, and when I got home that night, I had twenty extra no-thank-you bucks to add to my jar!! (I borrowed the money from my husband.)

~

If you are wondering how this is working for Mary, I can tell you with certainty that it is working extremely well! Yesterday, Mary wrote me, reporting in. Thus far, since our session, she has accumulated a fair sum of No-Thank-You-Bucks, but has opted to wait to spend it until she has enough money to buy the entire E.F. outfit! Good for Mary!

Mary is ‘out there’ looking for people to offer non-Our Lady-Approved-Foods to her, just so she can say, “No, thank you!”

Now…If you want the instructions on how to make a Non-Piggy Bank, write me and I will send them to you! Write: Non-Piggy Bank” in the subject line, and commit! Say….“Yes, I will deposit  a dollar (or a quarter, or a dime, or a $20 bill–depending upon the size your pocketbook) into my Non-Piggy Bank with every no-thank-you. My first purchase (I know that this is a first in a long line of purchases to motivate and inspire) will be _________.” Got it? Get specific! Details, please.

Put the specifics on paper.
Set an intention.
Make it real! Make it work!

* * *

For more high-spirited fun, lightness of being, weightlessness and friendship, please join with your fellow Tushkateers: on the Facebook/KITT Club page!  AND be sure to scroll down (down, the other down) for this week’s most popular OLofWL blog post links, and quotes that fill the soul and inspire the spirit!

For the best life, wellness and weight loss wisdom, visit Janice:
Our Lady of Weight Loss

Striking a Balance for a Happy Halloween

This is the time of year when you start seeing more articles about how to choose healthy snacks on Halloween, how to stay on your diet during Halloween, how to BYOC (bring-your-own-carrots) to a party full of yummy treats, and so forth. The idea of strategic self-restraint seems be the most common tip for having a healthy Halloween. You can fill a Halloween bag/pumpkin with apples instead of Snickers bars, boxes of raisins instead of bags of candy corn, and peanuts instead of Reese’s Pieces. Conquer your cravings, count calories, and thwart temptation.
 
Unfortunately, avoiding sweets won’t lead to a Happy Halloween if you embrace a core principle that has been cherished by children for generations: CANDY. Not just one piece of candy. But many pieces of candy. A gleeful, once-a-year celebration of chocolate, caramel, nougat, nuts, and all other variations of candy goodness.
 
Here’s one idea for striking a happy balance, honoring the sacred place that candy still holds for many of us on Halloween:
 
  1. Make healthy choices before Halloween. Take the candy dish off your desk. Don’t buy huge bags of Halloween candy on October 1st (even if they’re on sale) because they will torture you for the entire month. Don’t give in to the impulse to buy cute cookies shaped like pumpkins, Rice Krispies treats shaped like ghosts, cupcakes decorated in orange and black, etc. Enjoy Halloween parties as you would any other party, without wolfing down handfuls of candy. Keep enjoying the anticipation of Halloween night just as you did when you were a child, without diving into the sweets too soon.
     
  2. Make healthy choices after Halloween. Keep the candy dish off your desk. Give away all your leftover Halloween candy. Don’t buy the huge bags of Halloween candy on clearance November 1st. If you’ve got kids in the house, don’t give in to the temptation to share their candy with them. (Ideally, they might even donate the rest of their candy to children at a local shelter, which is healthier for everyone.) 
     
  3. Joyfully eat candy ON Halloween night! If you have a big, healthy dinner and then tear into Halloween candy with the same reckless abandon you did as a child, your pure, guilt-free joy can be healthy in itself, strengthening your immune system. You don’t have to be one of the many depressed, angry people feeling deprived on Halloween night, as captured by this haiku from candyaddict.com: "Halloween candy Sits useless in front of me. Damn you Weight Watchers.” Does that sound healthy??
For many of us, Halloween was one of the best nights of the whole year when we were kids. If you disagree with the specific ideas in this article, I hope you’ll still allow yourself – in whatever way you choose – to freely enjoy Halloween night!
 

 

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