Friday, March 6, 2009

Sweet (but healthy) Indulgences

When we had our first giveaway last month and asked for comments, many of you asked for MORE recipes. So today I'm just going to share some favorites with you! I have had one of those weeks. You know the one I'm talking about - where you are almost driven to a bag of M & M's because after all you deserve it! After that, and seeing Shannan's sugar post on Wednesday, I wanted to share some very satisfying, healthy indulgences to fight back against that craving!

By the way, I believe my body when it's asking for M & M's, it needs something. Usually these types of cravings come in the afternoon or during periods of stress. Your body/brain has been working all day and it's probably depleted. In times of stress, even good stress, it's been kicking out hormones and kept you moving. Your body needs something that will keep it going. In nature, natural sugars are attached to a nutrient source. For instance, fructose is attached to the minerals and vitamins in fruit. Your body can burn the fructose while it's assimilating the minerals and vitamins and using them for one of your body's many functions. The bag of M & M's? Your body burns through that, stores it as fat, and is still depleted of useful nutrients leaving you needing more stimulation in a few hours. Retrain your mind to "treat" your body to a delicious whole food and the good, satisfied feeling you get afterwards.
This week my favorite afternoon treat as been really easy, I've just been enjoying dried figs, dates and pears. They are whole, sweet and delicious. I get that wonderful euphoric feeling after eating them and the energy to go on.

Another indulgence that I just tried is this wonderful Hazelnut Apple Crisp recipe from Hello Veggie's Site. The original recipe was written to make for one, I adapted it a bit as my kids love this and I make about 3-4 servings worth.

Hazelnut Apple Crisp

3 Organic Golden Delicious Apples
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon rolled oats (I added more as I love oatmeal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice apples into thin wedges or slices. Lay the apples mostly flat, in one layer, in a baking dish.

Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts, rolled oats and cinnamon on top of the apples as evenly as possible. Then drizzle the agave nectar (honey or maple syrup) on top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Make sure you can easily poke a fork or toothpick in an apple without any resistance. If your apples are not soft enough, bake for 5 more minutes and recheck. Continue at 5 minute intervals if needed.

The next recipe I found on Kristen's Raw blog around Christmas time. It's a recipe for Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs. Doesn't that just sound awesome? Here's the best news - it's raw, made completely from healthy ingredients, and will completely satisfy your sweet tooth!

Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs

1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder (If you don't have a source, try Living Tree or Sunfoods)
pinch Himalayan crystan salt
3/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract (If you are having trouble finding this, I ordered mine from Montain Rose Herbs.)
8 dates, pitted
1/2 cup raisins (I'm not a big raisin fan and I substituted some dried cherries/blueberries here)

Process a 1/4 cup of the coconut (reserving the other 1/4 cup for rolling the cookies in) along with the hazelnuts, chodolate and salt in a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, until couarsely ground. Add the hazelnut extract, dates, and raisins. Process until it is a texture, which holds together when gently pressed between your fingers. Roll into balls and then roll in the coconut. These freeze wonderfully.

Use raw carob instead of raw chocolate.
Replace 4 of the dates with 1/4 cup dried cherries.

Both of these recipes are wonderful and will satisfy that sweet craving we all get from time to time! Enjoy!



Living A Whole Life said...

Wow, these both sound great Karla. Once I get over the hump here and feel more confident in my choices. I will have to get busy in the kitchen!


Kristen's Raw said...

Hello Healthy Ladies,

Here is a great testimonial about those Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs, (you'll get a kick out it):


Hanlie said...

Those sound amazing! I'm definitely going to try the first one.

Yes, our sweet cravings are usually for the nutrients found in fresh fruit... Did you know that our savory cravings are actually for essential fatty acids?

Living A Whole Life said...

Kristen - Very cute story! My guinea pigs get very excited when I make them and enjoy a few nibbles too!

Hanlie - I did not know that our savory cravings were for EFA's! Great info!

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