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Magical Mulberry Squares (raw, vegan, gluten-free, low-glycemic, soy-free, grain-free, paleo friendly)

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Lately I’ve been wanting to make a fruity raw dessert that was neither chocolate nor overly nutty, but I’ve been uninspired by winter fruits.  Persimmons in fall are pretty much my last love until stone fruits return in spring– my winters are spent begrudgingly munching on Fuji apples that provide no groundbreaking dessert ideas.  So, I took the dried fruit route today and hit my cupboards up for inspiration, and thankfully, my cupboards (and freezer) did me right.  Here is a chewy, sweet, tangy and decadent treat that is packed with superfoods and contains very little added sweeteners.

Magical Mulberry Squares

Base:
1 cup dried mulberries, ground in food processor or blender
1/2 cup whole dried mulberries
1/2 cup cashews, ground as above
1/4 cup dried raisins and/or cherries, ground as above
1/2 cup lucuma powder
3 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tbls coconut nectar or honey
1 tsp camu camu powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

Grind fruits and cashews, then mix together with all other ingredients. Mixture will be malleable and slightly sticky. Press into a 8″ baking pan and refrigerate.

Topping:
3 tbls almond butter
3 tbls coconut oil, melted
2 tbls coconut nectar or honey
1 tbls lecithin powder
1 tsp Longevity Power “Maca Bliss”*
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients together and pour over base layer. Once firm, dust with lucuma powder and cut into squares of any desired size.
*Maca bliss is a unique maca product; it is extracted at low heat, has had the starch and fiber removed, and unlike regular maca, has no overly malty flavor. It is available online here.

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Cantaloupe Pudding in Any Season (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

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This weekend we went to visit my parents, and my mother gave us an enormous and wonderful array of fruit she’d dried to take home. We’ve got gallon size bags of raisins, bananas, cantaloupe, and pineapple, all of which are dried to just chewy, not firm/shelf-stable and will stay fresh indefinitely in the fridge.

I’m known to be a little bit kooky when it comes to finishing things; I’ll often ask Ace to slow down on eating something special so that we don’t run out too fast, and it’s been on more than one occasion that  perishables have gone bad because I didn’t want them to be gone and so, didn’t finish them.  It is in this frame of mind that I told Ace after we last were gifted dried cantaloupe to not go through it so quickly, only these days I am a wee bit forgetful… so I didn’t realize there was still a bag of dried cantaloupe left in until we brought home everything from our trip last night and I reorganized the fridge’s dried fruit area.  Having no idea what to do with it, since now we have a lot more and there is only so much dried cantaloupe that people can eat, I decided this afternoon to reconstitute it and make it into a pudding.  Thankfully, my experiment turned out quite nicely! You could follow this same process for any other mild-flavored dried fruit that you have an excess of.

Dried Cantaloupe Pudding:
3 cups sliced dried cantaloupe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup soaking water
12 frozen raspberries
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbls lecithin powder
zest of 1/4 lemon
3/4 tsp lemon extract
a few drops of stevia, if needed

Soak dried melon in warm water for about half an hour until soft, then drain (reserve 1/4 cup soaking water). Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until creamy and smooth. The raspberries were purely for color, as without them the pudding is rather beige; they help it obtain a more yellow tone. You could also add turmeric, which I didn’t because I have a new VitaMix pitcher and don’t want to discolor it.

Chessie was sitting in the fruit bowl while the melon soaked, and found it quite intriguing.

Ridiculously Delicious Sweet Potatoes (Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan)

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Dessert has a different meaning in my world currently than it used to… though I ate a lot of raw and vegan desserts anyway, on the Wahls’ Diet (which I’ve been doing to heal from CO poisoning) there aren’t too many dessert-friendly ingredients allowed.  I’m still square with avocado pudding, thank heavens, and have eaten that pretty damn regularly, as evidenced by previous blogs.  However, before I also baked somewhat regularly, and even when I made gluten-free stuff there was usually some sort of grain SOMETHING involved.  When I decided to do the diet I did so fully (I went free of everything suggested), meaning that for now, with the exception of one small serving of a cheat food every 1-2 weeks, I am pretty much all Wahls-compliant food all the time.

And that means that in order to switch things up with the avocados, I’ve been rethinking sweet potatoes.  Though not normally allowed on a Paleo-based diet, Wahls allows both beets and sweet potatoes in the “brightly colored” category because of their high nutrient content.  Rather than a side dish, I’ve been treating them as dessert, and they work very well as one.  Inspired first by Erewhon’s deli-counter sweet potato puree with coconut milk and vanilla, then by a blog about using sweet potatoes as a basis for a peanut butter pie, I’ve come up with a pretty freaking tasty version of sweet potatoes.  There’s no butter, no sugar, no soy, and no need for any of it.  It’s rich, it’s decadent, and it will satisfy your dessert tooth, I promise.  Amounts given are basic guidelines so that you can make as small or large a batch as desired.

 

Ridiculously Delicious Everything-Free Sweet Potatoes:

Garnet sweet potatoes, aka yams, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices then rough chopped into 3/4 inch squares and triangles. I do enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, which is about half a dozen medium ones.
Put chopped sweet potatoes into a dish, and preheat oven to 375.

Add:
enough unsweetened coconut milk to go 1 inch up the pan– not so much that it will boil over.

Sprinkle liberally with:
Himalayan salt
cinnamon
ginger
a touch of cloves
vanilla

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, and adding more milk as needed– don’t let them dry out. They should take about an hour to bake.

Stir every few minutes as they cool, adding 1/2 cup coconut milk at a time until they stop absorbing it. I use at least 2 additional cups over what I used when they cooked.

Once cooled, throw the whole lot into a blender.

Add:
1-2 droppers each toffee and hazelnut stevia
1/3 cup (or more) almond butter
more salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and/or ginger to taste

Blend until mostly smooth, with some chunks remaining if you prefer (I do). Eat as is, or layer with additional almond butter, avo pudding, or anything else. The coconut milk is rich enough that you won’t even notice the lack of butter, but if you are used to super decadent sweet potatoes you could add some coconut oil, or more almond butter. The stevia alone makes them more than sweet enough, since they are very sweet to begin with.

The REAL PowerBall: Raw Vegan Sugar-Free Soy-Free Grain-Free Gluten-Free High-Protein Chocolate Cherry Cookie Dough Truffles

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I may feel like hell, I may have yet to find out if the brain damage from being chemically poisoned for the last six months plus is permanent or fully recoverable, and I may have an MRI in the morning so a neurologist can view said prospective brain damage that is scaring the hell out of my little claustrophobic self, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be as much of a trooper as possible and play in the kitchen experimenting with new desserts!

The two raw cookie dough ball recipes (chocolate chip and oatmeal) I’ve made were good enough to warrant a new version, this time with the leftover dried tart cherries I had from the fruit and nut bars I made last week.  I wanted the cherry flavor again, but I also wanted chocolate.  Additionally, I wanted to stick to just nuts rather than nut flours and butters.  The end result is sort of a LaraBar gone wild… it’s a bit denser than the previous cookie dough balls, but still indulgent and light enough to feel like a cookie.  As I was rolling them I realized these could also be considered truffles, because they take well to toppings like hemp seeds and cacao powder.  I’ve kept with my usual sugar-free theme, but since these contain dried fruit they aren’t particularly candida friendly.  They do have a solid amount of fiber to counteract the sugars in the fruit by way of flax, though.  As always, feel free to simplify as needed or change out any ingredients you don’t care for.

Chocolate Cherry PowerBalls:

2/3 cup dried tart cherries
3 large dates
Soak fruit in warm water for 5-10 minutes, then process in mini-Cuisinart until fairly smooth.

2/3 cup nuts- I used 1/2 almonds and 1/2 walnuts
Process in same mini-processor (no need to wash in between, and you could do them together if desired) until crumbly.

Add:
1/4 cup chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tbls raw cacao powder
3 tbls ground golden flax
2 tbls cacao nibs
1 full dropper chocolate-raspberry flavored stevia
1 tsp vanilla

Mix until combined thoroughly, then either gather into a ball or place on saran wrap and roll into a log. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes then roll into 3/4 inch balls. If you refrigerated these as a log, they can be sliced into small cookies to save the time of rolling by hand. Delicious, protein-packed, fiber filled, and a healthy chocolate cherry treat either way!

They may not look too different from your average raw treat, but the cherry chocolate combo is heavenly. =)

More Cookie Dough Balls! High-Fiber Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Soy-Free Oatmeal Spice Bites

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Now that we’ve abolished nearly all food categories with the title alone, allow me to introduce you to these:

Recently I made chocolate chip (aka cacao nib) cookie dough bites based loosely upon this recipe, and they were damn good.  The batch of 15 1 inch balls lasted me about a week, and made me curious to try morphing other kinds of cookies into this format.

When I began my recent candida cleanse, I read that oat bran was a sound breakfast choice for an anti-candida diet, so I bought some in bulk and cooked it up expecting it to taste like oatmeal or oat groats.  Alas, it was awful- gluey, pastey, and hard to choke down no matter how much liquid I added.  The flavor itself was fine, and perfectly oaty, but the texture was something I could not abide by a second time, and it has sat in the cabinet since.  I looked up whether it’s ok to eat oat bran raw (it is), and decided to use it in a cookie dough bite recipe.

Because there is a solid amount of oat bran in these guys, I made them into itsy bitsy bites, and I’m glad I did.  They are quite filling (oat bran is mad high in fiber) and I also upped the fiber ante with chia seeds (I wanted a speckled raisin look without adding raisins).  They can be eaten as a dessert, but are filling and protein/fiber-filled enough to be a healthful breakfast or snack.  This recipe also differs from the other in that the amounts of both almond butter and almond meal are less, and coconut milk is slightly higher.  Spice amounts are suggestions, and should be adjusted to personal taste.

Itsy Bitsy  High-Fiber Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Soy-Free Oatmeal Spice Cookie Dough Ball Bites:
Melt on low heat until smooth:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tbls almond butter
1 tbls coconut nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 dropper each toffee and hazelnut stevia

Add:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup oat bran
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 tbls coconut flour
1 tbls chia seeds
1 tbls cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/16 tsp cloves

Mix until a sticky dough forms, then refrigerate for one hour, or until completely firm. This dough is very easy to work with once firm, but far too sticky to cope with some semi-soft. You could make these into 1 inch balls and the yield would be about 20, but I made them about 1/2 an inch and yielded approximately three dozen.  Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, and toss gently to coat.

Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Balls! (gluten, grain, soy & sugar free, anti-candida, low-carb)

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Recently I came across a recipe for sugar-free raw cookie dough balls.  I’m still following a candida-friendly diet, so I was excited to find a dessert recipe that I didn’t need to modify much, and that actually sounded tasty.  The recipe was only enough to make a single serving, so I modified it for quantity as well as to my personal tastes.  I was amazed by how similar to cookie dough these little balls taste! (Note that there are numerous almond-based ingredients; almonds are the only nut considered “safe” to eat raw on a candida diet. I ate no nuts or seeds for the first phase of the diet, but have re-incorporated almonds and hemp back in.)

Cookie Dough Balls Recipe:

Heat stovetop on low until melted and smooth:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut, hemp, or almond milk
1 tbls coconut nectar
2/3 dropper each toffee and hazelnut stevia
1 tsp vanilla

Add:
3/4 cup almond meal
2 scoops protein powder (optional)
1 tbls coconut flour
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/2 tsp salt

The recipe I modified said to roll these into balls right away, but I found the batter much too sticky for that. I refrigerated it for about half an hour, then easily formed the balls. Total yield was 15 balls.

Chocolate Cookie Substitution: replace coconut flour with 2 tbls cacao powder.

Clearly, this recipe is FAR from low-fat, but when you are creating a dessert that is raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, low in carbs, and grain-free, the ingredients need to be made of SOMETHING besides, you know, cucumbers. Plus, I figured people were getting tired of hearing “sprouted buckwheat” in all my recipes. Coconut oil is great for overall health, and almond butter/meal is full of protein. And while the author of the original post said that 4-5 balls was a serving, I found them to be so rich that two was more than sufficient.

How to Not Go Crazy on a Candida Diet/Cleanse

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Just like my last juice fast, candida diets are beginning to feel like old news to me; I battled candida during Lyme for a long time a couple years ago, then had an unexpected bout return this past December.  In the last month, it has come back again, which is not surprising now that we’ve found out we may have mold in our bedroom.  We’ve had a LOT of health problems since moving across the hall in November, and tomorrow they are opening the offending wall and we will know for sure whether nastiness is growing in a spot under the window that sprang a leak shortly after we moved in.  We are, of course, hoping that it IS moldy in there, because if it isn’t, our household has become randomly riddled with really odd ailments, for no apparent reason.

Back to candida– and by candida, I am referring to the kind in your gut, not other areas, just to throw that out there for the record.  It’s back, it’s got me STARVING CONSTANTLY, and in turn I have of course put on all the weight I’d lost since the hormone situation (which, if there is mold in the wall, explains why all that got so bad too).  While just a month ago I was back to my normal skinny pants, those are again a lost cause.  I spent a minute (err, couple weeks) thinking, “Fuck it,” because I knew I had to wait until the wall situation was fully dealt with, and that has involved numerous inspections, tests, etc.  I didn’t go crazy and eat yeasted bread or anything, but I had wine close to nightly and what the average person may consider a slightly obscene amount of chocolate.  Now that the wall is being handled, it’s time to handle me, too, so I ordered Renew Life Enterprises “CandiGone,” will bust out the Rife machine every few days, and began a joyous standard candida diet.  Only, being me and having lofty goals, I decided to also cut out foods that I know I have been consuming way too much of, that are typically allowed.  Read: Ace has staged numerous nut-interventions on me lately, and I’ve come to realize that they are just too big a part of my diet.  So although the candida diet says they are ok as long as they’re roasted, I’ve decided to cut nuts and seeds out entirely for a short while.

The easiest way, for me, to not feel completely deprived of specific foods, is to remove myself completely from food and do a juice fast.  But since I just did that a month or so ago, and since I am STARVING CONSTANTLY, that sounds very not fun right now.  Instead, I’ve decided to switch up my normal eating life as much as possible so that I don’t notice what I am missing as badly as I usually would.  My tips for a candida cleanse overlap with those for a juice fast, but I think there are several important things that can help you get through any restricted period of time, so I am including them again here.

1. Buy a plethora of snackable green produce.  I kid you not, I have eaten an entire head of celery as a snack lately.  Candida hunger is like the munchies from smoking pot exaggerated to the millionth degree, only without any laughter or fulfillment.  Know that you will still be hungry for awhile, and plan accordingly with things you could eat all day and not have to worry about.  My two favorites for this are Persian cucumbers and celery.  Broccoli stalks also work.

2. Don’t try to substitute.  If you love, say, regular pizza, don’t think you’ll be fooled and satiated instantly by gluten free crust and Daiya cheese and pesto sauce.  Forget about pizza for a minute, and try making, say, an Indian food dish you’ve never had but have been curious to try.

3. Since you have added a bunch of new rules, release some of your standard ones.  Personally, I am mostly raw and I rarely buy products with ingredients.  So for me, buying brown rice cakes (I never buy rice cakes because puffing grains at high temps denatures them and renders them nutritionally void) is a huge treat.  What’s in my cabinet right now?  Brown rice cakes!!  What’s my treat for eating a raw greens salad with probiotic onion dressing for lunch?  Brown rice cakes!!  I also have roasted seaweed snacks, and So Delicious sugar-free coconut milk and ice cream.  (Seaweed and coconut are in the “top ten foods to eat” while getting ridding of candida, btw.)  This all helps me to feel like there are tons of “guilty” treats waiting for me, and eases the focus off the fact that I can’t currently have any fruit, chocolate, nuts, wine, etc.

4. Protein- what’s a non-meat eater to do on a diet that usually stresses meat?  I am huge on listening to one’s body, and have actually had several times throughout my adulthood where my body said, specifically, “feed me poultry.” I listened, gave it chicken a couple times, and it shut up about that for another couple years.  For reasons like that, I eschew labeling myself as anything other than a raw foodist, even though my diet is at least 90-95% plant based and I think I eat a lot more veggies than the average vegan.  (I also tried eating liver twice at the recommendation of several different alternative health practitioners, but that didn’t go over well in the slightest, and I plan pretty solidly to never try it again.)  On the regular, I consume a small amount of raw dairy in the form of raw cheese, which is, of course, not allowed on a candida diet.  To solve this issue, I prefer protein shakes.  Currently I have Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, which is brown rice protein with spirulina, greens, and herbs for energy (thanks to the health issues I’ve got lethargy, malaise, and ennui written all over me lately).  I wish it was all organic, but at least some of the ingredients are.

5. Make simple things special.  Examples of this are having a shake or juice in a fancy glass, mixing a salad in a beautiful bowl, or breaking out nice dinnerware for a regular weeknight meal.  You are doing a candida cleanse for YOU, because your body is important and you want to help it rebalance itself.  However, the more we focus on what we are missing/can’t have, the more stressed we get, and the worse we in turn make our bodies feel.  Reward yourself in every possible way!

Protein shake/faux milkshake with So Delicious sugar-free milk and ice cream, Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, coconut oil, and toffee flavored stevia. I usually add greens to my smoothies, but this was meant to feel/taste like a dessert treat- and it did. =)

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