One of the very first things I started eating on this diet – and one of my first posts – was for “Homemade Nutella Banana Yumminess” – homemade Nutella on top of a puffed grain cake with bananas. It’s still one of my staples for a quick lunch or breakfast, and I eat it regularly. But now that I’ve had my whole “date as a sweetener” breakthrough, I’m revisiting a lot of the things I’ve made in the past, and this is one of them.
Today I made a new batch of “Nutella”, and decided to use some leftover date puree in it to see how it would go. And it was SO GOOD.
Like, seriously. So good.
I had this pie last week at our CSA year-end potluck. It was made with raw apples from the farm, and had no grain, sugar, or dairy. And it was delicious! I unashamedly hunted down the creator of this pie until I found her so that I could ask how she made this miraculous thing. The secret?
This was the pie that launched me into the world of dates-as-a-sweetener, and I knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving. A dessert that I can eat as much of as I want? Yes, please! My husband eagerly ate up 2 pieces of it, and my niece and nephew (who eat a Standard American Diet) both were really excited about it and wolfed their pieces down! THAT’S endorsement.
Now, if what you’re jonesing for is really a sugary-sweet pecan or chocolate cream pie or something – this obviously isn’t going to cut it. Without sugar, your brain won’t get that sugar high. But if what you want is a great fruit-based pie that even kids will love, you’ll love this. The nut crust adds a spicy, satisfying crunch that perfectly complements the sweet apples, and the sauce that covers the apples is really incredibly sweet and satisfying. It’s perfect!
The discovery that dates can be used as a sweetener has changed my life. I know, this fact about dates is not news to anyone who’s been cooking sugar-free or “real food” for a while, but for me it was a revelation!
I haven’t been able to completely leave out sweetener in a recipe by using dates yet, but I’ve been able to drastically reduce it. Just today I made a cake that I used to make with 3 cups (3 cups!!!) of sugar. (I simply cannot believe now that I ever used that much sugar in a recipe without even hesitating!) I’ve changed the recipe so that it uses 2 cups date puree, 3/4 cups palm sugar, and 4Tbsp maple syrup. So, it does have sweetener, but so much less. I wouldn’t dare to eat a cake made with 3 cups of any sweetener – even palm sugar – but I can handle 3/4 cups! Many recipes that I’ve given up on ever eating again are now within reach, all because of dates!
So, since I foresee many recipes in my future that involve using date puree, I thought I’d do a separate post on how to do it so that I can just link to it instead of repeating the instructions every time.
This really isn’t a recipe as much as a method. After all, all you have to do really is stick things in a blender and mix it up. Not much of a recipe to that. But, since these yummy drinks are filled with inflammation fighting ingredients like berries, green leafy vegetables, flax, and nuts, getting in the habit of drinking these daily is a great idea and will help you feel better faster!
It’s also a super way to get yourself to eat a variety of vegetables that you might not eat otherwise. If you use enough fruit in it, you’ll honestly never even know the vegetables are in there!
(EDIT: I now have a new and improved Homemade Nutella recipe that is much sweeter and creamier!)
Yes, I know the title of this post is something less than specific. I mean…yumminess? What is that supposed to mean? I admit, I just copped out and settled on “yumminess” after pondering for 10 minutes what to call it. It’s not a sandwich. Not a cookie or cake or anything like that. So what is it? It’s something that I like to eat for lunch, a quick sandwich substitute, but what to call it?
Yumminess it is!
Is this the perfect Autumn soup or what? I saw a recipe for a soup similar to this on a vegan food blog I follow, Peas and Thank You, and decided it looked good and that I should try it out. (The fact that I had 2 butternut squashes from my CSA pick-up just begging to have SOMETHING done to them other than sit on the kitchen table for 3 weeks had a lot to do with this decision.)
But, being me, I couldn’t just leave the recipe as it was. It started simply, with just subbing in homemade chicken stock for the vegetable broth. Then I thought that it could use a little sweetness, so added a little maple syrup. And apple cider. And then I decided that a little cream would really finish up the soup nicely. And maybe also some red pepper for a little more kick.
Really, I just started tossing things in from around my kitchen. Sometimes, this is a dangerous thing. But this time, it turned out great!
This might not sound like much. After all…apples? Meh.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I don’t want no stinkin’ apples! I want chocolate cake!!”
But, if you’re like me and you just can’t have chocolate cake anymore, then this yummy little dish is definitely a welcome thing. It’s naturally fruit-sweet, with subtle flavors of cinnamon. The added crunch of the cinnamon nut streusel adds great flavor and texture. It’s kind of addicting, actually. I’ve come to depend on it and make enormous vats of the stuff so that I have some on hand at all times. I’m not kidding. I have it for breakfast almost every day. I have it for a snack at night. I have it in the middle of the day just because I want a quick sweet-ish fix. And, the best thing, I can have as much as I want because there’s nothing at all wrong with eating it!
So, while the chocolate chip cookies I posted last week might be closer to the things you remember craving, you have to be careful about eating too many of those if you’re trying to live an anti-inflammation, reduced grain life. But these apples? Chow away, baby.