Guilt-free, fat burning delicious dessert, anyone?

Guilt-free, fat burning delicious dessert, anyone?

THIS is yet another guilt-free “cheesecake” recipe. It seems like its all the rage with bloggers lately, so I am jumping on the bandwagon. I love these recipes!  They are low glycemic, delicious, decadent, and guilt free.  Hello…what more could you want from life??  I, however, want to change it up and have my own version. I made an orange and blueberry cheesecake for Passover (check out the post here), and I have made similar chocolate ganache tarts, but I’m if I serve blueberries again my husband might get tired of my  raw, vegan antics, and sometimes all chocolate is just too rich (wow, did I just say that??).

Another thing that I love about these recipes is this:  many people who want to lose weight and/or eat healthier think they have to give up good food and tasty treats.  NOT SO!  This delectable dessert is a perfect fat loss, burn-those-hips-down-to-size example of how healthy can be delicious and guilt free. The coconut oil, coconut cream,  and cashews are all extremely nutritious.  They are good sources of healthy fats and protein, which help the body to burn fat.  I use real maple syrup for these  recipes, which is lower glycemic than other sweeteners.  The dates–have you ever opened a date?  They have tons of fiber!  But, you’d never know you’re eating something healthy with this delight.  When you eat foods balanced with healthy fats and proteins your body secretes less insulin, and this creates a little magic in the body.  Glucagon, the fat-burning hormone is released and BAM!  This is why people can eat all day and not get fat.  Its a fine line, though.  If there is too much insulin (because there’s too much sugar/carbs in the bloodstream at once), then glucagon can’t come out to make energy.    This is one of the secrets to fat loss that people forget, which causes massive frustration, which ultimately results in giving up, feeling like a failure again, and demoralization (all the usual things that go along with diets on the back end).  These types of dishes show that you can have your cake and eat it too!

This week I’m going to experiment, so stay tuned for pictures! I’m going to take the basic raw, vegan, gluten free cheesecake deliciousness (trust me, it is GOOD), and use strawberries and raw cacao nibs. Who DOESN’T like strawberries and chocolate!  My hubby is not a fan of strawberries, so to make everyone happy, I’m going to alternate blackberries and strawberries.  This is sounding better and better by the minute!

Its my daughter’s birthday, too. Strawberries (or any berries) and chocolate is such a great combo for a special occasion.

So, go over to Savanna’s blog and check out the recipe and then stay tuned for my version with strawberries and raw cacao nibs!

Wish me luck in the kitchen!  🙂  Elyse

The easiest gluten free spaghetti you’ll ever make

Gluten-Free FREE Spaghetti

Nutritious, Delicious, and takes about 10 minutes

(if you have a basic garden it will cost you next to nothing!)

    zukespag

Before you turn the page on this dish, you have to try it.  I’m not the best food photographer, but this dish is worth trying.  My husband, who is not a huge fan of my food experimentations, LOVED this dish.  He is a pretty classic meat and potatoes kind of guy.  He asked if I could make it again!!! (that never happens, especially when its a healthy dish!!  yay! for me)

Sharing with friends:

About every 3 months we get together with a few of our friends to enjoy vegan dishes and its kind of turned into a Vegan Gourmet Club.  It came about by myself experimenting with a plant-based lifestyle.  I find it fascinating what vegan and raw chefs do with plants.  It really is amazing.  Being vegan forced me to look at food in a whole new way, and I was challenged to try new things–new veggies, new preparations, using nuts to make things creamy.  It was really fun!

But, when our friends wanted to get together for dinner, there were very few options in Cincinnati.  I also wanted to challenge them to experiment as well.  Isn’t that what gourmet clubs are about?

None of the people in the group are dedicated vegans (including myself, but I still greatly limit animal products).  However, we have continued to have our dinners and be inspired by each other.

This time I decided to try a raw dish that was inspired by a dish at THE one dedicated vegan restaurant in Cincinnati, The Lovin Hut.  (Seriously, its the only one)  Its raw spiralized zucchini and raw tomato sauce.  My husband RAVED about it and so did everyone else.  So, here it is for all to share!!

There are several recipes online, but I added a secret little twist that gives it an extra special taste.  Here it is:

sauce ingredients

Put these ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor.  cut the tomatoes in half or quarters, use about half of the sundried tomatoes (about 1.5 oz), 2 1/2 cloves of garlic, a handful of basil leaves, and about 1-2 TBSP of high quality olive oil. Add pepper to taste.   Now, for the secret ingredient:  I add about a handful

walnuts  Walnuts are used by non-dairy advocates to give a Parmesan cheese flavor.  You can grind and use to top the dish as well.

NOW, puree all the ingredients until mixed and smooth.

To prepare the zukes:  just cut off the ends and add to a spiralizer.

zucchini  spiralizer

The spiralizer is a fun, easy-to-use tool that can be found on Amazon.com (click here for the link).

When you put the zukes in the spiralizer, it comes out like this:

spiralizerinaction  It takes about 5 minutes to do this.  Your kids could do this while you are prepping the sauce.  (be sure the don’t touch the sharp parts)

I put the dish I’m going to serve the spaghetti on at the base of the spiralizer as shown above, so all I have to do is pour the sauce on and voila!  It’s DINNER!

Sauce:

About 5 small tomatoes or 2-3 regular size

2-3 TBS olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (3 if they are small)

a handful of sun-dried tomatoes (about 1.5 oz)

pepper

a handful of walnuts (shhh…don’t tell my husband) (a lot of vegans use walnuts to add a parmasian cheese flavor)

about a handful of fresh basil leaves

Blend in a high speed blender on “sauces” or in a food processor till smooth and fully blended.

Zucchini Spaghetti:  The easiest  FREAKING way to make spaghetti

take some zucchini (I also used yellow squash)

cut the ends off–blunt

put in spiralizer and have some spiraling fun!!

Pour the sauce (should have a thick consistency) over the top of the spaghetti.

Enjoy!!! I would love to hear what you think!!!

Please leave a comment below!!  Thanks!

Elyse

Healthy Food Trends–what you need to know to avoid the marketing and hype traps

There are many choices of “health” foods available to us at mainstream supermarkets and health food stores these days, but do we really need all that?  Usually these foods cost more, and I think that is a major issue that fuels the argument that eating healthy is expensive. 

I was reading an article from IDEA Fitness Journal (May 2012) aobut Food Trending and thought, “All we need is more fancy health food to confuse people!”. 

In fact, much of the article was about the marketing of these foods, based on the Natural Products Expo West in March (of course, in California). What is NOT in food (think: GMOs, gluten, wheat, soy, sugar) is a huge marketing trend in natural foods. They are banking on the fact that people want safe, clean food.

Here is a list of foods “trending” in the marketplace:

  • vegan or “plant-based diet” foods
  • international foods–biggest ones: indian, korean, mexican
  • popcorn and pickled veggies
  • granola
  • chips and crackers made from veggies, legumes, seeds, alternative grains (e.g. kale, quinoa, flax, hemp, lentils, etc)
  • flax milk and flax butter
  • freeze-dried superfruits and snacks
  • natural and organic energy bars
  • stevia-sweetened flavored waters
  • meat substitutes
  • vegan cheeses
  • ginger
  • flavored peanut butter and other nut butters

LOTS to peruse through on your regular grocery trip.  That’s what stores are betting on.  The longer you stay in a store, the more you spend.  Here is my take on these products and health food marketing:

  1. if you stick to the produce isle for the majority of your food, you don’t have to worry too much about reading labels. 
  2. If you start a garden, then YOU control what is on your food, and if its genetically modified, so think about starting a garden this spring.
  3. granola is generally speaking, a dessert food and full of sugar.  Some claim to have protein in them, but its in the form of TVP (textured vegetable protein) which is usually soy-based and not the best choice for getting protein (think overly processed food).
  4. same goes for chips and crackers.  unfortunately these two foods are the downfall of many people.  they think, this is a great way for me to get my veggies  or whole grains in for the day–sorry, not the best choice, especially if you are watching your waistline.  Save these for when you are having guests and want to offer a chip or cracker option.
  5. the benefits of flax are short-lived (meaning the good fats breakdown pretty easily–before you even get to it) so there probably aren’t any massive health benefits from flax milk or butter.  In fact, they probably pasturize it and therefore there are probably no true health benefits from it.  They are allowed to put pretty much whatever they want on the label, so don’t be deceived!
  6. watch stevia consumption.  there have been studies that show that an over-consumption of stevia causes infertility in male rats. 
  7. meat substitutes are plain and simple junk protein.  Eat sparingly.
  8. Finally, gluten free and whole grain foods such as breads, waffles, pancakes, etc are just an excuse for people to eat bread, however there isn’t much health benefit to breads, as we would buy in the store.  Bread products should be eaten sparingly if at all.

I would love to hear what YOU have to share on this subject!  Please leave a comment below.