Thursday, September 23

Having Your Just Desserts

So with all of these tasty and healthy recipes, how about a little dessert up in here? You got it.

I'm not a baker. I'm a cook; a chef I sometimes like to think. But baking, and dessert making in general, just does not hold the appeal for me that cooking does. I'll whip up the occasional homemade dessert for special occasions, but it's rare. That being said, sometimes you want a little something sweet after your meal, without going into a lot of time and effort to get it. Enter the quick fix dessert.

See, it's common to want a little something sweet after a meal, and there's a reason for that: the sweet taste helps to move the energy of the liver to help you digest and assimilate your food. However, this does NOT mean we need dessert after every meal or even every day, and it does NOT mean you're going to help your liver OR your digestion if you dive into a big bowl of ice cream or a giant slice of cake. With desserts, as with meat, dairy, and animal food in general, and the more extreme foods like sugars, salts, fats, and alcohol, less is more and quality is the key. Go for desserts that are simple and only contain real, natural, unrefined ingredients, and indulge with a small amount rather than overloading your body with a dose of sweetness that will leave you feeling overly full and your body feeling imbalanced. When looking for desserts or making your own dessert recipes, great natural options to look for instead of refined sugar are agave nectar, honey, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt, and molasses. Also, remember that our desire for sweet food is meant to be satisfied by a small amount and not on a frequent basis; it's easy to go overboard, so keep portions small and remember it's about taste and satisfaction, not about filling up. You'll appreciate dessert more and balance your body more easily if you go for quality not quantity and savor that dessert indulgence a few times a week at most, rather than loading up on sub-par sweets every day.

So what to do when you're craving something sweet at home and want to follow the above guidelines but also enjoy an indulgence that's quick and easy? Read on for some fun Fall ideas for super quick, no sweat desserts that you can whip up with things you already have on hand.

Here's a super simple, quick and easy dessert that is creamy, sweet and a little spicy, and only packs 100 calories...making it a much better option than packaged "100 calorie" desserts on the market that are full of preservatives and sugars. This is a drink dessert, so you can sip it slowly and really savor it, and because it's liquid it gives you a cozy full feeling without filling you up too much. And it's also a healthier but still fun use for your martini shaker! Come holiday time, this is a great substitute for egg nog.

Almond Milk Frappé

1 cup natural unsweetened almond milk (skip brands like Almond Breeze with a lot of added sugar; many brands have some added sugar but the lower the better)
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar, honey, or pure maple syrup
several shakes of powdered cinnamon
2 ice cubes

In a beverage shaker, combine all above ingredients. Cover, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a large wine glass or fancy glass, and enjoy! For a slightly thicker consistency, blend all ingredients in a blender including ice, resulting in a frostier drink.

Want something chewy and cake-y instead of smooth and liquidy? Try this delicious treat, it's like a combination of the recently popular olive oil cake and a more traditional pound cake, but way less calories and fat and not even a fraction of the time to prepare: this is really easy breezy.

Sweet Sticky Salty Toast

1 slice Brown Rice Bread (chosen because of it's dense, uniform, "cake-like" texture)
olive oil
sea salt

Lightly toast the bread until soft and just beginning to crisp on the outside, do not toast until dark. Once warm and toasty, baste one side of the bread with olive oil, or drizzle and spread with a knife. Next, drizzle honey over the same side of the bread and spread with a knife. Finally, sprinkle sea salt over the same side of the bread. Enjoy warm. Easiest thing ever, and boy is it delicious!

Wanting something crunchy and more textural, with a nice dose of fruit and richness? Got you covered:

Happy Trails Dessert Mix

2 tablespoons plain almonds, pecans, or walnuts, or a mix
2 tablespoons raisins, dried cranberries, or dried blueberries
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon olive oil or sesame oil
light sprinkle sea salt (optional)

serve with:
100 % natural applesauce, store-bought or homemade (optional)
Apple slices (optional)

Heat 1 teaspoon olive or sesame oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat, do not boil or bubble oil. Add nuts and dried fruit and saute a few minutes, until nuts start to brown and dried fruit starts to puff up. Remove from heat, transfer into a tiny dish or fancy cup, and drizzle with natural sweetener of your choice from recipe list above (remember the dried fruit is already providing sweetness, so you don't need much sweetener). Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and small sprinkle sea salt if using, and enjoy! This mixture is delicious on it's own, or it can be used as a topping for a small bowl of applesauce, or spooned onto thin slices of fresh apple.

So there's a few quick and tasty options for easy desserts when you want something delicious and healthy without getting the oven involved. Happy Eating!

Interested in finding out more about what foods are right for your own body and why? Looking for personalized information and support to help you change your eating and lifestyle choices in order to achieve your own specific goals for health and wellness? Contact me to set up a consultation:

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