How to Make and Use Date Paste

Date Paste

Date paste may be the best alternative sweetener you’re not using. Dates are naturally moist and sticky with hints of carmel, brown sugar and often vanilla flavor. These qualities make blended date paste an excellent alternative to processed sugar in smoothies baked goods, such as breads, cookies and bars or as a spread. Date paste also has more than a few health advantages over the white stuff.

Adding sweetness with dates means adding nutrition without refined sugar’s roller coaster ride. The natural sugar in dates, invert sugar, is easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. Yet, their high fiber content makes them a low-glycemic index food. So, dates or date paste, not only support healthy blood sugar levels and elimination, but also helps you stay full longer. Dates are also high in iron, calcium, are even richer in potassium than bananas. Dates are also a rich source of minerals, such as chlorine, copper, magnesium, sulphur and phosphorus. Continue reading

Raw Cacao Spice Date Bars

Raw Cacao Spice BarDates didn’t interest me in the least, until Costco. No frugal foodie can resist two pounds of discounted organic fruits. Or, in this case, ‘drupes’.

This quick and easy raw date bar recipe gives me even more reasons to love dates. I’ve made this recipe with various types of dates and prefer the Medjool variety, and not just because Costco carries them. Medjool dates are larger (Left below) are a little sweeter, softer and more flavorful than other varieties, such as Deglet Noor (Right below). Full of fiber and dairy, gluten and sugar-free, these bars are a favorite pre or post-workout treat, especially with a glass of chilled almond milk.

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Raw Coconut Milk Yogurt

Raw Coconut YogurtCoconut yogurt. It has an exotic scent, a tart, yet slightly sweet taste and the texture of a creamy custard. And, it actually improves digestive and immune health. All this and both dairy and soy-free? The concept seems almost too good to be true. But, shopping for coconut yogurt can be challenging, if not frustrating. Most grocery stores carry limited, and seemingly over-priced options.  Continue reading

Ginger Beet Juice

Ginger Beet Juice

One of the best things about juicing is the vibrant colors. I can’t resist the bright magenta of beet juice. Raw and unpeeled is also the best form to maximize the many health benefits of beets, such as detoxification and anti-inflammatory support [1]. Further, just one cup of beetroot juice is rich in dietary nitrate, which lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessel walls and improves blood flow [2][3]. Beetroot juice can also enhance athletic performance by reducing the amount of oxygen needed during exercise [4]. Go red! Continue reading

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Summer Kale Salad“Eat more kale”. I wish it had been MY idea to print this clever slogan on T-shirts. But, at least I can live the slogan. This is my new favorite way for its flavor and ease. The lemon vinaigrette actually softens the raw kale, which usually requires a separate step.

My mother made this salad for me during a recent trip home to SeattIe. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what seems a modern combination of flavors was not, inspired by her latest Food Network marathon. Rather, the credit actually goes to her mother. I hope you will enjoy Virgie’s Raw Kale Salad as much as I do. It is irresistibly light and zesty. It is also rates high on the convenience factor. Feel free to make it in advance, as it will not wilt as quickly as other salads. Great job grandma!  Serves 2-4. Continue reading

Basic Green Juice

Green Juice RecipeWhy does juicing make you feel so great? Vitamins, minerals and chlorophyl are essentially mainlined into circulation, oxygenating your blood and helping rid your body of toxins. An addiction you can live with… !

If you have not tried juicing, I encourcage you to try a 3-day juicing experiment. Buy fresh juice from an organic juice bar, if needed. Beware of many popular retail brands of packaged juices. As tasty as they may be, you are often buying very expensive apple or orange juice. Some have sugar levels over 40 grams from GMO produce. Fresh, organic juice energizes you, without creating blood sugar chaos. But, my favorite reason for juicing is the tone it sets for my day. Before the day unfolds, I’ve done something healthy and nourishing for my body.

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Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Avocado Chocolate Pudding Recipe

The ingredients and the adjectives ‘raw’ and ‘vegan’ do not exactly scream ‘guilty pleasure’.  But, one taste of this 10-minute, no-cook dessert says ‘decadent indulgence’. So, I keep myself stocked with Haas avocados and make this several times each week. Thankfully, the recipe can be halved easily as a method of self-enforced portion control. Trust me. Continue reading

Ginger Juice Cubes -Without A Juicer!

Ginger Juice Cubes RecipeDo you hate peeling ginger? I do. But, I use it everyday. See the dilemma?

Ginger has been used for centuries to reduce nausea and inflammation. Research shows this pungent rhizome to be as effective as over the counter medication for reducing menstrual cramps, motion sickness and inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Yet, that tough, brownish flesh always requires more time and patience to remove than I have  to deal with it on a daily basis.

When, I started adding ginger into my juices, I noticed that the ginger fibers clogged the juicer and clean-up took longer. After I kept finding abandoned ginger corpses in my refrigerator, I started juicing ginger in bulk. It now seems a small luxury to always have this culinary and health pick-me-up ready to go. I use my ginger cubes in drinking water, smoothies, fresh juices, green tea, ginger-lemon tea and the occasional cocktail. Continue reading

10-Minute Hummus Recipe

Hummus RecipeHummus is a perfect refrigerator staple; rich in both protein and fiber and endlessly versatile. But, hummus is simply smashed up and flavored chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. So, if you can push the “on” switch of your food process or blender, you can quickly make a preservative-free hummus for about half the cost of packaged hummus. Continue reading

Non-Sushi Seaweed Rolls

Salmon RollsIf you can make a sandwich, you can make these rolls. And like a sandwich, the filling options are endless. Salmon pairs well with the seaweed. So, when baking salmon for a meal, I simply bake a few extra fillets for use the next day. Or, skip the salmon for a vegetarian option. Get creative! The ingredients used here are simply examples to get your ideas rolling. Just be sure all fillings are vegetables are thinly sliced and in bite-size pieces. Continue reading