Thursday, September 8, 2011

End-of-Summer Desserts

Ahhh....end of summer has left me with a sweet tooth.  My husband and I got to get away for a night recently and we found ourselves at a u-pick farm, munching on berries, peaches, etc.  We brought the blackberries and peaches home and the rest is history.  Hope you enjoy some of these dessert recipes.  There is life (and more of it) after refined sugar!

Graham Cracker Cake

This recipe is my husband's favorite that his mom used to make for him.  We now make it without sugar...

-1 box graham crackers (Whole Foods has a healthy version - no canola oil and no sugar.  Become a professional label reader!)
-6 cups rich chocolate pudding (see recipe below)
-3 cups whipping cream

Assemble this dessert the night before serving in a 9x13 pan.  Start with graham crackers and layer chocolate pudding on top - usually 3 layers, but there's no law on how many.  Finally, layer whipped cream on top, 1-2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Pudding

Mix in a sauce pan:

-2/3 cup plus 2tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
-1/4tsp. sea salt

Gradually stir in, making a smooth paste:

-2/3 cup warm water
-2/3 cup honey/agave nectar

Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat. 

Stir in:

-3 1/2 cups half and half ( I highly recommend using organic dairy!!!)

Place in a bowl:

-8tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
-1/2cup half and half

Thoroughly stir into the cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Reduce heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in:

3 tsp vanilla or brandy or rum or ???

Blackberry Peach Bourbon Pie

2 pie crusts (I use a pat in the pan butter crust, made with whole wheat or spelt. I roll it out and cut it into 4ths for         the top crust.)
4 cups peaches, sliced, or chopped
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1tbsp cinnamon
1 very heaping tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
1/3 cup honey/agave nectar/maple syrup

Toss the peaches, blackberries, bourbon, cinnamon, cornstarch and honey together.  Set aside. Place the filling into the bottom crust and place the top crust over the filling.  Ventilate the top crust a bit. Brush with a little cream or an egg yolk. For baking, I place the pie into a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down to 375 for another 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down again to 350 degrees and lay a piece of foil over the top if it's browning too fast and the juices aren't bubbling thick and dripping yet.  After another 5-10 minutes, it's usually done.  We serve with vanilla ice cream.  For the ice cream, use your favorite recipe and replace the sugar with honey, sugar or agave with 2/3 the amount of sugar called for.

Mango Agave Sorbet with Tequila

(I think I stole this from Cooking Light...)

4 cups cubed peeled ripe mango (about 3 pounds)  (I used 2 bags of the Trader Joe's frozen mango - defrosted)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 cup tequila
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup water

1. Combine cubed mango, orange juice, lime juice, and tequila in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl, and stir in the agave nectar and 1/3 cup water. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
2. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 8 hours or until firm.

by Danneca

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tips for a Healthy Summer

As I write, I'm looking down the barrel of a tough track workout this evening.  We're waiting until the heat pulls back a bit before heading out to the track.  You've heard of the importance of replacing the electrolytes your body loses in the heat.  As you might imagine, I'm not a proponent of Gatorade or other "sports drinks."  Can anyone say, "gut-rotting sugars and food coloring?"  Okay, I'll settle down.  My point is this, there are MUCH healthier ways to replace those electrolytes.  Electrolytes are pretty much sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  One thing we like to do to replenish is this:  1.) Eat half a banana. 2.) Mix a pinch of salt in with a half cup of milk. 3. Drink a half cup of water mixed with a tsp. of Peter Gillham's Calm (a splendid magnesium supplement).  I KNOW you can come up with creative ways to mix up this routine.  Another VERY simple way to replenish is coconut water.  There are  a zillion brands out there and a zillion different prices, so get what's on sale.  We actually like coconut juice with the pulp.  Yummy!  Amazingly, this drink provides all of the electrolytes without the chemical sweeteners and other additives.  Staying hydrated is important, but tons of water is actually not the best option, so mix it up a bit on hot days with iced herbal teas and honey and/or some coconut juice.  You'll be surprised how rejuvenated you feel compared to drinking chemicals. 

On a different note, here's an idea for a cool summer treat! 


Ingredients: paper cups of your choice, popsicle sticks, other ingredients of your choice!

What I like to do is basically make a smoothie, pour it into paper cups, stick the popsicle stick in the middle of the smoothie and set it in the freezer to freeze.  After it's frozen, you just tear off the paper and you have a yummy frozen smoothie pop!  Today I put some goat yogurt, a banana and maple syrup in the blender, then added a bag of frozen blue berries.  That was it.  On other days, I'd be more creative, but that was all I could muster for today.  We'll enjoy these after our track workout tonight!  I like to do smoothie pops over frozen juice, as juice is pretty much just sugar.  I was thinking that herbal tea pops would be pretty refreshing too, though!  If your mixture is too liquid-y to hold a stick, let it freeze a bit before placing the stick.  Enjoy!!!!!!