It’s hip to be square: Gluten-free, dairy-free, cacao, nut, date, flax seed fudge

I have a sweet tooth. And I have definitely passed that down on to my little one. When she wants something she sees other people eating, like ice cream or cup cakes, I make her a healthy version at home and try to teach her about the difference. I try not to give into my desires, and when I do, I make sure it is something home made – sweetened with a non refined low glycemic index sugar, flourless, full of some natural whole food goodness. I decided to make some quick grab and go flour-less, dairy-free power squares and then took it to the next level and added chocolate and fat…it tasted like fudge…with nuts.

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Great balls of pumpkin: Flourless fresh pumpkin, flax, macademia nut, coconut, and date, spiced energy bites

I need little snacks to munch on when I leave the house or finish working out – something quick, just a few bites and that will sustain me. I often grab a few nuts and a piece of fruit, but sometime I just want something else. So I decided to stock my counter top, fridge and freezer with some small bites that will carry me through the day – so anticipate several posts based on some form of a quick bite. This recipe uses fresh pumpkin, ground flax, macadamia nuts, spices and an optional protein powder covered in pistachios, sunflower seeds  or coconut to make little cold energy bites. The perfect on the go food.

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It’s the great pumpkin cheezcake: Spiced lemon pumpkin cashew nut “cheesecake” with nut date crust

So one of the best parts about being married to an expat is that you get to go visit their family in their home country every so often. Every other year, around Christmas time, we go to France. While the food in France elicits nothing short of a mouthgasm, around the holidays with the multiple family parties and birthdays, it is rich, decadent and overwhelming.  I try to make a meal or a dish here and there to lighten the fare. I don’t speak French so I find sharing experiences and communicating through food a beautiful way to express love. I will make them food they will be pleased with because of simple tastes and aesthetic beauty – like apple roses that I upscale to make them unique. But I am Indian and I like spice and complex flavors full of good healthy ingredients – even for sweets (no flour, no refined sugar, no soy…whole food ingredients). So I came up with a spiced  lemon pumpkin cashew nut “cheesecake” with nut date crust.
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Wake me up before you go go: Flourless energy cookies with coconut, nuts, sunflower seeds, currants and more

Recently I have had a lot of conversations with people that ask about my lack of sleep and schedule during the day. My schedule is pretty typical and routine for a full-time working mom, but seems to shock people that don’t have kids or have forgotten what it was like. The number one question I am asked is, how are you able to work out at 5 am after only a few hours of sleep? Really, there is no choice for me right now, so I just do. The next question is what do you eat for breakfast? I eat more like a hobbit than human with an early wake up call – breakfast, second breakfast and an elevensies. So it requires having a lot of food around. The easier it is for me to eat and the more filling, sustaining and nourishing it is, the better off I am (and less likely to reach for junk since I have a constant desire to eat). That’s what makes these energy cookies so good: rich with good fats and protein from a variety of nuts and seeds, fiber from oats and sweetened with nothing but banana, dates and bites of currants so I don’t crash.

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C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me

I had a crummy day.

I spent most of the day in the car. 6 hours driving in the rain to and from a meeting that took only 2 hours. I brought my my meals with me knowing I was going to be on the road and in meetings and would likely not make good decisions about food if I did not plan ahead. But I did not think about a snack or treat while driving. And with the traffic I was in a not so great mood. What I really wanted was a cookie.

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Butternut + nutbutter

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My family is sick and I am starting to feel a tickle in my throat so I thought it was time for soup. There is nothing more warming and comforting than a curried spicy butternut squash soup. But there is so much more that this versatile squash can be used for.

Every winter our CSA box is loaded with butternut squash.  A squash related to pumpkin, low in calories (45 calories per 100 grams or about 1 cup) loaded with poly-phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins A and B (folates, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, etc), minerals (iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus) and dietary fiber.

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V is for Veggie, with a side of eggie

Today was one of those days I am thankful that I cook in advance and cook in large batches so I have food for several days. As a veggie, these Whole30-like program can prove to be difficult without some thought and advance planning (especially for someone like me who refuses to call a smoothie and a side of veg a meal and refuses to break the rules with legumes and quinoa in the first few weeks).

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