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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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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Sometimes you just feel like an impasta: sweet potato pasta with zucchini ribbons, arugula, baby spinach, almond slices and walnuts topped with nut power green pesto

Who needs real pasta when there are so many veggieful imposters out there: sweet potato, zucchini, rutabaga, yellow squash and so much more. I love the real slim shady – that fiberless, refined, calorically dense carbohydrate that loves to wreak havoc on my body, but as I always say,if I am going to eat it I want it to be the best. So I’ll wait until I have an opportunity to consume the perfect handmade al dente pasta which is few and far between. In the meantime I would rather an impasta. I usually use a spiralizer to make noddles, but lately I have been craving a flater wider noodle – like pappardelle or even fettuccine would do. On a recent trip through an airport, I saw a beautiful picture on the cover of Food & Wine Magazine of pappadelle with pesto, arugula and walnuts and wanted to make it my way. Sweet potato noodles with zucchini, baby spinach, arugula, almond slices and walnuts and topped with a power pesto made of leafy greens, basil and nuts and a cashew nut based parmesan. Not as pretty as the front cover, but very very tasty.

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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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