We all know that the best food choices are made at home, using real, farm-to-table food. Fresh fruit is nature’s dessert, and today we’ll find some ways to jazz it up a bit, with chocolate and without. As promised, I’ll share my go-to alternative to food additive and corn syrup laden Twizzlers and other fruit based snacks. Even if you don’t like fruit, though, I have another option for you. Do you like dark chocolate? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
‘Tis the season for holiday desserts, starting with Halloween! I think you’ll find that you can make these Paleo recipes ahead of time, so they’re great for entertaining as well. I like to connect the dots not only of research, but recipes too. So, each of the ones I’m going to share originated on another blog. I love tweaking recipes, and letting others know that their ideas sparked something that’s similar, yet so different.
Yesterday’s post focused on going from BAD, yet popular, processed candy to BETTER-for-people-and-the-planet packaged candy. It was a little long winded, so today, we’ll get right to the recipes! We’ll go straight to the chocolate.
The first recipe is one that is simple to make, yet can be elegantly presented. It’s based upon a recipe I just happened to stumble upon: Tasty Yummies blog’s delicious recipe for gluten/grain/refined sugar free, Vegan Pumpkin “Cheesecake” Pops. While I have to admit that true cheesecake is hard to replace, for someone who hasn’t had it in a while, this really is a close second! So, you might want to give it a try during this Halloween/Thanksgiving season. Can you guess what the secret substitute for cheese is? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with a “c” also. Look for it in the ingredient list below!
Even though I love the original recipe, I decided to make a chocolate version for a double chocolate whammy. Here it is:
Cashews instead of cheese? Who would’ve thought, right?
If Paleo truffles are a little too rich for you, then perhaps you’d like to try making your own dark chocolate bars or fondue, by doubling or tripling the above recipe for chocolate coating. I had a lot leftover the first time I made the pumpkin cheesecake pops, so I poured it into a small, glass baking dish and put it in the fridge, and it was delicious! It’s what I’d been searching for for so long: a dark chocolate bar that was free of common allergens, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Thanks to Beth, I finally found it.
When I made these truffles, I also tweaked the recipe ever so slightly and made dark, hazelnut rounds that look kind of like peanut butter cups, but without any nut butter! Since I had fresh strawberries and bananas, I also used it as a fondue, and placed some of the covered fruit in the fridge to create a hard coating. I guess you could call it a fresh fruit truffle. Since I still had some chocolate left, I poured the rest into an ice cube tray and froze them. So many possibilities from just one recipe. I can’t thank Beth, from Tasty Yummies blog, enough!
Here’s the doubled up recipe for chocolate bars and/or fondue, with a little extra honey:
I love recipes that are simple and can be made ahead of time, yet versatile enough to be able to tweak in some way for variety. This one recipe certainly fit the bill! So does my Artichoke Olive Antipasto, which can be used as an appetizer or side dish. Whatever makes our lives easier during the busy holiday season is a good thing, right?
So, now for the healthiest Twizzlers alternative I know of, other than fresh fruit: refined sugar free fruit snacks. I’ve made this recipe so many times since I discovered it. It tastes great, is not overly sweet, and contains an ingredient that’s a great alternative to dairy products for those living without them: high quality beef gelatin. It not only contains collagen, which makes bones, joints, hair, and nails stronger, but it also contains amino acids that are essential to supporting a healthy digestive system and overall health and wellness.
According to WebMD.com:
“Gelatin is used for weight loss and for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Some people also use it for strengthening bones, joints, and fingernails. Gelatin is also used for improving hair quality and to shorten recovery after exercise and sports-related injury.”
Anyone who has food sensitivities, digestive concerns, and nutrient deficiencies could benefit from some extra support for bones and joints. Heck. Can’t we all? Besides, fruit snacks that sneak in some extra protein and collagen? What’s not to like about that?
The recipe for Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks can be found at Thank your Body blog (see below for link). I LOVE it! I want to thank Robin Konie for sharing it. She actually tweaked it from another blogger’s recipe for sour gummies, and I haven’t changed her version much.
I do double the recipe, and use a 13X9 pan, instead of an 8X8 pan. If I’m using 100% fresh orange juice (easily pressed with a simple, inexpensive, handheld juicer), then I don’t add the honey at all. It’s sweet enough. If I use half lemon juice, though, I do add 2 tablespoons of honey.
My mildly sweet version:
1 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/3 cup frozen raspberries (unsweetened) – can use any berries, but I prefer these
6 to 8 T grass fed beef gelatin
My slightly sour version:
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
2 T raw honey
6 to 8 T grass fed beef gelatin
Please note that if you don’t have berries, you can make it without them!
For instructions, please print up Thank your Body’s recipe here. Please note that it’s easiest if you use a whisk and an immersion blender. If the gelatin gets too lumpy, just stop adding more.
You can cut up into large or small squares, or use all kinds of molds to make holiday friendly shapes, if you like.
So, that’s my replacement for Twizzlers and other types of processed fruit candy/snacks. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to share!
I hope you enjoy at least one of these recipes. If you’re not yet able to try them due to digestive concerns, or a chocolate allergy, then how about trying my dairy free ice “cream,” pancakes, applesauce, or even some nice warm tea or soup as a special treat?
There are so many ways to nourish ourselves without food, too. Taking a walk out in nature, listening to a favorite song, immersing ourselves in a great book, taking a nice, warm bath, or even just taking a moment to breathe and relax. Sometimes, a few seconds or minutes of redirecting our thoughts can go a long way.
Whether you find the time to make homemade Halloween treats or not, I hope you have fun preparing for the holiday! And even if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you enjoy trying one or more of these recipes with your family. If not, don’t stress. We all do what we can. Instead, maybe you’ll consider one of the better choices I recommended in part one of this post.
We can’t always make the BEST choice, but we can often make a BETTER choice, even if we occasionally make a BAD choice. We are all only human, after all. It’s about progress, not perfection. I’m so done with the idea of a Supermom!
Have a happy, healthy week, everyone!
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