Good morning, sweet thangs. It’s been an incredible summer so far to say the least; I’ve taken some long hikes, indulged in some boozy brunches, scampered around Seattle, beached it in Big Sur, darted around Washington DC, and am planning a weekend getaway with my favorite human to San Francisco starting tomorrow. Sounds like a dream. Well.
Despite all the delicious goodness, I’ve also noticed this stupid little thing I’ve dealt with the past year increasingly rear its ugly, irritating head: anxiety. EHW. Like, really, ehw. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, head here for my good friend/fellow grad school classmate Lauren’s explanation of what it really feels like to cope with anxiety. It can pop up when you least expect it, and for me, this is always the case. In the past, I let it rule my world and with the help of my two soul mates Ben and Jerry, suffered in silence. I’m calling it quits. No mas. These past few weeks have led me to do a shit ton of soul-searching, my friends. It’s always the hardest things in life that force you to really learn the most. So cliche I could barf. But so true, it had to be said.
That’s where you come in, amigos. All of us are well aware that no body is perfect…some happen to be darker shit stains than others. But starting now, I’m beginning however-long-it-takes monthly blog posts where I bequeath to you the following:
- exactly what I, myself, am doing to self-improve: I DGAF if you’re Mother Theresa, there is always room for improvement.
- what I’m cookin’ up in order to cope with life’s often chaotic happenings: how the nutrients that you’re putting (or not putting) into your body can have eerily-direct effects on your mood, your outlook, your attitude, your energy, your relationships, your zest for life, your vibe.
- the science behind the ingredients: how certain foods work for or against your health, why this matters, and how switching up these foods can seriously revamp your life.
- PLUS, a surplus of ways to enhance your life through food, gratitude, emotional intelligence, and most of all, self-love.
Introducing: The Edible Peace Project.
As it stands right meow, I am posting a recipe each week, and now one of these posts out of every month will be dedicated to the nutritious and delicious pursuit of peace through life’s ultimate edible pleasures. So why The Edible Peace Project and not The Health or Wellness or Diet or Nutrition Project? Well, you see friends, in my 26 years I have gathered the following about myself: with peace in my soul comes contentment, and with that comes happiness…with joy follows fulfillment from life which is so powerful, it literally dismembers anxiety. I am on a mission to improve myself and reach an inner peace through the pleasures of my greatest affinity in life: healthy foods. I am going to deliver to you a recipe that speaks to more than just your tastebuds. A recipe both for food and for life…to satiate, heal, and inspire you.
Warning: chocolatey fingers ahead:
This week’s post has much to do with self-indulgence.
Too many times desserts are vilified. Don’t tell me you’ve never said “no thank you” to the waitress when she asked if you had any interest in perusing the dessert menu and actually inside you were screaming yes Yes YES!
Americans today consume 150-170 pounds of refined sugar every year, compared to the annual 4 pounds they did less than 100 years ago! If this sounds like crazy talk, think about the infinite number of ways refined sugar camouflages itself…like you think you know where it’s hiding but it has a jillion different names. The sneaky bastard. It’s a major contributor to our country’s alarming obesity epidemic, diabetes, heart disease, and also causes tooth decay and immune system suppression.
Everyone has their reasons for choosing to devour or skip this post-dinner pleasure. In my mind, it’s never been so black or white. I want both. I want the satisfaction of eating dessert but if I’m going to have it, I want to do it right. That’s where this recipe comes in. Biting into a cold, thick, scrumptious frozen cake slice is pure sin-namon bliss. These scrumptious babes have a base layer made with whole, ground almonds. Almonds are packed with muscle-building protein, fiber, satiating monounsaturated fats and are rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. That gooey caramel middle layer is made up of dates, which give you all the sweetness you crave but are easily digested, full of fiber to keep yo’ self runnin’ smooth, and contain ample amounts of energizing B vitamins. The chocolatey top layer is void of the frankenfood ingredients you’re used to seeing on a Hershey’s label…instead it’s made with real nut butter and coconut oil full of heart-healthy plant-based fats, antioxidant-laden cocoa powder, and blood-sugar balancing cinnamon.
What I’m getting at here is that if you’re feeling like you need to indulge for one reason or another, DO IT. Seriously, if you suppress this urge it will come back to bite you in another way, I guarantee it. But let’s figure out ways to satisfy our souls that also nourish our bodies. We can still have the sweet stuff, but let’s be smart about it, shall we? Your inner peace is hangry, and you must feed it. F that freaky-deaky gas station candy bar. Let’s live the high life and gorge on the good stuff.
Cinnamon Chocolate Caramel Slices
Makes 8 thick slices
For the base layer:
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 dates, soaked in hot water until soft and pits removed (can also microwave in water for 1 min)
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 2 T coconut oil
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and then press into a lined or lightly oiled square baking dish. Freeze for 1 hour.
For the middle caramel layer:
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 6 dates, soaked in hot water until soft and pits removed (can also microwave in water for 1 min)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 T coconut oil
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Layer over the base and freeze another hour.
For the chocolatey goodness top layer:
- 2 T nut butter (I used almond)
- 3 T raw honey
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 T coconut oil
- 1 T unsweetened coconut flakes
- Combine all ingredients except coconut flakes in a food processor until smooth (am I beginning to repeat myself?!). Pour over middle layer, sprinkle with coconut flakes and freeze another hour. Remove from freezer and slice into bars. Keep in freezer until last morsel has been devoured. Mine lasted 1 day. Cool. Byeeeeee.