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Date-nutballs 1

This article is part of the series "Tami's Kitchen"  by Tamara Flanders

Sweet Treats
A great way to stay healthy this season is to know how to make some healthy treats that you can bring to parties and have on hand at home. That way you know that you have a healthy choice when you're tempted with all of the cakes, cookies, and candies!
 
Coconut Date Nut Balls

You'll need 2 parts pitted dates
1 part Nut of choice
Unsweetened shredded coconut for dusting outside.

In your blender or food processor, grind or pulse nuts until they are broken down, but still have some chunks and texture to them. Set nuts aside in a bowl.  Puree dates until they make a paste.  In a mixing bowl, combine dates and nuts, adding the nuts slowly until they have a nice consistency that will help them form and hold nice bite size balls.  When you have formed all of your balls, put your grated coconut out on a plate and roll the date balls around so that they get a nice coating on the outside.  That's it! These are super tasty guilt free treats. 

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

• 6 cups cooked brown rice
• 2c baked pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (just don't get the stuff that's all sweetened and spiced up for readymade pie filling)
• 2c vanilla soy or hemp milk
• 1t cinnamon
• 1/4t cloves
• 1/4t nutmeg
• ¼- ½  c agave nectar or brown rice syrup

Put all of the ingredients in a large pot on the stove and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until heated through.  You can add more milk if you like, make it as thick/thin as you like by using more or less milk.  Sweeten and season to taste after initial cooking.

Option: to make this a little more firm, add an egg, and put the cooked pudding into a casserole dish and bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes, or cook in slow cooker/Crockpot on high for 2 hours.



Bonus:

Celery Root

Celery root, or celeriac, comes from Verona and Alabaster celery. Usually sold as just the bulb, you're looking for a firm, brown bulb. You might find it sold as illustrated to the right, with the green shoots still attached. You can snip them off at the bulb and set them aside as they are generally not eaten. 

Getting your bulb home, you want to give it a good scrub down and then peel off the exterior with a small knife. Once you have the bulb peeled it's ready for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mashing. The flavor is like that of celery! It's perfect for those of you who like the flavor of celery but don't like the stringy texture.  The bulb is really nice for both raw and cooked dishes, making it useful for raw salads and spreads, as well as in slow cooked stews and soups.  
 
This is great on crackers, in a wrap with greens, or as a nice sandwich filling to top with fresh or roasted veggies.

Dilled Celery Root Spread

• 1 block silken tofu
• 4 tbs fresh dill
• 1/2c fresh cilantro
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• dash salt
• 2-3 tbs rice milk

3c garbanzo beans
3 bulbs celery root

Blend top 6 ingredients in blender or food processor.  Season to taste by adding more herbs or salt.

Peel and chop celery root and place in food processor with garbanzo beans and pulse until well chopped.  Pour celery root mixture into a large bowl and mix dressing in well.  Chill and serve! Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

For other celery root fun, know that it's really forgiving, gently flavored, and great cooked or raw.
Some ideas for celery root integration into your world:

• Roasted mashed celery root instead of or blended with your potatoes for a low carb side dish.
• Steamed and splashed with a light vinaigrette.
• Chopped and tossed into any soup or stew that would do well with a little celery flavor.
• Chop fine and toss with apples, nuts, and a light splash of lemon juice for a twist on fruit salad.

 

Tamara Flanders is a Holistic Health Counselor and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Her health coaching practice, Your Body Awake, is located in Rexford, NY.  Learn more at her website www.yourbodyawake.com


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