So maybe I’m a little ahead of myself here. Nut truffles are something I usually think of when the holidays are nearing. But they’ll be here all too soon, won’t they? This year, I’ll be more than prepared. (And now, perhaps, so will you.)
Truffles aren’t a new treat. They’ve been around for a long time; given as gifts during the holidays, gracing a dessert table, or made as a decadent treat. What’s so great about these nut truffles? They’re not sugar-laden, diabetic coma-inducing, nutritionally-deficient treats. These truffles are a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber. But don’t tell that to your taste buds – because as far as they’re concerned, these are chocolate. And chocolate is an indulgence. Something to be savored. So savor these truffles. You deserve it, and your body will thank you.
Chocolate Cherry Nut Truffles
1/2 c raw cashews
1/2 c raw almonds
1/2 c pitted dates
1/4 c all-natural almond butter (I make my own)
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 T agave nectar
1/2 T vanilla extract
3/4 c dried cherries
1/4 c dairy-free chocolate chips
Additional cocoa powder for dusting
Place the cashews and almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until nuts are finely ground. Add dates and process until no large chunks remain. Add almond butter, cocoa powder, agave and vanilla and process to combine. Add dried cherries and chocolate chips and process until no large chunks remain.
Spread out a bit of cocoa powder on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop out some of the truffle mixture and form into a ball by rolling gently in your hands. Roll the truffle in the cocoa powder and shake off any excess. Set aside and repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.
Makes about 35-40 truffles.
Can you imagine going for an entire month without eating processed foods? For most average Americans, eating processed foods is a standard way of life. We all know that the added preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, and refined sugars and flours aren’t good for our bodies. But it’s become so common, so everyday, so normal to eat these foods, that for most, going without eating processed foods for a month is a real challenge. But it’s a challenge worth taking. Over at Eating Rules, you can sign up to take the challenge, and forgo eating processed foods for the entire month of October. I’ve signed up. Don’t worry that October has already started – you can still join in. But you won’t be left in the cold, wondering how to go about this process. There are daily posts sharing recipes and ideas on how to eat without resorting to those plastic-wrapped, boxed, or fast food meals. I encourage you to check it out. Even if you can’t wrap your head around the idea of going totally unprocessed, then make a goal of going unprocessed for one meal a day. Or one day a week. Whatever works for you. The idea is to make an effort to become more aware of what you eat.
I began eating less and less processed foods around the time I went gluten-free. When you eat a gluten-free diet, you already have to scrutinize labels of every packaged food in order to ensure you are eating safely. Consequentially, it increases awareness. I suddenly started becoming really aware of all the crap I was eating. Yes, crap. I couldn’t tell you what a lot of those ingredients listed on the packages were, or what they did. Most labels sound more like a science experiment than actual food. I began learning more and more in the kitchen, and realized that with a little planning, I could simply do without the junk, and instead focus on whole, natural, unprocessed foods. I would make my own (healthier) version if I had a craving.
So, what do I eat? I get this question a lot from people when they find out that I eat gluten-free and dairy-free. Well, I eat a wide variety of foods, and I promise you, I don’t feel deprived. (With chocolate cherry truffles lying around, it’s actually quite the opposite!) Here are a few typical meals that I eat fairly regularly:
Breakfast: cup of black coffee (maybe two)
2 eggs scrambled with spinach and shiitake mushrooms (made the night before and reheated)
2 hard-boiled eggs with a green smoothie (something like this or this)
Morning snack, if I’m hungry: handful of almonds, pumpkin seeds, or other nuts, gRAWnola, or sometimes, homemade beef jerky (yes, recipe coming soon!)
Lunch: leftovers from the night before
OR a sardine and avocado salad (my new favorite lunch!)
OR any other variety of salad consisting of greens, fresh veggies, a bit of chicken, and possibly some olives or pickled peppers, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Afternoon snack, if I’m hungry: a piece of fruit, carrot and celery sticks, a handful of nuts, or beef jerky
Dinner: Lamb chops, a baked sweet potato, and steamed broccoli
OR Italian-style spaghetti squash
OR some type of chicken curry, like this recipe
What do I drink? Water. Lots of water. I also drink herbal teas, coffee, and black and green teas on occasion. And once in a while, a glass of wine or a gluten-free beer.
Most of the time, I cook in bulk for meals other than dinner. Sunday nights are usually my prepare-for-the-week nights. I make hard-boiled eggs. I cut up vegetables and place them in baggies. I cook chicken for salads. And then every night, as I’m making dinner, I organize our lunches (I pack lunches for my husband and myself) at the same time or afterwards. This makes it easy in the morning, and ensures we have enough nutritious, tasty food for the day.
Sure, it takes planning to eat unprocessed foods. It takes a bit of time, and it takes getting used to, if this isn’t your normal routine. But once you get in the habit, it becomes second nature. But if you make a commitment, you just could start a new habit worth keeping!