A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Lighten Up: New Year Musings and Crimson Mousse

So.  Are we sick of giveaways yet? 😉

Okay, I guess that the chance to win something you like–especially if it involves food you like–never becomes stale (even if the aforementioned foodstuff does). Still, with 2010 barely upon us, I’ve decided it’s time to give the giveaways a break.  I love being able to supply freebies to my readers, especially when it involves foods I already like–but I don’t want the whole  “leaveacommentclickheretweetmeFBmeRTmewhydoyouwantthisprizenowpickacommentatrandom” thing to become stale.  So, for now I think, it’s time to get back to the core of this (or any food-related) blog: the food!

I must admit that 2009 was a strange year for me, food-wise.  Like the wallflower at the prom or Brad’s ghost in his old living room, all I could do was watch from afar (or, actually, aclose) while others indulged in some of my favorite comestibles, from chocolate to wine (ah, Shiraz, how I miss thee!), to portobellos, to peanut butter, to champagne on New Year’s (ah, Segura Viudas, how I really miss thee!).  Much of this blog before last March focused on just those ingredients.

And with there being no clear end-point to the whole ACD saga, I’ve decided to proceed as if I will be on the diet indefinitely.  (Audible gasps! Sounds of tsk-tsks and sympathetic clucking! Tears of pity from compassionate readers!).  In the end, I think it’s better this way. 

When I began this anti-candida quest, I assumed it would be for only a few weeks.  The universe, clearly, had other ideas.  In a way, I am grateful:  as long as I’m on this diet, I’m no longer overeating, I no longer binge on chocolate, and I no longer worry about my weight. (Seriously. The current tally is 43 pounds and holding steady; two more pounds lost, and I’ll be at my initial goal weight.) I know from my response to the recent chocolate truffles I concocted–in and of themselves, perfectly acceptable, totally innocuous and stevia-sweetened–that I still have not gained control over my sweets addiction, so I’m embracing any excuse to stay away from sweeteners that spike blood sugar (even if they’re all-natural, like maple syrup or Sucanat).

And in keeping with my lighter diet, I’ve decided that 2010 will be the year to lighten up. To wit:

1) Lighten Up My Weight.  Although I’ve now almost reached my goal weight, a quick calculation of my BMI places my goal weight barely within the “normal” range for such things (at 23.7).  Since I’m fairly small-boned, I’d prefer to settle smack-dab in the middle range, at around 22.  This would necessitate another 10 pound loss.  And while I’m still not willing to count points, count calories, count carbs or follow any other type of “diet” (after all, I want to be able to follow an eating plan that I can maintain for the rest of my life), I do plan to focus a bit more on raw foods, fruit and vegetables, and a bit less on fat in my diet for a while to see what happens. 

2) Lighten Up This Blog.  Not to imply that I’ve been moribund or anything in this space, but I do feel as if the initially carefree, slightly irreverent posts of yore have been lacking lately.  Maybe it’s my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or remnants of the SAD (Standard American Diet) in general. Or maybe I’ve just been sad about the lingering candida. Whatever the case, it seems that humor wandered off a while ago, and must be enticed to return. And so, like Norman Cousins in his hospital bed, I’m vowoing to bring more laughter into my life.  As my old high school chum John used to tell me, Don’t take take life seriously–after all, you’ll never get out alive. 

Of course, illness is serious business, and I’m not suggesting that anyone be irresponsible (not a grain of sugar shall pass through my lips!)–but I’d like to learn to relax more and perhaps deal with stress and worry a bit more effectively.  It makes sense that more laughter and less stress can only be a good thing, especially when study after study has demonstrated that stress itself contributes to disease.  And if I haven’t earned a little whimsy at my age, when will I?

So, from now on, I resolve to enjoy more of what makes me smile: time with the HH and The Girls, my friends and family. Watching dopey movies. Going to places I haven’t been before (I think I hear the antipodes calling).  Reading books that make me think, and books that make me envy the writer’s craft.  Writing more.  Moving my body more. Dancing to old records (Culture Club, anyone?). Experimenting in the kitchen more (no, no, with food, silly!). Blogging more.

No more fretting over insignificant events for me!  I mean, will the world end if the HH doesn’t mow the lawn when he says he will (or even within a week of when he says he will)?  So what if our lawn resembles the “before” picture in Field of Dreams?  The Girls surely won’t mind, as they enjoy gamboling and frolicking in tall grasses. Will my students evaporate if they don’t get their papers back within 3 days?  (And at least I’ve never been as tardy as my former prof, Dr. E, who sometimes took six weeks to return essays to us–and when he did, they sported a single comment, sometimes only one word, at the top of the page: “Splendid!” or “Well done!” beside a letter grade. That averages out to approximately one word a day.) Similarly, will the universe implode if I’m stuck in traffic and can’t meet my friend Gemini I for lunch at precisely 12:15 PM, as agreed? Of course not (although traffic does sometimes feel like a black hole).

Wow.  I feel lighter already.

3) Lighten Up Your Sweets. A more immediate way to lighten up is with this dessert. Does anyone out there remember Jello 1-2-3?  Well, this mousse-like concoction reminds me of the top layer of that treat:  exceptionally light and airy, yet sweet, rich, and fruity (even though it doesn’t contain any fruit to speak of, as you’ll see below).  The color is vibrant and happy–light-hearted, even–and the flavor is a tantalizing combination of coconut, almond and vanilla, with an enigmatic source of sweetness blended in. 

Like so many recipes on food blogs this time of year, this one possesses detoxifying properties as well, since one of its main ingredients is cooked beets (there–I’ve said it. But it doesn’t taste like beets, I promise!). Besides adding that brilliant fuchsia color and a mysterious sweetness to the dessert, beets are also great blood detoxifiers and liver toners.  In addition, they’re a good source of fiber, contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, and help reduce inflammation in the body.  What other dessert can boast such benefits?

So when you serve this mousse to your friends and family, don’t tell them the secret ingredient.  Instead, just present them with a beautiful, fluffy, pillowy dessert.  Then you can smile knowingly as you watch them gobble it up.  And if they do balk at beets in a confection, well, just tell them to lighten up a little.

Crimson Mousse

Boiling the beets helps to remove any trace of earthy flavor here; what remains is a vague sweetness and stunning hue.  I’ve tried baking the beets instead, and while the color becomes even more intense in that case, so  does the “beety” flavor; I wouldn’t advise it.

1 medium beet, peeled, diced and boiled until very soft (at least 30 minutes)

1/3 cup (55 g) raw cashews

1 cup (240 ml) full fat coconut milk

2 Tbsp (30 ml) whole chia seeds, measured first and then ground in a coffee grinder to a fine powder

1/4 tsp (1 ml) pure almond extract

1/4 tsp (1 ml) coconut extract (optional)

1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

15-25 drops stevia liquid, to taste (will depend on the brand)**

1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice

pinch fine sea salt

Once the beets are soft, drain them well (you can reserve the liquid for soup or other uses).  Place the drained beets and remaining ingredients in a high speed blender* and blend until perfectly smooth, pushing the mousse down into the blades occasionally as necessary.  Turn the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight (refrigerating allows the cashews to absorb some of the liquid and the mousse to thicken).  Spoon or pipe into serving dishes and top with coconut whipped cream, if desired.  Makes 4 small or 3 large servings.

* I used a VitaMix, but I’m sure this would work in a regular blender, too, if you have patience.  In a conventional blender, I’d do it this way:  pour coconut milk and all other ingredients except beets and chia into the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.  Add beets and blend again until perfectly smooth; then add the chia and blend to combine.  You may need to blend in smaller batches this way, and then stir the contents together in a bowl before refrigerating.

** You can use agave or maple syrup if you prefer, but make these changes: use 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup, remove about 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of the coconut milk and increase cashews to 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp (70 g) before blending.

Last Year at this Time: Sweet Potato Smoothie

Two Years Ago: Fig Bread and Restorative Soup

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


39 comments to Lighten Up: New Year Musings and Crimson Mousse

  • oooh that mousse looks great! i love your approach to weight loss, it’s great that you won’t get sucked in to calorie counting or following some crazy diet. i really admire that!


  • First of all, that mousse is stunning! What a beautiful color, I bet it tastes amazing.

    And I’m all for more laughter in your life and who could say no to more food!!?! Can’t wait to read more of your upcoming posts.


  • Looks delicious! Anything involving coconut milk and stevia with a vegetable is right up my alley!


  • That mousse looks amazing! I love that you said “lighten up” your weight — that sounds so much more positive than “lose weight” and “diet.”


  • Hmmm, a dessert made with beets. I have tried beets a few times this past year and I always thought they tasted like dirt!! So, boiling them takes that taste away, huh? Maybe I’ll give them one more try 😉

    I loved this post!! I can relate about not stressing over little things and learning to enjoy life more. Boy, I need to work on that. And I can relate with the ACD thing, although I haven’t done so well. I’m still waiting on my test results that the ND had me do. I guess when I get the official news, maybe I will be more willing to stick this thing out (I hope)!!


  • When I first read beets I thought *crazy*. But I trust you 🙂

    Wow, Ricki, you have already accomplished so much. Good luck with the rest of your journey.


  • Mom

    How delicious looking! You are so creative with veggies and we all need more of those. Your personal health journey is an inspiration for all of us to do better. More laughter and more veggies, now I have some worthwhile and practical New Year’s resolutions.


  • Hmmm. Beets. In dessert?

    But it looks so pretty and fluffy! Maybe I’ll try it…after that coconut whipped cream victory, I totally trust you.


  • Your mousse looks so pretty!

    Good luck with all of your goals. I know the ACD diet must be hard at times (or all the time?!, but it’s obviously doing well for you in so many arenas so it seems like a no-brainer. Also: 43 pounds! That is fantastic.

    And lastly, I still need to get my hands on that Margaret Atwood book. My favorite!


  • Well, Ricki, it’s a very convincing photo! In fact, if I could eat the photo, I would. 😀 Seriously, the colors and shapes are delicious. The actual dessert sounds mighty tempting, too. Nice post.


  • Your goals for 2010 are wonderful and the fluffy pink mousse looks delicious!


  • Jes

    This may be the only way I like beets 🙂 And hooray for looking on the lighter, happier side of things–I struggle with that so much. I’m looking forward to another wonderful year in the blogging world with you!


  • Thanks for the recipe. I just discovered your blog today, and I’m so excited because I have a lot of the same food restrictions you do and I’ve been searching everywhere for recipes like this.


  • Kelly

    Question – this looks fantastic (even though I am a but scared of beets… but am willing to try!)… but I have a tree-nut allergy. Can I create this without cashews & almond extract? would peanuts work? or something else?? if not… sniff.sniff…
    and I am thrilled with the increase in focus on raw foods… can’t wait!!


  • Congrats on the 43 pounds. Very impressive! I am also trying to add more raw food and less fat to my recipes now.

    I love the idea of using the boiled beet. Brilliant! Such a beautiful color.

    Culture club and Jello 1-2-3. Wow we must be a similar age. I haven’t thought of either of those in a long time.

    Your recipe reminds me of a fool I did a while back with chia seeds. I may need to make another batch and play around with the recipe a little because your photo is making me hungry and I don’t have a beet in the house.



  • I really, really wish I could have a dish of this right now! It sounds so intriguing; I’ll have to pick up the goods next time I go to Whole Foods (wonder if they carry chia seeds?).


  • When you said this yummy-looking mousse contained no fruit, I was totally hoping there would be beets involved! Yay! It will be a delicious way to use up some of the beets I’m getting in my winter CSA basket.

    I’m looking forward to reading about the lightness, silliness, and whimsy you want to infuse in your life, but know that I enjoy reading you no matter what. Basically, Ricki-ness is what I’m coming here for, really. 🙂


  • Courtney

    I don’t think I will ever get sick of giveaways…I have never won anything, but I am a glutton for punishment, I guess, because I love to keep trying, lol! And Ricki, I can honestly say your posts ALWAYS make me smile and laugh and feel lighter just from reading them 🙂 So I am not sure that you will have to work very hard on goal number 2–your posts are already amazingly light 🙂 But I do agree…traffic DOES often feel like a black hole, lol!



  • wow, this recipe looks great and light! I love the addition of beets for the pretty pink color. I just found your blog from oh she glows and look forward to reading 🙂


  • medu3a

    This looks awesome!


  • I love your humour but I think you can be entertaining and thought provoking without it too so don’t feel you have to be all jokes – but I do like it when you anthropomorphise foods (is that the right word???)

    I got excited at your suggestion to come to antipodes – come to Melbourne please as I would love to meet you and you would love it – though you might find the middle of summer intense – it is going to be 41 C on monday – too too hot

    and love the combination in this mousse – sounds like something I would enjoy more than conventional mousses


  • Stef,
    Thanks so much! I’ve learned (finally) that I have to be able to sustain any “diet” if I want to be healthy and keep the weight off. 🙂

    Voracious Vegan (Can I call you VV?),
    Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to the year ahead, for sure!

    I can’t agree more! I seem to be stuck on veggie-full desserts (like this one). 😉

    I never thought of it that way, but yes, it does sound better, doesn’t it!

    My HH agrees with you–thinks beets taste like dirt. I hope your official report is a good one–maybe you’ll be able to ease up on the ACD!

    Thank you for your confidence! 🙂 Really, I think the boiling removes most of the flavor from the beets–but they do add a beautiful color. And thank you, as always, for your good wishes!

    Thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m glad that you find something of value in the blog. And I think I need to make that my 2010 slogan now: “More Laughter and More Veggies”. Love it! 😉

    Heck, once you’ve used agar, you’re already a radical, so go for it! 😉

    You’re right, the pros do outweigh the cons (by about 43 pounds–ha ha!). And I’ve only heard good things about the book, so am very curious.

    Thanks! But I think you should eat the real thing and get some yummy beety nutrition 😉

    Thanks so much! Here’s to a successful 2010 🙂

    Thanks so much! I look forward to it, too–so glad to have “met” you this way 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the restrictions, but I hope you find (as I did) that you can still eat really well! And a book a day? Wow!!

    I’m not sure what would be an ideal substitute, but I’d guess that something like tahini (if you don’t mind the flavor) would work well. You could certainly use peanuts, though they have a stronger flavor than cashews. You might also try soybeans if you can get unsalted, roasted ones, or even firm silken tofu. Let me know how it works if you try it out that way!

    Thanks! Great to know we are generation-mates 🙂 I am now curious about your chia fool–am off to your site to find it!

    WF should, indeed, carry chia seeds. Let me know what you think if you do give it a try!

    Thanks for your wonderful comment and kind words! I really appreciate it 🙂 And how cool that you actually wished for the recipe to contain beets!

    Well, I’ll have to hold more of them in future, just so your chances of winning are increased! And thanks for the encouraging words–I guess I can’t always tell! 🙂

    Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! Glad you enjoy the site–and I’ll be sure to check yours out, as well. 🙂

    Thanks so much!

    Aw, thanks! (*blush*). And I appreciate that you don’t expect the blog to be “on” all the time. Visiting Australia has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember–and I really MUST make it happen! When I do, you (and E and Sylvia, of course) are first on my list. And since we get such heat so rarely, I’m sure I could handle a few days of your summer 😉


  • irene

    i love your ACD recipes Ricki, can’t wait to try this one out! Keep them coming, as always I love everything you post, but the ACD recipes are so detox friendly that there is never any guilt involved (well,okay, only a little…)


  • ooh, this sounds amazing! i’ve put beets in chocolate cake and brownies, so i have no problem with it in pudding 🙂


  • Cherie

    Wow Ricki, I can’t wait to try this recipes…looks great!

    Good luck with your goals for 2010! I can totally relate to your journey since I’m on the same path myself. I had to go on antibiotics twice over the last two months, so the whole last year of strictly sticking to the ACD starts all over from scratch. One day at a time, right!

    I look forward to your posts for inspiration! Oh, and one of my goals is to also work on getting my comments posted sooner (I’m always the last one), lol!


  • Ricki, I swear, we must somehow be sharing a brain. This is exactly what I’ve been craving, but couldn’t put my finger on. I’m making it right this second…!


  • What a small world!!! That is so strange, but it also brings me a lot of joy. Carla is so lovely.

    And I’m glad I can bring back some nutrition school nostalgia for you! I’m absolutely loving it.

    Always love your creativity in your recipes. Beets are wonderful!!


  • Yum Ricki- love the cashew coconut combo and the beet…what a fantastic idea! Hooray for your resolutions and yes to more fun in 2010!


  • Wow – so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I’m 7 weeks into my 6 month attempt on an ACD. I’ve done it before, but never for longer than 6 weeks, and not since having kids. Crap, it’s kicking my butt! I’m so excited to try some of your recipes!


  • i know i say this a lot, but you really are too awesome, Ricki! i love your resolution to enjoy more of what makes you smile. that’s the absolute best! fretting over the little things just isn’t worth it; those things end up taking up too much space in our brains when instead we could be enjoying the little things and use that space for happier thoughts. i’m a bit of a worrier myself & i tend to get anxious fairly easily, so i’m going to follow your lead and lighten up a bit here too. thanks! congrats on your weight loss – that’s amazing! i hear ya on sticking with the ACD diet as if this is all to be indefinite. you know what’s best for you and you know what you’ve gotta do to feel your best. 2009 was a strange year for me as well – it wasn’t the best year, but it could have been worse. i guess i’m gonna think of 2009 as a set up for a fantastical 2010. yay! going to places you’ve never been, reading lots of great books (i still haven’t read The China Study. i should put that next on my list.), and relaxing more all sound super stellar – i can’t wait to read all about it.

    oh yes, and your crimson mousse = divine! mmmmmmmm!


  • Kim

    Ricki this looks amazing! I totally have to make this. You ARE brilliant. Seriously. I totally hit the wall when it comes to dessert recipes. But you are a wonder woman of the word of ACD sweets! THanks for sharing!


  • I love the goals you’ve set. I think sharing them makes them even more achievable.

    Your dessert looks amazing! What a creative recipe.


  • *singing poorly* Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?… sorry, that song will be stuck in my head for days now! 😛

    Those are some really good goals! I like what your high school friend used to say, it’s so true.

    Only you can get away with making beet mousse! You evil genius!


  • What a beautiful dessert, such a gorgeous colour. You are sneaking though 🙂


  • So pretty! I look forward to reading about whatever 2010 brings 🙂


  • Looks like the perfect treat to get us ready for spring. Light, lightly sweet and tasty on the palette.


  • Ooo what an interesting dessert! I love beets and I keep wanting to try them in desserts but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I definitely need to lighten up and stop stressing about everything too. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re a life long stresser/worrier though! Good luck with your resolutions/goals. =)


  • Samantha

    Really interesting combination of ingredients, looks delicious!!


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>