As many of you know, I spend somequite a bit a crazy amount of time every day on twitter. I love that I’ve been able to strike up acquaintances with other bloggers, writers, nutritionists and companies that way. Well, several months ago, I began to notice tweets about a new (to me) company, Mum’s Original. I was intrigued by how many people were waxing poetic about it. Since the products are carried at my local health food store, I purchased a bag of their hemp seeds and gave them a try. And they were, indeed, great! So when the folks at Mum’s asked if I’d be interested in sampling a bunch more of their products, I jumped at the opportunity.
I’m already a proponent of “superfoods”–those foods that confer health benefits beyond the usual vitamins, minerals, fiber and the like. So even though I was previously famliar with the actual foods themselves, I hadn’t yet tried all of the Mum’s versions. And there were a couple of very pleasant surprises, too!
Here’s what they sent to me:
This amazing stash includes Raw Cacao Powder, Delores Hemp Hearts, White Chia Seeds, Coconut Sugar, Goji Berries, Coconut Cacao Nibs, and Banana Powder.
One of the things I loved about the company was the integrity with which they source and manufacture their products. As they write on their website, their superfoods “are grown with care at our sustainable family owned partnership farms using traditional and artesian methods of cultivation and processing,” even using heirloom seeds whenever possible. In addition, their products are never GMO, are organic, and are free of any man-made toxins in the way of pesticides or chemicals. The company’s owner, Ann Barnes, is herself a mother of two children, and concerned about her kids’ futures and providing healthy foods grown in an ethical manner. And let me tell you, their products are really top-notch!
I was already an avid consumer of cacao, hemp, chia, coconut sugar, goji berries and cacao nibs, so the product that intrigued me most was the banana powder, dehydrated and finely milled vine-ripened organic bananas. I immediately got to experimenting to create a pipe-able banana frosting that would hold up at room temperature (which I piped atop raw mini-cupcakes, as pictured at the top of this post). Of course, those of us on the ACD don’t consume bananas, but at this stage of the game (more than 3 years on the program), I knew that a single bite wouldn’t really affect my condition–and that the HH would be more than happy to polish off the rest (which, lo and behold, he was, in record time!). The results were stellar, with an incredibly intense fresh banana flavor. I bet you will love them, too. I’ll share that recipe tomorrow, so please come back to check it out!
After the cupcakes, I began to work my way through the other products as well. I used the Coconut Cacao nibs as garnish on the banana frosting (see top photo). These are truly ingenious! They’re cacao nibs enrobed in coconut sugar, sort of the way sugared almonds or coffee beans are coated in sugar. I use cacao nibs occasionally, but have always found them a bit too bitter on their own. Mum’s solved that problem perfectly with the cacao-coconut sugar combo! I’d use these in place of chocolate chips, sprinkled on granola, or even as a snack on their own. Again, it’s not something I’d consume on a regular basis on the ACD, but at the later stages, or for anyone looking to minimize their refined sugar intake, this is a brilliant solution.
I had read about the Delores Hemp Hearts, a uniquely Canadian-born form of hemp that an ingenious Manitoba farmer developed. And there’s even a love story involved. . . read about it here. Apart from the story behind it, what I loved about the Delores hemp seeds was that they offer more protein per volume than other types of hemp. And they were, indeed, delicious!
The HH and I dug into the goji berries next. Honestly, these were the biggest, plumpest gojis I’ve ever seen! They were eagerly approved by The Girls as well. (What? Doesn’t everyone give goji berries to their dogs?). I’ve still got the chia seeds and cacao waiting to be used. . . I’ve been kind of hoarding them, since I know they will be exceptionally delicious, too! Overall, I was incredibly impressed by the quality, care, and thought that went was behind each and every one of the products.
“Mum, I agree-those gojis were delicious! Just look at this smile on my face!”
Now I want you to try out these superior products as well! And Mum’s has graciously agreed to provide TWO readers each with this same stellar pack of their superfoods, each worth more than $65!
This giveaway is open to anyone in the US or Canada (so sorry, International readers! I’ve got another giveaway coming up for you, too, next month!). And there are six ways to enter! For this giveaway, I’m trying out a new widget (the box, below) to make entering/picking a winner easier. To begin, just leave a comment on this post. It’s easy–just follow the instructions, below. What do you think of it? Let me know!
And if you just can’t wait for the giveaway. . .SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR DDD READERS!!
Mum’s has offered a special 15% discount for any online orders for all Diet, Dessert and Dogs readers!! Just order your products via the Mum’s website and key in the code “RICKI” upon checkout. [This is an affiliate discount, so your orders will send a small amount of money my way.]. Go to the Mum’s product page to make your selections and start your purchase.
NOTE: YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT FOR THE GIVEAWAY OR YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
If I ever found myself as a finalist in the Miss Universe Pageant and the tie-breaking “interview” question they asked me was, “If you were stuck on a desert island and could have only one foodstuff, what would it be?”–well, I think it’s pretty obvious that I’d answer, “Chocolate.” (Let’s overlook, for the moment, that I would obviously never actually find myself in that situation; I mean, I can barely stand up in heels, let alone sashay across a stage in them. How would I ever make it through the evening gown competition?).
Or, do you remember that story from last winter: a young woman survived for 9 days in her snowbound car by drinking melted snow and portioning out her two chocolate bars to last the entire nine days? Uh-huh. Well, I think we all know that if I ever found myself in that situation, I’d be a certain goner: I’d scarf down both bars within a couple of hours, then slowly perish during the following eight days (not to mention the fact that I’d freak out about being stuck under 60 CENTIMETERS (24 inches) OF SNOW, alone in my car on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere. And then how on earth would I make it on time to the Miss Universe pageant?).
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Windsor, I worked part-time as a cashier in the residence cafeteria, where I became friends with one of the other student cashiers who, it turned out, also originally hailed from Montreal. Ultimately, our city of origin was really the only thing we had in common: Ms. Québecoise was about 3 inches taller than I, naturally lithe and slim (and yet buxom), with thick, jet-black hair that feathered and bobbed as she glided through a room, like palm fronds lifted by a gentle breeze. (Come to think of it, SHE would have made a great contestant for the Miss Universe Pageant). She’d already gone through several boyfriends at a time when I’d not yet met my first, and I yearned to be as worldly as she, with her own own apartment and car.
Apart from her powder blue Ford Escort and her always immaculate one-bedroom/one-bath, what struck me most about Ms. Q was that she consumed chocolate, every. single. day. No matter when I dropped over for coffee or a study session, I’d invariably spy a partially eaten chocolate bar lazing on the counter. Ms Q once confessed that she couldn’t fall asleep unless she’d savored her square of chocolate before bed. Yet somehow, it didn’t seem to affect her in any negative way. (Years later, I attempted to reproduce that practice of “one square a day.” That was December 2008, and, unfortunately, my “one square” turned out to be about a foot (30 cm) by one foot. . . more like a “one square of chocolate, continuously, all day long” practice. A short leap from that to full-blown candida, and well, here we are today.)
Accordingly, I tend to ration my chocolate consumption a little more these days, aiming for no more than one two (moderate) servings per week of either cacao-based treats or those made from unsweetened chocolate (my own sweeteners added). And I strive to create sweets that provide a sense of indulgence without spiking blood sugar levels or encouraging candida to proliferate.
That’s why I love these little gems, inspired by a recent recipe from my friend Andrea Nakayama (with whom I recently taught the Sweet Victory sugar detox course). A while back Andrea introduced her Nakayummies to the world: a combination of cacao, cocoa butter, coconut oil and honey. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a non-chocolate version, with ground up goji berries as the base flavor, complemented by fresh orange zest. I was intrigued and decided to unite those separate ideas and create a goji-chocolate confection. Since the anti-candida diet doesn’t allow oranges, and since I recently received some of the new Orange NuNaturals stevia to sample, I decided to throw caution to the winds and add some of it to the recipe as well.
Once firm, these bites provide a glassy, supremely smooth texture of real chocolate in the initial bite, then progress to a hint of chewiness in the finish–like a touch of toffee rounding out each bite (courtesy of the ground gojis). The citrus melds perfectly with the fruity gojis and cacao. I am betting you will love these, too.
Now, of course I’d never advocate consuming chocolate every day (because then how would I ever fit into my swimsuit for the Swimsuit competion?). But if it turns out that you do. . . .well, keep in mind that chocolate contains a wealth of heart-healthy flavonoids. And that these bites are actually very small. And that the only sweetness is from the fruit and (zero-calorie) stevia. In other words, these treats are actually good for you.
Suitable for Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) Stage 3 and beyond
I’ve used raw cacao in this recipe even though it’s not technically a raw chocolate because I find that cacao has a fruiter, less bitter flavor than regular cocoa powder. However, if you’re okay with regular sweeteners, feel free to use cocoa and add a bit of maple syrup or other sweetener as well.
2 Tbsp (30 ml) dried goji berries (the dryer and harder, the better for this recipe; soft ones will not work as well)
In a small, heavy bottomed pot over low heat, gently melt the coconut oil and cashew butter; whisk until smooth. Blend in the stevia and set aside.
Place the goji berries, cacao powder and salt in a coffee grinder and grind until the gojis are powdered (there shouldn’t be any pieces of goji visible). Add the powdered mixture to the pot and whisk until smooth and well combined.
Pour the mixture into mini silicone muffin cups or candy molds. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Makes 6-7 candies. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to. . . gee, I have no idea, since I ate them all within 24 hours. . . but I’m guessing a week.
For a fancier candy, place 2-3 whole goji berries in each muffin cup before adding the melted chocolate mixture (see middle chocolate in photos above).
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Do you remember what it felt like when you were young, when it seemed everyone else had something you didn’t (but you wished you did)? As a gradeschooler, I watched from the sidelines as my friends zoomed around the neighborhood on their new banana-seat bicycles (my parents told me they couldn’t afford one). Then at age 14, I attended my first “social” (what boy-and-girl parties were called back then) and watched from the sidelines as my friends all spent the evening necking with boys (does anyone still say “necking” any more?!); I was perched on a folding chair shoving potato chips into my mouth and guzzling Diet Coke next to MS, the only other dateless girl in the group.
So, when I started the ACD back in 2009 and I had to watch from the sidelines at Christmas time as all my friends sipped wine and champagne, nibbled on pâtés and cheeses/cheezes, consumed obscene amounts of chocolate and sugar. . . well, it felt uncomfortably familiar, I’m afraid.
For you, dear readers, I wanted something better this holiday season. I’ve heard from several of you who’ve just recently embarked on the ACD yourselves, and I remember all too well how despondent one can feel when one wants goodies. . . but there just aren’t any appropriate goodies to be had (ie, without sugar, gluten, dairy, yeast, molds, alcohol. . . et cetera).
Well, here you are. I’ve brought some goodies for you.
And yes, the recipe is suitable, even if you’ve just started the diet and you’re barely into Stage One.*
These cookies are an adaptation of the Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies I saw (via Wellness Weekend last week) on The Taste Space, which were an adaptation of Sarah’s cookies on My New Roots. Now, those other cookies, it is true, contained cocoa powder. And cocoa powder in cookies translates to “CHOCOLATE! IN COOKIES!”–something I never turn down if given the opportunity. However, neither cocoa nor maple syrup are permitted in the first stage of the ACD; so I made some substitutions.
I’ve decided that my mission in 2012 will be to convince carob naysayers that the sepia pod is appealing and delicious in its own right, not merely a second-rate chocolate substitute. Sure, chocolate is my first love, my highschool sweetheart**, if you will; it’s like the guy that sets your heart fluttering whenever you see him, even years later, even after the romance fizzled and you’ve been divorced for decades, the intervening years traced like fine tributaries across your face. Carob, on the other hand, is a more solid, more placid lover; the one you meet in your 40s at the bridge club, the one you call “friend” before “lover,” the one that is consistent and reliable and steadfast. Fewer sparks, perhaps, but a connection that goes deeper, brings out the best in you, is more permanent. That’s the way I love my carob right about now.
I played a bit with the original recipe, adding almond butter to compensate for the lower fat content in the carob. These are not fudgy cookies, but still dense and soft; you’ll find them lovely, moist and almost cake-like. If you’re not a fan of coconut, you can add homemade dried cranberries for a contrast in color and added chewiness. If you happen to be following later stages of the diet, feel free to sub some/all of the liquid sweeteners with agave or coconut nectar, or use goji berries or other dried berries (sugarfree, of course) as your fruit of choice.
These little gems really do feel like a treat–something I think we all deserve about now!
*Please note that there are many versions of the anti-candida diet in existence, and yours may advocate something different. This recipe is suitable for the first stage of the diet I followed; please be sure to check with your healthcare provider to ensure that the recipe is compatible with your diet!
**Considering how early on I was addicted to chocolate, it really should be more like, “my kindergarten sweetheart.” But I couldn’t say that because, well, it just sounds creepy.
Mexican Spiced Black Bean Carob-Cranberry (or Goji Berry) Cookies (adapted from The Taste Space)
Suitable for ACD, all stages (yay!)
A little bit cakey, a little bit chewy, these cookies are a satisfying sweet. Don’t expect to confuse them with chocolate–they have a caroby taste all their own, which works extremely well with the spice mixture and sweet berries.
1 can (19 oz or 540 ml) black beans, rinsed very well and well drained (see Note 1 below)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment or spray with nonstick spray.
Place beans, coconut oil, almond butter an carob powder in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth. Add remaining ingredients except for chips and cranberries and process again, scraping down sides if necessary (it will have the consistency of a muffin batter, soft but able to hold a shape if scooped). Remove the processor blade and stir in the chips and berries by hand.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) between them. Use the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula to spread the cookies out and flatten them to about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick (they will not really spread during baking).
Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through, until cookies are dry on top and browned on the edges and bottoms. Allow to cool completely before eating. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes 22-25 cookies. May be frozen.
Note 1: You can certainly use dried beans that you soak overnight and then cook yourself; use about 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) cooked beans. In this case, however, you must be sure to cook the beans extremely well–almost overcooked–or they won’t blend as easily as the canned ones do.
Note 2: If you like the taste of yacon syrup, you can use a full 1/3 cup (80 ml) of yacon instead of adding the glycerin. Alternately, if you are at a later stage of the ACD or not on it at all, feel free to use a full 1/3 cup (80 ml) of coconut nectar or agave nectar.