D: Dates and…dates!

Dates are absolutely delicious and versatile. Although they look like dead little cockroaches, they’re actually a naturally sweet and sticky fruit. Excited to try them? 🙂images

So they may not be appetizing to look at, but as far as using them in place of refined sweeteners-these are little gems of yum. I usually keep some pureed in my freezer in case I need to use them in place of sugar or molasses. They also just good to snack on if your sweet tooth is crying out to you, or thrown into a trail mix…or date squares…mmm…date squares.

Dates are a source of magnesium, calcium and potassium; minerals that are important for the health of your bones. Magnesium is also key for healthy liver function. And we all want a healthy liver! These are a whole food, and an excellent natural sweetener. Some would say the perfect food.

There are many varieties of dates. The most popular being medjool and sayer-which is Arabic for “common” (although there are apparently hundreds!) The difference between these two dates is mostly their size, but dates can differ in meatiness and sugar content depending on their variety. Any type of date can be used in this recipe…as long as they don’t have pits!

Dates are sweet. And with Sweetheart’s day coming up (you know-Valentine’s Day) I thought it was only right to provide the perfect recipe for a date night…with dates. See what I did there? Excellent.20150205_135010

Sometimes it is difficult to stay on track with nutrition. I get that-I have cravings too. Which is why I believe it’s important to stock your house the way you want to live your life. My husband is happy (and oh so very sad) that he is allowed to eat whatever he wants in the house. Because we don’t have any junk. I mean it-no chips or cookies…unless I make them, and then there is usually something healthy “ruined” about them. I made the following recipe for a treat and his belly was happy (and his sugar levels).

So allow me to give you the most wonderful Valentine’s Day gift: A ruined delicious brownie recipe that is chocolately and sweet without giving you a sugar overload. Plus I made the whole thing in a blender. A BLENDER! No bowls, no spoons. Couldn’t be easier! Really!20150205_134643

BLENDER BROWNIES (With no refined sugar or flour)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs (or cocoa if you don’t have them)
  • 1 1/4 cups dates
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • A good pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk (or whatever milk you use)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Place parchment paper in an 8 x 8 pan. Use two pieces so all sides are covered.

In your blender, pulverize the cacao nibs until they are powder. If you’re using cocoa powder, dump it in. Add the dates and eggs. Blend until smooth.

Add vanilla, coconut oil, salt and milk. Blend again.

Add walnuts. Give it a couple of pulses.

DONE. Seriously. I bet your oven isn’t ready.

The batter will be thick so scrape it all out into the pan, spread it around so it’s even and stick it in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it’s ALMOST set. The edges will be set but the middle will most likely still be a little sticky. That’s ok.

Let it cool for a bit. Hardest part, I know. While you’re waiting…why don’t you make this deliciously easy icing?20150205_134756

Blend the following (In your rinsed out blender):

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Once again, DONE. I know…your Valentine will have no idea that this took no effort.

If this isn’t your style, I have a couple of other desserts containing dates for your date like chocolate bee pollen bites, chocolate chip cookies or these yummy squares! No matter what you make or do, I hope you have a wonderful day. I will be spending the day at a hockey rink for my son’s tournament. Did you know it’s Hockey Day in Canada on February 14th? How romantic.

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