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Hooray for summer! It’s time for the best eating and the best treats of the year! When our children were young, fun foods during long, hot summer days were very important. I have a feeling that Heavenly Father has the same plan. It’s one of the reasons summer fruits and veggies are most plentiful, affordable and delicious. As my husband and I personally take giant strides towards more fully embracing the eating plan our Heavenly Father provided in D&C 89, we’re astonished with how good we feel, how much we are eating (as in volume and variety), how delicious it all tastes, and how “full” we are constantly. The fact that this is the only way that works for me to lose weight without obsessively counting calories or points is equally amazing.
For those who notice that we’re eating differently and ask about it, we find that the usual response is a blank stare followed by an earnest “But I love milk and cheese! I love ice cream! I love my meat and dessert!” In short, they are saying (and we felt the same) “You’re kidding! Where’s the FUN?”
Good news: The fun is in how much better you immediately feel and look and in what you eat! After all, it’s not as if people throughout time didn’t enjoy (and even relish as we all do) what they ate, long before the Standard American diet with its processed foods, sugars, and fats, was available. Most people discover that within a short time after weaning themselves from sugar and processed foods, everything tastes better and naturally sweeter and that the whole experience is much more enjoyable that it first sounds. Of course, putting some special combinations together and a teeny little bit of effort into presentation makes a big difference too. Here are some of our new favorites and others we’re looking forward to trying over the summer.
Banana Walnut Ice Cream
We think it’s as tasty as anything from Baskin Robbins and need a bowl almost every evening. We don’t know how the food processor whips it up, but it is creamy and delicious! You can add some frozen berries, too.
Ingredients: Frozen banana slices, 2-3 Tablespoons almond milk, walnuts, vanilla.
Instructions: Slice very ripe bananas (lots of brown spots) into one-half slices. Place as a single layer into a flat, plastic container and freeze. You can do multiple layers by separating with sheets of wax paper.
For each serving, in a small food processor, place about of a cup of banana slices and the milk. Pulse 3-4 times to blend. Add 3-4 walnuts and a splash of vanilla. Pulse again until nuts are chopped and it is smooth and creamy. Yum!
There are genuine culinary pros and Youtube artists out there who can turn three apples and a banana into swans on a reflecting lake with a waterfall. While that is impressive, most of us need to make these healthy, yummy goodies for ourselves and our kids/grandkids in a New York minute with a simple knife and fruit from the grocery store. My favorites pictured below need absolutely no instructions at all! You’ll have as much fun making them for and with your dear ones as you will eating them. For eyes, use a bit of olive or raisins.
While the fruit plates and treats are adorable, delicious and nutritious, I think my favorites are these clever veggie snacks. The cauliflower lambs are easier than they look with raisins on toothpicks for legs and olive heads with black bean eyes. The hilarious Youtube video for how to make them is also in the links below. Be careful, of course, when using toothpicks to assemble the pieces.
Heavenly Father’s Candy and Popsicles
One of my dear friends tells her children that Heavenly Father always has candy for his children. His candy is fruit and I love this picture of “nature’s Skittles” Sheer inspiration! And what would a hot summer day be without a popsicle? Many thanks to our Meridian Facebook Word of Wisdom Health challenge friends for sharing these goodies!
Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles
You can replace the watermelon puree with honeydew melon or cantaloupe puree. You can also any fruit you have on hand for this. Contrasting colors because it makes the popsicles look so pretty! And don’t forget to use seedless watermelon. (From www.nourishingmeals.com)
3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
handful fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
Set out about 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each one. Place into your freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours.
When ready to serve, run the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds and then pull each one out.
Now, I don’t know about you, but cookies can be a critical part of a happy day. I hope you’ll enjoy these from our favorite word of wisdom plant-based diet website, www.forksoverknives.com
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup raisins
cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut or flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional, but adds beautiful essence)
teaspoon sea salt
few pinches freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but adds extra flavor if not using zest)
cup unsweetened applesauce (see note for substitution)
cup pure maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
a few nuts, carob or chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, raisins, hemp seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, zest, salt and nutmeg, stirring to mix well. Add the applesauce, maple syrup, and chocolate chips. Stir until well incorporated. Use a cookie scoop (or take spoonfuls, about 1 1 1?2 tablespoons in size) to transfer mounds of the batter to the baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and let cool on the pan for about a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 12-14 snackles!
Savvy Substitutions and Additions: You can substitute 1?2 cup of pureed overripe banana for the applesauce. Since very ripened banana is typically sweeter than unsweetened applesauce (and also a little thicker), you can then reduce the maple syrup to 2 to 3 tablespoons and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of nondairy milk.
Sweetener Note: To make these snackles slightly sweeter, add either extra raisins, or 1 to 2 tablespoons of an unrefined sugar such as Sucanat or coconut sugar. You can also add another 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (note that adding much more liquid sweetener will change the consistency of the batter).
As always, there’s information overload on recipes and dynamic ways to live a whole food plant-based life. Just google it! It’s my personal prayer and hope that you’ll have as much fun exploring and living the Word of Wisdom with these recipes as we are. Enjoy!
Whole-Food Plant-Based Information To learn more about a whole food, plant-based diet, go to www.forksoverknives.com and view the documentary by the same name at Amazon or Netflix. Be prepared. It’s a life-changer.
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years, providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999. She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE