Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday everybody! It’s Christine and I am totally psyched to be back—I took a small break with the last two Friday’s falling on Christmas and New Year’s Day. I had a lovely holiday but now that the hustle and bustle is through I am ready to get crackin’ on 2010!
A couple things to resolve
Like my big bro, I look forward to making New Year’s resolutions and changes. I have two main goals this year, and both are continuations of things I started in 2009. I think that getting these out here publicly will help me stay on track.
1. Try 52 new foods in 2010, or one new food per week.
Since I started writing Sweet-Tooth Fridays, I have continually ventured out to natural markets and ethnic stores in search of ingredients. In the process, I have tried so many things I had never had before. My list includes tamarind, yucca, choyute, rhubarb, kukicha twig tea, coconut water, kumquats, stevia, hemp milk, and almond butter. I’ve noticed that when making my weekly menus I am often in repeating cycles of lentil sloppy joes and black bean burritos. So this resolution demands that my menu stays exciting and my palate expands. I’ll keep you guys posted at the end of my dessert posts about what I discover each week.
2. Make an exercise plan and commit.
Isn’t it funny how a small thing like the wrong playlist on your iPod can keep you from hitting the gym for weeks? No matter how much I enjoy exercise while I am doing it, it’s always so easy for me to trail off and procrastinate it again. For the first half of 2010, I have committed to 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week and 30 minutes of Core Performance Essentials stretching 3 times a week. I’ll keep the cardio off the pavement to avoid another stress fracture and reevaluate the plan as needed.
The new bake sale staple
This week for my healthy dessert I decided to try an update for the classic Rice Krispie treat. I got the idea from a book I checked out of the library called Sweet Alternative, by Ariana Bundy. All of the recipes are made without gluten, dairy, and soy. Alas, if they only had nixed eggs as well I would be one happy baker. The book is more geared toward allergies than lifestyle choices, but at least many of the recipes happen to be vegan without my sworn enemy soy margarine.
The recipe in the book calls for puffed quinoa, but at the natural store I could only find puffed kamut and millet, so I went with the latter. Millet is chock full of vitamin B and has some protein too.
This recipe also includes rice syrup, and I reluctantly picked up a jar of organic brown rice syrup for around 9 dollars. I say reluctantly, because I would like your opinion on this- why is brown rice syrup preferred over corn syrup? Besides the organic bit, they are both sugars taken from grains. I see rice syrup recommended all the time in healthy desserts, but it makes me wonder if it is being glorified only on the basis that corn syrup is associated with junk food and sodas. I’d love to hear your opinion before coughing up over double the cost again.
Vegan Millet Crispy Treats
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup rice syrup
- pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 cups puffed millet
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored dried fruits, like apricots and apples, finely chopped
Combine the peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and rice syrup in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the puffed millet and dried fruits.
Spoon mixture into a greased 8 inch square pan. Press evenly to fill in entire pan. Allow to cool, then cut into 16 squares.
These millet crispies smelled amazing and were really good- but they were just short of being awesome. I think to have the ooey-gooey goodness of the classic treats these bars need more liquid or less millet. Next time I will increase the peanut butter and rice syrup by 2 tablespoons each, but that’s just my preference. I definitely recommend giving these bars a shot—try substituting puffed kamut, different nut butters or different dried fruits!
First Tastes of 2010: Pomegranate
Before I sign off, I just wanted to share my first experiment with my New Year’s resolution! This week I tried a fresh pomegranate. I have had this flavor in juices and tea, but I never cut up and and dug out all the juicy seeds for myself. WOW! No wonder this fruit is included in Greek mythology—I was in absolute ecstasy eating the seeds by the spoonful and enjoying the tiny crunch. I can’t wait to include pomegranate in a cool dessert or an avocado salad. A wonderful start to my new year of new tastes.
See you next week!