One of the worst things about (traditional) dieting is being stripped of all of the deliciously decadent and endlessly comforting feel-good foods that you love. It’s like parting with your best friend, when you really have no idea when (or if) you’ll see them again (but you usually do because duhh-check the past post on dieting, it doesn’t work) To someone like me who wholeheartedly believes food is life, dieting is literally the worst…eating bland vegetables all day is just not the business. I’ve come to learn that traditional dieting just seems to make me empty inside, literally and figuratively.
Since the big lifestyle change, and in developing my own recipes through research, I have come to find too many alternatives and healthy substitutions for my favorite foods to ever waste my time depriving myself again. Say goodbye to diet boredom and hello a new fit and flavorful lifestyle! Most of my free-time nowadays is spent scouring the internet for new recipes and ingredients to replicate my favorite foods in healthy manners. I’m not kidding, when I zone out (particularly in my chem class) you can bet I am thinking about one of two things, 1) New recipes and meal ideas to attempt and share or 2) Bulldogs because they are so chubby and cute.
This next recipe is one that I came up with in class. I had read about a raw/vegan/sugar-free caramel sauce using dates and was dying to try it out. Soon after, I headed to the store to buy medjool dates and get my caramel on. When I was unloading my bag of groceries the dates were no where to be found! I was convinced I had purchased them, but after scouring the kitchen (and even my car) I wound up date-less (what else is new?;) ) Fast-forward a week…I decided to give my kitchen a good cleaning and what else do I find but my dates, sandwiched in the corner between the fruit-bowl and the wall! Lucky for me dates are already dried. I didn’t even waste time thinking about how they got there, I had some caramel to make!
Raw Salted Caramel Sauce
8 dates, pitted
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp course salt
Soak the dates in water for 30 minutes to soften, this will make it easier to blend and give you a smoother caramel consistency. Remove the pits from the dates, and add to blender. Start pulsing and gradually add almond milk and vanilla until smooth. (Add more milk for a runnier sauce) You can run the sauce through a fine sieve to separate the skins but i left mine as is! Put into a jar and store in the fridge!
Now what would this sauce be without something to put it on?! (Don’t get me wrong, it’s good enough to eat on its own but I made sure to leave some extra for that!) One weird thing about me, or I guess others think it’s weird, is that I really don’t like ice cream Sundays. I love ice cream an all but chocolate sauce is just not my thing. I have always been one to reach for the caramel when I get the chance and it seems as though nothing has changed. I love this caramel sauce on a big bowl of frozen banana ice cream, but I also wanted to try it with my morning oats!
I decided to make a chai flavored overnight oats and top it with my homemade caramel sauce for a deceivingly decadent breakfast, wait…did I even change my lifestyle?
Chai-Chia Oats with Salted Caramel
1/4 cup GF Rolled oats
1/4 cup Almond Milk (I used my Walnut Macuna Merry Milk from Moon juice, but the spices will still give you a chai flavor)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Sprinkle of ground ginger
Put all the ingredients into a jar and stir well. Cover, and let sit in fridge overnight. In the morning top with my raw Salted Caramel Sauce and fruit of choice!