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Sweet Treats

Gourmet Popsicles

August 11, 2012

Gourmet popsicles are making their way as the newest food rage. You can see evidence of that in some way in just about every food publication you pick up, on any food show on television and all over the internet. There is hardly a specialty food market, farmer’s market or food truck anywhere that does not have some representation of these handcrafted, gourmet frozen confections. And why not? They are fun, creative, and in most cases, a healthy option to some of the overly sweetened, processed frozen treats that have been making the scene for years.

Ever since we browsed the People’s Pops stall at the Brooklyn Flea Market, I starting gathering a little inspiration for my own homemade artisan popsicles. We purchased fruit from farmer’s markets and condensed it into the form of a simple and nostalgic summertime staple. With temperatures reaching  over 90 degrees while visiting NYC, the popsicles we made at my sister’s apartment were the perfect antidote to the heat — if only for a few minutes.

Ginger Tea Cherry Popsicles


  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 ginger tea bags
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of pitted cherries (I used sour cherries)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. Steep ginger tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags and stir in agave nectar. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the ginger tea concoction into popsicle trays and add cherries. Freeze completely (4-5 hours).
  5. To un-mold, place popsicle trays under running hot water for a few seconds.

Almond Pear Popsicles


  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • Pinch of cinnamon


  1. Place almond milk into a small bowl. Stir in almond extract, agave nectar and cinnamon.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle trays and add pear slices. Freeze until set (4-5 hours).
  3. To un-mold, place popsicle trays under running hot water for a few seconds.


(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Key Lime Mousse

July 13, 2012

I spend a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen tinkering with recipes, and I have to say that most of the time my tinkering turns out okay. But sometimes it’s a total failure never to be spoken of at home, on the blog, or anywhere. Then there are times when I simply need to use up produce we have in our kitchen and a new creation is made unintentionally… and wow. Amazing yumminess. That is how this recipe came to be.

Avocados give this luscious dessert its rich, creamy texture. Avocados are considered one of the healthiest foods in the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, you would need to eat two or tree bananas to obtain the potassium content of one avocado. Avocados also contain fiber, protein and beneficial phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione and lutein, which help protect against various disease and illness. Although avocado is high in fat content, it is mostly the monounsaturated fat which is a healthy fat variety.

Avocados are Mother Nature’s skin moisturizer. With their healthy fats and phytonutrients, they offer remarkable benefits to human skin — both when eaten and when used topically. The avocado oil is added in many cosmetics because of its ability to nourish the skin and make your skin glow. Make your own skin mask by mashing avocado and spread on the face. Leave it on for 25-30 minutes and it’ll instantly reveal radiant skin.

This mousse makes for a healthy dessert or snack that tastes great alone or layered with crunchy graham cracker crumbs. I hope you enjoy this delightful creation.


Key Lime Mousse

Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free, Sugar-free

Serves 2


  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. lime zest
  • 4-5 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • stevia to taste
  • coconut flakes (optional)


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process all the mousse ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add stevia to taste and process.

Raw Cacao Shake

June 12, 2012

Chocolate: most people are used to calling it cocoa, cocoa beans, cocoa powder. But when it comes to raw food, why do people use the word cacao (ka-COW), which looks like a misspelling of the more familiar cocoa and sounds like the squawk of a large, tropical bird? Whatever you call it, cocoa or cacao, both refer to the main ingredient of chocolate, which is the seed of the cacao tree.

Not all chocolate is created equal. Many of the forms of chocolate we’ve come to love have ingredients like refined (white) sugar, milk fats, and hydrogenated oils that make the cocoa devoid of any natural health benefits. Cocoa goes through a process called “dutching” where the acidic flavor of the cocoa is neutralized, removing chocolate’s natural polyphenols. And lastly, to top it all off, it’s heated to temperatures over 100 °F, killing all of its antioxidant properties. This type of chocolate is high in calories, trans fats and contributes to a strong acidic environment in your body.

But the good news is….. chocolate CAN be good! Some consider raw cacao a miracle superfood and if you look up all the nutritional information on raw cacao, you can see why. A 2 tbsp. serving offers 9g of fiber, 4g of protein, and 0g of sugar. Raw cacao contains high amounts of antioxidants, healthy fats and magnesium – an important mineral in which many people are chronically deficient. It works to support heart health by protecting the body from cellular degeneration and it contains polyphenols which helps to lower blood pressure. It stimulates endorphin production, giving you a feeling of pleasure and raw cacao also assists in the formation of serotonin, acting as an anti-depressant.


Chocolate, in most forms, is generally stimulating since it contains caffeine. Based on the serious buzz I get from consuming raw cacao, I think the concentration of caffeine must also be much higher in raw cacao than the processed variety, though perhaps I am particularly sensitive. If you aren’t used to it and then eat it in any significant quantity, it can be as if you’ve never had coffee and then had three double espressos. Though raw cacao is a superfood and very healthful to us, I don’t recommend consuming it on a daily basis.

If you’re in the market for some raw cacao, only purchase certified organic raw cacao to ensure that you are getting the most nutrition for your money. It can be found at your local health food store. Look for brands that are Fair Trade as well.

There are many ways you can begin moving away from the processed, nutrient deficient chocolate to incorporating wholesome, healthier chocolate alternatives. The recipe I’m sharing today is for a raw cacao shake. I hope you enjoy!


Raw Cacao Shake


  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • sweetener to taste – agave, stevia, xylitol, etc. (optional)
  • goji berries (optional)


  1. Simply add everything together in a blender and blend until smooth. Viola!

Granola with Raw Cashew Cream

June 1, 2012

As granola recipes go, some are simpler and some are more complex, and this one lies squarely in the middle. I love the idea of a bare-bones, just-the-essentials granola – oats, nuts, oil, and a sweetener of some sort – but to my palate, a great granola needs a little more. It needs a variety of nuts and seeds, and maybe a couple of different sweeteners for flavor complexity, and some warm spicing too, like cinnamon and ginger. It may require buying a couple of extra pantry ingredients, but once you’ve got them, you’re set for a while – and for a lot of granola.

This granola makes for a lovely breakfast, snack, or even dessert. When the granola is topped with raw cashew cream, it supplies just the right amount of indulgence – without the guilt.

Cashew Cream


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup, raw honey etc)
  • Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Place the soaked cashews and water in a blender. Turn the blender onto a low-medium speed to break up the nuts and stop when the pieces are starting to form a puree.
  2. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar, vanilla bean seeds, salt and more water if necessary. Turn the blender to high until the mixture is as creamy and smooth. This may take a few minutes.
  3. Scrape cashew cream into a container and chill thoroughly.


Fig’ n Pear Granola


  • 1 cup nuts or seeds of your choice (I used a mix of almonds and hemp seeds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried figs, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh pears, cored & roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F  (177° C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.
  3. Spread the granola evenly across a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir periodically to help it bake evenly.
  4. Let cool completely, store in airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

To assemble: Place sliced/chopped fruit into a bowl and spoon some granola mix evenly on top of the fruit and put a nice dollop of cashew cream on there. Then devour.