In a nutshell, this past week was a little sugar excessive. I had my fair share of Compartes S'mores Dark Chocolate Bar and Almond Dream Dessert Bites (which my friend and I agreed reminded us of the Shamu Ice Cream bars that we had as kids). Whether it was stress induced or not, I had multiple sugar comas but just couldn't quite seem to shake my cravings for a solid sweet fix. All I have to say is that after this past week's consumption, someone needs to put me on a leash.
That said, my long weekend was a slight hit of the reset button. The past two weeks had been a bit of whirlwind and I was finding that I had fallen out of a routine, which in turn left me abandoning the things that typically keep me in check (and in good spirits). Instead of being little miss social butterfly, I was craving a semi-solo "me" weekend as a means of getting back on track. As a result, I found myself rolling out my yoga mat every morning, tuning back in with meditation (I swear, it's my saving grace), cooking, cleaning, processing, frolicking, writing and eating mostly well. I wasn't a total loner thanks to the company of sweet friends, but the solo time was necessary. For me. I owe living in NYC the confidence and comfort in solo activities. As I piled up the bags of greens, avocados, fresh fruits, smoothie staples and other grocery store essentials, I explained to the cashier that "I haven't been grocery shopping in a while, if you hadn't noticed." At least he got a kick out of it, a whole seven avocados and all.
Talk about straying from the reason for this post. (Again, someone put me on a leash). The main thought that I bundled up during this past "me" weekend is that life is a balancing act. Not only a balancing act of quiet personal time, but also a balancing act of food and diet, simply put. In my case, two experimental recipes that make me want to run around and pass out high fives. And they involve grilled avocado and cashew cardamom almond butter. Greens and sugar, sugar and greens.
I woke up with the idea of enjoying a picnic for one to round out the weekend and soak up a little bit of sun. With all of the freshly stocked greens that I had in my fridge, I tossed together some butter lettuce, arugula, sesame seeds, quinoa and grilled avocado. To grill the avocado, I melted a tbsp of coconut oil in a skillet pan and let each half of the avocado sizzle for a few minutes, just until it started to get slightly crisp and golden around the edges. I kept it simple with the dressing and opted for some EVOO and a squeeze of lemon. A cozy blanket, to-go box (for the salad) and a nice playlist on deck - that's essentially the first part of my balancing act kind of day.
And since I was on an experimental kick, I had already started thinking about what I could get my hands on next. I had a jar of Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter lurking in my pantry (the kind that you dig straight into with a spoon) and played around with a small batch of almond butter cups, a simple recipe that I had been meaning to try but just hadn't yet. The beauty of the recipe is that it only requires a handful of ingredients and is free of refined sugars - the kind of sugars that make you breakout, feel sluggish and like crap, to put it best.
I was skeptical of how they would turn out, but fell in love with how imperfectly perfect (and easy) they were. You could say that I deserved these. And so do you, therefore enough of my rambling. I may still have overdone it (aka licking the bowl clean), but this is the kind of balancing sugar act that we should all bring into our lives.
Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter Cups
Adapted from The Whole Pantry; makes 4-8 depending on how big or small you want them to be. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Raw.
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
Almond Butter (I used my favorite, JEM Raw's Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter)
Optional: a pinch of sea salt
- In a bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao powder and sea salt and stir until smooth.
- Pour 1 tbsp (more or less) of chocolate mixture into mini muffin cases/chocolate molds and place in the freezer for five minutes until firm.
- Remove from the freezer and spoon almond butter on top of the chocolate layer. Place back into the freezer until firm.
- Since these are raw and melt easily, serve immediately. (You'll also want them immediately.)
Of course, swap in whatever nut butter you want because I don't think you can go wrong here. Whether it's a jar of JIF or the fancy, expensive almond butter that silly people like me pay for, this recipe is a win.
Tomorrow morning, we roll the yoga mat back out and grab for the green juice.
Be well, you grilled avocado and almond butter cup lovers.