Something about summer calls for sweet treats. Not the rich, syrupy, sticky treats of the holiday season, but the light, cool, refreshing sweetness of summer. For those of us health-conscious folks, popsicles and fudge sundaes just aren't an option. The high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, or inflammatory casein keep us at arm's length. Yet, avoidance of summer treats isn't an answer.
I remember being a young girl, hearing the call of the ice-cream van slowly rolling through the neighborhood ... at dinner time, of course. While my friends gathered at its window, I would feel the disappointment at being excluded as my mom made her routine threat to "shoot the tires off that van one day!" I smile as I see the same van singing the same tune (funny it didn't change in the last 30 years) roll through our neighborhood and now, I echo my mom's sentiments. Nope, avoidance of summer treats isn't an answer.
The answer is to adopt healthy treats. Thank the Lord for stevia and coconuts ... and that dark chocolate is still considered healthy! Here's a few of my favorite summer treats, many of which are kid-friendly, allergy-friendly, gut-friendly, and guilt-free.
Also, if you have some favorites, please share them with me! I am in the market for sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free treats for my newest book.
Everyone loves lemonade and this is a treat you can indulge in everyday. In fact, I have a glass beside me as I write. Detoxing, refreshing, and full of antioxidants, this one is just as sweet as your chemically-created lemonade "mixes" but leaves your body healthier after you drink it.
Makes 1-12oz glass
1/2 lemon or lime
5-6 drops of liquid Stevia
Mint leaves (optional)
Squeeze the lemon or lime into your glass, add the stevia and mint (if you want to get fancy), fill the remainder of your glass with water and enjoy! Super easy and kids love it!
Lime Avocado Mousse
Smooth, creamy, and sweet, yet filled with brain-supportive fats, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ginger and health-boosting coconut oil. This is a frequent after-dinner treat around my house. I promise, this does not taste like avocado and is actually a great way to consume this fruit, if you're not a lover of guac.
Makes 2 servings
1 banana (omit for anti-candida or gut-healing diets)
1/4 cup lime juice (organic or freshly squeezed)
1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
1/4 tsp ground ginger
12 drops liquid stevia
Blend all ingredients using a hand mixer (or a really strong arm!). Do not test taste! It doesn't taste good before it is chilled. The freezer works some magic. Pour into individual cups and chill for 20-30 minutes. This usually has a perfect consistency and temperature after 20 minutes. It can be left in the freezer for longer, but you may have to let it soften first, unless you enjoy chipping away at your food.
Dark Chocolate Mousse: I often omit the lime juice and replace it with 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder for a dark chocolate variation. To enrich the chocolate flavor, add a pinch of organic instant coffee, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dash of salt.
This is ridiculously easy to make, naturally sweet, and will entice even the pickiest child. The texture is authentic, but it will melt a little faster than your traditional dairy-based ice cream. Although allergy-free, I wouldn't suggest it for those on a gut-healing or anti-candida diet ... sorry folks, the bananas have a lot of natural sugar that feed those yeasties.
Makes 1 serving
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk or almond milk (optional, see note below)
Cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger (also, optional)
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender and enjoy immediately! Sprinkle with additional cinnamon or ginger. Dark chocolate (85% cocoa or sugar-free) would be another special treat.
Note: I used my Vitamix and although it could handle the banana, it really worked at it. I highly suggest the milk for those who do not have a super heavy duty blender.
Not-So-Cheesy Cherry Cheesecake ... or frozen desert
This is basically a vegan-style cheesecake. I don't know why these types of recipes even have "cheesecake" in the title. There is absolutely no resemblance and it just sets you up for disappointment. So, this is not a cheesecake. This is a delicious, healthy, refreshing frozen desert. It's pretty enough to serve to company and can be gut-friendly/candida-friendly. I have modified the original recipe substantially and it is a selected birthday favorite in my home - for some, that is. I still indulge in the real cheesecake on my birthday.
Makes 1 pie
1 cup almond meal
½ cup soaked dates chopped (or 12 drops stevia for anti-candida version)
3 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 ½ cup pitted fresh or frozen cherries (or other fruit of your choice)
½ cup soaked raw cashews
¼ cup raw honey (or 15 drops stevia for anti-candida version)
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups soaked raw cashews
½ cup raw honey (or 15 drops stevia for anti-candida version)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon or ginger (depending on your flavor preference, optional)
¼ cup coconut milk
Crust: Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend and then press into a pie plate. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or while you make the bottom layer.
Bottom Layer: Blend all ingredients in the blender until smooth. Taste for sweetness and adjust, if needed. Pour into the pie plate. Freeze for an hour, or until solid.
Top Layer: Blend all ingredients in the blender until smooth. Taste for sweetness and adjust, if needed. Pour into the pie plate, on top of the frozen bottom layer. Freeze for an hour, or until solid.
Before serving, you may need to let it soften for about 15 minutes. Keep unused portion in the freezer.