Chocolate cream pie gives me the warm fuzzies.
It was always on our Thanksgiving table right next to everyone’s perennial favorite, pumpkin pie.
When I discovered I had a dairy sensitivity at the age of 20, my creamy chocolatey forays to PieTown were abruptly cut short.
Over the years I’ve reinvented some of my classic childhood treats, and I think I’ve finally nailed it with this food-sensitivity-friendly version of a chocolate cream pie.
The filling is magically rich and pudding-like thanks to full fat coconut milk and gelatin.
The crust of almond and oat flours is unconventional, but delicious in its slightly crumbly texture and ability to crisp up beautifully.
It’s so good it will fill your dreams with unicorns frolicking on rainbows that end not in a pot of gold, but in GIANT CHOCOLATE CREAM PIES.
A few months ago, Chris and I went camping in Olympic National Park. And when I think camping, I think S’MORES.
Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows are at the top of my shopping list days before we leave.
When we arrived to purchase our s’more ingredients and other camping comestibles, our local natural foods store was out of the marshmallows I usually purchase on these occasions.
I settled for the ones with packaging emblazoned with "all natural", "gmo free" and "vegan".
Sounds perfect, right?
Wrong. And I knew it.
I wish the term “falling off the wagon” didn’t exist as a seemingly universal way to express that we’ve faltered yet again regarding the way we nourish ourselves. It’s a pretty painful and uncomfortable image that comes to mind, because come on, NO ONE wants to fall off a wagon.
Strangely enough, my mom has had the distinct pleasure (or pain?) of almost cascading out of a buckboard wagon at night in the Arizona desert when the horses got spooked by god-knows-what out in that inky, hot sandscape.
Ok, so “falling off the wagon” should exist in our syntax in the literal sense.
But it has no place when it comes to talking about our food choices and how we’ve inevitably messed them up for the twentieth time this year.
Whenever my patients tell me they’ve fallen off, aka, they’ve failed, I rejoice a bit.
In the world of modern nutrition, the debate between white and brown rice seems long put to bed.
Brown rice is soooo obviously healthier… right?
Why have we come to this conclusion? Let me count the ways:
First of all, something that’s brown in color is always healthier than something that’s white (duh, Dr. Liz).
White means something is refined, devoid of nutrients, and I shouldn’t eat it, like bread and pasta.
So brown rice has more… stuff, right? More nutrients and minerals?
Plus white rice will definitely spike my blood sugar because it doesn’t have much fiber. That’s why I slog my way through that chewy outer layer, right? RIGHT?
These might indeed be the reasons why you feel the need to eat brown rice.
But I’m here to say CUT IT OUT.
Do you eat breakfast every day, first thing in the morning?
Do you “fuel up” before a workout?
Do you grab a snack in the late evening after dinner?
I used to do all of these things and so did my husband, Chris.
A few years ago, we decided to shake it up and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
Well, I shook it up first and Chris decided to see how I fared, haha. Then he joined in with my crazy experiment.
So what did we do?
We started intermittent fasting.
Chocolate. Peanut butter. And wait for it… graham cracker (gluten free, if you like).
Do I have your attention? I hope so!
The holy trinity of flavors in a dessert can be yours in this no-bake, easy to assemble* holiday treat inspired by my Iowa roots!
*Disclaimer: several wooden spoons were broken while attempting this recipe in my childhood. More on that later.
The recipe is straight out of the midwest, but it’s been modified to make it a little more... accessible.
Accessible? I thought you said this was an easy recipe??
Allow me to explain.
When I turned 21, instead of indulging in the alcohol that I was now legally allowed to imbibe, I gave up dairy.
Yes, this is the kind of 21 year old I was.
A fun sidenote to further provide you with context of my youthful reckless abandon: my birthday is near Christmas, and the evening I turned 21 I was at home with the entirety of my mom’s side of the family for our holiday shindig watching Princess Diaries with my 6 and 10 year old cousins. I think I was in bed by 11PM.
I know what you’re thinking. I was, indeed, a wild child. Some might even say a party animal. Ruler breaker. Hell raiser.
But in truth, in the Midwest (I’m from Iowa and went to college in Missouri), not eating dairy was breaking a cardinal food rule.
If I say “sauerkraut”, most people have one of two reactions: they either love it or they hate it.
This food polarizes a crowd almost as quickly as brussel sprouts or liver.
And I have a confession to make: for years I was one of those people who hated it.
I just didn’t understand what was so great about stinky, slimy, stringy cabbage sitting in it’s own juices.
Then, I went to naturopathic medical school, and like so many other things in my life, my perspective shifted.
I learned about how fantastic fermented foods are for your gut health and the health benefits of cabbage, and I decided to give sauerkraut another try.
Beans are one of the most underrated foods out there today. The poor little guys get a bad rap.
Everyone knows the childhood (and adult) song about the magical fruit.
But beans are nutritional powerhouses and should be a regular part of our diet. They’re easy to cook, cheap, available everywhere, and pack in protein as well as healthy complex carbohydrates.
They’re incredibly beneficial for our digestive tracts, cardiovascular systems, and they help regulate blood sugar and prevent cancer. Wow.
And this recipe is so low maintenance it will BLOW. YOUR. MIND.
Just like how awesome beans are. Come on, give them a chance, won’t you?
In the fall, I start thinking about rich, thick soups and curries to stave off the chill that’s starting to roll in as the last warmth of summer fades.
I love filling my house with the heady and intoxicating smells of warming spices and pungent herbs. They heat the belly and blood and are naturally supportive through this cooler, darker season.
Many of these delicious spices have awesome anti-inflammatory properties, as well as help digestion.
And the star of this curry, butternut squash, is packed to the gills with super beneficial nutrients and minerals.
It’s the perfect late summer-to-fall recipe built to nourish you with foods of the season, and is wonderful throughout the remaining cold weather months.
Is your inner child squealing with glee?
I know mine is.
I dreamed up this recipe about a month ago and it’s fast become an easy treat or snack that my husband and I enjoy regularly.
I think I need more ramekins to keep up with demand!
This pudding is perfect for someone like me who can’t handle her dairy (as much as she wants to!), but still wants something creamy and thick and a little sweet after dinner.