Creamy Chocolate Date Candy

I don’t know what to call these, but for real, they taste like candy. I swear it’s like eating a twix or snickers, or something I remember from childhood. I can’t put my finger on exactly what these taste like, but they taste like a candy bar. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, but here’s my story: I’m in the final weeks of pregnancy, and I read some studies about the benefits of eating dates for natural cervix dilation and even shortened labor lengths. Debatable sure, but there are a couple of studies out there that made me say, shoot, worth a try! This means eating 3 large medjool dates every day from 36weeks onward. I mean dates are delicious, but they get really old really fast when you eat them every single day! And with my glucose intolerance, I am tasked with eating these instead of other fruit in my diet, and pairing them with some protein/fat to help delay their sugary release into my bloodstream! So I’ve been eating them with a lot of peanut butter, almond butter, pecans walnuts, and pistachios. Lately, I’d say in the last week or so, my craving for chocolate and sweets in general has suddenly skyrocketed, and sticking to my diabetic diet is becoming increasingly difficult. So in my boredom with eating the same old, the fact that I’ve hopefully got only a week left to go, and in light of my intense chocolate cravings, I came up with a chocolatey modification of my typical nut butter/date snack.

Here’s all I did: Cut open several medjool dates and remove the pit. Fill this opening in the middle with peanut butter or almond butter (while both are good, I prefer the peanut butter ones by far!). Then I popped these into the freezer for about an hour. Next I put some 80% dark chocolate into the microwave, stirring about every 10 seconds until melted (for a total of about 40seconds but depends on the amount of chocolate and your microwave). Then I rolled the dates in the chocolate and returned them to the freezer to set. I recommend storing in the fridge to keep everything intact and from melting! These are delicious and decadent, and not diabetic friendly, but if we compare them to a Twix or snickers bar, these are packed full of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, no preservatives or fake foods, and way less refined sugars. So, I call this a win :). YUMMY.

Pumpkin PB Oat Cookies

Another healthy vegan treat! I’m focusing on nourishing foods for my body right now as I approach the end of pregnancy and make plans help my body recover and nourish another person! I know there are some other key ingredients to “lactation cookies” that some swear by, but instead of buying new stuff, I figure I start with foods I know for sure have health benefits, and improve lactation, like oats and flax! Also I used molasses for its iron boosting properties as I’m aware I will need plenty of iron in the postpartum period too! Plus it’s officially fall time, and time to bust out the pumpkin purée! SO I made these chewy pumpkin-y oatmeal cookies that are delicious and body nourishing!

You need:

-1/3 cup pumpkin purée

-1/2 cup peanut butter

-1 tbs flaxmeal+ 3tbs warm water

-1 tbs pumpkin pie spice

-1 pinch salt

-handful of cranberries

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1.5 cups quick oats

-1/3 cup molasses

Combine all ingredients an drop onto a cookie sheet with a spoon (batter is pretty sticky) and bake at 350 x 10-12 minutes until slight browning around the edges.

Then I drizzled some melted dark chocolate on top because.. why not :D. Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup

OK I did not take great photos of this, and it really doesn’t photograph well, but it tastes so good, so savory and comforting! And it is SO EASY.

Here I am on week 3 of maternity leave, and to be honest, I rushed all the preparations I wanted to make before baby into the first 2 weeks, due to an urgency I felt that this little boy would come about 2 weeks early! Reason being, both my husband and I were born 2.5 weeks before our due dates! However, we are almost at 39 weeks and little guy is still cozily tucked away, and I find myself with, gasp, free time! So I decided it is time to rebuild healthy habits, both for $$ saving while I’m off work for several months, and for that postnatal nutrition that will hopefully fuel effective breastfeeding! That being said, my energy levels are pretty low, and I know they will be even lower when I’m sleep deprived a few weeks from now, so the goal tonight was an easy recipe I can replicate when I’m exhausted but need hydrating nourishment! This one was pretty darn easy. I used my instant pot and a carton of veggie broth from the store. All you need:

-1 carton (4 cup) of broth of choice

-1.3 cups split peas (i had a mix of yellow and green)

-2 large bay leaves

-3 cups water

-2 large shallots, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 large stalk celery, sliced

-1 very large carrot, sliced

-salt 1/3 tsp

-pepper 1/3 tsp

-basil/oregano, dash each

-random garlic/herb seasoning, dash

-earth balance/butter/coconut oil for sauté

OK, so all I did was sauté the veggies in some earth balance on the sauté feature on the instant pot for a few minutes until shallots were becoming translucent. Then, I added my herbs/seasoning, carton of broth, water, and split peas. Then I closed the instant pot and put it on bean setting for 20 minutes and used slow release setting. THAT IS LITERALLY IT. And this was so savory and delicious and hydrating, and healthy! I served it with some cornbread I had bought earlier today off the salad bar at Whole Foods, and this meal was SO filling!

I will definitely remember this when I need an easy meal this winter! You could easily add so many other veggies, any type of potatoes, greens, and even some whole grains. Enjoy!