Pies, cakes, and cookies make for tasty treats, but they are not what I turn to for a daily sweet craving. I save those indulgences for night's out, vacations, and holidays. Second to dark chocolate squares, ending a meal at home with a bowl of simply prepared fresh (or dried) fruit is my favorite kind of dessert. It satisfies a sweet craving without making my stomach ache, and - let's face it - fruit as dessert is a much healthier option.
Of course, there is a time and a place for sweet goodies, but I am trying to create sweet options for my family that leave them feeling energized instead of ready to take a nap. I thought I would present a few of the winter "fruit as dessert" options we have been enjoying this season. Look for more to come in the upcoming seasons as we continue to get creative and satisfy our sweet cravings with real, healthy, and whole foods!
With Zest & Zeal,
Chilled Oranges with Cinnamon & Coconut
This combination has been one of my favorite simple dessert options for a while now. The citrus combined with cinnamon and coconut is just so satisfying - particularly after a spicy meal (which we have a lot of around our house)! This is my favorite go-to treat after a Mexican or spicy Asian dish. Simply peal and slice an orange. Chill. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and unsweetened shredded coconut before serving. It seems like oranges (not to be confused with orange juice) are often ignored when it comes to thinking of superfoods. We all know they are full of vitamins and prevent common winter ailments such as cold and flu, but did you also know they help digestion, your liver, heart, skin and vision? They've got it all!
Pear with Coconut Cardamom Cream and Almonds
Pears are plentiful in the cooler months and their sweet but subtle sweetness makes for a pleasant ending to your meal. To make the coconut cream, chill a can of coconut milk overnight, scoop out the coconut fat (leave the liquid behind), and whip like whipped cream. Stir in a desired amount of ground cardamom and a bit of vanilla. Slice a pear, top with the fresh cream, and sprinkle with slivered almonds. This recipe is delicious and warming with slow-cooked pear (and apples) as well! Consuming pears is particularly beneficial for women. They contain boron which helps your body retain calcium, thus preventing osteoporosis. Also, pears are wonderful during pregnancy as they have a high folate content. Instead of always reaching for an apple, mix things up by adding pears to your winter fruit routine!
Pomegranate with Cacao Nibs
This final dessert option works as a light ending to dinner or as an afternoon pick-me-up. Pomegranates have been the superfood darling of the fruit world for a while now, as they are FULL of powerful antioxidants which prevent cancer, give your immune system a major boost, and help with heart and blood pressure health. So basically, all the major causes of death. On a lighter note, :) eating one pomegranate gives you 50% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C! De-seed a pomegranate and sprinkle with cacao nibs or grated dark chocolate. Grab a spoon and dig in! Chocolate plus juicy, tangy fruit = heaven.
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