Chocolate Pots de Creme
I grew up in one of those neighborhoods that now must seem alien to many. We had a lot of kids in the neighborhood, quite a few my own age and we all pretty much ran free with little or no oversight. In the summertime, for instance, it was not strange to leave home after breakfast only to return in time for dinner without ever checking in during the day. Sure, you might run home for lunch but given all the kids and all the houses, it was easy to snag lunch somewhere.
As for dinner, our family ate late. Dinner was never earlier than 7:30 PM and was often later, given my dad worked long hours. Also, no matter what time Dad came home, he and Mom had a cocktail before dinner. This was one of two special times Mom and Dad took each day to be alone and enjoy one another. It was their time to connect, something I’ve always appreciated about them as a couple. (The other time was having coffee together early in the morning.) Personally, I didn’t mind a late dinner. A food fanatic even then, I realized the benefit of eating late. I could snag an invite to dinner at a friend’s house at a more regular hour, then head on home for dinner #2.
Sometimes life is good.
Around the time I was 10, a new family moved to the neighborhood, The Tuckers. There were two children, Marcus and Robin. (Robin was great, too! But, you know, we were ten, she was a few years younger, and a girl.) Marcus was my age and a great guy. He immediately was a big part of the gang running around the neighborhood. We all learned quickly that the Tuckers ate dinner at 6 PM religiously every night. Unlike some of us, in the Tucker household it was a rule that the family sat down together every night, no matter what. Even if we kids were in the middle of, say, a very important game of baseball or hide and seek, Marcus would run home exactly at 6, eat dinner, then soon after run back out to continue to play in the twilight of the evening.
I snagged a lot of 6 PM meals at the Tuckers. Marcus’ mom was a wonderful woman with a beautiful smile and an incredibly infectious laugh. She was also a terrific cook. While I had many a great dinner at their house, the first one remains vivid in my memory for a very specific reason.
I practice and teach yoga, which is not as weird as it sounds…unless you are as I was before I took a yoga class. Back then I had the idea that yoga was people in a room kind of stretching but mostly burning incense, chanting and smoking the devil’s lettuce. While there might actually be some yoga classes out there where this occurs, for the most part yoga is a brutal, kick-ass workout that puts even the most ‘manly of men’ on the floor begging for a break. It’s particularly true of the yoga I practice and teach, Bikram Yoga, which is yoga practiced in a room heated to a minimum 105 degrees.
The point of this is that practicing and teaching yoga over the last eight years has led me to explore some healthy lifestyle choices I previously would have ignored or dismissed, given I was raised in a family with many doctors. I’ve done quite a shift from West to East in terms of medicine and health. I’ve tried chiropracty (awesome) and acupuncture (effective but for me it was a little intense.) I’ve also explored a variety of approaches to food from various cleanses (I love The Master Cleanse, I also enjoy juice cleanses) to Vegan and Raw foods. I once even ‘went raw’ for about 3 months, which means all I ate was raw food. I really enjoyed it, though to eat raw full time is a much bigger time commitment than one might think. I initially thought it would be easy: no cooking! But to eat quality raw food full time takes quite a bit of planning and preparation. You certainly feel healthy, alive and full of energy eating only raw, though.
I don’t eat raw full time now… clearly. But I still love raw food. For those who are thinking a raw diet sounds weird, here are some examples of raw food: Guacamole. Pico De Gallo. Most green salads. Tapenade. Many cheeses. Sushi. Crudite. Fruit salad. Many smoothies. Pesto (sans the cheese, or with raw cheese). Gazpacho. Bruschetta (no bread, I just eat it with a spoon, terrific.) These are just a few of the regular foods most of us eat that are raw. And wonderful. Guacamole!!!!! oh my. Don’t discount raw.
Today, then, I want to give you two of my favorite raw recipes. Both are easy. The second one takes a little prep but once you’ve done the prep, it is very easy the rest of the week…or as long as the ingredients last, which may not be very long! Both also are insanely good. So good, in fact, that friends and I have termed them ‘crack’ because they are so addicting. While I mostly eat either of these in the morning for breakfast, when I am not, you know, scarfing down eggs, they both can be eaten anytime of the day. As a meal. As a snack. As a pre-egg appetizer! And both work wonderfully as healthy dessert. Give them a try and let me know what you think. And let us know if you have raw foods you enjoy eating already.
RAW FRUIT AND NUT PARFAIT
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