Sweet Freedom with Ricki Heller

I have surpassed two weeks sans sugar. I guess when the student is ready the teacher appears. Affairs of Living blogger Kim introduced me to blog created by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN titled Diet, Dessert and Dogs that’s all about Anti-Candida living, healthy recipes, plus commentary from her dogs. Ricki describes herself as an educator, writer, cookbook author, natural nutritionist and lover of all things canine. She is a college teacher who works as a part-time cooking class instructor/chef and a part-time freelance writer. She also holds a PhD in Modern American Literature.

Her witty blog is home to truly yummy recipes that are always vegan, sugar free and gluten free. She states, “I envisioned this blog as a place to chronicle my (many) attempts to lose weight, rant about diets and dieting, gain control of my sweets addiction and learn to eat like a “normal” person.” Yep, she’s one of us.

Her book Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love Without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar has more than 100 original recipes for amazing sweet treats made with whole, natural ingredients-nothing artificial, and without additives, chemicals, or artificial colorings. She has also written an E-book titled Anti-Candida Feast.
Here’s her recipe for Crimson Mousse made with beets and those “superfood” chia seeds everyone is talking about.
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Crimson Mousse
Boiling the beets helps to remove any trace of earthy flavor here; what remains is a vague sweetness and stunning hue. I’ve tried baking the beets instead, and while the color becomes even more intense in that case, so does the “beety” flavor; I wouldn’t advise it.

1 medium beet, peeled, diced and boiled until very soft (at least 30 minutes)
1/3 cup (55 g) raw cashews
1 cup (240 ml) full fat coconut milk
2 TBS (30 ml) whole chia seeds, measured first and then ground in a coffee grinder to a fine powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) pure almond extract
1/4 tsp (1 ml) coconut extract (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
15-25 drops stevia liquid, to taste (will depend on the brand)**
1 TBS (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch fine sea salt
Once the beets are soft, drain them well (you can reserve the liquid for soup or other uses.) Place the drained beets and remaining ingredients in a high speed blender* and blend until perfectly smooth, pushing the mousse down into the blades occasionally as necessary. Turn the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight (refrigerating allows the cashews to absorb some of the liquid and the mousse to thicken). Spoon or pipe into serving dishes and top with coconut whipped cream if desired. Makes 4 small or 3 large servings.
*I used a VitaMix, but I’m sure this would work in a regular blender, too, if you have patience. In a conventional blender, I’d do it this way: pour coconut milk and all other ingredients except beets and chia into the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add beets and blend again until perfectly smooth; then add the chia and blend to combine. You may need to blend in smaller batches this way, and then stir the contents together in a bowl before refrigerating.
**You can use agave or maple syrup if you prefer, but make these changes: use 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup, remove about 2 TBS (30 ml) of the coconut milk and increase cashews to 1/3 cup plus 2 TBS (70 g) before blending.

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  • Thanks so much for such a great review! And congratulations on 2 weeks without sugar! :D

  • You are very welcome and thanks for the support. I'm trying out your Spiced Pumpkin Millet pudding later this week. I'm looking forward to it!

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