I don’t know about you, but I felt pretty sluggish and full of gunk after Thanksgiving.  I generally feel that way through Christmas and New Years Day, but this season I’m adding as many delicious and healthy recipes as possible to our traditions and quietly releasing some of the nutritionally-void selections.

Problem is, I don’t want to give up tasty things if I’m trying to avoid putting fat, sugar and other empty calories down my family’s throats.   Who wants to eat things that taste like sawdust at the Holidays? I find it excruciatingly hard to give up the Christmas cookies, candies, and anything that sounds like Holiday Pfefferneussenfluffle.

Best fudge everProblem solved. Here is a fudge recipe that is so scrumptious, you’d never know it is healthy, through and through.  Yeah, it’s pretty rich, so you don’t need much. But every mouthful is packed with nutrients. You can even take it along in place of an energy bar.

Why am I saying this sweet treat is so healthy? The cacao powder is chocolate in its purest form.  It’s loaded with antioxidants and disease-fighting flavenoids. In fact, some research is indicating that it may have more flavenoids than any other food.  Chocolate, the good kind, not the kind laced with fillers, wax and sugar, releases calming endorphins that can lower anxiety levels. Magnesium, which it also has in high quantities, can lift our moods and cut down on our water retention.  What’s not to love?

Dates, also used in this recipe, are high in sugar, true, but wouldn’t you rather have a healthy source of your fudgy sweet treat than white, empty-calorie-and-metabolism-crashing sugar? Dates are loaded with fiber, vitamins including niacin and thiamine, and minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Our gustatory friend and fruit of the palm tree is also a source of antioxidants.

Other ingredients include tahini, hemp seeds and lemon juice.  Tahini is simply ground sesame seeds. It ends up looking like peanut butter, and its chock full of omega 3’s and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B1, iron, manganese and other goodies. Hemp seeds are a fantastic food.  They have become known as a wonderful, high-quality source of complete protein, since they have ten essential amino acids and a cellular structure that makes them easy to digest. Hemp has gotten a bad rap as cannabis, but the seeds don’t have the drug-induced effect and don’t skew drug tests like poppy seeds do.

Lemon juice has long been known as an antioxidant and has a long list of health benefits including vitamin C, flavenoids for flu and cold fighting, and as a liver and bowel cleanser. It tastes acidic but becomes alkaline in the body, further promoting health and balancing the body’s pH in a normally acidic western diet.

So, with all these goodies, are you ready for a delicious break from the usual holiday fare?  Here ‘tis:

Best fudge ever 1Chocolate Fudge

½ cup cacao powder

1 cup date paste (buy pitted dates and throw them in a food processor)

2 tablespoons tahini

¼ cup hemp seeds

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

After making the date paste, add the cacao powder, tahini, salt and lemon juice, then the hemp seeds.  Process until  thoroughly mixed and starting to form a ball.  Take spoonfuls and place in small covered cups for later enjoyment. The fudge will be gooey, but so much the better for full flavor and rich nutrition! You can place in the fridge to firm. I put the fudge in cups for easy transport in lunches and purses. Scoop out with a spoon. How about this for lunch? Well, at least part of your lunch. Nutrient-dense deliciousness!

This is based on a chocolate kale recipe from The Raw Chef, a great source of raw foods. If you want to take the next step, take a bunch of kale, wash and pat dry, tear leaves from the stalks, work the chocolate goo onto the leaves with your sticky fingers, place on non-stick sheets and dehydrate for 12 hours. Then you need to place on a mesh sheet and dehydrate for four more hours.  Do you see why I can’t wait for the chocolaty goodness? I sometimes go for the fudgy stuff and forget the kale altogether, even though it would add a rich layer of nutrition without a doubt.

I question that tahini is considered a true raw food, since the sesame seeds are roasted, but I’m not complaining, since they are delicious and the rest of the ingredients are pure as the driven snow. Hope you love this as much as I do, with or without kale!

Don’t have this just for the Holidays. It’s a year-‘round treat.  Hope you love it as much as my family does.

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