This fudge is RAWsome

I have a tendency to go through food phases. I’ve managed to stick with the vegetarian thing for almost six years, so I suppose that no longer counts as a “phase,” but I’ve periodically flirted with various lifestyle trends and stuck to few to none of them. There’s been my rocky relationship with veganism, macro affair, superfood obsession, coconut-oil-in-everything fling, and my most favorite, the raw phase.

Most of my romances with different diets start with reading something that compels me to “change.” So, it was inevitable that after ┬áreading Brandon Brazier’s book The Thrive Diet┬áin the spring of 2010, I fell head-over-heels with eating raw. And when I fall, I fall hard. I went from eating a pretty standard vegetarian diet on a Thursday, to eating a completely raw diet on the Friday and for the next six weeks.

The first week was rough. I skipped the chapter on adapting to the diet (turns out that is super important) and went through a pretty uncomfortable detox. Starting from the second week, though, I ate raw almost exclusively. And I felt awesome. Seriously. I had real energy, not caffeine induced pseudo-energy. I lost fat, had clearer skin, and felt “lighter.”

Unfortunately, my relationship with eating raw began during a semester that quickly got hectic, as most semesters do. I started lapsing, became negligent and inattentive. The usual stuff that leads to break-ups. After six weeks, my affair ended. I went back to my triple-shot lattes and pre-heating my oven.

Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing on that spring of 2010. I remember the smoothies that usually served as my breakfast. The almond-flaxseed burgers with sundried tomato sauce. The sensation of falling asleep at night without the rock in my stomach caused by pizza or hoagie sandwiches…

Ergo, I’m returning to the raw diet and begging for another chance. Next week, during my Spring Break, I’m reigniting my relationship with raw foods with the help of my sister, who is also intrigued, interested, and has self-discipline to spare. As a token of renewed affection, I’m making fudge. Chocolatey raw fudge. (See Recipes We Love section for fudge recipe)

~V

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Christmas Candied Presents

This year, my husband and I took one look at our budgetary bottom line and sadly shook our heads at each other.

“It’s going to be another bleak Christmas this year,” I said apologetically. With only one full-time paycheck coming in paired with paltry adjunct pay, our holidays looked not so merry and bright at the outset.

But then I graduated. And, as it turns out, when you take six years to get that damned degree already, people are sometimes eager to shower you with money. At least, in my case, I felt showered. (Particularly when the $20 check came from my mom’s long-distance cousins who have been living on an extremely fixed income for most of my adult life. I wanted to burst into tears when I deposited that check, knowing full well what it meant for them to give it up.) Because of the generosity of so many at my graduation, we were able to do some Christmas shopping.

In an effort to save money, we decided to make Christmas treats this year. Turns out that we probably would have spent about the same amount on small gifts for our family members, but, eh, at least this comes from the heart.

For weeks I flipped through Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, and Southern Living. I dog-eared pages upon pages of potential candy candidates, unsure of my culinary prowess, wary of terms like “hard crack” and “candy thermometer.” And then one day, while lazily flipping through the channels after a particularly grueling round of grading final exams (and dealing with the immediate fallout of student panic), I saw Trisha Yearwood not crooning but cooking! I was surprised, confused, but also curious enough to stick it out.

“Today we’re making food as gifts!” Trisha chirped while simultaneously drawling.

Why, I thought, that’s exactly what I want to do, Trisha!

In thirty minutes, Trisha Yearwood taught me how to make and package peanut brittle, chocolate candies from a crock-pot, and raisin bread in a can. I copied down her speedy instructions as quickly as I could (forgetting for a moment that there is such a thing as the Internet that preserves these sorts of things…you know…permanently). And then I was settled.

“We shall make peanut brittle, crock-pot chocolate, and raisin bread in a can!” I announced to a man who really just wanted to change the channel to something less cooking and more sporting.

I have not baked the raisin bread in a can yet because I am a bit unsure about letting it sit for a few days before I can give it to my family. I have made the crock-pot chocolate candy and the peanut brittle, which I have uploaded in the Recipes We Love section of the blog. So, please, try out these recipes. They are about as simple as they could be (without, you know, buying the candy pre-made), and believe me…if I can manage to make these taste good, then you can with great ease.

Enjoy!
~A.Hab.