I’m so excited to share this with you – Hallie from Daily Bites is kicking off a mini-series where some of my favorite gluten-free bloggers you might not have met yet will be guest posting here.
I could eat at Hallie’s house every day of the week, three times a day. And be happy. Read on, I’m sure you’ll understand why.
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Carrot Cake Bites -a guest post from Hallie at Daily Bites
When people ask me what I eat–being gluten-free and all–I’ve learned that it’s far more optimistic and less overwhelming to start off by telling them all the wonderful foods I can eat instead of what I cannot. I eat as much quinoa, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, or amaranth as I want, I tell them. I gobble down nuts and seeds like a squirrel, snack on dried fruit by the handfuls, and enjoy lean proteins like fish, eggs, chicken, beans, and legumes. But the mainstays of my diet–the skeleton, if you will, upon which everything else hangs–are fruits and vegetables. And this is the point I want to talk about today.
If you’re cutting out anything from your diet–be that gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, eggs, meat, or something else–I urge you to remember this: throughout the food-removal process, always be sure that you’re getting in enough fruits and vegetables. What do I mean by enough? Aim for five or more servings of vegetables per day and two or more of fruit.
Throughout my studies in nutrition education and my experience teaching cooking classes to people with food allergies, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve encountered folks who just don’t eat fresh produce! Although many people follow a gluten-free diet, too often they replace the gluten-containing products (like bread, pasta, sweets, and baking mixes) with the exact same products labeled “gluten-free.” These products, while indeed free of gluten, are often laden with refined flour, sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. Meat-free dieters face the same conundrum. I’ve met lots of vegetarians and vegans who refuse to eat meat but instead load up on processed frozen veggie burgers that–sadly–contain very few vegetables at all.
So no matter what you cannot eat, I challenge you to replace those foods with more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of the [you fill in the blank]-free substitutes. Not many people are allergic to dark leafy greens, root vegetables, carrots, celery, fresh berries, apples, or broccoli! Load up your plate with colorful, vibrant foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. With great recipes featuring fresh produce available out there from blogs like this one (thanks, Amy!) and many others, the ways to prepare fruits and vegetables are nearly endless.
To help send you on your merry way to eating a colorful diet or to boost your efforts if you’re already headed in that direction, below is a recipe for what I call Carrot Cake Bites. These are delicious little treats made without all of the “great whites”: refined white flour, sugar, syrups, or starches lacking in vitamins and minerals. Even though you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert as you munch on these guys, there’s actually a little dried fruit and vegetable goodness in every bite!
Serves: 12 - 15 balls
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about ¾ cup)
- ½ cup raw walnuts
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ¾ cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 5-6 large dates)
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Zest of one orange, optional
- Sesame seeds or unsweetened shredded coconut, for rolling
- In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, process carrots until finely ground. Remove and set aside.
- Process the walnuts and cashews in the food processor (no need to clean it out) until finely ground. Add the dates and process until finely chopped and incorporated into the nuts. Add the reserved carrots, ginger, cinnamon, and orange zest (if using) and process until dough forms.
- Shape the mixture into 12-15 small balls. Roll in sesame seeds or shredded coconut to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve, or up to five days.
Thanks, Hallie, for sharing your wisdom and a delicious, nutritious recipe!