Salted Caramel Infused with Chai Tea

Delicious caramel free of refined sugars, butter and health concerning ingredients? Ummm yes please! Creamy and sweet, with a hint of saltiness paired with the subtle chai tea flavors make this caramel sauce a winner in my sweet indulgences lately. Not only that, but it is (almost) raw, vegan and super quick to make!

I’ve had this caramel in some almond milk for a sweet drink, on top of homemade ice cream, with strawberries dipped in it, but mostly just out of the jar with a spoon.

This sauce was an accident. I had set out to make some chocolate creation. After putting the dates, mesquite and coconut oil in the blender, I realized that I was out of cacao powder (gasp!!!) How did I let that happen?? AND I was out of almond milk. I was sipping on some chai while I was making this, so I figured I would use that to get the blender going. After tasting it I quickly recovered form my chocolateless upset. It was delicious. Salt came to mind very quickly and in a matter of seconds the blender was going again to create this beautiful concoction that I have made a few times already.

While I am proud of my creation, I must admit, it’s hard to screw up when using such wholesome and delicious ingredients.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 10 soft Medjool Dates (approx 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp mesquite
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chai tea (more or less depending on the consistency you like)

Steps:

  • boil some water and pour over chai tea, let steep for 5 minutes and strain
  • add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until a nice and smooth texture is acheived
  • store in an airtight container int he fridge for at leaf a week (maybe more?)

Note: Depending on the ingredients and how things got mixed, the caramel may or may not harden while in the fridge. The first time I made it it got hard in the fridge but quickly soften when put in some warm water. The second time it kept it’s creamy texture but I needed to put it in some walt water to be able to pour it over ice cream. No matter the texture though, it will become liquid again when warm and it will always taste delicious 🙂

Food for Fuel

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photo source: Internet

Why do you eat? Why do you eat what you eat? Do you have a thought process before eating certain foods? Do you feel like your relationship with food could improve?

Food is essential for life. Without food or some form of it, we would not be able to live. Yet in these modern times, food is the cause of so much illness, poor health, sometimes even death. Why is that? Why is it that something that is designed to keep us alive, kills so many?

I think the reason why is because too many have lost contact with food’s primary purpose: FUEL. Then, nutrition.

Food is fuel for our bodies. Just like we need to put gas in our cars regularly, we need to put food in our bodies regularly. The highest quality gas will allow your car to run optimally. The right amount of radiator fluid and good oil, have the same purpose: to help your car to function properly. Too much or too little of these things will make it that your car will either overflow and not know what to do with all the extra liquid, or won’t be able to get you to where you want to go because of insufficient energy. While our bodies are much more amazing and intricate and complicated than a car, the basics are very similar. We need the proper kind of fuel to move optimally. The wrong kind of gas will break your car just like the wrong foods can create illness and poor health. Treat your body as you would your car, fill the tank with the right kind of fuel when it is empty, stop filling when it is full, give it the right kind of oil and at the right time.

Isn’t that great news? I think it is, because it really is THAT simple.

Too many people have lost touch with the simplicity of feeding one’s body and that is where eating disorders, obesity, poor health, etc…. arises. I don’t believe many foods to be truly evil. As a matter of fact, other than being a strict vegetarian, there is nothing I absolutely won’t eat. (Don’t quote me on this I might change my mind later). What I do believe in though, is eating the right foods at the right time. How do you do that? Well just think about what you are trying to accomplish. If all you are interested in is the pleasure of awakening your senses with delicious foods, then by all means, go for it, because, let’s not be hypocrites here, eating food for pleasure can be quite delightful. (Have you seen some of the recipes on my blog??) Even then though, I would suggest to be mindful about this. Do you eat for pleasure every time you eat? If that’s the case, I would suggest you make sure that what you find pleasurable also has a double purpose of properly fueling your body with nutritious ingredients. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time to revisit your relationship with food. If you are interested in being healthy and having your body work properly, then I suggest you start thinking about your meals and what you are going to be eating according to what your activities following that meal are. Are you going to be exercising? Are you going to be sitting at your desk for several hours? Are you going out dancing? Are you going to the park to play with your kids? Are you sitting on the couch watching a movie? Depending on what you will be doing, your body will require different forms of fuel. The foods I choose before an afternoon at the park running around, often are different than the foods I choose once the kids are in bed and I am reading a book or watching a movie. With this mindset I rarely feel deprived. If I MUST have a cupcake or ice cream or pizza or croissant, or which ever other foods that are not optimal for my body’s wellbeing, then at least I can make sure to eat those things at a time where my body can use those foods as energy instead of storing them as fat.

Subsequently, choosing the proper nutrition for your fuel will have an even greater positive impact on your health. I mentioned pizza, cupcake and such, and while I believe it is fine to let myself eat those things at times, it is rarely what I will choose to FUEL or FEED my body with when I have health in mind. Using the proper fuel will ensure optimal body function. While eating pizza at lunch when I will be going for a run later is much better than pizza at dinner when I will just be sitting and watching a movie, no pizza is best. So do not let yourself get trapped in the “FUEL” mindset, meaning you are using the fact that you will be using what you just ate as fuel for exercise as a reason to feed your body junk regularly. Combining proper fuel with proper nutrition is where it’s at if you are looking for optimal health. While a cookie might be lower in calories than some dried fruit and nuts, the benefits you will get from the latter outweigh the benefits you would be getting from a cookie. Wether you are burning off the calories or not.

I believe that the quality of your calories are far more important than the quantity of those calories, I will also argue that at which time you choose to consume those calories are almost equally as important than the calories you are choosing to consume.

It might take some practice at first but eventually this will be second nature. Reaching for a cookie at bedtime, or going to the gym on an empty stomach won’t make any sense to you. Having a big carb loaded lunch will sound awful if you know you are returning to the office to sit at your desk for several hours. By thinking of food this way you are bringing back your intuition to what feels best. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To feel good? And I can guarantee you that the momentary “good” feeling you get from eating a “treat” is nothing compared the long lasting bliss that comes with eating a clean, nutrient rich diet.

So next time you reach for something to eat, ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish for my body with this food?”