Sometimes life can bring you unexpected surprises like today’s recipe for Cashew Cream Stuffed Strawberries. It beats finding out at Tuesday at 9 pm that you have to bring treats for your daughter’s class the next morning. Or taking a swig of water from the glass on the table and finding out it was the syrup for the hummingbird feeder. Yuck! Or asking the woman next to you at the checkout when she’s due and learning that she’s not actually pregnant. Those are unexpected surprises too. I don’t know about you, but I prefer strawberries.
I started listening to a new podcast this week. It’s Alec Baldwin’s, Here’s the Thing.
I know what you’re thinking. Can’t these famous stars stick to one thing? Why do they have to write books, record albums, or start podcasts too? Can’t they leave a little room for others to make their name?
I’m right there with you. But my hubby said it was a really good podcast and encouraged me to give it a try. And I did. And he was right. (Ugh, don’t you hate it when that happens?)
One of the first episodes I listened to was Alec’s interview with Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco. Just in case you’re fuzzy about what an endocrinologist is, it’s a doctor that specializes in the branch of medicine dealing with the endocrine system. Endocrine systems involve hormones, specifically the secretion of hormones that impact things like metabolism. One of the flagship diseases dealt with by endocrinologists is diabetes.
Do you see where this is headed?
Dr. Lustig spoke with Alec for nearly an hour and the crux of their discussion focused on sugar. Oh sugar. It’s been a lifelong requited passion for me.
If you watch shows like 30 Rock, or the news, or if you don’t live in a cave in Alabama, you might have noticed that Alec Baldwin has lost some weight recently. He credits a lot of that weight loss to reducing sugar in his diet. He also appears to be mostly vegan. Very cool!
It got me to thinking. (That’s always a dangerous thing, by the way).
What sweet things could I have in my life that doesn’t include that white, refined stuff?
It would need to be something I really liked, because I know myself. I hit that mid-afternoon period and I’m going to be needing some kind of sweet fix. It’s gonna happen. I might as well be ready for it.
And that’s when I thought of my favorite cashew cream. Vegan. Raw. Lightly sweetened with Agave Nectar. It’s hard to go wrong with that. Especially after combining it with another of my favorites, strawberries.
I simply cut off the end of some strawberries, which left behind a little cave. You know what they say about Nature? She hates empty spaces…they need to be filled.
I can’t imagine I’d ever completely remove sugar from my life. I can’t even imagine what that would look like. For example, at family dinners my mom loves to make vegan, gluten-free desserts for me. Usually that amounts to peanut butter bars or a type of Texas sheet cake. She really enjoys doing that. It makes her happy. And I, for one, plan to continue making her happy. It’s the kind of daughter I am.
But I can find ways to reduce sugar in my life without completely giving it up. Finding natural, healthy sweets like this one is one of my favorites day-to-day treats!
So there we have it, sweets for the not-so-sweet. That doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean.
- Wash your strawberries, cut off the stems and create a little divot in the middle to allow room for the cashew cream. Set aside. You can prepare only one carton of strawberries if you like. It means you'll have some cashew cream leftover, but there's plenty of things to do with that. For example, spread it on a cracker, or use it as a dip for a banana and apple slices. Add some chocolate syrup and serve it like a pudding. Plop a dollop of it on top of a cup of hot soup.
- Drain any excess water from the cashews and rinse them before placing in the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup of the water, the agave nectar, and lime juice and pulse for several seconds. Use a spatula to push down any cashew pieces that might have tried to escape and pulse again. Repeat that process several times until the mixture begins to get a little homogenized. At this point you might want to add a little more water. Do so by adding 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. Once you're there, pulse the cashew cream for up to a minute in the food processor. You want that cream to be silky smooth!
- Use your spatula to spoon the cashew cream into the strawberries, one at a time. This doesn't take too long. Just be careful not to be like Lucille Ball and eat more than you're serving. It's easier to do than you think!
- Mince the almonds and combine with the flax seed to prepare a crusty topping to sprinkle over the top of the stuffed strawberries. If you'd like something different, feel free to use some melted dark chocolate. Wouldn't that be nice!