Do you ever notice how we circle around our lessons, over and over again? Because you keep going around, it might feel like one big circle–here we are AGAIN. And even though we can’t always see it, it’s really more of a spiral: each time around, we get a little closer to the centre, until one day, we just get it. We’re done. We don’t need to go around again. It’s like being stuck in a maze, only to discover the door marked EXIT that was there all along.
Suddenly our time, our energy, our resources just seem better spent elsewhere. We don’t have to go the hard route, the drama-filled road, the uphill path that we’ve tread so many times in the pass. We get to make a choice. It’s weird the way it happens too. It’s like we skip the thought process around it. We simply decide we are not going “there” and we move on. That’s when we know we’re done. Or at least done on our good days….and on those days where we might play with some old patterns and slip into old ways of being, we can be kind and gentle with ourselves as we do.
So if you haven’t experienced that click, where all your learning suddenly comes together and you say “aha!” and you move on, just wait. It’s coming. So long as we do our work, are willing to be authentic and honest with ourselves, it is just a matter of time. The big pay-off happens, and when it does, all that time and money spent in therapy will feel like the best investment you’ve ever made!
So I’m slowly (and selectively) venturing back into the world of sweet. And one of the ways I’m doing this is via dates. I had one or two really off-putting experiences with stevia (LESS IS NOT MORE!) but realized a trick about using stevia – it goes a long way when combining it with a natural sugar. So the plus is that you can get away with adding less sugar in your recipe and still come out on top! And by natural sugar, I don’t mean refined white bad ass sugar. I mean anything from the natural category (maple syrup, sucanat, coconut sugar, agave, honey). For me, these options still aren’t on the hit list. Instead, I’m getting my natural sugar from two sources: fruit (i.e., applesauce) and dates. Just adding one or a combination of these ingredients with a bit of stevia hits all the “sweet spots” – and I know according to some, dates are “pure sugar” – that may be true – but they are pure sugar combined with fibre, AND a host of other nutrients. Soooooo this leads me to the recipe – Cardamom Caramel Popcorn Squares! This recipe was inspired by this recipe in ALIVE magazine. And, surprise: My version uses dates!
Cardamom Caramel Popcorn Squares
½ cup oats or brown rice crisps (I like both variations)
4 cups popcorn
½ cup almonds
8 mejdool dates
1/3 cup almond butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup date water
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
In a small bowl, soak your pitted dates in boiling water (just enough to cover) and let sit for five minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add the cardamom, salt, almond butter, coconut oil and date water. Process until it forms a smooth, thick, caramelly sauce. In a large bowl, mix together pop corn, almonds, and crispies/oats. Add date sauce and stir to coat. Press into an 8 x 11 parchment lined pan, and place in the freezer to set. Take it easy on these puppies – they will call your name from across the room, trust me…