Super-Fancy Healthy Desserts

Super Fruit Tart
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried apricots, unsulfured
1/2 cup Goji berries
4 tablespoons Gac Juice or a natural fruit blend juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Tart Shell
1/2 cup walnuts, ground
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, ground
1/2 cup pecans, ground
1/2 cup oatmeal, ground
8 dates, pitted or 4 date/coconut rolls
3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

Fresh Fruit & Coconut Topping
1 cup organic strawberries, sliced in half
1 cup blueberries
2 cups kiwi fruit, sliced
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
Simmer the water, apricots, and Goji berries on low heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the apricots are plump and tender, stirring regularly to keep from sticking.
Place water, apricots, Goji berries and juices in a blender and blend until smooth and pudding like.

Tart Shell
Make the nut crust by kneading the ground nuts and oatmeal with the dates and coconut and pressing them into the bottom of a glass or ceramic pie or tart pan.

Spread filling evenly over crust and chill. Attractively arrange sliced fruit on top of chilled filling and sprinkle with coconut. You can also make this in individual tart pans. Feel free to use any fresh berries or sliced fruit. For the tart shell: if using the date/coconut rolls you can eliminate the shredded coconut. Serves 8.

Tropical Rice Pudding Parfaits
1 cup short grain brown rice (preferably brown sweet rice*)
2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened soy milk, divided
1/2 cup canned unsweetened light coconut milk*
1 cup date sugar*
4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted, reserving 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit Layer
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, drained
2 cups chopped fresh organic strawberries
1 tablespoon date sugar
Cook rice in water according to package directions. Bring 1 cup soy milk, coconut milk, and 1 cup date sugar to boil in medium saucepan and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk arrowroot powder into remaining soy milk and add to boiling mixture. Simmer and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat. Toast coconut over medium heat until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Fold in cooked rice, coconut, and vanilla. Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. Mix chopped pineapple and strawberries with 1 tablespoon date sugar.

Spoon a layer of rice pudding into each of 6 clear parfait glasses. Top each with a layer of the fruit mixture. Repeat layers with remaining pudding and fruit mixture. Sprinkle reserved lightly toasted coconut on top. Serves 6

Thursday: Heart Points

The researchers measured blood levels of a protein called C3, a marker for the inflammation that is a risk factor for cardiovascular illnesses. After controlling for other variables, the scientists found that those in the highest one-quarter in hostility, anger and depression showed a steady and significant increase in C3 levels, while those in the lowest one-quarter had no increase.
A new generation of faster, wilder roller coasters can make the heart race up to 155 beats a minute and spur dangerous changes to heart rhythm in some people, according to a study released today.
Experts have long suspected a link between the blood vessels in the neck and back and a person's blood pressure and heart rate, and now they've found the proof. Due to a newly discovered neurological pathway it's now known that slouching at your desk, or neglecting to stand up straight, can end up raising your blood pressure and putting your health at risk.
For example, 8.5 percent of people with diabetes who have severe heart attacks die within 30 days, compared to 5.4 percent of those who do not have diabetes. After compensating for factors such as age -- older people are more likely to have diabetes -- that translates to an 80 percent increased risk of death within one month, according to the researchers.
All healthy adults aged 18 to 65 need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days each week, or 20 minutes of intense aerobic activity at least three days a week, the AHA and the ACSM said.
Want to drip sweat and amp up your level of fitness? Try lunging on the treadmill. It's tricky and tough. In fact, you should have good cardiovascular endurance, balance, strength and flexibility.

Veggies + Fruits

Acorn Squash w/ Apples and Pecans
1 acorn squash
1 medium apple, chopped
1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/4 cup raisins or currants
cinnamon, to taste
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place face down in a baking pan. Add 1/8 inch of water. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix apples, pecans and raisins together in a small bowl. Take squash out of oven and place apple mixture in hollowed out bowl of squash. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover loosely with foil and bake another 30 minutes, or until squash and apples are soft. Serves 4.

Green Beans Almondine
1 pound green beans, washed with tips removed
1 teaspoon almond oil
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
Steam green beans until crisp tender. Meanwhile, toast slivered almonds for two minutes in a 200 degree oven or on the lightest setting in a toaster oven. When green beans are done toss with almond oil, almond meal, and garlic powder. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serves 4.

Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Walnuts
2 pounds asparagus
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated organic orange zest
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons V-8® vegetable juice, low sodium
1/2 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest
2 teaspoons date sugar
1/4 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/2 orange, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped
Break off woody ends from asparagus. Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, over low heat, whisk together remaining ingredients, except orange and nuts, until slightly thickened. Drain asparagus well in a colander. Transfer hot asparagus to plates. Spoon orange sauce over top and sprinkle with nuts. Serves 4.

Fruity Desserts

Fruit and Berry Compote
2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
1 cup fresh organic strawberries, halved
1 cup frozen cherries (pitted), thawed
1 cup dried fruit of choice, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 pear, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Combine all ingredients except coconut. Chill for a couple of hours or allow to sit overnight in refrigerator. If desired, sprinkle with coconut for garnish. Serves 4.

Strawberry Freeze
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
dash vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (optional)
Ahead of time, peel and freeze ripe bananas in a plastic bag or kitchenware. This is a good way to make sure no bananas go to waste—just freeze the ones that start to get too ripe. Serves 2.

3/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups raw cashew pieces
1 banana
1 orange, peeled
Place water and cashews in blender and blend until very-very smooth. Add a little more water if needed to assist in blending. Then add banana and orange and blend until all is smooth. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze. Serves 8.