As a young twenty-something girl, my life would be near perfect if all my friends were just as enthusiastic about following a plant-based diet as I am. It would be easier when we went out to dinner and all wanted to go to the same healthy vegetarian restaurant, during potluck dinners and lunch dates. We could talk about nutrient-dense cooking and baking and our latest favorite healthy recipes with the same overflowing enthusiasm (these conversations are so enjoyable to me- I’m like a little girl talking about her favorite girl scout cookie). I am drawn to other people who share the same passion for health and wellness and its sidekick, healthy cooking. Yet, while I do have some friends I can share my passion for nutrition with, I certainly have many friends who are not as healthy-eating inclined. Therefore, I view the holiday season as the perfect opportunity to share the wealth of health with my currently not so health-inclined friends, a mission I nicknamed “operation undercover- convert friends with irresistible cooking”.
I prepare foods like cashew creamed kale, avocado banana brownies, and black bean pesto dip (all tasty, I promise!) in the hopes of luring my friends into wanting to learn more about my healthy eating lifestyle. It is a fun mission, that’s for sure. I’ve learned that preparing delicious foods gets conversation flowing and we talk about how taking care of our bodies doesn’t mean depriving oneself of delicious foods. On the contrary, I think I enjoy the tastiest foods! I tell my friends about why I used some of the ingredients I use, like flaxseeds in my pumpkin bread and black beans in my brownies. It’s an educational opportunity as well as an enjoyable one.
Therefore, instead of shopping for presents like clothing and jewelry during the holidays, I continue to prepare my friends healthy but delicious goodies throughout finals week. They are most grateful. I get more joy from feeding my friends healthy foods than I would from providing them with something store-bought. I feel that there is no better present than helping people improve their health. Healthy eating really can be contagious if we make an effort to show the people we care about that itis not difficult and can be mouth-wateringly enjoyable. The holidays are the perfect time to do this. We can provide a healthy and delicious nudge to get them headed in the right direction. Without further ado, I will share a recipe inspired by Emily Boller that works wonders on this mission:
Heavenly Holiday Fudge
1 can (15oz) of black beans
½ cup of dark cocoa powder
1 cup medjool dates pitted and chopped
3 apples chopped
1/4 c. water
2 t. vanilla
1-2 cups walnuts
Place all ingredients (except walnuts) in a vitamix or high power blender. Process until very smooth. Then stir in by hand walnuts (not finely chopped) and bake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for an hour until the top has a crust and the middle remains gooey. Transfer the batter into a rectangular plastic container and pack in tightly and put into the refrigerator overnight. Afterwards cut into 1 inch squares.
Store cut up fudge in-between layers of wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!
image credit: Emily Boller