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Raw Vegan Caramels and Nut Butter Filled Caramel Bites, Saving & Changing the World Musings

Posted Feb 28 2010 4:27pm
How has your weekend been?  Mine has been good and I've been happy to spend time with Scott and Skylar and have been trying to recharge my batteries before I gear up for the week.  This weekend I tried to keep things in third gear, rather than my usual fifth gear, which was really nice!  This morning I went to yoga, and have been frittering around the kitchen making and creating things, and have had a constant flood of emails in my inbox from my Naturally Nutty Give AwayHoly moly you all want that Nut Butter like I want a new Louis Vuitton Trendy Yoga Clothes!  I love it that you guys are into it and I truly appreciate my friends in the 'sphere, my readers, and followers, and want to hook you up as much as I can with lots of give aways!  If you ever get sick of my give aways, please tell me!  I actually have another one lined up and it's not a food product I'll be giving away, but it's something really cool.  I'll leave it at that and it will be announced within the next week.

If you caught the massive Highlights & Recap Post , it was chock full of Good Stuff!  If any of these pics catch your eye from Vegan Coconut Banana Cookie Bites
to Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse
To Product & Foodie Finds
To Yesterday's Protein Cookie Dough a la April 
I made the Protein Cookie Dough using Raw Vegan Brown Rice Protein Powder and it Turned out Soooo Well!
And it was great to hear your comments about if you're an adventurous eater or cook or if you like to keep things more predictableAnd thanks for your feedback about what recipes you want to make that you've seen 'round the sphere!  I enjoy hearing what recipes catch your eye !

Click Here to Check it All Out.  Next week, I most definitely need to pare down my recap!  What can I say, brevity is not my forte!  I have alot to say, and if you met me in person you'd realize that I do not lack for words, coversation or things to talk about!  haha!

So today's New Recipe is so easy and authentic tasting that you have to try it!  I know I say that about many of my creations, but this one based on: the super short time investment, the low cost of the ingredients, and that they are easily available and accessible, and the sweet, authentic perfection of this (healthy!) raw vegan treat, you really need to try it!

Averie's Raw Vegan Caramels-Gluten/Soy/Nut Free, 5 Minutes & 3 Ingredients
1/2 c Pine Nuts (Raw if you prefer, or Roasted.  Pine Nuts are seeds and not actually nuts.)
1/2 c Medjool Dates (pitted & loosely packed)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Storage: In the freezer or fridge for a long time, i.e. Weeks/Months.  (They will "disappear" long before they go bad on you)

Instructions & Directions
Grind the Pine NutsI used a scant 1/2 c
Then, add the Pitted and Loosely Packed Medjools & Vanilla Extract to the Ground Pine Nuts.   For me, this was 8 thumb-sized medjoolsI wish I had used my food scale because I realize there is massive variance, but just aim for a loosely packed 1/2 c of dates. 
But Don't Over Grind.  The high oil content of the pine nuts can cause them to separate and get funky.  I was trying to be mindful of this and could have probably blended the nuts for an additional 15 seconds but I erred on the side of not over grinding and the taste is perfect despite some "chunky nuts" (twss!) slightly visible in the finished product.
Remove the Caramel "Dough" and Flatten it onto a Cutting Board.  
Tip: Use parchment paper or plastic wrap to save yourself some sticky dishes later.
For a Quantity/Size Frame of Reference, I put my Hand Next to the Caramel Dough.  We're not talking a huge amount here.  As I've mentioned before, I don't like to make boat loads of one recipe because I am fickle and like to keep changing things up and prefer smaller batches so I get to nibble on a variety of foods!
Put the flattened caramel "dough" into the Fridge for a few hours
Remove it from the Fridge and Cut it Into Bite-Sized Pieces!  You're Done!
These Taste Just Like Real Vanilla-Flavored Caramels!!!  Click Here and go towards the Bottom of the Post to See What I Think Constitutes a "Good Recipe".  If it's not easy, or has too many ingredients that are hard to find or expensive, and especially if the finished product is not authentic tasting, why would you make it?  Click Here for more of my Thoughts on That.

These Caramels Deliver on All Accounts, in my not so humble opinion...haha!
Optional Tweaks:
Make Nut Butter-Filled Caramel Sandwich Bites!  Who Needs an Oreo Double Stuff when you have these laying around?!

But First, I had to Decide Which Nut Butter To Fill the Caramels With, and It was a Tough Call...

NuttZo ?
Barney Butter Almond Butter?
Cashew Butter?
Sunflower Seed Butter?
Coconut Peanut Butter?
Coconut Oil?
In the end, I decided to use plain jane Peanut Butter but trust me, it was a hard call as you can imagine! 

Smear the Nut Butter
Fold in Half
Cut into The Appropriate Sizes That You Enjoy!
You could make these as large or small as you like.  Or use cookie-cutter shapes to cut them out in pretty hearts, stars, etc.!
And then Enjoy These Nut Butter Filled Raw Vegan Caramel Bites!
Store them in the Fridge or Freezer, or on the countertop if the nut butter or filling does not need to be kept refrigerated.  I like them slightly chilled and because of the high oil content in the pine nuts, even in the freezer, they don't freeze solid.  Rather just very chewy which is how I love them and the vanilla flavor that is infused in them is really divine!
Optional Tips and Tweaks:
Add Cinnamon, Hazelnut/Coffee/Orange/Etc. Extract to the Caramel "Dough" Mixture to Create any variety of Flavored Caramels

Add 1 Tbsp Cocoa or Carob Powder to the Caramel "Dough" Mixture to Create Chocolate Caramels

To Make high Raw Vegan Caramel Sauce
Use the Caramel "Dough" Mixture and Add Enough Liquid such as coconut milk or coconut water, or a nut milk such as almond milk, and Blend.   
Thin out the mixture to your liking and you've just created high Raw Vegan Caramel Sauce!  I bet Raw Vegan Caramel Sauce would be the perfect touch to my
Raw Vegan Apple Crumble  
The Raw Vegan Apple Crumble "Juice" is Cinnamon & Vanilla Extract infused Agave.  I like to drink the juice in shot glasses.  Kidding...but I totally could!

Some Green Food This Weekend Was A Big Veggie Pile: Mixed Greens, Brussel's, Tomatoes, and Cukes with Freshly Roasted Coconut Ginger Roasted Fennel Mixed In
 Caramelized and perfectly Roasted Fennel !
 And I tossed all the Veggies with my sweet, light, and fast Holiday Orange Spice Vinaigrette
Then, it was Popcorn Time!  Remember my Coconut Oil Spray, Maca, & Nooch that I picked up from my WF's trip the other day? 
Well, I put my foodies finds to good use on a Midnight Popcorn Snack-Fest.  If you missed my Microwave Popcorn Trick for a Super Fast, Easy, Healthy, No-Junk Added, way to Make Popcorn ...
Anyway the Maca is rocking on the Popcorn!  Even though it kinda looks like brown sawdust, it tastes great! I would describe it as slightly malty, ever-so-sweet, and good!  I do have tastebuds and a palate-of-steel, though, so your mileage may vary but give it a whirl.  Check This Post for the Health Benefits of Maca!
Sawdust Maca Powder
And Nooch & Cinnamon & Stevia
And Chocolate Chips for Good Measure
I really enjoyed my Popcorn !

So does Skylar!  But she's actually eating raw carrots and cucumbers here and was apparently really happy about it!
I love this little ball of love and energy soooo much!  Seriously, she's my whole world!  I can't even remember my life before her or imagine it without her.  And honestly, I was not one of those girls who said I was going to be a mom, and become a domestic diva or anything, but it's the best thing that's ever happened to me!
Yoga Today is Astavakrasana ( Eight Angle Pose) because you're making eight angles with your body.  Don't forget to smile and breathe!  And in all honesty, don't compare, where ever you're at with your practice is exactly where you're supposed to be, today and every day.   
Tip of the Day: My Give Away for Naturally Nutty3 Winners will be Chosen and Each Winner Will Receive 1 Jar of Naturally Nutty!!!!

    Have fun everyone!  Thanks  Naturally Nutty !!!! 
***The contest ends on Tuesday, March 2, 2010***


Have You Entered Yet ?  There's tons of ways to enter , and Naturally Nutty is Fabulous, so I hope you've entered!  Click Here to Enter Now!!!!!


1.If you had to pick a nut butter to spread inside the Caramel Bites, what would you spread in it?
I chose Peanut Butter, because I know Scott doesn't love Sunflower Seed Butter quite as much as I do and I was sharing these with him, but I have never tried any of the PB & Co. brands but I know lots of you are huge fansAnd of course, lots of Naturally Nutty fans in the house!  Giveaway Anyone?
Would would you smear inside the caramels?

2. What's the Best Thing You Ate or Did this Weekend?  Or saw in the 'Sphere?

Last Question...
3. How much do you try to change people's opinion or try to explain why your way is good/works?  For example, I was recently reading on Stef's Blog that she felt that she missed an opportunity to speak up and share her viewpoint with others.  I have also been talking with Ashlei about this very same topic. 
My thoughts are that although I believe in raising social consciousness in the world  from dietary choices and balanced exercise to compassionate parenting to women's rights, I am not going to waste my own precious energy trying to "save" others from themselves or "explain myself".  I am not going to spout off about the benefits of a plant-based diet and why fast food probably isn't so hot to someone who thinks the drive-thru includes all the major food groups.  I am not going to convince anyone why it's better to do some yoga that live a sedentary life if exercise means getting up and pouring another Mountain Dew.   Nor am I going to espouse the virtues of homeschooling, extended nursing, homebirthing, or any of the causes that I am passionate about, if the person I am talking to is clearly not receptive to change, but is only interested in arguing with me about it. 

I don't feel the need to "convince", change, or "save the world" anymore.  Nor defend my choices.   I love being in charge of my own life and the autonomy over my own choices; and, I love that everyone is in charge of his or hers, and they can choose what they see fit, with absolutely no judgment from me, as long as their choices are well-researched for their own situation.  The freedom of choice, it's a beautiful thing!  Do what works, For You!

I used to waste energy and get all riled up and try to help someone who didn't understand my choices, "see the light".  But now, I just smile, nod, share what I do, and if they ask questions, I answer them succinctly, without emotion, and move on.  There is no point in wasting my precious energy that I should be giving to myself, my own well-being, or my family's well being trying to "save" the world.  I lead by example not by words.  The proof is in the (chocolate chia seed) pudding so to speak!  Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Tell me if you Try to Convince Others?  Do you get emotional and riled up and feel the need to try to help someone "get it"?  Or are you able to just smile, nod, and move on and not feel pressure to "save the world"?  This has been a work in progress for me, and gets better as I age, and become older, wise, and  more sure of myself, no doubt!  

And after all those deep thoughts, I need to go grab a Raw Vegan Nut Butter Filled Caramel Bite...Now!
Stay Tuned For Mailbox Goodies...

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