Lime-Coconut Mousse/Parfaits

At Mother Earth’s where I work, I learned from our fabulous bakers how to prepare a vegan chocolate ganache. Instead of using cream, they use ripe haas avocados. I decided to experiment with this idea and see if I could use avocado as a base for a “mousse” like dessert–that wasn’t chocolate.  I needed to add quite a bit of lime zest and a fair amount of sugar to ease the avocado taste. I use coconut sugar, which I believe is one of the better sugars–being that it is less refined and less processed. It still contains trace minerals and has a lower glycemic than many other sweeteners. Because it is less refined, it has a dark color, so the mousse isn’t a bright green color–as it might be if I had used a whiter sugar. I opted for healthier rather than the aesthetics.

Ingredients:

1 ripe haas avocado
¼ cup coconut milk/cream (just the thick part—add a little more if using a large avocado)
4-5 tbs. coconut sugar—or other natural, unrefined sugar
1 tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tbs. lime zest
Pinch of salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until creamy and smooth. Chill. Serve with your favorite fruits or as a zesty filling.

Parfaits
Ingredients: Lime coconut mousse and fruits/berries.
Other optional ingredients: nuts, granola, dried shredded coconut

To Assemble Parfaits:
Cut up your favorite fruits and put a small amount into bottom of a parfait cup. Add a layer of lime mousse and then top with chopped walnuts or your favorite nuts (or granola) and shredded coconut. Repeat until layers reach the top ending with a dollop of mousse.

Health Benefits of Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are powerful superfoods. They’re rich in nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals which may help prevent (and, in some cases, reverse) the effects of aging, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.

You may know that berries are full of health benefits. Sure, they are loaded with fiber, which helps you feel full (and eat less). But did you know berries are good for easing your arthritis symptoms, too? Berries top the charts in antioxidant power, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs. Studies in aging animals even show that mixed berries improve cognition and motor performance.

To get the optimal health benefits of berries, eat two to three types of fresh, frozen or dehydrated berries each day. Incorporate the benefits of berries into your daily diet with the following suggestions.

Strawberries contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange and are particularly high in folic acid.

Blueberries contain 20 types of anthocyanin – antioxidants that give berries their blue-violet and red colors. Other berries contain only three or four types.

Blackberries, Raspberries and Boysenberries each contains 8 grams (g) of fiber in one cup – one-third the daily recommended amount (25 g).

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant found in berries. It is largely responsible for the health of collagen, which helps maintain cartilage and aids in joint flexibility. Eating vitamin C–rich berries will contribute to radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

In addition to antioxidants, berries are “juicy foods,” which means they contain mostly water. Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill you up quickly, since their high water content bumps up the volume while driving down the calories. Berries also contain fiber and folate. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Folate may protect against cardiovascular disease and age-related memory loss, and since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may also help ward off depression and improve your mood. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS experience discomfort after eating berries.

Remember, if you can’t find fresh berries, frozen (unsweetened) berries are a good substitute during the off-season months — and just as nutritious!

The best berries are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries, and cranberries.

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