Snickers Ice Cream Squares and a Balanced Bella Baby – Oh Boy!

img_3444It’s been a beautiful fall and winter and we’re super excited for the spring when we get to meet our beautiful balanced baby! Knock on wood, it’s been a very smooth pregnancy thus far. There were a couple of weeks of slight queasiness, the sixth to eighth week mark to be exact, but luckily it happened in the later afternoon, once I was home from work. See? Smart baby already. However, even that wasn’t too severe – I lost my appetite and just couldn’t stand the smell of certain foods, mainly, whatever Justin was cooking!

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We also found out the sex and we’re having a boy! Coming up with names has been…interesting. I have my favorites…Justin says things like Homer and Archimedes, so there are still a few kinks in that department…

All those baby websites were right on the money; the first trimester was definitely filled with exhaustion and plenty of extra early bedtimes. We went to Barbados in September, during my sixth week of pregnancy, and I was asleep by 8:00 every night. (And that was considered late, but I was on vacation…) Now that I just entered my sixth month, my energy is back and I love feeling all of those kicks and movements. When I lay down at night, and I’m sure most of you who’ve experienced this can agree, the baby thinks he’s on a bouncy castle having the time of his life – and it’s the best feeling ever.

Barbados
In Barbados : )

I’m still working out about 3-5 times a week, but at a more moderate pace. I’ve substituted running with walking on a high (10-15) resistance, and I’m still doing the bike and elliptical with a 14-17 resistance. I’ve noticed that I’m not sweating as much as I used to, but it still feels good to move my body, and it definitely helps with the whole digestion process!

Preparing Roscoe ; )
Preparing Roscoe ; )

Even before pregnancy, I’ve been mindful of the chemicals in beauty products thanks to my friend Krsitina and her company Beautycounter. You can read the article I posted about such toxins here. One study that has stuck with me is the finding of hundreds of chemicals found in a baby’s umbilical cord blood. I try to use as many natural products as possible. A favorite of mine is jojoba oil! This stuff is awesome. I use it as a moisturizer, but it’s also excellent for hair treatments. You can read more about its benefits here. I’m not always able to use natural, from the earth ingredients, but I at least always make sure the things I put on my body, face, and hair are free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates (and are not tested on animals!).  Some products I order online, but others, like Alba Botanica, can be found in places like Target and Whole Foods.

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I recently left my gynecologist for a midwifery group in Brooklyn. I’m very happy with them and their philosophy, so I’ll make sure to keep you posted on that! How about you? I’m very interested in hearing about your pregnancy journey and/or tips, stories, or comments you may have, so please do share!

But enough about me. Let’s talk chocolate. And peanuts. And cashew nougat. And ooey gooey caramel. These snicker-esque squares are made of all-natural ingredients and are completely raw (except for mine – because I used roasted peanuts!). I’ve made “caramel” in the past, but not like this. I finally tried soaking the dates before blending them, which did make them creamier, but adding a splash of almond milk took this caramel to a whole new level. Like many layered desserts, these took some time, but I highly recommend trying them out.

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Ingredients:

Nougat 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • optional: 1 tsp maca root powder (for extra malt-iness flavor!)

Caramel

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Topping

  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Cover the cashews with filtered water and soak for 3-4 hours.
  2. Cover the dates with filtered water and soak for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the cashews. In a blender, mix the nougat ingredients together. Smooth the mixture onto the bottom of a pan (8″x5″). Freeze for at least an hour.
  4. Add the dates to a food processor, peeling off any additional flaky skin that may have accumulated. Slowly mix in the water and almond milk. Continue blending until creamy; you may need to push down the mixture with a spoon and continue blending.
  5. Sprinkle on the peanuts into a single layer.
  6. Place back in freezer while you prepare the chocolate topping.
  7. When ready, pour the chocolate mixture on the top, smoothing everything out.
  8. Freeze for at least an hour.

 

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