Ricki Heller is simply one of my favorite people in the blogosphere. Her writing style is entertaining and humorous, she has such a friendly and helpful demeanor, and how can we forget about the recipes? As a nutritionist, she always has health in mind, but as a lover of food, it has to taste good. Thus, I can always count on Ricki for recipes that I want to make and that I should make.
Since I had enjoyed several of Ricki's wholesome recipes before the release of her new cookbook, Sweet Freedom, there was no doubt that I was going to love it. It was just a matter of what to make first! Since I already had a penchant for the Carob and Date Pancakes in Sweet Freedom (they were the inspiration for the Pillowy Whole-Grain Pancakes in my book, Go Dairy Free), I went with familiarity, and made the Fluffy-Fruited Spelt Pancakes. So, so marvelous – Ricki seriously knows her way around whole-grain pancakes …
Though there are three more pancake recipes in Sweet Freedom that I have yet to trial, I had to jump to the muffin section. I had my eye on the Orange Oat Muffins. This was the first recipe I had ever made where you use the entire orange, peel and all, and it was so wonderfully simple. I also loved that these hearty little babies used a combo of dates, maple syrup, and molasses for a deep and rich sweetness.
I have had a lot of cookbooks to trial as of late, but I just couldn't keep away from the Banana-Oat Bar recipe before doing this post. Upon seeing the title of another recipe in Sweet Freedom for Sweet Potato and Cranberry Muffins, I knew I had to combine the two for this holiday season to create these yummy Sweet Potato and Cranberry Oat Bars. I simply subbed 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (you could of course use pumpkin puree) for the bananas and added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. As you can tell by the broken off piece (before it had cooled of course) with the sloppy, melting frosting, I didn't care very much about taking pictures, I was hungry!
Keep in mind, all of the dessert and snack recipes in Sweet Freedom are free from refined sugars, and they are vegan (dairy-free and egg-free) and wheat-free. They are also whole grain and wonderfully all-natural. However, while there are many wonderful gluten-free recipes within, some of the recipes do utilize spelt flour or barley flour. I loved how many soy-free recipes there were too, since Ricki doesn't rely on margarine in her recipes, bonus!
Also, as you can see, I've barely made it past the first chapter. There are cakes, cookies, candies, pies, puddings and more in this fabulous "tackle that sweets craving with nutrition" cookbook.