Introducing my favorite sweetener of all time: DATE PASTE.
I'll come back to the reasons why I love this concoction so much, but for now, I want to write about a topic existing in my head at the moment: change.
I love this time of year. I was 23-years old when I first recognized my overwhelming response to the remarkably beautiful season of reflection. I was engaging in a heart-to-heart with one of my most unimaginable kindred spirits in this lifetime when the subject of seasons came up between us. It just so happened to be September at the time and I remember feeling very nostalgic and inspired just thinking about the months ahead of me. When he asked me which season was my favorite, I answered without hesitation, "Autumn."
How could it not be? The gathering of friends and family around the kitchen table for homemade stew straight off the stove. Late night conversation that lasts way past bedtime. Oversized scarves and my boyfriend's flannel shirt to keep warm. Longer nights and shorter days (I've always been a fan of the dark). My enormous collection of thick blankets put to use. The summer's collective energy finally moving toward silence and stillness.
But something even bigger sparked excitement. Many years and hard-earned lessons later, I've learned how much I cherish introversion; and this season lays the groundwork for contemplation and change. It's a time to let go of all that no longer serves us. Being someone who has held on (to things and ideas) far too long in the past, I now see the beauty and ease of releasing what I do not need and creating space for the life I want. Fall is an opportunity to evaluate our choices and make changes where we see fit. No matter how much experience I have under my belt, there's always room for improvement, and self-growth is a never-ending assignment.
Last night, as I was driving home, one of my favorite songs by Tracy Chapman came on the radio.
"If you knew that you would find the truth that brings a pain that can't be soothed, would you change? How bad, how good does it need to get? How many losses, how much regret? What chain reaction would cause an effect?"
The lyrics had the same impact on me yesterday as they had the first time I heard them 10 years ago. Tracy was one of the first musicians to have a profound effect on me and this song reminds me why she has always been a favorite artist of mine. Change is the only constant and I'm grateful for this time of transition.
Now, back to that handsome jar of sweetener that brought me to this post in the first place. The Date Paste is deliciously pure and made with only one ingredient (unless you count water as an ingredient). I like to put it in smoothies and dip apple slices into it. I also sometimes pour it on my banana ice cream. It can replace other (less healthy) sweeteners but remember the consistency can be tricky when baking with it. Experiment with it and please let me know if you come up with a great dish using Date Paste as the primary sweetener.
(makes 2 cups)
20 medjool dates
2 cups water
1. Soak dates in water for 4 hours. (I soaked mine overnight.)
2. Remove stones from dates.
3. Place dates in food processor or high-speed blender (I used Vita-Mix) with 1/4 cup water.
4. Blend slowly until smooth.
5. Store in fridge up to two weeks. Store in freezer up to three months.