Sweet Things (Times Three)

August 17, 2008

[Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad–recipe below.]


If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

Ah, yes, life is sweet.  Not so much in the “I’m a celebrity, I haven’t a care in the world, I’m revoltingly rich, beautiful and vacuous” kind of way; but more in the “every which way I turn I see or think ‘sweet,’ most recently the chocolate chip blondies I devoured last week” kind of way.  Also in the “I’m finally finished marking for the semester and it feels so sweet to be able to breathe for a few days before it all starts up again next week” kind of way. But I wouldn’t want to forget the “blog readers are truly some of the sweetest people in the world and the principal reason I’m so thrilled to be back here and blogging again” kind of way, either.

I have to tell you, as a rule, I consider myself pretty lucky in the friends department.  I mean, I’ve made some really great pals over the years (in fact, I’ve known a few of my friends even longer than I’ve known my younger sister!–take that, Oprah and Gayle). 

But you know what?  Ever since I started blogging last year, I’ve been repeatedly amazed at the level of support, compassion, and just basic goodwill that abounds among blog readers and writers, rivalling any of the best friendships out there. I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate that you keep coming back to read  and comment (even when I disappear for a spell) and how much I enjoy my forays into reading all my favorite blogs out there as well. And so, without disintegrating into pure mush, please accept my heartfelt thanks, and a big virtual bear hug.  Truly, sweet

And now, on to our other “sweets” of the day. . . 

First:  My diet, temporarily an official “No-Sweets” Zone.

Forget the term, “yo-yo dieter.” With me, it’s more like a “bungee-jump” dieter.  Up, down, Up, down.  Waaaaay up, waay down (and note how the “waay” down is smaller than the “waaaaay” up–in other words, a net gain).  Seems the more I diet, the more my weight rebounds upward after a fall.  Recently, it struck me that I am more or less at the same weight I was when I began this blog (at which point my goal was to lose 40 pounds!!).  Still, like die-hard smokers who wish to quit, we overly zaftig people who wish to lose weight must persevere!  I’m thankful that 90% of the food I put in my mouth is healthful and very nourishing.  The other ten per cent, well. . . that explains the weight gain.

Several times on this blog, I’ve mentioned the anti-candida diet I endured a few years ago when my symptoms got truly out of hand.  Well, I’ve decided it’s time to return to that diet as a way to rid myself of the sweets addiction once and for all (I think of it as the “Chunky Monkey on my back“).  This time, the cleanse will be somewhat shorter than previously (which lasted 2 years!). 

What does this mean for the blog?  Not much, I’m hoping. Most of my eating habits already fall in line with this new regimen (about which I’ll blog anon–this post will be long enough without fitting it in today).  The restrictions represent a new and–truth be told–somewhat exciting culinary challenge for me: can I concoct appealing, delicious dishes, even some alluring desserts, all within the bounds of the diet?  And afterwards, can I learn to consume dessert as a regular part of my menu, yet in moderation and sans cravings?  Only time will tell (and so will I, right here on this blog).

Second: Announcing Sweet Freedom!

As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on this project for a while now (just about a year–even before I started this blog!).  After I closed down my full-time baking business in 2006, I decided to begin working on a cookbook containing recipes for my most popular products; because I’d been running the business for a few years, I already had a full compliment of proven recipes at the ready.  So in August 2007, I began mailing out cookbook proposals to various publishers (I eventually heard from two who expressed an interest in the project, only to decide against it after months of correspondence). And then, as I plowed my way through yet another set of student papers last week, I wondered:  why not just publish this book myself? And so, I averred, I shall!

Now, before I go on, yes, I do recognize the irony of doing a dessert book when I’ve just sworn off desserts.  But as I said above, my goal, ultimately, is to be capable of incorporating healthy desserts into my diet, in moderation–and these happen to be just that kind of dessert!  

I also know that there are scads (not to mention oodles, a plethora, loads and a real glut) of bloggers’ cookbooks already out there right now.  Who needs one more?  But when I started receiving emails from people asking if I had a cookbook, and when my former customers asked if I’d consider printing up my recipes so they could bake their treats at home, and when I thought of all those existing recipes just lying idle in a filing cabinet. . . well, I just couldn’t leave them to such an ignominious fate. 

Mine will be a dessert-only book, and everything in it is compatible with the NAG diet that I try to follow all the time.  Many of these recipes are already familiar to my former customers here in Toronto, so when the book is published, they’ll be able to bake the same muffins, cookies, and cakes that they used to buy at local health food stores. And once I made the decision, I got really excited about sharing the recipes and “doing them up right”! 

The book, called Sweet Freedom, will contain recipes for a wide variety of baked goods and other sweet treats, all in a style similar to those you find on this blog (in fact, a few of the DDD recipes will also find their way into the book). However, the majority of the cookbook’s 100+ recipes will be new, having not appeared anywhere else.  All the recipes are made with without wheat, eggs, dairy, or refined sweeteners; many are gluten free, soy free, and corn free as well (I’ll tag each recipe according to the category into which it fits).  In other words, these are sweets that even people with food sensitivities (like me) are free to enjoy! Eventually, I plan to post a full Table of Contents with the names of all the recipes, but for now, if you’d like a peek at some photos of goodies from the book, I’ve started a blog that’s devoted just to that.  I’m aiming for a publication date late this year or early next year; I’ll keep you updated occasionally on this site, too.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you all about what you’d look for in a “good-for-you” baking book, or whether you’ve got specific items you’d like to see in it.  And it you’ve ever tried any of the desserts from this site, I’d love your feedback on the recipes.  Just leave any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions in the comments section, or send me at email at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com.

And finally: A sweet (potato) ending to this post. . . 

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad


I couldn’t very well leave without posting a recipe, could I?  I actually mentioned this dish way back in my second blog entry, but since there were only two readers that day (no, literally, two readers), I thought it was worth repeating.  This is a salad from Everyday Food magazine, and it’s both simple and delicious.  I like it so much that I’ve made an entire meal out of it, in fact. The trick to its appeal, I think, is that Martha advises us to bake the sweet potato rather than boil it–and that seems to make all the difference.

This salad is filling and satisfying, with a tangy ginger and dijon-based dressing to complement the yielding sweetness of the potatoes.  I enjoy this most at room temperature, but it can be eaten cold or hot as well.  Great for a picnic or party table.



29 Responses to “Sweet Things (Times Three)”

  1. VeggieGirl Says:

    So many “sweets” for you!! Hooray!! Your deserve them all, Ricki!! And I’m sooo glad that you’re back and blogging 🙂


  2. Celine Says:

    you’ve just made my day.

  3. Megan Says:

    YES YES YES! A cookbook!

  4. VeganCowGirl Says:

    I will be lining up for your cookbook! What a great idea to combine the concept of sweet yummies with your NAG diet – do it!!! Will you post to Belgium! 🙂

    To be honest, I think Toronto needs more of that type of cookbook – think of all the shops on College and Queen that would be dying to stock it. Congrats on finishing the term marking. The sweet potato salad looks amazing…really yummy and fresh.

  5. I’m saving this recipe, because sweet potatoes and ginger are two of my favorite foods, so it sounds like a perfect recipe for me to try.

  6. Courtney Says:

    Oh my goodness, congratulations! How exciting–a cookbook (and to be done with grading for the semester)! I am so excited for it…your recipes are always winners. Maybe not technically a dessert, but you know I am obsessed with your lara bar clones!

    I am also looking forward to hearing more about your cleanse–I have been considering doing a candida cleanse for years (yes, I know, I should just DO it already!) and will be interested to hear more about yours. I just may join you!


  7. That does look healthy – and importantly – quite good. I think the best way to eat healthy is to enjoy the food you are eating.

  8. Lucy Says:

    Well. How lucky we are to have you back!

    AND with good, no, great news!

    If that berry and cream tart is anything to go by I will be having to buy a large quantity of your book, darls.

    V.V.V. excited for you.

  9. Ricki Says:

    Thanks so much! (Though I have to admit I’m not exactly thrilled about the cleanse part of it!). I’m also a lover of sweet potatoes–so you will definitely enjoy this recipe (and it’s gluten-free) 🙂

    You are even sweeter than these sweets! Thanks so much. ❤ (and for teaching me that cute little emoticon!!)

    Couldn’t have wished for a better reaction–thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

    Wow, thanks so much! And are you kidding?? I will ship anywhere somebody actually wants one!!

    Thanks for the TO tips, too. I am going to look into all avenues (and streets, and crescents, and boulevards, etc.) 🙂

    Hope you like it (though how can you go wrong with sweet potatoes?)

    Thanks so much! And I have definitely had those LaRaw Bars for dessert myself, so let’s consider them that way! As to the cleanse, I think I’m going to be a bit more “relaxed” than I was the first time, but I’ll include the details for the true cleanse as well. And I would love some company along the way. . . we can support each other 🙂 .

    I totally agree–and lucky for me, I also really like pretty much all healthy foods! 🙂

    Thank you so much! I started with the berries and cream tart because I just knew it was a show-stopper. . . hope the rest doesn’t disappoint!

  10. Johanna Says:

    great stuff Ricki – am sure your book will be as welcome as your blog posts – looking forward to following your projects!

  11. shellyfish Says:

    I am so excited that you’ll be putting together a dessert book! Seriously! I “met” you with your chocolate/spinach creation for Susan V’s Valentine’s Day event, and that is exactly what I love about your posts! I think in a healthy sort of dessert book what I would like the most is a sort of breakdown on the top of each page indicating how much time it would take, what equipment, and if it’s gluten/sugar/whatever free.

    I’m so not demanding, am I? 🙂

    I will pre-order this one, seriously!

  12. Vegan_Noodle Says:

    I completely agree with you that the blogging world has some amazing people.. and you are one of them!!!

    And I am so extremely excited for your upcoming cookbook. I will be the first standing in line (or waiting for it to show up online more likely)when it comes out!! I must go check out the photos now….

    So glad you’re back to blogging!

  13. bee Says:

    good luck with your project, ricki. your recipes and the philosophy behind them are wholesome – good for the heart and soul. looking forward to your book.

  14. lisa Says:

    Oh wow, I’m all over this recipe. I just “rediscovered” sweet potatoes earlier this year. This looks delicious!

    And a cookbook? COOL!

    … and welcome back! Enjoy your breather!

  15. Lisa Says:

    Wow, your own cookbook! How exciting. I love the title. I wish to buy a copy. Please reserve one for me.

  16. Yaelian Says:

    Can’t wait for your book to come out! Good luck with it, I am sure it will be a wonderful dessert book!

  17. L. Says:

    lovely salad — way to come back in style!

    i am now very much looking forward to a DD’n’D cookbook. i hope you aren’t just toying with us.

  18. atxvegn Says:

    Ricki, I’m just THRILLED that you’ll be making a cookbook available!!!! Your sweet treats will be everything I could ever ask for in a dessert.

  19. that’s very exciting, I’ll need a copy for me AND a copy to show clients! what fun. Looking forward to that in a big way.

    as far as ‘tightening’ your diet–I will have to do the same in the next month or so, and I know it’ll be good for me, but I can’t help dreading the prospect of no fruit/no grains. But it’ll be a challenge for sure!

  20. Regarding the costumed people in Barcelona–
    Sadly, I think they dress up to try and make a living. I paid the fruit lady a Euro to pose with her. Costly, yes… but it’s totally worth it, since I’ll have the photo forever! (Plus, I like helping people who are trying to make an honest living.)

  21. Ricki Says:

    So kind of you to say. . . at least I’m having fun doing it! 🙂

    No, not demanding at all–those are pretty much all the things I’d want in a cookbook, too. As long as the publisher can comply, I plan to include all those things. And thanks so much for the support–both on the blog and with this new project. (No wonder Celine wants to marry you!)

    Vegan Noodle,
    Thanks so much! And thanks for that overwhelming response to the cookbook–wish you could decorate the cakes for me! 🙂

    Thanks so much! I do believe that healthy food makes a difference in the rest of one’s life, too–am hoping others out there agree!

    Thanks so much for your comment! I think sweet potatoes are one of my all-time favorite foods, not just vegetables. And I appreciate the good wishes!

    It would be my absolute pleasure to set aside a copy for you! I’ll add your name to the list.

    Thanks so much for your comment! And thanks for the vote of confidence–will do my best not to disappoint!

    Thanks for your comment! And no, I’d never toy with you (well, about THAT, anyway) 😉

    Wow–thanks so much! I will do my best to live up to expectations!! 🙂

    Thanks so much! It does seem funny to embark on this cleansing diet while I’m doing more baking. . . but so far, it seems to be doable. Good luck on your own challenge (and I’ll definitely be posting some no fruit and no grain recipes, so stay tuned). 🙂

  22. Your new view on sweets is just perfect, in my opinion. Good luck to you! I’d actually like to do the same. The more sugar I consume, the more I crave… So it is totally possibly to make cravings less persistent!

    The cookbook sounds like a good one. I know I would definitely be interested in recipes for blondies and cookies, for example, that are lower in fat and sugar.

    And that sweet potato and ginger salad looks fabulous! Sweet potatoes are so delicious, they taste like candy… but good for you!

  23. Lisa Says:

    A cookbook! How great is that? I really admire your decision. What’s more, I really love sweet potatoes and your recipe sounds amazing. Thanks for your sweet thoughts!

  24. Yay, you’re back! I missed you! I hear ya on the yo-yo business. I guess it’s better than just going up OR down, right? :o)

  25. I just discoveredyour blog through eat me delicious and i really like it. Nice photos and nice recipes and they re healthy too 🙂

  26. Ricki Says:

    Ruby Red,
    My veto on sweets is temporary, but I’m hoping it will give me the distance I need so that when I go back to eating dessert, I can do it only occasionally and in moderation (a lifelong goal so far!!). And it’s so true: the more sugar you eat, the more you crave.

    Thanks for your nice comments about the cookbook and salad! I guess I’m using sweet potato as a “sweet” substitute!

    Thanks so much! It’s really *sweet* of you to say so 😉

    destinys kitchen,
    Well, I guess your point about yo-yoing is actually true; much better than just going up, anyway. But it seems an awful lot of work just to end up in the same place!

    snooky doodle,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for visiting my blog! Glad you like the photos and recipes–let me know what you think if you try something out! 🙂

  27. Ashley Says:

    Oh woooooow I am so so excited for you Ricki (and for me haha) that you’re putting out a cookbook!! I don’t know if I’ve ever said it in my comments on your blog but I’ve often thought – when is she going to come out with a cookbook?? And I LOVE to bake so I truly can’t wait to have a baking book full of delicious better for you treats!! As for the types of recipes I’d like to see – cookies! That would be my number one. And a healthy pie crust. I’m sure everything you come up with will be amazing and tempting though. And I didn’t know you used to have a baking business!

  28. Vegyogini Says:

    Hooray for a DDD baking cookbook! I’m definitely going to be looking forward to this!

  29. Looks tasty…you said it easy to make right? Maybe i’ll give it a shot over the weekend.

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