I made a simple no-bake apricot cream pie. It was the prettiest no-bake dessert, almost too easy to make. Just three ingredients for the crust and a handful of ingredients for the filling. No oven, no waiting. A creamy cool pie topped with juicy apricots.
The sun once again scorched my garden (including my newly planted climbing vine) to a crisp. Even my succulents and native California plants are toast. Therefore, cooking is not happening in my kitchen during this heat wave in August. As the temperatures soar into the 100s, I’m making batches of cold sesame noodles, salads, and veggie summer rolls. No baking, only raw cold foods.
Something wonderful has happened in the midst of heat waves, family deaths, tragic world news, fires, eclipses, and all planets in retrograde.
I chose to fully embrace my life. As a result, I’ve finally overcome decades of difficult circumstances just by shifting my perspective and staying present. Over the past two decades I’ve gone through a lot of painful soul growth. Being in gratitude and focusing on love is what cracked the whole thing open.
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”Rumi, poet
My dad died of melanoma cancer and brain tumors. Shortly after his death, my Nana died of old age (she was almost 97). A year after my Nana died, suddenly, my aunt died of lung cancer. She went within two weeks of diagnosis.
Grief has shifted through its many colors. I’ve felt a deep range of emotions, from sorrow to despair, then the memory of their lives brought me back to this enormous sense of love. Sadness washed through me and cleansed my darkest, most stagnant stuck places. Quite surprisingly, it has inspired me to live my life to the fullest. Going through grief brought me to joy.
Perhaps I’m living more and doing more and being fully present because I know how short life is. I’m also aware of the subtle, the magical, and the ethereal more than ever. I know my dad, my Nana, and my aunt would want me to be happy. Of course they would. I’m choosing to live with joy to honor their lives, because they touched mine in ways that will forever shape me.
Yet, an unexpected side effect of grief seems to be joy. Dark to light. I miss my dad, my Nana, and aunt, memories come about in moments when I least expect it. I cry. I feel love wash over me. I am in gratitude for their lives and my own.
The first morning, just hours after my Nana died, a hummingbird came to visit at my bedroom window. I had never seen this hummingbird before. It hovered for quite a long time, both of us just staring at each other. Ever since that day, when I look out my window, a hummingbird appears and hovers near the window screen. Coincidence?
The angels send hummingbirds to you so that their spiritual presence reminds you to follow the path that leads to a joyful life. As we focus on the present, rather than the past or the future, hummingbirds carry messages from angels and those that loved us that have passed on through death.
These days I’ve become lighter. Not just my body weight, which has dropped, much to my pleasure, ten whole pounds, but also my soul and my mind feels lighter. I have a surging sense of freedom within me, like anything is possible. I feel younger, full of vibrant life. What has happened to the old me? Not that I want to go back to that. But why have I suddenly lightened in every possible way?
I have learned to let go.
It wasn’t easy. It took some long hard years.
I was the kind to stay attached to what was, what is (or so I thought) and I’d ruminate over what I didn’t have, how to have what I wanted, even though it felt so impossible. An avalanche of all of my negative thoughts caused my shoulders to feel enormously heavy. My life felt like struggle, conflict, stress. I had a lot of stress. I worried, felt anxious, couldn’t sleep. I clung to my unhappiness because it was so familiar. I focused upon the things that weren’t working. Yeah, that was the old me.
I had learned to hold things in. Hold it together. Don’t give in, keep quiet, act calm. But let me tell you, doing that made life hard for long stretches of years. I’m the type that seems so relaxed and together when it’s all weighing me down and crushing my soul. But something good happened, or a series of good things, that dissolved the stress and difficulties over the past few years. I’ve lightened my very heavy load, and replaced it with the feathers of angels. I feel joy, laughter, possibility, and have reconnected with that long lost friend of mine, creativity.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”Anaïs Nin, writer
Easy and simple feels good. I’ve paid off my minivan, that albatross of a thing. Lighter. I paid off my credit card. Less burden. I bought a used Prius straight up with all cash. No car payment. Yes, I’ve conquered some big financial beasts recently. While no one ever said raising three kids in a big city like Los Angeles was easy, doing it single and relying on freelance work makes it all the more challenging. But by using the law of attraction mindset, I’ve replaced my burdens with lightness, and made positive change after positive change, until ease finally came my way. Easily, of course.
Gratitude, love and joy has lifted my heart and soul into a happy place of ‘present moment’ heaven. It is always now. Choose your thoughts and let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. Forgive. Give love. It sounds cheesy, I know. But cheese is a good thing, dairy or non-dairy.
So I started meditating again. Morning affirmations, gratitude journaling, listening to Solfeggio frequencies, daily. Then, one day, something lifted. I felt it on a subtle level. As I worked on letting go of things inside my mind and heart, my body responded. Things felt lighter. Joyful.
I’ve been vegan for quite awhile, vegetarian for most of my life (since I was a little girl). I don’t eat processed things full of processed white sugar, nor did I ever drink sodas. I never eat junk food. I eat whole unprocessed foods most of the time. (Okay, don’t judge, but my favorite portable “junk food” is a veggie burrito.) It was frustrating to me. I gained weight even though I ate healthy. I felt my whole body spread at my waist, arms and thighs. Perhaps it was an early onset of menopause, lack of regular exercise, too many avocados… was it homemade cashew cream? Was it my almond butter addiction? I kept trying to figure it out. Nothing seemed to work– joining bootcamps, CrossFit training, vegan protein smoothies, green juices– so I just decided to love all the parts of my body and accept that my belly and flabby arms were here to stay.
But giving up natural sugar was easier than I expected. No more bananas in my morning smoothies. Okay. No more maple syrup on my vegan pancakes. Sigh. But I knew it would take something, some little shift, to make that big difference. It was letting go of all natural sugars that worked.
Instead of coconut sugar, I tried monkfruit, and it was almost like sugar. Over the past three months, I replaced maple syrup/honey in my tea and smoothies with stevia or monkfruit. My cravings for something sweet calmed down and I felt balanced. I had energy. I felt light, like I did when I was 30. Actually, I felt even better than that.
This apricot cream pie is dreamy. It’s light, delicate, easy to make. A sugar-free dessert that doesn’t taste dietary at all. It’s summery and just enough sweet to please your senses.
You can use monkfruit as I have, or you can choose your own sweetener (coconut sugar, maple syrup, agave, etc.). I find that monkfruit tastes similar to sugar without the saccharin aftertaste of stevia. Monkfruit is the best sugar substitute I’ve found yet. It’s sweet like sugar, but won’t raise your blood sugar levels. It also contains antioxidants, supports the immune system, digestive, glandular, and respiratory systems. It’s also possible that monkfruit sweetener may have anti-inflammatory properties, as research continues to prove.
I’ve used monkfruit granules to sweeten most of the raw vegan desserts I’ve made lately. Apricots are fleshy and tender, and look so lovely upon the coconut cashew cream filling, like the color of a summer sunset floating on a cloud.
APRICOT CREAM PIE
Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Sugar-free
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and drained)*
- almond extract, 1 teaspoon
- 1 1/4 cups cashews soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight then drained
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbl Lakanto monkfruit sweetener
- 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (scrape the cream off the top)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- *if you aren’t using monkfruit sweetener, use 3-4 tbl agave or maple syrup
- 4-5 ripe apricots, sliced
- 1 sprig mint leaves
- unsweetened coconut flakes
- Put soaked dates into food processor and blend until coarsely chopped. Remove and set aside.
- Process almonds until rough texture. Add blended dates and a pinch of sea salt. Mix to combine. The crust should stick together. If too dry, add more dates. If too wet, add more almonds.
- Press into a pie pan lined with parchment. Press until crust is formed. Put in freezer to set.
- Add all filling ingredients into blender. Blend until frothy and creamy, just a few minutes.
- Taste as needed. Pour into crust shell and smooth with a spatula. Cover and freeze until completely set.
To serve, let thaw for 5 minutes. Top with sliced apricots and unsweetened coconut flakes.
To keep: coconut cream pie ONLY– fruit slices will brown and turn mushy– cover and keep in freezer 1 week.