Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

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This winter, eat more cranberries and pears! These two naturally sweet beauty foods are ideal for cool weather, as they reduce inflammation and detoxify naturally. Eat them raw, or use as little added sugar as possible when you cook with them, to preserve their benefits. 

Here's a perfect way to use them in a naturally sweet dish that you can cozy up to all winter long:

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

This quick-to-make dessert is packed with skin benefits from fresh pear, cranberries, cinnamon, cocoa, and walnuts. Dried plums, also called prunes (which just never sounds as appealing) are packed with iron, antioxidants, and natural sweetness, and fabulous for digestion and elimination in small amounts. Enjoy this simple treat when you have a sweet craving this season.

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Makes 3 individual servings

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe pears, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

unrefined salt

Heaping 1 cup raw walnut halves

12 dried plums/prunes

4 tsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Equipment: 3 ramekins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Toss pears and cranberries with ¼ tsp cinnamon and a dash of salt. Divide pear/berry mixture among three ramekins. In a food processor, combine walnuts, plums, and cocoa powder, and add in a generous sprinkling of salt. Divide and roll mixture into three even-sized balls and flatten each to create a top crust for your ramekin. Carefully (use a spatula if needed) transfer one crust to the top of each ramekin.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.


Beauty Food Focus:

Cranberries. You’ll only find these berries readily available in stores from about October through January, so don’t miss your chance to take in their powerful skin and body benefits. The skins of cranberries contain anthocyanin pigments that protect our cells and collagen. These anthocyanins also lower inflammation, reducing redness, blemishes, and slowing the wrinkling process. Other phytochemicals in cranberries increase your skin’s UV tolerance and blood flow, giving you a radiant complexion. Cranberries support healthy digestion and lymph flow, making them perfect for the cold weather months when we’re eating larger meals. Be sure you don't just eat cranberries sweetened with refined sugars; try the Warm Pear Bake for a sweet way to eat them without added sugar.

Pears. Pears are beauty foods with so much natural sweetness, making them ideal choices for desserts or sweet snacks. Their pectin fiber helps detoxify the body, as well as support good digestion and elimination—keys for radiant skin. Phytochemicals in pear skins reduce inflammation in the body, which supports a gorgeous complexion, good moods, and a healthy weight. All varieties of pears have beauty benefits, but red-skinned pears are especially high in anthocyanins that protect your skin’s natural elasticity.

Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

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1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

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Mine has always been cranberry sauce— it’s sweet, vibrant, pairs well with everything on your plate, and is incredibly healthy…or so I assumed for many years. Turns out that cranberry sauce pairs well with everything except glowing skin and a slim waistline!

The truth: that innocent-looking cranberry sauce is one of the biggest sugar bombs in your Thanksgiving celebration.

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