This recipe is one of the most exciting recipes I have created ... and that is a pretty huge statement (especially considering these). This was more of an experiment, but when I peeked into them after a night in the fridge I basically squealed in excitement!
What the heck is Irish Moss?
It's actually not Irish and it's really not moss. Instead, it is a seaweed that works as a gelling agent and emulsifier when used for food purposes. It also has incredible beauty benefits and can be used topically on the skin, hair and nails (um, next DIY project, for sure).
Just like any seaweed, this little creature has tons of nutrients:
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K
- Amino acids
The most impressive of these is Iodine as Iodine is often difficult to get for many people (raw foodies, vegans, omnivores, carnivores, potato-chip-ivores ...) Iodine is found mostly in things coming from the sea, so fish and seaweed alike.
Iodine is a great detoxifier but is also a great help in balancing your thyroid and your hormones. And as a young woman in the birth-control-as-a-multivitamin era, I can really appreciate the extra little help in balancing my hormones.
As a beauty agent, you can eat your iodine in order to promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth. You can also create a nice little gel from the Irish Moss and use in your hair like a conditioner or on your skin like a salve.
It's really pretty fabulous.
Now, the bad side: Irish Moss has been getting a bad reputation as of late because of its carrageenan content. Carrageenen is an additive that is first extracted from sea vegetables and used in products in order to bind the ingredients in such a way that they do not separate while sitting on the shelf. When the carrageenan is extracted and used by itself it can cause inflammation in the body. Any all-natural-medium-crunchy hippy (like myself) knows that inflammation is the root of all evil sickness and disease.
Irish Moss in its whole form, however, has a less potent effect on the body because the carrageenan is used, wholly. Now, a lot of people would argue that it is still bad and still causes inflammation, which on some level is true: carrageenan is an inflammatory food. I, however, am of the position that it is a fun ingredient to use, I don't use it often (or consume often, for that matter) and so I'm not really afraid to play with it. But YOU can feel differently and make your choice, accordingly.
The important lesson, here, is to know that carrageenan is actually used often and is probably in a lot of your packaged foods. Just look for it on the ingredient list and avoid it. How simple is that?? As always, I hate the restrictive side of eating healthy and while I feel that I do a great job of eating things in their whole and complete form I also understand that I can drive myself crazy if I try to maintain this purity!
Don't go crazy. Just do what you can.
2 cups macadamia nuts
- Process in a food processor until it is broken down and the oil is released. Do not process too much or it will turn into a butter! You want enough of the oil released so it all holds together.
- Press down into a baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
1/2 cup irish moss, dry
4 lemons, juiced
3/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
pinch of turmeric (for color)
- Rinse your irish moss thoroughly to remove dirt and debris.
- Soak in water for a minimum of 4 hours, no more than overnight (it gets waterlogged after that, in my experience.)
- The irish moss will triple in size so be sure to keep it covered in water in a large enough bowl.
- Blend the drained irish moss with the lemon juice, turmeric, and maple syrup until well incorporate with no bits left.
- Pour the mix over your crust and let it set in the fridge overnight.
2 coconuts, meat scraped out and water reserved
(OR 1 can full fat coconut milk)
1/2 cup coconut butter
1 t vanilla (bean scraped, or extract)
1/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup (non raw)
- Add the coconut meat and 1 cup of the water to a blender and blend until smooth. (just dump the can of coconut milk into a blender if you choose to use this)
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a bowl and cover.
- Place in the fridge overnight so it can firm up. When it is ready, spoon in onto your lemon bars.
These were a major hit at the work place and are a major hit with my taste buds. They are so light and mild that it doesn't feel quite like a dessert, but also is so yummy that it satisfies that dessert-shaped-hole in your heart.