Almond-Chocolate Truffles


Servings 24



1/3 cup chopped and pitted soft dates

1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 3 hours and then drained

3 tablespoons almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup date sugar (can substitute brown sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ground almonds for coating



Combine the dates and cashews in a food processor and process
to a paste.

Add the almond butter and process to combine. Add the cocoa powder, date sugar, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of water. Pulse until well combined.

Pinch some of the mixture between your fingers to see whether it holds together.

If it’s too dry, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture can be shaped into balls.

If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate it for 20 minutes or longer to firm up.
If it’s still too soft, add a little more cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Use your hands to shape and roll a small amount of the mixture into
a 1-inch ball and transfer to a plate.

Repeat until all the mixture has been rolled into balls.

Place the ground almonds in a shallow bowl. Roll the truffles in the almonds until they’re coated, pressing on them if needed to cover completely.

Transfer the coated truffles to a plate and refrigerate until firm before serving.


Recipe Notes

Note: If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes; then drain and pat dry before using.


From: The How Not To Die Cookbook, by Michael Greger, M.D. & Gene Stone 


Garden Music

I know you love gardening—otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  How about music?  If you enjoy music, then I suggest you combine the two.  Now you could simply turn up the volume of your sound system (whatever that might be) and indoctrinate your neighbors with your particular brand of music.  But I can guarantee that your neighbors do not have the same appreciation for the genre you enjoy.  It has been my experience that it is really unusual for any two people to like the same tunes—just ask my wife.  So create your own personal auditory concert by using your smart phone and a set of ear buds.

            Then start a subscription to Spotify.  Spotify is a music streaming service that provides and almost unlimited source of music selections.  The cost is $10 a month and for an additional $5 you can have a family plan that allows others living in your home to have the same experience.  Once you download music, it will be in your phone and won’t require an internet connection to play.  You can organize different playlists—like one for gardening, one for a brisk walking pace, or one for relaxation to prepare for napping.

            One more thing:  Your ear buds should be blue tooth.  You won’t want to have a wire dangling about when you are gardening.  Skullcandy has a good blue tooth set of ear buds for about $25.  LaVille bought hers at Target.  She bought a red set and wears it around as a fashion statement.

            There you have it—a way to double your gardening pleasure while not affecting that of your family and neighbors.

Stan, The Blog Man

Weed Torch

You know well the saying, “Do as I say–not as I do”.  Well, guess who was burning weeds with his torch when there was no breeze.  I was getting rid of the last moss plants in the garden.  Smoke billowed up and surrounded my face burning my eyes.  I moved side to side to no avail.  I don’t think another saying applies—“Smoke follows beauty.” applies here.  (Does that bring back memories of sitting around the camp fire?)  So I smelled like burned weeds the rest of the day—big deal.  But the next day my wife was alarmed at my sight.  (Not an uncommon occurrence.)  Sure enough, my right eye was bloodshot.  Actually bloodshot is hardly sufficient to describe the sight of this valuable little orb.  So I e-mailed my Doc. and the response was to apply eye drops and notify her if my eyeball falls out (a slight exaggeration).  Sure enough after a couple days, it disappeared . . the blood, that is.  So once again, if you use a torch to burn weeds, do so when there is a slight breeze so that smoke doesn’t rise directly up and turn you into a smelly, scary creature.

Stan, The Blog Man

Circle Hoe

Circle Hoe

Alas, I have run out of the garden tools I wish to write about—except for this one.  It is one of my favorites and I would have told you about it sooner had it been available.  The company in Grants Pass, Oregon, for various reasons has not had the long-handled version of this tool in production for several years.  A recent call to them revealed a possible resumption of production.

The circle hoe is, as the name implies, a hoe with a circular blade at the end.  When the hoe is held in the standard position, the circle attains a vertical position.  When you pull the hoe towards you, the sharpened edge of the lower surface slices through the soil to cut off the roots of weeds below the coil level.

So why is this tool special?  The circular cutting blade is 1/8-inch-thick so if you have the strength, this tool will transfer that strength to cut through well-developed tap roots.  The cutting surface is small, so there is little soil resistance as you pull through even clay soils. The sides and back of the blade are dull so you can maneuver closely around plants without damaging them.  The circle hoe is better than a hula hoe in that it is not only stronger, but less soil is disturbed.  If you are weeding in bark cover or a mat of pine needles, less material is messed. 

Happy weeding,

Stan, The Tool Man

Tracking App

Let’s say you having a garden party that involves putting on a lunch.  Your daughter is coming and, as usual, she is late.  You are going to put the garlic toast in the oven 7 minutes before lunch is served.  The hors d’oeuvres are just about consumed and everyone is waiting for the meal.  Now you could call her and risk a car accident when she fumbles for her phone . . . or you could simply use the Life360 app on your smart phone.  Since she is in your “clan” you can see exactly where she is on the road and know how long it will take her to arrive.  7 minutes before her appearance, the toast goes in the oven and voila, lunch is served just as she enters.  Life360 is a free app that lets you see the location of the smart phone of your clan members anywhere in the world.  Currently we are watching the travels of our adopted family in Japan.  Now granted, this does cost you a degree of privacy because your family also has the ability to see where you are, but to me this is another way of maintaining family ties and I encourage you to try it if it sounds appealing.

Stan, The Blog Man