BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine — April 19, 2021

BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine

I grew up in the deepest part of the Deep South…a place known for its good cooking, love for fried food, ability to prepare and eat almost any carnivorous thing that happens to cross our driveway(?!), a high propensity for eventually developing type 2 diabetes, and the list could go on and on and on…

Where I’m from there’s no questioning if you “might be a redneck or not”…even the lawyers and doctors in my hometown wove their redneck flags with pride…just wearing better quality and more expensive clothes than most of their other counterparts.

So I shoulda known that eventually the dreaded d-word “diabetes” would enter our daily planet. 

And I also shoulda know that changing a lifetime of bad eating habits and poor diet choices was not gonna take place overnight. I mean there are certain things that a redneck girl just can’t give up too willingly—such as barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Growing up two hours south of Memphis, I must have eaten BBQ pulled pork or chicken at least once a week…loved it then…love it now…and probably couldn’t imagine life without it.

So living without my BBQ pulled pork or chicken was not even an option.

When we first received the official stamp across our doorpost reading “diabetic family,” I switched from the family meal section of my emeals meal planning subscription to the vegetarian section.

One of the first meals that I made when we ventured into vegetarian or plant-based or whatever-else-you-wanna-call it eating was BBQ jackfruit.

I had never heard of jackfruit, but it was on the menu…so it was now on my grocery list…and in my grocery cart…and in my freezer…and on my list of meals to cook for that week.

I kinda dreaded pulling the package out of the freezer to make the meal that first day that I tried it. I am from the Deep South. Leave my perfectly awesome pulled meat world alone.

That perfectly awesome pulled meat world that can find pulled meat topping anything from tortillas, buns, taco shell, wrap, whatever…maybe a baked potato…heck, where I’m from we could all probably eat bbq pulled pork three meals a day, every single day of the week and never get tired of it….kinda like Elf and his maple syrup.

But out of a sense of obligation, I prepped the BBQ whatever-the-heck-jackfruit-is stuff…

And I liked it…and my husband liked it…and my kids liked it…and even my brother Sam liked it.

Honestly, there are times when the crockpot full of bbq pulled pork or chicken just waiting to be plopped onto a bun with some coleslaw and served with baked beans and potato salad and sweet iced tea just keeps calling out my name…to me, this is the ultimate comfort food…

From now I save that meal for special occassions…

And on a more “regular” basis, I am quite content to go with the flow and settle for bbq jackfruit instead.

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BBQ Jackfruit

  • 2@14 oz cans green/unripe jackfruit packed in water
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 1/3C chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp chili powder
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4C BBQ sauce
  • Drain jackfruit. Shred the pieces apart hand. Heat 1Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5min. Stir together paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Add shredded jackfruit and spices to the skillet. Turn heat to low. Add BBQ sauce. Stir well so that all the jackfruit gets covered in the barbecue sauce. Cook for about five minutes.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Freezing the BBQ jackfruit will change its overall texture…so I wouldn’t recommend freezing it yourself…just grab some the next time you place your grocery order or stroll through the frozen food aisles.

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Their Way

Black Beans

Even though we’re originally from Mississippi, my husband was active duty Army until he retired…so we have lived four different places in the last thirty-four years—Frankfurt, Germany…Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri…Fort Jackson, South Carolina…Fort Polk, Louisiana…and Dallas-Fort Worth, actually Arlington.

We have actually lived in the DFW area since 1992…and one thing I have learned—Texas is very different from the Deep South, states like Alabama and Mississippi.

And people here in Texas thing barbecue totally different from us…

The first time that I was invited to eat barbecue when we moved here, I was seriously disappointed to find that actually meant dried-out brisket…thankfully I’ve had much better barbecue here since…or have at least gotten used to brisket and acquired a taste for Tex-Mex food…as opposed to pulled pork barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw and potato salad and coleslaw…

Black Beans

1-1/2Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1/2tsp paprika

1tsp cumin

14oz can drained and rinsed black beans

salt

Put everything in saucepan. Heat…(kinda obvious, right?!)

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Guacamole

4 medium avocados, scooped out and roughly chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1/4tsp salt

2Tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 medium white onion, minced

cilantro and/or chives, optional

The key to making great guacamole is choosing the perfect avocados…avocados that are at that perfect stage of ripeness for making truly great guacamole. The avocados that you use to make your guacamole should have “give” all across its surface…in simple terms, should be mashable…

Just like using butter that has set out on the counter to reach room temperature before baking instead of simply using butter straight out of the fridge can make a huge difference in baking…choosing the right smooshability of avocados is important in making the perfect guacamole.

You also want to avoid any avocados that are past their prime. You can tell if this is the case by looking at how dark the skin has become. Trust me, there’s no telling how many overripe avocados I’ve reluctantly had to throw away.

But hey, I did learn a new fact today…I’ve always known to store them in a dark place or even in a paper bag to ripen them more quickly, but I’m gonna now start keeping mine in the fridge so that when my weekly supply of avocados arrives they will ripen less quickly. Just make sure that you set them out of the fridge and let them reach room temp before starting to make your guacamole.

  • Scoop the pit out of the avocado…Just be careful if you try to do this using the method I found on youtube where you pit the avocado using a tumbler or glass…My recent attempt at doing this ended up in two surgeries and lots of unpaid medical bills. Anyway, after you pit your avocados, use a potato masher or fork to mash them up until a few chunks still remain but most of the avocado is smooth—probably goes without saying, we’ve all eaten guac before, right?!
  • Once you finish smooshing up your avocado, add the onion and salt. Then drizzle lime juice over the top surface of the guacamole to prevent it from browning…waiting to stir the lime juice into the guac right before serving.

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  • Pico de gallo
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1/4C finely chopped coriander
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • Put tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit there draining like this for at least twenty minutes. This will allow any excess moisture to drain out. When you are ready to finish making your meal, gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out even more juice. Combine the tomatoes, onion, coriander, chili and lime juice.

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Our Way

Coleslaw

  • 1 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • ½C mayonnaise 
  • ⅓C white sugar 
  • ¼C milk
  • ¼C buttermilk
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2Tbsp vinegar
  • ½tsp salt
  • ⅛tsp pepper 
  • Mix cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a separate bowl until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate slaw at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Mix again before serving.

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Jackfruit…The Why — April 13, 2021

Jackfruit…The Why

Jackfruit in bowl

Jackfruit has an impressive nutrition profile…containing nearly every vitamin and mineral that is recommended for healthy diets…including significant amounts of vitamins A and C…as well as the minerals potassium, riboflavin, and manganese…and the antioxidants.



According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains…



Calories…157…Half of a cup of jackfruit contains 95 calories.



Protein…2.84 grams……the edible pulp of a jackfruit contains almost three grams of protein…way more than the typical zero to one grams in apples and mangoes.



Fat...Jackfruit contains only a small amount of fat…1.06 grams.



Carbs…38.36 grams..Approximately 92% of the calories come from carbs.



Fiber...2.5 grams



Sugars…31.48 grams





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Jackfruit and Vitamins

A food is considered a “rich source” of a particular vitamin or mineral if it contains 20% or more of the Daily Value, DV, of that particular vitamin or mineral.

Vitamin B1…9%DV….105mg

Vitamin B2…Riboflavin…5%…0.055mg

Vitamin B6…25%DV

Vitamin C…22.6 mg…18% RDI







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Jackfruit and Minerals

  • Copper: 15% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI
  • Potassium……739mg…14% of the RDI
  • Magnesium…15%RDI…48mg
  • Manganese: 16% of the RDI







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Jackfruit and Antioxidants

Jackfruit is a good source of antioxidants, including carotenoids—which have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease…and flavanones—which contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — important factors in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.









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Health Benefits

Blood Pressure…The potassium found in jackfruit can help lower your blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium and reducing tension in the walls of blood vessels.

Cancer…Jackfruit contains antioxidants that help prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals that could lead to several chronic diseases, including cancer.





Cholesterol Levels…Eating jackfruit seeds may help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, that can cause a waxy deposit to build up along the inner walls of your arteries…resulting in restricted blood flow, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke…as well as raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, that helps remove LDL cholesterol from blood vessels and send it back to the liver.



Diabetes…Jackfruit has a fairly low glycemic index (GI), meaning that your blood sugar will not spike quickly after you eat it. Jackfruit also contains flavonoid antioxidants that have been shown to help balance your blood sugar levels and keep your pancreas healthy, which is important because the pancreas is what organ actually produces insulin.



Digestive health…Jackfruit is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber…as well as the prebiotics needed to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.



Heart Health…The potassium, fiber and antioxidants found in jackfruit may lower your risk of heart disease.



Immune System…The vitamin A and C content of jackfruit may help prevent illnesses and reduce the risk of viral infections.



Skin and Bones…Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that all already know is good for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also needed in order for your body to produce collagen, a protein so very important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, connective tissues, blood vessels and cartilage….and for healing wounds. Not only that, jackfruit has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead — April 4, 2021

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead

Golden Berries: Nutrition and Benefits - Ben's Natural Health

Golden berries—also known as Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, poha berry, goldenberry, husk cherry and cape gooseberry, aguaymanto, topotopo, and Peruvian groundcherry….(don’t ask me why, why go ask your Mother)…are not actually berries. They belong to the “nightshade” family…the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.

Golden berries are native to the mountainous forests of the Andes—countries such as Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Chile where the annual average temperature is about 60°F….and has been cultivated there ever since the days of the ancient Incans—as early as 4,000 years ago. Today they are also found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Golden berries grow on shrubs that are about three feet high with velvety, heart-shaped leaves and bell-shaped flowers that are less than an inch across.Hawaii, Taiwan, California, India, and Great Britain..

The fruit itself is a bright, yellow-orange orb wrapped in a papery husk…similar in appearance to a tomatillo and about the size of a marble…sort of a mini version of a yrllow cherry tomato.

Golden berries have a tart, tangy taste…similar to other tropical fruits—such as the pineapple or mango.

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Nutritional Value

Goldenberries are a low-calorie fruit that contain impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber as shown below, but the primary benefit of golden berries is a high concentration of antioxidants—such as polyphenols and carotenoids—naturally-occuring pigments that give foods such as goldenberries, oranges, pumpkins, and carrots their color.

One cup of golden berries contains…

  • Calories: 74
  • Carbs: 15.7 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Protein: 2.7 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI for women and 17% for men
  • Thiamine: 14% of the RDI for women and 13% for men
  • Riboflavin: 5% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 28% of the RDI for women and 25% for men
  • Vitamin A: 7% of the RDI for women and 6% for men
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI for women and 18% for men
  • Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI

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Health Benefits

Golden berries have many health benefits to offer. Let’s take a look at some of them…

  • Bones…Golden berries are high in vitamin K, a vitamin thar is necessary for healthy bones and cartilage.
  • Cholesterol Levels…Golden berries contain antioxidants and fatty acids—such as linoleic acid and oleic acid—that help lower your cholesterol. levels and establish the cholesterol balance needed to ensure a healthy heart.
  • Diabetes…Eating golden berries can be an effective preventive method and a treatment for Type II diabetes because golden berries contain nutrients that keep you from having high blood sugar levels.
  • Heart…Goldenberries can improve the health of your heart by lowering inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels…as well as blood pressure.
  • Immunity...Golden berries contain significant level of vitamin C…almost 15%DV…that is so important for your immune system.
  • Inflammation…Golden berries contain natural antioxidants and steroids that help calm inflammation caused by such diseases as IBS, arthritis, gout, muscle aches, chronic pain, hemorrhoids, autoimmune diseases, and some neurodegenerative diseases….
  • Liver and Kidney Health...Golden berries can reduce liver scarring and degradation….and also help eliminate toxins by making you pee more and flushing out excess fats, salts, and toxins from the lymphatic system. 
  • Vision…Golden berries contain lutein and beta-carotene that can keep your eyes in top working order as you age and lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, vision loss from diabetes, cataracts and other eye diseases.
  • Weight Loss...Golden berries are a good option for people trying to lose weight because they contain a large percentage of your daily nutrients, but hardly any fats or calories….only 53 calories per half cup.

Guava, Guava Do — March 29, 2021

Guava, Guava Do

Next on our walk through the produce aisle…more specifically the fruit section…even more specifcally the tropical fruits..we move on to the guava.

 

 

Guava are native to Mexico, Central America and the northern parts of South America. In fact, archaeological sites in Peru have shown that guavas were cultivated as early as 2500 BC.

Today, India is the one country that produces the most guava per year—about 17,650,000 metric tons of guava per year…followed by China, producing 4,366,300 metric tons.

Guava are oval in shape with rough, light green or yellow-colored skin…measuring anywhere from one to five inches long. The flesh can range from off-white to deep pink, depending on the species…species also indicates whether the guava will be bitter taste or soft and sweet.

Guava trees are small trees that belong to the myrtle family…have tough dark leaves that measure two to six inches long and white flowers.

 

 

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Nutritional Value

Guavas are low in calories…loaded with fiber, antioxidants and potassium, Not only that, one guava contains 90 mg…100%DV vitamin C.

 

 

 

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Health Benefits

Blood Sugar Levels…Guava can improve blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control, and insulin resistance….which makes it great for diabetics or those at risk of developing diabetes. Drinking guava leaf tea can lower blood sugar levels by more than 10% for up to two hours after that meal.

 

Cancer…The high levels of antioxidants in guava may help prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.

 

Digestive System…One guava provides 12%DV fiber…meaning that  eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation….as well as reduciong the intensity and duration of diarrhea.

 

Heart…guavas may help protect your heart and even improve heart health.because of the high levels of potassium fiber, antioxidants and vitamins found in guava leaves. Many people use guava leaf extract to help lower blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels…and increase “good” HDL cholesterol…each of which increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Eating ripe guava before meals can lower your blood pressure by 8–9 points…lower your total cholesterol by 9.9%…and increase “good” HDL cholesterol by 8%.

 

 

Immune System…Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C. In fact, one guava provides about twice the RDI for vitamin C…twice as much as that found in one orange. Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system..reducing a cold’s duration…helping to kill off bad bacteria and viruses that can lead to illness and infections.

 

 

PMS…Taking 6mg guava leaf extract daily may help reduce symptoms of painful menstruation, including cramps.

 

 

Skin…The wide range of vitamins and antioxidants packed into a guava may protect your skin from damage… slowing down its aging process and helping to prevent wrinkles. Guava leaf extract has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective at killing acne-causing bacteria.

 

 

Weight Loss…Guavas are a filling, low-calorie snack…with only 37 calories…12%DV fiber…and lots of important nutrients….meaning that they may help you feel full and help you lose weight.

Durian Durian — March 22, 2021

Durian Durian

Another “exotic” fruit that I’ve yet to try on our journey to the top of the Raw Foods Pyramid is the durian…considered by some to be “king of fruits” because of its appearance and overpowering odor.

Durian, just like ambrosia, is a topic of debate for many reasons.

Suppoasedly the fruit seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately you prefer it to all other food once you’ve tasted it.

 

 

 

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Characteristics

Availability…Durian can be found in Asian markets in the United States.

Odor…Durian  have a strong  odor….some considering it to have a pleasantly sweet fragrance…while others find the aroma very unpleasant odor—described as being similar to rotten onions, turpentine, pig manure, gym socks,. stale vomit, raw sewage, or skunk spray….and can be smelled from yards away.

In fact, the odor from a durian fruit lingers for several days and has even been banned from certain hotels, subways, airports, and other public transportation services in Southeast Asia  for this reason.

(That makes us all wanna go out and buy one ASAP, right?!)

Price…Prices of durians are relatively high compared with other fruits…typically ranging from $8 to $15 per fruit.

Rind…These oblong or round fruits range in color from green to brown…with pale yellow to red flesh, depending on the species…and have a thorn-covered rind.

Season…The durian is a seasonal fruit…typically available from June to August.

Size,,,The fruit can grow up to a foot long and six inches around…and typically weigh two to seven pounds. The flesh only accounts for about a fourth of the mass of the entire fruit.

Source…Thailand is ranked the world’s number one exporter of durian, producing around 700,000 tons of durian per year…400,000 tons of which are exported to mainland China and Hong Kong. Other countries that are major producers of the durian fruit are Malaysia and Indonesia. The fruit is extremely popular and loved by many in Southeast Asia.

Taste…To those who actually like this fruit, it supposedly tastes like almonds and has a custard-like texture…a uniquely tender and creamy texture…and is not acidic, overly sweet, or overly juicy.

 

 

 

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Nutritional Value

 
Calories 615 kJ (147 kcal)
 
Carbohydrates 27.09 g
Dietary fibre 3.8 g
 
Fat 5.33 g
 
Protein 1.47 g
 
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A 44 IU
Thiamine (B1) 33% 0.374 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 17% 0.2 mg
Niacin (B3) 7% 1.074 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 5% 0.23 mg
Vitamin B6 24% 0.316 mg
Folate (B9) 9% 36 μg
Vitamin C 24% 19.7 mg
 
Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium 1% 6 mg
Copper 10% 0.207 mg
Iron 3% 0.43 mg
Magnesium 8% 30 mg
Manganese 15% 0.325 mg
Phosphorus 6% 39 mg
Potassium 9% 436 mg
Sodium 0% 2 mg
Zinc 3% 0.28 mg
 
Other constituents Quantity
Water 65 g
Link to Full Report from the USDA National Nutrient Database
Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

 

 

 

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Uses

Durian can be used to make both sweet and savory dishes…sweet as in candy, ice cream,milkshakes, cappucino, candy, honey, cakes…savory as in soup, rice dishes, curry, fish.

 

 

 

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The How

Finding durian…Durian can be found in many Asian grocery stores.

Choosing…Look for light-colored spikes without any dark brown patches or bits of white between the spikes. Shake the durian to make sure that it doesn’t rattles. If it does rattle, the durian is is no longer good to eat. Avoid fruit with dry, shriveled stems.

Dealing with the odor…First run hot water through the durian skin to help remove the smell, Otherwise your hands will smell like durian for the rest of the day.

Cutting the fruit…Place the durian stem side down on a clean cutting surface. Use a large, sharp knife, to make a three inch cut through the thick skin on the top of the durian. Pull back the skin with your other hand as you cut..

Now lay the two halves down on the cutting board and remove the large “pods” of the fruit, using a spoon or your hands, Remove the large, inedible seeds.

Be careful handling the fruit. Its spikes can poke you.

Storing…Set the durians on the counter for a couple of days…or in the fridge wrapped in paper or plasticif you want to make them ripen less quickly. But be warned…if you do store them in the fridge, they will make your fridge (and everything in it stink.

Cooked durian will last a few days in the refrigerator in an airtight container….or in the freezer for up to three months.

Making the Perfect Ambrosia—The Familiar Heavenly Salad Now Made Healthy — March 15, 2021

Making the Perfect Ambrosia—The Familiar Heavenly Salad Now Made Healthy

20141219-ambrosia-vicky-wasik-2.jpg

Ambrosia…the “stuff” on the table on the holiday of every single home in the Deep South where I’m from and that that contained whatever your Mom and grandmother could possibly find to put in it—such as canned sweetened pinrapple, canned Mandarin orange slices, , gooey mini marshmallows, coconut, sugar-soaked maraschino cherriesbananasstrawberries, peeled grapes, and crushed pecans, fruit cocktail…all smothered in some other sort of thick, creamy binder probably processed food—such as mayonnaise, Cool Whip, heavy cream sour creamcream cheesepuddingyogurt, or cottage cheese….and then refrigerated for a few hours or even overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

What a waste of fresh produce perhaps…..not to mention an early introduction to processed foods.

Definitely not a food on the table that an ancient Greek god of mythology would have put on his plate without his mother making him do it.

While there is really no real consensus on what ambrosia should contain, ambrosia drums up memories from the past—either can be a cheap, sensory blast from the past…or a wistful nostalgia for their grandparents’ old recipes.

And there are various questions that you could ask yourself, such as…

  • Is it a dessert or a salad?
  • Should one use coconut or not?
  • What about marshmallows or whipped cream?
  • What variety of fruit should it have?
  • How did it come to exist at all?
  • Why did it become a Southern Christmas tradition?
  • And probably most importantly, how do we keep ambrosia from being a sugar-laden conglomeration of processed foods and sugar?

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Ambrosia and the 1800’s

It’s hard to imagine a time when something as simple as layers of sliced oranges, grated coconut, and a touch of sugar could so delight diners.

Perhaps the first recipe for ambrosia was found in the 1867 cookbook Dixie Cookery: or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years, written by Maria Massey Barringer.

Her recipe for ambrosia is a simple three-ingredient dish…”Grate the white part of the cocoanut [sic], sweeten with a little sugar, and place in a glass bowl, in alternate layers with pulped oranges, having a layer of cocoanut on top. Serve in ice-cream plates or saucers.”.

People soon began “twanking” the recipe to include anything from sliced pineapple, a little sherry or Madeira, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, orange or lemon juice, cherries, dates, papayas, peaches, and pears.

Recipes for ambrosia were soon found in cooking and household columns of newspapers everywhere. 

The fact that ambrosia became closely associated with Christmas in the South at this time perfectly makes sense for several reasons…

  • Coconuts became more available around the same time, thanks to the newly completed railroads linking the West Coast with the east.
  • Florida orange season began in the late fall, so in December fresh oranges would have just become available in the markets.
  • The sheer novelty of formerly exotic foods was enough to make such a dish special.

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The Making of a Southern Tradition

Even though most cooks continued to use this basic recipe—orange, coconut and sugar—for making ambrosia, many cooks started adding more modern and sweeter components—especially marshmallows.

Although Ancient Egyptians had used marshmallow plants…an herb native to parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia which grows in marshes and other damp areas…back as early as 2000 BC…surprisingly, they used the marshmallow for medicinal purposes—such as soothing coughs and sore throats and healing wounds.

Eating marshmallows was a privilege strictly reserved for royalty…and the manufacture of marshmallows was limited.

But In the early to mid-1800s, France confectioners began pressing the marshmallow sap in candy molds and marketing this candy as “Pâte de Guimauve”…a spongy-soft dessert made from whipping dried marshmallow roots with sugar, water, and egg whites.

Even so making marshmallows from the sap od the mallow plant was too time-consuming for marshmallows to be affordable to be enjoyed by the average Joe.

But thanks to companies such as Stephen F. Whitman & Son of Philadelphia, marshmallows were introduced to the United States and available for mass consumption…sold in tins as penny candy…and used in a variety of recipes—such as banana fluff.

The Whitman company introduced what most of us refer to as “marshmallow cream” around World War I,

So at this time, the late 1920s to 1930s, people began publishing recipes containing this marshmallow cream all across the country—especially recipes for ambrosia, salads that included oranges, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, along with grated coconut and some orange and lemon juice poured over the top…

Ambrosia soon became associated with holidays around the South…the one dish that no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner “required.”

 

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The 1970s and 1980s

Back when I was growing up…ambrosia basically was a term used to describe any fruit salad smothered in something so that the fruit was unrecognizable…anything from expansive fruit salad with lots of citrus and non-citrus fruits tossed with coconut…strange, bright orange concoctions made with flavored gelatin, canned whipped cream, and plenty of marshmallows…traditional mixtures of fresh sliced oranges, grated coconut, and a sprinkling of sugar….a bag of sweetened shredded coconut and supremed orange sections, occasionally with a few Maraschino cherries and some little marshmallows for visual interest.

And including a variety of ingredients.

  • Fruits such as cherries, dates, papayas, peaches, pears…
  • Smothering stuff such as mayo, sour cream, marshmallow cream, Coo. Whip, cream cheese…
  • Flavorings such as rum, grenadine, almonds…

 

The Recipe

Obviously you can still make ambrosia out of pretty much anything you darn well want to, but the goal is to make it fresher and to cut back on processed foods…

But here’s a recipe that is a good jumping off point for making heavenly ambrosia…

Ingredients

  • 2 cherimoya, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 6 navel oranges
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
  • 1C fresh shredded coconut
  • 1 large banana
  • 4.5oz maraschino cherries, drained well (optional)
  • 1C mini marshmallows
  • ½C pineapple juice
  • 1C vanilla Greek yogurt

Instructions

  • Toss all of the fruit together in a bowl.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Stir together juice and yogurt.
  • Add to the fruit.
  • Mix gently until combined.
  • Refrigerate anywhere from thirty minutes to a day or two, but the longer it sits in the fridge, the smooshier the  salad will become…which explains why most of us remember ambrosia as the smooshy gross stuff that we all avoided on the Chr1istmas buffet back home when we were little.

Baking with Coconut Flour — February 13, 2021

Baking with Coconut Flour

coconut bread recipe

The perfect coconut flour bread is the perfect answer to those starting a keto diet or those who are allergic to wheat, dairy, most grains, starches, and nuts. And switching to coconut flour means that you yourself don’t have to give up your favorite foods because of the other person. But baking with coconut flour is a whole different ballgame than baking with any other flour. One of the easiest recipes to learn how to bake with coconut flour is coconut flour bread. The perfect coconut flour bread is quick and easy to prepare, contains healthy all-natural ingredients, and has unbelievable taste. So let’s stop talking and start baking instead.

Making the Perfect Avocado Pudding — February 11, 2021

Making the Perfect Avocado Pudding

 Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Coconut Milk

 

The perfect avocado pudding is not some sort of sweet guacamole…but a sweet, rich and decadent creamy pudding.

The perfect avocado pudding is a great, delicious and good-looking dessert that you will be proud of serving because it is actually chock-full of healthy ingredients—banana for sweetening…lots of cocoa for a rich chocolaty taste…whipped coconut milk for airy texture and more sweetness…and finally avocado simply serves to bind all of the other ingredients together and provide creaminess.

 

  • 2 ripe medium avocados
  • 1/3C cocoa or carob powder
  • 1/4C coconut milk
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Toppings of choice…such as strawberries, coconut flakes, cherries, raspberries

Add the peeled avocados, banana, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Blend until a creamy paste forms. Set aside. Whip the coconut milk with a hand mixer until it obtains a mousse-like texture. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

 

Making the Perfect Coconut Water Smoothie — February 5, 2021

Making the Perfect Coconut Water Smoothie

Coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating option to the milk or plain water that we all typically think of as the liquid base for smoothies. Not only that, coconut water offers so much more as far as nutrition and health benefits.

Coconut water smoothies are especially great after you work out because it quickly rehydrates you and is a great, natural source of antioxidants and key electrolytes—such as potassium and sodium—that your body needs in order to bounce back after working up a sweat.

Coconut water is also a natural and healthy alternative to the not-so-healthy Gatorade-style energy drinks we usually grab after working out because coconut water contains low amounts of salt and sugar…as well as no artificial additives or colors.

So here are only a few quick and easy ideas for using coconut water in smoothies that are low in calories and a weight loss friendly…

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The Base…1C coconut water

The Greens…1C kale

The Fruit…(pick and choose your favorites…note that both fresh and frozen will work)…

  • Banana…1 peeled and chopped
  • Blueberries…½ cup
  • Cranberries…½ cup
  • Mango…½ cup chopped
  • Orange…1⁄2
  • Pineapple…1⁄2 cup chopped
  • Raspberry…1 cup
  • Strawberries…⅓ cup

The Sweetener…(Optional)…½tsp honey or agave nectar

Add-Ins…(optional)

  • Chia seeds…1Tbsp
  • Cinnamon or ginger…1/4tsp
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Ice cubes…4 to 5

Pour coconut into lender. Add kale. Blend for 1min. Add fruit and add-ins. Blend again. Add ice if using. Blend again. Enjoy! 

Nature’s Own Sports Drink — February 3, 2021

Nature’s Own Sports Drink

Dubbed by marketers as “Mother Nature’s sports drink,” coconut water has become a “trendy” beverage in recent years…a beverage that is had said to not only hydrate the body, but also to help with a whole host of conditions—including hangovers,  cancer and kidney stones.

Coconut water is a tasty refreshing beverage that is also good for you because it is loaded with several important nutrients, including minerals that most people don’t get enough of.

Coconut water is the clear liquid naturally found in the center of a young, green coconut.

Coconuts take about a year to fully mature. As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat…but if the coconut is being grown to make coconut water, the coconut is harvested when the coconut is  about seven months old. The younger the fruit, the more water it contains.

Coconut water is different from coconut milk. Coconut water comes straight from the coconut…whereas coconut milk is coconut meat that has been ground up and mixed with water.

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Nutrition

  • So many of us are trying to steer clear of processed, artificially-sweetend or flavored foods these days…including fortified cereals, unhealthy snacks, and energy drinks that contain caffeine and artificial ingredients. Coconut water may be a great alternative.
  • Coconut water is low in calories…naturally free of fat…a good source of fiber…low in carbohydrates and sodium…rich in potassium…a great source of several vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and vitamin C.
  • All without artificial ingredients or additives that may be unhealthy.
  • And not to mention super hydrating.
  • Calories…An 8-ounce serving of coconut water contains 45 calories…about the same found in the same amount of Gatorade.
  • Sugar…Most unflavored coconut water contains 1.3 grams of sugar per ounce…less sugar than many sports drinks and much less sugar.
  • Vitamins…Coconut water is a great source of vitamin C…a single eight ounce serving contains 10%RDI.
  • Minerals…One cup coconut water has more potassium than four bananas…61mg potassium17% of the RDI.

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Health Benefits

  • Coconut water has become a popular sports drink for those of us seeking energy, hydration, and endurance.
  • But let’s look at some of the other benefits that coconut water provides.

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Bloating

Many people experience uncomfortable swelling after meals that are high in sodium. Coconut water contains the potassium needed to counteract these high levels of sodium and keep your belly from swelling.

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Blood Pressure

Coconut water is effective in keeping your blood sugar levels down because of the amounts of magnesium and potassium that it contains. Potassium is often given to heart patients to strengthen their hearts.

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Energy

If you want to avoid that tired, draggy feeling in the early afternoon, drink some coconut water. Coconut water contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that rehydrate the body and are great for a quick energy boost…that’s why athletes swear by it.

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Hangover Remedy

If you drank too much alcohol the night before and are now enjoying the headache and hazy feeling of a good old-fashioned hangover, try starting the day with coconut water.  The electrolytes in coconut water replenish the body with the minerals and nutrients needed for you to function effectively and rehydrates your parched system.

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Immune System

Coconut water has a healthy supply of vitamin C which is important for…

  • boosting your immune system
  • eliminating impurities
  • fighting illness and infection
  • killing germs
  • preventing colds and flu

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Kidney Stones

Thank goodness I’ve never had a kidney stone, but I hear that they really, really hurt…and sometimes require surgery.

Whar are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are crystals formed from whenever your body has too so much calcium and oxalate that these adhere to your kidneys to form kidney stones.

Whenever you have kidney stones, doctors often recommend that you drink plenty of water, but coconut water is actually more effective than plain water in preventing the development of these crystals.

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Muscle Cramps

Cramps that are a result of such thibs as pre-menstrual syndrome, a long run or weightlifting, or potassium deficiency can be painful and debilitating, Coconut water nourishes muscles and prevents cramps because it is rich in potassium and muscle-nourishing.

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Obesity

Sodas…or as we say in the Deep South…typically contain tons of sugar…and even when you buy sugar-free soda, it still contains chemicals and preservatives that are unhealthy for you.

Coconut water on the other hand, contains no calories, provides more nutritional value, is naturally free of additives and artificial sweeteners….making it a healthier alternative.

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Skin

In order for your skin to look its best, it is essential that you consume a steady supply of water, vitamins, and minerals.