Jackfruit…The Which — April 15, 2021

Jackfruit…The Which

Jackfruit can be found fresh, canned, or frozen in many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores.







***************

Fresh Jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit can be purchased at Asian food markets and specialty stores…where it’s typically sold by the pound, The typical jackfruit will weigh somewhere between ten and twenty-five pounds.

The smell of a jackfruit indicates its ripeness: The stronger the jackfruit smells, the riper the jackfruit is.

Fresh jackfruit can often be hard to find when it is not in season, but can be useful at any stage of ripeness.







********************

Unripe Jackfruit..

Unripe jackfruit is green and will become yellow as it ripens. This unripe, green jackfruit is what most of us will find the most interesting and useful because it has a texture very similar to chicken or pulled pork, making it an excellent meat substitute—in such savory dishes as curries, pies, tacos, soups, stir-fries, chili, stews, wraps, and burritos.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d ever go to the trouble of buying a whole jackfruit and processing it myself…it seems like a big pain in the butt.

But…

If you’re willing to try it and let me know just how easy or difficult it is, go for it. I just had surgery on my hand and will be content to buy either the pre-packaged and pre-seasoned jackfruit chunks that are found in the freezer or the canned stuff…both already packaged to have that look and texture of meat that makes it such a great meat substitute.

If you do go all out and buy the real deal, first you have to cut through the thick, green coral reef-like skin with a sharp serrated knife. Chilling the jackfruit in the fridge for a while before breaking into it will make this easier to do.

Once you’ve dug your way into the jackfruit, you will find a creamy white interior filled with large, pale yellow seed-containing bulbs that are connected to the fruit’s core.

Keep slicing until you have large chunks of fruit (leaving the skin on).

Before you can use the fresh jackfruit in recipes, you will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for about 45 minutes…until the inner flesh is soft and a bit stringy, like chicken. You could also do this in your pressure cooker.



If you are working with a fresh, unripe jackfruit, first cut the fruit in half. Next remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core with either a knife or your hands. The white, fibrous parts inside of the jackfruit will be very sticky, so you probably should wear gloves while doing this.

You will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for at least thirty minutes…until the flesh becomes soft and stringy…the same texture as pulled pork or chicken….before you can use the jackfruit in any of the recipes that I will sharing in the next few posts..(more on this later)…



***************

Ripe Jackfruit

Ripe jackfruit has a rather neutral flavor that will absorb the flavor of whatever other foods it is cooked with, much like a potato. Fresh, ripe jackfruit can be eaten on its own, added to yogurt or oatmeal. or used to make a wide range of recipes—including desserts.

Often stores will sell packages of precut jackfruit because the entire jackfruit itself can be so big. Always choose this instead of buying a whole one and going to the trouble of cutting it yourself…will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Regardless what form of jackfruit you buy, always avoid fruit with black or dark spots.

If you buy green jackfruit, you need to go ahead and use it while it still is green…or process and freeze it as soon as possible.

Cut, ripened jackfruit can be stored in plastic in the fridge for up to a one week or in the freezer for up to a month.



****************

Jackfruit Seeds

You can also roast or boil the jackfruit seeds and then combine with seasonings to be eaten whole…or can be used to make hummus, top a salad, make a smoothie, or grind into flour.









*****************

Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit will be packed in either a brine or a syrup. Always choose jackfruit packed in brine because this will be better for making savory dishes.

Also check to make sure that the labels includes the words “green,” “young,” or “tender” if you plan on using the jackfruit as a meat substitute..



*****************

Jackfruit Products

These days it seems like more and more foods containing jackfruit are sprouting up at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the health-food section of just about any traditional grocery store. Try them. You might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was as to how great these products can be.

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





***********************

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







***************************

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







***************************

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.









*************************************

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.

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.

 

 

******************

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.

 

 

 

*****************

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.

 

 

 

****************

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.

 

 

 

******************

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.

 

 

 

*****

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.

 

 

 

***********

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.

Cherimoya…The What and Why — March 11, 2021

Cherimoya…The What and Why

If you’re like me, there are so many things in the produce section that you walk by and wonder what in the heck is that…and what in the heck do I do with it.

The cherimoya, picrtured above ia probably one of those fruits.

 

 

 

*******

The Fruit

The cherimoya fruit is a large, green, heart-shaped fruit that is anywhere from four to eight inches long and two to four inches around…similar to a pine cone.

The fruit typically weighs anywhere from five to eighteen ounches, but can reach up to six pounds or more.

The skin of a cherimoya is thin and light green in color….often having overlapping scales. The more scales the skin has, the more seeds it will contain.

The creamy white flesh has a soft, smooth and melting texture like that of a soft-ripe pear…supposedly tastes like a blend of banana, vanilla, mango, papaya, pineapple. pear, strawberry or other berry, apple, and coconut….and can range from anywhere from mellow sweet to tangy or acidic sweet–which honestly doesn’t tell me a darn thing…so I don’t quite know what to expect when it finally comes in with my next Instacart order…

As far as the seeds, the cherimoya contains many hard black, glossy seeds that are about half of an inch long and about half as wide. These seeds are inedible.

 

 

 

*********************************

Where are cherimoya grown?

Cherimoya trees are evergreen trees that grow wild in the tropical highlands of the Andes Mountains—countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru….areas that have an altitude between 4,900 and 6,600 feet…average annual temperature about 66 °F…annual rainfall of about 35 inches…and soils with slightly acidic, sandy soil.

However, interestingly enough, Spain is the world’s largest producer of cherimoya today.

The trees can reach thirty feet or more in height.

The leaves of a cherimoya tree are a dull medium green color…and leathery. They can grow anywhere from two to ten inches long…one to four inches wide. They are pointed at the ends and rounded near the stalk.

Cherimoya trees bear very pale green flowers with purple spots that are three centimeters long.

Okay, you probably get the picture` by now…

So let’s move on to far more interesting things…like why it’s good for you…and what to do with it…

 

 

 

******************

Nutritional Value

The fruit is rich in nutrients, especially antioxidants, 

1.Antioxidants…Cherimoya contains antioxidants—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and kaurenoic acid—that can help fight oxidative stress, prevent a range of health problems, and help prevent cardiovascular disease…antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects.

2. Fiber…7.2 grams fiber…Cherimoya is also a good source of soluble fiber…which helps with digestive issues because it adds bulk to stool and helps it move through your digestive tract…weight loss because it makes you feel full longer…and reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and more.

3.  Vitamin B6…0.7mg…33% DV…Cherimoya is a good source of vitamin B6…which helps maintain healthy blood vessels, supports brain function, regulates sleep cycles, reduces blood pressure and is important for mood and ability to focus. 

As far as other nutrients, cherimoya fruits contain…

  • Calories…231
  • Carbohydrates…55.2 grams
  • Protein…5.1 grams
  • Fat…1.9 grams
  • Vitamin C…35.9mg…60% DV
  • Potassium…839mg…24% DV
  • Riboflavin…0.4mg…22% DV
  • Thiamine…0.3mg…19% DV
  • Folate…56.2mg…14% DV
  • Manganese…0.3mg…13% DV
  • Magnesium…49.9mg…12% DV
  • Copper…0.2mg…11% DV 
  • Phosphorus…81.1mg…8% DV
  • Pantothenic acid…0.7mg…7% DV
  • Iron…0.9mg…5% DV

 

 

 

****************

Health Benefits

Cancer…Cherimoya is rich in antioxidants—such as catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin—that have been shown prevent the growth of cancer cells in test-tube studies and lower your risk of developing certain cancers — especially stomach and colon cancer.

Digestion…One cup of cherimoya offers almost 7.2 grams of dietary fiber…over 17% of the RDI. This fiber helps “poop” move through your intestines, nourishes the good bacteria in your gut, produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)—such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate—that protect you from inflammatory conditions that affect your digestive tract—such as Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, and colitis.

Eye Health…Cherimoya contains lutein—an antioxidant that is importanr for good eye health. Foods that contain lutein can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, vision loss, and help reduce eye fatigue, glare and light sensitivity.

Heart Health…Cherimoya contains antioxidants, nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, and dietary fiber that are good for your heart. For example, the potassium found in cherimoya reduces high blood pressure in people with hypertension and can lower your risk of a stroke by about 25%.

High Blood Pressure…Cherimoya contains nutrients—such as potassium and magnesium—that help regulate blood pressure. In fact, one cup cherimoya provides 10% and over 6%RDI magnesium…both of which help lower blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Immunity…Cherimoya is loaded with vitamin C…about 60% DV…a nutrient that is important for fighting infections and disease…helping to decrease the duration of the common cold…and preventing several chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.

Cherimoya also contains several antioxidants—such as kaurenoic acid, catechin and epicatechin—that help promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Mood…Cherimoya is an excellent source of vitamin B6. In fact, one cup of cherimoya contains over 30%RDI. Vitamin B6 is important for creating neurotransmitters—such as serotonin and dopamine—which help regulate mood and may help prevent depression.

Making Perfectly Deliciously and Perfectly Healthy Coconut Cookies — March 7, 2021

Making Perfectly Deliciously and Perfectly Healthy Coconut Cookies

The perfect coconut oatmeal breakfast cookies are perfectly delicious, perfectly healthy, and the perfect way to start a perfect day.

Did I use the words “healthy” and “cookies” in the same sentence?

Actually, yes I did.

Why?

Because these coconut breakfast cookies are vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly.

Perfectly delicious because they are perfectly moist and che`wy on the outside…perfectly crisp on the outside with perfectly crisp edges…and bursting with the perfect amount of coconut f1lavor.

 

Dry Ingredients

  • ¼C + 2Tbsp rolled oats
  • ¼C flour—coconut flour, almond flour, regular flour, almond flour
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ¼tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp baking soda
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2Tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup, organic cane sugar or organic brown sugar…or 2Tbsp granulated stevia…or ½C pure maple syrup

 

Wet Ingredients

  • 8oz coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 1 flax egg or four medium eggs….
  • 1tsp. vanilla

 

The Coconut…½C unsweetened coconut flakes

Make sure to use large coconut chips or flakes…Using large coconut flakes or chips will ensure that your cookies spread out and flatten like regular cookies…instead of ending up looking like macaroons.

 

Add-in Ingredient

Feel free to customize these cookies to your liking ny adding whatever else you want—such as finely-chopped nuts, seeds, raisins, dried fruit. sugar-free chocolate chips, and so on and so forth.

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk all of the wet ingredients in a second bowl until smooth. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Cream together until light and fluffy. Fold in coconut and any other add-in Ingredients.

Scoop 2Tbsp-sized firmly-packed dough balls onto prepared cookie sheet. Press down with your palm into a cookie shape.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and slightly golden on top.

Making the Perfect coconut Porridge — February 15, 2021

Making the Perfect coconut Porridge

It’s snowed several inches this weekend…a rare thing here in the DFW metroplex (Texas)…and so we’ve switched many of our typical diet staples—such as iced tea, cold cereal, and yogurt—to warmer and more “wholesome” foods such as this hot cereal, or porridge, which is healthy, filling, and stocked with healthy ingredients—such as quinoa, oats, and coconut milk.

So let’s talk about how to make a bowl of this satisfying coconut comfort food that is not only true breakfast bliss, but also a keto delight

 

 

 

**************

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2tsp butter 
  • 1/2C coconut milk
  • 1/2C quinoa
  • 1 -1/2C rolled oats
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 3/4C water
  • Sweetener—coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar,…
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2C unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Optional Toppings—apple slices, peanut butter, honey, fresh chopped fruit, berries, nuts, seeds,…

 

 

 

***************

Instructions

Combine egg, coconut flour, and salt in a small bowl. Melt the butter and coconut cream over low heat. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture, combining until you achieve a creamy, thick texture. When it begins to simmer, turn it down to medium-low and whisk until it begins to thicken. Add water, quinoa, oats, and salt. Cook for 15 minutes…until the grains are soft to the bite and no longer gritty or hard. Add more water if needed to reach your desired state of thickness/soupiness. Garnish with your favorite toppings. Serve hot with coconut milk or cream.

        •  
    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 Granola —

    Making the Perfect Coconut Granola

     

    The perfect coconut granola is the perfect combination of oats, nuts, seeds, add-ins, fruit, sweetener—such as honey or maple syrup.

    The perfect coconut granola is not only the perfect simple and fast breakfast…but also the perfect after school snack…the perfect topping for yogurt, ice cream, milk or fresh fruit…the perfect food for camping trips and road trips.

    The perfect coconut granola can be made ahead of time and stored for weeks.

     

     

     

    ***********

    Ingredients

    The Oats…4C…Old-fashioned oats will keep their shape during baking, but use certified gluten-free oats if you need gluten-free granola. Do not use instant or quick oats.

     

    The Fruit…1C…Whether or not you actually use fruit is totally up to you, but fruit adds extra sweetness, chewy texture, and more flavor to your finished granola. Any dried fruit will work—dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, raisins, mixed dried berries

     

    The Coconut…2/3C unsweetened flaked coconut

     

     

    The Sweetener…1/3 cup maple syrup or honey or agave nectar…Use whichever one you like the best or what you have on hand. Another option would be 1/4C brown sugar. Such  sweeteners stick to the oats and give you plenty of sweet chunks in the mix. You can use whatever kind of sweetener and oil that you’d like, but the coating for your granola should be about half sweetener and half oil.

     

     

     

    The Nuts and Seeds…1C…Good option would be any one or a combination of the following…almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, and macadamia nuts.

     

     

    The Oil…2/3C melted coconut oil…The oil is what makes the granola crispy. Substitutes for coconut oil include extra virgin olive oil or butter.

     

    The Salt…1/2tsp…Salt adds flavor to your granola. Try using fine-grain sea salt instead of regular table salt. 

     

     

    The Spices…1tsp…Spices can give your granola a subtle warming flavor. Good options include ginger, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon.

     

    The Vanilla…2tsp vanilla…simply because you’re baking something…have you ever noticed that whenever you’re baking anything at all, one of the ingredients is always vanilla…and you start by preheating your oven to 350…

    1.  

     

    Optional Mix-Ins…Feel free to experiment by adding whatever else you want,,,such as 2tsp lemon or orange zest, mini chocolate chips, small candies like M&M’s, chia seeds…you name it…or find it…

    1.  

    ****************

    Instructions
     

    Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together oil, sweetener, salt, and spices. Add oats and almonds. Stir to coat well. Press the granola into an even layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring only once halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven. Add the fruit. Press and tamp down the granola before it cools to help the granola stick together. Cool completely before storing. Avoid jostling the granola on the pan any more than you gave to until it cools completely. Once completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container, where it will keep for up to a month.