Mango…The Most “Dangerous” But Definitely Delicious Fruit of All — April 29, 2021

Mango…The Most “Dangerous” But Definitely Delicious Fruit of All

Since having two surgeries on my hand all because of a mango, I am rather hesitant to cut one…but I do miss all the great things that you can make with them.

So I have learned that the best way to dive into a mango is definitely not with a wine glass…but instead to first cut long 1/4″ vertical slices 1/4 inch away from the middle to separate the flesh from the pit and then to cut the flesh into a grid-like pattern and scoop it out of the rind.

As far as use, mango contains more sugar than many other fruits…so you probably should limit how much mango you eat in a day to two cups per day.

But some of the many delicious ways that you can easily include mangos in your diet include….

  • beverages
  • chutney
  • curries 
  • granola
  • ice cream
  • jelly
  • muesli
  • pickles
  • rice dishes
  • smoothiesmang
  • salads
  • salsas
  • sorbets

In the next few posts, let’s take a look at some of these ideas for using this rather “dangerous” but delicious fruit.

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.

 

 

 

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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…

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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.



Can’t Put a Cantaloupe Into an Envelope — October 15, 2020

Can’t Put a Cantaloupe Into an Envelope

Cantaloupe - Cucumis melo var. Cantalupensis

We all pretty much know what a cantaloupe is by now…in fact, the melons that I am going to be talking about in the next few posts are all very familiar to us by now—cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon.

But I’m gonna ramble on about these types of melons anyway…starting with the cantaloupe.

Cantaloupes are easily recognizable, with their netted green and beige skin…and we all know that when you slice into your cantaloupe you will find orange fresh that is deliciously sweet…(as long as you’ve picked a decent cantaloupe…more on this later).

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Nutritional Value…The typical cantaloupe is actually 90% water and provides…

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Types of Cantaloupe

And did you know that there are actually several different varieties of cantaloupe…

Let’s take a look at these different types.

American cantaloupe…This is the cantaloupe that most of us think of whenever we think about cantaloupes…and the one that can be found in almost all grocery stores everywhere. These round melons have a rough “net-like” outer peel. The flesh is typically firm, orange, moderately sweet…assuming that you haven’t let it sit on your counter for a year or so…

Asian Cantaloupe…Asian cantaloupes differ from your typical cantaloupe in several ways. First of all, their outer skins can range in color from pale green to yellow and are not as deeply netted as your typical cantaloupe. The fruit is more oblong also. As far as the flesh goes, Asian cantaloupes have a pale orange flesh that is more delicate and crispy…instead of  being soft and pulpy.

Charentais Cantaloupe…Charentais cantaloupe are the pride of France…having been first produced in the Poitou-Charentes region in Western France. These cantaloupe are much smaller than the other types of cantaloupe…being about the size of a grapefruit and weighing about two pounds per melon. The rind is smooth and a creamy-graywith faint green ribs. The flesh is a bright salmon-orange color. Nutritionally speaking, these cantaloupe are great source of beta-carotene, folic acid, and dietary fiber.

Crenshaw Cantaloupes…Crenshaw cantaloupes are a hybrid of the Casaba and Persian cantaloupes and possibly the best tasting cantaloupes out there. They weigh anywhere fom eight to ten pounds per melon and have a buttercup-yellow rind and are said to be one of the sweetest melons there. Nutritionally speaking, crenshaw cantaloupes are packed with vitamins A, B6 and C,

  • European Cantaloupe…
  • European cantaloupes have a lightly ribbed gray-green skin without any netting…quite different from what we normally expect. They have a orange, juicy, sweet and aromatic flesh.
  • Galia Cantaloupe…Galia cantaloupes are smaller than your typical cantaloupes that originated from Israel and are extremely popular in Southeast Asia. They have a sweet, pale yellow, or green flesh…often said to look like a cantaloupe from the outside, but a honeydew melon from the inside.
  • Japanese Cantaloupe…Japanese cantaloupes have a very smooth smooth rind, a perfectly round shape, and a pale yellow-orange flesh.
  • These melons sell for anywhere from $100.00 to $250 per melon. They are extremely valued by the Japanese. In fact, they are often gift-wrapped and given as gifts because they show the status symbol of people who can afford it.
  • These melons are so expensive because they are rare…They are only cultivated in the small town of Yubari, Japan…where they are grown with the extremely labor-extensive care and consideration, such as making sure that the stems are pruned to the exact same lengths, pollinating the seeds manually, and massaging the fruits by hand.
Let’s Take a Peep at Pepos — October 14, 2020

Let’s Take a Peep at Pepos

The fourth category of fruit, the pepo category, consists of those fruits have multiple seeds throughout the flesh or grouped together in the center….mostly melons.

So I thought that this would be a good time to talk about the menagerie of  melons that you might see as you are hitting the fruit aisle with great style.

One more thing…yes, I do know there are several other varieties of melon…but I only listed those found at my local Sprouts store…after all, our main goal is to not look stupid when we go in there.

Book Review—The First Mess by Laura Wright — June 19, 2018

Book Review—The First Mess by Laura Wright

The book The First Mess by Laura Wright is a book about the accessibility and joys of plant-based wellness.

This book first appealed to me because lately I have been looking for healthier ways for our family to cook and eat…especially since my husband has been diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.

This book will be especially of interest to people who are interested in learning how to prepare simple, seasonal vegan and plant-based meals that my family will enjoy

The central themes carried out throughout the book are the love for fresh ingredients, a respect towards the process of prepping and cooking them, and an overall approach to keeping it simple.

The author of the book is Laura Wright, the blogger behind the Saveur award-winning blog The First Mess.

Laura grew up working at her family’s local food market and vegetable patch in southern Ontario, where fully stocked root cellars in the winter and armfuls of fresh produce in the spring and summer were the norm. After attending culinary school and working for one of Canada’s original local food chefs, she launched The First Mess at the urging of her friends in order to share the delicious, no-fuss, healthy, seasonal meals she grew up eating, and she quickly attracted a large, international following.

The book features more than 125 whole-food recipes that showcase the best produce that each season has to offer.

The book begins with a guide for stocking your pantry and buying kitchen equipment, and then features over a hundred recipes organized into the following categories…

Mornings & Breakfast, such as Fluffy Whole Grain Pancakes

Soups & Stews, such as Garlicky Winter Vegetable and White Bean Mash with Mushroom Miso Gravy

Salads & Dressings, such as Romanesco Confetti Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing

Hearty Mains & Big Plates, such as Butternut and Pesto Cream Lasagna

Vegetables & A Couple of Grains, such as Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Energizing Drinks & Small Bites

Desserts & Small Treats, such as Earl Grey and Vanilla Bean Tiramisu

Each seasonal, wholesome, and delicious recipe includes a photograph…gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, and nut-free options…and the amount of time that recipe will require.

 I didn’t find the recipes too complicated or too “extra.”  These plant-centric recipes will allow you to use up what you already have, encourage you to try something new, and create your own basics instead of buying them.

I found this book to be very organized, especially because it contains an easy-to-use index and informative table of contents.

I also found the book to be encouraging and fun to read because Laura shares interesting stories about specific ingredient and dishes, memories from childhood about harvesting and preparing it certain foods, and her decision to become a vegan.

The book is beautifully designed and laid out. The fonts are easy to read, and the ingredients and instructions are listed side-by-side in a very user-friendly way.

Each and every recipe has a beautiful color picture (almost always full-page)…a series of icons at the top for nut-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, etc….and the amount of time that the recipe will require.