Two Summer Slaws

IMG_5858Asian Summer Slaw

You’ve basically already got the recipe for this one if you read my Garlic-Ginger Kale-Sweet Potato Salad post of a few days ago. It’s the same dressing, so hopefully you have some of that still in your fridge. Only difference is you use chopped (or shredded) cabbage (asian, red, green, combination of colors) and red bell peppers instead of kale and sweet potatoes (I’m telling you, this dressing will keep your kids eating raw cruciferous veggies all summer–or year, for that matter–long!). That’s it–those are your ingredients. Add chopped up almonds (we like the sprouted ones) or peanuts. You can add cilantro or basil too (did you know that cilantro is a great sugar-and-insulin-regulator? Not to mention, rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids, and phenolic acid compounds, all of which contribute to fighting inflammation and free radicals? Basil is also a great antimicrobial/antibacterial herb). Garnish with extra cilantro leaves (or mint!).

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Quick Lacto-Fermented Cole Slaw

Ingredients:

1 large head of Cabbage (red, green, combination), well chopped, or grated
approximately 1 cup of whole fat plain (preferably raw) kefir or yoghurt

1 medium to large red onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, finely diced
lots of fresh dill (or dried if you can’t get it), to taste

approximately 1 cup of whole fat (preferably raw) sour cream (or creme fraiche)
a few T of fresh squeezed lemon juice and/or raw apple cider vinegar (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
a tiny amount of stevia, to taste (optional)
Combine cabbage and yoghurt in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix well until cabbage is thoroughly coated. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour, then cover and place in fridge. Leave overnight, then stir until re-coated. Cover again and leave in fridge for another 24 hours or so. Then add all other ingredients, mix well and enjoy.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

IMG_5901This is such an old recipe, and I’ve seen many versions of it. It’s quick and simple, and can be part of a nutrient-dense meal, or served as appetizers. Make sure you get good organic pastured bacon if you can (local farms, farmers’ markets, good butchers, etc).

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon, cut in half
12 medium-sized scallops (or 6 large, cut in half)
approx. 5 T butter, melted
as much garlic as you want (a few cloves), minced or pressed
salt and pepper
12 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lay the bacon out on a flat baking pan and bake it for about 10 minutes each side. You want it to really start cooking, but still be pliable. Remove from oven and lay on a plate to cool to the point that you can touch it without burning your fingers.
Pour most of the leftover bacon fat out of the baking pan (strain and save it–it’s great for cooking everything, or making mayo out of (recipe soon).
Add the garlic, salt and pepper to your melted butter. (You can keep some of this aside to pour over at the end.)
Dip each scallop piece into the garlic butter. Thoroughly coat each one.
Then wrap each scallop with a piece of the bacon and secure it with a toothpick (make sure toothpick goes all the way through the whole scallop and bacon on each side, so it doesn’t fall apart in the baking).
Place each scallop onto the greased baking pan.
Bake until scallops are done and bacon is starting to crisp a little (approximately 20 minutes).
Remove from oven, arrange on plates and pour remaining garlic butter over all.
These are also delicious with a chipotle mayo, for which I will try to get a recipe up soon.

 

flourless gluten-free sugar-free brownie-truffles

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My new favorite ingredient discovery is Creamed coconut (not to be confused with coconut cream). I found it at our local co-op, but if you can’t find it, I’m sure you can order it online.

Anyway, so, this is a very simple recipe, once you have your creamed coconut. I’ve seen a few versions out there, but all with sugar of one sort or another.

Ingredients:
1 package (7 ozs) unsweetened creamed coconut
3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or pieces, or 6 ozs worth of chocolate bars (either homemade chocolate, unsweetened bars or 85% cocoa is what we use)
1 to 2 T raw cacao powder (or good quality, organic, non-alkaline cocoa powder)
2 tsp vanilla extract and/or 2 tsp almond extract or orange extract (orange oil also works wonders here!)
2 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 to 8 scoops of KAL organic stevia (optional) (we actually like this with or without stevia. The creamed coconut has a pretty sweet taste to it, but we also like very dark bitter barely-sweetened chocolate, so experiment according to your taste buds. If you’re someone transitioning from sugar, you may be surprised to find that after a few weeks you won’t need to add any extra sweetener). In the picture above, we made them without stevia, but sprinkled a tiny bit on top of each one, which tasted great!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with parchment-paper muffin cups.
Melt the chocolate bars/chips and creamed coconut together in a double boiler, whisking occasionally. Once this is all melted together, remove from burner and add the rest of the ingredients, continuing to stir. As soon as you add the eggs, the mixture will thicken a lot, so you may want to add them last.
Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 1/2 an hour, then cool on a plate for another 15 minutes or so, then cool in the fridge until cold. These will be a little crumbly until you get them fully cooled down, at which point they become completely stuck together and kind of soft-hard like a cross between brownies and truffles! Enjoy!

Raw Sugar-Free Chocolates

These are SO good (again, if you like strong dark bitter REAL chocolate), and so good for you. Terrific holiday treats for the kiddies (and the kiddies in all of us!).

Cacao is full of heart-protective anti-oxidants similar to polyphenols found in red wine and green tea. It is full of many minerals too, and extremely high in magnesium, a mineral many diabetics in particular are often deficient in. The problem with commercial chocolates is that they are full of sugars or chemical sugar-substitutes. Any chocolate that contains under 70% cocoa shouldn’t even be called chocolate!

Anyway, here’s my basic recipe, with suggestions for variations afterwards.

Approximately 7 ozs raw cacao butter, melted slowly in a double-boiler
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted over a very low heat
2 cups raw cacao powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 T almond extract
Approximately 20 scoops of KAL organic stevia (or to taste, depending on how sweet you want it)
Chocolate molds and/or ice cube trays

Combine the melted oils in a large bowl or measuring pitcher. Add the extracts and stir well. Stir together the cacao powder and stevia powder, then pour these dry ingredients into the wet and whisk together until no lumps remain. Pour or spoon chocolate into molds and refrigerate. They should set in about an hour. These need to be kept in the fridge. They’re a little more melty at room temperature (approx. 70 degrees F) than commercial chocolates, as they don’t contain soy lecithin or any chemical emulsifiers. You can also try a higher percentage of cacao butter (or no coconut oil at all), and they won’t melt as easily. I’ve never done this, I guess just because I like them cold out of the fridge anyway.

Here are some of the additions we’ve done:
mixed dried berries
goji berries
golden berries
orange extract
mint extract
powdered dried mint leaves
powdered  dried basil leaves
turmeric, almond butter and black pepper
almond butter
peanut butter
crushed pecans
chopped almonds and walnuts

If you add some raw cream while you’re making them, they come out thicker, like truffles. Experiment!

Raw Chocolates, sugar-free and delicious

No time left today, but will get this recipe up very soon, so stay tuned. I promise it will be in the next couple of days. These are incredible, if you are a true chocoholic and like dark bitter chocolate, but don’t want (or can’t have) all the sugar.

 

Curried Lamb Stew


Coconut oil or ghee for cooking
2 lbs lamb, either shoulder or stew meat or shank or butt roast, trimmed of visible fat
3 medium-sized onions, sliced into wedges
One 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 t turmeric
3 to 4 T curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 14-oz. cans unsweetened organic coconut milk
2 large tart apples, cored and coarsely chopped
3 medium rutabagas, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup stock or broth
salt and pepper
cilantro, finely chopped (as much as you want, depending on how much you like it)

If cooking in the oven:
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Sprinkle the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large flame-proof/oven-proof pot (cast-iron works well). Brown the lamb on as many sides as is possible. Remove and set aside. Saute the onion wedges until slightly browned, then sprinkle on the spices and saute for another minute or so. Turn the flame down to medium-low. Add the rutabagas, and stir in the ginger, apples, garlic, coconut milk, bay leaf and stock. Set the lamb back in the pan, on top of all of this, cover and roast in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. At the very end, stir in cilantro.

If cooking in the slow-cooker:
Follow instructions above, but once meat and onions have been browned, throw all ingredients into the slow-cooker, cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn down to low for 6 to 8 hours, until meat is very tender. Again, stir in cilantro at the end.

I once had a lamb curry served with yoghurt and a fruit chutney spooned into it. It was great. I’m still trying to create a sugar-free chutney, so stay posted. In the meantime, experiment, and if anyone comes up with one let me know! Hope you enjoy this warming winter stew.

 

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Sorry, not the best photo, but this got eaten so fast I couldn’t get a better one.

Another simple recipe that’s good for the holidays. I froze a lot of pesto this summer, and everyone in the family loves it, so I’m always coming up with ways to use it. This has been a favorite of mine for decades.

First, my Pesto recipe:
3 well-packed cups of fresh basil leaves (no stems)
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts or combination of walnuts and pine nuts
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Approximately 3/4 cup fresh-grated parmesan (or equivalent aged cheese, preferably raw)
Approximately 3/4 cup extra virgin organic olive oil
salt to taste

Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend until you get the consistency you desire (I like it very smooth, but some people like it a little chunky).

The squash:
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut a medium to large spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Grease a large baking dish (I prefer glass or ceramic), and place the two squash halves face down in the dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork, at which point, remove from oven and let cool until you can easily handle it. Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl.

The two together:
Put as much pesto as you want in with the squash and toss until thoroughly combined. You can serve as is, or alternatively, sprinkle with more parmesan (or mozzarella) and bake until cheese melts, browns and bubbles. Pesto is also great cold on just about anything. Makes yummy omelettes too.