Monthly Archives: December 2017

Festive Fruitcake

Festive FruitcakeThis holiday fruit cake is packed with chopped nuts and dried fruits like dates, figs, apricots, cranberries and cherries. Unlike the sugar glazing in this recipe, in many traditional fruitcake recipes the cakes were glazed with brandy or rum instead. Then they were wrapped in brandy or rum soaked cheesecloth and the tightly wrapped in wax paper and then stored for up to a month in a cool dark place. The option is up to you on how you chose to glaze and store your fruitcake.

Festive Fruitcake

Ingredients                                   Makes: 1 fruit cake
1 Tbsp coconut oil (for greasing loaf dish)
1 cup almond flour ~or~ all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar ~or~ organic brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
2 Tbsp chia seed (optional)
1/4 tsp all-spice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup walnuts and/or pecans, broken
1/2 cup dried cherries and/or cranberries
2 cups dates and figs, pits and stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 large eggs, mixed
1/4 cup coconut oil and/or unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp avocado oil ~or~ extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp purified water (glaze, optional)
1 Tbsp of coconut sugar (glaze, optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F and place the rack in the center of the oven. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, flax seed, chia seed, baking soda and seasonings such as the all-spice, cinnamon, ginger and sea salt. Mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Prepare dried fruit and nuts. In a medium-sized bowl combine broken walnuts and pecans, make sure there are no shells. Stir in the dried cherries and cranberries. Remove the pits and stems of the figs, apricots and dates and then chop up; add to the bowl and combine. Add the fruit and nut mixture to the flour mixture and combine, breaking apart the fruits and making sure everything gets a nice flour coating.

Combine wet ingredients. In a small bowl break the eggs, make sure there are no shells, and then mix until well combined. In a large bowl cream together the butter and coconut oil, then stir in the eggs. Add the avocado oil and the vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Combine the dry ingredients in with the wet. Pour half of the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients and mix well. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until well combined. The batter should be very thick and sticky.

Bake. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Press the batter into all corners of the pan with the back of a large spoon to ensure there are no air pockets; and then spread out evenly. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in a pre-heated oven on the middle rack. After an hour the bread should be a golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Check for readiness by inserting a toothpick or thin knife into the bread. If the toothpick or knife come out clean then the bread is ready; otherwise give the bread some additional time.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 10 minutes before lifting out of the loaf pan using the parchment paper. Allow the bread to cool completely before glazing or attempting to slice.

Glaze fruitcake. To make glaze warm 3/4 of a teaspoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the coconut sugar and mix until well combined and begins to bubble, the remove from heat. With a pastry brush, glaze the fruit cake with the sugar-water mixture. Place the fruit cake somewhere to dry and allow the sugar-coating to harden. To make the glaze harden quicker, place the cake in a warm oven for a couple of minutes, but do not bake it or forget it!

Wrap the cake in wax-paper and keep sealed in a bag for freshness. Cake will keep best kept in the fridge.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

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Pineapple Coconut Squares

Pineapple Coconut SquaresA shortbread crust is layered with a gooey pineapple and coconut mixture then topped with toasted coconut. These delicious squares are easy to make and made from simple ingredients, a great treat for those special occasions.

Pineapple Coconut Squares

Ingredients
~Crust Ingredients~
1/2 cup coconut oil ~or~ unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 cup spelt flour ~or~ all-purpose flour
light sprinkle of sea salt
~Filling Ingredients~
1 cup pineapple, peeled, de-cored & finely chopped
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine ground organic sugar
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, mixed
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lime juice
~Topping Ingredient~
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions
Preheat oven and prepare baking pan. Empty an oven and move a rack to the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare crust. Combine the “crust ingredients” well in a bowl and then press the mixture into the bottom of a well-greased or parchment lined 10” square pan. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from oven and put somewhere to cool.

Prepare the filling. Remove the ends of the pineapple, peel it and cut out all the eyes. Slice the pineapple and remove the core. Calculate 1 cup of pineapple flesh and set aside the rest. (If using canned pineapple, strain the juice from the pineapple and discard.) Finely chop the pineapple using a food processor or by hand, then transfer to a large bowl with the shredded coconut.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, sugar and sea salt. Sprinkle mixture over the pineapple mixture and stir to combine.

In a small bowl mix 2 eggs well, then stir in the vanilla and lemon juice. Add this mixture also to the pineapple mixture and stir to combine. Pour this combined pineapple mixture over the cooled crust, and spread with a large spoon to evenly coat.

Add the topping. Evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded coconut over the top of the bars.

Bake. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until the coconut turns golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing. Keeps best in the fridge. Enjoy!

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

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Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

 

A delicious vegetarian casserole that tastes similar to a lasagna with the texture of a meatloaf. A family favorite that even the meat-eaters enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients                               Makes: 4 servings
3 Tbsp coconut oil ~or~ avocado oil
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded spaghetti squash (approx. 1 medium squash, baked & shredded)
1 1/2 cups plain stewed tomatoes ** ~or~ 1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/5 tsp black pepper
1 sweet onion ~or~ yellow onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, whisked

Instructions
Roast the spaghetti squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish with coconut oil or avocado oil.

Clean the exterior of the squash and then cut off the ends. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and rind. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the exterior of the squash is fork tender. Poking the squash with your finger should leave an impression on the skin of the squash. (The seeds of the squash can be baked and seasoned the same as pumpkin seeds.) While the squash is baking prepare the other ingredients.

Season and thicken tomato sauce. Warm a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the stewed tomatoes, the dried basil, oregano, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper. Combine ingredients and cook down tomatoes until they resemble a thick sauce to almost a paste but not quite. Turn off the heat, as well remove the tomatoes from the heat source, covered with a lid.

Caramelize the onion mixture. Dice the onion and bell pepper, slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic; and transfer all to a bowl. In a large skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium heat (4 on electric stove) add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or avocado oil. Add the onion / mushroom mixture to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook mixture until the mushrooms and onions release their moisture and much of that moisture is cooked off in the pan, then reduce the heat to low (2 1/2 to 3 on the electric stove. Slowly cook the onion and mushroom mixture until the onions begin to turn a golden brown; this entire process will take at least 25 minutes. The mixture should now be sticky in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir the mixture to lift up all the pieces. Cook until this water is cooked off then remove pan from heat and set pan with onion mixture aside.

Shred the cooked squash. After the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven. Place the squash halves somewhere to cool for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, shred the spaghetti squash and with a large spoon, scoop out the shredded squash from the skin and place it in a large bowl.

Combine the casserole ingredients. Return to the skillet with the caramelized onions and mushrooms. Add the shredded spaghetti squash to the mixture and stir until combined. Now return to the tomato sauce, remove the bay leaves and then transfer the sauce to the onion, mushroom and squash mixture. Stir again until ingredients are well combined.

Transfer the mixed ingredients to a large bowl to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before mixing in the eggs.

In a medium bowl, break the eggs and remove any shell fragments. Whip the eggs with a fork until well blended, then stir mixed eggs into the other combined squash casserole ingredients. Mix the eggs thoroughly into the ingredients to ensure they are well blended.

Bake. Transfer the combined casserole ingredients to the greased caserole dish.
Bake the casserole in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. Bake the casserole uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes in the oven, or until the top of the casserole has formed a crust that looks like cheese and is brown around the edges. Allow the casserole to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

** Try our Plain Stewed Tomatoes recipe here!

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Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

 

Thai-style chicken noodle soup cooked with lemongrass, ginger root and chilli pepper, and topped with fresh chopped herbs.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

Ingredients                               Makes: 6 servings
6 cups chicken stock   *See recipe below
2 bay leaves
2 chicken breasts, shredded
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 small chilli pepper, minced ~or~ 1/4 tsp dry crushed chilli pepper
2 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
2 celery stick sliced & chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 green onions or scallions, sliced thin
9 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, parsley and mint, de-stemmed and chopped  (garnish)
1 lime, sliced  (garnish)
3 Tbsp coconut oil
Sea salt to taste
6 portions of vermicelli rice noodles

Instructions
Warm stock. In a large soup pot or dutch oven warm the stock over medium-high heat. When the broth begins to boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Then add a couple bay leaves to the chicken stock.

Cook chicken. Place the raw chicken breasts in the stock and cook on a low simmer with the lid on for 25 to 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the chicken should be cooked through; transfer the chicken from the pot to a large plate and shred with a fork. After the chicken is shredded, transfer back into the soup pot.

Prepare vegetables and seasonings. Remove the outer casing of the lemon grass and then finely slice the lemongrass. Mince the garlic cloves, the fresh ginger root and a small chilli pepper; then transfer all the ingredients to a medium sized bowl. Peel the carrots and then cut into matchstick pieces. Slice the celery and then roughly chop. Transfer carrots and celery to the bowl with the other minced seasonings.

Slice the scallions or green onions and then transfer to a small bowl. De-stem and roughly chop up the herbs, transfer to same small bowl as the scallions.

Clean the mushrooms and cut off the bottom of the stems; next slice the mushrooms and then transfer to a small bowl of their own.

Sauté vegetables. In a large skillet over medium-low heat add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the bowl of minced seasonings, carrots and celery and cook stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes or until fragrant; then transfer sautéed vegetables to the soup pot.

Add 1 more tablespoon of coconut oil to the skillet and over medium heat sauté the mushrooms for 4 to 5 minutes or until they have released their moisture. Then transfer the sautéed mushrooms to soup pot.

Add final ingredients. Increase the heat to a medium high and bring the soup to a gentle boil for 1 minute then reduce heat again to a low simmer. Add the lime juice and the coconut milk to the soup pot and then stir to combine ingredients.Give the soup a taste test and add salt to suit desired taste.

Prepare pasta. In a different large soup pot heat 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add 6 portions of vermicelli rice noodles and cook for 1 minute or just before al dente. Then drain water through a sieve over a sink. Run cool water over the noodles to stop the cooking process. Transfer drained cool noodles to a bowl and mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil throughout them to keep them from sticking together.

Prepare soup bowls. When read to serve the soup, using thongs transfer one portion of noodles to each bowl and then with a ladle, fill the bowls with the soup. Top the soups with the chopped herbs and sliced scallions. Serve the soups immediately with a lemon wedge and a smile. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

*Try our Chicken Bone Broth recipe here!

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