2.13.2015

Chocolate Berry Acai Bowl or How to Get in Chocolate and Berries for Valentines and Keep it Healthy


Every year for Valentine's Day I would make giant soft sugar cookies for the kids to decorate and take around to the neighbors.  It was such a fun tradition.  Now my children are gone (except for my oldest child...the one I'm married to) and I realized that if I baked sugar cookies I wouldn't have help to decorate them, deliver them or EAT them.



 I love a day in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes and breads.  I find baking a relaxing way to spend my day.  I thought of all the wonderful chocolate goodies I could bake for Valentines, then realized I would eat them all myself.  Luckily I became addicted to acai bowls, while in Hawaii.  Seriously, I crave these daily and sometimes twice daily.  I guess in my old age I'm loving fresh raw fruits as much as I love cookies.  I really love cookies.  I can combine chocolate and berries into my acai bowl.  It's delicious.

I hope you take notice of my lovely bowl.  I purchased the bowl from a potter at a Farmer's market in Kona, HI.  It's make with black sand from the volcanic rock.  Love it.  I'm wondering why I only bought one?


For the Acai puree you will need:

1 packet frozen Acai puree (3.5 oz)
1/2 cup frozen berries (I'm using cherries)
1/2 cup frozen bananas
1 teaspoon cacao powder (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk, cashew milk, pecan milk, etc)


I purchased my acai packets from Wholefoods.  Look for them by the frozen fruit in your grocery store.


I'm using a food processor.  A blender will work just as well.

Break up the frozen acai puree and add to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal "S" blade.


Because it Valentines, I'm adding just a bit of cacao powder.


Add about 1 teaspoon.



Add 1/2 cup frozen bananas.  I freeze my bananas right before they are ripe enough for banana bread. I slice them and place them on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat.  Freeze until firm, then transfer to a ziplock bag and return to freezer.  The bananas will stay individually frozen and are easy to remove just a few at a time.


I'm using 1/2 cup cherries, because I had them.  Frozen strawberries, or a berry blend can be used as well.


I start with 1/4 cup almond milk and add more if the mixture is too thick.


Place the lid on the processor and pulse a few times.  Blend until smooth.


You may need to scrape the bowl a few times.


The puree should be nice and thick.

I some how managed to loose a beautiful picture of all of my toppings.... What the....

Oh well...I used the following to top my acai bowl:

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granola (you'll want to make a batch of my coconut almond granola for this or Janet's granola
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
drizzle of local honey


This recipe will make two large bowls.  Divide the puree into two bowls.


Place 1/4 cup granola on each bowl.  Less granola can be used, if desired.


Arrange raspberries


and strawberries.


Toss on some roughly chopped almonds.


A healthy spoonful of coco nibs.  Man, I love the bit of cocoa nibs on everything!


Drizzle with some local honey, if available.  My honey comes from my next door neighbor.  How local is that?  (Love you Kenny and Becca)


Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut.

Optional toppings:  fresh cut pineapple cubes (my fav), raw cashews, goji berries, banana slices, blueberries, etc. Keep it fresh and healthy!




Dig in!

I ate both of the bowls I made.

They were going to melt so I ate breakfast and lunch at the same time.  Bam!

Acai Bowl

1 packet frozen Acai puree (3.5 oz)
1/2 cup frozen berries (I'm using cherries)
1/2 cup frozen bananas
1 teaspoon cacao powder (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk, cashew milk, pecan milk, etc)

Toppings:
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granola (you'll want to make a batch of my coconut almond granola for this or Janet's granola
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
drizzle of local honey

In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, break up the frozen acai puree.  Add frozen berries, banana, cacao powder and 1/2 of the almond mild.  Puree adding more milk if needed.  Puree should be thick.  Divide puree into two bowls.  Divide toppings between the two bowls as desired.  Makes 2 large acai bowls.

Optional toppings:  fresh cut pineapple cubes (my fav), raw cashews, goji berries, banana slices, blueberries.

Print recipe


2.05.2015

Lemon Curd Ice Cream


When my niece gave me lemons picked from her lemon tree in Arizona, I knew I would make lemon curd and lemon curd ice cream.  Who cares if its winter?  It has actually been unseasonable warm the past couple of weeks in Utah.  Why not enjoy the heat wave with ice cream.  

You can use purchased lemon curd, but homemade is superior and is so simple to make.  You can check out the recipe on my blog at the link below.  This is probably one of my favorite ice creams and I'm a 100% chocolate ice cream lover.  

Brighten up your gray winter days with this refreshing ice cream.



You will need:

1 3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
1 cup lemon curd  (purchased may be used, but if I were you I'd try the recipe link and make your own)



In a sauce pan add 1 3/4 cup cream and 3/4 cup 2% milk.


Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir over medium heat.


In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks.


Add 1/4 cup remaining sugar whisking constantly.


Set aside.


When milk begins to steam, slowly add milk mixture into egg yolk mixture in small amounts.


Add all of the hot milk.


Return mixture to the same saucepan and continue to cook over low heat,


Stir constantly.  DO NOT let the mixture boil.


Continue to cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Approximately 160-170 degrees F.


Remove from heat and strain mixture into a bowl.  I like to strain the custard just in case a bit of the egg cooked and to ensure a smooth creamy texture.


Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled.  I like to refrigerate overnight.


After setting overnight, the mixture will be very thick and creamy.  Remove plastic.


Pour into a ice cream maker.  Follow manufactures instructions for freezing.


Once the ice cream is the consistency of thin soft serve ice cream, add the lemon curd.


Spoon lemon curd into ice cream with the ice cream maker running and continue to freeze for another 5-10 minutes.  The curd will mix into the ice cream completely.


I pretty much licked the jar and spoon clean.  The great thing about making the lemon curd recipe on my blog is that is makes 2 cups.  That leaves you with an additional cup to spread on bread, toast, cakes, cookies or just eat with a spoon.  It's delicious.


Once the ice cream has churned completely, turn off machine and transfer ice cream to a container and place in freezer to firm completely.  

However, I love to eat this ice cream right now.  This is perfect and I always scoop myself a bowl full then lick the container clean.  


The texture is smooth, creamy, and dense like Italian Gelato.


My son-in-law said that this was the best lemon ice cream he has ever had and it may be the best ice cream he has ever had.  

Ya, It's that good.


Lemon Curd Ice Cream

1 3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
1 cup lemon curd  (purchased may be used, but if I were you I'd try the recipe link and make your own)

To make ice cream, in  a medium size saucepan add cream, milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar and salt.  Heat over medium/low heat until steaming.  Whisk egg yolks and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. When the cream mixture is hot and steaming, slowly pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture stirring constantly.  Continue to add at least 1/2 of the hot cream mixture.  Slowly pour the egg/cream mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.  Cover and chill completely about 2 hours or over night.

When ready to freeze, pour the ice cream custard into a ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions.  Add lemon curd the last 5 - 10 minutes of mixing.  Makes about a 1 1/2 to 2 pints of ice cream.

Print recipe

1.27.2015

Braised Chicken with Olives, Capers and Zucchini Noodles


I'M ALIVE!!  

I have had one crazy month.  My parents have been on another mission (their 5th) in Kona, Hawaii. They serve as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were supposed to be coming home is July, but ended up coming home last week.  That means I had 3 weeks to do what I thought I had 6 months to complete. Needless to say I went into panic mode and worked from sun up to sun down.  

May parents live in apartment in our home.  I wanted to complete projects after Christmas to prepare for their arrival in July.  Things like re-grout tile, have carpets cleaned, steam clean all wood work, wash windows, and replace their 30 year old furniture.  Get their car out of storage, get car insurance, get oil changed, emissions...the list goes on and on.  

Here comes the really sad part.  My husband and I went to Kona to help pack them up and bring them home.  Hey, someone had to do it.  It was a tough job packing, snorkeling, packing, kayaking, farewell luau's to attend, eating and more eating.  Needless to say, I really needed that little vacation away.  It was a blessing with perfect timing. 

I'm back and ready to start posting again.


This is a recipe I have wanted to post for some time now. I love one dish meals.  I especially love a meal that can be ladled into a bowl that is warm and brothy.  Light yet filling that warms me to the bone on cold winter days.  

I have a daughter on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) due to an auto immune disease and this is actually a meal she can have.  Anyone who is doing the Whole 30 can plug this into their menu as well.  


It was my daughters idea to add the zucchini noodles (Zoodles) to the dish.  It's fabulous.  Of course, my husband, who has mental issues with anything squash, avoids the zoodles at all cost.  I have  to cook the baby a separate bowl of Orzo pasta so he doesn't cry, which is just as tasty, but then doesn't qualify for the above mentioned diets.

If you are vegetarian, vegetable broth can be substituted in place of chicken broth as well as adding a bounty of vegetables in place of the chicken.



You will need:
2 1/2 - 3 lbs boneless chicken thighs, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade or purchased organic low-sodium)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
Zest from one lemon
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 zucchini's, spiralized or julienned
salt and pepper to taste



Begin by prepping the vegetables.


Finely dice the onion.  Set aside.


Chop 2 garlic cloves.  Set aside.


Slice 1/2 cup Kalamata olives in half, if desired.  Set aside.


Using a potato peeler, slice the zest off of a lemon.


Make sure you only cut off the zest and none of the white peel, which can be bitter.


Finely julienne the zest.  Set aside.


Dice 1 cup of tomatoes.  I used three small tomatoes.  If fresh tomatoes aren't available, canned may be used by rinsing the tomatoes through a strainer.  Cherry tomatoes, halved, may be used.  Set aside.


In a large pot or dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.


Salt and pepper the chicken.  I used thighs because I wanted to cook for a longer period in the oven. A whole cut up chicken may be used as well.



Brown the chicken in the oil on both sides.



Remove from pot and set aside.


Add diced onion.


Cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.


Add garlic and cook another minute or two.


Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

For some strange reason I lost about 5 photo's.  Poof they just completely disappeared.  So insert in your mind the following additions.

Return chicken to the pot.
Add:  olives, capers, fennel, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.


Top with chopped tomatoes.


Cover with a lid.


 Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 1 1/2 hours.



I have baked with at 300 degrees F for 2-3 hours AND this can be cooked in a crock pot for 6-8 hours on low heat. 

In the mean time...


My daughter gave me this vegetable spiralizer.  It's awesome and makes up zucchini noodles in no time.  You can find them on Amazon or Williams-Sonoma.  WS had beautiful red ones at Christmas time.  I thought a red one would make a great Christmas gift, but the only person I knew that would get excited about it was ME!


I used two 7-inch zucchini's for this batch.

If you don't have a spiralizer, just juienne the zucchini.

Set aside while chicken is baking.


After 1 1/2 hours of baking time, remove the lid and add the zoodles.




Cover and return to oven for 10 minutes.


Remove pot from oven.


To serve, spoon chicken, vegetables and broth into shallow bowls.


Top with zucchini noodles.


ENJOY!








Braised Chicken with Olives, Capers and Zucchini Noodles

2 1/2 - 3 lbs boneless chicken thighs, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade or purchased organic low-sodium)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
Zest from one lemon
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 zucchini's, spiralized or julienned
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large heavy pot heat olive oil.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs.  Add to heated olive oil and brown on both sides.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add diced onions to the pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add chopped garlic and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer scraping up any brown bits that may be on the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to the pot and add olives, capers, lemon zest and fennel seeds.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with chopped tomatoes.  Cover and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.  

Meanwhile, prepare zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiralizer or juienne with a knife.  Set aside while chicken is cooking.  After 1 1/2 hours remove lid and top with zucchini noodles.  Cover. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.  

Remove from oven, spoon into shallow bowls and serve.  Makes 4-5 servings.

*Inspired by a recipe from Williams-Sonoma