Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

“Chocolate! A healthy way to snack”


 Delicate…Delectible…Delicious…Dreaming…Chocolate!

 

If you are anything like me there is no better satisfying treat than smooth creaming dark chocolate. Whenever I go to the store, I find myself stopping and drooling at the display of beautifully dark rich 70% Cacao chocolate. There is something about the way it makes you feel when you take that first bite…completely satisfying!

I have done my share of research on cacao and have been reading up on the benefits of this beautiful Cacao bean that originates from Africa. Africa generates 70% of the worlds cacao beans and is the most classic in flavor. Depending upon where the beans are grown, changes the flavor of the bean. Those from the Caribbean/Latin America the beans will have a distinct tasting notes in their beans.

Think of it this way: Africa is the cacao workhorse, producing a steady supply of dependable beans with classic cocoa flavor. The Caribbean and Latin America are the thoroughbreds, generating beans known for their unique taste and quality.

Now I could go on and on about the different spice notes, underlying coffee tones, and complex fruit flavors each region produces.

 But what I would like to talk about this time is the health benefits of Cacao.

 

 

Antioxidants!

The reason why cocoa and dark chocolate pack such a punch is because the antioxidants are so concentrated. Consider this: antioxidants known as polpyphenols make up more than 10 percent of the weight of dry raw cocoa beans.

As you can see from this bar chart, dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants. One serving of dark chocolate has more antioxidant capacity than a serving of blueberries or cranberries.

What is an antioxidant?

By Wiki definition:

An Antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.

How do they work?

Antioxidants work by protecting your cells from damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are basically unstable oxygen molecules that can trigger changes in the structure of normally healthy cells. This damage is thought to be an underlying cause of many chronic diseases. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.

They say that a glass of red wine a night is good for as well and contains a great deal of antioxidants. In moderation of course it is beneficial to your health, as is everything we ingest into our bodies too much can be damaging to our systems.

This is only one of the benefits of Dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao the better the chocolate is for you. Milk chocolate has a lot more sugars and fat in it due to the milk added and the sugar added for sweetness.

I recently got into making my own chocolate from 100% pure cacao nibs I found at my local organic Pilgrims market.  It is an amazing experience to see it melt and form into a beautiful rich dark paste of chocolate that you can eat with a spoon. It is bitter if you don’t add any sugar but that’s where you become the scientist in it all! Add a little sugar, or chili pepper spice for a kick, and see what you can create!

Here is the recipe I found to make homemade chocolate. Enjoy!

 Video How to make Homemade dark chocolate!

Let me know how your chocolate turns out!

 

Information References: www.allchocolate.com

 

Looks like Winter!


Wow! It finally looks like winter out there! I don’t know about you but I am loving this! Granted the roads are not ideal but it sure is beautiful out there. This is the perfect weather to cuddle up and watch a movie with some homemade hot coco or spicy apple cider.  Or if your like me coffee because we thought we could go all day without it :). Wasn’t my brightest moment today.

So far it looks like we have about 3 inches out there and it’s still coming down!

Whats it doing in your area? And how do you like to spend your snow day inside?

I am making home-made chicken noodle soup for dinner, added some shredded cabbage for a fun mix up, and will make some home-made hot chocolate later for the family. For the adults, I like to put a little splash of spiced rum in the hot chocolate. It’s a comfort food and drink night for sure! 

My famous “Home made Hot Chocolate” …..a little sweetness in moderation is always good. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup Chocolate chips (your desired darkness)

1/2 cup Andes Mint chips (regular or peppermint crunch)

1 ounce Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate

1-3 cups Heavy whipping cream (can also use Half & Half or Milk)

whipped cream for topping

You can use a double boiler for this or a large pan filled 1/3 with water and a metal or glass bowl rested on top. Make sure that your water level doesn’t touch the bowl, and the bowl fits slightly snug on the pan. (this will prevent your hands getting steamed)

Fill your pan about 1/3 of the way full with water, place bowl on top, and bring water to a boil.

Add chocolate and let melt, stirring occasionally with a plastic spatula. When the chocolate is completely melted add your desired amount of Cream or milk. Some like their coco with a little more liquid than others, so judge it by eye and taste. 🙂 Whisk the cream and chocolate until it is heated through. Turn heat off, and ladle your chocolate goodness into mugs. Top with your favorite topping and enjoy!

For the adults, spice it up a notch with 1 tablespoon of spiced rum. 

Enjoy your snow day!! Or just enjoy a day of spoiling!

Garlic Fact #1


മലയാളം: Garlic

Here is a fun Garlic fact for you garlic lovers out there from “Nature’s Super 7 Medicines.”

A remarkable woman Abbess Hildegarde of Bingen wrote many medical and theology books. She had over 500 remedies that were tested by professionals and were a success for thousands of patients. 

Hildegarde suggested that chewing one half clove of raw garlic every day would “invigorate the liver and spleen”.

Her standard salad dressing was the following:

1 Tablespoon pure wine vinegar, 3 Tablespoons sunflower oil, a bit of honey, and of course one-quarter crushed garlic clove. Lemon juice and yogurt can be added which improves the flavor and gives somewhat of a modern touch.

I love garlic and think this Abbess had it right.

“Garlic! Way more than just a Herb and Spice!”


English: A basket of garlic (allium sativum) o...

I don’t know about you but I adore Garlic! I will use it in anything recipe I can. It is the perfect complement to chicken, soups, stews and tomato sauces. Pretty much whatever I can get away with putting Garlic in I will do it! I have to say that oven roasted garlic on toasted baguette bread is my absolute favorite.

I was brushing up on my Garlic knowledge today and learned some interesting benefits to eating this wonderful aromatic herb. “Nature’s Super Seven Medicines” had a lot of information about the history of Garlic and its benefits. I definitely recommend reading it.

Garlic can be used for everything from Arthritis, Boils, Burns, Toothe aches, Blood Clots, Insect Bites, Elevated Cholesterol and the Common Cold just to mention a few.

I found that Garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, goldenseal and pau d’acro ( a herb used for cancer) are all strongly hypoglycemic.  They Dramatically lower blood sugar levels.  However those people suffering from hypoglycemia, taking such herbs can be problematic. But those with diabetes this is awesome news. Garlic taken each day will help reduce the amount of daily insulin a diabetic requires. It wont cure the disease or take a diabetic off insulin completely. Cooked garlic and aged-garlic extract both work great for diabetics. When eaten in meals where it is generously incorporated, garlic will assist the pancreas in turning out more natural insulin of its own. Four capsules or one tablespoon of aged garlic is recommended for additional supplementation. Please always ask your doctor if you are diabetic if this is for you.  

Everyone can benefit from eating Garlic every day. It is a wonderful immune system booster. I feed my family chicken soup loaded with garlic when they are sick and it always does the trick. I was told by our doctors one time that chicken soups with herbs and garlic is the liquid gold you can eat when you are sick. It is fantastic for the sick body.

Recipe for Roasted Garlic & Baguette Bread

Preheat oven to 425 F

Cut the top off a whole large ear of Garlic, just enough so part of a few cloves are exposed. Place on tinfoil and drizzle with Extra virgin olive oil. Wrap the garlic like you would a baked potato and place in the oven for about an hour.

While the garlic is baking, cut your baguette bread into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and garlic seasoning salt if desired. Toast in the oven until crunchy. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. 

When your garlic is done remove from the oven and squeeze out the cloves back onto the tinfoil. Generously spread the soft garlic onto your toasted baguette.

Can be served as is or add a slice of your favorite brie or gouda and enjoy.

This is my favorite treat to eat with a glass of red wine. A single glass of red wine has a lot of beneficial antioxidants in it.

I hope you enjoy this tasty treat!

Gingerbread!


English: Crispy Gingerbread Cookies See Recipe...

I absolutely love this Gingerbread recipe! I made little gingerbread men one year for my daughters holiday party and they were a total hit. There is nothing like the smell of hot gingerbread on a winters day! I hope you enjoy this recipe it is quick and easy. 🙂

Gingerbread

1/2 cup Molasses

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon All Spice

3 tablespoons Margarine

1 tablespoon Milk

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 cups Flour

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Powdered Ginger

Preheat oven to 350 F

Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray lightly. Or if you have a baking stone leave it in there while pre heating and do not spray.

Heat Molasses to the boiling point then add sugar, margarine, and milk. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.

Add water a few drops at a time to dough so it handles easily.

Flour work surface and roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut to desired shapes and bake for 5-7 minutes, no more.

Serve warm or let cool and ice with your favorite icing.

Enjoy these wonderful Gingerbread cookies!

The Best Southern Biscuits!


I found this recipe from Emerald Lagasse. I love it! Some of the best biscuits I have ever made. 🙂 Enjoy!

I found that in this recipe if you substitute the shortening for butter it turns out much better. I grate the butter with a large holed cheese grater while frozen and make sure it is small. In between sticks I make sure that the grated butter is covered in flour, and not in one big clump. 

4 cups Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Salt

4 Tablespoons butter cold (frozen)

1 Cup Solid vegetable shortening, cold ( or substitute with frozen butter)

2 cups Milk 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Combine Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and mix well.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter (or 2 tablespoons + 1 cup if substituting) frozen butter grated. Tip* I like to dust the stick of butter in the flour then grate it with a large holed cheese grater, this prevents the butter from melting in my hand.

Work ingredients with hands lightly until coarse crumbs. Don’t mix too long with hands or the butter will melt.

Stir in milk with a wooden spoon. It will be very sticky.

Generously Dust a working surface and place dough on it. Flour hands and fold the edges of the dough in towards the center pressing flat down lightly with flat hands. It will become less sticky. Don;t knead the dough, folding will make the layers.  Flatten the dough out with a rolling-pin to about a 1 inch thickness. Cut with a knife desired biscuit size, I make them about equal squares or rectangles.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Coat each side of the biscuits with butter and place in a glass baking dish. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Bake until lightly golden brown on the edges.

Serve warm with butter and honey. Save remaining in a ziplock bag in the fridge. Enjoy!!

My favorite Pizza Dough & Sauce Recipe!


#3 Flour & friends

This is by far the best pizza dough recipe I have ever made!

Basic Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl comine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well to proof.

after 5 minutes, add half of the flour and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Will be really wet.

Add all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands. Should be soft and not dry.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for at least 5 to 7 minutes, adding enough, flour to form a smooth elastic dough. Not to much flour. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a  lightly oiled 2 to 3 quart bowl and turn to coat with owl. Cover with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually 2 hours and 3 hours max.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and if you have a pizza stone place it on the second to bottom rack of the oven.

Divide dough into 2 portions and form into balls. ( see notes belore for calzones) Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, Dont Kneed! Shape to desired shape roll and pull out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Or however thick you would like it.

Transfer to tin foil dusted with corn meal to prevent sticking ( can use flour if dont have corn meal) back until crispy and golden brown, usually 12-18 min. Remove from oven, slice and enjoy!

Olive Oil Herb Sauce

Extra virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup, Salt & Pepper pinch of each, 2 cloves of micorplaned Garlic, Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Italian Herbs. Blend in a magic bullet or food processor. Perfect for a non tomato based sauce or drizzled on top of pizza before cooked!

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