Monday, May 9, 2016

Cocoa Walnut Truffles

Cocoa Walnut Truffles












When you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to blow your pre-summer shape up plans, these Cocoa Walnut Truffles might just be the solution.   They’re loaded with healthy ingredients like walnuts, flax, and cocoa then sweetened with dates and a little honey. 

And to keep things interesting I rolled them in nutty hemp hearts otherwise known as the most buzzed about super-food on Instagram.

Alright I made up that last part but it sure seems that way.  You hardly see a yogurt bowl or smoothie on IG that isn’t topped with hemp hearts.  And if you haven't heard of them, they're basically just shelled hemp seeds and touted as little nutritional powerhouses. 

According to the Manitoba Harvest website: 
  • Per 30 gram serving, Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas.
  • Hemp Hearts have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax.  

The only real drawbacks are that they are on the pricey side and they can be difficult to find.  Actually I had no trouble finding them.  My local supermarket, ShopRite, has plenty in stock but others have reported less luck trying to locate these little guys.  If you find yourself in this subgroup you can always pick up some Hemp Hearts at Amazon by clicking right HERE.

Of course you can always skip the hemp hearts entirely and roll your truffles in cocoa or finely chopped nuts instead.

Cocoa Walnut Truffles
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: makes 12 balls

Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 8 large pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • hemp hearts  (1/2 cup or so to roll the balls) 

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped.
  2. Add the dates process until the nuts and dates are well chopped and combined.
  3. Add the cocoa, flax, honey, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt and process until the mixture is well combined.
  4. To test the consistency of the mixture, pinch it between your fingers to see if it holds together well.  If it’s too sticky add a little more flax or nuts and if it won’t form a ball add more dates or honey. (You can also taste it and if the mixture isn’t sweet enough you can adjust here too)
  5. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls then either refrigerate them and serve as-is or roll the truffles in either hemp hearts, finely chopped walnuts or cocoa powder if you want.
  6. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a few weeks if they last that long.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham












We all think of glazed ham for the holidays.  If you're putting together a menu for Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, ham often tops the list.   But it doesn’t often occur to us that ham is a nice choice for those less formal holidays like Mother’s Day or even a cookout or barbecue. 

Why not?  Ham is simple to prepare and can feed a crowd without too much effort. 

You can toss the ham in the oven early in the morning and have it carved and ready by mid-morning when the guests arrive for your holiday brunch.  Add scrambled eggs or a frittata with some biscuits or muffins and the menu is almost complete.  You can figure out what else to serve.

Hope you all have a Happy Mothers Day this weekend.

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 2.5 hours
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients
  • 10 lb ham (I used a bone-in shank portion)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 8 whole cloves

Glaze Ingredients
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with it’s juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • 2 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon mustard)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF (or 163ºC) and add a baking rack to a large roasting pan.
  2. Place the ham (cut side down) onto the baking rack and score the ham to allow better penetration of the glaze.
  3. Pour the water over the ham followed by the orange juice then toss the cloves into the liquid in the bottom of the pan and use a basting brush to brush some of the clove flavored liquid over the ham and bake it for 30 minutes before basting again. 
  4. To make the glaze, stir together all of the glaze ingredients and set aside.
  5. Once the ham cooks for 30 minutes baste with the pan juices only every 20 – 30 minutes for the first 1 ½ hours then for the final hour brush over the pineapple glaze every 20 minutes (total of 3 glaze applications) and if at any point the ham starts to get too dark add a tinfoil tent to shield it from burning as it finishes.
  6. Let it rest for 20 minutes …and to carve.

My caving procedure: 
  1. Since the bone runs straight through from top to bottom,  I leave the prettiest side of the ham untouched and on the bone then I cut the other side straight down from top to bottom (as close to the bone as possible) and remove a large boneless chunk.  (see video tutorial is you need clarification)
  2. Next I place the pretty piece ham (that contains the bone) onto your serving dish and slice the other section into pieces to fan around the centerpiece.
  3. Spoon over some of the pan juices then either serve or cover with foil to keep it warm.


Notes:

The cooking instructions on my ham stated to cook the ham for 10-15 minutes per pound.  Since my oven runs cool I cooked the ham for 15 min per pound or 2.5 hours for my 10 lb ham.  Consult the instructions on your package and adjust the cooking times of this recipe accordingly.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hummingbird Pancakes with Coconut Cream

Paleo Hummingbird Pancakes












Did you ever just want to eat dessert for breakfast?

Of course you did.  

Even if you're more of a savory breakfast person like I am, there must be times when you just want to grab a doughnut or piece of cake for breakfast.

These paleo hummingbird pancakes give you the feeling of dessert without the guilt.  They're free of gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar and packed with healthy ingredients like almond meal, eggs. bananas and pecans. And if the pancakes themselves weren't enough, the coconut cream really takes them to new levels of deliciousness.

This is dessert-for-breakfast done right my friends.

Paleo Hummingbird Pancakes with Coconut Cream
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 minutes per batch
Servings: makes about (15) 3" pancakes 

Ingredients for the Pancakes
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, with its juice
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for the Coconut Cream
  • 13 oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. To make the coconut cream topping, chill the coconut milk at least overnight so the coconut cream rises to the top and solidifies.  Open the can from the bottom and pour off the liquid then transfer the cream into a bowl and stir in the honey and vanilla until well combined and refrigerate to keep solidified until ready to use.
  2. For the pancakes, stir together the almond flour, tapioca starch baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs then add the melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredient and mix until you have a well combined slightly lumpy pancake batter.
  5. In a large buttered non-stick skillet over a medium low heat, ladle in scant ¼ cup measures.  These pancakes are much more difficult to flip than regular pancakes so it is important to make them a little smaller and cook them a little slower than whatever you are used to doing.
  6. Allow the pancakes to cook low and slow for 3-4 minutes or until the tops begin to dry out a little and bubbles begin to form then flip the pancakes and let them cook for a couple of minutes on the second side or until they are a light golden brown then remove from the pan and serve with the sweetened coconut cream and additional crushed pineapple and pecans.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baked Veggie Frittata

Baked Veggie Frittata












If you need a quick brunch idea this Spring, a frittata is the way to go.  Eggs are always nice in the morning, and a frittata elevates the humble egg nicely.  It is also easy to customize this dish based on what's in season or what you think your guests would most enjoy.

Typically a frittata is done entirely on the stove-top where the eggs and veggies cook on one side before the whole thing is flipped to cook on the second side.  Some people may have trouble pulling off the whole flipping thing.  But this baked frittata eliminates all that making this one of the easiest brunch dishes you can pull off.

It's also convenient to serve because it tastes amazing at room temperature so there's no problem making it a few hours in advance.  And if you really want to make it look more upscale, don't hesitate to chop over some fresh herbs and drape on slices of prosciutto before serving.  It's to die for.

This is sure to be a hit with your friends and family.

Baked Veggie Frittata
Prep time: 10-15
Bake Time: 30-35
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
  • 4 oz broccolini (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 190ºC) and grease an 8 or 9 inch nonstick cake pan.
  • Over a medium heat, sauté the broccolini, bell pepper and onion in a tablespoon of olive oil with a little salt and pepper for 3-5 minutes until the veggies start to wilt and develop a bit of color the set this aside to cool a little.
  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs and heavy cream together with some salt and pepper to taste then add the chopped scallions and sautéed veggies and stir to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan bake at for 30-35 minutes then remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and cutting. 
  • Top with fresh herbs and prosciutto before serving if you want.



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