Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Most curry dishes use a curry paste which is a pureed blend of beautiful smelling or aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is widely used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures to make curries, stews, and other dishes. Most of the time though, Indian food comes to mind when you talk about curry. There are many different types of curry pastes, and each country’s blend has a distinct flavor.

The common spices used are cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cardamon, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. The base ingredient to start a curry paste is turmeric, which makes a yellow curry. Red pepper is added to make a red curry, and cilantro is added to make a green curry paste.

Using all of these ingredients makes for a healthy meal. To learn more about the healthy side of these culinary spices link here – Spice and Herbs Benefits -.

Our featured recipe uses green curry, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. rice noodles, cooked

1 pound (1-inch) cubed chicken breast tenders

½ lb. cut green beans, steamed

2 cups tricolor pre-chopped bell pepper mix

Oils to Use for Healthy Cooking - avocado oil or coconut oil2 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided

Cooking oil, avocado oil or coconut oil ————->

Steam green beans first, about 5 minutes, then remove steaming basket and use boiling water to cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set both aside when done. Rinse rice noodles when cooked.

 

Chicken cooking in coconut oil and green curry sauce - Green Curry ChickenHeat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking oil. Add chicken to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry Chicken

Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bell pepper mix, and remaining coconut milk. Cook 3 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add steamed green beans and mix in. Add ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (optional).

showing the details of the Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry ChickenThere are 3 rules to a good meal. Besides flavor and smell, can you SEE what else makes a good meal appealing? Leave a comment below to let us know if you can guess the third rule of a good meal.

Green Curry ChickenPlate the rice noodles and top with Green Curry Chicken. If you wish top that with cilantro or with fresh basil as we did here. If you find the rice noodles to sticky, just take a plate one serving at a time and run warm water over it. Shake it dry and plate it. Enjoy!!

 

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Healthier Baking with Sugar Substitutes

Healthier Baking with Sugar Substitutes

Sugar is a tasty ingredient that enhances everything by making it ‘sweet,’ and everyone now and then craves sweets.

It goes without saying, however, that anything in moderation is better, including sugar, because when sugar is consumed to excess it can wreak havoc with the way your body processes it, which leads to a rise in blood sugar levels and insulin secretion from the pancreas.

After a while the pancreas stops producing insulin because of extreme sugar consumption, and that’s never a good outcome for anyone. High sugar foods are also very fattening, and loaded with calories and is a culprit increasing the risk of  type II diabetes and heart disease.

For the sugar-health-conscious, there are quite a few sugar substitutes that people have been using for years to counter the effects of an over consumption of white processed sugar.

Sugar is used in so many food products that it can be difficult to avoid. However, there are many healthy choices that can be substituted for sugar when cooking.  All the sugar substitutes listed below are viable, practical and health-wise alternatives to processed sugar.

The difference in nutritional value alone should make anyone at least want to try to begin substituting and hopefully after a while sugar alternatives will become a way of life. It only takes a little bit of time to get used to living a sugar free lifestyle, and once you kick the habit, your body will love you for it.

Natural Sugar Substitutes

Pure Maple SyrupThis is an excellent substitute as it is wholly natural, tapped straight from its source, the maple tree and it has a boat load of antioxidants to keep your body in-tune while it fights off those nasty buggers called free radicals as they roam the body. Be sure, however, it is 100% pure maple syrup and not a ‘white sugar’ laden substitute.

Honey – An obvious choice, as it too is loaded with antioxidants and has been used for years by tea lovers around the world, but, don’t stop at your teacup. This gem can be added to anything that calls for plain white sugar and is undeniably a better choice. To get the most out of your honey, you may want to consider buying some that is locally and strawberriesorganically produced without any additives or preservatives. This will give you the best nutritional value from the honey in your cooking.

Pureed Fruit: Fruit has sugar, but, it is a natural sugar and so not nearly as harmful as the processed variety. Using pureed fruit in baking instead of sugar is a great option for healthier baking. Bananas, apricots and berries work great.

Apricot Puree: Apricots are high in nutrients with vitamin C, fiber, and iron. Add to baked goods in lieu of sugar, also eat it as a snack by mixing with plain non-fat Greek yogurt or enjoy it with hearty whole-grain bread.

No Sugar Added Applesauce: Another excellent substitute, as it’s sweet, natural and some bakers even prefer it to processed sugar because baked goods such as cookies are more because of it.

Raisins: Perhaps raisins used as a sugar substitute may not be your first plan but think about it. They’re sweet wholesome and delicious and when broken down in a food processer and added as a sugar substitute to your favorite dishes you may be pleasantly surprised how good your recipe tastes using raisins instead.

Cinnamon: This spice is grand for flavoring your favorite drink, hot or cold and many baked goods that you would normally add sugar to. Plus it has no calories and is great for an cocoa-powderimmunity boost, too.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: This one is another great sugar alternative, plus it satisfies the chocolate craving. If you want to kick it up a notch create your favorite beverage, unsweetened, and toss in cocoa powder with a dash of vanilla. It will soothe the senses without the extra sugar buzz.

Cranberries: If you love cranberries this is the sugar alternative for you. They’re tart and sweet at the same time. Enjoy delicious multigrain pancakes, scones or muffins loaded with cranberries instead of sugar. Cranberries, too, are loaded with antioxidants, so give your taste buds a treat and remember cranberries aren’t just for the holidays.

Dates & Figs: Both add flavor, dimension and tons of nutrition as a sugar substitute to a slew of recipes. Baked goods such as cakes, muffins, even hearty breads will soon become a staple in your breakfast, lunch or dinner regimen using figs and dates as a substitute for sugar.

Orange, Lemon or Lime Juice: If you love citrus you’ll do well to squeeze a handful of either into your next hot or cold drink and forego the sugar, besides your body will show its appreciation, especially around flu season, as citrus is loaded with vitamin C.

Coconut Sugar: One great alternative to refined sugar is coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is made by heating the sap from coconut palms until it has been reduced to granules that can be used in the same way as regular sugar.

coconutIt has a similar flavor to brown sugar, but a lower glycaemic index, which means that it has less effect on blood and insulin levels within the body.

If you adore coconut, here’s a way to enjoy some without the guilt. Simply swap out the refined sugar with coconut sugar added to your favorite smoothie and clothes your eyes. You’ll think you’re on a tropical island and best of all it’s full of potassium, and let’s face it, are any of us really getting enough potassium in our diet, chances are a big ‘no.’  This also makes a great substitute in several baked goods.

Erythritol: This is a sugar alcohol that comes in powder form and made from a plant. It has been deemed safe and approved by the FDA.

 

 

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Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies

Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesGail Borden was a teacher, land surveyor, inventor, real estate salesman and editor. He also invented condensed milk. He patented the canned milk in 1856, and preserved it by adding sugar. So thanks to him we can have Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies.

To start here is what you will need:

1 (17 ½ oz.) sugar cookie mix

1 cup shredded coconut

½ cup pecan halves, finely chopped

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 can 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

beat a medium eggIn a large bowl beat 1 medium egg. Mix in the butter, cookie mix along with the chopped nuts and coconut. First start the mixing with a large fork. As the wet ingredients start to mix with the dry ingredients; put fork aside and use your hands to continue the mixing until you have firm dough.

prepared dough for Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesDivide the dough in half and sprinkle some flour onto a cutting board and flour your rolling pin. Then start to roll the dough about 1/4 inches thick.

rolling dough out for Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesThis recipe will make about 4 dozen cookies. Two dozen will make one dozen sandwich cookies and so on. Divide the dough into two halves. Roll out each half enough to make 24 – 2 inch round cookies. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Place cookies on a light colored cookie sheet. Notice I am referring to a light colored pan? The darker the pan color the greater chance your cookies will be darker on the bottom sides, possibly to the point of burning. So I always use a glass baking pan or light colored nonstick metal baking pans.

After your dough is rolled out, the cookies are cut and placed on the cookie sheet, bake 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove to a wire rack until they cool completely.

cookies prepared to receive sweet milk and coconutAfter the cookies are done and have cooled about a good 20 to 30 minutes…place 48 cookies on a clean cutting board as shown in the picture.

Next open a room temperature 14 oz. can of sweet milk and on the 2nd and 4th rolls spread 1 tsp. evenly over each cookie.

cookies laid out to put sweet milk and coconut on themNow on the 1st and 3rd rolls place a dab or two of sweet milk. With 1/2 cup of coconut sprinkle generously the coconut around the outer edges of the cookies with the ones that have the 1 tsp. of sweet milk.

sweet milk cookies ready to become cookie sandwichesPlace the 1st and 3rd roll of cookies over the ones with the coconut on them to form a Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookie.

Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies prepared for refrigerationAfter cookies have set with the sweet milk, remove from refrigerator and place on a plate.

Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesWe hope that you can make these cookies for your family and friends. Oh so sweet are those Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies.

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Lemongrass Basil Thai Chicken

Lemon Grass Basil Thai Chicken

Have you had lemongrass before? When mixed with other ingredients it can be really tasty. Lemongrass is associated with Asian cooking especially in Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese food.

Lemongrass is also classified as an herb and is reported to have many health benefits.

The herb has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is very potent in helping to detoxify internal organs, such as the liver, exocrine gland, excretory organs, and the digestive tract.

It also helps to lower the buildup of uric acid (herb can bring relief for those who suffer with Gout), cholesterol, superfluous fats and other toxins in the body while helping with digestion, and improving blood circulation.

It also has been report for use as calming effect in relieving insomnia and stress.

Now for the featured recipe and here is what you will need:

4 chicken breast, chopped 1-inch squares

16 oz. bag Mediterranean vegetable blend

¾ cup Desiccated Coconut

1 green chili, serrano, without seeds

2 garlic cloves

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

½ tsp. Himalayan salt

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. dried basil or 5 fresh Thai basil leaves

½ tube of Garden gourmet Lemon Grass or 3 fresh chopped stalks lemon grass, white parts only

1 tsp. arrowroot starch

close-up of Lemon Grass Basil Thai ChickenIf you can’t find fresh Thai basil, the common sweet basil will work. Lemongrass can be hard to find fresh, so the tube of Garden Gourmet Lemon Grass will work just as well.

In a food processor, add coconut, chili, garlic, oil, salt, juice, basil, lemongrass, and process until a paste is formed, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add either 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or avocado oil and heat. Add chopped chicken breast and cook until outside of meat is white or oblique. Add vegetable blend and stir in.

Next add lemongrass mixture and stir in. Add 1 tsp. arrowroot starch to ¼ cup of cold water and mix till arrowroot is dissolved, add to meat mixture, mixing in till well incorporated.

Side of Wild Rice with Rosemary, Parsley and ThymeContinue to stir ingredients till mixture starts to boil and thicken some.

Turn heat down to simmer for 10 minutes more or until chicken is cooked through.

You can serve over cooked rice.

We served our Lemongrass Basil Thai Chicken with a side of Wild Rice with Rosemary, Parsley and Thyme.

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Green Hamburgers

Green HamburgersHere’s a great way to get your finicky eaters to eat their greens, with Green Hamburgers. One hamburger has one serving of leafy greens. As a side note, this is a great nutritional meal for those who suffer with Schizophrenia.

Now for our featured recipe: Green Hamburgers, and here is what you will need.

ingredients for Green Hamburgers

23 fresh spinach leaves

1 pkg. (about 12 oz.) basil, fresh or live basil with roots

¼ cup cilantro

1 lb. ground hamburger (15% Fat)

4 tbsp. prepared bread crumbs

 

wahs and trim greens

Cut the root ball from fresh basil and trim stems along with the spinach and cilantro. Wash the greens.

processing greens for Green HamburgersPlace all greens into a food processor with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water, if necessary. Process greens until finely chopped and looks like a wet paste. Set aside.

cutting equal parts of hamburger meat

Divide hamburger into 4 equal parts, about 1/4 pound per each burger.

prepared Green HamurgersIndividually prepare each 1/4 pound of meat in a small bowl. Add meat with 2 tablespoons of processed greens, and one tablespoon of bread crumbs. Mix with hands and form a patty.cooking Green HamburgersBBQ, broil  of pan fry your Green Hamburgers. We used our Nu-wave oven to cook the hamburgers, about 6 minutes each side flipping 2 to 3 times. Meat must be 160 degrees internal temperature to be done.Green Hamburger sliced in halfIt is not necessary to slice burger in half. We did so to show you how the hamburger looks once cooked.preparing the hamburger with tomato and spring lettuce mixPrepare your Green Hamburger the way you like it. I personally like to use whole wheat bread slices with mayonnaise ,tomato, and a spring lettuce mix.close up of prepared Green Hamburgers

Enjoy!!

 

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