French Toast Fruit Roll Ups

French Toast Fruit Roll UpsAt Chef’s Talk they explain that recipes for “French Toast” can be traced back to Ancient Roman times. They go on to say that the original name for French Toast in French was “pain a la Romaine” or Roman bread (Chef Talk).

There is a collection of Roman recipes that are called Apicius. The collection was compiled in the 4th or 5th century. In reference to French toast  the “Apicus Cookery and Dinning in Imperial Rome” wrote: “Another sweet dish: Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs]. Fry in oil, cover with honey and serve.”

The foods described in the Roman Cookery, lets one know about the dietary habits of the ancient Roman world around the Mediterranean Basin.

The recipes though were geared for the class of wealth, and a few recipes contain ingredients that were considered exotic foods at that time.Our featured recipe is French toast.

A recipe that is enjoyed across all classes of people today. Were not featuring ordinary French toast, and surely not compared to the French toast eaten in Ancient Roman times.

The featured recipe is: French toast Fruit Roll Ups, and here is what you will need.

4 slices of sourdough bread, crust removed

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 to 3 large eggs

Real maple syrup

sourdough bread with crust cut off and rolled flatBreak eggs open in a pie dish or similar utensil, and beat eggs, set aside. Next, cut crust from bread and flatten with a rolling pin. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese, and add fruit, and roll up bread starting from fruit side.

cooking French Toast Fruit Roll Ups in pan

Dip roll ups in egg batter and cook in a heated pan over medium heat with grass fed butter or coconut oil. Cook until done, much the same as traditional French toast.

rolling cooked French Toast Fruit Roll Ups in coconut sugarWhen cooked, remove roll up from pan, and roll in coconut sugar.

French toast Fruit Roll Ups - close upPlate two roll ups, and top with fruit and real maple syrup.

Link here to view our other recipes of French Toast:

  1. Apple-Berry Topped French Toast (made with apple syrup)
  2. Breaded Coconut French Toast

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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Breaded Coconut French Toast

Breaded Coconut French Toast

The night before the plan was to have french toast the next morning with slices of sourdough and real maple syrup. The next morning the plan was followed through, but first a cup of coffee was enjoyed and a little of the Today Show.

For their recipe segment, they had featured taking restaurant favorites and making them healthier eating. They took the “Chicken Nuggets” recipe you buy at McDonald’s and made it into a healthier choice, “Coconut Breaded Chicken Nuggets.” Seeing that had given inspiration on how the planned breakfast that included french toast was going to be prepared.

Therefore our featured recipe: Breaded Coconut French Toast, and here is what you will need.

Keep in mind this recipe is not just great for breakfast, but can also be included as an item on your Sunday Brunch Menu.

The amounts of each ingredient will depend on how many you are serving.

1/4 cup coconut butter, divided

2 large eggs

1/2 cup coconut milk

4 slices of sourdough bread

1 cup dried shredded coconut

Real Maple Syrup

melting coconut butterIn a pie plate mix the eggs and coconut milk. In a separate pie plate add the dried coconut. Next heat a medium sized ceramic coated pan over medium-heat. Add some coconut butter and let melt.

dipping slice of sourdough in egg-coconut milk batterNext take a slice of the bread and liberally dip it into egg-coconut milk batter coating both sides. Next coat both sides with the dried coconut.

cooking slice of coconut breaded french toastNext add the breaded coconut slice of bread into the heated pan. After about a minute and a half turn slice of bread and continue cooking.

Breaded Coconut French ToastWhen all slices of bread are coated and cooked, plate, pour on real maple syrup, top with more dried coconut, and enjoy your Breaded Coconut French Toast for breakfast or brunch.

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Preparing a Natural All Organic Meal

Preparing a Natural All Organic Meal - header image

Many recipes humans have prepared for generations, have withstood the test of time, and not simple because the ingredients taste good together, but are enjoyed because they are more nutritious together than they are on their own.

Many who know basics of cooking have learned the spices and herbs that go well with certain foods to complement their flavors, making the dish more desirable and palatable.

The first private cooking school to open in the United States was in 1877 and was named the Boston Cooking School. The most notable was the creation of The Culinary Institute of America in 1946. Culinary schools educate future culinary professionals, teaching them the theory behind cooking, baking, and why certain foods go well together over others.

In this article we want to present the preparation of a natural all organic meal, using flavorings that are not traditionally used in preparing a meal, that includes a leafy green or side dishes and including a meat.

Garlic and Thyme Mashed PotatoesLet’s start to the right of the plated food with the Garlic and Thyme Mashed Potatoes, and here is what you will need.

1½ pounds medium red or Yukon Gold potatoes (3 or 4)

½ cup milk, use full fat milk

2 cloves garlic, smashed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ tablespoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Peel potatoes and cut them in half. Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water to 2 inches above potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, about 18 to 22 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and mash the garlic, set aside.

milk-butter mix for - Garlic and Thyme Mashed PotatoesAdd the milk, salt, butter, thyme, and garlic to a medium sauce pan over medium heat, and bring to a soft boil. Turn heat off and let sit until the potatoes are cooled.

cooling potatoes for - Garlic and Thyme Mashed PotatoesWhen the potatoes are cooked, place a colander in the sink and drain the potatoes, do not rinse. Let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Return them to the same saucepan, and mash them, then add the liquid and mash in till well incorporated.

If needed, add a little more milk for a creamier consistency.

Now, let’s look at the center bottom of the plate in the header image and we will not the Orange Ginger and Rainbow Carrot’s. The simple ingredients used in this dish make it worth preparing. Here is what you will need.

Orange Ginger and Rainbow Carrot's1 bunch of rainbow carrots, washed and sliced

1/8 cup ginger syrup (can be purchased at your local health food store, such as Whole Foods Market, or Natural Grocers)

1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest

Cook carrots in a steamer until just tender. Remove and place into a vegetable serving bowl and add ginger syrup and orange zest and mix in.

 

 

Chopped Kale with Drizzled Maple SyrupNow let’s look to the upper left side of the plate and we will see the Chopped Kale with Drizzled Maple Syrup. This is what you will need.

1 bunch of kale, washed and leaves trimmed from steams

1/8 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup of real maple syrup

Chop leaves and set aside. To start add 1/8 cup each of the olive oil and syrup to the bottom of a salad bowl.

Add chopped greens and toss. After tossing, fork some greens to see if the oil and syrup ratio fit your needs, it not add a little more oil and syrup till it is just right.

At the top of the plate sits some thin cut boneless pork chops, that were rubbed with a Mayan Coffee Rub, that we purchased at the Whole foods Market. The rub also includes Mayan chocolate and other spices. Rub both sides of the chops, and let sit for about 30 minutes.

Place a large ceramic coated frying pan over medium-low heat, add 4 to 5 tablespoons of Irish Butter (or any butter churned from grass fed cow’s). Let melt, and when warmed add chops and slow cook, turn chops every 5 minutes, and cook till the internal meat temperature is 160 degrees.

Preparing a Natural All Organic Meal - footer image

Plate your food and enjoy. Remember, all of the ingredients used were all organic natural foods. With the natural flavors, not only will your palate  thank you, but so will your health.

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Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup

 

Curried Apple-Pumpkin Soup

We found this recipe Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup, in the October coconut sugar2012 issue of Prevention. This soup is a gluten-free and vegan food.

Pumpkin is full of cancer fighting properties, which includes beta-carotene (read more here: Pumpkins Ability to Fight Cancer). For better absorption of this phytonutrient, pair it with a healthy fat, which we did using coconut oil.

Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are natural occurring chemicals that help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. In turn when you eat the plant food and its phytonutrient, you get that protection as well.

Okay, enough of the science, and on to the featured recipe. Oh, by the way, you will note we used coconut sugar in the recipe.

Coconut sugar is a perfect 1:1 replacement for refined sugar. It has naturally occurring nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and 8 vitamins and amino acids.

Here’s a FACT: The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar and uses only 20% of the resources.

Coconut sugar will not spike your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.  Coconut sugar is a vegan food and great for gluten-free cooking and baking.

ingredients for Curried Apple Pumpkin SoupOn to the featured recipe, and here is what you will need:

1 large Granny Smith apple

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp. red curry powder

2 tbsp. ginger, fresh, grated or chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced

2 cups fresh water

2 cups pureed pumpkin

Himalayan salt and coconut sugar to taste

Preparing Instructions

Melt oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Next add chopped apple and cook until golden in color. Next add onion, curry powder, ginger, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until soften and when you are able to smell the onion and garlic.

Stir in the water and pumpkin (add more water if too thick). Simmer stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Season the soup with Himalayan salt and coconut sugar, if desired. Serves 4 soup bowls.

We found the soup has a warmer flavor of ginger when aloud to set for a day or two. 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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Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad with Chicken Sausage

Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad with Chicken Sausage

Spinach is among one of the world’s healthiest vegetables. It is part of a class called cruciferous which is a vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals, and also contains concentrated health-promoting phyto-nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and flavonoids which provides powerful antioxidant protection.These antioxidants are good to find and expel the toxins we are exposed too on a daily bases.

Spinach as a cruciferous vegetable can find cancerous cells and expel them from the body.  To have this protection requires 4 servings per week. To have the same protection from any other vegetable would require 10 servings per day.

The chicken sausage we use in this recipe is minimally processed. It’s all natural and no preservatives added. In my opinion, it is the best chicken sausage I have had. The chicken sausage is pre-cooked and sold with four large links. Though I have found it uncooked in some stores packaged with 5 large links.

To get a coupon and find a store near you that sells the sausage link here to the Al Fresco web-site.

Here is our featured recipe:

Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad with Chicken Sausage

7 oz. vegetable spiral pasta

1 tsp. Cajun spice~

½ cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil (see note)

2 cups baby spinach

½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper

¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved

½ cup carrots, cut julienne style

½ cup cucumber, diced

½ package Al Fresco Chicken Sausage Apple and Real Vermont Maple Syrup (2 links, remove casing, if using raw bought sausage cook according to package instructions).

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl; mix seasonings, yogurt, basil and lemon juice.

In a large bowl mix in pasta, sausage (option if using pre-cooked sausage: heat sausage in a skillet over medium heat) and other remaining ingredients; stir in prepared dressing until well coated.

Plate and serve.

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~substitute 1 tbsp. Lemon herb

Note: Tear the basil by hand. Chopping basil or using kitchen shears will only case the leaf to turn brown.

 

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