Modern Raw Carrot Salad

Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1½ cups fresh orange segments (about 3 oranges)
1/2 cup dried black currants (or raisins or quartered dates)
½ cup green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley or mint or cilantro
zest and juice of 1 large orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
½ cup toasted almond slivers (optional)

Instructions

1. Place the orange juice, rice vinegar, lemon zest, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl and whisk together
2. Add the carrots, orange segments, dates, green onion, chopped parsley, and toss to combine.
3. Add salt to taste.
4. Refrigerate to chill.
5. Just before serving toss in the toasted almonds.

This salad can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and brought to your family picnic or event. It had no mayonnaise or egg products so it is safer to bring on those hot summer days and it is so tasty too!

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I Go Cuckoo For Coconut Rice!

THE NEW TREND
COCONUT RICE!  One of the joys of cooking is always learning!

BEST OF BANGKOK, THAILAND
I was excited to meet my fellow foodie at Tealicious Cafe in Bangkok, Thailand. It was a long plane ride. I did sleep. But, I felt like I was in twilight zone.  The cab ride was wonderful. Great to get back on terra firma.

Tea-licious cafe

Picture Perfect Menu [Anthony Bourdain-blue T-shirt-upper balcony]

Lisa recommended the Pineapple Fried Rice . It was the first time I enjoyed this wonderful meal.  Y-u-m-m!  Whenever I prepare this dish at home, it reminds me of good times in Bangkok.

Lisa said, “A big part of the great flavour is the coconut rice.”  Today, some foodies  have embraced this rice as their all time standard fare. Your guests will comment favorably on your dishes when you use this not so secret  “coconut” rice.  It is as easy to make as regular rice!

Fill a Cup, Ramekin or Small Bowl With Rice, To Shape Your Rice [ Invert the cup on to your plate]

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COCONUT RICE | Kao Mun

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • enough Thai Jasmine Rice or Basmati  to fill the can
  • Enough water to fill the can
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 green cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Empty can of coconut milk into a pot.
  2. Fill the can with rice and pour into the pot.
  3. Fill the can with water, swirling  to get all of the rice out, then pour it into the pot.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, cardamom pods, lemon half and cook on high until the mixture comes to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 20 minutes without removing the lid.
  6. Turn off the heat and serve the rice when you have finished preparing your meal. This can sit in the pot undisturbed for up to 10 minutes.  Fluff and serve.
  7. You only have one pot to wash!

There are many other instructions that can be given for making rice but this recipe is for the busy person to make it fast and it works!  You can put the timer on for 20 minutes and let it cook while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Then it’s all  done at once!

You can optionally add the cardamom for a delicate flavour.

You can optionally add the lemon as the acid to balance out the sweetness of the coconut milk and also it will help your body to become more basic for better health.  You do not taste it as a specific lemony flavour.  It just adds to the overall result.

 


Now, we are going to FLAVOR~TOWN!

As shown in the final photo, you can easily freeze any leftover portions in glass for a future side  dish or stir fry.
FOOD TIP: Coconut milk can be found in cans or in the powdered form. Any leftover liquid milk can be frozen in ice-cube trays, then transferred to freezer bags to add to curries or soups. You can rinse the rice until water is clear before cooking. Rinsing gets rid of starch that makes rice sticky.    Michelin three star Chef Ramsey uses cardamon pods  and star anise (anise benefits include killing off bacteria and fungus  & naturally fighting off the flu ) for making rice.  Three split cardamon pods may be enough flavour  for you. Try it and see how you like it.
Grilled shrimp on coconut rice!M-M-M-M-M-M-M GOOD!

DID YOU KNOW? Coconut water is filled with antioxidants and electrolytes. Not only is coconut water low-calorie, but it is super hydrating.
RICE MAKING TIPS ~VIDEO: This video is simply cooking regular rice. I wanted to share it with you because it had excellent tips for all types of rice. It’s easy to substitute coconut milk for water by following  your “coconut rice” recipe.  I did learn something new here about new and old Jasmine rice! I hope you will learn something new as well! Other videos making coconut rice


DOCTOR’S CORNER: A new addition to my foodie posts is “Doctor’s Corner”.  If the recipe has an ingredient that has a health benefit, this is the place you will find me writing about it. For instance, coconut is good for brain health. Coconut contains MCT or medium chain triglycerides, as opposed to long chain triglycerides (LCT), which are found in other fatty foods. Medium chains are easier to digest. MCT helps balance gut bacteria, and is protective against pathogenic bacteria and viruses – this means a healthier microflora. Did you know 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut? Serotonin is good for brain health. Coconut oil has the most MCT of all the oils at 55%.  Coconut milk  has 14% MCT. Interestingly, butter has 8% MCT. A trace amount of “medium” length fatty acids are stored in our fat cells  after ingestion. Energy (from ketones) is released quickly using MCT based foods. At the same time, the production of free radicals is reduced. This is important for brain health, as free radicals are unstable and destructive, and increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. Higher levels of ketones are beneficial for prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s. There is also emerging research supporting ketones playing a role in improving mental health disorders, such as ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

 

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

THAILAND
Pineapple is widely available in Thailand. In Canada, pineapples peak in the winter. But, they can be purchased year round. Tourists traveling to Thailand also enjoy their exotic unique foods. These light dishes have become a great addition to our western meal planning. We value the healthy benefits and spicy flavours. This dish will please everyone especially the kids!
With influences from Vietnam and China, Thai food has evolved over time to become its own traditional culinary style. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Pad Sapparot) is a spectacular dish! Once you taste it, I think you will agree with me that it will become a regular dish on your dining room table.
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THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE ~30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice (leftover rice works great too)
  • 4 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 5 oz. shrimp or pork
  • one pineapple
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 stems green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
  • strips of red pepper
  • cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.  If you find it hard to cut, put in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden slightly and then cut. Reserve along with the shrimp.
  2. Cut a pineapple in half lengthwise. Cut out the triangle of the hard core and freeze for your next smoothie.  Remove and dice the pineapple flesh into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. Mix the mushroom soy sauce and fish sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Turn your wok or sauté pan on high and add the oil and garlic, fry for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and shrimp and stir fry until the chicken is about halfway cooked through (about 1 1/2 minutes), then move to one side and turn the heat to medium. Break the eggs directly into the pan. Fry the eggs without breaking them up for about 2 minutes, until they are partially set.
  5. Push the eggs and meat to one side and add the rice to the other side.  Add the soy sauce and fish sauce directly on the rice and then with a shoveling motion, combine the two sides of the pan, tossing, stirring for 2 minutes, mixing the rice with the eggs shrimp and chicken, working from the bottom so that the rice has a chance to fry in the oil and everything  is integrated.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper on the rice and add cashews, green onion and the reserved pineapple chunks. Transfer to the hollowed out pineapple halves, garnish with the red pepper slices, chopped cilantro and serve. ENJOY!!!

“Chunky” Good For Extra Crunch! YUM!

VARIATIONS
Add chicken, pork or  shrimp or ALL THREE! Allergic to nuts..don’t add them!

Vegan Version With EXTRA Pizzazz `Crimp Cut Edges’.

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
ALL THE GOODNESS OF PINEAPPLE
That prickly sensation in pineapple is the Bromelain in pineapple. It is purported to be an anti-aging element which prevents blood clotting since it acts as a blood thinner much like spinach. Today, there is less bromelain in pineapple than 50 years ago, due to the change in the soil’s composition.

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WHAT TO DO WITH THE PINEAPPLE SKINS?
Marinade chicken with your favorite recipe. Tie the pineapple skins to the chicken and grill on your stove top or outdoors for that added flavour.

Confucius Say…..!

PASS The BUCK-EYE Candy

BUCKEYE CANDY ~ Healthy treat

Healthy ~ Gluten Free and Vegan
My friend surprised me with some great chocolate the other day and I decided to make a favorite confectionery of mine – buckeye candy. With only cashews in the pantry,  I thought about cashews instead of the traditional peanuts.  Although about 2% of the population will have an allergic reaction to peanuts, they may or may not be allergic to other nuts. Remember, a cashew is a tree nut not a ground nut –  like the peanut.
BUCKEYE STORY
Why “BUCKEYE”?  Buckeye candy  is named after the shiny, dark nuts from the Buckeye Tree – the official state tree for Ohio. The Ohio General Assembly made its declaration in 1952 that “BUCKEYE BALLS” were officially the state’s candy since they  resembled the nut of the state tree of OHIO. Not to be confused with chestnuts. Although they look similar.  You can not eat a buckeye nut because it’s poisonous. But,  you can eat the confectionery version.  You’ll find  buckeye balls at Ohio’s college football games : Ohio State Buckeyes.   The other good news is that chocolate is known to release endorphins, so that may help reduce heart rates during a football game.
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CHOCOLATE COCONUT CASHEW BALLS (aka BUCKEYE’S)
~ Gluten Free ~

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup (8 pieces) Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp. sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place cashews in a food processor and run on high until smooth, like peanut butter. This can take about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and process on high until well combined.
  3. Roll batter into small balls and dip into melted chocolate until almost but not completely covered. To do this, pierce the ball with a tooth pick and dip in the chocolate. Place on parchment and allow to set hard.





DID YOU KNOW? This recipe is free of: Milk, Peanut, Egg, Soy, Gluten, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish and Sesame. Let’s not forget the   six healthy benefits of chocolate. Dark chocolate is also free of the eight most common allergens. FOOD TIP:  You can use sunflower seeds as a substitute for the cashews. Sunflower seeds are very tasty.  Grated fresh ginger is a good substitute for turmeric for adults. Children are sensitive to strong spices.  You can leave out the turmeric for your kids.  Instead of turmeric substitute different flavours or spices. Take a tablespoon of the mixture ( without the turmeric ) and add some flavours ( e.g. coconut, butter extract) or spices (e.g. cinnamon, coriander ) ~  to see if you like it.  Experiment with it.
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VARIATIONS
Since EASTER is upon us, shape your cashew balls like an egg. Dip the egg shape in the chocolate. After cooling,  wrap the egg with coloured foil. METHOD: The egg shape is punctured with a toothpick on one end ~ dipped ~ then –>stick into a piece of potato or styrofoam on the other end to hold up the egg while hardening.   You can always sparsely sprinkle coarse salt on the dipped chocolate for added zip. Another final dip -> into chia seeds (optional). The eyes on the candy “faces” (pictured below) are made by  dipping  3 toothpicks (held together) into white chocolate and applying the drops on the ball. (or use sugar free white tic tacs). Do the same with one tooth pick dipped in dark chocolate for the brown dot inside the eye.  Test on a paper towel to get the right amount.   HALLOWEEN: Pretzel bits make great spider legs for added Halloween fun. You can make your buckeyes fit any season.

Photo courtesy of the purple almond.

Unforgettable Navy Bean Soup

THE MEMORABLE BEAN!
BEANS are the most undervalued food item. Although the bean is a complex carb. like bread and starches, it feels right at home in the veggie group and holds its own in the protein group. The miraculous bean has little or no fat and is cholesterol-free. In fact the bean actually lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your body.  Garlic, rosemary and thyme gives this soup that unmistakable ~unforgettable ~  flavour!

cafe_soup

Café de La Paix, Toronto,ON

The first time I had navy bean soup was at the Colonnade on Bloor Street in Toronto. I was a teenager and I took the subway to the Cumberland Street stop and headed off to the Colonnade. After window shopping and buying a retro 20’s hat with a matching long silk scarf that morning, it was time for lunch at my oasis. I was relieved to get off my feet and settled in to enjoy my bean soup. Good times. The hat shop is gone along with the quaint cafe. But, the memories remain.  I am sharing with you my most favorite, unforgettable memories of a  sumptuous soup. Today, we celebrate the glorious bean!

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NAVY BEAN SOUP Unforgettable

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. Navy beans, dry
  • 1 Onion, Large
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 5 Stalks Celery
  • 5 Carrots
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil (or Avocado oil)
  • 5 cups home-made chicken stock* (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp Rosemary, dried ~ or ~
    (1 Rosemary sprig ( 6-7 inches ), large fresh sprig)
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme, dried or 1 tsp fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1½ Tsp Fresh Ground Salt (Kosher or sea salt)

Meat Lovers
Optional – add  diced bacon or cooked sausage rounds during or after the cooking process for that meaty flavour.

Organic Rosemary, Garlic and Thyme

* the ratio of stock and water needs to add up to 7 cups. If you don’t have enough stock add more water. Your stock may be very concentrated and rich and you may need to adjust the ratio. Use your good judgement.
Substitution: If you don’t want to use carrots and celery replace them with 4 cups of sliced yellow onions about 3 more onions. It now becomes a Tuscany navy bean soup.
Not enough carrots? If you only have 2 carrots in the frig. add one onion in place of the 3 additional required carrots. The same applies to the celery.navy_beans

Soaking Navy Beans. The water collects carbohydrates from the beans.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the navy beans for  3 hours. Change the water frequently ~ discards the carbohydrates in the ‘soaking’ water. Carbs make your beans become the “magical fruit”.)
  2. Mince the garlic, dice the onion(s), chop the celery, pepper and carrots.
  3. Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil in the pot (dutch oven). After the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), add the garlic and red pepper and sauté another minute or two.
  4. Add the rinsed navy beans, stock, water, smoked paprika, bay leaf, fresh ground pepper and herbs to the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil (boil for 10 minutes while stirring) then turn down to simmer. Total cooking time 90 minutes.
  6. Taste test to check if the beans are thoroughly cooked. Add salt. Taste again to see if you need more salt. We left the salt to the end because salt makes the beans hard.

Serves 6-8 (good for storing in glass jars & freezing)

ALTERNATE METHODS OF COOKING
For the following two methods, saute the vegetables in a fry pan with olive oil first before adding to the crock pot or pressure cooker.
bean-soup-2SLOW COOKER METHOD: Combine all of the above ingredients into the slow cooker and stir. Set to cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours.
PRESSURE COOKER: Beans are a perfect match for pressure cooking. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe and cook 30 minutes at 15 pounds pressure.  Use instructions included with your p.c. model. One of my sisters is always using a pressure cooker. (She uses 2 at a time) With her engineer-like mind – it’s a given. Less work and a most efficient method. Freezer friendly for another day!  Their freezer is full of goodies (and don’t last long in the freezer either). Don’t freeze in plastic or freezer bags–use glass jars– and leave a gap of one inch at the top so the jars wont crack.
I have my mason jars ready for this one to enjoy again and again. Make it once serve it thrice ( 3 times ) is my motto!!!  Give a jar to a friend adds happiness to their day.  We are giving a whole new meaning to jar heads!  ◔‿◔  ( aha!)
HAT2FOOD TIP: Common mistakes are boiling or simmering the soup too long or too high. While simmering you should not see any bubbling at all. If you can not obtain a very low simmer then add 1/2 to 1 additional cup of water/stock.  You may want to turn off the heat for 2 minutes after the 10 minutes of boil time. Gas stoves are a favorite with chefs because the heat goes right down quickly when you reduce the flames. The best choice is a pressure cooker. If you have never used one I recommend it. It seals all the moisture inside the P.C.

The Magical Fruit!

The Magical Fruit!

THE HEALTH SMART BEAN
(1) Heart healthy  💖
(2) Nutrients: antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals
(3) Economy: Beans may be the least expensive source of protein
(4) SLOW to digest: keeps you feeling full longer and aids in weight loss
(5) FIBER: 5 to 8 grams of fiber in 3 ounces (100 grams)…prevents constipation.
(6) Reduce cancer risk: 3 cups of beans per week.
(7) Blood sugar balance: Beans digest slowly which helps keep the blood sugar balanced. At the same time reduces fatigue and irritability.
(8) PROTEIN: About 1/2 cup of beans provides 7 grams of protein. The same amount of protein as in 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish.
BONUS: Beans are inexpensive. Stock up!

BEAN TIPS beans-reduce-gas

superfoodTHE NEW SUPER FOOD
Beans are  on the list of super foods. It does not get a lot of air time. More people are discovering that the lowly, often neglected bean is not only low in cost, it is high in health benefits. Protein:  1 oz chicken=1/2 cup beans.
didyouknow2DID YOU KNOW? Garbanzo beans (chick peas) are the highest in protein of all the beans. It contains Potassium, K and very high in folate. And — is over the scale in energy! —

navyHOW DID NAVY BEANS GET THEIR NAME?
With a long shelf life, navy beans became a staple on U.S. Navy vessels beginning in the mid-1800s; earning them their name that has survived the test of time. The navy bean is the same type of bean you find in tins of baked beans.

EAT BEANS THREE TIMES A WEEK FOR YOUR HEALTH!