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.

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Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black Rice was once “only” enjoyed by the Emperor and his royal court. It was forbidden for the commoners to eat this exquisite black rice. The tender, nutty flavoured rice is presumed to enrich one’s life and promote longevity.rice3 After I brought my chilled rice salad to the office,  I noticed that all the staff made it the following week!  It travels well and is a great picnic salad.  A refreshing change from your typical summer salads.
I researched and tried out several versions but this recipe from the Bon Appétit June 2012 needs no improvement. black rice salad photo provided by Jason Lowe, Bon Appétit

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BLACK RICE SALAD – WITH MANGO AND NUTS
INGREDIENTS
2 oranges
1/4 cup or more fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cups black rice
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″dice
1 cup finely fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or unsalted cashews or other nuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, minced
black-rice-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1 ) Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
2 ) Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bow to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
3 ) Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
4 ) Set dressing aside.
5 ) Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
6 ) Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing and season lightly with salt; let cool.
7 ) Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8 ) Season lightly with salt and more lime juice if desired.
Serves: 6–8

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants; only black rice contains special variety of antioxidants known as anthocyanin antioxidants. (Thus the dark purple colour -like blueberries)  Additionally, black rice also contains an important antioxidant – Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions. Forbidden Black Rice contains 18 amino acids (same as Aloe Vera), iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and fiber. Mangos are #1 ~ the most popular fruit in the world.

black-rice

Emperor’s Dining Room

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderful black rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives. Black rice does provide many health benefits that the western world is now embracing with gusto.  It helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes with high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients and protects heart health (plaque formation). Herbalists use black rice as a prevention and treatment for ailments and as a blood tonifier. 

Black Rice was also considered to be somewhat of an aphrodisiac at one time.  I suspect the Emperors down throughout the ages shared their black rice stock with their consorts or concubines.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Rice.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Black Rice. photo provided by Spikenard and Myrrh

Black Rice is surely ‘one of the’… if not ‘the most’ special variety of rice that is cultivated today. Its special, near medicinal values is truly stunning, even today with all of our medical knowledge and tools. Every time you sit down to enjoy a few servings of this awesome super food, you can remind yourself that you are eating something that was once reserved for royalty. If a commoner was caught eating this rice it was “off with their heads”.

VARIATIONS
If you are trying to find something else to do with your avocados, my friend Monique from Ambitious Kitchen added avocado to her black rice salad. It is a nice touch and goes well. Instead of unsalted peanuts (Bon Appétit version), I used cashews while Monique added almonds to her salad. If you have the time and patience, roasted pecans would be wonderful too.
avocado-mango-blackrice-salad

Another gluten-free recipe that is filled with flavour , colour and the YUM-Factor!

kids32BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH!
A light touch: For milder flavour, use leeks instead of red onion and yellow or red bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers. Forget the nuts (allergies)  if you like.  Substitute other herbs for the cilantro. e.g. parsley, basil, fresh mint, fresh-soft rosemary (my favorite) or even peppery rocket lettuce. Know what your kids like to eat. I would even test out fresh oregano in this ‘forbidden’ black rice salad.  COLLEGE KIDS: Add a smidgen of fresh pressed garlic ~ to boost the immune system.  If it is not fresh I would not use the herbs. The dried herbs taste different. They have flavour, but are better suited in baking and cooking.

Y-U-M-M      Y-U-M-M-M!