Monday
Jun172013

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie


I am so happy to have Hallie Klecker here sharing a tasty smoothie! Hallie is one of the healthiest food bloggers out there. Visits to her gluten-free food blog Daily Bites always leave me inspired. From her kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin she shares her enthusiasm for cooking with whole, natural, unrefined foods.

Hallie is the author/co-author of 4 books! She's one busy lady (I can't even seem to crank out ONE!) Check out these titles:

Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free: A Whole Food Starter Guide and Cookbook

All of her books are gluten- and dairy-free and spotlight pure and wholesome ingredients.

Along the lines of pure and wholesome, this is one of Hallie's favorite breakfast smoothies for summer mornings. Cashews add a luxuriously creamy quality to the smoothie that will have you going back for sip after sip! You'll never guess that it's dairy-free and sweetened naturally with nothing but fruit. Pour the smoothie into popsicle molds and make dairy-free Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops. A summer treat the kids will beg for. Here is THE RECIPE.

Thank you Hallie for sharing today!

Connect with Hallie on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

   

Monday
Jun102013

Beyond Bacon Left Me Breathless

I am a lover of beautiful things and something beautiful—stunningly gorgeous—came in the mail this week. 

Maybe it's the graphic designer in me that drove me to write this review without even trying a recipe in the book. Yep, I think that's it. Seriously people, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Hog is a feast for the eyes AND for the belly. 

So here I am reviewing a book without even test driving it—but I feel okay with it (my kitchen is packed up anyhow ... we are moving .... weeeee!), because I am certain ... CERTAIN ... that if you have an appreciation for all things pork (and not everyone does and that's okay, too), that you will love this book and will read it cover-to-cover in one sitting

Authors Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry are the voices behind the blog Paleo Parents. They are witnesses to the healing power of food—clean food. They were featured here on Lexie's Kitchen a couple years back to share part of their story

This soon-to-release title is a vast departure from their first kid book Eat Like a Dinosaur. They call Beyond Bacon the grown-up version of how they see food. I appreciate it because it encourages the consumption of humanely raised meats and shows you how to use every part of the animal—from nose-to-tail—a lost art. It also goes into some "serious science on the health benefits and 'hazards' of pork and saturated fat," and delivers some recipes that will knock your socks off. I felt stuffed just reading the book—it's all pork my friends—all pork. I can't wait to show it to my husband. I am thinking belated Father's Day gift?

For a taste of the book, here is a recipe for Asian Short Ribs. Pretty pictures. Pretty (and easy to follow) layout. Don't you think? It leaves the designer in me swooning!

Click to enlarge.

Hats off to Stacy and Matthew, Victory Belt Press, and food photographer, Aimee Buxton. Stacy, your book design direction and photo styling just blew me away. Simply amazing cookbook folks!

Beyond Bacon releases July 2, 2013. Pre-order now!

 

     

Monday
Jun032013

Pumpkin Seed Power Bars

If you deal with a food intolerance or allergy, it's always a happy day when you spy a new goody at the grocery store that's safe for consumption! 

That was the case with these breakfast bars. We've been buying them by the carton and eating our way through them pretty fast so I thought it was time to see if I could make them at home—and trim a few dollars off of our grocery bill.

Compared to the Crunchy Perfect Pumpkin Breakfast Bar from Rise®, the version I've come up with:

  • Is a little less sweet.
  • Replaces the amaranth with chia seed so that I could reduce the sweetener required to make the ingredients stick together (a lovely feature of sugar/sweeteners).
  • Does include nuts, but you can easily make it a nut-free bar by using more pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts (I was running low on pumpkin seeds so had to throw in the nuts).

I've only made these in the dehydrator. You could probably bake them in the oven at the lowest setting (at or below 170˚F) for a couple of hours and see if that works.

Oh and the trick to the perfectly rectangular bars? An inexpensive musubi sushi rice press. Find one at your Asian grocery store or here on Amazon for under $3.00. 

Pumpkin Seed Power Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1/4 cup no sugar added apricot preserves or this compote
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chia seed
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup pitted and chopped dates
1-1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews, finely chopped
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan combine water, preserves, honey, and salt. Bring to boil; reduce to gentle simmer and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in chia seed, cherries, raisins, and dates. Set aside 5-10 minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and hemp seeds.
  4. Stir in apricot mixture.
  5. Form uniform bars using a musubi rice press; lay a piece of parchment paper on work surface, place mold on parchment and spoon in 1/4 cup (or so) of the seed mixture. Oil press surface and use it to firmly pack seed mixture. Release from mold and place onto dehydrator tray. Repeat.
  6. Dehydrate bars for about 24 hours or until bars are firm and hold together.
  7. Store in airtight container at room temperature for a week or freeze.

Notes:

  1. The next time I make these I plan to lightly toast the nuts and seeds in a 325˚F oven for 10-12 minutes prior to mixing to give the bars a little added crunch.
  2. If I hadn't had a musubi rice press, I would have used a medium sized round cookie cutter and some random flat kitchen object to pack the seed mixture in to make round bars versus rectangular. :) 

 

Thursday
May232013

DIY Essential Oil Rack

Hi, my name is Lexie and I am a lover of essential oils.

There, I said it.

In January I thought I'd delve into the world of the concentrated distilled plant essences. Thought I'd buy just a bottle or two ... and well, I got a little carried away, but in a good way. Five months later a sizeable collection of oils has taken up residence in our house—demanding their own little spot.

I know that some of you have your own collections of essential oils so thought I'd share this little DIY essential oil rack idea. Hung on the wall where I can see them and easily access them, I am more apt to use them.

"And what do you use them for?" you ask.

Well, it was in this issue of Autism Science Digest that I first read about essential oils and how they've helped kiddos on the spectrum. Two articles in the magazine suggested that essential oils can help detoxify as well has help with focus and hyperactivity. Being a mom who will try most anything to heal her boy, I thought I would give them a try. We are still experimenting and I don't have a definitive answer on how they are working for him, but I've been having a great time making my own household cleaners, lotions, and potions. I've even been using some of this brand's cilantro, lime, and lemon oil in my cooking—divine!

So if you are into essential oils or want to learn more, stay tuned because I will be sharing some fun EO recipes (food and otherwise) with you in the coming months.

An added bonus with this little rack is that though the rack only has three shelves, the dowels add three more—like stadium seating for your growing oil collection.

If you are interested in exploring the world of essential oils or would like to order Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® oils, contact me here and/or visit my DoTerra site.

DIY Distressed Essential Oil Rack How-To

You will need:

  • Spice Rack
  • Wood (square) dowels
  • Liquid Nails
  • Paint (sample size will do)
  • Sheet Fine Sand Paper
  • Paint Brush

The How-Tos: 

  1. Pick up an old spice rack—I got mine at Goodwill for $1.
  2. Head to Home Depot and buy a 1x1-inch square wood dowel(s) (is a dowel a dowel if it's square? Not sure what to call these)—enough length to fit the width of each shelf. Tip: The guys (or gals) at Home Depot are always happy to cut wood to the length you need. So if you don't have a saw, give them the exact measurements you need and ask them to do it for you.
  3. Give the spice rack a good sanding with fine sand paper. Give the dowels a gentle sanding.
  4. Grab the bottle of liquid nails and apply just enough to cover bottoms of cut dowels. Adhere flush to the back of the spice rack shelves. Let dry.
  5. Slap on some paint.
  6. When paint is almost dry, take your sand paper and scuff up the paint a bit for a distressed effect. 
  7. Voila! Done.

 

This rack fits most standard-size essential oil bottles (DoTerra, Young Living, etc). Before selecting your dowel size, however, I suggest measuring your spice rack shelf and then choosing a dowel width that would leave enough room for the width of the bottles.

Tuesday
May142013

Veggie Jim Recipe

Hi! This is Jill, Lexie's sister from Hawaii. I've been visiting Lexie for the last week, helping out with the boys, and of course testing and eating some fabulous food. 

One of our experiments this week was a dehydrated snack we're calling Veggie Jims. These nori power wraps are available at many natural food stores and sell for $1-2 each—we thought we could make them for a lot less! They are a tasty seed paste wrapped up in a convenient nori sheet for easy transport on the go. 

After doing some research I found out that these power wraps are one of the "oldest" vegan snack foods around. Being an aspiring vegan, I was surprised that I'd never heard of them. I found them while picking up some airplane snacks at my health food store on Maui. Lex and I both thought that they were super tasty and satisfying and wanted to try making them ourselves. Flavorings for these are endless, we went for the classic Slim Jim flavor demonstrated by Matt and Angela here in this video. The cayenne gives these in awesome kick!

 

Veggie Jims 

Makes About 36 Veggie Jims

Ingredients:

About 12 NORI SHEETS, cut into 1/3's length wise
12 ounces raw SUNFLOWER SEEDS
8 ounces raw PUMPKIN SEEDS
1 cup WATER (more as needed)
2 red BELL PEPPERS
1 tablespoon raw grated BEET*
4 minced GARLIC CLOVES
6 tablepsoons fresh LEMON JUICE
1 teaspoon SALT
2 teaspoons ONION POWDER
1/4-1/2 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER (or to taste)

*Optional. We added the beet for color. It did make the filling a lovely spam color which you will see in the photos. After being dehydrated though it went back to a brown color. 

Directions:

  1. Whirl seeds in a high-powered blender or food processor to a fine meal. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except for nori sheets) and blend/process until smooth. 
  3. Add the seed mixture back in and blend/process to a smooth, spreadable, paste-like consistency (add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed to aid in blending/processing).
  4. Avoid over salting so they don't end up too salty after being dehydrated. 
  5. Transfer to a large zip top bag, squish paste down into one corner, and snip off the corner to pipe out a 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness. 
  6. Lay a strip of nori (shiny side down) onto a sheet of parchment. This was the only tricky, slightly time consuming part. Lightly spritz (we used a spray bottle) the nori sheet with water. Then pipe the filling down the center of the nori sheet. Take your time and try to ensure an even filling. 
  7. Roll nori around filling and seal edges with another spritz of water if needed. 
  8. Arrange Veggie Jims on dehydrator trays and dehydrate over night or until firm and dried out—about like a Slim Jim meat stick. They are super yummy warm out of the dehydrator! 
  9. Store in an airtight container.

In the photo below the paste looks pretty gross (that's the pink from the beet). We promise, no pink slime or spam was involved in the making of these vegan snacks. Oh and we got over-ambitious in the "piping it on" shot. Just aim for 1/4-1/2 inch strip of paste.

 

Feel free to experiment with flavorings. Ones I have seen are Italian (sundried tomatoes, oregano, marjoram and sage) and Japanese (ginger, miso, wasabi). You can also wrap different shapes with the nori, like triangles.

Enjoy and let us know what you think! We'd love to know.

Wednesday
May082013

Shrimp and Curry Rice Salad

One of the most talented chefs in our family is my Tutu Flo. As the wife of a naval officer, she travelled the world and enjoyed the flavors of many lands. This recipe was given to her by the wife of my grandfather's Commanding Officer at Barber's Point. A tasty side dish for your next potluck.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May022013

DIY Vanilla Extract

Ever wondered how to make your own vanilla extract?

Here's the way I do it.

The extract I am pouring in this picture was a wee bit "young." Unfortunately I didn't have a couple of months to let it sit prior to the photo shoot :). The final product will be much darker than what you see here. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr282013

Easy and Tasty Chia Fresca Recipe

Some of you may remember this recipe. It's a goodie and my own version of Mamma Chia—one of the tastiest Chia Fresca beverages on the market.

It's not often that I repost a recipe but I feel this week warrants it.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr222013

Let's Talk Poo

Not everyone likes to talk about or think about poo, but my friend Robin and I sure do! We've been through it, we've seen it all. When your kid suffers for two years with "toddler's diarrhea" or cries and strains to produce a movement, all inhibition and "hush-hushiness" about the subject goes out the window. We're poop moms. Wanna talk poop? We're all ears!

Robin is the mom of two boys, an acupuncturist, and a realistic renegade. She blogs at Kids Love Acupuncture. Today she's talking Loose Stools: What's Your Kid's Poo is Telling You. If your child suffers from constipation, be sure to check out this post over on her blog. Many helpful tips to be found there. If you're kid suffers from the opposite—aka the loose stuff—continue reading ...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr172013

Lower-Sugar Dairy-Free Mango Ice Cream


It's been a long, cold, windy six months and we are pining for warmer weather. For the last two days we've been snowed in. School was cancelled and roads were a mess, so we hunkered down and plotted.

"How can we speed old Mr. Jack Frost on his way?" I asked the kids. 

"Let's make ICE CREAM!" they cheered. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr122013

Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

 

Joining me today is the lovely Missy Chase Lapine! Many of you may know Missy as "The Sneaky Chef." I discovered Missy when she published her New York Times best-selling cookbook The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. Her brilliant trick for sneaking veggies into picky eaters' diets is one I use to this day.

The basis of The Sneaky Chef cookbook is to cook, puree, and freeze different combinations of fruits and veggies. Then, as needed, they are pulled out of the freezer and mixed into the recipes Missy provides in her book. And though Missy's cookbook is not gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free, I feel the concepts she uses can be applied to a diet that is.

Following wild success with her cookbook, Missy has branched out to create some tasty products for purchase. This week we tried two of them and loved 'em both—especially The Sneaky Chef Pasta Smooth Red Pasta Sauce and all its hidden veggie goodness. I don't know about your kids, but mine like theirs chunk-free, and this red sauce fits the bill! 

Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

Missy has two children of her own so she knows how trying to get kids to eat healthy and nutritious meals can be an uphill battle. If dinner is a struggle for you and your family, here are four of Missy's tips for getting kids to eat veggies so you can all enjoy the time around the table.

TIP #1  Don't plead, beg, threaten or bribe kids to eat anything.
This will only result in a power struggle. The less you show them that you care about what they are eating, the more likely they will try the healthy foods you secretly want them to eat!

TIP #2  Shh, don't tell them it's healthy!
For reasons I cannot begin to understand, when children know something is good for them, they think it can't possibly taste good, even if it really does!

TIP #3  "Hide" healthy foods in kids' favorite meals.
Yes, this is the exact premise of The Sneaky Chef method, books and food line because it's a successful win/win approach for both parents and kids. Just make sure your sneaky additions are fairly bland-tasting and similar in color to the food it's hiding in, so your kids don't notice. For example, puree cauliflower and zucchini and mix it into a cheese sauce for mac 'n cheese. Or use The Sneaky Chef Smooth Red Pasta Sauce for pizzas, pasta, lasagna and more—it contains eight completely hidden veggies and a taste everyone will love!

TIP #4  Sneak + Teach!
Now that your family is eating Veggies Tonight, Without a Fight™, be sure to use this opportunity to teach proper nutrition. Serve those beautiful green veggies in their natural state, alongside the sneaky dishes. Now that the pressure is off and you have peace at the family dinner table, your kids will be more receptive to learning and trying new, nutritious foods!

This Giveaway is Now Closed

Congratulations Karibeth ... you are the winner!

If you'd like to win a copy of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals cookbook (not completely gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free):

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. For an additional entry, "like" The Sneaky Chef Facebook page and leave an additional comment here saying that you did. If you are not on Facebook, share it on your favorite social media and say you did.

Giveaway closes April 19, 2013 @ 5:00 pm PST.

This post is sponsored by The Sneaky Chef® but the opinions are my own!

Thursday
Apr112013

Steal My Food, Take Back Your Health

[Heads up: this video contains a few expletive words]

A fellow blogger just shared this on Facebook.

Take 10 minutes to watch it.

I promise you will walk away inspired to get gangsta with your shovel!

Friday
Apr052013

So Delicious® Dairy-Free Recipe Contest

The So Delicious Dairy-Free 2013 Recipe Contest has kicked off over at Go Dairy Free and the big prize up for grabs—a $500 Wllliams-Sonoma gift card!

Go Dairy Free and So Delicious have teamed up and are looking for the tastiest recipes made using any one or more So Delicious nondairy products.

This contest is open to everyone. Enter here.

To view entries that have been submitted and to vote for your favorites, visit (and follow) the So Delicious Dairy-Free 2013 Recipe Contest Board over on Pinterest. 

I use So Delicious products in some of my favorite sweet treats. I've rounded them up for you here. Enjoy ... and they'll never know that these goodies are dairy-free!

Dairy-Free Peach and Cherry Yogurt Pops

Click here for the recipe.

Dairy-Free Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Click here for the recipe.

5-Minute Mug Brownie

Click here for the recipe. 

Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Cheesecake Parfaits

Click here for the recipe.

Thursday
Apr042013

My Portable Garden

This week's weather has left me feeling hopeful and dreaming. Hopeful that warmer days are around the bend and dreaming that maybe, just maybe, I will get to garden this year.

Gardening is something that feeds my soul. 

When the Great Recession hit we had to sell our home and move north for work. We left behind a great little house and a sunny garden spot. For the last three years, not having a garden has left me feeling sort of incomplete and I am done with feeling that way. I have let a teeny yard and a strict rental agreement dictate what I can and can't do.

Well, enough is enough! This year I am going to have a garden and this is how I am going to do it.


That's right, I'm going mobile with a Portable Container Garden from Garden365™.

If we end up moving this summer, I can take the garden with me. 

If it hails as it often does where we live, I'll just roll it on into the garage.

It's the perfect solution! It may not be a half acre plot, but at least I'll be able to grow an abundance of herbs. I am beyond excited to get everything planted! Updates to come.

Monday
Apr012013

Pressure Cooker Kale Mashed Potatoes


New e-Cookbook: Crazy for Kale

If you flip for kale or just want to add more of it to your diet, I have an e-book and a recipe for Kale Mashed Potatoes that you just might love!

Today, Hallie Klecker of Daily Bites is launching her newest e-book—Crazy for Kale: Glow from the Inside Out with 40 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes.

The reason I love Hallie's recipes is that they are wholesome and healthy. She uses simple ingredients and

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar302013

Go Green with Molly's Suds


This week I received product samples from Molly's Suds—an eco-responsible company launched by a mom, who like many of us, is trying to make her home a little less toxic. The Molly's Suds story will touch your heart, and hopefully your mind, to consider more small steps you can take to rid your home and life of the chemicals and pollutants in food, bath, body, and cleaning products that are contributing to disease, cancer, disorders and infertility.

 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar272013

Baking with Coconut Flour

5-Minute Mug Brownie made in the microwave with coconut flour. See below for the recipe!

Today, Jeanette of Jeanette's Healthy Living hosted a Google+ Hangout on How To Bake With Coconut Flour

I've played a little with coconut flour but tuned in to the hangout mostly to learn from expert users of this non-traditional flour—namely Bob’s Red Mill‘s recipe specialist, Sarah House, and food bloggers Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food, Cara from Cara’s Cravings, and Kelly from The Spunky Coconut. Jane from The Heritage Cook also joined in eager to learn along with me :).

What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut Flour is made from fresh coconut meat that has been dried, defatted, and then finely ground to a flour. It is naturally gluten-free/grain-free flour and is loaded with fiber, protein, and iron (60% fiber; 56% of that is insoluble fiber; 40% protein). 

How Can I Use It?
If you are adding coconut flour to a gluten-free flour blend or substituting it for flour in a regular recipe, Sarah suggests using it for up to 20% of that blend. You will need to increase the liquid and/or fat combination by about 20% (fat preserves the long term moisture of the final baked product).

In What Recipes Does Coconut Flour Shine?
Recipes that work best with coconut flour include pancakes and tender pastries (cupcakes, muffins, cakes, quick breads). The panel agreed, that it's tough to achieve crispy cookies and yeasted breads using large amounts of coconut flour. 

Our Favorite Coconut Flour Recipes
Egg-free recipes that successfully use coconut flour are tough to find. But there are a few out there. Here are some of the panel's favorites. Egg-free recipes are indicated with "EF".

The Spunky Coconut Bagels EF (so good! you must try these)
5-Minute Microwave Mug Brownie EF (pictured above)
Sweet Potato Pie Truffles EF
Monster Cookies EF
Onion Poppy Seed and Cinnamon Raisin Bagels EF
Cookie Dough Stuffed Pancakes
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Totally Coconut Doughnuts
Chocolate Marbled Cupcakes
Chocolate Glazed Banana Cupcakes
Chocolate Coconut Flour Cupcakes
Low Carb Panini Recipe
Coconut Milk Bread
Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour Recipes

Other Resources (FYI recipes in these books rely heavily on eggs)
Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife
The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts
The Spunky Coconut Cookbook, 2nd Edition
The Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook (available for pre-order now!)
Gluten-Free Cupcakes 
Paleo Indulgences

Saturday
Mar232013

Passion Fruit Cheesecake Parfait Dessert Shots

I never thought a trip to the grocery store would send my heart all aflutter. But this week it did. For lo and behold there, next to the frozen strawberries, was passion fruit puree!

Passion fruit—or lilikoi as we called it growing up—is a dearly loved fruit in Hawaii. The season is much anticipated. As kids we'd scour the gulches for them so that mom could make us a pitcher of fresh lilikoi juice, or we'd simply break them open and slurp out the seeds.

Lilikoi grows on a vine and produces one of the most exquisite flowers I've ever seen. The fruit is distinctly sweet-tart and exotic. Here is a pic of the flower.

Giddy and armed with my frozen passion fruit puree, I blitzed home and set out to make a dessert reminiscent of one my mom used to make that involved Cool-Whip and cream cheese. And these Passion Fruit Cheesecake Parfaits are what I came up with.

If you like cheesecake, and if you like sweet-tart—like that of lemon. You are going to LOVE this sweet treat!

I've chosen to serve them as dessert shots because they are quite rich. With these, a little bite goes a long way and are perfectly satisfying. For more dessert shot ideas, head on over to my Dessert Shots Pinterest board.

My tip for finding 2 ounce shot glasses—cheap? Goodwill of course :).

Passion Fruit Cheesecake Parfait Dessert Shots

Makes about twelve 2-ounce shot glass servings (great for a dinner party) or six 4-ounce glass servings

Ingredients:

For the Creamy Cheesecake Layer

1-1/3 cup raw CASHEW NUTS, soaked 4-6 hours and rinsed
1/3 cup melted virgin COCONUT OIL
1/3 cup melted HONEY (use agave to make it vegan)
3/4 cup nondairy plain or vanilla YOGURT
2 teaspoons fresh LIME JUICE
1/8 heaping teaspoon SALT

For the Passion Fruit Layer

3/4 cup PASSION FRUIT PUREE
3/4 teaspoon GELATIN 
1/4 cup HONEY

Directions:

For the Creamy Cheesecake Layer

  1. Combine Creamy Cheesecake Layer ingredients in the container of a high-powered blender. 
  2. Cover; blend on high until super smooth. Stopping blender to scrape sides as needed.
  3. Pour the first layer: Divide half of the cheesecake layer mixture between seven 4-ounce glasses. Transfer to refrigerator to chill. Keep remaining cheescake mixture at room temperature.

For the Passion Fruit Layer

  1. Pour passion fruit puree into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle gelatin over surface and allow to bloom, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Bring to boil and cook just until gelatin is dissolved, about a minute.
  3. Add honey and stir to combine.
  4. Chill this mixture until it thickens up a bit but remains pourable.
  5. Pour the second layer: Divide the Passion Fruit gelatin evenly among all glasses. Return to refrigerator to chill until firm.
  6. Pour the third layer: Divide remaining cheesecake mixture evenly among glasses. Transfer to refrigerator to chill until set.
  7. Garnish with lime zest and/or Passion Fruit Caviar if desired.

I am soooo hoping that you are able to find passion fruit puree at a local grocer because these parfaits are "broke da mout," as we'd say in Hawaii. Here is the brand I found at Safeway. A store that sells Hispanic grocery products is also a good bet.

Here are the lilikoi vines that grow high up in the tops of the Ohi'a Lehua trees outside of my mom's kitchen window. Can you make them out to the right? I know, that beautiful rainbow is sorta distracting.

Thursday
Mar212013

How to Make Fruit Juice Caviar

 

Any Chopped lovers in the house? To say that I am a fan is an understatement!

A young whipper snapper of a chef was on a couple seasons back and showed off his molecular gastronomy skills. Not many competitors on the show hit the pantry in search of agar-agar. So when he did you can bet I was on the edge of my seat anticipating his next move.

Agar-agar is the seaweed-based gelatin I use to thicken my nondairy yogurt. You can use it to make kanten as well. But what this guy did was pure brilliance! He made Fruit Juice Caviar.

I wouldn't sit down and eat a bowl of the stuff (the texture takes some getting used to), but it makes a pretty garnish for desserts and is a sure-fire conversation starter. I garnished these Passion Fruit Cheesecake Parfaits with it and my kids loved it.

How would you use fruit juice caviar?

Fruit Juice Caviar

Ingredients:

1/2 cup VEGETABLE OIL (flavorless and one that remains liquid when chilled)
1/3 cup pure FRUIT JUICE (I used passion fruit puree)
1/4 teaspoon AGAR AGAR POWDER (not bar or flakes)

Directions:

  1. Pour oil into a tall-ish glass and chill (the oil must be cold).
  2. In a very small saucepan bring juice and agar agar to a boil. Reduce to gentle simmer and cook 1-2 minutes, or until agar agar is dissolved.
  3. Let cool 3-5 minutes.
  4. Fill an oral syringe or a straw with the juice. Drop, one drop at a time, into the cold oil. Little caviar orbs will form on contact with the cold oil and fall to the bottom.
  5. Strain caviar using a fine mesh strainer. Rinse well with water.
  6. Store caviar in water until ready to use.
  7. Lay on a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry. 

Notes:

I purchase agar-agar powder locally at our Asian grocer or online at Amazon.

Need a Visual?

Here's a video that will give you the gist of making fruit juice caviar.

Sunday
Mar172013

Easy Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

Some of you may have heard what happened to our stove this week. Seriously, no joke, the glass front just up and shattered. Never seen anything like it. Have you?

The whole event has left us with use of the stove top only—and so tonight called for pan-fried Gluten-Free [and Egg-Free] Chicken Tenders. 

This recipe calls for rice Chex cereal; we buy it on rare occasion. Is it the healthiest option? Is it organic? Is it non-GMO? No, no, and no. It's one of those foods that fall into our 90/10 approach to eating right (90% of the time it's all about making the healthiest choices, 10% of the time we ease up a bit). That said, had I had this brand of rice or corn cereal on hand, I probably would have used it instead. 

Easy Gluten-Free and Egg-Free Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons high smoke point OIL (I use organic palm shortening)
3/4 cup finely crushed gluten-free RICE CHEX
1/4 cup of this brand of gluten-free SEASONED COATING MIX 
1/4 teaspoon sweet PAPRIKA
1-1/2 pounds CHICKEN TENDERS
1 tablespoon allergen-free MAYONNAISE

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl toss crushed cereal, seasoned coating mix, and paprika. Set aside.
  3. Rinse and pat chicken tenders dry. 
  4. In another bowl toss chicken with mayonnaise to coat.
  5. Roll chicken tenders in crumb coating and fry in batches until golden brown.
  6. Serve with barbecue sauce or honey mustard salad dressing for dipping.

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