Carmel Corn NON-gmo

It has been many years since I have made carmel corn.  That is until I came across this recipe from http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/dessert/a-healthier-caramel-corn-made-with-gmo-free-corn-no-corn-syrup/

Here is the cool thing.  No corn syrup.  Yeah!  No high fructose junk. No GMO’s!!  Sucanat (an easy way to remember  SUgar CAne NATural) is the sweetener.   Here is some insight on sucanat that I thought was interesting. http://www.livinghealthymom.com/sucanat-benefits/.

Not that any of us would eat a whole cup of it at a time.  I would rather have a banana thank you very much. But I do like the fact that it has more minerals, is less processed, and less sweet.  It adds something to recipes that would not be there with just plain sugar itself.   I have been working on replacement ingredients for the old Scotch-A-Roo recipe that I have refused to make for years now. (Recipe to be shared soon!)  I have called them Rice-A-Roos. Ya, well, =)  it was the most original name I could come up with in a short period of time.

We played with a sample of the Carmel Corn at Natural Living and drizzled melted organic dark chocolate on it.  Added a Christmas sprinkle or two to make it festive.  This is an easy  recipe to make and it would make a great homemade gift for just about any occasion.  I grabbed a quick pic on my way out of the store……and the recipe adopted from Whole Life Style Nutrition

Carmel Corn NON-gmo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 2 tbls coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1 tbls coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 cup organic dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. PoP =) the popcorn and place in a bowl. (Use an air popper or in a pot on the stove with the coconut oil.)
  2. Melt butter, sucanat and salt.
  3. When the butter is melted add the cream or half and half.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat,add baking soda, and continue to stir as it foams.
  6. Pour over the popcorn and stir until it is well distributed.
  7. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 200 F for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  9. Chocolate Drizzle
  10. Melt coconut oil (or butter)
  11. Add organic dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. Do not over heat this!
  12. Drizzle with a spoon over the Carmel Corn. Let this set until the chocolate hardens. And your done!
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Mediterranian Quinoa Salad with Fresh Basil

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I love basil.  My previous post on the Cranberry Basil Cookies should give you an indication of that.  The smell is amazing!  Ever since all that basil showed up at the store I have been craving  Caprese Salad, I KNOW, it is winter, all those beautiful heirloom tomatoes are not in season! But smelling all that fresh basil got to me……. I may just make do with the winter tomato variety and go for it….maybe.

At Natural Living  http://www.naturallivingwisconsin.com/ Beckie and I decided to make this Mediterranean Salad.  =)  It actually will make a great side to bring for Christmas potlucks! If you are a meat lover add some salami, pepperoni or maybe even some prosciutto.  I had to hold myself back from adding chard,  if I was home it would have been in there (hint .. so feel free!)  Enjoy!

 

Mediterranian Quinoa Salad with Fresh Basil

I promise, unless you absolutely do not like olives, you will love this. If you do…leave them out, and then you will love it!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups cucumber chopped
  • 2 cups tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 2/3 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 8 oz pkg feta cheese, crumbled
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-14 minutes.
  3. Leave the cover on and let it set for a few hours to cool.
  4. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and add them to the cooked quinoa.
  5. Whisk together the oil, red wine vinegar, salt and fresh pepper.
  6. Pour over quinoa and stir gently.
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Gluten Free (or not) Cranberry Basil Sugar Cookies

So, having boxes and boxes of fresh organic basil show up at Natural Living in the beginning of December gave me the opportunity to adventure into baking with basil. After a little research I gave this recipe a try from   http://betsylife.com/2012/02/13/src-basil-lime-cookies/  substituting in gluten free flour mix and adding chopped dried cranberries to a few of the cookies, (because that is how I do things…random and rarely sticking to a plan!) YuM! Betsy, you did good with this one!! I like this recipe! A lot! But I really LOVE orange and cranberry together so I made a few adjustments and came up with this recipe. I LOVE the fresh basil added to the sugar cookie. I love the fresh cranberry taste. I love the simplicity of it. I love Christmas and this is just the cookie I needed to start December off with.

Gluten Free (or not) Cranberry Basil Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cup of gf mix that you can sub on a 1:1 ratio to replace flour (updated: I increased this to 2 cups)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp guar gum ( I excluded this for a batch and they turned out fine)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, orange zest, basil, add cranberries.
  4. In a separate bowl combine gf mix (or flour), soda, salt, and guar gum.
  5. Pour flour mixture into cranberry mixture and combine well.
  6. Roll into small balls (about 28 -30 cookies) place on parchment paper and press lightly down with bottom of sugared glass.
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown on the bottom.
  8. Cool.
  9. For the gluten version use regular flour and leave out the guar gum ..... simple as that! :))
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Have a cup of tea and enjoy 

Sweet Potato Salad with Fresh Kale

Cold!
After spending a week in Arizona with Bob’s sister Rebecca and her family it is hard to adjust back to being, well, in need of wool. I was happy to get back home, but I am missing the warmth of the Arizona sun!

Rebecca is married to Cardinal kicker Jay Feely  http://www.azcardinals.com/team/roster/jay-feely/81a2ef3c-df3e-48cd-9129-3e1be9408d85/I will tell you two things I know about this family. They love Jesus and they have servant hearts. Right down to their youngest little girl. Bec and I did nutrition education presentations for Gilbert Christian Elementary School and for the House of Refuge. We also visited the Hacienda House where we saw Rebecca in action, loving on people, enjoying their company, and sharing her family with them. Zach, Summer, and I were so moved. Truly it was an inspiring visit. We met several brave and beautiful people. God’s presence is available and strong among people the world often views as weak, needy, poor in spirit and health. I was thankful for their power. Not in the physical sense but in the spiritual where God gives us an opportunity to change our thinking and change our attitudes and, if we are willing, change our lives. It was precious time spent with precious people.

We ended our visit with a Cardinal football game. We love to watch Jay play and we know that his love for competition is accompanied by his love for God. A beautiful, yet challenging combination of character. He is strong mentally, physically, and spiritually. He and Rebecca are gems in the world of professional sports and a representation of what it takes to survive and thrive as a couple and as a family. I hope you get the chance to get to know them.

Now, because Rebecca and I are both passionate about healthy eating we talk about food and health related issues a lot. We also cook. This time we worked on some affordable nutrient dense recipes, made a boat load of beans, (I am thinking that they may still be working on those babies!), and a crockpot breakfast recipe. Yummy! You can catch Rebecca’s blog here. http://www.rebeccafeely.com/

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We made a side of Roasted Sweet Potato Salad for our families for one of our meals. We emptied the bowl, it is that good.  (By they way, the one pictured is one I did with parsley and two different yam varieties.)

Sweet Potato Salad with Fresh Kale

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • 3 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Chopped Kale or Fresh Parsely
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tbsp local honey
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Toasted Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Dice washed and dried sweet potatoes into bite size pieces.
  2. Mix in olive oil and sea salt.
  3. Roast at 425F for 15 min.
  4. Remove and allow it to cool.
  5. Add onions and chopped kale.
  6. Whisk the ¼ cup of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, and sea salt.
  7. Pour the dressing over the potatoes, kale and onions, and mix gently.
  8. Add the dried cranberries and fresh ground pepper.
  9. This is ok to serve immediately but it is much better marinated for a few hours or overnight. I use raw sunflower seeds. I toast them in a small frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and salt and add them to the salad and stir them in close to when it will be served. Delicious!
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