No-bake cranberry almond energy balls

This is a lovely and super simple recipe from the food blog “Skinny Me” Your kids will love them too and they will be able to help you make them

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1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup natural almond butter, (optional peanut butter)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup almonds, crushed
1/2 cup pistachios, crushed

In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

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Dark chocolate and coconut truffles

As you have probably gathered by now, coconut is one of my most favorite ingredients. This is a recipe from several years ago from a food magazine that I resurrected and am so glad I did.

The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the better for you it is. Go between 72% and 85%. Any higher than that is just way too bitter.

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This recipe yields 12 truffles.

1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
3 1/2 tbsp Truvia Natural Sweetener or other natural sweetener
Dark Chocolate (72 % or higher)

In a bowl blend the coconut oil, lite coconut milk and Truvia with a hand mixer. Next, add the shredded coconut and mix well. Roll mix into 1” balls, set on waxed or parchment paper and place in fridge until they are firm. In the meantime, melt the dark chocolate very gently in a double boiler or in a bowl sitting over (but not touching) simmering water, stirring continuously.

Next, dip the coconut balls in the melted chocolate, coat well and place back on the waxed paper. I use either a fork or toothpick to dip.

You may also add some of the shredded coconut on the truffles before the chocolate hardens. Place the truffles in the refrigerator, they will taste better when eaten cold.

Grilled zucchini, Amalfi-style

Light, fresh, simple and stunning flavors. Lovely to serve alongside some marinated fish as a starter. Thank you Marcella Hazan.

Serves 4

2 lbs zucchini, as young and firm as possible, thoroughly cleaned, ends removed
Salt
4 garlic cloves; peeled and slightly mashed
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn into bits
Light olive oil; or vegetable oil, for frying
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Cut the zucchini into rounds or slices lengthwise and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and mix gently. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the water to come off the zucchini.

Put the mashed garlic and mint into a large bowl.

Remove the zucchini from the colander and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot, then place the zucchini in a single layer in the skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to the bowl with the mint and garlic.

Sprinkle the zucchini with a little vinegar, then continue cooking any remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with more vinegar when done.

When all the zucchini are done, add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately or the next day

Pumpkin seed stuffing with chorizo

This is a terrific stuffing as it uses the “pepitas” pumpkin seeds. This recipe was voted best recipe of the year for Bon Appetite magazine in 2008.  Toasted pepitas, fragrant Spanish chorizo, chiles and cornbread. Would could be nicer?
You can make this the day before but only if you’re not putting it in the turkey. I like to cook this separately.

Serves 6 to 8

* Pumpkin seed oil can be found online or in well stocked supermarkets and is worth having. For a little extra heat, roast 2 to 4 jalapeno chiles with the poblanos, then clean, stem, seed and chop them before adding them to the stuffing.

10 cups cubed corn bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup pumpkinseed oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shelled pumpkin seeds
4 poblano chiles
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb Spanish chorizo, cut crosswise into 1/8 inch slices
1 1/2 cups fresh corn, from about 2 medium corn cobs
2 onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 tsp cumin (I roast my own)
1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey broth

Preheat the oven to 375 F
In a large bowl, gently toss the corn bread with 3 tbsp pumpkinseed oil, the thyme, oregano,1/2 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Spread the cubes in a single layer on a large, foil lined baking sheet and toast for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden, shaking the pan every 5 minutes for even coloring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the remaining tbsp pumpkinseed oil, 1/4 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper. Place the seeds on a foil lined baking sheet and toast until fragrant, puffed and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and cool, then add to the cornbread.

Meanwhile, roast the chiles on the stove top directly over a hot burner until charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sealed bag to rest until cool enough to peel.
Peel the charred skin (do NOT rinse under water as this will remove the flavor)
Halve the chiles lengthwise, stem and seed. Cut the halves crosswise into 1/8 inch sttrips. Add to the cornbread.

Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp butter and the olive oil, then the chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and add the chorizo to the stuffing mixture.

Stir the corn and onions into the pan and season with 1/4 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is crisp-tender and the onions have softened and are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until it is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the white wine and cook, scraping any bits of flavoring from the pan, until the white wine has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.  Cool, slightly, then add to the stuffing mixture.

*(You are building layers of flavor with all these steps)

Gently toss in the cumin and smoked Spanish paprika, and season the stuffing with 1/4 tsp salt or to taste.
Melt the remaining butter and drizzle over the stuffing. Drizzle 2 cups of chicken or turkey broth over the stuffing and gently toss. Add additional broth as desired.

Place the stuffing in a buttered 13 by 9 inch baking dish, cover and place in the oven. Bake for 20  minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly toasted.
Remove and serve.

 

Easy pumpkin pie fudge

This recipe is from the food blogger “tasteandtellblog.com” and I want to share it as is, no tweaking.
Such a great idea to get that  concentrated pumpkin pie blast of flavor in a small bite.

Yields 48 pieces

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12 oz white chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 tsp really good vanilla essence

Line an 8” by 8” baking dish with non stick aluminum foil.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Heat over medium heat.
Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 12 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour into the prepared pan and chill until set.
Cut into squares.

 
 

Mint infused whipped cream

And now for something completely different to serve with those fresh strawberries or raspberries or even on a chocolate dessert

Mint Infused Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
6-8 sprigs, garden English mint (you may want to try more mint for a bigger flavor)
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (more if you like it sweeter)

Crush mint leaves a bit, then place in a medium sized bowl.
Pour the heavy whipping cream over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove mint from heavy cream, add powdered sugar and by hand or using an electric mixer, whip until soft peaks form.

Serve in dollops on whatever and whoever you like!!